Students on Chauvin

 

Perhaps there is some hope that enough students are getting an education and learning to think critically rather being fed crap. Here are three students.

Liberals and Democrats expressed relief at the verdict, while many conservatives criticized it. Many on both sides seemed to believe they knew the “right verdict” in advance, and then reacted to the jury’s decision accordingly. Few showed any inclination to trust the jury’s deliberation and judgment on their own terms. Since judicial bodies are designed to be authoritative sources, this is highly concerning. If Americans no longer hold any special reverence for institutions of jury and court, the legitimacy of the entire legal system is at risk.—Thomas Brodey, Amherst College, history

Even in the U.S., the rule of law is challenged by the desires of the mob. . . . In Book Eight of “The Spirit of the Laws,” Montesquieu warns that when the people “fall into a spirit of extreme equality,” they “want to manage everything themselves, to debate for the senate, to execute for the magistrate, and to decide for the judges.” . . . After the trial, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warned against viewing it as an example of the system working, because it doesn’t and it needs to be torn asunder. But all is not lost. The Constitution establishes appellate jurisdiction and due process. With a renewed commitment from the people, these achievements can be secured.

—Micah Veillon, Georgia Institute of Technology, history, technology and society

(Betting AOC has never heard of Montesquieu)

The 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade had Americans glued to their televisions, witnessing the mercilessness of police commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor. . . . In 2020 the world watched Derek Chauvin murder George Floyd. Alongside three other police officers, Mr. Chauvin pinned Floyd face down, knee on his neck, neglecting to administer aid as Floyd pleaded for his life.

In both cases, the crimes were so inhumane and the evidence so damning, America had to pay attention. . . . America rejoiced when Mr. Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges.

Diana D’Souza, Dartmouth College, government and economics

Big Brother

The Biden administration is considering using private firms to track the online activity of American citizens in order to get around the Fourth Amendment and other laws that protect Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures and surveillance. The report says that the Biden administration wants to monitor “extremist chatter by Americans online” but can’t do so without a warrant, and thinks private firms can get around the legal restrictions.

 

Saturday Again

Three thoughtful articles this week.

The Democrat Fighting H.R.1

An attempt to federalize state and local elections

By Kimberley A. Strassel

Behind the Democrats’ push for their federal take-over of congressional elections is their insistence that it will sweep away “racist” voting laws and increase voter turnout. No wonder they had no interest this week in hearing from a Democratic legend who knows—and can prove—that they are full of it.

That Democrat is Bill Gardner, New Hampshire’s secretary of state. Mr. Gard- ner has been overseeing Granite State voting since Dec. 2, 1976, a week before Stacey Abrams’s 3rd birthday. In December, a bipartisan vote of the New Hampshire Legislature elected him to a 23rd two-year term. The longest-serving secretary of state in U.S. history, he’s an institution, famous for his apolitical commitment to the state’s constitution and its first-in-the-nation primary.

Mr. Gardner was invited (by Republicans) to testify at Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, which the Democratic majority titled “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote.” Ms. Abrams got most of the headlines; the media and Senate Democrats barely acknowledged Mr. Gardner’s presence. And no wonder. It isn’t only that Mr. Gardner vehemently opposes his party’s H.R.1 bill, which would federally impose procedures such as early and absentee voting on the states. He also has incontrovertible evidence that the narrative behind it is a crock.

“Just because you make voting easier, it does not raise turnout automatically,” Mr. Gardner told the committee. It can have the opposite result by undermining “the trust and confidence voters have in the process.” He called it a “fine balance.” The New Hampshire evidence makes the case.

By Democrats’ definition, New Hampshire has some of the most “suppressive” voter laws anywhere. In the hearing and in a subsequent interview with me, Mr. Gardner explained that some of these rules are part of the state’s constitution. That document requires that residents show up to vote in person unless they are physically disabled or out of town. That means no mail-in voting. The state constitution requires that the final vote tally for each candidate be publicly declared at each polling place the night of the election after the polls close. This is one reason New Hampshire doesn’t allow early voting, which can cause the counting to stretch for days.

New Hampshire is one of four states that don’t allow provisional ballots—again, because it would derail the public reading of tallies. The state requires voter identification. It also requires in-person registration at a town hall or at a polling place on Election Day; it went out of its way to become exempt from the 1993 federal “motor voter” law that allows registration by motor vehicle offices and other bureaucracies.

Racist? Suppressive? Onerous? Hardly. For the past five presidential elections, New Hampshire has been in the top five states for voter turnout. It’s been third in the past four presidential elections, last year pulling 72.2% of its voting-age population to the polls. That exceeded U.S. turnout by nearly 11 points; in 2016 the figure was 14.5 points.

New Hampshire’s experience aside, Mr. Gardner offered the committee a contrasting (and more honest) history of voting in Oregon, the first state to shift to voting by mail. He recalled that New Hampshire’s secretary of state blows up the claims of ‘voter suppression.’

in the early 1990s, Oregon’s secretary of state pitched him on joining him in that move. Mr. Gardner declined. Before Oregon introduced all-mail voting in 1996, it had routinely been in the top 11 states for voter turnout in presidential elections, and often beat New Hampshire. It has never topped New Hamp- shire since, and in 2012 fell as low as 17th.

The Granite Stater says he believes deeply in making voting straightforward and accessible, and New Hampshire does that in many ways, including same-day registration. “But I’ve seen what ways to make it easier actually work and what ways don’t work,” he says. They aren’t all equal, and H.R.1’s provisions would likely do the opposite of what Democrats claim.

