Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Brexit Heartburn

We’ve written often about the United Kingdom’s struggles to normalize the process of leaving membership in the European Union, something a slender majority of its voters agreed they supported. As they get closer to the end-of-March date when it is scheduled to happen, with no agreement yet approved by Parliament, some are getting a bit frantic.

This CNN story is an example of those seeing a disaster in the making. Others think all the worry is another Y2K-style nothingburger, believing things won’t get awful and life will go on. My personal crystal ball remains cloudy with regard to Brexit, if forced to guess I’d estimate a moderate degree of disruption but no giant recession.

At some point the English (term used intentionally) have to tell the Northern Irish they can’t have it both ways. Either they’re Brits and will put up with border controls at their border with the Republic of Ireland, or they’re some sort of crypto-Europeans who exist in the EU but halfway out of the U.K. If they’re all that fond of the Republic maybe they should join up and be done with it.

Looking Back, in Anger

Republicans controlled the House of Representatives for the two years 2017-19, and, with the exception of the tax cut, accomplished essentially nothing. In my opinion, the dead-and-putrid albatross of their failure to perform must be hung around the neck of the Speaker, Paul Ryan.

There are, it seems, two schools of thought concerning his failed Speakership. One holds he was simply a do-nothing guy who took the job reluctantly when Boehner quit, and served as a human placeholder. The other views him as a RINO really offended his party elected Donald Trump and thus determined to give Trump as few accomplishments as possible. Maybe only Ryan knows which is true, neither makes him look good.

For two years Republicans controlled all three branches of government and should have done plenty to put their stamp on government policy. That they did little to undo Democrat malfeasance is a tragedy and the fault, while shared, is mostly Ryan’s.

About the Record Cold ...

Record cold weather now hitting mid-America is causing some very chilly individuals to rethink climate change. Authors Tom Harris and Dr. Tim Ball write the following at PJ Media.
A colder world is a much greater threat than a warmer one. While governments plan for warming, all the indications are that the world is cooling. And, contrary to the proclamations of climate activists, every single year more people die from the cold than from the heat.

A study in British medical journal The Lancet reached the following conclusion:
Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries.
Cold weather is what you’d expect in a time like the present; there’s a “quiet sun” with little sunspot activity. Fortunately for us, it is easier to create heat than cold. Hat tip to Stephen Green guest blogging at Instapundit for the link.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Now It’s a Six Pack

By my highly unofficial tally, the sixth Democrat who’d expressed interest in the party’s nomination for president in 2020 has dropped out. Politico reports Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has indicated he will remain in that job, rather than pursue the nomination.

Politico indicated Garcetti had done substantial waters-testing in recent months and had not aroused enough interest to justify continuing. They further opine the role of big city mayor isn’t historically a great launching pad for president.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Climate Change

Human beings are the most adaptable species planet Earth has yet seen. We managed to live, pre-technology, in the world’s harshest climates, from the polar islands to the Saharan desert and everything in between.

Some people live on boats most of their lives, some follow their herds, some farm, some fish, some kill sea mammals for food, some eat worms on purpose. You name it, humans have figured out how to cope with it, and survive.

About the only environments no early peoples managed to call home were active volcanic craters, the polar ice caps, and mid-ocean. Did plenty of us die along the way? No question, they did. Yet as a species we thrive.

Now people tell us the climate is changing, like that was something new. It isn’t. It has always been variable, without human assistance. Is it changing faster? Maybe, nobody knows for certain.

Is climate change a threat to individual humans? Certainly, it always has been. Is it a threat to the species? Unlikely.

Should we worry about it? Feel free to both worry and make preparations for your family’s survival. Is it likely we, as a species, will do anything to slow the pace or alter the direction of climate change? Almost certainly not.

If you need to worry about threats to our species’ survival, worry about plunging birth rates. It turns out that given control over conception, humans choose not to reproduce in adequate numbers to keep the species viable. We need a technological solution for that technology-caused problem - robot nannies could work.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Darwin Award Volunteers

Stories are surfacing about measles outbreaks happening in various U.S. locales. Pretty clearly these are largely the responsibility of parents who won’t get their children vaccinated against the so-called childhood diseases of measles, chicken pox, whooping cough, and mumps. Unvaccinated illegal immigrants probably play a role as carriers too.

