Sunday, February 28, 2021

Trump at CPAC

I haven’t had the opportunity to read the verbatim text of Trump’s speech at CPAC which concluded recently. I expect it will take some hours for that transcript to appear online. 

I have, however, read a variety of quotes from his speech, in the reactions of various pundits who watched it live, something to which I didn’t have access. It appears that while he didn’t totally avoid mentioning his claim of having won last year’s election, he made a throwaway wisecrack out of it. 

Trump mostly focused on his continued leadership of the GOP, the mess Biden has proven to be and what crap Biden’s program is. Looks like Trump has his vision back, is focused “down range” as shooters say, and not dwelling overmuch on the past.

The millions who have gotten the Covid vaccine are in his debt and know it, even if they wish it weren’t so. And Trump‘s energy and grasp of what’s happening provides a vivid contrast to Biden’s whiny, fumbling public appearances. 

Like him or hate him, Trump will be a force in Republican politics for several more years. Whether he chooses to run again perhaps not even he knows yet. He does love performing at the rallies, which argues he will opt to run.

After I have the opportunity to read his CPAC remarks, I will likely have more to add.

Later ... Okay, I started to read it and, frankly, got tired and quit. He stood there and did a total memory dump sans teleprompter. I don’t love stream-of-consciousness speeches, particularly extra-long ones like this. They said of Mozart that he used too many notes; today Trump used too many words.

It was probably fun if you were there in a hyped-up crowd but as something to read? It felt underprepared, meandering and insufficiently linear.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

In Politics

Granny-killing NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused by two former female employees of sexual harassment. On top of requiring nursing homes to accept people with active cases of Covid-19, which resulted in many fatalities, this could finally end his abusive reign in Albany.

Meanwhile, it appears the petition drive will get enough signatures to put CA Gov. Gavin Newsom into a recall election he could well lose. It is rumored Ric Grinell, former Ambassador to Germany, may run for the remainder of the term, in the event Newsom loses.

Seeing the Democrat governors of two large, deep blue states in serious trouble is schadenfreudelicious. 

On another note, Trump’s speech at CPAC tomorrow is likely to be important as a harbinger of his future plans. You may want to either watch or read his remarks there.


Since we left Wyoming late last September, we’ve cocooned in inland Northern California. It’s a region we only left yesterday by driving to SoCal, specifically to the Santa Ynez Valley which is just over the mountain from Santa Barbara. Long-time readers know we’ve spent a couple of winter months here for the past decade or more.

Honestly, I am amazed at the different levels of reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic found here versus in north-central CA. The lockdown here is much more stringent, almost no restaurants are open for outdoor dining, and none for indoor eating. I’d read they’d had more Wu flu cases here than up north, and it must be a reaction to that.

Tomorrow we begin the first day of a two-day easy drive to Mesquite, which is some 90 miles north of Las Vegas on I-15. Since our route runs through the fringes of the Los Angeles megalopolis we are doing it on a Sunday morning when the traffic won’t be as bad. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Polarization ... on Stilts

Power Line’s John Hinderaker writes about a survey done to determine what Democrats and Republicans consider the important issues facing our nation. He presents the findings and - no surprises - the adherents of the two parties don’t agree about much. I believe you’ll find the results, which I won’t repeat here, interesting.

Equally interesting are Hinderaker’s conclusions about them.

Increasingly, liberals and conservatives don’t even seem to be living on the same planet. Their political concerns and agendas are largely ships that pass in the night.

I wonder, increasingly, whether it is viable for America’s conservatives and liberals to continue sharing a country. It is one thing to disagree, quite another to inhabit different worlds altogether. In my opinion, the Democrats’ world is a fantasy construct. They might say the same about mine, although it seems hard to argue that illegal immigration, high taxes, etc. do not exist. But that reinforces my point. Do we, at this juncture, have not just enough shared experience, but even enough shared epistemology, to jointly govern a country?

More to the point, do members of either party wish to share a country with people who seem to inhabit an alternate reality? It seems that increasingly the answer is they do not. A Czech divorce could be on the horizon. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

A Milestone

Yesterday the DrsC got their second dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, got it early and then spent much of the day driving south. This morning I’m having a mild reaction thereto, some achy joints, nothing ugly. 

We’re visiting with some relatives yesterday and today, before heading for Nevada to watch our new winter place being constructed. I guess you could call this a farewell tour of CA, although I know we’ll be back to visit, perhaps even to vacation for a midwinter month or so. 

This is a big adventure we’re embarking upon, albeit not the first or even second time we’re done something similar. By my count, it is the fourth time we’ve headed off into the (somewhat) unknown to reside, not just to visit. 

BTW, there are some new photos of the NV building site and our foundation, found here.

“Red Guards” ... Reinvented

Instapundit riffing snark on the “woke” movement.

If you interpret “woke” as a synonym for “crazy and stupid” — or, increasingly, “crazy, stupid, and vicious” — you’ll seldom go far wrong.

”Crazy, stupid, and vicious” is an ugly combination - the “woke” become North America’s version of Chairman Mao’s Red Guards. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

NBC the Shift

NBC News, which leans left on most issues, summarizes the findings of a poll they commissioned which show the extent to which the GOP is becoming the party of the blue-collar working men and women of this nation.

The composition of the two major parties is changing, and one massive shift is coming in employment: the kinds of jobs Democrats and Republicans hold. There are signs across racial and ethnic demographic groups that Republicans are becoming the party of blue-collar Americans and the change is happening quickly.

The GOP has gained 12% among blue-collar workers and lost 1% among white-collar workers. Over the same period the Democrats have lost 8% of blue-collar workers and gained 1% of the white-collar. Even more interesting are the GOP gains among Black and Hispanic blue-collar workers, groups once thought to be “forever” Democrats.

Who should we credit for bringing these new voters inside the Republican big tent? Why Donald J. Trump, of course, he of the populist message. Something few seem to comment on, he managed to attract blue-collar workers while driving away relatively few white-collar types.

Biden Immigration Policy Not Popular

The Washington Examiner reports Rasmussen Reports poll results which look at public attitudes toward illegal immigration. Since the Biden inauguration in January, the trend has been sharply downward.

Rasmussen’s Immigration Index uses a baseline of 100 [to] gauge voter sentiment. A number below 100 indicates support for a more restrictionist policy. The number is 86, down nearly 15 points since Election Day. The change suggests that voters fear that immigration is or will soon be out of control.

