Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Russia connection


The American Left's Downward Spiral

R. Emmett Tyrrell
I have returned! From Europe, that is, and I hope I met with no Russian agents while there. The soi-disant liberals are in a snit about the Russians. Apparently, Donald Trump Jr. and the mysterious senior White House adviser Jared Kushner met with an agent of the Kremlin in June of last year, and they did not report their meeting to The Powers That Be. Who are The Powers That Be? Actually, I have no idea, but Trump and Kushner should have reported their exchange, which had something to do with adoption or adaption or, possibly, Hillary Clinton’s unwashed socks. You figure it out.

The stalwarts of the American Left (we no longer call them liberals — it is inappropriate) are in another of their tense moments with the Trumps, and, of course, it has something to do with the Trumps and the Russians. The Left has developed an irrational fear of the Russians, and it is positively obsessed with them. I am not sure why this is. Perhaps it is because the Russians today are no longer communists and the erstwhile liberals had long admired certain aspects of the communist system. As I recall, they admired the Marxist-Leninist tax code and its attendant slow-growth economy. Remember their great economists, such as John Kenneth Galbraith and Lester Thurow, oohing and aahing over how prosperous Russia was in the 1980s, just before the crash of communism?

How did that crash come about, comrades? Was it caused by something then-President Ronald Reagan did? Reagan was the Donald Trump of his era. Are our friends to the left still perplexed as to how a B-list movie actor contributed to the fall of communism? Now what can they be expecting from a billionaire businessman?

The morbid preoccupations of the American Left continue apace. Of course, there is its aforementioned paranoia over post-communist Russia. And there is the environment that is increasingly sickening the Left; and the civil rights of public toilet users in certain red states; and civil rights in general. The Ku Klux Klan is making a comeback, and it is aided and abetted by the increasingly popular “alt-Right” movement and the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy, who object the expurgation of five years of American history back in the 19th century. Then there is the resistance movement that has been a theme with the American Left ever since Hillary Clinton had her meltdown on election night.

As David Gelernter pointed out last week in The Wall Street Journal, the American Left has adopted “resistance” in response to the free and democratic election of President Trump. As Gelernter wrote, “Democrats, in their role as opponents of President Trump, have taken to calling themselves ‘the resistance.’” They are co-opting the term “resistance” from the free French who, in World War II, opposed the Nazis in occupied France. In their delusions, the members of the American Left are modern-day freedom fighters, and the Trumps are Nazis. Continuing the Left’s fantasy, the American army and its allies will eventually be called in to liberate “the resistance.” And who will march down our Champs-Elysees? Hillary?

I saw my first member of the resistance at the airport in Brussels. The hero was wearing a black T-shirt with “Resistance” boldly emblazoned across his chest. He was asleep. I did not want to wake him with troubling news. His fly was halfway down. Since then, I have seen black T-shirts everywhere in Washington, DC, bearing variations on the Resistance theme: “The Resistance”; or, simply, “Resist”; or, harkening back to Hillary, “She Persists, You Resist.” Nowhere is it reported that Trump has taken any notice, to say nothing of ordering out his brown shirts.

Is it possible that we shall endure such childishness into 2018? I believe it is. Comparing oneself to freedom fighters who faced torture and death while one lounges in the Brussels airport may seem to normal Americans like a leap into fantasy, but it is nothing to the American Left. It has been inhabiting a fantasy world since the first Clinton administration. Those were the years in which it beheld then-President Bill Clinton as the Virgin President and Monica Lewinsky as The Stalker. Ever since then, the Left’s condition has worsened.



GOP Rallies Behind Idiotic Bill


Republicans are about to do something very stupid. Using bribery, threats and cajolery, they intend to pass a catastrophically unpopular bill on a party-line vote.

GOP: Obamacare is unpopular, so let’s pass a new health care bill that’s even MORE unpopular.

Normal Person: Why would you do that?

GOP: No, you don’t understand. Obamacare is totally imploding, so if we pass this bill now, all its problems will be blamed on us!

Republicans would be better off doing nothing. They can survive the ridicule for running against Obamacare through four election cycles and then not repealing it. They cannot survive a bill that does nothing to fix the actual problems with Obamacare.

The only explanation for the GOP doing something so stupid and unpopular is that it’s all about tax cuts.

Why can’t we get it through their heads that we didn’t elect Trump to cut taxes? Forty-five percent of people don’t pay any federal income tax — and they voted for Trump! Taxes on high earners (or “Hillary voters”) are at a historic low.

Here’s a somewhat more important issue I’d like to submit for Republicans’ consideration: PEOPLE CAN’T BUY HEALTH INSURANCE THEY WANT, CAN’T SEE THE DOCTORS THEY WANT AND CAN’T AFFORD THEIR PREMIUMS AND DEDUCTIBLES.

How about allowing people the option of buying insurance that doesn’t cover sex change operations, gambling addictions, psychotherapy, liver transplants for illegal aliens and so on?

Instead of squandering this moment, Trump the businessman should seize it to trumpet the free market. This is a golden opportunity to give a speech explaining why, contrary to everything your professors told you, communism doesn’t work. To paraphrase Talleyrand, what Republicans are doing with Obamacare is worse than a crime; it’s a mistake.

Liberals always promise us wondrous cost-saving government programs, and then, it turns out, none of the laws of physics support their exciting plans. Obamacare is crashing and burning — and Trump hasn’t done a thing to anyone’s health care. He can say, perfectly accurately, he was just standing there when the plane hit the ground.

What sets us apart from the rest of the world is freedom — free people, free markets, free minds. That is how America became the most prosperous nation in the world. There’s no genius that can compete with the genius of the free market.

Sentient adults are perfectly capable of making their own choices about what health insurance to buy, the same way they make choices about what food to buy. The whole key to fixing Obamacare is not to repeal it, but to allow the rest of us to buy insurance on the free market.

Right now, it’s illegal to sell an insurance plan that most people would like to buy. Instead, you have to buy plans that cover millions of things you don’t want and nothing that you do want — all in order to pay for other people’s health care.

It would be as if grocery stores were required to charge you $60 for a head of lettuce in order to fund the federal school lunch program.

It is a blood libel to say we don’t care about the old, sick and dispossessed. Everyone has plenty of food in America, even without $60 heads of lettuce. That’s the free market! As Trump said, we will care for them better than they’ve ever been cared for before. But, first, the welfare cases have to be separated from the free market.

Proposed law: “Notwithstanding any other provision of federal or state law, it shall be lawful to purchase or sell any health insurance product in the United States of America.”

Skip the repeal — so there’s nothing for leftist ruffians to protest — and just give the rest of us the option of escaping Obamacare to buy health insurance the same way we buy everything else. Only a free market can guarantee good products at good prices.

Trump used to understand this! In the very first GOP debate, he said, “What I’d like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state. … Get rid of the artificial lines and you will have yourself great plans. And then we have to take care of the people that can’t take care of themselves. And I will do that through a different system.”

The “lines around the states” were the 50 state insurance commissions determining which health plans could legally be sold in each state — mandating, for example, that every plan include coverage for acupuncturists, chiropractors, fertility treatments, speech pathologists and so on.

Instead of throwing off the shackles of these commissions and giving us a nationwide free market in health insurance, Obamacare imposed one enormous federal shackle.

As a result, “health insurance” under Obamacare isn’t insurance at all — it’s the government forcing us to pay for other people’s health care through ghastly insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays in exchange for highly limited health insurance for ourselves.

Trump ought to be using the flaming wreckage of Obamacare to illustrate what’s wrong with all Soviet five-year plans. It could be as iconic as Reagan’s Berlin Wall speech. Teenagers would vote Republican for the next 70 years — 80 or 90 years, if they could finally buy decent health insurance.



Congress is letting Trump and his voters down

Most Americans are dissatisfied – rightly and wrongly — with this Congress, but the frustration of many might have been placated had Congress actually accomplished something in its first 84 legislative days. Having already completed 57% of its schedule this year, the top accomplishment of the 115th Congress is the Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch – no small victory. Congress also passed about 15 resolutions under the Congressional Review Act rescinding various regulations issued in the waning days of the Obama Administration.

Otherwise, the trophy mantle is pretty much empty and rapidly gathering dust.  The House passed its version of Obamacare overhaul, but the Senate left town without taking a single vote.  The same goes for defanging the job-killing Dodd-Frank Act and the Frankenstein monster it created, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The budget is in shambles with liberal Republicans refusing to pass needed spending reductions for sacred cow entitlement programs, like Medicaid and food stamps.  Neither tax reform nor infrastructure is even on the launching pad.

And the much-promised wall between the U.S.-Mexican border the most tangible, symbolic reminder of the 2016 campaign?  Silence.

What Congress did pass in May was a $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep the government open till September 30th.  The bill maintained so many liberal priorities that the Washington Post declared it a “win” for Democrats, enough to give the resistance  confidence they can block the Trump agenda.

So, if Republican voters are frustrated and wondering why they voted and are stuck paying for a Congress that hasn’t delivered, they’ve got plenty of evidence to back them up.  And with only 63 legislative days scheduled for the rest of the year, a budget left to pass, the debt ceiling set to expire in September, and distractions like North Korea emerging, the prospects aren’t promising.  If only Congress could buy some more time.

They can – but it’s going to cost them their cherished August recess.

In June, the House Freedom Caucus called on Speaker Paul Ryan to cancel the August recess “to accomplish the priorities of the American people.”   As it became increasingly clear that the Senate would not vote on its health care bill before the July recess, ten senators signed a letter calling for the August recess to be shortened or canceled.  Organizations like Americans for Limited Government have pushed lawmakers to cancel their summer break so Congress can “get to work.”

Congressional leaders would be wise to heed these suggestions. Voters entrusted them with power in November to pass an agenda for making America great again; in its first 84 official days, Congress has come up woefully short.

Our elected officials behave much like schoolchildren.  Historically, the prospect of losing out on recess time has been the only consistent way to goad them into action.  With the clock working against them, lawmakers’ only option for delivering on even part of what they promised may be declaring that this time, school’s not out for summer.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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1 comment:

Paul Weber said...

The solution is simple and staring everyone right in the face. Get the government out of the healthcare business. It's obvious that the government has no real world understanding of the healthcare needs of it's citizens, nor should it!