The EU

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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Peaceful Transitions

For John, BLUFPresident Trump has a large following, but that following would not overthrow the Constitution, even if Secretary Hillary Clinton were to win the Electoral College in 2020.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The situations all seem far-fetched, but the president's comments have people chattering in the halls of Congress and throughout the Beltway.

From Politico, by Reporters Natasha Bertrand and Darren Samuelson, 21 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

In 2016, Donald Trump waffled over whether he would accept the election results if he lost.

Since then, Trump has repeatedly joked about staying in office beyond the two terms the Constitution allows.  Jerry Falwell Jr., Trump’s most prominent evangelical supporter, has suggested Trump should get two years tacked on to his first term as “pay back” for the Mueller investigation.  The president’s own former lawyer, Michael Cohen, has warned that “there will never be a peaceful transition of power” should Trump fail in his reelection bid.

This, from the crowd that has yet to accept the results of 2016.  While I have no faith in the words of Barrister Michael Cohen, what the Reverand Jerry Falwell, Jr, says makes some sort of sense.  But, mostly I put this down to the chattering class (1) having no sense of humor and (2) having no interest in doing journalism and thus just make stuff up.  This is just rabble rousing and the rabble are the TDS Democrats.

This isn't Europe, Asia, Africa or Latin America.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, June 29, 2019

MLK Exposed

For John, BLUFSo, once again the FBI has managed to discredit someone who actually did good for the nation.  This is not something we should be proud of as Americans.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The American Conservative, by Mr Rod Dreher, 26 May 2019.

Here is the lede:

Historians have known for many years that civil rights icon Martin Luther King had been unfaithful to his wife.  But now, David Garrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for his biography of King, has unearthed previously classified FBI documents showing that King was genuinely sexually depraved.
Two points; three actually:
  1. The word "depraved" seems out of context, but it was the FBI's word,
  2. This is, by and large, old news,
  3. The FBI has been surveilling far too many people over the years.
While this is another reminder that we should not make "Gods" of those who went before, we should realize that what is good in our society has been built up by what good our predecessors left for us.  We should be thankful.  And we should build further.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Polls Are Off

For John, BLUFThe last pollster who called me rejected me for being in a demographic category) that had already been filled.  Would I have lied to them?  i don't think so.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From According to Hoyt, by Mr Bill Reader, 3 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

As I believe I’ve said before in various ways, I’m a big believer in the idea that a problem can’t be solved if you don’t properly understand it.  I’ve thought a lot about the current political situation in the United States, because it feels like a perilous time in history, and I don’t think merely acting on instinct or taking our best guess is a good move.  Trump’s election changed the calculus significantly.  In so many ways, in fact, that many things I thought I understood well about the Republican party I know and—well, certainly know at any rate— changed with them.  There’s a sense that the party itself has changed, and even for me—and I am a bit stodgy, and was more sympathetic to the GOP establishment than perhaps they frankly deserved— it strikes me as for the better.  The GOP establishment had, at best, a case of terminal depression.  They weren’t playing to win, nor were they playing not to lose, but playing to lose slowly.  There is a different flavor to the GOP now, and I think the base is enjoying that.  I certainly am.

At the same time, I’ve had to have a good think about things I took for granted.  I didn’t see 2016 coming, putting me in the exclusive club of virtually everybody. Nevertheless I’ve been a political cynic for a very long time.  Just from those two words—”political cynic”—you can guess, likely accurately, what my old model therefore predicted regarding events in France, Britain, and Australia.  Namely, I saw Le Pen’s loss coming, but I did not see the yellow vests coming, even though on reflection, I think that A indirectly begat B.  I certainly didn’t see her list coming back to cream Macron’s in the EU election.  I didn’t see Brexit coming.  I did see the eventual attempted murder of same by a thousand bureaucratic cuts coming—but then didn’t see the BREXIT party coming.  Congratulations to Farage on now having the largest number of MPs from a single party, and I hope he gives the EU Parliament Hell.  At the same time, the story of whether Britain will indeed find the gumption to leave is still partially untold, and I don’t have the confidence to venture an opinion on it.  I hear starkly conflicting and well-argued positions on why Brexit as an issue can still go various ways.  I’d prefer to see what happens and learn from it.  And finally, I didn’t see Australia’s recent election coming.

If your interest is finding a way to defeat the Left without us ending up in a civil war on the way, as is mine, this is all simultaneously encouraging and frightening.  Under Obama I had a model of the world that worked very well for what was mostly the post-war order and certainly seems to have been the post-Reagan GOP.  To put it succinctly, it was a system that did not work in our favor, but at least did so by grimly well-tabulated mechanics.  Despite the cold war, too many people on our own side felt the socialists had the moral high ground and ought eventually to win.  Given the horrors of the USSR, that’s impressive.  It borders on humorous— in the same way that a man having his beheading scheduled for a day he had previously reserved on his calendar for a haircut is humorous.

Just recently we’ve had a system that works more in our favor, but by extremely unpredictable if not mostly unknown mechanics.  Most commentators I read haven’t got a solid explanation for these.  A lot of the pseudo-explanations are more poetic than practical—”we’ve finally woken up”, etc.  Maybe that’s partially been because solid evidence of anything has been so difficult to get.  Indeed, a feature of this political moment is that we are flying by instruments, and they aren’t very good instruments, as Sarah and I have both noted.  But I think I have at least a minor insight into one mechanic.  It doesn’t explain everything, but it is my attempt at a more complete explanation for why polls are suddenly so very unreliable.  In explaining this, I have to account for two things—one is that people’s behavior has not merely changed, but done so suddenly, because otherwise polls would have adapted to it in their old baseline.  And the other is that it seems inescapable that people are lying to pollsters to some degree, which I had previously discarded out of hand.  But why?  And why now?

There is a certain unpredictability right now and it works in favor of "The Right" at this time.  And some point it could work for "The Left".

The author has other itches to scratch, such as immigration:

You could think of this as appealing to the undifferentiated crowd abroad—it is harder for Germany, England, or US to put up an argument on issues regarding their sovereignty or national identity while being overrun by “migrants” who are fleeing poverty first and foremost.  Grinding and horrible as that poverty surely is, the dysfunctional cultures these people live in, perpetuate, and now try to propagate, are its source and sustenance— not some vague theory of colonial exploitation or inappropriate intervention.
Yes, if the immigrants don't assimilate they will change the base culture in their new nation, and perhaps make it like the culture they have fled.  How is the going to work out?  If you are just looking for a better climate, it will work out fine.  If you are looking for a better political or economic climate, then perhaps not so much.

And here is a summary, of sorts"

The suddenness could very well be accounted for by that.  The speed of the two social movements mirror each other relatively well.  I propose that average Democrats brought the party’s repressive tendencies down to the level of the personal.  When individual consequences for thinking the wrong thing become dramatically more widespread, it makes perfect sense that individuals become much more paranoid about revealing their true beliefs, while simultaneously being presented with some very good, in-your-face reasons to change your beliefs if you’d previously aligned with the current witch-hunters.  From that perspective it’s startling that it’s only 1/50.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Fear and Loathing

For John, BLUFI don't understand why the Democrats are going down the road of calling former Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before House Committees.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Roger L Simon, 27 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

You don't have to exhume Dr. Hunter S. Thompson to explain the sudden turnabout that has led the previously silent Robert Mueller to accept subpoenas to testify in front of two congressional committees.  But it doesn't hurt.

Fear, as the good doctor famously said, and loathing.

I must admit that I was surprised that Representatives Nadler and Schiff want Mr Robert Mueller to testify about his time as Special Counsel.