Mr. Gardner also provided the committee a chart showing U.S. voter turnout in presidential elections since 1952. He tells me he doesn’t think it is an accident that five of the six highest-turn- out years were in the 1950s and ’60s, before the beginning of federal efforts to meddle in state elections with laws like the 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. People lose trust, and even pride in their unique state systems. (Another factor might be the 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, which lowered the voting age to 18.)

Mr. Gardner has also issued a statement blasting Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats for their “attack” on his state and pointing out that the California system she wants to impose on the country has resulted in her state being ranked 46th, 49th, 49th and 43rd for turnout in the past four presidential elections. “There are 435 members of Congress; New Hampshire has two of them,” he tells me. Just five or six big states “have about half of all the members, and they’ll be writing our voting laws. I’m not telling them how to vote. Why are they telling us in New Hampshire how to vote? Especially given our record.”

And that’s the real question. Democrats’ “Jim Crow” claims are completely at odds with the evidence. If they are going to continue with H.R.1, they should at least be honest that the goal is to rig the system.

The Maxine Waters Problem

When America’s officials desert any standards for public or personal behavior, expect violence.

The emptiest, most meaningless statement in American politics in our time is: “No one condones violence.” That weaselly default word, “condone,” may be one reason the violence now never seems to stop.

It was astonishing in the runup to the guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial to see reports of cities preparing for more riots, not only Minneapolis but New York, Philadelphia, Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Washington. But as with Covid, social distancing from violence is mandatory.

When Rep. Maxine Waters of California (Los Angeles) was asked whether she was inciting violence by telling the demonstrators arrayed around her in Brooklyn Center, Minn., to “get more confrontational,” she responded with the politician’s user-key response that she isn’t “about violence.”

Don’t bother looking, Ms. Waters, but you—like all the rest of us today in the United States—are engulfed in violence: the political violence of street protests, the violence of rising urban crime, the violence of cops either shooting suspects or getting shot by suspects, and the violence committed routinely by homicidal shooters.

In the largest U.S. cities, the number of murders is rising. This is only the fourth month of 2021, and in New York City there have been more than 100 murders, nearly 180 in Chicago, at least 97 in Los Angeles. Minneapolis’s 21st homicide victim, a teenager, was found dead the day of the Chauvin verdict.

These are all individual deaths, but they’ve become banal and barely noted. Urban killing and other crime runs as background noise to the more publicized street protests, cop incidents and serial shooters.

It might seem like a stretch to conflate political riots, violent inner-city crime and individual shooters, but I’m not so sure they aren’t related. Obviously something is spinning out of control in the U.S. Whatever status quo exists to mitigate each of these forms of violence, it isn’t working anymore. It is failing.

There used to be widely shared boundaries on personal and public behavior. Not anymore. A lot of people no longer know how to behave or where the lines are that one shouldn’t cross.

Or, as with last summer’s political street protests, the former lines and limits have been erased. That July’s Democratic National Convention passed without one person addressing the destruction in numerous cities was a big event, a turning point, for U.S. society generally.

We are paying a high price for this transition to few limits. Derek Chauvin is about to pay a very high price for not knowing when to let up on George Floyd.

Most striking is how many people have become unconscious of or psychologically detached from the consequences of what they are doing.

In Wisconsin last weekend, the Kenosha tavern shooter got angry, went home, got a gun, and went back to the tavern to kill three people. What did this formerly free man think was going to happen next?

On the same day, an Austin, Texas, shooter, a former cop, went to an apartment complex, killed three people, and was next seen on TV standing on a highway with his hands on his head while the police put him in handcuffs—basically forever.

How could the post election Washington mob that invaded the Capitol think that was no different than attending a rally on the Mall?

Whatever happened to the thought, “Maybe I don’t want to do this?” Or shouldn’t do this.

Somehow, that internal brake on behavior eroded, and now we too often find ourselves dealing with the grim, out-of-control results. An epitaph is the awful phrase of the mother of the FedEx shooter in Indianapolis, who informed the authorities that she feared her son was going to commit “suicide by cop.”

The system let him fall through the cracks, as it did in 2018 in Parkland, Fla.—as it has with other shooters. Made passive by its own rules, the public mental-health system—the so-called administrative state—has proved incapable of providing basic protections for individuals and communities. Whatever the reasons, the resulting catastrophes proliferate. More gun-control inevitably will be another such administrative failure.

There is a pattern here of misgovernance and misjudgments. Black Lives Matter and its advocates argue, correctly, that the criminal-justice system arrests and jails too many young black men. Their solution is de minimis policing and prosecution, explicitly to repair “systemic racism.”

This is a consequentially dangerous error of judgment. They are absolving young men of personal responsibility for acts of violence against their neighbors.

The reality across the U.S.—on the streets of protest, in the toughest neighborhoods or in the minds of the homicidally deranged—is that the simple and utilitarian concept of behavioral “pushback” has lost consensus support.

Without pushback’s demarcation of limits—whether with accepted norms of behavior, a basic police function, or the credible defense of limits by public officials (not least U.S. presidents)—the future will bring more crude violence. Which no one will condone.

This was the original meaning behind the idea of maintaining social guardrails. They’ve been taken down—again.

Appeared in the April 22, 2021, WSJ

The Left Brightens GOP Midterm Chances

Democrats won’t have a leg to stand on if they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

A perception that’s long haunted Democrats—that they’re antipolice and weak on law-and-order—hurt them in 2020 and is likely to inflict even more damage on their electoral prospects in 2022.

