Funny without meaning to be

July 18th, 2018

WaPo:

It’s not wrong to compare Trump’s America to the Holocaust…the president has certainly taken actions which are in many ways parallel to those of the early Nazi movement. As Evans rightly notes, his propaganda machine would be immediately familiar to Joseph Goebbels’s Nazi office. The recent executive order making administrative law judges political appointees subject to executive power cannot be seen as anything less than an attempt to bring the courts in line with the administration’s political ideology. The Nazis called this “Gleichschaltung,” or coordination, as they sought to co-opt government and private organizations. Even his management style has similarities to Hitler. Like Trump, Hitler was reluctant to surrender too much authority to one subordinate, and so his Cabinet (which he never called) was a den of backbiting and maneuvering underlings seeking the support of Hitler, who was the only one who decided policy. There are similarities with Trump, even if he has not achieved this level of dominance. Let’s again be clear: Trump is not Hitler; Hitler was arguably a far more astute politician

Yikes! Now they’re sending people to jail for gathering seashells at the seashore. What horror is next?

A reconsideration: the press conference was designed as a trap

July 17th, 2018

Yesterday we said a press conference is mostly blah blah, so we didn’t really know what the fuss was about. Angelo Codevilla has now clarified matters, and we now understand the meltdown:

The American ruling class’s attribution of the 2016 election to Trump-Putin collusion, which has characterized U.S.-Russia relations for two years, provided the press conference’s fireworks. Both denied any such thing and insisted there was no evidence of it. In response to a question about whether Putin would make available the 12 Russian state intelligence employees indicted for interference in that election to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Putin pointed to the existence of a treaty of cooperation on criminal matters and promised Mueller that access to the accused through the treaty.

This led to the final flourish. The Associated Press reporter demanded that Trump state whether he believes the opinions of U.S. intelligence leaders or those of Putin. It would be healthy for America were it to digest Trump’s answer: The truth about the charge that Russia stole the contents of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server is not to be found in the opinions of any persons whatever. The truth can be discovered only by examining the server in question—assuming it has not been tampered with since the alleged event. But, said Trump emphatically, those making the accusations against Russia have refused to let the server be examined by U.S. intelligence or by any independent experts. What is the point of accusations coupled with refusal of access to the facts of the matter?

The AP reporter, who should be ashamed, is beyond shame. Then again, so are the ruling class representatives who have redoubled their animus against Trump.

Very clever. It was all a trap. If he said no interference, he’s a traitor (how lightning fast did that appear?), and if he said yes, interference, then he’s joined all of his opponents in saying he’s illegitimate. So he said “let’s see the evidence that so far has been withheld.” The answer to the AP question had clearly been carefully thought through in advance. Bravo!

Roger Simon (great title!) and Thomas Lifson have similar observations.

Finally, Andy McCarthy has finally cut the cord and has completely gone over to the dark side: “I doubt our diplomats, intelligence operatives, elected officials, and citizens will much like living in the world Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein have given us.” Excellent. Correction: oops, maybe not re McCarthy; it appears he’s still trying to walk the line.

Stranger and stranger and stranger

July 16th, 2018

Brennan. Once again we’re on a different planet, different even from people we normally pay heed to, who are freaking out (here, here, here, and here, for example). A press conference is blah blah; who the heck cares? Trump could have said that Putin was the reincarnation of St. Francis of Assisi, and our reaction would be nothing. Who friggin’ cares? Obviously a lot of people do, but not us…

Somebody is living in Bizarro World

July 16th, 2018

Another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into Bizarro World. Ian Masters and his guests, including a Harvard Professor of course, have a discussion that sounds like they’re living in the Land of Chait. Either they’re nuts or we are; there is no overlap between the two universes.

In a change of pace, here’s something pleasant.

Insanity, thy name is university

July 15th, 2018

Minnesota, a typical university in a state with fine or maybe typical public servants, in case you were wondering. There’s M, there’s F, and that’s it. If you think you’re something else, you’re part of a group that has 41% of its members attempting suicide. Crazy is as crazy does.

