Category: Left Wing Idiocy

The Tax Bill Passes

So, it happened. The GOP got the votes for the tax bill and it passed both houses today. Trump is guaranteed to sign it.

The reconciliation process fixed some of the flaws in the bill but many of the others — the explosion of debt, the blow to individual insurance markets, the half-baked territorial tax, the BS budget gimmicks that make the bill seem smaller than it actually is — remain. The cut in the corporate tax rate is good as are some of the simplifications. But it’s not the radical reform we needed. In the end, however, the deficit remains my primary concern. This is yet another example of how the GOP has abandoned even the pretense of fiscal conservatism.

That having been said, the reactions from the Left Wing are nothing short of hysterical. Seemingly, every liberal blog out there is calling this a betrayal, a plundering of America, the end of freedom, the end of America, the end of the world. The GOP tax cut bill is irresponsible, but if the “resistance” wants to be taken seriously, they need to knock it off with this apocalyptic bullshit. A bill can be bad and not be the end of the world. And hearing cries about “the process” from people who cheered Obamacare and “fiscal responsibility” from people who thought the stimulus was too small is laughable. This will not be the panacea the Republicans are claiming; but neither will it be armageddon. It’s simply one more step on our way to full fiscal insolvency, a process that’s been going, almost without pause, for 15 years.

What I think really bothers the Left is that Trump finally has an accomplishment he can claim. Frankly, he’s welcome to it.

That last part has been harped on by the Trumpaloos as proof of Trump’s genius. But I have a hard time believing any Republican President wouldn’t have gotten this tax cut through. And they might have gotten a much better and more responsible bill.

I know my blogging has fallen dramatically since Trump’s election. I’ve gone from posting almost every day to maybe once a week. The reason is because I can’t think of much to say. Trump is bad, the Democrats are stupid and the GOP is reckless. Each day of 2017 has been just a rerun of those realities. There are only so many ways I can say the same thing.

Hopefully, 2018 will see some changes. I suspect — or maybe hope is the right word — that the GOP will begin to resist Trump’s worst tendencies now that they’ve gotten their judges and their tax cuts. But we shall see.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, folks.

The CFPB Slap Fight

There is a bizarre power struggle going on with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The former director has resigned and we currently have two acting directors claiming to be the head of the CFPB. One is the former deputy director, Leandra English. The other is a Trump appointee Mike Mulvaney. National Review breaks it down:

What has happened is this: The director of the bureau, Richard Cordray, has resigned. President Donald Trump has named his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, acting director until a permanent director can be confirmed by the Senate. But Cordray’s deputy, Leandra English, has attempted to block that appointment, offering a very novel interpretation of the bureaucratic rule holding that the deputy director operates as acting director in the event the director becomes unavailable. She is arguing that the director’s resignation makes him “unavailable” and hence makes her acting director. But a resignation doesn’t make a director unavailable — it makes him no longer the director.

Only the most gullible liberals are taking English’s oddball legal argument seriously. English is being represented in the matter by private counsel, the bureau’s own general counsel having concluded that the Trump administration has the better case, with “better case” here meaning “plain statutory authority.” The CFPB is established in law as an “executive agency” and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 explicitly empowers the president to name an acting director when there is a vacancy in a position requiring presidential nomination and Senate confirmation. The law is not ambiguous on the point.

A federal judge has now ruled in Mulvaney’s favor. Needless to say, the Democrats are taking English’s side and proclaiming that … something … in the law that created the CFPB enables English to proclaim herself Defender of the Faith. Ultimately, this fight is not necessarily about who heads the CFPB but about who the agency is accountable to. The Republicans want it to be accountable to the President. The Democrats want it to be accountable to no one. This is why the Court of Appeals declared the structure of the CFPB to be unconstitutional. Because federal law does not allow for regulatory agencies to declare themselves as independent fiefdoms.