Take Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D., N.Y.), who’s charged with protecting his party’s House majority as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman. That’s a difficult job for any party in possession of the White House; since World War II, the average loss in the House for a president’s party in his first midterm has been about 28 seats. If that happens next year, Republicans will have 241 seats to the Democrats’ 194 and Nancy Pelosi will be out as Speaker.

But Mr. Maloney made his task more difficult during a recent interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The host, a former GOP congressman who spends most of his airtime attacking Republicans, lobbed a softball. How would the DCCC chair “counteract” Republican charges that Democrats favor “defunding the police, cancel culture, socialism” and “packing the court”?

Mr. Maloney offered a three-word response: “lies and demagoguery.” He then veered off into hammering the need to emphasize racial justice, before calling Republican accusations “cheap political points” aimed at “whipping up white resentment.” The New Yorker finished off by decrying “racist voting laws” and saying we can’t go “back to the Jim Crow era.”

Mr. Scarborough was taken aback by Mr. Maloney’s inartful reply and asked again, “What do you say” to Republican arguments, for example, that “Democrats wanted to defund the police?” The congressman repeated that Democrats are “fighting for racial justice” while GOP favors what he termed “racist voting laws.” He triumphantly declared that Republicans “got their butt kicked in November,” and followed up with a diatribe about “the ugliest racism and Jim Crow era laws.” Mr. Maloney then demanded: “What the hell is the Republican Party doing?”

When Mr. Scarborough asked a third time how Democrats would respond to GOP claims, Mr. Maloney accused him of “repeating a Republican talking point for reasons I don’t know.”

Here’s the question: What in Mr. Maloney’s rant would convince a single swing voter to support Democrats in 2022? And that wasn’t the end of the Democrats shooting their own feet.

Last week, Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted: “Policing in our country is inherently and intentionally racist. . . . No more policing, incarceration, and militarization.” The police chief in Ms. Tlaib’s hometown, Detroit, called for her resignation, but the representative’s fellow Democrats only mumbled. All Speaker Pelosi could manage was to assert that not all police can be painted “with the same brush,” while White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Ms. Tlaib’s tweet was “not the president’s view.” Which do you think swing voters will recall more readily: Ms. Tlaib’s screed or the milquetoast reactions of the speaker and White House?

Then on Saturday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) told protesters that if Derek Chauvin wasn’t found guilty, “we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice. . . . We’ve got to get more confrontational” so “they know that we mean business.”

Mrs. Pelosi defended Ms. Waters, saying the Californian didn’t need to apologize, as her call for confrontation was “in the manner of the civil-rights movement.” The second-ranking House Democrat, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, said “I don’t think she meant violence.” That won’t fly with swing district voters, especially if Republican candidates denounce all violent protests.

Even President Biden and his White House seem tone-deaf in ways that’ll drag his party down in the midterms. After Mr. Biden in a post golf gaggle with reporters Saturday used the word “crisis” to describe the southern border, he was corrected Monday by his press secretary. Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden wasn’t referring to “children coming to our border” when he used the forbidden word “crisis,” but to conditions in Central America, where the “influx of migrants” was coming from.

Most Americans see what’s happening on our border even through the Democrats’ disingenuous spin. A sophisticated criminal enterprise is reaping millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of desperate people seeking to make their way into the U.S. illegally. It’s overwhelming border security, but the Biden administration is afraid to call it a crisis, not wanting to give offense to the left.

But progressives can’t carry the party through the midterms. A campaign dominated by statements such as Ms. Waters and Ms. Tlaib’s will be a twofer, driving GOP turnout and shifting swing voters to the right. Republicans must do more to win, starting with offering their own agenda. But so far Democrats are making it easy to portray their party as too extreme for everyone right of Marx.

Appeared in the April 22, 2021, WSJ

This And That

Corporations don’t pay taxes. They are vehicles for collecting taxes that are ultimately paid by some combination of customers in higher prices, workers in lower wages, and shareholders in lower returns on investment.
Lower corporate tax rates result in higher wages. Higher after-tax profits mean more corporate investment, which means more productive workers, whom companies can afford to pay more.
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Are capitalism and free markets the reasons for income inequality? Or are misguided government interventions to blame?” John Cochrane, an economist and senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution quickly rattles off poor schools, occupational licensing, land-use rules, and disincentives to work as examples of things that keep people down.
“The teachers union has become the biggest obstacle to up- ward mobility and to breaking the cycle of poverty for poor and minority students.”
Occupational licensing is a nice way to say job restriction. Around 1,100 occupations, involving close to a quarter of U.S. workers, require licenses. For doctors and lawyers this might make sense, but for many low-skilled jobs, it’s a huge barrier and a root of inequality. Hair braiding in Mississippi used to require 300 hours of training and a license in “wigology” until workers fought back. It’s now a $25 fee.
Land-use restrictions might actually be a bipartisan effort to drive up home prices—the rules keep housing supply from keeping up with demand—but progressives have been heaping on regulations. Try getting a natural-gas hookup in many California cities. The California Energy Commission’s solar mandate adds $9,500 to the cost of the average new home. And don’t try using your own kitchen to sell cupcakes or creole. You’ll run into a goats-head soup of restrictive laws.
Disincentives to work include welfare payments that exceed what can be earned from working.
Speaking of economic freedom – look down this list to see where the US is.
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Being a lifeguard in California can be unbelievably lucrative. If we had only known, many of us would have packed our bags and headed west for a career on the California beach.

