Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Punch, Kick and Stomp Elites

The Chicago Tribune's John Kass has good insight. He sees Trump as a symptom of the failures of the coastal elites to respond to the needs of the "deplorable" interior, as we noted yesterday.
I grew up with these people. They don't deserve the shaming that comes their way.

They were betrayed. And all they want, really, is meaningful work and to not be told they're idiotic or hateful simply because they dare support traditional values, and that a nation should shape its culture by controlling its own borders.

They knew Trump was loud, they knew he was vulgar, they knew he was trouble. And they voted for him because they wanted him to make trouble.

They wanted him to punch the Washington elites in the mouth, to kick them and stomp on them as they had been kicked and stomped on. They detest the ruling elites in the modern Versailles so much that they installed a character like Trump.
Do you see much with which to disagree? I don't. A brash wealthy guy who was able (and willing) to self-fund a campaign was the only sort of candidate who could represent their values. All others were dependent on the donor class which was happy with the status quo and wanted no change therefrom.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Wisdom from An Odd Source

Andrew O'Hehir has spent the last 20 years at Salon, a left-wing website I normally avoid like the plague. Atypically, he has written a long article you might enjoy, taking fellow Democrats to task about their party's many failures. His message to delusional Democrats:
Get over Montana already — and stop trolling yourself with that stupid special election in Georgia too. They don’t mean anything, and anyway — that dude Jon Ossoff? He’s about the lamest excuse for a national progressive hero in the entire history of Democratic Party milquetoast triangulation. Oh, and since we’re on the subject: Forget about the “blue wave” of 2018. Forget about the Democratic majority of 2019. Forget about the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Have you even been paying attention? Because none of that stuff is happening and it’s all a massive distraction.
About Gianforte's win in a Montana by-election, after decking a persistent reporter:
I think it’s safe to say that likely Republican voters in Montana, and damn near everywhere else, can be divided into two groups: those who didn’t much care or were inclined to look the other way, and those who were absolutely thrilled.
As for the future:
My position is that Donald Trump is a symptom of the fundamental brokenness of American politics, not the cause.

Right now the Democratic Party has no clear sense of mission and no coherent national message, except that it is not the party of Donald Trump. I can understand the appeal of that message, the longing for a return to normalcy, calm and order that it embodies. (snip) There is no “normal” state we can return to.
Yes, O'Hehir hates Trump and wishes he would just go away, but his political grasp otherwise isn't far off the mark. Trump was nominated because establishment Republicans were empty suits, do-nothing careerists. Trump was elected because a huge swathe of voters felt unrepresented by the Democrats.

Trump represents a beginning in the rebuilding the Republicans needed to do, the Democrats haven't yet begun their needed rebuilding, but O'Hehir thinks they need to get started. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Tuesday Wisdom

Stephen Green, who guest blogs at Instapundit, pens a very puissant sentence (scroll down) describing today's politics of the left and its problems with black voter turnout.
The Democratic party has been captured by gentry liberals and tech titans who don’t share many interests in common with African-American voters, and President Obama’s race could provide cover for only so long.
Note: Green's "only so long" = 8 years. I'll remind you of my prediction - Democrats will nominate no white for president during the next several quadrennial cycles.

My prediction presumes Democrats continue to be serious about winning, unlike Britain's Labour Party which seemingly has given up.

Trump Right, Merkel Upset

CNBC columnist Jake Novak writes that Trump's approach to Europe - backing away from the Paris climate accords and insisting Europe pay its fair share of defense costs - is the right one. I won't try to summarize his arguments, you should read them for yourself.

Basically, Novak observes Europe has been "free riding" on U.S. aid and defense spending for the last 70+ years. You could argue it was justified for the first couple of decades of rebuilding wartime damage, it hasn't been justified for the past 50 years.

Free riding is how Europe affords elaborate social spending. Social spending we cannot afford because our money defends them, in addition to ourselves. Trump is absolutely correct affluent Europe needs to carry its own weight.


Writing at Investor's Business Daily, Dennis Prager examines the reasons why there are conservatives who persist in never-Trumpism. His main reason is one I'm not certain I share, it's the Flight 93 thing.

He believes the country was doomed if Hillary was elected, and the anti-Trumpers don't agree. I lean toward the "don't agree" side, but don't find that hindering me from supporting Trump, while recognizing his shortcomings. If we could survive Obama, we could have survived another Clinton but will do better with Trump, in my view.

I find more persuasive Prager's other reasons.
Anti-Trump conservatives are a very refined group of people. Trump doesn't talk like them. Moreover, the cultural milieu in which the vast majority of anti-Trump conservatives live and/or work means that to support Trump is to render oneself contemptible at all elite dinner parties.

In addition, anti-Trump conservatives see themselves as highly moral people (which they often are) who are duty-bound not to compromise themselves by strongly supporting Trump, whom they largely view as morally defective.
Translaton: It is a social class issue. Trump is nouveau riche - somewhat in fact, particularly in behavior. This is anathema among anti-Trumpers' contemporaries but endears him to many of those who were never rich (and would behave as he does if riches ever came their way). Hint: That group includes most Americans.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Not All Battle Scars Are Visible

Mike Allen writes at Axios about Memorial Day and about veterans' lives, which are often difficult.
About 20 veterans a day commit suicide, per the Veterans Administration: "In 2014, the latest year available, more than 7,400 veterans took their own lives, accounting for 18% of all suicides in America. Veterans make up less than 9% of the U.S. population."
By my envelope-back calculation, that means a veteran is twice as likely to commit suicide as a non-veteran. Many get what in the Foreign Legion is called le cafard. Watching friends die, and dealing death yourself ... these things put the mind at risk.

Memorial Day Musing

On Memorial Day, we honor those who have died while serving in our nation's military. I choose to also honor those who risked death and survived, but still carry the scars.

Our freedom isn't free, it was purchased with the blood of those who fought to secure it. Unless I'm much mistaken, we haven't seen the last of such "purchases."

We live in a dangerous world, at the top of the food chain. Our biggest threat is other people, often those who belong to other "tribes" or nations. While an unattractive aspect of humanity, it cannot be denied or wished away.

The Fourth Reich

ABC News has a longer, more complete version of the Angela Merkel quote cited in yesterday's post. She said:
The times when we could completely count on others, they are over to a certain extent. I have experienced this in the last few days. And that is why I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands.

Of course [we are] in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors wherever that is possible also with other countries, even with Russia. But we have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans, and that's what I want to do together with you.
Angela Merkel is the latest in a line of German Chancellors who have stealthily accomplished what Adolf Hitler could not do by force - institutionalize German domination of most of continental Europe. Doing it via economics and the bargaining table in Brussels has generated less resistance but, of course, took much longer and probably wasn't as satisfying as Blitzkrieg.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

She Doesn't Mean It

The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports Germany's Angela Merkel wasn't pleased with the G7 meeting featuring Donald Trump. Hat tip to for the link. Merkel said:
The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.
And the Mail adds:
Merkel on Saturday labelled the result of the 'six against one' discussion "very difficult, not to say very unsatisfactory."
Maybe Trump has decided to dump the Paris climate accords, and Europe doesn't like it. Fair enough, they can do what they think best and we will do the same.

Except ... Trump tends to see things as linked, like a package deal, not as independent issues. Ask the Chinese how that works. Get in his face on climate, maybe he pulls back from NATO or free trade.

If Europe decides to go it alone, they will have to substantially increase defense spending. Doing so will pinch the generous social programs with which they buy internal peace.

Europe has leaned on the U.S. ever since the end of World War II to protect them, first from the Soviets and now from the Russians. Merkel should remember how little fun the Russians were from growing up in an East Germany where Russians called the shots.

