No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘US Presidential Election

The Triumph of Trunalimunumaprzure

Back in 1896 Republican William McKinley’s presidential campaign team ran an interesting strategy that came to be known as The Front Porch Campaign. It turned out to be the bridge between old-fashioned Presidential campaigns where the candidates stayed out of sight and let others do all the work, and the modern system where candidates are front-and-centre all the time, racing around the key swing states needed to win.

The 1896 campaign was the perfect contrast of those two styles. Instead of going to the voters McKinley’s campaign brought the voters to him. Over a period of months, something like 750,000 people came in organised delegations by train to the town where McKinley lived and then to his house, where they literally met him on his front porch, from where he made his speeches. His campaign manager, Hanna, made sure those speeches got into all the newspapers, thereby reaching tens of millions of Americans.

His Democrat opponent, William Bryan, was a great stump speaker and he decided to hit the trains, covering 18,000 miles around the USA making speeches. This was also unusual in the day but it set the standard for Presidential campaigns for the next one hundred twenty four years despite Bryan losing the election badly.

Some years ago, G W Bush’s key political advisor, Karl Rove, wrote a great book on the subject, The Triumph of William McKinley. If you want to see him talk about it, and the parallels of that time with the modern era of US politics, hit this C-SPAN link, Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters.

It was completely unexpected when the 2020 Democrats ran a similar campaign to McKinley’s for their Presidential candidate, Joe Biden. The key difference was that he didn’t meet crowds even at his home, relying on the modern electronic aids of TV and the Internet to reach people. But it was a smart strategy given the constraints of the Chinese Lung Rot pandemic and Biden’s own physical and mental frailties. Let Trump do the flying and the rallies and the speeches. The Democrats would protect their aging, frail candidate and rely on the MSM, Trump hatred and their machines in key states to deliver election victory, which they did.

But now that he’s President that strategy cannot be used all the time. Sooner or later Biden has to step out and meet people. His staff has done pretty well in this regard, keeping Biden’s appearances limited to restricted gatherings and very controlled press conferences, aided by the knowledge that the MSM will baby him as they have done since he was nominated.

It seems to have been working well, so it’s a mystery as to why they decided to step out with a classic “Town Hall” event for Biden the other night.

They used CNN, about as friendly a forum as one can get for a Democrat, plus a very restricted audience…

Not even 1/3 full

… and a very carefully screened group of questioners from the audience, including several hilariously placed shills who claimed they were Republicans – who promptly asked softball questions that just happened to fit with Democrat talking points. Only one guy seemed to be a Republican, a restaurant owner and his question was to the point and not well-handled by Biden.

But even when Biden was being guided as gently as possible by the host, the oleaginous Don Lemon, he did not do well.

If anybody can understand what the hell he was saying there please comment with your explanation. Some poor, sad political tragic actually did try and transcribe it:

”And the question is whether or not we should be in a position where, you, er, um, are why can’t the, um, the experts say we know that this virus is in fact, er, er, um, uh, its this its going to be or, excuse me, we, we, we know why all the drugs approved are not temporary, temporarily approved, but permanently approved.”

That’s about what I thought; it makes no more comprehensible sense when written down than when spoken.

Nothing new there of course. The last word in the title of this post is actually from a desperate attempt to produce a transcript from something Joe Biden tried to say in a 2020 campaign speech.

Things got no better as he rambled on about “Whether or not there’s a man on the moon”: I assume he was trying to connect vax conspiracy theories with faked moon landing theories but screwed it up as usual because his old brain is broken. He also unveiled a new economic theory in which the tsunami of government spending will actually “reduce inflation, reduce inflation, reduce inflation”. Then there was his defence of the idea of raising the corporate income tax, where he boasted that his home state of Delaware has more registered corporations “than all the rest of America combined. Combined. Combined.”. That state, which he represented for almost forty years as a Senator, has no corporate income tax.

Extended comments like those are why his handlers give him note cards with detailed sentences he can read out (but which he still screws up) and keep his free-“thinking” repertoire simple with soundbites he can remember; they make sure that he mutters “Jim Crow” at least once every time he’s allowed out of the house. In this case the Senate filibuster standing in the way of all their fabulous legislation is “Jim Crow”, which I guess does make sense when you consider that the Democrats have used it hundreds of times in recent years. As one commentator noted:

The case could be made that this wasn’t that big of a train wreck because it happened on CNN and therefore had an audience only slightly larger than I do when my cat wanders in and watches me while I shave. Still, why can’t they just leave this guy in the White House with his coloring books and spare the country the embarrassment? Television appearances by Biden are probably the only American shows the ChiComs allow to air uncensored so their beleaguered citizens can finally have something to laugh at.

This is both hilarious and pathetic. The brain trust currently running the USA – mainly Co-President Jill Biden (wife) and Co-President Klain (Chief of Staff) – thinks that letting this senile old clown babble incoherently is going to eventually be what changes hearts and minds on issues of the Covid-19 vaccine, spending, taxes or anything. Whenever sane people who aren’t heartless hear Biden speak, they just want to wrap a blanket around him and help him to his chair. This guy isn’t going to be convincing anyone to do anything.


Given the ages of President Biden (78) , House Speaker Pelosi (80), Senate Leader Schumer (71), and more than a few of their equally aged compadres, the USA is really start to look like the USSR in the 1980’s with Brezhnev and the rest of the Politburo.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 25, 2021 at 3:00 pm

Acceptable Conspiracy Theories and Loyalty Oaths

One of the pushbacks against the claims of Trump supporters about the stolen 2020 election is that it’s reached the conspiracy theory stage.

Which would be a more effective tactic if it were not for the fact that some of the senior Democrats in the USA have got their own problems with ongoing conspiracy theories:

Clinton began: “I hope historically we will find out who [Trump is] beholden to, who pulls his strings. I would love to see his phone records to see whether he was talking to Putin the day that the insurgents invaded our Capitol. But we now know that not just him, but his enablers, his accomplices, his cult members, have the same disregard for democracy.”

Poor old Hillary just can’t let go of her theory that she lost the 2016 election because of Putin, which is why she so eagerly swallowed her own bullshit with the Steele Dossier that she paid for. But this is even fucking crazier.

And it gets worse because she had a very special guest on her podcast:

I do,” Pelosi responded. “To your point of who is he beholden to, as I’ve said over and over, as I said to him in that picture with my blue suit as I was leaving, what I was saying to him as I was pointing, rudely, at him: ‘With you, Mr. President, all roads lead to Putin.’ I don’t know what Putin has on him politically, financially, or personally, but what happened last week was a gift to Putin, because Putin wants to undermine democracy in our country and throughout the world.”

This is just sad. Clearly Hillary is in need of some very deep mental therapy, but now it seems that the third most powerful politician in the USA is as well.

During the whole Mueller farce I often made the point to TDSr’s that given Russia’s long history of using dezinformatsiya to destabilise her enemies and Putin’s KGB background, why could they not consider the possibility that he had fed bullshit to the idiot ex-British spy Steele for his Dossier, knowing that it would be seized on by the Democrats and spun up by them into something destabilising to the USA?

