February 28, 2017

All Hail . . . Freeman?

I do not envy those attempting to fill big shoes. Some people are just beloved and it is difficult to imagine people giving their replacements a fair shot.

I proffer that James Taranto is, well, inimitable. He has been promoted and his Best of the Web column duties have fallen to James Freeman. I like Freeman and I will give him a chance. But Taranto was a one-off.

I'll give Freeman QOTD though, for his debut column:

If [CNN President Jeffrey] Zucker seems unconcerned about the possibility of being sent to the gulag, it's perhaps because he knows that his First Amendment rights are not threatened. It is not essential to our democracy that the White House gives information first to particular entrenched media incumbents before sharing it with the public. And the First Amendment does not say that the New York Times and CNN must have an edge over smaller competitors.

But johngalt thinks:

'Zactly. If they're going to demand access to news scoops, shouldn't they at least pretend to give some sympathetic treatment to the White House, at least occasionally? And no, saying "We don't hate you Mister President" doesn't count.

Posted by: johngalt at February 28, 2017 11:11 AM
But David thinks:

No, reporters should not "pretend" anything, and they should be objective in their reporting even if that means never giving sympathetic treatment to the White House. I don't think it does mean that in this case; I'm objecting to the claim, which is not one Freeman made. I agree that the First Amendment doesn't require the president to give special access to any group of journalists.

Posted by: David at March 2, 2017 4:22 PM

February 27, 2017

I Did Not Think I Clould Dislike These People More

But, it's a new day:


Leaving dogs in North Dakota in the winter. Dirty Hippies.

Dirty Hippies Posted by John Kranz at 5:46 PM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Cool; I posted this to FB and wrapped in the story of all the waste (and over 200 vehicles!) that took scores of dumpsters to clear the once-pristine prairie

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 28, 2017 1:11 AM

Really understanding the left

I told one of my lefty buddies on Facebook that "I think we should start yelling at other people." I had grown frustrated with what I saw as an unwillingness to truly consider other points of view. We're still "friends;" I have never met him and we are FBFs only for politics. He did surprise me with a fulsome appreciation for the documentary "Poverty Inc." which I have long praised. We also share an affinity for the Karl Popper page and all the pro-GMO and anti-anti-Vax sites.

But you didn't come here for that. I post because he shared something that all ThreeSourcers will hate, but should read anyway. "Eat your peas" as a former president would say..."

The Simplest and Most Perfect Explanation of Privilege I've Ever Seen

It's a cartoon! You won't have to hate it for long (I shouldn't presume at all...) The non-cartoon form is the Rawlsian veil of ignorance: if you did not know where on the caste system you would land, you'd naturally want the most equal society.

I think that aspect is legitimate. There is an extension of it best shown in Kurt Vonnegut's book "God Bless You Mister Rosewater." In that book, one's status is completely random. There is a money river and people born near it have all the money they want; people born inland suffer privation. This is my lefty brother's favorite Vonnegut book. And it is through my brother I met my interesting but maddening social media interlocutor.

I posit that it is vital to understand this to understand the left. You can -- and I would -- argue that mobility is extant and important. But this is a large part of the differences I see.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:18 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

Privilege... AAAAAGH! A modern political term for the premise that everyone should be protected from risk and want, REGARDLESS OF HIS LIFE CHOICES. Or, those of his parents or grandparents or anyone else who RIGHTLY bears any responsibility for his situation.

Now that I've got that off my chest. I mentioned that we've read the first half or so of Brook and Watkins' 'Equal is Unfair.' The single most important takeaway for me, so far, is its objective identification of moral and immoral forms of equality. In short:

Equality of outcome
Equality of opportunity

Equality under law

If either of the first two are your moral objective then any inheritance tax less than 100 percent is too low. And that's just the beginning of your misguided crusade to impede prosperity at all costs.

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2017 3:45 PM
But jk thinks:

On the other hand, my prediction of "you'll hate it" is looking pretty good.

I'll counter your review with a re-hash of Hillbilly Elegy and preview the upcoming "Boys in the Boat" (I'm two books' behind in reviewing). There is a third equality, and that is one's starting point. It is uplifting to see someone built into difficult circumstance overcome; President Reagan remains a favorite example.

But to take a person with an absent or abusive parent and difficult financial circumstance and compare them to say, President George W. Bush, while we're being presidential, I purport there is a legitimate subtext to detractors' "He was born on third base and thought he'd hit a triple."

No? None?

Posted by: jk at February 27, 2017 5:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A fair judgment, but not a license to send him back to first base.

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2017 7:37 PM

Trump Revolution, Indeed

More good news. From the IBD Editorial Page:

Wait! No -- it was from the WSJ Ed Page. I am so sorry for the mix up....

Amid the sharp ups and downs of the Trump presidency these days, it is easy to overlook good news, notably the real change inside Washington's vast bureaucracy. The latest example is the loud departure of Ann Ravel from the Federal Election Commission.

An FEC commissioner appointed by President Obama in 2013, Ms. Ravel accomplished little, though not for lack of trying. By statute the FEC is a bipartisan body whose purpose is to enforce campaign-finance law without partisan favor. As a progressive from California, Ms. Ravel tried to implement the Democratic left's agenda of regulating political speech. We hope the Republicans don't duplicate her attempt to ideologize the FEC.

Ms. Ravel tried to force the disclosure of all political contributions, the better to turn conservative donors into public political targets. Her other obsession was redefining contact between conservative individuals and conservative candidates as criminal "coordination." Neither the Constitution nor campaign-finance statutes admit that definition.

February 26, 2017

The Laziest Locution in Journalism

Denver Post:

"Nobody should be sitting on the side of the highway, watching someone they love bleed out and be wondering, 'How are we going to pay for this?'" one of the speakers said.

Indeed not. We should have government cars that are 100% safe, so nobody bleeds at all.

What a remarkably inane statement. One commenter notes that you're likely dealing with car insurance if that happens and not Obamacare. My first thought was that bruta expenses are usually more related to chronic care and not trauma. Though the best exception is "who ever once though tha?"

Pro tip: if it begins with "nobody should..." Expect the rest to be total rubbish.

UPDATE: Linky-linky

But johngalt thinks:

"Nobody should" read the Denver Post.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2017 8:04 PM
But Jk thinks:

Hahahahaha. I was wrong.

Posted by: Jk at February 26, 2017 8:51 PM

UK Heart Disease Breakthrough

Who says medicine in UK is abysmal?

Trials have been completed in Greece and are planned in UK and the US this year and next for a stem cell therapy of heart muscle that reverses the scarring induced by heart disease.

This is the first time scarring has been shown to be reversible. It could herald an end to transplants and lead to a treatment for heart failure within three to five years.

Professor Westaby said: "This would be the biggest breakthrough since the first transplants three decades ago."

Professor Westaby has been working on the technique for more than a decade and is carrying out the study with Professor Kim Fox, head of the National Heart and Lung Institute, at Imperial College London.

The implanted stem cells were created by medical outfit Celixir, co-founded by Nobel laureate Professor Martin Evans, the first scientist to culture mice embryonic stem cells in a laboratory.

Professor Westaby was inspired to work on the breakthrough in 1999 after a four-month-old baby girl's heart healed itself after he carried out a major life-saving operation.

Kirsty Collier, from Swindon, was dying of a serious and rare heart defect. In a last ditch effort Professor Westaby cut away a third of her badly damaged heart.

Surprisingly it began to beat. Fourteen years later a scan has shown that the heart had healed itself.

Now Kirsty, 18, has a normal one. Professor Westaby said: "She was essentially dead and was only resurrected by what I regarded at the time as a completely bizarre operation.

"The fact there was no sign of heart damage told me there were foetal stem cells in babies' hearts that could remove scarring of heart muscle. That never happens in adults.

"It's all down to the clues we got from Kirsty's operation."

February 24, 2017

The "Trump Tariff"

My go-to source for respectable Trump-friendly political news has become Investor's Business Daily. Unlike the WSJ, this business rag is actually hawkish on illegal immigration, at least to a point. But with all of the Trump love I find on its pages I have felt a certain unease with my earlier characterization of the source as "respectable." My blog brother has withheld any ad hominem dismissals thus far, but I have imagined such being drafted and saved for my post that finally broke open the dam of his disapprobation. (Yes, past tense, by way of foreshadowing.)

Fortunately I can now offer proof that IBD's editors are not closet Breitbart hacks, with the opinion piece Will The Border Tax Work? Nobody Knows, Which Is Why It's A Bad Idea.

The tax is part of a wholesale rewrite of the corporate tax code proposed by the House GOP leadership, which they say will vastly simplify taxes, lower rates, increase exports, and help grow the economy.

The plan would swap the current 35% corporate income tax for a 20% consumption tax - or in policy-geek-speak "a destination-based cash flow tax." Because exports are consumed abroad, they'd be exempt from the tax. Imports, however, would face a 20% "border adjustment tax."

The idea has generated lots of attacks, including from this page, as well as claims that it would violate the terms of the WTO, hurt retailers like Best Buy and Target that rely heavily on imported goods, even hurt tourism.

The biggest problem with this tax reform, nobody has any idea what it will do. That's the conclusion of researchers at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, who point out that because it's an entirely novel idea, "there are no real-world examples of a destination-based cash flow tax."

Its impact "on economies, exchange rates and trade balances is purely theoretical." The authors go on to explain these uncertainties in great detail.

The bottom line is that "the economics of this new tax proposal are poorly understood, and it presents unnecessary risks to the U.S. economy."

So there you go, the boys at IBD are not the protectionist, economic nationalists that anyone who misses a chance to vilify the new president are immediately assumed to be, at least by some. Instead, they pine for some good old fashioned corporate tax reform:

All we need to do is follow the lead of our big trading partners: Sharply lower the corporate income tax rate and eliminate loopholes to broaden the base. The foreign earnings problems can be solved by "territorial" tax - which all but six OECD countries have adopted and which exempts foreign earnings from domestic taxes.

I'm not sure but I think this "territorial" tax amounts to a tax cut on U.S. corporations, to the extent they earn profits abroad. Which means it is revenue negative. Which means the static scorers in the CBO are going to put it in the column that Democratic legislators call "government spending." Which is why the House of Representatives wanted the border adjustment tax in the first place. Sigh.

I'll try to end on a good note. At least we have these tea leaves to read from the White House:

Trump has been hot and cold about the border adjustment tax. On Thursday, he told Reuters that he thought the tax "could lead to a lot more jobs in the United States." On Friday, Trump's top economic advisor reportedly said it was a nonstarter.

The Art of the Deal.

But dagny thinks:

Maybe I don't understand but who says its never been tried? I deal with it every day. In Colorado its called a USE TAX and the City of Northglenn I'm sure among others has a nasty one.

Posted by: dagny at February 24, 2017 8:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Au contraire! I am a huge fan of IBD, their Ed Page, and their Facebook live market updates. Enough that I feel a bit a bit guilty for enjoying so much free content without subscribing. But -- Jeeburz -- Rupert is bleeding me so dry for the WSJ these days, I don't have a couple coppers to rub together for any other source. (Kidding but not kidding, the days of inexpensive digital-only subscriptions is long past. Without Taranto's BOTW this might be my last year.)

I'll say that the WSJ Ed Page is too hawkish. I'm still a "Deepak Lal libertarian" preferring a much more muscular foreign policy than my libertarian buddies. But the WSJ has a bomb early, bomb often mentality that disturbs. And they're East Coast elitists on guns. They're squishy on drugs. I am by no means all in.

But they have led the way on free trade and immigration. They called out President Clinton for his failure to denounce the anti-globalization Seattle protesters in 1999, rightly celebrating his trade achievements although they opposed most of his other policies.

We love consistent philosophy and reason 'round here. The exact methods and scale of protectionism is as yet undetermined. But the President's belief that it is ipso facto better to build air conditioners in Indiana than Mexico will ultimately lead to some bad outcomes.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2017 10:25 AM

February 23, 2017


Well, I've tried economics. I've tried compassion. How about governmental frugality?

The WSJ is unsurprisingly displeased with the step up in immigration enforcement and deportation. It turns out that we are really at our limits for handling deportations on the scale we currently have (Reason has had a field day publishing the numbers for President Obama' deportations).

Any increase will grow government and cost "a whole lot of simoleons."

[Homeland Security Secretary John] Kelly has also ordered a plan to "surge the deployment of immigration judges and asylum officers," and he's going to need them. The backlog of cases in the Justice Department's 58 immigration courts has already swelled to more than 540,000 from 325,000 in 2012. Some 250 immigration judges were assigned 200,000 cases in 2015. The average wait time for a case is 677 days and can hit five years at some locations.

