Open Thread

I’ve been trying to think of a time when the Elite of any nation actually got it right. Now, to clarify, there have been times when a member of the Elite hit upon the right solution, but the Elite, as a class, has been consistently wrong in all ages as far as I can see. I think this stems from the fact that once safely ensconced in the Elite, you rapidly lose whatever touch you had with reality…you can’t see how what you do will effect flesh and blood people who aren’t Elite and thus can’t afford to pay the price for Elite mistakes. If anyone wants to call me wrong and pick out where the Elite went right while Joe Average went wrong, I’m all ears. But, remember, it has to be an all right/all wrong thing…no cheating by finding something where, just maybe, the Elite was slightly less stupid than the mob.

I don’t know how many of your know who Justice Willett is, but he’s the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Trump’s nominee to fill a seat on the 5th Circuit…and one heck of a funny Twitter user. Once upon a time, during one of our interminable marriage debates, he Tweeted out that he could support a Constitutional right to marry bacon. Naturally, his Democrat critics took the joke seriously.

Roy Moore is not backing down. How will it come out? I was getting sure that he was going to lose next month, but Larry Sabato just switched the race to “Leans Dem”, so I figure Moore has it in the bag. It is a very confusing thing, in my view: there are lots of accusers, but plenty of holes in their stories…which shows the impossibility of really judging events decades in the past which weren’t brought forward at the time. I honestly don’t know what the best course is – I don’t want to allow the Democrats to win a turn, but I also don’t want someone who would do what Moore is accused of in office. On the other hand, it’s not like the Senate is some bastion of moral probity, to begin with. I’m just glad I don’t live in Alabama so I don’t have to make an actual choice.

Someone, aside from me, is calling the Student Loan Program what is is: a scam.

Do Trump’s Liberal Critics Seem Increasingly Unhinged? Yes. Next question?

Economists around the world are stunned that by some, strange magic, middle class people are doing better under Trump…they just can’t figure out why.

The Supreme Court will take up a case challenging a California law which requires anti-abortion health care providers to provide information on abortion options. It is a free speech case and I hope the Court rules correctly.

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Trump’s Own Foreign Policy

There’s a story out that Tillerson is decimating the staff at State:

The State Department is in disarray and losing essential leaders at a “dizzying speed” under the Trump administration, according to an essay written by a top ambassador.

Plummeting morale, a rash of top diplomats jumping ship and a hiring freeze imposed under Trump have sent shock waves through the Foreign Service, wrote Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, the president of the Foreign Service officers’ union.

“There is simply no denying the warning signs that point to mounting threats to our institution — and to the global leadership that depends on us. There is no denying that our leadership ranks are being depleted at a dizzying speed.”…

First off, this sort of thing explains the rapid decline in the number of leaks. Secondly, it shows that Tillerson – and Trump – are determined to have people they can rely on to carry out Trump Administration policy. I can’t quite say where Trump policy is going – he’s keeping to his rule of not telegraphing his punches. We can glean a bit from statements and from actions, but the end game is hazy. In the Middle East, for instance, it appears that Trump has decided to go with Saudi Arabia and Israel as our primary partners…which is a bit of a fall-back to the pre-2001 US policy, but with a twist in that we seem to be willing to aid Israel and Saudi Arabia to take concrete actions against enemies – theirs and ours. If it works – and this will be highly dependent upon the new leadership in Saudi Arabia prevailing – then Trump might break the log-jam in the Middle East. We’ll just have to see – but, meanwhile, he’s going to have his people doing it his way.

Whether or not Trump’s people are going to be good at this remains to be seen. At all events, however, whomever he picks can’t possibly do worse than those who are being pushed out…the same sort of people who have been running US foreign policy for a century and have never, not once, got things right. Remember, these are the guys who started off this century of foreign policy folly by figuring we should break up the Hapsburg Empire and keep Germany intact. From there, they went on to such genius things as normalizing relations with Stalin’s Russia, using the UN as cover for us to get into Korea with a declaration of war, signed arms control agreements which merely hamstrung American power and, to wrap it all up, signed off on allowing Iran to move forward with nukes under Obama. These people aren’t just wrong, they are kind of stupid. Breaking the chain by clearing them out and bringing in new voices can only help.

