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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Protecting the Jury

For John, BLUFSure, I am convinced Mr Paul Manafort (as was the key witness against him) guilty of financial shenanigans, but I also wonder if the culture at DOJ is more about justice or more about counting Coup?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a Tinker to Evers to Chance kind of thing, starting with a blog post by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, that starts with:

From PJ Media, by Mr Roger L Simon, 17 August 2018.

Here is an interesting paragraph from Mr Simon, talking about the Democrats, and those who run with them:

This, of course, comes from the very people who themselves were colluding with the Russians only minutes ago, but that is the nature of groupthink. A healthy amount of self-delusion is necessary. The party line is ever moving. Don't panic. Just stay with the nomenklatura. They're always right. (If you don't think we have our own nomenklatura, you're not paying attention.)
In his blog post Professor Reynolds then links to a Power Line post on seven news agencies asking for the names and addresses of the jokers in the Paul Manafort case.

Yes, I can see some legitimate news gathering purpose in interviewing the jourers after the trial.  However, I can also see some Rep Maxine Waters inspired public harassment of the jurors if the don't return the "right" verdict.  That would be a major injustice to the jurors, and it would damage our justice system.

As Professor Reynolds says in his post:

Once I would have thought this paranoid, but I’ve learned that this is how they operate.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, August 17, 2018

What the Democrats Promise for the House

For John, BLUFIn the end it is about guerilla warfare against President Trump, awaiting the Day of the Mueller Report.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Column:  The Democrats' plans for 2019—and beyond

From The Washington Free Beacon, by Mr Matthew Continetti, 17 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

The Democrats have decided that agendas are overrated.  Back in May, the party unveiled its "Better Deal" program, calling for expanded broadband access, an increase in the minimum wage, and paid family and sick leave.  Voters didn't bite.  So last month the Democrats came up with "For the People," which simplifies the platform to infrastructure spending, lowering health care costs, and draining the swamp.  Again, crickets.

What to do?  Party leadership has declared that it's every cis-het man for himself.  "We trust our candidates to know their districts and the challenges facing their communities better than anyone," House campaign chair Ben Ray Luján tells the New York Times.  Translation:  If you are Conor Lamb, run as a gun-friendly champion of the working class.  If you are Rashida Tlaib, feel free to announce that you would vote against aid for Israel and to call for bi-nationalism that would end the Jewish State.  Texas Democrat Colin Allred, following Hillary Clinton, says everyone should be able to buy into Medicare.  Maine Democrat Jared Golden, following Bernie Sanders, says, "We need to move towards a universal health care system, like Medicare-for-all."

In the end it is about banishing President Trump, and crippling him until that glorious day.

As for President Trump, it reminds me of the pig wrestling caution.  "Don't wrestle with a pig.  You will get dirty and it will only make the pig happy."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Other Side of the Trade War

For John, BLUFPresident may be a light weight, but if he is he is a very lucky player, which is just as good.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Don Surber, 16 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

Omarosa. The show trial for Paul Manafort.  These are the things CNN chipmunks chattered about endlessly the last few days.  But CNN has no news judgment because it is run by a moron with a Harvard degree and a Napoleon Complex.

To find the news, I read the South China Morning Post, which is worried spitless that the Red Chinese economy will tank like its stock market has.

Yes, the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

China throws its weight around, but it isn't all smooth sailing for the new Great Helmsman, General Secretary, Chairman and President Xi.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Free Press

For John, BLUFI think the Presslooks down on half the population, the half that voted for Candidate Trump.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is David Burge (@iowahawkblog):

If people who think the press is the enemy can't be persuaded by 350 identical newspapers editorials, I guess I there's no hope for them

Here is the original Old Gray Lady tweet:

NYT Opinion
@nytopinion In response to a call from the @BostonGlobe, more than 200 newspapers big and small, including this one, are speaking up in defense of America’s #FreePress.
It appears the Press leaders seem to think the First Amendment is in jeopardy.  On the other hand, while worried about Press Freedom, the Press seems to not worry about Free Speech.  Antifa is free to restrain free speech, but the President isn't free to question the motives of the Press?

Maybe the November election will cause a refocusing.  Or maybe not.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Picking the Wrong Side

For John, BLUFThe Left, which used to support Jews, and Israel, seems to be stepping away.  Sadly.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Samizdata, by Natalie Solent (of Essex), 13 August 2018.

Here is the lede:

“Jeremy Corbyn: I was present at wreath-laying but don’t think I was involved”, reports the Guardian.
Well, he was present at the wreath laying, back in 2014, in Tunisia.  The event was commemorating the terrorists involved in the massacre of Israeli Olympic Athletes at Munich, back in 1972.

It was a long time ago, the original massacre, the retaliation and the wreath laying, which was in 2014.  But, the question is, where does Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn stand today?  I suspect not on the right side of this.

From Guido Fawkes' blog, Order-Order, we have "Corbyn Reported to Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards".  Here are the first two paragraphs:

Jeremy Corbyn has been reported to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, over his non-declared visit to Tunis, attendance at the wreath laying ceremony for the masterminds of the Munich Massacre, and inability to be open and honest about his attendance.

Andrew Bridgen MP has written the commissioner, setting out how Corbyn has potentially breached three key elements of the Code of Conduct.

Read Guido's post to see the three elements cited.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

President Working For All

For John, BLUFAnd, he is.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a Tweet from Donald J. Trump, 11 August 2018:
I am proud to have fought for and secured the LOWEST African American and Hispanic unemployment rates in history. Now I’m pushing for prison reform to give people who have paid their debt to society a second chance. I will never stop fighting for ALL Americans!
6:41 AM - 11 Aug 2018
Our senior senator, here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, doesn't seem to think so, but Ms Kim Kardashian seems willing to work with the President in the area of prison reform.

Sadly, our political scene seems to resemble the TV Series Occupied, Season 1.  Who ARE the good guys?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Keeping It Together

For John, BLUFYour Spouse is someone you should walk with (and talk with) to the very end.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From , by Playwright Carla Seaquist, 4 August 2018.

I have met Carla, and followed her writings over the years.  Her husband, Larry, was my boss's Deputy when I was on the Joint Staff.  While I don't agree with all of her politics, I do think she makes a very good point here.  Marriage is very important and should not be allowed to decay over issues of domestic politics.

The other thing I picked up was a link to an Opinion Piece her husband wrote, along with another person, on Homelessness in their part of Washington State.  The [West] Coast is having a terrible time with homelessness, and my understanding from when I was a teenager is that trends start out in Southern California, head east to New York City and then spread out from there.  This homelessness trend is not something we want to see spread to Lowell.

