May 22, 2017

Otequay of the Ayday

"If you choose the path of terror your life will be empty, your life will be short, and your soul will be condemned."

President Donald Trump in Saudi Arabia

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:09 PM | Comments (0)

May 2, 2017

More Trump Apologia from the Atlantic

My lefty friends are all aflutter over President Trump's Andrew Jackson comments. I awoke to a fusillade (is that the word I am looking for?) of smarmy memes about what an idiot he was and he didn't know when the Civil War started and he has fake plaques at his golf club and . . . the Syrian bombing ispired less chatter among the chattering classes! What the hell did he say?

I looked it up and would say he has more confidence in our seventh president than I. But that is not an impeachable event, last I checked.

I harbor grave doubts that the posters are hip to much antebellum history. It was a favorite period of mine. I'm not a scholar of anything, but give me five Jeopardy questions on Clay, Calhoun, and Jackson and I will wipe the floor with my smug progressive posters.

Did you say something about The Atlantic, jk? Why yes. They surprisingly have posted a column by Andrew Exum that -- while not a love letter -- is, well I'll let the title speak for itself: "What Trump Gets Right--and Progressives Get Wrong--About Andrew Jackson." Et tu Atlanticio?

This is why Trump is not wholly wrong, albeit in his rambling way, when he speaks of Jackson saving the Union--not during the Civil War, of course, but three decades earlier. That was no small achievement. It was, indeed, the ultimate achievement of the founding fathers and the generation that followed them. Contemporary progressives, however, apparently see little to celebrate in such achievements. And if Jackson has fallen out of popular favor among the elites, well, the University of Virginia among others should be growing uneasy, because it's only a matter of time before Jefferson, Madison, and many others also fall from grace.
The whole (short) piece is quite worthy of a read. Well done, Atlantic.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:18 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2017

The WSJ Ed Page Salutes the President

I think it fair to say that the WSJ Editorial Page has not been President Trump's biggest cheerleader -- they have been tough where he conflicts with their "free people, free markets" philosophy. But they've given plaudits as well. Today's has a solid defense of his Privatization and Disneyfication review of National Monuments.

Yet, the 'Yuge One' is Kim Strassel's paean to his tax plan: Trump's Greatest Moment (So Far).

Start with the fact that this proposal is substantive. It didn't have to be. In the wake of the health-care meltdown, Republicans on Capitol Hill began debating whether they ought to throw out messy, complicated tax "reform" in favor of easy, straightforward tax "cuts." That wasn't what they campaigned on; they had promised to slay the tax-code beast. Moreover, targeted rate cuts wouldn't deliver for the economy. But this crew argued to the White House that a slimmed-down approach would at least deliver a quick, symbolic legislative victory.

Mr. Trump's plan rejects that retreat. Instead of going weaker, it goes stronger, compiling into one document all the tax-reform ideas that most inspire conservative movers and shakers. Simplify the brackets? Check. Lower rates? Check. Harmonize rates between corporations and small businesses? Check. Move to a territorial corporate-tax system? Check. Kill off the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax, itemized deductions, and corporate loopholes? Check. This is the sort of stuff that think tanks, congressional reformers and business groups have been salivating over for years.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

April 5, 2017

Wisdom from Shawn

Former Statehouse Rep. Shawn Mitchell takes to Facebook and describes what perplexes me. I wonder if it resonates with others:

Not sure what to make of it, but Trump is driving a swath of Republicans/conservatives insane. I'm referring to opposite camps, the incorrigible never Trumpers and the canine always Trumpers. They both have taken leave of their senses.

The always Trumpers zealously defend and champion anything he does, even if it contradicts everything they ever claimed to believe and advocate in their former political life. The man can do no wrong. He will make America great again if we just get on his train.

The never Trumpers cannot accept any good thing he does and are making common cause with nihilist leftists to believe the worst things possible. Why, of course Vladimir Putin controlled our election with his little finger and now he's controlling Trump with iron puppet strings. They're a hop and skip away from joining the Occupy protesters in the streets.

I'm no historian, but I don't think America has ever seen anything like this cult of personality and anti-personality.

Now, to briefly finish the sketch, the rational conservatives I know are simply holding on for the ride and will support what they can and oppose what they should. Democrats and the Left can oppose Trump for reasons of politics or personality and be true to their roots either way.

But it's those always and never Republicans that make me feel like we've been invaded by body snatchers.


UPDATE: Point of order. I have blanket permission from Rep. Mitchell to share anything he posts on Facebook. I would not repost from other forums without permission or obfuscation. What you post on FB is between you and the NSA.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:26 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe I don't spend enough time on Facebook to see the canines of the always Trumpers. Can you give an anecdote thumbnail sketch of what such a creature believes, or at least says, that makes him "insane?"

Or maybe I don't recognize it for the same reason I don't recognize my "American" accent - because I is one.

Actually I think my viewpoint is that it's not so much about pro or anti-Trump, as pro or anti-big government. And this dovetails with Shawn's construction: Always Trumpers are so determined to dismantle the Deep State that they'll back to the hilt the only man with a serious and credible goal to do so - President Donald J Trump. Never Trumpers are content enough with the way of things that they don't want the apple cart tipped, just for a silly ol' concept like economic freedom.

Here's how it looks from my lofty mountaintop- It takes energy to make things happen, and large numbers of people who are dedicated to the point of appearing "insane" bring lots of energy. And the fact that there's "insanity" both for and against the Trump maelstrom provides a balance that should prevent the worst excesses of either side from reaching implementation.

Stay engaged, speak your mind, sit tall in the saddle and enjoy your ride.

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2017 7:39 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

From the bales of the village idiot, I've always found quite a bit of comfort for those things that piss off both far left and the far right. Things that jump to mind are (treading dangerously, I know) Iraq War, (safer ground) nearly everything Reagan did, and supporting Israel.

Things that were (and are) leg-humped by "the mainstream" are: Renewable Porfolio Standards, Obamacare, food pyramid, TARP... in no particular order. For this reason (and Gorsuch, and Haley, and Pompeo, and Mulvaney....) I'm fairly content with the great orange one.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 5, 2017 11:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Rereading this, I confess that the real insanity I see is betwixt "Always Trumpers" and "The Despondent Left."

But I do see what Shawn sees in the comments of his posts, but even more in the "Friends of Best of the Web" Facebook group. There are some militant (bordering-on-insane, Shawn uses more loaded words than I) folks on both sides. All joined the group because we like James Taranto, but stayed because it became a nice group of intelligent right-leaners. As a private group, respite for most members like I have ThreeSources. You can say Heterodox things that your family and workmates don't see. That group has several überpolarized Alwaysers and Neverses.

Are you one, dear reader? I posit two questions. You needn't answer publicly. But can you name Three things you really oppose the President on? Can you name three things you champion?

If you answer no to either, I am generally concerned. I should be three serious things or five small. I can do this on Presidents Obama or George W Bush but it is a struggle. With President Trump, I can go all day.

Posted by: jk at April 6, 2017 11:20 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't know of any Trump executive orders that I'm opposed to. There are some legislative ideas I don't like. Such as "relaxing" the libel rules so that the press can be sued, and removing the restriction on selling individual's personal browsing history by ISPs. But those can't happen without a complicit congress, right?

Of your "all day" long list of Trump fears, how many can be enacted by fiat? And how many have been already?

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2017 5:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Some of the Executive Orders have been the shining stars. The deregulation push and unwinding of President Obama's EOs are welcome. The -- I don't want to use loaded words, soften it to any term you'd like -- "Travel Ban" is a huge exception. Shooting down the TPP and first steps to renegotiate Nafta were not on my Christmas Card list.

The President and AG Sessions have stepped up deportation enforcement and pushed back on "Sanctuary Cities" (which my peeps call "Constitutional Cities" but that's a different post.)

I reject that a bad idea which Congress can save me from is not a bad idea. The President is titular head of the party. A modern president, sadly, drives the legislative agenda. His budget includes a Kookasauruszillion dollars for "the wall" which will likely be a hostage in a debt ceiling/government shutdown debate.

And it's only nine o'clock!

