Un ultra-libéral et Donald Trump

Je suis en contact intermittent avec un copain de lycée ( presque 60 ans plus tard!) Dernièrement, il m’ a écrit ceci:

“…c’est vrai que je n’ai pas récemment formulé d’avis sur tes dernières livraisons[sur Facebook et sur mon blog-J.D.] dont beaucoup se rapportent à des sujets typiquement américains sur lesquels je n’ai pas d’opinion très argumentée. Je m’intéresse cependant beaucoup aux élections avec la crainte que Donald (un président avec un nom de canard!)  finisse par l’emporter. Simplement çà serait tellement du n’importe quoi à tous les étages que çà serait passionnant à observer. Si cet événement terrible  se réalisait il répondrait probablement hélas à une question que je me pose régulièrement:qu’est ce qui initiera le déclin de l’Amérique

Je comprends que les Francais, y compris mon copain qui connait bien l’Anglais – soit éberlués. Je vais essayer d’expliquer un peu ce qui se passe y compris mes propres actions à venir. Mais avant tout, je dois répondre à sa question sur le déclin de l’Amérique: Indubitablement, c’est la présidence de Barak Obama, un homme médiocre, vaguement gauchiste, élu seulement parce qu’il est noir (et encore, pas tellement -une remarque que j’expliquerai volontiers si on me le demande).

La popularité de Donald Trump auprès d’une grosse partie de l’électorat, autant que son impopularité pour une encore plus grosse partie, ressortent du même phénomène psycho-social. Curieusement, il y a un recouvrement considérable entre la popularité de Trump et celle du Démocrate de gauche Bernie Sanders, des révolte populistes.

Apres 8 ans de marasme économique – pas très grave selon les critères français mais inhabituels ici – après huit ans de déclin géopolitique américain, assaisonné du spectacle pitoyable de marins à genoux, les mains croisées sur la tête dans le Golfe Persique, apres un “accord” nucléaire catastrophique autant qu’extra-constitutionnel avec la meurtrière République Islamique d’Iran, après de nombreux autres débordements extra-constitutionnels de l’administration Obama (dont “l’accord” en question n’est qu’un exemple), beaucoup de conservateurs habituellement modérés sont furieux. Ils se demandent pourquoi le Congrès a servi a M. Obama sur un plat d’argent tout ce qu’il voulait après deux victoires consécutives du Parti Républicain aux élections partielles. A quoi sert d’avoir une majorité aux deux chambres si le président continue à faire ce qu’il veut sans se soucier des voeux de plus de la moitié des électeurs, ses concitoyens, on se demande?

Le phénomène Trump est donc surtout et avant tout un rejet massif d’une classe politique Républicaine jugée trop passive. Le parallèle avec les progrès du Front National en France est limité mais foncièrement valide. Trump exprime un ras-le-bol politique dont Sanders est le pendant à gauche, (pour des raisons seulement partiellement différentes).

Etant donné le caractère emotionel de ce phénomène, les débordements de Trump, ses déclarations loufoques, même sa fréquente grossièreté, ne le desservent moins qu’il ne renforcent sa popularité auprès de la grosse minorité des conservateurs qui ressentent le plus ce ras-le-bol. On respecte son espèce de franc-parler, en quelques sorte, même si on trouve qu’il va un peu loin.

Que faire quand on est un conservateur, un “ultra-libéral” rationaliste et peu sujet aux engouements – comme moi, par exemple? L’analyse pertinente n’est pas si compliquée qu’on peut le penser.

Aux élections présidentielles de Novembre, bien que d’autres partis soient representés, seulement deux candidats auront la moindre chance de gagner, Trump et Clinton*. Mon copain de lycée a raison: un Président Trump risque de faire un peu n’importe quoi. En plus, de mon point de vue “d’ulta-libéral” ce n’est même pas un vrai conservateur. Ses positions hostiles vis-à-vis des accords de commerce international, par example, en eux mêmes me sont complètement inacceptables. Bien qu’il s’en défende, c’est un protectioniste de la vieille école. En plus, son ignorance macro-économique est choquante, même pour un ancien prof comme moi, endurci par l’expérience et que les étalages d’ignorance choque rarement.

