Opinion: Primary Predictions, Top Four

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By Eric Varney

Harris is now out… Despite the constant barrage of truth from online activists on her campaign, the reason she stated in an email to her supporters that she was dropping out was that she wasn’t a billionaire and could not fund her own campaign. But we all know that wasn’t the real reason she dropped out. She dropped out because she couldn’t figure out how to attract support from vital voting blocs to keep the feeling of ridiculousness from creeping like a erie fog.

 

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And when your more centrist friends on social media start calling her ‘Officer Harris’, like mine have toward the beginning of the end, you know it’s time for her and the squad car to go back to the station.

The reaction on social media to her dropping out was rather embarrassing for the decorated officer, as more people either laughed or gave the ‘I told you so’ response, than people who were truly sad about her departure- still a larger number than the amount of Bloomberg supporters who exist…So, there’s that, at least. But, we all saw it coming whether we want to admit it or not.

Just a few weeks before Harris dropped out (Dec 3) and the potential moving on with the ‘dropping of the flies,’ Bloomberg announced his candidacy (Nov 24), giving goosebumps to all five of his supporters and giving Tom Steyer nightmares.

And don’t even get me started on Pete Buttigieg. This week #RefundPete is tending because early backers have found out that he wasn’t as progressive as he made himself out to be in the beginning.

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I, for one, am with the refunders because Mayor Pete is not a Progressive. In fact, his main responsibility besides winning the Democratic nomination was to repair the breach between Progressives and Centrists so they would unite behind one candidate who could represent them both. He appears to have no interest in doing this because all he cares about is what Goldman Sachs tells him to care about, even if it’s to lean into a child’s face to tell them Santa isn’t real. ( A quick blurb, repairing the breach between Progressives and Centrists was the responsibility of Beto O’rourke who subsequently threw the opportunity out the window when he said he did not believe in labels. That was the moment Progressives dropped him.)

The prediction I’m making for the first four contests coming up in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, barring any push-up competitions, Biden will come in third and Buttigieg will be in the cellar unless he can get his minority support up from 0%.

Right now, there’s a statistical tie between Sanders and Biden in Iowa, with Warren trailing both at 13%. It’s highly unlikely Sanders is going anywhere but up considering nobody is really excited about Biden or his ‘no malarkey’ malarkey. And then you have to consider ‘first fever,’ The first this to do that or the first that to do this- If Warren comes within throwing distance of looking like she has the potential to be the first female president, first fever will spread. It did with Clinton and Obama in 2008 and it did it again with Clinton in 2016.

With New Hampshire, if the history holds true, Sanders should maintain his 67.2% he won against Clinton in 2016, unless Biden tries to exchange opiates for votes- which he may have to do because it doesn’t look like he’s going to win any other way. People out there have known Bernie Sanders for a very long time.

The numbers are close in Nevada, 24% Biden to 18% Sanders and very far apart in South Carolina, 39% Biden to 18% Sanders , however, my outlook is one of optimism. The polls showing both Nevada and South Carolina could be drastically wrong like they were in 2016 for Michigan, where they predicted Clinton would win by a landslide- except that landslide was the other way around. It’s really surprising to see Biden getting minority support considering the gaff he made about poor kids being “just as bright as the white kids”. I believe that’s called a freudian slip. You’ll never catch Sanders making that mistake.

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If Biden comes in third in the first four primaries his presence will be ridiculous and the media will have no choice but to prop Warren up when the time comes for him to drop out. This thing is going to come down to Sanders and Warren and it doesn’t look like they’re going to be going anywhere any time soon.

 

 

 

 

Opinion | Crisis at the Border

No, not that border.  The one further north.  The one around Washington, DC.

President Trump is delivering a speech on the “crisis at the border” as I type, and it’s being carried by MSLSD, among many other networks.  I have the perennial misfortune of being in a position to hear these, hour after hour, even when they’re not additionally sullied by his voice.