Analysis: Merkel is irritated and grumpy with Trump, so she's acting-out. But Europe going it alone? No, she doesn't mean it. There really is a bear in Europe's woods (classical reference) as she well knows.

Later ... Politico Europe reaches essentially the same conclusion we did.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Leakers on Short Leash

CBS News reports (scroll down):
CBS News has confirmed from two sources that three leakers of classified information at the White House have been identified and are expected to be fired.

Officials within the Trump White House believe leaks of Mr. Trump's conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are a "deliberate attempt" by officials who are holdovers from President Obama's administration and are trying to damage the Trump presidency.
I'm guessing maybe translators - civil servants of some sort. They aren't easy to fire but could be transferred to the GSA where careers go to die.

Who Cares?

On the PBS Washington Week program yesterday, Associated Press reporter Erica Werner said the following about Trump people having contact with Russians (scroll down):
I’ve heard from several lawmakers of both parties that they do not hear about this issue in town halls, from their voters when they go home. They don’t hear about Russia. They hear about health care. They hear about jobs. So they aren’t getting pressure from constituents, even Democrats, on this issue.
No kidding, it's what media types like to call a "nothingburger." Nobody thinks Russia is about to attack any part of the U.S., and it no longer is the marketing arm of an international political conspiracy called "Communism." So most Americans aren't fussed about who talks to them.

Estonians care, Poles care, Moldavians, Czechs, Montenegrins and Georgians care as they're all "under the gun," more or less literally. Americans? Not so much.

The exceptions: people inside the Beltway and Democrat activists (including most of the media) desperate for a scandal labeled R.
Can you say "out of step?"

A Smoking Gun

This particular gun has been smoking for about a year, well before the 2016 election. The New York Post reports the Obama administration routinely spied on Americans with little or no cause beyond prurient curiosity and political animus.
We now know the National Security Agency under President Barack Obama routinely violated privacy protections while snooping through foreign intercepts involving US citizens — and failed to disclose the breaches, prompting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court a month before the election to rebuke administration officials.

The FISA court called it a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue” that NSA analysts — in violation of a 2011 rule change prohibiting officials from searching Americans’ information without a warrant — “had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”

A number of those searches were made from the White House, and included private citizens working for the Trump campaign, some of whose identities were leaked to the media.
Wouldn't Obama doing a perp walk be some fine viewing?

Saturday Snickers

Again Steven Hayward comes forward at Power Line with his collection of cartoons, captioned photos, and snarky sayings. My favorites from this week's collection:

A photo of Peter Falk playing Colombo, in tan raincoat looking puzzled, captioned:
If only we could find something
that linked all these
terrorist attacks together
Photo of 8 clowns at the closing performance of the circus, captioned:
After 146 years, the Ringling
Bros circus has closed
They couldn't compete
with the Democratic Party
Poster showing a sad Sylvester the Cat, captioned:
When you are down in
the dumps and think you
have real problems, just
Somewhere in
this world,
there is a Mr. Pelosi.....
A cartoon of Pope Francis holding a copy of Time with cover showing Bernie Sanders, labeled:
Socialist of the Year
A smiling Pope Francis speaks:
I was robbed, but I forgive Time's editors.
A photo of Star Wars' Jabba the Hutt, wearing a blond wig and pantsuit, demanding:
Bring me Assange
And the Wiki
Photo of a college-age coed, looking pensive, captioned:
Your Rights
End Where
~Every Liberal
Poster showing definitions of eight favorite Liberal epithets: racist, homophobe, bigot, Fascist, Islamophobe, Nazi, misogynist, and Hitler. Each is defined identically as follows:
A person who wins an
argument with a Liberal
Poster showing a pizza and a Venezuelan flag, captioned:
What's the difference between
a pizza and Venezuela
A pizza can feed a whole family
Three photos of a couple at a restaurant, conversing:
He: The lamb here is supposed to be great.
She: I'm a vegan. I wish I could tune out that moral voice inside me that says eating animals is murder but I guess I'm not as strong as you are.
He: That's 'cause you need protein. 
A poster sharing this wisdom:
Knowledge is knowing a
Tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it
in a fruit salad.
Philosophy is wondering
if that means Ketchup is
a smoothie. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

NATO a Zombie?

Peter Zeihan, who cut his professional teeth at Stratfor, now runs his own geopolitical shop - Zeihan on Geopolitics. His essay examines the implications of the death of NATO. Hat tip to RealClearWorld for the link.

Depending on your viewpoint, this is either a very interesting piece of speculative fiction or of forecasting. He doesn't quite convince me NATO is dead.

Zeihan apparently bases his conclusion on Trump's recent failure to mention Article 5 in his Brussels speech to NATO leadership. Article 5 states an attack on any member nation will be viewed as an attack on all members.

I've seen Trump change his mind often enough to be unsure this "failure" means anything at all. It can, or it may not ... there's no way to know a priori. Let's hope we never learn if Trump actually intended to slight Article 5.

Zeihan is certain Russia will attack NATO somewhere and he, at least, believes the U.S. will shrug off the attack, let it happen. Intriguingly, the author seems to picture a no-NATO future as liberating for U.S. foreign policy.

The essay is a great read; if NATO dies much of what Zeihan forecasts may happen. I suggest you read it that way, as an exploration of a future without NATO, rather than as a forecast of the actual most likely future.

My best guess as a non-expert: as long as Russia is a threat, NATO will struggle along. When Russia's 'slomo' demographic implosion finally removes it as a threat, NATO will wither.

Weird Physio-Political Scence

Physically weak men tend to prefer socialism, according to research done in Britain and reported in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. From the abstract:
Sociopolitical egalitarianism was negatively related to bodily formidability.
The Daily Wire writes about this study; first seriously, then with snark:
Other studies in the past have also suggested stronger men are more right-wing than physically weaker men.

Anyone with two eyes would be hard-pressed to refute such findings.
Basically, these findings are a subset of a greater phenomenon: winners prefer equal opportunity, losers prefer equal outcomes.

Progressives tend to be life's losers, perpetual victims. Hat tip to for the link.

The New Definition

Writing at the Legal Insurrection website, William A. Jacobson cracks wise about the Democratic loss in the Montana by-election.
This is another *win* for Democrats because they showed up and did better than they expected, even though they lost. Losing by less than you thought you’d lose is the new Democrat definition of #winning.
The GOP can withstand a lot of that kind of "losing." Maybe all the way to a filibuster-proof Senate majority. Hat tip to for the link.

Get Well

COTTonLINE sends Get Well Greetings to two regular readers who have had recent heart surgery: Ed and Charlie. We hope you both are on the mend and will be good as new soon.

Flipping Off the Press

Heartburn has to be the least of the symptoms experienced by the lefties at Politico, after writing the subhead to this story:
Montana's Special Election: 5 Takeaways
Donald Trump was an asset, not a drag.
Wrestling a snotty reporter to the ground didn't hurt, either.
If nothing else, the Republican's win demonstrates that a candidate’s hostility toward the media is no deal-breaker for voters -- and it might even be helpful.

Eyeing a reporter’s press badge skeptically just after polls closed, one attendee explained, “We’re looking for the right press to flip off.” 
"Differential voter motivation" supposedly benefitting those outraged by Trump appears not to have been operational in MT. Consider this: maybe Trump is only unpopular in places that didn't vote for him.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Media Bashing ... Literally

CNBC reports Greg Gianforte, Republican candidate for Montana's at-large House seat, has won. Meanwhile, he is charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly roughing up a reporter for The Guardian, a U.K. paper.

Gianforte has apologized for losing his temper and getting physical, but he ignored demands (by Democrats, naturally) that he withdraw. I do not excuse Gianforte's lack of self-control; people in the public eye are expected to suffer fools, if not gladly, at least with a minimum of grace.

