The EU

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Tear Down Those Walls?

For John, BLUFWhat is the Wall fight about?  The 2020 Race.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Examiner, by Columnist Byron York, 29 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

A House-Senate conference committee is beginning work on a package of border security policies that, it is hoped, can win the support of both Democrats and Republicans.  The final product is certain to include several measures that already have full, bipartisan approval:  more immigration judges, more technology to detect illegal drugs at ports of entry, more humanitarian aid for migrants in custody, etc.

The hang-up, of course, will be a border barrier.  President Trump insists on money — his demand is $5.7 billion — that would build new steel-slat barriers along about 230 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.  About 80 miles of that would replace current, dilapidated, inadequate fencing, while 150 or so miles would cover currently unfenced areas.

On the other side are Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called a border wall "an immorality between nations" and denies evidence that a barrier would increase border security by decreasing the number of illegal crossings into the United States.

If we take the Speaker at her word, and in her utterance she may just be echoing President Ronald Reagan ("Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall), then she should be ensuring the bill has a couple billion dollars to tear down the boarder wall with Mexico, say starting with the 160 miles from the Pacific shore, south of San Diego, to Yuma, Arizona.  That would give us the opportunity to determine if we lose anything in terms of effectiveness without the wall.

It doesn't make sense to me, but Speaker Pelosi has all those staffers helping her.  But, if the wall is morally wrong, then it must come down.  On the other hand, this might just be about 2020, and the Democrats can't afford to give President Trump a win, any win, in light of the fight for 2020.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Equality For All

For John, BLUFWhen running a Star Chamber it is best the defendent be as ignorant as possible.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From InstaPundit, by Mr Robert Shibley, 30/1622 January 2019.

Here is the Blog Post:

HIGHER ED’S LOBBYING ARM OPPOSES TELLING STUDENTS THEY’RE PRESUMED INNOCENT:  In responding to proposed Title IX regulatory changes, the American Council on Education says that while some colleges are OK with saying students should be presumed innocent, “other colleges would be uncomfortable with including a federally mandated statement in the institution’s notice indicating a ‘presumption’ in favor of one party… We recommend that the Department remove this requirement.”  They actually say doing so might “cause confusion.”  Give me a break.
This is the kind of reason Western Civilization is no longer taught in high school or college.  Heck, the students might be exposed to Anglo-Saxon legal principles like due process or innocent until proven guilty.

That would set the Progressive agenda back.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Listening to the Other Side

For John, BLUFPeople doing like being bullied, including being intellectually bullied.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Twitter, by Journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Here is the lede plus five:

Glenn Greenwald Retweeted Neera Tanden
The inability of rich neoliberal centrist elites in western capitals to understand - or even hide their scorn for - the anger & grievances of rural and working-class people over their economic suffering is one of the 2 or 3 most important causes of contemporary political changes:
Neera Tanden
Verified account
I don’t understand why any progressive is cheering French protesters who are amassing against a carbon tax.

4:54 AM - 9 Dec 2018
This is over a month old, but the Yellow Jackets continue to protest in France and people continue to misunderstand and underestimate the story.  That is to say, it is like when the Tea Party in the US, and its agenda, was rejected by all the right-thinking people.  The result was the election of Donald Trump as President.

Not everyone takes the views of their betters as gospel.  Democracy, at the end of the day, means these other folks get a voice.  Not that they win, but that they get a say.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  See, for example, this Professor Glenn Reynolds article from 2016.

Misremembering the Holocaust

For John, BLUFBeing Anti-Israel is becoming "fashionable," leading to Anti-Semitism, which is bad.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Sunday was UN (and EU) Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Here in the US it is in April or May, following the Jewish Calendar.  In addition to six million Jews killed by the Nazi regime, a like number of Slavs, Poles, Serbs, Romani people, mentally and physically disabled Germans, and people who were "different," such as Jehovah's Witnesses, asocial political dissidents and homosexual men, all to the lasting disgrace of the German People.

From PJ Media, by Mr Tyler O'Neil, 29 January 2019.

Here is the lede:

On Sunday, Women's March leader Linda Sarsour effectively outed herself as an anti-Semite.  Ironically, her statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2019 did the very thing she denounced in 2017 as the "definition of anti-Semitism" — she did not mention the Jews.
But, back in 2017 it was President Trump who failed to mention the Jews.  Which s different, because….  That said, I am not sure I would have noticed, the Jews and the Holocaust being so tightly united in my mind.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Following AOC Off the Cliff

For John, BLUFI feel like the left disrespects not only my opinions, but my right to an opinion.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

You can’t be morally right and factually wrong at the same time.  That’s a big problem for socialists

From The Federalist, Senior Editor David Harsanyi, 24 January 2019.

Here are three excerpted paragraphs:

For instance, has anyone ever asked Ocasio-Cortez if, generally speaking, she believes a billionaire-free Cuban system that ostensibly offers free health care, guaranteed housing, a free education, and greater income equality is preferable to the United States’s vulgar, capitalistic model? If not, why not?

After all, what guiding ideological principle stops Ocasio-Cortez from supporting confiscatory policies? Why not nationalize the fossil fuel industry? This is our last chance to save humanity, after all. If she really believes the fight against climate change is analogous to the war against fascism — a war that cost the lives of somewhere around 80 million people worldwide — then why wouldn’t she propose taxing the wealthy at 50 or 60 percent across the board? If income inequality and concentrated wealth are a problem almost as dangerous as climate change, would she be negligent if she failed to support those policies?

That is, of course, the end goal. Ocasio-Cortez, like many others, likes to claim that the rich do not pay their “fair share.” Right now, the top 50 percent of taxpayers pay around 97 percent of all individual income taxes. The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes than the bottom 90 percent combined. Has anyone asked Ocasio-Cortez what a reasonable percentage would be for them to contribute to the common good? Ninety-five percent? Ninety-nine?

InstaPundit Blogger Stephen Green notes:
What Ocasio-Cortez genuinely gives “zero [concern]” about is your cisnormative reality-based values system, hater.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Tribes Breaking Up

For John, BLUF"Brett Kavanaugh, the sequel."  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Town Hall, by Mr Guy Benson, 25 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus five:

A sharp insight from National Review's David French, who agrees with me that there are some relevant parallels between the Kavanaugh fight and the Covington affair.  Why were conservatives so energized over both controversies?  Because they witnessed the Left trying to destroy lives and reputations, regardless of evidence, for nakedly political and tribalistic reasons.  Many right-leaning women, in particular, have bristled at the remorseless, ends-driven attacks, which have drawn them into the fight.
I guess the Democrats feel the demographics favor them and they can afford to gaff off the Catholics (and Evangelicals).  They could be wrong.

