The EU

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Saturday, February 29, 2020

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

From PJ Media, by Mr Matt Margolis, 27 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus eight:

Congressman Steve Scalise introduced a panel discussion called “Prescription for Failure:  The Ills of Socialized Medicine" at CPAC on Thursday.  He established what was at stake in 2020:  “2020 will be a contrast election,” he said, between Trump’s freedom agenda or socialism.

“You don’t want socialism, you surely don’t want socialized medicine,” he said.  “Tens of thousands of Canadians come to America for life-saving treatment.  Do you see Americans going to Canada for life-saving treatment?” he asked rhetorically.

“Healthcare is only one example of what’s at stake in this election,” he said, before concluding that individual freedom will win out in 2020 and predicted that Republicans will keep the Senate and win back the House.

Author Dr. David Schneider, an orthopedic surgeon from Colorado, explained how with socialized medicine, wait times for care “are disastrous.”  In Canada, the wait time to see a specialist is two years, and then another two years to get the procedure.

“People in this country would go crazy if you were told you had to wait four months,” he said.

Then he explained how Princess Diana would be alive today, if not for socialized medicine.  “Princess Diana was in the car accident in France,” he explained.  “They actually don’t have any trauma specialists in France.”

“For the first hour after that accident, she was still in that tunnel,” he continued.  “And after an hour, they took her to a nearby hospital and she was alive for another three hours and they couldn’t control the bleeding from her pulmonary artery.”

Schneider explained that “there were no trauma-trained people there.”

He continued, “I really believe, knowing what I know about her care and comparing it to what Congressman Scalise had, Princess Diana would have lived had that accident happened here in America.”

This is a fine kettle of fish.  I must admit that I have had questions about Senator Sander's plan for health care. For instance, as health care consumption increases, where are the trained medical professionals coming from?  Then there is the question of the money to pay for it.  For example, the first year we can do a wealth tax, but then that large amount of wealth is no longer in private hands, it having been confiscated by the Government.  You can't confiscated wealth twice.  A new source of revenue will be needed.

Good luck to us.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  RAND Corporation did a study that concluded that when you make health care free the demand goes up.  This is not from the additional people picked up but rather from those already with health care who increase the consumption of health care.

Bernie the Socialist

For John, BLUFIt appears that Senator Bernie Sanders has no historic understanding or memory.  No historic feel, at least from a Western perspective.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Bernie Sanders’s vision has been refuted by reality—and history.

From City Journal, by Mr Guy Sorman, 26 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus three:

Socialism these days is like the Hydra of lore: for every head chopped off, the monster regrows two.  One cannot escape this metaphor when watching Bernie Sanders’s seemingly irresistible progress toward the Democratic presidential nomination.  He defines himself as a socialist and clearly meets the criteria, starting with the historical models that he cites.  The European social-democratic template of the 1960s, as achieved in the Scandinavian countries (the so-called Swedish model) and in France and Germany, is Sanders’s blueprint for the United States.  Nostalgia likely inspires Sanders, at least to some degree—social democracy was at its peak when he was young.

The same nostalgia, mixed with a significant dose of ignorance, may explain his positive comments about Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba.  He could not bring himself to condemn totally a government that had launched literacy programs.  This is the classic posture of the “useful idiot,” Lenin’s term for intellectual admirers of Communist regimes.  Sanders shows no sympathy for Communism’s victims and voices no qualms about Castro’s violence.  And he gets the facts wrong:  Cuba’s people were educated before Castro seized power, and they had the most reliable health-care system in Latin America.  Sanders’s admiration for Castro and other dictators in the region—he often mentions Nicaragua—reveals an attraction for the aesthetics of violence, widely shared among leftists.  In Marxist parlance:  one can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.  Sanders, perhaps, would not mind breaking some eggs to achieve his goals.

Sanders touts the proverbial free lunch:  a free national health system and free education.  As free lunches don’t exist, someone would have to pay for all this—presumably the rich, though Sanders avoids giving specific figures.

This vision may sound new and attractive to the young, but it has all been tried before. In Europe, where we do have national health systems and national pension systems, the results have been ghastly.  The financial burden does not fall on the shoulders of the wealthy, because we don’t have enough rich people; all taxpayers foot the bill for national health-care service.  France finances Social Security, which includes health and pensions, with a withholding tax.  Consequently, France has a chronically high unemployment rate, around 10 percent, because the cost of labor is too high, a disincentive to recruit new employees.  The cost of labor also makes our products and services less competitive.  When British or French citizens go to the doctor or buy drugs, it looks “free”:  we don’t pay out of pocket, because we already paid, through our taxes.  Such public-health systems control how much doctors and other health workers can be paid.  In the United Kingdom, they are considered public civil servants.  In France, a general practitioner is paid 25 euros ($28) for an office consultation.

Senator Bernie Sanders seems not to have learned anything from the events of the last 50 years.  Nor did he learn from Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, who told us about the crimes of Joseph Stalin.  His understanding of Cuba and Fidel Castro seems flawed.  Willfully flawed.

One man off the beam is one thing, but millions of voters following him is another.  What are those people thinking?  More important, who was educating them over all those years?  It sounds like a failure of our education system.  Is this a reflection of the long march through the institutions?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Funnily enough, in neither this article nor the Wikipedia article on the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci was Democratic Presidential Candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Father mentioned.  The elder Buttigieg, a Professor at Notre Dame, was an influential translator of Mr Gramsci's works.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Senator Sanders on Parsing History

For John, BLUFIf we have to acknowledge the "good things" done by the Communist Dictators who killed 100 million of their own people in the 20th Century, what about the other dictators of that Century and this?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Tyler O'Neil, 27 February 2020.

The article starts by talking about the CPAC () Conference condemning socialism and socialists, it cuts to Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and his resolution in the House condemning President Fidel Castro:

Yet House Democrats refused to listen.  Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), a nephew of Fidel Castro's first wife, has strongly condemned the late dictator's regime and condemned Sanders' infamous comments on 60 Minutes.  Sanders insisted that "it's unfair to simply say everything is bad" about the Castro regime because it supposedly provided health care and literacy programs for its people.  Sanders, now the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, doubled down on these remarks in a debate this week while insisting that he opposes authoritarianism.

"It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read & write," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) quipped in response.

Diaz-Balart argued that Sanders' comments were "blatantly false."  He condemned the "racist, terrorist, murderous Castro regime in Cuba." He mentioned former Cuban political prisoners who are now his constituents in Florida.  "You see, for years, the Cuban regime has been on the list of state sponsors of terrorism for its support of other terrorist states, terrorist organizations, and violence around the world and in this hemisphere."

"So that is why I filed a resolution that condemns the blatantly false comments of Democratic Socialist candidate Senator Bernie Sanders.  This resolution also rejects the false claims that Cuba's health care, education, and literacy rates have improved as a result of the Castro regime — the Castro dictatorship," Diaz-Balart explained. Cuba's infant mortality rate was low, and its life expectancy and literacy rates were high before the Castro regime.

Democrats defeated the resolution by a procedural vote along party lines, 224-189.

"Dems have moved so far left and are so afraid of their socialist base that they can't even condemn a murderous communist regime anymore," Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House minority whip, tweeted.

I guess we could say that Dictator Fidel Castro wasn't a real socialist.  But then what is he?  A National Socialist?  Senator Bernie Sanders thinks he did [some] good things, like education and medical care.

But that raises the question of if we can say a nice work for National Socialist Germany for its autobahns?  Senator Sanders seems to suggest that—"it's unfair to simply say everything is bad".  Is Senator Sanders wrong?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Congress, Do Your Job

For John, BLUFPart of our problem with immigration is that the Congress is not doing its job of coming up with an immigration policy that they are willing to support and which State and local governments can live with.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Public charge rule goes into effect today.

