The EU

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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

New Twist on SCOTUS Nominee

For John, BLUFSenator Booker, Democratic Party Presidential Timber, doesn't like President Trump's nominee for the US Supreme Court.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From National Review, by Mr Dan McLaughlin, 21 July 2018.

First off they have this quote:

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) is calling on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to recuse himself from any cases that might involve special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The problem is, that isn't how things have worked in the past.

Neither of Bill Clinton’s Supreme Court appointees, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, recused themselves in the 1997 Clinton v. Jones case, which personally involved the president and whether he could be forced to participate in a civil lawsuit while in office.  Breyer had been nominated just eleven days after the Paula Jones lawsuit was filed, and after Clinton was already facing an independent-counsel investigation.

In 1998, when the Court decided an appeal involving Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s “Travelgate” investigation — and ruled in favor of Clinton by upholding the attorney-client privilege for notes of a conversation with former White House counsel Vince Foster before his 1993 death — Breyer and Ginsburg did not recuse; instead, they sided with Clinton.

So Senator Booker, following in the footsteps of the Sage of Searchlight, former Senator Harry Reid, wants to change precedent.  But, he is, as the title suggests, desperate.  And, he isn't willing to risk the roll of the dice to see if Nominee Kavanaugh turns out to be a follower of the Constitution.

Recusing himself with regard to issues surrounding the Special Counsel would be like just delaying the nomination.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, July 23, 2018

John F Kerry on Election Hacking

For John, BLUFThis was on National TV.  An adult thing to say.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Free Beacon, by Mr Andrew Kugle, 22 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus three:

Former secretary of state John Kerry said on Sunday that the country has to move away from the constant efforts to "destroy" the presidency, no matter who the president is.

"We have got to get away from this constant effort to destroy a presidency, whoever's it is.  It is tearing our country apart, and I think it is very, very dangerous for our democracy," Kerry said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Kerry was talking about the potential threat that cyber attacks pose to the country and the growing problem of politicizing these threats.

"This is an ongoing challenge to our country.  It is not a Democrat or Republican problem.  It has been building for a long period of time under President Bush.  Prior to that, ever since we have had an internet there have been escalating series of cyber attacks against corporations and against government entities," Kerry said.  "And so this is a problem for all of us as Americans and we have got to depoliticize it."

He has a point.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Memes of Russiagate

For John, BLUFMaybe they aren't really memes, but they do convey the flip side from the news, and the Democrats, although I risk repeating myself.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Lid Blog, by Writers Onan Coca And Jeff Dunetz, 22 Jul 2018.

Here is the lede:

As the media continues to deliver their steady stream of over-the-top insanity about Russiagate, the Internet has developed a few memes to help us understand what is really going on in the world today.
It is to a large extent visual, so I will leave it to you to click and then scroll through the images.

However, one shows the picture of ground targets being blow up and says this:

Feb. 2018 USAF Syrian Bombing Mission
Killed 200 Russians Troops.

Dems say Trump's Too Soft on Russia.
How Many Killed Will Make Them Happy?

I like that question.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Progs Have It Backward, and Can't Turn Around

For John, BLUFThis reminds me of 2016, when Progressives told me I couldn't talk until I had renounced Candidate Trump.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Republicans are not showing loyalty but, rather, clearly exhibiting disloyalty.

From Nation of Change, by Mr Michael Payne, 19 July 2018.

I won't do any excerpts.  You can read the rant if you wish.  I would point out, however, that Mr Payne is clueless.  This Russian effort to diddle the American election of 2016 happened on President Obama's watch.  President Obama is not mentioned.  In fact, the failure of the US Government to properly act on the Russian efforts is glossed over.  No mention of the "stand down" order.  No mention of the missing DNC Server.  No mention of any of the mismanagement.  And what was FBI Agent Peter Strzok, Chief of the Counterespionage Section, doing all this time?

Let us hope it never goes to impeachment, since, IMHO, the revelations a good defense lawyer would rip bare would be a major embarrassment to the previous Administration.

In the mean time, Nation of Change may be loyal, but it isn't to the America envisioned by a fairly large segment of voters, Democrat as well as Republican.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  On something that is this big a deal to our national political process this would seem to call for extraordinary methods.

Accident of History?

For John, BLUFAre we seeing a change in the zeitgeist?  Gee, I have always wanted to use that word.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the entirety:
KISSINGER ON TRUMP:  “I think Trump may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretences.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that he knows this, or that he is considering any great alternative.  It could just be an accident.”

This is similar to what I keep saying, that the fundamental characteristic of Trump’s presidency is the renegotiation of post-WWII arrangements and institutions.  Those who consider themselves responsible and far-sighted should be thinking about how that renegotiation should take place, rather than mindlessly fighting change.

Plus:  “In the 1940s, European leaders had a clear sense of direction.  Now they are just trying to avoid trouble.”  And they are not doing a very good job of it.

Posted at 10:30 am by Glenn Reynolds
Then there are the comments, which tend toward "Yes, and if Trump goes he will be replaced by someone else who thinks like him, although perhaps even more so."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Are There Ethics Out There?

