Free Markets, Free People

Stray Voltage

Explaining the Trump phenomenon – I think this is pretty close:

“American presidential elections usually amount to a series of overcorrections: Clinton begat Bush, who produced Obama, whose lax border policies fueled the rise of Trump. In the case of Trump, though, the GOP shares the blame, and not just because his fellow Republicans misdirected their ad buys or waited so long to criticize him. Trump is in part a reaction to the intellectual corruption of the Republican Party. That ought to be obvious to his critics, yet somehow it isn’t.”

The GOP more than shares the blame, they are the direct reason a person like Trump has traction.  Gutless, spineless and afraid to do what they were elected to do election after election has finally turned on them.  They’ve been warned for a while.  The rise of the Teaparty should have given them a clue, but it was business as usual for establishment GOP types.   This last Congressional election and their ineffectiveness while in the majority appears to have been the last straw.  Trump is their creation, and they still don’t understand why.

Speaking of Bernie and why his socialism is attractive to so many, I think this is pretty close as well:

“In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may show early signs of success. But any accomplishments quickly fade as the fundamental deficiencies of central planning emerge. It is the initial illusion of success that gives government intervention its pernicious, seductive appeal. In the long run, socialism has always proven to be a formula for tyranny and misery.”

We’ve actually seen “the long run” in the late and unlamented Soviet Union.  We have examples with us today via North Korea where famine and poverty stalk the population constantly, Cuba, where they live in the ’50s and work for $20 a month and Venezuela, where it failed utterly and the population is now trying to dig out from under the ruin.   But Bernie supporters, apparently, think his version will work.

In the “thank the good Lord” department, this:

President Obama is not interested in sitting on the Supreme Court once he leaves office, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday.

If you think he’s been a disaster as a president, imagine the damage he could do on the Supreme Court.

Interesting.  When given a choice:

The number of dues-paying workers within the state’s labor groups has fallen steadily since GOP Gov. Scott Walker signed his signature legislation, 2011’s Act 10, which repealed most collective bargaining for most public workers. But new federal statistics show that trend intensified in 2015 after Walker and GOP lawmakers followed up on Act 10 by approving so-called right-to-work legislation last spring….

In 2015, 8.3% of Wisconsin workers, or 223,000 in all, were members of unions. That was down sharply from the 306,000 people, or 11.7% of the state’s workforce, who belonged to unions in 2014….

Labor unions are another thing the left isn’t “pro-choice” about.

ICYMI, Al Gore’s apocalyptic predictions expired recently.  Yup, Manhattan isn’t submerged in water (unless you want to count the latest footage in frozen precipitation) as he had predicted 10 years ago.  David French does a riff on the doomsayers:

Gore’s prediction fits right in with the rest of his comrades in the wild-eyed environmentalist movement. There’s a veritable online cottage industry cataloguing hysterical, failed predictions of environmentalist catastrophe. Over at the American Enterprise Institute, Mark Perry keeps his list of “18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions” made around the original Earth Day in 1970. Robert Tracinski at The Federalist has a nice list of “Seven big failed environmentalist predictions.” The Daily Caller’s “25 years of predicting the global warming ‘tipping point’” makes for amusing reading, including one declaration that we had mere “hours to act” to “avert a slow-motion tsunami.”

Indeed.  But the fact of the epic failure of their predictions, they will simply reinvent themselves as they always have.  Here’s French’s chaser:

Can we ignore them yet? Apparently not. Being a climate hysteric means never having to say you’re sorry. Simply change the cataclysm — Overpopulation! No, global cooling! No, global warming! No, climate change! — push the apocalypse back just a few more years, and you’re in business, big business.

Dead on.  Anyone remember who was one of the first investors in the carbon trading scam?

It appears that deploying other Clintons just isn’t quite working out as Hillary hoped.  Bill has been playing to small rooms and Chelsea, well, let’s just say she hasn’t much drawing power, or so it appears:

Chelsea Clinton hosted her highly-hyped Soul Cycle fundraiser for her mother in New York City on Wednesday afternoon.