I'm going to get to the other side of one issue, however. You've been reading Mother Jones too much on the ISP privacy. We seriously need another thread, but your characterization is in error. Local ISP will have the same access to your data that Google and Facebook do now. For the switch the Internet is not regulated as a government utility. Why you be hurtin' on Trump so, Brother?

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2017 11:06 AM

March 28, 2017

Trump Revolution, Indeed

Yes, I have endured occasional "Agonistes" since President Trump was inaugurated. Some promises I wish were not kept, some I wish were. Bla, bla, bla.

One place he is 100%, all the way live is on energy policy. Last night Amy Oliver-Cooke spoke at Liberty on the Rocks - Flatirons. She was on his transition team for energy and the EPA and regaled us with stories. She never actually met then-candidate Trump, but was pulled in by a mutual friend.

Shortly after she agreed, the Billy Bush tape came out and her expectation of actually serving went from slim to none. Good stuff. She is funny and has encyclopedic knowledge of Colorado's legislative process, the players, and energy issues.

I post to ensure that you all regret not being there: neener-neener. More importantly, this Egg McMuffin voter must admit that we dodged a bullet last November. The EPA is a serious threat to all our liberty. A President Hillary Clinton would have allowed their usurpations to continue unchecked. The State of Colorado is a complicit partner through the CDPHE (Cooke notes that other states seem to do fine with three-letter environmental agencies...)

Remember when Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) chief Dr. Larry Wolk told the Denver Post's Vincent Carroll that his agency was "the conduit for the EPA?"
[...]
But that was President Obama's EPA. In 2017 the EPA will be very different under a President Trump administration. During the campaign, Mr. Trump said the Clean Power Plan is DOA.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:56 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I am jealous.

Seque machine: Trump signs order sweeping away Obama-era climate policies ... like the rubbish they are.

Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2017 5:14 PM
But jk thinks:

We can pile on the points, liberty does not come around all that frequently. Ronald Bailey at Reason says Trump's Climate Change Executive Order Will Make Energy Cheaper.

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2017 6:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Lowering energy costs is an EXCELLENT POINT, one which I criticize the Trump Administration for not trumpeting (really, no pun intended.)

"Energy costs in our country are going up, at a time when production of all forms of energy is getting cheaper. This is a government-caused problem because certain kinds of energy were prohibited by my predecessor. I am removing the bans on unpopular fuels and letting the market decide which ones to use.

The "hard choices" that low income families were forced to make because of the dubious environmental goals of President Obama will start to become easier under President Trump."

However, I will challenge Mr. Bailey's assertion that the demand for coal is lower because of the fracking boom. That is a factor, but I submit a larger factor is the distortive effect of the Clean Power Plan itself. Many utilities undertook fuel switches because of it, and that is why the demand for coal is lower. In a free market those coal plants could have been modernized without switching fuels, at lower cost and with greater fuel diversity.

So it will take a while for the lower cost of coal to win back some utilities. Probably only through new or recommissioned plants, as a switch from gas back to coal is unlikely. Some plants, such as Boulder's Valmont Station, can burn either fuel, however.

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2017 7:50 PM

March 23, 2017

Trump Revolution, Indeed

One of my favorite governmental hobby-horses is included in the President's budget: private air-traffic control. WSJ Ed Page (headline of the day nominee): Major Trump to Ground Control

Mr. Trump's budget proposes converting the FAA's air-traffic outfit into "an independent, non-governmental organization," as Canada has done, and dozens of other countries have similar models. House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster last year introduced a bill to turn air-traffic control over to a nonprofit corporation run by a board with seats for airlines, the pilot’s union, hobbyist aviators and more, but it stalled without presidential support.

Pilots currently bounce from one radio point to the next, which can result in roundabout routes and wasted fuel. The Transportation Department’s Inspector General airdrops the occasional damning report on FAA's NextGen modernization program, whose “total costs and timelines remain unclear,” according to the November installment. FAA may finish the project a decade after the 2025 deadline--or 20 years after its technology is obsolete.


Speaker Newt Gingrich used to wave a vacuum tube on TV saying that the government was the largest purchaser, using them in the air-traffic control system in the late 90's.

Now, there ain't nobody loves vacuum tubes like a guitar player. But that spoke to governments acumen in rolling out new tech.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2017

Making Health Care Great Again

Count me as a supporter of the ACHA Bill scheduled for a vote on Thursday. Not because it's a good bill, but because I'm an optimist and because I trust Speaker Ryan when he insists that he and President Trump will achieve a healthcare free-market in a three-step process. If they really do pull that off, we can have something like this:

So what explains the vastly different trends in prices over the past two decades?

As Perry notes, the chief difference between the two is who pays.

Cosmetic surgery is, for the most part, paid out of pocket. But only about 11% of hospital, doctor and pharmaceutical bills are paid out of pocket. The rest is picked up by insurance companies or the government. Back in 1960, almost half of the nation's health care bill was paid out of pocket, according to the Centers for Medicaid Services.

What happened in between was the steady growth in the scope and generosity of health benefits at work, and the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in the public sector. These developments are always treated as big victories for consumers, but as Perry notes, there's a huge price to be paid.

"Consumers of health care," Perry writes, "have significantly reduced incentives to monitor prices and be cost-conscious buyers of medial and hospital services when they pay only about 10% themselves."

What's more, "the incentives of medical care providers to hold down costs are greatly reduced knowing that their customers aren't paying out of pocket and aren't price sensitive."

So, voilá, you get the high costs and the bizarrely complicated bills that everyone gripes about.

But the first step along the road to price competition, according to Ryan, is to pass the inadequate house bill first. Okay, I'm game. What's the alternative, an "empathy-ectomy" for Senate Democrats that allows them to support a comprehensive bill that, while lowering costs for everyone, gives away centralized power and lets Republicans have a victory the Dems dreamed was theirs and theirs alone? Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:58 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Hear, hear.

You know I'd put Sen. Rand Paul (Hoss - KY) in charge of the government, the FDA, and Major League Baseball if I could. But his opposition to the legislative process comes off as grandstanding and frequently plays into the plans of liberty's enemies. Yes, Senator, we get it.

Posted by: jk at March 21, 2017 7:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OTOH, senate Hoss Mike Lee makes a compelling case that "the President's agenda is being highjacked by this bill" and legislators should join him in holding out for a bill that "repeals Obamacare, root and branch" as they promised the American voters.

Closer to home, I can't justify a call to my own congressman urging him to either hold to his no position or switch to a yes. Ultimately, it seems, Congress never achieved better outcomes in a hurry than by extended deliberation.

Posted by: johngalt at March 21, 2017 10:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fortunately, it turns out that I won't need to call my Freedom Caucus congressman to lobby for his vote. The President of the United States has done so.

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2017 12:05 AM

March 16, 2017

Trump Revolution, Indeed

Wow. Chris Edwards at CATO -- not exactly Trump-sycophant-headquarters enumerates "a thoughtful array of cuts" in the proposed new budget.

I won't excerpt -- the whole list is saliva inducing.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:23 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2017

Trump Revolution, Indeed

I'll be your "Trump Chaos Umpire." I sits. And I call balls & strikes, fairly.

The President painted the corner with his nomination of Dr. Scott Gottlieb to head the FDA.

DrGottlieb.jpg
HOSS ALERT!

Gottlieb has been on the side of the angels as long as I have been following the FDA. A cancer survivor himself, he knows the human toll to bureaucracy and officiousness.

Scott Gottlieb may have landed the toughest job in Washington: President Trump has selected the physician and policy expert to run the Food and Drug Administration, where a culture of control strangles innovation. An iron triangle of interest groups, the bureaucracy and the press will resist change, but Dr. Gottlieb could save lives by renovating FDA’s drug-approval processes.

Mr. Trump deserves credit for picking a pragmatist who understands the agency: Dr. Gottlieb served as a deputy commissioner at FDA during the George W. Bush Administration, and he has also worked at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and his many contributions to The Wall Street Journal include insights on doctor autonomy, drug prices, antibiotic development and more.


The opposition who bellowed at Sec. DeVos's "inexperience" will now direct their wind at Dr. Gottlieb for his connections to Big Pharma. Fight back, Republicans!