On the other hand, who among you has not watched video of reporters rudely yelling at, thrusting microphones at, and generally harassing public officials and wondered, "Who gave them the right to be unbearably rude? I'd be in trouble if I acted exactly as they do."

I understand public officials often wish to avoid answering questions about their activities, when they should be more transparent. I have no problem with a reporter looking straight into a camera saying, "Congressman Jones has refused to answer questions about this or that issue." Thus inviting the viewer to speculate as to Jones' motives for dodging the issue.

I do have a problem with reporters acting like a mob - jostling, yelling, carrying on like drunk undergraduates. Someone should poll Montana voters to see how many votes Gianforte got because he roughed up a reporter. I'll wager the number was significant, reporters have a crap reputation.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Brazilian Autophagy

Writing at The American Interest of which he is Editor-at-Large, Walter Russell Mead looks at the current state of political upheaval in Brazil. Having impeached and ousted one president - Dilma Rousseff - Brazilians are now looking closely at the questionable behavior of her replacement - Michel Temer.
The leadership crisis is both an internal problem for Brazil—where important reforms to its destructive pension system may well fail thanks to the latest Presidential scandal—as well as an international issue.

The political class in Brazil is rotten to the core. (snip) More and more Brazilians are sick of it.
Historically when this has happened, the Brazilian military has stepped in to prevent anarchy. Alternating kleptocracy and military coups have characterized much of Latin America.

A Family Affair

The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports new information concerning the Manchester bombing.
An extraordinary picture of the family of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi has emerged tonight, as his father who had Al-Qaeda links and his younger brother were arrested in Tripoli.

The mass-murderer - who apparently had links to the 'Man in the Hat' Brussels bomber - had only just returned from a three-week trip to war-torn Libya before launching his horrifying attack, friends said.

That revelation came as his father, Ramadan, was arrested by masked gunmen in Tripoli this evening.

Abedi's younger brother Hashem has also been arrested in Tripoli, Libya, on suspicion of having links to the ISIS who claimed responsibility for Monday night's atrocity.

He was 'aware of all the details' of his plans, a Libyan security force said. Hashem had been 'under surveillance for a month and a half' and 'investigation teams supplied intelligence that he was planning a terrorist attack in the capital Tripoli'.

Salman's older brother Ismail, 23, was arrested yesterday in Chorlton, south Manchester.
How could anyone have been suspicious of such a warm, loving, peaceful family? The blood of those killed and wounded in Manchester is on the hands of whoever let this nest of vipers into Britain. Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg, many more such lie in wait.

Pro-Gun D - Not a Complete Oxymoron

As I write this on Wednesday late afternoon before supper, the lead story at the Politico website has the following headline and subhead:
The Issue Democrats Wish Would Go Away 
Can the Democratic Party retake Congress by giving up on gun control? Should It?
Democrats have concluded that, in selected districts, they cannot defeat the National Rifle Association and might as well not try. The article cites three Dem Congressional candidates who have avoided (or even repudiated) the Dem gun control orthodoxy unpopular in their districts.

Snerk ... there is nothing quite like a string of defeats to encourage an exploration of policy alternatives. Might we one day see pro-life Dems? Free enterprise Dems? Small government Dems?

Venezuela Update

It's time for another quick look at once-wealthy Venezuela, now in a seeming death spiral. Yahoo News carries a Christian Science Monitor story that is, honestly, more atmospherics than facts.

In a messy situation like today's Venezuela, atmospherics can be telling as there is little agreement about the facts or what they could mean. This piece is the interwoven interviews of Venezuelans at various socio-economic levels about their current lives, fears, and reactions.


A quick review for those who haven't closely tracked Venezuelan developments. Former President Hugo Chavez - founder of their socialist revolution - shared JFK's ironic 'good fortune.' Both died in office before their ineffectiveness became widely obvious, and are thus remembered as near-saints.

Chavez' hand-picked successor - Nicolas Maduro - inherited the Chavez mess, ran out of other people's money, and cannot make the country "work." The mob will likely destroy him.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Another "Known Wolf"

A bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K., killed 22 and maimed more than twice that number. The suicide bomber has been identified as the son of Libyan refugee parents, one Salman Abedi, 23.
CBS News confirmed Abedi was known to British authorities prior to the attack. (emphases added)
It turns out most terrorists are "known to the authorities" prior to their violent acts. This is so common the media has developed a term for them - "known wolf" - wordplay on the trope "lone wolf."

FDR understood the wartime trade-off between civil rights and security; the result was internment of thousands of people of Japanese ancestry - citizens and aliens. They had done nothing wrong yet, and most probably never would.

Jihadis have declared war on our Western "crusader" society. At what point do we stop letting known suspicious characters run free until they do something awful? Perhaps we could consider deporting immigrants who are known malcontents and interning jihadis born here?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Decline and Fall, the Next Step

California takes another step down the proverbial Road to Perdition. The Sacramento Bee, effectively the paper of record for CA state government, reports on the costs associated with the single payer health plan Democrat lawmakers would like to enact.
It would cost $400 billion to remake California’s health insurance marketplace and create a publicly funded universal heath care system, according to a state financial analysis released Monday.

California would have to find an additional $200 billion per year, including in new tax revenues, to create a so-called “single-payer” system, the analysis by the Senate Appropriations Committee found. The estimate assumes the state would retain the existing $200 billion in local, state and federal funding it currently receives to offset the total $400 billion price tag.

The cost is higher than the $180 billion in proposed general fund and special fund spending for the budget year beginning July 1.
Democrat majorities in both houses of the state legislature most likely see the enormous cost of single payer as a feature instead of a bug. It will give them an excuse to take in twice as much tax revenue from an already heavily taxed state. Imagine the opportunities for graft and corruption.

Watch the state's remaining private employers close their doors and head for the border as their costs skyrocket. California can become another Venezuela-type disaster without half trying.

My WY neighbor remarked he'd vote to give CA back to Mexico just to get rid of its economically illiterate Democrats. I'm not quite there ... yet.

Felonia von Pantsuit?

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds links to Kurt Schlichter who blogs at PJMedia. Schlichter is often a good source for biting political invective and generalized snark. Today he grades President Trump an A+.
There can be no serious debate. Donald Trump has done a truly outstanding job of not being Hillary Clinton. His not being Hillary Clinton was and remains my sole expectation of Donald Trump’s presidency. Nothing else matters in the end; it is enough that Trump foiled Felonia von Pantsuit’s creepy scheme to subjugate forever the deplorable mass of normal people she despises. 
There's "despising" showing up again. Libprogs find hating entirely too much fun.

A Cold Civil War

John Kass writes political opinion for the Chicago Tribune. Today he shares findings of a study of media coverage of Trump's first 100 days, done by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard. It ran 80-20 negative vs. positive. See his conclusion about causes:
Many beltway journalists are essentially establishment creatures, gatekeepers for the political ruling class, members of that class and fierce guardians of their place in the empire. The political class sees Trump and the 62 million Americans who voted for him as the stuff they scrape off their shoes.
Journalists once hid their contempt better than they do now. We believed they respected their craft.

Reaching for a descriptive title for our current state of affairs, I come up with a (mostly) Cold Civil War. The left had better hope it stays cold; the right has the preponderance of privately owned firepower. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

New Tech

I really like innovative technology. links to a Popular Mechanics article about three new innovations in internal combustion engines.

The first is a diesel developed by Mazda which is quiet, clean, and efficient. The second is a variable compression engine developed by Infiniti, which can give either lots of power or great economy at will. And the third is a two stroke with a unique starting system developed by the Ski-Doo/Sea-Doo company. This is neat stuff, enjoy.

