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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.

Federal

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:
Massachusetts

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
-0.9

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

978-710-9763.

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, rsobey@lowellsun.com, 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

Clueless in Newsland


For John, BLUFIs it that they all think alike or that they all don't think?  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From @politicalelle, Ms Erielle Davidson, 7:53 PM - 11 Jul 2018.

Here is the tweet:

Erielle Davidson Retweeted Joe Concha
lol the media bubble is real

@JoeConchaTV
MSNBC's Katy Tur: "Based on where Americans stand on the issues, Americans have really moved in a much more progressive direction over the years. Do you think it’s appropriate to continue to take such a strict originalist view of the Constitution given it’s 2018 and not 1776?”

Even if the electorate had, there is always a long term advantage to having the originalist view of the Constitution as a sea anchor, to make sure our Republic doesn't drift away.

Remember when we thought eugenics was a good idea?  No?  Well, it was a hundred years ago.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Problem in DC—Congress


For John, BLUFCongress needs to reflect on its role under the Constitution and then step up, member by member.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Here is the sub-headline:

Constitution gives legislators many tools for enforcing its will against the executive or judicial branches, but they're worthless if left unused

What prompted this was the recent case of Ms Lisa Page, DOJ lawyer, who is avoiding a Congressional subpoena, as related here, "Page Faces Contempt Charge and More if She Doesn’t Testify This Week:  Former FBI lawyer could face drastic congressional sanctions, including the possibility of confinement, until she starts talking."

From Lifezette, by Mr Mark Tapscott, 6 April 2018.

Here are the five Congressional tools:

1) Put somebody in jail.

2) Impose a big fine.

3) Invoke the power of the purse.

4) Cut the workforce.

5) Have more political appointees.

I suspect that the US Congress would only need to do just one thing to change our Government from a bureaucratic centric government to a Congressional centric government.  But, that would require the Congresscritters to think of themselves as a unified body, rather than just two warring factions.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

They Want Flexibility


For John, BLUFThe thing is, if they want that flexibility the Dems/Progs should move to the UK, where there is no written constitution.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Here is the sub-headline:

Originalists will preserve the constitutional order. And that's a big problem for progressives.

From , by Mr David Harsanyi, 10 JULY 2018.

Here is a key paragraph:

Kavanaugh, with Justice Neil Gorsuch, is a critic of Chevron deference, the practice that allows administrative agencies to ignore their legal charge and have free rein to interpret statutory authority in virtually any way they please. Few things undermine the socialist agenda more than limiting our regulatory agencies’ ability to lord over the economic decisions of Americans.
Chevron deference defined.

Yes, I am one of those who things Congress should make the laws, and not Administrative Law Judges.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Judge Kavanaugh's Real Crime


For John, BLUFI think we have to accept that it will be all out war at least through the confirmation process.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Victory Girls Blog, by Ms Kim Hirsch, 10 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

Democrats are pretty sure they know why President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to be a Supreme Court Justice.  And it may have less to do with Roe v. Wade than you may suspect.

It is, they claim, a Nefarious Plot to keep Trump from prosecution.

You have to look under the hood to see what is propelling this.  Remember Special Prosecutor Ken Starr?  Mr Kavanaugh was part of that expedition.  From that experience he concluded that Congress might wish to protect the President, while in office, from prosecutors other than the House of Representatives.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

CO2 Emissions Issues


For John, BLUFAnd without being in the Paris Accord.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From Zero Hedge, by Mr Tyler Durden, 0 July 2018.

A bunch of charts to make the point.

I blame Trump.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Wyoming Statehood Remembered


For John, BLUFIf you believe in something you have to take a stand.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This is a post, at The InstaPundit, by Law Professor Gail Heriot, 10 July 2018.

Here is the Post:

ON THIS DAY IN 1890, WYOMING BECAME A STATE:&Nbsp; There’s an interesting backstory here:  The Wyoming Territory’s constitution had been the first to guarantee women the right to vote.  But when Wyoming initially applied for statehood, this created controversy.  Fearing that women in long-established states would be emboldened by Wyoming’s example, some Members of Congress initially insisted that Wyoming withdraw women’s right to vote.  But the Wyoming legislature stood its ground and cabled back to Congressional leaders, “We will remain out of the Union one hundred years rather than come in without the women.”