It wasn't so long ago that Roman Catholics were considered the quintessential Democrat.  In about 1944 our soon to be Landlord asked my Father if he was Catholic.  My Father, in a very narrow, Clintonesk sort of way, ignored my Mother's faith and said, no, but why do you ask.  Mr Harry C Verrick responded, "We aren't against Catholics, it is just they tend to vote Democrat."  There were six Catholic families in town, a lawyer, a naval architect, a dentist, a grocer, a butcher and us.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Don't Mess With Melania

For John, BLUFGood on Mrs Trump.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Bloomberg, by Ms Kelly Gilblom, 26 January 2019.

I got there via Hot Air, which had this excerpt:

In an explanation titled “Melania Trump — An Apology,” the newspaper wrote that the first lady’s father was not “a fearsome presence and did not control the family.”  It also said she didn’t leave her studies in design and architecture at university due to an exam, but because she wanted to pursue a career as a model.  It also said it inaccurately stated she was “struggling” as a model when she met Donald Trump, now the president.

It corrected the timing of when she met Trump, and when her family arrived in the U.S.  The apology also said the story erroneously reported she cried the night her husband was elected president.

It should be noted that libel law in the United Kingdom is a little tighter on Press than it is in the US.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Understanding How The Economy Works

For John, BLUFThe system works by people getting rich and creating additional jobs, so others can prosper.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a Tweet from Professor Stephanie Kelton (@StephanieKelton):
No one makes a billion dollars.  You TAKE a billion dollars.  You take it from your workers (Hi, Jeff, Jim, and Alice!).  You plunder it from the environment (What up, Charles & David?).  You strip it using patents/protections (Lookin' at you, Bill.)
I can almost hear the voice of our Senior Senator, E Warren, in the background screaming "You didn't build that."  That said, I realize it was not her line when first uttered.

Here is the Tweet Response of Nassim Nicholas Taleb (@nntaleb):

She is using Twitter and a computer to claim that those who invented them are rent seekers.  And she, a parasite, lives from rent seeking, charities, and public funds.
I am with Nassim Nicholas Taleb on this one.

And that isn't a Black Swan.

"Rent Seeking involves seeking to increase one's share of existing wealth without creating new wealth. Rent-seeking results in reduced economic efficiency through poor allocation of resources, reduced actual wealth-creation, lost government revenue, increased income inequality,[1] and (potentially) national decline."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Value of a Min Wage Bump

For John, BLUFThe scary part is that the facts do not overcome the good intentions of Progressives.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Until voters recognize that politicians have incentives that are often quite different from their own, we’re likely to continue to see harmful legislation of this kind.

From The Foundation for Economic Education, by FEE's Managing Editor, Mr Jonathan Miltimore, 24 January 2019.

Here is the lede:

New York City’s minimum wage jumped more than 15 percent overnight on January 1, and employers are already cutting workers’ hours as a result.
So, there is the problem.  We have reason to doubt the effectiveness of raising the minimum wage in (1) raising income or (2) creating more jobs.

Here is the view of an economist, Ludwig von Mises, with regard to what is going on.

“No politician is any longer interested in the question whether a measure is fit to produce the ends aimed at,” Mises wrote in The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science.  “What alone counts for him is whether the majority of the voters favor or reject it.”

Politicians, Mises is saying, have incentives quite different from workers.  And incentives matter a lot.

Makes me think of US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex.

At any rate, here is a report from Reason Magazine, "Minimum Wage Hikes in New York City Cause Restaurants to Eliminate Jobs, Cut Hours, Raise Prices".  Here is the sub-headline, "Good intentions do not always lead to good outcomes."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Banana Republic

For John, BLUFI am embarrassed for my Nation and its Government.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Hot Air, a short item, with no reporter attribution, 25 January 2019.

The thing is, Mr Stone was arrested in a early dawn raid by a dozen Agents.  Why the massed raid when an invite to Mr Stone's lawyer could have had him show down today at some reasonable hour?  And the presence of the Press?  CNN, to be precise.

Here is the Tweet from Reporter Glenn Greenwald regarding the Press presence:

It's possible this tip-off came from FBI rather than Mueller's office, but either way, nobody should be comfortable having law enforcement engineer with media outlets the filming of someone's arrest at their home like a reality TV circus.  But it's Roger Stone, so few will care.
I care.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Name Calling

For John, BLUFSometimes names, even offensive names, are important in creating esprit de corps, like Leper Colony.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The London Review of Books, by Mr Leo Benedictus, 11 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus five:

You won’t hear the word ‘yid’ sung at most Tottenham Hotspur matches.  You’ll hear it sung at all of them.  If you know which tunes to listen for, you’ll hear it whenever Spurs are on TV.  The club has been Jewish-owned since 1982, and its Jewish associations go back to the 1920s.  Most Spurs fans aren’t Jewish, but the story goes that when rivals began to target the Jewish minority with ‘yid’ songs in the 1960s, the rest ‘reclaimed’ the word on their behalf.  Since then, every Spurs fan, and player, has been ‘a yid’.  (I support Spurs and I’m not Jewish, although my father is.)

Last week, the World Jewish Congress condemned football fans for using ‘yid’, ‘either as a self-designated nickname or as a slogan against rivals’, because it carries ‘a distinctly pejorative and anti-Semitic message’.  It doesn’t always carry it, obviously. The WJC statement itself uses the word seven times.

The best case against Spurs’ fans use of the word was put forward in 2011 by the comedian and writer David Baddiel, a Jewish Chelsea fan, who with his brother Ivor heard and tolerated the chanting of ‘yid’ against Spurs for many years.  It was ‘banter you put up with’, he thought.  Then one day a man behind him started shouting ‘F--k the Yids! F--k the Jews!’, which would give anybody pause for thought.

The brothers made a film about the Y-word.  ‘I don’t want to sanitise football,’ Baddiel said.  ‘Football has to involve aggression.’  He didn’t demand mass arrests in the stands.  He asked only that fans, including Spurs fans, think carefully about the consequences of their chanting.  In his view, ironic ‘yid’ chants make abusive ones more likely.

In autumn 2013, the Metropolitan Police changed its policy on ‘yid’, and began warning Spurs fans not to sing it.  They did anyway, and chanted ‘We’ll sing what we want!’ as well.  Three were arrested.  But the following March, the Crown Prosecution Service declined to prosecute because ‘although the same words used in other contexts could in theory satisfy the criteria for “threatening, abusive or insulting”, it is unlikely that a court would find that they were in the context of the three particular cases in question.’

Shortly afterwards, the club released the findings of a survey, which showed that a large majority of its Jewish (73 per cent) and non-Jewish (74 per cent) fans thought that ‘yid’ songs should be allowed.  Just 6 per cent and 4 per cent said the songs made them feel uncomfortable.  In short, the songs are legal and offend hardly anybody.  The same cannot be said for Chelsea’s, which continue, bringing us back to where Baddiel came in.

