Assessing Trump’s Acceptance Speech at the GOP Convention: Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers

July 22, 2016

I’m not a fan of Trump (to say the least), but the sloppy work, bias, and outright dishonesty of “fact checkers” is something we shouldn’t tolerate.

International Liberty

Since I’m not a fan of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, I think that puts me in a good position to fairly assess whether the candidates are being dishonest.

And since several media outlets just produced their “fact-checks” on Donald Trump’s acceptance speech to the Republican convention, this is a perfect opportunity to see not only whether Trump was being dishonest but also whether media fact-checking is honest.

Here’s some of the “fact-checking” from NBC., with each indented example being followed by my two cents.

TRUMP CLAIM: Nearly four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58 percent of African-American youth are now not employed. Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the President took his oath of office less than eight years ago.

THE FACTS: Yes, 38 percent of African American children are living in poverty, according to Census data. But…

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(Video) Lemonade Stand Economics: a basic lesson for progressives

July 22, 2016

When writing about the minimum wage or Obamacare, I’ve often made the point that, in the face of government-imposed higher costs, businesses have few choices:

  • Pass the cost on to the consumer by increasing prices
  • Reduce costs by cutting back on labor (reduced hours, automation, &c.)
  • Accept a smaller profit margin
  • Or just say “screw it all” and go out of business

The following video from Prager University makes a similar point, using that American icon, the kid’s lemonade stand, as an example:

Progressives take note. This is a lesson you need to learn.

By the way, those evil oil companies the Left likes to rail at? Their average profit margin is just above six percent. You know what industry has a larger profit margin? Law firms. They net on average a whopping 30 percent.

Maybe the government should regulate law firms? smiley thinking


(Video) It’s Socialism that makes people selfish, not Capitalism

July 19, 2016

Speaking for Prager University, Dennis Praeger himself:

I’ll disagree with him a bit about students staying on their parents’ insurance until 26: grad students in particular are often on perilously thin resources and many have started families by this time. There’s a natural urge for parents to help their offspring (and maybe their grandkids) out by keeping them on their health plans a while longer. However, this should be worked out by the market — between company and consumer–  and not by government mandate.

As for the rest, couldn’t agree more. As Churchill said:

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

Just look at who runs the Democratic Party today. smiley thumbs down

 


Did Aliens’ “Private Hudson” foreshadow the Republican Party of 2016?

July 11, 2016
"We nominated Trump? What are we gonna do now, huh?"

“We’re gonna nominate Trump? What are we gonna do now, huh?”

Bill Paxton’s “Private Hudson” is a fan-favorite character in 1986’s “Aliens,” an overall great movie. But was he also an omen for the Republican Party’s fate thirty years later?

Don’t look at me like that, I think I’m on to something here. Consider:

The Republicans started the presidential cycle full of confidence and hope. They had many good, respected candidates. The current administration was unpopular, its policies moreso, and the Democrats’ leading candidate to succeed the president was awful. The Republicans had every reason to be confident. To act like “badasses”, even. Just like Hudson:

 

But things went downhill from there. An alien monster invaded the primary, and one promising candidate after another failed and dropped out until, on the night of the Indiana primary, Ted Cruz and John Kasich ended their campaigns, leaving the field to Trump. The race was seemingly over. Amidst the flaming wreckage of the party’s once-soaring hopes, it was “game over.”

Just as Private Hudson foretold:

I wonder if Trumpkins “mostly come out at night”?

Still, some fight on against Trumpery under the banner of “Never Trump,” refusing to give in and promising a fight to the death at the convention.

Did Private Hudson prophesy their fate, too?

Who needs the Oracle of Delphi when we have Private Hudson? smiley can't look

PS: Yeah, I’m “never Trump,” but the thought of this comparison got me laughing so hard last night, I had to share. Smiley Laughing Maniacal Clown


FBI won’t recommend charges against @HillaryClinton. R.I.P. Rule of Law

July 5, 2016
Above the rules.

Guilty as sin, free as a bird.