You can probably tell I’m with Trump on this. Having a federal agency beyond executive control is not only unconstitutional, it’s a terrible idea. This is illustrated perfectly by the terror Democrats have of what it will do under a Trump appointee’s control. We have enough problems with federal agencies acting like feudal lords, issuing regulations and laws without any approval of Congress. Having one that can appoint its own leadership is a bit too far. Trump’s Acting Director should stand (although Trump should submit a nominee to Congress immediately). Presidents have long had the power to appoint acting heads of departments following resignations. There is no reason for the CFPB to be different.

This nonsense and the hand-over-heart tear-streaked cries of support of Democrats for English illustrates all that is wrong with the “Resistance”. Trump is going to appoint a CFPB head at some point. So this Acting Director stuff is just temporary at best. It’s provoking a needless, silly and ultimately futile fight for no reason other than to virtue signal. It’s inside-the-Beltway crap and will, frankly, only strengthen Trump’s hand with the general public. I understand why the Democrats are choosing this fight — they want the CFPB to be independent. But it’s a stupid, pointless and damaging fight to pick. If you want the CFPB to reflect liberal values, then maybe nominate someone for President who is not so personally, ethically and politically challenged that she can’t beat an incontinent hamster.

In other words, elections have consequences. This is one of them.

Swiftly Moving Toward Insanity

One of the things I despise about our modern political era is that everything — and I mean everything — has to be politicized. I’ve lost track of the number of things I’m supposed to be boycotting or buying in defiance of a boycott. I get bored to tears by the entirely unoriginal political rantings of celebrities. We can’t even go the store without being asked to save the whales.

But probably the worst part of this is the tendency to castigate those who refuse to engage in this bullshit. I blogged last year about Jimmy Fallon being criticized for a softball interview with Trump. And the latest target is Taylor Swift, whose refusal to get political apparently makes her a fascism enabler. This reached peak insanity with an unsigned editorial from The Guardian:

In the year since Donald Trump was elected, the entertainment world has been largely united in its disdain for his presidency. But a notable voice has been missing from the chorus: that of Taylor Swift, the world’s biggest pop star. Her silence is striking, highlighting the parallels between the singer and the president: their adept use of social media to foster a diehard support base; their solipsism; their laser focus on the bottom line; their support among the “alt-right”.

Yes. Because no other celebrities use social media or talk about themselves or are concerned with the bottom line. And that some obscure Alt-Right idiots have declared Swift to be their “Aryan Goddess” means … something.

By focusing only on her own, extremely profitable, business, Swift appears at first glance to be an apolitical pop star, keen to attract people of all leanings. She began her career in country, a genre whose fans have historically identified as Republican (early on, she wrote that “Republicans do it better”, though after Barack Obama’s victory she said she was “so glad this was my first election”). But these days, even heartland country singers are mocking the president. Her silence seems to be more wilful: a product of her inward gaze, perhaps, or her pettiness and refusal to concede to critics. Swift seems not simply a product of the age of Trump, but a musical envoy for the president’s values.

Let me just say that I’m really glad the UK has socialized medicine. Because I would hate to think that anyone could contort themselves into such an excruciatingly idiotic position and be unable to get the healthcare necessary to recover from it. I’m no fan of Swift but this is balls-out insane. Mining Swift’s music for clues that she’s actually a secret Trumpist? What’s next, finding secret fascist symbols in her dance moves?

If they wanted to argue that Swift and Trump are both reflections of a culture that is getting increasingly narcissistic … they’d kinda have a point, albeit an oblique and meaningless one. But by trying to tie this to some kind of political philosophy, they fall flat on their face. Why is Swift’s silence on politics self-centered, but self-aggrandizing celebrities jumping on the political bandwagon is not? We have an entire slate of late-night talk shows devoted to C-list celebrities talking politics and talking it stupidly. Every sitcom has to virtue signal by making a joke about Trump’s tweets (and bad ones at that). Hell, look at me. I blog and tweet. What the hell is that other than, “Look at me! Wheeee!”

Not everything is about politics and not everything is about Trump. Stop pretending that it is. For the sake of our mass sanity. As far as I’m concerned, Taylor Swift’s eschewing of politics is the best thing about her.

