Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Trump Economic Plan

You've been told Trump has no program, no proposals to make things better. Maybe that was a little true, it is no longer. Politico has the complete text of Trump's speech in Pennsylvania which lays out his economic policy.

His policy has to do with being a tough customer and competitor in the world market. It puts the interests of Americans first. It advocates reprisals when other nations invoke protectionism, no more turning the other cheek.

Will it work as described? Probably not ... few policies do, whomever promulgated by. Is it worth trying? In my opinion, yes.

If you don't have the patience to read Trump's whole speech, John Hinderaker at Power Line has done a decent summary with excerpts.

Usual Violence in Chicago

On the same day we read of the terror in Istanbul cited below, Breitbart Big Government reports over the steamy weekend Chicago experienced 7 murders and 51 wounded. But the Chicago butcher's bill isn't considered terror, it's just folks going about their routine unlawful pursuits.

As Scott Adams noted, it's merely Democrats killing Democrats with guns. Nothing to see here, people, move along now.

Terror in Turkey

At COTTonLINE we've been critical of the current government in Turkey. Now comes word that suicide bombers at Istanbul's international airport have killed 36 and injured perhaps 60.

Let's be absolutely clear, we aren't comfortable with the Erdogan government but that in no way excuses terrorism.  It's a reminder, if one is needed, Turkey lives in a dangerous neighborhood, next door to Syria, and deals with a restive Kurdish minority which seeks its own nation.

NBC News reports as follows:
U.S. officials said the attack had all the hallmarks of ISIS, which has in recent months stepped up bombings in the country, although Turkey has historically suffered attacks from Kurdish separatists.
Kurdish attacks have focused on Turkish police and military, not on tourists. Turkey has been openly ambivalent about the ISIS movement which represents Sunnis (Turks are Sunnis) and opposes the (non-Sunni) Assad government as does Turkey. If there is any silver lining in this and similar attacks, it is that perhaps Turkish ambivalence will morph into steely opposition to ISIS.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Straw-Man Time

Writing in National Review, David French sets up a straw man - Trump caused Brexit - and then knocks it over. The notion is, of course, nonsense as I'm sure Trump would be the first to admit.

What is not nonsense is that the same sort of factors that caused Brexit are also responsible for Trump winning the GOP nomination. Trump didn't cause Brexit; populism and anti-global nationalism caused both the Brexit passage and Trump's primary win.

French is correct that the circumstances facing the U.K. and U.S. are different, but the angry feelings in the demos are more similar than different. People in both countries see out-of-touch elites pursuing their own agendas without considering the electorate's desires, and vast swathes of both populations left behind by globalism.

Trump and Clinton

Josh Kraushaar writes for National Journal, here about the presidential race and its two presumptive nominees.
The voters’ de­sire to give the pro­ver­bi­al middle fin­ger to the gov­ern­ing class is why Trump—des­pite his gaffes, ig­nor­ance of policy, and er­rat­ic tem­pera­ment—can’t be coun­ted out. Fo­cus groups show that even many Trump sup­port­ers have con­cerns about his abil­ity to serve ef­fect­ively as pres­id­ent. But they don’t care.

Make no mis­take: Polit­ic­ally speak­ing, Clin­ton is just about the worst pos­sible Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee to run in these volat­ile, anti­es­tab­lish­ment times. She hob­nobs with the glob­al elite, main­tains close re­la­tion­ships with Wall Street honchos, has trouble con­nect­ing with work­ing-class voters, and car­ries an air of en­ti­tle­ment. Polls show that voters don’t trust her and don’t much like her. She’s of­fer­ing a status quo mes­sage to an elect­or­ate that thinks the coun­try is headed off the tracks.
Analysis: Clinton's in trouble, but Trump may snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Your Sunday Snark

Dilbert creator Scott Adams blogs about gun control, one imagines with tongue firmly in cheek:
It seems to me that gun control can’t be solved because Democrats are using guns to kill each other – and want it to stop – whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats. Psychologically, those are different risk profiles. And you can’t reconcile those interests, except on the margins. For example, both sides might agree that rocket launchers are a step too far. But Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as “Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”
If only we could disarm the Democrats, much gun crime would disappear.

Quote of the Day

Bill Maher speaking on his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher about xenophobia, as quoted by RealClearPolitics:
I hear a lot of talk today about xenophobia. Is it really phobia if you have something to be afraid of?
Answer: it depends on the definition. Some definitions merely reference fear, whether justified or not. Others require the fear to be "irrational" or unjustified, which seems to be the definition Maher is using.

If most immigrants vote Democrat, it is rational for Republicans to fear them. Depending on the definition used, that fear may or may not be phobic.

Brits who voted for Brexit have real concerns about overcrowding at NHS clinics and in the subsidized housing occupied by less affluent Brits, not to mention in the job market.