While many of Trump’s specific claims about the “crisis” can and will be debunked in the coming hours, the basic premise is correct.  The ability to fairly easily cross the southern border creates an incentive for those of ill-will to do so.  Claims about specific, astronomical numbers of terrorists crossing illegally may be Trumped up, but that border is nonetheless as easy and economical a place to enter as any other.  At the very least, it provides a handy way to equip terror cells that are already in place.

And yes, the border is not the predominant mode of illegal entry to this country.  Here, the numbers become sketchy, since we’re dealing with estimates, and because we’re forced to consider two different, but overlapping, populations:  those who are currently already here illegally, and those who are coming here illegally more or less contemporaneously with this debate.  For the sake of simplicity, let’s say that approximately 43.5% of all illegal immigrants “becoming illegal” this country are doing so by overstaying their visas (this is a figure about halfway between the current estimate of 42% by the Center for Migration Studies and a somewhat older 45% figure produced by Pew Research).  But if you look at the larger historical picture, including illegal immigration of all kinds going back years, even generations, approximately half of the permanent illegal population can be shown to have crossed the southern border at some point (and quite a few will cross it several times over their lifetimes).

Given that the illegal population is estimated variously at between 11.1 million and 12.1 million individuals, that’s something between five and six million illegal border crossings…not counting the various, sometimes repeated, round trips.

Claims about diseases being brought here are overblown, as well, but it remains true that many parts of Central and South America are reservoirs of parasites and pathogens that have been, for the most part, eradicated in the United States.  The CDC lists several major health concerns endemic to Latin American nations, including a handful (such as Chagas’ disease) which are not directly communicable between humans.  Several more, including hepatitis B, syphilis, HIV, and gonorrhea, most definitely are human-transmissible, although these are also common in the United States, and so not particularly as grave a concern as “exotic” or “conquered” diseases might be.  But the list of tropical diseases, mostly spread via mosquito bites, is alarming:  dengue, eastern equine encephalitis, chikungunya, and Zika.  Concern about these is mitigated by the fact that mosquito-borne diseases tend to have specific vectors, most of which have not yet established a foothold north of the Rio Grande.  But as climate changes, and tropical biomes spread northward, this, too, will change.  (It’s worth pointing out that disease vectors themselves are not necessarily reservoirs of disease.  Mosquitoes require a blood meal from an infected host in order to transmit the pathogen to another individual.  In the absence of infected individuals, most mosquitoes are relegated to the role of loathsome pest.  So the spreading of mosquito populations northward, in and of itself, need not be a health issue.)

One figure of indisputable, immediate concern is the rate of tuberculosis infection.  The CDC points out that although hopes were once high for total eradication, the rate of decline is now too slow to expect that to happen within this century (of which we still have 81 years left!)  One potential factor:  more than 70% of all reported cases of TB are in foreign-born individuals.  While the Center does not break down figures for legal and illegal immigrants, we can infer, from the health screenings given legal immigrants, that most of this 70% occurs in illegals.  (Tuberculosis is ranked #1 among health conditions being screened out.)  Given that the risk of contracting TB among foreign-born individuals falls to about the national average around the ten-year mark, which can be regarded as a proxy for “permanence,” it is reasonable to assume that the subset of the population which is truly “migrant”—crossing and recrossing the border in a cycle lasting for years—is somewhat exempt from this security, and therefore probably contributes a disproportionate amount to that 70% figure.

So are illegal crossings bringing disease into this country?  Almost certainly, yes, but most likely at rates much lower than the Wall rhetoric would suggest.

What about drugs and violent crime?  Again, yes, these things are imported across the border (and, frequently, under it).  But we’re constantly subjected to objections along the lines of “most illegal drugs come into the country in shipping containers from overseas.”  While this is undoubtedly a route taken by not a few smugglers, the “most” qualifier remains in dispute.  Several readily-accessible sources, including interviews of DEA and Border Patrol agents, suggest that the southern border remains remarkably porous to smuggling efforts.  Some 224 tunnels beneath the border were found between 1990 and 2006.  One thing the opponents seem to have right is that most intercepted drug transports take place at official points of entry (some 328 of them), with the contraband found stashed inside vehicles of every kind.  This does not inform us, however, about the number of successful transports taking place elsewhere on the border.

