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Bill Barr: Case Against Trump in 2024

Bill Barr has an excellent article that makes the case against Trump running in 2024, “Bill Barr: Trump Will Burn Down the GOP. Time for New Leadership.”

Why Barr supported Trump in 2016

Trump with his “frequently juvenile, bombastic, and petulant style” was not Barr’s “idea of a president”, but once he became the GOP’s nominee he supported him, as in Barr’s words:

Trump had accurately diagnosed, and given voice to, the deep frustration of many middle-class and working-class Americans who were fed up with the excesses of progressive Democrats; the shameless partisanship of the mainstream media; and the smug condescension of elites who had mismanaged the country, sold them out, and appeared content to preside over the decline of America.

Trump administration’s “substantive” achievements

[Trump administration’s] tax reform and deregulatory efforts generated the strongest and most resilient economy in American history—one that brought unprecedented progress to many marginalized Americans. He had begun to restore U.S. military strength by increasing spending on new-generation weapons, advanced technology, and force readiness. He correctly identified the economic, technological, and military threats to the United States posed by China’s aggressive policies. By brokering historic peace deals in the Mideast, he achieved what most thought impossible. He had the courage to pull us out of ill-advised and detrimental agreements with Iran and Russia. And he fulfilled America’s long-delayed promise to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.

Trump lost in 2020 because energized those who wanted to vote against him

Trump succeeded in driving a record turnout of his own supporters. But he also generated a more massive turnout for Joe Biden. The millions of voters who flocked to the polls to pull the Democratic lever set historic records and swamped the Trump voters. They did not come to vote for Biden; they came to vote against Trump. Fraud did not prevent Trump’s second term. Trump himself was the reason.

Winning in 2024 for the GOP requires the “old Reagan coalition”

…I believe the defining feature of our political landscape continues to be the sharp leftward lurch of the Democratic party. That opens up a historic opportunity for the GOP—the opportunity to revive something like the old Reagan coalition: a combination of Republican-leaning, college-educated suburbanites; culturally conservative working-class voters; and even some classical liberals who are repulsed by the left’s authoritarianism.

Trump’s behavior since losing the 2020 election is detrimental to the GOP

[Trump] treacherously sabotaged GOP efforts to hold the Georgia Senate seats. The GOP’s poor performance in the recent midterms was due largely to Trump’s mischief. He fueled internal fights within state parties. He attacked popular Republican governors in Maryland, New Hampshire, and Arizona to dissuade them from running for Senate seats they could have won. He supported weak candidates for key Senate and House seats based solely on their agreeing with his “stolen election” claims…

The Trump threat based on his “supreme narcissism”

[Trump’s faction is] “probably no larger than a quarter of the GOP, but which allows Trump to use it as leverage to extort and bully the rest of the party into submission. The threat is simple: unless the rest of the party goes along with him, he will burn the whole house down by leading “his people” out of the GOP. Trump’s willingness to destroy the party if he does not get his way is not based on principle, but on his own supreme narcissism.

Read the full article at Common Sense News.

Niall Ferguson on Zelensky and Fatalism in History

Niall Ferguson on fatalism in history:

Contingency here means a relatively small event or decision. And it doesn’t need to be a decision. It can be something accidental, has very major consequences. And historical causations like that, something relatively small, can have tremendous ramifications. I’ll give you another illustration. This year, most people, including the US government, thought that if Russia invaded Ukraine, the Ukrainian government would quite quickly fold, and it was assumed that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, would bail. He didn’t. He gave his famous response, “I don’t want an air ticket. I want ammunition.” And Zelenskyy’s courage when they were closing in on Kyiv with a high probability that they would assassinate, the Russians turned the course of history in a way that I think is now quite widely understood.

People know Zelenskyy is an important historical figure. He gets a lot of attention because he is a charismatic figure who understands how to use modern media to communicate with an audience. That’s the benefit of having a very seasoned entertainer as your president. But I think what’s really important there is that his courage, particularly the famous video selfie video where he says, “I’m here. The defense minister is here. We’re here.” They’re standing in the streets of Kyiv. The Russians are closing in at that point on the capital. That was a tremendous act of courage. But it emboldened ordinary Ukrainians not to fold, and it also intimidated the collaborators who were ready to help the Russians, not to act. So the contingency there is if Zelenskyy had gone according to our expectation and taken the plane, then Putin would’ve had Kyiv within a matter of days or weeks, and the war would be over.

So I think one of the things that’s exciting about the study of history is you are trying to remind yourself again and again that what happened, that what we know happened, might have gone the other way. That the Cuban Missile Crisis ended in both sides essentially backing down was not predetermined. There was a moment when a Soviet submarine commander gave the order to fire a nuclear torpedo at US naval surface ships. So we came within a hair’s breadth of World War III. These alternate worlds, these histories that didn’t happen, have to be alive in your mind when you are writing history.