For John, BLUFIf this information might be protected by attorney client privilege, why is it in the newspapers?  I would hope that someone is asking why this is out there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Boston Globe, but really from The Old Gray Lady, by Reporters Matt Apuzzo and Maggie Haberman, 21 JULY 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump, according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording.

The FBI seized the recording this year during a raid on Cohen’s office.  The Justice Department is investigating Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Trump before the 2016 election.  Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them.

An article 22 paragraphs long and only at the fourth to the bottom paragraph do we get to the issue of if the contents of the recording is "protected by attorney-client privilege".  Nowhere is there a discussion of if the taping was even legal.  Wasn't there a case determined by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court turned, in part, on a law that said it was illegal to record a conversation if one side was unaware?

So, here is the question.  If it is illegal for me to record you, why is it ethical for the Press to then disclose the gist of the conversation to the public?  Or the Government to leak the information.

I get freedom of the Press, but this seems to creat a perverse incentive for folks to rope in (leak to) the Press in order to get out there information they see as damaging to someone they are working against.  It seems unethical at several levels.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, July 20, 2018

Science and Built in Prejudice

For John, BLUFI think it iss still early days for the social sciences and there is still much to learn.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From New York Magazine, by Mr Jesse Singal, 15 July 2018.

Here is how it starts out:

Imagine you and I are out for drinks at a bar. A couple beers in, apropos of nothing, I announce to you, “You know, liberals are way more authoritarian than conservatives.” “No way,” you respond. “Way,” I say, confidently. I pull a sheet of paper from my shirt pocket and slide it to you. “This is my Jesse Singal Authoritarianism Scale, or JSAS for short,” I tell you. “I had 500 people take this short scale and liberals scored way higher than conservatives.”

You look down at the scale and it reads:

For each of the following items, please indicate your level of agreement, from 1 (disagree completely) to 7 (agree completely), with a score of 4 indicating neither agreement nor disagreement.

1. In certain cases, it might be acceptable to curtail people’s constitutional rights in order to stop them from spreading climate-change denialism.

2. The government needs to do a much more comprehensive job monitoring Christian-oriented far-right terrorism.

3. Some people want to act like the causes of racism are complicated, but they aren’t: Racists are moral failures, and that’s that.

If you’re a thoughtful reader, you will, of course, find my claim ludicrous. By dint of the subject matter of my questions the test is basically built to “discover” that liberals are more authoritarian than conservatives. All my questions are rigged in a manner that will, in almost all likelihood, cause political liberals to score more highly than political conservatives on the scale, thus spitting out the “finding” that liberals are more authoritarian.
Actually, being a classic liberal, but not a progressive, I thought the questions quite reasonable.  However, they are a reflection of how political psychologists ask questions in a way that has given us the Rigidity of the Right model.

This reminds me of a presentation at a Conference I attended in 1972, at Notre Dame University.  The presenter talked about a hand scored psychological inventory of the people in a small, rural, economically depressed region of the United States.  There were a high percentage of Pentacostal Protestants in the largely Protestant area.  When the scorers knew who were the Pentacostals they scored those people as being less emotionally stable.  However, when it was blind scoring the Pentacostals were scored the more stable personalities.  We all have our built in prejudices.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

WaPo Backs Deep State

For John, BLUFThey are thinking like Europeans, where the Bureaucracy is seen as enlightened.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Post, by Columnist Eugene Robinson, 19 July 2018.

Nothing follows.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Special Counsel Broadens His Reach

For John, BLUFThis is a revolting development, at least for some.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Tyler O'Neil, 19 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

On Wednesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a large cache of evidence against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and a former chief strategist for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was all over it.

Tad Devine, Sanders' chief strategist, appears from exhibit 5 onward.  Mueller listed a memo from 2006 involving Manafort, Devine, and former Ukrainian President Viktor Vanukovych, Russian President Vladimir Putin's puppet in Ukraine.

Mueller's evidence lists email after email between Devine and Manafort, connecting them both to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Putin-connected operative whom Manafort described as "my Russian brain."

Devine's name appears a total of 21 times in the list of nearly 500 pieces of evidence against Manafort.

I am sure it is all just a coincidence.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Crying Treason

For John, BLUFI think Senator Rand Paul has had enough of this "Treason Talk".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Wikipedia we have a discussion of Treason in the United States, and in some of the states, including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Definition:  In Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, treason is specifically limited to levying war against the US, or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.  Conviction requires two witnesses or a confession in open court.

Penalty:  U.S. Code Title 18: Death, or not less than 5 years imprisonment and not more than life imprisonment without the possibility of parole (minimum fine of $10,000, if not sentenced to death).

And at a more local level:

Penalty:  Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after serving not less than 15 years and not more than 25 years.

New York apparently has no Treason law.

So, the question is, does anyone crying "Treason" against President Trump:

  • Understand what Treason is?
  • Understand what a serious accusation it is?
  • Know the difference between Treason and a policy difference?
  • Know the difference between Treason and ignorance or incompetence?
  • Understand that if there is Treason—real Treason—the officer holder needs to be removed immediately?
  • Understand that those who know of acts of Treason and have not immediately gone public are guilty of Treason?  (This would apply to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.)
  • Understand that hurling accusations of Treason are just helping Russian President Vladimir Putin sew discontent within the United States?
  • Understand that if they are just being hyperbolic it will come back to bite them?  (Probably in November.)