Thatcher and the Road Ahead

The controversial Conrad Black - life peer (Baron Black of Crossharbor), convicted felon, and former rival of Murdoch as 'king' of publishers - writes excellent columns for National Post, a paper he once owned. Today he muses on Brexit and Margaret Thatcher:
The greatest voice of caution (about the EU) after the retirement of de Gaulle in 1969 was Margaret Thatcher, who was finally pushed out by her own party despite having been the greatest peace-time prime minister in British history, at least since Disraeli and Gladstone (and a very good war and Cold War leader also). Her offence was overt Euroskepticism, and she has been proved right and last night was her victory, too.
I also like his forecast of the European future which at minimum is a reasonable extrapolation of existing trends.
I predict that there will gradually emerge a German-led bloc, including the Baltic and Scandinavian countries (except Norway), and the Netherlands, Austria, and probably the Poles and Czechs. In former four-term chancellor Helmut Kohl’s expression, it will be “a European Germany, not a German Europe.”

It will to some degree be the Grosse Deutschland sought by Bismarck, but assembled now by friendship, prosperity and example. The Germans will probably want to retain a couple of weak members in the euro to soften it and facilitate the sale of sophisticated German engineered products abroad.

The French will revive, after years of political floundering, as they always do eventually, and will more or less be at the head of the Mediterranean group and Belgium, in a looser echelon of states. The Eastern European members will progress at their own rate toward the French- or German-led groups.

Britain will revert to its game, played with great skill from Wolsey to Thatcher, of being friendly with all but shifting its weight as necessary to prevent the worrisome pre-eminence of any, and recruiting the Americans when they can’t hold the balance themselves. There will be some level of a Common Market with easy flows of money and people (but not swarms of migrants), between all the present EU members.
Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Missing the Point

Drudge Report provides a link to a McClatchy column about the impact of Brexit here in the States. That column quotes Democratic pollster Mark Mellman as follows:
I think among elites, everybody will be sitting at dinner tonight discussing Brexit. But if you look at the average American family having dinner, I don’t think they’ll be discussing Brexit.
Mellman is trying to say Brexit won't affect the U.S. election outcome, and he's probably correct. The average American spends little or no time thinking about or traveling overseas. Even for those of us who are in Europe every couple of years, the experience of traveling there will not change appreciably.

However, Mellman misses the point, probably intentionally. The point isn't that Brexit will influence our election, but that the Brexit win is yet another example of the populist wave that resulted in Trump securing the Republican nomination here in the U.S.

Very similar concerns powered the victories of both Brexit and Trump: nationalism, unwanted immigration, unpopular policies in high places, and out-of-touch elites peddling globalism. With any luck, those populist concerns will take Trump to the White House.

Exactly As Expected

Politico has an article currently with the juicy title: "GOP insiders alarmed by Trump;s fundraising." Of course they're alarmed, he's the first candidate who has ignored the big donors' priorities and campaigned on the base's issues.

The GOP base is accustomed to spending little or nothing on campaign expenses, letting the fat cats do all the heavy lifting. Naturally, the big donors who've funded GOP campaigns in the past aren't ponying up to fund Trump because he's not for amnesty, open borders, and globalization - issues they favor.

We've basically known we'd face this problem ever since Trump first burst on the scene and said "phooey" to the elites' agenda. Some of the big donors will come through, most probably will not. Either The Donald self-funds much of the campaign or us little folk will have to dip into hard earned and/or saved money for small individual contributions or he'll figure out how to campaign while spending significantly less, something he's done through the primaries.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Transnational Identity

Like everyone in the punditocracy, Bloomberg View's Megan McArdle is writing about Brexit. Her particular topic here is the reaction of the press and other members of the elite to Brexit.
I can certainly understand why my British friends who supported Remain are upset, and why people in other countries who are actually going to experience long-term effects from this decision are unhappy—if I were a Pole, I’d be worried as heck. But I don’t take it personally.

A lot of my professional colleagues seemed to, and the dominant tone framed this as a blow against the enlightened “us” and the beautiful world we are building, struck by a plague of morlocks who had crawled out of their hellish subterranean world to attack our impending utopia. 
My mental image is the Transylvanian villagers coming for Dr. Frankenstein, with pitchforks and torches. Hint: they'll swarm in early November. McArdle describes out-of-touch professional elites as "transnationals."
Trying to build the state without the nation has led to the mess that is the current EU. And to Thursday's election results. Elites missed this because they're the exception -- the one group that has a transnational identity.

