Archive for the ‘Republicans’ Category

Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus at CPAC

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Considered including this in Friday’s LinkSwarm, but decided this panel with Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus at CPAC was important enough for a separate post.

A few points:

  • As previously reported, there’s none of the discord here between Bannon and Priebus that the mainstream media likes to ascribe to them. I’ve seen panels where the panelists were barely hiding their animosity with other panelists, and there’s none of that on display.
  • As for President Trump’s cabinet being the best cabinet in the history of cabinets: George Washington’s first cabinet included Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, so no.
  • “The greatest public speaker in those large arenas since William Jennings Bryant.” Untrue. Martin Luther King, Jr. takes that crown, unless Bannon meant campaign speeches given in Presidential campaigns. There John F. Kennedy was a better speaker, but his venues tended to be smaller.
  • Priebus’ pick for biggest priority of the first 30 days of the Trump Administration: “Neil Gorsuch.”
  • Priebus’ pick for second and third biggest priorities: deregulation and immigration.
  • Bannon’s picks for same: Nations security/sovereignty, “economic nationalism,” and “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Suck it, Jacques Derrida!
  • I’m not sold on “fair trade” and economic nationalism, or how the Trump Administration will keep them from becoming protectionism and crony capitalism. Given their embrace of the Export-Import Bank, the answer appears to be “they won’t.” But it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that their vision of more bilateral trade deals can pan out better for American economic interest than the dog’s breakfast of Trans-Pacific Partnership would have. It’s “the devil’s in the details” question, and there are so many, many devils…
  • Bannon: “The rule of law is going to exist when you talk about sovereignty and you talk about immigration.”
  • The Trump Administration is clearly the most serious about deregulation of the economy since Reagan, and maybe the most serious ever.
  • Bannon: “If you think they [the mainstream media] is going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken. Every day it is going to be a fight.”
  • Bannon and Priebus use close synonyms to describe each other: “dogged” and “indefatigable.”
  • Watch the whole thing.

    (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)

    This is Trump’s World. We Just Live In It.

    Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

    Reporter tries to spend a week without reading any media coverage of Donald Trump.

    Spoiler: He can’t.

    It is likely that no living person in history has ever been as famous as Mr. Trump is right now. It’s possible that not even the most famous or infamous people of the recent or distant past — say, Barack Obama, Osama bin Laden, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali or Adolf Hitler — dominated media as thoroughly at their peak as Mr. Trump does now.

    Snip.

    In January, Mr. Trump broke mediaQuant’s records. In a single month, he received $817 million in coverage, higher than any single person has ever received in the four years that mediaQuant has been analyzing the media, according to Paul Senatori, the company’s chief analytics officer. For much of the past four years, Mr. Obama’s monthly earned media value hovered around $200 million to $500 million. The highest that Hillary Clinton got during the presidential campaign was $430 million, in July.

    Snip.

    It’s not just that Mr. Trump’s coverage beats anyone else’s. He is now beating pretty much everyone else put together. Mr. Senatori recently added up the coverage value of 1,000 of the world’s best known figures, excluding Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump. The list includes Mrs. Clinton, who in January got $200 million in coverage, Tom Brady ($38 million), Kim Kardashian ($36 million), and Vladimir V. Putin ($30 million), all the way down to the 1,000th most-mentioned celebrity in mediaQuant’s database, the actress Madeleine Stowe ($1,001).

    The coverage those 1,000 people garnered last month totaled $721 million. In other words, Mr. Trump gets about $100 million more in coverage than the next 1,000 famous people put together. And he is on track to match or beat his January record in February, according to Mr. Senatori’s preliminary figures.

    Trump has mastered the art of trolling the press, Tweeting and saying things the mainstream media is incapable of ignoring. Like an seven-year old with a lose tooth, the media lacks the self control to not worry incessantly over Trump’s every pronouncement, even when doing so blows up in their face, as with the Sweden tweet. And so a press that loudly proclaims their undying opposition to Trump is left helplessly dancing to his tune…

    Milo Screws Up, Apologizes

    Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

    Not gonna talk about it.

    Not gonna talk about it.

    Not gonna talk about it.

    Not gonna—

    DAMMIT!

    I wanted to avoid the whole “Milo Yiannopoulos Defends Pedophilia Controversy” because there’s too much squick factor and more heat than light surrounding the issue.

    Here’s the statement that landed the once and future @Nero in hot water:

    MY: In the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men — the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship — those relationships in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable, sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents.

    (Unnamed interviewer): It sounds like molestation to me. It sounds like Catholic priest molestation to me.

    MY: But you know what? I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.

    That…does not sound good. Especially given the gay community’s notorious tolerance for what they euphemistically call “eubophilia” (i.e., an attraction to post-pubescent teens still under the age of consent). Indeed, science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany has explicitly endorsed such relationships in a way Yiannopoulos didn’t.

    But those comments, as released, seem to have content deliberately excised from them, as per Stephen Green at Instapundit:

    The law is probably about right, that’s probably roughly the right age. I think it’s probably about okay, but there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age, I certainly consider myself to be one of them, people who are sexually active younger. I think it particularly happens in the gay world by the way. In many cases actually those relationships with older men…This is one reason I hate the left. This stupid one size fits all policing of culture. (People speak over each other). This sort of arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent, which totally destroys you know understanding that many of us have. The complexities and subtleties and complicated nature of many relationships. You know, people are messy and complex. In the homosexual world particularly. Some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are, and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents. Some of those relationships are the most-

    And this was evidently edited out as well:

    You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means. Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13-years-old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty. Pedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet. Who have not gone through puberty… That’s not what we are talking about. You don’t understand what pedophilia is if you are saying I’m defending it because I’m certainly not.