Admittedly Putin could not know exactly what it would be spun up to, but a two-year long shit-fest investigation that threw sand in the gears of a new Administration, as well as convincing a substantial chunk of US voters that their democracy is screwed, would be regarded as a success, especially with such great plausible deniability in place.

Of course when you do start plunging down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theory all things become possible, like convincing yourself that you are under a great threat, although in this case it’s also aided by the cynicism of politics:

For comparison, Lyndon Johnson sent a total of 13,600 federal troops and D.C. Army National Guardsmen to quell the race riots in Washington that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Those riots injured hundreds of people and killed at least 13. In 1864, as the Civil War raged on the other side of the Potomac and Americans died every day in large numbers on the battlefield, there were fewer federal troops protecting Washington, D.C., than there are right now.

But according to our leaders, the so-called “insurrection” of Jan. 6 was much worse than any of that. So in response, they have assembled the largest military presence in Washington in all of American history during peacetime.

But even then the conspiracy theory won’t let go, because it feeds itself, which leads to further insanity: FBI vetting Guard troops in DC amid fears of insider attack:

“U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event.”

This is what happens when you define half the population as enemies of the state as Nancy Pelosi did, along with this crazy bastard, Steve Cohen (D, Tennessee):

Jesus! Once you start evaluating soldiers for political loyalty, you’re on your way to creating the sort of Revolutionary Guard that protects one party or leader in your average Banana Republic. If Trump had demanded something like this from the National Guard or the rest of the US military the screams from the Left would have been beyond anything yet seen.

Ashli Babbitt

And in another example of the feedback mechanism, the thinking here is rationalised by the actions and fate of this Military Veteran, with four tours of duty to Iraq and Afghanistan.

You want more Ashli Babbitt’s? Because this is how you get them.

Or perhaps people noticed the very frosty reception that Mike Pence got from the 10th Mountain Division a couple of days ago.

Democrats are becoming what they think Trump is. Cohen’s crazy is the logical end-point of the Identity and Woke Politics, Critical Race Theory and Cancel Kulture that the Democrats have embraced. This is the ugly, dangerous, real-world result.

Greg Abbott, the Governor of Texas responded bluntly and quickly:

This is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard.No one should ever question the loyalty or professionalism of the Texas National Guard.

I authorized more than 1000 to go to DC. I’ll never do it again if they’re disrespected like this.

And naturally the Democrats have the gaul to claim that they’re not the ones destabilising the US government and its institutions, which they can get away with because their MSM arm won’t confront them on it, even as OrangeManBad departs.

Putin must be laughing his ass off at all this as the Democrats do his work for him, as they have done for four years now.

You thought the crazy was ending with Trump’s departure? This crap indicates that it’s only just cranking up.

Almost overnight the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was in full
flower, and Captain Black was enraptured to discover himself
spearheading it. He had really hit on something. All the enlisted men
and officers on combat duty had to sign a loyalty oath to get their map
cases from the intelligence tent, a second loyalty oath to receive their
flak suits and parachutes from the parachute tent, a third loyalty oath
for Lieutenant Balkington, the motor vehicle officer, to be allowed to
ride from the squadron to the airfield in one of the trucks. Every time
they turned around there was another loyalty oath to be signed. They
signed a loyalty oath to get their pay from the finance officer, to
obtain their PX supplies, to have their hair cut by the Italian barbers.

To Captain Black, every officer who supported his Glorious Loyalty
Oath Crusade was a competitor, and he planned and plotted twenty
four hours a day to keep one step ahead. He would stand second to
none in his devotion to country. When other officers had followed his
urging and introduced loyalty oaths of their own, he went them one
better by making every son of a bitch who came to his intelligence
tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four; then he introduced
the pledge of allegiance, and after that “The Star-Spangled Banner,”
one chorus, two choruses, three choruses, four choruses. Each time
Captain Black forged ahead of his competitors, he swung upon them
scornfully for their failure to follow his example. Each time they
followed his example, he retreated with concern and racked his brain
for some new stratagem that would enable him to turn upon them
scornfully again.

Why I would have voted for Trump – Domestic Policy

The powers of a US President are quite restricted in the world of domestic policy compared to foreign policy.

That’s a delibrate design of the US system, where power is supposed to reside as close to the people as possible, starting with their local town, city and county governments, and rising up to State governments, where each of the fifty states is like a minature USA; little nations unto themselves, right down to the military (Amazingly the Hawaian National Guard fly F-22’s, the most advanced fighter plane in the world).

Even with real power in the domestic arena the House of Representatives, basically the Parliament of the USA and the engine room of domestic policy, does not control much of what goes on in the individual states. Nor does the Senate, which is designed to sit on the House and prevent any populist movement from running riot, as well as approving foreign treaties to make them law and approving judges. The Supreme Court only steps in when a case is filed arguing that a State’s laws are breaching the Federal Consitution, and even then SCOTUS usually acts reluctantly.

It’s been particularly sad to see how many Americans don’t understand all these focused and demarcated powers, somehow imagining that the Federal government, let alone the President, is the be-all and end-all in the USA, as central government is in most other nations.

Having said that, the US Presidency has accumulated too much power. First in foreign policy courtesy of the title Commander in Chief meaning a hell of a lot more now in the age of a huge permanent military and nuclear weapons than it did before 1941, and via the Senate yielding up too much control. Robert Caro explored much of the latter in Master of The Senate, and put it down to the obvious failure of Senate isolationism, which was strong right up to when the first bombs fell on Pearl Harbour. Similarly with domestic policy via executive control of the giant bureaucracies created by the House and handed over to the Presidency to run. Exceutive Orders become much more powerful in such a system.

Thus there are certain things that happened domestically under Trump for which he can niether take real credit nor be blamed – and vice versa. But here are the things he’s done in domestic policies that I approved of.

  • Judges
    Starting with the Supreme Court. Scalia’s death in 2016 scared the hell out of Conservatives, especially considering that a SCOTUS which the Left already considered too Right-wing had strengthened abortion laws and approved gay marriage, and that with several GOP-appounted judges. What would a court tilting even more to the left do? Restrict religious liberties on the basis that they “hurt” transgenders and so forth?
    Trump has come through huge on this. He was lucky to get three, but his appointments of Gorsuch, Kavanugh and especially Barret were strong – although it should be noted that Gorsuch’s recent ruling on a transgender issue could open a can of worms. Perhaps Trump’s finest moment here was standing by Kavanaugh despite a disgusting attack that exceeded even the hit job on Bork thirty years ago in its Leninist-like savagery. I think any other GOP President, even Reagan, would have pulled the nomination after advice from the Wise Men of the GOP. Certainly McCain and Romney would have folded like cheap suits.
    As such the Supreme Court should be a barrier for the next twenty years to the anti-civil liberty, woke communism growing on the Left.
    The other aspect to judges has been the huge number appointed to lower courts. This has been more McConnell’s realm but having Trump at his back to not veto the selections has been key. It provides a solid base for future SCOTUS picks by GOP Presidents and badly weakens the Democrat pool of future nominees. Admittedly that doesn’t matter because Democrat SCOTUS picks are there merely to rubber-stamp Democrat policies and decisions and no great legal nous is required for that.
    Trump’s presidency was worth it for this alone.

