Trump, Don’t Listen to Pelosi: Give the State of the Union to the People

 

Newly-gaveled Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to postpone the State of the Union address until after the partial government shutdown ends, or at least submit it in writing. I strongly disagree with Pelosi.

Pelosi’s stated reason is that the Secret Service can’t protect the president from his mortal enemies in the Congress due to the partial government shutdown. This is baloney. Pelosi’s real fear is that Trump will use the State of the Union to blast the intransigent Democrats for their refusal to protect American citizens and that Trump will do so effectively.

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Trump, Listen to Pelosi: End the State of the Union

 

On Wednesday, the new House Speaker asked President Trump to postpone his State of the Union address until the government shutdown is resolved — or simply to submit it in writing. For once, I agree with Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi’s stated concern is that the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security is currently funded. Understaffed security means that they can’t protect the President (from House Democrats, presumably). Anti-Trump hysteria already killed the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; if it also kills the pretentious pageantry of the SOTU address, all the better.

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Border Wall Bill

 

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“Emergency” Renovation

 

As Mark Davis says, “Trump makes everyone better.” Well, maybe not the sad section of the “conservative” commentariat driven mad by the Great Big Ugly Man, but his administration has been a refiner’s fire for lifer politicians like “Cocaine Mitch” and Lindsey Grahamnesty. In the same way, his presence has unmasked the long-hidden corruption of our federal law-enforcement and intelligence community, last disinfected in the mid-1970s by the Church Committee. Now, President Trump’s threat — to use two laws (not a pen and a phone), passed in the 1970s and 1980s, to legally reallocate particular current appropriated funds — is sparking a renewed interest in reforming national emergency authority. More goodness!

There are real concerns, from multiple points in political space, about presidents being granted, or asserting, “emergency” powers. Many real concerns seem to arise from confusing language, prompting misunderstanding. All the real concerns should be distinguished from false claims, like those of Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the original illegal alien amnesty “Gang of 8.” His posture of worry about what a future Democratic president will do is a howling fraud, both because he knows everything we will review below, and because he has proven himself allergic to real border and immigration control. Likewise, we may discount CNN, the paper dying in darkness, and all those poor souls discombobulated by the Great Big Ugly Man. Setting all the false fears aside, let us consider the real concerns.

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Chris Christie Is Mad He Wasn’t Invited to the Party

 

According to reporting, a new book by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie isn’t taking any prisoners:

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The Lord of the Rings: A Classic

 

I was very young when I was first introduced to The Hobbit. I could not have been older than seven when I was swept completely into the journey with Bilbo and the dwarves on their way to reclaim treasure from the dragon. When the story was over, I wanted the magic to continue, so I sought out my father’s copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, which was much more difficult to understand. (Tolkien loved him some semicolons, and I was a second grader.)

The truth was, I wasn’t quite ready for Frodo’s epic adventure then, so I had to put it aside for a while, disappointed by my first introduction to Tolkien’s next generation. I thought Bilbo’s nephew, Sam, Pippin, and Merry were a bit boring. It took them too long to do anything. I did not get beyond them stealing mushrooms, as if that was even noteworthy. Already cynical, I snapped the cover shut and quietly returned that tale to the bookcase to collect dust again in my parents’ home.

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Welcome to the United Empire of Stalemate

 

Richard N. Haass is the President of the Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to that was he was Special Assistant to President George H.W. Bush and the National Security Council Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs. For that, Bush 41 gave him the Presidential Citizens Medal for developing and explaining US policy during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.

In 2000 he called for a new “American Empire” to be designed and operated on the model of the British Empire of the 19th Century. He further said it would have to be “informal” because “American democracy could not underwrite an imperial order that required constant, costly applications of military power.” Now he has changed his tune a bit.

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USS Fitzgerald: The Fort Report

 

Sightline Media is an independent media group (formerly part of Gannett) that focuses on the US military and publishes The Navy Times and her sister publications for the Army, Marines and Air Force. On Monday they published part of the Navy’s internal review of the 2017 incident aboard the USS Fitzgerald that claimed the lives of seven sailors. It is not pretty.

Overseen by Rear Adm. Brian Fort, it describes a ship (and a Navy) in disarray, stretched to the limit by multiple deployments, ill-trained and ill-prepared, low on morale and distrustful of leadership on the bridge. Fort describes finding bottles of urine all over the combat information center as evidently the crews were so bereft of trained personnel that those who knew what they were doing couldn’t even take bathroom breaks.

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McCarrick, Bernardin, Bergoglio, and Satan.

 

In May of 2015, I wrote about Alfred Hitchcock’s Catholicism, evident in his many amazingly crafted movies. It seems that one can always draw some interesting insights from Hitch, particularly as it relates to the nature of evil and the tactics of evil men and women. Here’s an excerpt from my post:

Hitchcock’s dark world is perhaps most vividly described in Shadow of a Doubt by Uncle Charlie, Charles Oakley (Joseph Cotten) who describes what the world is really like to his niece Charlie (Charlotte) played by Teresa Wright, after she discovers that her uncle is indeed the psychotic serial killer of wealthy widows on the run from the law whom a detective has warned her about. At night, in a Santa Rosa bar, Uncle Charlie chases down and confronts his troubled namesake and niece:

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Some Galaxy Brain Thinking on the Shutdown and Its Economic Impact

 

The easy — though not entirely wrong — analysis of the ongoing government shutdown is that it’s a political event rather than a market or economic event. For Republicans and Democrats, the shutdown is the ultimate cage match with big potential electoral and policy implications. As the Washington Post characterizes the standoff: “[President Trump] has to win. His entire reputation, his entire relationship with the base, it’s all a function of being committed on big things and not backing down. If he backs down on this, Pelosi will be so emboldened that the next two years will be a nightmare.” Big stakes, to say the least.

But not so much for Wall Street. At least not yet. Perfect example: JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli has lowered his estimate of first-quarter real GDP growth to 2.0 percent from 2.25 percent with the “primary reason” for the revision being the shutdown. And although the longer the shutdown lasts the greater the risk of “spillover to the private sector,” Feroli adds, his downward revision to growth this quarter implies a lift to the second quarter (assuming the shutdown is over). So, even-steven, more or less.

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Quote of the Day: Noblesse Oblige

 

Four-hundred sixty years ago today, on January 15, 1559, Elizabeth, the “bastard” (some believed) daughter of Henry VIII was crowned Queen of England.

As did many of her subjects, I admire and even love “Good Queen Bess,” who brought stability and prosperity to her island nation after the 50 years of chaos and upheaval spawned by the reigns of her father and two older siblings (and the enthronement of the 16-year-old Lady Jane Grey, unfortunate winner of what may have been the world’s first reality entertainment show, Queen for Nine Days. And Then Off With Her Head).

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10 Year Ago Today…

 

US Air Flight 1549 left LGA and ended 10 minutes later in Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew survived, due to the fantastic piloting skills and clear thinking under pressure to Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger. Today, he tweeted out a series of tweets recounting what happened minute by minute. Start here and then come back and tell us your memories of that day and maybe a flying experience ot two of your own.

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Uncommon Knowledge: Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny

 

How did Winston Churchill defend the British Empire throughout his life? Andrew Roberts, the Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, brings keen insights into the life of Winston Churchill with the book Churchill: Walking with Destiny.

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President Trump and the Kobayashi Maru

 

Every day, the Democrat-Media Complex and their allies in the anti-Trump cabal go on the attack against President Trump. Yesterday, it was because President Trump served fast food to the Clemson National Championship football team. If President Trump had served them fine foods, he would have been attacked for living the high-life while Government bureaucrats were missing paychecks. You could literally — not figuratively — pick any day of his presidency and find the press attacking Trump over something ridiculous, false, or dubious.

For Trump (any Republican president, really, but particularly and especially Trump), every day is the Kobayashi Maru Scenario. For those who don’t know, the Kobayashi Maru scenario is a Star Trek thing. It is a test that potential Star Fleet captains are subjected to. The scenario is designed such that the captain will fail no matter what action he takes. “It’s a test of character,” as Captain Kirk explained. Likewise, the Democrat-Media Complex has created an environment where a Republican can’t win. (And through a bizarre, reverse-Kobayashi Maru, a Democrat president [or senator, or governor] can’t lose. It’s like the Kobayashi Maru from the Spock-With-A-Goatee Mirror Universe where you always win, but you have to be evil.)

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Meghan McCain and the 42%

 

Steve King has effectively been run out of the House. That’s probably for the best. But now, the racism narrative appears to have shifted to the Republican Party at large. But if the left and the media (but we repeat ourselves) wants that narrative to stick, they’re going to have to go through Meghan McCain first. Watch this clip:

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No Need to Fear Terrorists: We Have Trump!

 

Periodically, it makes sense for Congress to examine the working subcommittees and determine whether circumstances have changed and if a particular subcommittee is needed. But the proposed action by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel is so blatantly political that I’m embarrassed for him—almost.

Engel wants to dissolve the House Foreign Affairs Committee and replace it with another investigative committee to focus on Donald Trump:

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The Criminal Corruption at the Top Levels of the FBI Is Being Exposed

 
James A. Baker, former FBI general counsel

Former FBI general counsel James A. Baker is the subject of a criminal investigation for leaking information to the media. Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reports:

The former top lawyer at the FBI has been under federal investigation for leaking to the media, a letter from House Republicans revealed Tuesday.

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Renovating the Library

 

Where does this book go? This is a problem that rears its head a few times every year. It’s always an issue in January, but also in September, and usually in May … or even June. Heck, we have a book problem most months. A friend ours once called us “homeschool preppers.” It’s true. When the grid collapses and the power goes out, and everyone is wondering about edible foliage and water purification, come on over — I’ve got a book on that.

My passion for buying books began in September 1995, the month The Lost World by Michael Crichton was released. Until that day, the only book I owned was an unopened Bible. The books I read in high school were from the library and rarely worth the time to read, much less buy. I’m looking at you, Steinbeck.

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Common Sense Wall Policy

 

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A Fast Food Feast at the White House

 

This is the picture making the rounds on Twitter over the last twelve hours:

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How to Automate a Job Out of Existence

 

This is an elaboration of a comment I made in @indymb ‘s post “Is there any point in writing to a Congressperson?” and I’m indebted to him and @Misthiocracy (who has experience working for a Canadian Minister of Parliament, I understand) for the details on how all this works. Briefly, we’ll look at a simple task done every day in the houses of government and at how we’d train a computer to do it better.

Briefly, as you may have expected, the letter to your Senator isn’t so much read as processed for the minimum amount of information and interaction required. I’ll quote the meat of his description of the process and then describe how I’d go about automating it. You’re encouraged to go back and read his post (and it should go without saying on Ricochet but the comments too).

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The Greatness of Harold Demsetz

 

This past week, Harold Demsetz, one of the great economists of the Chicago School, died in California at the age of 88. In one sense, Demsetz’s passing marks the end of an era now that the Chicago School of Economics, to which I generally subscribe, is subject to multiple sustained attacks. Behavioral economists, such as Daniel Kahneman, believe the secret to understanding human behavior lies in identifying, through experimental observation, anomalies in individual choices tending to undermine the axioms of rational choice theory. Meanwhile, other modern populists such as legal scholars Tim Wu and Lina Khan attack Chicago-style antitrust law for wrongly exalting economic efficiency over all other values, such as the protection of small businesses from competition or the ability of moral communities to flourish when operating in the large shadow of powerful economic firms.

Demsetz would have none of this. As if to rebut these novel approaches in advance, Demsetz constantly stressed the dangers of falling prey to the “nirvana fallacy,” or the view of public policy that “implicitly presents the relevant choice as between an ideal norm and an existing ‘imperfect’ institutional arrangement. This nirvana approach differs considerably from a comparative institution approach in which the relevant choice is between alternative real institutional arrangements.” As economist Peter Boettke has pointed out, Demsetz never quarreled with success in the marketplace. If firms like Amazon and Netflix can obtain and sustain a dominant position, it is because they have figured out a formula for success that they constantly adjust to ensure that some new upstart competitor in these “contestable” markets does not take their place. Demsetz was right to scorn the populist critique of popular firms that succeed because they offer low prices and excellent service.

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Gillette: The Best a Questioning, Cishet, Non-Binary Ally Can Get

 

Gillette has had a rough few years. The former shaving hegemon has seen its market share plummet due to a resurgence in classic “wet shaving,” online razor subscription services, and the popularity of beards. Gillette’s obvious options are to lower their artificially high price or drastically improve their quality. Instead, they’ve decided to make their remaining customers feel bad about themselves through an expensive new ad campaign.

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