Friday, October 20, 2017

The Method to Trump’s ‘Madness’ (DP: VDH's pieces are always worth the time--this one to really grasp "Trump")

The Method to Trump’s ‘Madness’
By Victor Davis Hanson

The Democratic Party, as it did after Hubert Humphrey’s close loss in 1968, seems still to be misdiagnosing its 2016 defeat.

Democrats see too little identity politics rather than too much as their trouble, and thus are redoubling on what has been slowly shrinking the party into coastal enclaves.

Promoting Black Lives Matter and open borders, promising free tuition and tax hikes, opposing fracking and pipeline construction, pushing single-payer health care and an ever-expanding transgender agenda as well as abortion—these are not majority positions. Neither will embracing Hollywood, the media, or the NFL protests win over voters. Thinking (or hoping) that President Trump will implode, quit, be jailed, sicken, die, or be impeached is not an agenda.

Trump Compared to What?
When Trump promises to restore Christmas nomenclature, to build a border wall, or to bark back against the NFL, he bets that 51 percent of the voting public is likely on his side. Trump’s tweets may be cul de sacs. And they may diminish the traditional stature of the presidency, but they are rarely on the wrong side of public opinion.

The same holds true when in suicidal fashion he alienates those of his own party, many of them seemingly essential to his legislative agenda. Yet what is the logic of temporizing Republican senators who recently got reelected by blasting the Iran Deal, open borders, and Obamacare—apparently on the premise that their posturing votes would never really matter, given the likelihood of a liberal vetoing president? So far a Bob Corker, Jeff Flake or John McCain has not proven that he is more popular in his own state than is Donald Trump.

The issue is never just Trump’s outbursts or tweets in isolation but, rather, the comparisons between them and his targets. Again, attacking NFL players may not be presidential, but Trump’s pushback is often judged by many voters on the basis of its intent—in other words, an effort to oppose the growing trend of multimillionaire athletes refusing to stand for the National Anthem. If we have never seen a president stoop to fight with the NFL, we have also never seen the NFL kneel to self-destruct by offending millions of its fans. If the president cannot defend a national tradition of standing in honor during the National Anthem, who else could?

Pollsters, pundits, and the media have vastly underestimated how many in America loathe multimillionaire celebrities, pampered athletes, and triangulating politicians—the usual targets of Trump’s invective.

Reactive Not Preemptive
Take a sampling of Trump’s most infamous tweets and adolescent outbursts—attacks on Bob Corker’s height, referencing Rex Tillerson’s IQ, the creepy description of blood oozing from a supposedly irate Megyn Kelly, or deprecating the capture and imprisonment of John McCain—and the common denominator is not just puerility and cruelty, but also retaliation. All had first attacked Trump and sometimes quite viciously. Corker had claimed that Trump’s White House was chaos, a reality show, and in danger of prompting World War III—a virtual charge that Trump was nuts. Anonymous sources accused Tillerson of calling Trump a moron or, at least, implying it—and the secretary did not explicitly deny the charge, although he deplored the climate in which such accusations were made. Kelly hijacked her own debate question and turned it into a scripted rant about Trump’s alleged misogyny. McCain arrogantly wrote off Trump’s supporters as “crazies”—a forgotten precursor to Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” and “irredeemables.”

We assume that “he started it” is an immature defense. And it is, of course. But people do still distinguish a defender from an attacker. Collate Trump’s tweets and they are 24/7 responses to preemptive attacks by his critics.

What can possibly be Trump’s purpose in appearing so thin-skinned and petty?

Likely it is twofold. Most obviously he seeks to reestablish deterrence: don’t dare attack Trump unless you are willing to be dragged down with him into a netherworld whose rules he has mastered. Just ask Low Energy Jeb, Little Marco, or Lyin’ Ted.