Well done, Mr. President!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

March 1, 2017

Moving the Presidential Needle

I would like to burst forth with effusive praise of the President's speech to Congress last night, but dagny judged that I am a, what was the term, "partisan cheerleader" or something to that effect. Yes, it's a tough living room in our household.

So I'll let the 857 viewers whom CBS polled before and after the speech give the verdict:

The president moved opinion among viewers on his plans for a number of policy issues, comparing their views before and after the speech. The percent favoring his plans for fighting terrorism, addressing crime, improving the economy, handling illegal immigration, and dealing with Obamacare all jumped.

Republicans and Democrats did see the president's description of the country quite differently. Most Republicans think Mr. Trump's depiction of the state of America is accurate, while six in 10 Democrats think the President's description is worse than the country really is.

There is agreement across party lines that Mr. Trump is trying to do what he said he'd do during the campaign.

An uncharacteristic lack of negativity from this establishment media source, to be sure. To offset it they were sure to include a disclaimer that "As is typical for a presidential speech, viewers tended to come more from the president's own party; in this case more Republicans tuned in." And they repeated it THREE TIMES. Still, Democrat viewers were not unaffected:

Forty percent of Democrats at least somewhat approved; 18 percent strongly approved.

And if you've lost 40 percent of your party, Messr's Schumer, Obama, Pelosi and Perez, nearly half of them strongly, don't bother looking at the unaffiliateds.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

Good Speech! A Few Quibbles...

After watching my Colorado Avalanche go down 0-4 to the Philadelphia Flyers (congrats, Keystone Staters!), President Trump's SOTU joint address to congress was a welcome change. It was a well-crafted and better delivered speech, superb in tone. And I suspect it highly effective for collecting any remaining true moderates (both of them liked it).

He won. But my wishes -- and those of the WSJ Ed Page for a softening on protectionist, economic isolationism were not realized. In a generally positive review, the lads and lassies from Dow point out:

Also striking are the President's contradictions on the wellsprings of economic growth. He understands that tax cuts and deregulation are essential to unleashing investment at home, but his capitalist instincts stop at the border. His invocation of the hoary old Lincoln quote about the virtues of "protective policy" couldn’t be less appropriate for the modern U.S. economy that needs global markets and world-class talent to succeed.

This is the "economic nationalism" promoted by his chief strategist Steve Bannon, and it is intended to show voters that Mr. Trump is on their side. But if it is ever put into practice it will undermine the rest of his growth agenda.


Not one to just whine, I bring multimedia reinforcements. This is the freedom-enhancing, global wealth producing trade he seeks to impede:

[More of these videos...]

But but but. Several high notes and a totality of tone and substance that was worthy of admiration. Well done, Mr. President. The same WSJ editorial closes:

Our guess is the speech won't do much to move Democrats in a polarized Washington. But perhaps it will reassure nervous Republicans who have wondered when he would focus on the hard task of governing. The speech puts him on firmer ground for that challenge.

UPDATE: And a quick All Hail Freeman.
He caught them off guard by delivering a big-hearted, moving and gracious address, but they seemed unable to react in real time. The pantsuit caucus and their equally grumpy male Democratic colleagues continued to sit, frown and offer tepid applause or none at all even for lines that would be objectionable to no one outside of ISIS.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:06 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I chuckled at the way Ross Kaminsky put it this morning. He said that last night, "Donald Trump truly became the president of the United States, notwithstanding the amusingly petulant refusal of Democrats to applaud throughout most of the evening."

Read more: http://khow.iheart.com/onair/ross-kaminsky-57121/the-rundown-march-1-2017-trump-15603804/#ixzz4a5qulHFi

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2017 11:44 AM

February 27, 2017

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:00 PM | Comments (2)
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 22, 2017

Trump Revolution, Indeed

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

Now, watch our actual Ambassador.

AmbassadorHaley.gif

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

Posted by John Kranz at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2017

"Everything is About to Change"

This wasn’t 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:

It’s 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 couldn’t feed their families anymore. They were mothers who couldn’t afford health care. They were workers whose jobs had been sold off to foreign countries. They were sons who didn’t 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 wasn’t 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 didn’t have bachelor degrees and had never set foot in a Starbucks. They were the white working class. They didn’t 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 couldn’t 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 didn’t 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 couldn’t be built and factories couldn’t be opened. That treaties couldn’t be unsigned and wars couldn’t 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.

It’s midnight in America. CNN is weeping. MSNBC is wailing. ABC calls it a tantrum. NBC damns it. It wasn’t 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. Here’s 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 wasn’t 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 Trump’s 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 couldn’t 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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2017

Russophobes?

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 Trump’s 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."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:42 AM | Comments (2)
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

Russophobes?

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 Trump’s 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."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:42 AM | Comments (2)
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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:51 PM | Comments (4)
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 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
Posted by John Kranz at 6:41 PM | Comments (1)
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

February 7, 2017

Solidarity!

#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!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (4)
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

February 4, 2017

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,
Utah’s 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 they’re 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. It’s been a while.


Posted by nanobrewer at 12:20 AM | Comments (1)
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

January 31, 2017

Otequay of the Ayday

But lately I get the feeling that Trump's critics have evolved from expecting Trump to be Hitler to preferring it. Obviously they don't prefer it in a conscious way. But the alternative to Trump becoming Hitler is that they have to live out the rest of their lives as confirmed morons. No one wants to be a confirmed moron. And certainly not after announcing their Trump opinions in public and demonstrating in the streets. It would be a total embarrassment for the anti-Trumpers to learn that Trump is just trying to do a good job for America. It's a threat to their egos. A big one.

Scott Adams - Be Careful What You Wish For (especially if it is Hitler)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:43 PM | Comments (0)

All Hail Harsanyi

No, seriously. I think David Harsanyi has words of wisdom for both the distraught and indefatigable among us.

The election phase of the debate is over. Traditionally, presidents offer a menu of policies that more or less comport with the worldview of their party. This is different. So while I don't contend to speak for all conservatives, I do imagine many are horrified/excited/sad/happy/content/embarrassed by what's going on -- often on the same day.

Hasanyi suggests "Conservatives" take it issue by issue, which I have tried. He lays out his good-Trump / bad-Trump dichotomies which comport fairly closely with mine.

I'd suggest a read in full and look forward to any potential areas of agreement.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:20 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Harsanyi writes,

"From my perspective, Trump is neither presidential, competent, nor ideologically (or otherwise) coherent most of the time."

Let's consider the most important of this - "coherent most of the time." Is there anything about which any of the Trump Administration's "agonistes" is consistent? A list:

- Telling the media to "keep its mouth shut"
- Failed to mention Jews specifically in its Holocaust Rememberance statement
- Erroneously including green-card holders in the temporary travel ban from Congressionally identified terror threat countries
- Seating a "pseudo-intellectual chauvinist" on the NSC
- Stating that waterboarding isn't torture
- "Blatantly lying" about crowd sizes

Harsanyi contrasted each of these with some other unalloyed good, at least from a Republican perspective, to illustrate his purported incoherence. But when considered as a group, without Harsanyi's chosen counterpoint, I can see a coherent theme. Namely, a fierce assault on an overly sensitized media that suffers from Political Correctness Stockholm Syndrome, which goes beyond mere manipulation and into the realm of psychological assault. Perhaps he intends to "deprogram" the media but, more likely, he's just keeping them off balance and focused on what they consider "extreme" rhetoric while he "does his job" as he explained it to the voters who put him in office.

One problem with this strategy is that members of the general public, to a degree that is proportional to their sensitivities about various social issues, can view the president as erratic and "incoherent."

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2017 3:10 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Ok, I can agree with:

offensive, amateurish, and historically illiterate
the only question is who's worse: Trump or Harsanyi? {now, I'm recalling that Harsanyi is often offensive; he tries to disappoint...}

Telling the media to “keep its mouth shut,”
Sigh; he - as did the rest of the LameStream Media obviously only using half of what's left of their right brain - cut out the most important, THE FOCUS OF THE EFFING STATEMENT (DUH!!) and listen!! (pssst: listen to the American people). Sheesh. This is a bad a misquote as citing Palin as saying "God is on our side." Offensive (Harsanyi, that is) or shrill amateur?