Maybe it is because they are so invested in the Russian Conspiracy Theory that they can not see any other path.  Maybe it is because they are hoping that they can, as Committee Chairmen, control the conversation so as to prevent any adverse questions and corresponding answers, and thus score political points.  Maybe they are looking for a path to show that they haven't been obtuse all this time, as the DOJ IG Report comes out and U.S. Attorney John Durham delivers his Report.  Of course it is possible they are just thick.

The best line of the article was about a member of Special Counsel Mueller's team:

That group included the highly-controversial Andrew Weismann of the Enron scandal and more.  Not exactly anyone's idea of Atticus Finch.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Unintended Consequences

For John, BLUFEven Vice President Mike Pence knows to be careful.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From CNBC, by Ms Courtney Connley, 17 May 2019, Updated 10 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus six:

The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have brought huge attention to the challenges women face at work, but a new survey finds that 60% of male managers say they’re uncomfortable participating in regular work activities with women, including mentoring, working one-on-one or socializing.

According to the survey, released by and SurveyMonkey, that’s a 33% increase from last year.

Senior-level men also say they are 12 times more likely to be hesitant about one-on-one meetings with a junior woman than they are a junior man, nine times more likely to be hesitant to travel with a junior woman for work than a junior man, and six times more likely to be hesitant to have a work dinner with a junior woman than a junior man. founder and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg calls the results “totally unacceptable.”

She tells Julia Boorstin on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the problem with this dynamic is that “women already weren’t getting the same mentorship men were, particularly women of color.”  And in her experience, she says, “no one has ever gotten a promotion without getting a one-on-one meeting.”

Though some have argued that the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have had a negative impact on relationships between men and women at work, Sandberg disagrees.  She says the movements have had an “overwhelmingly positive” impact on the workplace, especially in spotlighting the problem of sexual harassment against women.

“The thing is, it’s not enough,” she says.  “It’s really important to not harass anyone, but that’s pretty basic.  We also need to not be ignored.”

I am not shocked at this.  Given the present climate and the nature given natural interplay between the sexes this is to be expected.

Then there is the question of why women are not mentoring women to the same degree Men mentor men?  Why is this a strictly male issue?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Venezuela Goes For Greenbacks

For John, BLUFIf we really want to stop illegal immigration we should elect Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as President in 2020.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Yahoo News, by Mr Andrew Rosati 18 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus seven:

(Bloomberg) -- Editors Note:  There are few places as chaotic or dangerous as Venezuela.  “Life in Caracas” is a series of short stories that seeks to capture the surreal quality of living in a land in total disarray

We used to catch only rare glimpses of them in public.  A waiter willing to risk jail time might be persuaded to accept them for the right price.  Amateur tourists would flash them at the airport.  Shady street hawkers made offers for them under their breath.

Now, U.S. greenbacks are everywhere.  They’re stacked high in cashiers’ drawers at supermarkets and bodegas and even make their way into panhandlers’ cups.  The wealthy tip parking valets with singles and pull out wads of twenties to pay for buckets of beer.  Currency traders casually set up on busy street corners in slums and shout, “Compro dolares, compro dolares”—“I buy dollars.”

With the bolivar all but worthless, devalued into irrelevance by the autocrat Nicolas Maduro, the cash printed by the gringos he rails against has become king.  It is beyond ironic that Washingtons and Benjamins—and not the domestic notes named for the South American independence hero—are keeping the consumer economy afloat.

Until recently, using foreign money was a crime the government enthusiastically threatened to prosecute.  After the ruling socialists established currency controls back in 2003, they began patrolling for transactions that ran afoul of their Kafkaesque rules about money.  Plain-clothed inspectors ran stings and raided businesses.

While very few people actually ended up behind bars, the government definitely succeeded in spooking everybody.  We kept the bills tucked away for fear of sending signals to kidnappers and cops.  We talked in code, calling them “lettuces” and “greens.”

I conducted a few transactions in dollars in those days, swapping cash on a stove in a restaurant kitchen or in an empty office backroom.  The recipients of my treacherous bills would nervously shut windows and doors as they led me away from prying eyes.

It took inflation hitting six digits and widespread hunger for the regime to finally begin dismantling the complicated mess of controls.  Now the authorities don’t blink when they see dollars bandied about.  Their government is too broke and too dysfunctional to try to dictate the terms of commerce anymore.  Their 21st Century socialism has given way to savage capitalism.

So, is it Socialism or Kleptocracy?  Or is it people with good intentions who are just flat out incompetent?  I worry that we have like people in this nation, prepared to ruin life for all in the pursuit of a good idea.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Communism Overtakes Denver

For John, BLUFThe electorate has gone a little wack-a-doodles in some areas.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The American Mirror, by Reporter Victor Skinner, 12 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Candi CdeBaca won a runoff race last week against former Denver city council president Albus Brooks, and she did it by promising to implement communist policies “by any means necessary.”

CdeBaca was among three candidates that unseated incumbents in the Tuesday runoff, preliminary results show, and she’s already drawing comparisons to Socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old who unseated 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th congressional district in 2018.

If you wanted a reason to not legalize pot, this is it.  And, "by any means necessary"?  That is a classic Communist approach.  "Our Paradise is so great we will have to kill millions so others can enjoy it."  Watch your back Denver.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Left Evaluation of President Trump's Chances In 2020

For John, BLUFIf he can avoid war and recession, President Trump stands a good chance in 2020.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Yorker, by Mr John Cassidy, 19 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

On Tuesday night, in Orlando, Donald Trump formally launched his 2020 reëlection effort with another big rally.  After what happened in 2016, it behooves political analysts and commentators to approach the upcoming campaign with caution.  So, I will put it no more strongly than this:  with sixteen and a half months to go, the President and his campaign staff have reasons to be concerned.

The good news for Trump is that he retains a solid base of support, and the demographic to which he has the strongest appeal—white Americans who don’t have a college degree—still represents a very big chunk of the electorate.  Plus, the unemployment rate is just 3.5 per cent, and most Americans are optimistic about the economy.  The bad news for the Trump campaign is that other demographic groups seem to have turned even more heavily against him, and a strong economy has failed to lift his approval ratings.  Moreover, recent polls suggest that he is in trouble in a number of battleground states, including the three that were key to his victory last time:  Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

You probably don’t need reminding that, thanks to the vagaries of the American political system, Trump won with just 46.1 per cent of the national vote, and a favorability rating that was considerably lower.  On November 7, 2016, the day before the election, 37.5 per cent of American voters had a favorable opinion of him, according to the Real Clear Politics poll average, which suggests that either the polls were wrong or large numbers of people voted for him despite not particularly liking him.  After his victory, his favorability rating rose to the low forties during the transition, where it has largely stayed.  The latest R.C.P. poll average showed him with a favorability rating of 43.8 per cent, which is pretty close to his latest job-approval rating—44.3 per cent on Wednesday.  It doesn’t seem to matter what he does or says: these numbers don’t change much.

Among whites without a college degree, according to the network exit poll, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by more than two to one—sixty-six per cent to twenty-nine per cent.  This slice of the electorate represents Trump’s heartland, and according to the exit poll it accounted for about a third of all voters in 2016.  (Thirty-four per cent, to be precise.)  However, some political experts believe that estimate is too low.  In a 2017 study that drew on actual voter files, national-opinion surveys, and their own post-election polling, John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira, of the Center for American Progress, and Rob Griffin, a political scientist at George Washington University, concluded that forty-five per cent of the voters in 2016 were whites without a college degree—eleven percentage points more than the figure from the exit poll.