Normally I would be in favor of banishing the word, by social pressure, rather than invoking the law, but in this case I would be happy to let it slide, given that the term is being embraced.  Context is important.  And language evolves.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hat Ban

For John, BLUFMaybe the Good People of Kentucky will decide Representative Yarmuth has served long enough, come 2020.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller, by Education and Politics Reporter, Ms Neetu Chandak, 20 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth called for banning teens from wearing Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats after a video circulated on social media of an encounter between some Kentucky high school boys and an American Indian group after the March for Life rally Friday.

After facing criticism on Twitter, he mentioned it was an “obvious joke.”

“I am calling for a total and complete shutdown of teenagers wearing MAGA hats until we can figure out what is going on,” Yarmuth posted Sunday on Twitter. “They seem to be poisoning young minds.”

Yarmuth, a Democratic representative from Kentucky, also blamed President Donald Trump for the allegedly negative behavior displayed in a separate tweet.

People have lost their minds.  How else to explain this?

And, no, this was not a joke at the time it was uttered.  There is no space for humor left in any space overviewed by the Social Justice Warriors and AntiFa troops.

Would Representative Yarmuth include banning young Baron Trump from wearing a MAGA hat?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Equal Rights and Responsibilities

For John, BLUFWomen registering for the Draft is a step forward for equal rights.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

My answer:


From USA Today, by Reporter Gregory Korte, 23 January 2019.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Collusion With Russia

For John, BLUFBecause…Shut Up.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Ms Debra Heine, 15 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Long before Trump was ever accused of colluding with the Russians, a powerful Democratic senator conspired with the Kremlin to undermine a sitting American president -- and there are KGB documents to prove it.

My favorite part of the whole RussiaGate farce has always been the newfound patriotism of the former pro-Soviet Democrats.  It was only a few years ago that a left-wing president and his cheer squad in the media and comments sections scoffed at the idea of Russia as a serious geopolitical foe.

But thanks to the deep state's baseless allegations that President Trump colluded with the Russians, Democrats are now the most Russia-phobic people on earth.

Well, it is different, because it was Senator Edward Kennedy, Lion of the Senate.

But, basically, we are dealing with the fact that a decent percentage of our society are, even today, unwilling to deal with the fact that Hillary Lost.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Learning to Write

For John, BLUFIt is sad that Colleges and Universities are having to do remedial education during the Freshman year.  This is definitely on the various local public schools.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

  • American University will host an event with a professor from a writing center which argues that American grammar is racist.
  • The professor published an essay in which he argues for grading based on the amount of work.

From , by Messieurs Jon Street and Rob Shimshock, 18 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

American University in Washington, D.C. is hosting an event on Feb. 1 on "antiracist" grading with a professor who serves as director of a writing center which argues that American grammar is a "racist," "unjust language structure."

The seminar, titled, "Grading Ain't Just Grading: Rethinking Writing Assessment Ecologies Towards Antiracist Ends," will be led by University of Washington-Tacoma professor Asao Inoue, who previously published an essay titled, "A Grade-less Writing Course that Focuses on Labor and Assessing," in which he argues in favor of "dispens[ing] almost completely with judgments of quality when producing course grades."

"I argue that a productive way to design and teach a first-year writing course is to conceive of it as labor – and calculate course grades by labor completed – and dispense almost completely with judgments of quality when producing course grades," Inoue writes in an essay summary on

Given the state of public education in the United States I think a "no grade" first writing course makes sense.  This problem is not new.  Back in the late 1960s or early 1970s the Air Force moved up when junior officers attended Squadron Officer School.  The reason was the need to improve the writing skills of young officers.

However, at some point, and at an early point, I want to see grades.  As someone who has had to hire people, I have a prejudice for knowing how the person performs, including how they performed at the college level.

The idea that grammar is "racist" is just rubbish.  If we are going to effectively communicate we need to all be on the same sheet of paper.  Or at least striving toward that single understanding of English.  To have a different approach, to me, is to limit the ability of people to get jobs and to advance at work.

On the other hand, not everyone needs to be a great writer, or even a good writer.  However, not everyone is going to move up at work.  Not being able to write an understandable English sentence is going to be a limiter in terms of being hired for certain jobs.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Senator Harris For President

For John, BLUFNot my favorite amongst the Democrats.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Fox News, by Mr John Fund, 21 January 2018.

Go to the link for the five reasons.

In the mean time there is a mean spirited effort from somewhere trying to paint Senator E Warren as unlikeable.  As unlikeable as even Ms Hillary Clinton.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, January 21, 2019

Money in Politics

For John, BLUFTrying to manage political contributions by legislation seems like a fool's errand.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Epoch Times, by Mr Mark Tapscott, 21 January 2019.

Here is how Mr Tapscott wrote it up for Instapundit:

DEMS FEAR MONEY CORRUPTING POLITICS.  THIS WILL SCARE’EM TO DEATH:  The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) invested more than $335,000 in 25 of the 27 Democrats serving in the 116th Congress on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Why?  Because that’s the committee that will soon pass the “Raise the Wage Act of 2019,” which will mandate a federal “living wage” of $15 per hour by 2024.  The proposal will do some other stuff that SEIU likes, too, so the union’s strategists apparently think it’s in their interest to get it through the House this year in anticipation of a Democratic landslide in 2020 that puts the Senate and the White House back in their hands.

See, money does buy influence.  So any minute now Democrats will start raising you know what about this blatant special interest abuse of democracy.  Right?

Right.  Absolutely.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Permalink • 4:59 pm by Mark Tapscott •5

Building A Wall

For John, BLUFDidn't anyone check first with Speaker Pelosi?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Pakistan is building a wall along its border with Afghanistan. Will it actually make the country safer?

From The Diplomat! By Mr Muhammad Akbar Notezai, 19 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

Bramcha (sometimes spelled Bramacha) is a tiny town in Pakistan’s far western Balochistan province, situated in a corner of the province’s Chaghi district on the border with Afghanistan.  There used to be an extension of the same town on the Afghan side of the border, too.  After the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan, the Afghan side of the town was wiped from the map due to bombing campaigns – the town not only housed the Afghan Taliban but also drug traffickers.  Some called Afghan Bramcha the epicenter of drug trafficking, and it’s not hard to see why.  Even today, Bramcha is situated in one of the remotest and most lawless corners of the world.

Over the years, Pakistani authorities have grown increasingly concerned about the security situation on its borders with both Afghanistan and Iran.  The border with Afghanistan, in particular, has been loosely governed and porous from day one.  This is why Pakistani authorities have now commenced fencing its border with Afghanistan, in a bid to stop militants and drug traffickers from pouring into Pakistan.

This development is opposed by not only Afghan authorities but also by the Afghan Taliban.  In recent months, when Pakistani security forces were stationed in Bramcha to fence off the border with Afghanistan, the Afghan Taliban blocked the effort in some areas.

I wonder how this will work out?

