Instead of the NFL . . .

The first step was to repair the split wood on the top.

The first step was to repair the split wood on the top. This view is of the underside of the top.

. . . I worked on cleaning up an old cedar chest. My darling bride’s father made this, back in high school shop class, before World War II. Made of aromatic cedar, it was finished on the outside, but left raw on the inside, to get the protection from moths that cedar gives.

The chest had at least fifteen years of dirt and grime on it. This is the front, after having used Murphy's Oil Soap to clean it up.

The chest had at least fifteen years of dirt and grime on it. This is the front, after having used Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean it up.

We have had it for years and years, at least since we lived in Virginia, but we never really used it. It spent the last fifteen years in our attic in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, basically as a catch-all for whatever junk stuff we put up there. Since we moved to the Bluegrass State in July, it has been sitting in the garage/shop.

Continue reading ‘Instead of the NFL . . .’ »

An unforced error Why introduce yet another Obysmalcare repeal bill when you know you don't have the votes?

From The Wall Street Journal:

Trump Applies Late Pressure to Senators in Health-Bill Push

Saturday tweets aim at McCain, Paul and Murkowski

By Kristina Peterson | Updated September 23, 2017 11:27 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump on Saturday pressed holdout Republican senators to support a GOP health-care bill, in a bid to revive Republicans’ last-ditch effort to roll back the Affordable Care Act one day after the defection of Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) appeared to doom it.

Mr. Trump’s Saturday morning lobbying faces long odds in resurrecting a bill that Senate aides from both parties viewed as close to dead Friday night. Senate GOP leaders can lose no more than two Republican votes to have any hope of passing the bill from GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

The bill would repeal many of the 2010 health-care law’s provisions and provide block grants that states could use to set up their own health systems. All Democrats are expected to oppose it.

“Large Block Grants to States is a good thing to do. Better control & management,” Mr. Trump tweeted Saturday. “Great for Arizona. McCain let his best friend L.G. down!”

Mr. McCain was the second Republican to oppose the bill, following Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) On Friday Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) said she was leaning against the legislation.

Mr. Trump said Saturday that he hoped to persuade Mr. Paul to change his mind.

There’s more at the link.

The blatantly obvious question is: why did this even come up if the Republicans didn’t have the votes to pass it? The failure of the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act has already hurt the senators with their constituents, but most of the blame was falling on Senator McCain. Mr McCain doesn’t care, because, impolitic as it is to say, he is a dying man,1 who will not live to see another re-election campaign. Senator Paul was just re-elected, and doesn’t face the voters again until 2022, while Senator Collins had already voted against ACA repeal in 2015.

But the biggest failure is on President Trump, who said in his campaign that:

Those were pretty grandiose promises, promises which had not been met under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. If Mr Trump had any real idea about how he was going to keep these promises, he never put those plans on paper. Once he became President, he never had that “beautiful picture” he promised in any form that he bothered to submit to Congress for approval.

The Republicans campaigned not on simply repealing the ACA, but on repealing and replacing it. Thus far, they have been unable to come up with anything different enough from the ACA to meet their promise of repealing it with a different, better replacement. Where is President Trump’s plan? When is he going to present a program which will take care of everybody much better than they are taken care of now?

Let’s face facts: none of the Republican plans have been anything more than Obaminablecare Lite, because there are only so many ways you can utilize the private, for-profit insurance system to force coverage for everybody.

The plain fact is that about half of Republicans — including me — objects to Obysmalcare not due to the way in which it attempts to provide insurance coverage for everyone, but that the government is trying to provide health care coverage for those who cannot or will not pay for it themselves in the first place. The problem is that the other half of Republicans might hate Obumblecare but agree with the cockamamie notion that the government should be responsible for providing health care coverage, and the GOP’s electoral advantage depends in part on a significant number of people who would lose health insurance or Medicaid if the current law is repealed.

There are only two significant ways to change the laughably-named Affordable Care Act: either total repeal, with no replacement, or single-payer. Every Republican congressman and Senator knows that voting for repeal only will take away health care coverage from some of the voters who put them in office.

There are only a limited number of options:

  1. Some form of single-payer plan, such as extending Medicare to cover all Americans;
  2. Some form of guaranteed private insurance, which is how the Affordable Care Act works; or
  3. Ending the federal guarantee of health care coverage.

The Republicans have already accepted that the guarantee is an established principle, so the third option has been taken off the table! That leaves us with either single-payer, or something at least similar to the ACA, and the Republicans proved unable to craft anything different enough from the ACA to both gain the necessary support and be different enough from the ACA to keep their promise to repeal it.