The Current Political Scene

Various observers have described the all-out attacks on the Trump administration as a "coup" or a "coup d'etat" or a "civil war." A bit of hyperbole? Perhaps, but serious obstructionism is certainly the intent.

The Democrats' strategy, to the extent it has moved beyond the tantrum stage, appears to be to create so much chaos that enough Republicans will join them in an impeachment effort. Maybe I'd phrase it thusly: "If we can't have the government we want, we will have no government at all ... gridlock. It's our guess we can tolerate chaos better than you can, and you'll give in to get some peace."

If it turns out they're correct, the GOP is effectively dead.

McConnell, Ryan, et al. need to hang tough and do some legislating. If majorities are worth anything, they'll make 'em function to move an economic growth agenda. If they have to dump the filibuster, it should happen, go "full parliamentary."

This is war, undeclared but very real. And while they're at it, they need to reduce the protections federal career employees now have which enable them to mount a full-on obstruction.

Status Report

We haven't posted anything for a couple of days, my apologies. The DrsC have been enroute to our home in Wyoming, and are now "in residence."

The transition has been dramatic, from Tuesday's late spring at sea level to Friday's early spring at an altitude of 6000 feet. It isn't warm here and many deciduous trees have yet to leaf out. The mountains around our valley are still snowy.

Those aren't complaints, you understand. We're volunteers after all, we chose to make the move knowing full well WY wouldn't yet have "shirt-sleeves" weather.

We'll be out of breath for a couple of weeks until we adjust to the thin air, especially after climbing stairs. It comes with this (beautiful) territory.

Plus, it feels good to leave California's craziness behind. For the next several months those are someone else's problems, someone else's nightmare from which there is no waking.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Gallup: Dems as Unpopular as GOP reports Gallup polling organization has found the popularity of the Democrat party is now as low as that of the GOP, within the margin of error. They write:
Forty percent of Americans said they view Democratic Party favorably, down from 45 percent in November. The Republican rating dropped one point, to 39 percent this month from 40 percent in November.

The decline in Democratic Party favorability is mostly a result of lower ratings from self-identified Democrats, Gallup said. And both parties’ ratings are below their historical norms.

Gallup notes that historically, Democrats’ ratings usually exceed Republicans' ratings -- by six percentage points, on average.
They quote Gallup about the reason:
That could indicate Democrats are frustrated with the party's minority status in Washington.
Perhaps so; I wonder if the actual reason might not be voter disgust with the extreme public outrage elected Democrats are expressing. They have made a public spectacle of themselves, essentially throwing a tantrum, acting as immaturely as their nemesis in the White House.

Monday, May 15, 2017

France Shares the Problem

You've probably seen various articles that observe life expectancy for white working class (non-college) Americans has declined. We've commented on it here and here.

I'll wager you're under the impression the phenomenon is unique to the U.S., or as I noted some months ago, perhaps shared with Russia. Now comes an article in the New Statesman (U.K.) which points out the same "deaths of despair" are happening in France (scroll down).
Three years after finishing their studies, three-quarters of French university graduates are living on their own; by contrast, three-quarters of their contemporaries without university degrees still live with their parents. And they’re dying early.

In January 2016, the national statistical institute Insee announced that life expectancy had fallen for both sexes in France for the first time since the Second World War, and it’s the native French working class that is likely driving the decline. The French outsiders are failing not just in income and longevity but also in family formation, mental health and education.
The villain is globalization, which has shipped the good jobs for working class people to the third world where they can be done more cheaply. It has also brought hordes of immigrants to developed countries to do the no-skill jobs, also more cheaply.

Lacking opportunity and purpose, priced out of the job market, the native working class engages in unhealthy pursuits with life-shortening consequences. Globalization's victims, it appears, exist throughout the developed world.

Big Data: Non-White Voting Down

The Washington Post reports findings from an immense survey done by the Census Bureau of 2016 voters. It finds there was no very large spike in white voters, college-educated or otherwise.
There were significant changes in turnout in other demographics. Significant drops in black and Hispanic turnout in some states may have cost Hillary Clinton some previously blue states.
The data show turnout was either low or declining for every demographic except whites. In a generally down year, a group which isn't down could be said to have "spiked," don't you think?

My prediction that, given the Clinton loss, Democrats will not nominate another white for president in the next few quadrennial cycles is looking better with the passage of time. The data shows minorities are more likely to turn out for a non-white candidate.

Identity group tribal politics by Democrats eventually forced white voters to become a tribe too, called "Republicans." Unintended consequences are a b*tch.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Barren Continent

Less than a week ago we wrote about three European leaders having no biological children of their own. Now the Washington Examiner has an expanded list which reflects the same barren pattern.
Emmanuel Macron founded a new party, and his election as France's president is said to herald the "revival of Europe." Interestingly, Macron has no children.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also has no children. British prime minister Theresa May has no children. Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni has no children. Holland's Mark Rutte has no children. Sweden's Stefan Löfven has no biological children. Luxembourg's Xavier Bettel has no children. Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon has no children. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has no children.
I'm certain this means something; exactly what it means isn't entirely clear. Maybe it's nothing more than parenthood is too intrusive and exhausting to permit the single-minded career focus required to reach leadership positions.

Alternatively, in a continent with more deaths than births among the native-born, perhaps it just means they are the quintesential Europeans, the distilled essence of modern-day Europe?

Saturday Snark, a Day Late

Once again we link to Steven Hayward's weekly compilation of cartoons, captioned photos, and other whimsy which he posts at Power Line. Some favorites described:

Photo of a very disappointed-looking Chuck Schumer, captioned:
I've just been informed that
the entire base of my party is
outside the mainstream.
Photo of a bright red baseball cap with this slogan embroidered across the front in white letters:
Make Schumer Cry Again 
Photo of a stern Leonard Nimoy in full Spock regalia, captioned:
Logic dictates:
if gun owners were as violent as anti-gunners say they are,
there would be no anti-gunners.
Photo of the three great pyramids of Egypt, captioned:
When will we take down
these monuments of slavery
Cartoon of former President Obama, at a podium labeled "J.F.K. Profiles in Hypocrisy." He says:
I call on lawmakers to have the courage to NOT
ram through a partisan health care bill, like I did... 
Photo of a gold plated, engraved presentation model 1911 Colt automatic pistol with bone grips, captioned:
The Trump .45
Since the 44 didn't work for
the last 8 years

The 'Mystery' Sentence

Virtually every commentator on the Comey firing has puzzled over the inclusion by Trump in the termination letter of a sentence in which the President mentioned three occasions on which Comey had said the President was not under investigation. I'm not certain why it's puzzles.

It seems clear to me Trump was establishing he had no conflict of interest in the firing. He was not interfering in an investigation of himself, inasmuch as he understood no such investigation was underway. The only confusing part is why he thought Democrats or the media (I repeat myself) would pay attention thereto.

Happy Mothers Day

To all readers fortunate enough to have a living mother, COTTonLINE wishes you and your Mom a happy Mothers Day today.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Unsecured Shipboard Artillery

The Hill reports as follows:
Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, offered high praise for Sen. John McCain on Friday, saying (of) the Arizona Republican's vocal criticism of President Trump: "I think frankly this is John McCain's finest hour."
Singing from the enemy's hymn book isn't cool. Nor is being praised by them. Both conservatives and populists wish McCain would retire.

Is there any remote possibility McCain could understand this "high praise" as a wakeup call, a sign he has totally sold out to the enemy? Not likely, he's been unsecured shipboard artillery for at least a decade.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Clinton Voters More Regretful

Andrew Malcolm, writing in the Sacramento Bee, quotes a statistic I haven't seen before, one you might enjoy. Hat tip to for the link.
A Pew Research Center poll last month found minimal Trump voter remorse, only 7 percent. A subsequent Washington Post-ABC News poll found even fewer regretful Trump voters, 4 percent. In fact – wait for it – far more voters regretted casting their ballot for Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, 15 percent.
Yup, Trump is the off-the-wall President we expected him to be when we voted for him. He's blustery, garish, inexact, ego-driven, impatient - a salesman who can't stop selling.

