Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cruising the Web

Our hearts go out to the friends and families who suffered losses at the Manchester bombing yesterday. Somehow, it seems especially horrific to read about young people going out for a good time and being murdered. I feared that, after Bataclan attacks in Paris that we would have move of such attacks and now we have a possible terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert that seems remarkably similar.
Though referring to U.S.-based terrorists, the Department of Homeland Security warned last September that terrorists are focused on concerts, sporting events and outdoor gatherings because such venues "Often pursue simple, achievable attacks with an emphasis on economic impact and mass casualties," according to a report obtained by The Washington Times.
How soon before we start seeing such attacks here? This was an attack that was aimed at young girls. It's hard to ponder such evil. There is no appeasement, no amount of understanding or soft words that can change the hearts of such terrorists. Vigilance and their defeat are the only tools we have.

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For those of us of libertarian bent, this is good news.
Agency rulemaking has essentially ground to a halt under the Trump administration and the president’s executive order on controlling regulatory costs could result in near gridlock for the next four years, panelists at an American Bar Association conference said.

Whether the significant slowing of the administrative state is a feared or a welcome development depends on your point of view, said several speakers at the ABA’s 13th annual Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Institute.

Since President Donald Trump was sworn into office Jan. 20, just 39 rules have been submitted for review to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the agency that reviews all significant federal regulations. There are currently 16 pending agency actions.

By comparison, the administration of former President Barack Obama had submitted 118 rules by the same point in the president’s first year, according to the RegInfo.gov database.

Agencies have been slow to regulate in part because of a regulatory freeze that was put in place on Trump’s first day in office. But panelists also pointed to the executive order signed in January that requires agencies to take two deregulatory actions and find offsets for every one rule it wants to promulgate.

To date, no regulation has been submitted that has required deregulatory actions and offsets. OIRA issued guidance in April that contains exemptions and definitions of what constitutes a regulation that must adhere to the requirements of the executive order.

But Amanda Leiter, professor of law at the American University Washington College of Law, suspected that few agencies—but particularly the Environmental Protection Agency—will be inclined to regulate at all. Leiter previously served at the Department of the Interior as deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management.
Matt Welch writes at Reason that deregulation under Trump is more real than many libertarians thought it would be. Trump has also nominated a head of the Office of INformation and REgulatory Affairs, Neomi Rao, a specialist on the administrative state. She has advocated cutting back deference to executive agencies and urged Congress to be more explicit in writing laws to limit the power of federal agencies to write their own rules. Welch happily concludes,
With the Trump presidency in an ongoing state of crisis management, and his legislative agenda foundering at best, these largely under-the-radar regulatory slowdowns and positive reforms may prove to be the most tangibly useful aspects of his White House tenure.

Why does the media keep referring to Iran's president Rouhani as a "moderate"? The coverage of the supposed election in Iran in some of the western press seems geared to portray Iran as having had a democratic election that re-elected a moderate leader. David French notes all the media outlets that called Rouhani a "moderate" in their coverage.
Under Rouhani (who truly rules by the permission of Iran’s Guardian Council, a coalition of clerics and jurists that vets all presidential candidates), Iran has exported terror, propped up a genocidal Syrian regime, kidnapped and humiliated U.S. sailors, tested ballistic missiles in defiance of the U.N. Security Council, and — as the Post reported last month — actually “boosted” the regime’s support for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

This is yet another reason why it’s so difficult to trust media reporting from the Muslim world. If the definition of the word “moderate” now includes any leader a few degrees more reasonable (maybe) than the Quds Force, then the term has no real meaning. In fact, it’s deceptive. When an American hears the word “moderate,” they might think of, say, Michael Bloomberg or Lindsey Graham. Rouhani, by contrast, is orders of magnitude more radical than any domestic elected official.

Words matter, and when the media uses a common term that has a common American meaning, it should take care that the term applies. When it comes to Iran’s president, it doesn’t. He’s an anti-American jihadist. There is no moderation here.
But that didn't stop most of the media calling him a "moderate." Remember that this is the candidate supported by upreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Do you think that Khamenei is supporting someone who is truly going to grant human rights and support women's rights?

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Ted Van Dyk, a longtime Democratic operative, has some good advice for his party. He advises them to just shut up about impeachment. Sure he finds Trump an appalling person to be president, lacking the "knowledge, experience and temperament for the office."
He nonetheless was duly elected and should be given the leeway that new presidents are traditionally afforded.

Critics, moreover, misread the temper of the American people. Most voters don’t much like Mr. Trump. But they like chaos less.

I spoke recently to a Democratic group consisting mainly of Bernie Sanders supporters. Many were searching for a constructive response to the Trump presidency. They were people, as the saying goes, seeking to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.

I suggested that they concentrate on developing alternatives to Mr. Trump’s proposals—on health care, taxes, the budget. “You mean we should help Trump?” someone asked. “No,” I answered, “you should help your country.” I was surprised by the outburst of applause that followed.

Democrats, in their all-out opposition to Mr. Trump, are missing real opportunities to influence policy. The tax-reform debate is a prime example. If Democrats were shrewd, they would try to negotiate a grand compromise, in which loopholes are scrubbed from the code and Social Security and Medicare put on sounder long-term footing. But to get there, purposeful polarization must give way to constructive engagement.

Trump haters disregard an old rule of politics and history: In the end, voters always choose order over disorder. Kicking Mr. Trump to the curb wouldn’t return the country to the pre-Trump status quo. It would likely bring forth new law-and-order leadership more disciplined and conservative than Mr. Trump’s.

This advice is in accord with a story in the NYT this weekend about how, outside Washington, Democrats are trying to focus on policy, rather than trying to impeach Trump.
“Russia is important to the American public, but health care hits home directly in people’s lives,” said Nancy Keenan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Regular Montanans are talking about the heck of a spring snowstorm we just had, this health care bill, the stuff that’s hitting them every single day. They know something is amiss in Washington, but in their everyday lives it doesn’t affect them right now.”

Continue reading the main story
The contrast between what Democrats in Washington are consumed by and what their candidates are running on illustrates an emerging challenge for the party as the president becomes ever more engulfed in controversy: For all the misfortunes facing their foe in the White House, Democrats have yet to devise a coherent message on the policies that President Trump used to draw working-class voters to his campaign.

And at least for now, the voters whom Democrats need to win back are more focused on their own troubles than those of the president.

After a campaign in which they learned the hard way that an anti-Trump message was insufficient, Democrats are again grappling with how to balance responding to Mr. Trump’s apparent transgressions and devising an affirmative policy agenda of their own.
We've long known that most people don't pay much attention to the daily details of stories out of Washington. They're focused on their own lives and the issues that touch them personally. Trying to follow the ins and outs of what Trump said or didn't say and what it all means. Both parties need to remember that.

Chris Cillizza writes
at CNN to bemoan "Trump fatigue" and how people are starting to tune out all the stories about Trump because the plethora of stories crowd each other out.
There are so many storylines -- Russia, Comey, staff drama, his Twitter account, to name a few -- that they all sort of blend together in one jumble, even for people who follow this stuff very closely.
Call it "Trump fatigue." There's just so much any one person can consume as it relates to the President. And it's far less than the amount that Trump puts out there on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

There are two basic reactions to Trump fatigue.

The first -- and this is common among Trump's supporters but, increasingly, even among those who aren't part of his hardcore base -- is a belief that all of this stuff can't be true. That the dishonest media must be making some or all of it up.
The second is to just turn off the TV, close the computer, take your Twitter app off your phone. To unplug from the constant stream of stories that start "Donald Trump said ..."
I know that some of my friends and family report doing the latter and feeling much happier now that they're minimizing their consumption of the news.

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This is so typical of teachers' unions.
Staff members at the nation's largest teachers' union are guaranteed pay for the time they spend in jail if it is related to union work.

Staffers at the National Education Association, the union that represents about 3 million American educators and school employees, are entitled to their standard wage rate during their incarceration, according to a copy of their contract first reported by The 74 Million.

"Some union staffers can receive incarceration pay ‘for reasons stemming from actions taken by him/her in the scope of his/her Association employment.' The NEA contract specifies that this will be at the regular hourly rate for all time spent in jail," the website reports.
It is, apparently, not unusual for unions to include compensation for union staff during imprisonment in their union contracts. Remember that many school districts require teachers be members of the union and pay the membership fees. So whether you like the union or not, you're paying for the union official's legal costs. I would find this infuriating.

You stay classy, California Democrats. This is what the outgoing California Democratic Party Chairman did at the Democratic Party convention.
[H]e invited the listening-impaired translators onto the stage Saturday at the California’s Democratic Party convention in Sacramento to “thank them,” and then, as they were flashing their hands in applause for his service to the party, he put his middle finger in the air and lead a chant, “F*** Donald Trump!”

Perhaps more remarkable was the eager willingness of the crowd to join in with him, chanting, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Obama’s Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis looked on, laughing it up in the background.

Clint Eastwood claims that "Dirty Harry" couldn't have been made today. He's so right.
Eastwood didn't talk about current political events, but while discussing his then-controversial 1971 film 'Dirty Harry,' he waded into a topic he's touched on before: political correctness.

'A lot of people thought it was politically incorrect,' Eastwood said of 'Dirty Harry.' 'That was at the beginning of the era that we're in now, where everybody thinks everyone's politically correct. We're killing ourselves by doing that. We've lost our sense of humour.'