  • Borders and Illegal Immigrants
    In 1986 there was a huge debate about this subject. Democrats argued that GOP ideas for simply booting illegal immigrants out of the country was impossible because there were some three million of them. Instead an amnesty should be arranged and the Democrats – pinky swear – would allocate gobs of money to enforce the border so that the situation would never arise again. The GOP swallowed this hook, line and sinker and Reagan signed the bill. He later said it was his greatest regret.
    Thirty five years later there are anywhere between eleven and twenty million illegal immigrants in the nation and up until Trump the border control was not much better than in the 1980’s. The sagging economy of Obama reduced the flow somewhat but it was Trump that made the first real difference in forty years on this issue. And he’s not alone:

Bernie Sanders:
Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal“.
Ezra Klein:
Bernie Sanders:
Of course. That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States.
Ezra Klein:
It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?
Bernie Sanders:
It would make everybody in America poorer —you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.
You know what youth unemployment is in the United States of America today? If you’re a white high school graduate, it’s 33 percent, Hispanic 36 percent, African American 51 percent. You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those kids?
I think from a moral responsibility we’ve got to work with the rest of the industrialised world to address the problems of international poverty, but you don’t do that by making people in this country even poorer.

Of course, aside from Bernie, who is not really a Democrat, it’s entirely understandable why the Democrats push open borders even as they hide it in less inflammatory terms so they can deny, deny, deny that that’s what they want.

Obama beat Romney by less than 5 million votes in a presidential election in which about 125 million votes were cast. More than 30 million of Obama’s votes came from people who arrived under the Hart-Cellar act; fewer than 10 million of Romney’s did.

The Democrats think that this is the key towards the Californication of the rest of the USA, starting with the biggest prize, Texas. The idea is to legalise millions of illegal immigrants to turn the US into the same One-Party state shit hole that is California. And besides that, the Democrats are as tight as the GOP is with the big businesses that love having all these cheap and easily disposable workers at their beck and call.

  • Regulations
    For all the right-wing blather about the effect of tax on the private sector the fact is that it is increasingly regulations, often petty, useless ones, that are stuffing the private sector around the world, especially when it comes to small and medium-size businesses. The Arab Spring of a decade ago was started in part when a Tunisian businessman publicaly killed himself because the local authorities had destroyed him via the policing of licences.
    Even in the service economy the demands for licencing has reached the stage of vindictive stupidity for things like hair-dressing, complete with the need to complete multiple, certified “courses”:

    Dentists lobby for rules that prevent dental hygienists from performing teeth-whitening; the lawyers’ guild sustains extortionate rates in part by making sure that less-credentialed workers are blocked from performing even basic administrative legal tasks; college administrators earn top-flight salaries while the federally-enforced accreditation system suppresses alternative education models; the American Medical Association strains to minimize the scope of work available to nurses and nurse practitioners; and hedge fund managers push finance regulations make sure they have a leg up on less-sophisticated investors

    The Trump Administration made far better progress than I expected on its goal of eliminating two regulations for every new one created (part of an Executive Order). In fact something like twenty regulations vanished off the books for every one added and businesses across America grew in ways that benefited the sort of people who get screwed by regulations – low income and the poor. It also reduced crony capitalism, the sort of thing you see rearing its head again courtesy of Democrat Governors like Newsome of California, taking advantage of Chinese Lung Rot hysteria to punish small businesses in favour of politically favoured big businesses.

“I’m losing everything. Everything I own is being taken away from me and they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio, which is right over here. And people wonder why I’m protesting and why I have had enough.”

  • Energy
    Fracking actually took off under the Bush Administration, which, to its credit, allowed it to. The technology is actually two systems, fracking to crack rocks far underground and horizontal drilling to access the released gas and oil. Both techniques had been slowly developing for years, unbeknown even to most CEO’s of the big oil companies, who continued to push the classic multi-billion dollar oil exploration “plays” of the past, often in lawless parts of the world. By contrast fracking plays took place almost entirely on private land in the USA. I first became aware of it when I saw LNG prices dropping like a stone in 2005: thinking it was a demand action caused by more efficient industry and/or AGW regulations I was surprised to find that it was a supply event, with regular announcements of newly discovered, gigantic recoverable deposits of natural gas, courtesy of fracking.
    In fact the prices dropped so low and were confirmed to extend out so far into the future that utility companies began to rapidly move their power plants from coal to gas, contributing greatly to US global leadership on reducing CO2 emissions. It also caused the US industry to take the giant LNG plants built on the coasts for importing the stuff and convert them so they could export it.
    Oil naturally came next and prices dropped at the pump. The Obama Adminsitration only realised late in the game the danger to their precious Paris Climate Accord and other AGW rules, and their response was to meekly prohibit fracking on Federal land, which had almost no impact. It should be noted that the same weak-ass response has been touted by Biden, courtesy of the fossil fuel people he’s hauled onboard (he’s not referred to as the Senator From MBNA for nothing you know).
    Trump’s contribution here was simply to get the hell out of the way, which he did knowingly. A huge side-benefit was the creation of hundreds of thousands of well-paid, Blue-Collar jobs.
  • Taxes
    They may have failed at almost all other legislation when they held the Presidency, Senate and House, but the GOP was able to deliver on this because it is actually one of their core beliefs, and they’re aided in this by a US Left Wing that still praises high taxation but avoids it like the plague.
    The US Corporate tax rate had been a joke for years, exceeding the corporate tax rates of many other nations, including the Socialist Democracies of Europe. And it had not raised money; companies like Apple simply held billions of dollars off-shore. The change was long-coming and will not be reversed. It also had the desired effect as hundreds of billions of dollars were pulled back to the USA and invested, another contribution to the economic boom of mid-2017 to February 2020.
    Reducing the income tax rates for citizens was also a boon. It is basically a Keynesian stimulus except that the extra money placed in a person’s pocket is down to their efforts and skills rather than a government official. All of this was the reason the economy took off from mid-2017 until Chinese Sinus Rot turned up, with a GDP growth rate that Obama had claimed was possible only with a “magic wand”, after his years of 2% growth that he’d finally accepted as the new normal. And for once it was not just the richest part of the economy that grew. Under Trump the lowest income quartile found it’s wages growing for the first time in years and faster than any other group.
    Any GOP President would have signed off on tax cuts, but that does not take away the fact that Trump did and that he made better, more personal arguments for them than any other GOP President excepting Reagan.
  • Education
    Not nearly enough was done here by Betsy DeVos but to be fair she ran into a department of Sir Humphrey’s. Still she did manage to stymie the worst excesses of the notorious Obama “Dear Colleague” letter of 2011 that resulted in many miscarriages of justice on university campuses across the USA where young men were basically destroyed in Star Chamber trials that would have embarrassed Stalin. In all such cases that eventually ended up in real courts the universities have suffered (though not enough) as the courts saw no due process used whatsoever. It took a while but Trump and DeVos put an end to at least Federal encouragement of such injustices.
    But given the open and hidden defiance shown by the D.C. bureaucrats I now think that nothing short of the prompt and utter destruction of the Federal Department of Education will suffice. If anybody finds that shocking, understand that public education is still almost entirely under the control of State Governments, that the Federal DOE has only existed since 1979 (meaning that the vast majority of America’s technical and scientific achievements, Nobel Prizes, patents and so forth occurred without the Federal DOE), and that it has had no measurable effect on improving American children’s education. If anything that’s gone backwards even as per-child spending has raced away over recent decades.
    Fortunately it is likely that the combined effects of Chinese Lung AIDS and the wooden-headed obstinacy of America’s Teachers Unions will do more to damage the Public Education System than Trump and DeVos could have dreamed of.
    The latter’s push on Charter Schools is already paying dividends as it provided the choices that parents so desperately needed recently as they found their kids once again being locked out of schools.