    Still not great, but far from the “defense of pedophilia” Yiannopoulos’ critics have made it.

    For his comments, Yiannopoulos has been disinvited from speaking at CPAC (an event that was already controversial due to CPAC board members not being informed of his invitation in the first place) and his book deal has been been cancelled. (The way these things are usually handled, Yiannopoulos will get to keep his advance money and is free to sell the book elsewhere. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him go the route of a successful Kickstater.)

    Yiannopoulos has both apologized for his comments and said that they were taken out of context:

    I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim.

    I would like to restate my utter disgust at adults who sexually abuse minors. I am horrified by pedophilia and I have devoted large portions of my career as a journalist to exposing child abusers. I’ve outed three of them, in fact — three more than most of my critics. And I’ve repeatedly expressed disgust at pedophilia in my feature and opinion writing. My professional record is very clear.

    But I do understand that these videos, even though some of them are edited deceptively, paint a different picture.

    I’m partly to blame. My own experiences as a victim led me to believe I could say anything I wanted to on this subject, no matter how outrageous. But I understand that my usual blend of British sarcasm, provocation and gallows humor might have come across as flippancy, a lack of care for other victims or, worse, “advocacy.” I deeply regret that. People deal with things from their past in different ways.

    As to some of the specific claims being made, sometimes things tumble out of your mouth on these long, late-night live-streams, when everyone is spit-balling, that are incompletely expressed or not what you intended. Nonetheless, I’ve reviewed the tapes that appeared last night in their proper full context and I don’t believe they say what is being reported.

    I do not advocate for illegal behavior. I explicitly say on the tapes that I think the current age of consent is “about right.”

    I do not believe sex with 13-year-olds is okay. When I mentioned the number 13, I was talking about the age I lost my own virginity.

    I shouldn’t have used the word “boy” — which gay men often do to describe young men of consenting age — instead of “young man.” That was an error.

    I am certainly guilty of imprecise language, which I regret.

    Anyone who suggests I turn a blind eye to illegal activity or to the abuse of minors is unequivocally wrong. I am implacably opposed to the normalization of pedophilia and I will continue to report and speak accordingly.

    Rating: Plausible. The bit about Father Michael and giving head did indeed sound to me like black humor rather than advocacy. As for the rest, it should be no surprise that a professional troll and shit-talker managed to go too far. Yiannopoulos did not confess to being a child molester, he confessed to not minding being molested; disturbing enough in its own way, but not remotely the same order of magnitude of disturbing.

    In any event, Yiannopoulos screwed up, paid the price, and apologized. But the furor with which he has been attacked by many in the “professional conservative” ranks (i.e., those insider and establishment types that were #NeverTrump even when the only other option was a Hillary Clinton presidency). It seems that President Trump’s success has so unhinged them (I’m looking at you, Bill Kristol) that they wanted to take Yiannopoulos’ scalp because they couldn’t take Trump’s. They’d still rather lose politely with Romney than win a bare-knuckles brawl with Trump due to their own status anxiety over being Important.

    What I do know is that Milo Yiannopoulos has always stood up for freedom of speech and against Social Justice Warriors trying to silence any who oppose them. It’s perfectly acceptable to me that conservatives would ask Yiannopoulos be disinvited as speaker over his comments. What wouldn’t be acceptable is if “conservatives” launched a violent riot to prevent him from speaking, but leftists actually did launch a riot to keep him from speaking. And that would have been unacceptable even if he had been there to launch a enthusiastic intellectual defense of pedophilia. (Which, of course, he wasn’t.)

    No wonder I didn’t want to write this piece, as it will probably please exactly no one (even me).

    Ace of Spades also has some thoughts on Yiannopoulos and outrage culture. “Who knows — maybe this very post you’re reading right now will be cited as the reason Ace Must Now Be Purged to Maintain the Purity of the Body of the Church of Twitter.”

    Trump Budget to Eliminate PBS, NEA, NEH, LCS, Americorps?

    Monday, February 20th, 2017

    Let’s take a look at this New York Times piece titled “Popular Domestic Programs Face Ax Under First Trump Budget.”

    WASHINGTON — The White House budget office has drafted a hit list of programs that President Trump could eliminate to trim domestic spending, including longstanding conservative targets like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.

    At this point I have to break out this Archer meme:

    You know what all these programs have in common: None are constitutionally enumerated concerns of the federal government.

    And note the headline: “Popular Domestic Programs.” Popular to who? Why, Democrats, of course. I would imagine that 90+% of the money spent on those programs goes directly into the pockets of Democrats, and mostly well-heeled and well-connected ones at that.

    More:

    Work on the first Trump administration budget has been delayed as the budget office awaited Senate confirmation of former Representative Mick Mulvaney, a spending hard-liner, as budget director. Now that he is in place, his office is ready to move ahead with a list of nine programs to eliminate, an opening salvo in the Trump administration’s effort to reorder the government and increase spending on defense and infrastructure.