Homelessness isn't one thing.  Rather, it is a combination of things, including skyrocketing home prices, high unemployment, mental health issues, addiction of some form, a desire to be free of obligations and a failure to launch as an adult.  Our solutions need to consider all those factors  One solution does not fill all needs, but we do know that adequate housing does reduce medical costs, and thus the physical cost to the person who is homeless.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, August 13, 2018

Fixing the Justice System

For John, BLUFAnd who is working to fix this problem?  Kim Kardashian and President Trump.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The National Interest, by Mr Jim Geraghty, 6 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus four:

You think you have a tough job this morning? Imagine being the guy who has to organize “Cops for Warren 2020” in a year or so.

Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, speaking at Dillard University in New Orleans this weekend:

“Let’s just start with the hard truth about our criminal justice system,” she railed.  “It’s racist.  It is.  And when I say our system, I mean all the way.  I mean front to back.  This is not just sentencing reform we’re talking about here.  We’re talking about the front end on what you declare to be illegal on how you enforce it, on who gets arrested.”
“Racist all the way, front to back,” is a really surprising and troubling thing to hear about a system that was, until 18 months ago, effectively headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and before her, Eric Holder, appointed and accountable to the nation’s first African-American president.  A system that has 214 African-American federal judges, 125 of Latino or Hispanic heritage, 41 Asian-Americans, and three Native Americans.  A system that has at least 400 black prosecutors (although far too few elected ones).  A system where 27 percent of the officers and police personnel are members of minority groups, as of 2013, the most recent year data are available.  Do all of these people feel like they are cogs in the “racist all the way, front to back” machine?

Does she think her potential rival, former Massachusetts governor and assistant attorney general Deval Patrick was part of a racist system?  How about former district attorney and state attorney general Kamala Harris?

Sure, I think Legislators bear a lot of the responsibility for this situation, but do you think Senator Warren thinks Law Professors bear some responsibility for the state of affairs as she sees it?

I wonder if Senator E Warren is the one who told Mr Bertrand Russell that it is turtles all the way down?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Following the Narrative

For John, BLUFI wonder if Reporters, and their editors, are bothered by objective facts on the ground?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Victory Girls Blog, by Ms Nina Bookout, 12 August 2018.

If you don't equate AntiFAT with the Nazi era Brownshirts you either are not paying attention or your historic understanding is deficient, or both.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Does She Really?

For John, BLUFThe thing about discrimination is that it costs you the value of talent.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Hot Air, by Mr John Seton, 3 August 2018.

Yes, this is about the new Member of the Editorial Staff at The Old Lady, Ms Sarah Jeong, who is female and of Korean extraction.

I wonder if she thinks that in addition to excluding Japanese military Self Defense Force members from helping repel some future North Korean military assault on South Korea, male caucasians (US, Aussie, Kiwis and Brits) should also be excluded?

And, in the back of one's mind is the question of if we can, in the future, expect a fair shake from 620 Eighth Avenue.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

"Fixing" The Electoral College

For John, BLUFThe Electoral College serves an important function, in ensuring the smaller and less populated states feel they have a stake in the larger Federal Government.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Boston Globe, by Globe Staff Member Michael Levenson, 10 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

A Harvard Law professor, former governor William F. Weld, and Al Gore’s onetime attorney are making a long-shot bid to change the Electoral College system, arguing that it encourages presidential candidates to devote all their time to a handful of swing states and ignore the vast majority of the country.

The high-powered group is suing two blue states, Massachusetts and California, and two red states, Texas and South Carolina, arguing that the winner-take-all system that they and 44 other states use to allocate electors to the Electoral College effectively disenfranchises millions of voters who back the losing candidates.

For Massachusetts it meant rounding up three non-Democrats to file suit against the Commonwealth.  They even found a Republican Student at Harvard who joined the suit.

Sure, this might be a good idea, but having the courts force it seems like a vote of no-confidence is the legislative process.  Why go to a Federal Court to deal with something the General Court could fix itself.  Are we in some sort of "death pact" with most of the other states, where we cannot take the lead without hurting ourselves (or the Democratic Party)?

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Connecticut Senator Mentally Adrift

For John, BLUFFreedom of speech means the Government can't shut you down.  It is not a promise of private companies publishing whatever you produce.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

So that is the Tweet from Ben Shapiro.

Here is the original Tweet, from Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT):

Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart.  These companies must do more than take down one website.  The survival of our democracy depends on it.

So, yes, the First Amendment is about the Government.  So Facebook or some other Internet organization can dump Mr Alex Jones and his InfoWars any time it wants.

However, for Congress to mandate it would be to violently violate the First Amendment.

The other thing is, for a member of a party that uses terms like Hitler and Nazi to describe the leaders of the other major political party to then talk about "hate and lies" and tearing "our nation apart" is the height of hypocrisy.

Shame Senator Murphy, Shame!

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFViolinist Mischa Elman is walking from Carnegie Hall toward his hotel following a rehearsal. He wasn’t happy with his playing and had his head down. Two tourists who saw his violin case asked him "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"  Without looking up, he replied, “Practice.”   Nothing to see here; just move along.

From "The Long March" (Reporter and Historian Tom Ricks) feature of Task and Purpose, by Ms Sara Samora, 6 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus two:

One of my drill instructors, then-Staff Sgt. Rosie Suarez-Woods, made it all look so easy.  My November company platoon sisters and I tried repeatedly to duplicate her drill actions.  A handful I believe were successful.  Most of us were not.

As easy as Suarez-Woods made it look, it was hard.  Hard as f_ _k, really.

During one drill practice, she said something that stayed with me to this day, and it’s something I always return to when professors or bosses have me and my colleagues or classmates do something repeatedly:  “An amateur practice until she gets it right.  A Marine practice until she can’t get it wrong.”

Seems right to me.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFI can see tired and frustrated airline passengers not doing well in this situation, but that is when a sense of humor is most important.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Time Magazine, by Ms Megan McCluskey, 9 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

Basically anyone who has ever been to an airport knows that finding an open power outlet can be one of the most stress-inducing aspects of flying.  So it should come as no surprise that people are freaking out over this power outlet sticker prank.

Thanks to one beleaguered traveler’s commitment to exposing this diabolical trick to the world, a photo of one of the fake sockets has gone viral. “Whoever put up this fake sticker of an open outlet at the airport, you are now my enemy for life,” Twitter user Brandon Ewing captioned a photoset of himself discovering the ruse.

"Basically," if you can't take a joke, life is going to be very hard.

The up side of this is that it might prompt various airport managers to do some rewiring.

As a note, the video at the top of the story has nothing to do with the story.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Are These Democrats?

For John, BLUFSome on the left seem ready to jump off the precipice.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

It’s not just New Deal liberalism.

