Patterico's Pontifications

12/8/2018

Tucker Carlson: Trump Is Not Capable and Has Not Kept His Promises

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:17 am



Tucker Carlson is unhappy with Trump:

Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson set straight any misinformation concerning his views on President Trump: “I don’t think he’s capable,” he said during an interview on Tuesday.

. . . .

Carlson said he cannot stand Trump’s self-aggrandizement and boasting. Then, when asked whether Trump has kept his promises, the usually quick-witted and long-winded Carlson had just one word: “No.”

. . . .

Carlson is often a measured Trump supporter, but Tuesday’s interview was not his first verbal lashing of the president; he called Trump’s attacks on then-attorney general Jeff Sessions, following his recusal from the Russia investigation, a “useless, self-destructive act.”

This week, he continued to disparage the president when Gehriger probed for more.

“His chief promises were that he would build the wall, defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things,” Carlson said, adding that those goals were probably lost causes. Trump, he said, doesn’t understand the system, and his own agencies don’t support him.

“He knows very little about the legislative process, hasn’t learned anything, hasn’t surrounded himself with people that can get it done, hasn’t done all the things you need to do, so it’s mostly his fault that he hasn’t achieved those things,” he added.

Carlson does give Trump credit for starting a conversation about immigration. That said, what has Trump actually done about the looming gypsy crisis?

Tucker Carlson Gypsies

12/7/2018

Glenn Reynolds: Members of FBI Should Go to Jail for Considering an Obstruction Investigation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:14 am



OK then! Glenn Reynolds today:

WELL, WELL: Even before Mueller was appointed, FBI opened investigation to “rein in” Trump. Note that they were planning an obstruction probe even before Comey was fired. Leaked to CNN because it’s friendly media, meaning they thought it was about to come out somewhere less friendly. This is huge, and people should go to jail.

Put this together with the collusion between the press and federal prosecutors and the “Deep State” narrative looks pretty solid.

People should go to jail!!! That’s strong language — especially since no charges have been filed against the FBI personnel involved … and any charges would be laughable and would not survive a moment of scrutiny by a judge, much less 12 jurors examining the evidence under a standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. What prompted this outburst? Let’s look at the article Glenn is talking about, to see about this discussion of an obstruction probe before Comey’s firing:

The obstruction probe was an idea the FBI had previously considered, but it didn’t start until after Comey was fired. The justification went beyond Trump’s firing of Comey, according to the sources, and also included the President’s conversation with Comey in the Oval Office asking him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

So: Donald Trump says to the FBI director that he hopes Comey will “let this go,” which Comey reasonably interprets as Trump requesting that Comey drop an investigation into his former national security adviser — who was a top Trump campaign aide, and who has now given “substantial” cooperation to Bob Mueller about the Russia investigation and other matters, including an undisclosed criminal probe.

In response, the FBI considers opening an obstruction probe, but does not actually open it until Comey is fired.

And we are told that, as a result of this, people should go to jail.

Who should go to jail? The guy who tried to get the head of the FBI to drop an investigation into his crony? Why, no. Not that guy!

No, we are told, the people who should actually go to jail are [check notes] the people who talked about opening an obstruction probe after evidence of possible obstruction arose.

Look: reasonable people can disagree about whether Trump’s actions amount to obstruction, or whether it was appropriate for the FBI even to consider opening an obstruction investigation after Trump’s comment to Comey.

But saying that people should “go to jail” for discussing a possible obstruction probe is not even remotely a reasonable position. Go to jail for what? Based on what evidence?

You know, I am old enough to remember when, during the election, I was told that the civil service reining in Donald Trump was a good thing:

So if the choice in 2016 is between one bad candidate and another (and it is) the question is, which one will do the least harm. And, judging by the civil service’s behavior, that’s got to be Trump. If Trump tries to target his enemies with the IRS, you can bet that he’ll get a lot of pushback — and the press, instead of explaining it away, will make a huge stink. If Trump engages in influence-peddling, or abuses secrecy laws, you can bet that, even if Trump’s appointees sit atop the DOJ or FBI, the civil service will ensure that things don’t get swept under the rug. And if Trump wants to go to war, he’ll get far more scrutiny than Hillary will get — or, in cases like her disastrous Libya invasion, has gotten.