"[T]he vagaries of the American political system…"?  This seems like an ignorant attempt to cover for Mrs Clinton not knowing the rules of the game.  They are pretty straight forward—win 270 or more Electoral College votes.  Everything else is rubbish.  Whimpering is unseemly.

If you are a Democrat you are desperate to see the wind blowing your way.  However, your fellow Democrats have so poisoned the environment that polling is no longer reliable.  And identity politics ends up pitting one group against another.  I think President Trump stands a good chance in 2020.

At a personal level, I detest the term "white".  In a day and age where every snow flake is triggered by the wrong noun or pronoun, I would like some accommodation.  Please say Caucasian.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Incompatible With Capitalism

For John, BLUFI am not sure what to say.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the blog of David Thompson, 15 June 2019.

Here is the lede:

In case you missed it in the comments, here’s another illustration of the severely educated and their unhappy mental trajectories.  In this case, Mr Anthony Oliveira, a writer and “pop culture critic,” who boasts of his PhD, in English literature, and whose pronouncements are, shall we say, very much of a type.  And so we learn that, “queer people are permanently disadvantaged and marginalised by the capitalist power structure,” that, “‘the family’ as we now understand it is a capitalist invention and is specifically designed to exclude queerness,” and that, “queerness is incompatible with capitalism.”
Well, the first point is that even though Mr Anthony Oliveira is not heterosexual, he is still our Brother, and while we may think his life choice is wrong, we should still love him as a Brother.

The second point is he is Canadian, but we should still love him.

The third point is he has a PhD and we should Eschew his University, or at least his University Department, or at least his Thesis Advisor.

Finally, if we hear this kind of drivel face to face, we should remind the Speaker that homosexuality is incompatible with a lot of things, such as Sharia, but it is not incompatible with Capitalism, which puts up with a lot of foolishness, while protecting individual freedom.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Donald Trump and Andrew Johnson

For John, BLUFA review, and comparison, with the first Impeachment.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Blog Chicago Boyz, posted by Mr Michael Kennedy, 29 May 2019.

Here is the lede plus two:

I think I see some similarities between the Democrats’ apparent efforts to try to impeach President Trump and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in 1868.

Andrew Johnson was a “war Democrat,” meaning that he was a Democrat who supported the Union.  He was Governor of the border state of Tennessee.  Lincoln considered the border states critical in saving the Union.

“I hope to have God on my side,” Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said early in the war, “but I must have Kentucky.”  Unlike most of his contemporaries, Lincoln hesitated to invoke divine sanction of human causes, but his wry comment unerringly acknowledged the critical importance of the border states to the Union cause.  Following the attack on Fort Sumter and Lincoln’s call for troops in April 1861, public opinion in Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri was sharply divided and these states’ ultimate allegiance uncertain.  The residents of the border were torn between their close cultural ties with the South, on the one hand, and their long tradition of Unionism and political moderation on the other.

My thought is that while Impeachment of President Donald Trump might be good for Republicans, it would be bad for the nation as a whole.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Immigration Nonsense

For John, BLUFThe linked OpEd is very dishonest.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Immigration quotas should be based on how much the host country has ruined other countries.

From The Old Gray Lady, by Mr Suketu Mehta (Mr. Mehta is the author of This Land Is Our Land:  An Immigrant’s Manifesto.), 7 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

There is a lot of debate these days about whether the United States owes its African-American citizens reparations for slavery.  It does.  But there is a far bigger bill that the United States and Europe have run up:  what they owe to other countries for their colonial adventures, for the wars they imposed on them, for the inequality they have built into the world order, for the excess carbon they have dumped into the atmosphere.

The creditor countries aren’t seriously suggesting that the West send sacks of gold bullion every year to India or Nigeria.  Their people are asking for fairness:  for the borders of the rich countries to be opened to goods and people, to Indian textiles as well as Nigerian doctors.  In seeking to move, they are asking for immigration as reparations.

Today, a quarter of a billion people are migrants.  They are moving because the rich countries have stolen the future of the poor countries.  Whether it is Iraqis and Syrians fleeing the effects of illegal American wars, or Africans seeking to work for their former European colonial masters, or Guatemalans and Hondurans trying to get into the country that peddles them guns and buys their drugs:  They are coming here because we were there.

Before you ask them to respect our borders, ask yourself:  Has the West ever respected anyone’s borders?

Monday last, on City Life, Mr George Zaharoolis, talking about the Greek Orthodox Church, kept saying Constantinople.  But, today it is Istanbul.  So why does the author not reference that non-respect of borders, some 566 years ago (1453AD).  No mention by the Writer of the Armenians, or the Ukrainians or the Baltics.  Maybe it is not PC.

I wonder where he comes down on the Reconquista?  Who was in the wrong?  Were reparations owed?  And perhaps most interesting, when does a conquest stop being a conquest and becomes accepted social reality?  Have we accepted and adapted to the Norman Conquest of 1066?  On the other hand, do we accept the Roman conquest of the Holy Land, and all that flows from it as fait accompli?

This is rubbish.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Protecting Religious Freedom

For John, BLUFActually more than religious freedom.  It is freedom of conscience.  Even atheists and agnostics have a sense of right and wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

What this administration has finally done is to take the long-standing conscience laws seriously, defining key terms and establishing an effective complaint and enforcement process.

From The Boston Pilot, by Mr Richard Doerfliinger, 7 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus five:

Our political life has become such a war of words that many may not notice that the Trump administration has done something very good and long overdue -- and is being condemned for it.

The very good thing is a regulation to implement numerous federal laws on conscience rights in health care, chiefly on conscientious objection to abortion.

One law, called the Church amendment (after sponsor Sen. Frank Church of Idaho), has been in effect since 1973.  Another, the Weldon amendment (after sponsor Rep. Dave Weldon of Florida), has been signed into law as part of the appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services by every president of both parties since 2004.

Yet no regulation has been in place to clarify key terms in the laws or ensure effective enforcement.

President George W. Bush had proposed such a regulation.  But that was reversed by President Obama, who left all matters of interpretation and enforcement to the HHS Office for Civil Rights.  That office then proceeded to distort the laws' meaning so they would seldom do much good.

For example, the Weldon amendment clearly forbids state governments receiving federal funds to force private health plans to provide abortion coverage.  But when California issued just such a coercive mandate, the Obama administration found no violation, saying that no insurance company had claimed a moral or religious objection to such coverage.

I am saddened that the Obama Administration failed to move forward on this.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, June 14, 2019

Abortion's Possible Future

For John, BLUFAt this point in time we had a compromise that seemed to work.  Unacceptable, but it provided access to abortion, if you are paying attention to your body, but discouraged abortion for all, at any point in the pregnancy.  Moves by both sides look to destroy that compromise.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Yorker, by Harvard Law School Professor Jeannie Suk Gersen, 5 June 2019.

Here is the concluding paragraph:

When Republican lawmakers consider the fact of rape or incest irrelevant to a decision to terminate a pregnancy, and when Thomas invokes the spectre of discrimination against a fetus, they are making the same point—that every “unborn child” is entitled to the same dignity as you or me.  And, if fetuses are thought to have basic rights as persons do, then a future ruling might reach beyond overturning Roe.  It might hold that it is unconstitutional for any state to allow abortions at all. This position—the constitutionalization of abortion abolition—would go far beyond what either liberals and conservatives have imagined possible, but it is where the ambitions of fetal personhood now entering the legal mainstream are headed.
There will be abortions, as long as men and women are having sex.  What is created, if there is creation, is a human (something some are blindly unwilling to admit).  At the same time, most of us have no stomach for putting in jail those who decide, early on, that their pregnancy is too much of a burden.

