Fake Economic News

As Joel Kotkin points out, Donald Trump faces two major hurdles.  One is the structural mess Barack Obama left; a shallow, fragile “prosperity” (nonetheless called a “boom” by the Democrat media) built on hoarding low-interest cash.

The second?  The perception that the media is pumping out that this potemkin prosperity is actually a “boom” (emphasis added):

Yet this is more a matter of perception than reality, a kind of “fake news.” To be sure, President Barack Obama inherited a disastrous economy from George W. Bush and can claim, with some justification, that on his watch millions of jobs were restored and the economy achieved steady, if unspectacular, growth. Under Obama average GDP growth has been almost twice as high as under his predecessor, but roughly half that of either President Reagan or Clinton.

(And, lest anyone forget, “under Clinton” really means “under Gingrich”, since Clinton showed every sign of being no  better than Obama for his first two years).

Less appreciated, however, are the fundamental long-term weaknesses in the U.S. economy that Obama and Bush have left for Trump. A recent report from the U.S. Council on Competitiveness details a litany of profound, lingering flaws — historically slow growth, rising inequality, stagnant incomes, slumping productivity and declining lifespans. As the report concludes: “The Great Recession may be over, but America is dangerously running on empty.”

Like everything by Kotkin, it’s worth a read.

Am I The Only One…

…who wonders if all of this hysterical angst from the Left about having to share a democracy with people who disagree with them isn’t just an epic practical joke?

Like, the entire American left (or at least those that pull their intellectual strings) playing a huge joke on all of society?   Like, Ashton Kutcher is going to go on all six networks (counting Univision) and say “Dudes and Dudettes, you’ve been punked?”

I mean, reading this little tirade, it seems more and more plausible.   This person just can’t be for real.

Help me out, people.

Deciding Question

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My Facebook friends are still losing it about Trump.  Now the persistent theme is that his Cabinet appointments are rich people who know nothing about their departments; or worse, they do know something but it’s the wrong thing.

 The woman appointed as Secretary of Education sent her kids to private school.  So that means she knows nothing about public schools?  No, dummy, it means she could see what a complete disaster public schools are so she pulled her kids out to give them a chance at a decent education.  She’s taken the top education job to try to reform public education into what private education already is.

 The guy in charge of the Labor Department opposes the minimum wage.  Yeah, him and every other competent economist.  So what’s your complaint: he has a brain and isn’t afraid to use it? 

 The Marine we just put in charge of the military isn’t sensitive, he’s confrontational.  Oh for crying out loud, confrontation is the whole point of a War Department.  Those aren’t all “participation ribbons” on his chest: at least one is an award for heroic bravery in combat.  That’s the kind of leadership the military desperately needs nowadays.

 For all the whining and complaining, nitpicking and second-guessing, the issue still comes down to the same issue that decided the election.  Is he Hillary yet?  No?  Still not Hillary?  Okay, good to go.  Carry on.

 Joe Doakes

And to the left, the question is, “is he appointing liberals, after having beaten them?”

Almost Official

The electoral college confirmed what everyone but the most deluded of Democrats already knew:  Donald Trump is the President-Elect.

There was some drama; a total of six electors – four Democrats from Washington State, two Republicans from Texas – broke ranks and voted for other people:

In the end, however, more Democrats than Republicans went rogue, underscoring deep divisions within their party. At least four Democratic electors voted for someone other than Clinton, while two Republicans turned their backs on Trump.

With nearly all votes counted, Trump had clinched 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227, according to an Associated Press tally of the voting by 538 electors across the country.

“I will work hard to unite our country and be the President of all Americans,” Trump said in a statement responding to the results.

This won’t end the Democrats’ attempts to  affect the Electoral College process – when Congress meets on January 6 to officially count the votes, I fully expect Illinois to gin up 300 electoral ballots.

And they will no doubt redouble their efforts to abolish the Electoral College.   Hopefully this election will end all talk of the National Popular Vote on the GOP side of the aisle, at least.