CANZUK? Bless You

Writing for USA Today, columnist James C. Bennett makes the case for a CANZUK alliance to replace the EU alliance just repudiated by Brexit. See his argument:
This is the growing movement for closer ties between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, the so-called CANZUK nations. A Change.org petition calling for bureaucracy-free movement between those 4 nations recently gained over 100,000 signatures in a few months without any financial backing or big names in support. Boris Johnson, the flamboyant ex-mayor of London, and now victorious leader of the Leave movement in the Brexit referendum, has endorsed CANZUK free movement as a near term goal.

As a superior alternative to the European Union, such a confederation would be a globe-spanning advanced technological, economic and military power bigger than Germany or Japan, and whose 4 members have individually been Americas most constant and capable allies. Unlike many so-called “allies”, when America has asked for help, these usually have shown up with soldiers, ships and planes. If such a plan went ahead, America could end up with the kind of partner it had always hoped the EU would be but which never showed up in reality. 
As Boris Johnson is the likely next Prime Minister of the U.K., his support adds weight to this proposal. If this begins to sound like the nucleus of an Anglosphere organization, it's an idea we've found attractive for many reasons.

The center of gravity of a CANZUK organization, however, might not be in the U.K. but perhaps in Australia. I'm not sure the English are ready for that eventuality, or for En Zed's disinterest in matters military.

Confusion

You have to love the sort of confusion Brexit has brought about. For example, Yshoo News carries an Agence France-Presse story headlined:
Europe demands quick divorce from divided Britain after Brexit vote.
Meanwhile, they also have a Reuters story headlined:
Merkel sees no need to rush Britain into quick EU divorce. 
Who do you believe, or is there any agreement whatsoever at this early date?

Saturday Snickers

Each week Steven Hayward of Power Line gathers cartoons, captioned photos and other funny and/or sardonic stuff for a post he calls The Week in Pictures. My favorites from this week's collection, described:

A classic oil painting of George Washington, in formal civilian attire, captioned:
So the British decided to throw off a far away power.
I wonder where they got that idea.

Classic still of the Terminator's Sarah Connor, in the desert, holding an AK-47 assault rifle with banana clip in one hand, a cigarette in the other, looking a hard-bitten survivalist, captioned with a Mike Adams quote:
If Obama were to announce a nationwide gun confiscation order, it might set off a civil war, pitting gun owners, cops, veterans, and preppers against the completely disarmed, trendy, undisciplined anti-gun, inner-city liberals. Gee, I wonder who would win that war?

Photo of a gun store owner holding up an assault rifle, captioned:
Yes sir, your background check came back fine...
But I gotta see you eat some bacon or it's NO SALE!

Cartoon divided into two vertical halves, each with a country logo. Left one captioned:
Honduras
Population: 8.2 million
Bans citizens from owning guns
Highest homicide rate in the entire world.
The right one is captioned:
Switzerland
Population: 8.2 million
Requires citizens to own guns
Lowest homicide rate in the entire world

Pictures of four American presidents, captioned:
Guided U.S. through Revolutionary War (Washington)
Guided U.S. through Civil War (Lincoln)
Guided U.S. through Cold War (Reagan)
Guided boys to the girls' bathroom (Obama)

Iconic photo of Pearl Harbor bombing, captioned:
On Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor
Was bombed by [omitted].

Photo of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), captioned:
Wall Street and the big banks are ruining this country
So I'm endorsing the candidate they gave the most to.

Cartoon of a bank teller confronted by a sardonic Frenchman wearing a black turtleneck and beret, holding a cigarette. He speaks:
Hand over the money or I'll explain the absurdity of all human activity.
This is captioned: "Existential Threat."

Head and torso of Miss Parton, photoshopped onto the body of a llama, captioned:
The Dolly Llama.

Churchill Would Be Proud

Well-known Donald Trump supporter and columnist Roger L. Simon blogs at PJ Media about the Brexit winners and losers, mostly the latter:
British sovereignty won. David Cameron lost. Jeremy Corbyn lost. The EU lost. Bureaucrats lost. Angela Merkel lost. Barack Obama lost. Globalism lost. Authority figures almost everywhere lost. And, most of all, unlimited immigration lost.

Long live the Anglosphere. Remember the Magna Carta and all that. This is a day truly to celebrate, even if stock markets are crashing around the world. They'll come back. Look on it as a buying opportunity. A bubble has broken, but it isn't a stock bubble. It's a human bubble consisting of elites who seek to govern in a manner not all that distant from Comrade Lenin, just hiding under a phony mask of bureaucratic democracy. They've taken a big body blow from the citizens of England. Churchill would be proud. Time for America to follow suit.

My Take on Brexit

It may or may not have been obvious from my work here the past almost 10 years, but I am an Anglophile. I like the Brits and Britain. It's probable a fair number of my ancestors came, directly or indirectly, from the U.K., some mix of English and Scots.

Although I had no right to vote in the Brexit election just concluded, I was for Leave and am happy with the result. Elections where my side wins are rare enough to be worth celebrating.