From Vox, by Ms Meagan Day, 1 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

I’m a staff writer at the socialist magazine Jacobin and a member of DSA, and here’s the truth:  In the long run, democratic socialists want to end capitalism.  And we want to do that by pursuing a reform agenda today in an effort to revive a politics focused on class hierarchy and inequality in the United States.  The eventual goal is to transform the world to promote everyone’s needs rather than to produce massive profits for a small handful of citizens.

Democratic socialists share goals with New Deal liberals.  But they want to go further.

Jacobin MagazineHere.

That seems to have settled that.  Abolish Capitalism and replace it with socialism.  Will there be an escape valve?  Or is Caracas our future for ever?

Of course, if everything is produced in abundance there is no need for economics.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Insurance Policy

For John, BLUFThis kind of thing would never happen in these United States, but if it were to happen, this is how it would happen.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Hill, by Reporter Sheryl Attkisson, 9 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus two:

Let’s begin in the realm of the fanciful.

Assume, for the sake of argument, that powerful, connected people in the intelligence community and in politics worried that a wildcard Trump presidency, unlike another Clinton or Bush, might expose a decade-plus of questionable practices.  Disrupt long-established money channels.  Reveal secret machinations that could arguably land some people in prison.

What exactly might an “insurance policy” against Donald Trump look like?

To be fair to the bureaucrats, Ms Sharyl Attkisson believes the Government broke into her house and bugged her computer—as in secretly broke into her place of residence, contrary to the Fourth Amendment.

I am sure that any relationship, in this scenario, to Text messages exchanged by FBI Chief of Counterespionage Peter Strzok and DOJ Lawyer Lisa Page is purely coincidental.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Banning Extreme Conservatives

For John, BLUFI guess there is no place for NRA members or Right to Life folks in The Empire State.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New York Post, by Reporter Seth Lipsky, 8 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s lawyers will be in federal court in Albany next month, when they’ll try to get a judge to dismiss the lawsuit against him by America’s largest civil rights organization.

The group is the National Rifle Association, which is asking a federal court to halt the governor’s efforts to use financial regulations to drive the gun rights group out of business here.  Think of it as the first court test of what could be called the “Cuomo doctrine”:  the governor’s vow that “extreme conservatives” have “no place in the state of New York.”

Cuomo first declared his doctrine in a radio interview in January 2014. He railed against “extreme conservatives who are ‘right to life,’ ‘pro-assault weapon,’ ‘anti-gay.’”  Cuomo didn’t say whether he meant to include in his list of deplorables all Catholics, say, or Muslims, or Orthodox Jews.

What had really set Cuomo off was Republican opposition to his gun-control measures.  He was infuriated that, after Sandy Hook, some objected to tightening already-strict New York gun laws.

Fair enough, one might say.  The governor of New York is entitled to have a view on guns, to differ with the NRA and to join robustly in the debate over what to do about gun violence.

In April of this year, though, state regulators told insurers and banks they oversee to look at their relationships with gun rights groups.  They warned of “reputational risks” in their “dealings” with the NRA.

Yes, maybe the Democrats are correct.  We elected Donald Trump and now it feels like we are living in Nazi Germany, or Stalinist Russia, or the Bolivarian Socialist Republic of Venezuela.  Well, I don't, since I live in Massachusetts, but think about living in New York State.  Terrible.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

North Korea Faces Problems

For John, BLUFThe global heat wave seems to have impacted North Korea particularly hard.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Daily NK, by Reporter Kim Yoo Jin, 8 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus three:

As North Korea continues to reel from an unprecedented heat wave, the authorities are conducting a nationwide assessment of the damage that has been inflicted on crops as well as on-site farm visits, report sources in the country.

"The temperature has risen daily and there's no rain, so crops all over the country are drying out," said a North Hamgyong Province-based source on August 6. "The authorities are investigating the damage done to the agricultural fields."

The source said that the authorities have sent investigative teams to farms throughout the country who are taking photos of the damage and sending them back to central headquarters.

The roots of the corn crops have yellowed because they have dried out from the lack of rain. North Koreans consider the agricultural season to be "finished" this year. Farmers have suffered from both the double impact of intense heat and drought.

Will this remind the North Koreans of the North Korean famine, which occurred in North Korea from 1994 to 1998?

The first question, of course, is how do we prevent another famine, given the last one killed hundreds of thousands?  Here is Wikipedia's view:

Out of a total population of approximately 22 million, somewhere between 240,000 and 3,500,000 North Koreans died from starvation or hunger-related illnesses, with the deaths peaking in 1997.  A 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report put the likely number of excess deaths during 1993 to 2000 at from 500,000 to 600,000.
The second question is how do we prevent a breakdown that results in a massive refugee exodus into Russia and China, which will be resisted by both?

The third question is how does the United States properly leverage this situation in a way that helps Chairman Kim Jung-un step back from his nuclear ambitions?

Regards  —  Cliff

Wrong Questions Give Wrong Answers

For John, BLUFNo prejudice is more interesting that that of Social Scientists.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

A Columbia University sociologist recently published a study showing that much of the academic research into President Trump’s voters is marred by prejudicial designs, distorted data, and outright misrepresentations.

Musa al-Gharbi points out, for instance, that one data set used in a Washington Post article to accuse Trump voters of racist motivations actually shows that Trump voters were less racist than those who voted for Mitt Romney.

From Campus Reform, by Reporter Toni Airaksinen (@Toni_Airaksinen), 2 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

A new study finds that much of the research conducted on President Trump’s voters is marred by prejudicial designs, distorted data, and outright misrepresentation of Trump’s words.

Led by Musa al-Gharbi, a Columbia University sociologist, “On Social Research in the Age of Trump” analyzes three case studies of academic research on Trump to illustrate the various ways that academics have misrepresented the president and his voter base to the public.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Building Trump's Base

For John, BLUFSometimes you are known by the enemies you make.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From American Greatness, by Professor Victor Davis Hanson, 5 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

ecently, Politico reporter Marc Caputo was angered at rude hecklers at a Trump rally who booed beleaguered CNN correspondent Jim Acosta.

So Caputo tweeted of them, “If you put everyone’s mouths together in this video, you’d get a full set of teeth.”

Politico had not employed such a crass journalist since before it fired Julia Ioffe for tweeting, “Either Trump is f—ing his daughter or he’s shirking nepotism laws.  Which is worse?”  (Ioffe was then snatched up by the Atlantic, which has an unpredictable policy either of excusing or not excusing the controversial expressions of its newly hired journalists.)

I suppose Caputo meant that Trump voters intrinsically lacked either the money to fix their teeth or the knowledge of the hygiene required to take care of them or the aesthetic sensitivity of how awful their mouths looked.  Or Caputo was simply rehashing the stereotypes that he had seen on reality TV shows like “Duck Dynasty” and “The Deadliest Catch.”

Or none of the above:  the journalist grandee was just stupid.