The $2,700-a-head event, which offered just 60 seats at the popular cycling studio’s Tribeca location and promised guests a photo with Chelsea, was expected to sell out quick while raising some easy money for the Hillary Clinton campaign but was ultimately a flop.

Apparently they fire sold some of the seats at $50 each at the end to fill more and ended up with less than half the bikes filled.  This should have been a slam dunk in NYC if Hillary has the pull most think she does in the city.  Or else it’s Chelsea.  Or both …

The Trumpless debate?  Apparently about the same viewership as the previous debate with Trump included.   Make what you will of that, but regardless, Trump gave his opponents an open field last night and, at least as I view it, came off as a petty, spoiled brat throwing a tantrum.  Like I said, my view.

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

 

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39 Responses to Stray Voltage

  • Socialism will work here because it will be implemented by clever white Ivy League liberals – those other places are NOT being run by clever white liberals.
    Russia, well, they’re white (we think), but….they speak Russian and have an alphabet where the letter P is really the letter R and they have names like Ivan and Vlad and probably drink Vodka martinis!
    so….
    you can’t expect much from them really.

  • Comparing Sanders to the USSR makes no sense. You have countries like Denmark that mirror the kinds of things Sanders wants, and they have been free, successful and broadly supported. Sanders policies are nothing like those of the former Communist bloc. As for Trump, he’s the result of politics as marketing. Due to the massive money and long campaigns, candidates are marketed like products. Debates and promises are meaningless, no politician keeps his or her word afterwards. The sales department and the service department are two different beast. Trump is a high end confidence man who has the marketing down to a tee. He says what the people want to here. If elected, he’ll probably be a pragmatic centrist. Once the sale has been made, he owes nothing to anyone.

    • There are what, 10, 11 people living in Denmark?

      Ohhhhh! Wait!!!!! they have 5 million people to attend to!!!!! oh my!!!!!! – like the combined populations of Houston and Chicago, with a GDP the size of Tennessee, in a country of @44,000 square kilometers which is bigger than Maryland but smaller than West Virginia.

      Sure, we can make whatever we’re doing here work ‘like’ there because the infrastructures are almost ‘like’ identical!

      • Note that I said I did NOT think it could work here. Size and culture are the primary reasons. That’s one reason I’m not a Sanders supporter. That said, one reason it can work in countries like Denmark is, being a smaller country, they don’t see the government as an outside force depriving them of their freedom. Rather, government is viewed by most as a reflection of public will, designed to improve quality of life. They have access to their officials and believe their voices are heard.

        • Yes, I did note that below.

          You do understand that you don’t get to cite Denmark as an example of your point and then suggest it didn’t actually mean anything, and doesn’t really prove your point, as part of the reason why you are correct, right?

          well, if you’re reasonably sane you don’t get to do that, because the rest of the sane people won’t accept it as valid.

          and your support for Sanders or your lack of support for Sanders, has nothing to do with it, since the topic note was about Sanders, and not (yet) you.
          And a Dane’s idea of ‘freedom’ probably isn’t the same as an American’s idea because the American grew up with that crazy Constitution thingie, that guaranteed freedom speech, and religion and the press, and while the Danes are probably swell people as a rule and certainly nice enough, they don’t necessarily have those same ‘rights’ as we see them, and maybe don’t even believe those are natural rights (look who I’m having THAT conversation with, oy veh…)

          So, while there is some grounds for comparison in outcomes between Sanders plans, and socialist systems like the USSR, your point about Denmark and socialism and Sanders isn’t really valid, is it (I’ll remind you you just said so….)

          • The only thing it means is that it is wrong to use the USSR in comparison with Sanders’ ideas. That was the only point. I stand by that Sanders would like something more like what Denmark has. I think it is a perfectly valid point. I also think you’re wrong to somehow claim Danes are less free – there are a lot of laws restricting people in America that don’t exist in Denmark. You seem to recognize uncertainty on your part when you use the term “don’t necessarily have” the same rights. While it’s fascinating to compare states and the levels types of rights/freedoms (I do that when I teach Comparative Politics), the fact they’re “not exactly the same” doesn’t mean their freedom is of lower quality.

          • Me –
            ” a Dane’s idea of ‘freedom’ probably isn’t the same as an American’s idea”, “they don’t necessarily have those same ‘rights’ as we see them, and maybe don’t even believe those are natural rights”

            You –
            ” You seem to recognize uncertainty on your part when you use the term “don’t necessarily have” the same rights. While it’s fascinating to compare states and the levels types of rights/freedoms (I do that when I teach Comparative Politics), the fact they’re “not exactly the same” doesn’t mean their freedom is of lower quality.”

            Is American english really your native language?
            I’m not uncertain, I allowed for the comparison to be made by the Danes as to whether or not they are as free as I think I am.
            I didn’t say they’ll see their freedom as being of lower quality, you did.

            But so long as you’ve decided to steer the bus in that direction – here –
            Do the Danes have actual Freedom of Speech? No, just for started on the differences in rights – Danes can be punished for Blasphemy, and ‘hate’ speech

            Blasphemy –
            “Anybody who publicly mocks or insults any in this country legally existing religious community tenets of faith or worship, will be punished by fine or imprisonment for up to 4 months.”

            Hate speech –
            “Whoever publicly, or with intention to disseminating in a larger circle makes statements or other pronouncement, by which a group of persons is threatened, derided or degraded because of their race, colour of skin, national or ethnic background, faith or sexual orientation, will be punished by fine or imprisonment for up to 2 years.
            Sec. 2. When meting out the punishment it shall be considered an especially aggravating circumstance, if the count has the character of propaganda. ”

            Whereas I’m comfortable that if I type nasty things about the Pope, or the head of the Anglican Church, or the chief Rabbi of Israel, or the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, right here,
            right NOW,
            I am NOT going to spend up to 4 months in jail for doing so at any point in the future. Why I would feel inclined to do those things is neither here nor there, I have the freedom to do so, and it is protected, if I choose to do it, and it is NOT if I’m Danish.

            Same for the other law –

            Now, neither are freedoms I choose to exercise, but still, mine nevertheless.
            And of course the good old 2nd Amendment – no – nothing like it in Denmark.
            So if tonight, I want to go out to my car and drive it over to the public range and use the pistol and carbine I may or may not carry around with me, I can.
            If ‘Frederik’ has failed to ask for whatever passes for permission to even own the guns, and does that, and gets caught, he’s probably going to spend some time being ‘less free’.

            But Fredrick may not view that as being making his freedom of lower quality that he can’t do those things and that’s not up for me to decide FOR him.

            Which…. was my point -” a Dane’s idea of ‘freedom’ probably isn’t the same as an American’s idea”, “they don’t necessarily have those same ‘rights’ as we see them, and maybe don’t even believe those are natural rights”

          • Sure there’s differences. In Europe television stations could show soft porn on public stations way back in the 70s. The US right to free speech is the most extreme in the industrialized world. That doesn’t mean we’re more free. Indeed Danish laws affect very few people in that regard. Moreover, our legal system creates such a fear of being sued that many places strictly limit activity. Variations in laws within the free world don’t mean one country is “more free” or “better.” Those variations reflect cultural and historical norms. In any event, if you’re going that far to try to defend an analogy to the USSR, you’re off base. Any comparison of the USSR to the free states of Europe would show massive differences. Compared to the US, minor variations.

        • “they don’t see the government as an outside force depriving them of their freedom….”

          They should.

          “Police in Denmark have sparked anger by warning a teenage girl that she faces prosecution for using pepper spray to fend off an attacker near an asylum seekers centre.”

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/12125645/Danish-girl-who-used-pepper-spray-on-attacker-faces-prosecution.html

          I know it’s not The Guardian, but it’s still British.

      • Reality check, please:

        The Economist reports that the Norwegian oil boom, which followed the discovery of oil in the North Sea in 1969, has enabled a boom in public spending. The number of people employed in education has doubled and the number working in health and social services has quadrupled since the 1970s. Without oil and natural gas production, there’s little to no chance that the Norwegian welfare state could persist in its current form.

        Denmark produced its first oil from the North Sea in 1972. Since then, it has become the third-largest producer of oil and natural gas in Western Europe. The Danish government derives proceeds from North Sea oil and gas production via direct revenue from various taxes and fees: corporate income tax, hydrocarbon tax, royalties, the oil pipeline tariff, compensatory fees, and profit sharing.

        In total, Denmark derived 18.8 billion kroner from oil and natural gas production in 2014, down significantly from more than 30 billion kroner in 2011, and that money funds a significant portion of the Danish welfare state.

        http://blog.heartland.org/2016/01/dear-bernie-oil-fuels-your-beloved-scandinavian-spending-spree/

        • So in other words the State siphons off all the profit of what, in normal circumstances, would be a private company…
          Isn’t there a term for state owned (confiscated) industries? Oh yeah, Communism.
          That seems to work best when the citizens are, for the intentional lack of a more PC term; sheep-like.
          In years past, the last thing you could call an American was sheep-like, but that seems to be all part of Hope and Change in the age of 0bama…
          If you would only give up your Liberty, your Constitution, your Freedom, Big Government will wet nurse you, (Julia) cradle to grave.

          What could possibly go wrong?

      • You know, we could wall-off New York state or California as a controlled experiment…

  • In the same way that a Ponzi scheme or chain letter initially succeeds but eventually collapses, socialism may show early signs of success. But any accomplishments quickly fade as the fundamental deficiencies of central planning emerge.

    I think one aspect that isn’t appreciated about this is the effect of scale. The larger an economy, the faster the ill effects of socialism show up. Homogenous cultural groups also exhibit defects of socialism more slowly because the unified culture mitigates the effects to a degree. The Scandinavian countries are examples.

    But, as someone who has travelled extensively there, it’s not the unambiguous success story that collectivist apologists would like to believe. Some of multiculturalism that comes along with collectivism is now fueling deterioration and instability. Check, for example, rising rates of rape in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

    Being a climate hysteric means never having to say you’re sorry. Simply change the cataclysm — Overpopulation! No, global cooling! No, global warming! No, climate change! — push the apocalypse back just a few more years, and you’re in business, big business.

    Which reminds me a lot of religious nuts predicting the end of the world. When the world doesn’t end, they retreat for a while and come out with a new interpretation that pushes the date down the road.

    “But that trick never works!” “This time for sure!”

    Oh, and Erb, just STFU about stuff you don’t understand. Which is pretty much everything. (This is a pre-emptive strike against your inevitable blathering BS spewing from your clearly defective memory, since I don’t have time the rest of the day to respond to it.)

    • Causality can be unexpected, but I find it hard to draw a direct link to economic policies that have been going on for decades and recently rising rape statistics. I agree that Sanders policies would not work in the US. It’s not just that ill effects show up sooner, but that the political economy of a country needs to be in synch with the political culture. Scholars of Scandinavian politics look back to the historical egalitarianism in Nordic societies as shaping values that compliment their social democratic systems. If you study comparative political economy it becomes obvious that there is not one specific type of system that works best. That’s why ideology alone is a poor guide to policy. Size, culture, history, and social/economic structure matter. What might be perfect for the US might be dysfunctional for Denmark (and vice-versa).

      • ” there is not one specific type of system that works best.”

        Actual history shows pretty clearly that capitalism works best. Sooner or later statist (that includes Socialist, Communist, etc.) systems fail to fulfill their promises.

        • Yes, I can agree with that – market economies work better than centrally planned economies. But there is not one “capitalist” system. West Germany is doing very well, but it has a lot of state involvement. China has been the top performing economy globally for decades, and it clearly has a very different system than most – but it is connected with markets. As long as a state is open to markets, there are many variations of systems that can work well. There is also considerable historical evidence that states with strong, effective governments, rule of law, and accountability of government officials work best.

    • Compare and contrast:

      At 11:53 (Pacific) “You have countries like Denmark that mirror the kinds of things Sanders wants, and they have been free, successful and broadly supported.”
      and
      at 12:18 (Pacific) “I agree that Sanders policies would not work in the US.”…”What might be perfect for the US might be dysfunctional for Denmark (and vice-versa).”

      You know, you could at least have waited more than 1 post before you disagreed with yourself.

      • No disagreement, as I hope my last post made clear. I do not think Sanders’ policies would work here. If you read my first response, I was saying that it was wrong to compare his policies with those of the Soviet Union. His model is a country like Denmark, which is much different than the Soviet Union was. I stand by that – Sanders is not some kind of communist who wants to introduce a centrally planned economy and the Gulag. He is a social democrat who wants something more like what northern Europeans have. Using the USSR as comparison is wrong. There is no contradiction between that and my claim that I don’t think Sanders’ policies would work here.

        • And Sanders can’t compare them any more than you can. Because they don’t scale in comparison. But Bruce CAN compare LARGE socialist systems with any system that Sanders would by necessity have to implement here in the US.

          And since there isn’t a single country called ‘Northern Europe’, and each one has their own flavor of socialist policy, with a combined total population that’s 3 times smaller than ours in a smaller area.. there’s no such plan as the one ‘Northern Europeans’ have either.

          Oh, and please, you’re the one who went to the Gulag with this – no one was suggesting, anywhere…ever….Bernie Sanders was going to send people to the Aleutians for being enemies of the state.

          • I’ll try again: Sanders vision is not of a Soviet style communism, but a northern Europe style social democracy. The USSR is nothing like what Sanders proposes, comparing his proposals to the USSR is absurd. That bureaucratic communism is fundamentally opposed to social democracy. It is a different ideology. Social democrats dismissed the communists as “red painted fascists.” So I stand completely by my statement that I believe a comparison with the USSR is utterly wrong headed. However, if you think some of Sanders’ ideas are like what the Soviets did, please state what those are and I’ll give them fair consideration. I’m pretty sure I’m right here, but I know I might be wrong.

          • And I’ll try again –
            McQ made the actual comparison that is required – between a country the size of the USSR and a country the size of the US, and pointed out that only demonstrated example of a socialist system sucked on that scale.

            Furthermore – on much smaller scales, it also proved to be dismal in more cases than not, and McQ illustrated with those points –
            “We have examples with us today via North Korea where famine and poverty stalk the population constantly, Cuba, where they live in the ’50s and work for $20 a month and Venezuela, where it failed utterly and the population is now trying to dig out from under the ruin. ”

            Largest to smaller, failure failure everywhere.
            So it’s not absurd to point to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, at all. Because we’d have to implement socialist policies, like the free college thing on THEIR scale.

            and given the HHS has recently sent migrant kids to human traffickers, while the EPA has flooded a river in Colorado with toxins and kept quiet about lead poisoning of citizens in Flint, I don’t think I have a mind to turn over the ‘socialist education plan’ to US.ED.GOV at this time.

          • “Sanders vision…”

            We should all know by now where such visions lead. “Just one more law and we will solve the problem of….”

          • Again, you’re comparing states with different ideologies. Sanders’ approach is contrary to and fundamentally different than that of the USSR, Cuba and North Korea. That’s why the quality of life in North Korea sucks, but Sweden and Denmark top the US in most measures.

          • “you’re comparing states with different ideologies”

            What an amazing grasp of the obvious. The one thing these different states have in common is an authoritarian central government. Nazi Germany and the USSR had different ideologies but I doubt that mattered much to the inmates of their respective gulags.

            The phrase “Power corrupts” is just as true on the left as it is on the right.

          • I reject any claim that the high quality of life high freedom democracies of Europe have authoritarian governments that can be compared to the USSR or Nazi Germany. Social Democrats always detested Communists because of their authoritarian governments. They have succeeded because they have not gone that route.

          • If you can get rid of those voices in your head, you won’t be forced to reject things no actual person said.

          • I was responding to Timactual’s comment which stated “The one thing these states have in common is an authoritarian central government.” Since we were discussing whether comparing the ideologies of the social democracies with the USSR, it seemed we was claiming that an ‘authoritarian central government’ was part of each. Perhaps that’s not what he meant, but in the context of this discussion, it sure seemed that way.

          • Yes – errrr, um might I suggest the countries itemized by the author of the post as the examples he referred to –
            CUBA
            VENEZUELA
            SOVIET RUSSIA

            Not Denmark.
            No gulags & no evil central North European governments crushing the souls of the people with directed centrally controlled economies.
            No doubt made to educate the benighted collection of right wing ex-military types that hang around here, probably because you might have thought we believed our NATO ally, Denmark, was really an Eastern Bloc country, member of the Warsaw Pact and communist stooge, up until you arrived to tell us it wasn’t.

            See, we do understand that socialism can be implemented in other places, and are of the opinion it will eventually fail, if it has not already, as in Greece, when ‘someone else’s wealth’ runs out.

  • The comparison was not between countries, but ideology. Note that North Korea is small. North Korea is not at all like Denmark because it is operated under a completely different ideology – social democracy is diametrically opposed to communism. I was not comparing the US and Denmark. I was comparing ideologies. Sanders’ ideology is like that of the Danes, not like that of the North Koreans or Cubans. I am 100% anti-Communist. I’ve seen in former East Germany (I visited there in early 90s and many times since) and Russia the horror that the evil soul-suffocating ideology of communism with its bureaucratic control created. The systems of Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, etc., are NOT at all evil. To your final point, as someone who plans to run for the local school board, I think local control of education is superior than having it centralized. Does that clarify why I thought it was unfair to use the USSR to criticize Sanders? Sanders does not share the ideology that guided that vile wretched regime.

    • “Sanders does not share the ideology that guided that vile wretched regime.”

      But he shares the same methods-centralized state control. The vocabulary may differ but the means to the utopian end wind up the same.

      • Not at all. The Scandinavian social democracies have been successful for about 80 years. They have market economies, strong social welfare systems, and very high quality of life. Politics is not binary – it isn’t government or no government. It is a kaleidoscope of various possibilities, reflecting different perspectives, cultures and ideals. People want to think they have found the “one true” answer, the right way to think politically, but that’s treating politics more like a religion to have faith in. I find that approach very weak.

        • “it isn’t government or no government. ”

          Who said it was? Another of your endless strawmen. Save your banalities for your freshmen.

          • I do not believe Sanders shares the same methods of control as the Soviet Union – that seems an unsustainable claim. As for the European democracies, they are fundamentally different than the Soviet Union. I’m sorry, I see the term “binary” was a poor choice. I meant that politics cannot really be reduced to “state control” vs. no state control. The way power is exercised varies. One reason for the need to balance is that you’re right that power corrupts – and it corrupts just as much in the private sector as with governments. Look at Wall Street.

  • Of course “the smartest man in the room” turns down a possible Supreme Court nomination. He is smart enough to know that in that job he would be the dumbest and most ignorant one in the room. Besides, it would require actual work, not just talk.

  • There’s lots of reasons for the rise of Trump. I KNOW he’s a load of crap but he’s doing something very important- he’s going to show that you can in fact get elected by unabashedly talking about being on the side of Americans- Not refugees. Not the illegals. Not the muzzies, not the press or the chamber of commerce. AMERICANS.

    And it’s an important marker to throw down, because first we get a guy elected for saying these things, then we have a proof of concept and we can get s guy who will actually DO these things.

    Plus it’s a yuuuge eff you to the GOP (and possibly the country) so there’s that

    • After about a half century of being told that I MUST vote for the ‘lesser of two evils’ I find it amusing when I am told, in a panic-stricken tone, “No, no, not THAT lesser of two evils! The one I pick for you!” We are told we must compromise, but only on their terms.

      Ef ’em all..

  • “We’ve actually seen “the long run” in the late and unlamented Soviet Union.” I think that is a big part of the problem. “We” as in people over the age of 40 saw the USSR dissolve (and those of an older vintage remember “duck and cover”) but the young ones supporting Sanders have no clue whatsoever. They think of Cuba as a neat place to visit and many could not locate NK on a globe.

  • Don’t call them a “climate hysteric” when “climate extremist” is much more proper.