And now, Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT)2 has introduced his “Medicare for All” plan. Even though I have previously stated that a single-payer plan is the only rational way left to go, the failure of the ACA being obvious, I do not support Mr Sanders’ plan, because it is just another rob from the rich to provide more welfare scheme.  The Democrats are falling in line behind Mr Sanders’ plan, and are almost certain to campaign on it in 2018 and 2020.

If the Republicans have no better plan than the Affordable Care Act, then they might as well find a way to institute single-payer along lines that conservatives can at least grudgingly support:

  • Paying for the plan would fall on everyone, by increasing Medicare taxes to somewhere around 20%, with half falling on the employee and half on the employer. Employees would have their increased taxes offset by losing the need to pay private insurance premiums. The biggest losers — and there are always some losers with any government plan — will be the employers who do not currently provide health insurance plans.
  • The plan should cover necessary medical care costs only: voluntary procedures, such as plastic surgery in non-disfigurement cases, and abortion, should not be covered. Glasses and contact lenses should be covered, but vision correction surgery should not.
  • Only American citizens and legal United States residents should be covered; illegal immigrants and tourists should be excluded.

That list is hardly exhaustive, and other reforms could make a lot of sense. But time has come for Republicans to take the lead, and structure single-payer as efficiently as possible, without turning it into a welfare program. It has to dramatically reduce malpractice claims, by restricting any damages to actual damages, and end punitive damage claims. More, by making it a Republican program — one which will attract the support of many Democrats — it will completely undercut the Democrats’ biggest campaign issue for years to come, and structure the program on a pro-life basis.

I do not like single-payer, not in the slightest; to me, it’s only advantage is that it will be less bad than the ACA or something similar. I expect health care under single-payer to get worse, to something similar to what Sachi ab Hugh described concerning Japan’s single-payer system, or with the built-in delays used by Canada and the United Kingdom, and our own Veterans Administration, to control costs. But when even the Republicans will not end the federal guarantee, we have no other realistic option.
Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. Already 80 years old, Mr McCain would not face the voters again until he is 86 years old, if he chooses to run again. Having recently been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Standard treatment options for this tumor include chemotherapy and radiation, although even with treatment, average survival time is approximately 14 months.
  2. Mr Sanders is typically styled as an Independent, but I choose to designate him as he truly is, a Socialist.

Deplorables 2.0

From The Hill:

Clinton: Some women ‘disrespected themselves’ at Trump campaign rallies

By Julia Manchester – 09/23/17 11:47 AM EDT

Hillary Clinton said Saturday that some women are “publicly disrespecting themselves” in their support of President Trump.

“When I see women doing that, I think why are they publicly disrespecting themselves? Why are they opening the door to have someone say that about them in their workplace? In a community setting? Do they not see the connection there?” Clinton told MSNBC’s Joy Reid on “AM Joy.”

Clinton made the comments when asked about pro-Trump women who wear profane t-shirts “that used the b-word, the c-word about you.”

“And I think that’s one of the problems with sexism. We had such a public and still an ongoing movement to expand civil rights. Again, I’m proud of the progress, but we still have a lot of problems we have to confront,” she continued.

There’s more at the original. Here’s the video:

Mrs Clinton said:

Electing Barack Obama did not end racism as we know too well, but it gave the country a chance to say, hey, wait a minute, we are better than this.

Hillary Clinton's book, which there is no reason to buy, because all of the important stuff in it has already been excerpted.

Hillary Clinton’s book, which there is no reason to buy, because all of the important stuff in it has already been excerpted.

She then continued to say that we don’t treat sexism as as serious a problem as racism, implying that, one, we are not better than this when it comes to sexism, and two, it was sexist not to vote for her in 2016. Women, “particularly white women,” are “publicly disrespecting themselves” by having supported, and continuing to support Mr Trump. As nearly as I can tell, the left believe that only heterosexual white men have enough intelligence to be allowed to think for themselves, that all others, women, racial and ethnic minorities, etc, are simply not allowed to have any independent thoughts other than what the left assign to them.

Is it sexist for women to have supported Donald Trump, or is it sexist to believe that women owed Mrs Clinton their votes simply due to their genitalia? Geraldine Ferraro, the former congresswoman and Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984, labeled the Obama primary campaign in 2008 as “terribly sexist,” and even mused about voting for John McCain in the general election. Of course, Mrs Clinton’s 2008 primary campaign was accused of racism as then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) was beating her.

Mrs Clinton’s book selling tour has provided all sorts of red meat for commenters, because she has managed to indulge in sour grapes for the whole thing. Her loss was never her fault, and, when asked directly by Matt Lauer, in an interview on the Today show on September 13th, if her mistakes alone were sufficient to have caused her loss, without all of the extraneous stuff, she answered that no, they weren’t. It was her turn, damn it, and she was cheated out of the presidency by Vladimir Putin, sexist men controlling their wives and girlfriends, James Comey, Matt Lauer, The New York Times, Jill Stein, and whomever else I’ve left off this list.