From Center for Immigration Studies, by Mr John Miano, 24 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

I previously posted a summary of the Public Charge Rule’s legal saga.  In City & Cnty. of S.F. v. United States Citizenship & Immigration Servs., 944 F.3d 773 (9th Cir. 2019), the Ninth Circuit held that the Public Charge Rule was within the authority of the Department of Homeland Security.

Contrary to the disinformation published in the elite media, the Supreme Court did not affirm this decision -- it merely lifted the injunction against the administration's public charge rule, allowing it to go into effect today while the case continues to proceed through the courts.

Judge Jay Bybee wrote both the court’s opinion and a separate concurring opinion.  The lack of attention the nation’s elite media has paid to the latter should not surprise anyone acquainted with the generally poor quality of reporting.  However, the opinion is worth reading in full (citations omitted):

BYBEE, Circuit Judge, concurring, perplexed and perturbed:

I join the majority opinion in full.  I write separately to emphasize two points — points that I feel must be made, but are better said in a separate opinion.

We as a nation are engaged in titanic struggles over the future of immigration in the United States.  These are difficult conversations.  As a court, the Ninth Circuit in particular has felt the effects of the recent surge in immigration.  As we observed last year with respect to the asylum problem:

We have experienced a staggering increase in asylum applications.  Ten years ago we received about 5,000 applications for asylum.  In fiscal year 2018 we received about 97,000 — nearly a twenty-fold increase.  Our obligation to process these applications in a timely manner, consistent with our statutes and regulations, is overburdened.  The current backlog of asylum cases exceeds 200,000 — about 26% of the immigration courts' total backlog of nearly 800,000 removal cases.  In the meantime, while applications are processed, thousands of applicants who had been detained by immigration authorities have been released into the United States.
Because of our proximity to Mexico, Central America, and East Asia, the brunt of these cases will find their way into our court.  And we are well aware that we are only seeing the matters that find their way into federal court, and that the burdens of the increase in immigration are borne not only by our judges, but by the men and women in the executive branch charged with enforcing the immigration laws.

Our court has faced an unprecedented increase in emergency petitions arising out of the administration's efforts to administer the immigration laws and secure our borders.  These controversial efforts have met with mixed success in our court and the Supreme Court.

My first point is that even as we are embroiled in these controversies, no one should mistake our judgments for our policy preferences.  Whether "the iron fist [or an extended velvet glove] would be the preferable policy.  ... our thoughts on the efficacy of the one approach versus the other are beside the point, since our business is not to judge the wisdom of the National Government's policy."

So, where is the Congress on this?  I hear a lot of whinging about the policy, but I don't see new legislation coming out that compromises Democrat and Republican Party views to give us a consensus position we can all reasonably support.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Reconciling the Democratic Candidates

For John, BLUFIf the debate this last Tuesday is an indication, the Democrats are still struggling to find a Presidential Candidate for this Fall.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Don Surber Blog, by Mr Surber, 26 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

If they don't join together — if the Democrats opt for a circular firing squad — you can kiss the America you grew up in goodbye.
Tom Friedman screamed out to his readers in the New York Times this morning in panic.  He told them the Orange Man will win if we don't do something.  We gotta do something.  Now, now, now.

He sees the problem as a divided Democrat Party.

He is totally wrong, but his solution was so simplistic that it amused me.  He said build a Team of Rivals, the phrase Gore Vidal used to describe Lincoln's cabinet.  Doris Kearns Goodwin revived the term for 21st century TV audiences.

Friedman's prescription was to have the nominee (Mini Mike or Breadline Bernie) tell the nation, "I want people to know that if I am the Democratic nominee these will be my cabinet choices — my team of rivals.  I want Amy Klobuchar as my vice president.  Her decency, experience and moderation will be greatly appreciated across America and particularly in the Midwest."

Mr Surber then goes on to name other names in the proposed Cabinet.  This isn't a bad technique.  President Trump used it successfully with his list of possible Supreme Court nominees.  However, in the case it will probably just garner more derision.

The Democrats need a new plan, but Mr Triedman doesn't have it.  I would say his political world is flat.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

I Voted Yesterday

For John, BLUFVote.  It is your civic duty.  Even if you think there could be a better process.  This is it for 2020.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I Voted Yesterday

As did my wife, Martha.

Early Voting in City Hall here in Lowell, First Floor, Room 34.  And in other communities in our fair Commonwealth.

It was quick and easy.

By the way, and I missed it, but on the South side of City Hall there are several parking spots marked off with Green covers on the spot numbers for Early Voters.  For Free.  Not often you get free parking in Lowell, except for Sundays.

Do your civic duty and VOTE.

We are voting for the Presidential Primary (Super Tuesday) and for State Committeeman and Committeewoman, and for Ward Committee Members.  If you wish to signal interest in your Ward Committee, write in your name and address on the Ballot and the Party folks will wander by the Elections Office after 3 March and pick up the names.

Today and tomorrow for early voting.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Minority Tyranny

For John, BLUFWe have to learn to have differences without those differences developing into contempt.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Christian Headlines, by Reporter Will Maule, 25 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus two:

A British politician has drawn criticism for suggesting that babies are born without any specific biological gender.

The comments were made by Labour Party member Dawn Butler during a discussion on ITV’s Good Morning Britain show.  Butler was discussing the Labour Party’s progressive view on gender ideology after a group associated with the left-wing opposition party proposed a controversial pledge to protect trans rights.

Good Morning Britain Host Richard Madely accused the Labour Party of stifling free speech after two Labour Party candidates hoping to become the next party leader backed a trans group’s call to expel anyone in the party who questions their interpretation of transgender ideology.

Expel anyone who doesn't hew to the party line?  This is like Senator Bernie Sanders saying being pro-choice is an essential part of being a Democrat.

Here is my favorite part:

“When a child is born, they are identified and observed in a particular sex aren’t they?” Madely asked.  Butler responded:  “A child is born without sex, a child is formed without sex in the beginning.”
Does this rise to the level of science denial?.  It would seem too, although I guess a case could be made for external manifestations and chromosome tests as being superficial indicators. I do not wish to be classified as one who denies that people feel they are mis-gendered.  I have been aware of the wish on the part of some to change genders since Christine Jorganson went to Denmark.  It is a free country and people should be allowed to present as they wish.

That doesn't mean that they should take their unique issues into the military or that we should allow interventions to change gender for those not yet adults.  Changing gender is an adult decision, like drinking, smoking or owning guns.

But, the big thing is that we don't need to be having litmus tests for party membership.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Maybe it is time for a Third Party.  Not every person who is wholly or partially pro-life wants to be a Republican.  Is there space for them on the American political landscape?

Bernie and the Executive Order

For John, BLUFIf a politician can not convince the voters to elect legislators who will support his or her program, then modesty would suggest the politician has more work to do.  The idea of just bypassing the Peoples' legislators is not just unconstitutional, it is wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From National Review, by Reporter Zachary Evans, 30 January 2020.

Here is the lede plus three:

The Bernie Sanders campaign has outlined dozens of possible executive orders that Sanders might enact upon assuming office, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

“As we continue discussing the early work of your presidency and the progress we can make, below for review is a brief overview of executive actions you could take early in your administration,” read a document reviewed by the Post.  “We cannot accept delays from Congress on some of the most pressing issues, especially those like immigration where Trump has governed with racism and for his own corrupt benefit.”

Several of the executive orders would reverse President Trump’s policies on immigration, including an immediate halt of border wall construction, removing a limit on accepting refugees for asylum, and reinstating the Obama-era DACA program.

Other orders include a ban on the exportation of crude oil to combat climate change, and the severing of any federal contracts with companies that pay employees less than $15 an hour.