And Rasmussen adds: 

The new president also has indicated that he wants to legalize all illegal immigrants in the country, and 39% favor giving lifetime work permits to most of the estimated 12 million illegal residents of all ages who currently reside in the United States, with 18% who strongly favor it. Fifty-four percent are opposed, including 36% who are strongly opposed.

Translation for those who don’t like math, President Biden’s immigration policies are offensive to a clear majority of Americans, and highly attractive to fewer than one in five. Immigration was a potent issue for Trump in 2016, and bids fair to be the same for the Republican nominee in 2024. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Analogy Time

You know how parents discover odd things that let their infants sleep? For my wife, as a little one, it was riding in a car. For others it is being rocked. The key thing is for the baby to sleep so the tired parents can rest. I’m reminded of this by the following item.

If you read, you know there is always a list of 4-6 stories highlighted for each day as what the Lucianne staff view as important or interesting. See what their first item is today:

Aldi's founders have ways of making you shop! The miserly, feuding German brothers who fought for Hitler before surviving prisoner of war camp and creating supermarket empire now worth £27.5 Billion

A lead story about two cranky Germans who started a successful discount grocery? Can you imagine that being the headline on any day during the Trump administration? I cannot. What characterizes the Biden administration - so far - is how little news there is most days. 


At COTTonLINE we have written several times about “Trump fatigue,” about his tendency to make every story about himself. It is equally true that his exuberant presence caused the anti-Trump media (aka MSM) to run lots of negative stories about him. They hit him and, being a counterpuncher, he hit back. 

I wonder if people are liking the like-a-sleeping-baby quiet. Biden practically defines the word “uninteresting” and while he’s often embarrassing as a “losing it” grandpa, the Democratic media doesn’t want to emphasize his negatives so there isn’t a lot of news. 

To circle back to my intro (hat tip to J. Psaki), the ‘baby’ in the Oval Office is being quiet. It is possible many Americans are relieved and enjoying the rest. Perhaps people want the government to function unnoticed like a refrigerator, quietly and without fuss. For sure, that wasn’t Trump.

Monday, February 22, 2021


COTTonLINE has repeatedly discussed the party realignment that has happened over the past 5 years, give or take. The Democrats, formerly the party of the working man and woman, have been captured by the upper middle and upper classes. Feeling abandoned, many former Democrats have become Republicans.

I just read a decent article discussing this realignment by Shane Devine at American Consequences, hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link. Not that I agreed with everything written there, but it was mostly on target and worth your time. 

Leaving with No Destination

Three weeks ago we wrote about people leaving the Republican Party. They were mostly those who really liked Bush-style Republicanism - funded by the mega wealthy and both corporatist and internationalist.

Today Politico writes of such individuals, and concludes they have no place to call home.

If the Republicans’ reasons for leaving the GOP are obvious — primarily, disdain for former President Donald Trump and his stranglehold on the party — the sobering reality confronting them on the other side is that there’s really no place to go.

The Democratic Party, which continues to move leftward, isn’t a good ideological fit. Those who want to fight to recapture the GOP from within are vastly outnumbered. Building a third party from scratch requires gigantic sums of money and overcoming a thicket of daunting state laws designed in large part by the two major parties.

For better or worse, ours is a de facto two-party system where third parties exist mostly as recipients of protest votes. We’ve seen the instability that having several significant parties brings to Italy and Israel, it’s not something to emulate. 

If an American chooses to be consequential politically, it will be within one of the two major parties. Many for one reason or another choose to be politically inactive, and that’s okay too.

The most former Republicans could achieve as a third party is to take enough votes away from the GOP to ensure Democrat victories. So they need to ask themselves if the Democrats are the lesser of two evils; some will conclude “yes” and others “no.”

I’ve voted for the lesser evil several times, including votes for Romney and McCain, neither of whom I much liked.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Giddy Scenario

Blogger Ann Althouse repeats something someone named Tom posted as a comment. I believe you will find it interesting. Tom writes:
Trump will easily win a congressional seat in Florida if he runs in 2022. The census update likely means the GOP picks up 5+ seats in the house to take control. And then the GOP makes Trump speaker. Then Trump has control over the legislative agenda and impeachment. Fun ensues.

 Fun, indeed. That is a ride I wouldn’t mind being along for.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Trump at CPAC

A test is on the horizon. President Trump will speak at the CPAC conference in Orlando, Florida, on its final day, Feb. 28, according to the New York Post

His first formal public speaking engagement since leaving office, this speech will also give us a relatively clear indication of his future political viability. If he returns to the claim that he won in a landslide and has been cheated, he’s toast, even if the highly partisan crowd cheers. He will have become a crank and conservatives who wish to win will forget him.

If on the other hand Trump speaks of the future, taking our present situation pretty much as a given, then we can consider he’s moved on. He will have decided to stop beating the election dead horse, and can be a big part of the party’s future. 

I’m not certain Trump’s ego will allow him to drop the unproven claims, although I hope it will. Politics is not WWE theater or “reality” TV, where a good story line beats actual performance. I hope he understands this distinction.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Texas Cold Snap

Everybody is talking about a massive power outage in Texas, caused by extremely cold weather. Finger pointing abounds. Who is to blame? My answer: probably nobody.

This storm is an exceptionally unusual event, in Texas. It probably would occasion little notice in the Dakotas or Minnesota. I know it wasn’t much remarked in Wyoming as I had occasion to contact a business acquaintance there on Monday.

This sort of “outlier” weather simply happens very infrequently in TX and people aren’t ready for it. Let me describe an example from the DrsC’s lives.

The house we sold earlier this month in north central CA was built for us in the summer of ‘87. A few years after that, a freak cold spell - locally known as “the Arctic Express - descended upon the region. For about 3 days the highs were not above freezing. 

Many trees were killed, including a largish eucalyptus we’d planted shortly after moving in. Pipes froze and houses were damaged when they thawed; whole categories of plant life simply died. In short, it was much like what hit Texas a week ago.

How unusual was our Arctic Express? I have resided in this region since 1970 and it happened exactly that one time, nothing even close before or since. 

If it happened again tomorrow would the damage be as great? Probably greater. People don’t build or plant  to withstand the worst weather conceivably possible, they do take into account the worst thing in the past 10-20 years. 