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Modern Slavery

For John, BLUFSlavery is still abroad in this world, just more in other parts of the world than here at home.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Wash Post, by Mr Adam Taylor, 19 July 2018.

Here is the lede:

North Korea has the highest prevalence of modern slavery in the world, with 1 out of every 10 citizens considered victims under the practice, according to estimates included in a new report.
Yes, as horrible as a nuclear armed North Korea is, the human rights abuses under the Kim Family Regime is more horrible.

All that said, the final paragraph contains some interesting information.

The Global Slavery Index found that outside of North Korea, the countries with the worst prevalence of slavery were Eritrea, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Mauritania, South Sudan, Pakistan, Cambodia and Iran.  The report noted that other countries were often complicit through the import of goods at risk of being produced through forced labor — with the United States importing the most at-risk goods of any nations, with $144 billion a year.
Maybe the Progs are rights.  Maybe all those folks shopping at Walmart and Target are propagating slavery around the world.  I say blame the Caucasians.

Regards  —  Cliff

Trump the Dope

For John, BLUFThe line from my youth:  "If you are so smart, why aren't you rich?"  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

That’s why they all are billionaires and all got elected president.

From The Spectator, by Mr Dov Fischer, 18 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

It really is quite simple. Everyone is smart except Donald J. Trump.  That’s why they all are billionaires and all got elected President.  Only Trump does not know what he is doing.  Only Trump does not know how to negotiate with Vladimir Putin.  Anderson Cooper knows how to stand up to Putin.  The whole crowd at MSNBC does.  All the journalists do.

They could not stand up to Matt Lauer at NBC.  They could not stand up to Charlie Rose at CBS.  They could not stand up to Mark Halperin at NBC.  Nor up to Leon Wieseltier at the New Republic, nor Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone, nor Michael Oreskes at NPR, at the New York Times, or at the Associated Press.  But — oh, wow! — can they ever stand up to Putin!  Only Trump is incapable of negotiating with the Russian tyrant.

Remember the four years when Anderson Cooper was President of the United States?  And before that — when the entire Washington Post editorial staff jointly were elected to be President?  Remember?  Neither do I.

The Seedier Media never have negotiated life and death, not corporate life and death, and not human life and death.  They think they know how to negotiate, but they do not know how.  They go to a college, are told by peers that they are smart, get some good grades, proceed to a graduate degree in journalism, and get hired as analysts.  Now they are experts, ready to take on Putin and the Iranian Ayatollahs at age 30.

One of the things about life is that some problems are interlocked and don't yield to simple solutions.  Remember the old H L Mencken line?  "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Geek View of Friday's Indictment of 12 Russians

For John, BLUFKind of interesting, in a Geeky sort of way.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Intercept, by Mr Micah Lee, 18 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

ON FRIDAY, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as part of his investigation into interference with the 2016 presidential election, charged 12 Russian military intelligence officers with conducting “large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”  The indictment contains a surprising amount of technical information about alleged Russian cyberattacks against a range of U.S. political targets, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee, members of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Illinois (probably) State Board of Elections, and an American election vendor, apparently VR Systems, and its government customers.
Regards  —  Cliff

The First Thing That Comes to Mind

For John, BLUFMaybe they could subpoena the char woman to ask if anyone left any notes in the room.  The second, I would think.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Zero Hedge, by Mr Tyler Durden, 18 July 2018.

Here is the lede:

At least two Congressional Democrats are calling for Trump's interpreter to testify about the private one-on-one meeting held between the US President and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Have US Representative Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and US Senator Jeane Shaheen (D-NH) learned nothing from the experience of the Sage of Searchlight, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid?  Remember when Majority Leader Reid abolished the filibuster for certain Federal Judge nominations?  How did that work out long term?

Does Representative Kennedy not foresee a time when there would be a Democratic President and a Republican majority in one of the Houses of Congress?

Apparently not.  Lack of long term thinking.

If you want more Trump, this is how you get more Trump.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Advice From Down Under

For John, BLUFSome of us are getting overly excited.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

From The Interpreter, The Lowry Institute, Mr Sam Roggeveen, Director of the Lowy Institute’s International Security Program, 18 July 2018.

Here is the start:

There are still two-and-a-half years to go in US President Donald Trump’s first term, and I’m concerned about his critics.  They need to pace themselves.  This level of outrage just cannot be maintained.

When it comes to the instantly infamous press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, they also need to turn off the Twitter outrage machine so they can get themselves some fresh air and a little perspective, although Wednesday’s muddled “clarification” from Trump is sending them back to their keyboards and into another frenzy.

Those arguing Trump is in Putin’s pocket need to cite some examples of what Trump actually surrendered in Helsinki, other than his dignity.

Granted, it is unusual in the extreme for a US president to openly criticise their own intelligence community, but emphasis on the “openly”.  It’s not unusual for presidents to question what their spies are telling them, and in fact the world could use a bit more scepticism from US presidents when it comes to their daily intelligence briefing.  If one of Trump’s predecessors had been a bit less credulous about the intelligence assessments crossing his desk, Trump wouldn’t be president today.

Yes, Trump performed poorly in Helsinki, but treason?  “In the pocket of Putin”?