Mrs Clinton stepped in it badly when she said, “You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.” The failing liberal journal The New Republic tried to justify Mrs Clinton’s words, but they didn’t help her in the campaign, and the Trump campaign turned it to their advantage.

Now, Mrs Clinton has no more political races to run — at least, that’s what she says — and she’s back to Deplorables 2.0, this time meaning women, “particularly white women,” because they didn’t give her 100% of their votes. What a great way to drive more women into the Republican camp!

Republicans love this! With our now permanent political campaigns, the Democrats need to be mobilizing for the 2018 elections, yet just 13½ months, 409 days, away from the next congressional elections, Mrs Clinton is still sucking all of the air out of the room. While the Democrats are trying to make political hay out of Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) proposal to extend Medicare to cover everybody, Mrs Clinton is still complaining about the outcome of the last election.

The University of Louisville attacks Freedom of Speech

From the Louisville Courier-Journal:

White nationalist recruiting fliers posted around University of Louisville’s campus

Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal | Published 2:59 p.m. ET September 21, 2017

Photo of flyer posted on University of Louisville campus. Click to enlarge.

Photo of flyer posted on University of Louisville campus. Click to enlarge.

A series of fliers urging students to join a white nationalist group have been appearing on the University of Louisville’s campus.

“For all of those who feel alone in caring about the future of European people and the preservation of European culture, you are not alone,” the poster reads.

University police are investigating the U of L Identitarians, the group placing the papers at bus stops around campus for the last three weeks. While university police said students shouldn’t be concerned, others are furious.

That part of the story is unremarkable, other than the fact that the Courier-Journal chose to report it, with a photo, when the editors would have made nothing about posters from Black Lives Matter or homosexual activist groups. But it was the last paragraph which spurred my ire:

“Just this morning is when we first heard about it,” said Kenny Brown, interim chief of U of L Police. “We’ll get a copy of it and review security footage to see who put it up.”

What? Regardless of what one thinks about the “U of L Identitarians,” they were simply exercising their freedom of speech under the First Amendment. The interim President of the University wrote:

Faculty, Staff and Students,

Recently, our campus has been littered with flyers bearing messages that have caused concern among underrepresented groups on campus.

Groups that attempt to separate us have no place at the University of Louisville. We have built a well-deserved reputation as a safe, welcoming home for all our students, faculty and staff, and we will continue to work to sustain that respect and support among our community.

The UofL Police Department is investigating this incident. They ask that anyone who sees suspicious activity or materials that may be deemed offensive or threatening to call them immediately at 852-6111.

Again, the university is no place for those who wish to separate us or to cause fear among our population. Let us all work together to ensure that every member of our community is supported and respected.

Greg Postel, M.D., Interim President

At least thus far, whomever the Identitarians are — and I was unable to find a website for their group through a Google search1 — they have not attacked anyone, nor committed any crimes, nor done anything other than exercise their freedom of speech.

Image of the First Amendment, from the original document. It was listed as the third article; the first two amendments proposed were not ratified. Click to enlarge.

Image of the First Amendment, from the original document. It was listed as the third article; the first two amendments proposed were not ratified. Click to enlarge.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And yet here, the University of Louisville, a state university in Kentucky, is “investigating” the posting of these flyers, and the university president is asking that “anyone who sees suspicious activity or materials that may be deemed offensive or threatening to call” the campus police. The campus police are going to “review security footage” to attempt to identify who put up the posters. William Teach of The Pirate’s Cove has a blog tagline which states, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all,” and he is absolutely right.

I do not have to like the U of L Identitarians to support their freedom of speech, any more than I have to like Black Lives Matter organizers to believe that they have a right to put up posters and organize. Frankly, I don’t like either group, but just as almost no one would think we should ban BLM from putting up posters, we should also not ban the Identitarians from advertising however they would like.
Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. While the poster lists an email address by which the group may be contacted, I chose not to do so. I am not interested in reporting about the group individually, but am simply concerned about the freedom of speech.

Das deutsche Original wäre besser geklungen

First the tweet:

And now the screen shot, because it’ll soon disappear:

Plame anti-Semitism

Then she tries to salvage her reputation:

Thing is, while retweets don’t necessarily imply endorsement, the way twitter works, Mrs Wilson typed in her comment “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.”