I can agree with:

James Mattis, Mike Pompeo, and other competent cabinet picks that align well with prevailing Republican worldviews. Most cabinet members have nothing to do with Trumpism, yet Democrats act as if every selection is a fanatic.

not
Trump says waterboarding isn’t torture.
So do I, as does Mike Rosen, amongst others who think head-strong and safety-first (Cotton, Cruz...). I can make a solid argument, but it might make him up his Lithium dosage!

Trump will blatantly lie about crowd sizes
Sigh, and I was just warming up to Spectator. Idiot: there is no way to measure a crowd size like that. Harsanyi left off the slash-regulations EO, but made a half-hearted swipe at the USSC. Um, did JK actually use the word "wisdom" in reference to this post? I can agree with this as practical but not wise:
One day Trump’s negatives might make him completely unpalatable for most conservatives. Today, what reason do they give to make common cause with morally preening liberals who overreact to every executive order and utterance? In this environment, it’s perfectly acceptable, even preferable, to take politics issue by issue.
Posted by: nanobrewer at February 1, 2017 12:29 AM

January 30, 2017

Trump Monday

Or I might say, Day ten of President Trump's first hundred.

The next "deplorable policy" has been signed:

President Donald Trump signed an order on Monday that will seek to dramatically pare back federal regulations by requiring agencies to cut two existing regulations for every new rule introduced.

(...)

For the rest of fiscal 2017, the cap will require that the cost of any additional regulations be completely offset by undoing existing rules, the official said on customary condition of anonymity.

Trump, a businessman turned politician, campaigned on a promise to reduce federal regulations that he said burdened American businesses.

Major regulations are typically reviewed by the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before they are issued. That review will continue under this new measure, but agencies will also have to identify what two regulations will be repealed to offset the costs of any new rule.

Who does he think he is, holding the federal government's Executive Branch accountable for the consequences of its actions like that!

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Now we're talking! So, this is an EO, too? Now, I'm fumbling with my separation of powers ken... this doesn't require legislation?

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 30, 2017 11:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nossir, I wouldn't think so. As the Chief Executive he has ultimate control over the bureaucracies and agencies that comprise the Administrative State. It may require firing nearly half of all agency employees, but it is possible for him to reign in Leviathan.

(Hey, a guy can dream.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2017 12:23 PM

Weekly Media Apocalypse

Investor's Editorial Page sounds like yours truly, commenting on the post below:

This isn't to say that the implementation of Trump's order was without fault, or that he should have been better prepared for what he had to know would be an intense reaction. As National Review's Andrew McCarthy explained, Trump "would've been wise to give government agencies and foreigners time to prepare." Trump also had to modify his order to exempt green card holders.

But let's be clear - implementation hassles are just that, hassles that will be dealt with in due time. And in any case the number of people unfairly hassled was apparently small. These problems have nothing to do with the substance of Trump's order or its merits, about which there is certainly room for reasoned debate.

Indeed, much of the "chaos and confusion" that Schumer complained about was the result not of Trump's order, but the false, misleading and inflammatory claims spread by Democrats, protesters who instantly swarmed into various airports, and the mainstream press that vigorously fanned the flames.

This has, unfortunately, been the pattern since Trump took the oath of office. All the actions Trump has taken so far are ones he promised months ago to tackle immediately, yet they are all treated as shocking developments.

It is hard to see how Trumps' critics are helping their cause when they react to everything Trump does as if it were a world-ending catastrophe.


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:52 PM | Comments (7)
But nanobrewer thinks:

This was nothing... a temporary stay on 0.03% of overseas travelers, those from areas clearly proven to have problems with terrorism and major problems with documentation traceability.

So ASI has drunk the cool-aid, too? Good grief:

malevolence of President Trump's Executive Order
This is the most ridiculous thing I've read since Trump declared his candidacy.

Malevolent = "showing a wish to do evil"
Evil is done by keeping my kids safe?!? Evil is done by a TEMPORARY stay on 0.03% of overseas travelers? Evil is done by staging a wake up call: "HELLO!! What's your problem with terrorism?! Ah, you don't have any system of documentation? Well, this isn't Tampico, you need documents, stinking or not."

Trample the rule of law? Ok, Yusupoff has firmly established himself as a constitutional illiterate... I think I shall not visit ASI for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 30, 2017 11:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Toldja not to click.

But now that we are here, I agree it was malevolent. I would accept a lawyerly walk back to criminally negligent, but I think you are underestimating the severity of this and the fundamental disconnect with liberty.

The small percentage does nit include people who were told not to board planes in their native country or told by their employer not to leave the country. But it's far more than numbers. This is an unusual constraint on our freedom to travel.

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2017 10:02 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I followed your advice, and didn't click. Yet somehow I know that his own commenters are running 3-2 against his point of view.

The chief "offense" of the order seems to be the inclusion of immigrant along with non-immigrant visas. Apparently this is how it affects green-card holders. It wasn't even 24 hours before the Administration was insisting that green card holders should not be affected.

Mister Smith has gone to Washington and been elected POTUS. He's filled his administration with businessmen more than bureaucrats. Again, can we judge the act in its revised form instead of the initial, untested version that was implemented without warning for a valid reason? Pull-EEEEZE. I mean seriously.... "high crime?" "misdemeanor?" One might well think so, viewing only the reactions.

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2017 12:31 PM
But jk thinks:

It was over the top. Good for you for staying away.

But there is a valid question underlying. I posted David Harsanyi's upbeat suggestion that Conservatives should take the good parts of a Trump Administration and decry the bad. I think that applies equally to libertarians and is generally good advice.

But at some level, you have to ask what you can and cannot accept.

From a tactical perspective, I look at the people he is chasing away. I've watched a few Republican-leaners "lost to the GOP forever" and a serious Republican completely distraught. Moderates? All gone. When the "good parts," the Charter Schools and labor rules some out, will there be any political capital to sustain them?

I'm not talking impeachment. But I'm not your worry.

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2017 1:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The "impeachment" barb was not directed toward you, brother, but to the blizzards of snowflakes that struck airports around the country over the weekend.

I think I explained Trump's strategy in a comment on the Hirsanyi post. The well-intentioned souls you describe are unfortunate victims of what I will dub, Trump's Media Deprogramming Blitzkrieg. (Maybe not a good choice of terms in a climate where he's being called the modern Hitler, but I'm in no mood for mealy-mouthing it either.)

Yes, it is unfortunate to "drive people away" but I dispute the contention that people who voted for him two months ago are "gone forever" over the green-card fiasco. And he is in the first ten of his first hundred days. Must he consider electoral concerns for 2020 already, before actually saving America from the globalist one-world government dystopia we had been rushing into, headlong, until January 20th, 2017?

There will be risks to Trump's aggressive strategy to defeat that Borg-like future, to be sure. But they pale in my view, in both severity and likelihood - compared to the seat of American government being moved to Brussels or Turtle Bay.

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2017 3:44 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JK: "fundamental disconnect with liberty"
OK, I'll bite; first, show where the constitution specifies the right of an average Fatima or Muhammad to get a visa, or where POTUS does not have the authority to pose restrictions. Now, explain how a 90-day suspension on 0.03% of travelers disconnects from any commonly-held or consistent definition of "liberty." Please save time and remember to refute or modernize Mr. Adam's quote:

America is a friend of freedom everywhere, but only a custodian only of our own.

Also recall what is enshrined in the Constitution: " insure [ensure] Domestic Tranquility" or in other words; keep Americans safe.

While you're rebooting the concept of liberty to bootstrap onto an open borders concept consider this question: what is it about Islam that creates, in the words of political scientist Samuel Huntington, “bloody borders”?

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 31, 2017 11:47 PM

January 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

The United States has the best public schools in the world. The top public high schools send nearly all their graduates on to college, and many to the most selective colleges. Faculty and parents are dedicated to the educational task, and most students graduate with college credit already in hand. The quality of these schools supports high housing prices within the district, generating property-tax revenues to fund the schools. Even a whiff of weak school performance will draw the ire not only of parents but of every homeowner with something to lose. It's a positive feedback loop.