While my preferred solution to the problem of drug crime would be to completely legalize all Schedule I drugs, I’m willing, for the time being, to grant that drug smuggling remains the kind of concern that pro-Wallers have in mind.

As for other forms of crime, yes, we know that gang members use the border to get into and out of the country illegally.  The Center for Immigration Studies has found:

  • Over a 10-year period (2005-2014) ICE arrested approximately 4,000 MS-13 members, leaders, and associates.  This represents about 13 percent of all gang members they arrested nationwide (31,000) during that period.
  • 92 percent of the MS-13 affiliated aliens arrested were illegal aliens.  Of those, 16 percent had entered illegally at least twice.
  • Just over half of the MS-13 affiliated aliens ICE arrested were citizens of El Salvador.  Among the others, 16 percent were Hondurans, 14 percent were Mexicans, and 8 percent were Guatemalans.
  • While MS-13 affiliated aliens made up 13 percent of all the arrests, they accounted for 35 percent of the murderers arrested by ICE.

While the Trump administration’s claim of “4000 terrorists” being intercepted at the border is evidently balderdash, it might be argued that they are (deliberately or otherwise) conflating MS-13 gang members with terrorists in this regard.  Either way, the freedom of violent gang members to come and go at will is a concern (one which can, again, be addressed in large part by legalizing drugs, although in the case of MS-13, there seems to also be an underlying ideological or racial motivation to the violence).

Another crime-related concern is human trafficking, and this is one not to be dismissed.  In addition to the coyotes (or “coyotajes”) engaged in bringing migrants to and across the border, there are prostitution and sex slavery networks, and the human toll here is almost too horrific to contemplate.  (And, I’m sad to admit, legalizing drugs probably won’t eradicate sex slavery, as it doesn’t matter whether the drugs used to addict child prostitutes are legal or not.)  This is a problem that has to be addressed head-on in as many ways as we can come up with, and clamping down on illegal border crossings is as good a way as any.

Even those who simply accept money from the desperate in order to get them into the States are a major problem.  The criminal element comprises a wide swath of motivations, and it’s safe to say that among its members are those who simply lack compunction or compassion.  Guiding people northward in order to “help” them across the border doesn’t preclude exploiting them along the way.  As Trump correctly points out, an inordinate number of female (and underage!) migrants are sexually abused by their coyotes along the way.  And this transit benefits the drug gangs as well; coyotes are compelled to pay tolls to them as they near the border, on the order of thousands of dollars per head.

And it’s also worth mentioning that illegal immigrants do, themselves, commit crimes during and after entry.  Statistics are frequently pointed out to the effect that illegals commit crime at a rate lower than that of the general population.  These figures are in dispute, not least because they can only be applied to known crimes and to those known to be in the country illegally.  Convictions are rarer than crimes, and we have, at best, only estimates of the size of the illegal population here.  At the same time, we know that illegals who accept payroll checks must do so via falsification of records, which amounts to felony crime.  Add to those the number who obtain Social Security numbers via stolen identities, and you start to see a very different picture from that of the benign worker, toiling away quietly and under the radar.  (The fact that nearly four times as many identities have been stolen in service to illegal immigration than the estimates of illegal immigrants currently living here should give you some pause with respect to accepting those estimates.)

The rabbit hole deepens when you take a close look at federal crime sentencing rates.  The US Sentencing Commission releases an annual report of criminal convictions at the federal level.  Breitbart, in 2014, and Sean Hannity, in 2016, both cited these reports in claiming that illegals accounted for 36.7% (in 2014) and 75% (in 2016) of federal convictions.   Interestingly, PolitiFact rates this latter claim as True, and the USSC’s numbers, regarding the former, can be added up by the intrepid individual (although the overview report appears to be unavailable to the “unauthorized” user such as myself, the fiscal-year quarterly report can be found online).  To drill down and examine the inevitable caveats, you can do the math yourself in the quarterly report:  non-citizens committed 42% of all federal (convicted) crimes, 14.7% of all murders, and 25.6% of all drug trafficking (and 80.5% of all simple possession).  Unfortunately, these figures do not segregate legal immigrants from illegals, but they do seriously undercut the “immigrants commit fewer crimes” meme.  Given that illegal immigrants comprise only about 3.7% of the population, it is undeniable that they contribute a disproportionate amount of crime (even if they only engage in a fraction of the total listed under “Non-US Citizen” in the report).