People who won’t vaccinate are just asking for the Darwin Award for their children. Some of those children will ‘win’ it too. Ironically, these refuseniks are probably the same folk who won’t let their sons play football - “too dangerous.”

The parents’ refusal to vaccinate seems criminal negligence to me, but it also appears to generate its own draconian penalties on a random basis. Sadly, those doing the dying aren’t those making the bad decisions.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Inflection Point Postscript

Recent communiques from Venezuela indicate Russia’s Putin has sent the Russian equivalent of Blackwater to help guard President Maduro. Probably ex-Spetznaz commandos now working out-of-uniform for a private security firm.

These will be tough dudes you can be certain, heavily armed experienced killers. It would be interesting to know if Putin gave them rules of engagement.

He Blinked

Various outlets are reporting President Trump has agreed to a 3 week reopening of the shut portion of the federal government. From my vantage point it appears he caved, blinked, or gave in - pick one.

My hope was that he’d hang tough and make the Dems back down - no such luck. My remaining hope is that he uses this 3 weeks to structure a declaration of emergency followed by ordering the Army to build the wall using redirected funds.

Yes, Trump will need to defend a declaration of emergency in the courts. However, even if he loses there he will be seen to have tried his best to honor his biggest campaign promise.

Should he do neither and just give in, Trump hands awfully good ammunition to someone who would pose a primary challenge to his renomination. Not a RINO like Romney, Kasich or Flake, but someone who makes Trump look reasonable and accommodating by comparison.

Who might that be? Maybe Rep. Jim Jordan or Sen. Tom Cotton, either would get my vote in those circumstances.

Free Community College?

An article in Reason throws shade on the idea of free community college for all. The major argument it makes against community college being free is that the classes will load up with people who don’t really want to be there but can’t think what else to do with themselves.

It isn’t an exact analogy but decades ago as a young man I taught full-time for two years at a CA community college before going to Oregon for my doctorate. This was during the Vietnam draft era and my classes were loaded with men who had no interest in college but were using student status to get a draft deferment.

Most such couldn’t be bothered studying but they’d whine about poor grades sending them to ‘Nam and their death, as if I should pass them so they could dodge the draft. I told them the price of staying in school was doing the work and earning the grades; if they couldn’t be bothered, the military was welcome to them. I expect some went to Canada.

The article is correct that loading community college classes up with young people who don’t know what else to do with their lives does neither them nor the college any favors - been there, done that. And besides, whatever you get for free is worth to you exactly what you paid for it - nada.

Number Five

Drudge Report links to a story about a Democrat - Richard Ojeda whose name I’d never seen or heard - dropping his campaign for the party’s presidential nomination. By my count that is the fifth gaggle member to drop out.

As regular readers know, I follow U.S. politics. Yet I’d never come across Ojeda’s name, much less his bio. How someone with so little name recognition could imagine he had a shot at the nomination is beyond belief.

Is there a Democrat anywhere who hasn’t considered throwing his or her hat in the ring? You could almost imagine the list of those with no interest being shorter than the list of those who’d like to give it a shot.

Most would be better served to bet on the longevity of a snowflake in hell.

Review: Mary Poppins Returns

The other DrC and I saw the newish Mary Poppins sequel today. Filmed by Disney, it is set at a time when the son of the first film is grown, married-but-widowed and has young children of his own. His unmarried sister lives with them in the house inherited from their parents. Like his father he works for “the bank” and, like his father, his employment there is problematic.

As far as I’m aware, only one member of the first film’s cast acts in this sequel, Dick Van Dyke. There are also cameos by Angel Landsbury and Meryl Streep. All three are pros and do their brief turns well.

Emily Blunt does a believable Mary Poppins, but she’s no Julie Andrews. Blunt’s Mary is more stern, less loving, and ever so slightly capricious. Magical to be sure, and effective, but less likely to be missed by the Banks family (and the audience) when she leaves. In that characterization, perhaps she is truer to Travers’ creation than was Andrews.