We resided in Texas for a year and I promise you they weren’t braced for what just happened. Nor was NorCal braced for our once-in-fifty-years-or-more Arctic Express. That’s human nature.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Not Rocket Science

John Hinderaker of Power Line posts a most interesting chart which represents the unemployment rates at a dozen or so low unemployment states, all but one of which are governed by Republicans, and roughly the same number of high unemployment states plus DC, all of which are governed by Democrats.

Understanding which party’s set of policy prescriptions enables more people to find work and which leads to high unemployment is self-evident.

A New Dark Ages

A gloomy prognosis from Glenn K. Beaton who blogs from Aspen, hat tip to for the link. About the long-term consequences of identity-based politics and social policy, Beaton concludes:

We’re on the brink of a slow-motion apocalypse. A generation or two from now, humans may live in a world where they still have access (to) amazing old machines left over from a smarter civilization, but lack the brains to make new ones or even service the old ones. A generation or two later, after all the old miracle machines have worn out, feral humans may wander the burnt-out ruins of the civilization we left them, like barbarians gawking at the wonders of Rome.

From those ruins, merit will be rise again. Because merit rewards the meritorious. In the meantime, welcome to the new Dark Ages.

It is what happens when faith replaces reason, when passions supersede practicality. And like the proverbial slow-motion train wreck, we see it coming but cannot avert it. 

Thinking About Rush and His Show

I’ve probably read a half dozen Rush Limbaugh remembrances in the last 24 hours, and was moved by most of them. And yet ... I’ve got to admit I didn’t much like his radio program, but not because I didn’t like Rush. 

I understood he used the listener questions and comments as springboards for his impromptu editorializing and opinion pieces. I don’t know if others had this reaction, I didn’t enjoy his listeners. Plus I found the many ads tiresome. 

It always felt like I was “putting up with” the callers and ads in order to hear what he had to say. His sermonettes I enjoyed, but I’d keep turning off the callers and ended up not hearing much of the program. 

With radio, you can’t mute the audio and yet sort of keep track of what’s going on. With TV you can tune back in when the commercial or other uninteresting part is over. I do this a lot. 

Candidly, I have the same problem with all of talk radio, and don’t spend a lot of time listening to it. I’d tune in to Rush while driving, listen until he took a caller, and switch to another station. Often I never switched back. 

That isn’t on him, it’s on me. I don’t suffer fools gladly, and many of his callers were just that. Rush was no fool, he was brilliant. His callers? Not so much. I guess it didn’t bother him. 

I always wished there was a way to hear Rush without the callers and ads. Given his ratings, I was an outlier, in the minority.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Cat ... Leaving Bag

Blogger Ann Althouse quotes a CNN transcript of the Anderson Cooper hosted Town Hall. Joe Biden speaks:

I had been in the Oval Office a hundred times as vice president or more ... But I had never been up in the residence.

Which gives you a much clearer picture of the relationship, if it can be called that, between the Obamas and the Bidens. Not much closeness there, very much “someone I interact with at work, as necessary.”  Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Later ... We can identify this Biden comment as a Kinsley gaffe. That is, as a truth he wasn’t supposed to utter.


Instapundit posts the following item:

PGE: Worst-case scenario, some could be without power for 10 days

As someone who has lived in OR and northern CA, I believe this headline could be misleading. PGE is Portland General Electric, PG&E is Pacific Gas & Electric. 

These are separate companies serving separate regions. The one in the news a lot over the last couple of years is PG&E, which serves CA and as far as I’m aware has no large power outages at present. The outage is in OR, PGE country.

These would be easy to confuse, I believe.

Rush Has Died

It is widely reported that Rush Limbaugh, AM talk radio maven and most-listened-to conservative voice, has died at age 70. Just over a year ago President Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Rush wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but millions loved his common sense insights and his patriotism. He essentially created the talk radio “industry” which has subsequently produced several Fox News hosts - Hannity, Ingraham, and Levin come to mind. 

Basically he figured out that there was a vast audience whose views were not represented by what he called the “drive-by media.” So he spoke for and to them, and in their millions they loved it and him. He didn’t dumb it down, but provided palatable political science for the masses, with a bit of humor on the side. 

I first heard him on KFBK in Sacramento where he started doing talk. Its 50 thousand watt signal still comes in loud and clear across northern CA. Years after he’d moved to NYC he’d still make Sacto-area wisecracks.

Rush Limbaugh was a one-off, he will be missed.

Hindsight 2.0

The good folk at Power Line are, with good reason, quite fond of the somewhat misnamed Claremont Review of Books. “Misnamed” in the sense that it does more than review books.

Today they link to a non-book review article by senior editor William Voegeli. With a fine sense of irony and snark, he titles his look at the 2020 election “You’re Fired” after the tag line from Trump’s ‘reality’ TV show The Apprentice.

Baseball hall-of-famer Vernon “Lefty” Gomez often said, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” The Occam’s Razor interpretation of the 2020 presidential election is that President Donald Trump was neither lucky nor good enough a politician to secure a second term.

The Great Depression obliterated Hoover’s popularity, while the Great Pandemic left Trump’s in basically the same place where he began.

Evidence does not prove but does support a two-part theory about 2020. First, the pandemic was damaging to Trump’s re-election chances, but not decisive in itself. (snip) Second, however, the pandemic combined with Trump’s chronic unpopularity was too much to overcome on Election Day. Trump never amassed the reservoir of good will, of people who remained skeptical but were willing to extend him the benefit of the doubt, for his campaign to withstand an exogenous jolt like COVID. Having won his first presidential election because an imposingly large number of contingencies had broken just right, Trump was left with only one path to re-election: running the table again. That proved to be far too hopeful.

[Trump] committed the classic gambler’s mistake of interpreting a hot streak as proof of his own infallible judgment.

In the Real Clear Politics average, Trump’s approval rating as voters went to the polls on Election Day was 45.9%. The final numbers showed that he received 46.9% of the vote, an indication that nearly everyone who approved of him voted for him, but almost no one else did. Trump could have won despite engendering strong opposition if his base had been larger. Or, he could have won if a significant number of voters outside his base had chosen him as the less bad option. What he could not do was win with the base he had and the aversion to him from nearly everyone else.

Is Voegeli correct? We will need the hindsight provided by the passage of time to make that determination. In the meantime, he provides a fair approximation of what the eventual verdict might be. 