Let me repeat myself. If all we get out of the Trump presidency is several dozen conservative federal judges I'll rate it a success. Not a huge success, but better than his two predecessors.

I expect we'll also get an improved economy and, with luck, a simplified tax code. Simply enforcing existing immigration laws has nearly shut down illegal border crossing. Jaw-boning by him persuaded several firms to keep manufacturing jobs here ... a plus.

Maybe best of all, Trump drives progressives, liberals, academics, snowflakes, and the media bat-sh*t crazy. Their exploding heads? In the words of Gen. Patton, "God help me, I do love it so."

NIH: Not Invented Here

COTTonLINE normally supports President Trump. However, we also feel free to chide him gently when he steps in it.

According to Yahoo News, Trump has claimed to have coined the phrase "priming the pump." It describes short-term deficit spending with the intent of stimulating economic activity.

It is entirely possible for something to be invented repeatedly. That is, created by someone and later again by another who hadn't heard of the original.

However, Trump has a business school degree. Thus he's had economics classes in which "priming the pump" has been used. If The Donald thinks he coined "priming the pump," he slept through his classes at Wharton.

You went full Al Gore, Donald. Never go full Gore.
You didn't coin "priming the pump" and he didn't invent the Internet.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Dilbert: Some Ballsy Presidenting

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, writes some of the most spot-on columns about our hyperactive President. Adams admires Trump as a "Master Persuader."

Today Adams describes the cognitive dissonance involved in the Comey firing - it was Trump doing the right thing for what the Democrats believe were the wrong reasons - causing their heads to metaphorically explode.
The pure dominance of the play is what will stick in our minds. This was some ballsy Presidenting. That’s the lasting takeaway.
Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Wrong Frame of Reference

About the firing of James Comey, FBI Director, by President Trump, some words of wisdom from the retired Management prof who writes this blog. The media who view this action as abrupt are using the wrong reference frame.

Until quite recently, Donald Trump had never been a government executive. He was CEO of a privately owned firm.

Therefore, don't expect Trump to act like government executive. Expect him, when possible, to act like a private enterprise CEO. He'll be decisive, act quickly.

If a CEO decides to fire someone, they are normally escorted off the property by closing time that day, carrying a cardboard box of their personal effects. This is roughly what happened to Comey, an appointee who served at the pleasure of the president.

The "You're fired!" he was famous for on The Apprentice was the real deal, as Mike Flynn, and now James Comey, have learned the hard way. Indecisiveness isn't one of Trump's shortcomings.

Deal with it.

Socialism's Fail: A Hypothetical and a Live Example

Imagine you are a student in my Management class. Suppose I announce on the first day that whatever your accomplishments in the course - your test scores or papers - all will receive a grade of "Pass" or C. In other words, socialism.

Be honest, how hard will you study? Especially if the course is required and the subject matter isn't intrinsically fascinating to you. Answer: not much.

Don't ignore the demotivating effect of seeing others who do little or nothing receiving the same rewards as yourself. After several years I completely stopped assigning group projects. My best students hated them because they'd end up doing all the work and sharing the group's grade with slacker free-riders.


In any population some members are more productive than others, some make better decisions than others, some are luckier than others, and some begin life with additional advantages. Left alone to function as an economy, the result will be an uneven distribution of resources, and this may increase over time.

Socialism is driven by the notion that those who have less are not less deserving but merely disadvantaged. So the state steps in to level the economic playing field.

Unfortunately for enthusiasts like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, socialism always levels the playing field down so that everyone is poor. Whereas in an unequal society only the least productive, least able will remain poor.

This is what Chavez did to once-wealthy Venezuela. The result, as Yahoo News and others have reported, is chaos and near-universal poverty. Low oil prices didn't help. As Margaret Thatcher wisecracked, they have run out of other people's money.

Venezuela has basically committed suicide, done in the pursuit of equal outcomes.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pink Collar Jobs

I spent time in two different medical offices today (I'm fine, thanks for asking). Out of curiosity I began counting how many women were employed in each.

A multiple doctor ophthalmology office had roughly 15 women employed there doing a variety of clerical and sub-professional tasks. A multi-doctor cardiology office had another 14 or so sub-professional and clerical women on staff.

The medical/dental field employs several hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of women in this semi-rural community of roughly 100K souls. These jobs are essentially recession-proof, sickness knows no holidays.

Off hand, I can think of no analogous field which hires the same number of men (with less than baccalaureate degrees) and provides the same sort of employment security. An aging society utilizes a lot of medical services and those employ a cluster of women supporting each professional.


Instapundit Glenn Reynolds links to an article in The Atlantic about feminism, which contains this ironic quote:
With the arrival of a cheap, easily exploited army of poor and luckless women—fleeing famine, war, the worst kind of poverty, leaving behind their children to do it, facing the possibility of rape or death on the expensive and secret journey—one of the noblest tenets of second-wave feminism collapsed like a house of cards.

The new immigrants were met at the docks not by a highly organized and politically powerful group of American women intent on bettering the lot of their sex but, rather, by an equally large army of educated professional-class women with booming careers who needed their children looked after and their houses cleaned.

Any supposed equivocations about the moral justness of white women's employing dark-skinned women to do their shit work simply evaporated.
A number of political careers have been derailed by the revelation that the candidates had undocumented ladies tending their kids and failed to pay the employer taxes on their wages.

Midweek Snark

Steven Hayward of Power Line comes forward with a mid-week collection of cartoons and recaptioned photos making fun of the Comey firing insanities. Some favorites described:

Two photos of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. In the first he says:
President Obama should fire FBI Director Comey!
He can't be trusted!!!
And in the second photo he says:
I can't believe Trump fired Comey...
He can't be trusted.
A publicity still of comic Don Knotts wearing his uniform as Deputy Barney Fife, captioned:
Better at enforcing law
Than Comey
and Lynch combined
A photo of the three principals from The X Files - Scully, Mulder and Skinner - labeled:
There are only three acceptable candidates for the next Director of the FBI.   #TheTruthIsOutThere
 A photo of Vladimir Putin speaking on the telephone, captioned:
Pelosi's goat swears it went down like this.
"Fire Comey"

The Unfriendly Skies

I've been thinking about the violence breaking out on commercial airliners and in airport terminals. We've too many examples in too short a period to view these troubles as mere coincidence.

What we're seeing is the end result of making air travel less and less pleasant, more and more crowded, less a treat to be enjoyed and more a trial to be withstood. Jammed together, herded like cattle, their personal spaces systematically infringed, and their personal dignity assaulted, people with short fuses blow up.

Dealing with anxious, jittery, cranky passengers makes gate personnel and cabin crews tense and uncomfortable as well. Sometimes it is they who explode, and/or show monumentally bad judgment. I expect we're fortunate there haven't been many more incidents involving both passengers and employees. TSA isn't blameless either.

We Americans have been getting larger while airplane seats have been getting smaller and closer together. Much is wrong with this picture, and change is necessary. I'm not certain how to bring it about, however.

Time Zone Follies

If you're a traveler you know the Spanish eat supper late, start work late, leave work late, and take a 2 hour lunch break which gives time for a siesta or nap. The BBC reports it isn't because they're any lazier than the rest of us.

The true reason is that most of Spain is west of England, which is on GMT. Spain should be on GMT as it is southwest of Greenwich, for which GMT is named. Instead,
Spain goes by Central European Time (CET), putting it in sync with the Serbian capital Belgrade, more than 2,500km east of Madrid.
So the sun rises late, in Spain, and sets late too. The classic Spanish schedule merely moves things to times more sensible in terms of "solar time."

