Thursday, 30 May 2019

Congress is Pissed

Or so says CIP. This is vis-a-vis Mueller vs Trump. I said:

In Merrie Englande, "pissed" means drunk. Having said that...
I think Mueller is belatedly realised he kinda fucked up and now wants a second go. But what to make of "Mueller explained that his decision was based on longstanding justice department policy, rather than lack of evidence. “A president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office,” he said. “That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view – that too is prohibited.”" ( That sounds like bollox to me. Plenty of people (waves hands vaguely) were fully expecting and hoping that Mueller would indeed charge The Mango; only *now* claiming there is a clear policy not to do so sounds like excuse making.
Congress has I think got using to buying cheap popularity with pork and ducking hard decisions, which is why so much power has bled away to the presidency. This is not what your founders intended.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Talking about "The Green New Deal And A Universal Basic Income" with Thomas Fuller

TF posts The Green New Deal And A Universal Basic Income; I commented the below. Let's see how the discussion goes.

This is doomed in so many ways (I say that as someone definitely interested in an UBI, and perhaps even a supporter of it).
> but few would argue we are doing enough
I think you’re wrong. I think many people would (in the sense of proportion of those-that-bother-to-even-think-about-it). Also, I’d guess your averages hide a lot.
> a permanent net loss of positions
A bit like when farming was mechanised. Or when spinning was. Oh, but this time is different… And who knows, maybe it is. But I’m dubious.
> primary premises of The Green New Deal is “Guaranteeing a job with…
I think this is a bad idea and it’s one of the reasons that I oppose the GND. But then I’m a small-govt person.
> endorsement by us for
You speak in the plural. Who is “us”?
> sovereign wealth fund
You don’t have a SWF because you don’t have a budget surplus, you have a (massive, by world standards) deficit. If you could raise extra income through magic free taxes, there would be pressure to (a) pay down the deficit; but also (see recent politics) to give out freebies and/or cut other taxes.
> it wouldn’t take long …. By 2030 we could have a nice nest egg built up
Sorry, but this is where you get delusional. Can you genuinely imagine a large nest egg building up, and your rapacious pols not raiding it for their own pet pork projects?

Saturday, 5 January 2019

CIP tilts against Public Choice, again

People don't like Public Choice. The name, incidentally, is a touch weird, but never mind. It's just a name. When you know what it's a label for, you know what it is. It is associated in my mind with James M. Buchanan; and it came to my attention during the Democracy in Chains nonsense. In a way, it is just the bleedin' obvious; in much the same way that natural selection is. But the implications - towards smaller government - are strongly resisted by all those who don't want smaller government.

Which brings us to CIP's take on Public Choice (arch, which doesn't include the comments), which is is reaction to my The left has no theory of the behaviour of the government?

I assert that Plato is the archetypical believer in the virtues of govt, and ignorer of public choice. CIP asserts
Plato and Confucius were very familiar with governments behaving badly, and had elaborate theories for how to prevent or limit the damage. You may need to reread your Republic [Hint: prevent or limit conflicts of interest].
I reply:
If Plato is aware of the PC / P-A problem in the Republic, then please quote chapter and verse. I assert that he is unaware of it. Prove me wrong by direct quotation.
I await his response.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Roy Spencer and the List of scientists who disagree with the scientific consensus on global warming

Over at Dr Roy's, I asked:

Off topic, but I have a question for you. 
You're listed in under "Scientists arguing that global warming is primarily caused by natural processes". Someone who thinks they are defending you has recently complained about that (,_isn't_it_long,_long_past_time,_to_replace_this_incredibly_outdated,_29_YEARS_old,_%22Climate_Change_Attribution%22_chart?). 
If you're happy being so listed, then all is well. The listing is on the basis of your 2008 testimony "I predict that in the coming years, there will be a growing realization among the global warming research community that most of the climate change we have observed is natural, and that mankind’s role is relatively minor". 
If you're not happy being so listed, then pointing to something you're written that explicitly or implicitly revises those words would be useful.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Freedom of the Press and of Speech: True and False; By David Henderson