This is a very depressing moment:

FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that his agency would not recommend criminal charges against anyone involved with Hillary Clinton’s private email network, even after finding that Clinton’s team was “extremely careless” in handling classified emails.

“We cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges,” he told reporters in Washington. Comey added that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges.

Still, he said Clinton sent or received dozens of emails that were classified at the time they were sent and noted the former secretary of state did not turn over thousands of work-related emails to the State Department.

Comey said 110 emails contained information that was classified at the time they were sent, including eight emails that were top secret. That finding marked a direct contradiction to Clinton’s previous statements, in which she said she never sent any information that was classified at the time it was sent.

Comey said the investigation focused on whether Clinton violated federal statutes prohibiting the removal of classified information from secure areas, which is a crime whether that is done intentionally or inadvertently.

I have to agree with attorney Gabriel Malor:

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This is the statute in question:

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer-
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

How, I ask, is Hillary Clinton’s unsecured server, which was in her mansion in Chappaqua, in any way, shape or form a “proper place of custody?” And how in God’s name do any of her actions while in charge of national secrets as Secretary of State constitute anything other than “gross negligence?” General Petraeus was prosecuted for less. The information that passed through her servers is likely in the hands of the Russians and Chinese — and who know who else? Clandestine human and technical sources were almost certainly compromised by her “gross negligence.” Intent is immaterial: the existence of the unauthorized server itself is the smoking gun here.

Mere words aren’t enough to convey my disgust.

The Rule of Law may not be dead in this country, but it is gut-shot and bleeding.

RELATED: One small smidgen of good news. While declining to prosecute, Director Comey’s statement point by point demolished all Hillary’s claims of innocence. Not that anyone seems to care that she’s a congenital liar.

 


Italy’s Fiscal and Demographic Death Spiral

July 5, 2016

An overly generous welfare state combined with demographic decline. There’s a recipe for national collapse.

International Liberty

European economic analysts are paying too much attention to the United Kingdom and too little attention to Italy.

Yes, the Brexit decision is important, and the United Kingdom is the world’s 5th-largest economy so it merits attention to see if there are any speed bumps as it escapes from the slowly sinking ship otherwise known as the European Union.

But one of the other passengers on that doomed ship is Italy, the world’s 8th-largest economy. And if the UK merits attention because of uncertainty on its way to a brighter future, then Italy should be getting five-alarm focus for its festering economic crisis as it descends into chaos.

Part of that crisis is quasi-permanent stagnation, as illustrated by this map showing changes in per-capita economic output since 1995.

To state that Italy is the slow student in the class is an understatement. There’s been a two-decade period with…

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Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2016

Sprit_of_'76.2

It’s Independence Day here in the US, in which we celebrate our break with the British Empire. We’re 240 years old and, despite what some sanctimonious Lefty scolds might think, I think we’re doing pretty darned good. We’re not without our problems or faults, for instance two major parties that manage to find the two worst people possible to nominate for president, but I continue to believe America is exceptional among the nations of the world and that we are indeed a force for good. If you’re looking for some good Independence Day reading, there’s always the Declaration of Independence itself. Think of it as a short ideological summation of who and why we are.

Then there’s the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which function as a citizen’s “owner’s manual.” And yes, to those of you in other countries raising an eyebrow about now, we do tend to place those documents on a pedestal. You have to admit, however, they’ve worked well for over two centuries. How many republics and constitutions has France had in that time?

Gosh, it’s become quiet…. Winking

A lot’s been written around the Web about today, so I’ll spare you my musings. Instead, I want to leave you with something that I think symbolizes the best of the “Spirit of 1776:” a reenlistment ceremony held in 2008 in Baghdad in Saddam Hussein’s former palace, Al Faw. Over 1,200 enlisted personnel volunteered for another tour of duty, sworn in by General Petraeus himself:

 

Petraeus reenlistment

Eat that, Michael Moore. Oh, and Congressman Murtha? What was that about our military being broken?

Happy 4th of July, folks. Enjoy the hot dogs and fireworks.  smiley party

LINKS: More at Sister Toldjah, and Cassandra’s “love letter to America“.

UPDATE: Historian Victor Davis Hanson, as always, puts it better than I:

The Founders’ notion of the rule of law, coupled with freedom of the individual, explains why the United States runs on merit, not tribal affinities or birth. Most elsewhere, being a first cousin of a government official, or having a prestigious name, ensures special treatment from the state. Yet in America, nepotism is never assured. End that notion of American merit and replace it with racial tribalism, cronyism or aristocratic privilege, and America itself would vanish as we know it.

There is no rational reason why a small republican experiment in 1776 grew to dominate global culture and society — except that America is the only nation, past or present, that put trust in the individual rather than in the state and its elite bureaucracy. Such confidence in the average free citizen made America absolutely exceptional — something we should remember more than ever on this Fourth of July.

Those notions are being put to a test these days as progressives try ever harder to divide us on tribal lines and turn free citizens into wards of the State while the two parties nominate exemplars of “cronyism and aristocratic privilege,” but I still believe they’re true. smiley us flag

Note: This is a republication of a post I wrote in 2008, edited to repair broken links or replace text no longer available on the web.

 


Sunday Not Quite A Book Review: “The Cultural Revolution: a people’s history 1962-1976”

July 3, 2016

Book Cover Dikotter Cultural Revolution

Since I haven’t been posting much of late, I thought a good way to get back into the swing of things would be to revive the Sunday Book Review series. Great idea!

Trouble is, the book I read is one that I can’t get a handle on the right approach to reviewing it. smiley d'oh! smiley headbang wall

The topic is so large and so complex that I’m left with just one thing to say: if you are ever tempted by the idea that things would be better if we just gave government all the power it wanted, read Frank Dikotter’s “The Cultural Revolution: a people’s history, 1962-1976”. That should slap some sense into you.

The book tells the story of bloody turmoil China was thrown into for over a decade because of the paranoia and whims of one all-powerful man, Mao Zedong. Setting faction against faction, even against his own Communist Party, Mao threw China into such chaos that at times it seemed a second civil war might result — and in some locales, it did.

Fearing that his “comrades” would sideline or even depose him for his horrific errors in the 1950s, worried that a Khrushchev waited in the wings to bring ideological revisionism and a denunciation of Mao’s legacy as Khrushchev did to Stalin in his 1956 “Secret Speech,” Mao and his allies waged war against enemies often made up wholly in Mao’s mind.

The price, of course, was paid by the people. Whether looking for “capitalist roaders,” “revisionists,” members of various “anti-Party cliques” and agents of foreign powers lurking within the Party itself, or merely people of “bad class background” (for example, former landowners under the old regime and their relations), enemies weren’t just found among a few rivals to Mao. Dikotter’s book tells in appalling detail how ordinary Chinese had to suffer because of Mao’s whims: prison camps, “reeducation” centers, thousands of city residents exiled to the country with no relevant skills and yet expected to survive — and never return to the city. People humiliated, driven to suicide or beaten to death by teenaged “Red Guards.” Knowledge, learning, and arts declared worthless, even evil, if they didn’t conform to “Mao Zedong Thought” and serve the class struggle. The horror stories of Lovecraft and King are nothing compared to what really happened in China in the 1960s.

Over and over, we’re treated moments of madness, but also shown how people resisted, or at least tried to survive. When Mao’s insane economics made even basic goods almost impossible to get, many set up secret factories and trade routes, reestablishing an underground capitalism in Communism’s heartland. Secret book clubs meeting to share a copy of forbidden Western literature. Playing Classical music on old phonographs in a closet, hoping no one would hear and denounce you to the authorities.

It’s said that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” China in the Cultural Revolution is a glaring example of this, and Frank Dikotter’s “The Cultural Revolution: a people’s history, 1962-1976” should be part of any “scared straight” program for anyone tempted by statism.

Highly recommended.

PS: “The Cultural Revolution: a people’s history, 1962-1976” is available in hardcover and Kindle format. I’m happy to say the Kindle book was well-formatted and free of any errors as I recall. Fair disclosure, I get a few cents from purchases made through my links.