PolitiFact provides some greater insights, by way of approving of Hannity’s claims:  illegals were responsible, in 2016, for 18% of all drug trafficking convictions, 30% of kidnappings, 75% of drug possessions, and 5% of all murder sentences…and all of these numbers exceed the estimated portion of the illegal population, indicating that it commits these crimes at disproportionate rates.  If you eliminate federal sentencing for immigration-related crime, you’re left with some 14% of all federal crimes…a percentage approximately three times as great as that of the illegal population.

Leaving all those criminal and health concerns aside, what about illegal immigration itself?  Should we be concerned about those who make it here and simply attempt to live their lives?  I have to part ways with some of my libertarian brethren on some issues, and this is one.  I do not regard illegal immigration as harmless to society.  While the “illegals are only doing the jobs Americans won’t do” argument holds some water, some of the time, the fact of the matter is that during recession, there are no jobs that Americans won’t do.  More to the point, the disdain American laborers have for those agrarian positions is largely a matter of cultural conditioning, the fact that illegals have been willing to work under the table, for less than minimum wage, for generations.  As illegal labor becomes less prominent a factor in our economy, and new equilibria emerge, more and more Americans will step in to fill the gaps.

And there is the subtler sociological angle regarding assimilation into our culture.  In-group identification, lo these thousands of years after the advent of civilization, remains a thing.  People have to regard themselves as members of a society in order to be members of that society…and they likewise have to be accepted as such by that society.  Diversity is a fine thing, up to a point.  Beyond that point, we cease to be “a people” and become just people.  (One can compare and contrast crime and exploitation rates in culturally- and ethnically-homogeneous nations like Japan with those elsewhere in the world to see the result.  This isn’t to say that a diverse society will necessarily be divided and violent, but it does imply that society takes time to absorb newcomers, and newcomers take time to assimilate.)

But wait, say the progressives and pro-open-borders libertarians—isn’t immigration a net gain for the economy?  The answer, as is often the case, is “yes and no.”  By and large, immigration benefits the market, but like all economic factors, this is not true of unlimited input.  Every economic quantity can be expressed in terms of some optimal amount…and this optimum is never the maximum.  It is uneconomical for factories to produce, indefinitely, at their maximum capacity.  There is an optimal rate of production, which typically falls well short of the maximum.  So it is with immigration.  The greatest benefit to society can be found in the optimum level of immigration, which is well short of the actual numbers coming in during a given year.  To most benefit the market, immigration policy should attempt to steer the influx toward that optimal level, perhaps by annually calculating the market’s needs and then admitting only that number of persons in a given year.  However, this method is completely untenable when we cannot accurately track or control the numbers of people coming in illegally.  If “C” equals the optimal level of immigrants, and “B” equals the number of legal immigrants we admit, then given “A”—the number of illegal immigrants coming in—we can straightforwardly express C as the sum of A and B.  But if A remains unknown, so does B, even if we can calculate, on the basis of economic necessity, the value of C.  Properly managing immigration requires that we limit the illegal influx to a manageable level.

Moreover, there is indeed a cost to taxpayers.  We’re told that “illegals can’t receive welfare,” but somehow, despite bare assertion such as this, they manage to do so.  I refer you again to stolen and forged identities, which can be used to claim benefits.  I also refer you to the households that collect SNAP benefits for their children.  Children born here, irrespective of the legality of their parents, are (legally, for the moment) citizens, and legally entitled to welfare handouts.  But these handouts don’t go directly to minors; they are disbursed to their illegal parents.  Add to this emergency-room hospital care, which is the preferred means of securing treatment in some quarters, even for decidedly non-emergency conditions such as the common cold.  In one NIH study, involving patients at a specific hospital found that 8.6% of patients admitted were illegals, a number more than twice the portion of the illegal population.   FAIR estimates the cost to American taxpayers at $100 billion annually, although this burden is typically borne at the state level.  My home state of Texas is hit particularly hard.