Looking at the Political Field

Our Democrat and Never Trump friends are giving out squeals of joy over the results from Virginia – it is the harbinger of Trump Doom. Forget it. It’s over. Trump is toast. Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer, here we come…and if Trump doesn’t get impeached after that, then President Kamala Harris will fix all he’s done.

I don’t know. To be sure, the GOP took a shellacking in Virginia – the Democrats seem to have worked out a killer plan to flip State legislative seats where they voted Hillary in 2016, the Democrat candidate for governor benefited greatly from that. OTOH, there are still some seats out there held by Democrats but Trump won the district in 2016…so, the GOP can play the same game. Not as effectively, of course, because given how well the GOP did at the State level the previous 8 years, there’s not a lot left for them to grab. And that is where my mind is going – this is just part of an expected snap-back. A good election cycle doesn’t mean a party is going anywhere. The GOP picked up 81 House seats in the ’38 midterms and it meant absolutely nothing…just a blip in the Democrats 60 year stranglehold on American politics.

What I can’t see is people being so disappointed in Trump that they’d return to power people like Pelosi and Schumer…or anyone like them. It could happen, of course, but I just don’t think it will. As I wrote last year, given that this will be Trump’s first midterm, the cards are stacked against the GOP…only the vast number of Democrats up for re-election makes the Senate pretty secure, while the House actually should be reachable by the Democrats. The Democrats need a net gain of 24 in the House to take a bare majority. There are 23 House seats won by GOPers but which voted Hillary in 2016; there are 12 House seats won by Democrats but which voted Trump in 2016. Only in 3 or 4 of each batch, however, was the Presidential margin a lot larger than the Congressional margin. Outside of a wave election for the Democrats, I think it comes out a wash…with maybe the Democrats netting 4 or 5 House seats.

Without a doubt, the 2018 midterms will be nationalized – the usual caveat that all politics is local will be highly attenuated next year. The United States is deeply divided on partisan lines. The GOP base – especially the Trumpster part of it – is deeply disappointed in the Congressional GOP. But I think that will manifest itself in more primary challenges…and more RINOs deciding to retire. When push comes to shove, the GOP base – and especially the Trumpster part of it – knows that it is political suicide to flip a lot of seats over to the Democrats. Not only will Trump’s agenda grind to a complete halt, but the whole purpose of the Democrat majority would be to go on scandal hunts to try and bring Trump down. The Democrat base is also very much fired up – they hate Trump with a white-hot passion. But my thinking is that the Democrat base is now, for the first time since the 1920’s, smaller than the GOP base. This follows a trend which has been going on for more than 30 years as everyone who isn’t a flat-out Progressive grows increasingly dismayed with the Democrat party. There was no way the old line GOP was ever going to get these people with any sort of consistency…but Trump, I think, can and will.

And that, in the end, is why I think 2018 will be good for the GOP…and good for America. The election will be nationalized, courtesy of the Democrats, and Trump will be able to hit the hustings proclaiming himself besieged by people who want to stop Making America Great Again. With the lower overall turnout always found in midterm years, I think the now-larger GOP base, fired up by Trump, will prevail. I could be wrong, of course; we’ll see. But I look to the future with calm confidence.

Reliving Election Night, 2016: a Progressive Nightmare

Esquire has an article out – The Untold Stories of Election Day 2016. If you haven’t read it yet, do so: it will bring pure joy to your heart. Here’s the crux of the matter:

Omarosa Manigault, Trump campaign: If we believed what was on the television, we would have thought we lost. But looking at the numbers that were in front of us in the key battleground states, we were up…or we were neck and neck, with expectations of higher turnout and more enthusiasm. We were going off of our own internal data. What was being shown on CNN and MSNBC and some of these other networks was showing a stark contrast to what was in front of us.