More than 500 judges--who would each require an entourage of translators, paralegals and clerks--would need to be hired to eliminate the backlog within a year. Each full-time position costs about $200,000, so taxpayers could be billed more than a half billion dollars for this surge of government attorneys. Add all this to the cost of Mr. Trump's border wall, and the bill rises into the tens of billions.

While awaiting a hearing, many nonviolent immigrants are released on parole because detention centers are overburdened and expensive to operate. Housing an immigrant costs the feds $125 per day-- Holiday Inn could provide better service for less--so the 31,000 beds in detention centers are generally reserved for convicted criminals and immigrants caught near the border.

Now don't mishear me. The new improved jk supports increasing the size of government for some of its rightful roles. I'd actually support big increases in courts and judges -- but not to expedite removal of maids with speeding tickets.

Reliance on plea-bargaining and prosecutorial tactics of charging a big crime to get a small plea undermine the rule of law. Lack of court resources threaten our 6th and 7th Amendment protections. By all means, let's staff up courts. But let's staff up regular courts -- not create a huge Kafkaesque deportation regime.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

Works for me. I haven't seen the celebrated case of the maid deported for speeding tickets, however. The one I saw was a maid (or whatever) deported for identity theft. It was still a sympathetic case though because what constituted "identity theft" was using someone else's SSN so that she could be given a paycheck - a government infringement of privacy that we wouldn't accept were we to be dropped in that pot of boiling water rather than the way it was crept up upon since the FDR administration.

Can we trade open borders for elimination of federal IDs? And payroll taxes? There we'd have something to talk about.

"We will not be bound by the failed policies of the past."

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2017 5:10 PM
But jk thinks:

But-but-but-but it is the enforcement regime required by / craved for by restrictionists that provides the infrastructure for this usurpation.

It ain't CATO and Reason pushing for a national database of workers' Social Security numbers so that every new hire can be checked for "leagility." That is the question I am asking. Do we want this Berliño muro fronterizo and the legal apparatus to support it?

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2017 11:37 AM
But johngalt thinks:

On the other hand, maybe the "stepped up" immigration enforcement and deportation (at a slower rate than Obama deported, I've read) is not that radical after all.

In any case, the memos make clear that DHS still intends to prioritize their deportation efforts on illegals who are 1) criminals, 2) drug traffickers or 3) national security risks. Anyone want to object to that?

If Democrats don't like the 1965 law — which their party wrote and passed — they should try to convince the public that it needs to be changed, rather than mindlessly attack the president who tries to enforce its provisions.

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2017 5:02 PM
But jk thinks:

What a sad reminder that we are no longer a nation of laws, but now a nation of men. President Trump is blameless for creating it, but he saw it and will exploit it more than even President "Pen and a phone."

Yes, I'll grant you that we are enforcing existing law -- by definition because none of his laws have passed in the first 30 days.

So, I am elected Governor of the great State of Colorado. I thank you all for your dedication, support, and hard work. My first directive is to have the State Patrol vigorously enforce the speed limits. Fifty-five is 55; 75 is even more so.

Of course, we don't have the staff to ticket every driver doing 1MPH over, so I will direct them to focus on kids with long hair, or cars with rainbow tape, or vehicles playing rap music.

I am only enforcing the law.

Thank you, God bless you and God bless the great state of Colorado.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2017 10:38 AM
But jk thinks:

And if I am allotted one neener-neener pile-on:

prioritize their deportation efforts on illegals who are 1) criminals, 2) drug traffickers or 3) national security risks. Anyone want to object to that?

I will! It creates a "papers, please" mentality which contravenes the sprit of a free republic. Pass through the checkpoint, comrade. If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear...

On a more pragmatic side, it makes undocumented workers and even some who resemble their physical appearance more fearful of authority and law enforcement. I can't call the cops on the drug dealers on the corner, because they'll come over for a statement and see that Uncle Sven has swum the Atlantic and entered illegally. Best to keep quiet.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2017 10:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, we mourn together the sad state of legal tyranny here in the "land of the free" and the home of the not so brave, lately. Which is more likely to lead to a roll back of capricious laws, scrupulous enforcement or wanton disregard of them until, as Rand wrote in Atlas Shrugged, the "right people" break them?

It's a fair cop to say that "criminals, drug traffickers and national security risks" are merely one man's version of the "right people." Better to enforce it equally on everyone, but it's a shift from the prevailing paradigm. It gives hope that Leviathan and Uncle Don might accidentally trip over a legal reform that reduces the power of the state. (Okay, I admit that felt Pollyanish as I typed it.)

Going back further, ours has never been truly the "nation of laws" we all desire and deserve. Women and blacks were treated differently at the founding and long after. We're still on the long and winding road toward a future of liberty and individual rights. But at least now we know what it should look like. That's a necessary prerequisite.

Posted by: johngalt at February 26, 2017 1:19 PM

February 22, 2017

Harsanyi must die!

It's over. The man is dead to me.

Want To Improve Baseball? Make The National League Adopt The Designated Hitter

Manfred could start by scrapping the antiquated notion that pitchers should hit. Because, well, pitchers can't hit. Not really.

Few moments in professional sports are more tedious than watching a National League pitcher awkwardly lean in and lay down a bunt to move a runner over in a 1-0 game in the middle of August. By the way, in most games, this is the most thrilling outcome a fan can anticipate.

How did this man fool me for so long?

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 1:30 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

And catchers can't run. Is a "designated baserunner" the next big "improvement" in America's pastime?

You want an un-tedious professional sport? Try soccer. Oh. Wait.

Hey Harsanyi, you go "improve" everything else on the planet. Leave beisbol alone, you commie scumbag.

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2017 5:16 PM

Trump Revolution, Indeed

I said I'd be fair. Imagine our U.N. Ambassador had Sec. Clinton "persisted."

Now, watch our actual Ambassador.


Full Disclosure: I've been a big fan of Gov. Haley for some time

Take Over a Facebook Group?

My buddy Adam is tired of Admin duties at Republican Liberty Caucus of Colorado and looking for new suckers, err admins

It has 847 members, or roughly 300 times the readership of ThreeSources.



But nanobrewer thinks:

so, you're asking for help? is there training? or Donuts?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 23, 2017 1:03 AM

February 21, 2017

On Sweden

I did intend to post something to start a discussion on Swedish crime. Presented with the opportunity, I instead hijacked Brother nb's germane and most interesting item. Feel free to comment wherever you'd like, Sven, vee is all good here.

Reason is on the nothing-to-see-hear side. And, yes, that comports with their editorial biases. Even though I share them, I'll concede that fact. And yet...

Sweden differs from other countries in two more ways. The definition of rape has been extended to include sexual abuse not considered rape in other countries. In the year that change was made the number of rape offenses increased by 66 percent!

This is the reason why some people claim that Julian Assange is being investigated for rape by Swedish authorities for "almost nothing." Ironically, this is often heard from the same groups who claim that Sweden is the world's rape capital.

And unlike in other countries, if a husband rapes his wife every day during the last year, this is filed as 365 separate cases in Sweden, not as one case, as in most countries (or zero, as in Saudi Arabia) to make the crime more visible in statistics and in the debate.

So basically, Sweden doesn't have many more registered sex offenses because we are more criminal, or have more Muslim immigrants. We have them because we are more feminist.

But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, the wikipedia article I cited repeats this several times "they have a broad definition of rape." The

we are more feminist
quote drives Norberg's article into the same gutter as the campus-rape-canard crowd, IMO, but the explanation of 365 separate incidents carries some weight.

Stats don't back up the "more feminist" assertion. If changes in law created these as anomalies, then there would be sharp 'bumps' and flats for years when the definition stayed the same. Plots show a steady, increasing trend going back to 2006.

The articles I've read on & off over the years support the "Swedenistan" narrative over the Norbergs' & Aftonbladet's (who's line is reportedly "Oh yeah? Swedes are no better").
Here's another one. money quote from Peter Ågren, police chief in central Stockholm,

Sometimes we do not dare to say how things really are because we believe it will play into the hands of the Sweden Democrats

and again from the Daily Mail, which has broken more than a few stories our MSM tried to smother.

Google "Swedish police suppress" and dozens of hits from UK sources support Ågren's statement. If there were no broad problem, why the suppression?

This trend predates Trump, but tracks carefully to immigration, from what I can see. Googling "no go zones" turns up hits where Islamic immigration is known to be biggest: France, Germany and Sweden. It's not a crystal clear-cut case, but the elites in Swedish gov't and media appear to have sold the average Sven and Lena down the river.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 22, 2017 1:14 AM
But AndyN thinks:

Not to downplay how heinous a crime rape is, but there are other serious crimes whose increase in frequency can't be attributed to a change in reporting to appease feminists.

I read recently that in Malmö alone there were 52 hand grenade attacks last year. I can't find any English language original source for that statistic (but it's on the internet so it must be true!). There's a wikipedia page for grenade attacks in Sweden, which actually lists all explosive attacks. The number has steadily increased over the last few years.

Wikipedia lists 34 last year, in a country with a population of roughly 10 million. If we adjust for population, that would be like NYC having 29 grenade or bomb attacks last year. I'm pretty sure if there was a bomb going off every other week in NYC, few people would be quibbling over how inelegantly the President broached the (possibly spurious) correlation between violent crime and an increase in immigration from countries that either struggle to control the terrorist groups within their borders, or are known to export terrorism.

Posted by: AndyN at February 22, 2017 11:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

More research on Sweden has been conducted by a radio talk show host (insert eye roll.) But judge for yourself: http://koanewsradio.iheart.com/onair/mandy-connell-57129/winter-is-back-but-spring-training-15589197/

The last word? "So why aren't we hearing about this in the news?" "Because it is illegal to tell the truth if you are a cop in Sweden."

And American media is afraid the president will censor THEM.

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2017 3:41 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Wow: "women are in danger here" and then you can also note

Swedish Cop Who Spoke Out About Migrant Crime Now Being Investigated For "Hate Speech"
outweighs any issues the source may or may not have.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 24, 2017 12:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Very serious. And I'll add that I have believed this for years.

But now I am in skeptical mode. I don't speak the languages in that video and cannot attest to the quality of the translation. I do not know the source. "A Danish network." I'm thinking the equivalent of the BBC but one could splash a video of Alex Jones or David Wolfe and say "an American Network says..."

I don't disbelieve. But, looking for authoritative proof, I've been surprised how sketchy much of it is.

Posted by: jk at February 24, 2017 4:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Here is perhaps a more sober view, from Mona Charen.

It takes an on the one hand, then on the other hand, and then back and forth a few times, approach to the issue. The upshot seems to be, things are markedly worse in Sweden than before the large influx of immigrants, but statistically it's still not as bad as the good ol' USA so why worry?

Charen also observes that the issues with crime and assaults are more closely correlated with low skill levels in a de-industrializing society than with race or religion. Fair cop, that.

BUT- When police can't do their jobs, when political considerations trump law and order, when officers are brought under investigation for talking about their daily routine, then, something is wrong in the state of Denmark. Or Sweden.

Posted by: johngalt at February 24, 2017 6:54 PM

Welcome to Swedenistan

Its like a laboratory experiment gone horribly wrong, one told me. But the scientists wont admit theyve made a monstrous mistake. So Sweden isnt Sweden as we knew it its become Swedenistan.

Trump right on Sweden: Once again in that "seriously, not literally" way of his I'm still getting used to. Look for the media to start spinning - in line with the elitists in Swedish government - the riots as being caused by a vid-- I mean, Trump.

1st, my story: I worked for a Swedish company for 5 years, right around Y2K. The conversation started after Foreign Minister Anna Lindh was stabbed to death in downtown Stockholm, in broad daylight. Though the investigation eventually dubbed the 2nd generation Serb killer mentally unfit, "according to eyewitness accounts, his actions appeared deliberate and systematic."

The mild-mannered businessmen with whom I worked fully and forcefully acknowledged what was, according to him, well known in Sweden, even back in 2003: unfettered immigration is a problem, it's increasing crime and ruining Sweden and the media is complicit with the government in covering it up. I've since lost my 1st-person access, but IMO, the solution has apparently been for the government to roll the police into the coverup. I've since read stories of media and police coverups of immigrant-based crime sprees, in that special Rotherham way, you know: it had been covered up for fear of "giving oxygen" to racism.

Apparently, the 'thing to do' a while back for swedish-born male teenagers is to patrol the streets of cities like Malmo and Gothenburg to keep their females safe. I imagine the police have put a stop to such provocation. Sweden is now the rape capital of the western world (2nd behind Lesotho for those with broader boundaries.) The wiki article on it notes two shocking stats:
- The number of convictions has remained relatively unchanged since 2005, [despite a 50% increase in reported attacks]
- individuals with an immigrant background, excluding nordic countries, made up 30% of all rape convictions

The conviction rate is apparently very low: 10-20%.

In last night's riots, started by an attempted arrest, a police officer even fired at but missed the perp, then the police bolted: guess who's in charge now in Rinkeby?

