Links for 2-13-2016

  • During all the hand-wringing over U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s death and who will replace him and when, please remember that the fact that our liberty appears to hinge on the death of one person is a sign of just how disfunctional the federal government has become and that it needs fundamental reform to restore Constitutional principles. Scalia was a great jurist and I’m sorry for his friends and family, but the country’s future should not be determined by the direction of a 5–4 split among a group of unelected judges with lifetime appointments.

  • Charles Murray wrote a tremendous article on the origins of Trumpism:

    But the central truth of Trumpism as a phenomenon is that the entire American working class has legitimate reasons to be angry at the ruling class. During the past half-century of economic growth, virtually none of the rewards have gone to the working class. The economists can supply caveats and refinements to that statement, but the bottom line is stark: The real family income of people in the bottom half of the income distribution hasn’t increased since the late 1960s.

    On the short term political implications:

    Add to this the fact that white working-class men are looked down upon by the elites and get little validation in their own communities for being good providers, fathers and spouses—and that life in their communities is falling apart. To top it off, the party they have voted for in recent decades, the Republicans, hasn’t done a damn thing to help them. Who wouldn’t be angry?

    There is nothing conservative about how they want to fix things. They want a now indifferent government to act on their behalf, big time. If Bernie Sanders were passionate about immigration, the rest of his ideology would have a lot more in common with Trumpism than conservatism does.

    As a political matter, it is not a problem that Mr. Sanders doesn’t share the traditional American meanings of liberty and individualism. Neither does Mr. Trump. Neither, any longer, do many in the white working class. They have joined the other defectors from the American creed.

    On the long term implications:

    And just as support for the American creed has shrunk, so has its correspondence to daily life. Our vaunted liberty is now constrained by thousands of petty restrictions that touch almost anything we want to do, individualism is routinely ignored in favor of group rights, and we have acquired an arrogant upper class. Operationally as well as ideologically, the American creed is shattered.

  • Turkey is shelling areas of northern Syria held by the YPG, the Kurdish forces who have successfully fought ISIS and whom the U.S. aids directly with weapons, ammunition, and training by American special forces soldiers. Erdogan is now acting in direct opposition to American interests and there’s not a damn thing Obama will do about it.

  • Saudi Arabia is moving ground troops and fighter aircraft to Turkey’s Incirlik air base, and says it’s preparing to launch a ground invasion of Syria from there; Turkey may join that invasion.

  • The Obama administration claims it will enforce sanctions on companies that do business with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, but they appear to looking the other way at every opportunity.

  • If you’re confused about what President Trump would do about health insurance, it’s probably because Trump is spewing gibberish:

    Whenever he’s been confronted on his socialist healthcare ideas by Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump has called Cruz a “liar” and said he wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a free market alternative. Yet when he actually speaks about healthcare, he reveals he has no idea what he’s talking about. He rambles nonsensically, throwing out terms here and there that perhaps he’s picked up in briefings, but they make no sense in the context which he’s using them.