The texts, quoted together, for when Mrs Wilson deletes the originals:

1) First of all, calm down. Re-tweets don’t imply endorsement. Yes, very provocative, but thoughtful. Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish.
2) Just FYI, I am of Jewish decent. I am not in favor of war with Iran, or getting out of the Iran nuclear treaty. There are simply
3) too many who are so ready to go to war. Haven’t we had enough for awhile?
4) Read the entire article and try, just for a moment, to put aside your biases and think clearly.

Three more tweets, added together, said

Apologies all. There is so much there that’s problematic AF and I should have recognized it sooner. Thank you for pushing me to look again. I’m not perfect and make mistakes. This was a doozy. All I can do is admit them, try to be better, and read more thoroughly next time. Ugh. OK folks, look, I messed up. I skimmed this piece, zeroed in on the neocon criticism, and shared it without seeing and considering the rest.

Yeah, right.

I am supposed to believe that a graduate of Pennsylvania State University (BA, 1985, in Advertising), and two Master’s degrees, from Collège d’Europe in Brugen, Belgium, and and the London School of Economics and Political Science, would be stupid enough to retweet an article entitled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars” without reading it and understanding what was in it?

Even if she had just “zeroed in on the neocon criticism” — and one can certainly criticize ‘neocon’ political positions without being anti-Semitic — nobody with her education and experience is going to publish that title and not realize that she is opening herself to accusations of anti-Semitism.

There are really only two possibilities here, and they are not mutually exclusive:

  1. Mrs Wilson is just plain bone stupid; or
  2. Mrs Wilson has so internalized anti-Semitism that she doesn’t realize that she is, in fact, anti-Semitic.

Das deutsche Original wäre besser geklungen!

I have met other supposedly educated people who always claimed that they weren’t anti-Semitic, and appeared to believe sincerely that they weren’t anti-Semitic, that they were just opposed to ‘neocon’ or Israeli policies, but it didn’t take much scratching beneath the surface to expose real anti-Semitism. Oh, it was never overt, mind you, but just the occasional comment or dig or even rolled eyes at things about Judaism or Jewish people that had nothing to do with political policies. It was always the little things, like ‘Jews won’t let their children marry Gentiles,’ or ‘head nodding’ (Shuckling) during prayer, or — and this one was my favorite — a complaint about stock market inactivity and Jews being absent on Jewish holy days, as though the market isn’t completely closed on Christian holidays.

It is intellectually possible to oppose neocon or Israeli policies and not be an anti-Semite, but somehow I’ve yet to find someone who is.1

  1. Full disclosure: I am not Jewish, and have no Jewish relatives of whom I am aware. Of course, we’re all supposed to be at least twentieth cousins, so I must have some Jewish relatives.

The failure to grow up

From National Review:

Generation Free Lunch?

A new study suggests Millennials haven’t learned the value of hard work.

by Heather Wilhelm | September 21, 2017 | 4:00 AM | @heatherwilhelm

A new study suggests Millennials haven’t learned the value of hard work. Last week, an eleven-year-old hero meticulously pushed his way into the national spotlight, intending to inspire America and “show the nation what young people like me are ready for.” I’m referring, of course, to Frank Giaccio, the budding entrepreneur from Virginia who asked President Trump if he could mow the White House lawn. “I have been mowing my neighbors’ lawns for some time,” he wrote, offering weed-whacking services in addition to a waiver of his usual $8 fee.

On Friday, Giaccio got his wish: He showed up, industriously mowed the lawn, wowed the nation with his laser-like focus, and provided some amusing Trump-meets-boy viral video clips in the process. Alas, not everyone was delighted. Former New York Times labor reporter and apparent occasional wet blanket Steven Greenhouse, for one, was unimpressed. “Not sending a great signal on child labor, minimum wage & occupational safety,” he declared on Twitter. He was being serious.

Laugh if you will, but when it comes to putting kids to work, Greenhouse is not alone. Using surveys of 8.3 million 13- to 19-year olds between 1976 and 2016, a new study published in Child Development reports that in addition to significant delays in “adult” activities like driving and dating, only 56 percent of America’s high-school seniors have ever worked for pay.

There’s more at the original. Mrs Wilhelm concentrates on the part of the study which indicates that almost half of American high school seniors have ever held a job, telling us that this means many have no idea from where money comes, that they have missed out on a valuable part of education concerning adult responsibilities.1 However, there is a lot more in the Child Development article, the abstract of which notes:

The social and historical contexts may influence the speed of development. In seven large, nationally representative surveys of U.S. adolescents 1976–2016 (N = 8.44 million, ages 13–19), fewer adolescents in recent years engaged in adult activities such as having sex, dating, drinking alcohol, working for pay, going out without their parents, and driving, suggesting a slow life strategy. Adult activities were less common when median income, life expectancy, college enrollment, and age at first birth were higher and family size and pathogen prevalence were lower, consistent with life history theory. The trends are unlikely to be due to homework and extracurricular time, which stayed steady or declined, and may or may not be linked to increased Internet use.

