Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Trump's Constitution"

A very interesting analysis.

Who Could Have Seen That Coming?

$1.2 billion in startup loans for ObamaCare's 12 (out of 23) failed insurance co-ops. 
• $1.5 billion in failed or unrealized state-run health exchanges — and not one of the remaining 14 is fully functional, according to a government audit. 
• An estimated $45 billion for the 165 million hours that businesses and individuals spent trying to comply with ObamaCare's 106 new regulations. 
• $750 million in public subsidies to more than 500,000 people who weren't eligible for coverage. 
• $3.5 billion diverted from the Treasury to insurance companies to help cover their losses.

Pretty good start for 6 years, but there's more waste where this waste came from.  Hard to see though how this will bend the "health care cost curve" in the right direction.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Yes, It Can Happen Here

"Nifong handed over 2,500 pages of raw, technical DNA data to the defense. Bannon bought a book on Amazon about forensic DNA and went to work. He discovered unidentified DNA for numerous men in and on Mangum and her clothing that hadn’t been reported. He found notes indicating lab director Brian Meehan’s DNA was also present.
“So a Ph.D doing everything he can not to contaminate the DNA leaves more DNA in this rape kit than the entire Duke lacrosse team put together,” Cooney said.
At a hearing nine months after the party, Nifong tried to take the defense by surprise, presenting Meehan as his DNA expert before they had prepared to cross-examine him. The defense team decided to have Bannon question him on the spot.
“It became fairly clear about 10-15 minutes into it that the expert realized that Brad [Bannon] knew what the hell he was talking about,” Cooney said.
The defense team confronted Meehan with whether he had agreed with Nifong to withhold some DNA results: “There’s only one answer to this question, and that answer being yes. Because we did not report the reference profiles of those specimens and we did talk about not reporting those,” Meehan said.
There was applause in the courtroom."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Disaster? Will that be the party disaster or the national kind?

There are traditionalists rooting for Trump over Cruz, and the thinking of some goes like this: Neither candidate can win the presidency. But while Cruz has almost no crossover appeal beyond committed Republicans, Trump might draw enough independents, blue-collar Democrats and new voters in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania to buoy Republicans in tight Senate races there.
Besides which, he scrambles all rules and all precedents so thoroughly that you never know. Victory isn’t unthinkable, and better a Republican who’s allergic to caution, oblivious to actual information and altogether dangerous than a Democrat who’ll dole out all the plum administration jobs to her own party.
Republican traditionalists who prefer Cruz are no more ebullient in their outlooks.
“Cruz is a disaster for the party,” one of them told me. “Trump is a disaster for the country.”
“If Cruz is the nominee, we get wiped out,” he added, with a resigned voice. “And we rebuild.” The party needs that anyway.

Peters Sums It Up Well

With a shudder, Putin recognized that his air campaign would ultimately benefit an emerging Persian/Iranian empire, rather than expanding Moscow’s influence. Similarly, our air campaign and special operations against ISIS, although necessary, will inevitably strengthen Tehran’s regional dominance (we gave away Iraq, but we still do the maintenance). 
We’re trapped, but Putin wasn’t. So he got out.
Those of us who’ve warned of a burgeoning Iranian empire haven’t found much traction in Washington, where the current president clings to his appalling nuclear deal. And the Middle East still seems far away from the Potomac’s prospering shores. But it’s a very different deal for Putin.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Min Wage, Minimum Jobs

The AEI study, worked up from Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly surveys, shows that, between April and December last year, Seattle saw the biggest employment drop in any nine-month period since 2009 — a full year into the Great Recession.
The city unemployment rate rose a full percentage point.
Before the minimum-wage hikes begin, Seattle employment tracked the rest of the nation — slowly rising from the 2008-09 bottom. But it started to plunge last spring, as the new law began to kick in.
Furthermore, Seattle’s loss of 10,000 jobs in just the three months of September, October and November was a record for any three-month period dating back to 1990.
Meanwhile, employment outside the city limits — which had long tracked the rate in Seattle proper — was soaring by 57,000 and set a new record high that November.
Bottom line: A $15 law in New York is guaranteed to destroy jobs here — and boost employment in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and even Vermont.