    Most of the programs cost under $500 million annually, a pittance for a government that is projected to spend about $4 trillion this year. And a few are surprising, even though most if not all have been perennial targets for conservatives.

    Mr. Trump has spoken volubly about the nation’s drug problems, yet the list includes the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, which dispenses grants to reduce drug use and drug trafficking. And despite Mr. Trump’s vocal promotion of American exports, the list includes the Export-Import Bank, which has guaranteed loans to foreign customers of American companies since the 1930s.

    While the total amount of annual savings of roughly $2.5 billion would be comparatively small, administration officials want to highlight the agencies in their coming budget proposal as examples of misuse of taxpayer dollars. An internal memo circulated within the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday, and obtained by The New York Times, notes that the list could change. Proposals for more extensive cuts in cabinet-level agencies are expected to follow.

    All this, of course, could be a trial balloon, and the actual budget cuts could be far more timid. But overall, it’s exceptionally promising, especially since Trump did not evidence much (if any) enthusiasm for budget cutting on the campaign trail. But a willingness to kill entire agencies (especially those that make of some of the Democratic Party’s favorite slush funds) is incredibly heartening.

    If America is going to deal with the existential threat that is the national debt, there needs to be a lot more budget cutting ahead.

    I May Have to Buy This Shirt

    Saturday, February 18th, 2017

    This one right here.

    W Shark

    And if there’s a Kickstarter to get that scene into Sharknado 5, I’m in…

    LinkSwarm for February 17, 2017

    Friday, February 17th, 2017

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Absent from this roundup is who really got National Security Advisor Mike Flynn axed, because there’s not enough time in the world to read all those links…

  • Illegal alien convicted of that voting fraud Democrats swear doesn’t exit. Pro-tip: One key to avoiding deportations is to avoid committing felonies… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “If a border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall.”
  • Revised executive travel order coming soon?
  • Former Democratic Senator Jim Webb has a message for Democrats:

    The Democrats have not done the kind of self reflection that they should have, starting in 2010. And I was talking about this in the ’10 elections. You’ve lost white working people, you’ve lost flyover land, and you saw in this election what happens when people get frustrated enough that they say, ‘I’m not going to take this Aristocracy.’ You know Bernie’s a good friend of mine, Bernie can talk about Aristocracies all he wants.

    You know, the fact that you’ve made money doesn’t make you a member of that philosophy. Look at Franklin Roosevelt. But there is an Aristocracy now that pervades American politics, it’s got to be broken somehow, in both parties, and I think that’s what the Trump message was that echoed so strongly in these flyover communities.

    One wonders if Webb was using “flyover country” for emphasis, or if Democrats actually use “flyover country” seriously when taking amongst themselves. If so, they might add that to the list of reasons middle America hates Democratic coastal elites…

  • Obama vastly increased the NSA’s powers on his way out the door. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • This Politico piece on thinkers that have influenced Steve Bannon (and thus President Trump) is neither to be taken entirely at face value, nor dismissed out of hand. It includes mention of Curtis Yarvin AKA Mencius Moldbug AKA “the Urbit guy” that Social Justice Warriors keep trying to keep from speaking, as well as the author of the much-cited “Flight 93 Election” manifesto. They’re interesting thinkers, but I rather doubt they’re at the center of Trump’s political ideas.
  • Over 100 rioters from President Trump’s inauguration indicted on rioting charges.
  • Trump and the GOP congress have already cut $2.8 billion in regulations. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “The EU country whose brutal crackdown on Muslim migrants makes Trump look liberal.” Spoiler: It’s Hungary.
  • Woman who lived under Hitler says Trump isn’t Hitler.
  • Iowa follows Wisconsin’s lead on reigning in the power of public sector unions.
  • Prominent Jewish Democrats are increasing uneasy with Keith Ellison as DNC chair. “‘It’s almost like the Democrats want to entirely destroy their party,’ [Democratic New York state assemblyman Dov] Hikind said. ‘When someone like Ellison can be a leading candidate to be the head of a major party, we’re in a lot of trouble.'”
  • Pro-Palestinian reporter changes his mind after living in Israel for 18 months:

    Before I moved to Jerusalem, I was very pro-Palestinian. Almost everyone I knew was. I grew up Protestant in a quaint, politically correct New England town; almost everyone around me was liberal. And being liberal in America comes with a pantheon of beliefs: You support pluralism, tolerance and diversity. You support gay rights, access to abortion and gun control.

    The belief that Israel is unjustly bullying the Palestinians is an inextricable part of this pantheon. Most progressives in the US view Israel as an aggressor, oppressing the poor noble Arabs who are being so brutally denied their freedom.

    Snip.

    IT WASN’T until the violence became personal that I began to see the Israeli side with greater clarity. As the “Stabbing Intifada” (as it later became known) kicked into full gear, I traveled to the impoverished East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan for a story I was writing.

    As soon as I arrived, a Palestinian kid who was perhaps 13 years old pointed at me and shouted “Yehud!” which means “Jew” in Arabic. Immediately, a large group of his friends who’d been hanging out nearby were running toward me with a terrifying sparkle in their eyes. “Yehud! Yehud!” they shouted. I felt my heart start to pound. I shouted at them in Arabic “Ana mish yehud! Ana mish yehud!” (“I’m not Jewish, I’m not Jewish!”) over and over. I told them, also in Arabic, that I was an American journalist who “loved Palestine.” They calmed down after that, but the look in their eyes when they first saw me is something I’ll never forget. Later, at a house party in Amman, I met a Palestinian guy who’d grown up in Silwan. “If you were Jewish, they probably would have killed you,” he said.