We also have the worst public schools in the developed world. In 1,200 American high schools, a third or more of the students don't graduate. In 2013, 66 percent of U.S. fourth graders and 64 percent of eighth graders could not read at their grade level, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reading test. In 2013 the United States spent more per student than all OECD countries except Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland -- yet our educational outcomes have hovered around 20th place among OECD's 34 (now 35) nations. Our worst high schools are essentially prisons with poor security and lots of overhead. -- Dan Currell National Review

Posted by John Kranz at 3:55 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't read the linked article yet but I wonder if we can see a Venn diagram of the best/worst schools overlaying Republican/Democrat mayors and city councils?

Usually these things are correlated with median income levels, but I see that as another symptom of the same cause - bad government.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2017 4:21 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt you're correct. The affluent in the areas dominated by bad schools can buy their way into tony private schools.

What fries my rice is that this is the root cause of inequality. All the same people who wish to "fix" inequality with hyper-progressive taxation represent a good Venn-match with the people protesting Sec.-nominee Betsy DeVos's rescuing the poor kids in the second paragraph.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2017 5:03 PM

Maybe a "businessman"

A "stellar businessman."

The referenced line starts around the 7-minute mark, but I found this entire 2012 RNC Convention speech to be quite interesting and foreshadowing of this election just passed. Try the whole eleven minutes and see if you agree.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:15 PM | Comments (0)

Making "Bully" Great Again

Not even a week into his Presidency, Donald Trump seems to rack up accomplishments by the day rather than by the month or even year, by his predecessor. But there's more to the comparison than mere ambition or scope of vision. There's a palpable difference of style, and it clearly favors the man portrayed as "vulgar" and "misogynist" over the one lauded as "clean and articulate."

As the meeting got started, the president, whom House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says wants to push "an ambitious agenda," employed chivalry and humor.

As his high-powered breakfast guests took their seats, Trump played the role of gentleman, holding General Motors CEO Mary Barra's chair.

"Let me help you with that," said the victorious presidential candidate, whose campaign trail comments and a leaked "Access Hollywood" video caused millions of women around the globe to protest last Saturday.

Then came more humor that got a big laugh from the car executives, when the president suggested they go around the table for introductions: "I'll start. I'm Donald Trump."

Imagine the 44th president, often (and aptly) referred to as the Narcissist in Chief, being so self-effacing. In contrast:

Over the last eight years, Obama and his aides hosted private-sector officials and stakeholders from the nonprofit world regularly. But the 44th president was often criticized for not socializing more with lawmakers, though his top aides near the end essentially argued a president should not have to - and expressed their belief that Republicans poisoned the relationship from the start.

Now who's guilty of excessive rationalizations? [Fourth comment] The most powerful man in the free world gives up because, dog gonnit, "they don't like me?" Almost in revenge, President Obama declared I will use my pen and phone to take on Congress. This is the tactic of a modern-day bully.

President Trump was thought to be exactly that during the presidential primary campaign, calling his opponents "low energy," "little," and "lyin'." But in his first days as President, Donald John Trump is reverting to an earlier meaning of the term. The meaning implied when President Theodore Roosevelt Jr. coined the term "bully pulpit" as a reference to the White House. In those days, "bully" was more apt to mean "superb" or "wonderful" and not the ruthless and insensitive lout it conjures today.

But the meetings with lawmakers and the titans of industry haven’t been merely social occasions. During the Monday evening session, the president "made it clear" to congressional leaders that "he expects no delays in getting his agenda through Congress and out of Washington," Spicer said Tuesday.

President Trump seems determined to make many things Great Again - the more, and the faster, the better.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2017

Dodo Bird; Baiji River Dolphin; Sanctuary Cities

The Dodo is well known as a long extinct specie of bird. The Baiji River Dolphin, far less famous, became extinct more recently. And astute readers have already detected the implied pattern in this post's headline.

While the fledgling administration of President Trump may have been the necessary catalyst, the real driving force behind the predicted demise of sanctuary cities in, first California, then the nation, is good ol' democracy:

"An IGS-UC Berkeley poll shows that 74 percent of Californians want sanctuary cities ended; 65 percent of Hispanics, 70 percent of independents, 73 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans."

Seventy-four percent! Hell, even same-sex marriage doesn't get that much popular support in the Golden State, with just 60 percent support. Or any state, for that matter (except Massachusetts, which boasts 76% support for same-sex marriage.) In fact, a greater majority of California Hispanics support ending sanctuary cities than the percentage of all Californians who approve of gay marriage.

Eventually, some enterprising politicians will take advantage of these facts and defeat the sanctuary city "bitter clingers" at the polls.

One last point: As a group, California Democrats are only 12 percent less "racist" than California Republicans.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:23 PM | Comments (0)

I know 12 year old girls with fewer...

Reporting President Trump's moratorium on EPA social media communications, the always judicious Denver Post said "We're watching the dark cloud of Mordor extend over the federal service."

"One does not simply walk into the Denver Post and suggest objectivity . . . " But I digress.

The inestimable Amy Oliver-Cooke did a little digging:


EPA_accounts.jpg


Make no mistake, the EPA is allied headquarters for the Climate-Industrial Complex and their anti-energy allies on the left. According to a report from the Republican majority of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works:
EPA officials routinely corresponded via email with NRDC leaders with whom they also held meetings away from government property, thereby evading transparency requirements, since the start of the rule making process for the power plant regulations in March 2011.

I'm not sure Humphrey's Executor was well decided. In fact, I'm pretty certain it sucks. Regardless, I want to ask the hyoervetalists "Can you get on your company's Twitter account and send things out with which your CEO disagrees?"

UPDATE: Oh, and if you do not follow Laurie Bratten on Facebook, you are missing out. She posts daily updates from the Colorado Statehouse from a liberty / small-government perspective.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:19 PM | Comments (0)

Two Steps Forward, One Back

Bully for the President! Approving Keystone XL and Dakota Pipelines. Way to go.

The WSJ Ed Page -- like me -- is quite enthusiastic. The rule of law was truly subverted on both of these to appease the environmentalist left.

Such carve outs for progressive constituencies are one reason voters rejected Democrats in November, and the pipelines promise broader prosperity. Keystone is predicted to spin off 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs, many of them to be filled by union workers, and add $3 billion to GDP. The pipeline could move 830,000 barrels a day along the route from Alberta to Nebraska; up to 100,000 would come from North Dakota, where a glut of crude has to travel by rail to reach refineries built to process it. The efficiencies will ripple across the oil and gas industry.

Pretty awesome huh? Boy, we sure like the cut of that Trump fellow's jib. Oh. Wait...
One danger here is President Trump's campaign promise to "renegotiate some of the terms" that included bromides about how "we'll build our own pipes, like we used to in the old days." He floated royalty payments during the campaign, and a separate order on Tuesday directed the Commerce Department to develop a plan to use U.S. steel and iron in all new pipelines. TransCanada has said in past months that it's "fully committed" to Keystone XL, but the company may not be eager for another politician to direct its investment decisions.

Ah yes, the good old days when we built our own pipes. Wow -- America was really great back then. I'm going back to bed -- call me on my mobile if you need anything...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:15 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Perhaps. The WSJ Editorial Board has suggested that President Trump offers business a bargain: I'm going to lower your taxes and keep government regulators off your back; you're going to let me browbeat you and bias your investments toward domestic production.

As a great blue-eyed economist once said "That ain't love. But it will have to do until the real thing comes along." Much as I love trade, that's likely a better bargain than they saw over the previous eight years,

Posted by: jk at January 25, 2017 4:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm actually hopeful that Trump is more saavy than all of the principled free-market advocates realize. Yes, he is distorting markets with his browbeating. But perhaps he is doing it as a countermeasure against foreign currency manipulation. There is a direct way to counter such manipulation, which is "by far, the world’s most protectionist international economic policy in the 21st century" and there are indirect ways. Perhaps President Trump is engaging in one of these. Among other things, the browbeating has the advantages that it can be done quickly, by executive action, and it is not an obvious countermeasure to something else. It just looks like unbridled populism. It is that, of course, but a principled executive knows how far to take it before backing off.

We have admitted that Trump is smarter than most critics assume, haven't we?

Posted by: johngalt at January 25, 2017 7:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny told me I'm a hopeless, rationalizing, optimist.

