Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump nominates Gorsuch

Note to GOP senators: go nuclear.

 Everything I have read about Neil Gorsuch leads me to believe he's a worthy choice for SCOTUS. The most cautionary piece (I exclude irrational ravings from the left) was by the president of Gun Owners of America Larry Pratt and attorney Walter Olson, and referred to a case that was somewhat ambiguous. There's no evidence in the decision that Gorsuch has doubts about our right to keep and bear arms.

Donald Trump has made good on yet another campaign promise, and picked for Supreme Court Justice a candidate who believes in individual liberty and the rule of law.  Thank heavens!  The Senate should approve him immediately.

The Democrats in the Senate have vowed to block any nominee that's not theirs.  In doing so, they've announced that they are in rebellion against America's system and the Constitution.  It's of the utmost importance that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans crush this rebellion.  If the Democrats block Gorsuch and attempt to filibuster, it's time to invoke the "nuclear option:" end the 60 vote rule and the filibuster.  The Democrats are trying to destroy Donald Trump's presidency, destroy the Constitutional system, and ultimately destroy republican democracy and the peaceful transition of power.  This is life and death, and it is time to (figuratively) destroy the Democrats.

I greatly enjoyed Mr. Trump's address tonight (this continues to be a shock to me; I find myself actually liking Trump and agreeing with him, on principle), and particularly enjoyed his emphasis that Judge Gorsuch was approved unanimously when nominated to the 10th Circuit Court.  (Thanks for that vote of approval, Sen. Schumer!)

It is high time we all admit that America is in the midst of an attempted coup, a Putsch, by the Democrats, the MSM, and the federal bureaucracy.  We in a kind of civil war.  May the Republican senators nuke them!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Trump's moratorium on immigration from terrorist hotspots -- GOOD!

The hysteria over President Trump's "ban" on immigration from seven countries associated with jihadist terrorism is contrived and a bit bizarre.  First, it's contrived.  The left and progressives were waiting for this.  The professional "demonstrators" were already in waiting for this. Given the craziness of the MSM theme "This Changes American History," I believe the articles were pre-written and cued up.

First, it's clear that Trump's action is nothing new at all.  For example, Jimmy Carter banned immigration from Iran and required Iranians in the United States on visas to report to the federal government.  Trump's action is not a ban on immigration, but a 90 day moratorium on immigration, during which actual vetting is to be put in place.  (Good luck with that.)

Second, checking would-be immigrants with worldviews (Islam) and from regions from which terrorist groups regularly recruit is very sensible.  Why did opposing this become a progressive cause?  ...or, good heavens, a "libertarian" one?  Supposedly, according to the left, these immigrants are escaping from areas held by Daesh and similar groups.  In what kind of insane, suicidal thinking does screening them to make certain they aren't jihadis become even a bit objectionable, never mind the hysterical comparisons to Nazism?

In fact, I think (as do others, it's hardly my original thesis) that the progressives are utterly unwilling to ever accept any presidential election unless they win, and are working to destabilize and overthrow Trump.  They have plenty of useful idiots who can be counted on to howl with outrage on demand at anything Trump does.  This is a good example.  Let's hope the progressive strategy fails miserably and they destroy themselves in the process.

Posted below is a snapshot of bizarre email I received from ACLU on 8 December of last year; I think it nicely illustrates my point.  The left has been preparing for this.  Also, "the truly terrifying prospect" of actually checking immigrants to see if they are sympathetic to or connected with Daesh and similar groups is not terrifying at all.  It's simply good sense.  What is truly terrifying is that ACLU and progressives in general want unrestricted immigration are quite willing to admit homicidal terrorists into the country.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Running in Michigan

Who could ever have predicted?! (Minimum wage in Seattle)

Sign at a Seattle coffee house, courtesy of one of my students:

Hahahahaha!  (Thanks, Katie!)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trump's inaugural address -- brilliant, on target... and not populist

"Populism" is an empty term.

Trump's victory is widely declared to be a victory for "populism."  So is Brexit.  Trump's speech has been called "populist."  I reject this, and I think the analysis is based on deep conceptual confusion.  There was a Populist party and movement in the 1800's in America, with William Jennings Bryan as its head (or figurehead, perhaps).  Today's political phenomena are different.

Western countries tend to have a distinct political class that runs their respective countries and international organizations, largely for their own benefit.  Donald Trump's inaugural speech began by acknowledging this, and then continued to say his election was bringing it to an end, and that government would become a servant of the people.  This isn't populism.  Enlightenment political thought, e.g. John Locke's Two Treatises on Government, overturned the traditional relation between ruler and ruled -- that is, that the citizen is a subject, a servant of the ruler -- and replaced it with the radical idea that government exists only to benefit the people.  Or as Thomas Jefferson put it in the Declaration of Independence, 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Compare with this excerpt from Donald Trump's inauguration speech,

For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished -- but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered -- but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes -- starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. 