Here's to a high minimum wage in New Hampshire and Vermont so all us Mainers can stay employed.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

George Skewers ...

When George Will is on the mark, no one is better.

Trump, who fancies himself the blue-collar billionaire, promises a 45 percent increase in the price of the imports from China that help draw more than 100 million weekly shoppers to Walmart, America’s largest private-sector employer. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), another aspiring savior of the proletariat, promises “socialism,” which he defines as a “revolution” that resembles the status quo — meddlesome economic regulation by a federal government whose budget is 66 percent income redistribution through transfer payments. Sanders is conducting a self-refuting campaign, the premise of which is that “the billionaire class” of (according to Forbes) 536 people buys elections. Last month, Sanders raised $42.7 million, Hillary Clinton raised $30 million, and the most prolific Republican fundraiser of this presidential cycle (Jeb Bush, $157.6 million) went home.

Ask Me No Questions I'll Tell You No Lies

Americans are unhappy with various facets of current institutions and politics. Over two-thirds of us believe that the economic system favors the wealthy and that government wastes a lot of our money. 
In addition, over 60 percent believe that special interests use their money to get their way most or all of the time and that the government does not care about people like them. This perception was already rising by the time of the economic crisis of 2007-2008. Afterward, it began accelerating rapidly. Is the rise of Donald Trump a product of this displeasure?

Trump is famous for telling the truth, supposedly, but what has he said about the 2nd Amendment, his thinking on picking a supreme court justice, his understanding of and beliefs about foreign policy, and/or his criteria for what makes a nation great?  You can tell the truth easily if you never say anything substantive.  

Am I missing something?  What does Trump say he believes about the important issues?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Lame Duck SC Nominations

Obama's out to lunch, however, when he claims that there is no history or "unwritten law that says that it can only be done on off-years." It's true that nominations have been made and considered in election years, but the fact is that no lame-duck president has filled a vacancy that arose in the election year of his successor.
Of course, we've only had "lame-duck" presidencies since the 22nd Amendment was ratified in 1952 limiting presidents to two terms. Before that, presidents have had election-year vacancies filled only if their party controlled the Senate, or by appointing a justice of, or friendly to, the opposition party.
Obama's own vice president, Joe Biden, was closer to the historical norm when, in 1992, as a senator from Delaware, he advocated a Democratic roadblock to any nomination by then-President George H.W. Bush.
Obama's faithful mouthpiece, the New York Times, provided a useful graphic of presidential nominations from George Washington to the present, with the utterly misleading headline "Supreme Court Nominees Considered in Election Years Are Usually Confirmed."
The last time that happened was in 1932, when Republican Herbert Hoover was a de facto lame duck and the Democrats controlled the Senate.

Two years earlier, a coalition of Democrats and progressive Republicans rejected John J. Parker — the only nominee rejected between 1890 and 1968. Hoover then chose Benjamin Cardozo, perhaps the most prominent progressive jurist in America. Since he was replacing the progressive icon Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Hoover thought Cardozo should get the seat to "be fair to all elements." (Justice Willis Van Devanter correctly warned Hoover that the Democrats would not be so fair once they were in the White House.) This would be the equivalent today of Obama nominating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to the high court.

Friday, March 4, 2016

What's the Appeal?

Yet elsewhere in the speech, he described how Christians abroad are being massacred and Christians here at home are under cultural and political siege. He pledged: “We’re going to protect Christianity.”
Interesting locution. Not just Christians, but Christianity itself. What Trump promises is to stand outside the churchyard gates and protect the faithful inside. He’s the Roman centurion standing between them and both barbarians abroad and aggressive secularists at home.
The message is clear: I may not be one of you. I can’t recite or even correctly cite Scripture. But I will patrol the borders of Christendom on your behalf. After all, who do you want out there — a choir boy or a tough guy with a loaded gun and a kick-ass demeanor?
Evangelicals answered resoundingly. They went for Trump in a rout.

Voting for Trump is like sticking your finger in an elephant's eye hoping to make it stop leaving elephant feces all over the place. There's not one good thing that will come from it.
He's like the worst of both parties, baked into one, with extra pomposity added in - I wouldn't have thought it would be possible to be more pompous than the regular "extra pompous" pols. 
The relevant thought experiment is, "If I knew that every president from now on would be the candidate I fear/hate the most (Clinton, Obama, Bush, Trump, Sanders or whomever), how much power would I like that president to have?" There's no president in shining armor who will come in and save the republic, we're going to keep getting the parrot droppings we've had forever. It's fascinating though how much "we" want to believe in the presidency, in the idea that one person will take all the BS in the world and wrestle it into submission. "We" want to believe that so much that we ignore all the damage done in the futile attempts presidents make.

Too Little Too Late?

"It is easy for political candidates to have rhetoric and say, "I support the Second Amendment." But you cannot say that and at the same time say what Donald just said, which is that on the question of Supreme Court nominees he wants to compromise and reach a middle ground with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. That's what he said in the last debate. . . . And I would point out, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are both Democrats that Mr. Trump has written checks to repeatedly. Any justice that those two sign off on is going to be a left-wing judicial activist who will undermine religious liberty, and we are one vote away from the Heller decision being overturned, which would effectively erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights. Amendment rights, but when you say you'd compromise with Harry Reid, you put that in jeopardy."
Ted Cruz

Electing Trump would be like sticking a finger in the eye of an elephant and hoping it gets the point that you don't like the shit it leaves everywhere.  Nothing good will come from it.

Rule of Law. Not.

It’s not just Clinton at risk here: Top aides such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills were also clearly involved in the improper handling of the nation’s secrets. Indeed, the FBI’s reportedly looking into whether aides traded passwords to illegally move info from classified servers to the private system.
We already know that more than 2,000 Clinton emails contained classified information, including dozens with the most confidential stuff. At issue is who’ll take the fall for improper handling of the secrets.
Be glad the FBI’s on the case. The State Department has announced that its investigation won’t wrap up ’til after Election Day.

I Need a New Word for Stupid

The move to destroy cash feeds into the economic commissars’ fantasy that they can better control the economy. Policymakers in Washington, Tokyo and the EU think the reason that their economies are stagnant is that ornery people aren’t spending and investing the way they should. How to make these benighted, recalcitrant beings do what they’re supposed to do? The latest nostrum from our overlords is negative interest rates. If people have to pay fees to store their money, as they do to put their stuff in storage facilities, then, by golly, they might be more inclined to spend it. To inhibit cash hoarding–when Japan announced it was imposing negative interest rates, the sale of safes soared–the authorities will want to do away with large notes.
We kid you not. The highly credentialed author of a paper advocating the prohibition of large currency denominations declared, “Introducing negative interest rates would create a powerful incentive to hold deposits in cash, most likely in higher denominations. Eliminating high-denomination notes, so that saving in cash was more inconvenient, would mitigate this problem.”

Greenbacks and Freedom

The Federal Reserve and various other financial regulatory bodies were sold politicallyin no small part as protections against inflation. But inflation has run rampant. According to the inflation calculator, today’s $100 bill is worth only as much as $4.18 in 1913, the year the Federal Reserve was established. When you realize that inflation helps debtors and that governments are the world’s biggest debtors, this makes a certain amount of sense — for them.
But at a time when, almost no matter where you look in the world, the parts of it controlled by the experts and technocrats (like Larry Summers) seem to be doing badly, it seems reasonable to ask: Why give them still more control over the economy? What reason is there to think that they’ll use that control fairly, or even competently? Their track record isn’t very impressive.
Cash has a lot of virtues. One of them is that it allows people to engage in voluntary transactions without the knowledge or permission of anyone else. Governments call this suspicious, but the rest of us call it something else: Freedom.