OpenTheBooks.com found that lifeguards make a fortune in Los Angeles County. Seven lifeguards made more than $300,000 and 82 lifeguards had total earnings that exceed $200,000 in 2019, the latest year available.

Does this give you a clue on why CA taxes are the highest the US?

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“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.”
Churchill – The River War
Note, nothing has changed
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Disaffection, racism and misogyny – really?
Former President Barack Obama released a statement on the Boulder shooting saying recent killings are being driven by “disaffection, racism and misogyny” — despite Colorado officials identifying the gunman who slaughtered 10 inside a grocery store as mentally ill.
The shooters brother told the Daily Beast he was “very anti-social” and suffered from paranoia and possible mental illness.
But other recent mass shootings were committed out of religious zeal — which went unmentioned by Obama — by radicalized Muslim Americans whose families recently immigrated to the United States.
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Barack Obama has been labeled ‘a racial arsonist’ by Tucker Carlson, with the Fox News host accusing the former president of emerging only to foment societal tension. Carlson said that the former president ‘took a break from becoming one of the richest men in the world’ to weigh in.  ‘More than any other contemporary American leader, Barack Obama is a racial arsonist,’ said Carlson. ‘He emerges at our most vulnerable moments to deepen the wounds that divide us. He sows hate.’

Last Saturday In March

I think this perfectly illustrates how the socialist policies help no one while pissing tax dollars away.

Big government programs usually fail. San Francisco is spending $16.1 million on “safe sleeping villages” containing a total of 262 tents for the homeless. That’s $61,000 each, approaching the median individual income in San Francisco, yet they still live in tents.
Here is one location of the safe sleeping villages in front of the city hall in San Fransisco.
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Housing was once affordable in San Francisco

“Most people know that the San Francisco Bay Area has one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation. However, not everyone realizes that, as recently as 1970, Bay Area housing was as affordable as housing in many other parts of the country. Data from the 1970 census shows that a median-income Bay Area family could dedicate a quarter of their income to housing and pay off their mortgage on a median-priced home in just 13 years. By 1980, a family had to spend 40 percent of their income to pay off a home mortgage in 30 years; today, it requires 50 percent.”
— Economic Facts and Fallacies: Second Edition by Thomas Sowell

 

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On this week’s Colorado shooting:

Former President Barack Obama released a statement on the Boulder shooting saying recent killings are being driven by “disaffection, racism and misogyny” — despite Colorado officials identifying the gunman who slaughtered 10 inside a grocery store as mentally ill.
But other recent mass shootings were committed out of religious zeal — which went unmentioned by Obama — by radicalized Muslim Americans whose families recently immigrated to the United States.
Tucker Calls Him Out
Barack Obama has been labeled ‘a racial arsonist’ by Tucker Carlson, with the Fox News host accusing the former president of emerging only to foment societal tension. Carlson said that the former president ‘took a break from becoming one of the richest men in the world’ to weigh in.  ‘More than any other contemporary American leader, Barack Obama is a racial arsonist,’ said Carlson. ‘He emerges at our most vulnerable moments to deepen the wounds that divide us. He sows hate.’
This is what I was talking about last week. Barack gave racism back to America.
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Biden Speaks  Reads Cards

The President was at his most dishonest in addressing the Senate legislative filibuster. Asked if the 60-vote threshold is a legacy of racist Jim Crow, Mr. Biden said yes. But then what was Senator Biden doing in 2006 joining a filibuster attempt (which failed) against Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito?

On Wednesday Sen. Ben Sasse, the Nebraska Republican, did the public service of reading Mr. Biden’s entire hour-long 2005 speech de- fending the filibuster on the Senate floor.

“If there is one thing this country stands for it’s fair play—not tilting the playing field in favor of one side or the other, not changing the rules unilaterally. We play by the rules, and we win or lose by the rules,” Mr. Sasse quoted Vintage Joe of 2005. “That quintessentially Ameri- can trait is abandoned in the ‘nuclear option.’ Republican Senators as well as Democratic ones have benefited from minority protections. Much more importantly, American citizens have benefited from the Senate’s check on the excesses of the majority.”

Mr. Biden’s flip-flop tells us that Democrats in Congress are preparing to break the 60-vote filibuster rule, and he’ll go along for the ride as he has on everything since Jan. 20. He’s been less President than Prime Minister of the Pelosi- Schumer government.

Democrats are waiting to lay the anti-filibusterer groundwork politically, and Mr. Biden played his part by denouncing modest GOP state election reforms as “sick.” Watch for Democrats to use the highly partisan H.R.1 to break the filibuster in the name of “democracy.” That 800-page legislation would overrule 50 state election laws and reduce absentee-ballot verification and integrity.

 

This POC Crap Is Overblown

We have abundant POC. We are running thin on People With Class

The social justice warriors have done it. They have turned me into a racist. And I don’t like it.

I am past weary of the whining about whites oppressing people of color. Whites should try walking into a bar in south Chicago and feel the daggers of hate. How do you think whites fair in Nigeria? I recall going into a bar in Yokosuka only 19 years after we nuked Japan. All conversations stopped. I wondered if I would get out alive,  There were more whites sold into slavery by Muslims than blacks. That is ignored in favor of building consensus for reparations. There is no end to the injustice one group will do another. We have been at for over 100,000 years.