Changing Standards

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Leon Panetta, Big-shot Democrat, Clinton pal and former CIA Director time-server, says Trump will be blamed for an attack on the United States if he skips regular intelligence briefings.
So is Leon guaranteeing that Trump will NOT be blamed for an attack, if he DOES attend regular intelligence briefings? Hard to believe, given the way Democrats blamed Bush for 9/11 and Bin laden, even though the set-up for those disasters occurred entirely on Bill Clinton’s watch.
And even harder to believe, given the way Democrats still chant “Bush lied, people died” which rests on the foundation that “faulty intelligence” sucked us into the War in Iraq. Democrats insist nobody should have believed those intelligence briefings, so why should Democrats insist we believe the current ones?
In nearly 8 years of The Won proudly getting his news from the NYT, repeatedly stating that he wasn’t aware of anything until he read it there, skipping briefings routinely, when did Democrats ever demand that he pay attention? What’s changed?
Joe Doakes

To the left, reality isn’t a state; it’s a construct.

We Tried To Warn You

Oh, yes, liberals.  We did.

When the President started going crazy on the number and scope of his executive orders, we we warned you; “y’all might not control the White House forever.  You might not want to set that precedent”.

But you did.

And when Dingy Harry Reid tubed the filibuster, we warned you; “this is one of those traditions that has served to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority for longer than anyone can remember”, you laughed and shot the filibuster in the head.

They did it – do you remember this? – because they weren’t getting their way fast enough for their petulant adolescent tastes!

Let’s flash back to 2013:

“The American people believe Congress is broken. The American people believe the Senate is broken. And I believe they are right,” Reid said Thursday on the Senate floor. “The need for change is so very, very obvious.”…

“I’ve sat on the Judiciary (Committee) for 20 years and it has never, ever been like this. You reach a point where your frustration just overwhelms and things have to change,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who had previously opposed efforts to change filibuster rules but voted with Reid on Thursday. “I think the level of frustration on the Democratic side has just reached the point where it’s worth the risk.”

So the Democrats, in a tantrum as shortsighted as that of any teenager, blew up the filibuster.  

Today?  The hangover is setting in:  

Senator Chris Coons (D., Del.) said on CNN Tuesday that he regrets the rule change Senate Democrats made to the nomination process.

“The filibuster no longer acts as an emergency brake on the nomination,” Coons said….“I do regret that. Frankly I think many of us will regret that in this congress because it would have been a terrific speed bump, potential emergency break [sic], to have in our system to slow down the confirmation of extreme nominees,” Coons said.

The problem, as I see it?  Too many Republicans are too compassionate, and absorbed the lessons they used to teach people about “good sportsmanship” and “being a good winner” as well as losing with grace (which we’ve done so much of we’re out of practice being “good winners”).   We have been loathe to pound home the fruits of the victories we’ve gotten (although the GOP’s idiot consulting class has a lot to do with that too).

But compassion must be tempered with teaching the Democrats a lesson.  We have federalism, and the traditions that up until Reid’s tantrum, protected the minority from the depredations of the majority.

So yes, GOP – we do need to make this a painful lesson for the Democrats.  We do  need to empanel a generation of conservative judges (to roll back the damage Obama did to the federal judiciary).  We do need to use this mandate that the people gave us in Congress to make the changes you were sent to make.

For the Democrats’ own good.

We tried to teach them about limited government the easy, comfy way.

Now it’s time to teach them the hard way.

Conservatives In The Mist

Google is reaching out to hire something foreign, and a little scary, to them.

Conservatives:

In the weeks since the Nov. 8 election, Google has ramped up efforts to hire Republican lobbying firms and in-house lobbyists to change the composition of its Washington office, according to three lobbyists with knowledge of the matter.

The company also posted an advertisement for a manager for conservative outreach and public policy partnership, seeking a “liaison to conservative, libertarian and free market groups.”

I’m available to serve as a conservative-to-Silicon-Valley interpreter.

I offer the same service to the Twin Cities media.  Have your people call my people.

For a price.

Faster!

The progressive chattering classes are all in a tizzy because many of Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees are long-time opponents of the departments they’ve been chosen to lead:

  • Rick Perry at Energy – who has advocated disbanding the entire department and reducing a cabinet seat
  • Ben Carson at HUD, who has criticized federal housing
  • Betsy DeVos at Education – a major proponent of school choice and degrading the government monopoly on education
  • Scott Pruitt at the EPA, an agency against whom he’s spent years litigating
  • Andy Puzder at Labor, who would oppose most “progressive” labor regulations
  • Tom Price at HHS, who advocates rolling back Obamacare.

The chattering classes are all aflutter.  Perhaps because most of these departments are nothing but make-work programs for worthless Ivy Leaguer poli sci grads like, well, themselves.

Or perhaps because the American people might just support it:

And that leads us to the really burning question: Will anyone miss those departments if they go away?