Fun question of the day

July 15th, 2018

What percent of college seniors know why there was a War of 1812?

The explanation is simple

July 15th, 2018

No really harsh actions so far on the Comey, Rosenstein, Brennan, Clapper, Jarrett, Lynch, etc., spying misdeeds. John Lennon knew why. So does Jordan, and so far he’s braved the nonsense.

Weekend entertainment update

July 15th, 2018

Things are horrible in the current culture, but there are other things to watch on TV, e.g., Sinatra was on Carson (don’t ask Nancy) in ole 1976. Also, Toody gets a more human face than the Prez. Hey, Darth Vader nuked the Russkis – what more could you want?

Also, we saw Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood (luckier than Brian Jones) on a TV channel called AXS. He had a discussion with Paul McCartney which was notable for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that McCartney seemed like a very nice guy, unpretentious, knowledgeable and fun. We note this for its own sake and also since we jogged by the Dakota every day in earlier times.

Superior virtue, according to our virtuous superiors

July 15th, 2018

Who would you rather have as senator or president, Kamala or Gilligan? This is getting so old, so tired and without the fake news media and tenure, we could actually have a country again, Sigh…

non-bonus-bonus: we never knew that the life of our favorite stooge had such sadness.

PPFT kills

July 15th, 2018

That’s peace, prosperity and free time. It’s hard to believe all the nuttiness that goes on by people who look like they really believe the nonsense they spout. Turn on MSNBC for five minutes if you can stand it. Anyhow these were our thoughts after reading this AT piece, which has a reference to particular PhD insanity, who BTW gets praised for nuttiness. One big problem is that so many of these nuts have tenure. Final point: we disagree with PL about the Otter defense. Otter was funny, not scary.

Bonus, featuring Herman: “there’s a scout troop short a child” works with today’s nuttiness, but “Khrushchev’s due at Idlewild” definitely does not.

Think about it

July 14th, 2018

Excellent Klavan piece re leftists.

Every day it gets worse, at least in certain ways

July 14th, 2018

This guy wrote a play said to be pretty good, but it can’t get reviewed, at least in one city. Here’s another non-PC thing from a smart fellow. SJW’s: why are these horrible things still available from Amazon? Why does this come up in a google search? We’re shocked, shocked, shocked!!!

Back to some numbers from China

July 13th, 2018

Forbes

private consumer expenditure in Asia is growing at twice the speed compared with the U.S. If Japan is excluded, Asia’s growth is three times faster. Even more striking is China where private consumer expenditure has been growing at an average of 13.8% a year in the last decade, over four times faster than in the U.S., according to the World Bank WDI database and Eurostat. Not surprisingly China is now the largest market for an expanding list of countries, which includes Australia, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Indonesia, among others. Indeed, if the current growth rates of imports respectively in the U.S. and China hold in the next few years, by 2021 China will surpass the U.S. to become the largest market for imports in the world.

WSJ reports that the focus on deleveraging has stopped, and that as a result “M2—a measure of the money supply that includes cash and most deposits—growing 8.5% this year, from 8.1% last year.”

When your life is a TV show…

July 13th, 2018

…and you’re the star, you do things like this to get great ratings and live in your adversaries’ heads every day. Only 76% of everything you say or do is a lie? We thought it was 200%. (Alternative title: The Art of the Squeal)

Bonus fun: we have no idea who any of these people are, but the meltdowns are enjoyable. And many more meltdowns lie ahead as the offenses get tinier and tinier among the Left’s competing SJW groups, and the rage grows in inverse proportion.

Civil War Post B: smile when you say that

July 13th, 2018

Gohmert was at least funny with Smiling Strzok. Sadly, Gowdy seemed windy, instead of going for the jugular in very short sentences.

BTW, the smiler’s defenders aren’t giving up or going quietly. One said he deserves a Purple Heart. Another in CA intoned time after time, “but what about the children!”