I  think I was pretty color blind until Barrack and Michelle taught us all racism. It has only escalated since then. Daily someone claims there are not enough POC in this or that category.  I find I am initially weary of POC until I realize that they are just like me.  It is the ones that live to create divides that deserve my contempt. But, I confuse one with other.

That said, Blacks are increasingly adopting vile elements into their culture. That leads me to stay my distance and yes to view them with disdain. Over 20 years of hoodies, pants around knees, plaited colored hair sewn into their hair, etc is enough. Standing apart from white culture does not help them one bit, rather it hurts them.

Some POC like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion are now proclaimed as mainstream entertainment. I remember when performers opened their act with “Ladies and gentlemen”. It’s a long way from I Wanna Hold Your Hand to Wet Pussies. And none of us are the better for it. Class is gone, replaced by loud and vile speech and acts.

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When I read an article that expresses my views, but in a way, I can do, I sometimes share the article. Here is Dan Henniger of the WSJ, writing what I can only wish I could write.

Biden Abandons Normalcy

In an era of social media’s emotions, progressive politics is about saving us from constant apocalypse.

It means more than nothing that President Biden recently could not come up with the name of the defense secretary standing behind him or even the Pentagon—“the guy who runs that outfit over there.” But do not confuse these lapses with the notion that Mr. Biden is unskilled in the art of political magic. He fooled me—getting nearly $2 trillion of long-term spending passed under the pretense of a Covid crisis that is fading. He’s taking a victory-lap tour now, and why not? He earned it.

We’ve said more than once here that the pivotal event of the 2020 Democratic contest was Rep. Jim Clyburn’s endorsement of Mr. Biden before the South Carolina primary. We seconded the conventional wisdom that Mr. Clyburn concluded Sen. Bernie Sanders was too far left to win the general election against Donald Trump. Mr. Clyburn saw that success ran through a “moderate” Mr. Biden.

He was right. Where we were wrong—and for this flight from cynicism, an apology is in order—was in thinking Mr. Clyburn disagreed with Mr. Sanders’s politics.

Still, many voters believed the Biden campaign was, as advertised, about rediscovering “normalcy.” It turns out the Biden presidency isn’t about anything very normal. Now it’s about “going big,” despite his minimalist election mandate.

Going big began with “Covid relief,” a euphemism to bury the bill’s non-Covid goals, such as rolling back Bill Clinton’s landmark welfare-to work reform law. The work part is being eliminated.

Recall as well how last July many thought Mr. Biden was throwing a sop to the party’s defeated progressives when he tweeted that his administration “won’t just rebuild this nation—we’ll transform it.” In reply, Mr. Sanders said Mr. Biden could be “the most progressive president” since Franklin Roosevelt. Cynics snickered. Wrong again.

Mr. Trump was fond of saying the Democratic establishment “rigged” the 2016 election against Bernie to favor Hillary Clinton. We now see that while Mr. Trump plays politics day by day, Mr. Sanders plays long ball. Mr. Trump lost Georgia and retired to Mar-a-Lago. Mr. Sanders lost South Carolina and won the presidency.

Much as I hate to eat more crow, a secondary winner in 2020 needs to be acknowledged: Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Her campaign was also an accurate predictor of what the “normal” Biden presidency would in fact become.

Sen. Warren’s contribution to what our politics have become was to promote her ideas in the language of the political apocalypse, calling out one dire crisis after another. She outranted even Mr. Sanders in describing America as a failed nation requiring radical solutions.

During the campaign, conventional wisdom discounted the chances that she or Mr. Sanders could win with the claim that the U.S. was in a sea-to-shining-sea state of catastrophe. Instead, the argument went, the U.S. electorate remains fundamentally center-left to center-right and wants to be governed that way. But when 10 Republican senators visited Mr. Biden in the Oval Office to offer center-right adjustments to his Covid bill, he showed them the door.

So less than 100 days into the Biden presidency, a question: Mr. Biden’s centrist or “normal” campaign pitch may have put him in the White House. But is the Sanders-Warren political model—threaten the country repeatedly with apocalyptic disasters if “we don’t act”—the way you win at governing in our time?

Mr. Biden promoted his spending bill by saying, falsely, that America’s Covid economic crisis is “not getting better; it’s deepening.” But it was getting better. Days after the bill passed, a headline in the Journal noted: “Factories Struggle to Meet Demand.” Amazing how Mr. Biden has re-created the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. Still, raising the stakes to apocalyptic levels worked.

The Sanders-Warren over-the-top crisis rhetoric will now be deployed daily to sell the rest of the party’s agenda.

The Biden climate bill’s estimated cost: $2 trillion, naturally. We have a “narrow moment,” Mr. Biden says, to “avoid the most catastrophic impacts of this crisis.”

Nor will we be allowed to forget we’re also in a “systemic racism” crisis that emerged this past year. Some 55 years after passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Democrats are selling H.R.1 “to overcome rampant voter suppression.” Mr. Clyburn, the godfather of normalcy, says the Senate filibuster shouldn’t apply to H.R.1 because it is “voting right” legislation.

And if a real crisis happens, as with Central Americans flooding through the southern border, euphemize it as someone else’s mess.

Somebody inside the Biden team recognized that normalcy wins elections, but sober realism doesn’t move legislation or public enthusiasm. The new reality may be that in an era of social media, the most relevant metric is having one’s ever-at-risk heart in the right place. That means turning every political issue into a referendum on catastrophe. So far, smiling through the apocalypse seems to be working for Mr. Biden.

