An Unlikely Ally


The Nation has a post up titled The Mueller Indictments Still Don’t Add Up to Collusion. Normally, one wouldn’t expect The Nation to be supportive of Donald Trump, and it may be that they’re really not in this case. The magazine has a history of … how shall I phrase this … favorable reporting … yeah, that’s the ticket … favorable reporting on Russia. So any aid they give to the President may only be a by product of their real intention.

The January 2017 intelligence report begat an endless cycle of innuendo and unverified claims, inculcating the public with fears of a massive Russian interference operation and suspicions of the Trump campaign’s complicity. The evidence to date casts doubt on the merits of this national preoccupation, and with it, the judgment of the intelligence, political, and media figures who have elevated it to such prominence.

Read the whole thing anyway.

Who’s Next?


So Little Rocket Man may be giving up his nukes. We’ll see how that works out.

If it does, it will be an interesting precedent for other countries with weak economies that can’t carry the load of paying simultaneously for weapons development and economic development. Iran has a bigger economy than North Korea, but the mullahs have stunted their civil economies growth. Pakistan has lots of nukes and rampant poverty. The collapse of the Soviet Union was driven in large part by that country’s inability to pay for guns and butter. The Russians changed leaders, got a modestly improved economy, and kept their nukes. Will Kim preserve his hold on power by giving up his nukes for economic development? Will anyone else?

Stay tuned.

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.

Good Manners v. Effective Communication


I’ve been gathering my thoughts to write about President Trump’s use of the word shitholes and the resulting media pearl clutching, but Andrew Klavan has beaten me to the punch with a better essay than I was planning.

(Personally, my first thought on hearing about the remark was: “What squirrely little tattle-tale of a weasel went running to the press with that?” But never mind. That’s just me.)

Also,

For all the bad language, for all the loose talk, I would rather hear a man speak as a man without fear of the Nurse Ratcheds in the press and the academy than have him neutered and gagged by a system of good manners that has been misused as a form of oppression. Better impoliteness than silence. Better crudeness than lies.

Read the whole thing.

President Trump at the UN


President Trump spoke at the UN yesterday. The usual suspects—The Washington Post, the New York Times, Senator Feinstein, Venezuela—have all expressed their disapproval of his remarks, but Claudia Rosett has a more favorable assessment over at PJ Media. Venezuela’s foreign minister compared Trump to Ronald Reagan. He said that is if it were a bad thing.

But the bottom line is that for the first time in years, an American president went before the UN and in plain words spelled out some vital truths about America, the UN, and the world. Whatever the UN General Assembly might make of it, once it recovers from the shock, that’s a good thing for the world, and a very good thing for America.

Read the whole thing.

Why Trump Won


Edward Luttwak has an essay over at The Times Literary Supplement in which he speculates on the Trump family’s future. In the process he reviews the state of the American economy during the 2016 election to explain his thesis why Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were the two most electable candidates and notes that in 2016 the average family in Detroit did not have enough income to be able to afford a new car.

Detroit, the Motor City, was too poor to afford new cars, and Trump carried Michigan by surprise.