Lin-Manuel Miranda plays lamplighter Jack, this film’s version of Van Dyke’s chimney sweeping foil. I’m certain we’re supposed to find him wonderful, for me the character didn’t work nearly as well as Van Dyke’s Bert. He kept popping up and moving the story forward. He was okay, but no stand-out. I can’t say whether to blame Miranda or the scriptwriters.

The other main character was Ben Whishaw playing Michael Banks. Where his father was a would-be tyrant who mellowed at film’s end, Michael is a wimp/loser who half-way redeems himself by film’s end. I suppose the audience wasn’t supposed to like either much, and Whishaw certainly succeeds in portraying Michael as hapless.

Michael’s sister Jane, played by Emily Mortimer, is a chip off her mother’s old block - another do-gooder - and for all the character adds to the plot, could have been omitted. Her mother’s role in the original was important, if minor. Jane’s role here is, it seems, to enhance parallels with the original.

The 3 child actors did decent jobs. One hopes they don’t suffer the tragic sequellae many former child actors experience, Ron Howard and Shirley Temple being rare exceptions.

One thing that troubled me was that Michael and Janes’ magical nanny shows up again 25 years later without having aged a year and they take her arrival entirely for granted. Would you be blasé about it? I wouldn’t in their shoes.

Okay, did I enjoy the film? Yes. Is it as memorable as the first Poppins? Not even close. I did not leave the theater humming any of the songs.

There is talk of a third Poppins film with Blunt. If it breaks new ground and leaves the played-out Banks family behind, it could be an entertaining way to spend an afternoon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Inflection Point

What is happening in Venezuela looks like an inflection point - the beginning of the end of Chavismo and it’s inheritor - Nicholas Maduro. The oil-rich nation has been in trouble for several years and the trouble has only worsened with time.

Once again we learn that socialism doesn’t work; lacking a reason to work hard people simply don’t do much. Socialism violates the precept found in 1 Corinthians 9:9:
For it is written in the law of Moses: Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn.
“Corn” meaning “grain” in the King James era and “treadeth” meant “threshing.” Humans are about as altruistic as oxen are, we want to be rewarded for our efforts. Socialism obscures whatever indirect connection exists between effort and reward.

The U.S. has announced a decision to recognize the president of the National Assembly as Venezuela’s leader, and some Latin American countries have followed suit. Maduro’s days in office, and perhaps in life, appear to be numbered.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Asking Why

Attorney Paul Mirengoff, one of the regulars at Power Line, writes about the Supreme Court stalling decisions on LGBT issues, blaming some of this on the new boy, Kavanaugh. Mirengoff believes Kavanaugh wants to “lay low” on controversial issues during his first year as a justice.

We should consider another possibility. Perhaps the conservative majority on the Court believes highly controversial social issues should be decided by the Congress and President, in the form of laws passed and not vetoed.

A good argument can be made for the notion elected representatives who have to face the public for reelection should decide such things, not appointed-for-life judges. How better to reflect the shifting public mindset?

Federalism in Our Future?

I’ve waited to see what eventuates before commenting on two media missteps in the recent past. Now that some of the dust has settled, I’ll react to Buzzfeed misreporting which the Mueller investigation felt it had to correct and the frenzy misdirected at Catholic high school kids from Covington, KY, who were harassed by crazies.

Some see these as media failures, and they certainly were that. I also see them as indicators of the worsening political polarization of our society. There’s a lot of hate on both sides.

The last time our country was this polarized a civil war followed. Is a war likely now? Probably not. Is our mutual revulsion likely to find some political outlet? Probably.

One result might be increased federalism with states empowered to follow their own paths on controversial subjects like abortion, gay marriage, religious freedom and gun ownership. You can almost certainly think of other issues which similarly divide us. It is hard to imagine how states could have different immigration policies as long as free movement between states is possible.

I can envision a future United States in which coastal states operate one set of  “blue” policies, while flyover states follow another set of “red” policies. Perhaps a few states will choose one or another middle path, “purple” with a mix of policies.

At that point we become the “United” States in fact, if not in name. Politicians who wish to have real impact on policies would then run for their state legislature rather than Congress, whose ambit would be circumscribed.