As a number of Right-Wingers began to point out by early 2018, Trump was actually doing many things that the Never-Trumpers had been demanding of GOP Presidents for years. At the end of the day it turned out that those people were willing to burn to the ground all their supposed “Right Wing” ideas because they were less important than having a President who “acted Presidential”. I say fuck that stuffed-shirt, aging-Aunty approach, and clearly more than 74 million Americans agreed.

Aside from those areas Trump found himself, like many Presidents before him, unable to effect change through the D.C. bureaucracy. Back in 1952, after Eisenhower was elected President, Harry Truman commented to some aides that:

“He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.” 

It was one of the few times that Truman’s judgment was off and he really should have known better given how close he was to the situation in WWII. Ike was already a politician and had been for some time. Only political skills could have allowed him to succeed as the European Supreme Commander, juggling the egos and ambitions of men like Patton and Montgomery, as well as real politicians like Churchill and DeGaulle, who were hardly naifs at the game.

But Truman’s description applies accurately to Trump, who no doubt imagined that being President was like being a CEO and that people would just follow his orders. Whether it was pulling troops from Syria:

We were always playing shell games [with the troop numbers]” said Ambassador Jim Jeffrey

… or ending the unconstitutional DACA program:

Ms. Duke’s (a “lifelong Republican” and “veteran of nearly 30 years at the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense.”) most lasting legacy is likely to be the memo she signed — under pressure — to end that program. Her decision not to cite any specific policy reasons was at the heart of the Supreme Court’s ruling, which said the Trump administration had failed to substantively consider the implications of terminating the program’s protections and benefits. Ms. Duke said she did not include policy reasons in the memo because she did not agree with the ideas being pushed by Mr. Miller and Mr. Sessions: that DACA amounted to an undeserved amnesty and that it would encourage new waves of illegal immigration.

… Trump found that the very bureaucrats who worked for him knew how to stymie him and do what they thought was best. Think about that the next time you hear Never-Trumpers and the Left complaining about how American institutions were being “shredded” by Trump.

Future GOP Presidents will now know better. Wholesale firings of perhaps the upper two or three layers of management across all Federal bureaucracies on day one of their Presidencies will be needed if any GOP policy has any chance of being implemented.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 14, 2020 at 5:03 am

Why I would have voted for Trump – Foreign Policy

I’m not an American citizen so cannot vote in their elections.

But were I able to do so, and being an avid follower of their politics for the last forty years, this is how my voting for President would have gone:

  • 1980 – Reagan
  • 1984 – Reagan
  • 1988 – GHW Bush (reluctantly but Dukakis was an awful candidate)
  • 1992 – Clinton
  • 1996 – Clinton
  • 2000 – Gore (flip of the coin really, didn’t like Bush II either)
  • 2004 – Bush
  • 2008 – McCain (reluctantly, but Obama’s promise to fundmentally transform America did not sit well with me, even as I knew he wouldn’t be able to)
  • 2012 – Romney (very reluctantly given he was a spineless squish)
  • 2016 – Trump
  • 2020 – Trump.

My reasons to vote for Trump in 2020 would have been much the same as in 2016, except that Biden is nowhere near as corrupt as Hillary Clinton which, considering what we now know about the Biden family business from the emails of his neer-do-well, drug-addled son, is saying something.

And in 2016 Trump was not trusted by many Republicans even as they voted for him. He had ripped into several supposedly sacrosanct aspects of the GOP: free trade agreements, military partnerships like NATO, wars involving America, the Bush/McCain/Romney groups. Moreover, Trump’s decades-long association with the Democrat Party raised the possibility that he’d simply agree with the likes of Pelosi on spending; a trillion dollar infrastructure bill was a distinct possibility.

But by 2020, much to the amazement of a lot of those Republican voters, Trump had turned out to be the real deal on the big promises he’d made. Perhaps this was aided by the Democrat’s almost insane rejection of him across the board. The idea of hugging him to death to kill off his GOP voter support never occurred to them, and their rejection – apparently coming as a surprise to Trump, who’d mingled with the Schumer’s, Pelosi’s and Clinton’s for years – made him realise very quickly that this was total war.

So for the 2020 election my reasons to vote for Trump were as follows in the area of foreign policy.


It’s quite incredible that so many Democrats screamed their brains out about how Trump would start wars; as if they’d never listened to him at all and never looked into his history on the subject. But then that’s TDS for you.

By contrast it has come as no surprise to me that Trump’s four year term will be the first in decades where an American President has not started a war, large or small. His attitude being “What’s in it for America” was and still is scorned by the architects of the Iran, Afghanistan and Libyan “interventions”, and many others, as a selfish, nationalistic attitude that tells the rest of the world to take a hike in constantly demanding the US solve its problems for them. No more Blackhawk Down’s.

I see no problem with that.

We’re all aware of what US Isolationism wrought in the 1930’s, but the simple fact is that when it comes to taking on the likes of China and Iran Trump has not been passive.

And the fact is that although I supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the former was opposed by the very people who cried through the 1990’s about how awful Saddam was and how the US was propping him up, while the latter is a Forever War. Clearly no US President can ever again rely on Leftists who proclaim their horror about dictators and their awful human rights abuses and threats to peace. It turns out that Saddam was just another stick to beat the US with, as will be such future dictators.

I’m hopeful that despite the resistance of the Pentagon and the Intelligence Community, Trump will still pull most US troops from Afghanistan before he leaves office, leaving Biden with a fait accompli. Sure, the Taliban will take over but that’s going to happen even if the USA stays there another twenty years. It’s incredible to think that there may well be US soldiers serving in Afghanistan now who are the sons of men who fought there in 2002.