That last alternative seems most likely since Caputo then escalated and called them collectively “garbage people.”  Or rather, in the manner of a cowardly age of social media, he tweeted that slur when safely at a distance.

Frankly, I am honored the elites think I am one of Les Deplorables.

Remember the line, "If you want more Trump, this is how you get more Trump."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Jeff Sessions on SPLC

For John, BLUFTurning around DoJ is hard work.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

SPLC = Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate group.  Just ask Ms Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

From PJ Media, by Mr Tyler O'Neil, 8 August 2018.

Here is the lede:

On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions denounced the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for weaponizing its "hate group" designations against conservative organizations, and pledged that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will not partner with hate groups or groups that defame Americans.  He spoke in front of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian legal organization that has won 9 Supreme Court cases in the last seven years and that has been unfairly defamed as a "hate group" by the SPLC.
I want to hear what the FBI does as a result of this direction.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

It's Over

For John, BLUFThe Word of the Day.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

the standardization of political, economic, and social institutions as carried out in authoritarian states.

What prompted this was a blog post at InstaPundit, by Mr Stephen Green, on an item in PJ Media, "Advertisers Jump on the SJW Bandwagon, Declare Masculinity Dead", by Ms Faith Moore, 8 August 2018.

I guess there are a few of us "bitter clingers", clinging to our guns and Bibles and our masculinity, but otherwise it may all be dead, as we all align with the SJWs.

The only problem is that the SJWs sometimes change direction with no warning.  Watch out for whiplash.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Petty Government

For John, BLUFTheir sidewalk, their city government.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Times, by Reporter Victor Morton, 6 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

The West Hollywood City Council called Monday night for President Trump’s star be removed from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to a tweet by the city’s mayor.
I guess it is their sidewalk.  The thing is, this is what President Trump is being accused of—petty responses to things he doesn't like  This is grand scale petty.

Didn't someone once say, “When they go low, we go high”?  Words [I wish we were mature enough] to live by.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Improving Driver Licenses

For John, BLUFHolding the Democrats to their own standards.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Doubling down on gender recognition for all

From The Boston Herald, by Your Captain, Howie Carr, 5 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus four:

I’m going to nominate Rep. Jim Lyons for a Profiles in Courage Award.

You’ve heard of No Child Left Behind?  Well, on Tuesday night, in the waning moments of the legislative session, the Republican from Andover took a stand for America’s newest civil-rights movement.

No Gender Left Behind.

The smugger-than-thou PC Democrats at the State House were trying to add a third “gender” to the Massachusetts driver’s license — Gender X.

But of course, as everyone knows, or would know, if they were “woke,” there are an infinite number of genders — literally.  Ask any two-spirit that you know. Every neutrois understands this, you damn ’phobes!

Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, in posting this to his blog, said:
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Too Many Laws

For John, BLUFToo right.  Way too many laws on the books.  You don't expect any change from the General Court do you?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Donald Trump has supported the First Step Act to reduce minimum sentences, but more can be done.  For one thing, we need fewer crimes.

From USA Today, by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, 7 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

It’s time and past time to do something about the criminal justice system, as I’ve been arguing for years.  But with last week’s White House conference on criminal justice reform, it looks as if we might just see progress, though I think we need real structural fixes too.

Right now we have both an over-and an under-incarceration problem.  The over-incarceration problem is that too many people are sent to jail for things that shouldn’t carry much jail time, if any:  nonviolent regulatory crimes, low-level nonviolent drug crimes, etc.  Even crimes that are punished with fines can turn into jail time if the defendant can’t pay the fine, as is often the case with poor defendants.  (At the same time, people who commit serious violent crimes often get out too soon.)

Then, when people do get out, they have a hard time making it honestly.  Many people don’t want to hire an ex-con, even when the crime was a comparatively mild one.  And many ex-cons lack the skills to make it in the employment world, though the current booming job market is helping with that.

And here is how it ends:
One solution is to have fewer crimes.  There are — literally, as I noted in the Columbia Law Review a few years ago — so many crimes that not even the government can keep up with them all.  The more crimes we create, the more criminals we create.

And that’s bad, because enforcing the law, as Yale Law professor Stephen L. Carter points out, is inherently violent.  The more laws, the more violence:  When New York made it a crime to sell loose cigarettes for tax reasons, Carter notes, it set the stage for Eric Garner’s death.

As Carter writes, “This is by no means an argument against having laws.  It is an argument for a degree of humility as we choose which of the many things we may not like to make illegal.”

I think we’re much too quick to criminalize conduct without thinking this through.  The next step in criminal justice reform should be to drastically prune the criminal law.

The old saw, "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" is worthless in the face of all the laws on the books, both Federal and State.  I fully agree with Professor Reynolds.

Further, passing more laws is the Legislators' lazy way of dealing with problems.  We don't need more laws, we need more understanding.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, August 6, 2018

Environmental Improvement

For John, BLUFI am not sure banning straws is going to break the camel's back.  We are seeing the leading edge of a moral panic.  We are making progress and we need to remain calm and carry on.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Investor's Business Daily, a 2 August 2018 Editorial.

Here are three key paragraphs, excerpted by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds in his blog post:

From 1970 to 2017, the six major pollutants monitored by the EPA plunged by 73%.  By comparison, during that time the U.S.’ economy grew 262% and its population by 60%.

The decline in pollution is steep. Carbon monoxide, down 77%. Lead, 80%.  Nitrogen oxide, 56%.  Ozone, 22%.  Particle pollution, off an average 38%. Sulfur dioxide, 88%.

Not included in the report, but equally if not more significant, is the fact that CO2 — the main greenhouse gas — overall has plunged 29% since peaking in 2007.  That’s been the relentless focus of global warming activists and the left-leaning power elites from their policy perches at think tanks, NGOs, and global government organizations such as the U.N.

Then Professor Reynolds goes on to say:
Meanwhile, Europe, despite all the sanctimony, is making no such progress.
Is it possible that for the Europeans it isn't so much about the results as it is about the process?  I recall a quip, attributed to a German Professor out of Heidelberg:
That Works Very Well in Practice, But How Does It Work In Theory?
By the way, here is the US EPA Report.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Attributed here to a Boston based magazine back in 1911.

Why Be Engaged in Europe?

For John, BLUFThis is about World War One, The Great War, of which we have a number of memorials here in Lowell, including Kittredge Park.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

A century after the guns fell silent, the United States risks replicating the errors of the past.

From Defense One, by Professor Eliot A Cohen, 9 July 2018.

I do disagree with Professor Cohen on one point.  I believe the Commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), General John "Black Jack" Pershing, was right to want the US forces to be committed as a whole, rather than in penny packets along the front.  The reason was psychological.  Support for the war would be enhanced by American performance and diminished by American accomplishments being blurred in with those of the French and British.