The Spanish effectively disregard what their clocks say and let the position of the sun in the sky tell them when things should happen. The clocks say they are doing things late; the BBC argues it's the clocks, not the Spaniards, which are wrong.

Trump Derangement Syndrome

Ya gotta love it! Democrats couldn't say enough bad about FBI Director James Comey, after he described candidate Hillary Clinton's bordering-on-treasonous email habits. Clearly they wanted him gone ASAP.

So President Trump fires him and ... viola ... firing Comey is horrible, awful, unthinkable. They allege it is a conflict of interest.

I'm reminded of the ACLU poobah who quite seriously said Trump's immigration ban for people from seven chaotic Muslim countries would have been constitutional if ordered by anyone except Trump.

Democrats are very unserious persons in the present climate. Ignore them if you can.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Comey Out

A variety of outlets are reporting President Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey. Someone unofficial has already proposed Rudy Giuliani as his replacement.

Apparently the immediate cause was Comey's misstatement to Congress concerning the source of classified emails found on Anthony Weiner's laptop. The FBI had to correct the statement later.

I'm not certain of my reaction. Comey's performance was uneven but the circumstances he faced were, essentially, unparalleled. Whatever the Director chose to do would be widely unpopular.

And we create a bye-ku for Big Jim, with a hat tip to the form's popularizer, James Taranto.
Goodbye James Comey.
The Director cannot be

Good Riddance

Politico reports former President Barack Obama has said, in part:
As I always tell people, you get the politicians you deserve.
How could we have done something bad enough to "deserve" a punishment like Obama? Charles Krauthammer said a couple of nights ago on the Fox News Special Report panel, speaking of Obama's first public appearance after leaving office:
He reminded me it's been 100 days, but good riddance, Mr. President.
Amen - COTTonLINE disliked Obama as much as the Resistance crazies dislike Trump. Our opposition was and remains, however, less exuberant than theirs.

Another Answer to the "Why Trump" Question

Everybody seems to feel compelled to take their cut at answering the "why Trump?" question. Now we have Emma Green writing in The Atlantic, who first notes:
White Americans carried Donald Trump to the White House. He won college-educated white voters by a four-point margin over Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. But his real victory was among members of the white working class: Twice as many of these voters cast their ballots for the president as for Clinton.
Green concludes, for this latter group, surveys have shown:
Evidence suggests financially troubled voters in the white working class were more likely to prefer Clinton over Trump. Besides partisan affiliation, it was cultural anxiety—feeling like a stranger in America, supporting the deportation of immigrants, and hesitating about educational investment—that best predicted support for Trump.
In other words, they voted to defend their culture. As noted below, it didn't hurt that, among black 2012 voters, one in 20 couldn't see a reason in 2016 to choose between two wealthy whites. Hat tip to for the link.

A Class Thing

Back in April, I wrote that much of what people object to about Donald Trump has to do with social class:
Trump is, or at least acts like, "new money." Terms like arriviste seem to fit. Trump talks and acts like most people would act if they made a whole pile of money and weren't accustomed to it. He has the "I made it, why can't you?" attitude common to the self-made, instead of the noblesse oblige attitude of old inherited wealth.

The snobbish can't stand his perceived "lack of class," his involvement with tacky wrestling, beauty pageants, and entertainment. Such people, they believe, belong in People magazine, not in the White House.
Today at American Thinker, James Lewis asks why Washington insiders like George Will, Jonah Goldberg, and Bill Kristol can't stand Donald Trump. His answer:
After thinking about George and Jonah and Bill, who unanimously headed for the hills when Trump started to win, I've finally concluded that they despised Trump because he sounded low-class. It's a class thing.

Well, the D.C. establishment also despised Abe Lincoln as a low-class hick from the backwoods who spoke with a country accent. But they adored Woodrow Wilson, a dreadful president, because he spoke in whole sentences. He might have been horribly wrong about the League of Nations (now the über-corrupt U.N.), but hey, he had a Ph.D.
Social class is something we don't like to admit exists in the U.S., almost all claim to be "middle class." The truth, of course, is quite different.

The commentariat, it seems, is catching on.

Black Turnout Down

The Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog reports a major reason Clinton lost, and Trump won: voter turnout. The graphic there shows white turnout was up 2.4% for 2016 over 2012, while black turnout was down 4.7%.

It's worth noting that Hispanic turnout was up 3.8% and that for Asians up 3.0%. These increases didn't help Clinton appreciably, perhaps because substantial numbers of both voted for Trump.

In September of 2016 I wrote the following:
If Hillary Clinton loses, she will be the last white presidential candidate nominated by Democrats.

Beginning in 2020 all Democrat nominees will be Black or Hispanic, or less likely Asian.
Not looking good for Biden, Warren, Clinton, Sanders and Schumer. What are the morning line odds on Cory Booker or Kamala Harris? Harris is a twofer, she's both African-American and Asian.

Tribal politics, anyone?

New Leadership in South Korea

A presidential election which got less attention than the French, but is potentially more consequential, just happened in South Korea. The Washington Post reports the candidate of the opposition, Moon Jae-in, was elected.

A bit of history: Moon's predecessor Park Geun-hye was impeached and removed from office for corruption. As the Post notes:
Moon’s victory will bring an end to almost a decade of conservative rule in South Korea and the hard-line approach toward North Korea that had Seoul walking in lockstep with Washington.
While Trump has indicated we are out of patience with North Korea, Moon is known to prefer dialog with the leaders of the North. Whether conflict between the U.S. and South Korea will ensue is unclear; Murphy's Law suggests it's inevitable.

Three Leaders, No Children

Emmanuel Macron is the president-elect of France, and is childless. Lauren Collins writes in The New Yorker something absolutely stunning which will be true about the leadership of Europe's three major powers, following Macron's inauguration:
The leaders of France, Germany, and the U.K. will have zero biological children among them.
Europeans aren't having many children in the 21st century. Japan has caught the same 'disease.' Donald Trump, by contrast, has five children.

People have wondered how the French could elect Macron. He's a candidate who basically didn't talk about the repeated Islamic terrorism France has suffered.

Not having children means not having to worry about a future beyond one's own lifespan. As President de Gaulle famously said: "Apres moi, le deluge." Translation: After my death, the future is someone else's problem ... and almost certainly a disaster of epic proportions. De Gaulle was prescient.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Macron's 'Mandate'

A Brit who once lived in Paris went back to experience the presidential election, which she writes about for the Daily Mail (U.K.). See her view of "what the Macron win means."
It is an illusion to imagine 20.6 million voted for Macron. Many voted against Le Pen. Others pledged support with noses held.

Macron's biggest rivals are a right-wing woman with a solid core of 11 million ardent supporters and over 16 million people who believe in democracy but would rather not vote at all than give Macron a mandate to lead.

He says he is about unity? He has his work cut out.
Do the math. Macron won 20.6 million votes. Some 27 million people voted against him, posted blank ballots, or stayed home. Over half of France either shrugged or voted "no." The EU lives to fight another day, with nothing approaching a ringing mandate. Hat tip to for the link.

The Fallen Once-Mighty

Do you remember the Washington Generals, a hapless team of basketball players whose role as foil was to be humiliated by the Harlem Globetrotters? The modern equivalent is to be the designated liberal on a Fox News panel - Juan Williams has done a lot of this, so does Bob Beckel.

George Will, as an anti-Trump conservative, will now fill the analogous role for MSNBC, according to Politico. On their liberal programming, he will be the 'tame' conservative who provides ideological balance while excoriating Trump.