We could try to answer that question by diving into the bitterly partisan political and economic debate over the size of government that’s been dividing people in this country since the days of Jefferson and Hamilton. Or we could wisely dump that academic argument and realize that the answer lies in how well the Trump team manages to make sure the changes get noticed by normal voters in a positive way. In politics, perception truly is reality.

And Trump, for all his faults, gets that better than most other Republicans.  For worse or, when it comes to slashing the size and power of the Federal Government ,much much better.

Trump-Starting Conservatism?

Trump is no conservative.  He’s a big-government former Democrat who, previewed solely on his own record, merits and statements, looks as if he could be a bigger spender than George W Bush, if not Obama himself.

But his cabinet, so far, is well to the right of the Congress, which is moving to the right, but not nearly fast enough.

King Banaian pointed this out on the show on Saturday – and John Fund agrees, today, in NRO:

The biggest surprise Donald Trump has provided as president-elect is just how conservative a cabinet he is putting together. “This is a more conservative cabinet than Reagan assembled in 1980,” says Ed Feulner, a key Trump transition adviser. As president of the Heritage Foundation at the time, Feulner provided guidance for Reagan’s choices. The conservative cast of the nominees thus far is somewhat unexpected, given Trump’s well-known reputation as a non-ideological thinker who has often backed big-government solutions. Plus, Trump was a registered Democrat until 2009. Indeed, Trump’s entire family is largely non-ideological. It was only last August, in a meeting with New Jersey governor Chris Christie, that Donald Trump Jr. ticked off a list of his father’s new positions and said, “Well, I guess that means we’re conservatives!”

If they get through the Senate, it’ll be that rare example (as King and Ed pointed out over the weekend) of the cabinet being to the right of Congress.

And if they don’t?  It’ll be an epic chanting point for the 2018 mid-terms.

Well, Doy

The WashEx asks if Trump is already president:

With weeks to go until he takes office, Trump’s moves have tested the limits of his unofficial powers as the president-in-waiting. And although his activism has drawn scrutiny from detractors, his favorability ratingshave hit new heights on the heels of several high-profile successes.

“I don’t think it’s normal for a president-elect to be out and about like this, but this is the era of Trump, and he is literally rewriting the rules,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist.

My answer?  Why not?  Obama’s been semi-retired for the past two and a half years.

Half The Story

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Google “Trump salary” and you’ll see endless articles claiming Trump is waiving the $400,000 annual salary as President.  No, he’s volunteering to become A Dollar A Year Man.  That’s an important distinction, as it evokes historical parallels to great men who sacrificed to save the nation in time of peril.

 Of course, no journalist knows that.  Or if they did, they certainly can’t admit it, because that would mean Trump is a statesman and a patriot; we can’t have that.

 Joe Doakes

As Glenn Reynolds puts it, “if you remember that they’re Democrat operatives with bylines, it all makes sense”>

 

Unsung

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It occurs to me that I haven’t heard Larry Jacobs opine about Kellyanne Conway, the woman who ran Donald Trump’s stunningly successful Presidential campaign.  Why not? 

 It’s not as if she had such a great candidate that the campaign was a walk in the park.  Trump isn’t George Washington, someone the whole public would love to proclaim King.  I’m absolutely confident that no other candidate could have beaten Hillary.  The other Republicans all were hiring the same strategy consultants, making the same media buys, hitting up the same super PAC fundraisers.  They even shop at the same tailors: I never saw so many identical outfits as when the twelve dwarfs were in those early debates.  Somehow, she pulled her guy to the top of that heap.

 And did it practically free.  She convinced the media to give Trump a zillion dollars of free publicity, thinking they were killing his campaign by reporting on his outrageous promise to “Build the Wall” when in fact, he was using them to reach out to Joe Six-Pack who heard the slogan and thought “Damned straight and about time!”  Talk about your all-time classic backfires . . . that’s a brilliant tactic nobody else could have gotten away with.

 Kellyanne Conway ought to be on the cover of every political magazine, the talk of every political news program and the subject of every Poli Sci class on every campus.  She ran an insurgent campaign on a shoestring and beat the best political consultants and candidate in the nation.  And did it with a unruly novice as the candidate!  And won walking away, an Electoral College landslide. Why isn’t she getting more praise?