If we glance at Dead Carl for a moment we see the emotional, the psychological, as the first in the three items listed in his "Trinity".  It appears General Pershing knew this.  One suspects President Wilson, with his Southern background, would have sensed it also.

But, back to the larger theme, we do need to stay engaged in Europe, because it will likely cost us in the long run to not be so engaged.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Thoughts on Russia

Quoting Afghan King Ahdur Rahman Khan (1901):
My last words to you, my son and successor, are:  Never trust the Russians.
Regards  —  Cliff

Manafort Trial Stumbles Forward

For John, BLUFI don't think I have seen anything about Russian Collusion WRT this trial.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Law and Crime, by Mr Colin Kalmbacher, 2 August 2018.

Here is the lede:

Paul Manafort‘s third day on trial over charges of bank fraud and tax evasion was cut a bit short on Thursday after government attorneys made the same mistake twice in a row.
I wonder if Federal Judge T.S. Ellis III has talked with United States District Judge Emmet G Sullivan?

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

GOP Campaigning in Commonwealth

For John, BLUFNice turnout.  Even Sam Poulton was there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The [Lowell] Sun, by Reporter Rick Sobey, 3 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus two:

The "Blue Wave" is coming this fall, you may have heard time and time again in the wake of Democratic backlash against Republican President Donald Trump.

But that couldn't have been further from the thoughts of politicos in Lowell's Athenian Corner Wednesday evening.

State and congressional Republican candidates gathered downtown for the "GOP Meet and Rally Fest," making their case for a strong fall election season.

Remember, Primary, Tuesday, 4 September, and the General Election is Tuesday, 6 November.  If you are going to be out of the City on 4 September you can vote now.  Well, Monday.  Tuesday the Election Office (City Hall Basement, SE Corner) is open past 5 PM, for convenience.

And thanks to State Senate Candidate John MacDonald for organizing the affair.

Regards  —  Cliff

Building the Wall

For John, BLUFLeave it to Texas to lead the way.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Babylon Bee, 3 August 2018.

Here is the lede:

The Texas legislature has approved construction of a border wall surrounding the state in order to keep out unwanted refugees fleeing the rapidly crumbling dystopia of California.
Here is the key paragraph:
A recent conversation about changing the name of the city of Austin to be more politically correct opened lawmakers’ eyes to just how many liberal California residents had come to the state in recent years, bringing their crazy ideas with them.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Interfering in the Politics of Other Nations

For John, BLUFIn Nicaragua we have had over one hundred deaths from political violence.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Counter Punch, by Celina Stien-della Croce, 6 July 2018.

The paragraphs tend to be long, so no extract.  The sum of the story is that the United States is messing in elections in Latin America, especially, in this case, Nicaragua and Venezuela. I am shocked.  I thought only Putin's Russia did this sort of thing.

Perhaps the real scandal of the 2016 election is that the US Government did so little to counter Russian election meddling and then did so much to cover it up.

In the mean time, we should not underestimate the power of Socialism to damage nations and bring about the fall of governments.

Regards  —  Cliff

Generational Changes in 2016

For John, BLUFI am not sure if this is a generational switch or a sign that folks under the age of 50 never got a good education in history and economics.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Boston Globe, by Columnist Joan Vennochi, 30 July 2018.

This is an Opinion Piece about Massachusetts US Representative Mike Capuano, his challenger in September, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who has endorsed Ms Pressley. What I found interesting was that Ms Vennochi managed to write the whole 631 word OpEd without once mentioning that older generation Democrats are also being threatened from the Republican side.

Can you believe it?  But, here is a Friday article in The [Lowell] Sun that says opposition is not just in September, but at the vote in November.

As to the Democratic Socialism now invading the Democratic Party, they seem to not understand that Capitalism has pull the vast majority of People across the globe out of abject poverty in the last 300 years, but people like Venezuela's President Maduro are trying to reverse that trend.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Yes, if you are going to be out of town on 4 September, the Primary Election Voting Day, the day after Labor Day, you can go down to Lowell City Hall on this coming Monday (6 August) and vote in the primary.  On Tuesday you can even do it after 5:00 PM.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Can We Ever Pull Together Again?

For John, BLUF So, if it is a "Blue Wave", what do we do with the 63 million Trump voters from 2016?.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Chicago Tribune, by Reporter John Kass, 1 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

As the tax evasion trial of former presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort began, the Trump-hating Democratic Media Complex renewed its howls, hoping Manafort flips and gives up Trump’s head.
Then the author turns to a tweet by Ms Mollie Hemingway, who asked why reporters are getting paid to report on a President they don't understand in any way.  Mr Kass, not a vote for Mr Trump in November 2016, answers Ms Hemingway but then goes on to deplore the press for not understanding President Trump's voters.

Here is how it ends:

Think back on the ridicule that Hillary Clinton, the establishment Democrat of 2016, heaped on Trump voters when she called them “deplorables.”

It wasn’t what Clinton said, alone, that bothered those 63 million voters.  Many were shocked by Trump’s manner, by his bragging, his rude behavior, reference to his hand size, his boorishness, the way he treated women.

And still they voted for him.  Why?  Because they loathed the other side more.  They loathed the establishment.  They loathed the media.  And their reservations about Trump were washed away by the laughter following Clinton’s “deplorables” line.

Think back on that laughter, on that giggling when she talked of “deplorables.”  What followed were the snickers of the clique who get the joke at the expense of those who don’t.

That laughter stuck.  And Trump voters took the memory of it to the polls on Election Day.  Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump voters overwhelmingly gave him the Electoral College victory.

Now, Democrats are lathered up with the trial of this B-movie villain, this Manafort, whose alleged crimes took place long before he worked a few months for Trump.

Let’s say their Manafort fantasies come true, and he cuts a deal, and he serves Trump to special prosecutor Robert Mueller and the orange presidential head is placed upon a platter.

Then what?

What do you do with the millions who voted for Trump?  Mock them into submission?  Have them grovel and beg forgiveness before they’re re-educated?

You don’t have to understand Trump.  But it’s dangerous not to understand the 63 million who voted for him.  They’re not going into exile.  They’re here.

There is the example of the Vendée.  After the Battle of Savenay, in December 1793, General Francois Joseph Westermann reported to Paris:
The Vendée is no more ... According to your orders, I have trampled their children beneath our horses' feet; I have massacred their women, so they will no longer give birth to brigands.  I do not have a single prisoner to reproach me.  I have exterminated them all.
But, speaking of General Westermann, remember the Frank Sinatra lyrics:
You're riding high in April
Shot down in May
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Access to Classified Info Without Duty to the President

For John, BLUFNobody told me I could keep my security clearance, once I left the Service, and for Code Word tickets, once I left a job.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Real Clear Investigations, by Reporter Lee Smith, 2 August 2018.