So the message is clear. If you want good government, vote for Trump — he’s the only one who will make this whole checks-and-balances thing work.

That was Glenn Reynolds on September 8, 2016. What happened to the praise for the notion of the much-vaunted Deep State being a tool to rein in an out-of-control Trump? Many people cited this column as a talking point for Trump. Notably, many of those same people are now suggesting that members of the horrific Deep State should be locked in a cage for talking about doing exactly what Reynolds suggested in September 2016 that they should do: rein in Trump when he showed signs of going out of control.

I like Glenn Reynolds, and my point here is not to say he’s a bad guy or to accuse him of hypocrisy. My point is twofold: 1) to chide him for absurdly saying that members of the FBI should “go to jail” for discussing an obstruction investigation when evidence of possible obstruction was obvious, and 2) to remind him of his position in September 2016 — and to say that, if he meant that, he should stop calling for members of the FBI to be locked up, and start applauding them for doing the job that he once said he wanted them to do.

That goes for everyone currently complaining about the Deep State who told us in 2016 that it was a feature and not a bug.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Trump Nominates Bill Barr for Attorney General

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:55 am



Great pick. The guy will have the greatest sense of humor of any Attorney General in generations. He might have trouble getting confirmed, though … a very problematic clip has emerged showing Barr with anger issues, a chauvinistic attitude towards women, and a troubling tendency to curse in public:

“Where are all those old-school women who could just take your day out on?” Tsk, tsk.

Wait, I’ve just been handed a note … it appears the Bill Barr actually being nominated is … Bill Barr, Attorney General under the late George H.W. Bush.

President Trump announced he will nominate William Barr to serve as the next attorney general. Mr. Trump broke the news Friday to reporters on the White House South Lawn on his way to Kansas City.

CBS News reported on Thursday that Barr, who served as attorney general under the late President George H.W. Bush, was a top contender for the role.

“I want to confirm that Bill Barr, one of the most respected jurists in the country, highly respected lawyer, former Attorney General under the Bush administration, a terrific man, a terrific person, a brilliant man,” Mr. Trump told reporters Friday. “I did not know him for – until recently when I went through the process of looking at people. He was my first choice from day one. Respected by Republicans. Respected by Democrats. He will be nominated for the United States attorney general and hopefully that process will go very quickly. And I think it will go very quickly.

The first question Big Media is asking, of course: will Barr be pro-Mueller or anti-Mueller? The New York Times tried to read the tea leaves yesterday:

Mr. Barr has criticized aspects of the Russia investigation, including suggesting that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, hired too many prosecutors who had donated to Democratic campaigns. Mr. Barr has also defended Mr. Trump’s calls for a new criminal investigation into his defeated 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, including over a uranium mining deal the Obama administration approved when she was secretary of state.

“There is nothing inherently wrong about a president calling for an investigation,” Mr. Barr told The New York Times last year. “Although an investigation shouldn’t be launched just because a president wants it, the ultimate question is whether the matter warrants investigation.”

Mr. Barr added then that he saw more basis for investigating the uranium deal than any supposed conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. “To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility,” he said.

Reading Mr. Barr’s comments, I can draw only one conclusion: he’s nowhere near as funny as the guy from the video clip above.

UPDATE: I’ve been handed another note: Bill Burr the comedian is Bill Burr, not Bill Barr. Thank goodness. I was having trouble finding him on YouTube!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

12/6/2018

Female Democratic Senator: We’re Just Too Darn Smart!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:47 pm



[guest post by Dana]

To which I’m compelled to ask: You sure about that??