The fatal mistake is to write history as if it was bound to happen the way it happened. And this, of course, is the mistake that a great majority of historians make. Forgetting that, we don’t know at the time, at the moment, we didn’t know the morning of the 24th of February that Zelenskyy would stand his ground. Nobody knew that. I wonder if even Zelenskyy at that moment knew what it was that he was going to do.

So I say all this because I think it’s really important to convey to your listeners and viewers how exciting history is and how studying it makes you understand the course of events in your own life better removes that passivity that sometimes people succumb to. If you think great historical forces are going to have inevitable outcomes, if you have a deterministic view of the historical process, it’s very easy to lapse into fatalism. There’s the other trap, which is the conspiracy theories. “Well, the truth of the matter is that actually, Soros and the Rothschilds are orchestrating all this.” Again, you throw up your hands and you abandon the attempt to understand how the historical process works.

Listen to the rest on the Tim Ferris Podcast.

Cancel Federal Backing of Student Loans

Before the midterm elections, in an attack on his critics President Biden writes that once one takes government money, they no longer can criticize him, implying hypocrisy of his critics.

Yet, the Payroll relief program was instituted because successful, prosperous businesses were put out of business by the government’s lockdown orders at the behest of the CDC.

So, Mr. Biden, you tax the hell out of productive people, shut down their jobs with mandates/lockdowns, loan them some of their money back, while taking a cut to pay off the people who got you elected, cry it’s a “democracy,” and then say people have no right to speak?

US college is expensive & wasteful because the govt subsidizes inefficiency with federally-backed student loans. Time to cancel that program too.

Film: Mr. Jones Now Free To Watch on Amazon Prime

Fantastic thriller.

“Gareth Jones, a British “stringer” journalist, traveled to the Soviet Union in 1933 and uncovered the appalling truth behind the Soviet “utopia” inspiring George Orwell’s Animal Farm.”

In Mr. Jones, Actor James Norton plays a heroic “stringer” (an independent journalist not affiliated with any news organization) who took on Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Walter Duranty, at the New York Times to reveal how Stalin starved millions of Ukrainians to prop up his communist regime. Jones, is a real-life Clark Kent, whose “superpower” is his unwavering dedication to the truth, no matter the cost, even if it means his own life. His nemesis Walter Duranty is brilliantly portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard.

Based on real events during the Holodomor where over six million died in 1933-4 by planned starvation. The film has ominous parallels to today as the Russian dictator Putin wages his unjust war against the people of Ukraine, and how establishment journalism seeks to distort the truth to promote government narratives on the tyrannical COVID lockdowns and mandates as brave independent journalists work to uncover the truth.

History does repeat itself, if not in concrete form, in abstract principle, for good or bad, if we do not induct the lessons it gives us.

Happy Second Birthday Great Barrington Declaration!

Two years ago today, Dr. Martin Kulldorff (professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations), Dr. Sunetra Gupta (professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases), and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya (professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations) authored the Great Barrington Declaration.

The Great Barrington Declaration argued for better protection of high-risk older people while keeping schools and society open to avoid the collateral damage now seen.

Focused protection instead of lockdowns to minimize both COVID-19 mortality and collateral damage on other health outcomes.

Over 930,000 people signed it. You can still co-sign.

Lawsuit To Stop Biden Administration’s Unlawful Student Loan Cancellation

From Pacific Legal Foundation:

[On September 7, 2022, the]…Pacific Legal Foundation filed suit against the U.S. Department of Education to block its illegal move to cancel more than $500 billion in student loan debt.

“Congress did not authorize the executive branch to unilaterally cancel student debt,” said Caleb Kruckenberg, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “It’s flagrantly illegal for the executive branch to create a $500 billion program by press release, and without statutory authority or even the basic notice and comment procedure for new regulations.”

In August 2022, President Biden announced his plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt per person for more than 40 million Americans. The Department of Education’s justification relies on an inapplicable, 20-year-old law: The HEROES Act, which was intended as aid to veterans and their families, allows government to modify student loans during times of war or national emergency.

Whatever the motives of the president for transferring massive amounts of student debt to taxpayers in a rushed, haphazard manner, it certainly seems like an election year ploy. That is one of the predictable effects of the president usurping Congress’ power to make law. Not since President Trump imposed a nationwide eviction moratorium before the 2020 elections has a president abused his power so profoundly.