That was it, all along. The race was always tight – it never was anything but. Hillary did have her chances to win, but it was never going to be a walk over. It is like everyone in the Expert Class simply refused to remember that she was terribly unpopular and an absolutely awful retail politician. The whole of the MSM – including Fox – was feeding out this story that Trump was just terrible and Hillary was so polished and accomplished and was sure to win…and to support it, they rolled out poll after poll showing Hillary ahead.

Now, as I wrote back then, I was unsure who was going to win going into election day. I was off from work that day and was also scheduled off the following day: perfect for the political junkie. I didn’t pay the least attention to what was going on through the day: I knew from experience (especially from 2004), that the early reports would not only be wrong, but would be done deliberately wrong to try and boost Democrat turnout while depressing GOP turnout. No sense watching that sort of thing: best to wait until there were some actual votes. I already had my mental marker on how the night would go: if FL and/or PA was called fast for Hillary, she had won…if either of them were delayed, or called for Trump, it was all over for Hillary. I went out and about with the Mrs and, after dinner, came home to settle in for the watch. I think I clicked around a few channels but the coverage was so annoyingly pro-Hillary that I quickly got irritated. I actually decided, I think, to watch something else and just follow on Twitter, but I eventually surfed by Fox Business and Stuart Varney was on doing early coverage…he’s a huge Trumpster, but after the nauseating coverage on the other networks, he seemed to be completely fair and detached. I stayed on it.

I was watching out of one eye, checking Twitter (especially Decision Desk – a must-follow for election day) and really just waiting for it. Keep in mind that I’m on Pacific time: the first polls would close at 4 pm my time. I tuned in about 5 pm. The Mrs periodically checked in on me – she seemed pretty sure that Trump would win it, and she’s always right about how elections will go (don’t know were she gets the intuition from: she hates politics with a passion…but once she sees a bit about how a campaign is going, she always gets it exactly right). As I continued to watch the TV, it switched over to Neil Cavuto hosting – don’t know if he’s a Conservative, but he’s always a level-headed guy who goes with the facts as far as he can find them. During one tune out, he mentioned offhand that there were odd numbers in Michigan. That was my first inkling – this was before Ohio was called at 7:36pm my time…but I had been looking at Ohio and wondered by 6pm why it hadn’t been called for Trump already. My guess was that if Ohio was going Trump – and it was – then Florida likely would as well. I expected Trump to win all of Romney’s 2012 States (I never believed the BS that AZ and UT were in play). Add FL and OH to Romney’s 2012 total and Trump was up to 253 electoral votes…add Michigan to that, Trump was at 269. When Ohio was called for Trump, in my mind, it was over – at 7:36pm Pacific. The Mrs checked in a few minutes after that – and I said words to the effect of, “I think Trump might have this”. She said, “told you so” and exited.

By the time the MSM got around to calling Florida at 7:50pm my time, I was starting to perceive – looking at numbers elsewhere, as well – that the MSM was slow-walking the State calls because they didn’t want to get out in front of Hillary and her team. Until they told the MSM it was ok to call the race, the race wouldn’t be called. From that point on, the night got merely irritating. The sycophancy of these people! The numbers were the numbers; the votes were being counted. They were holding back calling States which had 90%+ in and all of Hillary’s territory reported. It really isn’t as difficult to call a State as the MSM was making out that night…and the number-crunchers working for the MSM were doing all they could to let everyone paying attention know that it was all over. They kept going back to the un-called States and pointing out, relentlessly, that there simply weren’t enough possible Hillary votes to overcome Trump leads in State after State. The Mrs hung it up at 10pm our time and went to bed – I kept hanging on, hoping to see Hillary concede. It was only after the report flashed that Hillary had called Trump that the MSM called the necessary States to show Trump over 270.

