Stop Spending Money You Don’t Have, Dummy

That should be the title of this superb Kevin Williamson piece at National Review about the subject, of, well, not spending money you don’t have, and how Donald Trump, whatever his other found virtues, is really really bad at not doing that.

So many pull quotes – and all have a theme:

Stop spending money you don’t have, dummy.

The last time we had a surplus, tax revenue was 18.8 percent of GDP and spending was 17.6 percent of GDP. That was 2001. Taxes were even higher as a share of GDP in the two years before that: 19.2 percent of GDP in 1999 and 20 percent in 2000. I prefer low taxes, but I don’t remember the tail end of the 1990s as an Orwellian dystopia. If the estimates hold, this year, revenues will be about 16.3 percent of GDP and spending will be 21 percent — with deficits forecast as far as forecasters can see. And that’s while the economy is doing well. Either that tax number moves or that spending number moves — or we have deficits forever, until the creditors call us on our bullsh**.

At which point we will have no choice but to:

Stop spending money you don’t have, dummy.

And when they blow that?  Well, Williamson’s on that subject, too.

“Unexpected”

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The Democrats will be holding their convention next year in Milwaukee.  

Kevin Williamson thinks that’s pretty appropriate, all in all.  

In response to a particularly stupid column by Paul Krugman a few years back, our friend Iowahawk shared an interesting discovery: Schools in progressive Wisconsin on average outperform the schools in low-spending, Republican Texas — but the schools in Texas outperform the schools in Wisconsin when it comes to outcomes for white students, black students, and Latino students, each of which group produced higher test scores in Texas than in Wisconsin. Wisconsin came out ahead not because it does a better job with any particular group of students but because it is overwhelmingly white. In other states black and Hispanic students trail their white peers, too, but seldom as much as they do in Wisconsin’s graduation rates.

The Democrats own Milwaukee, which hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1908. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez et al. will be cheered to know that Milwaukee has had three times as many socialist mayors as Republicans since the beginning of the 20th century.

I’m exceptionally confident we’ll find Minnesota compares identically.

An Overlord Is An Overlord

Are the big online content providers – Google, Facebook, Netflix and the like – eroding free speech to make doing business internationally easier?

Remember – while free markets will trend toward free speech, the Silicon Valley giants are not free markets; they are to their various corners of the ‘net at best industrious but regulation-made Germans or Swedes, and at worst – Facebook and Twitter – Red Chinese in hoodies and sneakers instead of Mao jackets.

They are bureaucracies – and bureaucracies crave uniformity. The kind of uniformity that only partnership and acuiescence with Big Government can give them.

Kevin Wiliamson:

It took a remarkably short time for the ethic of the Internet to devolve from “Information wants to be free!” to “Follow the rules blindly!” The danger is the California-emissions dynamic, i.e. the tendency of the most demanding and restrictive standard among a group of competing standards to become the de facto universal standard in that it allows a single consistent mode of production. In the United States, 16 states follow California’s auto-emissons standards rather than the national standard, which has made the California standard the effective national standard for many manufacturers. In a similar way, it will be tempting — it already is tempting — to make China the worldwide arbiter of free-speech standards for global technology companies and other international carriers. If you think that a commitment to “artistic freedom” is going to prevent that, go to the movies: The remake of Red Dawn originally was about a Chinese invasion of the United States; after protests from Beijing, it became the story of a ludicrous North Korean invasion. The New York Times submits to censorship abroad.




Read the whole thing.

Because we’ve all got to demand better.

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?

Relax

The world isn’t coming to an end over politics.  It’s not going to.

Kevin WIlliamson, on how good things generally are – and why some parts of our society are having such a hard time accepting that.

Especially those on the left who consider the way things are today an “emergency”.  It’s a laden term:

Those familiar with the political career of Indira Gandhi will have a special appreciation for the concept of “emergency.” The Emergency refers to a 21-month period during which Mrs. Gandhi suspended civil liberties, ruled by decree, jailed political opponents, censored newspapers, and laid the foundations for what might have been a permanent dictatorship. Dissident political parties were banned, regional governments were dissolved and their leaders incarcerated. (The Malthusians never sleep: India also set on a course of involuntary sterilization during this period, as a means of population control.) There had been political unrest and political violence (as, unhappily, there long had been in India), but the proximate cause of the Emergency was the fact that Mrs. Gandhi had lost a court case that might have resulted in her being removed from office. The Emergency was the fact that there was political opposition to her government, and that the opposition was effective.