Treason is a word, if not offered in a hyperbolic sense, which demands action.  It demands action now.  It means people like Mssers Comey, Brennan and Mueller are phonies, because almost eighteen months after inauguration, President Trump is still in office.

On the other hand, I think the Treason talk is just hot air and poor taste.

Regards  —  Cliff

Diogenes Out There?

For John, BLUFPeople are just going wacko over this whole Trump issue.  So, will we ever learn the truth?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Nunes says DOJ, FBI betting on Dems killing probe

From The Washington Free Beacon, by Reporter Adam Kredo, 17 July 2018.

Here is the lede:

The chair of the House Intelligence Committee accused the FBI and Department of Justice of stonewalling a sprawling investigation into claims the Trump campaign colluded with Russia with the hope of running out the clock until the November elections, when they anticipate Democrats will regain control of the House and dissolve an ongoing probe that has uncovered evidence U.S. officials sought to cripple Trump's campaign.
While I am doubtful of the Democrats winning either House in November, absent the Special Counsel dropping some unethical "October Surprise".  At the same time, I don't see the value in accusing the Democratic Party Leadership higher level Civil Servants of playing fast and loose with US security and the integrity of our electoral process.  I would expect better of Representative Nunes.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Where Do Things Go Now Regarding the Special Counsel?

For John, BLUFIf Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein released the twelve indictments of Russian GRU Officers on Friday last without coordinating with the President and Foggy Bottom then he is a Dim Bulb.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Lawfare Blog, by Mr Jack Goldsmith, 16 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his Justice Department/FBI team deserve congratulations for doing their job of figuring out in concrete detail what the Russians did in the 2016 election campaign and telling the American people about it—now in an indictment and perhaps later, and in more detail, in a report.  Last week’s indictment might also portend, as the Lawfare crew implied, a tightening of the criminal-conspiracy noose to include Americans, perhaps some with connections to the Trump campaign.

The indictment also represents an extraordinary assertion of Justice Department power and independence.  President Trump never stops complaining about the DOJ “witch hunt,” but his subordinates in the Potemkin unitary executive branch keep proving him wrong.  The president didn’t even have the de facto authority to delay Rod Rosenstein’s announcement from the maximum embarrassment it caused him on the dawn of his summit with Vladimir Putin.  With each new concrete revelation contrary to the president’s wishes and representations, Rosenstein’s and Mueller’s effective power grows vis-a-vis the president.

But behind the indictment, and the congratulatory reaction to it, lie some uncomfortable unanswered questions about blowback toward U.S. officials, reciprocal interference by the United States in other nations' political affairs, the lack of preparation for renewed electoral interference in this country, and U.S. journalists’ publication of stolen U.S. government information.  These questions have heightened significance and more difficult answers in light of President Trump’s astounding performance Monday in Helsinki.

Yes, the subtle implication of the third paragraph, expanded upon in following paragraphs, is that the Special Counsel and the DOJ as a whole haven't really thought out where this is heading.  For example, are we going to now suggest international norms about interfering in the elections of other nations?  And, if so, are we going to apologize for all the times we have interfered in the elections of other nations?

Between the President, his DOJ and the Democrats on Capitol Hill, and the Republicans in the same location, we need to have some common understanding of what happened in 2016, so we can better deal with 2018 and 2020.  I dislike putting its in these terms, but we need a young J Edgar Hoover, who we all trust, to clean up this mess.

But, for an exit question, what if one of the Russian GRU officers shows up to be tried?  What if his lawyer asks for discovery, for the Bradey material?  I think it would be interesting.  This has already happened with Concord Management, indicted in February.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Break the Current Model and Free the Children

For John, BLUFIt looks possible we will lose another School Superintendent.  It would be nice if the School Committee reached deep and hired someone with new ideas, someone to boost our MCAS Scores snd graduation rates and to help with our Vocational Education deficit.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From , by Mr Eric Anglada.  This Article was in the January-February 2014 Issue of The Catholic Worker (Vol LXXXI, No 1), page 7.  Attribution should be give to The Catholic Worker.

Here is the lede plus five:

In the spring of 1971, Dorothy Day refused an invitation to receive an honorary degree from the Catholic University in Washington, DC.  “The Catholic Worker,” she wrote, “stands in a particular way...for people who need some other kind of schooling than that afforded by universities and colleges of our industrial capitalist system.”  She added that the Catholic Worker is trying to “stimulate the young to study ways by which they can change the social and educational system nonviolently.”

In that spirit, as part of our ongoing work at New Hope Catholic Worker Farm, in what Peter Maurin liked to call an “agronomic university,” we hosted more than thirty people last September for a four-day workshop on alternative education.  We sought to clarify our thoughts and practices in relation to the world of school, education, and learning.  From unschooled children, to frustrated grad students, to parents exploring alternative education models for their children, to avid lifelong learners, our workshop contained a wide array of backgrounds and experiences.  Thus we began our seminar by reflecting on our own experience of education, asking ourselves two basic questions:  What has worked?  What has not?

Recalling our time in both compulsory schooling and university life, we cited several things that worked:  occasionally inspiring teachers, exposure to great literature, social life, resources that big educational institutions afforded and extracurricular activities such as sports and theater.