I was taught, in school, that the US Constitution was crafted to slow things down, to prevent any one person ruling by fiat, or some legislative house, responding to a recent election, rushing through major changes.  Majority rule, but with minority rights  Not minority in terms of race or ethnicity, but in terms of ideas.

Here is a look as Executive Orders issues by recent Presidents, by Calendar Year in Office.  Thus the drop off in the last year, for the time in office is less than a month, except for President Trump, where the last point represents mid-February.

It worries me when a President goes into office planning on using Executive Orders to overcome the regular process of Government.  President Trump, and President Obama, tried to work with Congress before they picked up their pen and phone.  It smacks of last Century's Communist governments, Stalin, Mao and Castro, not to mention Kim.

As an aside, I am put off by people crying "racism".  It is a very unbecoming look.  I don't care how angry you are, you should not do it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Suppression of Exchange of Ideas

For John, BLUFFull disclosure, I am a graduate of the Army War College, Class of 1983.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Raymond Ibrahim, 24 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (“CAIR”)—also known as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the largest terrorist funding case in U.S. history and a designated “terrorist organization” for nations allied to America—is again vehemently protesting my forthcoming appearance at the U.S. Army War College, urging the latter to “reconsider its decision and disinvite Ibrahim,” since my lecture will no doubt be “hypocritical, ahistorical and hateful.”

This, of course, is all déjà vu—a repeat of events from eight months ago.  As CAIR itself notes in its new press release, which appeared on February 21, 2020,

Last summer [June 2019], CAIR and its allies launched an online campaign highlighting Ibrahim's Islamophobic views and their negative impact.

Led by CAIR-Philadelphia and MPower Change, and supported by Community Responders Network, About Face, and Common Defense, the campaign drew more than 1800 signatures and received widespread support from its interfaith allies.

The referenced “petition” (see here) was essentially a hysterical screed; it claimed that if I, a supposed “racist” and enabler of “white nationalism”—despite my Egyptian heritage—am given a chance to speak before a supposedly already “racist” U.S. military, I would incite American servicemen to randomly start murdering Muslims both at home and abroad (see near the middle of petition).
CAIR is a danger.  As with the Southern Poverty Law Center, it is a bunch of anti-democratic individuals trying to subvert our Bill of Rights, under the guise of protecting the rights of individuals.  Democracy is for grown-ups, folks who can listen to the whole story and sort out the truth.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Ash Wednesday (Tomorrow)

For John, BLUFRepent.  What else is there to say?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Mass Times and Addresses, in this part of Lowell.

Romans 3:23-26 (Douay-Rheims Bible):

For all have sinned and do need the glory of God.
Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to the shewing of his justice, for the remission of former sins,
Through the forbearance of God, for the shewing of his justice in this time:  that he himself may be just and the justifier of him who is of the faith of Jesus Christ
Regards  —  Cliff

  It being Lowell, I would describe it as the Lowell part of 17th Middlesex District.


For John, BLUFIn sum, it appears to some that universities have moved from learning and thinking to indoctrination.  If you are looking for a real education you are probably better off at a local, less well known, commuter school.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The American Conservative, by Mr Rod Dreher, 19 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus six:

This is about Yale University’s faculty deciding that it hates the West.  There really is no other way to explain this. What an extraordinary thing. Has there ever been a civilization whose elites turned on it in quite this way?  The Soviets and their minions in Europe all but destroyed education by making most of it serve Marxism-Leninism, but if I understand it correctly, that was generally something imposed on university faculties.  This is chosen.  Yale is one of the richest universities in the world.  Nobody is making it trash the West like this.

You might be thinking:  “Don’t like it? Don’t send your kid to Yale.”  That would be terribly naive.  First, here’s Hannah Arendt, from 1951’s The Origins of Totalitarianism, talking about the cultural decay that paved the way for totalitarianism:

The members of the elite did not object at all to paying a price, the destruction of civilization, for the fun of seeing how those who had been excluded unjustly in the past forced their way into it.
And here’s Czeslaw Milosz, from The Captive Mind, which was published the same year:
It was only toward the middle of the twentieth century that the inhabitants of many European countries came, in general unpleasantly, to the realization that their fate could be influenced directly by intricate and abstruse books of philosophy.

His point:  what happens in the universities, and wherever intellectual elites gather to do their work, eventually has massive impact on the rest of society.

Yale — rightly or wrongly — is a leading institution in American academic life.  What it does today, others will do tomorrow (The New York Times serves the same function in American journalism).  Yale is teaching the children of American elites to hate their civilization and the people who built it.
This is a serious indictment, but it is part of the non-academic response to The Long March Through the Institutions, a revolutionary approach articulated by German "activist" Rudi Dutschke (aka Rudi the Red).  Herr Dutschke developed his ideas from those of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci.  In his thinking Herr Dutschke was supported by University of California San Diego Professor Herbert Marcuse. 

And there you have it.  The culture clash.  Those of us who are happy with the direction of Western Civilization (like Writer Rod Dreher, and myself), who think Democracy is an evolving good and Capitalism has pulled many millions out of poverty.  Then there are those who think that Western Civilization is a terrible corruption of individuals and their society and Capitalism is a terrible system.  They see Western Civilization as racist and sexist and homophobic.  Those who think poorly of Western Civilization seek hope and salvation in other cultures and other social organizations.  These are the people who are powerful in Academia and in Education and in many parts of Government.  These are the Democratic Socialists.

Needless to say, I am with the first group and worried about the second.  The second group would like to take these United States and shake them up and reorganize them in their new vision, a vision that is Marxist, in the image of Gramsci.

Here is how Mr Rod Dreher wraps up his story:

Are people at Yale paying for an education?  Or are they paying for credentialism that allows them access to the American elite?
They are paying for credentials, and thinking they are securing their futures in the upper crust of society.  However, by participating in the corroding of the Western Canon they are placing their futures at risk.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The World Wide Web both provides information and buries it.  For example, Professor Marcuse is said to have said "Abolish the Weimar Republic.  Whatever replaces it has got to be better."  Back before 1933. 

Debate Night for Dems

For John, BLUFLast week's Democratic Party Presidential Primary Debate was exciting.  This week's event could be even better.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Althouse Blog, by Professor Althouse, 25 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

It's less than a week since the last debate, but everything's speeded up now.  There's the South Carolina primary this weekend, followed by Super Tuesday.  And last week it was all about piling on Mike Bloomberg, but now Bernie Sanders has blown up into a seemingly unbeatable beast.  So does everyone who isn't Bloomberg still go after Bloomberg, or is it forget about Bloomberg, and everyone who's not Bernie goes after Bernie?  Or is it more complex?

I don't think Bernie should go after anyone. He must defend and would do best to appear worthily presidential and above the fray.  But is he capable of controlling his angry face and modulating his yelling voice? Doesn't matter.  Let Bernie be Bernie.  It's worked so far, and how could he possibly change at this stage?  Stand your ground, Bernie.  Your mere presence as the frontrunner is horrifying and flummoxing to all the rest of them.

Buy popcorn before tonight.

Regards  —  Cliff

Chris Matthews Crumbles

For John, BLUFTwo questions.  Are we now banning all history involving National Socialists?  If National Socialism is banned, why not 20th Century Communism?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mediaite, by Reporter Josh Feldman, 24 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews opened his show Monday night with an apology to Bernie Sanders.

Over the weekend, Matthews compared Sanders’ ascendancy in the Democratic race for the presidency to when the Nazis took France:

“I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940, and the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over.’  And Churchill says ‘How can it be?  You’ve got the greatest army in Europe.  How can it be over?’  He said, ‘It’s over.’”
Tonight Matthews addressed those comments and apologized:
“As I watched the one-sided results of Saturday’s Democratic caucus in Nevada, I reached for a historical analogy and used a bad one.  I was wrong to refer to an event from… the first days of World War II.  Senator Sanders, I’m sorry for comparing anything from that tragic error in which so many suffered, especially the Jewish people, to an electoral result in which you were the well-deserved winner.  This is going to be a hard-fought heated campaign of ideas.  In the days and weeks and months ahead, I will strive to do a better job myself of elevating the political discussion.”
This is a corrupt case.  Reporter Matthews didn't compare anyone to Nazis.  This was not an insult to the memory of Senator Sanders' relatives who were consumed in the Holocaust.