Our situation is not quite so stark, but it is analogous. Longstanding American institutions ranging from the First Amendment to the Electoral College to the Senate have been suddenly and rashly declared “illegitimate.” Why? Because, at the moment, they are keeping the Left from getting what it wants. The Left wants to silence certain right-wing critics and dissidents, and the First Amendment stops them. The Senate and the Electoral College perform their intended constitutional role in protecting the interests of the less-populous states and their residents, ensuring the protecting of minority interests from the tyranny of the majority. This annoys the would-be tyrants. (They are, to their discredit, unable to truly appreciate that political tides turn, and that majorities are fickle things.) The ordinary political processes of the United States have produced results that the Left does not like, and, hence, those processes and the institutions that enable them must be considered illegitimate. The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is to be understood as a national emergency because . . . Democrats would prefer to have somebody else, and they believe they having something like a divine right to rule.

And one can only hope that it’s their eventual undoing.

On Latte Support?

Daniel McCarthy at American Spectator noticed the same thing about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings that I do about every single “Protect” Minnesota rally; Where are you ends, and the participants, or almost exclusively upper middle class Caucasians. The few African-Americans there are either from Allied political groups there for the optics, or people like Senator Kamala Harris, Who is political career is largely floated by… White liberals.

And according to McCarthy, the hearings are a sign that that breed of upper middle-class white liberalism is dying off.

But the Democratic voters out there yelling about Kavanaugh were as white as any country club gathering of Republicans. They looked like a line of Starbucks patrons — Caucasian, professional, largely millennial, with earth tones and earnest expressions aplenty. Men and women wore the same fashionable glasses and more or less the same clothes. It was a Pumpkin Spice Riot.

Where were the black Democrats? Where were the non-yuppies? Hillary Clinton could have asked the same questions on November 9, 2016, after she failed to get them to show up for her the way they’d showed up for Barack Obama. That election, like the Kavanaugh protest, showed that white liberalism has a problem: it’s too liberal for a majority of whites, yet too distant from the concerns of most non-whites. But its proponents enjoy so much cultural prestige as liberals and so much self-confidence as part of a historic white majority — however much they may disdain such a thing — that they failed to recognise alienated they are from everyone else. They see themselves as the natural moral arbiters of society. But nobody else sees them that way. Nothing says that a multiracial or multicultural society has to be politically centre-left, after all. India has a right-wing nationalist and religious fundamentalist government. Brazil looks set to elect a right-wing president in a runoff later this month. Yet white American liberals cling to the belief that demographic magic will rescue them from the insufficiency of their ideology appeal. White liberalism is in fact in more trouble in this country than conservatism is. The only places where white liberals values matter are in elite cultural institutions — which is why getting Kevin Williamson fired from The Atlantic is a lot easier than getting senators to vote against confirming Kavanaugh.

In of movement dominated by magical thinking, it’s no surprise that magical thinking about them selves would be part of the deal.

Our Idiot Judiciary

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Court of Appeals released its opinion (unreported, but available on the court website) in Hockenson v. State.  I find it troubling.

I grant there’s a difference between having a fundamental right in the first instance, and petitioning to have that right restored after commission of a crime.  But the explanation given by the Court of Appeals reveals an anti-gun mindset which explains why Second Amendment jurisprudence lags so far behind First Amendment cases.

The guy was 19 when he committed an assault and got 5 years of probation.  It’s been 15 years since the offense during which he completed his probation, served in the military, married, has a child and holds down a full-time job.  If anybody could be said to have ‘turned his life around,’ it’s this guy.  But since there are no set standards to determine “good cause” to restore your rights, the court is free to act on whim.

In this particular case, the trial court denied the request because the ‘violent facts surrounding the conviction do not demonstrate the maturity of judgment necessary for the court to find a significant level of comfort with restoring his rights.’  Well, duh.  He was a dumb kid.  He did a dumb thing. If you’re only going to look at what happened at the time of the crime, ignoring everything that has happened since, then nobody can ever have his rights restored.  The trial court’s rationale is idiotic but since there are no standards (and the judiciary is composed entirely of Liberals appointed by Democrats who carefully avoid setting standards that would ensure equal justice for all), the Court of Appeals lets the ruling stand.

It’s particularly galling to compare this case with Democrats’ insistence on freeing killers and restoring their rights, not because of anything the felon has done to turn his life around, but solely because they want to pump up the number of likely Democrat voters.

Joe Doakes

But Hockenson served in the military, is a shooter, and is raising his kids, so he’s probably Republican.  Not a priority.

As Kevin Williamson points out in The End Is Near – it’s really absurd that we give judges as much untrammeled authority as we do, since so many of them are idiots.

 

The Moral Arc

There’s a quote attributed to Martin Luther King that President Obama liked to use a lot – “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. It’s an inspiring saying
 
It’s also a platitude with no historical basis.
 
Kevin Williamson paraphrased it and made it much more accurate: “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward tyranny and oppression”.
 
I like to think about that on July 4; of all the people who have ever lived in human societies in the past 20,000 years, the vast majority, before and after July 4 1776 lived under one form of strongman, chieftain, divine-right monarch or capo or another (at least, those who weren’t living in hunter-gatherer tribes – who lived a life that was “nasty, brutish and short” under the even more merciless tyranny of nature).
 