The problem with this role is that, however eloquently you propound your views, your audience is people who have self-selected a channel with the opposite bias to your own. They are predisposed to ignore you, to laugh at your earnest attempts to explain your views as we once laughed as the Globetrotters made fools of the Generals.

I suppose Will needs to make a living or have a platform. There isn't a lot of demand for anti-Trump conservatives now except as a foil for liberals to put down.

It's a paycheck, but instead of preaching to the choir, it's preaching temperance to a saloon full of rowdy drunks, not very dignified or successful. He got used to it, I guess, on ABC all those pre-Fox years.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

After VE Day

It may not have been obvious from reading this blog that I'm a student of World War II history. If you go beyond obvious favors-the-winner rhetoric, you discover that many, perhaps most of the Germans captured by the Soviets died in slave-labor captivity.

Less well-known is that a substantial number died in the hands of the western Allies. The Telegraph (U.K.) reviews a book by Giles MacDonogh entitled After the Reich: From the Liberation of Vienna to the Berlin Air-LIft. The title of the review is revealing:
How three million Germans died after VE Day
 Some key quotes from the review:
His best estimate is that some three million Germans died unnecessarily after the official end of hostilities. A million soldiers vanished before they could creep back to the holes that had been their homes. The majority of them died in Soviet captivity.

Many thousands perished as prisoners of the Anglo-Americans. Herded into cages along the Rhine, with no shelter and very little food, they dropped like flies.
I encountered this a decade ago when visiting the Bridge at Remagen, only the towers of which survive. The southern tower houses a museum, dedicated to the thousands of German POWs held by the Allies in an open-air prison nearby. Many of these died of exposure and malnutrition in the frigid northern European winter. Their captors had little sympathy.
The two million German civilians who died were largely the old, women and children: victims of disease, cold, hunger, suicide - and mass murder.

Perhaps the most shocking outrage recorded by MacDonogh - for the first time in English - is the slaughter of a quarter of a million Sudeten Germans by their vengeful Czech compatriots. (snip) Similar scenes were seen across Poland, Silesia and East Prussia as age-old German communities were brutally expunged.
MacDonogh concludes the only thing that stopped the vengeful killings and starvation was the rapidly emerging Cold War which saw West German former enemies magically transformed into allies against the Soviets and their Warsaw Pact puppet states.


After unexpected upsets in elections in Colombia, the U.K., and the U.S., we wondered if Marine Le Pen might pull an upset in France. The short answer is No. The French behaved predictably.

Exit polling suggests Emmanuel Macron won roughly two-thirds of the votes in today's runoff election. Le Pen got some of the votes that went to other candidates in the prelim, but Macron got most of them, as polling had showed would happen.

It is likely France just lost its last opportunity to preserve its culture. Twenty-five or 50 years from now, the culture will be unrecognizable, although the country may still be called France. Or perhaps the Islamic Republic of France.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Further Thoughts on Single Payer

If we get to a single payer system, expect to see what exists in the U.K., two tiers. That is, private health care for those who can afford it, public health care for everyone else. We have a bit of this today, here and there, some of it hiding in plain sight.

We'll see even more care delivered by non-physicians. Nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants will handle many routine cases, leaving the more puzzling or life-threatening ones to the actual med school grads.

As a result of such triage, expect to see the number of misdiagnoses increase, and perhaps fatalities as well. There's no free lunch, however much you might wish it.

Krauthammer: Single Payer in 7 Years

I was watching the Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox News a couple of nights ago. Panelist Charles Krauthammer said something startling in response to a request to predict what will happen to the repeal/replace Obamacare movement.
"I would predict that in less than seven years, we'll be in a single-payer system," Krauthammer said, pointing out that Republicans aren't even arguing for a free market system anymore.

"They have sort of accepted the fact that the electorate sees health care as not just any commodity, like purchasing a steak or a car," Krauthammer explained. "It's something now people have a sense the government ought to guarantee."

"The terms of debate are entirely on the grounds of the liberal argument that everybody ought to have it," Krauthammer said. "Once that happens, you're going to end up with a single-payer system."
Perhaps it is worth remembering that Krauthammer is a physician, a psychiatrist in fact, as well as a conservative commentator. If what he predicts happens, it will amount to everyone having Medicare and will cost trillions.

I hope we don't end up going to VA-style clinics and hospitals ... brutal. That would be like getting your healthcare from the DMV or the Post Office.

Puerto Rico: A Way Out

Various media sources are reporting on economic troubles in the U.S. Common'wealth' of Puerto Rico; it's the second large island southeast of Cuba. The (') marks are intentional, wealth is hard to find in Puerto Rico these days. Hat tip to Drudge Report for the link.

The island government just went to federal court to attain something resembling bankruptcy protection offered by the recently passed Promesa act. Expect debt restructuring, a severe "haircut" for creditors, cuts in pensions, a curtailment of the safety net, and other economies. Closure of over a hundred schools has already been announced.

It's economic difficulties result from Congressional meddling, plus the people voting themselves government largess without raising sufficient tax revenue to pay for it. They used borrowed money to pay current operating expenses, almost always a mistake.


As we have written before, over time the problem will solve itself. Many Puerto Ricans will move to the mainland to find work, property prices on the island will crater, and those low property prices will attract thousands of Norte Americano purchasers looking for a warm place to retire.

Eventually PR will become a Caribbean avatar of Hawaii, an American island focused on lifestyle and retirement. Those who remain will be employed by the tourist industry, plus whatever military installations the U.S. locates there. Hawaii "works" using that model, there's no particular reason PR can't do the same.

Should it become a state? Sure, when the economy achieves something like equilibrium, probably not before.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Obamacare Repeal Passes House

Multiple media outlets are reporting Speaker Ryan finally got his majority. Repeal and replace of Obamacare has passed the House of Representatives, the vote 217 to 213 in favor. All Democrats and 20 Republicans voted "No."

Now we will see what the Senate does with it. Minority Leader Chuckie Schumer has declared it dead on arrival ... he might be wrong, he's been wrong before.


The Washington Post reviews a new book by Yale Law prof James Forman, Jr. entitled Locking Up Our Own. The book reportedly indicates:
In national surveys conducted over the past 40 years, African Americans have consistently described the criminal justice system as too lenient. Even in the 2000s, after a large and sustained drop in the crime rate and hundreds of thousands of African Americans being imprisoned, almost two-thirds of African Americans maintained that courts were “not harsh enough” with criminals.
While a disproportionate number of African Americans get locked up, an even more disproportionate number of African Americans are victims of mostly black-on-black crime.
African Americans have grappled with an anguished choice. On the one hand they want to protect themselves from crime, on the other hand they know that the more active and powerful the criminal justice system grows, the more African Americans will be caught up in it, some of whom will be subjected to grossly racist treatment.
Interesting findings in the age of #BlackLivesMatter. Maybe we should view the BLM complaints as coming from a noisy minority of a minority?

U.S., Western Europe Compared

The American Interest cites interesting statistics, drawn from a Pew Research Center study of the middle class in Europe, and compares them to like data for several U.S. states. First, the summary finding:
The American middle class is smaller than Europe’s (and declining), but it nonetheless remains substantially richer than almost any other European country’s.
Pew notes:
Among the countries examined, the U.S. is the only country in which fewer than six-in-ten adults were in the middle class in 2010. Meanwhile, compared with many Western European countries, greater shares of Americans were either lower income (26%) or upper income (15%).
Then, some comparisons from the AI article:
Even the poorest U.S. states beat the poorest European countries when it comes to median household income, while only Luxembourg tops the richest states.

In 2010, for instance, the median household income in Mississippi (in 2011 inflation-adjusted dollars) was $37,838; the equivalent in Maryland was $70,976. By comparison, the average Italian household took home $35,608 that year, while a middle-income Norwegian household earned a median income of $56,960.