This was about conveying surprising bad news.  I like the historic example.  The reaction of MSNBC shows a sensitivity to appearance over an understanding of history.

I am sad for Mr Matthews.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The German Army success in France in 1940 owed little to the ideology of National Socialism and a lot to do with the German Army going to school after The Great War, and the French not.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Occupational Outlook Handbook

For John, BLUFOften young people don't know what to do with their lives.  The Federal Government has some tools to help illuminate the path.  This is one of them.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This Federal Government website has a list of occupations, with information of interest for people considering entering the occupational field.

  • How much does the job pay?
  • Needed Education.
  • Work experience needed.
  • On the Job Training (OJT).
  • Number of jobs out there.
  • Job prospects in the future.
These are all important questions for young people, in high school and college, looking for their future career.

Here is a typical table:

Quick Facts: Accountants and Auditors 
2018 Median Pay$70,500 per year
$33.89 per hour
Typical Entry-Level EducationBachelor's degree
 Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job TrainingNone
Number of Jobs, 2018 1,424,000
Job Outlook, 2018-28  6% (As fast as average) 
Employment Change, 2018-28 90,700

The web page has a search feature in the upper right hand corner to allow for looking at various careers.

Parents and Grandparents, talk to the students in your lives.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Mission Territory

For John, BLUFThere can be little doubt that we are seeing a lack of charity between politicians.  (Yes, that could be among politicians.)  It is poisoning the marketplace of ideas.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

What I said in my address to the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday

Arthur C. Brooks’s remarks, as prepared, for the National Prayer Breakfast keynote address on Thursday, 6 February, at the Washington Hilton.

Published in The Washington Post, 7 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus three:

Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Mrs. Pence, Speaker Pelosi, heads of state, members of Congress and honored guests:  Thank you for inviting me here today.  I am deeply honored and grateful to address the National Prayer Breakfast.

As you have heard, I am not a priest or minister.  I am a social scientist and a university professor.  But most importantly, I am a follower of Jesus, who taught each of us to love God and to love each other.

I am here today to talk about what I believe is the biggest crisis facing our nation — and many other nations — today.  This is the crisis of contempt — the polarization that is tearing our society apart.  But if I do my job in the next few minutes, I promise I won’t depress you.  On the contrary, I will show you why I believe that within this crisis resides the best opportunity we have ever had, as people of faith, to lift our nations up and bring them together.

As leaders, you all know that when there is an old problem, the solution never comes from thinking harder in the old ways; we have to think differently — we need an epiphany.  This is true with societal problems and private problems.

And it ends:
My sisters and brothers, when you leave the National Prayer Breakfast today and go back to your lives and jobs, you will be back in a world where there is a lot of contempt.  That is your opportunity.  So I want you to imagine that there is a sign over the exit as you leave this room.  It’s a sign I’ve seen over the doors of churches — not the doors to enter, but rather the doors to leave the church.  Here’s what it says:

You are now entering mission territory.

If you see the world outside this room as mission territory, we might just mark this day, Feb. 6, 2020, at the National Prayer Breakfast, as the point at which our national healing begins.

UPDATE:  And this weekend's first reading is instructive:

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18

The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.
"You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD."

Knowing the Gospel should be an easy guess.

It is all Mission Territory.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Guns of Baltimore

For John, BLUFIn the article, "Larry Hogan" is the Governor of Maryland.  Maryland is the state that is mostly bucolic, but is the home to Charm City, perhaps known to you as Baltimore, which has a high murder rate, which is the culmination of other pathologies.  Here in Lowell, we have the Ladd & Whitney Monument, to honor two of the first casualties in the American Civil War, killed in Baltimore.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Hot Air, by Blogger JAZZ SHAW, 21 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

It’s no secret that the city of Baltimore, Maryland is in the middle of a violent crime crisis and has been for several years now.  2019 saw a new record in the per capita murder rate and 2020 isn’t starting off any better, with the city averaging more than one murder per day.  Governor Larry Hogan has promised to do something about it and this month he unveiled a new crime bill that would finally toughen up penalties for gun crimes and close the revolving door of gang members parading in and out of jail.

So what have the Democrats in the legislature done about it?  They’re preparing to shoot it down, of course.  And the interim mayor of Charm City is backing them up. (CBS Baltimore)

Citing their opposition to mandatory minimum sentences, Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly say they are unlikely to pass Gov. Larry Hogan’s top priority this session ― the Violent Firearms Offender Act ― infuriating the governor who alleges lawmakers aren’t taking shootings in Baltimore seriously.

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday, Hogan argued that lawmakers who don’t support his legislation are out of touch with the views of most Marylanders and should step down from their leadership posts.  On a table in his office at the State House, he spread out his internal polling results that show residents overwhelmingly want “tougher sentences for violent offenders who commit crimes with guns.”

Democrats in the Assembly are saying that bill won’t even make it out of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, so there won’t be a chance of a full floor vote or debate.  Their objections are based on the removal of judicial discretion for a number of gun crimes in favor of mandatory minimum sentences.  But judicial discretion is a large part of the reason the city is dealing with a murder rate that’s worse than you would find in some war zones.
I think we, the American People, re too confused to be making hard and fast long term decisions about guns.

On the other hand, that doesn't seem to keep people for expressing hard and fast opinions on the subject.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Protecting [Illegal] Immigrants from Wage Justice

For John, BLUFSupposedly we protect illegal immigrants from the long cruel arm of the law, but then we neglect to admit we are not thus protecting them from abusive employers, employers who pay below prevailing wages.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Don Surber, by , February 17, 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Breitbart News reported, "Florida’s E-Verify bill will likely push 140,000 illegals out of Florida jobs and make it difficult for employers to hire replacement workers at current wages, says a university study funded by the investors who are trying to block the E-Verify bill.

"If 'existing undocumented workers were to exit the Florida economy in the number anticipated were E-Verify adopted, the adequate numbers of native workers would not be available at current wage rates,' says the draft report funded by, an advocacy group for billionaire investors, including Mark Zuckerberg.

"'This is basically making the case for us that employers are employing illegal workers to keep wages low and to increase their own profits,' said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations at NumbersUSA.  'If they can’t replace those workers at the same [pay] level, then, oh my gosh, then they are going to have to increase wages [for Americans]. … It is exactly what should happen.'

So illegal immigration is keeping wages suppressed, hurting not just illegal immigrants, but also US Citizens looking for work.  It is a double bad thing.  It is wrong, but it is what Democrats think is the way life should be.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Near Term Future

For John, BLUFIF Our State Rep David Nangle should resign, and I am not saying he should, but if he should, a snap election before November would be the decision of General Court Speaker Robert Alfred DeLeo.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In preparing my blog post on the accusations against our 17th Middlesex District Representative David Nangle I wondered about the procedure should he resign.

There was not much information out there on the issue.  So, I did a general search on the World Wide Web, and found Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 50: GENERAL PROVISIONS RELATIVE TO PRIMARIES, CAUCUSES AND ELECTIONS.  From there I went to Section 6A: Vacancies in elective offices caused by retirement; notice:

Section 6A. If an elected state, city, or town officer is to be retired on or before the next regular election by reason of superannuation before the completion of the term of office to which he was elected, thereby causing a vacancy in said office, such vacancy shall be filled at said regular election as provided by law for such office.

