Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
1. Infrastructure. The sham that is the proposed infrastructure legislation working its way thru congress as usual has turned into the general grab-bag of leftist garbage, most notably massive climate change foolishness. The kneejerk response of moderate Republican senators to simply get something done is allowing senate democrats, Pelosi’s House majority and the O’bamaoids infesting the WH to slide some really awful stuff into the legislation, most notably a $40 billion increase in IRS funding and their new favorite, a reprise of suburb busting Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), something they tried to slide through via HHS rule making over the last decade. AFFH basically nationalizes and eliminates all local zoning laws, essentially ending single family homes and neighborhoods. The technique is done via the typical leftist carrot and stick. If your particular community wants any federal housing or related funds, that community needs to give up local zoning, and allow low-income homes and apartments (think Pruitt – Igoe) to be constructed in any (and all) neighborhood(s). Those communities that refuse to play will be summarily hauled into federal court by the Harris – Xiden (In)Justice Department Civil Rights Division and ground into dust via federally funded and requested racial discrimination complaints. This provision is in the legislation. The $40 billion increase in IRS funding is intended to increase the manpower necessary to audit more Americans and wring another $100 billion or so of taxes out of the national turnip. Essentially, the IRS will be funded to discriminate against more Christian non-profits. All of this because a few Republican US Senators want to show they can reach across the aisle and get something done. In this, the old medical rule of first do no harm seems appropriate. There will be a lot of harm done by AFFH and the IRS should this be signed into law, and it appears at this time they have the votes.
2. Combat. Stephen Hayward recently completed a book entitled: M. Stanton Evans: Conservative Wit, Apostle of Freedom (now available for pre-order) and wrote a piece introducing it on PowerLine last week. The introduction and a list of his Rules of Political Combat are worth considering. Think of it as a conservative response to Saul Alinsky and you might be close. The setup for everything the political left wants to do is described as “… the left’s standard drill.” It is used without variation. The drill echoes much of what HL Mencken used to describe as “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” Evans describes the left building up alarm about some asserted menace. They cite studies or science that the average person is unable to understand; trot out the activists / politicians / officials who hammer the data; repeat this all in endless hearings. When the public has its consciousness sufficiently raised, they quickly move to adopt the “solution” which always involves taxation / big spending / regulations. In order to fight this, he proposes six rules:
- Politics abhors a vacuum. Conservatives generally wait to oppose something a liberal wants to do. Conservatives must be out in front at any new issue.
- Write the resolved clause. Figure out what you want to do first. This is one of the rules of winning a debate. Liberals know this. Conservatives fall into the trap of debating issues as liberals present them.
- Nothing is inevitable. Inevitable generally means whatever liberals of Washington wants.
- Fighting is better than not fighting. This is the basic lesson of Trump. And one that Beltway Republicans seem to abhor, which is why it is Trump’s party now.
- Washington is not America. The longer you spend inside the echo chamber that is DC, the more you forget about the rest of the nation.
- Taxes are trumps. Taxes are the gold standard of Republican issues. If used well in a credible fashion, it almost always wins as an issue. When Republicans stray (Bush 41), they get themselves in trouble.
3. Rudy. Lawfare in NY ramped up last week with the suspension of Rudy Giuliani’s law license by a state court over his election fraud claims. An attorney disciplinary committee asked a state appeals court to immediately suspend Giuliani’s law license, held just under 52 years based on their contention that he made false statements about election fraud following the Nov 2020 elections. The court agreed and suspended the license without either a public hearing or allowing the disciplinary committee to complete its work because Giuliani posed an “immediate threat” to the public. The opinion was written a lot like a political statement by black robed democrats rather than black robed impartial judges. Giuliani observed that the opinion was based on hearsay and could have been written by the DNC. As the days pass, the legal system of NY State continues to double down as the most corrupt legal system in the nation, violating the Rule of Holes.
4. Siege. When is a siege and insurrection, a mere protest, or an assault on the very Constitution of the United States? These days, it all depends on who is doing the protesting. Three recent examples come to mind. First is the capitol invasion during the Kavanaugh Hearings and vote in Oct 2018. In this case, the liberal horde invaded the senate building where the hearings were taking place and got into the faces of Republican senators. Public reaction from media and democrat leadership? Yawns. The second example was the Jan 6 protest, which also had people inside the capitol building. This one saw one unarmed protestor shot with no charges being made, or the shooter even identified. Reaction? This protest was the worst thing since 9-11, an armed insurrection (nobody other than law enforcement was armed) and a threat to the very Constitution itself according to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) General (Thoroughly Modern) Milley. Last week, climate change protesters blockaded the White House for a few hours, protesting natural gas pipelines and other climate change nasties. Media reaction? More yawns. We have arrived at Animal Farm-land, where some protesters are indeed more equal than others, while some violent mobs aren’t and some non-violent mobs are.
5. SCOTUS. Three great rulings out of the Supreme Court last week, one was 6-3 with the three remaining liberals in the minority. The guess is that if Roberts voted with the majority so that he could direct who will write the opinion, and he doesn’t want Mr Justice Thomas to write an expansive opinion.
- The first case struck down a California law that required business owners to allow union organizers on their property up to three hours a day, 120 days a year. The 6-3 majority found this as a taking by the California Assembly and unions, as such violating the Fifth Amendment. This opinion upheld property rights of the business owners.
- The second case was a 9-0 slap-down of the NCAA and their restrictions on college athletes from marketing their names and likenesses for profit. The NCAA was slapped down as price-fixing on labor. As a result, starting July, college athletes started signing endorsement deals with local and national businesses.
- The final case was an 8-1 opinion in favor of a high school cheerleader kicked off the school’s cheerleading team after calling out the school with a searing profane Snapchat post for telling her she needed to spend a year on the junior varsity team after another incoming freshman didn’t have to do so. Unfortunately, the ruling was sufficiently narrow (another Roberts trick) so that it did not prohibit schools from disciplining their students for things they do off campus while not in class. This means that the cases will be back before the SCOTUS sooner rather than later.
6. Voting. We are also seeing in NYC yet another example of how to screw up an election. In this case, the NYC mayoral primary ended up with some 135,000 “test” votes counted by city election officials “by accident.” The leading democrat, a former NYPD member claimed fraud and called out election officials. The other thing going on is a newly installed ranked choice election system, not unlike what we foolishly in Alaska approved last November. The more complex you make elections, the less transparent they get, and the less voters have cause to trust the outcome, whatever it may be. In this case, the NYC democrat gets to charge fraud and get support in the media, but Trump, Giuliani and those of us on the political right can’t. Note that none of the Big Tech platforms censored the candidate for making his claims.
7. Intolerant. I am always interested in how things work, especially in the interpersonal world where little reproducible data or discussion exists anymore. Ran across a piece entitled The Power of Intolerant Minorities in Spin, Strangeness and Charm last week. It took a look at a couple of issues. The first it the ongoing radicalization of various Boards of Directors over the last couple decades. These were populated by what the author described as “Lovely People,” people who were nice, well meaning, and go along to get along. A decade or so ago, the boards made an effort to diversify, which also included diversity of opinion. The problem is that they brought onboard some people who were far, far more radical in outlook than anyone on the board at the time. And they became more radicalized because being radical was now in fashion, pushing their point of view passionately. If you opposed them, you were destroyed in the board room and the entire organization quickly lurches leftward over time. Progressives are never sated. They always move the goalposts. They always throw bombs. The Lovely People generally don’t. And so, we end up where we are today. The other thing that happens is that the most intolerant wins, which leads to the dictatorship of the small minority, which is the dynamic we are seeing in Europe and some cities in the Rust Belt where a small, noisy, supremely intolerant minority is busily changing everything. The dynamic is that complex systems never behave in ways predicted by the components. The interactions between the components matter more than the nature of the units. For example, studying individual ants will never give an idea how an ant colony will behave. Interactions can obey very simple rules. One of them is the minority rule, which is how a small number of intolerant, virtuous people with skin in the game (courage) is necessary for a society to function properly. The problem is that they have outsized influence for their tiny numbers. When that influence is used for good, the entire system works. When it isn’t, Bad Things happen. And that is the road we are on today.
More later –