As discussions continued, however, we found that the drawbacks of school outweighed the benefits.  Competition and compulsion made for an inhospitable context for authentic learning.  Drab, artificial environments, with uncomfortable desks lined up in rows—the atmosphere the elite once envisioned, we later learned—created a stale place for study.  The vast amount of transportation involved in centralized schooling uses an enormous amount of resources.  Debt has forced many young people into a de facto life of servility.  And tragically, standardized testing encourages a narrow focus on language and mathematics, at the cost of learning practical skills, studying critical history and theory, or exploring the spiritual life.

In order to better understand our education experiences, we read and discussed the history of school. We relied heavily on the valuable work of John Taylor Gatto, a public school educator for thirty years, well known for publically resigning from his job in the pages of the Wall Street Journal (“I Quit, I Think”).  His An Underground History of Education provides hugely important insights into the history and nature of schooling.

While education, as Gatto points out, has been centered on the home and the community for most of human history, compulsory schooling—six classes a day, five days a week, nine months out of the year—is a recent phenomenon.  Originally an idea of Plato, it wasn’t until centuries later, in 1819, that compulsory education was first signed into law, in Prussia.  Prussia’s system inculcated values like obedience and lent itself to social stratification and uniformity in thought.  School proved to be a perfect transition for children to go on to work in the military or the mines.  Such a bold program of schooling did not go unnoticed.  In the US, intellectuals like Horace Mann became fascinated with Prussia’s educational system, seeing school as the perfect way to create a disciplined, ordered citizenry.  In 1852, Massachusetts became the first state to follow in Prussia’s path. Notably, the literacy rate has never been higher in Massachusetts than it was in 1850—before compulsory schooling was instituted.

Remember that Apple Ad, with the woman running into a room with a large hammer and throwing it into a monitor.  Yes, break the mold and the hold.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Emerging Democratic Majority—2016

For John, BLUFA lot of statistics to say that not everything is obvious to the casual observer, which is what media types turned out to be.  Thus, the importance of asking the next question, of looking at what if.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Most reporting vastly overstated the strength of Clinton’s “emerging Democratic majority” and missed how it was a potential Electoral College liability.

From The FiveThirtyEight Blog, by Mr Nate Silver, 23 January 2017, republished July 2018.

Here is the Advert for the Series on the coverage of 2016:

This is the first article in a series that reviews news coverage of the 2016 general election, explores how Donald Trump won and why his chances were underrated by the most of the American media.
And here is the meat of the story:
Donald Trump’s victory in last November’s election victory came despite the fact that he lost the popular vote by 2.1 percentage points, making for the widest discrepancy between the popular vote and the Electoral College since 1876.  So one measure of the quality of horse-race analysis is in how seriously it entertained the possibility of such a split in Trump’s favor.  This is one point on which the data geeks generally came closer to getting the right answer.  FiveThirtyEight’s statistical model, for example, saw the Electoral College as a significant advantage for Trump, and projected that he’d be about even money to win the Electoral College even if he lost the popular vote by 1 to 2 percentage points.  Overall, it assigned a 10.5 percent chance to Trump’s winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote, but less than a 1 percent chance of Hillary Clinton’s doing the same.

By contrast, much of the conventional reporting during the campaign wrongly presumed that the Electoral College would be an advantage for Clinton.  For instance, on July 30 — at a time just after the conventions when national polls showed Clinton and Trump almost tied1 — The New York Times wrote of Trump’s “daunting electoral map” and narrow path to 270 electoral votes:

Even as Mr. Trump has ticked up in national polls in recent weeks, senior Republicans say his path to the 270 Electoral College votes needed for election has remained narrow — and may have grown even more precarious.  It now looks exceedingly difficult for him to assemble even the barest Electoral College majority without beating Hillary Clinton in a trifecta of the biggest swing states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Lesson Learned:  It isn't over until it's over.

Regards  —  Cliff

Meeting With A Tsar

For John, BLUFThe thing to remember is that it is possible Joseph Stalin was worse than Adolph Hitler.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

We had lunch, talked socially, put on a real sham drinking toasts to everyone, then had pictures made in the back yard.  I can deal with Stalin.  He is honest — but smart as hell.
— President Harry Truman in his diary after meeting with Josef Stalin at Potsdam on this day in 1945.
Hat tip to Editor Ryan Evans and War on the Rocks.

Regards  —  Cliff

State of the World

For John, BLUFMore people are better off each year.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Why assessing the state of the world is harder than it sounds.

From The New Yorker, by Mr Joshua Rothman, 3 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

In Enlightenment Now:  The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, the cognitive scientist Steven Pinker looks at recent studies and finds that majorities in fourteen countries—Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, the U.A.E., and the United States—believe that the world is getting worse rather than better.  (China is the only large country in which a majority expresses optimism.)  “This bleak assessment of the state of the world is wrong,” Pinker writes—and not just a little wrong but “wrong wrong, flat-earth wrong.”
A side note.  At $18.99, this book is a little pricey for a Kindle edition.  Are we being gouged by the publishing industry?

