Current Affairs

"All Hell Breaks Loose at the Democratic Convention"

Interesting observation from lefty journalist Ron Fournier:

The American public has lost trust in virtually every social institution—schools, churches, businesses, charities, police, courts, and the media—because those entities have been slow to adapt to sweeping economic, demographic, and technological changes.

I don't know about all of them, but for schools and businesses, I think a substantial part of the problem is too much badly drafted and enforced legislation and regulation. Example: much of the recent upset in higher education is the direct result of the recent extension of Title IX to topics it was never intended to cover.

Refutable hypothesis: cut back Big Government--especially federal government--and trust will recover.


Line of the week

Glenn Reynolds: "Government is just another word for the things we choose to screw up together."

And now would be a good time to revisit another fine effort by Professor Reynolds: "How David Brooks created Donald Trump".

Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement.


"Nice attack: Why the terrorists are winning the intelligence war"

David P. Goldman makes a point that I haven't seen made elsewhere.

The terrorists, in short, are winning the intelligence war, because they have shaped the environment in which intelligence is gathered and traded. But that is how intelligence wars always proceed: spies switch sides and tell their stories because they want to be with the winner. ISIS and al-Qaeda look like winners in the eyes of western Muslim populations after humiliating the security services of the West.

As a result, western European Muslims fear the terrorists more than they fear the police. The West will remain vulnerable to mass terror attacks until the balance of fear shifts in the other direction.


"The Magical Thinking of the Trump Movement"

Nobody I've read puts it better than Jonah Goldberg.

I hate discovering that so many people are disappointed in me for not playing my part in a racket. Every day, if not every hour, I am told that my true motives are in reality desires, goals, and ambitions that have never once entered my mind. I want Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States as much as I want to be a patient of a narcoleptic proctologist (“Oh, I’m sorry, did I leave that in there all that time?”). I want the Supreme Court to be handed to the Left as much as I want a lap dance from Chris Christie. . . .

I have nothing but sympathy for those who feel they must vote against Hillary Clinton. But I have scorn for those who think that requires lying about Trump. If you’re a true-believer in Trump, that’s fine. I think you’re making the same mistake that the Left’s 2008 true believers made about Obama. There are no saviors in politics. But when millions of people think there can be, those of us in the Remnant of doubt get treated like heretics.

If you can stand the discouraging commentary so early on a Monday morning, please read the whole thing.

Related: "It’s Not My Party".


"Pensions Are a Big Old Slow-Moving Disaster"

Fine, concise discussion until the conclusion: "We need a well-funded Social Security program for everyone who needs it (and not those who don’t need it because they are wealthy)." News flash: Social Security is run by the same types of folks, facing the same lousy incentives, as the ones badly running many state and local pension plans.

(And let's not mention that Social Security has been sold, lo these many years, to the American public as a social insurance program, not a transfer program.)

Related: "CalPERS’ unfunded liabilities grow as investment earnings lag".

You can smear lipstick on a pig, but that doesn’t change its innate porcinity.

Officials of the California Public Employees Retirement System, the nation’s largest pension trust fund, tried Monday to cast its very anemic investment earnings – well under 1 percent – in a positive light.