We are a diverse democracy.  Thus we must look for a compromise.

Regards  —  Cliff

Foreign Sources in Political Campaigns

For John, BLUFDid the President set up Reporter George Stephanopolis in answering the question about opponent information from another country?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Althouse Blog, 14 June 2019.

Here is the Professor Althouse excerpt from Mr John Hinderaker's blog post: />

"But what is blindingly obvious, yet absent from every Democratic Party news account feigning horror at the ABC interview, is that the Hillary Clinton campaign didn’t just receive 'foreign dirt' on the Trump campaign.  It paid for foreign sources to fabricate lies about Trump, which it then disseminated to the press.  Listen to 'foreign dirt'?  The Clinton [campaign] paid for it!"
Yes, I agree.  But it is a case of tunnel vision, target fixation.  In the flying dodge the problem with target fixation is that the aircraft impacts unscorable at twelve.

One thing to think about is that information wants to be free.  So, should we be locking it up?  Should the salacious "information" in the Steele Dossier have been locked away?

What I worry about is summed up in this Blog Comment:

whitney said...
Doesn't matter.  Everyone's locked into their positions now.  You're either in the Trump evil crowd or Trump not evil crowd. Perhaps the structure can survive past Trump but the divisions will remain.  The gulf is too wide, violence is going to be met with violence and Chaos will ensue.  All the symptoms of late-stage Empire are around us.  It will be different than the other falls but there will be similarities.  No amount of preparation will save you because preparation is based on predicting the future and predictability will be lost first.

6/14/19, 6:44 AM

Unlike Whitney, I don't think we are there yet, but we could get there.

What gives me hope is talking to people.  On City Life this morning we had myself, the Co-Host, Jim Peters, and three guests, plus the Producer.  We had 2016 voters for Mrs Clinton and for Mr Trump, but we were civil in our discussion.  And, there was little to no interest in Impeachment.  If we can maintain that civility we will get through this.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bernie Sanders Explains Socilalism, As He Understands It

For John, BLUFDemocratic Party Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders believes in Unicorns and Democratic Socialism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Atlantic, by Writer Yascha Mounk, 13 June 2019.

Here is what Professir Althouse excerpted:

If Sanders was coy about the details of a “socialist” economy, he was downright disdainful of the notion that a speech on socialism and authoritarianism should seriously grapple with the long history of socialist movements that have ended in dictatorship.  In his view, the threat of autocracy comes exclusively from the right.  Just as in the 1930s, “America and the world are once again moving towards authoritarianism.”  This danger is driven by “right-wing forces of oligarchy, corporatism, nationalism, racism, and xenophobia.”  The only answer that will stave off fascism is, you guessed it, “democratic socialism.”

Thus Sanders name-checked Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini but remained silent about Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.  And while he rightly decried the autocratic tendencies of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman, the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, he neglected to mention leftist autocrats such as Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Cuba’s Raúl Castro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, or North Korea’s Kim Jung Un.  Indeed, the only connection between socialism and autocracy that Sanders was willing to acknowledge is the one that exists in the feverish imagination of the ignorant right:  He decried the “red-baiting” in which Republicans have long engaged.

The implication was obvious.  Anybody who was hoping for a clear account of the differences between Sanders’s political ambitions and those of autocratic socialist regimes is a fellow traveler of Richard Nixon, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Donald Trump, and the Heritage Foundation....

The speech Sanders gave was not serious.

When, as a Democrat, you have lost The Atlantic, you are in trouble.  Notwithstanding, "Socialism" polls well amongst younger voters.  That, however, is on the heads of school teachers and textbook writers.  Shame on you.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Cuba Goes For Rationing

For John, BLUFWe have a couple of examples of socialism right here in our own hemisphere.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

It’s clear that price controls are in the Cuban state’s toolbox of economic tricks and won’t be going away anytime soon.

From the Foundation for Economic Education, by Writer José Niño, 12 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

While it is fashionable to talk about Venezuela and its notorious shortage of basic goods such as toilet paper, flour, and milk, Cuba is now implementing a rationing program to combat its very own shortages of basic goods.  A CBC report indicates this program would cover basic items such as chicken, eggs, rice, beans, and soap.

What has caused these shortages has been a subject of debate. Cuban Minister of Commerce Betsy Diaz Velazquez blames the Trump administration’s stiffening of the trade embargo with the island nation.  Others contend that decreasing aid from Venezuela has contributed to Cuba’s newly emerging rationing dilemma.  Over the past few years, Venezuela has provided Cuba with subsidized fuel and other forms of aid in order to keep its basic infrastructure intact.

Although these explanations do have validity and will be touched upon later, there is another factor that is not being considered. The lowest common denominator in the Cuban economy during the past five decades is excessive government control.

I guess when socialism fails it is always someone else's fault, although the Venezuela theory means socialism failing socialism.  Has anyone told Democratic Candidate Bernie Sanders or Congresswoman AOC?

Regards  —  Cliff

  Of course if Bernie becomes President it will fix the illegal immigration problem as he turns America into a socialist nation.

Trafficking People

For John, BLUFIs anyone surprised that there is criminal activity on our Southern Border.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: AFN TJ (TIJUANA News), 10 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) confirmed the arrest of Irineo Mújica, activist and leader of the organization "Pueblos Sin Fronteras", as well as Cristóbal Sánchez, in compliance with an arrest warrant for related crimes in immigration matters.

The federal agency reported that in April and May, Honduran nationals filed several complaints against the now detained, accused of asking for money in exchange for illegally intern them in Mexico and take them to the Federal Public Ministry at the northern border of the country, in order to cross them, also illegally, to the United States.

The Office of the Prosecutor stated that Irineo Mújica, detained in Sonora, would be involved in the commission of the crime of transporting migrants, with the aggravating circumstance that such conduct was carried out with minors, while Cristóbal Sánchez, apprehended at his home in Mexico City , would have illegally introduced people of Central American origin to the national territory.

I wonder if District Attorney Rachel Rollins would indict?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

"Existential Threat"

For John, BLUFThings are heating up already for 2020.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Althouse Blog, by Professor Ann Althouse, 12 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

uoted in "Biden and Trump exchange fire in Iowa, ignoring others in the field" (WaPo), teased on the front page as "In Iowa, the feud between Trump and Biden gains strength/President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden ridiculed one another in the harshest terms they’ve used so far."
Then Professor Althouse plays the Professor and asks us about what Mr Biden is saying:
What, if anything, do you think Biden is trying to say when he calls Trump an "existential threat"?  Underscored with "literally," it should mean that, with Trump, there's a danger that America will cease to exist.  I think he's trying to say the America we know and love is threatened by Trump.  But to find that meaning, we can't take "literally" literally.
To me a literal existential threat means Impeachment today with Conviction immediately following.

Ms Althouse quotes Ms Susan B. Glasser! From the 26 April 2019 issue of The New Yorker, April 26, 2019:

In his launch video, which is three minutes and thirty seconds of Biden mostly talking into the camera, he calls Trump a “threat to this nation . . . unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime” and an existential challenge to the very idea of American democracy.  The election of 2020 is “the battle for the soul of the nation,” Biden says, and, if Trump is reëlected, “he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of” the country.  In short, Biden adds, “Everything that has made America America is at stake.”
That is it.  He has rolled his dice.  There is nothing stronger he can say, unless we have an Edwin Edwards moment:  From 1983:  "The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy." (He won!)

I believe the former Veep peaked too soon.  Plus are are going to have the Princess Bride moment, repeated, where Inigo Montoya says "You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means."