As you know, we try to avoid for the most part the cheap ad hominem attacks that have become so common today, but this Strzok guy is such a sleazy lying scumbag that there should have been on the R side a designated questioner who asked short pointed questions, without subordinate clauses, and after each response said You Lie, and after the last response (assuming the guy was under oath) said You Lie and you are going to Jail for it (and then taken action to do so, instead of just yipping the way pols do).

Update: Newmayr and so many others say the same thing about this really creepy guy.

Civil War Post A

July 13th, 2018

One side:

“I have known Brett Kavanaugh for many years,” said Dean Heather K. Gerken. “I can personally attest that, in addition to his government and judicial service, Judge Kavanaugh has been a longtime friend to many of us in the Yale Law School community. Ever since I joined the faculty, I have admired him for serving as a teacher and mentor to our students and for hiring a diverse set of clerks, in all respects, during his time on the court.”

“He is a terrific judge,” said Kate Stith, Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law. “In my federal criminal law class, I love teaching his opinions because they are smart, thoughtful, and clear. He’s also been a wonderful mentor and teacher to our students—not just to those who clerk for him, but those who meet with him during one of his many visits to Yale Law School.”

“Judge Kavanaugh commands wide and deep respect among scholars, lawyers, judges, and justices,” said Sterling Professor Akhil Reed Amar ’84. “Good appellate judges faithfully follow the Supreme Court; great ones influence and help steer the Court. Several of Kavanaugh’s biggest ideas have found their way into Supreme Court opinions. Thanks to decades of high-level experience and close observation, Kavanaugh also understands the intricacies of the executive and legislative branches.”

“Brett Kavanaugh has been one of the most learned judges in America on a variety of issues, ranging from theories of statutory interpretation to separation of powers,” added William N. Eskridge, Jr. ’78, the John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence. “We are proud that he is our graduate and eager to continue to learn from his judicial opinions and scholarly publications.”

“Politics have deeply harmed our Supreme Court nomination process,” added Abbe R. Gluck ’00, Professor of Law. “But in terms of the man now before us, Brett Kavanaugh is a true intellectual–a leading thinker and writer on the subjects of statutory interpretation and federal courts; an incomparable mentor–someone who picks law clerks of all backgrounds and viewpoints; and a fair-minded jurist who believes in the rule of law. He is humble, collegial and cares deeply about the federal courts.”

Judge Kavanaugh graduated from Yale College in 1987, and from Yale Law School in 1990, where he was a Notes Editor of the Yale Law Journal. If confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh would join three other Yale Law School graduates currently on the Court—Justice Samuel Alito ’75, Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’79, and Justice Clarence Thomas ’74.

Other side:

Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination presents an emergency — for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country. His nomination is not an interesting intellectual exercise to be debated amongst classmates and scholars in seminar. Support for Judge Kavanaugh is not apolitical. It is a political choice about the meaning of the constitution and our vision of democracy, a choice with real consequences for real people. Without a doubt, Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to the most vulnerable. He is a threat to many of us, despite the privilege bestowed by our education, simply because of who we are. Judge Kavanaugh ruled to deny a detained immigrant minor her constitutional right to abortion. Decades-old Supreme Court precedent makes clear that the government may not place an undue burden on a pregnant person’s access to abortion. But Judge Kavanaugh clearly did not feel constrained by precedent: what could be a greater obstacle than a cage?

Kavanaugh’s opinions give us grave concern that he will consistently prioritize the beliefs of third-parties over the rights of the oppressed — not only when it comes to abortion and contraception, but also regarding other forms of medical care (including care for transgender patients), family privacy, and sexual liberty. Litigants harness this same logic when arguing that institutions have a religious right to discriminate against LGBT people — an issue the Court is certain to take up in the years to come. Judge Kavanaugh would also act as a rubber stamp for President Trump’s fraud and abuse.