Regards  —  Cliff

MLK Holiday (And Dream)

For John, BLUFAs Scriptue says, "Without a vision the People will perish."  In this case I believe dream and vision are interchangeable.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Wikipedia:
King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.  The campaign for a federal holiday in King's honor began soon after his assassination in 1968.  President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later.  At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays.  It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
Here is a key passage from Reverand King's 28 August 1963 "I have a dream speech", delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.
As a believer in the Declaration of Independence, I look forward to the realization of that dream.

And I thank Reverand King for calling us to again embrace our founding principles.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Shroud of Turin a Fraud

For John, BLUFThe article says Jesus was 5'11".  That can't be right.  My Father told me Jesus was exactly 6 feet tall.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Caller, by Religion Reporter Joshua Gill.

I missed this when it came out 28 March 2018.

Here is the lede plus two:

A University of Padua professor used the Shroud of Turin to create a 3D carbon copy of Jesus, allegedly revealing Christ’s true features.

Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurements and a scholar of the Shroud of Turin, used his own measurements of the impression on the shroud to create the carbon copy, according to Aleteia. Using the shroud and the resulting 3D image, Fanti was able to count a number of the bodily wounds Jesus would have suffered according to scripture and other historical sources, reveal his height, and the position in which he died, the professor said, according to Vatican Insider. Fanti has no doubt the depiction of the shrouded man and the statue he created with it is that of the actual Christ.

“This statue is the three-dimensional representation in actual size of the Man of the Shroud, created following the precise measurements taken from the cloth in which the body of Christ was wrapped after the crucifixion,” Fanti said, according to Vatican Insider. “Therefore, we believe that we finally have the precise image of what Jesus looked like on this earth. From now on, He may no longer be depicted without taking this work into account.”

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Who Wants What?

For John, BLUFMaybe it means nothing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mediaite, by Caleb Howe, 17 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

In the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Thursday, President Donald Trump may have suffered some among Republicans overall, but he saw a huge point gain in a different demographic breakdown, and an unexpected one by conventional wisdom.

In early December, the poll had Trump’s approval rating among Latino adults at 31%.

The results from the poll released Thursday show the president’s job approval among Latino adults at 50%.

I wonder what this means?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Impeachment as Politics

For John, BLUFI bet the Editors of The Atlantic think there should also be a new Brexit Vote, being unhappy with the last outcome.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Starting the process will rein in a president who is undermining American ideals—and bring the debate about his fitness for office into Congress, where it belongs.

From The Atlantic, by Senior Editor Yoni Applebaum, from the March 2019 Issue.

Here is a key paragraph:

John Doar, the attorney hired by the House Judiciary Committee to oversee the Nixon investigation, handed off the question of what constituted an impeachable offense to two young staffers:  Bill Weld and Hillary Rodham.  They determined that the answers they were seeking were to be found not in old case law, but in the public debates that raged around past impeachment efforts.  The memo Weld and Rodham helped produce drew on that context and sided with Black:  “High crimes and misdemeanors” need not be crimes.  In the end, Weld came to believe that impeachment is a political process, aimed at determining whether a president has fallen short of the duties of his office.  But that doesn’t mean it’s arbitrary.  In fact, the Nixon impeachment left Weld with a renewed faith in the American system of government:  “The wheels may grind slowly,” he later reflected, “but they grind pretty well.”
Well, those are a couple of familiar names, at least in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

And, it is clear from the above that Impeachment isn't so much about illegality as it is about animus.  I think we can safely say that there is a degree of animus in our nation's capitol.

Speaking of animus, here is the concluding paragraph:

Today, the United States once more confronts a president who seems to care for only some of the people he represents, who promises his supporters that he can roll back the tide of diversity, who challenges the rule of law, and who regards constitutional rights and liberties as disposable.  Congress must again decide whether the greater risk lies in executing the Constitution as it was written, or in deferring to voters to do what it cannot muster the courage to do itself.  The gravest danger facing the country is not a Congress that seeks to measure the president against his oath—it is a president who fails to measure up to that solemn promise.
I can see the standoff over the budget for a portion of the Federal Workforce leading to the Speaker of the House moving forward with a Bill of Impeachment.  I would prefer she cut a deal with the President.  But, part of this is about positioning for 2020.

However, there is still the question of Vice President Pence.

UPDATE:  Here is a review from The Hill.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Let The Children Go

For John, BLUFBeing a parent is hard, but important.  Children must learn freedom, but also responsibility.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Why not let them walk to school alone?  Parents and communities are figuring out ways to give their children more independence—and it just may help them to become less anxious, more self-reliant adults

From The Wall Street Journal, by Ms Andrea Petersen, 1 June 2018.

Yes, this is seven and a half months ago, but Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds decided to throw it up this morning.

I can't remember a time I didn't walk or ride my bike to school, except for my first two weeks in Junior High School and the random day in High School when I got to drive the family car.

Yes, riding my bike into the next town, or walking home from the movies two towns over was normal in sixth and seventh grades.  Being part of a two man crew taking a 36 foot cabin cruiser out to one of the channel islands, at night, was routine in High School.

I can understand how the low birth rate in the United States means that each child is more precious, but I don't really think that my parents loved me much less than the parents of single children love their individual kids.

We are crippling a generation of children.

And, at the same time, some parents are failing in educating their children about the importance of responsibility and hard work.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Voter's Instinct

For John, BLUFThis is what Democrats don't get.  In their self righteousness they believe others should just fall into line.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Samizdata, by Ms Natalie Solent (Essex), 18 January 2019.

Here is the final sentence:

Lord knows the British electorate has some wrongheaded views, but it has shown before now that it instinctively knows one of the great truths of politics:  that it is unwise to place yourself in the power of those who despise you.
Regards  —  Cliff

How Pure is Pure Enough?

For John, BLUFYesterday I heard the Progressives described as Calvinists  The is, there are the saved and then there are those condemned to overlasting perdition.  This tale serves to confirm that characterization.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Most politicians have evolved on gay issues. But not all were directly connected to anti-gay organizations.

From Reason Magazine, by Mr Scott Shackford, 18 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced her candidacy for president last weekend with an emphasis on reducing America's involvement in foreign wars.

That itself has drawn criticism, as the current political climate has led a chunk of the Democratic establishment to see any scaling back of the U.S.'s military presence in countries like Syria as some sort of gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But beyond that, Gabbard has a legitimately troubling family history of opposition to LGBT rights.  That background flared up this week as her candidacy received coverage, and yesterday she released a video fully apologizing for her history of anti-gay activism.

Gabbard and her family didn't just oppose same-sex marriage in the late 1990s and early part of the millennium.  They were politically active in an organization, The Alliance for Traditional Marriage and Values, that worked to amend Hawaii's constitution to prohibit the legal recognition of same-sex couples.  The organization argued that homosexuality was subversive and dangerous, and Gabbard's father endorsed conversion therapy to turn gay people straight.  (Her father loudly opposed gay rights, even hosting a radio show called Let's Talk Straight Hawaii.)  Gabbard acknowledged her work with the organization when she ran for state office when she was 21.