My own assessment: The U.S. presidency has two main jobs, getting stuff done and being the national figurehead. Trump did okay at “getting stuff done” but for a majority of Americans he did not consistently pull off the figurehead role. To use a British analogy, he got a B+/A- on the Boris Johnson part of the job, but only a C on the Queen Elizabeth part. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Spat, Disparaged

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump both have leadership roles in the Republican Party. During the four years just concluded, each of the two accomplished many good things for our country.

Each of these worthies has been taking shots at the other recently. I fervently hope they will stop this fratricide.

I share McConnell’s impatience with the President’s post-election meltdown, although calling it “incitement to insurrection” seems extreme. I share Trump’s irritation when a supposed ally publicly takes him to task instead of privately sharing his concerns. 

So, yes, each has reason to be a bit sore with the other, and to desire to get even. Getting even is, however, the wrong thing to do. The good of  the party should come first, and their spat is not what the GOP needs from each.

These gentlemen need to man up, swallow their anger, and get on with electing lots of Rs in 2022. Throwing rocks at each other doesn’t help the cause.


Writing at The American Spectator, Seth Kalkala makes some valid, I believe, observations about the 2020 election. Perhaps the most interesting thing he does is compare Biden 2020 with Clinton 2016, and Trump 2020 with Trump 2016. 

Doing so reveals that while both 2020 candidates improved on their party’s 2016 numbers, Biden improved over Clinton much more so than Trump improved over himself four years earlier. At least one way of explaining this is that Clinton was a particularly unattractive candidate, whose presence on the ticket suppressed voter turnout. 

I ask you to remember her use of an insecure home email server, her indifference to the killings in Benghazi and her sale of uranium to the Russians. Plus her spot-on impersonation of a shrewish, know-it-all ex wife. 

By comparison grandfatherly Biden-in-the-Basement seemed blandly normal. By the very nature of the job, a vice president has difficulty appearing controversial or evil.

And of course, widespread mail voting brought those who seldom bother going to the polls into the voting pool. Taken together these factors perhaps begin to explain the election outcome.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Monday Morning Wisdom

Monday morning brings a quote from Instapundit that carries layers of meaning.

In America, class war is disguised as cultural war, and cultural war pretends to be about race.

Anyone who doesn’t recognize the impact of social class on our thinking and politics, is willfully (or otherwise) ignoring reality. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

A Trump Story

A friend who spent years in the USAF Reserves tells a story of meeting Donald Trump, during his mogul days, long before the presidential run and subsequent term. I thought you might enjoy it.

On a rainy night just before Christmas, a Trump Airlines plane chartered to the Air Force was bringing aircrews back home after they finished flying military cargo to the Middle East. Taxiing on an unfamiliar airstrip somewhere in the Southeast it strayed off the taxiway and sunk a landing gear in gooey clay mud.

The civilian pilots figured they’d never get someone to move the plane in time to get home for Christmas. The AF crew guys on board said they could get the plane unstuck, if given a free hand, and the pilots agreed. Long story short, they succeeded, and everybody got home for Christmas. 

Some while later, after the holidays my friend (and I presume the other AF reservists involved) got a beautiful engraved invitation to brunch at the Trump Tower, call for reservation when in the NYC area. The only requirement, wear a Class A uniform.

Some weeks or months later, my friend found himself near NYC, called the number, donned his class As, and was picked up by a limo which brought him to Trump Tower. He got a thank you and handshake by DJT and a nice meal in a ballroom-type setting. There were other guys in uniform there, and many civilians as well. 

What really impressed my friend was Trump’s apprentices, a dozen or more well-dressed young people who hovered behind as Trump ate. These approached him one at a time at some invisible signal and were whispered to by Trump before scuttling off on some errand DJT had decreed. 

If that sounds like DJT playing Don Corleone minus the ring-kissing, I suppose he was. Very much “if you do me a favor, I owe you a favor.” In those years, NYC was a sea in which Trump was one of the big sharks.


Through a series of links beginning with Instapundit, we arrive at a Tweet which documents that three of the seven GOP votes to convict the impeached Trump have been censured by their back home Republican organizations. Politico reports essentially the same info.

It appears Senators Burr, Cassidy, and Toomey were censured - almost immediately and with varying degrees of formality - by their state parties. Don’t expect similar moves for all of the remaining four, though a couple may also be criticized.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Blue Doughnuts

Ed Driscoll, an Instapundit regular, posts a substantial excerpt from a National Review article which raises interesting questions.

Democrats have puzzled over why Biden did not perform as well in cities as expected, and conversely, why Trump seemed to overperform in them. Overall, Biden won major metro areas, but his slippage compared with Trump’s gains was notable.

Trump gained in every borough of New York City except Staten Island (where he was already a favorite) compared with 2016. (snip) Compared with 2016, he gained votes in cities such as Philadelphia and Detroit, the latter of which gave Trump 5,000 more votes than in 2016 and Biden 1,000 fewer than Hillary Clinton won. As pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson has noted, even though Joe Biden won major metros as expected, closer scrutiny of a number of blue cities reveals blue doughnuts: As Democrats increased their command of the suburbs, their hold on inner cities weakened.

The article’s author seems puzzled by this trend. My view: a party which caters to college-educated suburban voters, which the Democrats have become, will appear disinterested in (and uninteresting to) the less educated, who make up the bulk of inner city voters. Add to this the really pathetic job Democrat machine politicians do of managing urban life, which the article’s author notes, and urban D votes will be lost.

Later ... Free associating about “blue doughnuts” somehow surfaced the mental image of hemorrhoid cushions, which thankfully I’ve never needed. 

Trump Acquitted ... Again

The Senate has voted on Trump Impeachment 2.0 and while 57 voted to convict, that was 10 fewer than was required for a finding of guilty. Politico reports 7 Republicans voted to convict:

Susan Collins of Maine, 
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, 
Mitt Romney of Utah, 
Richard Burr of North Carolina, 
Ben Sasse of Nebraska, 
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania,
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

The only surprise in this list is Richard Burr. He joined the six who also voted to hold the proceedings constitutional. As a lame duck, he has nothing to lose electorally but may henceforth get less cooperation from GOP colleagues between now and 2023.

Meanwhile, following the vote Trump announced he is far from finished with the MAGA movement, whatever that turns out to mean for him personally.

The Hiccup Explained

Impeachment 2.0, now underway at the Capitol, has just this morning undergone a dipsy-doodle of “yes, we’ll have witnesses” followed almost immediately by “no, we won’t have witnesses.” You’ll likely see various explanations for that reversal.

