Archive for Political Science Fiction

If only it would work

McG once said something to the effect that the next Constitutional amendment should begin “Congress shall make no law,” and end precisely there. I don’t see this being ratified any time soon, but then the problem has apparently existed for millennia:

It is said the ancient Greeks used a simple method to stop the multiplication of “laws.” Perhaps we should try it on our Congress. Anyone wishing to propose a new law had to do so while standing on a platform with a rope around his neck. If the law was passed, the rope was removed. If the law was voted down, the platform was removed. — “John Galt,” Dreams Come Due: Government and Economics As If Freedom Mattered, First Edition.

We don’t do that today for some reason.

It occurs to me that the presumably pseudonymous Mr. Galt might have been pulling our chains. Given some of the idiocies traceable to contemporary legislators, however, a mere yank on the chain would probably be welcomed as being preferable to forcible contributions by the overtaxed citizenry.

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No matter whose name is on it

“Reforming health care has become an impossibility,” says the Z Man:

As soon as anyone makes any noises about fixing the system, the army of lobbyists, hired by every vested interest, shows up to bury the reformers. If they are not able to kill the idea of reform entirely, they set about corrupting it into another grift that their clients can use to get a free shot at your wallet. The only people not represented in these efforts are the voters. They get no say.

This is the main reason Trump’s efforts to address the problems of ObamaCare failed last week. What Ryan and the other crooks in the GOP were hoping to do is pass a bill that made it easier for their paymasters to skim money from the rate payers, while providing fewer services. Ryan’s bill was just an attempt to help the people feeding at the trough get a little fatter off the middle-class. Its failure suggests we have reached the end phase.

Talk to anyone responsible for paying health insurance premiums and they will tell you that the rates are reaching the point where they cannot be paid. When premiums are going up by multiples of inflation, there can be only one result. Once rates pass a certain level, people stop paying those premiums. You get black markets, non-compliance and a system that can only persist through brute coercion. Soon after you get collapse.

Even Bernie Sanders has figured this out. You’d think someone in the Republican ranks would have caught on by now.

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Madame President

Roberta Anastase, born on this date in 1976, served as the first female President of Romania’s Chamber of Deputies, from 2008 to 2012. She was a member of the Democratic Liberal Party, which held 115 of the 334 seats in the Chamber. In 2009, the Social Democratic Party, which held 114 seats, withdrew from the governing coalition; the government subsequently fell in a vote of no confidence, though Anastase held on to her seat until 2012.

Roberta Anastase at work

Roberta Anastase waits

Before all this political stuff, Anastase represented Romania in the 1996 Miss Universe competition, though this took some time on the pageant circuit:

Roberta Anastase in the swimsuit competition

Peripheral note: Before you ask: 1996 was the first year that Donald Trump (remember him?) owned the Miss Universe operation; he is no longer connected to Miss Universe.

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Stop — hammer time

The Oklahoma House has passed a bill to make Good Friday a state holiday:

House Bill 1444 passed by a vote of 69-24 and was opposed by 22 Republicans and two Democrats, according to a spokesman for the House. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

Um, thank you for the explanation.

What gets me: only two Democrats in opposition? “Yeah, yeah, we know, separation of church and state and all that crap. But it’s a paid holiday, man!”

One of the GOP opposition offered a different pitch:

“I felt it was in bad judgment to add another holiday to the schedule, especially considering the various economic circumstances of the time,” said Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie.

(Via The Lost Ogle.)

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Quote of the week

Andrew Heaton is ready for us to choose a King. Or a Queen, even:

We threw the baby out with the bathwater when we kicked the monarchy out of America, and we ought to bring it back. To be clear, I do not mean the sort of hereditary tyrants who rule North Korea, Saudi Arabia, or the New York Yankees. Rather, I’d like for us to get one of those cute, ornamental throne warmers the Europeans trot around to cut ribbons at events.