And this cost doesn’t include the approximately $56 billion or so annually siphoned from the economy by being sent south of the border to the families of illegals currently residing here.

So there are obviously a number of valid “pro” arguments when it comes to border security, many of which can be applied to the specific question of whether to build a Wall.  (At the very least, there are a number of “pro” arguments with respect to limiting the illegal influx, which can be regarded as a slightly different question from whether a Wall is necessary.)  Of course there are numerous objections as well:

  • The expense (although this can be mitigated by the Cruz Plan, which would save the taxpayers the total expense and provide Trump a graceful way to assert, with minimal mendacity, that Mexico did, indeed, “pay for it”).
  • The ecological concerns regarding blocking animal migration routes and destroying or denying territories needed by large predators for hunting and mating behaviors.
  • The fact that a Wall wouldn’t, alone, prohibit illegal border crossings, since there are ways of circumventing one.
  • The problems inherent in utilizing Eminent Domain to acquire the properties the Wall would eventually occupy.

I can suggest that by “the Wall,” we need not assume a monolithic physical barrier, but rather a set of physical barriers in conjunction with other measures, such as onsite surveillance, drone surveillance, and technologies such as ground-surveillance radar, infrared sensors, and seismic detectors.  Integrated and used intelligently, these could track the digging and use of tunnels while funneling overland smuggling efforts toward bottlenecks that can be directly observed.  In such a way, problematic sites such as private properties and wildlife areas can be left open, while still adding difficulty and expense to border crossings elsewhere along the line. 

Critics of the Wall are absolutely correct in that it would never stop 100% of illegal immigration or smuggling.  But perfection is a pretty lofty goal, and we need not concern ourselves with attaining it.  The point of border security isn’t to effectively block every illegal entrant, but to limit the availability and affordability of illegal border crossings.  If crossing the border becomes more difficult, more time consuming, and more uneconomical, then incentives to do so will taper off, and with them, the number of crossings.  Think of the Wall as a sort of “border tax,” and bear in mind that when you tax a thing, you end up with less of it in the long run.

So I can remain cautiously open-minded about the employment of a “Wall” in the sense that I defined above, provided the cost doesn’t exceed the benefit.  If a physical barrier can be expected to cost taxpayers anywhere from $5 billion to $125 billion, then in an interval between much less than a year and somewhat more than a year, the Wall can pay for itself (assuming FAIR’s $100 billion figure to be accurate).

But is such a measure even needed?  Critics often point out that illegal immigration has tapered off in recent years, and they’re correct.  Not only is the absolute number (and population percentage) of illegals dropping over time, but the number of illegal border crossings is falling as well. 

And a large part of this reduction can be traced to the 2008 recession, with a perhaps much smaller portion assignable to increased border security and the political rhetoric thereof. 

But we can’t conclude that this is a permanent situation.  If economic conditions drive migrant behavior, then the pendulum must swing the other way as well.  And, as pointed out previously, the best way to counter economic inducement is to proffer powerful disincentives.  And by tilting immigration policy in favor of those who are willing to take an ethical approach to getting (and being) here, we can actually strengthen and improve society.

The right way.

So let’s put aside the media-fueled frenzy over the Wall, and over immigration, just for a moment.  (Oops.  I forgot to include “illegal” before “immigration” there.  That’s a leftist error.  My total bad.) 


Kids in cages, you say?

Let’s ask ourselves another question entirely:  What if none of this matters at all?  At least to the current Crisis at the Beltway?  What if the border is a giant tail, and the nation a big dog, and we’re all being wagged by the Wall?  What if I’ve TLDRed you over twelve pages of seeming irrelevance? 


Could you possibly forgive me?