Freedom of the Press and of Speech: True and False is by David Henderson at EconLib, which I've taken to reading recently. This discusses CNN/Acosta and the White House withdrawl of Acosta's press pass. Oddly, the article discusses only the First Amendment issue and argues (narrowly) that there is no First Amendment (freedom of speech) issue. Narrowly, that is true; I'm not convinced that a court might not construe it more broadly. But that's not important, because there is a far clearer Fifth Amendment (due process) right. As I comment:
You seem to have got the Acosta stuff wrong. The judge didn’t rule on First, he (from your link) “sided with CNN on the basis of the suit’s Fifth Amendment claims, saying the White House did not provide Acosta with the due process required to legally revoke his press pass”.
That gets an odd answer from another commentator, to which I reply:
"due process" is much wider than life, liberty or property. As you surely know. The odd thing here is that this article focusses on the First, even though the judgement was made explicitly on the basis of the Fifth.
And when you think about it, what seems "wrong" about the press pass being revoked is indeed not a freedom of speech matter, as this article notes; the wrongness lies in the White House's treatment of an individual. The WH's action was arbitrary, and motivated by pique; this is why it falls foul of the Fifth. And correctly so: the WH (aka the Govt) should not be able to play favourites, and try to intimidate journalists by withdrawl of access.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

CIP: Of Course Trump is to Blame (for the bombings): terrorism and trolling

CIP got wound up about the recent "bombings". Partly because he discovered he could blame Trump, somewhat implausibly in my view. I said:
If he's to blame for the "bombings" (which weren't actually bombings since none of them went off) he's to blame for something very dull. Except the meeja always overplay anything with bombs, because they're kinda sexy. 
> modern American has acquired such a potent appetite for this truly disgusting human being 
Indeed. But Trump isn't to blame for that, the modern USAnians are.
CIP wasn't happy, so I expanded:
> deprecate every crime 
I don't. As you've maybe noticed, I've said nothing about the recent shootings, because real people actually died. 
Unlike the "bombings", where no-one died; and where the intended targets wouldn't have been affected even if the bombs had been real. It was terrorism, in the sense of attention-grabbing; more trolling than real terrorism (compare the inches of column coverage you, and your meeja, gave it compared to the recent Afghan bombings where yet more real people actually died). DNFTT.
People are so easily trolled by bombings. We're the same.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

The Supreme Court - CIP

In the Supreme Court CIP discusses, errrm, SCOTUS. This of course is in the context of Kavanaugh.

I jumped in because of his the Supreme Court is not only the ultimate interpreter of the laws but has also appropriated the right to judge laws against the template of the Constitution and strike down those it finds wanting, which I found odd. After all, some entity is going to have to do this; the court is the obvious one.

CIP continues I prefer that laws be made by the legislature rather than the Court. I think that's sort-of snark; anyway, I replied:
Everyone agrees that the laws should be *made* by the Legislature (pace law-is-custom, of course). But that leaves open two issues, that need to be resolved: interpreting the law, and conformity with the constitution. Neither of these is "making" law, except in a rather stretched sense (notice we're not talking about common law at this point).
If you're Hobbes, then the person who gets to interpret the law is effectively the legislator, but this is too broad, because the interpreter doesn't have arbitrary authority to do so, in practice. So the courts get to only interpret ambiguous bits, and therefore the legislature, if it likes, gets to have another go and remake the law if it wants to.
The constitution could have included a clause stating that the legislature is trusted to ensure that laws that it passes are consistent with the constitution, and therefore all laws passed are automatically constitutional, but it didn't. Absent that there is an unavoidable need to some body to check this constitutionality. And (having now got to this point it becomes obvious) since the legislature can't be trusted with this task, it has to be the court.
The constitution genuinely is there to prevent majoritarian tyranny, so yes it must be capable of forbidding some laws, no matter how much people want them. See the aforementioned church-n-state. Of course, even that can be solved if you have enough votes by changing the constitution (see-also