In America we’ve combined power and reverence in the office of the presidency, but legal authority and veneration complement each other about as well as Scotch and back-pain medication. It’s safer to ingest them separately.

How we got to this unhappy, um, state:

In America our head of government and head of state both problematically reside in the president. We can see that unholy union in full force during the spasm of pageantry which is the State of the Union address. President Jefferson rightly viewed the whole affair as pompous and monarchical, and sent Congress a letter instead.

Unfortunately the nimbus of deference surrounding the presidency has swelled with time. In 1956 a political scientist named Clinton Rossiter published The American Presidency, a tome sopping wet with sycophantic notions about the Oval Office. He described the commander-in-chief as “a combination of scoutmaster, Delphic oracle, hero of the silver screen, and father of the multitudes.”

Gag me. The president is the top bureaucrat, and there’s nothing more American than despising bureaucrats. The government is basically a giant Human Resources Department with tanks, and the president is in charge of it.

Of course, it would help if once in a great while the Congress would do something according to their job description, which surprisingly is not “trying to get reelected.”

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The miraculous notwithstanding

This event is not currently scheduled, but should it happen, I’d expect it to unfold exactly as Francis W. Porretto describes:

I firmly believe that if the Second Coming were to occur today at high noon, and the Redeemer were to issue an unconditional statement that Donald Trump is innocent of anything criminal (or even unpleasant) anyone has ever implied he might have done, the Left would arrange for its cats’ paws in the media to promote a unified broadside against Trump for “daring to breach the wall of separation between church and state.”

Once a hater, always a hater. Compare to this decade-old screedlet by Steve H. Graham:

If George Bush crapped gold bars and handed one to every single hurricane victim, and then he raised the dead and parted the flood waters and turned the power back on and resurrected the Beatles and got them back together and lowered the price of oil to two cents per barrel and invented a cure for cancer while farting Chopin nocturnes and turning the oceans into chilled Dom Perignon and the beaches into caviar, liberals would still find reason to bitch.

Graham, now a practicing Christian, points out:

Our lives are controlled by the supernatural. We think we accomplish things through willpower and natural ability, but that’s just pride. Sometimes the things that happen in this world are consistent with our natural expectations, but often, events make no sense at all. That shows that the supernatural is involved. Surely no one believes Kim Kardashian is rich because she’s intelligent, talented, or hard-working. No intelligent person thinks Cher or Marisa Tomei deserved Oscars, or that Barack Obama deserved a Nobel.

I take issue only with the last clause. If Yasser Arafat deserved a Nobel, surely Barack Obama did.

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Quote of the week

Calling yourself “The Resistance,” are you? You flatter yourselves:

Resistance is fleeing from North Korea’s monstrous regime (buy this book!); resistance is a Tuareg man in Gao, Mali boldly going on television to demand that his clan, his people put down their guns; resistance is dousing yourself in gasoline as a final desperate act of violence in protest at a seemingly endless dictatorship, not because you want to die but because the police just seized your entire livelihood and you don’t know what else to do; resistance is joining a pro-bono law firm, running around behind the tens, hundreds of people arrested by Venezuela’s totalitarian regime, trying futilely to bend the regime to the law through the force your will and your righteousness alone — and sometimes even paying the ultimate prize.

No, sorry, you aren’t a resistance, because USA is not a dictatorship. Nobody is persecuting you; none of your rights are being violated; no illegal purges enacted; no tortures and disappearances. You didn’t like the results of an election — and want to pretend it is illegitimate, because you don’t want to do the hard work of rebuilding a constituency alienated, “Because you thought correcting people’s attitudes was more important than finding them jobs. Because you turned ‘white man’ from a description into an insult (…) Because you cried when someone mocked the Koran but laughed when they mocked the Bible. (…) Because you kept telling people, ‘You can’t think that, you can’t say that, you can’t do that’,” as Brendan O’Neill has said. Alas, the only people losing their legitimacy are you; who wear little pink hats and take off all your clothes and wander through public spaces offending friend and foe alike; who vandalize coffee shops and write little slogans misspelled on cardboard. No, you aren’t a resistance, and you don’t get to have that word.

