13 Jul 2018

Trump Could End Up Replacing 4 Supreme Court Justices in his First Term

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Business Insider points out that Trump may just be getting started on remodeling the Supreme Court.

Trump now stands to secure two justices in the first half of his first term. Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush appointed two justices each during their eight years in office.

Supreme Court justices, who serve for life after a presidential appointment and Senate confirmation, represent one of the longer-lasting marks a president can leave on the country, as the justices often serve for decades.

But Trump reportedly thinks he can get an additional two justices in.

In October, the news website Axios cited an anonymous source detailing private predictions by Trump that Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would retire during his term.

“What does she weigh? 60 pounds?” Trump asked of the now-85-year-old Ginsburg, a source told Axios. The same report indicated Trump said Sotomayor, over 20 years younger than Ginsburg, was also in trouble because of “her health.”

“No good. Diabetes,” Trump reportedly said.

Sotomayor had a health scare in January with paramedics treating her for low blood sugar, but she quickly returned to work. Sotomayor says she’s vigilant about her Type 1 diabetes, which she’s had since childhood.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump often said he or his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, could end up appointing five justices. …

Ginsburg and Sotomayor are liberal justices, so replacing both Kennedy and either of them with conservatives could change the court’s makeup for decades, possibly reversing decisions like Roe v. Wade.

RTWT

13 Jul 2018

That Scamp Alcibiades

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Peter Thonneman wittily reviews David Stuttard’s new Nemesis: Alcibiades and the Fall of Athens.

Of all personality traits, charisma is the hardest to appreciate at second hand. We read Cicero’s letters and can instantly tell that he was vain, insecure and ferociously clever; we read scraps of Samuel Johnson’s conversation in Boswell’s biography and know at once that he was magnificent, lovable and desperately unhappy. But as to what it was like to have Lord Byron turn the full force of his attention onto you – well, we have no conceivable way of knowing. We just have to trust his contemporaries that it felt like ‘the opening of the gate of heaven’.

This causes problems for a biographer of Alcibiades. On the face of it, the man was utterly insufferable. Born in around 450 BC into one of the oldest and richest families of ancient Athens, Alcibiades was the only Old Etonian (as it were) to play a leading role in the late-fifth-century radical democracy. The account of his childhood in Plutarch’s Life of Alcibiades suggests a bad case of antisocial personality disorder: biting during wrestling, mutilating dogs, punching his future father-in-law in the face for a dare. His later political career makes Boris Johnson seem like a man of firm and unbending principle. Exiled from Athens in 415 BC over some particularly odious Bullingdon Club antics, Alcibiades promptly sold his services to Sparta (where he seduced the king’s wife) before double-crossing both sides and wheedling his way into the court of a Persian satrap.

But Alcibiades, like Byron, clearly had that indefinable something. One catches a glimpse of it in the unforgettable last scene of Plato’s Symposium, when he crashes into the room, blind drunk, flirting with everything on legs, shouting about his love for Socrates. Thucydides captures it in his report of Alcibiades’s speech whipping up the Athenian assembly to vote for the disastrous Sicilian expedition of 415 BC – an extraordinary stew of egotistic bragging (about how successful his racehorses are), mendacious demagoguery and brilliantly acute strategic thinking. The unwashed Athenian masses, not usually prone to atavistic toff-grovelling, absolutely adored him: when Alcibiades finally returned to Athens in 407 BC after eight years of exile, sailing coolly into Piraeus on a ship with purple sails, they welcomed him back with paroxysms of joy.

Behind the Peloponnese-sized ego, Alcibiades was a general of spectacular genius – when he could be bothered. In 410 BC, shortly after his controversial reinstatement as admiral of the Athenian navy (on the back of a bogus promise of Persian support), he wiped out the entire Spartan fleet at the Battle of Cyzicus; two years later, through sheer chutzpah, he captured the city of Selymbria near Byzantium with only fifty soldiers, and without striking a blow. When things went wrong – as in 406 BC, after a disastrous campaigning season in the eastern Aegean – he showed an infuriating ability to wriggle out of trouble. His final years (406–404 BC) were spent once again in exile from Athens, holed up in a private castle on the Gallipoli peninsula. The circumstances of his death are still shrouded in mystery. One story tells that he died in the remote mountains of central Turkey at the hands of the brothers of a Phrygian noblewoman whom he had decided to seduce. This is, I fear, all too believable.