Gabbard's views on LGBT issues have evolved since then, as have those of many politicians, both Democrat and Republican.  But since her past went a lot further than just simply expressing opposition to gay marriage, she's got a longer hill to climb.  In 2012 she took responsibility and apologized for her anti-gay background in a meeting with Hawaii's Democratic Party LGBT Caucus.  She has gotten endorsements from the Human Rights Campaign, the top LGBT national lobbying organization, and during her time in Congress she has supported many pro-gay pieces of legislation.

But apparently that's not stopping some rather fliply dismissive comments now that she's actually running for president.  I was baffled by this tweet from journalist Soledad O'Brien on Twitter, acting as though Gabbard has just suddenly changed her positions because she's running for president:

More at the Link, including the Twitter exchange with Ms O'Brien.

I will admit my prejudice up front.  She is a Democrat, but I like her.  There are Republicans out there I would rank below Ms Gabbard for President.

The real issue here isn't the 2020 Race, but what constitutes conversion, forgiveness and a new life.  What is sufficient to prove that one is now part of the righteous and was predestined to righteousness?

I can see the Democrats squeezing out a lot of worthy people over issues where the person has been insufficiently pure.  I hope the GOP is smart enough and open enough to welcome those folks, if not with open arms, at least with a firm handshake and a promise of dialogue.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, January 18, 2019

The State of the Union

For John, BLUFI give kudos to the Democrats for strategic thinking in this instance.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Update:  Dems Planned Move For “Months”?

From Hot Air, by Cap't Ed Morrissey, 16 January 2019.

Here is the key Constitutional passage from Wikipedia:

The address fulfills rules in Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, requiring the President to periodically "give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."
For a long time the State of the Union was sent as a written document.  President after President did it the way G Washington did it.  Then came along Woodrow Wilson, who decided to do it in person.  I don't see that as a permanent change.

My solution is for the President to write up the State of the Union and mail it off to the Speaker of the House and Senate President.  Then he should sit down and do a live broadcast, from behind the Resolute Desk, in the Oval Office.

My wife favors the letter route, but thinks he should then go to the Senate Chamber and deliver the message live to the Senators, given that a majority might actually listen to and appreciate his message.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

UPDATE:  This seems to have disappeared and is being resurrected.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Opponents of Brexit

For John, BLUFWhile some view Brexit through the lens of Homo economicus, those who voted for Brexit may have been more about wanting to avoid a distant and impersonal government dictating to them.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Reform Club, by Mr Seth Barrett Tillman, 16 January 2019.

Here is the lede and the last paragraph:

I did not “prais[e] the process that brought Brexit to the UK.”  I will say that the process was not “stupid” and it was not “criminally stupid.”  Why do you use this hyperbolic language?  It was just a referendum.  Cameron did not surprise the country (the UK) by putting the decision to the People.  It was a long-standing promise of the Tory Party to do just that.  That promise was made by the Tory Party in the two party manifestos in the two prior general elections.  After the first election, Cameron’s Tory Party did not have an absolute majority on the floor of the Commons, and his Liberal-Democratic coalition partners did not back a referendum.  So nothing happened.  After the second election, Cameron had a majority—and the referendum was a simple expression of a well known campaign pledge from the most recent general election.  I see nothing “stupid” about this; I see nothing “criminally stupid.”  Why this hyperbolic language?

Again, I don’t claim to know how the British people ought to have voted.  I am not British, and the UK is not my country.  I was not born there; I am not a citizen by naturalisation or otherwise; I was not educated there; I do not have any higher degrees specialising in British history, government, culture, etc; I do not live there; and, I do not pay taxes there. It is not my job to tell them how to vote.  I see no reason to call their elected politicians and their public “inept” or “stupid” because the People voted in a way which was not expected by those who think or thought they know or knew better.  So I am left wondering why you continue to use such strong language about a foreign country’s politics and politicians?  Is it that you believe the result was obviously wrong?—How did you reach that conclusion?  Or, is it that you believe the process was substantially defective (a process wholly free of gerrymandering—a subject which is a frequent source of complaint by academics here on Conlawprof)?—How did you reach that conclusion?  And even if you think the result wrong or the process defective, why are you using such strong language?  When you use such strong language about Brexit, and you do so for reasons that are (in my opinion) entirely opaque, it sort of undermines the force of the similar hyperbolic language you use in regard to Trump. You do see that, right?


Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Some Justice, At Last

For John, BLUFThis has been a long time coming, and it has come begrudgingly.  Bureaucracy doesn't like to admit error.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Daily Signal, by Reporter M.D. Kittle, 11 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Dozens of conservative organizations are receiving late Christmas presents years after the IRS handed them a lump of coal.

The federal government in recent days has been issuing settlement checks to 100 right-of-center groups wrongfully targeted for their political beliefs under the Obama administration’s Internal Revenue Service, according to an attorney for the firm that represented plaintiffs in NorCal v. United States.

From Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds:
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Possible Mueller Outcomes

For John, BLUFThere is the option that the Russiagate Probe will never end.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is not authoritative, but just my doodling:

  1. Guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors (Section 4 of Article Two of the United States Constitution)
    • "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
    • At this kind of a report the US House of Representatives would spring into action, bringing impeachment articles against the President.
    • It does raise the question as to if the Vice President was involved, which may or may not be answered by a report by Special Counsel Mueller.
    • This raises an additional question, which is why this took so long.  An important question to emerge will be when did Mr Mueller know it and why did it take so long to get the news out?
  2. Not proven
    • This is the Scottish Verdict, where the jury thinks the person is guilty, but not beyond a reasonable doubt.
    • I would think this report would just sow confusion and conflict and would hurt the country.
  3. No indications of a crime by the President (or VEEP).
    • This would not quiet everyone, the House Democrats would proceed with their own investigations.
    • This would allow the President to focus more on being President, rather than being a defendant.
    • This might allow the President to now order the release of all pertinent documents, including the FISA Warrants and their supporting documentation.
  4. Finding that the FBI/DOJ engaged in unpardonable activities for political reasons.
    • There are those who believe the FBI has not been much cleaned up since the time of J Edgar Hoover.
    • There are those who believe that Mrs Clinton tipped her hand in late October 2016 when she talked about a Trump/Putin connection, right after leaks from the FBI and Fusion GPS brought us stories in the press.
Are there other possible outcomes?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

See Your Local Recruiter

For John, BLUFIf you join a Military Service, apply yourself and avoid drugs you will have a better shot when back on Civvie Street than you might otherwise.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Military Times, by Ms Natalie Gross, 13 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

Women veterans were employed at higher rates than their male counterparts in 2018, federal data show.

And it’s not just women.  A military background also boosted the civilian job prospects for racial minorities that have historically had a harder time finding work.

Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show the annual unemployment rate for women veterans was 3 percent last year — the lowest unemployment rate on record for this group in the 21st century — while male veterans had an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent.