Guilty!

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2017 1:40 PM
But dagny thinks:

And he thinks the Rockies are going to be good this year.

Posted by: dagny at January 26, 2017 1:57 PM
But jk thinks:

I was going to comment on your optimism, but I would never have gone so far as Sister Dagny (though the brave black and purple are not without talent...)

On a serious note, optimism is good and I must admit that -- so far -- more of your rosy scenarios have materialized than my dark dystopian visions. But it is Day Four; I hope you'll be willing to hold him accountable.

And yes, he is well served by the compete insanity of his critics. Holy Cow, those people have left the rational plane. But they can be bonkers and he can still be wrong.

And the bullpen. Some steps up, but enough?

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2017 3:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I'll hold him accountable. I probably won't march on the capitol or cut off any parts of my anatomy, but I'll always be willing to condemn bad acts.

I haven't been following the Rox off-season moves but I did hear about the once great Royals reliever who's coming off some surgery or another. But a sports radio jock I know is predicting Rocktober already!

Hope springs eternal - if not this year, then next. Or the year after that. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2017 4:17 PM

January 24, 2017

But Betsy DeVos Capitalized "Inauguration."

She is obviously unfit to take the helm of such a well-oiled machine as the United States Department of Education.

The $7 billion school improvement grant program: Greatest failure in the history of the US Department of Education?

The final IES report on the School Improvement Grant program is devastating to Arne Duncan's and the Obama administration's education legacy. A major evaluation commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education and conducted by two highly respected research institutions delivered a crushing verdict: The program failed and failed badly. (The Washington Post's article by Emma Brown does an exceptional job recounting the administration's $7 billion folly.)


Posted by John Kranz at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

$7 billion spread amongst "5000 failing schools" only amounts to $1.4 million each. The obvious explanation is that, like the Stimulus, it wasn't big enough.

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2017 1:40 PM

January 20, 2017

Otequay of the Ayday - Presidential Inaugural Edition

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow. We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones, and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth. At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. - President Trump's Inaugural Address
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:16 PM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Here's my money quote:

Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another -- but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 21, 2017 12:11 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Anybody know how long it was? I'd like to compare it to Obam-UH's inaugural. I did verify this: he said "I" only thrice.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/20/politics/trump-inaugural-address/index.html

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 21, 2017 12:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I heard it timed at twenty minutes, then later someone said it was only sixteen.

You're right to point out that he said "I" only three times. He said "we" however, 45 times.

I find this particularly significant because commentator Mara Liasson, on NPR before the speech, suggested that we listen for this detail because Trump was all about "I" during the campaign. She probably heard me yelling at her through the radio, "Did you ever notice how much the sitting president talks about himself? The Narcissist in Chief?"

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2017 12:07 PM

Bizarro World

First: a sincere congrats to the brave persons who supported Trump through victory. I am awfully glad that we are not inaugurating Sec. Clinton today.

The title refers to differing press accounts of the transition. The TeeVee news this this morning informed me around seven times in three minutes that President Trump* will be inaugurated "without any of his cabinet picks confirmed." They offered no statistics of other Januaries Twentieth, but the tone indicated it was on the order of "the first to be inaugurated wearing only underwear."

National Review meanwhile, [I will look for link] was aflutter that he had made all of his picks. Again, no comparisons were provided, but it sounded unusual.

Whom to believe? Well, Kimberly Strassel of course! The ThreeSources fave spikes the football that Sen. Chuck Schumer (Eats Detergent - NY) was going 0-8 on blocking them.

Perhaps the warning sign was that actual sign--the poster board that stood beside Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi Jan. 4. "Make America Sick Again," it blared. Democrats had intended to mock Donald Trump. Instead, some neglectful aide had made the incriminating text about Republicans on the sign too small for the cameras. Twitter had a field day, circulating a photo of the nation's top two Democrats trumpeting their wish of ill health on the nation.

And she does compare:
It's a modern Washington principle that opposition parties get to claim at least one nomination scalp. George H.W. Bush lost defense nominee John Tower Bill Clinton lost his first two choices for attorney general, Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood George W. Bush lost Linda Chavez as Labor Secretary. Barack Obama lost Bill Richardson, Judd Gregg and Tom Daschle.

I lived through "Bush Derangement Syndrome." Mutatis mutandis trumpus, I don't think it will be any healthier.

* first typing

Posted by John Kranz at 1:00 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I enjoyed "liking" numerous Tweets from world leaders congratulating President Trump.

Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2017 5:11 PM

January 17, 2017

Trump Revolution, Indeed

I mentioned my skepticism with the category title Trump Revolution. My first comparison was to "Reagan Revolution" and Peggy Noonan's still-awesome-after-all-these-years book What I Saw at the Revolution. While cautiously hopeful, I am not fond of the comparison between 40 - 45. Reading Reagan's GE speeches and early columns, he had a deep devotion to political philosophy and policy. I think it fair to say I find that wanting in the President-Elect.

But there was also the French Revolution: great upheaval with mixed changes both positive and negative. So, I am onboard and hoping the guillotines stay locked in the cellar of the Bastille.

I say this to actually introduce two overwhelmingly positive stories in the continuing wonder of some of his superb personnel picks. But my optimism will always be cautious. Now to the nice part:

-- Betsy DeVos! Every day I like that pick more. By her enemies and friends shall ye know her, and Sen. Bob Casey's enmity is an asset in my world. Harvey Silverglate [Review Corner] takes him to task for attacking her contributions to FIRE.

Civil-liberties advocates have long defended free speech and fair procedures. Often that means standing up for the rights of people who hold odious views or have committed grave crimes, including sexual assault. Those whose views are merely unpopular, and the innocent who are wrongly accused, depend on the same protections.

If confirmed, Mrs. DeVos will have the opportunity to improve the climate for fairness and accuracy in campus judiciaries at universities that have obliterated due process for fear of losing millions in federal aid--to make American higher education free and fair again.

-- And Mitch's wife might kill the train to nowhere.

The Obama Administration gave California $3.2 billion to build the 500-mile bullet train from San Francisco to Anaheim, which seven years later still isn't shovel ready. The $10 billion in state bonds that voters approved in 2008 for the $64 billion (and counting) train have been tied up in litigation. Meanwhile, Democratic legislators have been loath to appropriate funds beyond a fraction of the revenues generated by California’s cap-and-trade program, which is also under legal challenge.

So the Obama Administration has repeatedly eased the spending and construction deadlines in federal grant agreements. Last year the White House provided a cash advance rather than require the railroad authority to match federal funds dollar for dollar.

Yet according to the FRA document, the rail authority still won’t meet its June deadline for spending stimulus funds.


Liberté, Egalité, Non Choo-choo.

UPDATE: I knew there was a third great Trump Cabinet pick, but I just couldn't remember...

RandPaul_RickPerry.jpg

Cheap shot -- Perry is an awesome pick.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I was indeed thinking more "Do You Hear The People Sing" revolution than trying to compare the former Democrat, reality television star Trump with the former Democrat, B-movie actor Reagan. Sorry if I rankled inadvertently. In my defense, while Reagan was certainly more schooled in the principles of liberty, Trump may prove to be more successful in implementing them.

As for the California Train to Nowhere, Randall O'Toole penned articles on the three reasons why people don't ride transit. Enjoy at your leisure.

Posted by: johngalt at January 17, 2017 2:45 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I will never compare the Apprentice-Boss to The Great Communicator, but I did find this this article hopeful. Key quote being:

“Tariffs do have a useful role in correcting inappropriate practices,” Ross testified. But he also said he’s “keenly aware” of the damage caused by the Smoot-Hawley tariffs in the 1930s, which were meant to stimulate US production but ended up making the Great Depression worse. “That kind of approach didn’t work very well, and it very likely wouldn’t work very well now,” Ross said. That view will be a relief to many economists and business leaders worried that Trump will ignite trade wars and do more harm than good to the US economy.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 18, 2017 10:04 PM

January 16, 2017

Otequay of the Ayday

Look, I don't care if the Trump fan-bots rail against me, Trump is an unreliable chap, to put it mildly. He doesn't know what he doesn't know and he throws away his promises too easily and a lot of his instincts are leftist in the worst way. Everything he's done so far could be scuttled on the rock of his personality.