Twenty years ago I agreed with the idea of China being in the WTO, experiencing Free Trade. By then they’d had twenty years of a steadily freeing-up economy and although still a One-Party State they were rotating their Secretary Generals through a regular schedule, preventing the usual Communist bullshit of a Cult of Personality. Until Xi arrived, at which point it became clear that the paranoia of 1989 was still strong. The CCP was not going to allow itself to go the way of the USSR, including being corrupted and weakened by opening up to the West. Worse, the CCP found how useful was modern IT in building the Great Firewall and co-opting the likes of Google and Facebook, who drooled at the thought of more than a billion new customers swelling their networks, not to mention Hollywood and the whores of the NBA.

When Trump began to question all this in 2015, large elements of the GOP and the Democrats were aghast. And certainly it was just a repeat of what he’d said about Japan in the late 1980’s, and now look where they are.

But China is not Japan. The latter may have been pleased to see it’s keiretsu clobbering the American competition, but that was as far as it went. The CCP is determined to weld together its private sector success with geo-political goals and those goals are a determination to dominate the 21st century as America dominated the 20th. They are now a threat to Western nations and a far worse one than the USSR. They will not wage war as there is no need when you’re successfully breaking down your opponents and making them your defenders and enablers: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Trump has changed this dramatically. There are now large elements of both Democrats and Republicans who have a very skeptical take on China, especially in the wake of the Chinese Sinus Rot. It’s bipartisan but it needed to be pushed more. Perhaps it will be despite the corporate whoring of the Senator from MBNA.


Trump put an end to the pathetic appeasement of Iran by the Obama administration. The reason why Obama took that approach would be a book in itself but the best take on it that I’ve seen was that he had some strange Kissingerian concept of Iran as the big player in the Middle East and that enabling that would be a master stroke, whatever personal distaste he might have for the Mullahs.

By contrast Trump took the same attitude towards Iran that Reagan took towards the Soviet Union: “We win. They lose”. And in Iran losing, the Middle East would improve as Eastern Europe and the world improved when the USSR died. Pressure applied economically, militarily and diplomatically, with the vapourising of their paramilitary star, Soleimani, being the cherry on top.

And the result is that despite all the cries about Iran striking back they have actually gone into their shells. No more taking US sailors hostage to humilate the Great Satan as happened under Obama. And Iran has become much more isolated in the Middle East as it desperately tried to keep its terror groups Hezbollah and company alive with money it didn’t have.

Aa a result peace in the Middle Peace has progressed: exactly the opposite of what was predicted in taking on Iran.


At the end of the Cold War there were some serious discussions as to whether NATO should disband. But as is often the case with bureaucracies new reasons for their life are found, and NATO found theirs with the Baltic conflicts of the late 90’s.

But the outfit is more of a joke than ever. Germany’s reluctance to commit to the requirment for military spending to be pitched at 2% of GDP has had practical consequences with much of its tank, fighter aircraft, submarine and attack helicopter fleets grounded. And things have not improved since that 2018 BBC report. Other NATO members are not much better and only a NATO newbie, Poland, appears to be taking things seriously.

If these nations can’t be bothered committing then why should the USA carry the load? It’s not as if Russia’s broken-ass military is going to come sweeping across the plains. The US has bigger fish to fry in the Pacific. Trump’s rough-as-guts negotiation approach may have offended the usual stuffed-shirt brigade but it did get commitment for increased spending, although that’s not worth much nowadays. There has been much fashionable talk about “damaged relationships”.

And? What practical negative consequences have flowed from such? Nothing.

Free Trade Agreements

It will surprise many people to know that Trump is not anti-free trade. What he is against is the economic argument that it doesn’t matter if your free trade partners are cheating with export assistance and such like, since that still delivers cheaper goods to your people. Let the idiot taxpayers of other nations bankrupt themselves if they choose: you can use the money you save to invest in new services, products and entire industries. I accept that economically it’s a sound argument, but it ignores the reality that once industries are destroyed there’s a sunk cost that prevents them coming back even if those foreign taxpayers revolt against their masters. And the same goes for the domestic communities which depended on those domestic companies and industries.

An old high school friend of mine who went to the UK decades ago and never came back, ended up as a multi-millionaire with an engineering company he founded. But having dealt with them for years he is under no illusions about the Germans and other Europeans; they defend their industries, not just farming, with tarriffs and all manner of byzantine devices. To put it bluntly he said they don’t practice what they preach on Free Trade even having signed such agreements, but they expect others like the US to do so, to the cost of countless communities across the USA. And that’s just the Europeans: the CCP connect geopolitical designs to the economics.

And the reality was that Trump did get NAFTA re-designed, to the extent that Democrats in the House and Senate voted for changes that they had originally argued were not needed or could not be obtained. Somehow Trump did it.

Of course Bernie Sanders has also been hot on this topic for years and got traction on it from voters in both 2016 and 2020. Had it not been for the fear he created in the DNC and their resultant push of Biden when he looked to be dead in the water, Sanders could well have won the Democrat nomination and this topic would not have been disputed between the two men. The bipartisan consensus on blind support of free trade is fracturing fast, and the Democrats know it. Silicon Valley may not care, but the voters in Erie, Pennsylvania do, and they sent a message in 2016 by voting for Trump and again in 2020 even as they voted Biden by a slim margin.


Far back in the 1990’s the US Congress, by an overwhelming vote, decided to move the US Embassy to Jeruselem. And Clinton, Bush and Obama all found reasons not to do so, the first two after election pledges that they would. Those reasons supposedly being that the Palestinians would launch another intifada and that it was essential for Peace In The Middle East that an agreement be found between Israel and the Palestinians before anything else happened. Any other sequence would start a bonfire across the ME. The educated and cultured worthies of the US State Department, the Pentagon and the Intelligence Community made the same arguments to Trump that they’d made to previous Presidents.

Trump rejected their advice, transferred the embassy and …. nothing bad happened. There were a few protests for a couple of weeks and then they stopped. Similarly with Trump’s support for Israel, which has probably been the strongest of any US President. Which brings me to…

The Middle East

Trump’s actions on Israel and Iran were supposed to put the Arab world on edge, against the USA. Instead, it appears to have pulled them together with unprecedented connections springing up between Arab nations and Israel, guided by US negotiations.

In hindsight this should not have been a surprise. From the moment that Palestinians cheered Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 the Arab world had increasingly had a gutsful of supporting such backstabbers, resulting in a steady withdrawal of financial and diplomatic support. Moreover the idea that Iran would ever be a leader in the ME should have been considered a joke in light of two thousand years of Persian-Arab fighting. Crushing the Ayatollahs actually appealed to the ME states.

International Institutions: The UN, Paris Accord, WHO, etc

As with everything else, Trump’s approach to these things is not founded on some deep, intellectual level of analysis. It has simply been a gut feeling that these things, often created with great assistance from the USA, had now simply turned into bastions that constantly lambasted the USA for not “leading” – meaning doing what these institutions demanded – while constantly demanding funding from it, all while letting other nations, especially China, slide on almost any issue you care to think of. The WHO Director’s fellating of China over Covid-19 being merely the most obvious and disgusting recent example.