If we have never seen a president stoop to fight with the NFL, we have also never seen the NFL kneel to self-destruct by offending millions of its fans. If the president cannot defend a national tradition of standing in honor during the National Anthem, who else could?
Second, he knows the politicians, media hacks, and celebrities who attack him are sanctimonious bullies by nature. Their professions traffic in self-righteous invective, with the expectation that they will be never be attacked in kind.

But the public enjoys seeing them taken down a notch. It is inexplicable but also eerie to chart the subsequent downward career trajectories of those who sought to engage Trump in a mud-slinging contest.

It’s Your Misfortune and None of My Own
Trump is not avoiding controversial or substantive issues, but often he is shrugging that the problem was not his—and thus may belong to others to solve. DACA was illegal; even honest Obama supporters concede that. Trump wants it reformed and clarified—but by the Congress that alone should have had the legal authority to pass or reject the law.

Trump did not make the Iran Deal, but he knows that it is a de facto treaty that was never ratified by the Senate and could not be today. If it is such a good deal, then the bipartisan Senate now can either reform and resubmit it, or ratify it as is or reject it. Ditto the Paris Climate Accord. Cannot Chuck Schumer introduce a bill to reclassify the accord properly as a treaty and see it passed by the Senate with a necessary two-thirds majority?

The same is true of Obamacare, the Korean nuclear crisis, and ISIS. Trump loudly announces he will solve the crises that others caused. But if he is prevented by legislative logjams and the courts, then nature will take its course: Obamacare will fall by its own weight, more quickly once its Obama-era illegal executive orders are removed; any sane country will eventually have to shoot down an incoming Korean missile and do what is necessary to protect its people; and as ISIS grew and immigration to the West exploded, Trump simply understood, when faced with the real threat of an ISIS caliphate, the Western world would drop its past insistence on Marquis of Queensbury rules of engagement.

Moving On
Trump never really enjoyed a Republican majority in Congress, given the large number of purple-state and NeverTrump senators. He is also not a reflective and sedentary president. Tweeting, attacking, and arguing reflect motion quite in contrast to sending bills to Congress, waiting for them to be sandbagged at the 11th hour by John McCain or Susan Collins, and then being once again written off as a failed president by the media.

Barack Obama both weaponized and exempted Trump with the precedent of “pen and phone” executive orders and sermonizing on social and cultural issues and doing pop culture, from Ferguson and Trayvon Martin to the Final Four and GloZell. Trump wades into a controversy, tweets, outrages, and then moves on to the next day’s “controversy” or supposedly career-ending spat.

Fresh episodic targeting serves two purposes. Trump is a sort of Road Runner: gone to reply to the next provocation by the time his Wile E. Coyote critics can put their hands around his long-gone neck. The pushback against him is usually yesterday’s news drowned out by tomorrow’s new melodrama.

Unprecedented Subordinate Power
Trump’s forte is his invective and brawling. He is not a Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton wonk, who micromanages even the smallest details. The result is that his cabinet secretaries, generals, and high appointees enjoy more latitude than during any administration in memory.

Trump on the parapets not only means that others to the rear are freer to make and administer rules without much presidential oversight, but also that Trump, not themselves, is the controversy. That exemption means that a cabinet official has wide parameters, with less worry that he must fight the media and his political opponents.

Trump in contrast, in gesture, accent, vocabulary, and rashness, sounds like a cigar-chomping blue-collar machinist out of our past who is said to be outrageous in his crudity only because he is condemned by those who are far more outrageous in their mannered sobriety.
One of the reasons why the luminaries of Trump’s team do not resign after his supposedly embarrassing outbursts is that they realize Trump’s outrageousness allows them to play the good-cop, adult in the room role, usually with media sympathy. And when a president is doing downfield blocking, others are relieved of the interference. A Trump secretary of defense or national security advisor exercises power and influence in ways unimaginable in comparison to most earlier counterparts.

