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No Influence Left To Peddle

from The National Review, The Clinton Global Initiative’s Ignominious End by Jim Geraghty:

Why would foreign governments suddenly lose interest in the charitable work the Clinton Foundation purported to do? They wouldn’t, unless the Clinton Foundation and CGI had existed to give foreign governments and businessmen a way to curry favor with a future president from the beginning. The April shutdown, then, makes complete sense: Why keep operating if there’s no influence left to peddle?

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Hacking Ironies

Russian intervention in the election is the latest addition to the growing list of excuses as to why Hillary lost. It does not seem that they hacked into the voting system and caused false votes, but that they released incriminating information from confidential files about Hillary and her accomplices.  While hacking of private files should not be tolerated, it does appear that the most damaging information about Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile and their efforts to undermine the elections were accurate.

John Podesta’s password was – password- or to be more accurately ‘pa$$w0rd’. There is a bit of irony that the tolerance for Hillary’s reckless handling of confidential files and her file server, clearly intended to obscure her activities actually became a critical reason she and her associates were hacked.  Her supporters should have been half as concerned about her sloppy handling of information as those who voted against her.

While she expresses dismay at the gall of the Russians to interfere, which to restate was to send out true stories illegally obtained, one should also consider the hypocrisy coming from one who laughingly murdered the leader of a sovereign nation:

We should also note the veiled threats Obama used to influence the Brexit vote in Britain, or his active role to defeat Netanyahu in Israel. Is such intrusion any more justified because it was blatant?

The more buried the Democrats get into their excuses the less they see the need to change their course. Judging by their post-election decisions on leadership they will suffer more from their own excuse mongering.  The more outrageous the demonization of the victors the more they lose the marginal Trump supporters for good.


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Ideas Need Competition

from Michael Salon at The Wall Street Journal,  What 1980 and 2016 Have in Common,

Since 2008, the largest developed economies, in an effort to build financial stability and economic prosperity, have engaged in unprecedented coordination of financial regulation, monetary policy and business taxation. What the G-7 nations got instead was the weakest economic growth, the largest surge in government debt, the riskiest monetary expansion and the gravest deflationary pressures of the postwar era.

The rescue failed because growth wasn’t the ultimate goal. In late 2008, President Obama’s new chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” He was signaling that the White House saw an opening to use the crisis to expand the role of government. Where America led, others followed. Long after the crisis had passed, G-7 authorities pursued debt and monetary expansion along with command-and-control powers. The governments won but their economies, currencies, investors, savers and workers lost.

With President Obama making the world safe for governments to overtax, over-regulate and overstimulate, money has lost its freedom to flee from government excess. As a natural result, such excesses have surged.

Because they feared that centrally coordinating taxes, regulations and monetary policy would lead to abuse, America’s Founding Fathers limited federal power. They intended a union where most regulation and taxation was done by the states, with a hard currency backed by gold. Competition between regulatory and tax systems forced government to serve people’s needs or risk triggering a shoe-leather response. Where federal laws did apply, they were specific prohibitions, not broad grants of arbitrary power.


This article provides an answer to the question of why this revolt against central planning and elites was a global reaction. Extending the regulatory authority left fewer options, leaving rejection the only alternative to moving.  Competition is critical to progress and ideas need competition the most of all.

Central planning is the opposite of the competition of ideas.

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Thoughts on the Electoral College

The Electoral College was carefully designed to fulfill a similar purpose of the constitution, to apply a break on majoritarian tyranny.  The framers understood that democracy and demagogue had the same root.

To the greatly disappointed Democrats who lament the second election in memory where their candidate lost while having a larger popular vote, I offer three thoughts to consider.

Expand your time horizon.  A wise politician once warned that you should be wary of endowing any political power to any position unless you can envision that power in the hands of your worst nightmare.

That would apply to the executive power of the president, or the legislative creep of the Supreme Court.  It all seems so palatable when they reinforce your preferred view, but you must remember that political power is a fleeting thing in America.

After the 2004 election Karl Rove spoke of a permanent Republican majority. Two years later the GOP lost the House, two years after that they lost the Senate and The White House.  The Democrats assumed a mandate they did not possess, marginalized any opposition, passed the ACA with no bipartisan support and alarmed us with other extremely partisan agendas. Two years later they lost the House. Two years after that they lost seats in the Senate, two years after that they lost the Senate and more House seats, and two years after that they lost both houses of Congress and we have Donald Trump in the White House.

Fully one third of the Democratic House seats are from three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts. While the Democrats may control these populous states and that may have given them the popular vote, note the trends.  California and New York are losing populations and businesses to southern states like Texas.  At the same time, demographic trends towards Hispanics and minorities are growing in many southern states and the GOP majorities will be threatened there if they do not attract a broader demographic base. You may live to respect the electoral college.

Secondly, it should be hard to ignore the color of the electoral map. The map is overwhelmingly red.  The blue vote is largely focused in large urban coastal centers. Not only are the Democratic House seats narrowly focused the Democrats have weak political power among the states. Of the 50 states, only 18 have Democratic governors, and only FIVE have the trifecta of a Democratic governor and both houses of the state legislature. This compares to 27 states which have a GOP trifecta, and 18 states with divided power.

This explains why the Democrats have such a weak back bench.  The states are the training ground for future national leaders. The alternative to the deeply flawed Hillary was a 75-year-old socialist.  The Republicans had a broad bench of young elected leaders, whose names we can all still remember even though we are also trying to wrap our heads around the reason Trump was the ultimate victor. Rather than deplore the electoral college, however, the Democrats need to address their utter failure to relate to the vast majority of the country. This hurt them far more them the failure of the Republicans to reach minorities.  While it has become politically correct to contemptuously decry white privilege, there is one privilege they retained and that is the vote.

The final thought is the power of contempt.  It is a strong negative emotion.  The voters remember the contempt of the Elizabeth Warren statement, “you didn’t build that.”  They remember the statement from Jonathan Gruber about the need to lie about the ACA because of “the stupidity of the American voter.”  They are tired of constantly being talked over, shouted down, degraded as anti-intellectual, anti-science, racist, and stooges of Fox and oil companies. They are concerned about the intellectual intolerance of the left on our college campuses.

It is intellectually lazy to demonize rather than understand. Unfortunately given the horrified responses to the election this lesson is not being learned.  In spite of Trump’s clumsy and stupid statements that have incited such response, the voters who supported Trump are not the racist troglodytes they are made out to be. Effort to make it so just reinforces this ‘contempt’ factor that helped elect him.

The most productive aspect of the Trump victory may be a rediscovery of the Constitution and the incredible wisdom in it, including the electoral college, that we should be extremely cautious about overturning.

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The Trump Bubble


From Jonah Goldberg in National Review, Bursting ‘Beltway Bubbles’:

If all you heard in his answer was the box-checking boilerplate and not the needy cries of his id, then you’re in a bubble. If all you saw at the Al Smith Dinner was a man speaking truth to power, you’re in a bubble. If you nod along when he says “Nobody has done more for civil rights than I have” or “Nobody respects women more than I do” you live in a bubble (I have a theory that he paid a staffer to change his name to Know Body, so he can say that stuff with a straight face). If you really buy the idea that the polls are faked and the election is rigged, you’re in a bubble. If you think that his huge rallies are all the proof you need that he’s going to be swept into power, you live in a bubble. Lots of people go to the opera. Lots of people attend Nickelback concerts. Huge crowds attend WrestleMania. Even all together, that’s not a winning coalition in a presidential race.

And if you believe that if only the couple dozen — at most — “Never Trump” writers and activists suddenly endorsed Donald Trump he would get a boost of 4–5 percent in the polls, you live in a bubble. A friend of mine insisted to me the other day that if the Never Trumpers, women, and Republican friendly independents rallied to Trump he’d be in the lead. That’s true. It’s also true that between me and Charles Koch, our combined assets are in excess of $40 billion.

The ire aimed at Never Trump folks is understandable. But that ire isn’t an argument for why reality is wrong. The belief that the supposed traitors are to blame isn’t a rational belief, it is an irrational passion that only seems rational deep inside a bubble. And shouting “You just don’t get it!” won’t change the fact that the people shouting are the ones who just don’t get it.


The soundness of one’s ideas can be gauged by the tolerance for dissent or difference of opinion.  The Trumpers who have demonized every Republican who has actually won an election and actually governed are now intolerant of any conservative who does not support their savior.  A basic understanding of political reality in American politics is that winning requires assembling a coalition of views and interests that can win.  This coalition is different from the one required to win a primary.

Trump has offended almost every possible group except his hard core base, including critical elements from his own party.  In this campaign and in this election cycle, and especially against the incredibly unpopular Hillary Clinton,  any credible Republican candidate should be twenty points ahead.  Any loss by Trump, no matter how small should be viewed as a humiliation. And there is no one to blame but himself and those in the Trump bubble.

Those who understand his shortcomings and support him only because Hillary is so detestable should take corrective action against their party who let this disaster happen.