The retiring authority shall notify the county commissioners, mayor and aldermen in cities, or the selectmen in towns, as the case may be, of the impending retirement of such elected officer at least six months preceding the next state, city, or town election, as the case may be.

Not that helpful, so I went to the Secretary of State's website, Elections Division.  Then I found "Publications" and looked for rules.  Nothing popped out at me, so I called the local Elections Office and the Commonwealth Secretary of State Election Office, where a very nice gentleman told me the story.  It depends on what the local authority, in this case the House, wants to do.  IF Representative Nangle were to resign, the House could decide to hold an election to replace him, or it could ignore the whole thing and wait for Tuesday, 3 November 2020, which is the next scheduled general election.

For that election, there is the Primary on Tuesday, 1 September for the regular November General Election. And, for that Primary, 2 June 2020 is the Deadline to file party nomination papers with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.  (5pm last day and hour.)  Yes, there is a State web site with an election calendar, either as a calendar or as a list.

But, that is all in the future and may well never come to pass.

Regards  —  Cliff

  IMHO he should not resign based on accusations that have not been proven before a jury of his peers. This could turn out to be like the Senator Ted Stevens case, where there were hot accusations, but in the end he was a free man.

Reconfiguring the States (or the Senate)

For John, BLUFThere are various plans out there for reforming how we organize the Legislative Branch (Article I) of the Federal Government.  The Supreme Court has applied one-man-one-vote to the States, but cannot apply the rule to the US Senate.  The items below could give more power to rural states, while concentrating the power of urban area states.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Times, by Ms Valerie Richardson, 19 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

You’ve got Oregonians seeking to cascade into Idaho, Virginians who identify as West Virginians, Illinoians fighting to escape Chicago, Californians dreaming of starting a 51st state, and New Yorkers who think three states are better than one.

Separation fever is sweeping the nation as quixotic but tenacious bands of frustrated rural dwellers, suburbanites and conservatives seek to break free from states with legislatures increasingly controlled by liberal big cities and metropolitan strongholds.

“Oregon is controlled by the northwest portion of the state, Portland to Eugene.  That’s urban land, and their decisions are not really representing rural Oregon,” said Mike McCarter, president of Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho.  “They have their agenda and they’re moving forward with it, and they’re not listening to us.”

In Virginia, the newly elected Democratic majority’s progressive legislation on issues such as gun rights has spurred “Vexit,” or “Virginia exit,” a campaign to merge right-tilting rural counties into neighboring West Virginia that organizers say has the potential to catch fire nationwide.

“To be honest, if this works — you’ve got a lot of red areas in this country that are totally dominated by a blue metropolis,” said Vexit2020 leader Rick Boyer, a former member of the Campbell County Board of Supervisors.  “If it works in Virginia, there’s no reason it can’t reshape the political map.”

Change is good, but we need to think out the long term implications.  The future is not a straight line from here to there.  Rather it is about the futurable.  What are all the ways this could likely play out?  Fate does not promise just one way, but various ways.  Various branches and sequels must be considered.  You can plan one thing, but new circumstances, perhaps created by your idea, may cause it to veer off course.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

ICE Goes Looking

For John, BLUFSanctuary Cities are a growing phenomenon across the fruited plain, although mainly on the coasts.  Now the Federal Government is deploying more ICE Agents to metropolitan areas to round up suspected illegal immigrants.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Mr Rick Moran, 20 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus seven:

ICE agents arrested two illegal aliens in a courthouse in Northern California, defying a state law that says they needed a warrant from a judge to do so.

ICE flouted a new state law that requires the warrant before arresting an illegal on courthouse grounds.  After the predictable outcry from courthouse officials and others, ICE calmly gave their rationale.

Los Angeles Times:

ICE said in a statement that California’s law doesn’t supersede federal law and “will not govern the conduct of federal officers acting pursuant to duly enacted laws passed by Congress that provide the authority to make administrative arrests of removable aliens inside the United States.”

“Our officers will not have their hands tied by sanctuary rules when enforcing immigration laws to remove criminal aliens from our communities,” David Jennings, ICE’s field office director in San Francisco, said in the statement.

In other words, ICE is telling critics to go climb a tree.

ICE's actions follow the deployment of Customs and Border Patrol agents to sanctuary cities and states.  The state government of California bitterly criticized that move, but find themselves unable to do anything to prevent it.  The Department of Homeland Security, the agency under which ICE and CBP operate, can send its personnel anywhere they see fit to send them.

There is a definite tug of war between the Federal Government and some of the States and some of the cities.  It represents the lack of consensus across the country.  Per haps the November elections will help to resolve these differences.

To move forward, we are going to have to find a compromise with regard to our immigration policy.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  This raises the issue of providing more Federal political power to the more populous states, perhaps by giving them more US Senators.  This would change the balance of power and would reduce most of the States, as a group, to to a minority position.  Ten States are half the population (167,707,819, out of 331,875,705, per the 2010 Census).  The nation would be run by California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan, when they were in agreement.  Picture that on the map.  A change in how we distribute Senators would probably require a new Constitutional Convention, with the danger that many states would drop out at the Convention.  This last Wednesday, The Washington Times had this article:  "Secession fever spikes in five states as conservatives seek to escape blue rule".

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Russians Are Coming

For John, BLUFThe word out on the street is that President Trump is unhappy with an Intelligence Community report, given to the House Intelligence Oversight Committee, that Russia is working to reelect President Trump.  Russian interference in a US Election wouldn't surprise me.  Why should 2020 be difference from other Presidential elections back to when Lenin walked the earth?  But, why should this be different from other products from the IC, subject to varying interpretations?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Forbes, by Energy Historian Ellen R. Wald, 21 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus two:

The latest reports may insist that Russian president Vladimir Putin wants President Trump to win the 2020 election, but that’s just not logical.  Practically, Putin needs a Democrat to win.  The same goes for Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and his son Mohammed.  In fact, all of the countries that depend on oil production to power their economies desperately need a Democrat to win in November.

OPEC, Russia and their other partners have failed. Prices remain persistently low, and this is largely because the United States is producing record amounts of oil (and gas).  The US now produces more than 12 million barrels per day.  More than 10 percent of global oil production comes from the US and projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast that production will grow to 14 million barrels per day by 2022.

But, if a Democratic candidate becomes president next year, this could all change.  Various Democratic candidates have pledged to ban hydraulic fracturing, end offshore oil production, ban drilling on federal lands, institute carbon taxes and even prosecute oil executives.  Practically speaking, Democratic candidates have said they would put up one obstacle after another to impede and halt U.S. oil production.

This makes sense.  While President Trump may be President Putin's puppet, nothing he actually does supports this idea. 

Cui bono?  The Latin for "who benefits".  It doesn't look like anyone except America benefits from the actions of President Trump.

One wonders if this "Russian involvement" is an invention of the Hillary Clinton Campaign and is still virulent four years later.

Regards  —  Cliff

Crushing Dissent at UMass Amherst

For John, BLUFWhile I have my doubts about academic freedom over the years, it has always been a conceit of the academics that academic freedom existed.  Maybe it does, somewhere.  As for UMass Amherst, it is doubtful.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The funny thing is it is the student who is being attacked for dissent, dissent against the current political orthodoxy of the faculty.

From The American Thinker, by Lawyers Karen D. Hurvitz and Ilya I. Feoktistov, 16 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Louis Shenker, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, just wanted his MAGA hat back from the graduate student who ripped it off his head on campus.  He wore the hat to a December 6, 2018 protest organized by the university’s graduate student union against Trump and local police.  Video shows that when Louis, who is 5’6’’ and 140 pounds, arrived wearing the MAGA hat and holding a large sign, he was immediately surrounded by a hostile mob of older grad students cursing at him and calling him a white supremacist.  A woman lunged from the mob and snatched Louis’s MAGA hat.  Careful not to get caught on camera hitting Louis with their hands, they instead mobbed him like a colony of enraged penguins, using their bodies to push him from all sides, occasionally pecking at his head with their cardboard signs, and chanting in unison:  “THE PEOPLE, UNITED, WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED.”