Antifa on the Attack

No matter how much I might criticize the GOP, Trump or anyone else, that will never diminish my disgust for the crap like this:

Their faces hidden behind black bandannas and hoodies, about 100 anarchists and antifa— “anti-fascist” — members barreled into a protest Sunday afternoon in Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.

Jumping over plastic and concrete barriers, the group melted into a larger crowd of around 2,000 that had marched peacefully throughout the sunny afternoon for a “Rally Against Hate” gathering.

Shortly after, violence began to flare. A pepper-spray-wielding Trump supporter was smacked to the ground with homemade shields. Another was attacked by five black-clad antifa members, each windmilling kicks and punches into a man desperately trying to protect himself. A conservative group leader retreated for safety behind a line of riot police as marchers chucked water bottles, shot off pepper spray and screamed, “Fascist go home!”

Let’s be clear. These weren’t Nazis. Or Klan members. These were peaceful protesters marching in opposition to Marxism and support of Trump. And Antifa set upon them, even (according to rumor) beating a passerby into a coma. There’s plenty of video if you want it.

In the wake of Charlottesville, there was a brief surge of portraying Antifa as heroes for fighting against fascism. There were even bizarre comparisons made to World War II. But this is not fighting against fascism. This is using violence to shut down speech Antifa doesn’t like. It’s disgraceful. And if the Republicans were as slow to denounce similar violence as the Democrats have been to denounce this violence, it would be a national scandal.

Months ago, someone sucker punched Richard Spencer. I and many others objected to it, pointing out that this was using violence against a man who, while hateful and vile, was not engaged in violence. The Left split on this, with some opposing it but many saying punching a Nazi was OK because … you know … Nazis.

But now we’re seeing that the “don’t punch people” side was right. It has proven to be a very short leap from “punch a Nazi” to “punch a Trump supporter” to “beat the hell out of anyone you think might be”.

Wrong Robert Lee

I have somewhat mixed feelings about the current debate over the removal of confederate statues. I see the point of the defenders that they reflect pride and history. And I am against vigilantes pulling them down on their own. But I also see the point of the critics: that these statues were mostly erected in the 1920’s and 1950’s, when America was undergoing spasms of racial strife. Some — like the Battle of Liberty Place Monument — were specifically erected as an act of defiance against the federal government by racists. I probably end up where Radley Balko is: preferring they be moved from places of honor to museums or parks where their context can be given. But I certainly see the other side of this debate and don’t think it is entirely defined by racist shitheads.

The question always gets asked: where do you draw the line? Should statues of Jefferson and Washington come down, too? But first of all, you’ve already drawn a line. I doubt that anyone would want statues of Che or Mao or Stalin or Hitler in a places of honor. If you favor keeping the current confederate statues up, you’re just drawing the line behind Jeff Davis rather than in front of him. Second, line-drawing is what we do in politics. We say that consensual sex is OK, but non-consensual is not. We say that killing someone in self-defense is OK, but murder is not. We draw lines constantly. And I see no reason why we can’t at least debate where the line gets drawn on statues. Agreeing with the Lefty Kooks on one thing does not mean you have to agree with them on everything. There’s no law of nature or politics requiring that we let this be a slippery slope.

For example

On Tuesday night, [ESPN] confirmed that its management moved an Asian-American announcer, Robert Lee, off the University of Virginia’s home opener football game “simply because of the coincidence of his name.”

Earlier Tuesday, a source had told CNN that Lee was abruptly switched to the Youngstown versus Pitt game. He had recently been promoted by ESPN, so the switch was a sensitive matter.

News of the decision follows the violence that broke out earlier this month at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, protesting plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The night before the deadly violence, white nationalists marched across the UVA campus, carrying torches and chanting racist slogans.

This is … ridiculous. And I’m sure the network realized it about ten seconds into the ensuing uproar. There is a valid debate to be had over Robert E. Lee’s character and legacy. I can see why some people might be offended by venerating the man who fought for slavery. But, Christ, his name is not kryptonite to black people. Just hearing that name, or someone with a similar name, is not going to make them weep. Removing him isn’t going to ease racial tension by one iota. And while the debate over the confederacy’s legacy is an interesting one, it is not the most important race issue we face right now.