“Cancelling student debt is unjust to those who have paid their loans or never took any. It will only lead to more calls for government intervention in education at taxpayers’ expense,” said Steve Simpson, senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation. “Loan cancellation will make Americans more divided, as those who paid their loans—or never went to college—will have good reason to think that we no longer have a government of, by, and for the people.”

Plaintiff Frank Garrison is a public interest attorney — now at Pacific Legal Foundation — who believes the rule of law and separation of powers are bulwarks for liberty and against centralized government power. As a part of an existing, congressionally authorized Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, he will receive debt forgiveness after making 10 years of payments on his loans. The challenged program will stick him with a new state tax bill which he would not have under his existing PSLF program.

For decades, Pacific Legal Foundation has fought for the constitutional separation of powers, the main structural protections against abuses of power that undermine freedom. PLF has won five separation of powers cases at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case is Garrison v. U.S. Department of Education, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. PLF has filed a temporary restraining order to prevent the loan cancellation from going into effect.

Reparations for Slavery…From Africans

Hilary Fordwich corrects CNN’s Don Lemon on British Empire over slavery during the Queen’s funeral:

Don Lemon: “Some people want to be paid back and members of the public are wondering, ‘Why are we suffering when you are, you have all this vast wealth?’ Those are legitimate concerns…”

Hilary Fordwich: “Well I think you’re right about reparations in terms of – if people want it though, what they need to do is, you always need to go back to the beginning of the supply chain. Where was the beginning of the supply chain? That was in Africa. Across the entire world, when slavery was taking place, which was the first nation in the world that abolished slavery? …the British”

“In Great Britain they abolished slavery. 2,000 naval men died on the high seas trying to stop slavery. Why? Because the African kings were rounding up their own people. They had them [in] cages, waiting in the beaches.”

“I think you’re totally right. If reparations need to be paid, we need to go right back to the beginning of that supply chain and say, ‘Who was rounding up their own people and having them handcuffed in cages. Absolutely, that’s where they should start.”

Woman Scares Off Intruder, No Shots Fired

Writes Jeff Jacoby in his newsletter Arguable on “Guns keep Americans safer”:

…Now comes a new survey of gun owners , one of the largest and most comprehensive ever conducted. Supervised by Georgetown University professor William English and published on the Social Science Research Network, it surveyed 16,708 gun owners, drawn from an overall population sample of 54,000. Among its findings: roughly 32 percent of American adults, 42 percent of them female, own guns. Handguns remain the most common type of firearm owned, with 171 million in private hands, but Americans also own 146 million rifles and 98 million shotguns.

…According to English, “approximately a third of gun owners have used a firearm to defend themselves or their property, often on more than one occasion, and guns are used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year. A majority of gun owners, 56.2 percent, indicate that they carry a handgun for self-defense in at least some circumstances.”

Using a gun in this context generally does not mean firing a gun. More than 80 percent of the time, respondents said that when they “used” their weapon to respond to a threat, it was sufficient to simply show their gun, or merely mention that they had one. It is not surprising that most defensive gun uses never rise to the level of a news story. “Woman Scares Off Intruder, No Shots Fired,” isn’t a very gripping headline.

See also Andrew Bernstein’s article, Defense of Innocent Lives Requires Gun Ownership By Honest Persons.

Big-Tech “Little Brothers”

“The FBI, I think, basically came to us – some folks on our team – and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert… We thought that there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election. We have it on notice that, basically, there’s about to be some kind of dump of that’s similar to that. So just be vigilant.’” – Mark Zuckerberg, The Joe Rogan Experience

Writes Jonathan Turley in “Zuckerberg Reveals the FBI Told His Company to be Wary of ‘Russian Disinformation’“:

[Facebook’s parent company Meta] only recently allowed customers to discuss the lab theory of the origins of Covid after years of biased censorship. Facebook’s decision to allow people to discuss the theory followed the company’s Oversight Board upholding a ban on any postings of Trump, a move that even figures like Germany’s Angela Merkel and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) have criticized as a danger to free speech.  Even Trump’s voice has been banned by Facebook. Trump remains too harmful for Facebook users to hear . . . at least until the company decides that they are ready for such exposure. Facebook has tried to get customers to embrace censorship in a commercial campaign despite its long record of abusive and biased “content modification.”

Note such actions by private companies are not censorship – unless pressure, no matter how light, was imposed upon by the government.

From “Evolving With Big Tech: Facebook’s New Campaign Should Have Free Speech Advocates Nervous“:

Politicians know that the First Amendment only deals with government censorship, but who needs “Big Brother” when a slew of “Little Brothers” can do the work more efficiently and comprehensively?

When Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey came before the Senate to apologize for blocking the Hunter Biden story before the election, he was met by demands from Democratic leaders for more censorship. Senator Chris Coons (D., Md.) pressed Dorsey to expand the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers “climate denialism.” Likewise, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) chastised the companies for shying away from censorship and told them that he was “concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he demanded that they “commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election.”

Republicans have been acting in the opposite direction, seeking to force companies to not block information (which is also censorship). Though in practice, the Democrat variant of banning speech at this time is a far greater danger, than bills that call for the equal promulgation of opposing viewpoints according to “free speech principles,” the proper response is to ban government interference in all speech that does not violate the rights of others.

President Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan May Exceed $1 Trillion

Wharton Business School budget model crunches the numbers on Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan:

  • We estimate that President Biden’s proposed student loan debt cancellation alone will cost between $469 billion to $519 billion over the 10-year budget window, depending on whether existing and new students are included. About 75% of the benefit falls to households making $88,000 or less per year.
  • Loan forbearance for 2022 will cost an additional $16 billion.
  • Under strict “static” assumptions about student borrowing behavior and using take-up rates within existing income-based repayment programs, the proposed new IDR program will cost an additional $70 billion, increasing total package costs to $605 billion.
  • However, depending on future details of the actual IDR program and concomitant behavioral changes, the IDR program could add another $450 billion or more, thereby raising total plan costs to over $1 trillion.

Read the details here.

In July 2021, Nancy Pelosi stated the President has no power to forgive such loans: “People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress…And I don’t even like to call it forgiveness because that implies a transgression. It’s not to be forgiven, just freeing people from those obligations.”

(She has recently flip-flopped on her position).

“National emergencies” grant the President extra-ordinary powers, whether student loans or climate change.

Ben Bayer: “Responsible Sex” Arguments Against Abortion vs. the Right to Pursue Happiness

Writes philosopher Ben Bayer, author of Why the Right to Abortion Is Sacrosanct, in his op-ed “If you value personal responsibility, rethink abortion“:

I agree that one should be willing to live with the consequences of one’s actions. Responsible sex, for instance, means pursuing this value with an eye to one’s health and self-esteem. It means using contraception and protection, and treating sex as a meaningful experience with someone else who feels the same way.

But if opponents of abortion really care about responsibility, why aren’t they outraged by the fact that fifteen of the new state abortion bans, the Texan ban included, contain no exceptions for rape or incest? Victims of rape and incest — like the 10-year-old girl in Ohio who had to flee to Indiana for an abortion — have not been irresponsible. Why don’t the supporters of “responsibility” denounce any ban without rape and incest exceptions?

The answer is that anti-abortion rhetoric about ‘responsibility’ is a cover for attacking the American right to the pursuit of happiness:

Serious abortion opponents think that choosing the joy of sex for its own sake is morally suspect and so “irresponsible.” They believe sex has only one “natural” purpose: reproduction. The only acceptable alternative is celibacy. In their view our “responsibility” is to pursue only those ends assigned to us by some higher power. This is inconsistent with the idea that we should pursue the goals and consequences we are willing to accept in our pursuit of happiness.

Required reading.

Donald Trump Warned Europeans About Reliance on Russian Gas

  • World

Douglas Murray, the author of The War on the West, says former US President Donald Trump said “Germany was too reliant on Russian gas and that it would be paying a price for this” at the UN four years ago. “And the German diplomats … all laughed away and giggled away at Donald Trump…Now, you may not think that Donald Trump is the world’s finest purveyor of truth. But he was telling the truth on this occasion. He was saying something that was absolutely true and giving the Europeans a reality check that was long overdue.” (SkyNews)

Washington Post has a video of Trump educating European elites on foreign policy and energy:

The Biden Administration is the Gift That Keeps on Giving – To America’s Enemies

  • World

The late Osama Bin Laden in planning to assassinate then-President Obama told his fellow terrorists to leave Vice-President Joe Biden unharmed. He could prove useful.

From the US DOD:

The DoD estimated that U.S.-funded equipment valued at $7.12 billion was in the inventory of the former Afghan government when it collapsed, much of which has since been seized by the Taliban. This included military aircraft, ground vehicles, weapons, and other military equipment.

From the NY Post:

The report also said that 316,260 small arms — including rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and howitzers — worth $511.8 million were under the care of the Afghan military at the time of its collapse, but the condition of those weapons was unknown. Communications, explosive detection, night-vision and other surveillance equipment was also in the Kabul government’s inventory when the Taliban took over.

Well, at least Biden isn’t Trump. Like for much of Biden’s Presidency, the response has been like that of “new atheist” Sam Harris who states, “Hunter Biden literally could have had the corpses of children in his basement – I would not have cared.”