Some of that is good: if fewer adolescents are copulating or drinking alcohol, that’s a good thing. However, I was immediately reminded of Mark Regnerus’2 article, “The Death of Eros,” in the October, 2017, issue of First Things.

For every one hundred women under forty who want to marry, there are only eighty-two men who want the same. Though the difference may sound small, it allows men to be more selective, fickle, and cautious. If it seems to you that young men are getting pickier about their prospective spouses, you’re right. It’s a result of the new power imbalance in the marriage market. In an era of accessible sex, the median age at marriage rises. It now stands at an all-time high of twenty-seven for women and twenty-nine for men, and is continuing to inch upward. In this environment, women increasingly have to choose between marrying Mr. Not Quite Right or no one at all.

unmarried poverty rateThe difference does not sound small to me! In round terms, for every five women who wish to marry, there are only four prospective husbands. This has huge societal implications, in both a declining birth rate and a steady increase in the percentage of births to unmarried women.3 We’ve known for a long time that children living in single-parent households have a much higher poverty rate than those living with two parents. There have been some articles attempting to claim that the problem of unmarried births is due to poverty making marriage more difficult, rather than unmarried status increasing poverty, if the 100/82 statistic is correct the problem is, in large part, that so many men don’t want to get married.

To return to Mrs Wilhelm’s broader point, adolescents are not growing to young adulthood with the behavior patterns we (used to) expect from adults being part of their expectations. Marriage is being delayed until ever-increasing ages, but biology remains immutable: fecundity for women is still constrained by age, and the ages of greatest female fertility are becoming marked by longer periods of being unmarried. With one out of five unmarried men of marriageable ages not being interested in marriage, the pickings start to become slim for women in their prime reproductive years to do so within marriage.

Yet, if men of marriageable age are less interested in marriage, they remain interested in sex; that’s simply human nature. Dr Regnerus again:

Artificial contraception has made it so that people seldom mention marriage in the negotiations over sex. Ideals of chastity that shored up these practical necessities have been replaced with paeans to free love and autonomy. As one twenty-nine-year-old woman demonstrated when my research team asked her whether men should have to “work” for sex: “Yes. Sometimes. Not always. I mean, I don’t think it should necessarily be given out by women, but I do think it’s okay if a woman does just give it out. Just not all the time.” The mating market no longer leads to marriage, which is still “expensive”—costly in terms of fidelity, time, and finances—while sex has become comparatively “cheap.”

The left will be appalled by the oh-so-nineteenth-century notion that men and women ‘negotiate’ over sex, but let us be honest here: until recently, men and women did ‘negotiate’ over sex, with some form of commitment expected. Now, with the cultural changes wrought by easy contraception and the access of women to the professions — though most women, like most men, have jobs rather than careers — commitment is now no longer a required expectation, but often eschewed, especially by men, but frequently by women as well. Perhaps the left thought that this would lead to equality between men and women, but equality does not mean identical, and men and women are not the same. Women bear the greater burden in human reproduction, and breaking of the social contract which coupled marriage and childbirth did not change the facts of biology. The drive for copulation has not changed; only the social compact has, and that change has wrought the huge increase in poverty among children. We, especially men, have abandoned the impulse to grow up, because our society has made it easy to remain adolescents.
Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. Full disclosure: I worked from the seventh through eleventh grades delivering newspapers.
  2. Mark Regnerus is associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, senior fellow at the Austin Institute, and author of Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy.
  3. This rate has declined slightly, to 40.6% in 2013, from 40.7% in 2011-2012. The peak was 40.0% in 2009.

It’s time to help our own people!

From The Washington Post:

Mexico needs help now. Can President Trump overcome his grudges and provide it?

After a devastating earthquake, it’s time for solidarity.

By León Krauze1 | September 20, 2017 | 11:58 AM

Early in the morning of Sept. 19, 1985, a ferocious earthquake shook Mexico City. For almost two minutes, the wobbly metropolis trembled and jumped, jolted by a movement not felt since a 1957 tremor, which toppled the Angel de la Independencia, one of the city’s most renowned landmarks, from its 120-foot column. In 1985, the golden statue stood aloft, but the consequences of the earthquake were otherwise devastating: Hundreds of buildings collapsed within seconds, including hotels, hospitals, theaters and scores of apartment complexes. Close to a million people were left homeless, living in makeshift camps, in some cases for years on end. More than 12,000 people died, according to some estimates.