Stiffing such institutions was predicted to bring about failure and misery to the US – predictions by the same sort of credentialed experts who foresaw economic woes from trade fights and wars arising from Trump’s approaches and so forth.

Instead after almost four years of Trump we’re left with little but snivelling about hurt feelings, undiplomatic approaches and “damaged relationships”, with no explanation as to why these should matter when nothing bad of consequence has arisen from them.

Trump’s Foreign Policy In General

Trump is Jacksonian: There’s a good reason why Trump chose to prominently hang a painting of former President Andrew Jackson in the Oval Office. Jackson’s philosophy of  national security was focused on nationalistic concerns rather than global visions, while striking at any foreigner who attacked or killed Americans, but avoiding wars.

That is not isolationism.

And the fact that all the bad things predicted to happen as a result of Trump’s “ignorant”, “simple-minded”, “crude” foreign policy approach – economically, militarily, diplomatically – have not happened, is going to make things a lot tougher for any GOP or Democrat group that tries to resurrect the old order. At a minimum clear eyes are now being cast upon a host of credientialed “experts” whose Cassandra-like forecasts have not panned out.

Moreover Trump has actually strengthened relationships with countries like Poland, Israel, and various nations facing China, including the largest of all, India, to the extent that exercises are now being carried out between the navies of the US, India and other nations threatened by China. That is a significant advance in favour of the USA, and it is not going to go backwards now.

It will take some time but I fully expect that the likes of the NYT and other bastions of status quo thinking will, as the passions of the 2016 and 2020 elections recede, grudgingly come to admit that Trump was right on a great many foreign policy issues.

But more importantly, having seen that so many of these approaches worked, or at a minumum did not produce the disasters predicted, some future GOP President will follow in Trump’s footsteps, and without making themselves such a target as he did.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 25, 2020 at 7:00 am


I understand the point made by some that it’s not the media that calls the election. You can fairly argue that Biden doesn’t become President-elect until the certified results garner him more than the 270 electoral college votes needed for victory. So when might that happen ….

Well, first point. the deadline for States to submit their certified results is 14 December … another month away.

But second point. Most States (Hawaii, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Tennessee excepted) have statutes mandating a date for certification. So let’s look at those dates as they apply to the States where Trump is claiming victory despite the ‘unofficial’ vote count going Biden’s way.

20 November – Georgia; 23 November – Michigan and Pennsylvania; 30 November – Arizona; 1 December – Nevada and Wisconsin.

New York and California are the last two States with mandated dates for certification being 7 and 11 December respectively.

But it’s those six ‘disputed’ (by Trump) States where the action is and, while you can never say never, I suspect by 1 December Trump will be forced to face the inevitable … that he lost to a second rate swamp dweller.

Written by The Veteran

November 15, 2020 at 11:42 am

Posted in US Politics, USA

Tagged with

A world of fairness and unity beckons

I was amused at DPF’s little piece of unity propaganda the other day with the story of the young fighter pilot on 9/11.

Funny, but I don’t recall any such stories floating around after the 2016 US Presidential election.

In fact all I heard and saw was unhinged people screaming at the sky and #Resistance, as well as #NotMyPresident, and this has continued for four years.

The current wave of bullshit intended to help Biden is not going to work after four years of a hate-fest that went far beyond the activists of BushChimpHitler days. This was personal between ordinary people on Facebook and the like. Well, personal in one direction: Trump supporters kept quiet for the most part.

I don’t recall anything this bad even from the days of Reagan and Bush and to think it can be just switched off and forgotten is wish-casting. And I can attest that the above has been our experience from most of our old Chicago “friends”. They seem to have been very subdued since the election though, but some things cannot be erased.

Here’s the Arizona Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, three years ago.

And yes, she will be the one that certifies the 2020 election results for the State.

Fills you with confidence about fairness, eh?

If she had any sense of shame she’d hand over the job to someone else. In judicial world it’s called recusing yourself. But I’m sure she has no shame.

Which all makes this Tweet from American veteran, Dan Crenshaw (who lost an eye in combat) something to watch in contrast to the appeal using that 9/11 fighter pilot.

And I’ll put this up again since people seemed to miss the news the first time around, which is that Ronald Klain is about to become Biden’s new Chief of Staff.

Unity? LOLGF.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 13, 2020 at 9:52 pm

These didn’t age well

As we crawl toward the finish line of the US Presidential race I think two things are pretty obvious.

First, there is no way on God’s Green Earth that the Federal Supreme Court is going to chuck out tens of thousands of Biden votes in Pennsylvania just because they arrived days late. Sure, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, with a 5-2 Democrat majority and a history of corruption, played with the law passed by the State House and Senate around mail-voting by arbitarily changing the allowable time to three days. They didn’t do this by saying the original law was unconstitutional, they just did it because they thought they could. Their own state constitution does not agree: it’s in the hands of legislators only. Seems clear cut, but I can’t see SCOTUS having the balls to reject the Penn Supremes and boot so many votes.

Second is to say “so what”. The city of Philidelphia is another Democrat Machine site of old, like Chicago at its peak. You can read about it here, with a focus on one character in particular, Ozzie Myers, in How Philadelphia Elections Work.

Among the candidates he was paid to get elected are three as-yet-unnamed judges sitting on the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. That’s where President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has to go…

Heh. They can generate as many votes as needed. Once the envelopes are opened, it’s over. There is simply no way to recover from that. Re-counts are a waste of time. Which is why it’s always essential to stop the “counting” before the Democrats have the numbers.

But I don’t think even that city can produce a 50,000 state-wide margin for Biden.

Which brings me to this article in the Chicago Tribune from 2000, selected because the author is now rather a big gun in the US MSM journalist world. Take it away Jake Tapper.

More than 180,000 Americans — 180,111 to be exact — cast ballots in Florida on Nov. 7 only to have them discarded, never counted. That was about 335 times the number of votes (537) by which George W. Bush led Al Gore in Florida at the time the U.S. Supreme Courtstopped the state’s court-ordered recount, thus allotting Florida’s electoral votes to Bush and making him president.

Awwww – and you thought it was only Trump and his supporters who loved this shit? In fact I recall that all this conspiracy theory crap extended right through to September 11, 2001.

It’s a review of a book by Tapper, Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency. The same guy currently urging people, from his throne at CNN, to just accept the results and get down with President Biden.

For healing.

I also loved this.

Note that none of these people have suffered in their careers for being conspiracy theorists – because their arguments were in favour of the Democrats.

None other than Mitch McConnell – as sober and courtly a gentleman as even the prissiest Trump hater could appreciate – brought all this history up the other day:

“More recently, weeks after the media had “called” President Bush’s re-election in 2004, Democrats baselessly disputed Ohio’s electors and delayed the process in Congress. The 2016 election saw recounts or legal challenges in several states.