The idea that humans could live under anything *other* than those circumstances had scarcely occurred before the Declaration of Independence; the idea that human rights were something one was born with, rather than endowed by a benevolent monarch, was vastly more revolutionary and threatening to the status quo than the beat-up little army that faced off against the British was.
 
And it still is. Most of Europe’s “democracies” *still* believe that rights are granted by the community, not one’s creator. Which means that when (not if) a government goes off the rails, those rights follow suit.
 
Today we – those of us who are paying attention – celebrate an idea that most Americans can’t possibly comprehend: the very fact that a free society (albeit one overrun with an authoritarian bureaucracy and an arrogant, entitled political class) exists at all, even in deeply imperfect (aka “human”) form, defies not only history, but human nature itself. In the history of humanity, it’s as rare as a blue tulip.
 
What Nietzsche called the “Will to Power” – the ascendance of those with the desire to be in control not only of themselves but those around them – has driven most of human history. The fact that our society has managed to tame that impulse – or at least channel into a form that doesn’t end with endless wars, beheadings, forced famines and reprisals, is nothing short of miraculous…
 
…and about as fragile as that blue tulip, if we’re not careful.
 
Which is why we need to demand more of our media (who’ve become largely impotent, cowardly tools of the establishment in recent years), and government (whose bureaucracy more and more serves its own future), and most of all ourselves; to not let Facebook shut us up, not let the modern day brownshirts disarm us, not let bureaucrats with the Will to Power sap our right to privacy, to demand that people who want to come to America actually believe in what America *means*, not just what it gives.
 
The moral arc of history is not your friend. The job of bending it back never ends.
 

The Second Bull Run Of The Second American Civil War

The Atlantic hired, and then fired, Kevin Williamson – perhaps America’s best political journalist, and one of the best interviewees I’ve ever had in a decade and a half of doing the NARN.

Andrew McCarthy has thoughts on the subject.

My thoughts?

I’ve observed for years that one of the greatest side-effects of Urban Progressive Privilege is a complete inability to “debate” anyone who’s not part of their club – because they have no concept of cognitive dissonance when it comes to politics or any area of life touched by politics (and politics touches every area of their life.

Differ with an blind date’s politics?  Ghost ’em!

Differ with a fellow student’s politics?  Shame them!

Disagree with a co-workers’s politics?  Slander, ostracize and try to destroy them!

The Gray Wasteland

Kevin Williamson sums up a vast expanse of “suck” in re the NYTimes’ coverage of gun issues:

he New York Times is uniquely bad on the subject of firearms. There are two ways to understand that sentence, and both apply: Among major news publications, the Timesregularly exhibits an unparalleled level of illiteracy on the subject of firearms, and it exhibits comparable illiteracy on practically no other subject. Even on such self-acknowledged weak spots as American religion, the Times rarely sinks to the level of outright stupidity that characterizes its coverage of firearms and related crimes.

That’s just the introduction.  It gets worse.  Read the whole thing.

The President Was Too Even-Handed About Charlottesville

Back in the eighties, I interviewed a group called the “Backroom Anarchist Center”. They were a bunch of dissipate university students who had a clubhouse in South Minneapolis, and used to roam about demonstrating against stuff – provided it was conservative stuff. I booked several of their leaders on my old KSTP show, which ran from 2-4 AM on weekends. Their phone numbers were all – every last one – from the nicer parts of Edina, Minnehaha Parkway and Woodbury. These “anarchists” were inevitably the children of immense privilege; their parents were professors, non-profiteers, insurance salespeople – *not* hot tar roofers and truck drivers. I never kept track of any of ’em, but I suspect they’re doing just fine socially and financially today.

The President took a lot of flak after his first response to Charlottesville for criticizing all violence at the riot, “right” and left.   “Don’t lump Nazis together with “Anti”-Fa”, Big Left bellowed in unison.  “They’re good kids, and they mean well, and they’re attacking evil people”.

I didn’t vote for Trump – and I’m going to criticize his false equivalence in this case.

“Anti”-Fa is much worse than the Nazis, is a much greater danger to our society, and deserves far greater condemnation.

There are three reasons:

  • “Anti”-Fa has a long history of violence against peaceful demonstrators
  • “Fascists” are the fringe of the fringe (rhetoric aside)
  • “Anti”-Fa actually has power.

The Road Goes On Forever, And The Party Never Ends:  If your entire awareness of the battle between “far-right” lunacy and left-wing violence started with Charlottesville – and for many, it clearly did – you might think that both sides are about the same.

Of course, there’s a long, ugly history of “Anti”-Fa attacks on “fascists”.

Unfortunately, in most of those cases the “Fasicsts”, weren’t, outside the “Everyone we don’t like is a “fascist”” sense of the term.   They were Trump supporters (no, not the same thing), Republicans, even left-leaning college professors who made the mistake of standing up for free speech.