Congress eventually relented, and before the turn of the century, there were four women’s suffrage states–Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Idaho.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Is It All Propoganda?


For John, BLUFThis doesn't inspire confidence.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This is a story about how news gets reported, and how the events reported actually took place.  A cautionary tale.

From The Mad Genius Club, by Dave Freer, 9 July 2018

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Fight's On


For John, BLUFYou knew there was going to be a fight.  All that was missing was a name  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, 9 July 2018.

Tne first two paragraphs:

WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised as "superb" President Trump's selection of federal appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, while Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) prepared for a Tuesday morning protest on the steps of the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh, a 53-year-old former law clerk for Kennedy, also teaches at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown. His wife, Ashley Estes, was President George W. Bush's personal secretary.  They have two daughters and are active in D.C.'s Catholic community, including volunteering with Catholic Charities and tutoring at Washington Jesuit Academy.

Seems like an OK candidate.  The fact is, like war and pregnancy, the outcome, once the nominee is on the bench, is never guaranteed.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, July 9, 2018

Coming Surveillance State


For John, BLUFIn the long run this is a bad thing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Old Gray Lady, by Mr Paul Mozur, 8 July 2018.

Here is the start:

ZHENGZHOU, China — In the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a police officer wearing facial recognition glasses spotted a heroin smuggler at a train station.

In Qingdao, a city famous for its German colonial heritage, cameras powered by artificial intelligence helped the police snatch two dozen criminal suspects in the midst of a big annual beer festival.

In Wuhu, a fugitive murder suspect was identified by a camera as he bought food from a street vendor.

With millions of cameras and billions of lines of code, China is building a high-tech authoritarian future.  Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people.  It wants to assemble a vast and unprecedented national surveillance system, with crucial help from its thriving technology industry.

And here is the danger:
China is reversing the commonly held vision of technology as a great democratizer, bringing people more freedom and connecting them to the world. In China, it has brought control.

In some cities, cameras scan train stations for China’s most wanted. Billboard-size displays show the faces of jaywalkers and list the names of people who can’t pay their debts.  Facial recognition scanners guard the entrances to housing complexes.  Already, China has an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras — four times as many as the United States.

Such efforts supplement other systems that track internet use and communications, hotel stays, train and plane trips and even car travel in some places.

Having the Peds use the crosswalks, and properly, is not worth the sacrifice of our Fourth Amendment Rights.

Regards  —  Cliff

Fearing the Secret Police


For John, BLUFBest I can tell, there are no Secret Police in the US.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From PJ Media, by Dr Helen Smith, 6 July 2018.

Here is the Conclusion:

The left doesn't fear the Gestapo because they have become the Gestapo.  They are the ones kicking in the doors now and unless those of us with different voices stand together to stop them, it will escalate.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Holocaust Denial


For John, BLUFPeople should be careful of their analogies.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Here is the sub-headline:

Ted Cruz’s long-shot challenger is drawing riotous crowds. Is it enough?

From Politico, by Mr Ben Schreckinger, 9 July 2018.

Senator Ted Cruz has a challenger, Mr Beto O'Rourke.  However, Mr O'Rourke seems a little careless in his historic analogies.  I would go so far as to suggest he doesn't really understand the Holocaust.

Here is the lede plus one:

A fluent Spanish speaker, O’Rourke is especially emphatic when he talks about immigration.  In Chinatown, he led off by relating the story of the Voyage of the Damned, the saga of a boatful of Jewish refugees from pre-World War II Europe who were refused entry to Cuba and the United States and ultimately returned back to the continent, where more than 250 of them later died in the Holocaust.  He compared their plight to those of the migrants coming to the Southern border, and urged his audience to do all they could on the migrants’ behalf.
Just what we need, another person in the US Senate who is ignorant of history.  Someone like Columnist Jennifer Rubin.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, July 8, 2018

All Things Must Be Tested


For John, BLUFI would normally think of the Democrats as Mr Greenwald's own, except he loves the truth, as he sees it, even more.  Lesson learned is from 1 Thessalonians 5:21.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Intercept, by Reporter Glenn Greenwald, 8 July 2018.