    Snip.

    Even the kindest, most educated, upper-class Palestinians reject 100 percent of Israel ‒ not just the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. They simply will not be content with a two-state solution ‒ what they want is to return to their ancestral homes in Ramle and Jaffa and Haifa and other places in 1948 Israel, within the Green Line. And they want the Israelis who live there now to leave. They almost never speak of coexistence; they speak of expulsion, of taking back “their” land.

  • UK journalists heads explode when Trump’s climate advisor tells them the truth. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Gay liberal New York writer does even-handed profile of Milo…and is instantly ostracized. “I realized that, for the first time in my adult life, I was outside of the liberal bubble and looking in. What I saw was ugly, lock step, incurious and mean-spirited.”
  • The MSM lose their minds when Trump lets outlets other than themselves ask questions.
  • The media spends months complaining Trump won’t let them ask question, then complains when he does because they don’t like the answers.
  • Ann Althouse watches President Trump’s press conference so I don’t have to.
  • The New York Times is very upset President Trump is fighting back. “The constant Moonbat attacks on Trump are one of the reasons Trump won. And Trump knows that the vast majority of the media, which votes Democrat and allows their person political beliefs to color all their coverage, will never give him a chance and or honest coverage so why not fight back?” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Islamic State suicide bomber kills 100 at Sufi mosque in Pakistan.
  • Paris burns again.
  • Putin is cozying up Iran just as it’s suffering the same demographic crash affecting so many nations:

    Iran is dying, and no one knows it better than Vladimir Putin, who worked successfully to raise Russia’s fertility rate, unlike Iran’s theocrats, who have failed to persuade Iranians to have children.

    Russia’s relationship to the only Shi’ite state of significance is less an alliance than a dalliance, motivated by Moscow’s fear of Sunni radicalism and its desire to establish a strategic beachhead in the Middle East.

    But Iran is a depreciating asset whose value will disappear within a 20-year horizon. The question is not whether, but at what price Russia will trade it away.

    Snip.

    First, Iran may well become the first country in the world that will get old before it gets rich. Its fertility rate (the number of live births over the lifetime of an average woman) fell from 7 in 1979 to perhaps 1.7 today.

    That produced an enormous generation of people now in their 20s to 40s who have very few children. As this generation ages, the proportion of Iranians over the age of 60 will soar from about 7% today to around 40% by mid-century.

    Other countries face an aging crisis, but with ten times the per capita income: Iran’s nominal GDP per capita is only US$5,300, compared with US$56,000 for the United States, for example.No poor country can care for an elderly population comprising two-fifths of the total. Iran will undergo an economic disaster unprecedented in history. That is baked in the cake, and nothing its government can do will make much different at this late stage.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Louisiana Democrat state senator resigns after repeatedly beating his wife.
  • New York coop provides a microcosm of why Socialism doesn’t work:

    The year isn’t off to a good start for the Park Slope Food Coop. In January, two members of the venerable Brooklyn institution were accused of stealing more than $18,000 worth of goods. Each had been caught shoplifting once, and when police consulted surveillance tapes, it turned out that the two men (one of whom was 79 years old!) had some seriously sticky fingers.

    Snip.

    In 2013, The New York Times reported the shop lost $438,000 in stolen items.

    But that’s only a drop in the bucket compared to the value that’s recently been lost from the coop’s pension fund. The fund — which is for staff, not members — had been invested in small, speculative companies and racked up two years of losses.

    According to the Times, “It appears to have gone into hedge-fund mode years ago, when one co-op member, also a hedge-fund investor, made stock-picking his unpaid job.” Last summer, members were told that the coop had to pour in more than $1 million to keep it flush.

    Snip.

    In 2011, for instance, coop members were caught paying other people — notably their nannies — to take over their 2-hour-per-week shifts at the market. As it turned out, the well-heeled bankers and lawyers and psychiatrists in the neighborhood who bill several hundred dollars an hour for their time didn’t think rearranging the broccoli was worth it.

    Hat tip: Instapundit, who also offers up the following illustration:

  • Blocking a road? Expect the NYPD to haul your ass to jail. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • More problems for Bill Clinton’s pal: “Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein is accused of luring an underage girl into his elaborate sex trafficking enterprise under the guise of using his wealth and connections to get her into a prestige NYC college.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Bill Maher defends booking Milo Yiannopoulos in the face of liberal boycotts.
  • Dear diabetics: You know that “U.S. ends subsidies for blood sugar testing strips” thing your more credulous friends posted on Facebook? Debunked.
  • Austin health food chain MyFitFoods shuts down.
  • Rare book heist in London: “In the early morning hours of January 30, a gang of thieves, in a carefully coordinated scheme, broke into a warehouse near London’s Heathrow airport and made off with over £2 million in rare books. The books, belonging to three different rare book dealers, were being shipped to the United States for the 50th Annual California International Antiquarian Book Fair this past weekend.” Complete list here. (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • He contains multitudes:

  • He divided them.
  • Texas vs. California Update for February 15, 2017

    Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

    Welcome to another Texas vs. California Roundup!

  • California Governor Jerry Brown wants to hike gas taxes by 42% to bail out CalPERS.
  • Brown’s pension reforms have failed:

    Since 2012 passage of his much-heralded changes to state retirement laws for public employee, the pension debt foisted on California taxpayers has only grown larger.

    The shortfall for California’s three statewide retirement systems has increased about 36 percent. Add in local pension systems and the total debt has reached at least $374 billion. That works out to about $29,000 per household.

    It’s actually much worse than that. Those numbers are calculated using the pension systems’ overly optimistic assumptions about future investment earnings.

    Using more conservative assumptions, the debt could be more than $1 trillion.

  • And speaking of Brown: Math is hard.
  • Why California can’t repair its infrastructure: “California’s government, like the federal government and most other state and local governments, spends its money on salaries, benefits, pensions, and other forms of employee compensation. The numbers are contentious — for obvious political reasons — but it is estimated that something between half and 80 percent of California’s state and local spending ultimately goes to employee compensation.”
  • Put another way: “Governor Moonbeam and the other leftist kooks in charge are flushing a staggering $10 billion down an unneeded high-speed rail project, on top of the still more staggering $25.3 billion per year they spend on the illegal aliens they have gone out of their way to welcome.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • California can’t afford green energy:

    California has the highest taxes overall in the nation, worst roads, underperforming schools, and the recent budget has at least a $1.6 billion shortfall.

    Moreover, depending on how the numbers are analyzed California has either a $1.3 or a $2.8 trillion outstanding debt. This is before counting the maintenance work needed for infrastructure, particularly roads, bridges and water systems. Yet tax increases aren’t covering these obligations.

  • Three of the ten least affordable cities in the World are in California: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose.
  • Austin named best city to live in the U.S. But wait! San Jose ranks third! I can only assume that “affordability” was not a significant criteria. Dallas/Ft. Worth ranks 15th (one ahead of San Francisco), Houston 20th, San Antonio 23rd (one behind San Diego).
  • “A sizzling residential real estate market fueled by incoming Californians, low supply, high demand, flat salaries, and local property taxes are pricing people out of homeownership in Austin.” More: “The Texas A&M Real Estate Center examined the Austin local market area (LMA) over five years. In January 2011, the Austin-Georgetown-Round Rock area median home prices were $199,700. By January 2015, that median hovered at $287,000. At the end of 2016, university real estate analysts found the home mid-price point at $332,000.” Of course, in my neck of the woods, $332,000 will buy you a 2,500 square foot house, while in San Francisco, you’d be lucky to find a 500 square foot condo…
  • “An IGS-UC Berkeley poll shows that 74 percent of Californians want sanctuary cities ended; 65 percent of Hispanics, 70 percent of independents, 73 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans.”
  • Of the top 20 cities for illegal aliens, five (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and Riverside) are in California, while three (Houston, Austin and Dallas/Ft. Worth) are in Texas. I’m actually a bit surprised to see that San Antonio isn’t on that list, while Seattle and Boston are. “American citizens who paid into the system don’t receive benefits like long-term medical care because — in part — we’re all subsidizing aliens.”
  • California pays $25.3 billion in illegal alien benefits, or $2,370 per household. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • By contrast, Texas pays $12.1 billion in illegal alien benefits, or $1,187 per household. (IBID)
  • “In testimony provided before the California Senate’s Public Safety Committee, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) decided to admit that “half of his family” is residing in the United States illegally and with the possession of falsified Social Security Cards and green cards.”
  • “California spent on high-speed rail and illegal immigrants, but ignored Oroville Dam.”
  • Pensions are breaking budgets across San Diego. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Despite California having some of the best recreation spots in the world, we have systematically reduced our business in California by 50%, and I have a moratorium in place on accepting new business (I won’t even look at RFP’s and proposals to avoid being tempted.)”
  • That same blogger on why his company pulled out of Ventura, California. Like this:

    It took years in Ventura County to make even the simplest modifications to the campground we ran. For example, it took 7 separate permits from the County (each requiring a substantial payment) just to remove a wooden deck that the County inspector had condemned. In order to allow us to temporarily park a small concession trailer in the parking lot, we had to (among other steps) take a soil sample of the dirt under the asphalt of the parking lot. It took 3 years to permit a simple 500 gallon fuel tank with CARB and the County equivalent. The entire campground desperately needed a major renovation but the smallest change would have triggered millions of dollars of new facility requirements from the County that we simply could not afford.

    And this:

    A local attorney held regular evening meetings with my employees to brainstorm new ways the could sue our company under arcane California law. For example, we went through three iterations of rules and procedures trying to comply with California break law and changing “safe” harbors supposedly provided by California court decisions. We only successfully stopped the suits by implementing a fingerprint timekeeping system and making it an automatic termination offense to work through lunch. This operation has about 25 employees vs. 400 for the rest of the company. 100% of our lawsuits from employees over our entire 10-year history came from this one site. At first we thought it was a manager issue, so we kept sending in our best managers from around the country to run the place, but the suits just continued.

  • California has some of the highest taxes in the nation, but can’t pay for road maintenance:

    Texas has no state income tax, yet excellent highways and schools that perform above average, way above California’s bottom-dwellers. Yet both states have similar demographics. For example, in the 2010 U.S. Census, Texas was 37% Hispanic, California 37.6%.

    Texas is a First World state with no state income tax that enjoys great roads and schools. California is a Third World state restrained from getting worse only by its umbilical-cord attachment to the other 49 states, a cord the Calexit movement wants to cut, but won’t get to.