Calling this "populism" is terrifically confused.  It simply is not "populism."  Today's federal government is run by the political class, for the benefit of the political class.    Government, as it's done today, is firstly a means of accumulating power and siphoning wealth from those who create it.  It certainly does not act as a servant to the typical citizen.

Here's a good example.  America's economic recovery, trumpeted by Obama as one of his achievements, is concentrated in a minority of American counties -- maybe ten percent, while the rest of the country has not recovered.  Of the six American counties with the highest average income, five are in the DC beltway.  Hence Trump's observation, "...a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished -- but the people did not share in its wealth."

The political class has thrived while much of the country has not.  Another indicator of this is the dreadful performance of America's government schools.  Despite having expenditures per pupil which are among the highest in the world, American students tend to be quite poorly educated by developed world standards.  Teacher's unions prosper, administrative positions multiply, political indoctrination on behalf of all this grows.  Hence "for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists... an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge..." 

There are other examples, but I've made my point.  There's nothing populist about this.  A largely parasitical political class has gamed the system for its own benefit.  The entire purpose of the system is to serve citizens' needs.  That's not populism.  It's a rejection of the divine right of kings, or other elites, to rule.  

Another charge directed at the speech is that it is "nativist."  This is even more ridiculous.  The President of the United States is empowered only to faithfully execute federal laws, command the military, negotiate treaties, and a few other things, all on behalf of the United States.  He's not empowered to represent Mexican immigrants, "Syrian" refugees, or anything else that isn't American.  When Trump said "The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans" he showed an entirely correct understanding of what he is undertaking.  He was similarly correct in saying "From this moment on, it's going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength."  

The only thing I contest is his economic analysis.  American does not lose from free trade; no country does.  OTOH, it is certainly true that Chinese industrial espionage and violation of intellectual property has harmed American firms, workers, and even consumers.  (I will provide details iff anyone asks; I am not a big fan of patent and copyright.  I am certainly an advocate of trademark.  And the Chinese, led by the national government, regularly violate all three.)  But the president's job is to be concerned with the well-being of America, not the rest of the world.  Trump's emphasis is correct, even if his economics is flawed.

Given the cabinet he is appointing, there's good reason to be hopeful about all this.  I am sure "we" at Unforeseen Contingencies will suffer disappointments during the Trump years, but things could be much, much worse, and things are surprisingly good.  I expect Trump to fight the political class (Go Trump!) and in the space created we defenders of liberty have the chance to take the offensive.

Friday, January 20, 2017

*How* to make America great again!

"[T]oday, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people. 

For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. 

That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment, it belongs to you."

 If Trump lives up to this, that's all that's needed.

Make America Great Again!

Unforeseen Contingencies welcomes the 45th President, Donald John Trump. This is one of the happiest of unforeseen contingencies in a long time... perhaps since the collapse of the Soviet Union! (That's probably the correct comparison: America's deranged, rabid left and a regime run by a Stalinist secret police.)  "We" here at Unforeseen Contingencies are heartened (somewhat to our own surprise) by how the coming Trump administration is developing.

Generally speaking, Mr. Trump's proposed cabinet members are good, even excellent in some cases.  Almost none of the them, maybe none, are advocates of expansion of federal power and federal lawlessness.  A number of them -- Betsy DeVos, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry, for example, are cogent critics of the bureaucracies they will head.  As Secretary of Defense, James Mattis will actually be concerned with defending America, rather than making certain that people confused about their sex are integrated into every military unit. "We" also have high expectations for Nikki Hailey at U.N., Ben Carson at HUD, and especially Jeff Sessions at DoJ.  Imagine, for the first time in eight years, an Attorney General who sees his job as enforcing the law, instead of promoting gun control and race war!  (I note that some libertarians, e.g. Michael Tanner of Cato, have opposed Sessions, because they disagree with him on issues such as asset forfeiture laws and immigration.  This makes no sense to me; as a law enforcement officer Sessions will follow the law, instead of help make it as a Senator...isn't that where he belongs?  For clarity, I agree that asset forfeiture laws are a terrible idea and unjust.  But disagreeing on this issue is quite different from the criminality of "Fast and Furious" Holder and "Secret Negotiation with Bill" Lynch, or even the lawlessness endorsed by "I Support Obama's Illegal Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants" Gary Johnson.)

Mr. Trump is not yet President, but we at Unforeseen Contingencies are optimistic -- guardedly optimistic, for one should always have a measure of skepticism and distrust for those with power.  Donald Trump has an opportunity to reverse the dangerous growth of government and its power, and to defeat enemies of liberty abroad and at home.  If he can do this, America will remain great.

Mr. Trump, here's wishing you success in this.

Monday, January 02, 2017

2016 in Retrospect: Unforeseen Contingencies’ Successful Predictions!

If 2016 has a theme, it is “the year of unforeseen contingencies.”  Despite having the full resources of the Unforeseen Contingencies research department at my disposal, I still found it difficult to make predictions for the year.  I’m not the only one to experience this; professional pollsters and prognosticators were humiliated with their erroneous predictions of outcomes of the Brexit vote and the U.S. elections.  I, on the other hand, still managed to repeat Unforeseen Contingencies 70% prediction rate from last year.  Let’s see.

At the start of the year “we” made ten predictions, P1 – P10 (plus an 11th wild card prediction, but we don’t count these, they are just wild speculations for fun).  Here’s how we score ourselves:

P1: Clinton would be the Democrat presidential nominee and FBI rank-and-file would complain about failures to charge her with felonies.  Hit. When James Comey failed to charge Clinton or even say she was indictable, FBI agents who had worked on the case did indeed express their outrage.  Even more, FBI agents working under federal prosecutors in New York continued to pursue the Clintons, an effort that is ongoing.  And frankly, the secret meeting between AG Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton just prior to Comey’s first press conference is one of the most heinous examples of corruption at the federal level in my lifetime, possibly the worst.  I hope these criminals are yet prosecuted, and they may well be, if we can get Jeff Sessions as AG.

P2: The GOP convention would involve an attempt by the establishment to push an establishment candidate.  Miss. It didn’t happen. 

P3: In a GOP split, the establishment would fail to support a non-GOP-establishment candidate.  Hit. The always-reprehensible Bushes, John McCain, Mitt Romney, future U.N. representative Nikki Hailey, and even Paul Ryan publicly opposed Trump.  Ryan did eventually back him, grudgingly.  Such behavior showed that the establishment is uninterested in freedom, the Constitution, and protecting America, given that the alternative was Clinton.  This is not a surprise to me; I think they generally share the left’s lust for power and contempt for American values.  They simply aren’t fanatic about the latter, as the left is.

P4: Mumbai-style attack with at least 100 casualties, plus race riots, in the U.S.  Hit, unfortunately.  In the Orlando nightclub massacre, a jihadist who pledged allegiance to Daesh killed 49 and wounded 53.  And race riots occurred in Milwaukee August 13-15, and Charlotte September 20-21, both times in response to police shootings of black thugs who were armed with handguns and threatening the police.  Let’s hope Attorney General Sessions quickly brings the Black Lies Matter movement under investigation.

P5: Grassroots activism would accelerate, and be condemned by the political class. Hit. While this one was vague, it seems an obvious hit.  We’re “a basket of deplorables,” you see, and “irredeemable,” as one leftist observer put it.  The hysteria of the leftwing intelligentsia – politicians, academics, media, and professional agitators NGO representatives following Trump’s victory are a good illustration.  As for Americans preparing themselves against the political class, 2016 was a record year for both firearm sales and applications for concealed carry permits.  It also was characterized by high levels of Tea Party activism, and advancing of the Article V Convention movement.

P6: Trump beats Clinton. HIT! The wicked witch is dead!

P7: China fires on a U.S. aircraft or vessel.  Hit.  I’m willing to call seizing a U.S. Navy vessel an attack, and that’s sufficient for me.  I greatly appreciate, by the way, that president-elect Trump accepted a congratulatory call from the President of Nationalist China, both because Free China deserves support, and because the thugs in Beijing understand the concept of playing hardball.  If one deals with a s=despotic regime, show strength, not weakness.  Despotic regimes crush weaklings.  That’s why China, Russia, Iran, Daesh, et al. have had such success in the last eight years.  America’s girly-man president Obama intimidates no one.

P8: The economies of China and Russia would worsen, and that of the U.S. will not.  Miss.  I had two of three.  Official Russian state statistics claim that Russia’s GDP declined by 0.5% this year.  (For reasons I can’t understand numerous analysts seem to simultaneously claim the Russian economy a success this year.)  And the economy of the United States did not decline, and seems to have improved somewhat.  But China also seems to have been able to avoid catastrophe and maintain growth, despite increasing debt and a weakening of the renminbi.  I expected some sort of crisis in China and was certainly wrong.

P9: Merkel’s career a shambles.  Hit. The despicable Angela Merkel has now admitted that her beloved refugees are fueling a wave of crime and terror.  She’s done more to advance the German right wing parties than they could ever have done themselves.  Well, Angela, it’s going to get worse, for both Germany and you.

P10: Extra-terrestrial life would be discovered.  Miss, darn it.  However, on Mars NASA has discovered substantial evidence of water and organic compounds.  There’s reason to think we are close.

Thus on all but P2, P8, and P10 we predicted correctly.  On P8 we were partially correct, and P10 is always admittedly a long shot.  Thus “we” at Unforeseen Contingencies are quite pleased with our 70% score. 

Happy 2017!

Photo: The nightmare that never happened!

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