Environmentalists Mad About Things Environmentalists Say

A few months ago, NYT columnist Bret Stephens was lambasted for saying this:

A guy I know just had a baby and he’s a big global warming, climate change activist. If he thinks in 20 years we’ll be heading toward unsustainable climates and there will be tens of millions of people being displaced, presumably including himself, at the most apocalyptic level, then presumably he wouldn’t be having children.

It contradicts the belief that we are heading ineluctably for an apocalyptic environmental future.

The entire environmentalist blogosphere erupted. But … the thing is that what Stephens said has been environmentalist gospel for years. There is about half a century of the left side of the environmental movement embracing and even demanding population control. From Ehrlich to Holdren to Bill Nye, we’ve had constant calls for population control. The most recent iteration appeared in the Guardian, which talked about a paper that said the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is to have fewer children.

Carbon emissions must fall to two tonnes of CO2 per person by 2050 to avoid severe global warming, but in the US and Australia emissions are currently 16 tonnes per person and in the UK seven tonnes. “That’s obviously a really big change and we wanted to show that individuals have an opportunity to be a part of that,” said Kimberly Nicholas, at Lund University in Sweden and one of the research team.

The new study, published in Environmental Research Letters, sets out the impact of different actions on a comparable basis. By far the biggest ultimate impact is having one fewer child, which the researchers calculated equated to a reduction of 58 tonnes of CO2 for each year of a parent’s life.

Put aside the fancy calculations. What this amounts to is saying that there would be no carbon emissions if there were no people. And that’s true enough, I guess. But this paper has been run with by many environmentalists, including those who criticized Stephens, as sound advice for a healthier planet. You would think the ugly history of population control, such as China’s brutal one-child policy, would give them pause. But no, they’re running out there with another round of, “Stop having babies, everyone!”

Well, they’re wrong against just as they’ve always been wrong on this particular subject. As it happens, the world is not facing an overpopulation crisis. Population is projected to peak mid-century. In fact, many countries are now worried about an underpopulation crisis. Countries like Japan and almost all of Western Europe are worried that their societies will not be able to sustain themselves.

What’s more, global warming is not a problem that we have a solution to. Alternative energy and efficiency are great but they are only delaying actions. The real breakthroughs — on nuclear power, energy storage or climate mitigation — have yet to be made. We need future generations of engineers, scientists and business people if we’re going to make those breakthroughs. That means having children. That especially means educated people have educated children. By encouraging such people to not have children, the greens are delaying future environmental progress, not advancing it.

Post Scriptum: I noted earlier that I was in Israel this week. I’ll write a full report at some point. But one thing I’ve noticed about Israel — especially in contrast to Europe — is the number of children. There are children everywhere in Tel Aviv. This is as opposed to Rome or London, which are almost childless. It’s not unusual to see a family with four or five children. Part of this is religious of course. But it’s not like Israel is a totally oppressive patriarchy. Women serve in the military. The WEF ranks Israel 49th in gender equality, even by their somewhat odd methodology (which ranks Rwanda 5th). If you look at maps of countries by gender equality, Israel is an island of gender equity in sea of oppression.

One theme you run into in Israel is past-present-future, the idea that this is a country which has a rich history but is looking forward to the future. They have one because they’re having children. Europe … doesn’t have a future. And if we listen to the environmentalists and stop having children, neither will we.

The Acceptable Prejudice

So this happened:

Occurring a day ahead of Chicago’s enormous Pride Parade, the Dyke March has always billed itself as a social justice-driven gathering that seeks to build alliances across race, religion, class, gender identity and immigration status.

At its core, organizers say, the march is designed to celebrate inclusiveness.

At this year’s march, however, some participants accused organizers of excluding them for expressing their Jewish pride. Laurie Grauer, 35, told The Washington Post that she was one of three marchers who were asked to leave the event because they were carrying Jewish Pride flags — a symbol that some in the crowd viewed as a symbol of Palestinian oppression.