RTWT

11 Jul 2018

George Will: “If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Had Her Way…”

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George Will explains what Socialism in America would look like if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came into power.

[I]f America had a socialist government today, what would it be like?

Socialism favors the thorough permeation of economic life by “social” (aka political) considerations, so it embraces protectionism — government telling consumers what they can buy, in what quantities and at what prices. (A socialist American government might even set quotas and prices for foreign washing machines.)

Socialism favors maximizing government’s role supplementing, even largely supplanting, the market — voluntary private transactions — in the allocation of wealth by implementing redistributionist programs. (Today America’s sky is dark with dollars flying hither and yon at government’s direction: Transfer payments distribute 14% of GDP, two-thirds of the federal budget, up from a little more than one-quarter in 1960. In the half-century 1963-2013, transfer payments were the fastest-growing category of personal income. By 2010, American governments were transferring $2.2 trillion in government money, goods and services.)

Socialism favors vigorous government interventions in the allocation of capital, directing it to uses that far-sighted government knows, and the slow-witted market does not realize, constitute the wave of the future. So, an American socialist government might tell, say, Carrier Corp. and Harley-Davidson that the government knows better than they do where they should invest shareholders’ assets.

Socialism requires — actually, socialism is — industrial policy, whereby government picks winners and losers in conformity with the government’s vision of how the future ought to be rationally planned. What could go wrong? (Imagine, weirdly, a president practicing compassionate socialism by ordering his energy secretary to prop up yesterday’s coal industry against the market menace of fracking — cheap oil and natural gas.)

Socialism, which fancies itself applied social science, requires a bureaucracy of largely autonomous experts unconstrained by a marginalized — ideally, a paralyzed — Congress. So, an American socialist government would rule less by laws than by regulations written in administrative agencies staffed by experts insulated from meddling by elected legislators. (Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s office displays two piles of paper. One, a few inches high, contains the laws Congress passed in a recent year. The other, about 8 feet tall, contains regulations churned out that year by the administrative state’s agencies.)

Socialism favors vast scope for ad hoc executive actions unbound by constraining laws that stifle executive nimbleness and creativity. (Imagine an aggrieved president telling, say, Harley-Davidson: “I’ve” — first-person singular pronoun — “done so much for you.”)

Today’s American socialists say that our government has become the handmaiden of rapacious factions and entrenched elites, and that there should be much more government. They are half-right. To be fair, they also say that after America gets “on the right side of history” (an updated version of after “the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”), government will be truly disinterested, manipulated by no rent-seeking factions, serving only justice. That is, government will be altogether different than it is, or ever has been. Seriously.

RTWT

10 Jul 2018

The Caste System of Silicon Valley

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Antonio García Martínez analyses the California dystopia where everyone talks and votes left, but lives in an unequal (and rather squalid) society that makes Norman England look like the land of Equality.

California is the future of the United States, goes the oft-cited cliché. What the US is doing now, Europe will be doing in five years, goes another. Given those truthy maxims, let’s examine the socioeconomics of the “City by the Bay” as a harbinger of what’s to come.

Data shows that technology and services make up a large fraction of citywide employment. It also shows that unemployment and housing prices follow the tech industry’s boom-and-bust cycle. Amid the current boom, a family of four earning $117,400 now qualifies as low-income in San Francisco. Some readers laughed when I wrote in a memoir about working at Facebook that my six-figure compensation made me “barely middle class.” As it turns out, I wasn’t far off. With that credential, consider this rumination on bougie life inside the San Francisco bubble, which seems consistent with the data and the experience of other local techies.

San Francisco residents seem to be divided into four broad classes, or perhaps even castes:

    The Inner Party of venture capitalists and successful entrepreneurs who run the tech machine that is the engine of the city’s economy.
    The Outer Party of skilled technicians, operations people, and marketers that keep the trains belonging to the Inner Party running on time. They are paid well, but they’re still essentially living middle-class lives—or what lives the middle class used to have.
    The Service Class in the “gig economy.” In the past, computers filled hard-for-humans gaps in a human value chain. Now humans fill hard-for-software gaps in a software value chain. These are the jobs that AI hasn’t managed to eliminate yet, where humans are expendable cogs in an automated machine: Uber drivers, Instacart shoppers, TaskRabbit manual labor, etc.
    Lastly, there’s the Untouchable class of the homeless, drug addicted, and/or criminal. These people live at the ever-growing margins: the tent cities and areas of hopeless urban blight. The Inner Party doesn’t even see them, the Outer Party ignores them, and the Service Class eyes them warily; after all, they could end up there.

Mobility among the castes seems minimal. An Outer Party member could reach the Inner Party by chancing into an early job at a lottery-ticket company (such as Facebook or Google) or by becoming a successful entrepreneur. But that’s rare; most of the Outer Party prefers working for the Inner Party, gradually accumulating equity through stock grants and appreciating real estate.

The Service Class will likely never be able to drive/shop/handyman enough to rise to the Outer Party, at least not without additional training or skills. They’re mostly avoiding the descent to Untouchable status, while dealing with precarious gigs that disappear semi-regularly. Uber, for example, has made no bones about its intent to replace its drivers with robots. Delivery bots have already been deployed on city streets, though they were later restricted.

RTWT

10 Jul 2018

Alternative Math

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10 Jul 2018

Nerdy Capitalist Wannabe to Romantic Crusading Radical

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The original plain Jane Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

———————————-

Evita Peron II.

Thomas Lifson (who is a smart guy) observes that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in the June 26th Democratic Primary for the nomination to the Congressional seat for New York’s 14th District was not really some magical fairy tale triumph of a poor girl from the Bronx with vision and a big heart. There was big money and top flight image-building professionalism at work here.

Somebody with deep expertise on image creation got ahold of the latest darling of the left and glammed her up for her current role as the standard bearer for the socialist wing of the Democrats, the Great Hispanic Hope to lead the “browning of Amerca” toward a radical future. Sometime between 2011 and 2018, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was transformed from an earnest and nerdy wannabe entrepreneur into a glamorous radical crusader for socialism, the delusion-of-the-moment that has captured the imagination of the malcontent demographic slice of America. …

Someone with deep knowledge of what expensive make-up can do to remake a human visage into something very different from the au naturel version went to work on her. In tandem with her transformation from nerd to a female Che Guevara, she morphed from capitalist to membership in a party that wants to “abolish profit.” …

I don’t know who got ahold of young Ms. Ocasio Cortez and paid for the makeover, but it was someone who understands the manipulation of the “masses” (as they describe their targeted dupes) very well.

RTWT

I’d bet Soros money was behind it.

09 Jul 2018

Tweet of the Day

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09 Jul 2018

The Left Goes After Stephen King

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Pennywise undoubtedly is an ANTIFA member.

Dan Greenfield was amused when the ever-politically-correct Stephen slipped this Fourth of July and brought down upon his own head the wrath of the crybully leftist mob on Twitter.

Like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children,” Currently though the left is busy consuming its own parents. The boomer lefties who support it keep finding out that sooner or later, the lunatics they’ve been cheering on will come after them and start shouting about their privilege.

Stephen King, one of the more obnoxiously lefty celebs whose writing skills had deserted him years ago, tried to suggest a ceasefire for the Fourth.

“Progressives, go find a Trump supporting friend–the one you haven’t spoken to since November of 2016–and give him or her a hug. Trumpies, find a “liberal snowflake” friend and do the same. Just for today, let’s all be Americans.”

It’s a nice enough sentiment. It wouldn’t have been all that extraordinary a generation ago. But this time around it unleashed a howling mob of lefties lecturing King about his “privilege” and putting out the usual twaddle about how Trump’s very existence is endangering their lives. Or the lives of all the oppressed people they know.

King came back the usual lefty virtue signaling defense. “Responses to my 4th of July tweet suggest that politically-minded Americans aren’t willing to drop their grudges and talking points for even a single day. If Russia isn’t paying Trump, they should start, because he’s doing a helluva job of dividing us.”

Cue. More lectures about his privilege, his refusal to listen (accept guilt) for being reproved the first time around, and his ignorance of the endangered physical existence of oppressed people.

I have no sympathy for King.

RTWT

09 Jul 2018

Boris Johnson Resigned as Foreign Secretary

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The Guardian reports that Theresa May’s government is falling apart over Brexit.

Boris Johnson has resigned as foreign secretary, becoming the third minister in 24 hours to walk out of the government rather than back Theresa May’s plans for a soft Brexit.

The prime minister hammered out a compromise with her deeply divided cabinet in an all-day meeting at Chequers on Friday, but after consulting friends and allies, Johnson decided he could not promote the deal.

Pressure on the foreign secretary had been mounting since fellow pro-Brexiter David Davis resigned as Brexit secretary on Sunday night, swiftly followed by his No 2 at the Department for Exiting the EU, Steve Baker.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “This afternoon, the prime minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. His replacement will be announced shortly. The prime minister thanks Boris for his work.”

Friends said Johnson had been finalising his resignation letter, but Downing Street announced his departure before he had completed it.

After the Chequers summit, it emerged that Johnson had referred to attempts to sell the prime minister’s Brexit plan as being akin to “polishing a turd”.

As the flamboyant public face of the Vote Leave campaign, his departure will deepen the sense of crisis around May, and increase the chances that she could face a vote of no confidence.

RTWT

Presumably Boris means to challenge her for leadership of the Tories.

08 Jul 2018

“Every Time Trump Tweets…”

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Patricia McCarthy thinks that Donald Trump’s tweets are giving America a Wonderful Life and having one other major result.

It is clear to anyone paying attention that the fact that Donald Trump won the 2016 election has driven the leftists of America stark raving mad – all of them except those who have joined the Walk Away movement. Those not similarly open-minded hate him with a passion bordering on insanity.

Maxine Waters has been a thoroughly corrupt member of the House for decades. In spite of her malfeasance, her constituents keep voting for her, though she does nothing for them. Her district is as blighted as it was when she was first elected. She has used her position ever since to enrich herself, her husband, and her daughter, living in a $4M mansion in Hancock Park while the voters who keep electing her live in South Central Los Angeles, an area as beset by homeless people as San Francisco.

Ms. Waters is a vile person who has repeatedly called for violence against any and all members of Trump’s Cabinet and his supporters anywhere they appear. Too many lefties have taken her rant as permission to attack Trump-supporters. So Trump tweeted:

    Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!

Truer words were never spoken! An angel got his wings. Trump’s tweets speak for the rest of us, the deplorables. He says what all of us, even Democrats, are thinking…with the exception of the black women in Congress who are furious that Schumer and Pelosi did not “protect” Waters from criticism!

RTWT

08 Jul 2018

The Real Problem With America

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House of Erathostenes:

You know what I find to be flawed with the US of A? The Number One fly in the soup.

We have an unfortunate tendency to direct very high levels of energy into making people happy who are never going to be happy.

HT: Vanderleun.

08 Jul 2018

Best Hard-Core Movie Quotes

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At Pajamas Media, John Hawkins chooses the “25 Most Bad-Ass Action Movie Quotes of All Time.” Ha!

Two Clint Eastwoods and only one John Wayne? You’ve got to be kidding me.

They missed what I’d say is the best of all, from “Hondo” (1953).

From IMDB “Hondo” trivia:

“Geraldine Page, a Broadway actress with very liberal political views, was horrified by the right-wing views of John Wayne, Ward Bond, James Arness, and [director] John Farrow. However she felt Wayne’s remarks were more reasonable than the views expressed by Bond and Farrow. “

07 Jul 2018

From Facebook

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07 Jul 2018

Hillary Clinton’s “What Happened”

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