Over time, many people would move to a state where they felt comfortable. It could eventually - peacefully - lead to a split into two (or more) nations.

We hope this isn’t one of those situations described hyperbolically by John F. Kennedy:
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible ... make violent revolution inevitable.

Weird Child-Rearing Science

Scientific American surveys the findings of a number of studies and concludes only children are not especially disadvantaged thereby, as some have thought. This interests me as I’m an “only.”

They report evidence for increased intellect and creativity among only children, but perhaps decreased tolerance of others’ foibles. Having to learn to coexist with siblings could foster tolerance.

If I’m any indication, only children may prefer the company of adults to that of other children. I can’t describe how nice it was when my age cohort finally became adults, which occurred at college. At that point their behavior became more interesting and less chaotic.

Monday, January 21, 2019

POTUS Camel-Uh? Maybe Not

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has announced her candidacy for the Democrat nomination for president in 2020. A supposed large part of Harris’ appeal to Democrats is that her mother is from India and her father from Jamaica. Plus, she attended Howard University, a traditionally Black school.

It didn’t take long for oppo research to notice her former career as a district attorney (San Francisco) and state Attorney General (CA). Pundits ask how her work to imprison criminals, and obvious pride in her success thereat, will sit with the Black Lives Matter crowd which views American law enforcement as an anti-black conspiracy.

It will be interesting to see whether black voters will warm to her candidacy, given her career-long collaboration with the police. It should be easy for opponents to find mothers of African-American men she sent to prison willing to speak ill of Harris on-camera.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Cruel Non-Judgmentalism links to a New York Post article about homelessness, and why it’s become such a problem. It is worth quoting at length.
For decades it’s been an open secret that “homeless” is, for the most part, a euphemism for chronic afflictions that have proven very difficult to treat. The overwhelming majority of homeless people end up on the streets either because they are mentally ill, or because they engage in self-destructive behaviors, or because they live in a cruelly compassionate “non-judgmental” society that no ­longer grants itself the moral authority to distinguish between illness and health.

In the mid-1980s, when I worked in New York’s City Hall, Mayor Ed Koch commissioned a detailed study of the city’s single homeless men. I no longer have the report, but I recall its main conclusions, which divided this population into five main groups.

A large segment was clinically diagnosed as seriously mentally ill. A smaller group suffered from severe personality disorders. They weren’t necessarily sick, but they had a hard time interacting with others.

Another 20 percent of the persistently homeless were crippled by substance abuse (though men in all five groups used drugs and alcohol to some extent). Hardcore slackers — what we used to call “bums” — made up about 15 percent of the total. They were generally healthy, and often had job skills, but preferred not to be tied down to regular jobs.

The remaining segment — roughly 10 percent of the homeless — were simply down on their luck. They had lost a job, they had been burned out of their apartment building or they had seen a marriage break up. They needed a helping hand to get back on their feet.

The report concluded that only this last 10 percent of the homeless population could be helped in any meaningful way, an observation that sheds light on why, despite billions in spending and hundreds of social programs, homelessness and the chaos it creates has reached the crisis point in cities and states across the country.
As young people, our grandparents would have been amazed homelessness could be a problem during a booming economy. Then most of these broken people would have been institutionalized, and only the “hardcore slackers” and those down on their luck would have lived in “hobo jungles” or at the county poor farm.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Taken For Granted

John Hinderaker of Power Line writes that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has appointed freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to the House Foreign Relations Committee. Rep. Omar is a Somali-American, a Muslim, a woman, rabidly anti-Israel and a BDS supporter. She has Tweeted:
Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza  #Palestine  #Israel
Pelosi’s action signals Democrats believe they have a permanent lock on the Jewish vote, as they once believed they “owned” the votes of  blue collar whites. Analysis: Florida loses swing state status.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

It’s Lesser Evil Time ... Again

Historian Victor Davis Hanson, writing for RealClearPolitics, believes Trump has a good shot at reelection. See his conclusion:
Whether or not they like Trump, millions of voters still think the president is all that stands between them and socialism, radical cultural transformation and social chaos.