Among post-9/11 veterans in particular, women again outshined men with a 3.5 percent unemployment rate, compared to 3.9.

Breakdowns by race and ethnicity showed similar trends. White, black and Hispanic or Latina women who have served in the military since Sept. 11, 2001 all had lower unemployment rates than men of those races who did the same. The biggest gap was between black women, with a 3.6 percent unemployment rate, and black men, at 6 percent.

The alternative is to have two parents, living together, who give you solid middle class values.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Path Ahead to 2020

For John, BLUFThis is assuming President Trump isn't forced out.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Ricochet, by Mr Gil Reich, 14 January 2019.

A nice review.  But, I leave it to you to click on the link and read the ten reasons.

As the InstaPundit says, don't get cocky.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The New Class

For John, BLUFI don't think the Progressives yet understand this.  I think they still think it is just ignorance and bigotry.  Sadly, they are misinformed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

What’s happening in America is an echo of what’s happening in democracies around the world, and it’s not happening because of Trump.

From USA Today, by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, 15 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

To understand events around the world today, one must think in terms of the class struggle.

This sentence sounds like something that could be written by a doctrinaire Marxist.  But it is nonetheless true.  Much of the current tension in America and in many other democracies is in fact a product of a class struggle.  It’s not the kind of class struggle that Karl Marx wrote about, with workers and peasants facing off against rapacious capitalists, but it is a case of today’s ruling class facing disaffection from its working class.

In the old Soviet Union, the Marxists assured us that once true communism was established under a “dictatorship of the proletariat,” the state would wither away and everyone would be free.  In fact, however, the dictatorship of the proletariat turned into a dictatorship of the party hacks, who had no interest whatsoever in seeing their positions or power wither.

Yugoslav dissident Milovan Djilas called these party hacks the "New Class," noting that instead of workers and peasants against capitalists, it was now a case of workers and peasants being ruled by a managerial new class of technocrats who, while purporting to act for the benefit of the workers and peasants, somehow wound up with the lion’s share of the goodies.  Workers and peasants stood in long lines for bread and shoddy household goods, while party leaders and government managers bought imported delicacies in special, secret stores.  (In a famous Soviet joke, then-leader Leonid Brezhnev shows his mother his luxury apartment, his limousine, his fancy country house and his helicopter only to have her object:  “But what if the communists come back?”)

I am not sure the New Class sees the problem here.  Maybe the increasing number of working homeless on the Coast will help them visualize the problem.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Look From Inside the Barricades in France

For John, BLUFA too quick dismissal of this French protest movement would lead to missing some important political points.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New English Review, by Author Erik Svane, January 2019 edition.

Here is the start:

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.
     —Lao Tzu
Not a single media report I have read or seen about the Yellow Vest demonstrations in Paris and across France has not been slanted by Fake News.  The problem is that crucial information has been omitted.

It is not wrong to say that the demonstrations were caused by the government's decision to raise gas prices.  But that view seems to pit two more or less equal sides against each other—people (responsible government officials) seeing the necessities of taxes in life versus carefree people (common citizens) unconcerned with the sacrifices that life entails and who go overboard with their protests.

What is missing from most all of the coverage of this crisis in France is that this is just one of several draconian measures dating back half a year, i.e., the recent tax hike that sparked the wave of protests was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

For the past four to five months, the nation's drivers and motorcycle riders have been growing increasingly irate at les sangsues (bloodsuckers) in the French government who seem to do little else, road-security-wise, but double down on bringing more and more gratuitous oppression upon their necks and saddling them with more and more unwarranted fines and costs.

In fact, the imposition of ever harsher rules has been going on for the past decade and a half or so—whether the government was on the right or on the left—and that is why the choice of garb, les gilets jaunes (the yellow jackets), by the demonstrators is particularly ironic.

The 2008 law (under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy) that requires the presence of high-visibility vests (gilets de haute visibilité) aka security vests (gilets de sécurité) in every vehicle—hardly an unreasonable rule, for sure, as similar ones exist throughout the continent—was just another example of the myriad of evermore-onerous directives for car and motorcycle owners over the past 15 years, and so the government, in effect, provided the 2018 rebels with their "uniforms."

This unsettled populace is not just some creation of Donald J Trump.  Rather, it is the unsettledness the has given us President Trump.  There is a segment of the voters, across the West, that is restless.  They would go along with the Gleichschaltung if the bien-pensant didn't seem to be stepping on them.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Venezuela Experiencing Bad Luck

For John, BLUFI wonder if we should think about rich people being the tax we pay to allow all who wish to prosper and live a good life?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Castro and his ilk showed us that under socialism, the powerful grow rich — and everyone else grows poor.

From USA Today, by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, 27 November 2016.

Yes, 2016, but things have only gotten worse.  This has been a slow moving train wreck and no one could stop it over the last few years.  Today we have several million who have fled Venezuela and we have South American nations resisting the diaspora from Venezuela and nations even building walls (but not big, beautiful walls).  Who would have believed it?

Here is the lede from the article, plus some:

Robert Heinlein once wrote:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man.  Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people.  Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

I thought about this statement this weekend, reading two news stories.  The first was about the tide of Venezuelans taking to boats to escape Venezuela’s economic collapse.  As The New York Times reported, “Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East."

"But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.”

Now, in their absence, things have gotten worse, and it’s poorer Venezuelans — the very ones that Chavez’s revolution was allegedly intended to help — who are starving. Many are even taking to boats, echoing, as the Times notes, “an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.”

Economics is about mutually beneficial exchanges.  It is not about fairness, but about prosperity.  If someone making a bundle means you are making a good amount, why is that a problem for you?  The thing is that capitalism and capitalist like economic systems are bringing the world's population out of poverty and that is a good thing.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, January 14, 2019

Poor Coice of Terms

For John, BLUFOne wonders if R Representative Steve King is just clueless, or if he was trying to have a free and open discussion with a reporter, which in and of itself is a sign of being clueless.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Washington Examiner, by Reporter Al Weaver, January 14, 2019.

Here is a key excerpt:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans voted Monday night to strip Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, of all committee assignments after he appeared to wonder when ‘white supremacist’ and ‘white nationalist’ became offensive terms. . . . King said his remarks were misunderstood over the course of a lengthy interview with the Times.  At one point King said in the interview, ‘White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? … Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?’ according to the Times.  But King said his use of the term ‘that language’ was only meant to refer to Western civilization and not white nationalism or white supremacy.
Here is a comment from Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds:
Wow, this really jacks up the pressure on the Democrats to police the racist, antisemitic statements of Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.  Just kidding.
I wonder if this is curtains for Rep King or if there is a path back from Coventry?.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Other Thoughs on Illegal Immigrants

For John, BLUFIt is not clear that we have moved from compassion to serious thinking about the implications of mass migration from Latin America to these United States.  The linked Blogger below appears to have.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

From the blog Baldilocks, by Ms Juliette Ochieng, 12 January 2019

Here is the lede plus one:

Since I have one parent who was a legal immigrant to the US and another who is the descendant of African slaves brought to America, people sometimes think they can figure out what I think about illegal aliens.