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

American Schooling, Part II

For John, BLUFThe American approach to elementary and secondary education is failing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This work is published by the Foundation for Economic Education and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except for material where copyright is reserved by a party other than FEE.  This article was originally published on the web site.

Here is the sub-headline:

All across the nation, students are being prodded like cattle into classrooms, and the one-size-fits-all approach is failing them.

From the Foundation for Economic Education, by High School Teacher Justin Spears, 27 May 2019

There is a popular saying that “the proof is in the pudding.”  In the first part of this article set, my colleague Mike Margeson spelled out the historical roots of the American schooling system.  He clearly laid out the blueprint that men like Horace Mann used to build a system that does anything but “educates.”  Factor in that trillions of dollars have been spent on schooling, and it makes it even harder to justify.

A Broken System

Yet we continue to hear the “Red for Ed” crowd scream for more funding.  Here in the state of Indiana, the superintendent of public education is leading an assault on the state legislature for a meager 2 percent increase in state funding.  Many educators are characterizing this as a decrease in funding!  In no other walk of life would we continue to pour so many resources into a failed system.  If you had any doubt about this after reading Part One, let me present you with some facts.

In what was one of many fiery speaking engagements, the late John Taylor Gatto delivered a line that has resonated with me as I have studied the effects the public schooling system has on children.  In this particular speech, Gatto was recounting the story of Jaime Escalante, the educator who successfully taught calculus at Garfield High School in Los Angeles yet was forced to resign.

As he finishes describing the trials and fate of Escalante, Gatto explains that above racism and other forms of bigotry is the embedded idea that what really occurred was a deliberate attempt to stop genuine learning.  Earlier in the speech, Gatto laid out a compelling case of how and why schooling is meant to keep citizens ignorant.  This success at an inner city school was not going to be tolerated by the establishment.  He implored his listeners to understand the real problem and to quit “fencing with shadows.”

Flushing Money Down the Drain

So what does this mean?  Throughout history, compulsory schooling has consistently been viewed as not only progressive but also in need of reform.  The most common method of reform has been to throw piles of money at the problem. According to the Department of Education’s (DOE) website, the DOE spent an estimated $69.4 billion in 2017.  Compare that to the initial $2.9 billion ($23 billion adjusted for inflation) budgeted under the Elementary and Secondary School Act of 1965.

To put this into context, education spending as a percent of gross domestic product has gone from 2.6 percent in the 1950s to 6.1 percent as recently as 2010.  This is just a look at federal spending; each state also allocates a portion of their budget to education, with California leading the way at over $72 million.  Finally, we have seen a tremendous amount of private capital injected to help reform schools.  Institutions such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have invested billions of dollars in education.  All this spending must be yielding better results, right?  Let’s take a look.

Contrary to what those in public education will tell you, the system is flush with cash, which generates very few positive results.  Take New York as an example.  The state was front and center in the reform battle during President Obama’s Race to the Top (RTT) initiative.  Leading up to the controversial dash for cash, the city had been experiencing an education overhaul, including battles over charters and a knock-down fight with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Board of Education chief, Joel Klein, and the powerful unions.  The state was seeing an infusion of Wall Street cash backing charters, which were being throttled by state Democrats and union bosses.

In addition to the almost $700 million in RTT funds and the $61.4 million spent at the state level, the city of New York saw millions of dollars invested from groups like Democrats for Education Reform (DFER).  So what are the results of these investments?  According to Cornell University’s NYC Education Data program, less than half of all eighth graders in the state are proficient in English language arts and math.  We see this same type of result across the country.

Indeed, these results do not stack up well internationally, either.  A 2015 Organization for Economic Cooperation Development report shows just how far behind American students are falling.  The average score for 15-year-olds in math, language, and science on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test for the US was 470.  Only Mexico (402), Chile (423) and Turkey (420) had lower scores.  Thirty-one other nations had scores higher than the US, with Japan leading the way at 532.

Where to Look for Solutions

Why, in 2019, after all the money spent and all the reforms that have been instituted, are we still seeing such horrific results in our schools?  The answer is much simpler than it has been made out to be:  The system is broken.  There is no remedy to fix this system.  It is fundamentally flawed.  The famous saying that you cannot fix a problem with the same mind that created it rings so true.  So if reform will not work, what are we to do?

Again, the answer is simple:  unschool.  First, let’s be clear—charters and virtual schools are not desired long-term outcomes.  They are soft variants of the current system, and while they may show growth in the short-term, in the long run, they still stifle learning due to government regulation.  There are many methods for accomplishing the goal of unschooling.  Some systems are already in place, such as homeschooling.  Another great model is the Sudbury School.  This is a democratic system of education that allows students the autonomy to determine their own paths of learning.

We need more educators to speak up and have the courage to buck the system.  Until that time, we will keep fencing with shadows.

All across the nation, students are being prodded like cattle into classrooms, and the one-size-fits-all approach is failing them.  They are bored and uninterested, and we blame them.  We tell them and their parents that there is something medically wrong with them—that they need medication and counseling.  This ought to weigh on the minds of every adult in America as cruel and abusive.  Only systems that return power, and ultimately the desire to learn in children, will suffice.  We need more educators like John Taylor Gatto to speak up and have the courage to buck the system.  We need more leaders like Kerry McDonald and Dr. Peter Gray, who have led the charge in researching and promoting the unschooling model.  Until that time, we will keep fencing with shadows.

Justin Spears

Justin Spears is a high school social studies teacher in Indiana. He has been in education for over a decade but has a background in business.  He holds a Bachelors in Marketing from Butler University and a Masters in Secondary Education from Indiana University.  He is currently working to co-author a book; Failure:  The History and Results of a Broken School System

American Schooling, Part I

For John, BLUFThe American approach to elementary and secondary education is failing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This work is published by the Foundation for Economic Education and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except for material where copyright is reserved by a party other than FEE.  This article was originally published on the web site.

Here is the sub-headline:

The earliest ancestor to our system of government-mandated schooling comes from 16th-century Germany.

From the Foundation for Economic Education, by High School Teachers Mike Margeson and Justin Spears, 13 May 2019.

While it’s almost universally understood that the American school system is underperforming, “reform,” too, is almost universally prescribed as the solution. Yet in other walks of life, bad ideas are not reformed—they are eliminated and replaced with better ones. Our school system is rarely identified as a bad idea.

The system is reflexively left alone while the methods are the bad ideas that get cycled in and out: open concept schools, multiple intelligences, project-based learning, universal design for learning, merit-based pay, vouchers, charters, and most recently, educational neuroscience. Every decade or so we are told by the pedagogic experts that they have found an answer to our school’s problems. The trouble is, they’re looking right past the problem.

The problem is the monopoly that schooling has gained over education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 97 percent of kids go through traditional schooling (as opposed to homeschooling or unschooling), and just over 90 percent of those attend government schools. That is to say, there is basically one accepted way to educate kids today: school them.

Given the relatively poor performance of American students on international achievement tests, you would think schooling might receive a second look. Quite the opposite, actually. It is instead made mandatory, and taxpayers are forced to subsidize it. This begs the question: Why would the government continue to propagate a system that produces such questionable results? The answer lies in their motives, and their motives are best understood by reviewing a brief history of compulsory schooling.

The earliest ancestor to our system of government-mandated schooling comes from 16th-century Germany. Martin Luther was a fierce advocate for state-mandated public schooling, not because he wanted kids to become educated, but because he wanted them to become educated in the ways of Lutheranism. Luther was resourceful and understood the power of the state in his quest to reform Jews, Catholics, and other non-believers. No less significant was fellow reformist John Calvin, who also advocated heavily for forced schooling. Calvin was particularly influential among the later Puritans of New England (Rothbard, 1979).