The Dyke March has defended their decision, as have several other Leftist organizations. They claim that Israel’s oppression of Palestine justified kicking these people out. They further claim that Israel’s record on LGBT rights — which is the best in the entire continent of Asia — is simply “pinkwashing” their crimes against Palestinians. Because clearly Israel, with millions of conservative Jews, decided to embrace LGBT rights so no one would notice Gaza.

Now pair that reaction to this incident in Toronto in which Antifa activists tried to stop LGBT Muslims from demonstrating in the gay pride parade and calling out homophobia in Islamic countries. Their reason, they said, was that this would provide fuel to Islamophobes. This is not an isolated incident: there has been a curious silence from many on the Left about the oppression of LGBT folk in Muslim countries. This is the exact reason they give every time: they don’t want to promote hatred of Muslims. I understand that instinct. Oppression of LGBT people in majority-Mulim countries is sometimes used as a club to bash Muslims by people who don’t care about LGBT rights to begin with. But is pretending that gays don’t get murdered by Islamic radicals helping anyone? Why is it OK to call out Israel for Palestine but not to call out, say, Saudi Arabia, over gays?

Ask yourself: if you were an LGBT Muslim, which country would you rather live in? Israel, which grant full rights to Muslims and has the most gay-friendly legal regime on the continent? Or literally any other country in the Middle East? Tel Aviv is known as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. They don’t just have an annual gay pride parade; they have a gay pride week. There is literally no other country in that region where a gay pride parade would not be met with violence and oppression.

This is just one more piece of evidence that this “intersectionality” stuff is mostly garbage.

Intersectionality is the big idea of today’s progressive left. In theory, it’s the benign notion that every form of social oppression is linked to every other social oppression. This observation — coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw — sounds like just another way of rephrasing a slogan from a poster I had in college: My liberation is bound up with yours. That is, the fight for women’s rights is tied up with the fight for gay rights and civil rights and so forth. Who would dissent from the seductive notion of a global sisterhood?

Well, in practice, intersectionality functions as kind of caste system, in which people are judged according to how much their particular caste has suffered throughout history. Victimhood, in the intersectional way of seeing the world, is akin to sainthood; power and privilege are profane.

By that hierarchy, you might imagine that the Jewish people — enduring yet another wave of anti-Semitism here and abroad — should be registered as victims. Not quite.

Why? Largely because of Israel, the Jewish state, which today’s progressives see only as a vehicle for oppression of the Palestinians — no matter that Israel has repeatedly sought to meet Palestinian claims with peaceful compromise, and no matter that progressives hold no other country to the same standard. China may brutalize Buddhists in Tibet and Muslims in Xinjiang, while denying basic rights to the rest of its 1.3 billion citizens, but “woke” activists pushing intersectionality keep mum on all that.

The Left feels free to throw “intersectionality” out the window whenever it comes into conflict with their agenda — be it anti-Israel sentiment or anti-Islamophobia. To be fair: balancing various political interests is always a delicate dance. Just witness the mess going on in the Republican Congress as they try to balance Trumpers, establishment conservatives, mainstream conservatives, Tea Partiers and the needs of the country. But to be really fair, the Left has a long history of doing that dance by throwing anyone under the bus who they think is doing the wrong steps.

Today in “What A Surprise!”

I know, I know. You’re all shocked:

This paper evaluates the wage, employment, and hours effects of the first and second phase-in of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance, which raised the minimum wage from $9.47 to $11 per hour in 2015 and to $13 per hour in 2016. Using a variety of methods to analyze employment in all sectors paying below a specified real hourly rate, we conclude that the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by around 9 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by around 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll fell for such jobs, implying that the minimum wage ordinance lowered low-wage employees’ earnings by an average of $125 per month in 2016. Evidence attributes more modest effects to the first wage increase. We estimate an effect of zero when analyzing employment in the restaurant industry at all wage levels, comparable to many prior studies.

Now, the study does come with some legitimate concerns about methodology. Among other things, it excluded workers who work with chains (which is about 40% of low-wage jobs) because that data is provided on a state, not a city, level. But the latest of multiple studies show that the Law of Supply and Demand does, in fact, apply to low-wage labor. And this does come from the very group the city commissioned to study the effect.