De l’autre côté, nous avons l’ex-Première Dame, protectrice des ignominies adultères de son mari et de son parejure public, sous-serment, et dont le bref passage au Senat est passé (heureusement) inaperçu, l’ex-Secrétaire d’Etat( Ministre des affaires étrangères) au mandat à la fois incompétent et mensonger. Nous avons aussi en elle une escroque garantie et déjà vendue par avance à plusieurs pays étrangers par le biais de la fondation- machine-à-soux qu’elle a créee avec son mari Bill, un véritable repaire de voleurs.

Dans mon esprit, voter pour Trump c’est voter pour l’inconnu plus un peu de connu que je n’aime pas du tout. Voter pour Clinton, c’est voter pour l’incurie garantie et pour la malhonnêtetée systémique. (Je constate bien sur que m’abstenir est une sorte de vote pour Clinton.) Pas un choix facile. Heureusement, Trump a fait dernièrement ce qu’il fallait pour trancher le noeud gordien.

Les commentateurs avertis nous disent que le prochain président se verra dans l’obligation de nommer, deux, trois et même peut-être quatre juges de la Court suprême fédérale. Or, la Court suprême legifère de plus en plus, un fait contraire à la Constituion et que je regrette vivement, ce qui ne m’empêche pas d’ être conscient de ses profondes implications socio-politiques. (Ces juges sont nommes a vie.)

On sait d’avance qui Clinton nommerait, essaierait de nommer à la Cour Suprême: des gens choisis pour leur apartenance à une catégorie sociale donnée (fille-mère noire et lesbienne d’origine asiatique, par example; je plaisante mais pas beaucoup). Surtout des juristes qui continueraient la dérapade anti-constitutionnelle et le glissement vers une société américaine ressemblant aux sociétes bloqués et inertes de l’Europe. (Oui, comme la France, par example).

Trump lui, a produit il y a quelques jours une liste de onze candidats potentiels à la Court Suprême. Après examen par des périodiques conservateurs sérieux, dont le Wall Street Journal et le Weekly Standard, tous me seraient acceptables. Pour moi, c’est la fin du dilemme. Je voterai pour Trump, que je n’aime toujours pas du tout. Vote du moindre mal s’il en fut!

Un écart possible: Si les sondages indiquent juste avant les élections un ras-de-marée probable en faveur de Clinton, je donnerai mon vote au petit parti Libertarian qui n’a aucune chance de gagner mais dont le programme constitue un recherche intellectuelle et morale sur la réduction de la surface de l’Etat vis-à-vis de la société civile. Ce serait donc un vote de principe sans portée politique directe.

*Bernie Sanders: La seule chance que M. Sanders devienne le candidat Democrate serait que l’enquête actuelle du FBI aboutisse enfin et que M. Obama autorise sa copine la Ministre fédérale de la justice (“Attorney General”) à inculper Mme Clinton pour ses divers délits. Ça m’étonnerait, ça étonnerait tout le monde, surtout Mme Clinton d’ailleurs. Si l’impossible arrivait, j’aurais une longue conversation avec moi-même sur la possibilité de voter pour un crypto-communiste. J’aime bien le Senateur Sanders. Il a mon âge. C’est indéniablement un homme intègre. Et puis, il croit virtuellement tout ce que je croyais à l’âge de 25 ans! Il n’a pas changé d’une virgule. Si par extraordinaire, il devenait président, ce serait chouette, le retour de 1968!

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Socialisms – Part Two

 

Sweden’s Imaginary Socialism as a Non-Model

Part One of this essay was posted a couple of days ago. In it, I reviewed briefly several avatars and zombies of socialism vaguely defined. I arrived at the conclusion that when Sen. Sanders says “democratic socialism,” he means pretty much Sweden and only Sweden (and perhaps, Denmark).

First, let me say that Sweden is a good place to live; it’s a very civilized country. I just don’t know in what sense it’s “socialist.” Center left parties took part in governing the country for most of the 20th century, true. Yet, little of Swedish commerce or industry is nationalized, or in any way public property. The Swedish government tends not to be invasive with regulations or direct intervention. Sweden even ranks a little higher than the US in “business freedom” on the 2016 (international) Index of Economic Freedom. Swedish companies are thriving, at home and abroad. Swedish capitalism is obviously alive and well.

