Thursday, October 11, 2018

Cruising the Web

Jonah Goldberg has a dismal comment about how our politics is going to get uglier. He points out that Trump and his supporters are pushing the idea that Trump's derisive comments about Dr. Ford and the feistiness that Republicans think helped them rally together over the Kavanaugh nomination. And the Democrats are bragging about how hard they're going to fight and go after Republicans. Put it all together and it's a prescription for more partisan convulsions.
Ryan Williams, the president of the Claremont Institute, argues that the Kavanaugh battle retroactively vindicates Michael Anton’s famous “Flight 93” argument of 2016: that the presidential election was a “charge the cockpit or you die” moment for American conservatives. Now, Williams says, the middle has collapsed, the parties are pulling farther apart, and it’s Flight 93 for as far as the eye can see.

The Left largely sees the situation this way, too. In the wake of their failure to destroy Kavanaugh, Democrats and liberal activists insist they must “fight dirty,” as political scientist David Farris argues in his book, It’s Time to Fight Dirty. Liberals have convinced themselves that Democrats lose because they are too nice. This, not ironically, was exactly the view conservatives such as Anton held about the GOP in 2016; many voters rallied to Trump on the grounds that “at least he fights.”

Stormy Daniels’s grandstanding lawyer, Michael Avenatti, is auditioning to be the Left’s counter-puncher. In response to the GOP’s Kavanaugh win, he tweeted, “When they go low, we hit harder. There is far too much at stake for any other approach.” Never mind that it was Avenatti’s harder-hitting allegations that steeled the GOP’s resolve to keep Democrats from railroading Kavanaugh.

There are other echoes of 2016 on the Democratic side. Many now flock to the banner of “socialism” the way the Bannonites rallied for nationalism. And both sides are doubling down on identity politics — Trumpists rushing to the defense of men, and leftists calling out white women who don’t toe the line as “gender traitors.”

This is how we got here. It will get worse because there are no incentives to be better. It won’t end well either, but at least it will feel familiar.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder is ready to match Avenatti. And he doesn't have the Julie Swetnick fiasco on his resume.
"Michelle [Obama] always says ‘When they go low, we go high,'" Holder told the crowd. "No. No. When they go low, we kick them."

The comment drew applause, cheers and chants of "fight" from the crowd supporting Stacey Abrams for Georgia governor and several other Democratic candidates. He continued, though, saying he did not want people to actually kick Republicans.

"When I say we kick them, I don’t mean we do anything inappropriate, we don’t do anything illegal, but we have to be tough and we have to fight," Holder said.

Holder, a potential presidential contender for 2020, said this was the start of a "new Democratic party," adding it was time to be as "tough" and "dedicated" as Republicans.
Gee, what can they do that's more than accusing a Republican of gang rape, making death threats against Republicans, shouting at Republicans while they eat dinner, and sending mobs in to disrupt Senate hearings?

More such behavior will all go over so well with independent voters, I'm sure.

John Sexton adds in,
Holder also added that Democrats had to win to prevent people “less imbued” with good values from running the country. “We’re in this to win. And the reality is if we don’t win, people who are less committed, less idealistic, less imbued with the values that make this nation really great will run this country,” he said.

So to sum this message up: Democrats good, GOP bad. Win by any means necessary. That’s remarkably similar to what Hillary Clinton said, in an interview with CNN which aired yesterday. “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for,” she said. She added that civility could only return if Democrats win the election next month.
And how long do you think it is going to take before some angry Republicans start acting similarly? And when they do, we'll suddenly start hearing CNN's newscasters use the word "mob" again.

And while CNN's Brooke Baldwin and Don Lemon both rejected the idea that the protests we've been seeing from the left should be called "mobs," the media wasn't so loath to use such terms when talking about the Tea Party. While now, these media defenders of the left tout their First Amendment rights to assemble and speak out, they weren't so supportive of those rights when it came to the Tea Party.
Then-CNN primetime host Piers Morgan called the Tea Party movement a “similar mob to Mussolini’s and Hitler’s. The nearest thing to it in America.”

Slate’s Editor-in-Chief Jacob Weisberg attacked the “Tea Party mob” and its “mob mentality.” Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi dismissed the Tea Party as “a weird and disorderly mob,” while at Politico Alex Isenstadt wrote about the “angry, sign-carrying mobs” who showed up at town hall meetings in 2009 to protest their representatives’ support for ObamaCare.