To me, the lesson of the night was simply to ignore the MSM, entirely. They will not do anything against the wishes of the Democrats. There is really just no point in listening to them any more, except for laughs. In areas non-political, they might some times get things right, if only by accident. But in anything which can be construed as political, they are just going to take their marching orders – and talking points – from the DNC, no matter how divorced from reality DNC press releases are. What will happen over the next years is unknown – but the last thing I’ll do is follow the lead of the MSM. I’m going with whatever facts I can find…and I should have been more bold in 2016 when I saw that a net 100,000 people had switched from Democrat to Republican in Pennsylvania. That, right there, was the whole story: people were abandoning the Democrats in droves. And I’ve seen reports, buried deep, that they have continued to abandon the Democrats all through 2017, as well. The proof will be in the pudding, of course – we’ll see how things shake out when the votes are counted. But I’m betting that they’ll be counted mostly in Trump’s favor for quite a while.

Lot of News Open Thread

So much, that I can’t really think of it all…but this is the stuff which has stuck in my mind today:

Democracy for America has pulled it’s support for Virginia’s Democrat candidate for governor – he, apparently, was insufficiently in tune with the Party Line on immigration. Now, why did Northam fall into heresy? I can only surmise that the Republican candidate’s attacks on the immigration issue are bearing fruit and Northam felt he had to so something with the election coming on Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Trump called for the death penalty for the NYC terror suspect and our Progressives friends got themselves into a snit that he didn’t call for the death penalty for the Vegas shooter…forgetting, I guess, that the Vegas shooter is already dead. Details – our Progressives ain’t too good with them.

A guy on his way out of employment at Twitter shut down Trump’s Twitter account. Liberals were temporarily pleased.

Democrats seem to have decided to throw Hillary under the bus: starting with Donna Brazile admitting that the primaries were rigged for Hillary. Also admitting that Obama left the DNC $24 million in debt. Also also admitting that Hillary seemed to use donations to the DNC as a slush fund for her Presidential campaign. Also also also Brazile glossing over her responsibility for all this. The only question is whether they are doing this just to get rid of a political barnacle, or whether they’ve been tipped off by Mueller’s team that bad news is coming.

Melania Trump to be protected by an all-female Japanese security team – which sounds really, really awesome. I hope she’s got a lair in some island volcano somewhere…

The GOP tax plan strips out the ability of illegal immigrants to get various tax credits. Which is a big, “no duh” for most of us because, you know, they are illegal and not supposed to even be in the country, let alone getting tax credits. There are other good things in there – also some things which seem a bit more dodgy. We’ll have to see what finally comes out of the Congressional sausage factory.

The Bolsheviks are calling for Revolution on November 4th. Not particularly worried. Don’t get me wrong: these guys ever get on top and you and I are going to be sharing bunks at the re-education camp; but these guys are simply nuts, at the moment.

Open Thread

In the Progressive paradise of Sacramento, California, 200 women have signed a letter claiming massive sexual harassment. Not a single person is surprised. But I did make Twitchy for the second time over it.

I’ll give you a moment to, once again, bask in my reflected glory.

This has been noted in the comments here, but it is worth it’s own entry: George Washington’s Church – the Church helped pay for, that is, and worshiped in for many years of his life – wants to take down a plaque in his honor. As you know, I was ok with tearing down Confederate statues (or, at least, moving them away from public squares), but now I’ve reconsidered: this isn’t about who and how we honor, but just a foot in the door in erasing all of American history. If the left wants to fight a political battle over this issue, then let’s have at it: we win.