What usually ensure one-term presidencies are unpopular wars (Lyndon Johnson) or tough economic times (Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush).

If Trump avoids both, perhaps a majority of voters will see him as political chemotherapy -- occasionally nausea-inducing but still necessary and largely effective -- to stop a toxic and metastasizing political cancer.
The crazier the Democrat’s Ocasio-Cortez/Tlaib/Omar left wing gets, the more malignant it seems to normal voters. This benefits Republicans.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Brexit Nitty Gritty

Ed Driscoll, guest-blogging at Instapundit, quotes a National Review report of the Brexit vote results. The following adds detail to our commentary to date.
In response to the historic defeat, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a vote of no confidence, which, if passed, would oust May and give Corbyn a chance to form a new government. If Corbyn’s bid to become prime minister then failed to gain the support of a majority of MPs within 14 days, Parliament would dissolve and a new general election would be held.
Apparently May has three days to announce a Plan B, after which Corbyn’s no confidence motion is voted upon unless May comes up with huge EU concessions.

Subsequent Correction: It appears the no confidence vote will go ahead Wednesday, supposedly lose, after which May has until Monday to launch Plan B, whatever that turns out to be. Political life is not boring in the U.K. during the run-up to Brexit.

May Brexit Plan Defeated ... ‘Bigly’

Yesterday we wrote that a vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal was imminent. Various sources - Drudge Report links to several - report the vote has happened and her ‘deal’ was defeated by the largest majority ever recorded - 202 in favor, 432 against. The total voting no was more than twice those voting yes.

It is clear both those who opposed Brexit, the so-called Remainers, and those who believed correctly it gave away too much to the EU, the serious Leavers, voted “No.” Likely some Labour Party MPs who didn’t care much but wanted a shot at governing voted that way too. It was a landslide defeat.

Now we will see what the badly battered PM, Theresa May, will choose to do. She vows to “fight on,” whatever that means. Whatever she attempts will likely be the death throes of her prime ministership.

Deplorables Rising

COTTonLINE doesn’t often label something a “must read,” perhaps as rarely as 2-3 times a year. This morning I’ve got one of these ‘rare birds’ for you, it’s at USA Today. Glenn Reynolds’ topic is class conflict masquerading as culture conflict.
Around the world in the postwar era, power was taken up by unelected professional and managerial elites. ... [Now] it’s important to realize that the post-World War II institutional arrangements of the Western democracies are being renegotiated, and that those democracies’ professional and managerial elites don’t like that very much.

Members of America’s ruling class seemed to view ordinary Americans with something like contempt, using terms such as “bitter clingers,” “deplorables” and flyover people.

If you look at the “yellow jacket” protests in France, the election of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and events in places like Italy and Hungary — or, for that matter, the Brexit movement in Britain — you find a similar unhappiness with institutional arrangements and the sleek and self-satisfied elites who benefit from them.

What’s happening in America is an echo of what’s happening in democracies around the world, and it’s not happening because of Trump. Trump is the symptom of a ruling class that many of the ruled no longer see as serving their interest, and the anti-Trump response is mostly the angry backlash of that class as it sees its position, its perquisites and — perhaps especially — its self-importance threatened.
Analysis: accurate.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Brexit Update

Apparently very soon Parliament will vote on Theresa May’s Brexit plan, and everyone seems to believe it will be defeated. People are asking what she will do then, speculating on another referendum or other actions.

What she should do is resign, inasmuch as the defeat means her colleagues do not accept her best effort at Brexit. She should give another Tory leader a shot at fixing the problem.

It isn’t clear May will do this. Frankly, it wasn’t clear that - facing Brexit - she should have formed a minority government with a Northern Ireland Protestant party holding Brexit requirements she cannot satisfy.

Whatever May chooses to do, Anglophiles like yours truly will find worth following.

Lowering Standards?

Instapundit links to a TaxProfBlog article documenting calls by law school deans for California to lower the pass score of its Bar Exam. Their aim is increasing the number of minority attorneys.

Somewhere the shade of Kurt Vonnegut snickers cynically, muttering “Harrison Bergeron.” And those who see the adverse impact of affirmative action say “I told you so.”