Considering compulsory schooling has such deep roots in Germany, it should be no surprise that the precursor to our American government school system came directly from the German state of Prussia. In 1807, fresh off a humiliating defeat by the French during the War of the Fourth Coalition, the Germans instituted a series of vast, sweeping societal reforms. Key within this movement was education reform, and one of the most influential educational reformers in Germany at the time was a man named Johann Gottlieb Fichte. Like Luther before him, Fichte saw compulsory schooling as a tool to indoctrinate kids, not educate them. Fichte describes his aim for Germany’s “new education” this way:

Then, in order to define more clearly the new education which I propose, I should reply that that very recognition of, and reliance upon, free will in the pupil is the first mistake of the old system and the clear confession of its impotence and futility.

But actual education is an organic process and requires free will; this was not an attempt at education. Schools were to be factories that would churn out the type of obedient, compliant workers the state preferred. Here’s Fichte again explaining the desired interaction between teachers and students:

[Y]ou must do more than merely talk to him; you must fashion him, and fashion him in such a way that he simply cannot will otherwise than you wish him to will.

Fichte understood full well that a statist vision could most easily be realized if governments were given kids’ minds early on:

Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished ... When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for more than one generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.

If such a totalitarian vision were quietly isolated in Germany, or even Europe, it might be of very little consequence. But it would be this Prussian model of control-by-schooling that 19th-century American politicians would bring to our nation—and the one that is still with us today.

Referred to as the first great American advocate of public education, Horace Mann embarked on a journey to Europe in 1843 to evaluate national school systems. He toured several western European states, but Prussia left the most impressionable impact on him (see his 7th Annual Report of the Board of Education, 1843). Once back in the United States, Mann began to lobby heavily for a taxpayer-funded government school system that largely mirrored that of Prussia’s.

Mann was no ordinary, grassroots American activist; he was an extremely influential public figure. He had been a part of the Massachusetts State Legislature, he was the first secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, and he later became a United States congressman. He had enormous reach. In short, Mann’s influence worked. His “common school movement,” as it would be known, began to spread across the Northeast, with government schooling taking root in Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

By the end of the decade, all states had public schools. Unsatisfied with forcing taxpayers to fund a government school system, Massachusetts also wanted to force everyone to go. What good would an organized system of indoctrination be if people could simply ignore it? They instituted the first compulsory attendance laws in the 1850s, and neighboring states began to follow suit; by the end of the 19th century, 34 states had compulsory school laws.

By 1918, they all did. Over the decades, the number of years kids were forced to go to school slowly increased, as did the number of required school days per year. Fines and penalties would be imposed nationwide for school truancy. Within decades, the federal government passed the ESEA, which thrust the national government into education and shortly thereafter established a federal Department of Education. Mann’s vision for a truly national school system would be realized just a little over a century after his initial visits to Prussia.

It is impossible to discuss, or even understand, the failures of our school system without understanding its origins. The motivations were not pure; they were never to educate. That need not be speculation—it is directly from the mouths of the reformers themselves. The objective was to nationalize the youth in a particular mold.

From Luther to Fichte, the idea to use the coercive power of the state to force kids into schools and indoctrinate them was clear. Horace Mann became instrumental in importing this system and helping it spread throughout the United States. Attempts to reform this system amount to an incredible waste of time and resources; discussions of reform are a waste of breath. The system is rotten at its foundation and must be abolished completely.

Mike Margeson
Mike Margeson

Mike Margeson is a high school social studies teacher in Indiana; he has 15 years experience in the classroom. He holds a bachelor’s in Political Science from UC Irvine and a master’s from Butler University in educational administration. He is currently working to co-author a book, Failure: The History and Results of a Broken School System.

Justin Spears Justin Spears Justin Spears is a high school social studies teacher in Indiana. He has been in education for over a decade but has a background in business. He holds a Bachelors in Marketing from Butler University and a Masters in Secondary Education from Indiana University. He is currently working to co-author a book; Failure: The History and Results of a Broken School System.

This article was originally published on Read the original article.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Freedom of Press

For John, BLUFMr Julian Assange, who used to be a Press darling, and is now a pariah, is in danger of becoming a tool for destroying the "Freedom of the Press" guarantee in the First Amendment.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The continued persecution of Manning and Assange shows that while actual war criminals are showered with praise and given lucrative sinecures, those who reveal their crimes are the ones who will face punishment.

From Nation of Change, by Reporter Derek Royden, 7 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

On April 11th, within hours of Julian Assange being taken into custody on charges of jumping bail in the U.K., the United States released an indictment calling for the Australian publisher to be extradited there to face trial on hacking charges related to the 2010 leaks that first brought him and Wikileaks to the world’s attention. The whistle-blower who provided those leaks, Chelsea Manning, has also been returned to jail indefinitely for the second time this year.

While the price to be paid by Assange if found guilty of this initial charge seemed relatively small (about five years maximum) and didn’t seem to infringe on the United States’ First Amendment protections, much of the press, at least in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, seemed almost gleeful as images of the disheveled, obviously psychologically distressed Wikileaks co-founder being pulled out of Ecuador’s London embassy by police were broadcast around the globe.

The Manning leaks, just short of three quarters of a million documents and other materials that revealed, among many other things, U.S. complicity in brutal torture by Iraqi authorities and the murder of dozens of innocent civilians at checkpoints during the war, are of vital historical importance. They not only revealed the carnage that was being wreaked in Iraq and Afghanistan but a separate cache showed a U.S. diplomatic corps drowning in cynicism and often dedicated to impeding social and political progress in other countries, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Obama administration, perhaps in part to let what the 2010 leaks revealed lie, eventually decided after years of investigative work that Wikileaks and its publisher could not be prosecuted for making them public, especially considering the fact that many mainstream outlets, from the New York Times to the U.K. Guardian to Der Spiegal, vetted and published many of the same documents.

I have little sympathy for former soldier Chelsea Manning.  At the time he released his large number of documents his action went passed whistle blowing and into temper tantrum, a temper tantrum that risked people's lives.

But Julian Assange is a different matter.  He is a member of the Press.  Taking him down is putting an ax to the root of Press Freedom, to the root of New YorkTimes Co v United States, the landmark 1971 Freedom of the Press Supreme Court Decision.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, June 8, 2019


For John, BLUFIs VEEP Joe Biden going to go the distance?  If he does, will he take a dive for Hillary at the Convention?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Columnist Matt Margolis, 7 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus five:

Joe Biden was in favor of the Hyde Amendment before he was against it.  At least, that’s his position now.  There’s no telling what it might be later today or tomorrow.

Hey Joe!  John Kerry called, he wants his campaign strategy back.

As someone who has mocked the media’s attempt to paint Joe Biden as a centrist candidate, when Biden announced earlier this week he still supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion, I was quite shocked.  Last month I wrote that to survive the primary, Joe Biden will “embrace the most radical positions necessary to hold on to his lead in the polls.”  As his party has moved further to the extreme left on the issue of abortion, affirming his support of the Hyde Amendment seemed like he was shooting his campaign in the foot with a silver bullet.  Biden, the current frontrunner for the Democratic Party nomination, was actually taking a moderate stance.  Could it be he might actually attempt to take a few centrist positions during his third presidential campaign?

His past support for the Hyde Amendment is well documented.  If there was ever a time to announce that he’d simply evolved on the issue over time and now opposed it, the moment had come.  But he didn’t.  He essentially challenged the extremist wing of his party and took a stance more in line with America’s mainstream.