    California is Venezuela on the Pacific, a Third World state and wannabe Third World country; a place with great natural beauty, talented people, natural resources – and a government run by oligarchs and functionaries who treat the rest of us as peons.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • “Texas Ends 2016 with 210,200 Jobs Added Over the Year.”
  • All Houston does economically is win.

    The Houston metropolitan area’s population now stands at 6.6 million with the city itself a shade under 2.3 million. At its current rate of growth, Houston could replace Chicago as the nation’s third-largest city by 2030.

    Why would anyone move to Houston? Start with the economic record.

    Since 2000, no major metro region in America except for archrival Dallas-Fort Worth has created more jobs and attracted more people. Houston’s job base has expanded 36.5%; in comparison, New York employment is up 16.6%, the Bay Area 11.8%, and Chicago a measly 5.1%. Since 2010 alone, a half million jobs have been added.

    Some like Paul Krugman have dismissed Texas’ economic expansion, much of it concentrated in its largest cities, as primarily involving low-wage jobs, but employment in the Houston area’s professional and service sector, the largest source of high-wage jobs, has grown 48% since 2000, a rate almost twice that of the San Francisco region, two and half times that of New York or Chicago, and more than four times Los Angeles. In terms of STEM jobs the Bay Area has done slightly better, but Houston, with 22% job growth in STEM fields since 2001, has easily surpassed New York (2%), Los Angeles (flat) and Chicago (-3%).

    More important still, Houston, like other Texas cities, has done well in creating middle-class jobs, those paying between 80% and 200% of the median wage. Since 2001 Houston has boosted its middle-class employment by 26% compared to a 6% expansion nationally, according to the forecasting firm EMSI. This easily surpasses the record for all the cities preferred by our media and financial hegemons, including Washington (11%) and San Francisco (6%), and it’s far ahead of Los Angeles (4%), New York (3%) and Chicago, which lost 3% of its middle-class employment.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • Texas conservative budget overview vs. the 2018-2019 proposed budget.
  • On the same subject: how to reduce the footprint of Texas government.
  • “Berkeley funds the Division of Equity and Inclusion with a cool $20 million annually and staffs it with 150 full-time functionaries: it takes that much money and personnel to drum into students’ heads how horribly Berkeley treats its “othered” students.”
  • New LA housing initiative to undo previous housing initiative. Frankly all of them sound like market-distorting initiatives guaranteed to backfire…
  • “California’s bullet train could cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more. And that’s just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco.”
  • “For the past five months, BART has been staffing its yet-to-open Warm Springs Station full time with five $73,609-a-year station agents and an $89,806-a-year train dispatch supervisor — even though no trains will be running there for at least another two months.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “After studying “tens of thousands of restaurants in the San Francisco area,” researchers Michael Luca of Harvard Business School and Dara Lee Luca of Mathematica Policy Research found that many lower rated restaurants have a unique way of dealing with minimum wage hikes: they simply go out of business.”
  • Meet Gordon, the robot barista. How’s that $15 an hour minimum wage working out for you, San Francisco?
  • “Nestle USA announced today that it is moving 300 technical, production and supply chain jobs to the Solon [Ohio] plant as part of the company’s plan to relocate its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia, from Glendale, California.”
  • Auto dealer AutoAlert is moving it’s headquarters from Irvine, California to Kansas City.
  • Peter Thiel to run for governor of California?
  • The Oakland Raiders may not be moving to Las Vegas after all, because billionaire Sheldon Adelson backed out of the stadium deal, accusing Raider owner Mark Davis of trying to screw him.
  • Now there’s talk the Raiders may rexamine moving to San Antonio.
  • Or even Dan Diego.
  • Lawsuits are flying over the Dallas Police and Fire pension fund debacle. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • LinkSwarm for February 10, 2017

    Friday, February 10th, 2017

    Welcome to another Friday LinkSwarm! Here in Texas it’s looking a lot like Spring.

    This LinkSwarm is heavy on border control and jihad issues.

  • The 9th Circuit’s dangerous and unprecedented use of campaign statements to block presidential policy.”

    By accepting the use of preelection statements to impeach and limit executive policy, the 9th Circuit is taking a dangerous step. The states’ argument is in essence that Trump is a bigot, and thus his winning presidential campaign in fact impeaches him from exercising key constitutional and statutory powers, such as administering the immigration laws.

    This would mean that Trump is automatically disbarred, from the moment of his inauguration, of exercising certain presidential powers, not because of his actions as president, but because of who he is — that is, how he won the presidency.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • When Judge James Robart stated that “no” terrorists had attacked America from the countries on President Trump’s travel ban, he was engaged in the rhetorical device known as lying his ass off. “At least 60 people born in the seven countries had been convicted — not just arrested, but convicted — of terror-related offenses in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Trump’s sanctuary city and terrorist-supporting state travel bans are his most popular executive orders. To quote Mark Steyn yet again, “‘divisive’ appears to be elite-speak for ‘remarkably popular.'” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Rotherham sex abuse gang shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they are jailed for total of 81 years for sexually abusing girls.”
  • Most Europeans oppose further Muslim immigration. Can’t imagine why…
  • Among them: this Swedish cop:

    Here we go; this is what I’ve handled from Monday-Friday this week: rape, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, rape-assault and rape, extortion, blackmail, assault, violence against police, threats to police, drug crime, drugs, crime, felony, attempted murder, rape again, extortion again and ill-treatment.

    Suspected perpetrators; Ali Mohammed, Mahmod, Mohammed, Mohammed Ali, again, again, again. Christopher… what, is it true? Yes, a Swedish name snuck in on the edges of a drug crime. Mohammed, Mahmod Ali, again and again.

    Countries representing all the crimes this week: Iraq, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Somalia, Syria again, Somalia, unknown, unknown country, Sweden. Half of the suspects, we can’t be sure because they don’t have any valid papers. Which in itself usually means that they’re lying about their nationality and identity.

  • Scott Adams abandons all support for UC Berkeley in the wake of the Milo riot:

    I’m ending my support of UC Berkeley, where I got my MBA years ago. I have been a big supporter lately, with both my time and money, but that ends today. I wish them well, but I wouldn’t feel safe or welcome on the campus. A Berkeley professor made that clear to me recently. He seems smart, so I’ll take his word for it.

    I’ve decided to side with the Jewish gay immigrant who has an African-American boyfriend, not the hypnotized zombie-boys in black masks who were clubbing people who hold different points of view. I feel that’s reasonable, but I know many will disagree, and possibly try to club me to death if I walk on campus.

    Yesterday I asked my most liberal, Trump-hating friend if he ever figured out why Republicans have most of the Governorships, a majority in Congress, the White House, and soon the Supreme Court. He said, “There are no easy answers.”

    I submit that there are easy answers. But for many Americans, cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias hide those easy answers behind Hitler hallucinations.

  • Just in case you were unclear: President Trump is not Hitler. (Hat tip: Scott Adams, IBID.)
  • #Winning.
  • House Democrats are going on a retreat in Baltimore where they’ll go over an autopsy of the election. Will they learn from their many mistakes? “The Baltimore retreat, which will take place at the scenic Inner Harbor, will focus on the party’s fight for all Americans and feature speeches from top Democrats and various celebrities, including Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Chelsea Handler, as the party looks to get back on track.” Signs point to “No”… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Both Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus want you to know that they are not bitter enemies fighting for influence in the Trump White House. The truth is that they are “rather chummy.” (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • President Trump’s chess game:

    In the end it would appear that Trump is playing the kind of game that I was taught to play by my coach. His opponents are never given time to mount an attack. Their queen – the MSM has been removed from the board and their favorite piece – the Celebrities are locked in a war of attrition while Trump gets the rest of his pieces on the board. Remember, these are all Tactics but Strategy flows from Tactics. Sooner or later the Left will find itself in some terrible position and the Strategy to drain the swamp will present itself.

    (Hat tip: Zero Hedge.)

  • “Leftists said if Trump won, that there’d be violent mobs of hate, and intolerant fascists would try to silence those with whom they disagree. And they were right. It just was by a group of people from which they didn’t expect it: themselves.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • NSA contractor allegedly stole over 500 million documents. The news came out October last year (I guess reporting yet another giant classified data breach was something the media wasn’t too wild about digging into in the election homestretch), but he was just indicted yesterday. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Concision. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Well, with Trump, Modi, Brexit, and now France, there are some similar problems in those countries. What you are hearing is people getting fed up with the ruling class. This is not fascism. It has nothing to do with fascism. It has to do with the faux-experts problem and a world with too many experts. If we had a different elite, we may not see the same problem.”
  • Nikki Haley’s first speech at the UN blasts Russia over their continued occupation of Ukraine. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Secretary of Defense Mattis was a big hit in both Japan and South Korea.
  • Quitaly seems increasingly likely.
  • Is Russia helping the Taliban?
  • “Meet Denmark’s new anti-Islam, anti-immigration, anti-tax party.”
  • Gun sales finally dip. Obviously gun owners don’t feel like NRA-endorsed President Trump is a threat to take their guns, unlike “World’s Greatest Gun Salesman Obama.” It also suggests that those of us in the Vast Right Wing aren’t even remotely worried about that mythical leftwing “resistance” launching an actual civil war. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • Whistle-blower reveals that, yes, the NOAA lied about climate data.
  • Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) shares some of that vaunted liberal tolerance that’s been sent his way:

  • American feminists: Rich White Girl Problems. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Texas Senate passes sanctuary city bill.
  • Tennessee bill: Get off the road, you leftwing lunatic!
  • Can an average engineer earn more in a lifetime than an average NFL player? The study says yes, but I think the engineering pay average ($125,418) is probably a bit on the high side (I suspect California companies were oversampled).
  • Anonymous takes down a ton of child porn sites.
  • Pizza parties for abortion quotas.
  • Infosys sued for descriminating against Americans. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Twitter lost $457 million last year:

    Twitter had decided, in an election year, to surrender control of its platform to a crew of feminist social justice warriors (SJWs) designated the “Trust and Safety Council.” This secretive group of Soviet-style commissars included the notorious anti-male hatemonger Anita Sarkeesian, and soon Twitter began purging conservative accounts…. Jack Dorsey had made his company part of the Democrat Party’s campaign team and four months later, when Twitter banned popular commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, the partisan nature of “Trust and Safety” became transparent. Banning conservatives from Twitter was Dorsey’s contribution-in-kind to the Democrats.

  • And that’s the 10th consecutive quarter of declining revenue for Twitter.
  • Twitter suspends a cartoon, presumably for offending SJW types.

  • FYI: He He Silly Comics are still on Gab. I really should activate my account there…
  • Marvel to knock it off with the Social Justice Warrior bullshit that’s been costing them sales.
  • This lawsuit goes to 11.
  • So Blizzard is worried that the user experience on consoles isn’t shitty enough.
  • “I didn’t say I had mice in my cellar, I said I had moose.”
  • Right to Work Signed Into Law in Missouri

    Thursday, February 9th, 2017

    Missouri joins the right to work parade:

    Republican Gov. Eric Greitens signed legislation on Monday making Missouri the latest “right-to-work” state, as the growing movement sets its sights next on New Hampshire – hoping to break into one of the labor unions’ last remaining strongholds.

    Legislation advancing in the New Hampshire capital, if approved, would make the state the first in the Northeast to go “right-to-work.” The measure, which bars unions from forcing employees to join or pay dues, is set for a vote in the state’s House next week – after having passed the Senate.

    The push is the latest sign of labor unions’ diminishing clout, and how Republican gains at the state level are having a broad impact on policy, amid support for such legislation from the Trump White House.

    Right to work laws help in two ways: They make states more economically competitive compared to their closed shop brethren, and they deprive the Democratic Party of political contributions forcibly extracted from union members via compulsory dues.

    Missouri joins Kentucky, which passed right to work legislation earlier this year, as well as West Virginia (2016), Wisconsin (2015), Michigan and Indiana (both 2012) as states that have recently passed right to work laws.

    That brings the total of right to work states up to 28.

    Trumpkrieg: Moving Fast and Breaking Things

    Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

    I suspect very few observers, left or right, predicted that President Trump would hit the ground running quite as fast and hard as he has, and only his most ardent supporters suspected he would govern as conservatively as he has.

    In the lead up to World War II, a new form of armored maneuver warfare was developed that came to be called blitzkrieg. The idea was that armored units, linked by radio coordination and supported by airpower, could move too fast for the enemy to react to, allowing the attacking force to first bypass, then encircle and destroy enemy units. By moving so rapidly, the attacking force induces the equivalent of a “nervous breakdown” in the defending force, which is reacting to maneuvers A or B while the attacking force has already moved on to E or F.

    President Trump appears to be practicing the political equivalent of blitzkrieg. He’s making decisions, submitting cabinet appointees and upending so many sacred Washington applecarts that the Democrat Media Complex can’t react to what he’s doing in any coherent way, still stuck on something he tweeted last night. As Instapundit observed, Trump has gotten inside their OODA loop.

    Another version of the same basic concept embraced by many IT startups: move fast and break things. The idea is that to successfully disrupt an industry, you should implement now and fix later, making your mistakes as quickly as possible. Indeed, Scott Adams says that “disruptive” is precisely the right framing for what President Trump is doing. “No one has ever tried moving at Trump’s speed before.” It’s a strategy that can work with a talented software startup, but its applicability to other venues (especially one as large and unwieldy as the federal government) remains to be proven.

    Right now Trump is trying to implement more changes in Washington in his first two weeks than I’ve seen any administration attempt their first few months in my lifetime. There was no basking in the glow of the inauguration, no quiet period of consultation, just BOOM!, a firehose stream of decisive action.

    Most gratifying for VRWC observers is that the vast majority of Trump’s official actions are solidly conservative. Outside of cancelling TPP and a few populist staff picks, it’s hard to think of any official Trump action (including the superb Neil Gorsuch supreme court pick) that wouldn’t have been carried out by, say, Ted Cruz. But it’s hard to imagine Ted Cruz moving this fast, much less Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush. (One imagines that at this point in a hypothetical Jeb Bush presidency he’d still be in the planning phase for his first illegal alien amnesty summit with congressional democrats.)

    Even more gratifying from an emotional standpoint has been the continued meltdown of the Democratic Media Complex in the face of the Trump onslaught. Democrats remain fractured despite the zillions of dollars George Soros has poured into his astroturf brigades, the loony left has gotten even loonier, the MSM seemed stunned that no one cares what they say anymore, and the DNC still hasn’t healed the Clinton Sanders split. They all know they hate hate hate hate HATE Trump, but their strategies to oppose him have failed miserably. That’s why their actions (scream, protest, call him racist) seem like the result of tribal instinct rather than coordinated action. “Let’s have a violent protest in the middle of a deep blue city! That will certainly stop Trump!”

    Indeed, I can’t help but thinking that the nonstop irrational rage the left have hurled at Trump has made him into much more of a traditional conservative than he was. “Hey, maybe I should pay more attention to the people who aren’t calling me Hitler 24/7!” For things outside his main campaign issues (trade, immigration, etc.), it seems that he’s delegated a lot of the heavy lifting to movement conservatives like Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon (who seems to have become the Trump Administration’s designated “evil mastermind” hate totem role for the left previously held by Karl Rove under Bush43).

    Another side effect: The withering of #NeverTrump. It was never a huge movement to begin with (as Evan McMullin’s 0.53% share of the popular vote in 2016 attests), but the Gorsuch pick and Trump’s immigration executive orders seems to have taken what little wind remained in their sails for all but the hardest core of NeverTrumpers.

    Donald Trump was elected as a change candidate in 2016, and so far he’s delivering more change more rapidly than all but his most ardent supporters expected.