The bottom of the barrel – so far – came in Boston over the weekend.  About fifty people – bipartisan free-speech advocates who had expressly disinvited all extremists – held a free speech rally at Boston Common.  They were by thousands of “counterprotesters”, led by a gang of blackshirted “Anti”-fa screaming “F**k Free Speech”.  Violence was had.

The media didn’t care, naturally.

It was similar to the March 4th Trump rally at the Minnesota state Capitol, where “Anti”-Fa blackshirts came to a peaceful, permitted rally with masks, mace and weapons at the ready;  they attacked the crowd of  middle-aged, workadaddy, hugamommy Trump supporters; they sucker-punched a seventeen year old girl, they hit an older woman in the head with a burning smoke bomb, they bear-sprayed a group of people resisting them in the face.

This, of course, put a lot of people in a mind to either avoid rallies, or to meet fire with fire – both of them goals of all extremists.

There’s been a sold year-long buildup to the idea of fighting back against the Blackshirts.

The Blues Brothers Said It Best:  This may be the only time I ever compliment Hollywood.  Ever.

In the wake of the 1979 Nazi march through Skokie – home of thousands of concentration camp survivors – Hollywood responded, unintentionally but brilliantly.    In the original Blues Brothers movie, the Nazis chasing Jake and Elwood Blues were lampooned to a fine sheen; portrayed as bumbling, deliusional, and just a tad closeted before plunging to ignominious doom.

If you remember the movie, you remember the scene.

They could never make it today.

“Nazis” and “White Supremacists” are, precisely, the hapless losers that Kevin Williamson depicted in NRO last week.  They have a fraction of the numbers they had when The Blues Brothers was made (or had a fraction; the lavish publicity the mainstream media has given them this past nine months certainly has to have added a few, even if you filter out the Southern Poverty Law Center’s partisan hysteria).

“But those symbols are themselves weapons, because of what they mean and the history they bring up”.    Symbols truly do have meanings. The First Amendment gives you the same power to exhibit your own symbols, and to show them (so far, anyway).

In 1978, the Nazi Party marked in Skokie, Illinois – a town where a sixth of the people had survived concentration camps.  After several court battles, the Nazis prevailed with the help, inevitably, of the ACLU.

On the day of the parade, 20 Nazis showed up – and were met by thousands of Jews, who shouted them down  (without a punch being thrown) and humilated them, rending them a punch line for the next forty years.  They didn’t erase the swastika’s symbolism – but they did take its power away from them.  Their symbols – the Star of David, the Stars and Stripes – represented the victors; victorious, prosperous people; the Swastikas, the losers.

My biggest concern is that we’re giving them that power again.  Indeed, I think giving them that power is the left’s goal.

Woody – But the biggest reason?   “Anti”-Fa is the children of the upper-middle-class snowflakes that I met at the “Backroom Anarchist Center” way back when – maybe literally.

When the police pulled the masks off the Blackshirts that attacked the March 4th State Capitol rally, one of them was Woody Kain, the son of Virginia senator Tim Kain – AKA the man who would have been Vice President of the United States had conventional wisdom held sway.

I’ve seen these “kids”, most notably around the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul in 2008.  Everything about them screamed the sort of entitlement that comes from being, if not “the elite”, at least someone who rides “the elite’s” coattails.

Which is what makes “Anti”-Fa much more dangerous than the “Alt-Right”:   “Nazis” and “White Supremacists” are not just the fringe, they are the fringe of a part of society that has precisely as much influence as the media and political elite decide to give them.   

On the other hand, “Anti”-Fa are the children of those same elites.  These are not the children of carpenters, struggling to get jobs after community college; as Dennis Prager says, you need an elite education to be this stupid.  These are children who went to Bard and Oberlin and Carlton and Macalester and will, one day, when the lifestyle gets old, will use their class privilege to move seamlessly into positions of power and influence.   They will be tomorrow’s college professors, organizers, non-profiteers, teachers, and politicians.

Having people chanting “we must protect the white race” in an echo chamber is bad.  Having them chanting “F*** Free Speech” in front of a class of impressionable freshmen ten years from now is incalculably worse.

President Trump was too kind.

Factoid To Remember

Fqctoid to remember the next time the Victim Disarmament / Safe Criminals movement starts jabbering about the “Gun Lobby”:

Contrary to the ignorant assumptions that inform our political discourse, the NRA is a relatively small spender when it comes to campaign donations and lobbying, being at the moment the 460th-largest campaign donor and the 156th-highest-spending lobbyist.

Use it in good health.

Don’t Parc The Arc

I saw this on social media over the the last week or so – a quote from Martin Luther King…:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

…followed by a list of moral advances that’d seem to prove the proposition:

1776: Do we really need a king?
1863: Should people own slaves?
1954: Should schools be desegregated?
1967: Can a state legally prohibit interracial marriage?
2017: Is taxation theft?

The guy who wrote the post – who I think would fairly describe himself as an anarcho-libertarian –  meant well.  So did the guy who made the original quote, Martin Luther King.