 She’s either the single luckiest woman in the world or the smartest, I’m not sure which and I don’t care.  I’m just grateful to her for preventing The Lizard Queen from ascending to the Rose Garden Throne.  In the first week alone, she saved me $1,000 that I was planning to spend on ammunition before Hillary banned it.  Her guy hasn’t even taken office and already, my life is richer.  

 Joe Doakes

Same same.

Open Letter To The House And Senate MNGOP Caucuses

To:  House GOP Caucus, Senate GOP Caucus
From:  Mitch Berg, ornery peasant
Re:  Focus

Dear Cauci,

Congrats on taking the majority.  I’m truly overjoyed.

Now, let’s get real.

Focus:  Ever watched someone doing karate?  When they do a strike, they focus all their energy, from their waist on down through their hands, into their knuckle.  One or two of them.  Because that’s how you inflict as much force as possible on your target – focusing the energy.

We’ll come back to that.

Focus Some More:  When the Allies landed in Normandy in 1944, it took eight or so weeks of brutal fighting to break through the German defenses.

And when the Allies forced that breakthrough, did they then pause, and redirect to the invasion of Denmark?

No!   They focused on driving to Berlin, and destroying any enemy that got in their way!

They focused on the mission at hand!

No.  Really Focus:  You have the majority in both chambers of the Legislature (if only by a vote in the Senate).

You got it for three reasons:

  1. The Dems brought us MNSure, and you were able to tie it around their necks
  2. The economy in greater Minnesota isn’t nearly as spiffy as it is in the Metro
  3. Just like nationwide – the metro “elites” are utterly disconnected with the experience of Greater Minnesota.

That is why you have the majority.  Not to protect marriage.  Not to argue about who goes in what bathrooms.

Heathcare.   Economy.   Elites.  

No more.  No less.

I Said Focus, MKay?:  It was six short years ago that voters last gave you both chambers of the Legislature.  Even with a DFL ideologue for a governor, it was a golden opportunity.   You were given that majority because:

  1. Obama overreached – on healthcare
  2. The economy in Greater Minnesota sucked!
  3. The DFL had made a hash out of the budget.

What did you – or at least the previous leadership – do?

Well, good work on the budget, to be honest.  But that wonky triumph was overshadowed by the national, media-stoked furor over the Gay Marriage issue.  The legislature bet a ton of political capital…

on an issue that had nothing to do with you getting your majority.

Nothing!

If you’re a North Dakota or Montana Republican, with a near-permanent majority and an opposition Democrat party that barely qualifies as a party at all, you can spend political capital on anything you want, and there’ll be no consequences.   It might even work (long enough to get struck down by the Supreme Court, anyway).

But not in Minnesota, the purplest of purple states.

Focus Focus Focus Focus Focus!:  This is not North Dakota.  Perhaps if you hold your majorities long enough to bring a quarter century of unbridled prosperity to Minnesota and we might become so lucky.  But we’re nowhere close to that yet.

You were elected by a fickle electorate over…what?

Let’s run the list again:

  1. MNSure
  2. The economy in greater MN
  3. Our idiot elites

You have political capital – a mandate, indeed.

And like the Allies after D-Day, you need to focus that capital on beating the enemy in front of us; MNSure, taxes, regulations, mining-phobia.

And like Bruce Lee, you need to focus that energy straight to the metaphorical knuckle, as narrowly and overwhelmingly as you can to win on the issues we, the voters, sent you there to win!

For The Love Of God, Focus!:  I’ve heard talk of legislators discussing floating some legislation:

  • Rest Rooms:  Don’t be idiots.  We already have laws making mischief in bathrooms illegal. And all it’s gonna take is one angry father or grandfather at some Target somewhere to make that issue pretty well self-enforcing.  It’s a private property issue,   And it’s a distraction.   Deal with the restrooms when the majority is rock solid safe.
  • Abortion:  It’s an important thing.  I get it.  It’s also not why you were sent to Saint Paul.  Not this time.  If you win long and big enough, you’ll get your chance.  This is not that chance.   Do not screw this up.  
  • Other social issues:  Stop.  Just stop.  Now.  Seriously. 

GOP legislators:  today, you control the agenda in Saint Paul.  It gives you a huge opportunity.  With the opportunity comes risk; if you take the GOP majority off beam, and bog the party down in a fight that has nothing to do with why you have the majority, fighting a veto you can’t win over an issue that does nothing but focus all of the Big Democrat Money, all their bottomless funding and masses of drooling droogs, over something that the voters that sent you to Saint Paul don’t care about nearly as much as healthcare and the economy, you will deserve to lose again in 2016.  