On Tuesday, exactly 32 years later, another violent earthquake struck the Mexican capital, a jerk of a tremor that whiplashed the city a few minutes before lunch. Forty buildings buckled, the harrowing scenes broadcast over the Internet like a live version of an apocalyptic movie. By nightfall, Mexico’s government had confirmed more than 200 people dead, with many more buried in the rubble all over Mexico City (the city’s strict building codes prevented a worse outcome). The number of structures that have suffered severe fundamental damage could reach the hundreds. In southern Mexico City, the heartbreak became almost unbearable when authorities confirmed the collapse of the Enrique Rebsamen elementary school, where dozens of children have died and more are missing.

And yet, from within the cloud of unspeakable tragedy, a silver lining has glimmered through. Like in 1985, Mexican solidarity has lifted a country sunk in violence and acrimonious political and social discontent. Scores of volunteers spontaneously joined authorities and first responders, including the Mexican armed forces, to dig through the rubble. People took to the streets to offer water and food, activists quickly established collection centers, and social media worked its virtuous magic, connecting possible volunteers with places where they were needed.

There’s much more at the original, but I don’t want to exceed ‘fair use’ guidelines. Suffice it to say that Mr Krauze, the author, continues to note how the United States helped Mexico following the 1985 earthquake, and Mexico sent sent a 45-vehicle army convoy with 200 men to help, and provided some assistance following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey last month. He concludes by urging President Trump to forget his “long, unfair and very public confrontation with Mexico and its citizens on both sides of the border,” and provide assistance to Mexico.

However, as of September 19, 2017, our national debt hit $20,173,203,847,678.44, well over our 2016 gross domestic product of $18.57 trillion. Mark Zandi at Moody’s Analytics estimates damage from hurricanes Irma and Harvey to total between $150 billion and $200 billion, and that damage could slow output by another $20 to $30 billion.

We are still borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars, and earlier this month President Trump had to sign an extension of the debt ceiling until December 8, 2017. The federal government will run up another half trillion dollars in debt every fiscal year until President Trump’s (first?) term is up. The American people are already taxed too heavily, yet our taxes don’t match the amount that our governments — federal, state and local — spend. It’s time to say, “No,” to helping Mexico, it’s time to say, “No,” to helping other nations, and start taking care of our own people.
Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. León Krauze is an award-winning Mexican journalist, author and news anchor. He is currently the lead anchor at KMEX, Univision’s station in Los Angeles

Very little of substance has been different during the first nine months of the Trump Administration than it would have been had Hillary Clinton won the election

Heather Long tweeted:

The truth is that I’d brush off those things, too.

  • North Korean nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles? It’s a really bad thing that they have them, but I love it when the only fat kid in North Korea wastes another missile shooting at an empty spot in the Pacific, and I love it when he wastes hard-to-produce weapons grade fissile material blowing up empty holes in the ground. Every missile expended, every weapon tested, is something removed from the North Korean arsenal. The North Koreans know this, and they are using these things to provoke a Western response, knowing that such a response will be yet another torrent of words. As Sampson bites his thumb, to insult the Montagues, so Kim Jong-un bites his thumb at Donald Trump, and the rest of the world, knowing that words will be spilled, but not blood.
  • Hurricanes?We have had Harvey and Irma strike, causing billions of dollars in damages, but if we have seen a lull in major hurricanes having struck the United States in recent years, these two storms striking are still part of normal weather patterns./ Two major storms over the course of a couple weeks is out of the ordinary, but when looked at over time, we have suffered fewer rather than more such events.
  • The Federal Reserve Board? Though today’s meeting ended without the FOMC raising short-term interest rates, they projected an increase in their December meeting. People who pay attention to the Fed expected this, and if the FOMC does increase short term rates in December, it will still be in line with their previously published expectations.
  • Washington, DC, politics? They haven’t really changed much since the inauguration, and the two major changes which have occurred — the failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the (probable) deal with the Democrats to write Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) into law — are things that the people who play the stock market largely support.

Other than the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, very little of substance has been different during the first nine months of the Trump Administration than it would have been had Hillary Clinton won the election. Oh, the things that make the headlines would be different, as the violence of Antifa wouldn’t have happened, and we wouldn’t see CNN blathering on, day-in-and-day-out about Russia, but those are sideshows, meaning virtually nothing for the policies which affect everyday Americans.

We were told that the stock market would plummet if Mr Trump was elected, and Dow futures fell a whopping 750 points late on the evening of November 8th, as it became apparent that Mr Trump was going to win the election. Instead, stocks rose, dramatically: since the close of business on election day, when almost everybody expected Mrs Clinton to win, until this afternoon, the Dow has risen from 18,332.74 to 22,412.59, an increase of 4,079.85 points, or 22.25%. Clearly, the actual investors — as opposed to the professional economists, for whom I have repeatedly expressed disdain — saw the incoming Trump Administration as better for business

But, as times has passed, most of what we have seen is an Administration which has diverged little on policies from what Mrs Clinton would have put in place, at least as far as the things investors are concerned about.

