Enough Never Trump

We love Kevin Williamson, Jonah Goldberg is often entertaining, and David French writes but the NRO Never Trump Brigade needs to find a new song.  Today it is Kevin’s turn to salt the soil:

Some of the smarter right-wing talking mouths on cable news have already developed aggressive amnesia regarding their own complicity in Trump’s rise, and it is likely that many will follow. The line of argument will be: “Hey, I was a big Ted Cruz supporter, really, but, after the primary, it was Trump or Hillary.” Some people will need reminding of what they said and did.

To be fair to Kevin, he is against impeaching The Donald.  To be fair to us, we were for anyone but The Donald in the primary.  Like many, we were not a big Ted Cruz supporter but we voted for him in the primary because he was better than The Donald.  In the general election our first choice was Mitt’s second term but that wasn’t on the ballot.  The choice, and it was a binary one, was between The Donald and Herself.  We, and the country, made the right choice and voted for The Donald.

NRO deserves some credit for The Donald’s rise.  They were steadfastly against The Donald but tried to beat somebody (The Donald) with nobody for most of the primary season.  They, like many others, underestimated The Donald until it was too late and then nothing worked.

Many of The Donald’s supporters main concern was illegal immigration.  There has not been a legislative solution but there has been a change:

Illegal immigration across the southwest border is down more than 60 percent so far under President Trump, officials revealed Tuesday, even before the first new agent is hired or the first mile of his promised border wall is constructed.

Those supporters have gotten what they wanted.

It was a binary choice in November.  There were many folks that reluctantly supported The Donald.  It was the right choice.  If the Never Trump Brigade didn’t support The Donald in November then they were wrong.  They don’t need to admit it but the Never Trump Brigade needs to stop emulating The Donald.  Write less silly stuff.  Instead let us talk of serious things.

MSM And James Damore

The Guardian reports that James Damore is considering legal action against Google.  James was fired because he suggested alternative diversity actions that Google did not want to consider or discuss.  Below we have taken the first two paragraphs of the article and made comments in bold with [].

The computer engineer fired by Google
[A good start] 
for suggesting women are less suited to certain roles in tech and leadership
[Nope. It is about overlapping distributions with different means.  He does say that the percentages by gender and race can be different because of mean differences.]
is considering taking legal action against the company.
[That’s what they report]
James Damore, a chess master who studied at Harvard, Princeton and MIT and worked at the search engine’s Mountain View HQ in California,
[We didn’t look these things up but we accept them]
caused outrage
[Boy did he ever!]
when he circulated a manifesto
[Well, yes it is a written statement by James outlining his views.  We see manifesto as akin to fascist in terms of its negative connotation.]
at the weekend complaining about Google’s “ideological echo chamber”
[Yup.  The evidence, his firing, confirms he was right.]
and claiming women have lower tolerance of stress
[The whole point of his memo was that populations can have different means but substantial overlap.  James said that women, on average have more openness, extraversion, and neuroticism.  The latter causes them, on average, to have higher levels of anxiety.]
and that conservatives are more conscientious.
[Don’t worry he said lots of negative things about conservatives.  What he did actually say (p. 8) is that Google should stop alienating conservatives because viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important, conservatives need to express themselves, and conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, part of the Five Factor model that James uses elsewhere.]

It seems to us that The Guardian missed the most pro-conservative point in the memo when James went the full George Will and said that viewpoint diversity is (arguably, he hedged) the most important.  Every progressive should be aghast at that statement but we have not seen mention of it.

James, we predict, will get enough money from Google that he doesn’t need to sue The Guardian.  Of course, his relationship with the paper is different than with Google so his opportunity is not as great but they are clearly part of the echo chamber he wants to have a discussion with.  It is unfortunate that they do not want to have a discussion with him.

 

Venezuela Confusion

Brandon Morse at The Blaze informs us that World of Warcraft currency is worth more than Venezuelan currency.  Brandon gives credit to others and then says:

According to sites that track the value of both currencies, KalebPrime’s math is outdated, and WoW gold is now worth even more than the bolivar.

According to the site dolartoday.com, which actively tracks the worth of the bolivar on the black market, the bolivar has dropped to 11,185.95 per dollar since KalebPrime posted .

Meanwhile, according to mmobux.com, which tracks the value of WoW’s in-game currency for sales outside of the game, the lowest sale of 10,000 gold in a real life exchange will get you $1.21 [or 8,264 per USD].

So when did this come about?  Brandon tells us:

This drop in the worth of the bolivar is stark compared to its worth just a few months ago. In May, 279 bolivars would net $1, according to CNN Money. In June, the worth dropped to 408 bolivars for every dollar.

What is the cause of it?  Brandon gives the party line:

The Venezuelan economy has suffered greatly under President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist regime. The drop in oil prices, combined with the Venezuelan government’s mismanagement of the economy has resulted in a shortage of everything from food to everyday items.

So the drop in oil prices is listed as the first cause.  What was the oil price at the beginning of May when things were less terrible?

Sidebar: We use the Brent price per barrel from Oil.Com.  There are several different benchmarks.  All will show that the price has jumped up and down but has been relatively stable in the last few months.  We use WTI for a longer view because that is the data we could find.  The benchmarks have different prices but they move together.  We are more nervous about Brandon’s measurements of the Bolivar.  It could be that CNN Money and dolartoday. com are not comparable because the Bolivar has an official rate and a real or black market rate.  End Sidebar

Brent crude was just above $52.  What was it at the beginning of June?  It was just below $52.  What is it today.  It must be like $1.43 to cause all this turmoil.  It is $52.72.  That’s right, the oil price has moved up slightly.  Now oil prices did plunge.  It plunged from about $100 a barrel to, roughly, the current price in the second half of 2014 as this chart shows (alert: it is a different benchmark (WTI) so the price today is a couple of dollars different).  Since the beginning of 2015 the price has jumped around on both sides of $50 but is is hard to discern a trend.  So oil prices dropped three years ago.  It is a problem for Venezuela but it is hard to connect what happened three years ago to its current woes.  The government needs to take at least 99 percent of the responsibility for the current problems.

Compare what is happening in Venezuela to the more capitalistic USA.  USA produces (2014 =8,764) over times as much oil as Venezuela (2014 = 2,500) but it is a smaller part of our economy.  The USA and its oil industry is recovering nicely in 2017 while Venezuela in chaos.  The different economic systems are why.

If that is how The Blaze presents Maduro’s problems then you know what to expect from the legacy media.  Venezuela is socialism.

 

 

 

Never Forget

With the mitigated joy of having The Donald as president, it is good to remind ourselves of the horror of his predecessor.  David Horowitz does just that for foreign policy at the PowerLine.  His opening salvo:

During the eight years of the Obama administration, half a million Christians, Yazidis and Muslims were slaughtered in the Middle East by ISIS and other Islamic jihadists, in a genocidal campaign waged in the name of Islam and its God. Twenty million others were driven into exile by these same jihadist forces. Libya and Yemen became terrorist states. America – once the dominant foreign power and anti-jihadist presence in the region – was replaced by Russia, an ally of the monster regimes in Syria and Iran, and their terrorist proxies. Under the patronage of the Obama administration, Iran – the largest and most dangerous terrorist state, with the blood of thousands of Americans on its hands – emerged from its isolation as a pariah state to re-enter the community of nations and become the region’s dominant power, arming and directing its terrorist proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Yemen.

Do read the whole thing.  It is quite a powerful reminder.  We don’t love The Donald but he is an improvement and he is a better choice than the Secretary of State that implemented these disasters.  It does mean that The Donald has a big job.  We hope he is up to it.

 

Never Trump Again

Jonah Goldberg continues to spend time trying to justify his NeverTrump obsession.  It was a good idea that NRO put the newsletters on the website so they are easy to reference.  Jonah says:

Conservatives for most of my life argued that character matters. That went by the wayside for many people in 2016.

Well, we suppose it depends on what he means by many but we continue to have a different take than Jonah.  We don’t think that conservatives generally changed their evaluation systems in 2016.  Character didn’t matter in the 2016 presidential election because it wasn’t on the menu.  Folks didn’t worry if The Donald or Herself were an iota less reprehensible because character was not a positive attribute for either.

Sidebar One: Why has iota survived as definition for a very small quantity?  We assume it was used in this meaning in schools at one point but when?  We used and saw lots of Greek letterers we were in grad school all those years ago but none of them were named iota.  When did iota happen?  End Sidebar One.

Jonah wants to measure character on an absolute level.  Character was a positive attribute for every GOP nominee between Nixon and The Donald.  This is not to say every GOP nominee had relatively superior character than their opponent but they had a positive absolute level of character.  Character can also be measured on a relative level.

Sidebar Two: There has been much discussion about the left’s attempts to smear the character of previous GOP nominees made telling the truth about The Donald’s character difficult.  There is some insight to this point of view but we see that bringing up character when you are trying to promote Herself is a losing proposition.  End Sidebar Two.

Sidebar Three: We once asked students if Rita Crunwell, who embezzled millions from Ronald Reagan’s hometown or fictional Walter White was worse.  It was a fun exercise because, like 2016, both were of poor character on an absolute scale.  End Sidebar Three.

The Donald was a dominate choice in 2016 because of the alternative, Herself.  The worst attributes of The Donald, character and trade, were matched by Herself.  The Bernie is an economic fool of epic proportions but his nomination would have made a more difficult choice for conservatives because he would win the character argument.  Character does matter but it didn’t matter in 2016 because it wasn’t an option with either candidate.

Book Analysis

We are big fans of Iceland: The place, the soccer team, and Arnaldur Indridason.

Sidebar: We saw the Iceland soccer team play a FiFA qualifier in Reykjavik in 2002 or so.  They tied an eastern European team, Romania, we think.  The echoing cheers of Is-land and the folks that looked like Vikings made the game great fun.  We enjoyed, on TV, their success at the recent European tournament.  End Sidebar.

Arnaldur has written many books about Inspector Erlendur but we just finished reading a stand alone book: Operation Napoleon written in 1999.  All the books are written in Icelandic and translated into British English.  It might be described a political fantasy that pokes fun at Americans and Icelanders alike.  What got our attention was this on page 50:

“They [American politicians] were always putting themselves centre-stage.  Especially Democrats, with their demands for open government, for having everything transparent and above board.”

When we first saw it we thought that Arnaldur was just another clueless European leftist but the rest of the book led us to believe he as capable of deeper insights.  We would like to ask him but we think it is tongue-in-cheek.  Remember that is was published in 1999 so it was written during the height of one of the Clinton scandals.  Democrats arguing for open government would have seem dated by then.  Certainly Obama has convinced everyone that the Venn Diagrams of open government and Democrats do not intersect.

Press And Tax Illiteracy

The Donald’s administration had to act on tax illiteracy as reported in the WSJ.  First, the administration said correctly:

When he was asked about tax incentives for retirement, Mr. Spicer said that the only deductions protected from repeal in a tax code overhaul were those for mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

But some tax illiterate reporters thought that this would endanger the tax status of 401-k plans.  So they needed to reiterate:

The administration clarified Mr. Spicer’s comments after the briefing, making clear no changes to 401(k)s and similar retirement accounts were proposed as part of Wednesday’s announcement. The breaks for 401(k)s aren’t technically deductions; contributions are excluded from the income-tax base. [Emphasis added]

Nope, they didn’t clarify Mr. Spicer’s comments.  They might have reiterated or explained them but there was nothing unclear about the first briefing.  The technically we bolded is simply an admission of error.  The sentence is more accurate without it.  We expect that the misunderstanding on the part of reporters is more likely to be foolishness rather than nastiness.