But can there be a more toxic, wishful, pollyannaish platitude than this one?

Kevin Williamson reframed it well – the moral arc of the universe bends inexorably toward tyranny and barbarism.   

Look st the list of moral advances of the past 241years.  through the good graces of pushback against *that* moral arc, often at huge risk (like the signers of the Declaration of Independence); the king and slavery were removed with an exceptional amount of bloodshed; desegregation was neither bloodless nor inevitable.   The fact that some struggles don’t require bloodshed show that our society can, often, work out issues without going to war.

Not sure that aphorism recognizes what an anomaly modern Western civilization is.   Definitely sure people who casually use the saying don’t know it.

Before It Was Cool – Redux

Kevin Williamson:

Americans can be — and often are — everything our critics say we are: impulsive, vulgar, oafish, clumsy, greedy, vain, belligerent, sanctimonious, hypocritical. But we are something else: a catalyst.

We’ve had 241 years of hit-and-miss government, but imagine going back to 1776 with a prophecy that one day, in the not-too-distant future, the English, French, Germans, Spanish, and Italians — to say nothing of the Israelis and the Japanese and the Indians — would form a restive and sometimes turbulent but enduring alliance against tyranny and oppression, and that this alliance would be loosely and imperfectly organized around something like the ideals ratified on July 4, 1776.

We have our political, economic, and religious disagreements with our friends and allies, but everywhere in the world where people fight against tyranny, we hear an echo of 1776. Everywhere in the world where people risk everything they have to tell the king, führer, caudillo, secretary general of the central committee, dear leader, ayatollah, or president for life to kiss their asses, we see something of ourselves. When things get bad enough, we join in, and have spent untold blood and treasure in the pursuit of other people’s liberty. Why? What’s in it for us? It is in our nature. We aren’t our politics. We aren’t our government or our president or even our Constitution, which is subject to revision from time to time. We are the people who decided that rather than just change kings, we’d do away with kings altogether under the radical theological premise that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, irrespective of the king’s good opinion.

Read the whole thing when you get a moment.

Verdict

Kevin Williamson’s conclusion on the Democrats’ seeming compulsion to inflict more Clintons on us, and themsellves, via Chelsea:

…for Pete’s sake, stop it. Have a little self-respect, Democrats. Build Bill Clinton a statue or . . . whatever. Send him your daughters like a bunch of bone-in-the-nose primitives paying tribute to the tribal chieftain. But stop trying to inflict this empty-headed, grasping, sanctimonious, risible, simpering, saccharine little twerp on American public life. It’s stupid enough out there.

What led to the conclusion?

Oh, just read the whole thing.

TIme For Some Petty Partisanship

Kevin Williamson in National Review comes perilously close to my riff on people who think being “Moderate” is, itself, a good thing:

Bipartisanship is desirable not because the best course is likely to be found at the midpoint between two extremes: The man who drinks to excess every day is a drunk, and so is the man who does so every other day. There is no compromise between fidelity and infidelity. When presented with a good idea and a bad one, there is no point in being a little bit stupid for the sake of compromise.

Which is a lot like my saying: “Moderation for its own sake is like getting a choice between ‘being beaten to death with a baseball bat, and living a long happy life’, and compromising on a traumatic brain injury”.

But he actually has a serious point.   It is high time the GOP descended into some petty partisanship by stopping the petty graft gravy trail that funds the institutional left.

Congress should also target grants and other federal funding directed to political organizations. For example: La Raza, through its banking operations (of course it has banking operations!) has received millions of dollars in federal subsidies…the comptroller general has found routine violations of existing laws against using federal funds for political advocacy and lobbying activities. There is in fact a federal criminal law against using federal appropriations to underwrite lobbying. You will not be surprised to learn that this law — which has been on the books for nearly a century — apparently never has been enforced. “The exact parameters of this law, adopted in 1919, are not precisely known,” writes the Congressional Research Service, “as there appears never to have been an enforcement action or indictment returned based on the provision.” Time to tighten that up. Congress should also adopt a general prohibition on distributing federal settlement funds to nonprofit organizations. Billions of dollars in federal settlements have been directed to “non-victim entities” such as the Urban League and La Raza, which are fundamentally political organizations. If Republicans cannot bring themselves to act out of prudence and principle, then they at least ought to have a sense of self-preservation sufficient to stop funding campaigns against themselves.

It’s time for Republicans to stop letting our sense of fair play be used against us.

Anyway – it verges on a Berg’s Seventh Law reference; for all the left barbers about tax dollars going to support any institution of faith, an insane amount of our money goes to support the left’s religion – leftist power politics (emphasis added):

The Left has a weakness: It is dependent upon government money. It has long accepted that arrangement complacently, on the theory that its friends will generally control the government, if not always at the elected level then at the administrative and bureaucratic level. (The Left has not been wrong about that.) According to the Congressional Budget Office, about 17 percent of all federal outlays take the form of assistance to state and local governments — funds that in turn account for about a quarter of all state and local government spending. A fair portion of that money ends up simply passing through to nonprofits and politically connected contractors who provide dubious “outreach” and “development” services.