It apparently is as important how, as what, Trump speaks, tweets or does. Half the country got tired of sober and judicious platitudes that gussied up careerist agendas. To listen in the past to an EPA director or sitting U.S. senator was a lesson in empty gobbledygook, designed to say to the listener, “I am smart enough to make you think that I am doing something for you.”

Trump in contrast, in gesture, accent, vocabulary, and rashness, sounds like a cigar-chomping blue-collar machinist out of our past who is said to be outrageous in his crudity only because he is condemned by those who are far more outrageous in their mannered sobriety. In some sense, Trump welcomes wounds in order to inflict greater ones on the proverbial establishment.

When will the public tire of Trump’s imbroglios?

Likely when a few of several scenarios happen: he gets into a major optional war that bogs down; he so insults his own appointees that we finally see four or five marquee cabinet sequential resignations; he does not build the wall, reform health care, or achieve a middle-class tax cut and therefore loses his base; or he cannot achieve 3 percent annual economic growth or is plagued by a recession or return to stagflation.

A final thought: either Trump’s spats and tweets are IEDs that go off so often that his accumulated wounds finally prove politically lethal—or his invectives are mini-preemptive explosions that clear minefields ahead and help ensure that we will not get into a war, that his team sees no reason to resign, that he tries to do what he promised, and that he achieves 3 percent growth in GDP.

Either way, the Trump presidency is moving at a speed likely unmatched by his predecessors, and he is getting somewhere fast.

About the Author: Victor Davis Hanson

The Florida Democrat Representative...

The Florida Democrat Representative who viciously claimed President Trump intentionally insulted a military service member's widow on Wednesday is now under fire herself; with Congressional records showing she voted "no" on at least ten bills aimed at helping American veterans. 

According to Fox News, liberal Rep. Frederica Wilson routinely voted against numerous pieces of legislation aimed at supporting US service members and their families, including a bill that would have secured "death and burial benefits" to four soldiers killed in 2013 while serving in Afghanistan.


Christian Toto:
There’s an interesting psychological game going on here, and it’s one Hollywood, Inc. might not relish. The more teeth gnashing we see out of both the press and Hollywood, the more reluctant Trump supporters side with him.
Entertainers should entertain. The mainstream media should report the facts, not take sides. Seeing both fail to fulfill their duty makes some citizens sympathetic to both President Trump and his histrionics.
We’re already seeing some of the results of this “choose him or us” playbook. Box office numbers are cratering since Trump took office. The president’s Twitter war against NFL players refusing to respect the National Anthem is turning into a slaughter.
Entertainment is where we go — or at least try to go — to escape the daily grind. Gleichschaltung worked in Nazi Germany because outlets were limited and control was total. Hollywood acts as though that’s the case in 21st Century in America when in fact, entertainment (and information) outlets are virtually unlimited — and most attempts at control result in the Streisand Effect or one of its corollaries.
Hollywood and the mainstream media continue to blur the lines between entertainment and news, and between news and indoctrination — a process which seems to be accelerating even as audiences continue shrinking. Now the process may speed up even more as the Ick Factor becomes undeniable. Harvey Weinstein has shown that not only is Hollywood as bad as we imagined, it might be worse than we could imagine.
Back in its heyday, Fox News proved that you could make big ratings and big money by appealing to audiences outside of the NYC-DC-LA Progressive Axis. When will some smart Hollywood studio rediscover the same thing about blockbuster entertainment?