The explanation which makes most sense to me is that, had they been permitted, Nancy Pelosi would be called as a witness. She might be forced to admit that, prior to Jan. 6, Trump had offered her troops for protecting the Capitol and she’d turned them down, ridiculing the need. Not a good look for Lucrezia Borgia’s latest reincarnation.

I don’t have inside info so it may turn out that another explanation is eventually accepted as definitive.

Another View

On Tuesday we linked you to a review of Boomers which was largely supportive of the new book. I’m guessing that, for better or worse, it will be considered one of the year’s “important books.”

If you’d like a more nuanced, less positive view of this “ generational study,” check out Kay Hymowitz’ review of Boomers for City Journal. As a boomer herself, she ‘paints’ from inside the bubble and uses a less broad brush.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Cultural Aside

Did you like the 2001 Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews film Princess Diaries? It is a favorite of the DrsC. It features one of those mostly white San Francisco private schools mentioned in the previous post. 

I bet you never asked yourself how Mia Thermopolis and her far-from-famous artist-mother could afford a private school. Not to mention a roomy-but-funky studio/home in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the nation. 

The short answer, one supposes, is that the Renaldis paid serious child support, while for years neglecting their parental visitation rights. It is, after all, a modern fairy tale and as such need not be realistic.

CA ... Beneath the Symbolism

Ezra Klein writes for the New York Times (behind paywall) a column syndicated to the Salt Lake Tribune with this intriguing title, “California Is Making Liberals Squirm.” Indeed, check out this example Klein gives.

San Francisco is about 48% white, but that falls to 15% for children enrolled in its public schools. For all the city’s vaunted progressivism, it has some of the highest private school enrollment numbers in the country — and many of those private schools have remained open.

Fascinating ... “segregation academies” in liberal California ... who knew? You’d think them normal in Atlanta or Dallas. This is a good example of a CA tendency Klein notes (emphasis added).

There is an old finding in political science that Americans are “symbolically conservative” but “operationally liberal.” Americans talk like conservatives but want to be governed like liberals. In California, the same split political personality exists, but in reverse: We’re often symbolically liberal, but operationally conservative.

Klein has good examples. He describes CA environmental protection laws being used by homeowners to kill development in their neighborhoods. 

During the 30-some years we lived in rural NorCal, the DrsC experienced two separate ad hoc neighborhood efforts which did exactly this NIMBY thing, quite cynically. One killed a subdivision, the other stopped the establishment of a new Indian reservation. Why? Because each would have damaged the rural experience.


Pro tip: because many paywalled NYT opinion pieces are syndicated to other papers, it is often possible to read them online as we did here. Some papers running syndicated NYT material are not behind a paywall. Web search the NYT title for alternate venues.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Many Expect Civil War

Talk about news you didn’t want to see. The Washington Examiner has results of a Zogby Analytics poll asking Americans about the likelihood of our nation having a second civil war. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Pollster Jonathan Zogby of Zogby Analytics said that overall, 46% believe civil war is likely versus 43% who don’t.

For once, political parties-Republicans (49% likely and 40% unlikely), Democrats (45% likely and 44% unlikely), and independents (42% likely and 44% unlikely) were somewhat in agreement.

The poll was conducted in mid January, immediately prior to the inauguration. For reasons that are unclear, Blacks and Hispanics were modestly more likely to expect civil war than were Whites.

While this blog has mentioned civil war as a remote possibility, I hope it is clear that I believe it unlikely. I view as slightly more likely a “velvet divorce” like that of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. That is, a non-violent voluntary split into two nations which remain at peace with each other but follow different internal policies. 

My most likely scenario for what will come is neither of these but rather a continuation of muddling along, because that is the path of least resistance. Actually solving the “polarized nation” problem would take a degree of energy and will which I don’t sense is available.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Wednesday Snark

Superior snark from Instapundit by sometimes-extreme poster Sarah Hoyt, on the subject of deporting criminal aliens.

What to do with Pelosi becomes a problem, though. I don’t even know where the border to hell is, so how do we repatriate her?

Send her home to San Francisco, of course. Thanks to people like Pelosi, SF is close enough to hell as makes no difference. Grok the poetic justice.

The Wisdom of Snowflakes

 A pithy quote from a Charles C. W. Cooke article in National Review.

One need not be an incisive student of history to understand that when a man is told that he can silence his critics by merely claiming to feel “unsafe,” he will quickly claim to feel unsafe.

And that is how the First Amendment’s free speech guarantees are nullified. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Booing Boomers

It is possible that you, like me, find the boomer cohort tiresome. You might have that reaction even if your birthdate says technically you are a boomer. 

American Greatness has a review of a new book profiling six boomer public figures: Steve Jobs, Aaron Sorkin, Jeffrey Sachs, Camille Paglia, Al Sharpton, and Sonia Sotomayor. The book is Helen Andrews' Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster. 

The reviewer lumps Andrews' Boomers together with Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Ade Acid Test and Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism as the three books essential to understanding the trajectory and significance of the boomer cohort.

I haven’t read the book, but the review is worth your time. It trashes the stereotypical boomer shortcomings in a heartfelt manner with which you’re likely to find yourself nodding agreement. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.

The Short List of Shame

Five Republicans voted with all 50 Democrats to continue the Senate’s impeachment trial. Fox News reports 45 Republicans voted for a Rand Paul motion that found it unconstitutional to impeach a former president. The list of shame is as follows:

Five GOP senators voted not to dismiss the impeachment trial of President Trump: Susan Collins, Maine, Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, Ben Sasse, Neb., Pat Toomey, Pa., and Mitt Romney, Utah.

I’ll be disappointed if any of those RINOs doesn’t face a serious primary challenge to their next reelection effort. Disloyal votes should draw negative consequences, of which none is more bitter than a career-ending repudiation by one’s own party.

Later ... This article in The Hill says actually six GOP senators voted for a trial, not 5,  and includes Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), about whom I admit knowing nothing.

Turning Off the Paying Customers

Ed Driscoll, an Instapundit regular, links to this Front Office Sports article about viewership of the 2021 Super Bowl. As you might guess, viewership was down.

The puzzling drop in sports TV viewership continues with the Super Bowl falling to its lowest numbers in 15 years.