I suspect that what confused Sen. Sanders and those of his supporters who have even thought about it is that the Swedish government offers extensive and high quality services to its citizens, many of which services that would belong to the private sector in other advanced societies. Let me say it again because this is an important point: The Swedish government is a quality service provider. But Swedes pay for these services with very high taxes. Swedish workers, on the average receive less than 50 of the income they earn. Careful: micro aggression coming. This is to me an unbearable negation of personal freedom, no matter how high the quality of services Swedish citizens receive “in return.” Thus, even in moderate, impeccably democratic Sweden, “socialism” proves to be liberticide, it blocks on a massive scale and routinely the realization of individual wishes, the pursuit of happiness, in other words. To take an example: Those Swedes who would rather earn less money and spend more time reading philosophy, for example, practically are prevented by high taxes from even trying. Incidentally, the share of GDP taken by Swedish taxes has been declining since the 90s. It would make sense for socialist Sen. Sanders to ask why. Hint: This decline was accompanied by a strong rise in GDP growth.

Sweden is a well managed capitalist welfare state. It would have been more ingenuous for Sen. Sanders to say this clearly rather than drag out the soiled word “socialism.” This assumes that he knows the difference, of course. His followers evidently do not.

I want to make a detour here about Swedish income inequality. because inequality is a topic dear to Sen. Sanders’ supporters. As you would expect, and as is intended, Sweden has one of the lowest income inequality on Earth (Gini Index: 0.25 vs the US about 0.44). However, its wealth inequality is very high (Gini Index: 0.85). This curious divergence is compatible with several scenarios including this alluring possibility: Socialist-inspired schemes designed to procure income equality had the effect – probably unintended – of freezing wealth disparities to where they were before “socialism.” It’s almost impossible to get ahead from near the bottom of the economic ladder when your income is seized before you even see it. For one thing, high taxes make it difficult or impossible to accumulate capital to create a new small business and therefore, new jobs. In other words, in many years of Swedish socialism, the restaurant waiter remained a restaurant waiter, the local Rockefeller remained Rockefeller, while the former was earning $12/hour and the latter only $24, both after taxes. (Figures made up). As I said, other scenarios can account for divergence between income inequality and wealth inequality. Play at imagining them. Good luck.

Whether or not one considers the objectives of Swedish-style “democratic socialism,” desirable there are considerable obstacles in the path of realizing it in America. Sen. Sanders and his followers semi-consciously assume that given the right legislation – not to forget far-reaching executive orders since the path has been open by President Obama – the United States could be turned into a kind of Sweden. There are three-plus things about American society that make this dream unrealistic.

First, until right now, Sweden was a thoroughly middle-class society. I mean by this that nearly everyone, except for a few skinheads, shared an understanding of the good life, and the same ethical system. We, in the USA, by contrast have a whole Third World inside our boundaries. I refer, of course to all of Louisiana, to Chicago and its suburbs, to some parts of Texas and New Mexico, and to nearly all black inner- city ghettos. (Read carefully: I did not say “predominantly black areas.”) Third World conditions breed predatory behavior. That makes the job of civil servants difficult. It also sucks up public resources for policing.

Second, and at the risk of breaching the etiquette of political correctness, Swedish society if fairly restrained as compared to most others, certainly as compared to American society. It’s a collective trait. It does not mean that most Swedes are restrained but that many Swedes are. I mean by this, for example, that on the average Swedish drunks are more polite, less noisy and less dangerous than American drunks. Collective restraint makes all government functions easier to perform obviously.

Third, Sen. Sanders assumes implicitly that given a victory, his administration would easily generate the first-class federal civil service that makes the Swedish welfare state function effectively and smoothly. That is an unrealistic assumption. Think the IRS, of course, and TSA (that’s never caught a terrorist ever, or ever stopped a terrorist action). Think of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that generously donated hundred of firearms to Mexican drug cartels. Think of the Environmental Protection Agency, that declared CO2 – the main plant food – a noxious gas subject to its regulation. I could go on.

Good civil services are rooted in a broad social  tradition whereas smart, well-educated people chose careers in government in preference to a business career. There is no such American tradition. It would take many years of bad private employment before preferences of such individuals would shift away from business. Here is the question: can so-called “socialist” policies be implemented so quickly in America that private employment will worsen soon enough to serve the requirements of a quality civil service necessary to the implementation of the same-self “socialism”?

I must add a fourth obstacle to the success of Swedish style welfare state in the US, one that I don’t necessarily believe in myself. Swedes and also Danes keep telling me the following: Their form of welfare “socialism” involves a high degree of forced sharing. The acceptance of such taking from Peter to give Paul is well served by the fact that Paul is a lot like Peter and even looks a lot like him. According to this view, the high population homogeneity of Sweden until now is a necessary condition to the confiscatory taxes imposed on ordinary wage earners that is at the heart of its “socialism.” Needless to say, the US population is low on homogeneity (a fact, I celebrate myself).

So, a gifted, honest, competent civil service is central to the welfare capitalist supposedly “socialist” Swedish model (which the Swedes themselves explicitly do not propose as a model). My unavoidably subjective judgment is that a United States Sanderista civil service would, with some effort, with much reform, place somewhere between the French and the Brazilian. To think otherwise is the height of ignorant wishful thinking bordering on hubris.

 I am not hugely alarmed at the prospect of a new American capitalist welfarism though for the simple reason that we are already half-way there. Sen. Sanders’ more-of-the-same would not be Armageddon. It only promises an accelerated decline of this vibrant, inventive, culturally brilliant society accompanied by more short-term equality, less equity, and more poverty- and therefore less freedom – for all.

PS Incidentally, I am not much opposed to Sen. Sanders’ proposal to make state universities and college tuition-free. I think the proposal has the same justification as publicly supported elementary and secondary schooling. I would be willing to bet such a measure would have the same overall beneficial economic results as the GI Bill did right after WWII. Finally, there is just a chance that government management would put a brake on the unconscionable rise in the cost of tertiary schooling, of what universities charge without restraints. It’s not as if the current system that largely separates the decision makers from the payers, from the beneficiaries had worked really well!

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SocialismS – Part One

Sanders and Me and not so Democratic Socialism

Sen. Sanders got a huge pass this primary season. Captivated by the deep dishonesty of one probable nominee and the crude ignorance of the other (not to mention his plain crudeness), the media, and informal commentators like myself, have not given the Demo candidate and his program the attention they deserve. Also, in the current primary contest, it’s difficult not to like the guy. I have said several times that he inspires in me a kind of twisted affection. Plus, he has real pluck. But, let’s face, it: He is probably done, or done for.

Sen. Sanders has gone very far into the primary while maintaining perfect dignity in his demeanor. He has seldom stooped to personal insults even when he was being severely tried by a Ms Clinton who seems to consider the man’s very candidacy a grave offense, an offense against the natural order of things, a crime of lèse-majesté, even a form of woman abuse. In the meantime Mr Sanders will have single-handedly rehabilitated the word “socialism.” This matters for the future of this nation. Time to look at it critically.

I, personally, especially like Sanders the man. I have reasons to. We are the same age; we went to college at about the same time, both in good universities. He took a fairly active part in the desegregation movement. I did not because it was too early in my American sojourn. (I wish I had taken part.) Nevertheless at age 25, Sanders and I were both leftists. The main difference between us is this: Fifty years later, he has remained impeccably faithful to the ideals of our youth while I walked away, faster and faster, really. I learned to understand the invisible hand of the market. I did some good readings. I was lucky enough to observe my leftists academic colleagues in action at close range early on. Cannily, I observed that the victorious Vietnamese Communist Party did not establish a workers’ paradise in its part of the world. I loathed authoritarianism in any guise. The Senator, meanwhile, spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union.

When that latter country fell apart and its archives were open, the Senator had nothing to say about the eighty years of mass atrocities they revealed. I am guessing he did not think he had to because he believed in the democratic brand of socialism. It’s hard to tell how much history he knows.(I think that liberals in general are ignorant, including academic liberals. I could tell you stories about them that would raise your hair on the back of your neck.) It does not take much knowledge though to guess that Lenin and the 1916 Bolsheviks did not originally set out deliberately to create a tyranny. Too bad they had to come to power by overthrowing by force of arms a democratically elected government. (See “Kerensky.”) Still, they named the new country “The Union of Socialist Soviet Republics,” and the word “soviet” means “council,” and “republic” means what it means. But, building socialism wasn’t working out; too many people with bad attitudes. So Lenin had to nudge History a little bit with bayonets, with barbed wire, with organized famines and soon, with a bullet to the back of the head of those who stood in the way. The Bolsheviks were forced to choose between socialism and democracy. They chose the former and they got neither. There is no record of Sen. Sanders making any relevant comment. (As always, I am eager to correct my errors.)

It’s less clear whether the Communist Party of China ever had a democratic plan. The unauthorized biography of Mao by his personal doctor reads like a tissue of horrors right from the start.(Dr. Li Zhisui.The Private Life of Chairman Mao   1994) The Communist Parties of Eastern Europe simply came to power in the wagon train of the Red Army occupying their countries. None of them ever got close to getting there through free elections. The most interesting is the case of East Germany, ruled by a fusion of a native communist party and of preexisting democratic socialist parties. Together, they achieved a fair degree of material success for the East German people yet, they never managed to make do without a police state. Today, Sanders’ backers may not remember or they may not know that the German Democratic Republic, as it was called with a straight face, disappeared overnight. Someone had left a back door open to this paragon of socialist success and the people immediately started voting with their feet by the tens of thousands.

This is all irrelevant, Senator Sanders’ supporters would claim. You are describing a grave perversion of socialism; again,we only want democratic socialism.

During much of my adult life, the ill-defined words “socialism” and “socialist” were used with all kinds of modifiers: “African socialism,” “Arab socialism.” In all cases, the regimes so named led their countries straight to poverty, usually accompanied by official kleptocracy. In India, a really democratic country, the mild Ghandian-Nehruan form of socialism produced deep poverty for two generations including in the large, educated Indian middle class . (Just compare and contrast with un-socialist South Korea which started in 1953, after a devastating war, much poorer than India had been in 1949 when it became independent.) Socialism – whatever that is – is normally the road sign that points toward generalized poverty. Perhaps, this is only the result of a fateful case of reverse magic naming: Call something good, reasonable “socialist: and it begins degrading and sinking! Go figure!

OK, this is all about ancient times, they say. So, let’s look at current examples.

In Venezuela, socialism started under unusually favorable conditions because the country had considerable oil income that minimized the need for high taxation, a major reason for discontent in most socialist experiments. Yet, the socialists in power there made such a mess of it that today, only a few years later, the country suffers about 400% inflation (in 2016). If you had a dollar’s worth of local money there 12 months ago, it now only buys about a quarter’s worth of milk or bread. The skilled middle-class is leaving or trying to. They may return later; or, they may not. If they don’t, it will take a couple of generations at best to rebuild the country’s human capital after the socialist experiment ends.

Note that the sharp drop in world oil prices has affected many countries. It’s only in “Bolivarian” socialist Venezuela that you will see mass exodus and severe shortages of necessities.

In Brazil, The Workers’ Party is in power. The sitting president is a woman whose bona fide, whose socialist credentials are not in question. When she was young, she was imprisoned and even tortured for her belief in socialism, or because she was a guerrilla. ( That ‘s the name for a left-wing terrorist). She would now be impeached for making up optimistic economic figures for her country, except for the fact that the man constitutionally designated to replace her is also under indictment for corruption. It was bound to happen. The federal government in Brazil eats up 40% of GDP. The huge national oil company, Petrobras is nationalized; it belongs to the government, a favorite socialist arrangement. So oil revenues belong to everyone which means they belong to no one. Why not help myself a little, generations of Brazilian politicians have figured? There are no shareholders to keep tabs and to complain, after all. Socialism and kleptocracy are like father and son.

But, but, you say, those are Third World countries that have not yet recovered from the corrupting influence of colonialism (200 years later). Point well taken. Here is another case I know well, of a socialist country that has not been colonized since about 50 (BC.) France has been under the guiding hand of the French Socialist Party for nearly five years this time around. By the way, France is a democratic country with fair elections and a free press. The Socialists won fair and square. They were in power for 23 of the 35 years since 1981. They largely implemented their program and there few few rollbacks – except by themselves, a few times when they understood the disastrous effects of the reforms they had implemented. I am thinking of a broad de-nationalization of banks in 1981-82. (This is directly relevant to Sen. Sanders’ thinking.)

The French Socialist Party in power never tried to restrict freedom of the press and it did not fill the prisons with its opponents. (Instead, it emptied them hastily of violent criminals, according to its security critics.) By and large, its rule has been quite civilized. There is just that pesky problem of chronic unemployment which never dips much below 10% (25% for the young; sky is the limit if you are young and your name is “Mohamed”). There is also the fact that economic stagnation is now seen as normal by the young. Has been for a couple of generations, now. And then, there is the unbelievable cultural sterility of French society (another story, obviously that I partially tell elsewhere on this blog. Ask me.)

True story: a few months ago, members of the socialist government celebrated loudly. That was because the government office of economic analysis had revised upward its estimate of annual economic growth from GDP: + 0.4% to +0.6% !(Yes, that ‘s 6 tenth of one per cent. It’s true that today, in the spring of 2016, it’s at a respectable annual 2% plus.)

“No, no,” cries Sen. Sanders ( and I can almost hear him from here) ” I don’t mean ‘socialist’ as in ‘Union of Socialist Soviet Republics,’ and I don’t mean Red China, and I don’t mean North Korea, certainly, and I don’t mean Cuba (although…), and I don’t mean Venezuela today, or Brazil. And, I don’t even mean France although I could not explain why exactly. ( Bad call here, Senator. The French single-payer health care system works well; it’s cheaper than US health care, and French men live two years longer than American men.) I mean socialism as in Denmark and Sweden. Now, here we are at last. In part Two, we will look at what passes for Swedish “socialism.” (Denmark is too small to be an example, perhaps.)

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Climate Change Fiascoes and the Second Amendment

     In the week ending April 9th 2016, the Climate Change campaign suffered not one but two fiascoes. I am not sure that anyone besides me noticed. People are busy. They work; they rear their children. Many don’t have time to be critical about every little thing. Many are seldom critical of anything. I don’t work anymore; my children are reared, (for better or for worse); my mortgage is going to start paying back any time. My criticality is sharpened by broad reading. So, I will comment on the fiascoes on behalf of everyone else. Two reasons.

First, in spite of general public cooling to the concept (no pun), in the US, policy measures are being taken as I write as if there were no question that mitigating alleged global warming were a high priority. Second, where sets of beliefs of this sort (see below) are concerned, it’s not unusual for coolness to turn unexpectedly into heat. Witness the return of the popularity of “socialism” in this primary campaign. It’s as if I were 25 again, N. S. ! If you had bet me in 1996, that some politician would call himself a socialist, I would have lost my hundred bucks. So, better vaccinate, again and again against falsehoods. In a way, it’s the job of old men finally free from testosterone poisoning to do the vaccinating.

The first fiasco went unnoticed even, I think, by those responsible for it. The United Nations Inter-Governmental Consortium on Climate Change issued a warning to the effect that some forecasts regarding the consequences of climate change may well have been underestimated. The example that sticks to my mind is that the maximum rise in the ocean surface in the next hundred years could easily be six feet, instead of the three feet previously forecast. (My numbers are not precise; the order of magnitude is correct which is what matters in my story.)

So, think about it: The international authority on climate change may have been very wrong on an important issue; the issue of how many of the world’s cities are likely to be under water come 2116. In fact, the Consortium admits that it may have been wrong by a smashing 100%, one hundred per cent. Think!

Interestingly, the Consortium only considers the possibility that it underestimated future flooding. It has nothing to say about the possibility that it overestimated it. But, wait a minute, how can you trust anything, or any method, or anyone whose forecasts is one hundred per cent wrong? How can you further trust that it’s only wrong in one direction? I could be convinced but it would take some explaining. While, I wait, I think it’s more reasonable to assume that what’s wrong one way could easily be wrong the other way. So, the likely rise in the ocean surface in the next hundred years, from global warming and what not, is likely to be three feet to – nothing, zero, nada, rien, zilch, la sha. (I am paraphrasing here a short piece in the Wall Street Journal. I am sorry I am unable to give credit to the reporter. )

The second fiasco is even worse because it verges on fraud, or, it is actually fraudulent, or it expresses ignorance that is worse than fraud. A report issued by the Obama Administration ( I don’t know which branch) and dubbed “scientific” gravely warns that in some future time (that I don’t remember, and it does not matter), the number of people world-wide who will die from the effects of high temperatures will increase significantly. Point well taken. It took Bjorn Lomborg ( environmental activist, statistician, and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist ) writing also in the Wall Street Journal to point out the following: Still world-wide, many more people die from the cold than from heat. If the rise in temperature projected by the Movement happens, many more people will be saved from the cold than will die from the heat. In other words, the net effect of rising temperatures on mortality will be negative. Global warming as projected will save lives! (I know I am repeating myself.)

Global warming will save lives. To omit this simple fact (it’s not in dispute, I understand) bespeaks incredible dishonesty or unfathomable ignorance. I am not quick to conclude to dishonesty. The Climate Change Movement is a religion loosely and distantly based on science. Devotees may be honestly incapable of seeing unpleasant facts pertaining to their revealed truth. Or, the Obama Administration is underestimating the American people’s intelligence, again!

According to Rush Limbaugh (yes) 15 state attorney generals and a congressman have come together to examine the possibility of suing civilly, or even criminally, those who deny the reality of climate change. Limbaugh is surprisingly well informed overall but he is not always well informed. So, I would not take this as more than a rumor if I had not read a congressman’s letter to the Wall Street Journal where he denies that he wants to do any such thing, or all such things, it was not clear from the letter.

The Climate Change Movement is a religion that is made all the more dangerous because it’s losing traction in the US: The faithful are turning unfaithful; prepare the pyres!

So, if there is any grain of truth at all to the idea that some parts of government wish to criminalize disagreement, it’s a really good, fresh justification for the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was written largely to protect the First Amendment guaranteeing free speech and freedom from religion.  (Note for my overseas readers: The Second Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees American citizens’ right to possess weapons, including firearms. The Amendment forbids government, all levels of government, from interfering with this right The American left is forever trying to grind down the Second Amendment and mostly failing. There are currently more firearms than there are Americans. Every time, Mr Obama speaks against the Second Amendment, weapon sales surge. He is the arms industry’s best friend.)

Here is a link to another one of my blogs on climate change:

https://factsmatter.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/climate-change-and-bad-science/

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Life is Good Even During the Primaries

    It’s a sunny airy day in Central California, where I live. I am standing not far from the wharf (“le debarcadère”), a pretty good single-shot dark roast espresso in one hand and a cigarette in the other. (I know, I know, no need to tell me.) It’s pretty warm although it’s only April 3rd. Bless global warming (if any) ! A young man rolls by on his bike. He has his shirt off. His surfboard is held by a special, ingenuous rack on the side of the bike.

I am a bit tired because I spent the morning at the flea market with my pretty little granddaughter. A lady jeweler gave her a ring made of twisted yellow metal (maybe not gold). Then, the girl declared an interest in a long piece of purple fabric, transparent with paillettes and spangles attached. It’s “tulle,” I think; I know the name and I am not even gay! The fabric is long enough to drape into a sari. The man is asking for two dollars then, he takes a second look at her and, without prompting, bargains himself down to $1.50. We leave the flea market with a sari potential, used cleat shoes for soccer, size 1, three papayas, three eggplants, and a ring (which may not be gold).

I can’t linger because I have hard work left to do this afternoon. Yesterday, my granddaughter and I went to the tide-pools a little way north of Santa Cruz. We collected wild mussels* – among the best in the world, I believe. I have to spend a couple of hours cleaning the shell of each of them before cooking them for tonight dinner. I will be drinking white wine or beer all the while. There will be little pain.

Donald Trump is ignorant and offensive; I would not let him in my house. Sen. Sanders is also ignorant; he is polite but really stubborn; much or most of what he says is absurd and uninformed. Sec. Clinton is a multidimensional crook and liar. Sen. Cruz has his heart in the right place but no one likes him, not even his mother, not even his dog, probably.

But life is still good, somehow.

* Don’t eat wild mussels in California without being very well informed. They can be poisonous for much of the year. (Not because of pollution.) The California Department of Health monitors wild mussels and provides a phone number for updates.

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Dear Reader: When you become tired of my serious lectures on heavy economic and sociological issues, you might take a look at my collection of  depraved stories:

Indecent Stories for Decent Women

It’s published under the pen name: John Rene Adolph on Amazon (electronic only at this point):

http://www.amazon.com/INDECENT-STORIES-FOR-DECENT-WOMEN-ebook/dp/B018ZYR9DS

 

 

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The Sucker Punch

A frail looking 78-year old man punched by surprise a hearty young disrupter at a Trump rally on national television. He was arrested and charged with assault. His bail was set at $2,500. You got that right. That’s the kind of bail you have to post if you spit on the ground, in some places. It’s lower than the bail, you have to post for selling a small quantity of cannabis in cities where it’s still illegal. Signs of things to come I think.

Dear overseas reader: The kind of crime involved here is entirely a matter for state courts, the courts of North Carolina, in this case. The Federal Government has nothing to say about it.

Next, the judge might simply dismiss the charges. It happens all the time. If he does not, I think the case is not gong to trial unless some group or other, or Trump himself proffer the puncher their help. More likely, there will be a plea bargain. The puncher will plead guilty to shouting, or something like that and he will get a sentence to do community service which he will enjoy doing because he is probably lonely, like many old guys. In the unlikely event that the case goes to trial, keep in mind that the puncher is entitled to a jury of his peers – in North Carolina. The jurors will not be drawn from the ranks of ultra leftist MoveOn or from leftist billionaire Soros’ employees.

The most likely outcome is that the puncher will be found not guilty because he had no intent to hurt anyone. It was just a spontaneous gesture brought on by indignation, spur of the moment-like. If I were his attorney, I would draw the jury’s attention to the fact that the puncher said right after the event, “We don’t know if he may be a member of ISIS,” not a completely sane remark, actually. It will be interesting to see if the punchee is eager to seek redress. On the one hand, he may be a squeaky clean honors student with no record at all. On the other hand, he may be a professional rioter with a jacket as long as a day in jail. If it’s the latter, the judge will forbid the punchers’ attorney from mentioning this fact to the jurors. The truth will get around, outside the courtroom, anyway. The punchee’s handlers would want to avoid this. And then, there is jury nullification. (Ask me whether you are American or a an overseas reader.)

In case there is a trial and the puncher is found guilty of something, the judge will have to be careful in sentencing him. Who wants a doddering old martyr who loves his country too much? Best give him a suspended sentence, I would think. And, the judge must absolutely resist the temptation to hit the culprit with a symbolic one dollar fine lest Trump supporters start lining up for what they will think is a cheap punch-a-leftist permit!

Many crocodile tears have been shed by white liberals and by the liberal press about the fact that the punchee is black. He was much more hurt by that single feeble punch than were the 106 Chicago black youths who were murdered by other young black people in Chicago since the beginning of the year, they think. Those are not really really dead, they will come back, they may come back, probably. The white-punched black punchee on the other hand was punched eternally, forever!

Now, I shouldn’t sound like I am making light here. I understand that physical violence within a political context is more worrisome than say, parking lot fistfights that go wrong or your run-of-the-mill crime of passion. Political violence, even it it’s slight has the potential to disrupt any system of government, even one that is fairly civilized such as ours in the US. But not all violence is equal. Some private violence is even protected under the law of most states.

According to CNN, the punchee, Mr Jones said the following after the incident,”The trend at all of these rallies has been if you’re not there to support him, get out of here,”

Yes, Mr Jones, that’s the idea. You were not invited! You crashed the party. When asked to leave, you are suppose to leave immediately. You have every right to seek redress for the punch but not for being made to feel unwelcome in a rally you tried to disrupt. You have no protected right to do that. You are confused, Mr Jones. You are not the only one; your teammates all are.

The young hard left, the old liberals and the pious press keep forgetting – actively forgetting – a simple fact: All the disrupters who were hurt (slightly in all cases) put themselves in a position where they were trying to stop speech, the speech of those they deem horrible, or objectionable, or anything at all. Our political tradition does not say that “speech should be allowed to proceed except from really bad people.” ! Liberal commentators. – there was one on my FB recently – want to argue that Mr Trump’s own crude threats are responsible for the disrupters’ coming into his rallies and trying to stop him from speaking. I don’t think that’s correct.

Suppose, I am talking to my wife with the window open. You happen to overhear me describing you as an A..-H… . Does this fact grand you permission to walk into the house through the back door and to yell at me to shut me up?

As I write (3/17/16) there have been no reported attempts to disrupt Sec. Clinton’s or Sen. Sanders’ meetings. No one had tried to stop them from speaking. At this point only a Trump rally had to be canceled because of threats. It’s only Republicans’ freedom of speech that was successfully infringed.

In the incident of record, from the standpoint of free speech, the victim is not the punchee but the puncher.

Now, at this point, have I said that the old puncher was right or within his rights? Have I said anything that excuses his pathetic violent behavior?

No one should be surprised about the political direction of the current violations of the right to speak freely. Opponents of the freedom to speak are usually on the left, in fact, they are almost always on the left. The Wall Street Journal (3/16/16) reports that Mr Obama’s Attorney General has referred to the FBI criminal investigative division a request to prosecute climate dissent. Would I make this up? Do I have the imagination?

With all this, I find no redeeming virtue in Mr Trump save one. He does not know what he is talking about much of the time. He does appeal to some of the worst instincts of America. The only thing going for him is that he is not Sen. Clinton. If he is president, he will probably not steal from us. Ms Clinton will, for sure.

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