Here is the lede:

President Trump has been criticized for politicizing the intelligence community by threatening to strip the security clearances of former top officials including John Brennan and James Clapper.  But numerous past and present senior intelligence officials say that the Obama administration started the politicization -- and that revoking the clearances of those who abuse the privilege for partisan purposes may help right the ship.
Further down, the article states:
Security clearances are commonly extended for the top leaders of the intelligence community after they leave their jobs, on the rare chance that they should be called upon to consult with their successors.

“The Trump administration is not going to call in Susan Rice for advice, never mind John Brennan,” said one active intelligence officer.  “And if someone does get called in from a previous administration they can get a temporary clearance, akin to a one-day non-disclosure agreement.”

Courtesy is one thing, but feeding your enemies is another.  This smacks of Deep State.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thugs at Demonstrations

For John, BLUFThese are bad people and now we have folks like the ACLU thinking about giving them a pass.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Ms Debra Heine, 1 August 2018.

Basically, Antifa, which I used to think stood for "Anti First Amendment", is really against anyone who isn't a communist.  Not socialism as understood in the Scandinavian nations, but Communism as understood as Bolivarian Socialism (the failed state of Venezuela) or as President Daniel Ortega defines it (Nicaragua) or maybe Chairman Kim Jung-un (Juche in the DPRK).  Think of that thug, Che.

Thugs who would deprive you of your Rights under the Bill of Rights.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Trump Derangement Syndrome

For John, BLUFThere can be a cost for stating an opinion.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Fox News, by Elizabeth Zriwz, 1 August 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

A Massachusetts woman was reportedly taken into custody on Monday after she allegedly drove into a car sporting a Trump bumper sticker.

The arrest of Chloe Wright, 25, followed an alleged hit-and-run in Hyannis on June 30, the Cape Cod Times reported, citing a police report.

I wonder how many people have been dinged in a parking lot, or had their car keyed for a bumper sticker?

I hope the woman who did this gets the [mental] help she needs.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Tell It To A Marine

For John, BLUFI don't support binge drinking or promiscuity, but there may be some correlation between one kind of risky behavior and another.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The San Diego Union-Tribune, by Contract Reporter Andrew Dyer, 29 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

A new report from the RAND Corporation analyzed survey data from thousands of active-duty military members and found Marines are more likely to be heavy drinkers, use tobacco and engage in riskier sexual behavior than the sailors, soldiers and airmen of the other branches.
Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Dr. Sarah Meadows, a senior sociologist at RAND who helped lead the study, said although it is useful in making policy decisions at the Department of Defense, people should be careful when drawing conclusions or casting judgement on one branch or another.

“We’re not trying to blame anyone for this, but the Marine Corps does tend to stand out,” she said.  “Each of the services has their own culture.”

Meadows said one of the reasons the Marines stand out is simple demographics.

“Marines tend to be young men,” she said.  “Compared to young men on college campuses, it’s pretty similar.”

Meadows partially explained the discrepancy as self-selecting based on who chooses to join the military and which branches they choose.

Steven Green, who posted this, said:
They’re going to want some of that toxic masculinity, next time they need a beach stormed.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

AntiSemitism in Britain

For John, BLUFWe are the West and in the West the polite people hide their antisemitism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

This isn't about two wings of a party fighting for supremacy.  It's about complicity—and whether or not you believe my identity matters

From Prospect (UK), by Mr Steve Bloomfield, 31 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus four:

I’m Jewish and a member of the Labour party.  Those two facts have never had much to do with each other until recently.  They are two parts of my identity that have existed for as long as I can remember, each as important to me as the other.  The idea of having to choose between the two was impossible to imagine.  But that thought—that one may not be compatible with the other—has slowly lodged itself inside me over the past three years.

There has always been anti-Semitism on the far left.  As a student, demonstrating during the build-up to the Iraq War, I saw it on protests, at rallies, in political meetings.  The way everything would somehow slide towards a debate about Israel, the comments about Jewish influence, about how many Jews were in the media.

It was surreal—but it was a fringe.  Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader, the fringe has entered the party’s upper echelons.  And the explanations and the excuses have racked up.  Don’t worry, nobody even knows who Jackie Walker is.  That’s just Ken, he’s being an idiot.  That’s just Christine Shawcroft, she’s an idiot too.  Look, it’s just a few random councillors.  I know, there are loads of #JC4PM-types saying some pretty nasty stuff—but who knows if they’re even party members.  The mural comment looks bad, yes, but it was a long time ago and he’s apologised now.  The code—well the thing about the code is you have to see both sides…

Until last week I’d never heard of the IHRA code.  Being Jewish, I didn’t need a definition of anti-Semitism.  I’ve read it now, like most of us have, and there are lines here and there which I might take issue with.  Among Jewish friends and family I’d happily debate it.  But no, not with you.  Not here in public.  Not in 280 characters.

Parsing the code is irrelevant.  The only thing that matters is this: the Labour party will not allow Jews to define anti-Jewish discrimination.

The IHRA Code?  That would be the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Jew hatred.

In case it isn't clear by this point, this kind of activity within the Labour Party, or any other party, is unacceptable.  In the last century antisemitism led to the deaths of millions of Jews, innocent of anything except being Jewish.  That was wrong them and it is wrong today.  Wrong.

For some of us this prejudice is even worse in that we are Christians and we see the Jews as God's chosen people and believe that we are indebted to them for, as Saint Paul tells the Romans (Chapter 11), "they are most dear for the sake of the fathers".

Maybe the Associated Press will find a way to blame President Trump.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What to Voters Really Know?

For John, BLUFI would like to think the people being polled are just doing pranks on the pollsters, but that might not be good either.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Blog Neo-Neocon, by the Blog Mistress, 30 July 2018.

This is the gut of the issue:

…51% of Democrats have a favorable impression of socialism, with 13% who share a Very Favorable one. This compares to favorables of 21% among GOP voters and 26% among unaffiliateds, with seven percent (7%) and five percent (5%) respectively who hold a Very Favorable opinion of it.
It’s not that 51% of Democrats who surprise me. I expect that. But what’s up with that 21% of GOP voters? How does someone who likes socialism vote for the GOP?
I wonder if it is because we don't teach enough economics and civics and history in high school, or junior high school?  Are folks thinking that socialism covers everything from Israel, to Sweden to Stalinist Russia to Venezuela?  Thus are those being polled just picking the good and ignoring the terrible?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, July 30, 2018

Loss of the USS Indianapolis

For John, BLUFThe sea can be a tester of men.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New York Times, by Author Doug Stanton 27 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Each summer, as Lake Michigan finally begins to warm, I think of the men of the World War II cruiser Indianapolis and the worst disaster at sea in United States naval history.  I go down to the lake and I wonder:  How would I have survived what they experienced?