Thursday, October 19, 2017



Hoping to bring an end to kneeling during the National Anthem, NFL owners are meeting with the players’ union. To smooth the way, the League has endorsed legislation that would mean lighter sentencing for drug felons.
It’s unlikely that the NFL’s endorsement counts for much at this juncture. For one thing, it’s widely understood that Roger Goodell has enough trouble managing his own business without branching off into the nation’s. For another, the endorsement will be viewed by many, not as the League’s good faith analysis of criminal law and social policy (for what little that might be worth), but as an attempt to buy off the small number of radical players who disrespect our country when the anthem is played.
Nor will the NFL’s endorsement of leniency for felons solve the real problem it faces — fan disgust. The NFL’s fan base does not want to see professional football politicized the way ESPN has been, to its detriment. And many fans won’t be amused by League support for legislation that will mean more convicted felons on the street, and thus more crime.
To be sure, the League takes a bigger short-term hit when players kneel and the President complains than it will take for endorsing legislation most people don’t know about. However, pacifying radical players with this endorsement (assuming it has that short-term effect) will likely embolden them.
What happens the next time players take a knee (or engage in similarly disrespectful behavior) in the name of some other misguided “social justice” agenda item? Does the League support that item? If not, the NFL is back where it is now. If so, how do fans react?
The League needs to persuade its fan base that the NFL is “Not for Liberalism” — indeed, that it is not political except to the extent that love of America has become controversial. Endorsing leniency for felons at a time when crime is rising doesn’t seem like the way to accomplish this.



These extraordinary revelations, apparently from frustrated FBI agents, were published in The Hill today. The corruption they suggest is extensive:
Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
Let that sink in. All of this was known before the Obama/Clinton State Department approved the controversial transfer of US uranium assets to Russia. But the Obama/Holder Justice Department did nothing.
Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefitting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.
The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.
In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. …
“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.
It is a supreme irony that the Democrats have tried to make hay out of hypothetical connections between the Trump administration and Russia.
As usual, the Obama administration defended itself in the uranium controversy with lies:
The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.
But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.
Then-Attorney General Eric Holder was among the Obama administration officials joining Hillary Clinton on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States at the time the Uranium One deal was approved. Multiple current and former government officials told The Hill they did not know whether the FBI or DOJ ever alerted committee members to the criminal activity they uncovered.
Russia’s bribery and extortion scheme was remarkably successful:
The case also exposed a serious national security breach: Mikerin had given a contract to an American trucking firm called Transport Logistics International that held the sensitive job of transporting Russia’s uranium around the United States in return for more than $2 million in kickbacks from some of its executives, court records show.
This was known early in the Obama administration, but Holder’s Department of Justice hushed up Russia’s crimes and hid the scandal:
Bringing down a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme that had both compromised a sensitive uranium transportation asset inside the U.S. and facilitated international money laundering would seem a major feather in any law enforcement agency’s cap.
But the Justice Department and FBI took little credit in 2014 when Mikerin, the Russian financier and the trucking firm executives were arrested and charged.
The only public statement occurred an entire year later when the Justice Department put out a little-noticed press release in August 2015, just days before Labor Day. The release noted that the various defendants had reached plea deals.
By that time, the criminal cases against Mikerin had been narrowed to a single charge of money laundering for a scheme that officials admitted stretched from 2004 to 2014. And though agents had evidence of criminal wrongdoing they collected since at least 2009, federal prosecutors only cited in the plea agreement a handful of transactions that occurred in 2011 and 2012, well after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’s approval.
The final court case also made no mention of any connection to the influence peddling conversations the FBI undercover informant witnessed about the Russian nuclear officials trying to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons even though agents had gathered documents showing the transmission of millions of dollars from Russia’s nuclear industry to an American entity that had provided assistance to Bill Clinton’s foundation, sources confirmed to The Hill.
As a result, just about everyone was left in the dark about the extent of the corruption and national security threat that the FBI had unearthed.
The lack of fanfare left many key players in Washington with no inkling that a major Russian nuclear corruption scheme with serious national security implications had been uncovered.
Ronald Hosko, who served as the assistant FBI director in charge of criminal cases when the investigation was underway, told The Hill he did not recall ever being briefed about Mikerin’s case by the counterintelligence side of the bureau despite the criminal charges that were being lodged.
“I had no idea this case was being conducted,” a surprised Hosko said in an interview.
Likewise, major congressional figures were also kept in the dark.
Of course they were.
Ironies abound: who supervised the Russia investigation? Rod Rosenstein. Who was the FBI director when the Russia probe began in 2009? Robert Mueller. Who was running the FBI when the case ended with a whimper and an apparent cover-up? James Comey. How any of these people can participate with a straight face in an investigation into President Trump’s purportedly nefarious (but, as far as we know, nonexistent) relationship with the Russian regime is beyond me.
This story belongs on the front page of every newspaper in the United States tomorrow.