Weird Behavioral Science

A study reported in The Scottish Sun (U.K.) finds vegans report being sick more than meat eaters. The data is correlational, no causation should be inferred therefrom. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.
The study found that vegans had almost five days off a year for the likes of flu, cold and minor ailments - well above the national average.

They were also three times more likely to visit the GP. Vegans reportedly booking 2.6 appointments to see the doctor during the cold and flu season, compared to the national average of 0.7.

Two-thirds of vegans also admitted to taking more time off work due to illness in 2018 than in previous years.
Based on a relatively small sample, vegans I’ve known were neurasthenic, unhappy individuals trying to self-medicate via diet. As the study notes, such efforts are most often futile.

The article implicitly invites you to conclude that being a vegan is unhealthy, and it may be so. An equally plausible explanation is that unhealthy people experiment with things under their control - for instance diet - in an effort to improve their health. Such efforts succeed to the extent the person is susceptible to a placebo effect.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Already Disproven

Many on the left are advocating steeply progressive tax rates on the wealthy. Most notoriously, the irrepressible AOC called for a 70 percent rate.

One of the downsides of having lived a number of decades is remembering all the things which were tried in the past, tried and failed. I suffer that downside.

I remember, for instance, when the income tax rate on really big incomes was much higher. My most vivid memory of that era was all of the uneconomic uses to which capital was put in order to “dodge” taxes.

Having lived in rural areas most of my long life, I saw the glossy “farms” or “ranches” that produced little and cost much. They were normally owned by a surgeon or a big-deal attorney, but run by a hired “manager” who might be the former owner. Their true purpose was sheltering real earned income by engaging in “economic activity” which ran a paper loss while piling up value.

Putting that aside for awhile, lets think about the entire “industry” of tax consultant CPAs who created complex strategies for concealing profits. Who could afford such talent? You guessed it ... the wealthy.

In those days there were said to be talented people who worked a few months a year and then loafed the balance. They were quoted as saying “If I work more I only give the money to the government.”

Those who advocate higher rates claim greater government revenue is their goal. Higher rates are not how you produce higher government revenue, actually lower rates which encourage economic activity produce more total government revenue. The Laffer curve shows this.

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Conrad Black writes a tour d’horizon of who’s up and down in world affairs, appearing in Canada’s National Post which he once owned. Patriotic Americans will like what he finds, see his conclusion.
The United States, appearing to be disorderly, its establishment and media at war with the occupant of the White House, is demonstrating almost effortlessly how illusory is the idea that any other country or group of countries can challenge its pre-eminence among the world’s nations.

Canadians may not like it; the world may try to pretend otherwise, but however the domestic political tides of America may flow, North Korea is on its best behaviour, the ayatollahs are quaking in their voluminous raiment, and all America’s trade partners, including Canada and China, are accepting what amounts to unilateral renegotiation by the U.S.

No other country in the world has any appreciable influence at all more than a few hundred miles from its borders.
Read the whole thing. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

Whose Ox Gored?

Do you recollect when the Trump tax cut passed? We learned that an important part thereof was making state and local income taxes no longer deductible on federal taxes.

This change was carefully tailored to gouge those living in high-tax “blue” states like NY, CA, and CT while impacting those in no-income-tax “red” states like TX and WY not at all.

The partial government shut-down is a similar kind of act. How many Republicans are seriously impacted by it? Most government employees are Democrats, as are most food stamp/SNAP recipients, if they vote at all.

Who will be crying in pain? Schumer/Pelosi’s constituents is who, much more so than Trump’s. Who will be best positioned to withstand it? Trump supporters. Who is likely therefore to win the Battle of the Wall? Trump.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Noonan Returns

Peggy Noonan is back from hiatus - writing as usual for The Wall Street Journal - with a good column on border security. She takes swipes at both sides, relatively fair ones in my judgment, and ends up with this:
All of Mr. Trump’s foes think they do what they do because of him. Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary measures. They become like him to fight him.