“More broadly, let’s have no lectures about how the President should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election.

“And who insinuated this one would be illegitimate, too, if they lost again.

“Let’s have no lectures on this subject from that contingent.

“In late August, Secretary Hillary Clinton said, quote, ‘Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances… I think this is going to drag out, and… he will win if we don’t give an inch.’

“That same month, Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Leader both stated, quote, ‘[President Trump] needs to cheat to win.’

“In October, when Speaker Pelosi was shopping some conspiracy theory about the Postal Service, she recklessly said, quote, ‘I have no doubt that the president… will lie, cheat, and steal, to win this election.’

“Does this sound like a chorus that has any credibility to say a few legal challenges from President Trump represent some kind of crisis?

As far as Pennsylvania is concerned I think the nationwide Red Wave to the GOP that saw them retain the Senate and increase their power in the House, shows up again in that state, where GOP House candidates ran 117,000 more votes than their Democrat opponents. And given that’s the case, you just have to accept that those GOP voters also could not bring themselves to vote for Trump.

In short: yes, there was voter fraud in the primary city of Philadelphia, probably thousands of votes. There is every election. But it’s not enough fraud.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 12, 2020 at 8:09 pm

And The Fat Lady Sings

I rarely link to another blog but over at Farrar’s place is an excellent summary of the substantial and credible evidence for industrial scale ballot fraud in the US presidential election, written by guest blogger Kiwi In America.

Here’s the money quote.

In AZ, GA, PA, MI and WI, each chamber of their Legislatures is controlled by the Republican Party. Already a joint Michigan House and Senate Committee has met in an emergency session to evaluate aspects of voting irregularities including going as far as issuing subpoenas to state election officials to “please explain”. If a Legislature decides that the State’s Presidential election was too fraught with fraud issues and it is not possible to get to the bottom of the irregularities in time, they could declare the election null and void thus subtracting those Electoral College votes from Biden or declare Trump the winner and direct the winning party’s electors to cast the state’s Electoral College votes.

This little opera is far from over and the fat lady has only sung the first few bars of her aria.

Written by adolffinkensen

November 11, 2020 at 1:38 pm

Posted in US Politics, USA

Tagged with

Anomalous Predictions

The mass failure of most opinion polls in the US Presidential election is now a matter of record. Even as they tried to recover themselves closer to the election by warning that the race was “tightening”, they still predicted leads for Biden in various states that did not pan out or even reversed to Trump on the day.

Hence things like this.

I spent some time on Kiwiblog in 2016 repeatedly explaining that because of changes in demographics, technology and cultural norms, national US polls had become increasingly useless to use as a prediction tool for Presidential elections. At a minimum the Electoral College system means the focus has to be on State polls or perhaps at an even more granular level; the polls of the cities that may dominate a State.

Sad to say that few people took any notice then nor – judging by the grossly smug and stupid takes this year on such polls – people who supposedly understand them, like pollsters and politicians. I don’t count MSM journalists since even those smart enough to know better are not willing to give up on the juicy and delicious click bait of “double digit leads”.

There was a time when such polling worked in the USA, even as recently as the 1990’s. But as Pew Research has shown, the primary method of telephone polling is headed for extinction.

But it was not just Presidential polling that failed. It failed at the level of House and Senate races as well.

So in the races of GOP senators Susan Collins in Maine and Lindsey Graham in South Carolina both candidates were predicted by the local polls to be in “deep trouble” – the latter description courtesy of CNN and other media mavens who have a symbiotic relationship with pollsters. As with Biden, double-digit leads appeared for their Democrat opponents.

Both GOP Senators won by significant margins, Graham by double digits.

But that sort of polling does have an effect on the races. There have been political science studies over the years that show polling can suppress one side’s votes and boost the other, but that’s one of those science “doh” moments. There will always be a chunk of people who don’t vote if they think their candidate is certain to lose.

More importantly is the effect such polls, and the associated MSM reporting, have on fund-raising. In fact it’s what really drives fundraising when politicians come calling. Graham’s opponent gathered some $100 million; Collins’s opponent about $67 million. Those Democrat backers may be feeling burned today but they have only themselves to blame. The real question is whether they’ll get fooled again by such polls?

Then there is the “unscientific” stuff like bellwether states, districts, and counties; locales which seem to accurately predict an overall national political result. The Vet made reference the other day to one such place, Dixville Notch. Every democracy has them and they change over time. Here in New Zealand, Hamilton East certainly was one in the 1980’s and still seems to be.

In the USA, at a state level, the bellwether was Ohio. Between 1960 and 2016 whoever won it won the Presidency. I was amused in hindsight that when 2016 state polls regularly showed Trump leading Clinton by several points I assumed that this meant Ohio had finally got it wrong and that perhaps its bellwether status had finally ended.

As it turned out Ohio called it right again. It’s 2020 that has seen a missed prediction. Apparently that still gives it a 90.6% predictive success rate.

Then there are the bellwether counties and with their geographical spread they’re probably better predictors than a single state.

Until 2020, where they appear to have got it massively wrong!

What indeed.

And spare me any more garbage about the popular vote. As of now Biden has 4,640,688 more votes than Trump across the nation. But all of that and more is accounted for by just one state, California, where Biden’s lead is 4,786,860. Across the other 49 states it’s actually Trump who leads the popular vote.

When you have one-party control of the largest state in the Union and a GOP that appears near extinction in that state, it should be no surprise that huge popular vote victories get wracked up there by any Democrat Presidential candidate.

The rest of the USA, even other Democrat states, don’t want to be ruled by California, any more than New Zealanders want to be ruled by Auckland. It is the precise reason why the Electoral College was adopted in the first place. California has enough influence as it is, whether via the largest EV contribution (55) that gives every Democrat a head start for the Presidency, Congressional representation (53), wealth, and now via Silicon Valley’s control over information flows.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 11, 2020 at 9:19 am

Hidden Points from the US election

The fact that the supposed Blue Tsunami of a Democrat landslide actually turned into a Red Tide, plus another huge failure in US polling and MSM coverage, are subjects worthy of separate posts.

As are the factors behind the Presidential Race itself, and what’s likely to happen (and not happen) in a Biden Administration. In saying that I should note that Al Gore was given 37 days to explore his legal options in 2000, without any MSM screaming about how he should concede, or that Democrat Stacey Abrams spent two years saying the Georgia Governor’s election was fraudulent and stolen from her in 2018, with nary a scoff from the MSM.

But there were three other election outcomes that came as a pleasing surprise, both because of the merits of each case and perhaps more importantly the location of the voters who decided them – in California and Illinois.

I’ve long held that California increasingly resembles a failing state due to all sorts of fundamental problems with road, water, and power infrastructure, taxes, homelessness, illegal immigrants, welfare and the general craziness that attends any One Party State. A place held up only by Silicon Valley but at the price of increasingly looking like a feudal kingdom, with a thin upper crust of incredibly wealthy people, a vast pool of the underclass, and the Middle Class fleeing to neighbouring states – and unfortunately taking with them the same voting habits that created the conditions driving them away.