You have to read it to understand how serious this charge is.

The other point I would make is that Mr Glenn Greenwald is not your average Trump-apologizing Conservative.  He talks to the likes of Mr Edward Snowden, and publishes things he says.

So, this set of comments on MSNBC (and NBC) should be taken seriously.  Fake news lives on the Left as well as the Right.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Mattresses?


For John, BLUFYes, I think the Left has gone round the bend.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Power Line, by .Mr John Hinderaker, 7 July 2018.

Here is the beginning:

Remember the good old days when the Left pretended to worry about “eliminationist rhetoric”? Now, they don’t even pretend to worry about a Bernie Sanders volunteer trying to murder Republican Congressmen.

Yesterday’s New York Times editorial on the judiciary illustrates how far around the bend the Democratic Party has gone: 

With Republicans controlling the Senate and the judicial filibuster dead, the Democrats’ odds of denying President Trump a second Supreme Court appointment are slim. Barring some unforeseen development, the president will lock in a 5-to-4 conservative majority, shifting the court solidly to the right for a generation.

This is all the more reason for Democrats and progressives to take a page from “The Godfather” and go to the mattresses on this issue.

The Godfather?  Wasn't there a certain amount of death in that series?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, July 7, 2018

More Jobs or Fewer?


For John, BLUFPay is going up.  What we saw last week were lagging indicators.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From the Wash Post, by Ms Heather Long, 28 June 2018.

Here is the first part:

Bob Blocksom, an 87-year-old former insurance salesman, needs a job.  He hasn’t saved enough money for his retirement.  And trucking companies, desperate for workers, are willing to give him one.

Age didn’t matter, they said.  If Blocksom could get his “CDL” — commercial driver’s license — they would hire him for a $50,000 job.  One even offered to pay his tuition for driver training school, but there was a catch:  Blocksom had to commit to driving an 18-wheel truck all over the United States for a year.

So far, that has been too big of an ask for Blocksom, who doesn’t want to spend long stretches of time away from his wife of 60 years.  “The more I think about it, it would be tough to be on the road Monday through Friday,” he said.

As the nation faces a historically low level of unemployment, trucking companies are doing what economists have said firms need to do to attract and retain workers:  They’re hiking pay significantly, offering bonuses and even recruiting people they previously wouldn’t have considered.

So, since money talks, here is the salary paragraph (TDDS is TDDS Technical Institute, which trains people for the CDL, or Commercial Driving License):
There’s only one option right now for most trucking companies: Give substantial raises.  Recruiters who show up daily at TDDS are offering jobs that pay $60,000 to $70,000, with full benefits and a $4,000 signing bonus.
And, this shortage of workers plays into the theme being put forward by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic National Committee, Chaired by Mr Tom Perez, as seen in this Washington Examiner headline, "Dems blast booming jobs report, Trump worker agenda, ‘reckless’".

You pays your money and you takes your chance.

Regards  —  Cliff

Jacking the Minimum Wage And Job Loss


For John, BLUFSometimes we think we are doing good, but we are actually doing bad.  But, it is hard to think about second and third order effects.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Here is the sub-headline:

From The Econ Log of the The Library of Economics and Liberty, by Retired Professor David Henderson.way back on 28 February 2016

Here is the lede plus five:

Jonathan Meer and Jeremy West have found that increases in the minimum wage destroy jobs, not so much by destroying current jobs as by reducing the growth rate of new jobs.

That makes sense if employers’ investments in capital are even partially irreversible, that is, if some costs of capital investment are sunk, as seems plausible.

What follows is "a simple numerical example to illustrate the point."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, July 6, 2018

Where US Is No Longer First


For John, BLUFThese are legit refugees, as opposed to immigrants, or even illegal immigrants.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Hill, by Reporter Jesus Rodriguez, 5 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus one:

The United States is resettling fewer refugees than the rest of the world combined according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR).

The study found that it is the first time the U.S has resettled fewer refugees than the combined total of all other nations since the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act, which allows the president to set caps on the number admitted.

Who would have thought?