Smart investors are able to tune out the extraneous noise, and much of what has made news has been just that, extraneous noise.

Freedom of speech isn’t so popular on campus

Image of the First Amendment, from the original document. It was listed as the third article; the first two amendments proposed were not ratified. Click to enlarge.

Image of the First Amendment, from the original document. It was listed as the third article; the first two amendments proposed were not ratified. Click to enlarge.

From The Washington Post:

A chilling study shows how hostile college students are toward free speech

By Catherine Rampell | Opinion writer | September 18 at 8:02 PM

Here’s the problem with suggesting that upsetting speech warrants “safe spaces,” or otherwise conflating mere words with physical assault: If speech is violence, then violence becomes a justifiable response to speech.

Just ask college students. A fifth of undergrads now say it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive and hurtful statements.”

That’s one finding from a disturbing new survey of students conducted by John Villasenor, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and University of California at Los Angeles professor.

In August, motivated by concerns about the “narrowing window of permissible topics” for discussion on campuses, Villasenor conducted a nationwide survey of 1,500 undergraduate students at four-year colleges. Financial support for the survey was provided by the Charles Koch Foundation, which Villasenor said had no involvement in designing, administering or analyzing the questionnaire; as of this writing, the foundation had also not seen his results.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Many of Villasenor’s questions were designed to gauge students’ understanding of the First Amendment. Colleges, after all, pay a lot of lip service to “freedom of speech,” despite high-profile examples of civil-liberty-squelching on campus. The survey suggests that this might not be due to hypocrisy so much as a misunderstanding of what the First Amendment actually entails.

For example, when students were asked whether the First Amendment protects “hate speech,” 4 in 10 said no. This is, of course, incorrect. Speech promoting hatred — or at least, speech perceived as promoting hatred — may be abhorrent, but it is nonetheless constitutionally protected.

There were no statistically significant differences in response to this question based on political affiliation. But there were significant differences by gender: Women are more likely than men to believe hate speech is not constitutionally protected (49 percent vs. 38 percent, respectively).

There is a lot more at the original, including survey results on whether it is permissible to either shout down ‘offensive’ speakers, or to use violence to prevent ‘offensive’ positions from being advocated.

state free speech lawsI am pleased to report that the Alliance Defending Freedom has noted that Kentucky is the top state for laws which protect the freedom of speech on campus. But I’d note here that the states should not have to pass laws defending the freedom of speech; that should simply be a given.

What does freedom of speech entail?

  • It is defined, in the Constitution, as the government not having the power to prevent someone from speaking, publishing, or having people come together to make or hear speech.
  • That does not mean that private institutions do not have those powers. It may be offensive if a private organization, business or school stifles speech, but the First Amendment does not apply to private institutions.
  • Your freedom of speech does not require anyone else to listen to you, nor does your freedom of the press require anyone to read what you have published.
  • While the First Amendment protects the freedom of the individual to speak or publish, it does not require any institution, government or otherwise, to provide a platform for someone to speak, or a medium in which to publish. Your right to speak freely does not require anyone else to enable your speech.
  • The individual is not protected from the consequences of his speech. If you yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater, which results in a stampede in which people are injured, you are liable, civilly and criminally, for having caused other people injury. On the other hand, if you yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater, and everyone knows it is false, with no stampede and subsequent injuries occuring, there is no damage for which you are liable. If the theater owner lost business due to it, you may be civilly liable for his losses.
  • If you say something stupid, you are not protected from the consequences of your stupidity. For example, The Washington Post reported that volunteer fireman Tyler Roysdon, 20, posted on Facebook “that in a burning building he would choose to save a dog before an African American because ‘one dog is more important than a million [expletive],’ he wrote, using the n-word. . . . Last week, the township’s board of trustees voted to indefinitely suspend Roysdon for ‘conduct unbecoming a township employee.’ Roysdon’s work as a volunteer was a paid position.” Mr Roysdan’s right to say what he wished was not prohibited by the government; the consequences of what he said fell on him.
  • If someone else is saying or publishing something you do not like, you have the right to protest his speech, you have the right to advocate boycotts of the person, his business or anything else to express your displeasure. You do not have the right to break the law to protest his speech, nor to prevent others from listening to it.

This is where the left have become fascist: they have been using violence to prevent people from speaking, and from preventing people from listening to the speech of people they dislike. It’s sad that college students, supposedly the group of people being educated into what our society entails, are so against the freedoms that they use being extended to those they dislike.

Where Amazon should locate their new headquarters

From The New York Times:

Dear Amazon, We Picked Your New Headquarters for You

By Emily Badger, Qouctrung Bui and Claire Cain Miller | September 9, 2017

Amazon has set off a scrum among cities that are hoping to land the company’s second headquarters — with the winner getting the prize of a $5 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs over the next two decades. We’re offering to help, using Amazon’s own criteria to identify a winning city.

The company announced this week that it was looking for a metropolitan area in North America with at least a million people, so we’ve started with the map above. (With apologies to Canada, we’ve set aside Toronto and several other large cities because they’re not included in most of the data sets we’ve used to determine which places meet Amazon’s needs.)

In the eight pages of guidance that Amazon has provided cities, one of its central requirements is a “stable business climate for growth.” That led us to this subset of places:

And you can read the rest, as the Times narrows down the various cities, paring it down to one which they say best meets Amazon’s criteria. But I say that the criteria are wrong.

Amazon is owned by founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, whom The Washington Post described as mostly liberal, with a libertarian bent.1 Mr Bezos is very much an opponent of President Trump.

However, while the supporters of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats came mostly from our large urban areas, if they really believe in helping people, as they claim, then Mr Bezos should be pushing Amazon to locate its next headquarters not in one of America’s most prosperous cities, but in less developed areas. From Mr Bezos’ friends, Bill and Melinda Gates, in The Wall Street Journal:

Let’s Keep Investing in the World’s Poor

U.S. foreign aid has helped developing countries make huge progress against disease and poverty — and this is no time to reverse course

By Bill Gates and Melinda Gates | Updated Sept. 13, 2017 10:44 a.m. ET

The two of us have spent nearly every day of the past 17 years working on the fight against disease and poverty, but today, we are concerned. After a generation of historic progress, the world’s commitment to helping its poorest people is more uncertain than at any time since we started our foundation.

President Donald Trump has recommended a cut of some 30% to the State Department’s budget, which includes the funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development and most of America’s investments in global health. Congress is unlikely to go along with such large cuts, but our best guess is that, by the time the dust settles, key foreign-aid programs will be scaled back. Even modest cuts would represent the reversal of a long-term trend of increasing U.S. support for foreign aid, and a similar mood of retrenchment has taken hold elsewhere. In the U.K., the world’s second-largest aid donor, there has been heated public debate about the value of foreign assistance, but the government has held the line on its commitments.

Public-opinion research shows that many Americans want to spend less on foreign aid, and even those in favor of it register soft support. But the research also reveals that most don’t have a clear understanding of what foreign aid is, how much the U.S. spends on it or what it has accomplished.

There’s more at the original, but, to me, this raises an obvious point: if the gates, and I assume Mr Bezos, believe that the United States should be helping the poor in other nations, shouldn’t their corporate investments in the United States be slanted to help poorer Americans? Rather than building a huge new corporate center in an urban area flush with corporate centers, Amazon should build in eastern Kentucky.

With one of the United States poorest populations — CNNMoney reported that Beattyville was recently “the poorest white town in America” — eastern Kentucky still has a decent, if now underutilized, rail network, and access to major roads via the Mountain Parkway. If Amazon were to locate in eastern Kentucky, you could be your last shilling that Governor Matt Bevin and the General Assembly would come up with the money to improve other infrastructure needs.

Both the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, and Eastern Kentucky University, in Richmond, are reasonably close, and Lexington’s Blue Grass Field, while not a large airport — thus not the cacophonous mess of Dulles or Charlotte or Philadelphia — would certainly serve Amazon’s needs. Putting Amazon’s new headquarters would lift wages and businesses all around the area, and hit the social agenda people like Mr Bezos would like to see.

There are other benefits as well: with the regions higher unemployment, Amazon workers would have fewer other options, and would be likely to stay longer; increased retention saves on job training costs, and more experienced workers are normally more productive. The far lower property costs in the region would mean that the land needed for the facilities would cost less, and lower wages in the area would mean lower construction costs.

To be sure, the same arguments could be made for other impoverished areas in the country; I write about eastern Kentucky because that’s where I live.2 But regardless whether in the Appalachians or some other less developed area, Amazon and a lot of other corporations, many run by people with liberal political views, ought to think about getting out of the wealthier places and spread their development where it would provide more jobs in areas which need more jobs.
Cross-posted on RedState.

  1. At the time the article was published, Mr Bezos had committed to buying the Post, but the sale had not been completed. The Post is now owned by Mr Bezos personally, and is not part of Amazon.
  2. I am retired, and not looking to work for Amazon; this is not some kind of personal plea for me.