This is summarized last May in the JP article from this posts' title. Money quotes from a soft-spoken retired orthodontist:

The radical, Left-wing establishment became totally obsessed with multiculturalism and political correctness, which we didnt need reminding had been part of Swedish ethos for centuries.
But this was different. It was verging on authoritarian diktat and the open-door immigration policy was threatening the nations cohesion. Only a fool couldnt see this, but there was a conspiracy of silence, or rather a policy to whitewash the adverse effects of accepting half-a-million immigrants from the Middle East, who plainly werent interesting in adopting Swedens values and Swedish culture.
The politicians, the media, the intellectualsthey all played their parts in pandering to this dangerous ideology and, sadly, its changing the fabric of Swedish society irreversibly.
his wife added
If you disagree with the establishment, youre immediately called a racist or fascist, which were definitely not. At times I felt that this was what it must have been like to live in the old Soviet Union.

This is what JG and I fear from the open-doors policy Obama tacitly pursued. This is what Trump brings to the table: lithium for the elitist class. He or Sessions may bluster for slamming the door shut, but I really think we'll end up with a time out and slow down.

We all know what the Ricardo-Randian open borders, free market society "looks" like, but I fear our current environment (complete with lavish benefits that allow these "youths" to have so much time and resentment to accumulate) is much more like Stockholm than Fountainhead.

Open borders or Welfare State (as much the problem in Sweden as Islam, far as I can tell): can't have both.

Immigration Posted by nanobrewer at 2:26 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

Personally and philosophically, in an ideal world, I'll take the open borders and pass on the welfare state (TM). But we're not living in anything close to an ideal world. Until then we need regulated national borders.

Don't get me started on the Welfare State. I'll just start swearing and spitting and people will want to call me vile names.

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2017 3:57 PM
But jk thinks:

I hate to hijack a good immigration argument. Mostly because everyone else is so wrong and I am so right. But I wanted to ask a different question about Sweden, videlicet, "Whaaaa????"

I am out of credible sources. Some bright and fiercely conservative folks at Friends of Best of the Web on Facebook were joining Reason to say that there really is no sizable problem in Sweden, beyond the cold and that horrid smell of lutefisk.

The rape stats are like those on a US college campus, they say, reports are up because the definition has changed. Convictions are not following because many of the claims are frivolous.

The Facebook wars rage on. My conservatives (other conservatives) post scores of videos and articles showing it to be "a hellhole" and "a war zone."

I have been seeing these for long enough that I had internalized them. When the kerfuffle struck, I immediately took the President's side. "Well," I thought, "to be fair they do have a lot of problems. I had heard of no-go areas for western women and even law enforcement." But are those true?

My lefty friends are in full Jon Stewart, CODE-4 SMUG alert. There has not been a crime in Sweden since 1924 and that stoopid Trump fellow is fabricating again.

I got no idear and would be interested in believeable assessments.

Posted by: jk at February 21, 2017 4:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Accepting that there is significant trouble in Europe from Muslim immigration, I'm still not onboard with Trump-Sessionsism.

Conservatives telling me we have to close the borders because of Sweden rhyme with Progressives' calling to emulate Swedish health care or Danish education. These are small countries with small populations and small economies. I suggest neither their problems nor solutions necessarily scale.

I'll concede Europe might be an argument against "open borders." With very little to do with welfare, rather, can a tolerant, pluralistic society accept overwhelming numbers of residents without those qualities. Consider me reevaluating.

BUT, this is not the discussion today.

We do not have rafts of refugees crashing on our shores. We were discussing our nation of 300,000,000 allowing 10,000 - 30,000 refugees for humanitarian reasons, all of whom would be vetted on some level.

Not only are we not going to allow that, we're going to kick out graduate students and foreign workers if they come from "scary" places.

Not my vision of freedom. Not my vison of courage. Certainly not my vision of prosperity.

Posted by: jk at February 21, 2017 4:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Um, the borders ARE closed. There is a big, beautiful, wall of legality obstructing the free immigration of anyone from anywhere at anytime. All of the law abiding folks stop at that wall. Unfortunately, there are those pesky lawless peeps.

And even the so-called "muslim ban" of the seven Obama nations is not a closing of the border. It is a pause. You know, so that we can impose a vetting process that includes meeting everyone face-to-face, at least.

The grad students and foreign workers were an error, fixed by direction to the relevant agencies, but still not good enough for a grandstanding judiciary. So there will be a new order that puts it in writing. If they keep up the pissing contest with the President then we have a genuine article constitutional crisis.

P.S. Ninety days.

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2017 6:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Interesting reading at www.whyileftsweden.com.

Including Swedish Police Release Extensive Report Detailing Control of 55 'No-Go Zones' By Muslim Criminal Gangs.

Posted by: johngalt at February 21, 2017 6:31 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm hip with JG's comment:

I'll take the open borders and pass on the welfare state
I'll even take a chance on curtain #3!

I took a quick look at 'WhyILeftSweden' as part of my research and thought it a tad too fringe-y.

I can only add that of scores swedes from Ericsson that took Long Term Assignments in the U.S. all but one stayed. of the americans that took LTA's in Sweden, none stayed.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 23, 2017 1:17 AM

February 20, 2017

Extreme, not Mainstream

"Trump is too extreme" the narrative goes. "He's alienating the moderate, unaffiliated voters." That's a valid concern, particularly come re-election season, but it's just possible that a majority of all voters are actually ready for a serious president to take the reins firmly in hand and steer toward something "Great Again." Even if he does so with more than the usual amount of chutzpah.

And it doesn't hurt that the president's political opponents, democrats and the media [see how I didn't call them "enemies?"] are just as extreme as he is, if not more so. And they are vulnerable to the same sort of centrist backlash. IBD:

These polls show something else that should worry Democrats: Their antics are appealing only to their hard-core base, but are turning off political independents. On Trump's travel ban, for example, 54% of independents approve of his executive order, according to the Morning Consult poll. The IBD/TIPP poll found that 55% of independents back his refugee pause.

Among independents, 62% say they're not confident that the media will cover Trump fairly in the IBD/TIPP poll, and fewer than 19% describe the news media as truthful in the Emerson poll.

What's more, 59% of independents - and 57% of those who are ideologically moderate - say Democrats should find ways to work with Trump rather than try to obstruct him, the Morning Consult poll found. The only group that strongly supports the "resist" tactics are liberals.

But nanobrewer thinks:

I heard that: {fist pump!} Lets' support the ideas we like and oppose those (border adjustment tax - I'm talking about you!)
Time to write our senators... I'll even hunt down Bennet's site...

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 21, 2017 3:30 PM

February 19, 2017

"Everything is About to Change"

This wasnt an election. It was a revolution.

My November 9 blog post on the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States used the term "Orange Revolution" to describe what had just transpired. It wasn't my term, mind you, but came from the Matt Purple piece I linked and excerpted: 'Do You Hear the Deplorables Sing?' It turned out that Orange Revolution had already been taken, twelve-odd years earlier, in Ukraine. But the revolution part still resonates now, three months later.

A better description of this revolution was penned by a different author, on the same date. Daniel Greenfield. Entitled American Uprising, he begins:

Its midnight in America. The day before fifty million Americans got up and stood in front of the great iron wheel that had been grinding them down. They stood there even though the media told them it was useless. They took their stand even while all the chattering classes laughed and taunted them.

They were fathers who couldnt feed their families anymore. They were mothers who couldnt afford health care. They were workers whose jobs had been sold off to foreign countries. They were sons who didnt see a future for themselves. They were daughters afraid of being murdered by the unaccompanied minors flooding into their towns. They took a deep breath and they stood.

They held up their hands and the great iron wheel stopped.

The Great Blue Wall crumbled. The impossible states fell one by one. Ohio. Wisconsin. Pennsylvania. Iowa. The white working class that had been overlooked and trampled on for so long got to its feet. It rose up against its oppressors and the rest of the nation, from coast to coast, rose up with it.

They fought back against their jobs being shipped overseas while their towns filled with migrants that got everything while they got nothing. They fought back against a system in which they could go to jail for a trifle while the elites could violate the law and still stroll through a presidential election. They fought back against being told that they had to watch what they say. They fought back against being held in contempt because they wanted to work for a living and take care of their families.

They fought and they won.

h/t: a derivative essay via email from my friend Dave.

This wasnt a vote. It was an uprising. Like the ordinary men chipping away at the Berlin Wall, they tore down an unnatural thing that had towered over them. And as they watched it fall, they marveled at how weak and fragile it had always been. And how much stronger they were than they had ever known.

Who were these people? They were leftovers and flyover country. They didnt have bachelor degrees and had never set foot in a Starbucks. They were the white working class. They didnt talk right or think right. They had the wrong ideas, the wrong clothes and the ridiculous idea that they still mattered.

They were wrong about everything. Illegal immigration? Everyone knew it was here to stay. Black Lives Matter? The new civil rights movement. Manufacturing? As dead as the dodo. Banning Muslims? What kind of bigot even thinks that way? Love wins. Marriage loses. The future belongs to the urban metrosexual and his dot com, not the guy who used to have a good job before it went to China or Mexico.

They couldnt change anything. A thousand politicians and pundits had talked of getting them to adapt to the inevitable future. Instead they got in their pickup trucks and drove out to vote.

And they changed everything.

Barack Hussein Obama boasted that he had changed America. A billion regulations, a million immigrants, a hundred thousand lies and it was no longer your America. It was his.

He was JFK and FDR rolled into one. He told us that his version of history was right and inevitable.

And they voted and left him in the dust. They walked past him and they didnt listen. He had come to campaign to where they still cling to their guns and their bibles. He came to plead for his legacy.

And America said, No.

Fifty millions Americans repudiated him. They repudiated the Obamas and the Clintons. They ignored the celebrities. They paid no attention to the media. They voted because they believed in the impossible. And their dedication made the impossible happen.

Americans were told that walls couldnt be built and factories couldnt be opened. That treaties couldnt be unsigned and wars couldnt be won. It was impossible to ban Muslim terrorists from coming to America or to deport the illegal aliens turning towns and cities into gangland territories.

It was all impossible. And fifty million Americans did the impossible. They turned the world upside down.

Its midnight in America. CNN is weeping. MSNBC is wailing. ABC calls it a tantrum. NBC damns it. It wasnt supposed to happen. The same machine that crushed the American people for two straight terms, the mass of government, corporations and non-profits that ran the country, was set to win.

Instead the people stood in front of the machine. They blocked it with their bodies. They went to vote even though the polls told them it was useless. They mailed in their absentee ballots even while Hillary Clinton was planning her fireworks victory celebration. They looked at the empty factories and barren farms. They drove through the early cold. They waited in line. They came home to their children to tell them that they had done their best for their future. They bet on America. And they won.

They won improbably. And they won amazingly.

They were tired of ObamaCare. They were tired of unemployment. They were tired of being lied to. They were tired of watching their sons come back in coffins to protect some Muslim country. They were tired of being called racists and homophobes. They were tired of seeing their America disappear.

And they stood up and fought back. This was their last hope. Their last chance to be heard.

Watch this video. See ten ways John Oliver destroyed Donald Trump. Heres three ways Samantha Bee broke the internet by taunting Trump supporters. These three minutes of Stephen Colbert talking about how stupid Trump is owns the internet. Watch Madonna curse out Trump supporters. Watch Katy Perry. Watch Miley Cyrus. Watch Robert Downey Jr. Watch Beyonce campaign with Hillary. Watch. Click.

Watch fifty million Americans take back their country.

The media had the election wrong all along. This wasnt about personalities. It was about the impersonal. It was about fifty million people whose names no one except a server will ever know fighting back. It was about the homeless woman guarding Trumps star. It was about the lost Democrats searching for someone to represent them in Ohio and Pennsylvania. It was about the union men who nodded along when the organizers told them how to vote, but who refused to sell out their futures.

No one will ever interview all those men and women. We will never see all their faces. But they are us and we are them. They came to the aid of a nation in peril. They did what real Americans have always done. They did the impossible.

America is a nation of impossibilities. We exist because our forefathers did not take no for an answer. Not from kings or tyrants. Not from the elites who told them that it couldnt be done.

The day when we stop being able to pull of the impossible is the day that America will cease to exist.

Today is not that day. Today fifty million Americans did the impossible.

Midnight has passed. A new day has come. And everything is about to change.

February 18, 2017

Requiescat in pace

I have importuned readers to read Michael Novak's "The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism" past the point of annoyance. I know.

Unlike the current pontiff and the Dalai Lama, Novak assembled the liberation of mind in self-rule and property rights with religious virtues. Chesterton said "St. Thomas Aquinas baptized Aristotle;" I'll take a leap and suggest Novak baptizes Ayn Rand -- though she may be kicking and screaming as the holy water burns her flesh.