“Get the f**k out of here, you shouldn’t be in an anti-racist march!” screamed the hat thief.  A soft-spoken professor in the crowd warned Louis:  “It’s actually dangerous for you to come by yourself like that.”  As the protesters began to march and Louis tried to keep up while pleading for his hat, many of them, including several graduate student union members dressed in United Auto Workers gear, elbowed Louis into walls, lampposts, and other obstacles.  “You act like a Nazi, you’re going to get treated like a Nazi,” a female protester yelled at the Jewish grandson of Holocaust victims.  Louis left without his hat.

A month later, Louis was horrified to recognize the woman who stole his MAGA hat as Beth Peller, a 36-year-old grad student who would be teaching his mandatory freshman writing class.  Louis could not change his schedule, so he shaved his head and mustache, prayed that she would not recognize him, and wrote the essays she assigned with the correct leftist opinions she all but demanded.  Beth regaled her students with war stories about her time organizing violent anarchist movements, but never recognized the seemingly complaisant student as her victim from the protest.  Louis got an A.

And on it goes, until the University made it impossible for him to take his finals and he was, effectively, expelled from the University.  At least he has lawyers and the basic Rights of Englishmen still apply.

Shouldn't UMass Amherst be working on changing its name, as it changed its mascot due to being embarrassed by the past actions of Field Marshal Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst, KB, after whom the whole shoot'ed match is named.

As a Massachusetts Resident, and as an American, I am embarrassed by UMass Amherst.  What is the head of the UMass System, President Marty Meehan, doing here?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

 On the other hand, it may be lucky for him.  He could end up going to a serious university.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Corbynization of the Left

For John, BLUFLack of tolerance for other ideas is atomizing the political parties, more on the "left" than on the "right", not just in the US, but elsewhere, like the UK.  We can see it in the Labour loss in the last election, and in the Corbynization of the US Democratic Party.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Law and Liberty, by Eric Kaufmann, 13 February 2020.

Here are the three paragraphs extracted by InstaPundit Blogger Stephen Green this yesterday morning:

Identity politics and multiculturalism are central motivating forces for the highly-educated activists who have dominated left-wing parties since the ’68 generation rose to prominence.  These ideas tend to be considerably less popular than the Left’s economic offer, hence the bind the Left finds itself in.

Yet this alone cannot explain the inflexibility of left-wing parties.  To do so requires an additional ingredient: the rise of political correctness.  Political correctness functions as an emergent system that can push new ideas even when few people actually believe in them.  Like the emperor’s new clothes, no one dares violate a taboo which may cost them dearly.

To be blunt, left-wing political correctness is more powerful than the right-wing variant.  For instance, many social conservatives may dislike environmentalist candidates in their ranks, but dissidents on the left of a conservative party won’t have their character questioned and reputation trashed.  By contrast, a left-wing politician who moves right on culture—calling for lower immigration or abolishing female-only shortlists, for instance—is likely to be accused of racism or sexism by radical online activists.  This causes them intense embarrassment and, by triggering a social taboo, may lead others to pile on them to signal virtue.  This can damage a person’s reputation well beyond politics.  Something of this fate has befallen the patriotic leftists of Blue Labour in the UK, who are no longer welcome in Labour circles.  Brexit-supporting Paul Embery, for instance, was kicked out of the Fire Brigades Union for criticizing the union’s position on Brexit.  This, they alleged, made him an accomplice of the “nationalist Right” and thus a “disgrace to the traditions of the Labour movement.”  No wonder few on the Left are willing to move right on culture.

If we squeeze out people who think different on this or that, we squeeze out thinkers.  As the late General George S. Patton said:  "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Professor Stephen Walt Scores President Trump

For John, BLUFThere is no doubt that the US Presidency has gained powers over the decades, but I think it is a stretch to think this President is more Authoritarian than say a Woodrow Wilson for Frankly D Roosevvelt.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

After impeachment, the president has been passing most of the checkpoints on the way to authoritarianism.

(I found those two headlines contradicting each other.  The reason is I misread the main headline.  I thought that if President Trump was failing his "Dictatorship Test" it meant he wasn't showing signs of being a good dictator.  Apparently Professor Walt sees the scoring going the other way.  This is the kind of thing that caused me to be in the bottom half of my class in High School and Undergraduate level college.)

From Foreign Policy, by Professor Stephen M Walt, 14 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Shortly after Donald Trump was elected, I wrote up a list of the “10 Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator.”  I wasn’t saying Trump was in fact an aspiring autocrat; it was merely a list of warning signs to keep track of as his presidency preceded.  In 2017, I offered an updated assessment and concluded that the danger of creeping autocracy was pretty serious.

Now that Trump has been acquitted by a Republican-controlled Senate that couldn’t even be bothered to interview any witnesses with personal knowledge of his possible high crimes and misdemeanors, it seems appropriate to revisit my list once again.  Spoiler alert:  There are some flashing red lights on the dashboard.

Here are the ten items on Professor Walt's list:
  1. Systematic efforts to intimidate the media.
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • On the other hand, the media is doing a pretty good job of trying to intimidate the President
    • I score a tie.
  2. Building an official pro-Trump media network
    • Professor Walt gives it a partial RED check, and takes a slam at Rush Limbaugh.
    • I don't see any official pro-Trump media (Fox isn't there).  Maybe The Epoch Times.
    • I score it meh.
  3. Politicizing the civil service, military, National Guard, or domestic security agencies.
    • Professor Walt gives it a flashing RED light.
    • I guess this means that he has never heard of Lisa Page or Peter Stork or James Comey.  Or LTC Alexander Vindman.
    • I go with the flashing RED light and award it to President Barack Obama.  As the Tea Party groups understand.  Or maybe Professor Alan Dershowitz knows.
  4. Using government surveillance against domestic political opponents.
    • Professor Walt gives it a partial RED check.
    • Hello, President Obama?  As for Ukraine, I am waiting for the rest of the story.  This could come back to bite Professor Walt.
    • I give this a partial GREEN check.
  5. Using state power to reward corporate backers and punish opponents.
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • If it is about reducing Federal regulations, then it is a good thing, since it seems to mean more jobs and a growing economy.
    • I saw a GREEN Check.
  6. Stacking the Supreme Court.
    • Professor Walt gives it a flashing RED light.
    • The Professor talks badly about Justice Kavanaugh, not not about the Borking.
    • I give this a partial GREEN check.
  7. Enforcing the law for only one side.
    • Professor Walt gives it a flashing RED light.
    • Does the Professor applaud the DOJ treatment of Mr Roger Stone?  Not a nice guy, Mr Stone, but the sentence makes no sense, except in the sense that he associates with Republicans.
    • I give this a flashing BLUE light.
  8. Really rigging the system
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • This is the voting system.  Have you seen where Democrats are calling President Trumps outreach to African Americans and Hispanics as "voter suppression."  I think President Trump is opening up the system.
    • I give this a partial GREEN check.
  9. Fearmongering.
    • Professor Walt gives it a RED check.
    • Among the problems listed is North Korea.  President Trump has actually tried to deal with the problem, and in general is playing down external threats.  Remember the take-down of Iranian Terror Leader Major General Qasem Soleimani?  The President has worked to downplay the Iranian reaction, for which he has been belittled.
    • I give this a partial PINK check.  (No President is perfect in this area and neither is the IC.)
  10. Demonizing the opposition.
    • Professor Walt gives it a "Well, Duh".
    • And Visa-Versa.  In the last week the Speaker has declared that President Trump was NOT acquitted by the US Senate and that he will be Impeached for ever.  That is demonizing.
    • I give this a strong, "Well, Duh".
"It is difference of opinion that makes horse-races."--Mark Twain

It might appear that Professor Walt and I have differences of opinions.  And, in general, I like his work.