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Appeared in the March 18, 2021, print edition.

 

 

On The Road To A Free Lunch For Everyone

Congress just passed a $1.9 trillion spending bill, and Democrats are already floating a sequel.

Only a small part of what Democrats passed is for pandemic or economic relief. It’s mainly a way station on their high-speed train to a cradle-to-grave welfare-entitlement state. Most of the $1.9 trillion will flow to government unions or supposedly temporary income transfers that Democrats intend to make permanent later this year.

All of this arrives when the Covid vaccine rollout is accelerating, the economy is recovering at a rapid pace, and the national jobless rate is already down to 6.2%. The goal of this Democratic program isn’t Covid relief. The point is to expand and solidify the role of government as the guarantor of every American’s income unlinked to any obligation to work.

Presidential Candidates Of This Century

Long Post this week. Several topics

No one should care, but here are my personal thoughts on Presidential candidates of this era. In my view, we have been offered nothing but losers by both parties.

2000 Bush/Gore – Between an unknown and a liberal

2004 Bush/Kerry – Between an OK President and a stolen valor liberal

2008 Obama/McCain – 100% liberal and a fruit loop former POW

2012 Obama/Romney – A proven 100% liberal and a guy I thought might work out. I was so wrong about Romney.

2016 Trump/Clinton – A loudmouth with a history of screwing others financially and a 100% corrupt liberal. How many votes did she lose by calling Mr. Trump’s supporters “deplorables”?

2020 Biden/Trump – A 100% liberal and a guy we were long weary of hearing. Trump lost not because of his policies, he lost for being a braggart, a bully, a buffoon, and for picking needless fights daily. Compared to Trump, Biden looks like Mister Rogers. And that my friends won him the Presidency.

I think the libtards, (not liberals, they are long gone) have won the game. The conservatives have not had a game. They have no leaders. They are done.

What’s Cooking In Congress?

Universal basic income is about to arrive in America. Congressional Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus bill provides for no-strings-attached checks, limited only to parents of children under 18. This UBI for parents is billed as pandemic relief, but its real purpose is to put a stake in the heart of work-based welfare reform.

Supporters blandly describe their plan as “Child Tax Credit improvements for 2021.” It would replace today’s annual child tax credit, which tops out at $2,000, with more-generous “child allowances,” payable monthly. Those allowances are federal payments of $3,600 (or $300 a month) for each child under 6 and $3,000 ($250 a month) for older children. The current credit increases with income from work; the new one would provide the same large payments to all.

Under the guise of pandemic relief, the federal government would give a nonworking single parent with two preschool-age children and one in grade school $850 a month. This would come on top of other government benefits, including $680 a month in food stamps, amounting to $18,360 in combined annual income. That’s the equivalent, without accounting for taxes, of working 28 hours a week at $12.50 an hour. On top of that, the family would receive health insurance from Medicaid, and it may also receive housing and child-care assistance. Government benefits to nonworking households that are this generous are bound to reduce employment.

The bill would provide the new benefit for only one year, but the Washington Post reports that “congressional Democrats and White House officials have said they would push for the policy to be made permanent later in the year.”

Trumpism

If only Trump had stuck to these points and not picked fights every day.

“What it means is great trade deals.”

“It means low taxes and eliminating job-killing regulations.”

“It means strong borders, but people coming into our country based on a system of merit.”

“It means no riots in the streets. It means law enforcement.”

“It means very strong protection for the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.”

“It means support for the forgotten men and women who have been taken advantage of for so many years.”

“It means a strong military and taking care of our vets.”

“We believe in patriotic education and strongly oppose the radical indoctrination of America’s youth.”

“We affirm that the Constitution means exactly what it says, as written.”

“We believe in standing up to China, shutting down outsourcing, bringing back our factories and supply chains, and ensuring that America, not China dominates the future of the world.”

If there is any hope of Republican leaders emerging, I guess it would be Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Tom Cotton, Kristi Noem, Marco Rubio and Tim Scott

Fan Mail

I enjoy your spanking blog, but I do not enjoy your political rantings.

Do you realize that it was the “LIBTARDS” on the U.S. Supreme Court during the 1950s and 1960’s who ruled that photos and stories about spanking and corporal punishment – as you depict in your blog – were and are “constitutionally protected speech”?  The conservatives on the court repeatedly attempted to block such speech from the public’s view.
He continued on citing conservatives engaged in censorship.
In a subsequent note he wrote:
The term, “LIBTARD” is insulting to many, and you continue to denigrate liberals, even in your “well-reasoned positions”.   Some of your political postings are downright obnoxious. You might get more traffic in your blog if you behaved yourself.
 
Nothing wrong with reasoned debate from opposing factions, but you turn it into something else.
 
Don’t forget what I told you:  You are writing this blog by the grace of LIBERALS.
I replied that:

Liberals allowed for policy debates. We have not had any of them this century.

Libtards seek to squelch anything that does not meet their approval. You want me to shut up. The best I can do for you is suggest you avoid reading OBB on Saturdays. We happen to have more eyeballs on Saturday than any other day of the week.

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Thirty years ago I was advised that political correctness called for me to be quiet, as the decision had already been made that I was wrong and further discussion was just hate speech.
Now political correctness has morphed into cancel culture. Squelch any conservative thoughts a priori. Now isn’t that a liberal idea?
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I started Saturday posts just after the 2016 election when Erica got her hair on fire with Trump Derangement Syndrome. She never had any concrete objections to him other than he had orange hair. Laughable to me.
Never miss an opportunity to work Uranus into a sentence

Life At The Bottom

Three articles about things you may not have seen elsewhere
“Whatever you believe, you might be wrong.” Bill Clinton

Life At The Bottom

“Poverty used to mean hunger and inadequate clothing to protect you against the elements, as well as long hours of grinding labor to try to make ends meet. But today most of the people living below the official poverty line not only have enough food, but they are also actually slightly more likely than others to be overweight.

