Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Odds and Ends

As the Trump Turns

I have been thinking more on the turning of Trump.  I read and listen to those who boldly and loudly paint the best possible interpretation of his complete 180 degree U-turn on several major statements Trump made during the campaign: getting further involved in Syria, coming to agreement with China, etc.

I won’t go through the reasons / excuses / multi-dimensional chess that only a grand master can comprehend.  Pick your own best possible interpretation: what good comes from a complete about-face?  People want to see leadership.  Think about your job – do you consider as a leader a boss who says one thing and does another?  Or do you – and everyone else who wants to deal in honest terms – view him as a flake, untrustworthy, dishonest?

People want to deal with those who are felt to be consistent.  Who gains by inconsistency in discussion and negotiation?

Good cannot not come from doing evil.  Lying and bombing cannot produce anything good.

And, so….

Supporting Trump a Mistake?

Keep in mind my definition of support – much broader than voting for or donating to.  It could include nothing more than pointing out areas of agreement, or areas of distinction between Trump and Clinton.

With this said…the Saker offers seven reasons “Why voting for Trump was the right thing to do.”  He writes this in the wake of all of the 180 degree turns in the last weeks.  While I say nothing about the “voting” part, regular readers know my view on the “supporting” part.

Saker’s seven reasons are all good and worth keeping in mind; here, I will only offer his conclusion:

So while “Monday morning quarterbacking” is fun, it is also absurd. Those who now tell us “I told you so” are right but for the wrong reasons, whereas those who supported Trump were wrong, but for the right reasons. Trump betrayed his campaign promises, but those who voted for him could not simply assume that he would do that, especially not when there was no reason at all to believe that Hillary would betray hers: does anybody seriously believe that after being elected on a promise of war she would have turned into a dove of peace? Of course not.

Simply put: Hillary was guaranteed bad. Trump was possibly bad. The logical choice was therefore obvious, especially when ‘bad’ would most likely mean nuclear war.

Of course, putting one’s head in the sand is also an option.

Vive la France

Euphoria in the markets: France avoided the dreaded Le Pen / Mélenchon run-off.  Each of these two wanted out of the EU and the Euro.  Instead, alongside Le Pen will be Macron – a young, seemingly conformist, candidate.  He likes the EU and the Euro.

The markets feel pretty good regarding the idea that Macron will win the run-off in a couple of weeks.  So…all is well…

But, of course, it isn’t all well.

Between Le Pen and Mélenchon, something over 40% voted for candidates who wanted out of the EU.  Include Macron, and well over 60% voted for candidates that are not from the two parties that have controlled French politics for sixty years.

Oh…by the way…none of the issues that are the cause for French (or, more broadly, European) angst are going to get any better – sure, Macron might have a trick or two up his sleeve to delay the inevitable…but the inevitable is inevitable.

The EU will decentralize, and along with this, the common currency.

Some Mad Bugger's Wall

…after all it's not easy

Banging your heart against some mad bugger's wall

-          Pink Floyd

Supposedly the US government is going to be shut down at the end of this week, all because Trump wants to include funding for his big, beautiful wall…and the democrats don’t like that idea.

Now, I am as a big a fan of a government shut-down as the next guy…a real shutdown, not the nonsense of only slowing down on the so-called “non-essential” services.  In any case, the drama is always fun to watch.

But the wall?  Trump had many crazy ideas during the election campaign; this is one of the craziest.  Of course, it won’t work toward the advertised ends – this should be reason enough to drop the idea.

There are much more effective ways to accomplish what Trump supposedly wants to accomplish.  Start with a law that distinguishes citizens from non-citizens in terms of “benefits” from the state.  Force congress to vote on this issue.

Win or lose, this will energize those who supported Trump.  The symbolism is much more compelling than any symbolism to be found in a worthless, one-thousand mile long, make-work project.

A Sale is a Sale

There has been much written about the United Airlines fiasco; there are those who offer that United sold a seat and the passenger has the right to the seat (or some version of this).  A sale is a sale!

It got me to thinking: what about the other side of that coin?  An airline could ensure no one gets bumped; an airline could commit to selling only as many seats as were available on the plane – no overbooking…if…

…if…a sale is a sale…well…how about no cancellation by the passenger.  Whether you fly or not, you pay for the ticket.