This is my last free article from Foreign Policy for this month or this year or for ever.  Sad.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Our State Rep, Mr David Nangle

For John, BLUFI have known State Repreentsative David Nangle for over 20 years, and in the years 2000 and 2002 I was his Republican opponent for this State Rep seat.  I was trounced.  The reason is that Rep Nangle is from a large and well established family and has been well liked by the local voters.  And few voters are worried about the legislature, the General Court, turning into some sort of harbinger of political, economic and social disaster.  Further, while a Democrat, Rep Nangle is very close to the Republican Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the WCVB (TV Channel 5) report I read yesterday:

Here is the lede plus three:
Massachusetts state Rep. David Nangle was arrested Tuesday morning on charges stemming from the misuse of campaign funds, according to federal authorities.

Nangle is accused of using the campaign money to pay for personal expenses, including purchasing thousands of dollars in gift cards for personal use. He was arrested at his home in Lowell by agents of the FBI and IRS.

He appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon, where he pleaded not guilty. Pending a trial, the judge allowed his release on the conditions that Nangle must surrender his passport, stop gambling and remain in either Massachusetts or New Hampshire.

According to an indictment, Nangle was heavily in debt, had poor credit and had incurred "tens of thousands of dollars in gambling-related spending and losses."

I tried to get the Lowell Sun article, but the program I am signed up for doesn't give me a URL.  So, I went to its partner, The Boston Herald.  The article is by Reporter Colin A Young, 19 February 2020.
The day after he was indicted on a laundry list of federal charges connected to bank fraud and the improper use of campaign funds, Rep. David Nangle on Wednesday stepped down from his leadership and committee posts in the Massachusetts House.

In an email to the House Clerk at 11:01 a.m., Nangle cited “recent, unfortunate events” as the reason he will step down as second division chair in the House and remove himself from his assignments to serve on the House Committee on Ethics and the House Committee on Rules.

“Due to recent, unfortunate events I believe it would be in the best interest of the House of Representatives that I step down from my leadership position and committee assignments,” Nangle wrote.  “It has been an extreme honor to serve you, my colleagues and the citizens of the Commonwealth in my position as Division Floor Leader.”

Nangle’s position as a division leader carried a $30,000 stipend on top of his $66,257 base salary as a legislator. On Tuesday, Nangle pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, nine counts of making false statements to a bank, and five counts of filing false tax returns.

Magistrate Judge Page Kelley ordered Nangle to be released on a $25,000 unsecured bond with several conditions on his travel and a requirement that he not gamble.  He is due back in court in mid-March.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said in a Tuesday statement that the allegations against Nangle are “serious and troubling and, if true, represent a significant betrayal of the public trust,” but he had not said whether Nangle would retain his leadership and committee posts while awaiting trial.

I hope the report is wrong.  And, it could be.  Remember Senator Ted Stevens, Republican from Alaska?  He was indicted and tried and convicted and then lost his reelection in 2008.  But, before the sentence was handed down an FBI Whistleblower spoke up and the DOJ asked to withdraw the case, with prejudice.  Sadly, one of the Prosecutors committed suicide.  But, Senator Stevens lost the reelection bid.  David Nangle is innocent until proven guilty, and it is up to the Government to prove him guilty.

I am bothered by the reports on the arrest.  Has the Federal Government Roger Stoned Mr Nangle?  Why an early morning visit with Agents from both the FBI snd IRS?  Why not just invite him down to the Courthouse?  Was the Press invited along, or tipped off?  This kind of thing does not give confidence in how our law enforcement agencies operate.  It is prejudicial against the defendant.  This is terrible.  What happened to innocent until proven guilty.

I send my good wishes to Representative David Nangle.

Regards  —  Cliff

Nancy Spinning

For John, BLUFHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi is spinning the Impeachment so hard that one wonders if she has lost the bubble, or worse, lost her way.  It is sad to watch.  Perhaps another serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Writer Jim Treacher, 18 February 2020.

Here is the lede:

If you were wondering how Nancy Pelosi has been handling the events of the past few months, it's safe to say she's not taking it well.  She's been keeping a low profile after making a spectacle of herself at the 2020 State of the Union address, but over the weekend she gave an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour that must be seen to be believed.  If reality won't do what Nancy wants, she'll just deny it's happening to her.
And here is part of the interchange between Speaker Pelosi and Ms Amanpour:
Amanpour:  What about, though, the fact that the president seems liberated? And this is about Democratic politics, so I'm not asking you to criticize here.  But he was acquitted, his poll ratings are higher...

Pelosi:  He was not... there was no acquittal. You can't have an acquittal unless you have a trial.  And you can't have a trial when you have witnesses and documents.  So he can say he was acquitted, and the headlines can say "Acquitted," but he's impeached forever.  Branded with that and not vindicated.  And even the senators were saying, "Yes, it wasn't right."  But didn't have the courage to act upon that.

Amanpour:  Except for?

Pelosi:  Except for Mitt Romney.  God bless him. And then the president criticized him for using his faith to do something he knew was wrong...

Impeached for ever?.  Like former President Bill Clinton?

The issue isn't what history teachers and professors think 50 years from now, but what voters think in November 2020,  There is some indication that many voters don't agree with Ms Pelosi.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

National Health Service to Teach Manners

For John, BLUFOnce the bureaucrats have established they can ration service based on behavior, they won't sto p  The best of British luck to us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

The NHS will soon bar discriminatory patients from non-critical care - powers that currently only cover aggression or violence.

From Sky News by News Reporter Ms Clare Sibthorpe, 18 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

Sexist and racist patients could be barred from non-emergency care at NHS trusts, under new rules to be enforced from April.

Currently, staff can refuse to treat non-critical patients who are verbally aggressive or physically violent towards them.

But these protections will extend to any harassment, bullying or discrimination, including homophobic, sexist or racist remarks.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote to all NHS staff on Tuesday to announce stronger measures to investigate abuse and harassment towards staff, saying "no act of violence or abuse is minor".

"Being assaulted or abused is not part of the job," he said.

I like it.  Take people when they are highly stressed and hold them to their best tea party behavior.  That will work out well.

I wonder if Mr Matt Hancock has re-education camps in mind?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Abuse of Authority

For John, BLUFI am not sure how far back this kind of thing goes, but maybe back to the early Presidents, although I doubt zG Washington did it.  For sure it needs to be held down.  It is unseemly.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media, by Ms Megan Fox, 17 February 2020.

Here is the lede:

In an interview with Breitbart News, Alan Dershowitz claimed he is in possession of documents that will show Barack Obama asked the FBI to investigate an unnamed person on behalf of George Soros.  Those documents, he says, will come out during a lawsuit that will be filed in the future.  Dershowitz said the only difference between Trump and other presidents influencing the Department of Justice is that Trump is open about it while the others "whispered."
I hope this report is wrong, but I am doubtful.  Given the IRS efforts to suppress the Tea Party Movement this would not be out of line with other Obama Administration actions.  take Benghazi, for example.  Abuse of the legal system.

Is there any reason for those outside the DC Beltway to not doubt the integrity (integrity) of the upper echelons of the Federal Bureau of Investigation?

Are the Democrats in Congress blind?  Or don't they care, as long as Nancy Pelosi can be Speaker.  Her of the "Impeached for Ever."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann on President Trump

For John, BLUFI find Mr Weissman commenting on President Trump to be a reminder of the concerns of many for two levels of justice in the United State, one for Republicans and one for Democrats.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Times, by Columnist Rowan Scarborough, 7 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus several:

Former senior Trump-Russia prosector Andrew Weissmann says Democrats should mimic Italian politics for the way to “get rid of” President Trump, whom he called a “demigod” and “amoral.”