I found this extract from the book, mentioned in the article linked above, very interesting:

Citing the German economist Max Roser, Pinker argues that a truly evenhanded newspaper “could have run the headline number of people in extreme poverty fell by 137,000 since yesterday every day for the last twenty-five years.”
Things are getting better.

Regards  —  Cliff

Foggy Bottom and Mr Trump

For John, BLUFIf you treat someone like a fool, why would they work with you?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, Mr Ishmael Jones,  16 July 2018.

Here is a key paragraph:

And so their opposition to the President is a gift.  They do not wish to support him, and he can simply ignore them.
This is an unfortunate turn of events, but the underlying malady didn't happen overnight.
The current era of State Department dysfunction began in 1990 when we sent senior diplomat April Glaspie to talk to Saddam Hussein.  She spoke softly and respectfully to him.  Saddam smelled weakness and was emboldened.  It led to decades of tragedy that might have been avoided.

April should have instead spoken the blunt truth: “Saddam, you will do as we order.  If you disobey us, the deadliest army in the history of the world will arrive.  We will destroy your air force on the ground and neutralize your communications.  Then we will destroy your static armies at will.  We will take your power and your wealth.  We will kill your sons.  You will flee and hide in a hole in the ground, but we will find you and we will kill you.”

As extreme as that sounds, that is of course what happened.  Unfortunately, no State Department diplomat would have spoken these words.  Their protocols and sensitivities forbid it.  Even after all that has happened, my diplomat friends continue to defend April’s statements to Saddam.

I would like to suggest that this is a long time in coming.  The Department of State used to play a strong hand, and there have been Diplomats even today who play a strong hand.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  "Ishmael Jones is the pen name of a former CIA case officer, and the author of The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture."

Monday, July 16, 2018

Dare Call It Treason

For John, BLUFWe are in the middle of a national meltdown.  I hope we come to our senses, before we do something stupid.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From , by Professor John Shattuck, 16 July 2018.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

Following the 2016 presidential election, a specter of treason was hovering over Donald Trump because of his response to the mounting evidence that the Russians had intervened to help elect him.

As the president-elect entered the White House, he summarily rejected the conclusion of US intelligence agencies that Russia had engaged in cyberwarfare against the US elections.  He worked to block investigations into Russia’s actions.  Trump advisers and associates had extensive political and business dealings with the Russian government before and during the 2016 presidential campaign.  While there has not been any direct evidence that the president-elect was involved in the Russian government’s actions, circumstances suggested that individuals or groups close to the president could have aided or known about the Russian meddling.

So which is it?  Is there direct evidence or is there not?  Professor Shattuck quibbles with "has not been any direct evidence … circumstances suggest that individuals or groups close to the President."  Is he talking Vice President Henry Wallace close to the President?

In the end, mostly by innuendo, Professor Shattuck says the President is guilty of treason.

Which raises the question of what Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been doing all this time?

There are two broad options here.  One is that President Trump is guilty of treason, in which case Mr Mueller has dilly-dallied for a year and produced nothing regarding the President, suggesting he is in the President's pocket.  The alternative theory is he is in President Putin's pocket.

The other option is that the President is not guilty of treason, but Mr Mueller is dragging this out because he needs the extra money each month, either for expenses or to add to his retirement.  The alternative is that Mr Mueller is engaged in counting coup.

Then there is the possibility that Mr Mueller is just withholding everything until October, when any disclosure would damage Republicans up and down the ticket.

In the men time, one has to ask about the Editors at The Globe?  Is beating down Mr Donald Trump so important that the Editors are willing to sacrifice all their scruples?

Regards  —  Cliff

  John Shattuck, a former US assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor, is professor of practice in diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.
  Not that Mr Wallace was all bad ideas.  For instance, he wanted to abolish segregation.

How Lowell Votes

For John, BLUFGoing to District Voting will likely not increase voting, but it will create more of an opportunity for corruption.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Ms Mary Tauras, of the Lowell Alliance,
97 Central St, Suite 302
Lowell, MA 01852


This is a notice of a get together to discuss how we elect City Councilors and School Committee members.  There is, currently, a law suit against the City over how we elect those folks.

Here is how Ms Tauras starts her EMail:

This listening/feedback generation session on Wednesday (at LTC) is for downtown residents, regarding representation, voting, and the local election system.
The issue is that new Americans, immigrants from other nations, nations without our voting traditions, tend to be underrepresented because they tend not to vote.  This is an effort to address that important issue.

And here is the venue:

Your chance to be heard, which is the American way.

Since I am sending this out, I will offer my own opinion, which is that a change to district voting will only serve to dilute my vote and the vote of my neighbors, to a fifth its current value.  That said, if those who favor district representation can muster the votes to win in a fair election, more power to them and welcome to the electoral process.

Regards  —  Cliff

  That said, Rumor Control, two Fridays ago, said the suit had been dropped.  Unconfirmed.  I have asked.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Hitting A Square Corner on Wednesday

For John, BLUFThis is not good.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The [Lowell] Sun, by Reporter Rick Sobey,, 14 July 2018.

Here are the second through fifth paragraphs of the story:

A motion on Wednesday's School Committee agenda, filed by members Jackie Doherty and Connie Martin, would terminate his contract "for good cause."

They also submitted a joint motion to place Khelfaoui on paid administrative leave.