The correct term for that is “Graft”.

In The Footsteps Of Stalin, The Shadow Hecklers Stagger Through The Winter

A group of Obama supporters are planning to hold a “clap-a-thon” to, er, “honor” the outgoing President:

“His legacy is one of kindness and grace,” according to Bejidé Davis, a 29-year-old New York lawyer who organized the clap-out. That opinion is not universally held, to say the least — the consequential policy innovations of President Kindness and Grace include assassinating American citizens, a line that even Prince of Darkness Dick Cheney never crossed — but this is a question of affiliation, not a question of judgment. The people gathering to applaud for President Barack Obama as President Donald Trump waits in the wings are not really making a statement about the outgoing president. They are making a statement about themselves: “This is our tribe.”

And why does that matter?

Kevin Williamson, on the politics of applause, in a piece with too many good parts to pick few enough pullquotes for this post to fall under “fair use”.

Everything Old Is New Again

Kevin Williamson on the return of at least some old fashioned values among Democrats after the election of Donald Trump who, let’s forget, had more in common with Bernie Sanders than any other candidate on the ballot:

The pretensions of the imperial presidency are going to haunt Democrats for the immediate future, but they’ll quickly rediscover their belief in limits on the executive. While they’re rediscovering old virtues, they might take a moment to lament Senator Harry Reid’s weakening of the filibuster, an ancient protection of minority interests in the less democratic house of our national legislature. They might also lament Senator Reid’s attempt to gut the First Amendment in order to permit the federal government — which in January will be under the management of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and — incredibly enough — President Donald Trump — to regulate political speech, deciding who can speak, about what and when, and on what terms. Perhaps they’ll thank those wicked “conservative” justices on the Supreme Court for saving basic political-speech rights. If they are smart, they will rediscover federalism, too, and the peacemaking potential of a school of thought that says in a diverse nation of 320 million souls, there is no reason that life in rural Idaho must be lived in exactly the same way as it is in Brooklyn or Santa Monica. As Charles C. W. Cooke pointed out, the same people who until ten minutes ago denounced federalism — which they mischaracterize as the doctrine of “states’ rights” — as an instrument for the suppression of African Americans are now embracing secession, which, in the American context at least, has a little bit of its own racial baggage.

Read the whole thing, naturally.

The New Order

I’ll be the first to admit – I didn’t see last night coming.

When I went on the air, I knew that Trump had to win North Carolina, Florida and Ohio to have a shot – even a long shot at the presidency.

All three fell; North Carolina fairly quickly, Florida with a bit of suspense, and Ohio in a complete rout.

From there, as Brad Carlson and I broadcast from the Radisson Blue and the GOP Victory Party, we puttered around with various scenarios, watching the numbers creep up, wondering if it’d come down to Nevada…

…until events bypassed us all.  When Wisconsin went Trump, I knew my math was out the window; when Michigan, New Hampshire, and – incredibly, finally, Pennsylvania – dropped in the bucket, I felt…

…like someone had dropped LSD into the cucumber water in the press pit.  I was, for one of very few times in my talk radio career, reduced to jabbering nonsense on the air.

We recovered, of course; to the best of my knowledge, we predicted the flip in the Minnesota Senate before the rest of the Twin Cities media, yet again; only a math mistake on my part precluded Brad and me from being first on the ground with an official prediction.

Local highlights:  The GOP broke their curse inside the metro:  Roz Peterson crushed her challenger; Randy Jessup and Dario Anselmo flipped solid first and second tier suburban seats; Paul Anderson flipped Terri Bonoff’s old seat.   Tim Walz is facing a recount against Jim Hagedorn; Obamacare cost him bad, but I have a hunch his ill-advised and arrogant photo with the Action Moms didn’t help much.

Nancy Laroche is now on the Crystal City Council!

And  – Congressman Lewis.  I love that.   We finally found a campaign where cynical lies aimed at the lowest, basest common denominator (worst than the stereotype Trump voter, even!) lost.  It restored my faith in Minnesota voters.

Downsides:  Dave Hann, one of the most decent people in politics, is out.  And Stewart Mills.  That hurt.

But what about Trump?  Kevin Williamson of National Review – an out-front non-fan of Trump (vide his coverage of Trump’s kickoff entitied “Witless Ape Ascends Escalator“, to telegraph the punch just a little) – has some advice, and I like it a lot:

The first and most important thing to do is to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that Trump sticks by the promise he made — his record on keeping his word is not very good — on his list of Supreme Court nominees under consideration. If a Trump presidency means ensuring a generation of decent constitutional jurisprudence on the First and Second Amendments, then that will be worth a great deal in the way of tradeoffs. What tradeoffs? Conservatives should meet Trump on his own ground on the question of immigration, especially illegal immigration. His proposals on the question have been fantastical — making Mexico pay for a wall and all that — but his insistence that this be addressed rather than being kept eternally on the national back burner is appropriate. There are reasonable steps on immigration that can be taken, an enforcement-first approach that secures the borders (and the airports and the visa system) and focuses on workplace enforcement before moving on to broader reform questions, such as replacing the reunification-oriented chain-immigration system with one based on economic criteria.

