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Are Democrats really worried about foreign influence?

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 June 2017

The Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) are obsessed with this alleged connection between the Trump campaign and Russia. They cite the threat of “foreign influence in our democracy.”

Which is a problem, no doubt.

There is (so the intelligence community tells us) evidence that Russia tried to influence our election. There is not any evidence that the Trump campaign participated in that. That is entirely a Democrat / media hallucination, probably a consequence of breathing too rapidly during panic attacks about Hillary’s loss.

But if these folks are really worried about “foreign influences,” what about the now confirmed fact that illegals are voting in Virginia and the Democratic governor tried to suppress that information? Isn’t that “foreign influence”? Why isn’t the Washington establishment upset about that?

And then there’s this. I realize that “infowars” is a questionable source, but they claim the Bilderberg Group wants to bring Trump to heel or see him ousted from office to protect their globalist agenda. Whether the infowars story is right or wrong (I’d like to see it confirmed from another source), we’ve seen other evidence of this globalist / corporatist anti-Trump movement. Isn’t that “foreign influence”?

For example, we know that CEOs of big corporations are pressuring Trump in the name of their non-U.S. interests. Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg come to mind.

And what about the charges that Google manipulated search results to favor Hillary Clinton?

Maybe there isn’t much to these stories. I don’t know. They could just be right-wing paranoia. But there’s at least as much to these stories as there is to the crazy Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. But we don’t hear about them.

This is what “fake news” is all about. The “mainstream” media pushes the nonsense story about Trump-Russia collusion while other news sources push stuff about Bilderberg. It seems there are very few sources that play it straight.

What is quite obvious is that the Washington establishment isn’t really worried about foreign interference. They’re worried about interference contrary to their agenda, which (generally) tends to go along with the corporatist / globalist agenda, which Trump is disrupting.

2 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-06-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

#Covfefe — Sorry, PG-13 post

by Greg Krehbiel on 31 May 2017

The latest non-news item that’s making the rounds on “news” sites and social media is Trump’s use of “covfefe.”

The assumption seems to be that he mistyped “coverage,” and then went on to pretend that he meant it.

That seems to be consistent with his personality. He can’t admit a mistake, so he doubles down.

But here’s another explanation, also consistent with Trump’s personality. He may have been making a crude reference to the press. “Fefe” is prison slang.

So — please pardon the language here — he may have been saying that the press coverage is one big circle jerk.

10 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-05-31  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Recent examples of media bias

by Greg Krehbiel on 31 May 2017

Just a few off the top of my head. Anything else to add?

– Failure to cover the socialist catastrophe in Venezuela

– Acting as if disproportionate representation proves bias in every case except viewpoint — e.g., liberal dominance in the media, academia, Hollywood.

– The Russia-Trump conspiracy nonsense

– Failure to cover the rise of violence from the left

There is also, of course, the unending list of “if a Republican had done that” cases. E.g., if Bush had followed Obama around Europe, the press would have made a huge deal about it. Those things are obvious, but they don’t make much of an impression on liberals.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-05-31  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Don’s question on healthcare

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 May 2017

Don posted this comment in the long thread below about government.

I believe that Americans who die or go broke because they happen to get sick represent a fundamental moral decision our country has made. Despite all the rights and privileges and entitlements that Americans enjoy today, we have never decided to provide medical care for everybody who needs it.

ACA was designed to increase coverage substantially — but it really didn’t work. In the debate over the ACA, efforts to increase coverage tended to get derailed by arguments about “big government” or “free enterprise” or “socialism” — and the essential moral question got lost in the shouting.

And the essential moral question is this: Do we believe that healthcare for everyone as it is implemented (more or less) in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, and Canada (pick one) is a right not a privilege?

If the answer is “no” then it will never happen.

It really is that simple. I can argue ethics, religion, economics, domestic policy, political theory until I am blue in the face. The only thing that will happen from that is that the goalposts will continuously move.


I moved it to its own thread so people could comment on this specific question.

34 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-05-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The contradiction in the Democrat hyperventilating over a Trump-Russia connection

by Greg Krehbiel on 27 May 2017

The Democrats claim to be worried that the Russians meddled with our government, but their ceaseless obsession with the idea, and the fact that they and their media masters desperately cling to the merest hint of confirmation of their theory, has created a situation far worse than anything the Russians might have done. In the current environment, one word from a top Russian official would send official Washington into absolute hysterics.

They’ve given Putin tremendous psychological control. All he has to do is say, “Darn right we worked with Trump,” and our entire government would grind to a halt.

18 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-05-27  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Do economic systems and languages have this in common?

by Greg Krehbiel on 26 May 2017

Tuesday evening I was listening to Freakonomics radio (this episode, I think) and the host was asking economists how they would structure an economy on Earth 2.0. The most interesting answer was, “I wouldn’t.”

A few of the guests expressed a preference for things that grow naturally, in an unstructured and unplanned way, as a result of people just doing what they want to do. They applied the concept to legal systems, health care systems and economic systems, and expressed serious doubt that the (allegedly) Intelligent Central Planner could do a better job.

They also downplayed the idea of making comparisons between systems in different countries, as if we could watch what Sweden does in such and so and import it into the U.S.

People are different for lots of crazy reasons — historical, cultural, whatever — and the Intelligent Central Planner has essentially no chance of understanding all of that, or how it affects his system. So what works in England might not work in Sweden, and vice versa.

Now switch gears.

I work in publishing, so it’s common to have discussions around the office about how weird English is. E.g., how “ough” makes so many different sounds.

A lot of that is because English words come from many different sources — French, German, Latin, etc. Nobody planned English. It just happened. And it’s a mess.