But that hasn't happened yet and every day is another day. And today, after eight years of a dishonest, undemocratic, anti-American scold in the White House, I am feeling gleeful. Almost pretty. Okay, gleeful.

Andrew Klavan - 'My Strange Trumpian Glee'


Posted by JohnGalt at 7:23 PM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2017

Oh Please, Oh Please

John Galt Allison, my hope for SecTreas, might not be selling pencils on Wall Street after all:

American banks likely will have a new chief regulator soon, with one of the most likely candidates a welcome name to Wall Street.

John Allison is a name frequently mentioned when it comes to potential candidates President-elect Donald Trump is considering to run the nation's financial system, though a handful of other names also have been bandied around.

If the chatter about him is true, Allison would be named for a Federal Reserve Board of Governors vacancy that would make him vice chairman and head of banking regulation, a position left technically unfilled since it was mandated by the Dodd-Frank banking reforms.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

BOO-yah!

This "flagrant, toxic narcissist" who appeals to bigotry, racism, intolerance" along with his questionable "pure competence" really is growing on me, day by day.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2017 6:05 PM

The King is Dead -- Long Live the King!

Diggin' this:

obamacare_repeal.jpg

Posted by John Kranz at 9:56 AM | Comments (0)

December 31, 2016

FDA Reform

Gotta be optimistic on New Year's Eve!

The WSJ Ed Page suggests that a Trump Administration might reform the FDA -- at least as far as slanted drug committees which provide a platform for bureaucrats without balance rom developers.

This was the process used to dismember a compound for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (yes, one I have bored you with several times before). A look into how bad this actually was is startling.

"Do the clinical results of the single historically-controlled study (Study 201/202) provide substantial evidence (i.e., evidence from adequate and well-controlled studies or evidence from a single highly persuasive adequate and well-controlled study that is accompanied by independent findings that substantiate efficacy) that eteplirsen is effective for the treatment of DMD?"

Are you still reading? The obfuscation led one committee member who voted no, Bruce Ovbiagele, to deliver this insight: "Based on all that I heard, the drug definitely works, but the question was framed differently." Imagine hearing this if you are the parent of a Duchenne boy.


I've suggested admittedly extreme extreme proposals for revamping the FDA, and I'd still love to see them. But, in the real world, all that is necessary is to change the bias from "we must find the reason to deny this" to "we must accept this unless we find something contrary." That would take us 85% of the way there.

On the plus side, this will likely be my last FDA post of 2016.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:43 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

If President Trump or his administration actually do make this change, I will expect to hear it here first! ;)

Fingers crossed.

Hey, any word yet whether President Trump intends to continue that awesome "petition the White House" thingy that Obama invented?

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2017 2:23 PM

December 28, 2016

One State, Two State, Jewish State, Democratic State

Please pardon the flippancy of the title. I'm just trying to make some sense of the lame duck leader of Foggy Bottom and his desperate abandonment of the proper statecraft which have led many decades of his predecessors round and round again, ending up where they began - With Israel trying to survive and her attackers claiming the moral high ground.

Kerry appears outwardly desperate when he pleads,

"[The United States] cannot be true to our own values, or the stated democratic values of Israel, and we cannot properly defend and protect Israel, if we allow a viable two-state solution to be destroyed before our own eyes."

Rather selfish and desperate to insist that Israel accept "a viable two-state solution" simply because it is his two-state solution. Perhaps there are other viable two-state solutions that are better. Or, much more likely, perhaps any two-state solution is destined to fail on account of the fecklessness of the other party.

Perhaps instead, Israel should continue to govern the territory it captured during a war of aggression by said other party, and permit individuals of every race and religion to live there on the sole condition that they abide by Israeli law?

Besides, democracy is overrated. Peace and prosperity and liberty are far more important. I wouldn't trade any one of those for democracy, much less all three.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:42 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:


Ah, it's that time of the decade again; UN rez's denouncing Israel... I suppose Nat'l Geo will have a "End of Cheap Oil" issue coming out soon?

Rather selfish and desperate
Shah, where you been? That and being in love with the sound of his own voice (and seeing himself on TV) are pretty much the only defining characteristics of modern liberals. Perhaps greed... did I miss anything? hmmm, regurgitating yesteryear's ideas for yesterday's problems perhaps?

The question I'd like to see analyzed is: what does a UN resolution mean these days, in terms of "on the ground"?

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 30, 2016 12:02 PM

December 24, 2016

Quote of the Day

Renowned for his optimism! I hope you're right, Larry.

Hard-nosed investment manager Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and a non-political guy, expects the Trump years to be as transformational as the Reagan-Thatcher years. Mr. Dalio says the Trump era could "ignite animal spirits" and "shift the environment from one that makes profit-makers villains with limited power to one that makes them heroes with significant power." -- Larry Kudlow

Posted by John Kranz at 2:17 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I have seen glimpses of businessman bravado, like this one, that make me wish to predict, in all seriousness, that this will be the Atlas Shrugged presidency.

Don't make me eat those words, Donald.

Posted by: johngalt at December 26, 2016 1:11 PM

December 23, 2016

Pouting POTUS

Imagine that a vandal breaks into your home while you're away. You are alerted to his presence by an intrusion alarm, and the intruder knows it, but it will take you more than two months to get back home. And again, the intruder knows it. Just think of the vindictive damage he could do - for whatever his reasons - before you arrive to secure the situation.

That is the scenario that comes to mind when I read Kim Strassel's expose on President Lame Duck Obama.

But perhaps nothing has more underlined the Obama arrogance than his final flurry of midnight regulations. With each new proposed rule or executive order, Mr. Obama is spitefully mocking the nation that just told him "enough."

The technical definition of a midnight regulation is one issued between Election Day and the inauguration of a new president. The practice is bipartisan. George W. Bush, despite having promised not to do so, pushed through a fair number of rules in his final months. But Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were more aggressive, and Mr. Obama is making them look like pikers.

#Petulance

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2016

Does my MAGA hat have to be red?

Fear and loathing are the media watchwords for most of Donald Trump's cabinet appointments, but one of the more amusing campaigns is the progressive assault on the prospect that Larry Kudlow could lead the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Can there be a more compelling endorsement? -- WSJ Ed Page
Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Not a normal presidency" this is.

The ubiquitous cap does come in camo. But you'll probably be more at home in the white model. (And no, that is NOT a micro aggression.)

Posted by: johngalt at December 22, 2016 12:02 PM

December 16, 2016

Realignment?

Not tired of winning just yet. Seriously, there are some incredible beneficial side effects of Trump's election. 1) The FCC will not run the Internet like a public utility:

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said Thursday that he’ll step down in January, and this is good news for innovation and freedom on the internet. Even better is that a near miss in the Senate will allow Republicans to start throwing off Obama Administration regulations soon after Jan. 20.

FCC chairmen traditionally resign when a new Administration arrives, but Mr. Wheeler had refused to say whether he’d depart the agency. In part this was a calculated play to convince Senate Republicans to reconfirm Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, whose term has expired. That would have left the FCC deadlocked at 2-2 next year, and perhaps a 3-2 Democratic majority if Mr. Wheeler reneged on a promise to leave.


I couldn't be happier to get rid of Chairman Wheeler. But, among the fretful, is not just lefties and democratic partisans. One of my Pro-GMO Facebook groups let out quite the cri de coeur OMG, Net Neutrality will be lifted by the eeevil Trump Billionaires!

I belong to a few of these. The memes are funny, but I am frequently reminded that we have shared interest but not shared philosophy. The love their capital-S Science, but a disturbing side-effect is their acceptance of authority. I accept our differences on Climate Change, but while I have been cheering several of President-elect Trump's personnel pix, they are universally disturbed that they are not the "experts" who got us where we are.

Why, of course, pointy-headed Ivy league graduates should run the Internet, right?

Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I was taken aback by FLOTUS' recent statement, "We're Feeling What Not Having Hope Feels Like" Post-Election.

Yes, Ms. Obama, that's what it feels like. To not have any hope that the future will be better. Many of us have been feeling it for the better part of the last eight years!