The whole thing is, as always with Williamson, worth a read.

Wages Of Hegemony

Kevin Williamson, by way of hammering both Clinton’s self-destructive take on national security and Donald Trump’s simplistic and wrong-headed one, points out a consequence of American military, cultural and social hegemony that eludes Big Left and some of the libertarians who, these days, are increasingly indistinguishable from the left:

The American example has changed — forever — what the people of this world believe to be possible for themselves, bringing into present reality peace and prosperity that even the most utopian thinkers of three centuries ago would not have permitted themselves to dream of. Having liberated ourselves from the superstition of zero-sum economic thinking, the United States grew rich while helping other nations grow rich, too. That, too, is neither entirely altruistic nor entirely self-interested: When the United States intervened to save India from famine 50 years ago, and when Norman Borlaug et al. helped India to make a century’s worth of agricultural advances in a relatively short period of time, nobody was thinking about American exports or business practices in 2016. But it is the case that a rich India is much better suited to buy the things that America exports — aircraft, industrial machinery, optical and medical instruments – than is a poor India. For all our present anxiety, a rich China will be much better for the United States – and the world – than a poor China.

As always with Williamson, read the whole thing.

And then ask yourself; what good does an America that doubts and checks itself do anyone else?

Gotta Hand It To The Brazilians

The Brazilians just finished impeaching their first female leader, Dilma Rousseff, for corruption.

As Kevin Williamson points out, her corruption was pennies on the American “Progressive” dollar; the sort of creative accounting that the left (has been foisting on the American public for decades (with the connivance of way too many Republicans in DC, naturally), and why it, at this point, really matters anyway:

Corruption leads to poverty. It leads to poverty in Brazil, in Chicago, in Detroit, in Philadelphia, in Los Angeles, in Upstate New York, and in the Rio Grande Valley. Capitalism — the awesome productive capacity of free people — can bear many burdens and defray many costs, but it can be perverted and misdirected, too. From the state-run enterprises in Brazil and Venezuela to the green-energy fantasies of U.S. progressives, we see that the real threat to capitalism is not domination but seduction. Brazil seems to be hearing that gospel. We refuse to listen.

Is it because the media wouldn’t call Hillary (or any) Clinton “corrupt” if they caught her walking out of Fort Knox with a stack of gold bars in her purse?  Or because Americans favor the corruption – the looting of the public treasury – that benefits them?

We’ll see – sooner than later:

In November, the people of the United States almost certainly are going to elect Hillary Rodham Clinton their next president. Like Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, she will be the first woman to hold the office. Like Dilma Rousseff, she is an old-fashioned party-machine pol who is deeply and consistently corrupt, habitually dishonest, funny with money, and prompt to dismiss any and all efforts at holding her to some basic standard of decency and accountability as — remember the words, which could have been Rousseff’s — “a vast right-wing conspiracy.” We had to impeach the president the last time we had the poor national judgment to send a member of this hilljack crime syndicate to the White House, and Mrs. Clinton already has been acting as a one-woman crime wave when it comes to the laws that regulate how sensitive government information is handled and how official communications are archived for the purposes of accountability and oversight. Mrs. Clinton has argued that this all stems from her being too stupid to understand how to operate a mobile phone: “I used one device,” Mrs. Clinton lied. (She used many and has a talent for nesting lies within her lies.)

Americans may one day – soon – envy the corrupt, malarial hellhole that had the common sense to show at least one member of that class the door.

Finally.

I’ll Swim Against The School

A lot of conservatives bag on the President pretty hard for his dedication to his golf game.

Kevin Williamson says it’s a mistake, and I agree.  There are two reasons.

The first:

There are some obvious and practical reasons not to discourage President Obama’s sporting pursuits. The most obvious of them is that every hour Barack Obama spends on the links is an hour he is not wrecking the republic, distorting its character, throwing monkey wrenches into its constitutional machinery, or appointing sundry miscreants and malefactors to its high offices. If golf is the only prophylactic we have against him, then Scotland’s second-greatest contribution to modern civilization is to be celebrated for doing work that the Supreme Court and Congress can’t quite manage.

But there is more than the consequentialist case for Obama’s golf.

And I urge you go to and read it.

 

Watch This

You’d do well to read this entire article by Kevin Williamson – about the real source of human achievement.