Ordinary clothing is so plentiful that young hoodlums fight over designer clothes or fancy sneakers. As for work, there is less of that in lower-income households today than among the affluent. Most of today’s poor have color TV and microwave ovens. Poverty in the old physical sense is nowhere near as widespread as it once was.

Yet life at the bottom is no picnic—and is too often a nightmare. A recently published book titled Life at the Bottom paints a brilliantly insightful, but very painful, picture of the underclass—its emptiness, agonies, violence and moral squalor. This book is about a British underclass neighborhood where its author, Theodore Dalrymple, works as a doctor. That may in fact make its message easier for many Americans to understand and accept.

Most of the people that Dalrymple writes about are white, so it may be possible at last to take an honest look at the causes and consequences of an underclass lifestyle, without fear of being called “racist.” The people who are doing the same socially destructive and self-destructive things that are being done in underclass neighborhoods in the United States cannot claim that it is because their ancestors were enslaved or because they face racial discrimination.

Once those cop-outs are out of the way, maybe we can face reality and even talk sense about how things became such a mess and such a horror. As an emergency room physician, Theodore Dalrymple treats youngsters who have been beaten up so badly that they require medical attention—because they tried to do well in school. When that happens in American ghettos, the victims have been accused of “acting white” by trying to get an education. On the other side of the Atlantic, both the victims and the hoodlums are white.”

— The Thomas Sowell Reader by Thomas Sowell

More Green Blackouts Ahead

Your betters know what is best for you

You’d think the Texas blackouts would trigger some soul-searching about the vulnerability of America’s electrical grid. Not in today’s hothouse of climate politics. The Biden Administration is already moving to stop an examination of grid vulnerability to promote unreliable renewable energy sources.

Regulators have been warning for years that the grid is becoming shakier as cheap natural gas and heavily subsidized renewables replace steady coal and nuclear baseload power. “The nation’s power grid will be stressed in ways never before experienced” due to “an unprecedented resource-mix change,” the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) warned in 2011.

It added: “Environmental regulations are shown to be the number one risk to reliability over the next one to five years.” But the Obama Federal Energy Regulatory Commission(FERC) refused to consider how climate policies would affect reliability. Since 2011 about 90 gigawatts (GW) of coal capacity have shut down, replaced by some 120 GW of wind and solar and 60 GW of gas power capacity.

Covid ‘Relief’ Through 2028

Schools are getting billions they can spend over nearly a decade.

About half of the 1.8 trillion will be spent on anything remotely related to Covid.

Perhaps you’ve heard that the $1.9 trillion House spending bill is meant to provide “urgent” and “emergency” relief. But did you know that the Covid emergency in America’s schools will apparently last through 2028?

The House proposal showers K-12 schools with nearly $129 billion. That’s on top of the $13.2 billion allocated in last spring’s Cares Act and the $54.3 billion in December’s bipartisan splurge. According to the Congressional Budget Office, schools have spent only a fraction of that previous $67.5 billion. It’s hard to spend money when schools aren’t open for classroom instruction since unions have resisted returning to work in much of the country.

Because of this leftover cash, CBO estimates that a mere $6.4 billion of the new aid package will be spent for K-12 schools in the 2021 fiscal year. That’s right—only $6 billion of $129 billion will be spent during the pandemic emergency.

CBO estimates that $32.1 billion will be spent in fiscal 2022 on K-12 schools, $32.1 billion in 2023, $25.7 billion in 2024, $19.3 billion in 2025, $9 billion in 2026, $2.6 billion in 2027, and $1.3 billion in 2028.

In other words, this isn’t about Covid relief. School districts can spend the funds on a wide range of options—from sanitizing classrooms to “continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency”—and the money is fungible. This means that, after the pandemic eases perhaps as soon as this year, school districts are likely to use the money to pad their bureaucracies and teacher payrolls. One of the bill’s few limitations is that local educational agencies must spend 20% of their funds to address “learning loss” with interventions such as summer school or extended-day programs. This would require more money for teacher pay or additional hiring for union dues-paying positions.

You can bet many districts will also use the money for pensions and higher salaries. The bill is essentially a nearly decade-long subsidy for the unions that supported Joe Biden.

Biden’s Troubling Latin Agenda

For the WSJ, Feb 2021 By Mary Anastasia O’Grady.

Mrs. O’Grady has been a reliable window of knowledge for me for information about Central and Latin American countries. This article discusses an issue that will never see daylight in the mainstream press.

Funding for political activism and abortion won’t create jobs in the region.

When developed countries support equality before the law and property rights in poor countries, the left labels them imperialists. But use U.S. taxpayers’ resources to promote the termination of unborn life in poor countries, and progressives call it “health” spending. A similar language game is played when international socialists organize political factions under the banner of “democracy” to consolidate power.

Abortion and democratic socialism are two causes the Biden administration plans to champion in the Northern Triangle of Central America—Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Sovereignty, respect for local cultural norms, and the economic aspirations of millions of have-nots have never been high ideals in Washington. But now the condescending ideologues are resupplied. The problem is likely to get worse.