Novak has passed away at the age of 83. The WSJ Ed Page posts a tribute and reprises a 1994 column on the themes of my too-oft recommended book.

My own field of inquiry is theology and philosophy. From the perspective of these fields, I would not want it to be thought that any system is the Kingdom of God on Earth. Capitalism isn't. Democracy isn't. The two combined are not. The best that can be said for them (and it is quite enough) is that, in combination, capitalism, democracy, and pluralism are more protective of the rights, opportunities, and conscience of ordinary citizens (all citizens) than any known alternative.

But johngalt thinks:

Speaking for myself, I would have read such a highly acclaimed book if I read anything at all. Dagny and I finally started on 'Equal is unFair' by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, from which I learned more than I expected, but were unable to finish it on a road trip last weekend. A completion date is, at present, ambiguous.

The linked article on his passing makes it clear he was first a theologian. He was also a neocon. Well, I thought that despite all our differences I might still enjoy a "beer summit" with our former president, and Novak's respect for capitalism seems genuine.

And readers may or may not know that I've softened in my hostility to the religious traditions. I value the purpose they give to some or even most people, as well as the moral guidance that is around 80 percent consistent with Objectivism.

I've written in the distant past that an acquaintance and I differed on the question, "Which is the greater threat to individual liberty - religion or socialism?" I defended the honor of the faithful and, as socialism's influence has grown in the last decade, am only more inclined to do so.

I'm an open defender of religious liberty, in the public sphere and even in the halls of power. Yet I oppose legislation that imposes any personal morality upon all of us. Laws are for objective moral issues, such as life and property rights.

One of Novak's last public statements is referenced in the linked piece, when he commented on our most recent presidential election:

Referring to Hillary Clinton, Novak said, "As for me, I cannot vote for a candidate so favorable to abortion, to the secularist agenda in the moral sphere and such a ferocious adversary of religious freedom."

"It is clear that Trump is not exactly the candidate by whom a Catholic would want to be represented," he said. "But in politics you elect a president, not a saint, or a bishop or the pope."

The conclusion of which I certainly agree, and even repeated to wavering NeverTrumpers. But my reasons for objecting to Hillary were more, shall we say, originalist in nature. As in the reasons of our nation's founding. Not that religious liberty was not one of those reasons, but the primacy of Novak's theme is clearly theological.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2017 12:40 PM
But jk thinks:

You and dagny get official church dispensation from reading Novak. We'll fax over the indulgence as soon as the Pope signs it.

But it would be interesting. Novak is the anti-Pope Francis, taking on the assumption that Socialism comports with Catholic Theology. What emerges is a deeply moral case for liberty and rights preservation.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2017 11:19 AM

February 17, 2017


What in the heck is going on with Evan McMullin? Tweeting that the President of the United States is a "domestic enemy" isn't that strange these days - we saw that frequently and from many sources over the last two Administrations. I'm talking about his overt Russophobia.

Is Russia still the heart of a lingering "evil empire?" When the USSR subjected everyone within it's very big but not very beautiful walls, that was an easy sell to a peace-loving western population. But today, they carry our astronauts to the International Space Station for goodness sake! The wall came down in nineteen-hundred and eighty nine. Remember?

And yet, today, Evan McMullin appeared on CNN's New Day this morning to tell Alisyn Camerota that Donald Trump wants to "weaken" the U.S. intelligence community because "he knows as long as he has the issues he has with Russia the intelligence community and he are not going to get along."

What are President Trump's "issues with Russia?" Well, there's the unsubstantiated claim of stealing the election. Each of us must discern whether or not to believe the various claims and counterclaims on that one. But one unambiguous conflict with the "intelligence community" is Trump's willingness for rapprochement with modern Russia.

Camerota asked Steve Hall, the former CIA Chief of Russia Operations about Trumps press conference yesterday. Hall answered that,

"I don't think there is very much good news especially after we saw the press conference Donald Trump conducted yesterday ... he said things like it wouldn't be so bad if we had a good relationship with Russia."

The horror! The next we know, he'll be sending Rex Tillerson on a mission to "reset" U.S. relations with Russia. Who sets U.S. foreign policy, really... the C.I.A.? The Council on Foreign Relations? Senator John McCain? How about the elected Chief Executive and Commander in Chief of the armed forces? Seems I read that in some old dusty document once.

There's clearly something really big going on here, behind the scenes of geopolitics. Past presidents have apparently been willing to let the puppetmasters have their way, in complete secrecy. President Trump on the other hand has a penchant for, shall we say, speaking his mind? And for doing so it is boasted that Trump will "die in jail" as the Intelligence Community prepares to "go nuclear" on him.

What was that old Dwight D. Eisenhower quote? "Beware the military-industrial complex" or something like that? Well, the Sting lyric, "I hope the Russians love their children too" can perhaps be updated to "I hope American Spooks love their children too."

You know it's a red-letter day when this humble blogger links to The Nation, but I find a lot of anti-Leviathan love here. I've never heard of Patrick Lawrence but he self-identifies as a progressive and writes about 'The Perils of Russophobia.'

 "Russian aggression" has to go down as one of the great, pernicious phrases of our time - requiring no further scrutiny whenever deployed. The Russians invaded Ukraine and then stole Crimea without prior provocation. Now they threaten to invade the Baltic states. They cultivate extreme-right nationalists in Europe so as to debilitate the European Union. The Russians are guilty of war crimes in Syria. They have just invaded us, too, corrupting our democratic process and throwing the 2016 election to Donald Trump and his houseful of "Kremlin lackeys."

This is the stuff of our reigning Russophobia. Let us try to identify what it is actually made of.

Every sentence in the above list has four attributes: (1) It is broadly accepted as fact just as written; (2) there is little confirmed, published evidence from impartial sources, if any, supporting it; (3) it is either one or another form of disinformation or misleads by way of omission - or both; and (4) it is a source of delusion. And in the matter of the last it is very weird. Our policy cliques do well enough deluding Americans to the effect that Russia now presents America with "an existential threat" - a thought Pentagon and NATO brass are making common currency, believe it or not - but they appear to think a nation deluded by their incessant repetitions is somehow a fine and sturdy thing.

I can be convinced that Iranian and North Korean nuclear ICBM's pose an "existential threat" but Russia has had them pointed at us for so long, and us at them, that nobody truly fears "mutual assured destruction" anymore. And what is a contemporary term for unsubstantiated delusional disinformation? "Fake news."

But jk thinks:

Firstly, tovarich, I will accept your assessment of Evan McMullin. His post-election persona has not filled me with pride for having voted for him. Well, they were desperate times, and I'm not one for regrets.

I'll rather recall the other Mormon I voted for. Gov. Mitt Romney suggested Russia as a strategic threat in the 2012 debate. President Obama channeled The Nation in his derisive "The 1980's called -- they want their foreign policy back."

By all means, call McMullin overwrought, but I'd suggest more caution in disregarding Russian aggression. I'll also accept your bifurcating existential threats versus strategic. But I see Russia ready to work behind the scenes to discredit the US, and quite willing to work with Iran and possibly NKorea to achieve this. Their grisly involvement in Syria is enough to keep them at arms' length.

The only fundamental shift from the bad-old-days to now is the asymmetric difference in strength.
We have to fear them less because they have been weakened. But they still have hegemonic ambitions, and in the diplomatic realm, play chess to our checkers and -- at the risk of mixing metaphors -- hardball to our softball.

I don't stay awake at night fearing Russians under the bed, but I'm wary: a cornered, weakened bear is still dangerous.

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2017 12:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, all of that is very fair. But are these legitimate concerns behind the IC "going nuclear" or is that more of a territorial behavior by an entrenched bureaucracy? One that happens to have some of the world's most powerful tools and influence at its disposal?

"Going nuclear" doesn't seem a proportional response to policy differences. Nor, even to concerns that POTUS has secretive "ties" to Russia. Just leak the details and let's have it out publicly. Unless, such public airing might do the self-described "Spooks" more harm than good.

Posted by: johngalt at February 17, 2017 12:34 PM

February 16, 2017

Exactly the way I see it

In its opinion on the resignation of President Trump's National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, Investor's editorial page says that the actions of at least nine current and former officials at multiple agencies "publicly revealing U.S. signals intelligence" committed "one of the most serious felonies involving classified information."

The so-called Deep State, the semi-permanent class of politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists and contractors who make a grand living off the taxpayers, have a vested interest in taking down Trump. He's the real enemy, not the Russians. And, even if it means breaking the law, that's just what these Swamp People mean to do.

The media establishment is also complicit:

The media have been slobbering at the chance to slip their chains and take a bite out of Trump, who has so far bested them in Twitter battles and, worse, made them irrelevant to a large segment of the population.

Meanwhile, federal bureaucrats, fearing Trump's vow to shrink big government and root out corruption, are digging in as if fighting for their very lives. That's why intelligence "sources," as the media call them, are willing to break the law to subvert Trump's administration. They have too much to lose if he wins.

This is more than just politics. This is a life-or-death struggle between Leviathan and the rights of the American people.

But jk thinks:

Deeply concerning. Judge Napolitano delivered some inspiring oratory on this topic as well.

Posted by: jk at February 16, 2017 7:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some of the "swamp creatures" are raising their heads from the ooze and making themselves known. Bill Kristol for example:

"Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state."

"Strongly prefer normal democratic ... politics" indeed.

Posted by: johngalt at February 16, 2017 8:37 PM
But Jk thinks:

I think Kristol has done himself serious ( and deserved) harm with that.

In other news, Rep. Dennis Kucinich is on the side of angels.

Posted by: Jk at February 16, 2017 9:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wow. That deserves its own post. "We want to know who is running the United States of America and we sure don't want it to be a cadre of intelligence officials who are trying to use headlines and innuendo to undermine a new administration."

Mind. Blown.

Posted by: johngalt at February 16, 2017 9:58 PM

February 15, 2017

Rats Ass!

My favorite thing about the Trump Administration will not come to pass:


Because he was insufficiently hostile to immigration? NR thinks so.


UPDATE II: The WSJ Ed Page is more cheesed off than I am.

Mr. Puzder was also targeted by some on the right because he supported more legal immigration to meet the needs of a growing U.S. economy, which is a mortal sin on the restrictionist right. Mr. Puzder had once employed a housekeeper he didnt know was undocumented, and though he fired her and paid back taxes, restrictionists wanted to punish him for supporting immigration reform. Heaven forfend he'd help farmers address their severe labor shortage.

They feel the Administration expended no effort to support Puzder, and point to the large peel-off of Republican Senators
This is what happens when Republicans begin to feel they must distance themselves from an unpopular President.

But johngalt thinks:


Labor unions, meanwhile, have given more than $10 million to the campaigns of the 11 Democrats on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Matthew Haller of the International Franchise Association has it exactly right when he says that the Democrats' opposition to Puzder "is perhaps the greatest example of a quid pro quo that's ever existed in modern politics."

Given the fact that Democrats are constantly complaining about the corrupting influence of money in politics, it's remarkable that they aren't taking heat for their blatant hypocrisy when they do the bidding of Big Labor.

Unfortunately, while DeVos managed to run the gantlet of union-backed opposition, Puzder wasn't so lucky. Several Republicans, unwilling to stand up to these outrageous attacks, caved and pressured Trump to pull his nomination.

Make no mistake, Puzder's demise had nothing whatsoever to do with his qualifications to run the Labor Department or anything else Democrats claimed. It was entirely about campaign cash.

Posted by: johngalt at February 16, 2017 6:48 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't want to break protocol, but I disagree partly. What is said is 100% accurate -- and the failure to count Union cash in the same bucket as corporate lucre has offended me for decades.

But -- and yes I've a well ensconced burr in my saddle -- they spent far more to defeat Sec. DeVos than Puzder. Eleven Republicans caved because Puzder is not on a the Trump team on immigration.

My deepest fear from the campaign -- that a victorious Trump would turn the GOP into the Tancredo-Trump party -- gained ground yesterday.

Posted by: jk at February 16, 2017 7:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I've no hard conclusion oil this one. I just wanted to share a counterfactual from a respected, for me anyway, source. The real proof will be in his replacement.

For my part, I hope he gets the immigration dirty work done quickly and moves on to more consequential priorities.

Posted by: johngalt at February 16, 2017 11:48 PM

Jumping the Shark?

For Valentine's Day, my lovely bride and I watched the movie "I Hate Valentines Day" written, directed and starring Nia Vardalos. Pretty good film: don't drop everything to view it, but it features good characters and performances, albeit with some pacing problems.