"The rest of the world" includes the combination of Mexico and Germany and France and Italy.  It includes all of Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.  It includes China and India and South Africa.  It includes Australia and New Zealand, as well as all of Southeast Asia.  Japan and South Korea, Korea accepting refugees from the North.  Turkey, which has a lot of refugees from the Middle East.  And Greece and Spain.  All of them.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Misunderstanding Socialism


For John, BLUFIf you don't have a bit of an understanding of economics and politics you can get led astray.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This is a discussion of a couple of Twitter exchanges.

Jedediah Bila
@JedediahBila
My even more favorite conversations are with those who equate first responders and roads with socialism.
That was a response to this Tweet:
Steven Hawkins
@HittaHawkins
Replying to @JedediahBila
My favorite conversations are with those who despise socialism but love things like first responders and roads... 🤔😒
5:40 PM · Jul 3, 2018
Then, later, we have this follow-on comment from Mr Steven Hawkins:
15h
Replying to @JedediahBila
To be clear, I’m not advocating Marxist socialism I’m just pointing out that we have a lot of socialist programs in this country that people enjoy. when you realize that it’s not such a scary word..

Capitalism without socialism is fascism.
I am thinking the Mr Hawkins doesn't understand Fascism.

Without Socialism there is no Fascism.  The German version was known as the National Socialist Party (National Socialist German Workers' Party).

I wonder if Mr Hawkins thinks that in Capitalism all streets should be turnpikes, of a private nature?

Senator E Warren was on to something when she made her "you didn't build that" remark.  Sure, we all depend on the roads and canals and dredged rivers and harbors that carry our goods.  But, that is as old as the wheel.  That is from before feudalism.  The key question is to what degree did freedom play in the ability of economies to provide employment.  Put, another way, to what degree did the freedom of the individual entrepreneur to do his own thing play in reducing global poverty from some 80% two hundred years ago to under 10% today.  For sure, socialism didn't do it.

Regards  —  Cliff

My Country


For John, BLUFWords to live by.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



One of my favorite historic figures is Carl Schurz, Union General, US Ambassador, US Senator, and Federal Cabinet Secretary.  Not bad for a man with the good sense to leave Europe after the events of 1848.

While serving in the US Senate he said (not on the Fourth):

My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
Happy Fourth

Regards  —  Cliff

The Minimum Wage in Canada


For John, BLUFAt a certain price some times are just not worth having.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Here is the sub-headline:

The move was predictably praised by union leaders and most of the general public as a compassionate policy that would help workers.

From Foundation for Economic Eduction, by Mr by Matthew Lau, 2 July 2018.

Here is the lede plus five:

The Canadian province of Ontario began 2018 by raising the minimum wage from $11.60 to $14.  The move was predictably praised by union leaders and most of the general public as a compassionate policy that would help workers.  Equally predictable was the damage this would do to unskilled workers, much of which is already clearly visible, only half a year into this unfortunate experiment.  And given that the damage caused by minimum wages takes time to unfold, more carnage is surely on the horizon.

Disabled Workers Lose Their Jobs

When the Ontario government raised the minimum wage, it also terminated an exemption for organizations providing jobs to the intellectually or physically disabled.  As a result, The Globe and Mail reports, most of these organizations “have opted to stop hiring people with cognitive disabilities.”  Not only was hiring stopped, community centers and non-profits were also forced to let go of their existing disabled workers.

I am sure the outcome will be much different here in our Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  I am sure the General Court has put fine print in the bill that will protect us from the dynamics of economics.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thanks to the FFs


For John, BLUFGlad we did the show today.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Nothing Follows.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Public Health in the UK


For John, BLUFMaggie Thatcher noted that, with socialism, you eventually run out of other peoples' money.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Acronym Alert:  NHS is Britain's National Health Service (Socialist Medicine).

Here is the sub-headline:

Public support remains passionate, allowing our health service to fend off attempts to undermine its core purpose

From The Guardian, by Ms Polly Toynbee, 3 July 2018.

Ms Toynbee is my favorite Labour Columnist.