The thing I keep saying about the minimum wage is that it is literally gambling the lives of people on crackpot economic theory. To quote myself:

Here’s the thing: the Democrats are claiming, based on a grand total of one study that doesn’t say what they think it says, that we can raise the minimum wage without increasing unemployment. Let’s pretend that this point is up for debate and that we are, in effect, engaging in a massive gamble on the laws of economics. What is the downside risk if they’re wrong?

As I noted in my last post, long-term unemployment is one of the most damaging things that can happen to someone. It can repress earnings for a lifetime, it can affect health and happiness and, as we’ve seen in Europe, masses of unemployed young men can become a hotbed of crime and extremism. That’s the risk if they’re wrong.

The Democrats are gambling the futures of millions of people on this will-o-the-wisp idea that the Law of Supply and Demand is magically suspend for labor because … well, because the unions want it to be. If they’ve gambled wrong, they won’t be paying the price. Millions of poor people and minorities will. If the $15 wage causes mass unemployment, the effects will last for generations. It may not be reparable in our lifetime.

I’m glad the Democrats have a few pet economists who will tell them this is a low-risk bet. But it’s yet another illustration of how the Democrats “help” people by holding their heads underwater. I have no doubt that they think they are being compassionate. But gambling someone’s life on crackpot economic ideas is not compassion.

The last time we gambled our country on Left-Wing economic theory was when we deliberately inflated our currency in the 1960’s and 1970’s based on the idea that the Phillips Curve predicted it would end unemployment. We then ended up with both high inflation and high unemployment, which the Keynesians has assured us was mathematically impossible. It never ceases to amaze me how the Left will gamble so much on economic theory.

First Blue model state to Greece it..

Looks like I lose a bet with a buddy, because Illinois beat California to the punch. Well maybe Connecticut can go right after California, so I win that bet. From the letter of the comptroller of the now bankrupt state of Illinois:

See attached letter sent to elected officials from across the state this morning.

As Illinois’ Chief Fiscal and Accountability Officer, my Office is responsible for managing the state’s financial accounts as well as providing the public and the state’s elected leadership with objective and timely data concerning the state’s difficult fiscal condition. As you are quite aware, I have been very vocal regarding these issues and the budgetary impasse since assuming office six months ago; however we are now reaching a new phase of crisis.

Accordingly, I must communicate to you at this time the full extent of our dire fiscal straits and the potential disruptions that we face in addressing even our most critical core responsibilities going forward into the new fiscal year. My Office has very serious concerns that, in the coming weeks, the State of Illinois will no longer be able to guarantee timely and predictable payments in a number of areas that we have to date managed (albeit with extreme difficulty) despite an unpaid bill backlog in excess of $15 billion and growing rapidly.

We are effectively hemorrhaging money as the state’s spending obligations have exceeded receipts by an average of over $600 million per month over the past year.

My cause for alarm is rooted in the increasing deficit spending combined with new and ongoing cash management demands stemming from decisions from state and federal courts, the latest being the class action lawsuit filed by advocates representing the Medicaid service population served by the state’s Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). As of June 15, the MCOs, and their provider networks, are owed a total of more than $2.8 billion in overdue bills at the Comptroller’s Office. There is no question that these obligations should be paid in a more timely manner and that the payment delays caused by the state’s financial condition negatively impact the state’s healthcare infrastructure. We are currently in court directed discussions to reach a workable and responsive payment schedule going forward, but any acceleration of the timing of those payments under the current circumstances will almost certainly affect the scheduling of other payments, regardless of other competing court orders and Illinois statutory mandates.

Heh, they ran out of other people’s money! Now if Hillary was president, the productive tax payers would just be told to grab their ankles and bail out these yokels, but with Trump-Putin, that is unlikely to happen. No wonder so many blue staters are losing their fucking minds and hoping to reverse the election results. They had banked on their girl saving them from their own ineptness, and now they are stuck with that debt they ran up figuring someone else would end up paying it anyway

I eagerly await your response as to next steps for furthering this discussion.

How about cut your nanny state fucking spending?

Must be why Obama chose to not return home and stayed in D.C…..