But, of course, the passenger today is allowed to cancel – with no charge if a (more expensive) refundable ticket was purchased, with a charge if a (less expensive) non-refundable ticket was purchased.

Which, if you think about it, is more or less the same position that the airline is in: the party who changes his mind pays a cost.  A passenger can pre-pay the cost by purchasing a more expensive refundable ticket, or pay the cost only if cancelling a flight reserved via a non-refundable ticket.  And the airline pays the cost if it cannot accommodate the passenger.

United’s mistake was that it didn’t choose to follow its contract; it didn’t choose to pay the cost in a non-violent manner.

The United States Does Not Conquer for Territory

I found this to be cute:

"I am aware of a car bomb attack at one of the gates in the U.S. base, but we are not allowed there to get more details," [Mubarez Mohammad Zadran, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Afghanistan's eastern province of Khost] said.


  1. Regarding supporting Trump, I personally had serious misgivings about the man and his platform, but I grudgingly decided to because I thought that he might actually do something to rollback the vaccine tyranny sweeping the U.S. This is an issue that the liberty movement should give high priority to, but few seem to really care about.

    But more generally, I think it is a mistake to treat certain issues (such as voting and supporting or not supporting candidates) as being black and white, as so many libertarians are inclined to do. Sometimes none of the choices which are available to us are really satisfactory and we must, in effect, make the best of a bad situation. That is not to say that we SHOULD vote or support questionable candidates, but whatever we do, we should go in with our eyes open.

    1. I think libertarians are just as guilty as any other group in flocking toward name recognition. They cast aside what little principles they reserve for a shot at playing the chess game - a form of fatal conceit if you ask me. Hillary is 79% evil and Donald only 67%. What a bargain! And Trump has shown that he's sooooo principled (never).

      Yet there sits Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party, saying all the right principled stuff from the standpoint of smaller government. Crickets. Crickets here at Bi-Mosq. Crickets at LRC. Crickets everywhere.

      Everyone talked about the NAMES provided by the fair and balanced mainstream media. We've heard of Trump, Clinton, and Johnson. Let's discuss! Let's debate! Which is the lesser evil?!?

      Castle was on the ballot, too.


  2. My own tin-foil-hat fear, concerning Trump's full 180 on his campaign pledges, is that "someone got to him". He naively entered DC thinking he was beholden to no one, and thus capable of draining the swamp. Turns out the swamp was more than ready for his arrival, and neutralized him easily, presumably with threats to himself and his family, and who knows what else. The Deep State will stop at nothing to keep their power and pelf. Even if it means annihilating 6 billion humans.

    I don't like allowing myself to think in those terms, but I'm looking for better theories to fit the facts.

  3. I supported Trump 100% from the beginning. He ran against 20 candidates from all parties who loved wars, and that was good enough for me even so he said he loved the military, which was code word for wars. He then appointed Nikki Haley to the UN, and started to get uneasy. Then his meetings withe Romney made swear never to vote for any future elections if got betrayed again after the POS last republican president.

    He appointed his liberal son in law as a senior adviser. And his daughter as a substitute wife, and lots of CFR in his inner circles.... Bombed Syria and lied to us, and brought a Muslim Brotherhood girl to the WH, and lied about her as well. Trump," fogitabouit" dude? You fooled me dude.

  4. I don't vote, but I did support Trump. I actually put some effort into it spending time on off-topic trade forums pointing out Hillary's corruption. I'm sure I gained Trump (or cost Hillary) far more votes than my one (useless) potential entry.

    Why did I do it? I was sure, and still am, that Trump will pass laws that worsen the next major recession. He will drain resources, not swamps, to "Make America" whatever it is he considers great. In doing so, he will quicken the decline of the most war loving nation on earth.

    In hind sight, I didn't expect Trump to start a conflict with NK. And after watching quite a few Putin speeches, I'm half convinced the DNC had given him assurances their aggressive posturing had everything to do with the election, and would die down afterward.

    I don't want more wars, I want economic decline resulting in secession, and a gradual break up of the states. So as Brutus pointed out above, we libertarians play these games at our own risk. If Trump triggers a major war in NK, I will definitely feel partly responsible.