It’s also a hugely successful language.

But … what if somebody planned a logical language? Wouldn’t that work better?

Hmm. Like Esperanto, maybe?

Planned languages don’t seem to work. And — so far — neither do planned economies.

3 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-05-26  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Pushing and shoving

by Greg Krehbiel on 26 May 2017

Yesterday, Montana residents elected a guy who was charged with assault against a reporter. There’s also a video going around where Trump shoves the prime minister of Montenegro out of his way.

This brings out the predictable nonsense from the left about “the age of Trump” — a slide towards barbarism and Nazi tactics and blah blah blah. At the Washington Post they say this: “The darker forces that propelled President Trump’s rise are beginning to frame and define the rest of the Republican Party.”

Good grief.

Obviously it would be nice if all our politicians were well-spoken, kind, courteous and gentlemanly. And if it rained Guinness that’d be okay too.

But all this boo hooing is well past its sale date. As I said on Twitter this morning …

Successful politicians are aggressive, A-type people. Obviously we want them to be like Sir Lancelot, but they’re not all going to meet that standard. They’re going to have rough edges.

I’m not saying this to excuse them. We should hold them to a high standard. If the guy in Montana is guilty, he should pay for it. And next time some Democratic congressman hires a homosexual prostitute ….

The point is that a little sex on the side doesn’t mean we’ve become Sodom, and a little pushing and shoving doesn’t mean jack-booted thugs are taking over the country. Calm down people!

No, it is not acceptable to assault journalists. But let’s not have a hissy fit about it either.

7 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-05-26  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Single-payer umbrella coverage?

by Greg Krehbiel on 25 May 2017

I had an idea about health care this morning. I don’t know if it’s a good idea or a bad idea, but what strikes me as odd about it is that I don’t believe I’ve heard anyone propose this, and it seems like something that would be attractive to a lot of people.

What if we had single-payer (government) coverage of all costs over $5000 / year, and then people could decide for themselves what to do with costs below that. I.e., they could pay out of pocket, or get private insurance to cover it, or whatever they want.

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-05-25  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Frank the Hippy Pope and “reform”

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 May 2017

I had a conversation with a professional colleague today about Pope Francis. My colleague likes the idea of reform, change, “modernization” and so on, so she tends to like this pope. I think Francis a loose cannon who isn’t careful with his language and is sewing confusion among Catholics.

Part of the problem is this whole idea of “reform,” and how it works in the Catholic Church. Everyone would agree on this: there are things that can be reformed (e.g., practices) and things that can’t (e.g., doctrines). But there’s no iron-clad list of what goes in which basket.

It’s somewhat like the beard problem. There’s a point where you clearly don’t have a beard, and there’s a point where you clearly do, but there’s a middle ground where you’re not quite sure.

Some doctrines are so well established that they absolutely can’t be “reformed” by anyone who takes Catholicism seriously. Anyone who wants to “reform” the Trinity, or the bodily resurrection of Christ, or something like that, is simply not a Catholic by any sensible definition. But there’s reasonable dispute about other things.

For example, when the pope wants to relax the restrictions on divorced and remarried Catholics taking communion, is that reformable or not?

Who knows? But here’s the really tricky part. Who gets to make the call that something is reformable, and how is it done?

Previous popes have acted as if they can just change things on their own. Pope John Paul II, for example, unilaterally changed the long-standing position on the death penalty. (Or did he? Who really knows? He changed the catechism anyway.) He also changed traditions about the washing of feet on Maundy Thursday, and paid no attention to rules about liturgical dance.

Did he have a right to do those things? Well, … he did it, and the world didn’t fall apart.

So let’s say Francis believes it’s within his purview to change the rules on divorced and remarried Catholics taking communion. Who’s going to stop him?

The Catholic Church …. No. Scratch that. Some Catholics like to pretend that the church has an intellectual, legal, logical answer to these things, with clear rules and boundaries. But it seems to me that the only real answer is more along the lines of how the Orthodox view these things.

Let’s see what happens, and two hundred years from now we’ll know.

So … does the pope have the authority to change the rules? The only answer, it seems, is … try it and see.

Which is why I don’t particularly like this pope. I would rather have intellectual, legal, logical answers to such questions. Even though they don’t exist.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-05-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

“It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up”

by Greg Krehbiel on 24 May 2017

Since there is, as yet, zero evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to rig the election, we’re moving into a different phase of the scandal drama. We’re entering the “but you weren’t completely transparent with us” phase.

The whole thing is nothing but a shakedown, and anybody with a drop of decency can see that. This is the way the entrenched powers destroy people.

The media and the Washington establishment (but I repeat myself) convince themselves there’s some scandal — or they just make one up — and they relentlessly hound the alleged criminals. There’s nothing to the charge, but … people have to defend themselves.

In the course of defending themselves they inevitably have a secret meeting, send a memo, utter an inappropriate comment, etc., that violates some ethics rule, or some expectation of some ethics rule, or something like that. That becomes the scandal.

It’s a losing game. There is no way to escape from it unscathed because there are half a trillion laws out there that somebody will eventually break. Somewhere along the line, there will be a cover-up, or something that looks like a cover-up.

There are plenty of things to go after Trump for. His regular lies and exaggerations would be the top of my list.

But there’s nothing to this Russia thing except leftist hysteria. Still, it will cost the Trump administration. There has to be damage control, and damage control always leads to “appearances of impropriety,” which always lead to resignations or bogus prosecutions.

9 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-05-24  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2017-05-22 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
“Peer reviewed” sure makes a difference
2017-05-22 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
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2017-05-22 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Proposed: Trump is the devil
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Toll madness
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How many errors …
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I’m starting to like NPR