But some day Donald Trump will be gone. What will we have then? His tormentors think we’ll go back to normal. We won’t, in part because of how they acted in opposition. They think everyone will revert to courtesies, but they will have killed the old ways.
And her conclusion:
Stop this. It’s embarrassing. And it’s wrong. Make a deal.
Great advice, and Trump is willing to deal; it’s sad Schumer and Pelosi have painted themselves into a corner where they can’t negotiate.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Fourth Down

This morning various sources are reporting “progressive” billionaire Tom Steyer has decided not to continue his pursuit of the 2020 Democrat nomination for president. By my count, that makes him the fourth to drop out of the gaggle of aspirants.

It leaves more than forty Democrats still hopeful lightning will strike. Watching them fall by the wayside continues to amuse ... mildly.

Ironically their inspiration was/is Donald Trump. You can hear them thinking “If he could do it, why not me? Am I a less likely candidate than he? No way.”

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A Serious Speech on a Serious Problem

I wasn’t able to watch President Trump’s speech on border security last night. Later I read it on a RealClearPolitics website and he makes a good case.

No, Democrats will not be persuaded because they wouldn’t accept as truthful his assertion that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Him saying anything makes it suspect in their eyes ... that’s just the reality. I think he may have convinced independents.

Every now and then President Trump is serious about something. When this happens, he is fully able to drop the hyperbole and exaggeration and deliver a straight, closely reasoned speech.

That is what he delivered last night. Those who wish him well might like him to do so more often. However, I find him to be a good judge of when to do “serious” and when to do “pep rally.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Good Dancing, Bad Policy

Folks have been harrumphing about AOC’s dancing, I have no idea why. Why shouldn’t she dance? She had clothes on and everything....

On the other hand, I have all sorts of problems with some of the clueless stuff she has been filmed saying. Airhead isn’t a good look for a Congressperson.

AOC is a poster child for the failure of modern education. Gen X really hasn’t learned much about our government.


President Trump is scheduled to address the nation from the Oval Office this evening at 9 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. PST. His presumed topic is border security and “the wall.” It wouldn’t offend me greatly if he declared an “national emergency” and sent the Army to build the sucker.

Regular COTTonLINE readers will want to watch. It is promised to be a brief (< 10 min.) speech. I will have a comment thereafter.

Variations on a Theme

Rashida Tlaib, the Muslim congresswoman who swore to “impeach the mother f**ker,” also attacked her House colleagues for supporting legislation mildly pro-Israel. It basically allowed boycotting of BDS boycotters. She claimed those colleagues had divided loyalties.

This sounds like projection to me, she has divided loyalty as a Palestinian-American and presumes others do as well. Truly they may have, this sort of thing happens in a nation of immigrants.

Nevertheless, the pot calling the kettle black is never edifying and she should avoid it as well as avoiding making unprovable sexual claims. And besides, we’ve legalized everything else, why not incest? Why pick on the incestuous when nearly every other variation is legit?

Friday, January 4, 2019

Literally vs. Seriously

Over two years ago, Salena Zito wrote in The Atlantic this much-quoted evaluation (scroll down) of how Trump is seen by the legacy media and by his supporters.
The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.
Trump is given to hyperbole, who doesn’t know someone like this? We understand that about him and make allowances. The press understands it too, but elects, for its own hostile partisan reasons, to ignore their understanding, and take him literally.

Journalists react to Trump as if he were the Pope speaking ex cathedra. He isn’t. He doesn’t. A better simile would be a cheerleader leading a pep rally, we don’t expect nuance in that setting.

The complaints about his “lies” are contrived. Mostly Trump exaggerates, it’s “overselling” by a “master persuader” in Scott Adams’ terms. So supporters don’t take him literally, but he’s shown we should take him seriously.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Press as Laughingstock

Writing at The Federalist, Lee Smith takes an uncharitable view of the state of American journalism, one with which I concur.
It is now accepted journalistic practice to print, and reprint, any garish fantasy so long as it’s layered with Russian intrigue and Trump team treason. Even as the rest of the country sees an institution that has made itself a laughingstock, the press continues to salute itself for its bravery—or the courage and industry required to take leaks from law enforcement and intelligence officials and Democratic operatives in an effort to topple a president it doesn’t like, elected by neighbors it holds in contempt.
There’s a lot of “holding in contempt” going around these days, I’ve caught myself doing it on occasion. Meanwhile one newspaper after another goes dark, and TV viewership is dropping too.