But, it turns out my prediction about Biden came true.  Within 48 hours of announcing support for the Hyde Amendment, Biden changed his mind.

This is not his first major flip-flop during his presidential campaign.  Last month, Joe Biden walked back his call for a “middle ground” approach to climate policy after criticism from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

I think the Hyde Amendment represents where America is.  I was sorry to see Vice President Biden change positions on the Hyde Amendment, but his staff must have calculated he needed to change where he stands to get the nomination.  Then the staff calculated it wouldn't be a big issue in the General Election, and they are likely correct.  Unless the abortion issue goes off the rails.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Trump to Jail?

For John, BLUFHis crime?  Beating Hillary in 2016?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

She also clashed with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who pressed her to begin impeachment proceedings.She also clashed with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who pressed her to begin impeachment proceedings.

From Politico, by Ms Heather Caygle, 5 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus three:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told senior Democrats that she’d like to see President Donald Trump “in prison” as she clashed with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler in a meeting on Tuesday night over whether to launch impeachment proceedings.

Pelosi met with Nadler (D-N.Y.) and several other top Democrats who are aggressively pursuing investigations against the president, according to multiple sources.  Nadler and other committee leaders have been embroiled in a behind-the-scenes turf battle for weeks over ownership of the Democrats’ sprawling investigation into Trump.

Nadler pressed Pelosi to allow his committee to launch an impeachment inquiry against Trump — the second such request he’s made in recent weeks only to be rebuffed by the California Democrat and other senior leaders.  Pelosi stood firm, reiterating that she isn’t open to the idea of impeaching Trump at this time.

“I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison,” Pelosi said, according to multiple Democratic sources familiar with the meeting.  Instead of impeachment, Pelosi still prefers to see Trump defeated at the ballot box and then prosecuted for his alleged crimes, according to the sources.

Notwithstanding what is happening, I still see Representative Nancy Pelosi as a shrewd player and think she is dealing with a very challenging caucus.  A caucus that would as soon engage in self-immolation as give President Trump an inch.

I am hoping the DOJ counter-Investigations will help cool the ardor of some of the more excitable Democrats, and do it without burning the house down, so to speak.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tarrifs Work

For John, BLUFI realize that President Trump makes both Democrat and Republican leaders nervous, but he seems to be getting things done..  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Hot Air, by Jazz Shaw, 6 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

While the President is overseas honoring D-Day, the cable news talking heads back home have been busy critiquing his recently announced plan to impose an increasing series of tariffs on Mexico unless that nation stops the flood of migrants passing through their country toward the United States.  The plan has been described in the press with a variety of terms ranging from reckless to impossible.  After all, even if Mexico was willing to consider such a deal, how could they possibly stop the human tide from flowing across their own southern border?

Well, the tariffs must have gotten their attention.  I don’t know if they can shut down their border entirely, but as of this morning, they seem to be giving it the good old college try. (Reuters)

We have cooperation with Mexico.  That is good news.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, June 7, 2019

Bob Kerrey on Politics Today

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

From The New York Post, by Mr Michael Goodwin, 6 April 2019.

Here is the lede plus six:

Bob Kerrey, the former Nebraska senator and governor, was always one of my favorite politicians in part because his politics weren’t perfectly polished. Among other free-wheeling moments, he called fellow Democrat Bill Clinton an “uncommonly good liar” and said a requirement for becoming president is that you must “want it more than life itself.”

Kerrey moved on to academia and now to an investment bank, but hasn’t lost the willingness to break ranks with his party. The habit surfaces in a withering criticism of current Democrats, in which he says they are suffering from two major “delusions.”

“The first,” he writes in an op-ed in the Omaha World-Herald, “is that Americans long for a president who will ask us to pay more for the pleasure of increasing the role of the federal government in our lives.”

He cites as examples the foolish push for the Green New Deal, wealth taxes and Medicare-for-all, all of which are being embraced by 2020 candidates.

The Dems’ second delusion, he says, “is that Americans were robbed of the truth when Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and Attorney General William Barr concluded that President Trump did not collude with Russia in 2016.” He goes on to say there is no reason to think the full report will change the finding that Trump is an innocent man.

Those are remarkable observations — but Kerrey isn’t finished. He also supports the movement to find out what the FBI was up to in 2016, and why it led the nation down the Russia rabbit hole.

“Congress needs to investigate how the Department of Justice got this one so wrong,” he writes. “If the president of the United States is vulnerable to prosecutorial abuse, then God help all the rest of us.”

It is too bad that Democrat Bob Kerrey felt the need to leave the field of politics.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Germany Fights Anti-Semitism

For John, BLUFGermany needs to fight harder.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Samizdata, by Mr Niall Kilmartin, 26 May 2019.

Here is the lede plus five:

Germany resists islamophobia. German law seeks to purge the public domain of such offensive views.

Germany also resists anti-semitism. The German government’s anti-semitism commissioner has warned Jews to avoid being Jewish in public.

The BBC sees the German far right behind the rise in anti-semitism that prompted the commissioner’s advice.  Is it just me or are they ignoring a rival explanation?

Also, is it just me, or is the German method for resisting anti-semitism rather different from the German method for resisting islamophobia – so different, in fact, that their advice to Jews resembles what their law demands of ‘islamophobes’: become invisible in the public domain lest you cause offence?

I wrote a poem about this a while back.

Do please feel free to say that it’s just me and there is really nothing more to see here. After all, I expect that’s what the German government’s anti-semitism commissioner would say – but he might be only obeying orders, or only obeying the anti-islamophobia law.

And here is the view of Jonathan Tobin, in National Review.

It is a mess.  I wish Chancellor Angela Merkel had started wearing a kappa (skullcap), as a sign of unity and support, as the Danish King did during the German occupation during WWII, wearing a yellow six pointed star on his outer garment.

On the other hand, the editors of the German dail y Bild gets it.  The News Agency France 24 has this headline:  "German paper prints cut-out kippa to fight anti-Semitism".

Regards  —  Cliff

Common Core Sucks

For John, BLUFOur education system is failing us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

In several cases student achievement reversed under Common Core, and in every subject studied students would have been better off if states had not adopted Common Core.

From TheFederalist, by Reporter Joy Pullmann, 30 May 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Researchers the Obama administration funded to assist Common Core’s rollout recently found, to their surprise, that under Common Core U.S. student achievement has sunk (h/t Lance Izumi).

“Contrary to our expectation, we found that [Common Core] had significant negative effects on 4th graders’ reading achievement during the 7 years after the adoption of the new standards, and had a significant negative effect on 8th graders’ math achievement 7 years after adoption based on analyses of NAEP composite scores,” the Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction and Learning (C-SAIL) preliminary study said.  “The size of these negative effects, however, was generally small.”

The study found not only lower student achievement since Common Core, but also performed data analysis suggesting students would have done better if Common Core had never existed.  The achievement declines also grew worse over time, study coauthor Mengli Song told Chalkbeat, an education news website:  “That’s a little troubling.”

I am not advocating unschooling, but I do think we need to be teaching for success after graduation and in later life.  That may involve tailoring courses for individual students, or groups of students.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Church Speaks Up

For John, BLUFDoes the church have the right, does it have the responsibility, to call out members who are advocating for sin?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Boston Pilot! by the CNA Staff, 6 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus six:

Springfield, Ill., Jun 6, 2019 CNA.- The Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, has decreed that state legislative leaders may not be admitted to Holy Communion within his diocese, because of their work to pass the state Reproductive Health Act.  The bishop also directed the Catholic legislators who have voted legislation promoting abortion should not present themselves to receive Holy Communion until they have first gone to confession.