I understand the importance of forestalling war among Europeans, a major reason for the EU project. My soldier relatives served in both World Wars in Europe. Nevertheless, I have been repelled by the authoritarian, anti-democratic/technocratic ways of the EU apparatchiks in Brussels.

The pecksniffian EU leaders have long given offense, begging for rebuke. They seemingly answer to no one. Perhaps in the wake of Brexit they'll feel it necessary at long last to heed public opinion.

I wish the U.K. well in the months ahead, as they struggle to reclaim their sovereignty.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Growing Up

Long-time COTTonLINE readers know scarcely a year has gone by that we didn't drag out and dust off that old cliche that goes something like:
If you're young and not left-wing, you have no heart.
If you're no longer young and still left-wing, you have no head. 
Having lived this evolution I understand its widespread applicability. Here it is applied to Brexit, and to a 1975 referendum on Britain staying in the Common Market. Tim Stanley, writing in The Telegraph (U.K.), observes:
The young may have overwhelmingly voted Remain, too – but, hey, they will grow older someday. The young who voted Remain in 1975 overwhelmingly voted Leave in 2016. In part, perhaps, because they didn’t like being characterised as ancient bigots by the Remain side. 
And Bernie Sanders' young followers will, one day, vote for a latter-day Trump. Note the British spelling in that quote, they put no "z" in "characterised," as we do.

Merkelism

Writing for The Atlantic, David Frum considers the Brexit vote and its policy implications for the United States. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link.
If any one person drove the United Kingdom out of the European Union, it was Angela Merkel, and her impulsive solo decision in the summer of 2015 to throw open Germany—and then all Europe—to 1.1 million Middle Eastern and North African migrants, with uncountable millions more to come. Merkel’s catastrophically negative example is one that perhaps should be avoided by U.S. politicians who seek to avert Trump-style populism in the United States.

Instead, the politician who most directly opposes Donald Trump—presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton—is doubling down on Merkelism. Hillary Clinton’s first reaction to the Supreme Court decision on executive amnesty looks at the issue exclusively and entirely from the point of view of the migrants themselves.

That U.S. citizens might have different interests—and that it is the interests of citizens that deserve the highest attention of officials elected by those citizens—went unsaid and apparently unconsidered. But somebody is considering it. And those somebodies, in their many millions, are being heard from this year: loud, clear, and angry.
Unlike Clinton, Trump has heard those voices. The citizenry see and appreciate his consideration.

Boris Who?

Most Americans of a certain age probably think of Boris Badenov of Boris and Natasha fame from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show TV cartoon, when they hear the name "Boris." By now, most who think first of Boris Karloff have probably become ghosts themselves.

We''ll need to get over those associations if the likely candidate - Boris Johnson - becomes Britain's new Prime Minister, replacing David Cameron. Unlike Cameron who opposed Brexit, Boris Johnson was a vocal supporter, perhaps the most visible leader of the Leave campaign.

Thus, the referendum became effectively an endorsement of Johnson's leadership. The reliably salacious Daily Mail (U.K.) has a National Inquirer-style biography of the probable next PM. It details his affairs, out-of-wedlock children, casually racist comments, and American birth. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Add his Oxford classics degree and Etonian background and Boris ends up being a hybrid of Winston Churchill and Donald Trump. Imagine the fun Boris and Donald can have as leaders of their respective countries! Imagine how much fun we'd have vicariously enjoying their hijinks. It isn't clear which is more outrageous, probably Boris, but it's a close call.

The Beeb Opines

The BBC, surprisingly, weighs in with some realistic analysis.
For many English voters, this was an opportunity to wave the flag of St George and restore a sense of national pride. Many resented what they saw as special treatment for other parts of the UK, particularly Scotland. In some respects, the vote for Brexit was a vote for English nationalism.

It was also a vote to stop foreigners and foreign ways changing the character of neighbourhoods and communities.
The spirit of the age, or zeitgeist, is a rediscovered nationalism, expressed as a Hydra-headed anti-globalism. I note in passing that PM David Cameron has announced his departure, as I indicated he would last night. He had tied himself to the mast of HMS Remain and perforce went down with the sinking ship.

Also from the BBC, Brexit's contagion factor:
France's National Front leader Marine Le Pen said the French must now also have the right to choose.

Dutch anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders said the Netherlands deserved a "Nexit" vote while Italy's Northern League said: "Now it's our turn".

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats wrote on Twitter that "now we wait for swexit!"

Kristian Thulesen Dahl, leader of the populist Danish People's Party, said a referendum would be "a good democratic custom".

Beatrix von Storch, of Germany's Eurosceptic AfD party, praising "Independence Day for Great Britain", demanded that Mr Schulz and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker resign. "The European Union has failed as a political union," she said.