“...But He Fights”

There is a real tendency for us to think others’ views aren’t too different from our own, especially if those “others” are nominally members of our group. Newly sworn-in Senator Mitt Romney (R?-UT) just experienced this psychological process firsthand.

I’m sure what Romney wrote in the Washington Post represents his honest feelings concerning shortcomings in President Trump’s character. What must surprise him greatly is learning - the hard way - that most in the GOP see the shortcomings and don’t much care.

Instead of leading a vast parade of disgruntled Republicans, Romney finds himself widely ridiculed in the party for opposing the first really effective Republican president since Ronald Reagan. I’ve seen no wave of GOP agreement from other than #NeverTrump sources, who were never numerous on their best day.

Most GOPers feel about Trump the way Lincoln said he felt about Gen. Ulysses Grant. He may be a social embarrassment but he fights (to win) and so we stick with him. It’s likely Roosevelt felt that way about Gen. Patton, too.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Alpha Male Does High Beta

Conservative scholar Steven Hayward writes something good at Power Line, his normal roost online, as a rebuttal to the shade Mitt Romney threw on Trump.
I think Trump is, in Wall Street terms, a “high-beta presidency”—high risk, high reward. I wish he was more prudent and measured in the fights he picks and how he conducts himself. He remains his own worst enemy. I fear Trump’s presidency could end disastrously for conservatism. But in the meantime he has mounted the most vigorous challenge to liberalism of anyone since Reagan, under much more difficult political circumstances.
And not only that, Trump has fun doing it. In that he reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt, both happily hyperactive guys loving the stuff they do.

My opinion: Like TR, Trump should bust monopolies. In our time the malefactors are tech firms.

Designated Patsy ... Heard From

Senator-elect Mitt Romney (R-UT) has written a Washington Post op-ed attacking President Trump. The opinions of Romney are of as little interest as those of John Kerry, or John McCain, or Hillary Clinton - each one a loser in the court of public opinion.

Like the hapless Washington Generals of Harlem Globetrotter fame, Romney did what the left’s playbook calls for Republicans to do. Namely, go out and lose to a Democrat.

That signal ‘accomplishment’ - being the “designated patsy” of the 2012 presidential campaign - makes Romney the Dems’ idea of a good guy. He can now write for the Trump-hating WaPo, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ virtue signalling project.

Romney apparently finds standing in John McCain’s recently vacated shoes comfortable. As creepy kid show host Mr. Rogers might have asked, “Can you say ‘RINO’?”

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

About Alexandra Whatever-Cortez

Writing at PJ Media, Jeff Reynolds does a not-bad review of 2018. I particularly like his choice and reasoning for Most Charismatic Politician of the Year.
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who overcame a profound lack of knowledge about just about everything to get herself elected to Congress. Young, vibrant, good-looking, socialist. The face that spawned a bazillion memes on both the Right and the Left. She mastered what Trump learned long ago — it doesn't matter what kind of press you get, as long as they spell your name right.
I fear we find ourselves in early days of the era of the “reality” politician, in both parties. Not everyone can make it “work,” as Michael Avenatti discovered. Those who can successfully straddle that tiger get a hell of a ride.

Happy New Year

The other DrC and I wish you a Happy New Year, in addition to the one we’d like for ourselves. I suspect 2019 won’t be much fun in Washington, DC, for the minions of government.

Looking forward, I see that Elizabeth Warren plans to run for the Democrat nomination. That likely won’t end well, another old no-charisma white woman trying to lead a party which relies on the young and the non-white.

Warren is one of some 45 Dems who’ve expressed interest in the nomination. Talk about a mob scene, scheduling the debates will be like organizing March Madness. I thought 17 Republicans for 2016 was a bunch.

When politics begin to get you down, remember that there’s way more to life than who is or isn’t elected. A sunset is still beautiful, a piece of chocolate is still yummy, your favorite music is still fun, and the great national parks change very little from decade to decade. The choice to be happy is yours to make.