Hint: its not politics, or politicians:

Politics thrives on convincing us that things are worse than they are, telling us that we must live in fear of violence and misery if we do not elevate the members of a very special caste of people who do very little resembling real work. The contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Rodham Clinton is not only unworthy of us as Americans — it is unworthy of us as a species. We contain within us greatness and the seeds of greatness, and the belief that the affairs of this free, dynamic, prosperous, good, unprecedented republic of 319 million souls rests on the choice between Enfeebled Psychotic Miscreant A and Enfeebled Psychotic Miscreant B is a superstition, one that we should leave behind.

And the conclusion?

Even the best of them do not represent the best of us. They can do some good, mainly by protecting property and the freedom to trade, organizing the occasional public good here and there, while otherwise staying out of the way. We — we human beings — cut global poverty in half in 30 years, built an ever-expanding electronic Library of Alexandria and have connected (so far) about half of the world’s population to it, all but eradicated polio, and saw the average life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa grow by 70 percent in 50 years. What’s next?

You could do worse than to read the whole thing.

Stupid, Stupid Suburbanites!

If it’s Thursday, a bunch of the usual New Urbanist suspects have ginned up another “study” “proving” the “costs” of “sprawl”.

Combining the the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S., he found, commuters pay more than $107 billion annually, which is about $1,400 per commuter, on average. Those are the dollar costs of the number of additional hours Americans spend traveling to and from work due to sprawling land-use patterns—which, by their methodology, ends up being around 3.9 billion extra hours total, or 50 hours per worker, per year.

To get to those rather staggering numbers, Hertz developed a unique methodology: He took the average commute length, in miles, for America’s 50 largest metros (as determined by the Brookings Institution), and looked at how much shorter those commutes would be if each metro were more compact. He did this by setting different commute benchmarks for clusters of comparably populated metros: six miles for areas with populations of 2.5 million or below, and 7.5 miles for those with more than 2.5 million people. These benchmarks were just below the commute length of the metro with the shortest average commute length in each category, but still 0.5 miles within the real average of the overall category.

He multiplied the difference between the benchmark and each metro’s average commute length by an estimated cost-per-mile for a mid-sized sedan, then doubled that number to represent a daily roundtrip “sprawl tax” per worker, and then multiplied that by the number of workers within a metro region to get the area’s daily “sprawl tax.” After multiplying that by the annual number of workdays, and adding up each metro, he had a rough estimate of how much sprawl costs American commuters every year.

Wow.  All of those suburbanites sure must be stupid, moving where life costs more!

Except it doesn’t.  City living nickels and dimes you to death; taxes are higher, the cost of non-slum rent or mortgages are higher, city services will get you coming and going, and then there’s the psychic cost of living in a city, almost inevitably run by Democrats with the attendant lousy services, dodgy schools and arrogant, imperious bureaucrats, to say nothing of the psychological cost involved in high-density living; apartment life, mass transit life, and all the other petty miseries of big city life.

No – the free market created the suburbs, as millions of GIs returning from spending the best years of their lives jammed “nuts to butts” on troop trains, troop ships and in barracks sprang for some elbow room for their kids; subsequent generations dabbled in the city, looked around, and skedaddled for the subs when the kids came along.   More on that point tomorrow.

As Kevin Williamson points out, the most powerful word in the free market is “no”; three generations of families have said “no” to “high density” life, and “yes” to the burbs.

To: The Entire American Media

To:  The Media
From:  Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  Journalistic “Standards”

Dear Media

Katie Couric lied to the viewing public by maliciously editing her piece on “Gun Violence” to show a group of human rights activists as speechless when asked a fairly elementary question about gun control (when, in fact, they had several minutes of on-point, articulate response).

Kevin Williamson – a long-time newspaperman (who presumably knows the secret handshake you journalists have that determines whether you’ll take their criticism seriously or not) notes that…:

This kind of thing is the stock-in-trade of faux journalists such as Jon Stewart and crude propagandists such as Michael Moore, but Katie Couric is, in theory, something else: an actual journalist. There are things we permit among comedians that we do not permit among journalists: I doubt very much that every anecdote Richard Pryor ever shared actually happened.

I believe I’ve heard a journo or two whimpering about “Censorship”.  (“On The Media”, NPR’s media criticism program Media Über Alles-fest, hasn’t yet, but I’m sure they will – if they deign to address the story at all)

The usual idiots are rallying to Couric’s defense for the usual reason, which has absolutely nothing to do with principle and everything to do with a deep disinclination to allow anything to happen that might be considered a victory for conservative critics of the mainstream media. This is not a First Amendment question: No one is arguing that this film should be censored, the way films critical of Hillary Rodham Clinton were subject to government censorship before Citizens United; rather, this is a straightforward question about journalistic standards and Yahoo’s adherence to or wanton abandonment of them. Journalists are not supposed to tell lies to their audiences.

Fearless prediction:  “Serious” journalists will throw their hands up in the air, declare “it’s the new media, what are you gonna do?” and let it aaaaaaaall slide.