Conservatives say Mr. Weissmann’s advice on MSNBC reveals what his goal was all along as a senior prosecutor on the staff of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr. Weissmann, a Democratic Party donor and one of 18 Mueller prosecutors, also lamented he could never get Mr. Trump to sit down for an interview where a slip up could have resulted in federal perjury charges.

Mr. Weissmann made the pro-removal remarks on Thursday after Mr. Trump held a Senate acquittal celebration at the White House.  The president lashed out at FBI chieftains, such as former agent Peter Strzok, for investigating an election conspiracy he said agents knew didn’t happen.

He also ridiculed the Democrats for buying a dossier based on Kremlin sources that was essentially a hoax, but used by the FBI to target Trump associates.

The final Mueller report, which Mr. Weissmann helped write, said the FBI didn’t establish a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

Previously on MSNBC, Mr. Weissmann said Mr. Trump talks on an open phone line so Russian President Vladimir Putin can listen in.

Mr. Weissmann said on Thursday that the way Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, like Mr. Trump a populist conservative, was ousted is a model for Democrats.  Also like Mr. Trump, Mr. Berlusconi is a billionaire.  Critics claimed he used government policy to help his companies.  He was convicted of tax fraud after serving longer than any post-World War II prime minister.

Prosecutor Weissmann thinks President Trump is amoral?  Has he looked in the mirror?  Does he remember the late Senator Ted Stevens or the Arthur Andersen LLP v United States case?

I scoff.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Who Is Bernie?

For John, BLUFPeople have been talking about the "Corbynization" of the Democratic Party for a while.  sometimes it was about Antisemitism and sometimes about ideas on how to organize the economy.  Infrequently it touches on individual freedom.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From CAPX, By Ryan Bourne, 17 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

  • It is wrong to downplay just how radical Bernie Sanders would be
  • Sanders is no European-style social democrat - just look at his platform
  • You thought Corbyn was radical? Just wait till you see Bernie Sanders' proposals
It may be early days in the Democratic primary race, but Bernie Sanders is now the favourite to win the party’s nomination and set up a Trump-Sanders presidential election.

As the prospect of Sanders winning becomes ever more real, some commentators are downplaying his socialist credentials, painting the veteran Senator as no more than a moderate social democrat.

“Memo to left-wing Americans who adore Sanders’s radical ‘socialism’…” says Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan, “in most other Western/European countries, Sanders would be considered a pretty mainstream, centre-left social democrat.”

His view is shared by the economist Paul Krugman. Dastardly Republicans might have the audacity to use Sanders’ own preferred label to describe him, but since he doesn’t want to “nationalise our major industries” or “replace markets with central planning”, Sanders “isn’t actually a socialist.”  Ignore scare stories about Venezuelan economics then, Krugman advises.  Sanders just wants the US to look more like Denmark.

Krugman is right to say that Sanders shuns nationalisation.  To simply label him a socialist, without any caveats, is misleading.  But it’s even more grossly misleading to suggest his “democratic socialist” ambitions stop at a Scandinavian-style welfare state.  More redistribution is central to his agenda, sure, but he also proposes massive new market interventions, including the Green New Deal, a federal jobs guarantee, expansive price and wage controls, overhauling labour and corporate governance laws, and enforced mutualisation of companies.

Based on his performance as a prognosticator during the era of Trump, I wouldn't put a lot of trust in Dr Krugman's views.

I wounder why the media is not working on helping us understand the core of Senator Sanders' beliefs.  It is one thing when he is one of one hundred Senators, and from Vermont at that.  it is another if he is President, with a pen and a telephone.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  From the Centre for Policy Studies.

Squeegee Man is Back in NYC

For John, BLUFPanhandlnig comes in various forms, one of which is someone who will come up to your car at a stop light and squirt water on it (or worse) and then offer to clean it for small price.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New York Post, by Reporters Sam Raskin and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, 16 February 2020

So, if the street level auto windshield washers are back, does that mean the economy is much better, and they see a way to earn money, or is this a reaction to the new New York State attitude toward bail and the Squeegee Men see themselves as free to do as they wish, no matter how the victims of the windshield washing feel.

Yes, this is a kind of issue that will pit the individual citizens against their government, perhaps resulting in the People being cowed, or the government removed at the next election.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, February 17, 2020

Mayor Bloomberg Makes a Move

For John, BLUFMayor Bloomberg is late to the open game, so he has to bust a few moves to allow him to dominate some news cycles and to disrupt and disturb the apparent front runners.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From CNBC, by Ms Lauren Hirsch, 15 February 2020.

Here is the lede plus one:

Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is considering Hillary Clinton as a vice presidential running mate after positive internal polling about the potential pairing, according to the Drudge Report, which cited sources close to the Bloomberg campaign.

According to Drudge, in such a partnership Bloomberg would change his official residence from New York to Colorado or Florida. The constitution suggests there may be limitations in both members of a presidential ballot residing in the same state.

Of course it is being denied.  It is a trial balloon.

There will be plenty of time between now and the Convention to massage this part of the campaign.  In the mean time, there is a pocket of 2016 Hillary voters that will not be easily floating to Senators Warren or Klobuchar or to Senator Sanders or Mayor Buttigieg.  A successful campaign includes a lot of strategic thinking.

Hat tip to my Wife, who found this item.

Regards  —  Cliff

Computers Contributing to Global Warming

For John, BLUFI am not surprised at the revelation about the energy costs of computerization.  Remember the 2007 Bruce Willis movie Live Free or Die Hard?  One of the clues is that the computer be hacked is using a lot of energy, standing out from the background.  And it isn't just the computer.  There is the energy needed to provide the cooling needed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:

Digital traffic will fuel the next dramatic economic expansion—but digital machines need the reliable and affordable energy that only hydrocarbons can provide.

Mark P. Mills January 24, 2020 Technology and InnovationInfrastructure and energyEconomy, finance, and budgets.

Here is the lede plus three:

Once upon a time, tech companies were upstarts, striving to change the world order.  Not anymore.  With financial potentates gathering in Davos this week for the 2020 World Economic Forum, tech giants reign in the global economy, both creating and ameliorating challenges from job destruction and wealth disparities to security, health care, and—of course—climate change.

Digital companies now “weaponize” their reputations for technological wizardry to shape our energy future.  It’s ironic, then, but no coincidence, that digital infrastructure has become the fastest-growing source of energy use.  Despite their best public relations efforts, these giants in fact meet increasing demand by using the same old hydrocarbon sources that power everything else in the economy.

Tech companies confront an inconvenient fact:  the global cloud uses more energy than is produced by all the planet’s wind and solar farms combined.  One-click shopping and streaming video, and everything else digital, rely on an ecosystem of energy-intensive hardware to mine rare-earth elements, manufacture silicon engines, and light up countless cell towers and warehouse-scale data centers.  This hardware is deeply and deliberately intertwined in global systems overwhelmingly fueled by hydrocarbons—the old-fashioned stuff that provides 85 percent of all energy, with just 3 percent coming from wind and solar.

Just ahead of the Davos meeting, Microsoft raised the bar for its fellow tech titans by announcing an initiative to help change how the world gets energy. Nearly every tech firm has “taken the pledge” to transition to using renewable energy exclusively.  They’re investing billions of dollars and deploying lobbyists to get more wind and solar projects going worldwide.  U.S. companies fund about half of Europe’s green tech, and these firms make sure to publicize these as “offsets” for domestic operations—in effect, purchased indulgences.  None of it changes the reality that data machines physically connect to conventional, local grids and pipes.

Maybe when everyone telecommutes we will find the energy savings.  In the mean time, computing is a big energy sink.

Like much we hear about, we could benefit from more information and less speculation.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff