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I apologize for Tennessee’s Senator Squish – Lamar Alexander

I don’t get Tennessee politics, even though I’ve lived here almost my entire life. I watched the transition from Democrats to Republicans staring in the 1960s, and I’ve seen the state legislature become one of the most right-leaning in the nation.

In fact, Tennessee’s battle against a state income tax is often credited as being a proto Tea Party effort. A GOP governor (Don Sundquist), who ran promising there would be no income tax, tried to conspire with Democrats and GOP squishes to pass one surreptitiously. Marsha Blackburn’s reputation was made as the whistleblower that started the pushback, and eventually the measure was defeated. Despite gloom and doom predictions from the political establishment about how Tennessee was going to sink into the swamp (or something like that – I don’t really remember the details of their dire predictions) Tennessee has done quite well since then economically and fiscally.

So we have a pretty good limited government base here. Yet statewide offices always seem to go to squishes. Our current governor, Bill Haslam, has to be dragged along by the legislature to get anything done to reduce government power. One senator, Bob Corker, was instrumental in Obama’s sellout to Iran, and to my knowledge has never come out foursquare for anything that seriously advanced the cause of limited government.

And then there’s Lamar! (The exclamation point is a remnant of his failed presidential campaign in the 1990s.)

While governor of Tennessee, Alexander did put a few reforms in place that were moving in the right direction. His educational initiatives, requiring teachers to actually have a degree in something besides basket weaving and papier-mâché, were good.

But as Senator, he fancies himself as the wise old man “balancing everyone’s needs, blah, blah”, and has never come close to any serious limited government measures. In fact, when an establishment GOP member is needed to squishify an effort at limited government and halt its progress, Lamar! is often the volunteer.

Today’s example is over repeal of Obamacare. Lamar wants to decide precisely what the replacement will be before the repeal.

Moreover, there is already some intraparty turmoil over the repeal timeline, starting with Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. He’s pressing to have a replacement plan ready before tackling repeal, which could significantly delay things, given that Republicans are far from a consensus on what kind of replacement they want.

The Tennessee Republican has notably began swapping the words “repeal and replace,” used by Republicans for years, to “replace and repeal.”

“There’s an eagerness to address it, so I think there’s no doubt we’ll start immediately to replace and repeal Obamacare, but the president-elect has said that the replacement and the repeal need to be done simultaneously, and that means to me that we need to figure out how to replace it before we repeal it,” he said.

As a Tennessean, I apologize that this squish is risking one of the most important steps the new GOP administration needs to take. Anyone who understand how things get done in DC, as Lamar most assuredly does, knows what this will do. The entire effort will be bogged down as Democrats and their media allies excoriate any Republican who intends to vote for repeal. Every special interest with any connection to healthcare will flood DC with every lobbyist they can hire.

If Lamar gets his way, the possibility of failure of repeal will be used as the lever to get everything the political class and their industry allies want in the replacement bill. It’s unlikely to be significantly better than Obamacare in the end

Now, as I said, Lamar has to know this! He’s not stupid, and he’s been in politics a lifetime. Therefore, he *wants* that feeding frenzy of special interests involved in the repeal. He wants to risk sabotaging repeal to get goodies in the replacement for his donors and buddies, and of course hopefully to get some praise from the New York Times and Washington Post as the “elder statesman bringing sanity to the process, etc. etc.”.

Lamar is hooked into all the big donors for the GOP in Tennessee, and a lot of those are in healthcare. Nashville and surrounding areas is one of the major healthcare business centers in the nation. Of course they want their place at the goodie table. And Lamar is all too happy to give it to them – it’s what he’s done the whole time he’s been in DC.

I hope Trump finds a way to get around this squish and his Senate allies. I have a feeling the Obamacare fight is going to set the tone for a lot of things to come. If the establishment GOP squishes find out they can sabotage any serious efforts at reining in government, that will be the pattern for the next two years at least.

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 26 Aug 16

Podcastlogo 150x150Technology would make our lives much easier, if it weren’t for entrenched government/corporate collusion. Donald Trump now may, or may not, expel the heathen foreigners, though there’ll still be a wall, believe me. There are more US Nazis than I previously thought, though, of course, Illinois Nazis are still the worst. UT Austin college students protest guns with dildos, and risk running afoul of Texas’s obscene device law, which makes possessing more than five dildos a felony. Apparently, having 5 dildos or less just makes you a hobbyist.

This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.

I just can’t take this election that seriously

I know I should care, but with these two candidates, I just can’t. I posted my unserious take on the candidates on my satirical Twitter account yesterday, and since most of you don’t do twits, uh, tweets, I thought I’d post it here too.








Some points to head off indignant comments:

– Yes, I know Hillary is a felon who dodged indictment because the fix is in. She would be Obama in a pantsuit if elected.

– I do like the pummeling of the establishment GOP by Trump. That doesn’t mean I think he’s likely to make a good president, or that he has any serious commitment to limited government. I’d love to be proved wrong about that.

– I don’t disparage Trump supporters, because it is so obvious that Hillary would be worse.

– I don’t disparage Trump detractors, because he furnishes so much raw material to detract.

Billy

(Not McQ! Someone seems to make that mistake every time I post something.)

Stray Voltage

When you combine identity politics with favoritism, you’re bound to see this:

A group called the Asian American Coalition for Education plans to file an official complaint tomorrow with the federal Department of Education and Department of Justice noting that Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth have “unlawfully discriminated” against Asian-Americans in their admissions policies.

The Coalition, “which is composed of more than 100 local, state and national organizations,” claims the colleges “have the lowest acceptance rate for Asian Americans,” and maintain quotas for the (racial) group.

It also points out that Asian-American enrollment at Yale has declined “despite the number of college-aged Asian-Americans more than doubling since 2011.”

This is the first such complaint against the elite Connecticut university.

Just part of the toll of “affirmative action.”  When you’re not the favored minority, you have to compete, even if the playing field isn’t level.  What hypocrisy from both government and academia.

Another dishonest “journalist” has been unmasked.  In this case, we’re talking about Katie Couric and her deceptively edited hit-piece on guns (you can see the scene in question and hear the raw audio at the link).

At the 21:48 mark of Under the Gun a scene of Katie Couric interviewing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights organization, is shown.

Couric can be heard in the interview asking activists from the group, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

The documentary then shows the activists sitting silently for nine awkward seconds, unable to provide an answer. It then cuts to the next scene.

The implication, obviously, is the activists for gun rights had no answer to Couric’s question.  The problem is, however, they did … lots of them:

However, raw audio of the interview between Katie Couric and the activists provided to the Washington Free Beacon shows the scene was deceptively edited. Instead of silence, Couric’s question is met immediately with answers from the activists. A back and forth between a number of the league’s members and Couric over the issue of background checks proceeds for more than four minutes after the original question is asked.

Of course, anyone with the IQ of a lemon realizes that felons are not likely to shop where background checks are performed.  But hey, why deal in facts when you can deal in fantasy that furthers  your obvious agenda.  There’s been some who’ve remarked that other journalists have been silent about this.  Of course they have.  The left has made it clear many times that it believes that lying and deception are perfectly fine if it is done for a good cause – a good cause as they define it.  The biggest sin is being caught in your lie or deception.  Heck of a job, Katie!

Some people are beginning to question why Hillary Clinton hasn’t been indicted over her handling of classified material on her private server, especially since it seems that doing what she did is not really that much different than a sailor did recently:

A Navy sailor entered a guilty plea Friday in a classified information mishandling case that critics charge illustrates a double standard between the treatment of low-ranking government employees and top officials like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus.

Prosecutors allege that Petty Officer First Class Kristian Saucier used a cellphone camera to take photos in the classified engine room of the nuclear submarine where he worked as a mechanic, the USS Alexandria, then destroyed a laptop, camera and memory card after learning he was under investigation.

Apparently none of the classified material was compromised but the sailor is going away for 3 years on Federal charges.  But hey, those sorts of laws are only for “the little people.”

Another “cherry picked” story about SJWs, this time from The Atlantic.

Last fall, student protesters at Yale University demanded that Professor Nicholas Christakis, an academic star who has successfully mentored Ivy League undergraduates for years, step down from his position as faculty-in-residence at Silliman College, along with his wife, Erika Christakis, who shared in the job’s duties.

This is a very interesting and telling story.  Erika Christakis wrote an email to the students of Silliman College after the Yale administration had put one out about offensive Halloween costumes.  Essentially all Christakis was trying to do was empower the Silliman College students to make their own decisions concerning costumes and/or how they react to those that might offend.   In reality, what she was doing was making the case that they were wise enough and mature enough to handle that without a directive from above.

Boy was she wrong.  The article also points to the disconnect between what the students believe is the role of the college and what the faculty believe it to be.  To put it succinctly, the difference between a parent and a mentor.  Interesting read.

Meanwhile at Harvard:

Earlier this month, Harvard President Drew Faust announced that students who joined single-sex organizations would be subject to punitive measures. They would be ineligible for certain scholarships and could not accept formal leadership roles in official campus groups. The policy is intended to quash the existence of politically disfavored extracurricular groups, like fraternities. It will also hurt female-only clubs.

Of course Harvard is a private institution and can do whatever it wants, but in this case it generated a backlash that reached into the faculty ranks.  It seems the faculty is a bit miffed about the unilateral nature of this directive and it appears they plan to kill it

A group of the faculty put together a resolution:

“Harvard College shall not discriminate against students on the basis of organizations they join,” the proposal reads.

The resolution is a shot across the bow for the administration, which would need faculty approval to implement the sanctions policy if it requires a change to the student handbook.

Faculty leaders interviewed by the Crimson said they weren’t consulted before the school announced the new policy

Now, if these colleges and universities would only stand up against the ridiculous SJW student demands and outrageous conduct, we might begin to believe the adults were in charge again.

Finally, the chief apologist for America is on the road again. Barack Obama visited Hiroshima and was photographed embracing a survivor of the nuclear blast there. On a human level, I get it. But this isn’t just some every day American choosing to do that. In fact, nothing the President of the United States does is done without some purpose in mind and frankly, the purpose that seems obvious, at least to me, is to physically express sorrow for the US doing what was necessary to win and end WW II.

Of course it is fashionable today to attempt to do things like that. Contextless gestures that ignore the reality of the history of the time. The fact that even after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the War Council split which meant the war continued. And Nagasaki brought the same result. It took the unprecedented intervention of the Emperor to finally see surrender happen. The Japanese had a 14,000,000 man home militia as well as over 2,000,000 troops. They’d saved many thousands of kamikaze craft (submarines, aircraft and boats) for use if invaded. Casualties were estimated to run about a million on the US side and untold millions on the Japanese side.

The one who should be hugging people is the Emperor of Japan, saying Japan is sorry to the dwindling survivors of Pearl Harbor.

Harry Truman got it right:

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Have a safe Memorial Day weekend and don’t forget that Memorial Day is for honoring those who’ve fallen in service and defense of our country – like the sailors at Pearl Harbor.

~McQ

Stray Voltage

Is science in a death spiral?

Over-reliance on models, misapplication of statistical methods, and lack of repeatability are the hallmarks of the new pseudoscience that is replacing the traditional practice of science, real science. Has science entered a death spiral, as indifferent, inept scientists raise up new generations of even poorer researchers? The facts look grim.

Now perhaps the contention that science might have entered a “death spiral” is a bit of an overstatement, but there is no question that it has, in a way I’ve not noticed before, begun serving politics in many areas.  Agenda driven science – the money dictates the outcome – is clearly upon us.  And in that regard, it is apparent a significant portion of “science” is “for sale”.

Economic ignorance has struck again as the Obama Administration has unilaterally decided that the overtime rules need to be revamped and expanded to include overtime pay for higher wage workers.  As usual, they seem completely unfamiliar with the concept that labor is a cost to business.  And therefore, increasing costs usually means less profit.  So since businesses are all about profit (not paying higher and higher wages or providing jobs), business will do what is necessary to allay these costs.  The White House is sure it has hit on a means of making the middle class “stronger”.

Increasing overtime protections is another step in the President’s effort to grow and strengthen the middle class by raising Americans’ wages.  This extra income will not only mean a better life for American families impacted by overtime protections, but will boost our economy across the board as these families spend their hard-earned wages.

Yup, they’ll spend their hard earned increased wages on products with now higher prices, because, you know, labor is a cost to business and there are only so many ways you can lay off that increased cost.  One of them, of course, is automation.  What the administration is doing, by this economically ignorant move, is making automation more attractive.

Oh, and as Reason points out, how smart is it to make labor cost more in a struggling economy (2% growth).  Not very.

Yes … the outcome of this sort of nonsense is completely predictable, as usual.  Damn those laws of economics!

If you’re interested in the latest in uncritical thinking from the SJWs of the left, try this:

“How am I a white supremacist?” self-described “white ally” Emily Pothast asks in a piece for The Establishment titled “True Confessions Of A White Supremacist.”

“Well, I was born and raised in the United States of America, a country built by slave labor on stolen land, and every privilege I’ve ever enjoyed has come at the expense of someone else’s oppression,” she answers.

[…]

“The very foundations of my way of life are in white supremacy, and the list of microaggressions I have committed, and will no doubt continue to commit in spite of my ‘good intentions’ for as long as I’m alive, is virtually endless,” she writes.

Everything she is, has or ever will be has “come at the expense of someone else’s oppression”.  What a absurd take this misguided youth has on her life.  This is purely the result of combining uncritical thinking with a single point of view from which one isn’t allowed to deviate.  I say uncritical thinking because it wouldn’t take much in terms of basic reasoning to know how badly flawed this premise is.  She undoubtedly thinks she has penned something brilliant because her echo chamber (and mentors in this silliness) have made approving noises about her groveling bit of self-criticism and apparent “enlightenment”.

I call them The New Red Guard for a reason.

You remember the Rolling Stone story about “Jackie” at the University of Virginia who claimed to have been raped at a fraternity party by five guys?  Well, that story fell apart quickly when people, other than the Rolling Stone author, actually started to look into the details.  Of course plenty of damage had been done by then, but it pretty much discredited “Jackie” and Rolling Stone (not a first for them).

Well, there are civil suits going on now and apparently, the plaintiff’s lawyers in the case may have found a “smoking gun” in reference to “Jackie” and her false charges:

New evidence shows that a University of Virginia student who alleged that she was gang raped at a campus fraternity created the fake persona of the alleged ringleader of the attack, according to lawyers representing a U-Va. official who is suing Rolling Stone magazine for defamation. …

The data from Yahoo that Eramo’s lawyers acquired via subpoena shows that the e-mail account “Haven.monahan@yahoo.com” was created on Oct. 2, 2012 while connected to U-Va.’s computer network. The next day, Duffin received an e-mail from “Haven” passing on a letter Jackie had written to “Haven” about Duffin. In the letter, Jackie confesses her love for Duffin.

If you’ve followed the case you know the “fake persona” was key to Jackie’s claims.  Now, it appears, it was Jackie who created Mr. Monahan.

Rape and rape allegations should be taken seriously, got that … we all have got that.  But there isn’t anything lower than someone who sets out to fabricate a felony offense against others for whatever stupid reason.  And they should have their lives ruined … just like they attempted to ruin the life or lives of others.  Rape charges should be taken seriously.  But not anymore seriously, in my opinion, that false rape charges.  As someone said once after being falsely charged, “where do I go to get my reputation back?”  And, in the age of the internet, we all know the answer.

For the latest chapter in the ongoing academic Theater of the Absurd, starring the special snowflakes of the millennial generation, we have to travel to California State University – Los Angeles, where a special batch of SJWs are having one heck of a time getting over their trauma of two months ago:

“On February 25th, our campus experienced immense hurt and trauma,” states the description for the event, which will take place on Tuesday night.

“Almost two months later, students are still feeling the emotional, mental, and physical effects that this event posed, and nothing has been done to facilitate our healing,” it continues. “How can we help each other heal and move forward? How were you affected emotionally, physically, psychologically?”

Thankfully there’s been a “healing space” set up for these poor traumatized and abused children.

Of course the fact that most of them didn’t even attend the speech in question isn’t important here … it’s how they “feel” in relation to it.

Ack, I can’t take anymore of this.

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

The political strategy of a crocodile tear

Mr. Obama shed a tear yesterday as he told us why he was going to bypass Congress and enact gun control (at least a small part of it) by executive order.  Speaking of “gun violence” instead of violence in general, he said:

“We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom,” Obama said.

That’s simply poppycock. We don’t have to like it but freedom, as has been said any thousands of times, is not free.  Nor is it pretty or neat.  Nor are there those who don’t suffer because of it. It always has a cost – a price. But the alternative, what most Democrats seem to want, is the state deciding everything you can or cannot do, everything you can or cannot own.  That alternative is unacceptable to those who value freedom and are willing to suffer the cost.

No one is in favor of “carnage”.  But it isn’t the guns which cause the violence, sir.  Figure it out please.  When you tell me that abortion instruments are what kill about a million unborn human beings in the US each year, perhaps I’ll at least consider your thinking to be somewhat consistent.  And of course, that means cars and pools and rope, well you name it, also need to be controlled even more because the “carnage” they cause rivals anything to do with that involving guns.

Gee, given the numbers, perhaps he ought to be going after Planned Parenthood instead of demonizing the NRA.

Oh, and this was rich:

“No matter how many times people try to twist my words around, I taught constitutional law, I know a little bit about this. I get it,” he said. “But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.”

Apparently he thinks he knows the Constitution, but if true, he’d know it doesn’t allow aristocracy, and certainly it doesn’t allow kings.  Laws are passed through Congress and if the President doesn’t have the heft or gravitas or whatever he needs to see it done, then it doesn’t get done. Obama doesn’t have any of that. And the people have been quite clear that they don’t consider guns or gun control to be much of an issue.  In fact, it barely registers, no pun intended. So instead he  does “work arounds” with executive orders.  Tell us again about how you know the Constitution, please?

But let’s get to the nuts and bolts of what went on yesterday, shall we?  It is about, get ready for it, ideology:

Despite professing an unflinching commitment to curbing gun violence, Obama and Biden have been thwarted by Congress and what Obama calls a lack of national will to change the way Americans think about guns.

Got it.  It’s about changing the way you think about guns.  Its about making them the equivalent of a cigarette.  You remember when cigarettes were popular?   And what happened?  Well, think about it.  It wasn’t about people making poor choices and suffering for them that was the “cause” of their diseases. It wasn’t about their refusal to heed the strident warnings about smoking.  It became “the cigarette”.  That was the “cause”. And it was the cigarette that was killing people, not the people’s choices.  The object became the problem.  People were excused for making poor decisions even though the information that cigarettes caused horrific health problems had been out for years … decades.

The same sort of argument is being made about guns and “the strategy of a tear” was just the latest emotional appeal to a people who’ve been pretty darn logical about guns so far and aren’t buying into the argument as readily as they did with cigarettes.  In fact, they’re not buying into it at all and are, instead, buying more and more guns.  If you can’t get them to swing your way, cry on national TV.  That’ll show ’em how sincere you are.   And, of course, it seems to have fooled a good number of people out there already.

But to the point – this is frustration for Obama because you and most Americans won’t think the way he wants you to.  So?  So screw you, he’ll stamp his feet, hold his breath and make you do it by taking unilateral action.  But he knows the Constitution, by George.

This is just another in a long line of tantrums by this man.  When he can’t get his way, he simply looks for a means to impose his will.  He has no concept of what a President is or what one is supposed to do and he’s certainly no Constitutional scholar.  This is just the latest example.

So why is the cigarette model not working for the left?  For the most part it is because there really is no redeeming value to a cigarette.  But there is tremendous positive value to a gun.  You can’t defend yourself or your family with a cigarette.  You can’t feel more secure in your person with a cigarette.  You can’t protect your life or your property with a cigarette.  So despite the demonization of the object the left has committed itself too, the positive aspects of gun ownership simply won’t be buried, even with a tear.

The bottom line however should be clear – the left will do whatever it thinks necessary to strip Americans of their right to own firearms.  You will see every sort of argument tendered and numbers that, without context, seem horrific.  Such as “30,000” gun deaths – 62% of which are suicides.  Anyone who believes removing guns will prevent suicide just isn’t very serious about discussing suicide.  Japan, which has strict gun control laws, has more suicides than the US.  The problem isn’t the means.  It is the mental state of the person.  35% are homicides, most gang related.  No matter the laws passed, criminals are not going to obey them.  This seems to be a point the left can’t comprehend.  And finally accidents claim most of the remainder (about 606 in 2010).  “Mass shootings”?  A small minority of the final total.  And, in fact, gun violence and gun homicides are and have been trending down for quite some time.

However, like “climate change”, the alarmist hysteria continues despite the fact that the data doesn’t support it.

So now, it is all about an emotion.  A tear.

My freedom isn’t for sale for a tear, crocodile or otherwise, Mr. Obama.

~McQ

 

Economic Statistics for 31 Dec 15

The Chicago PMI plunged -5.8 points to a recessionary 42.9. I suspect the national PMI will be significantly better, though.

Initial weekly jobless claims jumped 20,000 to 287,000. The 4-week average rose 4,500 to 277,000. Continuing claims rose 3,000 to 2.198 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.4 points to 43.6 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-9.9 billion last week, with total assets of $4.487 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-6.1 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose by $53.1 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 8 Oct 15

Chain stores—at least those that still report monthly sales results—are reporting slightly higher rates of year-over-year sales growth for September.

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 13,000 to 263,000. The 4-week average fell 3,000 to 267,500. Continuing claims rose 9,000 to 2.204 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 1.8 points to 44.8 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $2.1 billion last week, with total assets of $4.486 trillion. Reserve bank credit fell $-1.3 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-46.6 billion in the latest week.


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