Latin Americans have reason to distrust President Biden, who had special responsibility for the region during the Obama administration. One notable disaster in that time was Colombia’s surrender to the narco-trafficking group FARC. The agreement was cooked up in Havana with U.S. help. Colombians rejected it in a referendum, but then-President Juan Manuel Santos pushed it through anyway, with backing from Team Obama.

FARC leaders got amnesty and unelected seats in Congress, but the agreement has been a disaster for the South American nation. The cocaine business has exploded anew, FARC honchos have been caught in drug deals, and coca-growing regions are again immersed in bloody conflict. The discredited Mr. Santos has been reduced to lobbying the U.S. to take Havana off its list of state sponsors of terrorism

In Central America, Biden administration foreign-policy makers want to reproduce a version of the United Nations’ International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (a k a CIGIG) that would span all three countries in the Northern Triangle.

Helping countries develop independent, transparent and accountable institutions is a worthy foreign-policy goal. But CICIG was none of that.

The commission prosecuted some criminals. But without checks, Commissioner Iván Velásquez gained absolute power and used it to unleash a reign of terror against Guatemalan society. What was billed as a way to help the country fight organized crime and build a credible judicial system was weaponized by the left. James Comey’s FBI going after Trump supporters had nothing on Mr. Velásquez. The most corrupt entrepreneurs and politicians stayed out of jail by cheering his misdeeds.

CICIG abuses gained international attention when lawyers for the Russian migrant family of Igor Bitkov, whom it targeted, testified at a Helsinki Commission hearing in Washington in 2018. They told of the gross mistreatment of the family, allegedly at the behest of Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Biden, who claimed to be an expert on CICIG, never condemned the collapse of due process or the cruelty the commission used to force confessions. He never even spoke up for the Bitkovs, whose 3-year-old son was thrown into an orphanage when they were jailed.

Guatemalans deserve an accounting. Instead Biden stenographers in the media are busy sanitizing his role in the CICIG story. The Bitkov family, still stuck in the corrupt Guatemalan legal system, remains a symbol of the dearth of empathy inside the Beltway.

But Joe cares deeply about the region—or so we are told. He will prove it now by pumping $4 billion into a variety of Northern Triangle social and activist political organizations. It won’t generate jobs beyond the aid industry.

An equally important agenda item for Mr. Biden is the export of abortion to the developing world. To that end, on his eighth day in office he signed an executive decree to allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund abortion providers operating overseas. This from the guy who pledges dignity for poor nations.

Plenty of Americans object. In a January Marist poll 77% of respondents said they oppose U.S. financing to “support abortion in other countries,” well above the 53% who said they are pro-life.

Some of these Americans may have an innate sense of respect for other cultures. In the developing world there is a strong belief that abortion doesn’t only take a life but that taking away the rights of the unborn undermines the ethical foundations of society.

This creed is captured in a recent “Culture of Life Africa” video. The 16-minute production features people across the continent pleading with Mr. Biden not to bring abortion to their shores. Honduras recently passed a constitutional amendment (requiring four-fifths approval in two different legislative sessions) prohibiting abortion.

In Honduras and many other poor countries where abortion remains illegal, organizations like International Planned Parenthood can now use U.S. government funds to promote their industry. Mr. Biden doesn’t need to share the moral convictions of pro-life nations. But his contempt for their views is troubling.

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So we will spend $4 billion funding social and activist political organizations in a Catholic country that does not want abortions. Why? One reason might be jobs for organizations. I think the prime reason is to harvest organs. 

Economic Theory

One of the courses that shaped my thinking was a graduate Economic course. There was only one class meeting and it was brief. The assignment was to read Karl Marx’s Das Kapital and Adam Smith’s The Wealth Of Nations.

Twelve weeks later the exam consisted of three questions:

Explain in loving detail the economic theory of Karl Marx.

Explain in equally loving detail the economic theory of Adam Smith.

Compare and contrast the two theories.

Three Blue Books later, I put down my pen and tried to pry my fingers apart.  No book shaped my beliefs more. No book has shaped western culture more.

From Religion and the Rise of Capitalism by Benjamin M. Friedman

“At age fifty-two, Adam Smith had produced only his second book. But The Wealth of Nations would prove one of the most influential works of all time, shaping Western ideas as well as the conduct of everyday life ever since. Its importance was evident almost immediately. By the time Smith died, fourteen years later, it had already gone through five editions in English plus translations into German, French, Danish, and Italian. Within another dozen years editions in Dutch, Spanish, Swedish, and Russian had followed.”

“Smith understood that private initiative, undertaken for no reason other than to advance a person’s own economic interest, can nonetheless end up making other people better off too. His crucial insight was that the setting in which such beneficial consequences would follow was the market economy, and that the mechanism that delivered this outcome was competition.”

 

This is relevant today. Do you want a nanny state that Elizabeth Warren would embrace or one free of government interference? Do you want a Cuba, North Korea, China, or Venezuela?

There is no doubt what the leaders of the Democratic party want.

And Now Advanced Political Correct Thinking

Being PC has always meant I have already made my mind up, so shut up and sit down. Well, the latest version of PC is “our democracy”.

When progressives refer to “our democracy,” what they mean is their democracy. To be a member of their democracy, one has to share their beliefs. If you’re not in, you’re out. And if you’re out, they may come after you for being a threat to democracy.

Joe Biden won the election. But why should 46.9% of U.S. voters submit to “reality” as defined by the 51.3% who won?