I don’t know the answer, but it’s the asking of the question that helps me recalibrate what could be called my moral compass.

On July 30, 1945, just over a month before the end of the war, the ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.  It sank in 12 minutes.  Of the 1,195 men on board, only 316 were alive when help arrived four and a half days later.  Headlines of the disaster deeply disturbed Americans:  How could this have happened so close to the war’s end?

Today, only 14 of those men are still living, and each July they meet in Indianapolis for a reunion, as they have periodically since 1960, to gather around memories of shipmates who were lost at sea and those survivors who have recently passed away.

By the way, the USS INDIANAPOLIS was the ship that delivered the components for the Little Boy nuclear device, delivered on Hiroshima by the B-29 Enola Gay on 6 August 1945.

Here is the Lesson Learned:

When I ask the survivors about this ordeal’s effect on their lives, they consistently remark that since their rescue, they’ve “never had a bad day.”
Regards  —  Cliff

  Mr Stanton wrote the story of the sinking go the By the way, the USS INDIANAPOLIS,In Harm's Way:  The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Fighting the SCOTUS Appointment

For John, BLUFThis is a political piece by people whose politics are not on the ascendency.  Were it the other way they would be shushing the rest of us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Boston Globe, by Mr David Scharfenberg, 27 JULY 2018.

Here is the lede plus four:

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S NOMINATION of Brett Kavanaugh is the culmination of an unprecedented campaign by activists to build a reliably conservative majority on the nation’s highest tribunal.

Frustrated by a string of Republican appointees who drifted left, groups like the Federalist Society and the Judicial Crisis Network spent decades vetting lower-court judges, compiling lists of approved candidates, and lobbying GOP presidents to pick them.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed to replace swing justice Anthony Kennedy, as expected, the polarization of the Supreme Court will be complete:  its 5-4 split between staunch conservatives and stalwart liberals not only reflecting Washington’s bitter partisanship, but encouraging more of the same.

Indeed, with the country’s most difficult questions increasingly decided by razor-thin majorities on the tribunal, the incentives for a no-holds-barred approach to the confirmation process are only growing.

But the debate over changing the court is focused almost entirely on the power dynamics. How do we get another liberal on the court, or another conservative?  There is almost no discussion of the deeper issue:  the politicization of the highest court in the land.  Almost no discussion of how we get closer to the original vision of the tribunal, as the relatively impartial arbiter of the American experiment.

Yes, this sounds like whinging by the "losing" side.

And then there is this item:

Life expectancy, in the late 18th century, was substantially shorter than it is now.
The author forgets that once folks reached a certain age their life expectancy was like ours.  The shorter life span was due to death in the early years.

Ben Franklin84
George WashingtonPresident867
John AdamsPresident491
Thomas JeffersonPresident883
John Quincy AdamsPresident873
James MadisonPresident885
John Quincy AdamsPresident473
John Jay1st Chief Justice683
John Rutledge2nd Chief Justice0.561
Oliver Ellsworth3rd Chief Justice462
John Marshall4th Chief Justice3480
Roger B. Taney5th Chief Justice2887

So, Washington, John Rutledge and Oliver Ellsworth died in their sixties.  The two Adams go at 73 (genetics).  The rest made it into their 80s.  I think the idea of dying early in the early days of the Republic doesn't make sense.

Then there is the suggestion for term limits.  While we have term limits for Presidents, we don't for our Legislature (and we don't for the Mass General Court), so I see that as just swatting at the breeze.  It isn't a serious proposal.

Then there is a proposal for "Court Packing", an idea proposed by President Franklin D Roosevelt, and rejected by the Congress.  Nine seems like a good number.  It has worked for over 200 years and I don't see a reason to change it, especially since the problem Democrats face today is of their making, going back to the Sage of Searchlight, Senator Harry Reid, who decided to take certain Federal Judgeships out of the realm of needing more than a simple majority.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, July 27, 2018

Freedom of Religion

For John, BLUFSeems fundamental.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Cites Case Nicaragua Government ‘Waging War’ on the Catholic Church

From Zenit, by Mr Jim Fair, 27 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

“The right to believe or not believe is the most fundamental of freedoms,” said US Vice President Mike Pence on July 26, 2018.  “When religious liberty is denied or destroyed, we know that other freedoms — freedom of speech, of press, assembly, and even democratic institutions themselves — are imperiled.”

His remarks came in Washington on the final day of the first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, sponsored by the US Secretary of State MikeZenit Pompeo.  The event ran July 24-26 and focused on concrete outcomes that reaffirm international commitments to promote religious freedom and produce real, positive change.  Participants included a broad range of stakeholders, including foreign ministers, international organization representatives, religious leaders, and civil society representatives, to discuss challenges, identify concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination, and ensure greater respect for religious freedom for all.

US Ambassador to the Vatican, Ms Callisto Gingrich spoke on the issue here.

If I am not free to worship my God, or ignore God, of what value is freedom of speech?

Regards  —  Cliff

Examining the Nominee's Family

For John, BLUFRemember when it used to be an acceptable excuse to say "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family"?  Maybe that was back before no fault divorce.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That would be both The Old Gray Lady and the Associated Press.

And the subject of the broad Freedom of Information request would be Ms Ashley Kavanaugh, the wife of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  Ms Kavanaugh is the town manager of The Village of Chevy Chase Section 5.

From PowerLine, Mr John Hinderaker, 26 JULY 2018.

There is a list of over 20 terms the NYT Reporter, Mr Steve Eder is asking for searches on, including Bush, Obama, Clinton, Starr and gun, gay and abortion.

Here is how Mr Hinderaker ends his post:

They won’t find anything, of course. But this is what I want to know:  When Stephen Breyer, Ruth Ginsburg, Sonia Sotamayor and Elena Kagan were appointed to the Court, did the Times, or the Associated Press, try to investigate documents sent or received by their family members?
I disagree with the blogger.  They will find something to whinge about.  That is where we are in political discourse.  Life is hard.  Think about how much harder it must be if you are a Main Stream Media Reporter.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Cost of Single Payer Health Care

For John, BLUFWe have to be careful and ask about the second and third order effects.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The law’s incentives push states to spend more on new enrollees, and less on the disabled and ill.

This morning, on City Life, a Candidate for the Democratic Nomination for the Third Congressional District (3CD) suggested that single payer, modeled on Medicare, was the solution to our health care problems.  This article raises some concerns about that belief.  The problem is, once we go down that path, how do we walk back if we find it unsatisfactory?

From The Wall Street Journal, by Ms Allysia Finley, 25 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus four:

ObamaCare made it more difficult for health insurers to turn a profit on individual plans, since it prohibited them from charging consumers more based on their medical risks.  But the law also created a huge growth opportunity for insurers: Medicaid.