The mainstream media foster the great forgetting of the facts and lies about underlying Bowe Bergdahl’s plea of guilt to charges of desertion and (even more seriously) misbehavior before the enemy. Nicholas Fondacaro documents the suppression of the record in the NewsBuster post“Nets forget Obama admin championed Bergdahl as a ‘hero’ coming home.” Fondacaro includes the ABC News report on Bergdahl’s plea yesterday (video below). It represents the evidence of absence.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice was President Obama’s designated liar. Her shamelessness must have been her foremost qualification for the high office she disgraced.
Obama sent her out to the Sunday gabfests to have her declare that Bergdahl had served “with honor and distinction.” And that’s not all. “Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage,” she asserted, “he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield.” And further: “We have a sacred obligation that we have upheld since the founding of our republic to do our utmost to bring back our men and women who are taken in battle, and we did that in this instance.” Video is posted here.
Obama himself arranged a Rose Garden event including Bergdahl’s parents. Calculated deceptions permeated Obama’s statement. Here it is verbatim (video here):
Good afternoon, everybody. This morning, I called Bob and Jani Bergdahl and told them that after nearly five years in captivity, their son, Bowe, is coming home.
Sergeant Bergdahl has missed birthdays and holidays and the simple moments with family and friends, which all of us take for granted. But while Bowe was gone he was never forgotten. His parents thought about him and prayed for him every single day, as did his sister, Sky, who prayed for his safe return.
He wasn’t forgotten by his community in Idaho, or the military, which rallied to support the Bergdahls through thick and thin. And he wasn’t forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.
As Commander-in-Chief, I am proud of the servicemembers who recovered Sergeant Bergdahl and brought him safely out of harm’s way. As usual, they performed with extraordinary courage and professionalism, and they have made their nation proud.
Right now, our top priority is making sure that Bowe gets the care and support that he needs and that he can be reunited with his family as soon as possible.
I’m also grateful for the tireless work of our diplomats, and for the cooperation of the government of Qatar in helping to secure Bowe’s release. We’ve worked for several years to achieve this goal, and earlier this week I was able to personally thank the Emir of Qatar for his leadership in helping us get it done. As part of this effort, the United States is transferring five detainees from the prison in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. The Qatari government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security.
I also want to express gratitude to the Afghan government, which has always supported our efforts to secure Bowe’s release. Going forward, the United States will continue to support an Afghan-led process of reconciliation, which could help secure a hard-earned peace within a sovereign and unified Afghanistan.
As I said earlier this week, we’re committed to winding down the war in Afghanistan, and we are committed to closing Gitmo. But we also made an ironclad commitment to bring our prisoners of war home. That’s who we are as Americans. It’s a profound obligation within our military, and today, at least in this instance, it’s a promise we’ve been able to keep.
I am mindful, though, that there are many troops who remain missing in the past. That’s why we’re never going to forget; we’re never going to give up our search for servicemembers who remain unaccounted for. We also remain deeply committed to securing the release of American citizens who are unjustly detained abroad and deserve to be reunited with their families, just like the Bergdahls soon will be.
Bob and Jani, today families across America share in the joy that I know you feel. As a parent, I can’t imagine the hardship that you guys have gone through. As President, I know that I speak for all Americans when I say we cannot wait for the moment when you are reunited and your son, Bowe, is back in your arms.
So, with that, I’d like Bob to have an opportunity to say something, and Jani, if she’d like as well. Please…
Obama’s statement foregoes outright lies in favor of falsehood by implication. In retrospect, we can see the calculated duplicity in it.
We have Obama’s fake bonhomie with the Bergdahls. We have the portrayal of Bergdahl as a heroic prisoner of war. Unlike Susan Rice, Obama omitted any assertion fact regarding Bergdahl’s capture. The heroic portrayal is implied in the depiction of Bergdahl’s deprivations. We have Obama’s negotiation with terrorists and exchange of a deserter for five-high ranking Taliban terrorists as a triumph of martial valor, fidelity to military tradition and brilliant diplomacy, all in the service of American ideals.
When undermining the United States, Obama frequently resorted to the refrain: “That’s who we are as Americans.” He didn’t give us the facts. He didn’t give us an argument to support what he had done. He gave us his refrain. Don’t play it again, Barry.
The Taliban treated Bergdahl as a high-value hostage. Obama accorded Bergdahl a similarly high value as a pawn to be used in his project of closing Guantanamo and getting out of Afghanistan. Here are brief profiles of the five Taliban butchers Obama offloaded for Bergdahl.
In today’s New York Post Paul Sperry revisits the deal. Sperry reports: “The Pentagon itself refused to list Bergdahl as a POW. That’s because an internal 2009 Army report found he had a history of walking off his post and more than likely deserted. It also found he shipped his laptop back home to Idaho, and left a note expressing his disillusionment with the war, before ending up in the arms of the Taliban.”
Sperry anticipates the October 23 sentencing hearing next week will “include dramatic testimony about three troops seriously injured during search-and-rescue missions launched to find [Bergdahl]. Two of them suffered disabling injuries: Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Mark Allen, who in 2009 was shot in the head searching for Bergdahl, leaving him confined to a wheelchair and unable to talk; and Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch, who was shot in the leg on another search the next day, leaving him with a permanent limp.”
Obama is not a good liar, but he is a bold one. His boldness is in part a function of his confidence that he will never be called on his lies.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017