Vardalos's character has two male gay friends who work at her flower shop. The film was made in 2009 and the portrayal of the gay characters is quite positive. Both are good people, good friends, and I think of great benefit to the screenwriter to have male characters without any sexual tension with female characters. Because of this, or to prove progressivism, or as a diktat of the David Geffen gay mafia -- I don't know the reason, but it strikes me that these characters have been common for decades. The gay relative in "Mrs. Doubtfire" may have been a precursor (1993); movie buffs will find earlier examples.

I started wondering whether future viewers will cringe at these stereotypical portrayals of gay men. And I rather suspect they will. My Dad didn't think anything askew when "Amos & Andy" came on. The smiling, tuxedoed tap dancing African-American servant was a movie staple for just as long.

Likewise, they were not portrayed "badly." They had charm, talent, and style. They were valuable members of society who were beloved by the white folk with whom they interacted. But we cringe today at the plastic and stereotypical portrayal. If all they could do is sing and dance, all the standard-issue gay characters can do is parrot grooming tips and dating advice.

Chuck Klosterman has a great book "What if We're Wrong," [Review Corner] asking what future society will ridicule or dislike us for. I speculate 30 years of plasticine portrayals of young gay men in movies might make the cut.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

My colleague David French makes the case that former general and CIA director David Petraeus should not replace Michael Flynn or return to government at all.

He doesn't cite the fact that Petraeus's musical favorites include Loreena McKennitt, Enya, and Sarah McLachlan. Because those tastes don't make him wimpy. They make Loreena McKennitt, Enya, and Sarah McLachlan badass. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]

A More Productive Debate?

Lost in the loud arguments and accusations of denialism are the undeniable failures of every effort to reduce climate change.

In America, we can point to the ethanol debacle. Outside the offices of ADM's lobbying arm, who is left to defend burning corn in cars? It has failed to reduce CO2, impacted food prices and supply, raised fuel costs, and damaged some engines. The science is settled.

Europeans, though, they're smart folk. They wouldn't do anything quite so schtööpid now would they?

Virtually everyone agrees Europe's "dash for diesel" was a monstrous policy error, not to mention the proximate cause of the emissions-cheating scandal that has engulfed Volkswagen and other auto makers. Yet the overarching imperative today is to vilify the car companies and insist they do better at achieving meaningless reductions in CO 2 emissions, now by forcing them to build electric cars that customers must be bribed and pressured into buying. Not to be questioned, though, is the green agenda or the competence of Europe's political class.

All to achieve an estimated 0.004° C reduction in warming (although the dense soot over European cities might offer some reflective benefit).

But johngalt thinks:

News you can use: In France, diesel fuel is called "gazole" at the pump. I think that first stop for fuel took us 45 minutes, stop to start, looking for "diesel." Well, and getting one of the credit cards authorized.

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2017 3:43 PM
But jk thinks:

¡Mon Dieu!

Posted by: jk at February 15, 2017 4:51 PM

February 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

Competence is not a requirement. One small example from the Education Department: a just-released federal analysis of a signature Obama initiative to improve failing public schools reports almost zero gain from the $7 billion spent. Yet we're to believe that Mrs. DeVos is the unqualified one here? -- Bill McGurn WSJ Ed Page
But johngalt thinks:

Or that the exact date, post election, on which General Flynn had a phone call with the Russian is a matter of such national security importance as to warrant an Independent Counsel investigation.

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2017 3:45 PM

Purpose of Government

What great balance of friends I have. I should be a pollster!

Not for the first time, a popular viral entity comes up on my Facebook feed multiple times. With apologies to Marx, they appear first as farce with my right-wing buddies' ridicule -- then as tragedy with my lefty friends' approbation.

Today's is noteworthy to anyone who has pondered the proper size, scope, and power of government.


Perhaps they're right. But the Democrats I know see this as paradise, and the liberty lovers (myself included) as a grim dystopia. The most popular solar cars would be the "Huxleys."

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:41 PM | What do you think? [1]
But nanobrewer thinks:

No, the proper retort is:
They've been trying to fix elections, they're just no better at it than they are at fixing dams.


Posted by: nanobrewer at February 15, 2017 12:42 AM

Headline of the Day

The honors go to Jim Geraghty today:


UPDATE: Honorable mention:


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

February 13, 2017

Forgotten Texans

Mary Anastasia O'Grady keeps the lamp of fre trade liberty lit at the WSJ Ed Page. Presidents Trump and FDR both talked about "The Forgotten Man."

Yet as Amity Shlaes explains in her 2007 book, "The Forgotten Man," that term originated with Yale professor William Graham Sumner. In his 1883 essay the forgotten man is the one who is passed the bill--unnoticed--when do-gooders propose "measures of relief for the evils which have caught public attention."

Sumner didnt name names. He simply described the injustice of A and B getting together to help X with some new law. C isn't in on the plan but he carries the burden. "Such is the Forgotten Man," Sumner wrote. "He works, he votes, generally he prays--but he always pays--yes, above all, he pays."

In Mr. Trump's war on globalism, Texas is brimming with Cs--hard-working Americans who have adjusted to freer trade and now find that A and B want to change the rules as a favor to X. There are millions more Cs all over the U.S.

The Forgotten Man [Review Corner]

But nanobrewer thinks:

she's good, she's really good. I miss her dispatches from Latin America - a breath of fresh air while the Manhattan Media was covering for HRC's stumping for the cum-dictator Zelaya.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 13, 2017 11:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Trump economic advisor Arthur Laffer was on Varney this morning talking about the unmitigated badness of a border adjustment tax, i.e. import tariff. Good news, if he's still on the payroll for Team Trump.

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2017 1:10 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hmm, yeah. WSJ 3rd editors opinion today notes that

Gary Cohn runs the National Economic Council and is already muscling out competing voices on taxes and finance and blocked supply-siders Steve Moore and Larry Kudlow from senior White House jobs.
Oof SM and LK were two of the most palatable things that compelled me to pull the level for DJT.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 15, 2017 12:46 AM



It's All in the Game

"The only No. 1 pop single to have been co-written by a U.S. Vice President or winner of the Nobel Peace Prize."
Music Charles Gates Dawes ©1911; lyrics Carl Sigman ©1951

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com



I seem to have little time these days for real readin' & writin'... got this thru FB of all places!

the opposition [to DeVos] basically reflected the present Democratic Party at its worst: unstinting in defense of bureaucracy and its employees, more excited about causes dear to the upper middle class than the interests of the poor, and always girding for the battle with the Real Enemy, religious conservatives, no matter what the moment actually demands.

The real kicker... the source is the NYT!

(hat tip to: Friends of Best of the Web group on FB)

February 12, 2017

Review Corner

Before Lyndon Johnson and the Appalachian Regional Commission brought new roads to southeastern Kentucky, the primary road from Jackson to Ohio was U.S. Route 23. So important was this road in the massive hillbilly migration that Dwight Yoakam penned a song about northerners who castigated Appalachian children for learning the wrong three R's: "Reading, Rightin', Rt. 23." Yoakam's song about his own move from southeastern Kentucky could have come from Mamaw's diary:
They thought readin', writin', Route 23 would take them to the good life that they had never seen; They didn't know that old highway would lead them to a world of misery
Mamaw and Papaw may have made it out of Kentucky, but they and their children learned the hard way that Route 23 didn't lead where they hoped.
Blog friend SugarChuck and I have different styles. I ebulliently wave books I like in the air and importune my unlucky acquaintances to read them. I developed a rating system after all, that goes from four to five stars. The well-read sc, in contrast, will quietly ask something like "Did you ever read Hillbilly Elegy?" I've learned that it's always enlightening to follow up on those quiet recommendations.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D .Vance is a moving and powerful book. Because a new President was inaugurated 22 days ago, I am going to ruin the review with trendy political analysis. But that is a shame, it is a bigger and more important book.

And yet. It does add a significant piece to the puzzle of the Donald Trump voter: some of the forgotten and desperate rust belt denizens who have been harmed by the foreign trade and economic dynamism which I champion. My podcast hero, Russ Roberts, has been putting a human face on these people for a while. Vance adds a personal history and a family tree.

I remember sitting in that busy courtroom , with half a dozen other families all around , and thinking they looked just like us . The moms and dads and grandparents didn't wear suits like the lawyers and judge . They wore sweatpants and stretchy pants and T - shirts . Their hair was a bit frizzy . And it was the first time I noticed "TV accents" -- the neutral accent that so many news anchors had . The social workers and the judge and the lawyer all had TV accents . None of us did . The people who ran the courthouse were different from us . The people subjected to it were not .

Vance's grandfather leaves the atavistic poverty of Kentucky, driving up Route 23 to participate in a working class life in Middletown Ohio (the town so inconsequential and fabricated, Vance notes, it didn't have a real name -- but it was halfway between Cincinatti and Akron).
My grandfather loved the company and knew every make and model of car built from Armco steel . Even after most American car companies transitioned away from steel - bodied cars , Papaw would stop at used-car dealerships whenever he saw an old Ford or Chevy . "Armco made this steel ," he'd tell me It was one of the few times that he ever betrayed a sense of genuine pride .

But they brought bad habits. Vance is unstinting in his criticism, presenting a loving yet despondent look at the self-destructive habits of his people.
The fallen world described by the Christian religion matched the world I saw around me : one where a happy car ride could quickly turn to misery , one where individual misconduct rippled across a family's and a community's life . When I asked Mamaw if God loved us , I asked her to reassure me that this religion of ours could still make sense of the world we lived in . I needed reassurance of some deeper justice , some cadence or rhythm that lurked beneath the heartache and chaos .

What fell most harshly upon me was the tribalism and violence. If one's Mother is insulted, one is empowered to hospitalize the offender with an electric saw. Any inquiring police or social worker will be told "it was an accident" and the saw-wielder will be held in high esteem.

I told my lovely bride after reading Chapter One that "we are not quite so far away from the Hatfields and McCoys as we might like to think." In Chapter Two I read the author, J. D. Vance's grandfather was a cousin to Jim Vance, who had an outsized role in starting and propagating the famous feud. The men he grew up admiring were 20th Century Hatfields.

We tend to overstate and to understate , to glorify the good and ignore the bad in ourselves . This is why the folks of Appalachia reacted strongly to an honest look at some of its most impoverished people . It's why I worshipped the Blanton men , and it's why I spent the first eighteen years of my life pretending that everything in the world was a problem except me .

Just the marginal stability of a normal older sister and a loving grandparent are enough that the author escapes the turmoil of a drug-using mother, absent father and a parade of temporary stepdads.
I'm sure poor Matt kept asking himself how and when he'd hopped the express train to crazy town . It was just the three of us in that house , and it was clear to all that it wouldn't work out . It was only a matter of time . Matt was a nice guy , and as Lindsay and I joked , nice guys never survived their encounters with our family .

But the author joins the Marines. Serving in Iraq, he discovers unimaginable poverty beyond what he experienced. He uses the GI Bill to attend (the) Ohio State University -- then through Yale Law School, where he discovers equally unimaginable wealth.

Watching his escape, I think of Jason Riley's Stop Helping Us [Review Corner]. Riley escapes poverty, landing a gig at the nation's most respected newspaper to be ridiculed by his nine-year old niece for "talking white." The poverty experience of the African-American and Scots-Irish in this country have different roots. But Mark Twain would point out that they rhyme.

It's an inspiring story told with brutal honesty. Five Stars and an Editor's Choice Award.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Coincidentally, I ran across this Ronald Bailey column in Reason shortly after finishing the book. Bailey references Hillbilly Elegy, shares some of his family's West Virginia background, and asks "Why don't they leave?"

[Spoiler alert:] they are enabled by public assistance. These are some poor people and very few would object to helping. But they could have a better life if they left. Hard choices.

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2017 12:56 PM

February 9, 2017

"A Big, Beautiful, Aesthetic Perimeter on our Southern Border"

That's what President Trump and his popular movement really want for the USA. Calling it a "wall" is far too gauche. Donald should take a cue from the Deputy Mayor of Paris. Yes, France.

Paris is spending 20 million euros ($22 million) to build a protective barrier around the Eiffel Tower to replace temporary structures that were put up after a series of terror attacks.

"Sadly, the risk of terrorism hasn't gone away," deputy mayor Jean-Franois Martins said at a Paris press conference. "It's not a wall, it's an aesthetic perimeter."

Martins wouldnt confirm a report in Thursday's Le Parisien newspaper that a clear glass structure would be built around the tower's esplanade. The form the new structure takes will depend on solutions proposed in response to the city's call for tenders, he said.

After yesterday's possibly "fake news" contretemps I think I owe Bloomberg dot com an apology, since that's where I found this full-blown favorable write-up of controlling the movement of the free people of the world. With nary a mention of infringement of rights!

Tourists will be free to enter the area after a security check, with payment required only to go up the Tower itself.

Martins said he didn't think the sight of yet another security measure in Paris -- where fully armed soldiers on patrol has become a common sight -- will deter tourists. "What scares tourists is lack of security, not security," he said.