On a scale of 1 to the daycare center burning down, how likely is it that, say, a sloppy solipsist like Keith Olbermann would burst into tears if he were ever subjected to any real injustice?

(Via American Digest.)

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The boss wants your DNA

No, not that way. This is an, um, enhancement to the GOP health-care scheme:

A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information.

Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a “workplace wellness” program.

Because what could be more important than allowing your employer to complain about the state of your health — and collect from you if they don’t like it?

The bill, HR 1313, was approved by a House committee on Wednesday, with all 22 Republicans supporting it and all 17 Democrats opposed. It has been overshadowed by the debate over the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the genetic testing bill is expected to be folded into a second ACA-related measure containing a grab-bag of provisions that do not affect federal spending, as the main bill does.

This is, you should know, not an exclusively Trumpazoid evil:

Employers got virtually everything they wanted for their workplace wellness programs during the Obama administration. The ACA allowed them to charge employees 30 percent, and possibly 50 percent, more for health insurance if they declined to participate in the “voluntary” programs, which typically include cholesterol and other screenings; health questionnaires that ask about personal habits, including plans to get pregnant; and sometimes weight loss and smoking cessation classes. And in rules that Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued last year, a workplace wellness program counts as “voluntary” even if workers have to pay thousands of dollars more in premiums and deductibles if they don’t participate.

We have one advantage at 42nd and Treadmill: most of the staff is old and beaten down and highly cynical about BS like this.

(Via Fark.)

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It’s only a referendum

“This is the state’s admission that they’re locking up a hell of a lot more people than they probably need to be, and reclassifying some of the druggies, at least, might clear up some of the logjam in the corrections system.”yours truly, giving tepid support, but support nonetheless, to State Question 780 last fall.

SQ 780 passed. What’s in it:

State Question 780, which Oklahoma voters overwhelming[ly] adopted in November, made simple possession of any drug a misdemeanor no matter how many times the person has been convicted of the same crime. The change also repealed enhancements, which prosecutors could use to increase punishments to the felony level. That means anyone caught with drugs on or near a school would face only a misdemeanor charge. The new drug laws go into effect July 1.

Apparently some people are not happy with that, and by “people” I mean “politicians”:

House Bill 1482 allows prosecutors to charge a suspect with a felony if they’re caught with drugs within 1,000 feet of school property. It also allows the enhanced charge for possession in the presence of a child under 12 years old.

“This law exists for children and children only. It’s wrong to say this is what the people of Oklahoma chose when we didn’t allow them to vote on it,” said state Rep. Tim Downing, R-Purcell. “I don’t know what the Senate will do. I don’t know what the governor will do. But I want you to search and say, what should I do for the kids, and what should I do for the schools?”

“This is a War on Drugs, goddamnit. We can’t give up now!”

I hate to break it to you, Timbo, but you lost this one many years ago. And over those years and several more, we’ve been given ample cause to be suspicious of legislation undertaken “for the children.”

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GOPcare

I am having no difficulty curbing my enthusiasm for whatever spaniel’s brunch the Republicans come up with to replace the ACA. Mostly, it seems hurried, as though someone went through an outline, printed up a set of bullet points, and then tried to come up with something for each of them.

That said, Megan McArdle thinks even less of it than I do:

There is no sensible thing that you can do to our health-care system that will not offend huge numbers of voters. Thus we got Obamacare, a program which, to a first approximation, 0 percent of Democratic policy analysts would have put forward if asked to design a rational program to extend coverage and improve health-care delivery. It was a gigantic Rube Goldberg contraption, deliberately complicated and opaque to avoid openly angering any important constituency, and arguably, fatally flawed for that same reason.