Focus.

Focus.

Focus focus focus.

Kill MNSure.  Kill regulations.  Lower taxes.

No.  More than that.  Focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus focus.

No.  More than that.

Sing along with me:  Kill MNSure.  Kill regulations.  Lower taxes.  Kill MNSure.  Kill regulations.  Lower taxes.  Kill MNSure.  Kill regulations.  Lower taxes.

Win the war we sent you there to win.

Oh – and focus.

No.  More than that.

Spoils

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

“Hello, Congressman Never-Trump?  Yeah, hi, this is PRESIDENT Trump.  What’s all that wailing in the background?  Oh, you were just about to call to congratulate me?  Yeah, that’s great.  Listen, I’m gonna need some money to build the wall with Mexico.  About those appropriations in your district . . . be a shame if anything happened to them, like maybe a line-item veto.  Oh, I can?  Great, I’m glad to have your support.  That’s fine, talk to you soon.  Get some rest, you sound a little down.  Bye now!”

 Joe Doakes

We shall truly see.

Just You Wait…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Paul Ryan has become an Establishment Republican.  He’s not going to help Trump win.  He thinks that’s the smart play but I wonder if his voters will mind that he’s back-stabbing the Republican candidate? They’re already booing him in his home state.

 Trump isn’t the one who killed the GOP.  He’s just the one who walked up to it and poked it with a stick to be sure it’s dead.

 Last time, the base turned out nice, polite Tea Partiers who left the lawn cleaner than when they arrived.  This time, we picked Trump who is loud and vulgar but at least knows the greatest threat facing America is not global warming.  If the Democrats, the media and the Establishment GOP conspire to keep him out of the White House, just wait to see who comes next.

Joe Doakes

The anticipation is killing me.

Report Card

Frank Drake is running and extremely aggressive, and fairly tart, campaign against Keith Ellison in the fifth Congressional District.

Will it work? I saw the 1980 Olympic hockey team; I do believe in miracles. I’m a Republican in the inner city, so I have to.


Anyway – Drake provides a list of Keith Ellison’s “accomplishments” in office:

Top Keith Ellison accomplishments:

1) I promise to end these wars, and not start any new wars.

2) Minneapolis is now a UN sanctuary city funded by Minnesotans.

3) I can show up anywhere, and I’m the story.

4) The DNC was impartial. That’s why “Keith’s for Hillary” now.

5) Who’s this Frank Drake dude anyway?

6) Community Action of Minneapolis was a great front and money laundering operation until it was seized by the Government for fraud. Bill Davis remains a trusted advisor. President Obama will pardon him before leaving office.

7) Marijuana remains a Class 1 Narcotic, just like Heroin.

8) Keith Ellison was never involved, in any way, with the overthrow of Syria or the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

9) Unemployment is low, especially in our urban centers. That 4.5% Unemployment Rate is true, despite 1/3 of all Americans not working. Over 94,000,000 Americans don’t work.

10) Our Government is in the business of War. Private prisons are a growth industry.

11) My ideas are proven in Venezuela and many controlled economies.

Keith Ellison’s ideas resonate like a frying pan dropped from a five-story building hitting the pavement.

Drake has a way with words that we could use a lot more of an inner-city Republican politics.

Counterpunch This

To:  Donald Trump
From:  Mitch Berg, Ornery Peasant
Re:   Doyyy

Mr. Trump,

I started disliking your public persona thirty years ago.   While I’m told you are a perfectly fine human being in person, your public persona – the garish extravagant gaudiness, the constant noise – was always off-putting. Still is.

Now, this time a year ago I was a Scott Walker supporter.  And I still am.  If there were a way to get him into the race (and lamentably, there is not), Shrillary would get pounded like a piece of cheap steak.

But that’s neither here nor there.  Because here we are.

Anyway – I’m not one of the #NeverTrump crowd, if only because crowds annoy me.  The idea of Hillary Clinton nominating SCOTUS justices should terrify everyone who cares about the Bill of Rights.   And the Libertarian ticket isn’t an option (forget about the Greens).

So I don’t like your persona – but I don’t vote for personas.  I don’t like what your campaign has done to the GOP, but then the GOP has been frustrating lately, too.  And I don’t like the way you’re running this campaign, but then it’s your campaign, not mine.

But this?  This is just plain stupid.

You’ll help NATO countries if they’ve “paid their way?”

What’s this tell you?

The NATO members in the most immediate danger from Russia – the Poles and Estonians – are taking their defense pretty seriously.  Latvia and Lithuania are coming around (both have increased their spending in 2016 – Latvia’s spending is actually up 50% in the past two years).

And can you think of four nations that have “spent” more freedom in the past 30 years that those four?  Not just in terms of budget, but in terms of actually resisting tyranny?

No, I don’t imagine you can.

Think about it, Mr. Trump.

That is all.

Berg’s 11th Law Is Also Inerrant And Immutable

The Strib endorses John Howe for the CD2 congressional seat currently held by John Kline.

Nothing against Howe, who was a capable legislator and an estimable mayor of Red Wing – but this endorsement is a classic example of Berg’s 11th Law:

Berg’s Eleventh Law of Inverse Viability: The conservative liberals “respect” for their “conservative principles” will the the one that has the least chance of ever getting elected.

Jason Lewis is the endorsed candidate, with immense name recognition and a record as the father of modern Minnesota conservatism.  Darlene Miller is John Kline’s preferred candidate.  The fourth, the putative Trump-supporting candidate Hey Look At Meeeee, along with Howe, rounds out the field.

I’ll be interviewing Jason Lewis this coming Saturday on the NARN, by the way.

Cruz Control

A long-time friend of the blog writes:

In Trump, we have many things- a candidate who is a master at marketing, a candidate who thinks he is in a popularity contest, a candidate who believes that the country is his personal reality show.

Among the speeches during the last 3 days, most haven’t really had a clear message for what the Republican is, just that it isn’t Hillary’s party. My own cynicism rears when that is the main message, especially with a party that nominates a Presidential candidate who admits to donating to the Clintons.

All duly acknowledged.

So, with my own feelings of dislike for Trump, I really want to high five Ted Cruz for his speech. It took skill to do that. Bravery. A true leader who is more concerned about doing what is right rather than what is popular. 

Of course, I’m not gullible enough to believe that Trump had no idea that Cruz would do this. As I said earlier, this is his reality show. Now, the focus is off of Melania’s speech. The focus is off of Pence, who may not draw in the ratings that Trump is looking for. No, with the conflict that Cruz brought, ratings for tonight’s episode will possibly be even higher. 

To me, Trump’s convention is not offering anything serious, anything that demonstrates an understanding of the needs of the country. It is only giving me further proof of the narcissism of this man. Regardless of the outcome of the election this year, it is going to be a long 4 years.

All of that could be exactly right.  And I could be overthinking (or over-crediting the thinking of others).

But hear me out.

What was conservatives’ biggest beef in 2008 and 2012?  That their champions, such as they were, bowed out and faded away in a lavender cloud of conciliation.  They went on to stay home in droves in November.

Trump faces the same problem in spades; grass-roots movement conservative Republicans and conservatives staying home in November.

But what if Trump were to give those conservatives a figurehead who wasn’t going to shake hands and congratulate Trump on a job well done?  Who would spend the next four years – and especially the next three months – keeping the bloody shirt flying?

It won’t hurt Trump – nobody whom Ted Cruz could influence is going to vote for Hillary.

But it could – perhaps – help Trump down the ticket, in the conservative places where Trump needs every possible vote to turn out, to try to keep control of the Senate in friendlier hands this fall.

Crazy?  Or Crazy like a WWF marketer?

We’ll see.

Pick Your Poison

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

C.S. Lewis’ famous quote:

 “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

 Seems appropriate for this election: Trump versus Hillary. 

 Joe Doakes

Although Sanders probably most perfectly fits the definition of “moral busybody”, as opposed to “self-aggrandizing megalomaniac” or “political robber-baroness”.

NARN-day I’ve Got Friday On My Mind

Tonight, we’ll be doing a special edition of the NARN, live from the GOP State Convention in Duluth, from 6-8PM!

Who will be on the show?  What’ll we be talking about?  We’ll be talking a fair amount about the goings-on at the GOP State Central Committee – and of course, the Judicial Elections Commission.

Don’t forget – King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1440, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 2-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!

While In Duluth Tomorrow

I’ll be broadcasting live from the GOP State Convention on Friday from 6-8PM, and again on Saturday fro 1-3PM.