February 8, 2017

Potential Agonistes

Friends, ThreeSourcers, Countrymen. A massive test of our new President's philosophic malleability is underway. I don't want to declare defeat early, but there is cause for concern.

Republicans of impeccable pedigree are lobbying for carbon taxes. George P. Schultz and James Baker III are lobbying for carbon taxes in the WSJ.

And a looming White House meeting is extant:

The group, including former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson and James Baker, is pressing President Donald Trump to tax carbon dioxide in exchange for abolishing a slew of environmental regulations. They unveiled their plan with a press conference in Washington and an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

"We know we have an uphill slog to get Republicans interested in this," Baker said before heading to the White House. But "a conservative, free-market approach is a very Republican way of approaching the problem."

Other possible attendees at the meeting include the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, who weighed climate change policy during the campaign, and Vice President Mike Pence.

An inviolate will would come in pretty handy.

Trump Agonistes Posted by John Kranz at 11:58 AM | What do you think? [5]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Schultz and Baker have given admirable service to their country, but I'm pretty sure they're known to be big gov't schills (W paid them too much heed, IMO), and the part of the GOP most disliked by TP's and generally the great unwashed.

Now, trying to look at the bright side of things, what if it's an infinitesimal tax (that decreases in time)? Far easier to rid than a "slew" of environmental regs. Still, it;s ploy that might work on "The Boss"

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 8, 2017 3:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A carbon tax, no matter how small, would never remain small. It would also never go away.

But this is contradictory to everything Trump campaigned on. Did you note that the liked story is from Bloomberg? The most conservative people there are the RINOs. There's a different take at Breitbart.

President Trump has tweeted that he will not support or endorse a carbon tax:


White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has said that President Trump's "default position" on climate change is that "most of it is a bunch of bunk."

This is one of those areas where we really want to have Steve Bannon in the room.

Posted by: johngalt at February 8, 2017 5:48 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Excellent; just another bit of fake news. GOP's gotta stay strong - now that the cabinet has been won, ACA and USSC are crucial. I really hope The Wall can wait a bit... Spencer's first proposal (tax the trade imbalance is economic ignorance write YYUUGE! Dr. Hanson has a better idea - tax remittances, and quit that when teh wall is done.

Another of his wise-iteis is:

Obviously, the Left in general sees almost any restriction on immigration as antithetical to its larger project of a borderless society run by elites such as themselves. Obviously Republican establishmentarians fear any media meme suggesting that they are complicit in an illiberal enterprise.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444658/trumps-executive-orders-make-haste-deliberately

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 9, 2017 8:29 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And there's also Roger Simon, channeling Three Sources, pointing out the bad timing of Shultz and Baker's pitch coinciding with Climategate II. It's comparable to the unusually cold weather that invariably accompanies Global Warming conferences.

He also has this to say about the rush to "do something" even though so little is known about climate variability.

Climate science is very new. Whether the Earth is warming or cooling or for what reasons is not clear. Yet politicians, indeed just about everybody from Scarsdale to San Diego, from your hair dresser to your real estate broker, has an opinion about it of which they are absolutely convinced and unwavering. Nothing could more unscientific than that! Settled science is an oxymoron. Ask Einstein.

We are far from knowing enough about climate to invest billions in its "solution," certainly not in the absurd amounts agreed to in Paris and unfortunately not even on the more reasonable level recommended by Shultz and Baker.

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2017 5:54 PM
But jk thinks:

I cannot find it for proper attribution, but I saw an article with a(n unflattering) picture of Sec. Clinton and the head: "Hillary wants her carbon Tax Back!" Perhaps we are safe, but if such a a thing can get twi former GOP Secretaries of State and Treasury . . .

My buddy, N. Gregory Mankiw was the king of this. The Professer says: there is some deleterious effect to adding carbon to the atmosphere, let us tax it and not the generation of wealth. Pigou smiles down from on high.

Eve if I trusted a complete offset (which I don't), I don't like the government picking Good and Bad without more evidence.

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2017 6:57 PM

Dirty Hippies


Other evidence of less-than-pristine motives comes from the garbage dump the protesters left behind. A North Dakota Fox affiliate reported this week on the clean-up efforts for the makeshift encampments: Thousands of protesters produced enough garbage to fill an estimated 250 trucks with trash. The detritus--tarps, tents--has frozen into "massive chunks of junk," said the report, and much of it is buried under snow.

The Army Corps closed the area and said in a press release that grass has been destroyed or removed from some 50 acres. The mess has to be cleared out before a spring flood sends toxic sludge into the nearby Cannonball River and Lake Oahe, the same lake the protesters said would be polluted by the pipeline. Moral grandstanding can be a dirty business, but shouldn't the protesters pay to clean up their own mess?

Dirty Hippies Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | What do you think? [0]


One more suggestion for rational people who might be brought over to appreciate what just happened in the "historic" 51-50 split to confirm Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The WSJ Ed Page asks "Why would the entire party apparatus devote weeks of phone calls, emails and advocacy to defeating an education secretary?"

The answer is the cold-blooded reality of union power and money. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers are, along with environmentalists, the most powerful forces in today's Democratic Party. They elect Democrats, who provide them more jobs and money, which they spend to elect more Democrats, and so on. To keep this political machine going, they need to maintain their monopoly control over public education.

Mrs. DeVos isn't a product of that monopoly system. Instead she looked at this system's results--its student failures and lives doomed to underachievement--and has tried to change it by offering all parents the choice of charter schools and vouchers. Above all, she has exposed that unions and Democrats don't really believe in their high-minded rhetoric about equal opportunity. They believe in lifetime tenure and getting paid.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 9:48 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 7, 2017

Otequay of the Ayday

Public education edition:

In some ways, DeVos' appointment is more important than even that of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Arguably, by freeing the public schools and pushing educational decision-making away from the nation's capital and the union halls and down to the district and parental level, she could have a much bigger potential social and cultural impact than almost anything one person on the high court might do.

This is especially true for poor and minority kids, who stand the most to gain from school choice. Those poor and minority kids are now tied to union-run, failed inner-city schools. Imagine the possibilities if, for the first time, they and their parents can choose success instead of failure. That's a revolution.

Economist Thomas Sowell on Tuesday called DeVos' nomination and the coming education battle an "opportunity ... that may not come again in this generation." He's exactly right.

-Investors Business Daily

But Jk thinks:

Well, jg has his IBD, and I have my Denver Post??? Whaaaaa?

For more than 20 years DeVos has pushed for greater choice in education, including public charter schools and vouchers for private schools, and for more accountability. Colorado of course has been a leader in charter school development for two decades, with more than 12 percent of students now attending such schools. In Denver, some charters boast among the best records in the state at elevating test scores of impoverished students.

It will be good to have such a forceful advocate for charters -- her husband actually founded one -- leading the Education Department.

Posted by: Jk at February 8, 2017 3:08 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Well, blow me down! DP Editorial Board supports her, and a reform agenda: sell the stocks, Martha!!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 8, 2017 8:53 AM
But jk thinks:

Indeed -- they weaseled it up a bit, but I am impressed.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2017 10:45 AM


#MAGA Babies!

Vice President Pence breaks 50-50 tie on vote for Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education, first tie-breaking vote on Cabinet nominee

Seriously, this is something that truly excites me, and I will admit that it is highly unlikely that one of my preferred GOP picks would have done something so bold. I grew quite concerned that public choice theory would be proven true and that the unions would spike the nomination in the final hours. But they did not -- Huzzah!

But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps you can explain to dagny why this is a good thing. I've failed up to now.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2017 2:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Alright, I and Nick Gillespie will try again:

I'm sure that most of the Senate Democrats opposing Betsy DeVos think they are opposing an inexperienced billionaire whose secret dream is to loot public school coffers for...what, exactly? Some sort of bizarre right-wing agenda, I suppose. DeVos' brother did start the company called Blackwater, so maybe her dedication to giving poor kids more options than they would otherwise have is really a way of helping her bro staff his mercenary forces?

Or maybe it's just a more simple misunderstanding, one rooted in special-interest politics. The Democrats are closely allied with teachers unions, who threatened by any and all changes to the educational status quo. So of course they oppose Betsy DeVos and they will use any club on the ground to beat down her chances. But to the extent that DeVos—and Trump, too, who has been outspoken on the need for more school choice—are in favor of giving more students and more parents more choices when it comes educating their kids, they are on the side of the angels. A recent poll found that 68 percent of Americans favor expanding school choice, including 55 percent of self-described Democrats, 75 percent among Latinos, 75 percent among millennials, and 72 percent among blacks. Contemporary politics may not allow partisans to admit that (or even see it), but for those of us who are neither pro-Trump across the board or always anti-Democratic Party, the conversation surrounding the DeVos nomination is everything that's wrong with Washington.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2017 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Reason has a good wrap up in Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary: Enjoy the Delicious Tears of Teachers Unions.

My first gloat is that -- for this first time since this supraconstitutional aberration was incarnated -- it will be headed by someone outside what Michelle Rhee calls "The Blob." The Blob is composed of public sector union members, education establishment, and the collectivist politicians who fund them and then rely on their financial and ground support.

The Blob is dedicated to self-preservation over the interests of kids. Highly successful voucher, scholarship, and charter programs have been shut down in Louisiana, DC, and Milwaukee by demand of The Blob. Each time, students who had finally found escape from horrible schools were left out.

Ms. DeVos rescued many children from Detroit's failing schools with her private fortune (hey, I bought a few bottles of Amway L.O.C in my hotrod days). Now she is in a position to keep the Dept. of Education out of the way as others are rescued.

Heritage offers tips for her first 100 days.

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2017 4:12 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Let me try my pet theory out her. Our entire idea of education might need to be turned on its head. I'm (full disclosure) spouting back what sounded like a good idea from Diamandis' _Abundance_ (no rating yet; I'm barely 1/3 through it), that education in the world of Echo Dots and smart watches needs a new paradigm away from memorization and rote learning, towards personalized learning. The thrust should be to recognize innate talents, teach critical thinking and broadly encourage creativity.

This and Sir Ken Robinson's TED talks are the closest I've found to a primer: http://beyondmeasurefilm.com/

That all being said, surely a bold millionaire with drive and (dare I say, desire?) to improve sclerotic systems and empower teachers and parents will be eons closer to this dream Diamandis has put in my head...

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 7, 2017 11:52 PM


PM Theresa May delivers a smackdown on the ever odious Jeremy Corbyn (English for Harry Reid):

That's what Labour has to offer this country. Less protection for British citizens, less prosperous, less safe.
He can lead a protest. I'm leading a country.

February 6, 2017


Even with steroids coursing through my veins, I lack the courage to post this on Facebook. But I thought y'all might enjoy it:

Posted by John Kranz at 8:18 PM | What do you think? [13]
But johngalt thinks:

As for the "die on this hill" question, my answer has two parts-

1) I don't intend to make a career of this issue, I'm just stating my opinion and moving on. Rand said that silence is always implicit endorsement. I'm just saying, in essence, "I disagree."

2) I don't believe that doing what most Americans want requires any expenditure of "political capital." Consequently, the only limit on President Trump's agenda will be when he runs out of things that most Americans want him to do, or when he does something they don't want and starts to deplete political capital.


Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2017 12:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Do I want to die on this hill? (Ah, it's a nice day and I have decent cover..)

It's a stylistic difference and I think we're both in range. I appreciate your "I disagree," have incorporated it, and internally attribute it you. But this is not truly an example, is it? You chose to post it.

And, I complain (quite a lot) about others' memes. One who argues seriously is "missing the joke" or "it's just a meme;" and yet, the author and sharer do have an underlying point they're trying to propagate. "Much peril in these memes there is" as Yoda would say.

Majority or not, the one coworker/niece/guitar player/high school chum turned off by this is one fewer person who might give a serious consideration of my heterodoxy on Sec DeVos or the Dakota Pipeline.

The friends who post a dozen TRUMP IS A MONSTER items every day get less consideration from me. True in general terms -- true x 100 in these days
of tiresome Facebook politicking. Hit the general public rarely and with something sensible and important.

Put the rest on ThreeSources......................

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2017 12:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks. I will say that is my general philosophy. But in these days of a dozen TRUMP IS A MONSTER items every day...

But when I asked for comments I really wanted to know your thoughts on the answer number two. Do you agree with me that Trump can, pardon the Nazi reference, "blitzkrieg" the federal government with political impunity?

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2017 3:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahaha -- I thought we were discussing the infield fly rule.

We live on different planets. You're asking if the Trumpiverse is finite or unbounded and I rather expect it to collapse next week. Yes, your optimism has -- to date -- held up better, but Nassim Taleb points out that each white swan you see does not disprove the existence of black ones.