Super Bowl 55 drew a 38.2 TV rating, also down 8% from 41.6 last year. That made it the lowest-rated Super Bowl since Joe Namath and the New York Jets’ Super Bowl III win over the Baltimore Colts 52 years ago, according to Sports Media Watch.

Believe it or not, in speculating about reasons for the reduced ratings, the article never mentions that a significant portion of the NFL’s audience is turned off by the BLM messaging on display. The satirical site The Babylon Bee headlined it thus:

Conservatives Sit Down For A Relaxing Evening Of Being Insulted By Every Major Corporation In America

As noted, a significant segment of conservatives chose to use their time in other pursuits. This makes the TV ads worth less as they attracted fewer eyeballs.

Diaper Filling

How about some Tuesday morning snark, courtesy of PJ Media’s Stephen Kruiser? His topic is the current tantrum which is alleged to be an “impeachment.”

The Democrats are getting underway with yet another public exercise of daddy issues, wasting time and taxpayer dollars in what will amount to nothing more than an on-camera diaper filling.

In Democrats’ defense, when ya gotta go ... ya gotta go. They are clearly full of it. 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Ground Broken

Last Friday I wrote of us no longer being CA homeowners and our new place being started in NV. At her blog, the other DrC has photos of that NV groundbreaking which apparently happened on-schedule.

You’ll recollect that I mentioned the new property has a big panoramic view. In the second of the two photos posted, above the trenched dirt which is its focus, you can sort of see that our new place is atop a small mesa with amazing sight lines. Check it out.

Unicorn Sighted

I just finished reading something I do not expect to find, a politically balanced article. No, really, I did and it is, hat tip to RealClearPolicy for the link.

Author Kevin Dorst truly does seem to be able to understand the world view of both of our politically/ideologically polarized red vs. blue, right vs. left camps. See his article at Arc Digital.


The main quibble I have with Dorst’s very even-handed discussion isn’t ideological. I don’t believe he assigns as much credit-or-blame to the Internet as it deserves.

While I love the Internet and am on it at all hours, it is clear to me that its everyman-a-publisher feature has been samizdat, on steroids. With an equally subversive effect on the status quo ante.

Instead of requiring investment in paper and ink, and then in distribution, all that’s needed is this generation’s version of the typewriter and you’re off to the races. Whatever you write and post is immediately available to - literally - the world; to everyone online who can read the language in which you wrote.

This has proved useful for ISIS and for quilters, for coin collectors and fitness addicts, for evangelists, devil worshipers and atheists, for the NRA, the Sierra Club and Donald Trump ... for everyone of every stripe and persuasion. Asynchronous gatherings of the like-minded occur, regardless of geographic distance or time zone. 

I am reminded of a line of haunting song lyric:

What brings us together is what pulls us apart.

The Internet has been a quantum leap into the unknown, the consequences of which we are beginning to see unfold. The upsides are obvious, the downsides less so, but real nevertheless. Instead of emphasizing what we have in common, it emphasizes the ways in which we differ, what we only share with some. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

No Carnival, No Mardi Gras

Having written about the Super Bowl, below, I started thinking about the next event which is Mardi Gras/Carnival. It falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of Lent. 

A quick check shows that both New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro have cancelled the celebration for 2021, because of the Chinese flu. Sad but probably a necessary precaution. One that will cost the merchants of both cities many millions of dollars in lost tourist revenue. 

The Not-So-Super Bowl

Crafty old Tom Brady wins another Super Bowl, beats the hot new kid. There is hope for us old guys after all. I might have watched a few plays except I forgot it was on. Not much interest in the NFL in our circle. 

Everyone online seem to be dumping on the halftime show. What else is new, I can’t remember one I liked. I guess the ads weren’t much either. 

I read the Geezer-in-Chief put in a videotaped pregame appearance, pleading for mask wearing, etc. He is so lame, this is his idea of the really aggressive anti-C19 program that Trump didn’t do? Meh.

I wonder if pro football hasn’t past its sell-by date, what with CRT memes and all. 

The Left’s Lies on Immigration

Jerry Kammer, in a column for the Center for Immigration Studies, writes the following, debunking the WaPo argument for open borders:

Jared Bernstein, who was an economic adviser to Vice President Biden before joining the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, offered an assessment that threw cold water on the import-foreign-workers enthusiasts who write the Post's editorials. Wrote Bernstein:

One thing we learned in the 1990s was that a surefire way to reconnect the fortunes of working people at all skill levels, immigrant and native-born alike, to the growing economy is to let the job market tighten up. A tight job market pressures employers to boost wage offers to get and keep the workers they need. One equally surefire way to sort-circuit this useful dynamic is to turn on the immigrant spigot every time some group's wages go up. (p. 157)

This is basic economics - supply and demand - when you increase the supply, prices including those for labor drop. A ridiculously low wage may look good to someone accustomed to third world poverty. 

The Biden loose borders policy increases labor supply, so wages will fall. Understand it as Biden’s payoff to his corporate dark money backers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

WY GOP Censures Cheney

In mid-January we wrote that House Cheney had exacted payback on House Trump, with Liz Cheney’s vote in favor of his impeachment. At that time I opined her action was personal and not a reflection of Wyoming opinion.

Today the Associated Press reports:

The Wyoming Republican Party voted overwhelmingly Saturday to censure U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney for voting to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Only eight of the 74-member state GOP’s central committee stood to oppose censure in a vote that didn’t proceed to a formal count. The censure document accused Cheney of voting to impeach even though the U.S. House didn’t offer Trump “formal hearing or due process.”

By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, something like 89% voted for her censure. Pols haven’t forgotten in 2013 she threatened a primary challenge of popular Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY).

A month ago she chose to side with the Swamp; her future in DC is not as a WY elected representative. Our WY primary is in August of 2022, and many of us will vote to have someone else represent our party. It won’t surprise me if she chooses to pursue alternative career opportunities.


Ed Driscoll, a regular poster at Instapundit, requotes a Barron’s article which cites an unnamed newspaper. 

“New York speculators,” crowed one newspaper, “made to pay through the nose.”

In the spirit of the current, hyper-sensitive zeitgeist, I wonder if that statement might be a double-barreled anti-Semitic dog-whistle? I believe it could be so alleged. 

Swamp ≈ CCP Fifth Column

At Tablet, Lee Smith writes an important article with an improbable title, “The Thirty Tyrants.” If you can get past the irrelevant classicism of a precedent in Ancient Greece, Smith makes an important point about what Trump represented and the motives of those who opposed him. 