Judge Kavanaugh has undermined attempts to protect the environment and regulate predatory lenders and for-profit colleges. He has called now-defunct Net Neutrality regulations violations of the First Amendment. If elevated, the judge would pose an existential threat to the government’s ability to regulate for the common good

On the D.C. Circuit he denied a student with disabilities access to the remedial education he was promised after he emerged from juvenile detention. In a 2008 dissent, Judge Kavanaugh argued undocumented workers are not protected by labor laws. In 2016, Judge Kavanaugh ruled that employers can require employees to waive their right to picket. In a concurrence, he argued that the National Security Agency’s sweeping call surveillance program was consistent with the Fourth Amendment. As an attorney, he advocated for prayer at open public school events in brazen contravention of our country’s separation of church and state. The list goes on. We see in these rulings an intellectually and morally bankrupt ideologue

The latter piece was signed by hundreds of 20 year olds. Yikes! HMD on the upset youngsters: The letter’s denunciation of Kavanaugh’s “partisanship” is particularly ironic.

Yawn…and then

July 12th, 2018

Hysteria. “She blinded me with science!” “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white; as long as it catches mice, it’s a good cat.” Really good, as the graph shows. But by far the most burning question is: how can a three hour cruise discover an uncharted desert isle 250 miles from Hawaii?

What will this paradigm-shifting time be called?

July 11th, 2018

Consider this: “Scalia’s nomination hearing was mostly a formality and the Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination with a 98-0 vote.” And yet today there is unbelievable mass hysteria because a guy who probably agrees with Scalia 80-90% of the time is selected for SCOTUS. Pssst: it’s probably a conspiracy. Yes, we know the explanation: the left has lost control of the news narrative that it has controlled for 2 generations, partially as a result of DJT on twitter, and that control (try asking Graham, McConnell or McCain anything controversial and they will bow politely if not agree) loss has shattered the media’s worldview. What’s going on now is that a paradigm has been shattered, and that paradigm is that the media control what’s acceptable in a discussion of issues, unacceptable being the deplorables, etc. The whole situation has been made much more dramatic as the media’s world has shifted far left in the last decade, and the Trumpian alternative is merely mainstream America circa 1965 or 1985. We hope this change will get a name worthy of its significance.

Kuhn background from 2004

July 11th, 2018

Background

In 1962 Thomas Kuhn, then at Harvard, published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which quickly became one of the seminal books in the history of science. Kuhn argues that radical changes in thought often require, and create, a whole new way of seeing the world. He invented the term “paradigm shift,” to describe the phenomenon. Often, it is only when you have crossed over to the new paradigm do you see reality the way it really is.

One example Kuhn uses to illustrate his point is the Copernican Revolution. In 1500, the accepted view in the Christian world of western Europe was that the earth was the center of the universe, and that the sun and the planets revolved around the earth. The astronomer Ptolemy in the second century AD had worked out a set of equations for the movements of the planets and the moon based on the the earth being the center of the universe. Of course the set of equations describing the Ptolemaic universe had terrible problems since they were attempting to describe a universe that doesn’t exist.

In the early sixteenth century, Copernicus developed an alternative view of, and set of equations for, a universe in which the moon alone revolved around the earth, and in which the earth, like the other planets, revolved around the sun. His masterwork, De Revolutionibus, was published after significant delays, due to religious and scientific objections to his work. Copernicus finally received a copy of his book on May 24, 1543, the day he died.

Many people had a lot invested, professionally, culturally, religiously, psychologically, in the notion that the earth and man were the center of all creation, and so there was considerable resistance at first to the Copernican universe. Some scientists and religious leaders of the day were horrified at the universe Copernicus described, and adamantly defended their geocentric, Ptolemaic beliefs, refusing to accept the Copernican paradigm. Kuhn writes:

In a sense I am unable to explicate further, the proponents of competing paradigms practice their trades in different worlds. (p. 150)

The transfer of allegiance from paradigm to paradigm is a conversion experience that cannot be forced….

Darwin, in a particularly perceptive passage at the end of his Origin of Species, wrote: “Although I am fully convinced of the truth of the views given in this volume…, I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are shocked with a multitude of facts all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine….[B]ut I look with confidence to the future, — to young and rising naturalists, who will be able to look at both sides of the question with impartiality.” And Max Planck, surveying his own career in his Scientific Autobiography, sadly remarked that “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” (p. 151)

The Current Situation: The death of the Paradigm of Marxism and the USSR

In our day, a “scientific” paradigm has recently died, but its proponents have not come to terms with the death. The dead doctrine is dialectical materialism, defined by the Columbia Encyclopedia as the:

official philosophy of Communism, based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, as elaborated by G. V. Plekhanov, V. I. Lenin, and Joseph Stalin. In theory dialectical materialism is meant to provide both a general world view and a specific method for the investigation of scientific problems. The basic tenets are that everything is material and that change takes place through “the struggle of opposites.” Because everything contains different elements that are in opposition, “self-movement” automatically occurs; the conflict of opposing forces leads to growth, change, and development, according to definite laws. Communist scientists were expected to fit their investigations into this pattern, and official approval of scientific theories in the USSR was determined to some extent by their conformity to dialectical materialism (see Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich). Use of these principles in history and sociology is sometimes called historical materialism.

Under these doctrines the social, political, and intellectual life of society reflect only the economic structure, since human beings create the forms of social life solely in response to economic needs. Men are divided into classes by their relations to the means of production—land and capital. The class that controls the means of production inevitably exploits the other classes in society; it is this class struggle that produces the dynamic of history and is the source of progress toward a final uniformity.

Historical materialism is deterministic; that is, it prescribes that history inevitably follows certain laws and that individuals have little or no influence on its development. Central to historical materialism is the belief that change takes place through the meeting of two opposing forces (thesis and antithesis); their opposition is resolved by combination produced by a higher force (synthesis).

In the real world, Marxism has turned out to be a lot of windy claptrap, that when applied, as in the case of the USSR, led to enslavement of the people, suppression of the human spirit, universal poverty, and environmental disaster. Contrast this with our experience in the United States. Even today, more than a decade after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, America’s GDP is over $10 trillion while Russia’s is a measly $1.3 trillion, our per capita income is over 4 times theirs, and our lives are 15-20% longer (from the CIA Factbook).

America’s Paradigm: The Innovation Society

Some would call the American paradigm capitalism, and I suppse that’s fair enough, because the word has been in circulation a long time. However, it is an imprecise term, because America’s remarkable progress is due to intellectual capital much more than wealth. It would be more correct to say that America is the Innovation Society, though I readily acknowledge that innovation is often motivated by the desire to beat the pants off the competition and make as much money as possible.

I wrote previously:

Here are the signal facts of our progress in the last century. If you were born in 1900, your life expectancy was in the forties, and GNP per capita was about $4000. If you are born today, your life expectancy is about eighty, and statistically, as an average American, you are ten times richer. In reality you are a hundred or a thousand times richer, if you factor in your ability to be in Paris tomorrow for $500, your ability to watch events from fifty years ago as they actually happened, etc. – not to mention that your toddler’s severe pneumonia can be reliably cured in 48 hours or so.

Only a little of this has to do with government.

Mostly it is because 90% of everything ever invented in the history of humanity was invented in the last 130 years, and more than half of that was invented by Americans exercising their freedom and ingenuity. Milton Hershey invented the candy bar, Carrier invented the air conditioner for a tire plant, Sears invented catalogue distribution, Henry Ford invented cheap cars, some guys from Texas Instruments invented the transistor. It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of the invention and wide use of brand names, which communicate the quality and dependability of every product we buy. This alone deserves the Nobel Prize. And it was a large and growing market, the availability of risk capital, standardized accounting, and protection of intellectual and personal property by the courts that made this possible.

And it is not just inventions themselves, but the constant innovations in products, processes and organizations that lead to success building upon success. Microsoft is working on version 11.0 of Word, our PC’s can now have a gig of RAM and will have a terabyte hard drive in a couple of years, and a few years further, people will chuckle when they read this — how primitive we were. In my own company, through things that sound like buzzwords to you — Kaizen events, process re-engineering, six sigma, etc. — we have been able to cut production time in half on a thirty year old product we were already producing efficiently.

The idea that government creates wealth is so absurd that it should be laughed out of the room. Yet some still cling to this foolish and outdated notion.

My hypothesis

The left’s anger is about much more than George Bush. The diffuse nature of the anger, and its impenetrability to logic are strong indicators that this loathing goes well beyond the President.

Diffuse anger: Jonathon Chait hates his Texas swagger. Some hate his smirk or his Christian beliefs. Rush says that the left is seething because it is out of power. Charles Krauthammer has identified at least two psychological syndromes to describe the phenomenon.

Immunity to logic: If you have ever listened to even a half hour of talk radio, you’ll hear the leftie caller jump from rationale to rationale for his loathing of the president. If the host responds to “Bush Lied!” with an argument, the caller jumps to “imminent threat.” When the host responds, suddenly the arguments becomes “WMD’s,” and then Halliburton, My Pet Goat, and so forth.

I agree with the analyses of Rush Limbaugh, Charles Krauthammer and others, but I want to add someting else into the mix. It is easy to understand the many reasons Bush is an attractive focus for the left’s hatred. Yet if Bush vanished tomorrow, the left would move on to another object of its loathing.

I think the left descended into madness because its scientific Marxism, more properly thought of as a religion, has utterly failed. Its temple, the USSR, is in ruins. The Marxist professors and the Lazy Lefties of Hollywood and the Upper West Side have believed in a false god. Their god has failed them, and he is not coming back, no matter how fervently they wish it, if the electoral trends of the last ten years continue. They are like the remnant who continued to believe in the Ptolemaic universe, long after its has been shown that the earth revolves around the sun.

These people are living in the universe of the failed Marxist paradigm, and they rage at the Innovation Society that brought it down. They will stay that way until they convert to a worldview more consistent with objective reality, or until, as Max Planck said, they eventually die.

Here are some ladies who name the problem honestly:

Here are some examples that might make the black helicopter folks on the right look good by comparison:

And this is a picture that is revealing in so many ways:

More links to pictures here and here.

ADDENDUM:

Meanwhile, both Darwin and Planck are vindicated in the Kerry daughters’ reception at the VMA, where they were booed by the hoi polloi of a younger generation that may not think it’s so cool to be an elitist weenie, a la jib-jab. Or maybe the kids just want to hear music, not politics. Either way, it’s a good sign for the future.

From Bright College Years to brite cottage cheese

July 11th, 2018

YLS:

We write today as Yale Law students, alumni, and educators ashamed of our alma mater. Within an hour of Donald Trump’s announcement that he would nominate Brett Kavanaugh, YLS ‘90, to the Supreme Court, the law school published a press release boasting of its alumnus’s accomplishment. The school’s post included quotes from Yale Law School professors about Judge Kavanaugh’s intellect, influence and mentorship of their students.

Yet the press release’s focus on the nominee’s professionalism, pedigree, and service to Yale Law School obscures the true stakes of his nomination and raises a disturbing question: Is there nothing more important to Yale Law School than its proximity to power and prestige?

Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination presents an emergency — for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country. His nomination is not an interesting intellectual exercise to be debated amongst classmates and scholars in seminar. Support for Judge Kavanaugh is not apolitical. It is a political choice about the meaning of the constitution and our vision of democracy, a choice with real consequences for real people. Without a doubt, Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to the most vulnerable. He is a threat to many of us, despite the privilege bestowed by our education, simply because of who we are…people will die if he is confirmed.

The stupidity of our alma mater cannot be overstated. But wait, there’s hope!