Now that Republicans have their turn in the spotlight, they’re resorting to all the same tricks: the secrecy, the opacity, the long implementation delays (the better to get a good score from the Congressional Budget Office, and oh, yes, also, get them past the next election before voters meet their program). The inability of either party to make a principled stand for sensible policy is a problem, a very big one. And Republicans sure haven’t fixed it.

The only people who are going to be happy about this situation, I suspect, are those crying in the wilderness for single-payer — because the worse it gets, the more likely they are to have their dream eventually fulfilled.

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Pattern possibly detected

TLO’s Patrick is all over it:

[Friday] HB 1472 passed unanimously out of a House Judiciary committee.

Introduced by piano tuner turned fun-hating, freedom-loving State Rep. Travis Dunlap [R-Bartlesville], it would require digital service providers to block the transmission of “obscene material” a.k.a. porn) by request. Additionally, service providers will have to notify consumers a in a “conspicuous manner” that they can request to have obscene material blocked.

There’s no reason to think that Travis Dunlap’s concept of smut is any more refined than, say, Potter Stewart’s, but there’s something else you should know about this guy:

[T]his would probably be a convenient time to mention that Dunlap is the same guy who introduced HB 1277. Named the “Fairness in Fault Act,” it would make it more difficult for individuals to seek a divorce on grounds of “incompatibility.” Think about that for a second? Dunlap’s introduced laws that could block his ability to watch Internet porn and make it more difficult for his wife to leave him. Yikes. Is he trying to tell us something here?

Nothing you couldn’t figure out on your own, I’m pretty sure.

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Going before the voters

California has a ballot initiative for statewide single-payer health care, and in terms of ballot language, it is admirably clear. Senate Bill 562, if you please:

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the Californians for a Healthy California Act.

SEC. 2. (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

    (1) All residents of this state have the right to health care. While the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act brought many improvements in health care and health care coverage, it still leaves many Californians without coverage or with inadequate coverage.

    (2) Californians, as individuals, employers, and taxpayers have experienced a rise in the cost of health care and health care coverage in recent years, including rising premiums, deductibles, and copays, as well as restricted provider networks and high out-of-network charges.

    (3) Businesses have also experienced increases in the costs of health care benefits for their employees, and many employers are shifting a larger share of the cost of coverage to their employees or dropping coverage entirely.

    (4) Individuals often find that they are deprived of affordable care and choice because of decisions by health benefit plans guided by the plan’s economic needs rather than consumers’ health care needs.

    (5) To address the fiscal crisis facing the health care system and the state, and to ensure Californians can exercise their right to health care, comprehensive health care coverage needs to be provided.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would establish a comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage program and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state.

Okay, that name is terrible. And “rights,” at least the way I learned about them in school, simply exist; they can’t be created out of whole cloth by mere humans.

Still, the Trump administration’s executive order calling for killing off Obamacare also calls for the Feds to “provide greater flexibility to states and cooperate with them in implementing health care programs,” and I figure that if Californians really, truly want this, whatever it might cost them in the long run, I can’t think of any good reason why they shouldn’t have it.

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Decentralization already

Smitty observes:

It’s not good when the one you don’t like is in the office with too much power; it’s not good when the one you do like is in the office with too much power: maybe someday we’ll realize that the fundamental problem is that the office has too much power.

What are we to do?

  • Make the House more representative?
  • Nuke the 17th Amendment, so that States matter more?
  • Replace gerrymandering with a modern mapping algorithm, to weaken parties?
  • Apply pliers and a blow torch to the IRS, and craft a 21st-century taxation system?
  • Term-limit pretty much everything, and blow up the petty aristocracy of the Beltway?

All of these ideas have merit. On the “more representative” question, it’s worth remembering that the original deal was 30,000 per House member. We’re now at the point where it’s 80,000 per member of the Oklahoma City Council. (The state of Oklahoma has five Representatives for 3.7 million people.)