Here is the lede:

lorious celebrations for this week’s NHS 70th birthday mark the proudest social democratic moment of our history.  The Labour party descended on Tredegar, Nye Bevan’s birthplace, to march through the streets to brass bands, and London marched too.  Everything lyrically expressed in Danny Boyle’s Olympic ceremony, with its 300 glowing NHS beds filled with bouncing children, is emotionally reprised in this reminder of our better selves.
Aneurin Bevan was a Welshman and a Labour Member of Parliament.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Nevada Traffic Deaths Fall in Last Year


For John, BLUFMaybe legal marijuana won't be as bad as some of us feared.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Here is the sub-headline:

It is the one-year anniversary of recreational marijuana in Nevada - how has the state fared?

From Zero Hedge, by Mr Tyler Durden, 2 July 2018.

Key Paragraph:

According to a report from NBC Reno, about 310 people died in traffic accidents in Nevada between July 2016 and May 2017.  From July 2017 to May 2018 — the first 11-months of legal recreational marijuana — just 277 people died in car crashes across the state. KRNV noted that the Nevada Department of Public Safety was unable to provide data for June.
As Stephen Green notes, correlation is not causation, but something is going on.  My wife suggests that maybe people are just staying home and smoking.  Or maybe they aren't drinking as much and are thus not quite as impaired on the road.

I wonder what the results are for Colorado?

The National Bureau of Economic Research suggested that there is “little evidence” that the legalization of marijuana is responsible for increases in traffic deaths in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.  And, in Nevada, local tax revenues are up.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Military Casualties


For John, BLUFAlmost an Army Division's worth in twelve years.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From Military Times, by Mr Aaron Mehta, 13 June 2018.

The first four paragraphs:

Since 2006, 15,851 active-duty personnel and mobilized reservists have died while serving in the U.S. armed forces.  But only 28 percent of those deaths came from going to war, a stark reminder of the danger service members face even away from the battlefield.

The numbers come from a new report by the Congressional Research Service, disclosed to the public by the Federation of American Scientists.  CRS drew on official figures from the Pentagon for its accounting.

The report breaks down the casualties by OCO and non-OCO deaths, where OCO is defined as a military operation “in which members of the armed forces are or may become involved in military actions, operations, or hostilities against an enemy of the United States or against an opposing military force.”  That covers the vast number of military operations, although it does not cover individuals killed during train and equip operations.

Seventy-two percent of the overall casualties ― 11,341 deaths ― occurred under circumstances unrelated to America’s ongoing wars, the report found.  Ninety-three percent of all these casualties occurred in the U.S., although incidents happened in over 70 nations around the world. Accidents, self-inflicted wounds or illness made up the bulk of casualties.

It is a dangerous profession.

Regards  —  Cliff

Democrats Upping the Rhetoric


For John, BLUFYes, the Democrats should be the Party with the red color.  They are the party out calling for revolution, waving the bloody shirt.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Here is the sub-headline:

Moore said that he thinks Americans can stop Trump, but only if they’re all-in.

From Nation of Change, by Mr Martin Cizmar, 2 July 2018.

The words of Mr Michael Moore, at the end of the article:

“What are people willing to commit to?  What would you give your life for?” he asked.  “What would you be willing to actually put yourself on the line for?  That moment is now.  We are going to lose our democracy if we haven’t already.  We have no choice, my friends.  We have to rise up.”
At what point is a small group of folks going to heed the words of a Michael Moore and take to the streets?  While there be killings involved?  Should Republicans worry about their homes or offices being firebombed?

Perhaps most important, what happens after 6 November of this year, if the Republicans retain control of both Houses of the US Congress?

I hope that the vast majority of Americans treat Mr Bill Maher and Mr Michael Moore as the comedians they are and not as serious revolutionaries.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, July 2, 2018

Things Are Getting Better


For John, BLUFAll politics is local, until your national government decides to go for socialism.  Then it is national and it is bad, for you.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From Human Progress, by Alexander C. R. Hammond, 27 October 2017.

Yes. this is close to a year old, but the point is still good.

Here is the key thought:

Well, in 1820, 94 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 per day adjusted for purchasing power).  In 1990 this figure was 34.8 percent, and in 2015, just 9.6 percent.
Of course, this progress can be reversed.  For example, with Bolivarian Socialism.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff