Democracy Dies In Emergency

On the one hand? If you recall when Harry Reid torched the filibuster for judicial nominees, we limited government conservatives warned that “You folks may not control the Senate forever, so you might wanna be careful”. Trump’s use of a “National Emergency” to get more border funding is kinda the same idea. A future Democrat president could declare “non-living wages” a national emergency.

On the other hand? It kind of already a response like that. Obama outran Congress like Walter Payton outrunning the ’85 Vikings using a raft of Executive Orders. Is the border wall any worse than DACA?

On the other, other hand? I don’t think Trump necessarily intended to provoke a frenzied overreach on the Dems’ part – but it’d be hard to imagine how he could have done it better than he did:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said President Trump’s plan to use a national emergency declaration to unilaterally provide federal funding for a border wall would set a precedent Republicans may come to regret.
Democrats, she said, could use it later to enact their own priorities, such as increasing gun control.
“Why don’t you declare that a national emergency? I wish you would,” Pelosi during a press conference Thursday, noting it was the one-year anniversary of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and staff. “But a Democratic president can do that.”

The NRA is going to need to rent more phone lines to take the membership calls, now.

Your Lying Ledger

A “Shoprite” store in Philadelphia is closing due to Philadelphia’s pop tax. 

Or so says the owners – someone with years of experience in the field, for what that’s worth:

Store owner Jeff Brown says this location has lost approximately 25 percent of its business over the last two years because of the tax on soda and sweetened drinks. 

The city, not to be “Mansplained”…er, “Bossplained?” “Enterepreneursplained?” Anyway, not to be taken to task by a mere prole, the city responded:

The mayor’s office responded with a lengthy statement pushing back against Brown.
“It is no surprise that Mr. Brown has decided to scapegoat the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, but neither he nor the beverage industry have yet to present any evidence that the tax has had any impact on sales. Here’s evidence to the contrary: an ongoing study by three of the most reputable academic institutions in the nation (Harvard University, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania) finds the beverage tax has not affected overall store sales, contrary to other public claims by this supermarket chain.”
Brown says the 111 employees will be transferred to his 12 other supermarkets.

Anyone but me suspect hat Mr. Brown’s going to get an audit letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue sometime soon here?

Up next: a Harvard Study on how taxes have nothing to do with “Food Deserts”, no way, no how.

Marginal Knowledge

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The New Hotness wants higher income tax rates.  The Left says it’s sensible and there’s historical precedent.
The trouble with historical precedent is picking the right precedent.  College students who drink until they vomit could point to Rome, the pinnacle of civilization at the time, where vomitoria were provided in public entertainment venues.  So that makes it alright?   No.
Similarly, picking a time when America was the world economic superpower and capital investment had nowhere else to go, doesn’t mean that high earners today would find their wages captured by higher tax rates.  Rich people are rich, they’re not stupid.  They can move to low-tax venues.  They can shelter their incomes.  They can lobby for loopholes that only they can afford. 
The only way to ensure that everybody pays their “fair share” is to fully embrace Communism:  from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.  But getting ordinary people into that mental state will require a period of socialization, during which the recalcitrant, deplorable, bitter clingers are identified and sent for re-education in the far North, or sent to farm the land by hand, or buried in mass graves.  And who will decide who lives and who dies? 

But the fact that it used to be the status quo back when the US was the world’s only functional economy (with ample tax shelters provided for the fabulously wealthy, like Ocasio Cortez’s benefactors) makes it “moderate”, to Big Left.

Surely There Must Be Some Mistake

Remember the old joke about the New York Times?  “Tsunami wipes out Manhattan.  Women and Minorities Hardest Hit?”

The Arby’s that’s been cranking out the rubbery beef, the crunchy chicken and the gloriously addictive potato cakes (that I can’t touch anymore) in downtown Minneapolis for a solid quarter century picked up and vanished like a carnival tent a few weeks ago.  It was the last nationwide fast-food restaurant in downtown.  All the rest – McDonald’s, BK, Wendy’s, Taco Bell – have long disappeared.   There are a few Subways, at least one Jimmy Johns,

The reasons are between the lines – rising rents and, ahem, rising labor costs (Minneapolis has high mandatory minimum wages and compulsory sick time for part-time workers).   They also blame the tsunami of food trucks that line the streets downtown from March through October.

But Minneapolis has become a place where it’s easy to get lunch for $9-15, but very, very hard to find anything below $7.   Arby’s was one of the last of them.

And so it seems that after years of trying to stigmatize and economically hobble Big Fast Food, they’ve gotten their wish…

…but, naturally, the usual suspects are the ones taking it on the chin:

Remaining food options are generally more expensive, pricing out low-wage workers and the homeless, who often gravitate toward city centers. Arby’s was one of the last places in downtown Minneapolis with a sandwich and fries for $5.

“I wondered why they closed, because they were so economical,” Marva Overton, a downtown worker, said as she bought a sandwich last week at Twin City Bites next to the former Arby’s. “It was so cheap to eat there and that was helpful to a lot of people.”

I recommend the Sicilian olives ($2.50 for a one-pound tub) at Sorrento Cucina.

Try Before You’re Forced To Buy

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Think about the increasing number of young Americans demanding socialism, even as the horrific collapse of Venezuela is in the news. Why do they want that to happen here?
It occurs to me that “hot” is a word which has no meaning to a child, until the child touches something hot. Until then, it’s just noise. What if “socialism” is the same? What if the only way to appreciate “capitalism” is to live under “socialism” for a while? Maybe, instead of class credit for protest marches, schools should require students to spend a month living in a place where the water isn’t safe to drink, the electricity isn’t reliable, there is no free wi-fi, food stores are empty, gasoline is only sold in back alleys, medical care is cash only and no antibiotics remain. A place where the police are not your friend, government officials demand bribes and the press reports what they’re told to report.
Would students learn a new appreciation of America? Or would they wave aside their experience saying: “But we’ll do it RIGHT this time.”
Joe Doakes

On the one hand, it’d lead to some of the “haves” among the students bleating “Yeah, but this isn’t socialism done right. “

On the other? It’d put some meat behind Churchill’s dictum “a man who’s not a liberal a 20 has no heart, and a man who isn’t a conservative at 40 has no brain”.

And maybe acclerate the timetable among those that can be saved.

A For Facts, C+ For Premise

Kevin Williamson on – ahem – “Why Alexandria Ocasio Cortez drives Republicans Crazy”, and I’m gonna stop right there.

She doesn’t “drive anyone crazy”.  She’s a walking, talking testimony to the media’s left-wing bias; Ocasio Cortez actually is as vapid and ignorant as the media would have had you believe Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann were, and much more extreme.

No matter!

Ocasio-Cortez, seen from that point of view, presents Republicans with a lot of things they despise — her far-left politics — wrapped up in a package that they very much want but cannot have. She’s everything they want and everything they hate at the same time: Odi et amo, RNC chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel might well say.

About those politics: Ocasio-Cortez describes herself as a socialist, a declaration mitigated somewhat by the fact that she doesn’t seem to know what the word “socialist” means. She is a reflexive practitioner of identity politics, immediately suggesting that any criticism of her is racist or sexist or both. And she is an unapologetic authoritarian, threatening to abuse congressional subpoena powers to retaliate against Donald Trump Jr. for posting something mean about her on Twitter. An avowedly socialist practitioner of identity politics and social-media bully: that, and not her views on marginal tax rates, is what gets up Republicans’ noses. Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist, too, but he’s a grumpy old Muppet from Vermont — a useful cat’s paw to maul Mrs. Clinton, but otherwise old news.

But Williamson notes there’s danger in making her too much the figurehead of Big Left’s “Resistance from Above”:

As a purely tactical matter, Republicans would probably be better off keeping Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer as their leading partisan archnemesis, inasmuch as neither of those candidates can deride the GOP as the party of rich old white folks without inspiring at least a little bit of a giggle.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may personify much of what Republicans despise about the distinctively millennial brand of censorious progressivism that currently dominates the Democratic Party, but, if they were smarter, they’d be grateful for that: If this callow dilettante is the best the other side has to offer, then maybe the Republicans — no strangers to callow dilettantism — still have a chance after all.

She – and her elder sister in entitled identitymongering, Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren – are in that sense gifts to conservatism.  Is the GOP – conservatism’s current vessel – smart enough to know what to do with them?

Coarsely Eloquent

Writer Tim Willard with a brilliant Twitter thread on why he hates communism so completely.

It starts here – but I urge you to read the whole thing:

America has survived many external enemies – but “progressivism” is one internal enemy that has the potential to actually destroy it.

And the “Administrative State” – which, along with the Non-Profit-Industrial complex is where the regulatory rubber hits the road – is in many ways the spear point of the “progressive’ attack on everything that makes America worth living in. Nothing saps America’s resilience, vitality and prosperity like the Administrative State, which exists largely to transfer wealth from taxpayers to “progressive” stakeholders.

Recent weeks have been marked by the whining and caviling of “progressives” about the actions of the Republican-controlled Wisconsin state assembly, which acted to greatly reduce the power of the incoming Democrat governor.

Lost in all of the sore-losering – or intentionally concealed in it – is the fact that over the past eight years, Wisconsin has taken steps to curb the excesses of the Big Administrative State that the rest of the country, and the nation, would do very well to emulate:

In 2011, much attention was given Act 10, Governor Walker’s signature reform to public-sector collective bargaining. Less well-known was Act 21, which can rightly be considered the beginning of an administrative-law revolution in Wisconsin. In 2017, Acts 39, 57, and 108 added to those reform efforts. And this past summer, the Wisconsin supreme court issued a significant decision in Tetra Tech v. Department of Revenue, creating a stricter framework for courts to apply when considering the amount of deference to provide agency interpretations.

Much of what we now consider the standard rule-making process in Wisconsin was first set out in 2011 Act 21. At its core, Act 21 provides that no agency may implement or enforce any standard, requirement, or threshold (including as a term or condition of any license it issues) unless such action is explicitly required or permitted by statute or rule. Gone are the days of implied or perceived authority.

Additionally, for each proposed rule, the act required agencies to submit a “statement of scope” to the governor for review and prepare an economic-impact analysis relating to specific businesses, business sectors, public-utility ratepayers, local governmental units, and the state’s economy as a whole.

You should read the whole thing – and pass it on.

I Pledge Pledge Allegiance To Alexandria Ocasio Cortez…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I get it now. I understand. It’s hard to change a lifetime of thinking one way, the wrong way, but I get it now.

I hope my children do worse than I. I hope their prospects are dimmer, their fortunes poorer, their deaths early.

You see, I once believed that by staying in school to get an education, working hard in my job, spending frugally and investing wisely, that I was making a better life for myself and my family. But now that I’m woke, I see that I never earned anything, I didn’t build my career, it was all handed to me because my parents weren’t divorced and my Mother read to me.

I have White Privilege.

Oh, sure, I saw the brown, black, red and yellow kids outside the razor wire, watching us White kids go to the school where they were denied admittance. I saw them sitting against the wall of the supermarket, their bellies distended, flies buzzing around their heads, because they life in a food desert. I thought that was the natural and inevitable consequence of their parents’ cultural choices. I thought White culture was better at protecting women and children while building and conserving wealth.

But I understand things now and I’m not going to let my children make the same mistakes that I made. I’m pulling them out of STEM school and getting them hooked on drugs to ensure they never go back. I’m squandering my savings on a tricked-out Yukon with 20-inch Spreewells. I’m quitting my job and committing a few felonies, to ensure I can’t get another. When my kids’ lives are as bad as the kids in the lowest strata of society, then things will be fair.

I know they’ll thank me someday.

Equality!

Every Point A Strawman

I’ve long held, correctly, that Red America understands Blue America – its culture, society, ways, mores and the like – better than vice versa.   Red America gets New York and LA in a way that neither of them gets, and I’d suggest don’t believe they need or care to get, the rest of the country.

And it seems it’s not merely geographic:

In his remarkable book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, Haidt recalls a telling experiment. He and his colleagues Brian Nosek and Jesse Graham sought to discover how well conservative and what Haidt terms ‘liberal’ (ie: progressive) students understood one another by having them answer moral questions as they thought their political opponents would answer them. “The results were clear and consistent,” remarks Haidt. “In all analyses, conservatives were more accurate than liberals.” Asked to think the way a liberal thinks, conservatives answered moral questions just as the liberal would answer them, but liberal students were unable to do the reverse. Rather, they seemed to put moral ideas into the mouths of conservatives that they don’t hold.

That would explain why liberals are so very prone to arguing the straw man; it’s the only way they perceive conservatives.

To put it bluntly, Haidt and his colleagues found that progressives don’t understand conservatives the way conservatives understand progressives. This he calls the ‘conservative advantage,’ and it goes a long way in explaining the different ways each side deals with opinions unlike their own. People get angry at what they don’t understand, and an all-progressive education ensures that they don’t understand.

It’s been my observation that liberals, at large, can not effectively debate conservatives, because at no point in their education have they ever had to see conservatism and conservatism as anything other than cartoons.

I’ll urge you to read the whole thing.

The Rush To Mediocrity

The likes of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and most of the MInnesota DFL genuflect toward the Europeans for their economic advice.

Inconvenient fact:  all of Europe’s economies would fit tidily within the bottom third of US states:

Most European countries (including Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium) if they joined the US, would rank among the poorest one-third of US states on a per-capita GDP basis, and the UK, France, Japan and New Zealand would all rank among America’s very poorest states, below No. 47 West Virginia, and not too far above No. 50 Mississippi. Countries like Italy, S. Korea, Spain, Portugal and Greece would each rank below Mississippi as the poorest states in the country.

Maybe they all need to go to war with us again.

Behind The Fashion Curve

Poke a needle in a Minnesota liberal, and they’ll likely bleed some combination of Danish and Swedish “social democracy”.

At Reason, Johan Norberg points out that they – and most Americans, really – could learn a lot from the Swedes.  Just not much of it goes along with the left’s dogma:

Norberg’s grand tour of his homeland reveals a country steeped in classical liberalism. Americans may be surprised to learn that Sweden’s experiment with socialism was a relatively brief flirtation, lasting about 20 years and ending in disillusionment and reform.

Sweden began rolling back government in the early 1990s, recapturing the entrepreneurial spirit that made it a wealthy country to begin with. High taxation and a generous array of government benefits are still around. But now it’s also a nation of school vouchers, free trade, open immigration, light business regulation, and no minimum wage laws.

Podcast?  Why sure, you can listen to the whole thing:

 

The Road To Hell’s Kitchen Is Paved With Good Intentions

A few years ago, when the city of Minneapolis jumped on the “raise the minimum wage to $15 and mandatory benefits“ bandwagon, the owners of popular downtown eatery “Hell’s Kitchen” led the way in virtue-signaling how very OK they were with it.

And they stuck to their guns (their owners would not be OK with me using that phrase, but it’s still a free country) as a wave of other restaurants shut down around the metro, many of them explicitly citing the City mandated bludgeoning of their bottom line. No, seriously – one of them, “Ward 6“ in Saint Paul – pops up in the story, although the article never really connects the dots.

The star Tribune assures us that the owners saw they had a problem – they don’t specify which problem, although they hinted at it in a few places – but, for the moment, the bleeding is stanched.

Incredibly, the article points out in almost as many words that the owners of the restaurant almost geometrically match the stereotype every conservative has of restaurantears who virtue signal their approval of laws that, historically, shred through restaurant jobs like wood chippers through particleboard end tables: they spent years really not paying much attention to their financials, floating on a wave of profits from a thriving business and a good location (and, let’s be honest, really good food – I haven’t been there in years, but I did love it) until almost literally waking up one morning and realizing they were in serious trouble.

And you have to go about 2/3 of the way down the article to get to this bit here:

“The restaurant’s staff of 180 was trimmed to 160, chiefly through attrition and by adjusting start times to better match the flow of customers, producing a wage savings of $170,000. “

I am sure that most of the cuts were “through attrition” – not only does the restaurant industry have famously high turnover, but so does any business when the owners start frantically slashing expenses – but let’s break the story’s numbers down: that’s $170,000 in wages – the equivalent of 11 part time, 20 hours a week jobs at the new city of Minneapolis $15 an hour minimum wage – that don’t exist anymore.

So underneath all of the restaurant management‘s and started being as happy talk, what’s happening is…

…Exactly what conservatives, business people and anyone who passed economics 101 and said would happen: the Minneapolis city council’s wage and benefit laws are not just killing businesses, they’re killing jobs.

Of course, the virtue signaling Minneapolis city counselors and the bureaucrats who work for them don’t work in restaurants (or any private sector or entrepreneurial business, for that matter); Minneapolis’s restaurant industry has been one of the service industry’s “it“ sectors for decades, now, so I suspect they figure they’ll always be another.

By the way – I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that Hell’s Kitchen’s current owners furtively start looking for a buyer in the near future, that the expenses continue getting slashed, the Yelp reviews start spiraling, and the place quietly closes within five years. And if that happens – heaven forfend – the last thing the city, the Star Tribune or the restaurant’s compliant DFL management will do is blame the city’s policies for it.

I hope not – I genuinely like eating there, although I actually can’t eat there anymore – but I wouldn’t bet against me on it, either.

Gör Sverige Bra Igen

Conservatives make major strides in…

…Sweden?

Sweden’s elections on Sunday carry the same lesson we should have already learned with Brexit and Donald Trump’s 2016 victory: Those whom political elites view as “deplorables” are going to have their say. The question now is whether elites will continue to ignore them and the lessons they bring.

Once a poster child for political consensus, Sweden is now deeply polarized. Parties on the traditional right and those on the traditional left wound up in a photo finish, each with about 41 percent of the vote. The remaining 18 percent of the vote was captured by Sweden Democrats (SD), a once obscure populist party with some roots in 1980s neofascism.It has since largely cleaned up its act and seen its support skyrocket as other parties have ignored its key issues of immigration and crime. The SD claims it now practices a “zero-tolerance” policy against members who make openly racist or anti-Semitic statements.

Sweden’s had a couple shots of Real World in recent years; conservative inroads should be expected.

But the “elites” never really do expect it.

Submitted For Approval

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I propose a new Berg’s Law.

“Socialists are frustrated people who believe that after the revolution, their worth will finally be recognized and they’ll triumphantly assume command, they won’t be purged with the rest of the kulaks, saboteurs and wreckers.  About this, they are uniformly mistaken.”

Joe:  Your proposal has been submitted to the Berg’s Law peer-review committee.

It has serious potentijal.

Of Pikers And Pimps

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

St. Paul and Minneapolis are considering raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.  There are no studies on the effect of a $15 per hour minimum wage because it’s never been that high.  The studies of effects of prior minimum wage increases go both ways, depending on who you believe.  What to do?

This is where it helps to be conservative, because we have principles to guide our actions, not just feelings.  One principle is:  “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”  Another is:  “Don’t tear down a fence until you know why it was built.”  The core thought underlying these principles is to make changes cautiously, only when you’re certain they won’t cause more harm than good.  Since the evidence is equivocal, adherence to conservative principles would dictate that we not raise the minimum wage to $15.

But Democrats are not conservatives so they have no such principles to restrain them.  They’re going to raise it because it will please the mob and that’s the most important thing to them.  So if you’re going to raise it despite the evidence, why stop at $15?  Why not raise it to $100 per hour and we’ll all be rich?  Pikers.

Power is the principle.

Original Intent

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Gun control advocates insist The Founders could not have intended ordinary citizens to own the same weapons as the government.  Why, every Tom, Dick and Harry could have a machine gun!  They could use those weapons to overthrow the government!  The Founders never intended that, surely?

I’m not so certain.  We’re talking about the guys who planned and conducted a years-long guerilla war to overthrow the existing government.  Their speeches, pamphlets and Declaration expressly justify taking up arms against the King.  The Minutemen used every weapon they could beg, borrow or scrounge.  Washington crossing the Delaware at Christmas was a raid to steal British muskets, powder and artillery.  Most of the rebels brought their own hunting rifles which were more accurate at long range than the weapons British mercenary troops were issued; they were better than military-grade.  The Founders knew from close-up and personal experience what arms citizens needed, and what they were needed for.

Gun control advocates think The Founders were happy ordinary people had military grade weapons long enough to throw off the British government, but intended to restrict military grade weapons to the government only, once The Founders took control.  That’s how socialist dictators do it in banana republics.  That’s how gun controllers would do it, if they were in charge.  Why wouldn’t The Founders act the same way?

Because they just fought a long, bloody war using barely trained and poorly equipped civilians as impromptu militia forces.  Because they knew how hard they had to work to gain their freedom.  I strongly suspect The Founders wrote the Second Amendment to ensure ordinary citizens access to weapons at least as good as the government agents have, in case they’re needed to throw off another tyrannical government in the future.

Gun control advocates picture George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as distinguished gentlemen.  They imagine The Founders must have viewed the world the way sophisticated and urbane Liberals see it today.  That’s the wrong mental image.   To understand The Founders, stop thinking like New York Liberals and start thinking like the Montana Militia.  That’s a much better picture of the men who fought at Valley Forge and Bunker Hill.  Now you understand Original Intent.  And now you know why it terrifies New York Liberals.

And you know why they work so hard to repudiate their actual legacy.

Is This The MPLA, I Thought It Was The USA…

Johnny Rotten – lead singer of the Sex Pistols – joins the Velvet Underground’s Mo Tucker among punk icons supporting Trump:

“What I dislike is the left-wing media in America are trying to smear the bloke as a racist, and that’s completely not true,” the 61-year-old said. “There’s many, many problems with him as a human being, but he’s not that, and there just might be a chance something good will come out of that situation, because he terrifies politicians.”

Mr. Lydon said Mr. Trump is like a “political Sex Pistol” whose purpose is to rattle the status quo. After co-host Piers Morgan described Mr. Trump as “the archetypal anti-establishment character,” Mr. Lydon added: “Dare I say, a possible friend.”

Back in the glory days of blogging, one of our sayings was “conservative is the new punk”.  In our society, the way it is today, standing for a fairly timeless establishment against an utterly temporal one certainly qualifies