One man's ceiling is another man's floor, and so on.

Posted by: johngalt at December 16, 2016 4:44 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I too, am mostly very happy with PeOdjTUS' appointments. I willing to watch'n see with Tillerson, and am also enjoying the continued schadenfreude over the liberals' lament on the lack of university presidents, foundation chairs, and WHO officials in the upcoming administration.

I paraphrase Conan: It is good to crush my enemies and to hear the lamentations of their women.

FLOTUS' despair will be Main Street's dynamo!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 18, 2016 12:54 PM

December 15, 2016

Not the exact words I'd've used...

My pal and fellow #HappilySurprisedNeverTrump Shawn told me I am always free to share his FB posts.

Douche_elect.jpg

I gotta say I have been blown away buy most of his personnel choices.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:21 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I tried to explain to Shawn (and anyone who would listen) that his Administration would be more than just his orange ass. I'm only glad to see it come to pass. No hard feelings, you #NeverTrump nincompoop.

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2016 6:53 PM
But Jk thinks:

You get some toldyasos on the personnel picks. Are you surprised to the upside?

Posted by: Jk at December 15, 2016 9:56 PM

December 9, 2016

"Hate Speech" Show Trial

"Putting this son of a bitch in jail is suicide. He has to sign or we'll never get that metal."

"No, we need an example, not a martyr."

"We can't set a precedent here. Not with this man."

"No."

Those are the pivotal lines in this scene from the movie adaptation of a favorite book. The end of the scene came to mind when I read about the verdict in the just completed trial of Geert Wilders on the charge of "hate speech."

Populist anti-Islam Dutch MP Geert Wilders has declared that he and his voters are not racist, despite being found guilty on Friday of discrimination against Moroccans.

He was acquitted of hate-speech in a closely watched trial ahead of next year's key election.

In their verdict, the judges said 'the inflammatory character of the way in which the statements were made have incited others to discriminate people of Moroccan origin.'

But they added that there was 'insufficient evidence' that his words at an election rally in 2014 amounted to incitement to hatred.

The judges also dismissed the prosecution's request to impose a 5,000 euro fine on the far-right MP, whose Freedom Party (PVV) is eyeing an upset victory in the March 2017 polls.

'In this case, the most important question is whether Wilders has crossed a line. This judgement has answered that question,' the judges said in their verdict.

'Therewith, the chamber finds that justice has been done. Consequently, no punishment is imposed.'

"Not a martyr" indeed.

Wilders, 53, immediately gave notice that he intended to appeal his conviction, as he believed it was 'a big loss for freedom of speech.'

The most recent opinion polls predict the PVV will top the vote, saying it could seize 34 seats in the 150-seat lower house of Dutch parliament, some 10 seats ahead of his nearest rival, Prime Minister Mark Rutte's Liberals.

Rather than hurting the controversial lawmaker, observers say his trial has boosted his popularity among Dutch voters, worried about the influx of immigrants and driven by eurosceptic sentiments.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 5, 2016

#DAPL me this... Vol II

WSJ News Pages:

A day after the Obama administration put the brakes on a Midwest oil pipeline by denying a permit needed to finish the route, a spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump said the incoming administration supports completing the project.

"With regard to the Dakota Access Pipeline, that'ss something that we support construction of and we'll review the full situation when we're in the White House and make the appropriate determination at that time," said Jason Miller, a spokesman for Mr. Trump.

On Sunday, celebrations at a protest camp in North Dakota among pipeline opponents led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe erupted after the Department of the Army said it wouldn't grant an easement required by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP to cross beneath a Missouri River reservoir, the final 1,100-foot link to be built in the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline.


That would be the right thing to do -- and very unpopular. Here's to January!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:40 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

If I were the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners I would immediately begin construction of a connecting pipeline section, that passes OVER the river instead.

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2016 9:07 PM

December 2, 2016

Awesome Pick!

Fair and balanced. I've got some very kind words for President-elect Trump. He continues to impress in his cabinet appointments. A Defense Secretary whose nickname is "Mad Dog?" I've got enough neocon blood pumping through my arteries to find that empowering.

But the jewel in the crown is Colorado's self-described MILF (Umm, that's "Mothers In Love with Fracking") Amy Oliver Cooke of the Independence Instiotue. Cooke has been named to the EPA transition team.

Cooke is exactly the right person to join Myron Ebell, another free-market thinker, in transforming the wayward EPA from a power-hungry bureaucracy that does more damage than good, into an agency that serves rather than subjugates taxpayers.

Cooke has been tenacious in questioning and criticizing some of President Obama's key policies enforced by the EPA. She also nailed Gov. Hickenlooper for supporting Obama's so-called Clean Power Plan that threatens to cripple the state's energy industry.


Could not get a better person involved. This is a five star pick.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 1, 2016

A Crowdsourced GOP

The GOP has been touted as the "big tent" party. None other than William F. Buckley Jr. promoted political pragmatism in the ranks when he said the Republicans' goal should be to "choose the most conservative candidate who can win the election" rather than apply some litmus test or another to everyone who asked for our nomination.

The 2016 elections, primary and general, saw a relatively new paradigm supercede the traditional way of doing things - at least in one party. (Hint: It was the party that won.) That paradigm was political crowdsourcing.

Trump economic advisor Stephen Moore takes to the Investors' Editorial Page for a victory lap:

Trade and immigration are unambiguously good for the country - but they will have to be done in ways that are supported by the American people, not shoved down our throats by the elites. In this way, I am more of a populist.

The elites in both parties have never understood Trumpism and often are contemptuous of the intellect and lifestyles of the Trump loyalists.

Conservatives should go back and read Jude Wanniski's classic "The Way the World Works." Wanniski reminds us over and over again of the lesson of history that there is great collective wisdom in the decisions made by the American voters. It's not often wise to second-guess them, but rather to listen to what they are saying.

A lot of good things come with the Trump package. Probably three conservative justices on the Supreme Court, the biggest tax cut and assault against regulatory overreach since the Reagan era, spending cuts, ObamaCare repeal, enterprise zones for inner cities, vouchers for kids in failing schools, and so on. But it's a package deal, folks. If you want purity, vote for Ron Paul for president again and see where that gets you.

Elitario Delenda Est?

But it is a new Republican party, and a new political and policy era has begun. What Donald Trump achieved on election night was to topple the legacies of three family dynasties all at once: the Clintons, the Bushes and the Obamas. They were the troika of big losers in 2016. Trump didn't topple the Reagan legacy of growth, optimism and peace through strength.

If the Age of Trump is to be a success, he will build on and modernize that legacy.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:10 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Hoping for the best. Yet, would you not agree that Republicanism rests on a mixture of elites and "demos?"

Nobody loves to bash the pointy-heads much more than me. But that does not mean that I want the populist elements to get their way on everything. I'm pretty cozy with the pointy-heads at the WSJ Ed Page on economics, but roll my eyes at their Newyawkeh positions on forearms.

I'm hardwired to rail against plebiscitary democracy, but was reminded by a good Republican speaker at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons that most of Colorado's best freedom-based laws have come from citizen initiatives.

It's tough, but economics proves -- and I don't use the word lightly -- many counter-intuitive things that the average laid-off steel worker may not have encountered.

We're back to Hamilton - Jefferson and I am firmly convinced we need draw from both.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2016 3:35 PM

November 23, 2016

Allison for SecTreas

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

The next kiss to build a dream on comes from Reason

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

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

Posted by John Kranz at 4:57 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Whoot! Go JA! Go JA!

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

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

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

Trump "softening" on climate change?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2016

Otequay of the Ayday

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted by JohnGalt at 7:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2016

The subjectivity of "free trade"

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

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

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

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

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

Helps explain the internecine 3Sources debates.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But.

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

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

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

All moot now that Senator Smoot has been elected President.

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

Say Something Nice

Jim Geraghty -- and I confer:

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

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

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

Posted by John Kranz at 12:06 PM | Comments (2)
But AndyN thinks:

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

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

Ow. That's gonna leave a mark.

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

November 19, 2016

On Crying Wolf

Why am I harping on this?

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

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


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

Posted by John Kranz at 3:51 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2016

A Reagan-era "do over"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (0)