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A politics-free zone

In the best of all possible worlds, the entire world would be a politics-free zone. But this isn’t happening:

I started following a few “pretty pictures” accounts on Twitter to try to counteract a lot of the political stuff that’s being discussed on there. And then guess what: yesterday afternoon an account or two of them suddenly decided that it was time to get political.

They chose … poorly.

I think about a lot of this, and I think about something the survivalist types talk about, the whole “head on a swivel” idea — that every public place now is Potentially Dangerous, so you need to be in a state of heightened awareness and that just exhausts me and makes me want to be a hermit. I mean, I have halfway-decent situational awareness just because I’m observant and my history of being teased and made the butt of jokes makes me super sensitive to “hey, this thing isn’t quite right in my environment” but the idea of thinking of five escape routes for every part of the wal-mart I might happen to be in just makes me exhausted, and makes me almost want to say, “Okay, if a crazed shooter wants to take me out while I’m buying frozen cauliflower, then it was my time to go, and hopefully I’ll have that last chance to ask forgiveness for my sins before I die…”

And I think the being hyper-aware of political stuff is similar.

I stick by what I said yesterday to a friend in Canada:

And if anyone should come back with “But … but we’re marginalized!” I’m going to reply “Yet I can still hear you.”

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He was the bravest of them all

The Z Man titled a post “We Need a Tom Doniphon,” and I knew at once what he meant. Just to make sure we’re paying attention, though, Z plugged in this last paragraph:

America is headed for a bad end unless things change quickly and radically. The suicide cult that has control of our society is not going to stop until we’re all dead. At some point, you have to use every means necessary to prevent a catastrophe. If that means Lindsay Graham winds up in a pit covered in lime, so be it. If Bill Kristol has to write his tantrums from exile in Israel, I can live with that. In order to have a world run by Senator Ranse Stoddard, you first need a Tom Doniphon to do the dirty work of clearing out Liberty Valance.

Burt Bacharach and Hal David put together a wonderful song called “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” after John Ford’s film; however, the song does not appear in the film. (Ask Eddy Grant what that’s like.) Some latter-day genius came up with the idea of creating a video for the song, based on the original trailer plus a couple of pertinent scenes. (Jimmy Stewart was Ranse Stoddard, and John Wayne was Tom Doniphon.)

Gene Pitney was never better, and today, 55 years after the film, Liberty Valance is as relevant as ever.

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The post-ACA future

Assuming the GOP delivers on a campaign promise, which admittedly is a hell of a lot to assume, Obamacare is good as gone. Then what? Fred speculates:

When national medical care is considered in America, nobody — so far as I am aware, anyway — thinks to look at other countries, see what they are doing, and ask, “Does it work?” To do so would make sense, and so is rejected out of hand, and anyway Americans apparently cannot conceive that other countries might do things well. Instead we hear about this that economic theory, and freedom, and what Adam Smith said about bypass surgery, and tyranny.

Invariably you hear of the pregnant woman in London who couldn’t see a doctor under national health care and had to giver herself a Caesarian with a chainsaw. These nightmares are offered as proof that national care doesn’t work. In fact the medical business lobbies to underfund national care, ensuring that it won’t work well. Then they talk about the evils of socialism.

By comparison:

Military medical care is the obvious, available, and easily studied alternative to Obamacare. So far as I know, nobody thought of this. In the military you go to the hospital or clinic, show your ID card, get done whatever you need, and leave. Thank you, good day. No paperwork. No paperwork. No insurance forms, deductibles, receipts. No insurance companies trying to pay as little as possible, since that’s how they make money. The doctor doesn’t order a PET scan, three MRIs, and a DNA analysis of your grandmother’s dog to run up the bill.

This would never do, and it didn’t. Say hello to Tricare. But don’t look directly at it.

From the taxpayer’s point of view, real national care involves no insurance companies. For this reason Congress, for sale to the highest bidder, will never consider such a system.