Put another way: average households in states like Maryland, Connecticut, or Massachusetts are richer than those in Norway, Denmark, or the Netherlands, while residents of Mississippi or West Virginia are better off than the Spaniards and Italians.
Count your blessings.

After ISIS, What?

Writing opinion at the Financial Times, David Gardner argues that the soon-to-happen defeat of ISIS will not bring stability to the troubled region. Talk about low-hanging fruit, how hard is it to predict unrest in the Middle East?

Still, he makes a good point about the reemergence of strong man rule in the region.
The strong men of Egypt and Turkey, presidents Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are busy eliminating the political middle ground and filling the jails. Saudi Arabia, another western ally, allows only the ideology of Wahhabi Islam and never had a middle ground. Israel, for its part, has swung far to the right and continues to colonize the ground upon which a viable Palestinian state might be built.
And I begin to wonder whether, going forward, there will be much "middle ground" in the U.S. Our polarization is as extreme as it was during the Vietnam War.

Too many Americans are discovering the intoxication of hate. I believe I detect a hint of Weimar, before it fell.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


I love it when a debater delivers a riposte so devastating that, in the minds of many watchers, the debate ends there. Politico Europe has one of these (scroll down) from the Emmanuel Macron vs. Marine Le Pen debate in France. Le Pen delivers the killshot:
In every case France will be lead by a woman, either myself or Angela Merkel.
Give that line a rim shot. Le Pen found a great way to say her opponent will be Mutti Angela's obedient 'child.'  In the last century, millions of Frenchmen have died to avoid France being dominated by Germans.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


There's a firestorm because CBS's late nite Stephen Colbert said what he really thought about Donald Trump - real gutter stuff. See the story with video.

You went full George Carlin, Colbert.       Never go full Carlin.

Trouble in Paradise

Writing at City Journal, frequent co-authors Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox continue their doleful chronicle of California's death spiral.
A recent United Way study found that close to one-third of state residents can barely pay their bills, largely due to housing costs. When adjusted for these costs, California leads all states—even historically poor Mississippi—in the percentage of its people living in poverty.

California has the third-lowest percentage of people aged 25 to 34 who own their own homes—only New York and Hawaii’s are lower.

Rates of homeownership for African-American and Hispanic Californians have dropped at four times the rate of Asians and non-Hispanic whites in the last 10 years, while minority homeownership in the Golden State now lags most of the country, notably Texas and the southeast.

The people leaving California are not predominantly poor and uneducated. IRS data show that California’s outmigration between 2013 and 2014 was concentrated among middle-aged people with higher average incomes than households that stayed in California or moved there.

Regional planners and commercial chambers should indeed look to California as a model—of exactly what not to do.
How well-intentioned, misguided people can destroy a paradise - look no farther than the once-Golden State.

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day

Today is May 1, 2017. Other parts of the world celebrate it as their Labor Day, and Communists have celebrated it since their founding. Apparently, a number of angry snowflakes will be marching in the U.S., protesting the existence of human beings, our exhalations of carbon dioxide, and other evils.

The snowflakes' underlying gripe: they aren't properly distributed to elect a president. Progressives are clustered in a dozen large metro areas where, instead of getting a mere majority, they constitute a supermajority thus wasting votes.


My favorite association with this day was a sing-song rhyme two friends in grad school recited at this time each year. Both were from Minnesota, of Scandinavian heritage, and accustomed to frigid winters. Oregon's cool wet winters reminded them of late spring in MN. They would chorus:
Hey, hey, the first of May
Outdoor screwing starts today.
I guess you had to be from MN to fully appreciate it. To a SoCal native, it seemed old fashioned and definitely not West Coast.
Nostalgia, anyone?

The Resistance as Humor

Kurt Schlichter is developing into a conservative snarkmeister, with bells on. He blogs at Townhall and can turn a wickedly funny phrase, today about the failures of #TheResistance.

Some choice examples: He calls Hillary Clinton "Felonia von Pantsuit," describes her as "that horrible, sick old woman," supported by "the catamite media." Some quotes:
Polls show readers are less likely to trust the mainstream media than random emails from Nigerian princes.
And he describes his cynic's view of A Handmaid's Tale.
A giant Christian conspiracy to create a gay-killing theocracy where women are slaves who are forced to cover their bodies and who are occasionally genitally mutilated. Sure, that scenario sounds familiar (Radical Islam), but I just can’t place it (Radical Islam). Oh, right – it’s totally Donald Trump’s agenda (Radical Islam).
He looks forward to many more conservative judges.
Thanks to Harry Reid, who is currently back in Nevada living in a sex dungeon with his NordicTrack/dominatrix.
And he finishes with a Yoda-ism:
Pathetic you are, for win you do not, despite your media friends and your sex organ sombreros.
If laugh at stupid progressives you would, his column must you read. (Schlichter channels Yoda better than I.)

Walls Do the Job

The Daily Caller reports Hungary built a border "wall" to keep out migrants trying to enter w/o permission, mostly from Muslim lands. Although it is primarily double fencing with sensors and backup patrols, it works. Illegal immigrants to Hungary are basically zero today.

People say Trump's wall won't work, the evidence in Hungary and Israel seems to contradict that viewpoint. Their walls work just fine. See the DC article for details.

We need to get the wall built along our southern border.

Weird Psycho-Social Science

The Independent (U.K.) pulls together 13 things research has found will help parents raise successful children. The article has an explanation of each, whereas I'm sharing with you the 13 "bullet points."
1. They make their kids do chores.
2. They teach their kids social skills.
3. They have high expectations.
4. They have healthy relationships with each other.
5. They've attained higher educational levels.
6. They teach their kids math early on.
7. They develop a relationship with their kids.
8. They're less stressed.
9. They value effort over avoiding failure.
10. The mums work. (translation: moms)
11. They have a higher socioeconomic status.
12. They are "authoritative" rather than "authoritarian" or "permissive."
13. They teach "grit."
A few things in this list are more "nature" than "nurture." Education levels, healthy relationships, and socioeconomic status tend to be more genetics than they are directed effort, which is to say, things over which parents have little control. Relevant to children's success nevertheless, perhaps even more so.

Many families of my acquaintence have disappointing adult children even though the adults are successful people who remain married and have decent social skills. A psych teacher I had years ago called this "reversion toward the mean," by which he meant bright, successful people are out-of-the-ordinary and their children will often be less exceptional, more ordinary.

Hat tip to for the link.

Monday Morning Snark

Friend Earl sends a Patriot Post photo of a man scratching his head, obviously puzzled. The caption is excellent:
If business owners are so greedy
And women make 30% less than men,
Why do they ever hire men at all?
Having spent some time with several medical offices recently (I'm okay, thanks for asking), you quickly see the medico-dental world has figured this out. It hires almost entirely women at the sub-professional level.

Translation: if it ain't a doctor or dentist, it is likely female, maybe 85-90%. A few male nurses, but zillions of women pushing paper, checking vitals, delivering food, passing instruments, taking notes, doing ultrasounds, taking x-rays, drawing blood samples, analyzing same, cleaning teeth, doing machine-based eye tests, fitting glasses, billing, scheduling, the list is exhaustive.

Most of these require no baccalaureate degree, maybe an A.A. or A.S. and certificate. As population ages, more work for medical staff, more jobs for women who are probably not paid especially well.
Meanwhile we sent the well-paid manufacturing jobs overseas = fewer jobs for men w/o college.

Women with jobs don't want to marry (and support) men w/o jobs so fewer marriages at the sub-college level. Result: more hook-ups, more out-of-wedlock births, more screwed-up kids, more single moms, more societal dysfunction.

It falls somewhat short of ideal, he said sarcastically.