The third and final joint motion dealing with the superintendent position would appoint Assistant Superintendent Jeannine Durkin as acting superintendent.

Ending his contract would require four votes on the seven-member committee. School Committee member Gerry Nutter would be the third vote. Mayor Bill Samaras, who has generally supported Khelfaoui, could be the crucial swing vote.

This does not look like it will end well.  Even if there is not a vote to oust Dr Salah Khelfaoui it will be notice that a strong minority of the School Committee doesn't like him and has him on notice.  The Superintendent, in turn, will have an eye on a good exit strategy.

In the mean time, I have not heard anyone talk about the critical issues, which are:

  1. Upping MCAS Scores
  2. Increasing Graduation Rates
  3. Finding a way (or ways) to provide vocational education for those wanting it but not going to Greater Lowell Technical High School, and,
  4. Seeing if there is a more effective approach to education than the nearly 200 year old system, developed for a different time.
Regards  —  Cliff

Who Will Arrest the Russians?

For John, BLUFIt would be nice if we could let the President be President.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Does anybody seriously think Vladimir Putin will ship a dozen of his intelligence service's top digital spies to America to face trial?

From , by Mr Mark Tapscott, 14 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus four:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made a huge splash Friday by announcing that special counsel Robert Mueller has issued an indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence operatives for hacking the computer systems of two top Democratic campaign committees.

What Rosenstein didn’t say in making that announcement suggests the indictment was made public as a public relations play intended to manipulate voters rather than a public information service provided to help American citizens understand what their government is doing.

One word Rosenstein did utter during his news conference tells the story — “apprehension.” As when the deputy attorney general who appointed Mueller said: “The special counsel’s investigation is ongoing and there will be no comments by the special counsel at this time … we intend to transition responsibility for this indictment to the Justice Department’s National Security Division (NSD) while we await the apprehension of the defendants.”

Congressional Democrats quickly seized on the indictment to demand that President Donald Trump either cancel his meeting Monday in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin or challenge Putin to agree to extradite the indicted intelligence officers.

And that’s why Rosenstein’s Friday news conference was meaningless except as attempted manipulation of public perception of the special counsel investigation of allegations aides to Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russian interests.

I don't think I agree with Mr Tapscott.  If the machinery of government is functioning properly then this announcement, and its timing, are part of Government's overall foreign policy.  After all, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein met with President Trump before the President departed for Europe and briefed him on this issue.

Over at the PopeHat, "VeryStableHat" tweeted out in response to Mr Julian Sanchez, who latched onto the coincidence of Candidate Trump asking President Putin for Candidate Clinton's EMails the same day Russia tried to hack into the DNC.

Mr Sanchez thinks that this indictment from the Special Prosecutor is just the further closing of the ring around a "traitorous" President Trump.

One wag responded with this tweet:

I'm confused.  Do the adults all get that Mr Trump was joking, or is it that Mr Mueller is on to something but can't bring it to a conclusion in 18 months.  In France in 1945 (Happy Bastille Day) they did Petain in 3 or 4 months.
And, the person is exactly correct.  Either Mr Rosenstein was working with the President to further US policy or he is a clueless and disruptive patriot, who should, with a sense of honor, resign.  As for Special Council Mueller, either he is holding the answers close to his chest, while he runs up his coup count or he is incompetent.  If, and I emphasize "if", Mr Mueller believes President Trump is a traitor—and that would be the word for it—then everything else is rubbish and should be ignored, so that Mr Mueller can deliver the goods to the House of Representatives as quickly as possible.  But, it isn't happening.  So, one can only conclude that President Trump is innocent of all these fabricated charges or Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein needs to replace Mr Mueller immediately.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The third option is that Mr Mueller is in President Trump's pocket.

The Exorbitant Cost of Tikkun Olam

For John, BLUFThe writer poses a very important question.  How much risk should you accept, for you and yours, in the name of doing good?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Tikkun Olam "repair of the world".

From PJ Media, by Canadian David Solway, 13 JULY 2018.

Here is the lede plus three:

Recently, my wife and I received an invitation from a respected friend to attend an event in support of the beleaguered Yazidi community of northern Iraq, now suffering under the predatory onslaught of ISIL and other Islamic groups.  Soliciting a contribution of several thousand dollars on the part of fifty donors to subsidize a documentary on these hapless victims, and no doubt to pressure our government to bring in more than the approximately 800-1000 Yazidi currently in Canada, the organizer is clearly dedicated to a worthy cause.

National Post columnist Barbara Kay, who was present at the event, wrote:  “It is baffling to me that the gravity of the situation for this tiny people -- perhaps a million in all -- has failed to arouse the critical mass of support it deserves in its darkest hour …  If choices must be made, our government should prioritize victims of genocide over refugees.”

I confess to deep-seated skepticism.  A Kurdish religious sect practicing a syncretic faith blending elements of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Yazidi are strictly endogamous, observe a rigorous caste system and maintain an equally rigorous honor code.  Yazidi honor killings are not uncommon in Germany, which boasts a large number of Yazidi immigrants. Errant daughters are at considerable risk for their lives.  If choices must be made, I am not sure the country needs another contingent of problematic immigrants or of refugees, despite the pitiful situation in which they find themselves.