I’m enjoying focusing on the left side of the aisle these days. They just keep on giving! (Not that the Republicans don’t bring the ridiculous as well, but I’m intentionally ignoring that side of the aisle, for the moment.) So, on the heels of JVW’s terrific post concerning the too clever by half Kamala Harris, let me just remind you of what another prominent Democratic woman, who also had her sights set on the presidency, foolishly said to wealthy elite donors at a fundraiser in Manhattan. Foolish, yes, but almost certainly revealed the true heart of liberal progressives:

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

It seems to be baked in with female Democrats in politics, this compulsion to sneeringly dismiss others who hold views and beliefs different than their own as something less than. The presumption that what they say is truth and light, and the very insight needed at any given moment seems de rigueur within their ranks. This week, removing any doubt that this stunning arrogance is widespread and representative of liberals at large, is Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI). During a recent interview with Dahlia Lithwick at the “Bend Towards Justice” conference, Hirono, while answering a question about why the liberals haven’t reproduced the “focus and intensity” conservatives used to explain “why the courts matter, unfortunately also demonstrated that she learned nothing from Hillary’s infamous blunder. And how smart is that?

One of the things that we Democrats have a really hard time with is connecting people’s hearts instead of here (points to brain). We’re really good at shoving out information that touch people here (points to brain), not here (points to her heart). And I have been saying at all of our Democratic retreats that we need to speak to the heart, not in a manipulative way, not in a way that brings forth everybody’s fears and resentments, but truly to speak to the heart so people actually know that we’re actually on their side. We have a really hard time doing that and one of the reasons that was told to me at one of our retreats was that we Democrats know so much. That is true.

And we have to tell everybody how smart we are and so we have a tendency to be very left brain and we think, really? That is not how people make decisions. So one of the books I always bring up is “The Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt where the image is of an elephant. And the elephant is making all the decisions – go right, go forward, whatever. There’s a rider on the elephant. The rider simply explains the elephant’s decisions. Republicans speak to the elephant, the Democrats speak to the rider. That is why we’re not speaking to people here (heart) and we’re just mainly going here and it’s a huge issue.

Got that? Democrats are just smarter than everyone else. They can’t help it. God just shone more brightly upon them. Or maybe they slipped out of the primordial ooze with an extra stash of brain cells. And if they can’t help being smarter than the rest of us, then we just can’t help being, you know, not as smart.

Yet it’s all pretty amusing when one considers how frequently everyone’s favorite daffy socialist niece, the newest darling of the left, regularly says the funniest things

Anyway, I thought I’d tie up the post with another female liberal progressive, who also has high hopes of becoming the (first female) President of the United States. [Ed. I could have told her this would happen, in spite of not being Hirono-smart…]:

[Elizabeth] Warren, a progressive who is widely expected to launch a presidential bid, faced criticism when she unveiled a video in October aimed at putting to rest questions about whether she has Native American heritage. The attempt to stand up to President Donald Trump’s attacks — he repeatedly calls her “Pocahontas” — seems to have backfired. The New York Times reported Thursday, “Advisers close to Ms. Warren say she has privately expressed concern that she may have damaged her relationships to Native American groups and her own standing with activists, particularly those who are racial minorities.”

I don’t know. Seems to me if these Democrats were as smart as they believe themselves to be, they would’ve studiously paid attention to Hillary Clinton during the campaign, and wouldn’t be saying and doing such dumb stuff themselves.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

12/5/2018

Yeah, Democrats Take MeToo Seriously

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:56 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Here’s a heartwarming story starring two bona fide California progressives, one of whom has a strong chance of becoming the Democrat nominee for President in 2020:

A longtime top staff member of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris resigned Wednesday after The Sacramento Bee inquired about a $400,000 harassment and retaliation settlement resulting from his time working for Harris at the California Department of Justice.

Larry Wallace, who served as the director of the Division of Law Enforcement under then-Attorney General Harris, was accused by his former executive assistant in December 2016 of “gender harassment” and other demeaning behavior, including frequently asking her to crawl under his desk to change the paper in his printer.

The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 30, 2016, when Harris was still attorney general but preparing to be sworn in as California’s newly elected Democratic senator. It was settled less than five months later, in May 2017, by Xavier Becerra, who was appointed to replace her as attorney general.

By that time, Wallace had transitioned to work for Harris as a senior advisor in her Sacramento office.

How do you think Senator Harris is going to respond to this development? Will she say that she took her staffer’s word that these charges were untrue? Will she insist that she allowed him to have due process while these allegations were being investigated, because that’s how the law ought to work? Or will she claim that she had no idea any of this was going on?

“We were unaware of this issue and take accusations of harassment extremely seriously. This evening, Mr. Wallace offered his resignation to the senator and she accepted it,” Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams wrote in an email.

Yeah, because no one in the California Attorney General’s office — the office Kamala Harris helmed for six fucking years — ever mentioned to the Senator or to anyone else in her office that a lawsuit had been filed naming Wallace as a harasser about a week before Attorney General Harris was sworn in as California’s newest Senator, and her Senatorial office spent nearly two fucking years in the dark about the fact that one of her staffers had this lawsuit hanging over his head, even as the Senator herself was pompously grilling Brett Kavanaugh over comparatively frivolous charges. Perhaps there’s no inter-office gossip within the malodorous and corrupt Democrat party establishment of the Golden State. Or maybe the real answer is that a politician who had her path to power greased by — ahem, ahem — “dating” a ridiculously corrupt married powerbroker who was twice her age might have a huge blind spot when it comes to entitled progressive men treating young women like transient objects of sexual gratification.

And what of the proud and flamboyant Trump antagonist who replaced Ms. Harris as California Attorney General, the unexceptionable Xavier Becerra? Surely he rose about rank partisanship and waxed indigently against the awful behavior of his fellow Democrat, Mr. Wallace, right? There can be no doubt that he believes all women and was supportive and helpful as Ms. Hartley worked through the legal system in an attempt to be heard and recognized, right?

Becerra, who by then had been appointed to succeed Harris, and two of this deputies said the department took “reasonable steps to prevent and correct workplace harassment” by instituting procedures for harassment and training Hartley on the policy.

Hartley “unreasonably failed to utilize the procedures during the period of time, and after, the alleged harassment or discrimination was occurring,” Becerra wrote. “Had Plaintiff taken reasonable effort to utilize these procedures Plaintiff’s alleged harm, injury or damages would have been avoided, in whole or in part.”

When progressive Democrats aren’t involved, that’s usually called blaming the victim. Regardless of what Mr. Becerra thinks about the deficiencies of Ms. Hartley’s claims, his office settled with her to the tune of $400,000 of taxpayer money.

This is yet another data point in the hypothesis that progressive Democrats don’t really care about sexual harassment all that much, except for as a way to bash their political opponents. They unleashed the wave far too carelessly in the hopes of tripping up Donald Trump, only to watch in horror as it consumed Bill Clinton, Al Franken, John Conyers, Eric Schneiderman, and several of their own allies. Now, despite all of the hashtags, all of the pussy hats, all of the marches, they are acknowledging that they only address it in their own camp when they are absolutely forced to. And where they can not magically make it go away, they simply shrug their shoulders and say that they had no idea it was going on, a lame excuse that they certainly wouldn’t accept from their political adversaries.

Sexual harassment is real, many women (and some men) unfairly suffer from it, and people of good faith need to do what they can to eradicate it from our society. But I’m to the point where I think that only a fool falls for this MeToo garbage, which was always just a left-wing political movement disguised as a social concern.

– JVW

Bush Funeral Open Thread [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:00 am



[guest post by JVW]

I forgot how much I like former Canadian PM Brian Mulroney. I remember his excellent eulogy at Ronald Reagan’s funeral, and he’s doing a bang-up job right now. He even had a very gracious shout-out to President Trump when he mentioned that NAFTA had been improved upon by subsequent administrations.

Jenna Hager Bush is just a lovely and graceful woman. There was a nice moment when she was doing her reading and the camera focused on her father, who had a look of tremendous pride on his face.

Please feel free to add your observations.

UPDATE: Here is the great eulogy from 43.

– JVW

12/4/2018

The Left Side Of The Aisle: Avenatti, Biden, And Of Course, Hillary…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:45 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Ready or not, 2020 is right around the corner. In an effort to avoid thinking about a possible Trump in 2020, I am choosing instead to post about the amusing haps on the left side of the political aisle. First, let me say this regarding the names popping up as possible contenders, and I say it with sneering gusto: These people

First, in a crushing announcement, Michael Avenatti informed America that he will not be throwing his hat into the ring after all. While claiming consideration of his family, it appears that he nonetheless truly believes he is taking the more noble path by (self-)righteously soldering on in his battle against President Trump:

“I do not make this decision lightly — I make it out of respect for my family,” said Avenatti, who first gained fame and infamy for his representation of porn star Stormy Daniels in multiple legal cases involving President Donald Trump.

“But for their concerns, I would run,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter. The twice-married Avenatti has three children.

“I remain concerned that the Democratic Party will move toward nominating an individual who might make an exceptional president but has no chance of actually beating Donald Trump,” he wrote.

“The party must immediately recognize that many of the likely candidates are not battle-tested, and have no real chance at winning. We will not prevail in 2020 without a fighter. I remain hopeful the party finds one.”

And here is the Noble Cause:

I will continue to represent Stormy Daniels and others against Donald Trump and his cronies and will not rest until Trump is removed from office, and our republic and its values are restored.

Avenatti

In so many ways, America has dodged a serious bullet of batcrap crazy here. A Trump-Avenatti debate would be the ultimate circus, making the 2016 debates look like amateur hour. Anyway, Avenatti already has a lot on his plate:

Avenatti’s decision not to press forward with a presidential run comes several weeks after police in Los Angeles arrested him in connection with an investigation into an accustation of domestic violence lodged by an actress, Mareli Miniutti, with whom he had been living.

Avenatti is also embroiled in several legal fights related to debts involving his law firm, and an effort by Trump’s lawyers to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees from a since-dismissed defamation lawsuit by Daniels against the president.

Basta!, indeed.

Also this week, Joe Biden declared that he is the most qualified person to be president:

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday said his decision on whether to enter the 2020 presidential race will rest on a whether he and his family are “ready,” even as he argued that his strengths as a potential candidate far outweigh any perceived liabilities.

Biden’s comments came during a brief tour promoting the paperback release of his 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad,” in which he details how the death of his eldest son, Beau, from brain cancer kept him out of the 2016 presidential race.

“I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president. The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that I’ve worked on my whole life — the plight of the middle class and foreign policy,” Biden told an audience in Montana, according to The Missoula Current. “But my family and I need to decide as a unit whether we’re ready — we do everything as a family.”

Joe Biden is 76 years old. And while Bernie Sanders was 76 years old when he ran for the presidency, he didn’t bring the creepy baggage factor of being too handsy with the ladies. Biden is an anachronism in the #MeToo era. A relic from the past. A time where cuddling up to unsuspecting women was smiled upon, joked about, or people wrote it all off as “that’s just Joe being Joe.” Or worse, knew his behavior was inappropriate but said nothing – for the sake of the party. But how does that play in today’s world of heightened awareness? Do you believe Democrats would risk backing an old, white man man who has consistently viewed females as the willing recipients of his free-range hands, in spite of his years in the political arena? After Trump, one would think both parties would vigorously avoid backing anyone, no matter their level of political experience, who has demonstrated the slightest hint of impropriety toward the opposite sex. (But again, this post isn’t about the GOP and Trump…)

Maybe at the end of the day, it remains OK for the legendary former vice-president to snuggle up to females other than his wife, but not OK for everyday Joes to do the same. After all, it’s not like any abuse of power would ever happen at the hands of those holding the two highest offices in land, right?

Which leads me to another past-their-prime potential candidate: Hillary Clinton. Ugh. You might ask: Will we never be rid of the Clintons on the public stage? Don’t be silly. I bring her up because I am currently watching A&E’s “The Clinton Affair,” and find myself still marveling at the amoral and vicious ooze in which the power couple make themselves at home. Amusingly, Maureen Dowd wrote about their pathological need to be relevant:

I’m looking around Scotiabank Arena, the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it’s a depressing sight. It’s two-for-the-price-of-one in half the arena. The hockey rink is half curtained off, but even with that, organizers are scrambling at the last minute to cordon off more sections behind thick black curtains, they say due to a lack of sales. I paid $177 weeks in advance. (I passed on the pricey meet-and-greet option.) On the day of the event, some unsold tickets are slashed to single digits.

I get reassigned to another section as the Clintons’ audience space shrinks. But even with all the herding, I’m still looking at large swaths of empty seats — and I cringe at the thought that the Clintons will look out and see that, too.

I can’t fathom why the Clintons would make like aging rock stars and go on a tour of Canada and the U.S. at a moment when Democrats are hoping to break the stranglehold of their cloistered, superannuated leadership and exult in a mosaic of exciting new faces.

What is the point? It’s not inspirational. It’s not for charity. They’re not raising awareness about a cause, like Al Gore with global warming. They’re only raising awareness about the Clintons.

It can’t be the money at this point. Have they even spent all the Goldman gold yet? Do they want to swim in their cash like Scrooge McDuck?

The Clintons’ tin cup is worthy of the Smithsonian. They hoovered more than $2 billion in contributions to their campaigns, foundation and philanthropies.

Some in Clintonworld say Hillary fully intends to be the nominee. Once more, in Toronto, she didn’t rule it out, dodging the question with a lame joke. She carries herself with the air of a president in exile. Her consigliere, Philippe Reines, has prodded reporters on including her name when they write about 2020 candidates.

The Clintons refuse to be discarded. It has been their joint project for half a century to be at the center of the public scene and debate. The way that the whole thing came crashing down in 2016 is too hard for them to bear. They would like to rewrite the ending, but there is no way to do that.

Nothing they have done lately suggests that they have learned anything, including their obtuse post-#MeToo comments about Monica Lewinsky, who has been far more candid and sympathetic in the 20th anniversary retellings of the impeachment saga. The Clintons are still unable to hold themselves accountable. The formerly golden couple who dominated their party for nearly three decades is traveling North America in a bubble, shockingly un-self-aware.

I just cannot imagine the Democratic party thinking a Biden or Clinton presidential run would be a viable option. Especially not when Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) are all flirting with a possible run.

P.S. The Washington Post reports approximately 38 individuals have expressed some interest in running for the Democratic nomination!

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Charles Cooke Hits upon Something That Bothers Me As Well

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:44 pm



[guest post by JVW]

I will post in full his post from National Review Online, since it perfectly captures something that has been brewing in my mind for some time now.

It is in no way to insult George H. W. Bush — or any other president, for that matter — to ask whether the retooling of their calendars is an appropriate way for the people of a republic to respond to the death of an elected representative. Tomorrow, the press reports, is to be a “day of mourning” — a day on which the stock market will be closed, on which the federal government will shut down, on which the House of Representatives will begin a week-long break, on which various universities will cancel classes, on which the Postal Service will halt deliveries, on which the Supreme Court will adjourn, and on which major American newspapers will postpone events that they had previously planned to hold. Across the U.S., flags will be flown at half-staff for a month.

Why? Irrespective of whether he was a great man or a poor one, George H. W. Bush was a public employee. He was not a king. He was not a pope. He did not found or save or design the republic. To shut down our civil society for a day in order to mark his peaceful passing is to invert the appropriate relationship between the citizen and the state, and to take yet another step toward the fetishization of an executive branch whose role is supposed to be more bureaucratic than spiritual, but that has come of late to resemble Caesar more than to resemble Coolidge.

George H. W. Bush was a lovely and wonderful man who served his country with distinction and honor, guided our nation as a vastly underrated (in his time) President, lived a rewarding life as a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, and died in his own bed after nearly nine-and-one-half decades of life surrounded by people who loved him. His death is neither tragic nor unexpected, as it was with Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy. I am not generally a fan of the idea of “celebrating a life,” but if it were ever appropriate to do so as opposed to mourning a death then George Herbert Walker Bush is the perfect example.

We’ve put ourselves in a difficult position by turning our Presidents into idols. Whether or not you love, like, disdain, or hate Barack Obama or Donald Trump, you certainly have to realize that expecting our President to embody our hopes and dreams or to single-handedly bring about peace & prosperity is the kind of feeblemindedness and lack of (small “r”) republican spirit that we rightly disdain in banana republics and totalitarian societies. It would behoove us to start looking upon the President merely as an employee we hire on a four-year contract, renewable once, to serve as executive officer, not as some sort of mystical beacon who will lead us from our otherwise humdrum lives into the land flowing with milk and honey.

Here endeth the rant. Thanks for bearing with me, and thanks to Charles Cooke for an excellent observation.

– JVW

Macron: I Do Not Understand Incentives

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:20 am



How could this go wrong?

In a major concession by President Emmanuel Macron, France will suspend for six months a tax increase on gasoline and diesel fuel that had been slated for January, in an attempt to quell weeks of protests and rioting by the so-called Yellow Vests movement.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced the move on Tuesday after briefing lawmakers in a closed-door meeting in Parliament.

“No tax warrants putting the unity of the nation in danger,” Mr. Philippe said.

For the past three weeks, the Yellow Vests protest movement has swept across France, clashing with the police and wreaking havoc in Paris and other major cities, defacing famed monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe.

The tax was made necessary by the Paris Agreement on climate change. Thugs have been breaking old statues and generally making a criminal nuisance of themselves, but that will probably never happen again, right? Creating incentives to do x does not get you more x — that’s what I was always told!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

12/3/2018

Two Elected Politicians on the Cost of the Military

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:05 am



Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whom JVW memorably calls everyone’s favorite daffy socialist niece, has an eye-opening figure to tell you about: $21 trillion dollars of wasted money in the military budget:

Wowie. Except, of course, she’s full of it.

Wouldn’t it have been better for her to have actually read the article (or better yet, the report on which it’s based) before making this “wild misrepresentation”? Because that article says this, among other things:

To be clear, Skidmore, in a report coauthored with Catherine Austin Fitts, a former assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development who complained about similar plugs in HUD financial statements, does not contend that all of this $21 trillion was secret or misused funding. And indeed, the plugs are found on both the positive and the negative sides of the ledger, thus potentially netting each other out.

Who here thinks she read it? Bueller? Bueller?

Even this lefty is annoyed:

I’ll tell you who knows the cost of our military: our President, Donald J. Trump. And he’s pretty happy about it. From a rally at Chattanooga, Tennessee, on November 4, 2018:

We are rebuilding America’s military might like it’s never been rebuilt before. (APPLAUSE) And hopefully we’ll never have to use it, but I can tell you, the stronger we become, the less likely it is that we will have to use it, OK? (APPLAUSE) And we are building it at a level that has never been done before, $700 billion and $716 billion the following year. Under Republican leadership, America is respected again. (APPLAUSE)

From a rally in Tampa on July 31, 2018:

Really important for those who love our military, we have secured a record $700 billion for our military with another $716 billion next year all approved. And this is great news for the incredible patriots at MacDill Air Force Base, the proud home of the Sixth Air Mobility Wing U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command. Come on!

(APPLAUSE)

From a rally in Springfield, Missouri

And we secured a record $700 billion for our military this year and $716 billion next year. That will do things…

(APPLAUSE)

No country is even close. And again, very unimportantly by comparison, jobs to me are the most important, but there’s nothing more important than our military. There’s nothing more important than protection, especially in the world in which we live.

(APPLAUSE)

But — but jobs are very important, and I love to say it’s built right here in our country. Because we understand that there is no substitute in this world for American power and American strength.

Donald Trump at the U.N. General Assembly on September 25, 2018:

We have secured record funding for our military, $700 billion this year and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before. In other words, the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago. We are standing up for America and the American people.

Yup, he knows that $716 billion number. And he’s proud of that $716 billion number. Wait, what?

Crazy!

I mean, “brilliant”! He tells people what they want to hear! Not like those other swampy guys.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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