Any meaningful improvement would have to get rid of at least one, and preferably two, of the established middlemen: either Big Insurance, or Big Government. Both of them, of course, are dug in for the long haul.

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So! Sad!

I’m almost surprised it took this long:

Opening act: the Stephen Miller Band.

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Quote of the week

Whomever you choose to take the blame for our Parlous Times, you’re sort of missing the point:

You know what the reality is? Every one of those guys — even the sneakiest, cleverest, richest of the lot, pick your choice, is floundering. Oh, they may stumble a little less than we do, and get a little more light shed in one corner or another, but they, like you or me, are doing good to keep up. It’s 2017 and a goatherd barely out of the Stone Age armed with a can of gasoline can, for a short while, speak just as loudly and influentially as the greasiest éminence grise. Those fellows who look so confident, generals and zillionaires, Congressthings and shady wheeler-dealers? It’s a front; they’ve got their refuges and boltholes and they hope their ride will wait, but they have no better handle on the future than you do and their only real plan is to see the next sunrise with their skin intact. They rely on custom and habit and the dull goodwill of their fellow humans every bit as much as you do.

Which explains the current state of things:

In January, we saw one of the great civil miracles of modern civilization: the peaceful transfer of power of a major nation going off without a hitch in a ceremony that’s been performed every four years since the end of April, 1789, and you know what people did? They went after trivia. After speculative nonsense. And it has only become worse every day since.

If you’re heavily emotionally invested in contemporary politics, you’re wasting the best part of your life.

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This may mean nothing at all

The Web host I have used since 2001 offers some 350 different top-level domains, from ten bucks a year to several thousand. Pricing, one assumes, is at least somewhat based on demand, which may or may not explain this:

29.99 to register dot democrat

34.99 to register dot republican

For some reason, they don’t have .gop or .socialist.

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Don’t make me combover there

I’m the first, maybe the second, to tell you that Donald J. Trump is not necessarily the sharpest tool in the shed. But at least he’s in the shed, while his loudest opponents evidently were left out in the rain:

The Soros-ites think Trump is a gravy train, keeping the money flowing into their various causes. The GOPe think that the Uniparty’s big money donors will reward them with power and influence if they obstruct Trump’s agenda. The Cucks think they can play their usual game of “advance the Left’s agenda, but politely,” and reap the usual rewards. The idiot apparatchiks in #TheResistance think they’ll be first in line for a promotion when things return to normal.

That’s not going to happen. Trump’s been doing the Lucy-with-the-football routine since the primaries, far earlier than most of us — myself most definitely included — could see it. Remember all those Dems crossing over in the open primaries to vote for Trump? Remember those few weeks when every Lefty pundit in existence was gleefully on the Trump train, begging Republicans to vote for him? How’d that work out, geniuses? To anyone who’s been paying attention, it’s pretty clear that Trump loves giving people enough rope to hang themselves … and like Lenin said, he’ll even sell them the rope. He’s already talking about defunding Berkeley, and at this rate Soros will find himself deported into the loving arms of Viktor Orbán. Smarten up, comrades.

The Donald doesn’t have to be smarter than everyone; he just has to be smarter than them. Fortunately, this is not difficult.

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Widgetology 101

Joe explains how it works, and how quickly it can be made to fail:

Suppose the owners decided they will source our widgets from an outside source, say a group of Aborigines from the darkest jungle of New Guinea. These people not only lack advanced manufacturing techniques, they have no quality source of raw materials and only a basic idea of our widget. The result is a low quality, barely working, yet highly profitable version of our product.

The boss sends me out to sell the new product. What would happen if I went to the customers, told them our product was junk and they should buy from our competitors? How long would I have a job? Would the boss have every reason to fire me? I may not like the new product. I may think it is junk. I may think it is morally wrong to sell the widget’s benefits. Would it be my right to disparage the product and still keep my job?

Um, what are you getting at here?

Why in heck is anyone defending Sally Yates? Of course she deserved to be fired.

And she was. (One thing President Trump apparently remembers from a previous life: how to fire people.)

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An F word

No, not that one. If I regret anything at this point, it’s that I don’t own the trademark on words like “fascist.” Not that it’s being used correctly these days, you know.

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The privilege is ours

Bark M. is awakened (as distinguished from “being woke”):

“I have learned something this morning,” my friend wrote to me via Facebook Messenger early today. “White people love to protest.

You know what? He’s right! I spent the day watching various news reports on CNN, Fox, and NBC, and I couldn’t find any image of a protest that was comprised of less than 95% white people (unless it was a staged photo with POC propped up behind the Democrat of your choice — although even that went waaaaay wrong a couple of times). As my friend said, it’s easy to go hold a sign at an airport. Marching, chanting, holding hands — none of that actually costs you anything.

But what about volunteering with an organization that houses refugees? or putting together meal packages at a food bank? or cooking food for families at the Ronald McDonald house? or building a Habitat for Humanity? (Four things that your author has actually done, by the way.) Nah. That might require effort. And there won’t be any news cameras present, or celebrities, or live streaming.

No, it’s easy to take the Saturday and Sunday afternoon that you have off (because you don’t work a menial/retail job that would require you to be present) and go hold a sign at the airport (making it harder for those of us who travel for a living and make the country actually run) because you’ll have so much to talk about at the water cooler on Monday. In other words, the people who are ensuring that you have a latte to drink before your protest or shuttle you to the protest in your Uber or serve you a delicious cocktail at the new hip bar in town have better things to do.

Except, of course, that you’re supposed to be boycotting Uber because wicked Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is on one of Trump’s advisory boards.

But yeah, for a lot of these folks it’s purely a matter of virtue signaling, nothing more — because they have nothing to lose. You want credit for civil disobedience, you have to risk your neck, or at least more of your time than it takes to get on cable news.

Not that I’m going to tell you to stay home or anything. Wouldn’t be right, wouldn’t be prudent, wouldn’t be consistent with actual free speech, you know? But you’re going to be a lot more persuasive on behalf of the downtrodden if someone treads on you now and then. I hate to invoke the dread spectre of intersectionality, but believe me, there’s always someone who has it worse than you do, and who may not have your gift for finding a camera to dash in front of.

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You are not supposed to know this

Word around the Twitterverse and elsewhere yesterday was that Donald Trump canceled this last-minute ad for healthcare.gov, blowing off some $5 million, out of purest spite.

This does not mean that applications before the January 31st deadline will be rejected; it does presumably mean that the Administration would just as soon you didn’t apply.

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Wholly guacamole

So far, this is the most cogent comment on the Trump administration’s idea of imposing a 20-percent tariff on goods imported from Mexico:

Nice to see Senator Graham has his priorities in order for once.

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Not all that red

The Z Man rather hilariously dismisses the site known as Red State:

Red State is a website that was originally started as sort of a “conservative” alternative to the left-wing blogosphere. I put quotes there because Red State’s brand of conservatism has always been the housebroken type of stuff popular on the Bush wing of the GOP. Like a lot of so-called conservatives in the Bush years, Red State was basically just a cheering section for the Republicans. Whatever Team Bush proposed, Red State branded as “Reaganesque” and “principled conservatism,” especially if it meant killing Muslims.

That probably sounds harsh, but I’m just getting started. Serial plagiarist Ben Domenech, pen for hire Joshua Trevino and the portly proselytizer Erick Erickson saw an opportunity to promote themselves, and maybe lever their popularity with conservative voters, into the careers they thought they deserved. The whole point of Red State was to ball-gargle the establishment, hoping to turn their obsequious rumpswabbery into a Jonah Goldberg lifestyle. The three of them are emblematic of what went wrong with conservatism.

I do love the sound of “obsequious rumpswabbery.”

(About that “plagiarism” charge against Domenech: a New York Times story describing it.)

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Fantasy killers

The funny thing about assassins is: you start taking the ass out of them, and there’s still ass remaining. Which is a half-assed way of saying what Roberta X says here:

Then we have the calls for assassination. Hey, idiots, do you know how you get an Imperial Presidency? That way. One of the wonderful, distinguishing characteristics of the U. S. federal government is that we have an effective mechanism for the peaceful transfer of power, to which no less an experienced, partisan figure than President Obama has recently alluded. Do you suppose he’s thrilled with his replacement? I’ll tell you one thing, he does know how the system is supposed to work, and why. And if an incumbent President turns out badly, there are mechanisms for dealing with that, too, like impeachment (a process started against multiple Presidents and often resulting in significant change even without actually removing them) and the more-obscure process of removing an ailing or insane Chief Executive. But with every change of the party in power, the more tinfoil-hatted among the opposition, usually the very same people who have been glowing in their praises for Working Within The System, are suddenly shouting “Off with his head!” I think they’re already off their heads, but it’s not quite the same thing.

To some of these yutzes (“yutzim”?), delayed gratification is no gratification at all. If that sounds like a second-grader to you, well, you should not be surprised.

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And timely, too

This was the Quote of the Week at Finestkind Clinic and fish market:

Not long after [Andrew Ferguson] and I met, we were driving down Pennsylvania Avenue and encountered some or another noisy pinko demonstration. “How come,” I asked Andy, “whenever something upsets the Left, you see immediate marches and parades and rallies with signs already printed and rhyming slogans already composed, whereas whenever something upsets the Right, you see two members of the Young Americans for Freedom waving a six-inch American flag?”

“We have jobs,” said Andy.

[P. J. O’Rourke, from the introduction to Parliament of Whores, published in 1992]

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For your consideration

For President in 2020, Lynn’s cat Dax:

She is, for the most part, quite honest. She has literally never told a lie. She has on a few occasions tried to steal the dog’s food and she has been seen licking her own butt but she has never tried to hide these habits and we do not think they will interfere with her ability to serve the nation as President, especially when you consider the habits of some former and soon to be Presidents.

She shoots, she scores.

Dax is a peace lover but she does believe in self-defense when necessary. She is in favor of universal health care and enough food for everyone (as long as she gets hers first) so, at heart, she’s a Democrat but, as her chief advisor has observed, labels are what is most important to people and since it has recently been demonstrated that Republican voters will vote for anyone as long as he or she is Republican, after much soul searching Dax has decided to run as a Republican.

Hey, it worked for Nanny Bloomberg, didn’t it? (It technically did not work for Donald Trump, who is no more Republican than I.)

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Quote of the week

Why the election came out the way it did, by Francis W. Porretto:

Americans have long cherished a view of political institutions as servants: agents charged with providing us certain services, rather than masters to which we are obligated regardless of any contrary inclination. The Left, of course, and much of the Establishment Right dislike that premise; they would prefer that we concede our subjugation to the State, that we might be more efficiently “managed.”

The 2016 election makes plain that a substantial fraction — probably a majority — of the people of this nation are unwilling to be managed. We defied the luminaries, the pundits, the bien-pensants, and in many cases our friends, relatives, and colleagues to elevate a Queens real-estate mogul to the highest executive office in the land … and it’s driving those aforementioned luminaries, pundits, bien-pensants, friends, relatives, and colleagues completely batshit.

“How could they have done this?” they wail. “We thought they understood!”

That’s their problem, you see. We did understand. We grasped, in sufficient numbers adequately distributed, what was being done to us. We decided we didn’t like it, wouldn’t have it, and reached for the sole available alternative. That alternative will be inaugurated this coming Friday.

I admit that it’s a lot of fun, watching our would-be overseers drowning in their own guanophenia. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to crawl into a hole and die, so they will have to be carefully watched for the next four years.

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