Not all worthy causes are of equal merit. I do not understand why my friend and those associated with him are not, for example, appealing for contributions in aid of Israel whose people have been subject since 1948 and even before to Palestinian terror attacks, and are now suffering renewed rocket barrages as well as fire kites launched from Gaza, as a result of which 2,500 acres of farmland and forest have been burned.  I cannot understand why he has not prioritized the hundreds of thousands of Christians being slaughtered in Iraq and other Muslim countries, whose ordeal seems to me no less extreme than that of the Yazidi and who are, after all, part of the Judeo-Christian heritage.  As my wife responded to the request for funds, “this is not to say that the Yazidi as a whole deserve the terrible things that have been done to them [but] we already have lots of problems in Canada with newcomers who hold passionately to beliefs that are inimical to Canadian values.”  She could have said, with justification, Western values.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bastille Day

For John, BLUFRevolutions are very bloody and inefficient ways of settling differences over how an imperfect government will govern the People, who should be sovereign.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Quartz, by Mr Oliver Staley, edited by Jessanne Collins, and produced by Luiz Romero, 13 July 2018.

The article has a jumble of facts that flow from the French Revolution, some edifying and some not.

For instance:

  • 16,594: Death sentences given to counter-revolutionaries during the Reign of Terror of 1793-94.
  • Plus, up to 250,000 insurgents and 200,000 republicans met their deaths in the Vendée, a war which lasted from 1793-96.
  • Plus, the millions who died in the Napoleonic Wars.
While a lot of people have a romantic vision of the French Revolution, it was a very bloody affair and resulted in a number of different Empires, Monarchies and Republics since.  Today we are on the Fifth Republic.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, July 13, 2018

Progressives Unhappy With Free Speech

For John, BLUFFree Speech is bout protecting the stupid, the ignorant, the offensive, because at one time or another most ideas were viewed as stupid, ignorant or offensive.  Let them live or die on their merits.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Old Gray Lady, by Mr Adam Liptak, 30 June 2018.

Here is the lede plus:

On the final day of the Supreme Court term last week, Justice Elena Kagan sounded an alarm.

The court’s five conservative members, citing the First Amendment, had just dealt public unions a devastating blow.  The day before, the same majority had used the First Amendment to reject a California law requiring religiously oriented “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide women with information about abortion.

Conservatives, said Justice Kagan, who is part of the court’s four-member liberal wing, were “weaponizing the First Amendment.”

The two decisions were the latest in a stunning run of victories for a conservative agenda that has increasingly been built on the foundation of free speech.  Conservative groups, borrowing and building on arguments developed by liberals, have used the First Amendment to justify unlimited campaign spending, discrimination against gay couples and attacks on the regulation of tobacco, pharmaceuticals and guns.

If Progressives manage to make Free Speech go away, there may come a time when they miss it, unless they turn into the full fledged fascists they are, under the surface.  In that case they will be comfortable with restricting free speech and denying it to those who disagree with them.

Regards  —  Cliff

Abolish ICE?

For John, BLUFWhen I was a kid the expression was "put up or shut up".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Hot Air, by ALLAHPUNDIT, 13 July 2018.

Here is the lede:

The exciting conclusion to last night’s post about Ryan and Steve Scalise forcing a floor vote on the dopey “abolish ICE” legislation being pushed by lefties.
I hope it is a roll call vote, so we can see who voted how.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

They Just Don't Understand

For John, BLUFThe Democrats, that is, who just don't understand.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Just about everything Democrats think they know about the president's supporters is wrong

From Lifezette, by former Maryland Governor (and four time Congressman) Robert Ehrlich, 13 July 2018.

As Law Prof Glenn Reynolds likes to remind Republicans, "Don't get cocky."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Blogging Your Political Thoughts

For John, BLUFWWe are a somewhat unique nation, and it is great.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Author Sarah Hoyt, 10 July 2018.

Here is the thrust of it.  These United States are somewhat unique, in that we tend to join groups in a sort of self organizing fashion.

Again, what if you gave a singularity and only America came?  And why would only America be interested in citizen journalism?

Well, as I keep telling you, we’re strange.  Not bad strange, just … different.

America has a greater tendency to self-organize and form spontaneous organizations.  This was very strange to me when I came to the US first:  Everything from sewing circles to local civic organizations uses Robert’s Rules of Order.  And everyone belongs to some group that has self-organized to do something of mutual interest.

This is not original with Ms Sarah Hoyt.  It goes back to the first half of the 1800s and the writings of Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville.

Here is the wrap-up of the post:

Yes, I know, people in the comments will tell me that their countries have the same specialized organization, or someone will cite some study that says America lags behind in initiative and self-organization.  Take a powder, will you?

I have actually lived in, or still socialize with and have friends in other countries, and I can tell you this level of self-organization is not only unheard of, but it’s not understandable by most people in most other countries.

You might find pockets of it, like say in the island in Australia where my friend Dave Freer lives, but it’s not a society wide thing.

Maybe you need that self-organization, that level of confidence in your fellow citizens to make blogs and alternate news media really popular.

If that’s the case, how will we diverge yet more from Europe and the rest of the world?

And what will result from it?

Yes, American Exceptionalism.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff