Tuesday, July 05, 2016
Australia has just had a version of the Trump revolt or the Brexit revolt
Australian politics is traditionally dominated by the two major parties, with few independents. In last Saturday's election, however, neither of the two main parties had a clear win. The big win was a big increase in the number of independents. For either major party to govern, it will have to woo at least some of the independents
The leaders of both major parties had nothing fresh to offer and stood for business as usual. Both offered only the same old tired elitist consensus about most things that has recently come under challenge in the U.S., Britain and Europe.
Trump in America, Brexit in Britain, the rise of Marine Le Pen in France and the crumbling of Frau Dr. Merkel in Germany all say the same thing: People are sick of the same old politically correct consensus and want no more of it. So Australia's independents too now represent a rejection of business as usual
Brexit for America
Should we give Washington still more power over our lives – or “Take back control”
Independence Day weekend is a perfect time to reflect on personal freedoms and responsibilities.
The Magna Carta and Declaration of Independence were about overbearing, despotic kings. Brexit, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, was much about overbearing bureaucrats in Brussels.
This year’s US elections likewise center on gaining a new measure of freedom from an authoritarian, unaccountable Executive Branch in Washington. Like Brexit, they are also about We the People actually having a role in a democracy, a voice in how much power government will have over our lives. The Brexit motto is fast becoming the driving force in 2016 politics: “Take back control!”
Today’s ruling elites do not govern from positions of land ownership or birth, but from assertions of greater education, expertise and wisdom than supposedly possessed by citizens at large. These ruling classes increasingly control our lands, the energy and minerals beneath them, and the lives, livelihoods and living standards of those beyond the DC Beltway. People are getting fed up.
A Financial Times headline just days after the Brexit vote read “Clinton wary of populist contagion.” She should be.
The very notion that people might vote to loosen the shackles of intrusive government is anathema to her. Like President Obama, Hillary Clinton shares the mindset that democracy is fine if angry liberals can be mobilized to elect an activist, wealth-redistributionist president to “fundamentally transform” America. It’s unsettling and intolerable if conservatives mobilize to unelect this agenda.
Mrs. Clinton and her increasingly far-left party rightly worry that voters have had a bellyful of liberal-progressive policies that have rolled back economic growth, job creation, and incomes for poor, working class and minority families; unleashed waves of illegal immigration; and imposed massive cultural changes on our communities and military. And yet, right after the Brexit vote, Mrs. Clinton said:
“Our first task has to be to make sure the economic uncertainty created by these events does not hurt working class families here in America.” Talk about being insulated from reality.
Possible impacts from Britain’s exit from the EU are hardly the issue. America’s concern is the certain harm to working classes inflicted by Mr. Obama’s policies – which Ms. Hillary promises to redouble if elected. Her comment to West Virginia’s coal country electorate underscores her insensitive disdain.
“I’m going to put a lot of coal miners out of jobs,” she informed them. And she won’t stop there.
Germany, Britain and Poland are finally awakening to the ways exorbitant prices for subsidized, unreliable wind and solar electricity are hammering their poor and middle class families, destroying their international competitiveness, and driving their steel, auto, ceramics and other industries out of business. But Mrs. Clinton has also vowed to regulate hydraulic fracturing into oblivion, and ban mining and drilling on federally controlled lands that represent 30-85% of all real estate in Alaska and America’s western states. Her rabid environmentalist base wants to rid these areas of ranching and grazing, as well.
The economic impacts will roll through states and communities like successive tsunamis. Mrs. Clinton, her media and intellectual supporters, and ruling elites will likely respond as they always do.
“What difference at this point does it make?” she ranted at lawmakers who dared to question her lies and incompetence in the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his heroic security team in Benghazi.
“Shoulda, coulda, woulda. We didn’t,” the then-First Lady contemptuously responded to suggestions that she and President Clinton mishandled financial reports on their Whitewater land deals. She gave the same dismissive answer to “impertinent” questions about her improper State Department email server.
“Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, & supported,” she tweeted in 2015. But if they’re victims of her husband’s sexual predations, she labels them “trailer trash,” like Gennifer Flowers, or slimes and pressures them to shut up, like Juanita Broaddrick and other women.
Like Mr. Obama and other elites, she surrounds herself with armed security details – and then demands more gun control when unarmed or disarmed Americans are murdered in Orlando, San Bernardino or Fort Hood … while scrubbing press releases and cell phone transcripts of any mention of Islamist motives.
The Obama Justice Department prosecuted ex-Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell over a watch and meeting arrangements. (An 8-0 Supreme Court decision threw out the conviction.) But the DOJ was silent about Secretary of State Clinton appointing Rajiv Fernando to the International Security Advisory Board, giving him access to ultra-sensitive intelligence – when his only apparent “qualification” was raising millions of dollars for Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, donating hundreds of thousands to the Clinton Foundation, and giving tens of thousands to Hillary PACs.
The extensive quid-pro-quo of $200,000 Bill and Hill speeches and special deals for Wall Street, Saudi and other supplicants – swelling Clinton Foundation coffers – has received similar DOJ inattention.
Obama, Clinton and other Democrat kids go to pricey, private prep schools – while they oppose funding for charter schools that give poor and minority kids a chance to escape inner city life. They demand full integration of middle-income neighborhoods, but live in segregated, gated communities.
Those who dare question government diktats gets targeted or audited by the IRS, or even find armed SWAT teams bursting through their doors.
Legal immigrants face slow, expensive processing – while illegals from Latin America receive healthcare and education, live in sanctuary cities, and rarely get deported for crimes. 99% of Syrian refugees arriving under the latest Obama decree are Muslims, even as Christians are being exterminated in Syria and Iraq.
More and more, it seems, our government does whatever it decides the times demand – even when it means stifling innovation, growth, jobs and incomes for everyone except bureaucrats and crony corporatist friends, whose decisions, arrangements, perks and pensions are sacrosanct.
“As president, I can do whatever I want,” President Obama has said. If it was meant as a joke, few are laughing. On June 30, total government debt hit a record $19.4 trillion, a jump of nearly $98 billion from the day before. Our kids and their future generations will pay the price.
Elites impose healthcare, climate change, red-ink and transgender agendas – and then go apoplectic over Donald Trump’s controversial remarks. There is a “clear consensus” among intellectual, political and media elites that Donald Trump is “ill-suited to be president,” we repeatedly hear.
By contrast, Mrs. Clinton offers the “calm, steady, experienced leadership” we need in these uncertain times. Such as what we’ve seen on Benghazi, emails, energy, economics and sexual assault?
Ronald Reagan once asked, “If no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”
Indeed, who in government has the wisdom, knowledge or right to govern the rest of us, especially with the iron fist they increasingly employ – and with no transparency or accountability?
We gained independence from Britain over far less serious Abuses and Usurpations. Let’s hope we can at least have an angry populace election in 2016. And if Mr. Trump can formulate, articulate and implement sound, practical, job-creating, economy-stimulating policies – and enough voters can unite around him and those policies – America might get its own Brexit from tyrannical centralized, leftist government.
How Government Cronies Redefined the Catfish
An industry clamored for more regulation—because it had a financial interest in doing so.
Cronyism is the ugly marriage between special interest groups and politicians, which results in an abuse of the government's power to grant special privileges to a few winners—for example, unfairly preventing competition or doling out subsidies and bailouts at the expense of taxpayers. Though cronyism is always outrageous, the way cronies go about achieving their goals is sometimes oddly funny. Case in point: the government's changing the definition of catfish to classify the fish as—wait for it—meat, not seafood.
As Patrick Mustain reports in Scientific American, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., included an amendment in the 2008 farm bill designating catfish as a "species amenable to" the Federal Meat Inspection Act, which "requires appointment of inspectors to examine and inspect all meat food products prepared for commerce." The 2014 farm bill made this silly amendment official.
As a result, from now on, catfish and a few other species of fish will be inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service rather than by the Food and Drug Administration's seafood inspection program. All other seafood will continue to be inspected by the FDA.
Does it really matter who inspects what fish? Yes, because the cost to develop the new program will be $14 million and the ongoing annual cost during the transition phase will be $2.5 million. The USDA's inspections are also much more burdensome and frequent than the FDA's.
Is that extra scrutiny necessary because catfish carry a high risk of causing food poisoning? Nope. Advocates for the rules will point to recent USDA "discoveries" of chemical residue in catfish, but that finding doesn't hold water. In May 2012, the Government Accountability Office noted that the USDA catfish program "would cause duplication and inefficient use of resources" because "as many as three agencies—FDA, FSIS, and (the National Marine Fisheries Service)—could inspect facilities that process both catfish and other types of seafood." That's insane because in 2013, the GAO also found that catfish are a low-risk food and that safety wouldn't be enhanced by switching inspections from the FDA to the USDA.
A look at who is behind this rule tells you all you need to know about how misguided it is. During the public comment sessions, the domestic catfish farming industry was very vocal about the need for more regulations and oversight of their business. This seems odd because it's not often that one hears of an industry clamoring for more regulations—that is, of course, unless it has a financial interest in doing so.
For years, domestic catfish producers were getting hammered by competition coming from China and Vietnam. Those same catfish farmers understood that unlike the FDA inspection program, the USDA inspection program has a separate "equivalency" test for imports, which adds a layer of regulations only on imports and could take countries years to implement. In the meantime, they'd be completely barred from the U.S. market. Domestic catfish farmers love that. Also, 94 percent of U.S. farm-raised catfish is raised in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, hence the interest of Sen. Cochran to push this misguided regulation on catfish.
Unfortunately, there are many losers in this scenario. First, the reduced competition faced by catfish farmers guarantees that the price for the fish (or should I say meat?) will go up. Second, catfish processors are on the losing side of the USDA inspection rule because most of them process other seafood—and now they'll have to comply with the USDA rules and the FDA rules. Third, taxpayers will have to foot an expensive bill for a duplicative rule that will achieve little except artificially boosting the profits of a few domestic catfish farmers. Finally, non-catfish industries will suffer as a result of the trade retaliation against this catfish protectionism.
There is, however, some light at the end of the tunnel. As Heritage Action for America's Dan Holler recently told me, "the choice between consumers and well-connected parochial special interests should not be difficult for Republican leaders. With a presidential signature likely and a clear majority of House Republicans in support of overturning the ... rule, now is the time to act." But will they?
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- covering news from Japan, Austria and Britain
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Posted by JR at 12:28 AM