I'll make it easy for them.  I think all illegal aliens should GTFO and go fix their countries of origin.  This includes illegal aliens from my father's country.

I commend the whole thing to you.

Building on the post, I wonder if we believe people who can't make democracy work in their own country have the social, cultural and education background to become part of our democracy, or at least raise their children to become part of our way of government.  Granted, Ms Ochieng thinks some who welcome immigration (mass migration) really don't like our current approach to government and would like to see it changed to a different model.

Ms Ochieng brings up an additional cultural point, which is whether the current flow of immigrants from Latin America will displace Blacks as one of the key Demographic groups for the Democratic Party.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Going Out and Meeting the Voters

For John, BLUFIt is time for Republicans to come out of their shells and court the voters they thought they had lost to FDR and HST and JFK.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Examiner, by Reporter Salena Zito, 11 January 2019.

Here is the payoff paragraph:

Anderson said his biggest takeaway from the survey is this is a result of eight years of showing up.  “That is not six months of showing up, that's eight years of showing up and speaking Spanish the best you can,” he said.  “You don't get to that level where a Republican sitting governor has 58 percent of Hispanic voters saying that he cares about them without doing that.”
It is time for Republicans to reach out to all sorts of groups, because there are folks out there with Republican like values, who just don't feel appreciated by Republicans.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Democrats on Trump Force Withdrawals

For John, BLUFThis is one person's view, but one that resonates with me.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Make no mistake, the Democrats have been tacking to the right on foreign policy and burgeoning their tough-guy-interventionist credentials for decades now

From Common Dreams, by Mr Danny Sjursen, 11 January 2018.

Here is the lede plus three:

If anyone else were president, the “liberals” would be celebrating.  After all, pulling American soldiers out of a couple of failing, endless wars seems like a “win” for progressives.  Heck, if Obama did it there might be a ticker-tape parade down Broadway.  And there should be.  The intervention in Syria is increasingly aimless, dangerous and lacks an end state.  Afghanistan is an unwinnable war – America’s longest – and about to end in outright military defeat.  Getting out now and salvaging so much national blood and treasure ought to be a progressive dream.  There’s only one problem: Donald Trump. Specifically, that it was Trump who gave the order to begin the troop withdrawals.

Lost in the haze of their pathological hatred of President Trump, the majority of mainstream liberal pundits and politicians can’t, for the life of them, see the good sense in extracting the troops from a couple Mideast quagmires.  That or they can see the positives, but, in their obsessive compulsion to smear the president, choose politics over country.  It’s probably a bit of both.  That’s how tribally partisan American political discourse has become.  And, how reflexively hawkish and interventionist today’s mainstream Democrats now are.  Whither the left-wing antiwar movement?  Well, except for a few diehards out there, the movement seems to have been buried long ago with George McGovern.

Make no mistake, the Democrats have been tacking to the right on foreign policy and burgeoning their tough-guy-interventionist credentials for decades now.  Terrified of being painted as soft or dovish on martial matters, just about all the “serious” baby-boomer Dems proudly co-opted the militarist line and gladly accepted campaign cash from the corporate arms dealers.  Think about it, any Democrat with serious future presidential aspirations back in 2002 voted for the Iraq War – Hillary, Joe Biden, even former peace activist John Kerry!  And, in spite of the party base now moving to the left, all these big name hawks – along with current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – are still Democratic stalwarts.  Heck, some polls list Biden as the party’s 2020 presidential frontrunner.

More disturbing than the inconsistency of these political hacks is the vacuousness of the supposedly liberal media.  After Trump’s announcement of troop withdrawals, just about every MSNBC host slammed the president and suddenly sounded more hawkish than the clowns over at Fox News.  Take Rachel Maddow.  Whatever you think of her politics, she is – undoubtedly – a brilliant woman.  Furthermore, unlike most pundits, she knows a little something about foreign policy.  Her 2012 book, Drift:  The Unmooring of American Military Power was a serious and well-researched critique of executive power and the ongoing failure of the wars on terror. Drift was well reviewed by regular readers and scholars alike.


Well, I did think "clowns" was a little harsh in describing the folks at Fox News.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Spruce Goose

For John, BLUFNot actually made of spruce, but rather birch.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Warfare History Network, by Mr Allyn Vannoy, 31 December 2018.

This is the story of Howard Hughes' flying boat and its flight inside the breakwater of Long Beach, California.

It is also the story of imagination and of bureaucratic efforts to accomplish things.  And the power of Congressional hearings.

Hat tip to my Brother, Lance.

Regards  —  Cliff

Yellow Vests Protest into 2019

For John, BLUFNo everyone in France (in Europe) is happy with the vision of the EU bureaucrats.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The Gilets Jaunes in 2019

From Unz, by writer Diana Johnstone, 11 January 2019.

Here are two important paragraphs:

That objection is answered by what has quickly emerged as the single overriding demand of the movement:  the Citizens’ Initiative Referendum (CIR).

This demand illustrates the good sense of the movement.  Rather than making a “must” list, the GJ merely ask that the people be allowed to choose, and the referendum is the way to choose.  The demand is for a certain number of signatories – perhaps 700,000, perhaps more – to gain the right to call a referendum on an issue of their choice.  The right to a CIR exists in Switzerland, Italy and California.  The idea horrifies all those whose profession it is to know best.  If the people vote, they will vote for all sorts of absurd things, the better-knowers observe with a shudder.

Yes, Democracy is dangerous.

The thing is, it looks like the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) or (GJ) are going to continue into 2019.  How that will work out is yet to be see.  One finds it hard to believe the graduates of Sciences Po, or the Civil Service, are going to go along with it.

As for a referendum, or a ballot initiative, that has to rattle cages of the establishment.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Deep State v Trump

For John, BLUFYes, President Trump was within his rights, and doing his duty, when he fired FBI Director James Comey.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Boston Globe, a New York Timess article by By Messers Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos, 12 January 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

In the days after President Trump fired James Comey as FBI director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security.  Agents also sought to determine whether Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

The investigation the FBI opened into Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

Agents and senior FBI officials had grown suspicious of Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude.  But the president’s activities before and after Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.

So, The Old Gray Lady publishes old news and does it based on information leaked to the Press.  But that is how that city (DC) works.  When I was a lowly colonel on the Joint Staff the watchword was to not share anything that one would not wish to see on the front page of The Washington Post.  Someone I knew and worked with from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, an organization with a huge number of people, was incorrectly accused of leaking information to the press and it took months to clear it up.

As for not knowing how to proceed if they were suspicious of the loyalty of someone high up, there was precedent.  After all, FDR replaced one of his VEEPs with Harry Truman for his run in 1944.  surely the late FBI Director, J Edger Hoover, left some notes on how to move forward.