Elected Democratic officials joined in, too. Texas Democrat Rep. Lloyd Doggett complained about the Republican “mob” that showed up at his 2009 town halls. Then-Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY), who was later defeated by a Tea-Party backed Republican, felt the same way: “There is no point in meeting with my constituents and [to] listen to them and have them listen to you if what is basically an unruly mob prevents you from having an intelligent conversation.”

“It’s like the Salem witch trials, and health care is the witches,” then-Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) said in 2009. “This is mass hysteria.”

In 2009, the DNC even ran TV ads dropping the “M” word on Republican opponents of ObamaCare:

“Now desperate Republicans and their well-funded allies are organizing angry mobs just like they did during the election,” the ad claimed.

But, as Lewis and others have pointed out, Tea Party groups never “mobbed” politicians during dinner, or chased them into airport restrooms, or sent videos of beheadings to their wives. No Tea Party leader ever appeared on television to tell supporters to “get in the faces of some Congresspeople,” as Sen. Cory Booker recently did.

And while individual Tea Party supporters did behave crudely, they never took over a Senate office building or pounded in anguish on the doors of the Supreme Court.

Despite several massive rallies in Washington, DC and hundreds of others across the U.S., there were only a handful of arrests of Tea Party protesters. More than 300 anti-Kavanaugh protesters, on the other hand, were arrested in a single day last week. Hundreds more have followed.

“If the scenarios were reversed–if a Democratic politician and his wife were hounded out of a restaurant–if conservative protesters were saying things like ‘Confront them wherever they go’ and ‘Don’t let them have any comfort’–the media would rightly decry this as a mob mentality,” Lewis told Inside Sources. “And I would join them. But I think the lesson I’ve learned now is that when liberals do it, they’re not called a mob, they’re called ‘freedom fighters.’”

And if going "low" doesn't win over independent voters, the Democrats will try to woo them by talking about packing the Supreme Court, impeaching Kavanaugh, as well as impeaching Trump.

President Trump wants to expand the federal ethanol program. This is a terrible idea. As IBD editorializes,
this move marks an expansion of a bad and wasteful program, one that requires billions of dollars in subsidies a year but doesn't boost our fuel supply one bit.

As the Associated Press noted Tuesday, "The oil industry opposes year-round sales of E15, warning that high-ethanol gasoline can damage car engines and fuel systems. Some car makers have warned against high-ethanol blends, although EPA has approved use of E15 in all light-duty vehicles built since 2001."

Lowering Mileage
tudy after study shows the ethanol blends damage standard motors and make for worse mileage. That costs drivers more to fill up, since they're using more fuel.

Worse, it distorts our agricultural markets by putting pressure on corn prices — which, in addition to being a fuel additive, is also a food for farm animals such as pigs, cattle and chickens. The point is, it puts pressure on prices across the food chain.

Today, more than 40% of our corn crop goes to make ethanol for fuel. Why? Do people want ethanol in their gasoline so badly they're willing to pay extra for something that cuts their fuel efficiency by anywhere from 5% to 7% per mile?

Of course not. But, proponents of the plan would argue, ethanol fuel is much better than gasoline for the environment. And, besides, it helps us save our crude oil. It's all about national energy security.

Please. Thanks to the fracking revolution, the U.S. is now exporting oil. We are the biggest producer on Earth. We're not running out of oil, as many feared just a few years ago — we're swimming in the stuff. And thanks to the use of natural gas, our CO2 output is lower than it's been in almost 40 years.

Ethanol: It Ain't Clean

As for the environment, University of Michigan Professor John DeCicco told Congress in 2016 that his research found that biofuels such as ethanol actually increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere when compared to regular gasoline.

And even though ethanol at low levels does help gasoline burn more efficiently, the overall impact is starkly negative when it comes to other pollutants and land use.

A 2011 study by the Environmental Protection Agency forecast higher amounts of the following pollutants, among others from the use of E15: nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and ethanol-vapor emissions.

Even worse is the Rube Goldberg-style market that the government created for the sake of "transparency." It's transparent, all right: Transparently foolish, wasteful and with corruption.

That's because refiners, to sell their gasoline, must by special "renewable identification numbers," or "RINs". They serve as a way for the EPA to track sales of ethanol, and to keep the refiners honest. They're in essence a kind of credit, and can be bought and sold.

But it's turned into quite a scam. To begin with, prices aren't stable. From just a few pennies a gallon in 2013, the price quickly escalated to over $1 a gallon. While it's declined this year, it's now a highly volatile cost element.

The sketchy nature of the RINs market means one thing: corruption. Doug Parker, the EPA's former head of criminal investigations, estimated RINs annual fraud at as much as $1 billion out of a total market of around $15 billion.

Noah Rothman reminds us of the dark times around the world and how we're going to miss Nikki Haley's championing of liberty at the U.N.
A familiar darkness is descending across the globe. Illiberal governments are bolder in their attacks on human freedom, and the citizens of the world’s democratic states are struggling with a crisis of confidence. The threat this condition poses is particularly grave, not because it is unique, but because those who could once be counted upon to confront these trends no longer exhibit the will to resist.

Several weeks ago, Interpol President Meng Hongwei disappeared after arriving in his native China. This week, security officials in the People’s Republic revealed that Meng was being held in captivity amid allegations that he had accepted bribes. No further elaboration was given and Meng, likely another target of an anti-corruption campaign that some informed observers believe is a veiled effort by Xi Jinping to consolidate power, resigned his post, presumably under duress. Meng’s resignation was accepted. The PRC will suffer no consequences for this brazen subversion of an institution designed to coordinate international criminal policing efforts.

The news comes amid reports that China’s government has formally “legalized” the existence of re-education camps, in which up to one million Uighur Muslims are being subjected to “ideological transformation” designed to rid them of their attachment to their faith. Detainees are subjected to harsh conditions without adequate medical care. They are reportedly forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, recite pro-Communist slogans, and rehearse codes of conduct reserved only for China’s Turkic Muslims. And as Human Rights Watch noted, the flagrant way in which this campaign has been conducted—a campaign accompanied by “human rights violations” on a scale unseen since the Cultural Revolution—suggests Beijing does not fear repercussions.

The conditions that the Muslim minority endures in China is downright benevolent compared to their treatment in Burma/Myanmar, where “Never Again” has been exposed once more as a lie. The state has targeted the Rohingya Muslims in what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” More chillingly, United Nations-appointed investigators confirmed that sufficient evidence exists to investigate Naypyidaw for its complicity in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and state-sponsored genocide—a charge the UN does not issue lightly. But no one is coming to the aid of the Rohingya Muslims, and those lucky enough to escape are just as likely to be returned to their persecutors.

This has been a particularly bloody year for reporters, and not just in places like Russia, where the conduct of journalism has represented a major personal health risk for well over a decade. Viktoria Marinova, the Bulgarian journalist who recently uncovered the flagrant misuse of European Union funds by local politicians, was found raped and murdered in a park over the weekend. Daphne Caruana Galizia achieved international acclaim for her work uncovering global money laundering efforts, which surely contributed to the motives of those who killed her with a sophisticated remote-controlled car bomb in April. Twenty-seven-year-old Jan Kuciak and his fiancĂ© were gunned down in their home last month after Jan exposed corruption within the Slovakian government. And last week, Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Saudi Arabian dissident, is believed to have been assassinated and dismembered amid a routine visit to a Saudi consulate in Turkey on what a Turkish source said were “orders from the highest levels of the royal court.” A regular contributor to the Washington Post, Khashoggi was preparing to launch an advocacy group promoting freedom and popular democracy in the Arab world.

Three years after the brazen murder of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov within eyesight of the Kremlin, the United States has accused the brutal Venezuelan government of involvement in the slaughter of opposition councilman Fernando Alban. Two years ago, German Mavare, the leader of Venezuela’s political opposition, was shot in the head in a “politically motivated” assassination. The murder of opposition politicians is a feature of political life in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Serbia, and Tajikistan. Cambodia and Bahrain have all but criminalized the practice of politics. Religious freedom around the world is declining, and the persecution of religious minorities is on the rise. And in places like Turkey, Nicaragua, Poland, Hungary, and the Philippines, democratic institutions are being systematically dismantled to the sound of applause.

This is so very funny. How much is Montana's Senator Jon Tester paying his communications director?
I'm sure Montanans want a guy who goes hunting against...cows.

Another Tester employee points out that Tester used to run a custom butcher shop and that that involved slaughtering hundreds of cows and pigs. It still doesn't sound like hunting or anything to brag about when the guy is trying to defend himself from attacks by the NRA for being a phoney when it comes to gun rights.