Feel free to call these anecdotal, but the travel ban is neither over nor a win. I work with a brilliant and kind man from Israel. The "diversity lottery" program which gets he and his wife permission to work here is slated for the ax. He is skilled enough to apply for an H1-B, but those are difficult to come by (I may have mentioned that once...) He's thinking he is out of here and says "I hate that guy." Every member of our department agrees.

Two friends who marched and held signs in multiple tea party rallies have friends impeded severely by the thing that wasn't a dumpster fire. They will not even listen to a kind word about Sec. DeVos. Lost to the GOP for all time.

Jonah's article about Trump's Russia ("we kill too") comments and a general Conservatives should not excuse Trump's behavior" have been widely shared and appreciated.

The old GOP is gone. You're happier in the new one than I. Maybe his new working-class coalition will hold. But each hard decision does cost political capital. Let entitlements go crazy and anger the frugal and small government types; cut them and anger old people and their children.

I think the choices will become considerably harder and that his unconventional staff will make a few more unforced errors. On the good side, I see no sign that his Democratic opposition will get a clue or buy one of its vowels anytime soon.

I was happy to see him get his nominees -- even AG Sessions. But I suspect I will be against him more often than not. And you are one of a shrinking number that I know who are still onboard.

Maybe he has enough new friends in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to make up for us, but in my sample set we is washed out.

Posted by: jk at February 9, 2017 4:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That is a powerful soliloquy, brother. I had no reply until I happened to find this while reading through some selected quotes of George Santayana:

"All living souls welcome whatsoever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."

I will postulate that the "Trump Movement" is made up of folks who are ready to cope with an out of control, out of the mainstream so far as to redefine the very nature of mainstream" government and society. The redefiners consider such pushback "monstrous and wrong."

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2017 7:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Umm, oratory. Not soliloquy... oratory. ;)

"A man's got to know his limitations." One of mine is going out in public without a dictionary.

Posted by: johngalt at February 9, 2017 7:31 PM

Judicial "Factiness"

Byron York details the Justice Department's brief in answer to the now famous Seattle federal judge Robart. In his ruling, the good judge revealed a surprising expertise in criminal immigration - its history, its trends and its future prospects.

In an exchange with Justice Department lawyer Michelle Bennett, Robart asked, "How many arrests have there been of foreign nationals for those seven countries since 9/11?"

"Your Honor, I don't have that information," said Bennett.

"Let me tell you," said Robart. "The answer to that is none, as best I can tell.

York produces "alternative facts:" As it turned out, Judge Robart had things wrong. There have been at least 60 people from the seven countries convicted - not arrested, but convicted - of terror-related offenses since 9/11.

All told, Kurzman said, 23 percent of Muslim Americans involved with extremist plots since Sept. 11 had family backgrounds from the seven countries.

Tying Truth's shoelaces

"Fake News" like Savoir-Faire, is apparently everywhere. Even at Reason dot com.

One anecdote offered as proof that the presidential executive order to pause immigration from seven dangerous lands was a "dumpster fire" turns out to be a lie.

(UPDATE: Fox2 Detroit reports Hager's imam, Husham Al-Hussainy, says Hager's mother died five days before President Trump's executive order banning travel from Iraq and six other countries was implemented. Hager has not provided additional comment at this time.)

says Mike Hager's mom did not pass away this weekend after being barred from traveling to the United States. The Imam confirms that Hager's mother died before the ban was put in place.

As it becomes increasingly difficult to sort the truth from one of its many alternatives, one bit of advice seems apropos - "The earlier the report, the lower the expectation of veracity."

UPDATE - Did somebody say fake news? Even the print media is susceptible to rushing to judgment for the sake of a scoop.

But jk thinks:

Props for "Savoir-Faire."

My initial post highlighted the difficulty of acquiring objective facts when things are spinning out of control. My initial "dumpster dive" into the affair was to question a post about a Clemson post-grad green card holder who was chased off a flight from Iran.

"Poppycock" said I, your brave defender of facts, determined to stamp out outrageous lies against the President's policies. Surely he's not keeping out legal residents!

Oh. Wait. He was.

Now that a stay is in place, there are many "anecdotes" of people -- legal residents -- travelling quickly during the stay. Still a dumpster fire, but sorry if I promulgated any bad evidence against it.

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2017 10:57 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You are blameless, brother, in the promulgation of "fake news." Even Reason gets a pass in my book. Sometimes folks lie for political benefit: "Hands up! Don't Shoot!" or "Hottest year on record!" are just a couple of examples.

What I'm really saying here is that "fake news" is not a threat to civilization - rushing to judgment is.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2017 2:37 PM

Climategate II

On the same weekend as Superbowl LI, we have another sequel - this one more important than any football game - a sequel to the original Climategate politicized science scandal.

A just retired NOAA senior scientist, responsible for data integrity and archival, says the data behind "2016 is the hottest year on record" is misleading and "unverified." Not to mention the dubious adjustments.

Dr Bates said: 'They had good data from buoys. And they threw it out and "corrected" it by using the bad data from ships. You never change good data to agree with bad, but that's what they did - so as to make it look as if the sea was warmer.'

ERSSTv4 'adjusted' buoy readings up by 0.12C. It also ignored data from satellites that measure the temperature of the lower atmosphere, which are also considered reliable. Dr. Bates said he gave the paper's co-authors 'a hard time' about this, 'and they never really justified what they were doing.'

It's possible I buried the lede, since there's also accusations that the data cooking and the report that contained it were rushed through so as to be public in advance of the Paris Climate Conference. All the better to engineer public policy with, my dear. Oh, and the computer on which all of the fancy data manipulations were calculated has since experienced "complete failure" rendering it unavailable for verification analyses. It also seems that the (apparently intentional) errors were planned to be blamed on the incoming administration "not retaining important climate related data." Except a top scientist with knowledge of the events has stepped forward and blown the whistle.

Super 'Super Bowl'

You may have heard about the Super Bowl commercial that was going to be filmed during the Super Bowl. And, like me, you may have missed it during the post-game. Here it is.


Well done, Hyundai - A company from a nation that also hosts many U.S. troops far from their own homes.

But jk thinks:

Saw it live. Quite refreshing after the Audi Agitprop. Awesome indeed.

I fear the great age of Super Bowl Ads may be behind us. I enjoyed several (Martha & Snoop -- ehrmigawd) but the great spectacle seems to have passed.

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2017 10:41 AM

February 5, 2017

Review Corner

Republican or Democrat, government busybodies act like our nosy neighbor who, if she were as meddling as they are, would surely be told to mind her own business. Picture her peeking in your windows, wagging her finger with disapproval. Maybe she thinks you are feeding your children improperly, watching the wrong TV shows, or turning your thermostat up too high.
Laura Carno is a Colorado Liberty advocate. She is speaking at the next Liberty on the Rocks Flatirons event. Seeing that on the calendar I remembered that I had purchased her Government Ruins Nearly Everything: Reclaiming Social Issues from Uncivil Servants but allowed it to sit untouched on my Kindle. I forget how that transpired (I'm too much a cheapskate to do that frequently), but I wanted to read it before seeing her.

It's very good: an enjoyable and quick read. It is a bit of choir preaching for me, but she eloquently advocates for both sides of the political spectrum to stop using government for "their" issue while demanding freedom from the busybodies on the other side.

We don't hear anyone, Republican or Democrat, say that too much government is always a bad thing. Neither major party consistently says that government should stay out of our lives, regardless of the issue. But two-thirds of Americans still think the government is too big and too powerful. This is philosophical inconsistency of the highest order, when we imagine that government knows best, but only for issues we want to use its power of force to impose.

The first section details government overreach form toilet-water restrictions to trans-fats, and government's having a less-efficient incentive model to serve constituent needs as compared to private enterprise.
Countless headlines remind us of how human government employees are. So why do so many Americans approve of these people bossing the rest of us around? The majority of local, state and federal employees are fine, law-abiding people, just like any cross-section of America. But to make any further leap-- that they are better than those of us not in government at making decisions in our lives-- is wishful thinking.

Well done, but choir-preaching to ThreeSourcers. The second section is her proposal to adopt freedom-based solutions to four "firecracker" issues.
There are many things "wrong" with our country that people would like to see "fixed," but among them, four social issues generate the most fireworks: Abortion Guns Schools Same-sex marriage These attract massive political dollars and incite riotous political noise. Hundreds of millions of lobbying dollars have been spent to either restrict or enhance freedoms, to control outcomes or to create choice, or to urge the government to "fix" whatever the problem is. For such incendiary issues, is it better to leave a fix to the government, or to trust the citizens for answers?
On the topic of human life and its creation, everyone cares. And because of its profound moral implications, abortion is profoundly political. Those on the pro-life side legitimately believe they are saving unborn babies with their work. Those on the pro-choice side legitimately believe they are protecting vulnerable women from being trapped in untenable circumstances. Perhaps new definitions are in order.

Carno discusses each of these issues, suggesting non-governmental solutions for each. If each could be done in the private manner suggested, they are each good ideas. The cynic in me thinks that the extreme positions are too good to party politicians and fundraisers. Yet she shows extremists from Todd Akin to Mark Udall's being beaten at the polls by more moderate voices. And she documents millennials' trending toward more choice in each of these issues.

Many of the ideas are very good, and Carno's clear exposition of freedom is refreshing.

Adlai Stevenson defined free society as "a society where it is safe to be unpopular." When we all exercise our freedoms, some mutual unpopularity is assured. So be it. I'd rather be unpopular than bullied by bureaucrats.

Indeed. Four-point-five stars and plan to come meet the author a week from tomorrow.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 4, 2017

just like the nazi's

Trump sends tanks into Poland...
CO's 3-4 ABCT to be exact, known as the "Iron Brigade" apparently.

If anyone cares to risk the ire of FB, I suggest many other comparisons:
- they use machine guns, just like the Nazis
- they use fixed wing aircraft, just like the Nazis
- they breath air .... you get the idea...

QotD? VOte for the best!

First, the serious stuff:

This escalation of {eastern Ukraine} violence must stop. - UN Ambassador Nikki Haley

Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened. As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.
- National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (OK, this is 2 days old)

OZ Professor Steve Kates (real Australian)

That Trump now thinks of [Aussie PM] Malcolm as a flea-weight no-account fool only means he has the same assessment of the PM as the rest of us.

Now for some fun: the fake newschnado, the best part of Trumpism, IMO, is a gift that is cranking out the humor ...some the best kind, right from the unwashed mouths of us plebes on main street.

From the comments page at PL (various threads):

{seeing Schumer's tearful laments} Winning is such fun. I had forgotten how much fun it can be.
[Robert] Reich is schilling for the fourth Reich
they haven't been the "mainstream media" for a long time. They are the Fake News Media, or the Walking Dead Media might even be more accurate.

I'm just warming up,
Utahs venerable Orrin Hatch engineered a rule change to overcome the Democrats [no show] maneuver in his committee. He even provided the quote of the week in response to the FOX News anchor who asked him what the Democrats temporary disappearance says. Senator Hatch drily commented:

It says theyre a bunch of juvenile idiots is what it says.

But I think this one may get the prize; Paul Mirengoff takes a break from scoffing at Trump to look east:
From a PL article on the screwy twists taking place with a new 3rd party candidate Emmanuel Macron joining the fray for France:

I guess he wants to make France great again. Its been a while.

But johngalt thinks:

The Aussie professor gets my vote for number 1 QOTD. "...flea-weight no-account fool..."

We could benefit from such erudite ad hominem in this hemisphere as well. It would be an improvement in civility.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2017 5:35 PM

February 3, 2017


Maybe there will be some (almost) serious coverage of the new Administration after eight years of sycophantsy. Oh lordy:


I don't remember quite this much scrutiny of the previous first family's far more prodigal vacation budgets. How do these people sleep at night?

UPDATE: Ann Althouse notices and expands.

But johngalt thinks:

With a blanky and a binky.

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2017 8:10 PM

Fossil remains within "fossil" fuel?


If "fossil" fuels, like natural gas, crude oil and coal, are really the product of decomposing ancient plants and animals, how can they also fossilize ancient plants and animals as shown in the picture above? A blog entry at Unconventional Geology quotes a Dr. Thomas Gold:

"The coal we dig is hard, brittle stuff [but] it was once a liquid, because we find embedded in the middle of a six-foot seam of coal such things as a delicate wing of some animal or a leaf of a plant. They are undestroyed, absolutely preserved, with every cell in that fossil filled with exactly the same coal as all the coal on the outside... The fact that coal contains fossils does not prove that it is a fossil fuel; it proves exactly the opposite. Those fossils you find in coal prove that coal is not made from those fossils. How could you take a forest and much it all up so that it is a completely featureless big black substance and then find one leaf in it that is perfectly preserved? That is absolute nonsense."

According to the abiotic theory of geologic hydrocarbon fuels, occasionally mentioned 'round these parts, "fossil" fuels are, in actuality, renewable. And naturally so.