Over the past decade, federal and state spending on Medicaid has nearly doubled to $570 billion—roughly as much as the revenues of United Health, CVS, Anthem, Aetna and Humana put together.  California alone will spend nearly $100 billion on Medicaid this year.

The Medicaid rolls predictably swelled during the Great Recession as people lost jobs and left the workforce.  But many never returned to work.  ObamaCare gave states the option, starting in 2014, to expand Medicaid eligibility to able-bodied people earning up to 133% of the poverty line.  The feds promised to pick up nearly all the costs.

Two-thirds of states have cashed in on this “free” government lunch. Between 2008 and 2016, Medicaid enrollment nationwide rose 24 million to a total of 71 million, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  By comparison, only five million more Americans signed up for plans on the private individual market.

Struggling to manage this Medicaid surge, states have increasingly come to rely on private health insurers.  About 270 “managed-care organizations” administer half of federal Medicaid dollars.  Under these arrangements, insurers are paid a capitated rate—that is, a flat monthly payment per enrollee, set to reflect what actuaries estimate will be the average cost to provide covered services.  Unlike on the ObamaCare exchanges, insurers are paid higher “premiums” for covering sicker patients.

The long term danger is that the Government will decide that certain people are consuming a disproportionate amount of resources and thus the Government will cut off their medical attention, thus allowing them to die, or perhaps even hasten that death.  This would be analogous to the German Aktion T4 Program, which operated from 1939 to 1945 and killed some 300,000 people, outside those killed in the Holocaust.  This program contributed to the German War Effort by freeing up medical resources for wounded Service members.

I am with the late Germany Bishop, Clemens August Graf von Galen, who publicly opposed this program.  It wasn't right then and wouldn't be right today.

As a side matter, health care is not a human right.  Human rights are against the Government and what it can do to deprive one of God given rights.  Health care is something that the Government provides, or one provides for oneself, perhaps by insurance.  The place where rights come in is if the Government prevents you having health care, and thus depriving you of life (liberty and the pursuit of happiness).

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Analysis:  Mr Comey is Fudging

For John, BLUFBureaucrtic self-preservation at its best, and least insightful.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

That seems a little harsh, although plausible.

By the way, there is video at the link.

From Fox News, by Gregg Jarrett, 24 July 2018.

Here are three key paragraphs:

Based on Comey’s finding, Clinton should have faced a multiple-count criminal indictment, since the FBI discovered that she had stored 110 classified emails on her unauthorized, private computer server.  Other people had been prosecuted for similar conduct that jeopardized national security in violation of the law. Yet, Comey – despite characterizing Clinton’s actions with the clear language denoting violation of the law – saw to it that no charges were ever brought against Clinton.

Under questioning, Comey admitted to the Inspector General Michael Horowitz that he authored the May 2 statement and penned every word of it himself.  But then he offered the implausible claim that “he did not recall that his original draft used the term ‘gross negligence,’ and did not recall discussions about that issue.”

Comey’s amnesia is preposterous.  He would have us believe that, as FBI director, he memorialized in print his decision that the leading candidate for president of the United States had committed crimes, yet later could not recollect anything about the most important decision of his career.

Frankly, I like Gregg Jarrett, and his reporting.  I have no reason to doubt this report, which is worth reading in its entirety.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wages Going Up

For John, BLUFThis is good news for workers, and bad news for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On City Life This morning Democratic Party Candidate Len Gold cited a need for across the board pay raises for working men and women.  Maybe the low unemployment rate is acting to raise wages.

From Breitbart, by Mr John Binder, 25 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

American workers are seeing rising wages in western and central Wisconsin, just one of the rust belt states that President Trump won in the 2016 presidential election on his platform of economic nationalism.

In the latest survey of 150 employers in the western and central region of Wisconsin, the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce found that wages in 35 “benchmark jobs” have increased a total of 3.7 percent for workers.  Compare this wage increase to last year’s, which stood at 2.99 percent for the region.

Economics works.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Democrats and Unenrolled need to show up to vote in the Primary Election on Tuesday, 4 September, the day after Labor Day.  Republicans also, but only a few contested races, unlike the Democrats, with large batches of candidates, especially for US House, State Senate and 18th Middlesex State House Rep Seat.

Kelo Fixed

For John, BLUFWell, at least I hope it is fixed.  Kelo was a terrible Supreme Court decision, allowing government to transfer one person's property to another person.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The American Thinker by Mr Rick Moran, 25 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled, in the Kelo v. City of New London decision, that eminent domain could be used to seize private property from one owner and give it to another in the name of "economic development."  It remains one of the most controversial decisions the court has made this century.

Yesterday, Congress belatedly addressed the troubling issues raised by the decision by passing the Private Property Rights Protection Act.  As Ed Morrissey at Hot Air points out, no major media outlets covered this seminal issue regarding the rights of citizens to be secure in their property.

I approve.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Beer Low Level Light

For John, BLUFWhen you are out of beer you might spark a revolution.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Fortune, by Herr Chris Morris, 24 July 2018.

Here is the key paragraph:

Germans don’t drink their beer out of cans.  (This is the country that’s home to the Reinheitsgebot, a beer purity law that has been enforced for over 500 years, after all.) Instead, they pay a deposit on bottles, which is refunded when they’re returned.  But an ongoing heat wave throughout the country has discouraged people from bringing those bottles back
I am not sure how the heat wave is discouraging folks from recycling their beer bottles, but it seems to be happening.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Eric Hoffer Remembered

For John, BLUFThe book is a good read, and not too hard.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The InstaPundit, by Law Professor Gail Heriot, 25 July 2018.

Here is the Post, in part:

On this day in either 1898 or 1902, depending upon whom you ask, Eric Hoffer, the only longshoreman-philosopher ever to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was born in the Bronx.  Hoffer was the author of The True Believer, an inquiry into the nature of mass movements.  His other works include The Ordeal of Change and The Temper of Our Time.

Hoffer wrote one of the greatest lines I’ve ever read, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

He wasn’t thinking of the Southern Poverty Law Center when he said it.  But, alas, the shoe fits.

Here is his OBIT from The Old Gray Lady

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Second Amendment Lives in Hawaii

For John, BLUFThis could, after a SCOTUS affirmation, impact Lowell.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Reuters, and the Reuters Staff, 24 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment protects the right to openly carry a gun in public for self-defense, rejecting a claim by Hawaii officials that the right only applies to guns kept at home.

The ruling by a three-judge panel on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, makes the San Francisco-based court the sixth U.S. circuit court to interpret the Second Amendment this way and could set the issue on a path toward the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not taken up a major gun rights case since 2010.

The Opinion can be found HERE.

Basically, what this means is that if US Rep Maxine Waters (D-CA) can have armed security, you are entitled to be your own armed security.

For the Comments to the post by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, click HERE.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff