Passing on costs

Language may not be safe for work or children.

(HT: Cafe Hayek).

Posted in Liberty Clip | 7 Comments

Is there a case for Trump?

So first the real politic case from William McGurn:

The alternative is President Hillary Clinton.
This is the reality of choice in a two-party democracy. Still, many have a hard time accepting it. So even as Mr. Trump handily dispatched 16 more-experienced rivals, his shortcomings and unfitness for office have become a staple of conservative fare.

Yes, Mr. Trump elevates insult over argument. Yes, he is vague and contradictory about the details of his own proposals. And yes, he often speaks aloud before thinking things through. It’s all fair game.

Even so, in this election Mr. Trump is not running against himself. Though you might not know it from much of the commentary and coverage, he is running against Mrs. Clinton.

On so many issues—free trade, the claim that Mexico will pay for a border wall, his suspiciously recent embrace of the pro-life cause—Mr. Trump gives reasons for pause. But he still isn’t Mrs. Clinton. That’s crucial, because much of the argument for keeping Mr. Trump out of the Oval Office at all costs requires glossing over the damage a second Clinton presidency would do.

Damned by feint praise. I don’t doubt Mrs Clinton would be a bad president, but she will be bad in known and understandable ways.

Then the second case – this is Holman Jenkins explaining why Peter Thiel supports Trump:

So if Mr. Thiel this week gave himself the job of speaking for a candidate whom many of his Silicon Valley friends and peers frankly revile, one readily supposes the reasoning went like this: The Valley sees Trump as anti-trade, anti-immigration, and nothing in Mr. Thiel’s speech suggested Mr. Thiel is anti-trade, anti-immigration. But Mr. Trump is a wrecking ball at a time when Washington needs a wrecking ball. It needs a candidate whose very existence forcibly disrupts its ways and patterns.

Even Mr. Trump’s vulgarities, his reprehensible impulses (kill the innocent family members of terrorists), his dangerous suggestions (decide when the time comes whether to uphold NATO’s guarantee of the Baltics) might seem virtues, in a sense. They expand the boundaries of the sayable.

So the case is that Trump is a political disruptor who isn’t Mrs Clinton. I’m just wondering how many Americans actually want a political disruptor in power?

Posted in American politics, International | 80 Comments

Look at the up-side

I have argued before that the Australian government should nominate Kevin Rudd for the UN job. I thought that was all very detached and objective and all. But today Joe Hildebrand has exposed my hidden agenda:

The Right hates the UN and hates Kevin, so what better solution than to bring the two together. If Rudd wrecks the UN, they win. If the UN wrecks Rudd, they win.

Just to be clear, I don’t hate Rudd nearly as much as the UN. But still a win-win either way.

Posted in International, Libertarians don't live by argument alone | 30 Comments

Political fools and the American election

obama doom and gloom

I have seen LQC and Sinclair in the same room. In fact, although no one else will here remember, LQC’s nonsensical political views were also on display on Catallaxy during the election in 2012 when he was into a full frontal anti-Romney assault. Given Obama being Obama, of which by then we had already seen four years, and the choices we have now, anti-Romney sounds so utterly beyond idiocy that you would think that anyone who got it that wrong would just shut up.

The problems with Trump has never been in doubt. He is a property developer without a well-developed expertise in many of the political issues of our time. He has a bombastic personality and little relevant historical knowledge (although he is miles ahead of Obama). But having watched him over the past year, there is no doubt that unlike anyone else in the American political establishment, he understands what the issues are and what needs to be fixed. If it turns out he won’t be able to achieve what he says, I will be disappointed, but not sorry that he was my choice since there was no one else on the Republican side who offered to do what he has said he will try to do. And now that we are down to him and Hillary, the choice of Hillary is to choose evil and the almost immediate decay and destruction of the American Republic. Four supreme court picks and an open border naturialisation policy will mean no Republican ever becomes president again. Out past 2020, the nature of the US becomes almost unimaginable.

But Trump has genuine strengths, of which a will to have his own way is going to be extremely useful. He has also run a large organisation, so is in a similar situation to army commanders who have become president. He is not going to be as bad as Woodrow Wilson who was merely an academic and who had run nothing in his life other than a university (OK – he was governor of NJ for about a year before running for president).

You look at that story above. These are the forces that have been let loose because of Obama and Hillary. According to The Daily Mail, Grinning Obama JOKES during statement on Munich carnage as he shifts gears to say he’ll miss daughter Malia when she leaves the nest for college. There are fools everywhere, and there may be just enough of them in the US to make Hillary president. They are the same kind of fools who made Obama president for the last eight years so there are plenty of them about.

Posted in American politics | 78 Comments

Open Forum: July 23, 2016

Posted in Open Forum | 593 Comments

Peter Thiel at the Republican Convention

Good evening. I’m Peter Thiel. I build companies and I’m supporting people who are building new things, from social networks to rocket ships. I’m not a politician. But neither is Donald Trump. He is a builder, and it’s time to rebuild America.

Where I work in Silicon Valley, it’s hard to see where America has gone wrong. My industry has made a lot of progress in computers and in software, and, of course, it’s made a lot of money. But Silicon Valley is a small place. Drive out to Sacramento, or even just across the bridge to Oakland, and you won’t see the same prosperity. That’s just how small it is.

Across the country, wages are flat. Americans get paid less today than ten years ago. But healthcare and college tuition cost more every year. Meanwhile Wall Street bankers inflate bubbles in everything from government bonds to Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees. Our economy is broken. If you’re watching me right now, you understand this better than any politician in Washington D.C.

And you know this isn’t the dream we looked forward to. Back when my parents came to America looking for that dream, they found it right here in Cleveland. They brought me here as a one-year-old and this is where I became an American. Opportunity was everywhere. My dad studied engineering at Case Western Reserve University, just down the road from where we are now. Because in 1968, the world’s high tech capital wasn’t just one city: all of America was high tech.

It’s hard to remember this, but our government was once high tech, too. When I moved to Cleveland, defense research was laying the foundations for the internet. The Apollo program was just about to put a man on the moon–and it was Neil Armstrong, from right here in Ohio. The future felt limitless.

But today our government is broken. Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets can’t even fly in the rain. And it would be kind to say the government’s software works poorly, because much of the time it doesn’t even work at all. That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan project. We don’t accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.

Instead of going to Mars, we have invaded the Middle East. We don’t need to see Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails: her incompetence is in plain sight. She pushed for a war in Libya, and today it’s a training ground for ISIS. On this most important issue Donald Trump is right. It’s time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country.

When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?

Of course, every American has a unique identity. I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American. I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform; but fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline, and nobody in this race is being honest about it except Donald Trump.

While it is fitting to talk about who we are, today it’s even more important to remember where we came from. For me that is Cleveland, and the bright future it promised.

When Donald Trump asks us to Make America Great Again, he’s not suggesting a return to the past. He’s running to lead us back to that bright future.
Tonight I urge all of my fellow Americans to stand up and vote for Donald Trump.

Posted in American politics | 20 Comments

Sports lawyers lack self-awareness

From The Conversation:

To exclude the whole Russian team is a different and more complicated exercise.

Of course, there are broader issues here. To exclude an entire team is unfair to those athletes who did not dope; there can be no argument about that. Western legal systems abhor collective punishment – the sins of the parents are not visited upon the children.

But there are other competing issues, not the least of which is to protect the health of athletes by discouraging governments from undue interference in sporting affairs.

Communal punishment is abhorrent. But obviously not to western legal systems. Sports law seems to thrive on communal punishment and star chambers. If it were abhorrent why is it that so many lawyers have signed up, and western governments have written these laws into their own legal systems?

But there is another issue that caught my eye:

… discouraging governments from undue interference in sporting affairs.

I couldn’t agree more. The Australian government should immediately cease all funding of the Australian Sports Institute, and immediately repeal all anti-siphoning regulations for sports broadcasting rights.

Posted in AFLgate, Budget, Hypocrisy of progressives | 9 Comments

20 January 2017: President Hillary Clinton

The implosion of the Republican Party is simply astounding. The inability to endorse an articulate, credible statesman will condemn the GOP to another eight years in the wilderness. I am amazed that the GOP would select that great fool Donald Trump. It’s as if the GOP likes being out of the White House. Cruz recognized this when he refused to endorse Trump.

The Democrats must be rubbing their hands in glee. Yes, they have that tarnished candidate Hillary Clinton. But she is a shoo in.

My hand will struggle to vote for Hillary, but be steadied by examining the name Donald Trump. I have never voted for the Democrats in my life, but this time I will be forced to by the incompetence of the GOP. It is truly shameful. I will be one of thousands of GOP supporters who will be voting for Hillary. Hopefully in 2020 the GOP will put up a credible candidate. When I speak to my friends in Australia or the UK they ask how our great country, founded by Jefferson and the like, could even consider a candidate like Trump. I too am flummoxed and usually reply by saying that he has no chance of being elected. Or that delegates have a weird sense of humor and want to haunt our neighbors. But it won’t be the neighbors that will suffer under a Trump presidency. It will be the United State of America.  But that won’t happen – Trump will not win. He will run off with his tail between his legs and enter another bankruptcy agreement.

Posted in Uncategorized | 133 Comments

You cannot make an economy grow from the demand side

There is an exceptionally insightful article in The Oz today by Maurice Newman titled not very accurately as: Central banks hell-bent on a currency debauch Lenin would love. This is what I think is the crucial point:

Politicians share responsibility for today’s distorted economy, having recklessly spent tomorrow’s productive capital on consumption.

To a modern macroeconomist, all spending drives demand. To anyone with some kind of appreciation of economic cause and effect, wasting our productive efforts on non-value-adding forms of output will leave us with a barren future that will overtake us sooner than you might like to think. It doesn’t have to come in the form of a recession, although it could, but what is certain is that it will become ever more difficult to maintain our living standards even where they are. Our children are unlikely to live as well as we have done, although they will no doubt have a better class of mobile phone. The point Newman makes about the diversion of current expenditures away from productive investment is the single most depressing fact about out present circumstances, and among the last people to understand what is going on are our Prime Minister and his Treasurer.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Trump acceptance speech

I haven’t had the time to listen but will get to it tonight. His opponents will be the Democrats, of course, but also this: ROUND UP: MEDIA MOCKING OF REPUBLICANS INTENSIFIES…. But whatever happens between now and then, it will be the head-to-head debates between Trump and Clinton that will settle the issue. But let me just link to this, an article by Peter Wales at Quadrant Online, which captures what ought to be known. Here is a quote, but it far from the most important.

Finally, “He’s not a conservative!” Yes, he is. There is not a single Trump policy position that does not fit under the very wide umbrella of freedom-loving, free-market conservatism. It is certainly possible to disagree about some aspect of social policy, or trade, for example. But any position taken in these discussions is a long way from large government socialism. At best, #nevertrump can claim that Trump’s opinions now are not what they were twenty years ago. No intelligent person’s opinions are what they were twenty years ago. Values clarify as one gets older. Practical experience and knowledge of the world is gained. The world changes, problems and issues change, and ways of dealing with them change. There would be much more reason for concern if Trump’s opinions had not changed with changing times.

That there is virtually no public support for Trump across Australia is a sad fact because if not Trump, then Hillary.

Posted in American politics | 65 Comments