Illinois is where California is headed, simply because it doesn’t have a Silicon Valley. It is the first US state to have its bonds officially rated as junk. Its prime city, Chicago, is in even worse shape than Illinois.

So the idea that anything sensible could emerge from these two states has seemed increasingly unlikely as the years passed, and recent policy initiatives from them seemed like just another pile of insanity.

California – AB5

First up was California’s AB5 legislation, which requires Uber, Lyft and other kinds of “gig economy” workers to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors. Now I have issues with the gig economy, given how fragile it can be and the lack of protection of workers rights. But simply shutting it down was a move of incredibly stupid, callous brutality. And predictably such a crude rule affected far more than the targets of the taxicab union’s wrath. For example it screwed the MSM in California by limiting the number of articles a freelance journalist could write at 35 per year.

Hilariously, one of these outfits, Vox Media, held out by the likes of Obama as a shining example of the new, Super-Smart media, and which had championed the law, then announced hundreds of layoffs before it went into effect in January 1, 2020. Vox employees were not the only ones to suffer; immediately, independent contractors and freelancers across many industries – catering, entertaining, media, trucking, construction, etc. – became unemployed and had their contracts terminated by companies who ceased business operations in California. People’s jobs and incomes were destroyed overnight – with nothing to replace them. The bill’s author, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, got it in the neck from hundreds of those people – and with all the hubris and arrogance that compiles from a One Party State – told them to suck it up. Uber and Lyft decided to fight it in the courts, and lost.

Worse yet, moves were afoot to take this idea national as Democrats in Washington D.C. crafted a Federal version of the law. Bear in mind that 57 million Americans partake in freelancing. These 57 million Americans contribute $1 trillion to the economy, or the equivalent of 5% of the U.S. GDP. These 57 million Americans are making freelancing a viable longterm career choice, pushing advanced skills, believe workplace freedom awards them more flexibility.

Fortunately opponents were able to put up measure on the ballot for this year’s election that would gut AB5. Given the mad ideas passed by California I expected the measure to be rejected and the law to continue. Amazingly it won, with 58% of the voters approving the measure. AB5 is dead – for the moment.

One more note is that the gig economy mostly consists of Millennials and younger Americans and it seems that despite complaints about it, including many specific complaints by Uber drivers themselves about Uber, they also weren’t that keen on returning to an ancient, mythical past of union membership, protection and control. So much for the idea that the Left understands the “Youf” and their future.

California – Proposition 16

Far worse in my opinion was this legislation. Years ago, California voters passed Proposition 209, a law that would prohibit race-based university admissions, public hiring, and public contracting. That’s a good thing right? We’ve all grown up hearing endless paens from the Left about how terrible racial discrimination is, especially when it has practical consequences around jobs and education.

Well that was then and this is now, with today’s Democrats having absorbed huge doses of Critical Race Theory and thus believing in “Systemic Racism”, with one solution being “positive” racial discriminaton. Thus was born Proposition 16, which would roll back Prop 209’s rules and allow racial discrimination to be practiced by state and local government in California.

Prop. 16’s proponents claimed that race-based favouritism is needed to promote “diversity,” but it is increasingly clear that what is really desired is a simple racial spoils system. I’d like to know what some benchmarks could be for achieving diversity, because in many ways the USA is already there. Consider this recent data from the U.S. Department of Education: it shows that the proportion of Black and Hispanic women enrolled in college is now higher than white males:

Amazingly, this piece of shit law also went down to defeat. Multiple polls showed that the very groups it was supposed to help, like Hispanic voters, could not stand the idea, and Asian-Americans clearly saw that it was aimed at screwing their kids.

Note that Biden won California by the usual overwhelming margin that accrues to Democrats there. So the loss of AB5 and Prop 16 is a marker that even California Democrats have limits to their own party’s bullshit.

Illinois – Progressive Income Tax Scheme

Finally we come to my personal favourite. Rather than tackling the myriad financial problems of the state and Chicago, the billionaire Governor, Pritzker, decided that the answer was to gouge more money out of the state taxpayers, an estimated $4 billion. And he devoted millions out of his own pocket to win.

It was a bold exercise since the state’s flat income tax was written into the state constitution. Politicians have long been able to change the rate, and they have, with it rising from 3% during my time there, to 5%. But it was recognised that there were limits to this and Pritzker’s idea was to have a graduated, progressive scheme like that of most nations, with different income tax rates for different income levels.

As in California, Illinois is a One Party State. The last GOP governor (2015-2019) could get nothing done in the face of opposition from the real power in the state, Michael Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House for thirty years and more. So they felt arrogant enough to change the constitution.

They failed. The measure was overwhelmingly defeated in the election, even as the voters returned Democrats to their usual positions of permanent power in the state.

There were two reasons for this loss.

First, of the $4 billion expected windfall, Pritzker and company were willing to apply only about $100 million to dealing with the financial problems, which are mainly caused by the terrible situation of unfunded liabilities for Illinois and Chicago pension funds. No, the vast majority of the money was going to go to expanding old state programs and adding new ones. Pension reform was off the table, as usual, as well as any other meaningful reforms. It was an insult to the voters.

Second was the sheer emotional reaction to handing over more money to politicians already knee deep in corruption. Given the past I’ve no confidence that the current FBI investigation into Madigan – for getting ComEd, the state’s major power company, to hire some of his supporters in return for favors – will result in any meaningful change. At best it’ll be plea bargains and him stepping down, but with cronies lined up to do the same in his place while he exerts control over them. Pritzker himself has become a byword for tax avoidance. He’s also under investigation for trying to avoid taxes on a Chicago mansion he owned by making its bathrooms inoperable. His substantial offshore trusts have not paid Illinois taxes. He also inherited his money and was not even trusted to run the major businesses of his own family.

So what now? The flat tax could be raised but that’s going to hurt, and of course it won’t solve the pension problems. The Democrat machine has finally, reluctantly, started talking about “painful” budget cuts, but I suspect they’re hoping to make things so awful via petty things that voters will yield to some new version of the tax scheme. In any case, while there are thousands of state and city government workers who have been getting paid to sit at home during the Covid-19 scare, and who could be cut in theory, it still would not change the fundamental, structural spending problems that exist outside of the operating budget.

And those problems are the result of a corruption far deeper and more subtle than mere wads of cash being thrown across a table. Illinois public-sector unions support the Democratic Party in return for the party giving them sweetheart deals with the state – all perfectly legal. Unfunded pension liabilities are the consequence because many politicians hope to retire or move on to the federal level before the full bill comes due. Those liabilities also mean the schools, police, fire and other services get screwed in spending on what should be their core missions.


While it’s pleasing that Californian and Illinois voters have put a dent in these plans, sadly that’s all they’ve done.

They re-elected the same Democrats.

Written by Tom Hunter

November 10, 2020 at 9:48 am