This was a slow news day regurgitation of already known material.  And, it lacked any real insight, any real analysis, and real nuance and balance.

I do hope this is not the Press carrying water for Mr Comey, who is not a shining example of what a Federal Civil Servant should be.

But, what really grabbed me was the comments at the end of the article.  Some, like mine, were brilliant.  Some were so bad they were deleted before we could view them.  Some were printed, but were just vitriol.  A lot of them of them did not speak well for the readership of The Boston Globe.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, January 11, 2019

Warren Run Update—Watch Tulsi Gabbard

For John, BLUFThere may be a number of not brain dead candidates in the Democratic Party.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From CNN, today.

Here is the tweet:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says she will run for president in 2020. "I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," the Hawaii Democrat and Iraq War veteran told CNN's @VanJones68
That would be US Rep Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hi).  In 2016 she was a "Bernie Bro".

To quote Wikipedia:

Gabbard supports abortion rights, opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has called for a restoration of the Glass–Steagall Act, and changed her stance to support same-sex marriage in 2012.  She is critical of aspects of American government policy regarding Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and opposes removing the President of Syria Bashar al-Assad from power.
So, in some ways she more aligned with Senator Warren than Senator K Harris, and thus on the Trump edge of her Party.  The election of 2020 should prove to be interesting.

She announced her pursuit of the Presidency today, 11 January 2018.

Regards  —  Cliff

Who Are We Following?

For John, BLUFEveryone has a religion, even if it is Atheism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr David P Goldman, 11 January 2019.

Here is the lede:

Jews around the world tomorrow hear Parsha Bo (Exodus 10:1 to 13:16) declaimed in the synagogue, recounting the last of the biblical plagues, the killing of Egypt’s first-born, and our midnight departure from Egypt.  It is a solemn moment in our religious calendar.  Our rabbis emphasize that God did not simply rescue us from Egyptian bondage, but brought a terrible judgment against their gods.  Lord, hear our cry, and bring judgment against the pagan gods who are worshipped today!
Who are these modern day Pharaohs?  Read the short article to find out.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Senator E Warren Goes Middle Class

For John, BLUFRepublicans should be paying attention here.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Way back on 26 December of 2018, the Blogger Ann Althouse gave us this post, which is Pollster and Number Analyst Nate Silver saying:

I mention this because I think folks are too quickly dismissing the Presidential hopeful, Senator E Warren of Massachusetts.

I am think that, in her own stumbling way, Senator Warren is working to combine her Progressive credentials with her Midwest background.  That would give her the best of both worlds and a shot at voters that perhaps only former VEEP Joe Biden could get for the Democrats.

Look at what she brings to the game:

This is something that can be built on.

If Ms Salina Zito (The Great Revolt) is correct in suggesting the mantle of "Hope and Change" fell from President Obama's shoulders onto Candidate Trump's, then perhaps Senator Warren recognizes this and is hoping she can slip it onto her shoulders, appealing to those folks across the Fruited Plain who still are looking for a better outcome.  While still retaining sufficient Coastal Progressives who vote Democrat.

I don't see many other Democratic Party hopefuls able to do this.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Right to Sue

For John, BLUFThis reminds me of nothing more than the "Voting" lawsuit against Lowell, ongoing.  It is a money making scam for the lawyers.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The ADA litigation monster continues to run amok.

From , by Mark Pulliam January 10, 2019.

Here is the lede plus four:

Is it Beyoncé’s fault that some of her fans are blind?  Is the performer a “public accommodation,” like a hotel, restaurant, or department store?  Is it society’s obligation to rectify all misfortunes in life’s lottery?  These questions may seem silly, but they lie at the heart of a cottage industry of abusive class-action litigation against websites pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a well-intentioned but poorly conceived—and horribly drafted—law that continues to generate unintended consequences decades following its passage in 1990.  Computer users afflicted with various disabilities—blind consumers seem especially litigious—regularly sue companies hosting websites that allegedly aren’t sufficiently “accommodating” of their condition.  Beyoncé and her website (, through her management company, became their latest target.

The federal court complaint naming Beyoncé, as is typical of this predatory genre, is a cookie-cutter document.  Both the plaintiff and her lawyer are serial ADA litigants, sometimes referred to as “ADA trolls.”  Given the lack of any fixed legal standard for “web accessibility,” almost any grievance involving the technical features of a website is litigable, and there is no shortage of contingent-fee lawyers eager to file suit.  The principal requirement: a defendant with deep pockets.  With 22 Grammy awards to her credit, the phenomenally successful Beyoncé qualifies.  She and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, reportedly have a net worth over $1 billion.

Such lawsuits plague merchants engaged in e-commerce, even though the ADA was enacted before the advent of the Internet.  Wheelchair ramps and restroom grab rails are among the accommodations that businesses with physical premises must provide for disabled patrons, pursuant to regulations adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice to implement the ADA.  No such rules exist for websites.  Congress’s silence on the topic has not deterred disabled consumers from filing extortionate lawsuits under the ADA.  Most businesses choose to settle to avoid exorbitant (and unrecoverable) defense costs.

As I’ve pointed out in City Journal, applying the ADA to websites exposes businesses to “the worst of both worlds:  mandates without directions.”  The Beyoncé lawsuit is an example.  She is not a “brick and mortar” establishment.  She is an entertainer—singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer—with a huge social media presence. is primarily a marketing platform to update fans and promote her music and upcoming live shows.  The site, brimming with photos of the star and archived media coverage, also advertises her line of fragrances and peddles some themed swag and inexpensive apparel such as t-shirts and sweats.  It’s basically a cyber fan club.

For plaintiff Mary Connor, a visually impaired New York resident who requires screen-reading software to read website content on her computer, represents nefarious discrimination in violation of Title III of the ADA because it is an exclusively visual interface, making it impossible for Connor and other visually impaired customers to browse the site or make purchases without the assistance of a sighted companion. - In this respect, the website is no different than a newspaper, magazine, or mail-order catalog. Connor’s specific complaint is that she wanted to buy an embroidered hoodie but couldn’t, denying her the “full and equal access to, and enjoyment of, the goods, benefits and services of”  The class-action lawsuit seeks to compel Beyoncé to add features to make the website accessible to blind and visually impaired users, and—of course—to receive “compensatory damages” and attorneys’ fees.  Alternatively, Beyoncé could simply shut down or discontinue selling themed merchandise on the site, inconveniencing millions of her sighted fans—an outcome that apparently does not concern Connor.

It is bad, but not as bad as if there weren't laws and lawyers.  Or as bad as a system were we couldn't sue when we see injustice.  Sue on!

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Don't Believe Everything on Facebook

For John, BLUFThe social media tools are out there and being used.  We all need to be heads up.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Ms Debra Heine, 9 January 2019.

If it was a Republican it would be news.  As it is, it was a Democrat, so just move along.

Regards  —  Cliff