I’m neither a delegate nor a member of the State Central Committee, so I won’t be voting on anything

But I will be doing my level best to help any group that seeks to limit the power of the Judicial Elections Commission.  Perhaps not end the JEC, per se – but in exchange for leaving the JEC alive, I want the heads of those responsible for the Michelle MacDonald debacle displayed on pikes outside the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.

Rhetorically speaking, of course.

Speaking of Michelle MacDonald:  she’s running for the Supreme Court again.  That’s certainly her right; hopefully the convention chair won’t make the same mistake that happened in 2014.

Speaking of MacDonald – her followers are making the technically true but contextually laughable assertion that MacDonald got a higher percentage of the vote than any other GOP candidate in 2014.   Which is true…

…and also deeply misleading – and I can not wait for the first MacDonald supporter to try to bring that up on the air.

MacDonald got 46% and change, it’s true – running mostly against the GOP, and little or not at all against David Lillehaug (who ran, effectively, no campaign at all).  As I pointed out after the last election, all contested judicial elections get an average of 35-40% – it’s an outlet for people’s obstinacy, apparently (I always, always vote for challengers, whether I know or care about them or not, and I can not be the only one).

So MacDonald got about 4% more than “background noise”.  And while I have no empirical evidence for this, I’m going to speculate with confidence that had she not been running against Darth Lillehaug – one of the most anti-gun politicians (excuse me, “jurists”) in the business, she’d have come in in the thirties without a whole lot of shooters voting against Lillehaug and not for MacDonald.

So while my actual means for dealing with the JEC and MacDonald are limited, I’m going to use what I can to encourage those who can do something about it to seriously punish the JEC, and send MacDonald back to famlaw.

Speaking of family?  Read this time-line of MacDonald’s most famous case.  I have no idea if MacDonald was involved in any wrongdoing – specifically, the systematic alienation of a custodial father’s children against him – but as a matter of principle, everyone who interferes with another parent’s access to their kids should rot in hell.

Death Is Easy: Survival Is Hard

Walter Hudson says if there’s to be a civil war in the GOP, let’s fight it to win:

hat said, the risk of a general election loss was first assumed by embracing Trump to this point. As our nominee, Trump will decimate what remains of our credibility. Our candidates up and down the ticket will be saddled with his horrendous personal behavior and called upon to answer for his irresponsible rhetoric. Efforts at developing new constituencies and expanding the base to suit rapidly shifting demographics will wither and die. Trump will further homogenize and calcify a party which needs now more than at any other time in its history to diversify and grow.

The only way to mitigate the damage Trump will cause, and repair the damage already done, will be for Republicans to oppose him as Republicans. We have to lay claim to our party and reject him as its standard bearer. We have to present a contrast, from within the party, to his vile persona and unprincipled authoritarian agenda. That means stepping outside our comfort zone, defying conventional expectations, and ruffling more than a few feathers.

The whole thing is worth a read.

As far as I’m concerned?

I grew up reading stories like “Endurance” (30 guys surviving on an ice floe for over a year, before rowing lifeboats across the subarctic South Atlantic to safety), and “Escape from Sobibor” (people escaping an extermination camp and surviving in the woods until liberation came) and “Rickenbacker” (surviving on a raft in the Pacific for three weeks) and “Alive” (people surviving in the Andes after a plane crash). Non-fiction, by the way.
Those are the stories I’ve kept in my mind as I’ve gone through some of my life’s own travails (and I’ve had some doozies – but nothing like the above. Which is, of course, the point).

The Trump “Crisis” and the battle for the soul of the GOP? Pffft. Bring it.
I’m not going to theatrically pack up and leave the GOP. Partly because I (and many people much better than I) have worked too hard to bring the MNGOP a long way from where it was a generation ago. Don’t believe me? Check out Arne Carlson’s and Dave Jennings’s budget numbers, and then let’s talk. It’s not changed enough, fast enough, but it’s changed.

And partly because I did it once. I left the GOP in disgust in 1994, and went to the Libertarians. The Libertarian Party is a clown car. It will never get anyone elected to office. It *can* never get anyone elected – because it is a glorified frat party that exists mostly to purity-test each other to a fine sheen. They can’t even run a state convention, much less a government (and they’ll say “that’s the point!”, and they’ll be correct, but not the way they think they are). And libertarianism is a lovely philosophy, which at its logical conclusion depends on a complete suspension (or ignorance) of human nature. It’s no less a fantasy world than “democratic socialism” is. I’ll write in my dog before I vote for a Libertarian.

Anyway – I’m coming around to Walter’s point of view. Give it a read.