Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Is there a "deep state?" The case of the CFPB

"Does America Have a Deep State?"  That's a cover headline from an article in Sept./Oct. Foreign Affairs, and the answer is "of course," although it's not really a deep state, just the what "the state" has become, a massive self-serving and self-sustaining, unaccountable federal bureaucracy.  The author seems to think this is just fine.

The current controversy over the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a perfect illustration.  This recent regulatory monstrosity, a creation of Dodd-Frank, tries to act as a law unto itself, i.e. outside of the constraints of the Constitution and American law.  The head of the bureau, Richard Cordray, an Obama appointee, stepped down, apparently to run for governor in Ohio.  He named another Democrat from the bureaucracy, Leandra English, to take over -- because, you know, the Constitution specifies that heads of bureaucratic agencies get to choose their own replacements, to ensure that executive branch bureaucracies become entrenched dynasties impervious to control by the chief executive, the President.  Well, actually the Constitution says no such thing, and the case is an example of the administrative state run amok.  Of course, it gets even better, i.e. worse.

President Trump immediately selected his own acting replacement, OMB head Mick Mulvaney -- a genuine budget-cutter who really is interested in shrinking the size and power of the state.  Good!  Unforeseen Contingencies unequivocally endorses this move... as a stopgap on the road to abolishing CFPB and repealing Dodd-Frank, of course.  The "it get worse part" is that Ms. English promptly sued -- I guess the theory is that bureaucrats have inalienable rights to their powers, and they may pass these on to their cronies and sycophants unchecked.  Happily, a federal court just ruled against Ms. English and Mr. Mulvaney stays. 

Cordray and English are, obviously, despicable scoundrels.  To add to the despicability factor, it appears that the shyster leading Ms. English's lawsuit, Deepak Gupta, used to work for CFPB and now is being financed by secret Democrat donors.  Tom Steyr?  George Soros?  John McCain?

Of course, Sen. Pocahontas Warren (D, MA) is upset.  ("Pocahontas?  Isn't that a racial slur?"  Pocahontas' descendant doesn't think so, and neither does this Navajo code-talker.  They seem to like Mr. Trump, too.  I'd have supposed that Social Justice Warriors would be more offended by Pocahontas Warren's cultural appropriation of American Indianness, since, umm, ... well, no I' suppose actually I wouldn't have supposed this.  SJWs are phonies.)

Conclusion: Drain that swamp, Mr. Mulvaney!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

The American holiday, Thanksgiving, is a time to reflect and be grateful for all we have.  Simply to be alive is a gift, and to be alive in the 21st Century, a time with so much potential for advancing freedom, prosperity, and happiness, is a great thing.  President Trump gave a thoughtful Thanksgiving proclamation, well worth reading. One doesn't have to be American to reflect and celebrate.

I have a great deal for which to be thankful -- life, liberty, loved ones, opportunities, the beauty of the world that surrounds me.  I'll feature one example here.

Careful readers will have noted that I had hip surgery in August, 2 August to be exact, a full hip replacement needed because of degenerating cartilage in my left hip.  My surgeon, Karl Schultz, and his team did the same excellent work he'd done for me in 2008.  So too did Lisa M. and her team of physical therapists.  As a result, 87 days later, on October 28, I competed in the Bad Apple 12 Hour Ultramarathon at Klackle Orchards in Greenville, Michigan, and completed 36 miles in 11 hours and 30 minutes, my first ultra since surgery.

Bad Apple consists of 4 mile loops through apple orchards, pumpkin patches, woods, and fields.  It's extremely well-organized and a great deal of fun.  As I had not been running to speak of, I hiked most of it, running only the last two minutes as I approached the finish.  (Running felt great!)  I had no pain and no particular difficulty on the course, and could have done another lap (so long as 12 hours hasn't elapsed runners are allowed to start another lap) but 36 miles is 30 more than anything I'd done since May, so I happily stopped, having exceeded my expectations and not wanting to risk injury.  Canine companion Chaos did 16 miles with me, Julie did 20, and we all three received medals.  A good friend of ours, Loretta Tobolske-Horn, set the new women's course record at 68 miles.  She was a completely focused machine on the course, yet also seemed utterly relaxed mentally.  She was impressive to watch.

It's Thanksgiving, and today I am thankful for the dedication and ability of my surgeon and all the other MD's nurses, etc. who rebuilt and cared for me, for my PT's who trained me back into shape, and for my loves Julie and Chaos and my friends who encouraged me, and for the system and country that make these things possible, and for the universe and the grand architect of it all.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

"Rotten Apple? Not me!"

Mats H., another crazy Swede (are all the hard core Swedish adventurers named Mats!?!)

Mats at aid station

Pumpkin Challenge (runner who carries in the biggest pumpkin wins a prize)

"I'm trying, I'm trying!"


Julie and medal

Chaos regards her medal: "run for the adventure, not the awards"

"And for the post race recovery!"

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