“In accord with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law...Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan, who facilitated the passage of the Act Concerning Abortion of 2017 (House Bill 40) as well as the Reproductive Health Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 25), are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois because they have obstinately persisted in promoting the abominable crime and very grave sin of abortion as evidenced by the influence they exerted in their leadership roles and their repeated votes and obdurate public support for abortion rights over an extended period of time,” Bishop Thomas Paprocki wrote in a June 2 decree.

“These persons may be readmitted to Holy Communion only after they have truly repented these grave sins and furthermore have made suitable reparation for damages and scandal, or at least have seriously promised to do so, as determined in my judgment or in the judgment of their diocesan bishop in consultation with me or my successor,” the bishop added.

Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act was passed by the state’s House and Senate just days ago, and observers credited the advocacy of Cullerton and Madigan with helping to secure passage.  It is expected to be signed by Illinois’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The bill declares abortion to be a “fundamental right” in the state and would remove regulations on abortion clinics and doctors.

Among the provisions that the bill would remove are regulations for abortion clinics, required waiting periods to obtain an abortion, and a ban on partial-birth abortion.  In addition, it would lift criminal penalties for performing abortions and would prevent any further state regulation of abortion.

The legislation would require all private health insurance plans to cover elective abortions, and eliminate reporting requirements as well as regulations requiring the investigation of maternal deaths due to abortio.

How tough is too tough?  My Middle Brother gave me a lot of verbiage to say this was too much, but, he didn't cough up a way for Holy Mother the Church to respond to people, people in civil authority, who trashed Church Teachings, thus leading Church Members to believe that what is wrong is OK.  Or, worse, giving cover to people who know what is right but want to do what is wrong, because they are weak.

I am not advocating for Congress to abolish the right to abortion.  Given the plurality of our nation, Roe v Wade seems reasonable.  I do think those who wish for abortion up to, or even past the point of birth should be asked to acknowledge that the rights of one human being are being sacrifice for the rights of another (the right to life of one sacrificed for the right to happiness for another).

Regards  —  Cliff

Economy Helping People

For John, BLUFI think Democrats running on the economy will lose votes.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The NY Post, by Mr John Aidan Byrne, 18 May 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

US employers are stepping on the accelerator — and that’s lifting average salaries and fueling record raises across many sectors.  For the typical American worker, pay increases could soon surge past 4 percent or 5 percent for the year, according to labor experts.

By any stretch, the number crunchers say, it’s a big jump to catch up on the anemic salary growth over the past 10 years, thanks to the law of supply and demand and a booming economy.  Job openings recently surpassed the number of unemployed by 1.3 million. And it’s starting to trigger bottlenecks.

For example, a trucker shortage — precipitated in part by a surge in factory orders — is forcing one company to grease the wheels with some of the industry’s largest payouts of as much as $3,100 in weekly take-home pay.

I am blaming President Trump for this problem.  He has created a psychology where in people who create jobs believe that the economy is expanding and the reduction in restrictive rules is making business easier.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Veterans Affairs Adjustment

For John, BLUFThis seems like a reasonable accommodation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Military Times, by Reporter Leo Shane III, 31 May 2019.

Here is the Key paragraph:

Under the changes, Veterans who live more than 30 minutes from a Veterans Affairs medical clinic or face a wait of more than 20 days for most health care appointments would be eligible for expanded community care programs.  [Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert] Wilkie and VA officials argue those standards fall in line with military health care and private sector benchmarks
Even so, the VA budget is going up next year, unlike many Federal Departments.

Regards  —  Cliff

High Cost of Higher Education

For John, BLUFI question the value of the large administrative staff, whose mere existence runs up the cost of college education.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Like most other prestigious universities, Georgetown is forever expanding its costly and corrosive diversity initiatives.

Heather Mac Donald May 30, 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

A billionaire tech investor made headlines last week with his pledge to pay off the student loans held by Morehouse College’s graduating Class of 2019.  Unfortunately, Robert Smith’s multimillion-dollar gift, however admirable philanthropically, is as irrelevant to the problem of student debt as the recent policy proposals from the Democratic presidential field.  Whether it’s Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to use taxpayer dollars to cancel most outstanding student loans for the majority of borrowers, or Senator Bernie Sanders’s promise of “free” (i.e., fully taxpayer-subsidized) tuition for public universities, all such proposals treat ballooning college costs as a naturally occurring phenomenon, outside the reach of human action.  The discourse around student debt—which now stands at $1.5 trillion—holds colleges harmless in causing that debt.  The sole focus of discussion is instead how best to underwrite rising tuitions with public or private money.

But college tuition is not an act of God, beyond human control.  It is a result of decisions taken by colleges themselves—above all, decisions to bulk up their bureaucracies.  Bureaucratic outlays rose at nearly twice the rate as teaching outlays from 1993 to 2007, according to the Goldwater Institute.  From 1997 to 2012, colleges hired new administrators at twice the rate of any student-body increase, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting found.  Colleges inevitably claim that government mandates force this administrative bloat upon them.  But the vast majority of administrative hires are voluntary:  for every dollar in mandated bureaucratic spending from 1987 to 2011, public universities added an additional $2 in discretionary bureaucracy, and private universities added $3, according to economists Robert Martin and Carter Hill.  Fiefdoms focused on diversity and student services grew at the fastest clip, in the name of fighting the campus oppression to which minority and female students are allegedly subjected.

Last month, Georgetown University provided a striking example of such unforced diversity accretion.  President John DeGioia proudly announced a new diversity position:  Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  No government mandate required this new vice presidency.  Instead, it was an expressive choice that, in DeGioia’s words, would demonstrate Georgetown’s commitment to “racial justice” and “educational equity.”

The high cost of higher education will turn many colleges into "trade schools" with an emphasis on post graduation employment.  Liberal Arts will suffer.  That will not be good for Western Civilization.  but, maybe that is the plan.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Censur the President?

For John, BLUFThe Democrats in the House of Representatives are frustrated by the lack of a plan to deal with Vice President Pence.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Hot Air, by Mr Ed Morrissey, 4 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus one:

Color me surprised that it took this long for this option to emerge.  The Hill reports that House Democrats have begun considering a step short of impeachment to “put a permanent mark” on Donald Trump’s record without taking the risk of infuriating voters
Dirty up the President?  What a worthy goal.

It is all about 2016.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Socialism in the Plymouth Bay Colony

For John, BLUFI blame High Schools, for not teaching history.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

On Tuesday’s episode of “The Michael Knowles Show,” the host shares insights from the United States' own history to show how communism and socialism do not work.

From The Daily Wire, by Mr Michael Knowles, 1 June 2019.

Here is the lede plus five:

You have people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders and now the entire Democrat field, telling us that private property is bad, it's wrong, we need to take away private property.  In the extreme case, we need socialism and we need socialist programs.  That is the line and so people feel shame for owning private property.  Why do you have the right to own something if that guy on the street doesn't have the right to own it?  Why do I have the right to own my car when the bum drinking booze out of a plastic bottle on the street doesn't own a car?

According to the radical egalitarians, there is something unfair about that.  That's an example of social injustice.  Actually, though, private property is great.  Private property is one of the best things ever. And shared property is not that great.  We are told in this culture that private property is bad and primitive — that in an advanced society, we will give up some of our private ownership of property and then we'll all just hold things in common, like the mythical people in the beautiful paradise that we envision before the social contract.  That's what we are being told.

And then he gets around to talking about the Pilgrims and Plymouth Governor William Bradford, who, after two years of dismal productivity, went from property held in common to private property.  After that the Plymouth Colony flourished.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff