Things That Grabbed My Attention Yesterday

We’re going to pull back from the daily nonsense today, the Brits are voting and there’s not much new in the Washington nonsense. Let’s take a look at some background on various things. Some days there is just so much good material out there that I can’t decide. It’s a pleasant problem.

Ben Domenech at The Federalist disagrees with Time Magazine’s choice of Greta Thunberg as person of the year, as do I. He says in relation to her…

[…] a teenager who skipped school to travel around the world telling people that they are horrible and the planet is doomed. It’s a living. Perhaps her Malthusian visions will be fulfilled by future experience. But it’s not very likely.

Heh! I wish I’d written that! His choice I also agree with…

In defiance of the most powerful authoritarian regime in the modern world, the protester in Hong Kong has stood against the authority of Red China with courage and dedication. […]

There is no bigger fight. And so, the Hong Kong protester is the Person of the Year.

He’s right. That is the person/people that free people should be honoring.


There’s a remarkable (and remarkably long) essay by George Callaghan at The Duran on the problems (and possible solutions) in British education. Some are specific to Britain and/or England, but many apply to America, as well. My curation software says 45 minutes, it’s well worth it.

I don’t see anything short enough to give you a taste, so if it is an interest of yours, go read it. I agree with all of it that I think applies to the US, I simply don’t know enough about British education to have a valid opinion.


Unintended Consequences has made Britain a frustrating laughingstock for the last three years. Why? Abram N. Shulsky at Law and Liberty has figured out some of the reasons why the British government has gotten so pear-shaped. It’s a danger we face as well, as so many (especially on the left) want to tinker with our constitution.

The recent chaos resulted from two innovations that weren’t entirely consistent with the underlying principles of the British regime: the Fixed-term Parliament Act of 2011 (FTPA) and the Brexit referendum of 2015.  Both were introduced to solve short-term political problems.

It’s an excellent explanation of how the (primarily) Conservative Party has failed to conserve the things that made the Westminster System work.


Walter E. Williams at The Daily Signal tells us that Richard Ebeling, professor of economics at The Citadel, has an essay in the American Institute for Economic Research that clarifies how Capitalism is a morally superior system.

In a key section of his article, Ebeling lays out what he calls the ethical principles of free markets. He says:

The hallmark of a truly free market is that all associations and relationships are based on voluntary agreement and mutual consent. Another way of saying this is that in the free market society, people are morally and legally viewed as sovereign individuals possessing rights to their life, liberty, and honestly acquired property, who may not be coerced into any transaction that they do not consider being to their personal betterment and advantage.

Ebeling says that the rules of a free market are simple and easy to understand:

You don’t kill, you don’t steal, and you don’t cheat through fraud or misrepresentation. You can only improve your own position by improving the circumstances of others. Your talents, abilities, and efforts must all be focused on one thing: What will others take in trade from you for the revenues you want to earn as the source of your own income and profits?

They are both spot on.


Dylan Pahman at Law and Liberty has an essay on why economic nationalism fails.

However, at present economic liberty has fallen out of favor with some who see a sea change in recent events—from the election of President Trump in the United States to Great Britain’s “Brexit” referendum—moving away from a perceived elitist, globalist liberalism and back toward the old order of nation states, not only politically but also economically.

He does an excellent job of laying out the underpinning, and I mostly agree with him, completely in theory in fact. This is the Libertarian/Conservative rationale for free trade, and mostly it is true.

But


Curtis Ellis at American Greatness lays out why Globalism and Progressivism make such a toxic stew.

The reformers of the Progressive era championed safety standards for food, drugs, and labor.

The Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 gave birth to the Food and Drug Administration. The chief chemist at the Department of Agriculture had mobilized a coalition of women’s clubs, physicians, and pharmacists to lobby for uniform national standards for patent medicines.

It worked, mostly, although it was and is very expensive. Now add Globalism

Communist China is the world’s largest producer and exporter of “active pharmaceutical ingredients,” the base components drug companies use to manufacture most of the medications found on store shelves across America. Today, 80 percent of prescription drugs consumed in the United States originate in India and China.

Drug companies are not required to disclose the country of origin of the active ingredients in their products. That means consumers are unknowingly exposed to the risks associated with drugs made in China.

What are those risks? Well, in 2008, 100 Americans died after taking the anticoagulant heparin that was made in China. Some of the heparin was fraudulently replaced with chondroitin, a dietary supplement for joint aches.

Now what? The free traders say the Chicoms are the low-cost producer and it makes economic sense for our drug hoses to buy their product. The families of a hundred dead Americans are likely to disagree. And if we are going to use uninspected raw material, what exactly is the point of the FDA?

That’s the kind of real-world problem that always screws up those lovely theoretical solutions. The answer? We don’t really have one yet.

That should be enough to keep you out of trouble for a while! 🙂

Of Elections and Counter Revolutions

Tomorrow Britain votes in a general election, the prime contenders are Boris Johnson of the (not) Conservative Party and Jeremy Corbyn of the CPSU Labour Party. What’s going to happen is anybody’s guess. There are several smaller parties including The Brexit Party that ran the table in the European elections, but has recently waned, although they might pick up a seat or so, there is the UnLiberal Not Democrats who will take remainer votes (maybe) from Labour. UKIP has a few candidates and an outstanding Manifesto, which means little since they’ll be very lucky to get one seat, and more, including The Monster Raving Loony Party which is a good description of this election.

The best write up I’ve seen is this, from Law and Liberty The best ad I’ve seen is this new one from the Conservatives.

Pretty cute, and just a bit Trumpian. That’s important, Britain is fighting the same revolution we are, against their own deep state and the politicians embedded in it. So we’ll see. Not least if Boris can break free from his own swamp background.


Then there is Washington, where the House has gone not so much extra-constitutional as downright anti-constitutional. Well, we know how that plays in Peoria, don’t we? Christopher Knight in American Thinker is good on this.

When I consider Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, and Jerry Nadler maneuvering for impeachment of President Donald Trump, it is with some dark bewilderment. They have no idea what disaster they are courting for themselves and their allies. It will not end well for them. […]

Since the summer of 2015 the hardliners of the Deep State have gazed at Trump with derision, then desperation, and now total destruction in mind. To them the American people simply aren’t meant for a loosening of control and regaining oversight of their own government. Trump’s message resonated with those same American people as had nothing in recent memory. Democracy came to Eastern Europe by ballots and not bullets. So too did American citizenry in flyover country begin to revolt against their elitist masters.

It wasn’t part of “the plan” and perhaps for the first time ever, the Deep State shuddered in fear. The revolution was not only televised, it was splayed across Facebook and Twitter. But if not Trump himself, someone else would have inevitably threatened the entrenched political and media complex. The peril would come. It was only a matter of when. […]

Who among the faces of this “glorious revolution” will win the White House in 2020? It may be the most lackluster field of candidates in modern history. Which alone indicates to me that Trump would be too smart than to level unethical sabotage against any political opponent: Joseph Biden will never be as formidable as even George McGovern. And Adam Schiff as the one who will go down in legend as the man who toppled the President? Oh please….

In short, it’s pretty much all over, but the executions err trials. What could rekindle the whole mess? You know as well as I, and I think Barr and Durham know it as well. If that happens, the half a billion privately owned arms held by the foresight of the founder’s might make an appearance. Not to be wished, it is a doomsday alternative, but it is more likely than at any time since 1865.

Performance Failure?

So, the Inspector General’s report on Crossfire Hurricane (the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign) and Carter Page is out. I haven’t read it (and don’t intend to), I have better things to do than read 476 pages of government gobbledegook. But you can if you want to, it’s available here (pdf), from the Justice Department, and Powerline has it in their Scribd as well. What I’m going to do is listen to those who have been proved over time as reliable. One of those is Scott Johnson at PowerLine (linked above), another is Paul Mirendorf, also at PowerLine, and there is also Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist. All three have followed this story much closer than I have, and I have always found them reliable.

The first thing I want to caution you about is to not merely read the executive summary, as so often, it does not match the contents of the document (rather like the IPCC documents, I gather). That is not unusual, everybody and their dog knows that most people only read the executive summary, so you can tell all in the document itself, and spin it like a drill motor in the summary. I think it dishonest, but nobody ever asked me.

By now we all are sick of the phrase “mistakes were made” That seems to come up here as well. In fact, Horowitz documents no less than seventeen serious errors of one kind or another. They happened to all go against the Republicans, but he says he has no evidence of bias. Given an IG’s (lack of) power that is probably so, no one not currently employed by the DOJ has to talk to him, and he has little power. People are not likely to say, “Sure, I broke the law to get Trump”. These people are probably not as smart as they think they are, but they aren’t that stupid.

In any case, seventeen errors and all go one way, the odds of that happening by chance are about 1 in 172,000. That’s slightly worse than getting 3 balls and the Powerball on a ticket. It happens, but not often, in fact, on the last drawing it happened 4 times in Nebraska out of however many million tickets were sold.

And note this, Horowitz said he did not have evidence of political bias, not that there was no political bias, which is what the MSM is already spouting. See the difference in that. Sure, in a sense it’s CYA, but an IG lives in the swamp, what did you expect? Few of us bite the hand that feeds us. IG Horowitz testifies in the Senate tomorrow. Better him than me!

There is going to be a tornado of spin on this, I think. The body of the report, my sources say, is pretty damning for all the players. It also appears that AG Barr and US Attorney Durham, who have actual power, were not amused. Barr said this:

Nothing is more important than the credibility and integrity of the FBI and the Department of Justice. That is why we must hold our investigators and prosecutors to the highest ethical and professional standards. The Inspector General’s investigation has provided critical transparency and accountability, and his work is a credit to the Department of Justice. I would like to thank the Inspector General and his team.

The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.

FISA is an essential tool for the protection of the safety of the American people. The Department of Justice and the FBI are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to rectify the abuses that occurred and to ensure the integrity of the FISA process going forward.

No one is more dismayed about the handling of these FISA applications than Director Wray. I have full confidence in Director Wray and his team at the FBI, as well as the thousands of dedicated line agents who work tirelessly to protect our country. I thank the Director for the comprehensive set of proposed reforms he is announcing today, and I look forward to working with him to implement these and any other appropriate measures.

With respect to DOJ personnel discussed in the report, the Department will follow all appropriate processes and procedures, including as to any potential disciplinary action.

That’s a pretty strong statement when one remembers that this is the Attorney General of the United States. Disciplinary action could well include a vacation at some of the least pleasant places in the United States.

United States Attorney John Durham (who is charged with the criminal investigation) said this:

I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff. However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.

And that is the preview (I think) at the end of this rather boring movie.

Impeachment Farce: The Bureaucracy Has Forgotten Who the Boss Is

Sharyl Attkisson wrote an article yesterday in The Hill. She highlights something most of us probably knew but hardly anybody is saying.

There’s an important revelation from the first day of impeachment hearings that I haven’t heard discussed. It has to do with the witnesses’ strange notion of how foreign policy works.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and Acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor both accused President Trump of interfering with U.S. foreign policy in Ukraine. They indicated they differed with Trump’s skepticism of Ukraine’s newest leadership, and they disagreed with Trump’s apparent decision to keep Ukraine at a measured distance while he assessed the situation.

They further said that Trump gave approval for his attorney and adviser, Rudy Giuliani, to develop a communications channel on Ukraine diplomacy that was outside the “regular” diplomatic chain. Some in the media have dubbed that a “shadow campaign.”

The Huffington Post wrote, “State Department officials say Rudy Giuliani’s foreign policy backchannel ‘undercut’ U.S. policy on Ukraine.”

And Ambassador Taylor testified, “The official foreign policy of the United States was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Rudy Giuliani.”

There must be some confusion.

That’s a very kind way of saying it, I think. Actually, I prefer the way Ace put it.

The President, Not Stuffed Shirt Paper-Pushers in the Federal Bureaucracy, Is Invested With the Foreign Policy Power by the Constitution

Which is spot on. From Article II, Section 2:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

That’s about as clear as distilled water in a crystal glass. Presidents make foreign policy, not obscure ambassadors and deputy assistant secretaries of state. They do what the president and the secretary of state tell them to, or they should be fired, for cause and without benefits.

And that is the exact problem in Washington (Westminster has the same problem). The bureaucrats have gotten too big for their britches and now think they run the show. That simply is not acceptable. We elect the president not least to run foreign policy as we want it run.

One of the main reasons Trump is president is to end the forever wars that are bleeding the country, without bringing any advantage to it, see Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and others, where we have, if anything, made bad situations worse. It has, however, been good for arms makers and their sycophants in Washington.

President Eisenhower had some good warnings for us as he said farewell almost half a century ago.

Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad. […]

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Essentially, we have failed that charge. And so, now, the time has come to try to repair this oversight, in short, to “Drain the Swamp”. It is going to be a long difficult project, but if we are to remain America, it must succeed.

An Important Conversation

Last Friday, in the Daily Signal, Bill Walton wrote (mostly a transcript) of a podcast he did with Star Parker and Winsome Sears (R, VA) and the first black woman representative from Virginia. It’s very good, although it is very long it is well worth your time. It’s wide-ranging about the problems in the Black community and why the Republican Party doesn’t get more votes from it. Well, that was the aim, but the problems they see, and they mostly agree and expand on each other, apply to the white and Hispanic communities too. In fact, they apply right across western civilization. Here’s some of it.

Parker: Well, I came to believe what I believe by reading a proverb a day. I was believing the lies of the left for a very long time. I believed all that we even hear today, that my problems were somebody else’s fault. That America was racist and I shouldn’t mainstream. That I was poor because others were wealthy.

In buying all of these lies, I got very lost in my decision-making. So very early in life, [I] was engaged in criminal activity and drug activity and sexual activity and abortion activity and welfare activity, and then God saved me. Some gentlemen introduced me to the Lord and I changed my life. I went to school, I got a degree, I started a business. After the ’92 Los Angeles riots destroyed my business, I began to focus on social policy, and that’s how I came to run my organization, Urban CURE, today.

But if you ask, “How did you shape those views beyond just the personal responsibility that comes from knowing the Scripture and figuring out how to live through a daily proverb?” I started a business. That’s when I understood how extensive government is in the affairs of someone who just wants to buy an apple and sell it for enough to buy another one, and another one and another one. And [I] started being encroached by all types of three letters, from the IRS to the you-name-it. The disability, the environmental protection, a long list of all of [these] alphabets too.

Walton: Well, yeah, George McGovern became a conservative after he started a bed and breakfast.

Parker: Yes, exactly, you start finding out that, “Wait a minute, what has happened to our great country?” I think that’s what shaped my economic views. But what has shaped my philosophy and what drives me and my organization is my born-again experience.

Winsome Sears: Amen.

Walton: Winsome?

Sears: Well, I am a Marine and I had had my last child, my husband and I, and we were living in California at the time. It was right around the time of the election and George Bush Sr., he was running, he was a candidate and I was still a Democrat. I’m black …

Walton: This would have been ’88?

Sears: Yes. I’m black, I’m supposed to be a Democrat. It rhymes, OK. The whole family’s full of Democrats, so what am I? I am what I am. [Mike] Dukakis, his commercial came on and he said, “I’m going to expand welfare. I’m going to make sure that this, that, the other, we’re going to give you money and we’re going to… ” I thought, “But if that happens, my folks, they’re just going to be living on what they get. There’s nothing to propel them.” Then he said, “For abortion, I’m going to make sure abortion is this and legal and expanded and do this and public monies and public…” I had just had my baby and I thought, “Well, I don’t believe that.”

Then right behind him came George Bush Sr. with his commercial, and he said, “If all you have is welfare, is what the government gives you, you will never have anything to pass onto your children.” Then he said, “As for abortion, I’m going to try and make it less and less and less.” Then I said, “Oh my God, I’m a Republican.”

The next thing was, “How am I going to tell my family?” Because it’s almost as if I was changing my religion. It was a shock to me and I think to many black people; they really are Republicans because we are the most conservative, really, group. It’s just a matter of me getting in there and people like Star and everybody else getting in and saying, “Let us be who we want to be. You don’t get to tell me how to run my politics and I don’t get to tell you either. Just let us be free.”

Go and read it, it’s the best thing I’ve read in at least a week. My reader says 39 minutes, it’s worth twice that amount of time. And yes, I almost completely agree with them across the board.

Flouting the Electorate, Brexit at 3 1/2

We get enough crap from our politicians, but it is as nothing compared to our British cousins lately. Ours often do things we don’t want and don’t do things we do, and it angers us. But ours haven’t yet asked us to decide something for them, and then literally called us stupid and done their best not to d what we said. That is exactly what the UK Parliament has been doing for three and a half years. So, where does Brexit stand? It’s complicated. Too complicated for me to explain it. But Katie Hopkins takes a shot at it in FrontPage Magazine. It’s the best status report I’ve seen.

“Katie – what on earth is happening with Brexit?”

It’s a question I have been desperate to answer and have found myself unable to answer — as one day of uncertainty has led into the next. The word ‘unprecedented’ is commonplace in the UK right now.

Trying to give an accurate update on Brexit has been like trying to sell yogurt in the desert. It is past its shelf life even before it reaches the store.

But despite the attempts by our Remain-leaning Parliament to frustrate the will of the people, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has finally found a way forward, albeit a long way from the “Leave” we were promised for Oct. 31. Even the ceremonial 50p coins minted for the occasion will be smelted down in despair.

Bojo has called a General Election for December 12, 2019 in the hopes of breaking the endless deadlock over Brexit. And despite a desperate effort by the opposition to allow 16-year-olds and 3 million EU foreigners (who do not have British citizenship) to vote, Boris has prevailed.

The British people will go back to polls and vote for a new government to take them into 2020. Boris believes it will give him the majority he needs and a fresh mandate to Get Brexit Done and get us out of the European Union — his battle cry since he entered the House of Commons.

But the risks are considerable and the choices are stark. This will not be just a vote on Brexit. This election merges Brexit votes and party loyalty. There are crossed allegiances at every turn. Leave-supporting Labour voters will never vote Conservative, for example — similarly entrenched in their view as a Never-Trumper is inside the GOP.

Keep reading at the link.

This week Nigel Farage (who has a pretty good radio show on LBC in England) spent about a half-hour interviewing President Trump. It’s very good, and will likely explode some head in both country’s media, and that’s an excellent thing.

See what I mean. 😉

The Britons I speak to every day are getting pretty fed up with their politicians, well since Ben Sasse is one of my Senators, I understand. Most of them forcefully state that one cannot possibly ever trust a politician. Well, where they ever got the idea that one could is beyond me.

What I have found is that I have to back off and find a calm port in a storm. Jess talked about this a bit after her recovery in the convent. Like her, I have a restlessness that keeps bringing me back to the battle, but downtime is important too. Her reflection on that is at the link above. In any case, one of the gifts she gave me was bringing back my love of poetry. And like her, one of my favorites is T. S. Eliot’s Little Gidding and it speaks to this.

If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.

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