His basic point is that the American elites which oppose Trump are making huge fortunes dealing with China, regardless of the negative impact that has on most people here at home. Trump recognized this and sided with Americans, against China, which threatened the elite’s access to further wealth. Presto, longtime big business Republicans became Democrats, as if by magic. 

Smith concludes what Trump called “the Swamp” is de facto China’s fifth column in the U.S. These are key people whose loyalty the CCP has bought with market access or cheap manufacturing labor. Their residence may be America but their rallying cry is “Globalism” and their sponsor is Beijing.


The new issue of Time has another insight which buttresses this argument. Author Molly Ball argues that what Smith calls the pro-China lobby was colluding behind-the-scenes to ensure Trump lost his November reelection bid. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for both links.

Friday, February 5, 2021

A Milestone

Today was a milestone in the lives of the DrsC. We are CA natives who've owned property in CA since 1978. As of today we no longer own property in the state. 

We have been Wyoming residents since 2004 but continued to have a winter place in CA. No longer, our new winter place will be in eastern Nevada. This cuts the distance from roughly 900 miles to under 600, it will be doable in one day, if need be, or an easy 2 days.

They were scheduled to break ground on our new place in NV yesterday. It will be finished in the late summer. 

Like the place we just sold, the new place also has a hilltop location and a panoramic view, though the view is of quite different scenery. Until WY warms up, we are wandering snowbirds, living in our RV.

Weird Poop Science

Research is beginning to learn that the minute beasties that live in your lower digestive tract (aka colon) make a difference in your health. See findings from Medical Express which showed that people with melanoma - a very evil and often fatal cancer - who were not responding to immunotherapy began to respond positively following a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT). 

I’m imagining a future in which shopping for “designer fecal biota” is a normal thing. We might even learn that centenarians have relatively unique biota cohabiting in their colons. Or that the presence or absence of biota are involved in Alzheimer’s.

Wise Words

Robert Stacy McCain, aka “the other McCain,” writes wise words about the pernicious effects of identity politics for The American Spectator.

The challenge for Americans, if we are to survive this destructive barrage of toxic identity-politics propaganda, is to see through the motives of those who seek to divide us. The vast majority of Americans do not spend their days stewing in resentment over “systemic” oppression.

We are not a nation of victims, and neither are we a nation of oppressors. Most of us are just trying to get through the week, pay our bills, and live the best life we can. And the best way to do that is still by clinging to those “little platoons” Burke so eloquently described. Our faith, our family, our community — real people we actually know, and not strangers chattering on the internet — are our genuine tribes.

This is likely the only life you’ll have. Choose to live as a winner, not as a victim. 

Dems Look Over Shoulder

Glenn Reynolds has a column in the New York Post you might want to check out. He argues that Democrats, who won the election last autumn, aren’t acting like winners confident in their victory.

Why? Polling shows nearly half of Americans believe there were significant problems with the 2020 election vote-counting and reporting. And that leaving office Trump had higher approval ratings than Biden has upon entering that same office. 

Romney Seeks Pork

Sen. Mitt Romney (R?-UT) has proposed paying people to have children, per The Daily Wire.

The legislation, dubbed the Family Security Act, would provide $350 per month to families with a child under the age of 6, and $250 per month to families with a child under the age of 17.

Talk about pork, this is something a guy who is worried about reelection would propose. It would constitute an enormous income transfer to his Utah constituents, many of whom have large families, averaging around 4 kids per LDS household.  I don’t expect his proposal to pass.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

A Retro Solution

Instapundit links to a FEMA document concerning how to “cook” woody material to make a gas to fuel internal combustion engines if petroleum products become scarce. This sounds hi-tech, but truly isn’t new.

A sometime military historian, I remember reading that during their World War II occupation the Japanese would spare little or no gasoline to the Philippine civilian sector. Clever locals used this method to propel buses and taxis in Manila.

The vehicles in question had a bulky device welded on the back which used a external combustion fire to heat a tank of plant material which gave off gas which was piped to the engine, which ran (badly, I suspect) on the fumes. Once the plant material had given off all its gas, it was effectively charcoal which was then burned to heat the next tank of plant material.

FEMA’s design improves on the WW II version but I hope I’m never reduced to such kluges.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

An Anti-Israel Choice

If you support Israel, or wish that nation well, please understand the Biden administration does not share those views. Paul Mirengoff of Power Line observes about this issue:

Joe Biden has selected Hady Amr to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel-Palestine. A more accurate title would be Deputy Assistant Secretary of State against Israel and for Palestine. . .and for Hamas.
After citing several of Amr’s anti-Israel positions, Mirengoff concludes:
We should expect the hatred Amr has expressed towards Israel, his close ties with Qatar, and his sympathy for Hamas and even Hezbollah to drive his work. And, considering the importance of his new post, we should worry that Amr’s work will drive Biden administration Israel policy.

Well ... since you wouldn’t pick a vegan to barbecue ribs, presume the Biden administration’s personnel choice signals a stance vis-a-vis Israel that is adversarial, maybe even hostile. Not that this will bother American Jews who mostly voted for Biden and find Israel’s tough security posture embarrassing.

Demography Reconsidered

Power Line’s John Hinderaker mines a Charles Blow column from the New York Times (behind paywall) to make several points conservatives won’t mind reading. First, a Norm Ornstein quote from the Blow article:

By 2040 or so, 70 percent of Americans will live in 15 states. Meaning 30 percent will choose 70 senators. And the 30 percent will be older, whiter, more rural, more male than the 70 percent.
To which Blow adds:
If you think it has been hard to get this Senate to embrace policies like reparations or voting rights that stand to benefit Black people, imagine how much harder that task will be before a Senate that continues to tilt toward smaller states.

Furthermore, a Pew demographic analysis has found that by 2065, Hispanics in America will nearly double the population of Black people, and Asians will overtake Black people as the nation’s second-largest minority.

Each of these groups have their own specific legislative agendas. How high on the list of priorities will be the agenda of the third-largest minority group at that point?

Hinderaker’s conclusion: 

Liberals have confidently believed that demography is on their side; even that it makes their ultimate victory inevitable. But as Blow correctly observes, demographic tides may be moving in a very different direction.