Medical science is hard at work on anti-aging treatments. I don’t like this, all that much. I know it’d be great to keep the eyesight and not lose muscle and bone mass as we age. I totally understand that. But do we really want to live to be 150 or 200 years old? We can barely contain our wickedness with 80 years…give us people who at 110 are just as vigorous as people today are at, say, 40, and we’ll be opening up a can of worms which we might well come to regret. People who start to think themselves immortal are going to start getting ever more filled with pride. Everyone is still going to die: living a very long life is probably just going to make it harder for people to do so. I’m just glad this thing won’t be fully developed until I’m out of here.

Sometimes, a RINO has a purpose: Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) calls for DNC and Clinton campaign officials to re-testify about the Trump dossier.

The Virginia governors race is turning on the immigration issue: the bottom line question is whether or not Democrats agree we should have borders. The Experts are telling us that the Democrat is set to win…but the Experts also told us Hillary was going to win. We’ll have to see how it comes out…but if the Republican wins (I rate it 50/50), it will be just more evidence that the electorate is changing.

Find the Jobs

Here’s a story that is bound to bring a smile to Conservative faces: Progressive pizza shop that tried to pay fair wages (as defined by Progs) goes out of business. And, yes, reading it you can see the utter silliness of Progressive thinking. But what isn’t being noticed is, in my mind, the most important thing: the Progs are trying to gin up $15.00 an hour jobs out of $5.00 an hour jobs because they cannot see other types of jobs.

A Progressive sees things like “lawyer”, “professor”, “community organizer” and says, “hey, what great, well-paid jobs!”, while also realizing that not everyone is cut out to be such…but they have to do something, right? So, $15.00 an hour for making pizza. But is it any better on the right? Not really – most on the right also don’t see any jobs but the sort of jobs they know about…and if you can’t get them, well, to bad, so sad. This has the benefit of not stupidly believing that a pizza slicer can make $15.00 an hour, but it has the drawback of not having any sort of $15.00 an hour job for average folks out there. A bit of a shift in understanding is required.

In 2015 (the most recent year I can find any numbers on), the United States consumed 132.8 million metric tons of steel. In that same year, the United States produced 78.9 million metric tons of steel. Do the math and you can see we imported 53.9 million metric tons. The American steel industry has been operating for some years now at about 70% of capacity. What can we get from this?

1. We produce a lot of steel.
2. We can produce a lot more steel, even without building more plants.
3. We import a lot of steel.
4. Given how much we use, there is clearly a massive market for steel.
5. Given that we do produce quite a lot of it, we can make steel profitably.

So, if we use that much steel and we can make that much steel at a good enough profit to justify making steel, why do we import any steel, at all?

Right now, a steel worker makes a bit more than $20 an hour. Not a bad wage. Given that we import 40.58% of our steel, it stands to reason that we can employ a very large number of additional people making steel at $20.00 an hour. It also seems to me that figuring out a way to boost American steel production is a much better way to provide better wages than to either ignore the problem (as the right mostly does) or to demand that burger-flippers get paid near-steel industry wages (as the left stupidly demands). Do keep in mind, this is just talking about steel workers – but steel is made of things like iron and coal and a host of other materials that have to be produced, refined and shipped…all jobs that, also, pay more than burger flipping and which are clearly profitable industries in the United States because we already do them at a profit.

I’m sure the answer is varied for why we don’t. Our tax policies are insane. Our regulatory policies even more so. We allow foreign producers to dump their product on our market because our investor class has a vested interest in high profit margins on their overseas investments. We have environmentalists going nuts over any sort of productive activity. We have upper class twits who don’t want dirty industries anywhere near them. On and on like that – but we must cut that all out. If you want to see the future of America, think of it as 150 million welfare bums, hooked on drugs, sitting around while Progs “fight for 15” and Conservatives write another article about how great free trade is. Unless, that is, we find a way. Just do it – there’s a way to get the United States not only producing the 132.8 million tons of steel we use, but also exporting an additional 100 million tons. Don’t tell me it can’t be done – it can be done. It already is being done…and if it isn’t being done in sufficient volume to employ every single American in a well-paid job, then it is simply because we’re preventing it from happening.