Cold War II?


Richard Fernandez has a post over at PJ Media taking a look a what could be the beginnings of a new cold war.

Without fanfare elements of a new cold war are being put into place by the Trump administration, the European Union and China. Although the disconnected components separately make headlines, the underlying pattern is evident despite the carnival-like distractions of the Mueller investigation and the reluctance to declare the old order dead.

The generation that ran the world in 1914 sent their sons to die in what came to be called “The Great War,” and then they mismanaged the peace. In 1939, the generation that fought The Great War sent their sons to World War II. The lessons they had learned didn’t keep us out of another war, but the resulting Cold War was in most ways less brutal than WWII.

The West won the Cold War, but our leaders have mismanaged the Cold Peace. Now, a new generation may be facing Cold War II. If we’re lucky.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


It’s really beginning to look as if The Dread Deadbeat Publisher Kimberlin has given up on Breitbart Unmasked Bunny Billy Boy Brett Unread. It’s been seven weeks since any fresh content was added.Of course, BU isn’t his most neglected site. Some have been left to rot for years, for example, issaoversight dot org. Here’s the most recent item I could find on that site:Zooming in on the date shows that the page is almost three years old.

Several of the links on the site are broken and the Follow Us On Facebook button is dead, but the DONATE button works.

Congressman Issa is retiring at the end of this term. I wonder if TDPK will bother to take the site down.

A “Narrow” Victory for the First Amendment


Pundits are referring to the Supreme Court’s reversal of Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruling punishing a baker for his refusal to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple as “narrow.” Well, the justice’s relied on the fact that the Commission was clearly biased against and hostile to the baker’s religious beliefs in ruling that such hostility ran afoul of the First Amendment’s free exercise clause. Every justice noted that states may protect homosexuals from discrimination in the marketplace, but the 7-2 majority ruled that that other persons’ sincere religious beliefs must be given due regard as well. Call that “narrow” if you wish, but it’s still a win for the First Amendment.

Because the record below was unclear on the baker’s free speech claims, the Court’s majority opinion didn’t address them in its decision. The justices didn’t need to in order to rule on the case. However, Justice Thomas did address that issue in his concurring opinion. He noted that public accommodation laws govern acts of discrimination, and that when they attempt to regulate speech, they run up against the full force of the First Amendment’s free speech clause. Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U. S. 640, 657–659 (2000). Justice Thomas noted that the Colorado Court of Appeals finding that the baker’s refusal to speak (i.e., create the wedding cake as Civil Rights Commission had ordered) amounted to illegal conduct was clearly wrong:

Even after describing his conduct this way, the Court of Appeals concluded that Phillips’ conduct was not expres­sive and was not protected speech. It reasoned that an outside observer would think that Phillips was merely complying with Colorado’s public-accommodations law, not expressing a message, and that Phillips could post a dis­claimer to that effect. This reasoning flouts bedrock prin­ciples of our free-speech jurisprudence and would justify virtually any law that compels individuals to speak.

Today was a good day for the First Amendment.

UPDATE—

Running Against Ghosts


Specters haunt our political discourse. For decades, Republicans have tried to frame their Democrat opponents as the next Jimmy Carter. For a couple of generations, Democrats tried to paint every Republican as another Herbert Hoover. But as the voters who lived through those disastrous presidencies have died off, the tactic has lost its emotional connection to the electorate’s personal experiences and become less useful. My parents were in high school during the Hoover administration; I wasn’t born until after World War II. Their understanding of the early years of the Great Depression are personal; mine are second hand. Similarly, my son was born during the Reagan Administration, so he has no memories of Jimmy Carter as President.

Thus, it would seem that we should see the Republican’s running against Carter to peter out over the next few years just as the Democrats have given Hoover a rest.

Except that it appears that the Democrats are so desperate for something to run on that they’re bring  back comparing their opposition to Hoover. Bret Stephens has a piece over at the New York Times called Herbert Hoover’s Ghost comparing President Trump’s tariff policies with the Smoot-Hawley disaster of the early 1930’s. Of course, the world economy is very different today than it was in 1930, so even if Trump’s policies are mistaken (and I think some are), his tariffs won’t cause world trade to contract by over 60 percent as happened almost 90 years ago. Indeed, the weak recovery from 2009 to 2017 was quite similar to the weak recovery from 1933 to 1941. Yet, Stephens predicts:

The darker echoes of the 1930s are sounding louder. The shadow of Hoover grows longer. We know how this movie ends.

If the recent past is prolog, I expect the movie’s script to end with a plot twist the says the Trump’s policies were the result of collusion with the Russians and fully outlined in the emails that were missing from the server in Hillary Clinton’s bathroom. I also expect that movie’s script will not reflect what happens in the Real World.