To which I’d add this caveat: Ornstein wrote his warning before the pandemic got lots of people to work from home, something many won’t give up willingly. Right now the migratory trends are away from the east and west coasts, who knows if that newer trend will continue once we’re mostly vaccinated? 

Message Received

The Biden administration’s message to Asians and Whites: it’s okay for Yale to discriminate against you in admissions. By implication, other IHEs can do the same, with apparent impunity.

I believe it is important to know who your friends (and not-friends) are. If you didn’t know before, you have received a clear indication. If White or Asian, you have not-friends in higher education and in the Biden administration.

More Evidence

Last Friday we wrote about Liz Cheney’s troubles back home in WY, and since then we’ve seen WY media reports that 10 of the state’s 23 Republican county organizations have censured her. On Monday we wrote about former Bush appointees leaving the GOP.

Today comes a piece in American Greatness synthesizing these data points, arguing that “Cheney’s Republican Party Is No More.” In a very real sense, the obituary is a fair one. 

Trump wasn’t the cause of the extinction, but rather its beneficiary, as he embraced the new populist-nationalist doctrine the grassroots was feeling. The prior migration of the Davos-attending super rich from GOP to the Dems can be viewed as a cause, a result or maybe both.

This latter party change has been evident in WY for a decade or more. Its one high roller county - Teton County - is the one reliably blue island in a statewide sea of red. That county is known for wealthy residents, skiing, Jackson Hole and the summer Fed meeting, a kind of mini-Davos. It is also the Cheney clan’s WY residence. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

A Celebration

Happy Ground Hog Day, COTTonLINE readers. If your weather was like mine, the prescient rodent saw his shadow meaning he’s predicted six more weeks of winter. That doesn’t sound like much fun.

Did you know that the ground hog is also known as a woodchuck, a whistle pig, or marmot? And that, by whatever name, it is an oversized ground squirrel?

Have a nice day.

Epstein’s Wealth

We finally find out how convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein earned his millions and afforded the tropical island retreat. He sold extremely helpful tax advice to hyper-wealthy clients and, it would appear, saved them billions. See the write-up at TaxProfBlog. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Oregon Lunacy

The PBS website reports Oregon is the first state to decriminalize possession of “personal-use quantities” of hard drugs. The article specifies "heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone and other hard drugs."

Oregon is consistent, still leading the way in intentional insanity. Oregon richly deserves to have every strung-out crack whore and addict move there. Not clear is whether Oregonians will notice if the deserved migration actually takes place.

Urbanism’s Decline

Not everything that appears in The Atlantic is total nonsense. Today I bring your attention to a discussion of the possible impacts of remote work on cities, commuting, and population density. The Covid pandemic has kickstarted this trend.

Metcalfe’s Law: The value of a communications network rises exponentially with the number of its users. 

In 2018, it was weird and rude to ask a boss to move a meeting to Skype, or to tell a business partner to fire up a Zoom link because you can’t make lunch. The teleconference tech existed, but it was considered an ersatz substitute for the normal course of business. 

“The most important outcome of the pandemic wasn’t that it taught you how to use Zoom, but rather that it forced everybody else to use Zoom,” Autor told me. "We all leapfrogged over the coordination problem at the exact same time.” Meetings, business lunches, work trips—all these things will still happen in the after world. But nobody will forget the lesson we were all just forced to learn: Telecommunications doesn’t have to be the perfect substitute for in-person meetings, as long as it’s mostly good enough. For the most part, remote work just works.

There will still be traditionalist bosses who demand you show up in the office every morning at 8 a.m. and work past 5 p.m. They will be viewed as outlier, hard-ass exceptions. 

Lots of us are going to live where we choose, and often that will be low density living. I write this on a hilltop in rural northern CA where I have a 40 mile view and no close neighbors. These are interesting times.

Barstool Conservatives?

None of us knows for certain what the future holds in store, sometimes it’s fun to imagine where present trends, extended into the future, might take us. The Week brings us an example of this that you might enjoy. Author Matthew Walther writes:

I believe that Trump brought the conservative movement to an end. But what its destruction means is something very different from the prophecies of permanent Democratic supermajorities issuing forth from the former president's critics.

About the Trump voters, Walther opines: 

Whatever their opinions might have been 20 years ago, in 2021 these are people who, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, accept pornography, homosexuality, drug use, legalized gambling, and whatever GamerGate was about. On economic questions their views are a curious and at times incoherent mixture of standard libertarian talking points and pseudo-populism, embracing lower taxes on the one hand and stimulus checks and stricter regulation of social media platforms on the other.

Like all futurists, Walther is almost certainly wrong about major details of the future he sees, but may also be right about others. This makes his “Barstool conservatives” projection interesting and fun to ponder.

Later ... keen readers might detect an indirect allusion to Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option at the end of the column when Walther writes:

The best that can be hoped for is a kind of recusancy, a limited accommodation for a few hundred thousand families who cling to traditions that in the decades to come will appear as bizarre as those of the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Monday, February 1, 2021

About Burma/Myanmar

Burma or Myanmar (same place, take your pick) has experienced another military coup, one of several since World War II. The military recently arrested and detained elected President Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of her government, declaring a one-year emergency.

You may wonder how it is the country allows a powerful military to take over the government whenever it chooses. In some ways the nation is like the former Yugoslavia or Soviet Union, two countries whose various regions were populated by members of different tribes. In Burma, several of these don’t like being ruled by the dominant Burman ethnic group and to varying degrees support separatist movements.

Burma tolerates a powerful military because, in its absence, the country would likely fall apart much like Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union did, and for the same reasons. The fragility of those held-together-by-force nations teaches a lesson that isn’t lost on the Burmese majority. It makes their commitment to democracy somewhat ambivalent.

A Mini-Migration

Reuters reports the following story, and the headline largely sums it up.

Exclusive: Dozens of Former Bush Officials Leave Republican Party, Calling It 'Trump Cult'

While preferable to a Democrat administration, the Bush terms were largely periods of wasted opportunity. While I understand these appointees showing loyalty to former employers they admired and liked, it isn’t clear any currently active Republicans are going to miss them. 

Will they become enthusiastic Democrats, the only other active choice in our de facto two party nation? I’d guess they will simply become unmotivated independents who find little to like in either party. 

Their corporate internationalist version of “Republican” doesn’t have a lot of adherents in this era of populist nationalism on the right. And their wealth means they’ve found more simpatico cronies among wealthy Democrats.