Liberals will tell you that Minnesota is one of the nation’s leaders in “green” energy, so its experience represents a good test: can green energy fulfill the extravagant promises made by its backers?
The answer is a resounding No, according to a blockbuster paper by our own Steve Hayward and Center of the American Experiment’s Peter Nelson. The paper, titled “Energy Policy in Minnesota: the High Cost of Failure,” can be read or downloaded at the Center’s web site.
Minnesota is a poor place for solar power, so its renewable policies have focused on wind. Minnesota has gone whole hog for wind energy, to the tune of–the Hayward/Nelson paper reveals, for the first time–approximately $15 billion. It is noteworthy that demand for electricity in Minnesota has been flat for quite a few years, so that $15 billion wasn’t spent to meet demand. Rather, it replaced electricity that already was being produced by coal, nuclear and natural gas plants.
Wind energy is intermittent and unreliable; it can only be produced when the wind is blowing within certain parameters, and cannot be stored at scale. It is expensive and inefficient, and therefore patently inferior to nuclear, coal and natural gas-powered electricity, except in one respect–its “greenness.” That greenness consists of not emitting carbon dioxide. So, for $15 billion, Minnesota must have bought a dramatic reduction in the state’s CO2 emissions, right?
Wrong. As the Hayward/Nelson paper shows, that massive investment hasn’t even made a dent. This chart shows total CO2 emissions from the state, by sector, from 1990 through 2014. There was a slight dip in 2012 and 2013 not because of wind power, but because an accident put one of the state’s major coal-fired units out of commission for two years:
Minnesota’s massive investment in wind power has reduced CO2 emissions from the electricity generation sector slightly, but that reduction has been below average compared with the nation as a whole. Why? Because the most effective way to reduce CO2 emissions, if you think that is a worthy goal, has been to replace coal with natural gas. Wind power has many defects, one of which is that it is windiest in the spring and fall, when demand for electricity is at its low ebb, and least windy in the summer and winter, when electricity demand peaks. So what fills those gaps? In Minnesota, coal does.
So Minnesota’s colossal investment in wind energy has been a total failure, in its own terms–a failure for which the state’s consumers and businesses have paid dearly. Historically, Minnesota enjoyed the advantage of relatively cheap electricity. Generally, electricity prices were around 18% lower in Minnesota than the national average. This was a big deal in a state where some other costs–e.g., the price of heating your home in the winter–were inevitably higher than average.
So what has happened to that 18% price discount during the years when billions have been spent on windmills and transmission lines? It has disappeared. In fact, 2017 is the first year on record in which the price of electricity in Minnesota is above the national average. Way to go, greenies.
The sad story of Minnesota’s green energy failure is one that no doubt is being replicated around the country. And one of the ironies of green energy is that it is terrible for the environment. Both wind and solar energy require enormous amounts of land compared with conventional, reliable energy sources. Minnesota has scarred its landscape with endless acres of giant windmills and, to a lesser degree, solar panels. When those windmills begin to rust and fall still, the environmental damage will be even greater. And the green cronies who are now making millions through their political connections will be long gone.
There is much more in the paper, which you can read or download at the link above.