But jk thinks:

Brothers forever! Thanks.

I had the disadvantage of first hearing about this from an incredibly gifted and charismatic physicist. The former President of the College I was attending and I were dinner guests at the home of a PhD candidate and hippie guitar player bandmate.

Dr. Colgate explained this forcefully and lucidly and the 19-year-old me was forever convinced. I try to look back and see if I was perhaps bamboozled. Yet, once you accept it, the reigning, dead-dinosaur-guts theory seems the crazy one.

The heart is that every astronomical object of remotely similar makeup "outgasses" hydrocarbons. Earth would be very strange if I did not. It's not a great stretch to think the trip from core to crust could produce more complex organic molecules through heat and pressure.

I gave away my age. Jimmy Carter was President, Fitzpatrick Sale was selling books, and our world was at Peak Everything. Aside from the Rolling Stones output, things were bleak and Malthusian.

This was like discovering Rearden metal. "Wait a minute, you mean there might be all the oil we ever want just as a gift of our astronomical heritage?" It may have been the foundation of my optimism.

Posted by: jk at February 3, 2017 6:45 PM


I know that we have reported this a few times. But it appears that -- once again -- that whole Global Warming Thingy you have heard so much about has been fixed.

Tim Worstall at the Adam Smith Institute (Yes, I know that brother nb is boycotting them but the rest of you can click) points to a new report by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, claiming that "Falling costs of electric vehicles and solar panels could halt worldwide growth in demand for oil and coal by 2020"

And thus we're done.

Oddly, those at the Grantham Institute seem not to realise all of this which is why we need to remind them. As we are. All that we ever needed to do to beat climate change, from those usual and mainstream climate science sources, is get non-fossil power cheap enough. And as their report today says we've done that.

Hurrah, eh?

Smoke 'em if you've got 'em! We've triumphed yet again.

But johngalt thinks:



The U.S. government Energy Information Administration [pre-Trump] estimates that as far into the future as 2040 the "fossil" fuel component of U.S. electric generation will be 58 to 70 percent. (second chart)

This seems likely only to increase after President Trump decriminalizes coal. Congress is wasting no time getting started.

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2017 6:05 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

All that amazing navel gazing I'm missing... I'll just have to muddle through, sans dissing

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 4, 2017 12:10 AM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at February 5, 2017 12:20 PM

February 2, 2017

SCOTUS in the Mirror

That's what the other side sees when they gaze at the spectacle of Judge Neil Gorsuch strolling the halls and offices of the Senate Office Building.

We haven't had SCOTUS posts in a long time, so back to back days is not objectionable, izzit? [Dagny informs that jk's writing is "naturally more humorous than" mine, so I'll try stealing some of his lingo.] As constitutionalists count their lucky stars and rabbit's feet, both that Trump won and that he nominated who he said he would, those who view the Constitution's limitations as a bug, not a feature, wonder how things went so badly, so quickly.

And there are those people who remain furious that she didn't step down during Barack Obama's presidency: "Looking back, it was seriously dumb (and, frankly, selfish) of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer not to retire from #SCOTUS in 2013," fumed a user on Twitter shortly after the Gorsuch announcement.

But! Bygones. Now was the time for liberals to work with the reality they had. Now was the time to channel the energy of thousands of anxious supporters into a solution for the Ruth Bader Ginsburg problem.

"I was just talking to a friend about this," says Michael J. McClure, an associate professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin. "Like, what could we do? What could we do to help Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Could we protect her with packing peanuts? Then it turned into, 'I need to become a vampire. Like in 'Twilight.' I need to become a vampire so I can make her a vampire with eternal life.' If I'm damned to eternal life myself, so be it. It's a sacrifice worth making."

Why would the liberal justices have retired three years ago? The GOP was "dead" remember? Right on up to election day last November, Hillary Clinton was a "lock."

Cue Ross Kaminsky's Ross Report yesterday:

But a strange thing happened on the way to that corrupt candidate's coronation: The nation decided they'd had enough. Enough of Progressivism, enough of business as usual from both parties, enough of typical politicians. So voters elected a man with no experience in government but a strongly held view of what's best for the nation.

Because even a bankruptcy-prone private-sector billionaire with bad hair and caddish tendencies is a better leader of the free world than what we've lived through for the last thirty years.

SCOTUS Posted by JohnGalt at 7:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

New Facebook Game

Bethany Mandell might be right. President Trump might kill Facebook.

If all you're using Facebook for is to yell into the digital void about politics, you will find your audience for such rants is getting smaller by the minute. Sorry, random friends from all walks of life: I just dont care what you think about Donald Trump today.

I have a few good friends who say they are leaving. I know, about as many people quit FB as heroin, but these are serious efforts from people I like and will miss if they stay away.

And I am enjoying it quite a bit less.

But I offer one ameliorative pursuit: play "Which Side Posted?" Look at the post and guess whether one of your wacko lefty friends put it up - or one of your wacko righties.

Seeing the unflattering picture of Sen Warren ($$$ - Harvard), I thought "righty!" But, no, this was posted in approbation by a Warren enthusiast. See, even I need practice:


But johngalt thinks:

Lefty dog whistle clues:

"Trump's impeachment"
"backed by fact dot com"

Posted by: johngalt at February 2, 2017 2:03 PM
But jk thinks:

I am with you on "backed by fact" but can see plenty of my friends' ridiculing Sen Warren. And the good folks at backedbytotallbulshit dot com did not get the memo: you use the unflattering picture on those you (em>oppose.

Posted by: jk at February 2, 2017 2:34 PM
But Alex Charyna thinks:

David Burge had the best summary of all.

"Twitter tells you random strangers are obnoxious assholes. Facebook tells you your friends and family are."

Posted by: Alex Charyna at February 2, 2017 4:18 PM
But jk thinks:

"It's Iowahawk's Internet. He just lets us play on it."

Posted by: jk at February 2, 2017 5:09 PM

Gotta Laugh!

Okay, so spelling is not this person's long suit, but BWAHAHA!


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 10:46 AM | What do you think? [0]

February 1, 2017


Remember when we used to refer to certain individuals as "lions?" In the post-Obama era, that term seems to have gone the way of the comparable term "alpha male." Instead, masculinity is now "toxic." Or, I should say, used to be.

None here will argue with the assertion that "Justice [Antonin] Scalia was a lion of the law." The quote is from his nominated successor, Colorado's own 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch. And, by many respected accounts, Gorsuch himself is and will be such a lion. One particular commentator, Ross Kaminsky, goes even further in the handing out of accolades. He did so in today's on-air "Ross Report." I liked it so much I reprint it here in full:

"An assiduous focus on text, structure, and history is essential to the proper exercise of the judicial function." Those words from Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch of Colorado, strike terror in the hearts of liberals.

I don't mean that as a purely partisan jab, but rather that Gorsuch's judicial philosophy - that the Constitution means what it says and that if there is confusion about its meaning then the original intent of its drafters should carry the day, is the judicial equivalent of kryptonite to what the left had thought would be their court of steel once Hillary Clinton inevitably won the presidency.

But a strange thing happened on the way to that corrupt candidate's coronation: The nation decided they'd had enough. Enough of Progressivism, enough of business as usual from both parties, enough of typical politicians. So voters elected a man with no experience in government but a strongly held view of what's best for the nation.

During the campaign, Donald Trump made promises. A lot of them. He made them repeatedly. Unlike so many politicians, he wanted voters to remember them, to hold him to them.

And he has spent his first days as president honoring as many of them as he can in a short period of time.

Of all the promises he made, perhaps none is as important as the selection of a person who will likely be impacting American law and American life until after Donald Trump passes away.

Neil Gorsuch is arguably the single best choice Donald Trump could have made for the Supreme Court, at least if your goal is to return our nation toward respect for its Founding Principles.

With this one decision, Donald Trump has taken a substantial step toward being a very good, and very consequential president.

One might expect such praise from yours truly. But in case you aren't familiar with the libertarian-leaning Kaminsky, he didn't vote for Trump. He voted for Evan McMullin.

SCOTUS Posted by JohnGalt at 6:11 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Yes, this Evan McMullin voter is also tickled pink with the nomination of Judge Gorsuch.

Compliment the President when he is right, oppose him when not.

Posted by: jk at February 2, 2017 11:42 AM
But jk thinks:

Even some of the grouchy-ass libertarians at Reason are in.

Posted by: jk at February 2, 2017 12:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So perhaps what remains unclear is the necessary "right/wrong" ratio to engender the following responses:


I suggest that the tipping point between support and oppose is roughly a 1:1 ratio of right to wrong presidential acts. For a rational person.

Posted by: johngalt at February 2, 2017 2:13 PM

Otequay of the Ayday

Blog brother jk has the Wall Street Journal. I have Investors Business Daily:

Even Trump's executive order on visas and refugees is far from an overreach. At its core, it temporarily halts - it does not ban - travel from seven countries identified in a 2015 law as highly terror prone. The reason is to give relevant agencies 90 days to make sure policies in place are effective at keeping terrorists out. His decision to halt refugees from Syria is right in line with previous presidential limits on refugees imposed in the name of national security.

We are hardly advocating that Trump follow in Obama's footsteps. We vigorously opposed Obama's executive overreach and will do the same if Trump tries to exceed the limits to his authority. The Constitution's divisions of power are there for a reason.

But it has been amusing to watch Democrats and the media - who encouraged Obama's overreaches - lose their minds over the prospect of Obama's pen and phone in Trump's hand.

A Bargain at any Price

I'm going to pass on providing a link (ones in the email looked sketchy). This was offered via spam email from the Tea Party Action Network. You may pursue it through them.

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:13 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I already have the complete set: Angry Donald, Funny Donald, Arrogant Donald, Empathetic Donald, Bankrupt Donald and the rare and hard to find Everyone Can Understand Me Donald.

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2017 5:58 PM


Any possibility of rapprochement? I am proposing "RESOLVED: President Trump badly overstepped in his immigration EO. He rushed to keep a campaign promise, but overstepped both because it was rushed, and because he and his team have a predilection toward enforcement." If you'll join me there, I will drop my accusation of "malevolence."

We may disagree on refugees, but is there appetite around here to deny re-entry to green card holders?

Another huge overreach which should be corrected immediately is to exempt interpreters and military officials, many of whom risked their lives to further American agendas. WSJ:

BAGHDAD--Gen. Talib al Kenani commands the elite American-trained counter terrorist forces that have been leading the fight against ISIS for two years.
"I'm a four star general, and I'm banned from entering the U.S.?" he said.

His family was relocated to the U.S. for their safety, and he'd had plans to see them next week, until he was told not to bother.

"I have been fighting terrorism for 13 years and winning," he said. "Now my kids are now asking if I'm a terrorist?" . . .

"This ban needs to be reviewed," Kenani said. "We thought we were partners with our American friends, and now we realize that we're just considered terrorists."

Not. Good.

UPDATE: Trump's Travel Ban Forces Elderly Green Card-Holder to Stay in Iraq. She Died the Next Day

Trump Agonistes Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Policy by anecdote?

Okay, does the general not have a G-1, G-2, G-3 or G-4 visa? Perhaps if he waits until the next business day he might also request an exemption under paragraph (g):

...the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.

Okay, I admit that, in hindsight, it would have been preferable to risk a few more terrorists sneaking in than to spring the policy unannounced.

But what about the counter-factual? Suppose the new policy had been announced in advance? I submit that the sturm and drung would have been even worse, and the predictions of impending doom far exceeded your two sad anecdotes. Then what?

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2017 3:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did somebody say overreach?

Rep. Joaquin Castro warned Tuesday that if the White House has ordered the US Customs and Border Protection Agency to ignore judicial stays against the controversial refugee travel ban, Congress must begin the process of formally censuring — and potentially impeaching — President Donald Trump.

But, from the same piece:

CBP spokesperson Gillian Christensen denied the agency was directed to ignore court orders halting enforcement of the executive order.

"CBP officers are not detaining anyone. Green card holders who arrive in the US have to go through secondary screening but that process is working smoothly and relatively quickly," Christensen said. "Furthermore, visa holders who would be affected by the executive order are being denied boarding at their point of departure so they are not even making it into the US."

"Secondary screening" does not equal denial of freedom of movement.

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2017 4:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Please pardon my Germlish. That should have been "sturm und drang."

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2017 6:01 PM
But jk thinks:

"Wie wir auch unsern Schuldigern"

I'll concede a tactical question of forward announcement. I'm more concerned that it was not reviewed by anybody. It was not clear who was affected and who not. It should have been vetted internally.

Posted by: jk at February 1, 2017 6:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Update Update.

Reason has corrected its own article:

(Updated: Family Imam Says Story is a Lie, She Actually Died Before the Ban)
Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2017 2:50 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)