Yes, Trump is Winning

Yes, Trump is Winning
By Roger Kimball| 

Last week, I went to a dinner event at social club of which I am a member but rarely patronize. You will guess why when I tell you I ran into a friend of longstanding—someone I know well, but hadn’t seen in a couple of years—and she greeted me with the exclamation, “Here’s a Trumpster!” I could see that that was partly for the benefit of the gents she was talking to, a sort of tribal-marking announcement (“He’s one of those, boys”) but I couldn’t immediately tell whether the glint in her eye was friendly or otherwise. She soon cleared up that ambiguity. I said something about “our president.” “He’s not my president,” she snapped, adding that Donald Trump was deeply unpopular and would probably be driven from office soon.

“Actually,” I offered, “his approval ratings are on the rise.”

“So were Mussolini’s,” came the icy rejoinder.

Got it. At least I knew where we stood.

One is encouraged to leave politics at the front door of this particular club (unlike London’s “Other Club” where Rule 12 stipulates that “Nothing in the rules or intercourse of the Club shall interfere with the rancour or asperity of party politics”). But so thoroughly pink is the majority of the membership that the issue rarely arises. For the herd of independent minds, unanimity is a consoling patent of authenticity. “We all believe this, ergo it must be true—indeed, it is invisible. It simply is.”

Hence a defining irony of the contemporary progressive (one cannot truthfully call it “liberal”) dispensation: convinced that their opinions represent not their opinions but, on the contrary, that they mirror a virtuous state of nature, they regard dissent not as disagreement but as either heresy or insanity. The former calls for condemnation or ostracism, the latter for pity tinctured by contempt.

Donald Trump has introduced several novelties into this dynamic. From the point of view of my (I suspect former) friend, Trump is both (never mind the contradiction) an impossibility and an affront. Everyone she talks to knows this.

And yet on the ground, in the real world, Trump is methodically pushing ahead with the agenda he campaigned on. That includes:

Nominating judges and justices who can be counted on to interpret and enforce the law but do not endeavor to use the law to promote their social agenda;
Addressing the problem of illegal immigration and securing the borders of the United States;
Developing America’s vast energy resources;
Rolling back the regulatory state, especially the administrative overreach of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency;
Pursuing policies that put America, and American workers, first, not to the detriment of our relationships with our international partners but through a recognition that strength and sovereign independence make nations more reliable actors;
Restoring the combat readiness and morale of the United States military;
Simplifying the U.S. tax code, making it more competitive for U.S. businesses and more equitable for individuals;
Getting a handle on the unconstitutional and shockingly inefficient monstrosity ironically called the Affordable Care Act;
Putting a stop to the obscene violation of due process that Title IX fanatics brought to college campuses across the country.
And many other initiatives large and small.

In all of these areas, Trump is proceeding not as a wrecking ball but as a deliberate, if often voluble and sometimes exasperating, agent of change.

On the campaign trail, Trump promised that, if elected, the American people would start “winning” again. “You’ll have so much winning,” he said, “you’ll get bored with winning.”

Now, almost nine months into his first term, how is he doing? Real unemployment is on the wane. The stock market is at an historic high. So is consumer confidence. Illegal immigration is down nearly 70 percent. America is now a net exporter of energy. Just a few days ago, Trump declined to re-certify the malevolent nuclear deal that Obama made with Iran, winning from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu this commendation: “I congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today. He boldly confronted Iran’s terrorist regime. . . . If the Iran deal is left unchanged, one thing is absolutely certain—in a few years’ time, the world’s foremost terrorist regime will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons and that’s a tremendous danger for our collective future.”

Just a couple of days ago, Trump, having been disappointed by a supine Republican Congress, issued an executive order that will make it easier for people to band together to obtain health insurance tailored to their needs (instead of being forced into federally defined, one-size-fits-all plans) while also ending the unconstitutional federal subsidies (unconstitutional because the money wasn’t appropriated by Congress) to big insurance companies, amounting to some $7 billion per year (the price of getting those companies on board with Obamacare in the first place).

In any normal world, these would be called significant accomplishments. But in the NeverTrump bubble, none of these victories can evade the protective refracting mirrors that intercept and distort the message. For months, the Huffington Post ran the following disclaimer after every article about Trump: “Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims—1.6 billion members of an entire religion—from entering the U.S.” Even now, according to the Pew Research Center, only 5 percent of news stories about Trump are positive.

Moreover, in the surreal and paranoid precincts of the NeverTrump bubble, fake news and outright fabrication proliferate. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is going to quit—say “sources”—only he isn’t. Chief of Staff John Kelly is keeping people from seeing Trump, is irritated by his tweets, is frustrated by the president’s behavior. Only he isn’t. As Kelly said at a press conference last week, Trump’s agenda is pursuing “what’s good for America.” Asked directly whether Trump’s tweets made his job more difficult, Kelly said “No.” Trump himself he described as a “decisive” and “thoughtful” man of action who was sometimes impatient with the slow-moving habits of Congress. His chief frustration, said Kelly, was with the press for reporting things that were simply not true. Asked by one reporter what he expected them to do, he said: “Maybe develop better sources.”

Kelly’s presser represented a wrinkle in the bubble—there are more and more of them these days—and it will be interesting to watch what happens when the wind finally changes.

Trump’s victorious battle with the NFL represents another wrinkle in the bubble. Football is supposed to be a beloved American pastime, not an opportunity for overpaid beefcakes to act out their adolescent political grievances. So far, it’s Trump:1. NFL: 0.

Over the past several weeks, one source of putative moral authority after the next has been snatched from the Left. The Harvey-Weinstein-Ben-Affleck-Oliver-Stone sexual assault nexus has broken a spell that not even mega-donations to the Clinton Foundation can redeem. When Donald Trump went to Warsaw and spoke up in defense of “Western civilization,” the NeverTrump bubble vibrated with cacophonous vituperation. How dare he!?

But he did dare, and just this week Trump upped the ante and announced that his administration was “returning moral clarity to our view of the world,” “stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values,” including those who condemn people for wishing one another “Merry Christmas.”

There’s a disturbance in the bubble. What just happened to the NFL and Hollywood is happening in many other avenues of our culture. Sometimes, when a thunderstorm is nigh, the wind suddenly shifts and picks up, the birds get nervous, and you can feel the storm arriving before the rain actually starts. I believe that is about to happen in American culture, though who exactly will be left standing out in the rain is a little unclear. I do expect, however, that fewer and fewer redoubts of anti- or NeverTrump complacency will remain as his policies continue to deliver winning scenarios for Americans. Maybe the next time I go to that club there will be less Mussolini and more comity.