It’s probably a foregone conclusion that unless the Cruz Plan goes into effect—and its remarkable simplicity is matched only by its apparent absurdity—then Trump will not get funding for the Wall during his first term.  So the “government shutdown” may or may not actually be relevant to border security.  Trump isn’t as stupid as his detractors claim; he’s simply egomaniacal, closed-minded, biased, populist, and unwilling to listen to advisers.  All of these things will necessarily impact his decision-making and policies, but they won’t necessarily impact his ability to discern hard truths.  I can’t assume that he knows at this point that he won’t get the Wall he wants; even if he does, he will still have to keep up appearances, vis-à-vis the expectations of his base.  So, after a dizzying hour or so of factual presentation, we finally get down to the opinion part of this piece:

Trump is probably using the shutdown to avoid Democratic intervention in his administration.

He has already admitted that he’s willing to keep it up for “months or years.”  To that, let’s add a tidbit from one of the MSNBC programs that was TiVoed last night, and which I overheard this morning.  Someone I took, in my pre-breakfast haze, to be freshman Congresswoman Elaine Luria was spoken of as being “only a shutdown Congresswoman.”  By this, it was meant that she was sworn in during the shutdown, and has seen nothing but shutdown over the course of her entire career.

Given that many Dems have sought and won office on the promise of either impeaching Trump or bringing his administration under heavy oversight, I have to wonder whether the entire shit-show is an attempt on his part to forestall the turning of the Wheels of Justice, or at least the Casters of Scrutiny (or perhaps the Ball Bearings of Bipartisanship).

As regards those seeking asylum, they don’t have to reach our border in order to do so; there are stops along the way in Mexico.  But by all means, yes, let’s help out as many refugees as we can, bearing in mind that poor economic conditions are themselves not real grounds for asylum.  Violence, crime, persecution:  yes.  But we can also admit that these things tend to have causes in common with poverty and corruption, and in so doing, we can acknowledge that maybe the best thing to do for those regions has already been covered:  ending the Drug War.  Mexico has decriminalized drug use to a broad extent, so it cannot be blamed for the inflated demand that drives drug violence.  At the same time, we have to be willing to consider the role of burdensome regulations, and in some cases, Marxist philosophy, in having created those conditions.  The best thing we can do for the poor, everywhere in the world, is foster the growth of markets.  And the best way to accomplish that is to apply political pressure to governments in order to compel them to strengthen and enforce property rights.  This would be a very real humanitarian triumph, in addition to greatly reducing the problems associated with illegal immigration.

Ponder that as you partake of Colbert and Noah this evening.  Meanwhile, the facts and figures presented during the preceding twelve pages remain relevant to the ongoing debate over illegal immigration, and that debate will persist long after the Wall has been prevented. 

 

 

Unless of course it isn’t.

Introducing the Opposition

                I am not a progressive.

                I am not The Resistance.

                I am the counterpoint.

                I am opinionated.

                I am a voter.

                I am an electrical engineer and a software engineer.  And I’m an artist, a writer, a musician.

                Eric has kindly asked me to participate in this growing community, and so, to the best of my ability, I will provide and expound on principles espoused by centrist and Constitutional conservatives and right-libertarians.  I will, from time to time, engage in light debate with him by tacking comments on to his blog posts, but for the most part, my role here is to author posts in order to promote thinking along lines outside of your comfort zone.

                I will probably provoke and outrage, albeit not (usually) intentionally.  I will be pedantic and detailed.  I may at times be savage in my critique of policy.  I do not (often) troll, but I’m not above the use of memes when it suits my purposes.

You can expect some economic discourse, some advocacy of Constitutionalism, and some defense of widely-misunderstood conservative views.  Don’t expect to see any support of Trump or partisanship, except in those very rare instances where such support is (perhaps accidentally) warranted.  Do expect to see criticism of corruption and of policies that produce unintended consequences, from both sides of the aisle.  As regards progressivism itself, just remember:

                I am the opposition.

                Following Eric’s introductory example, I’ll provide a list of books I found informative to my economic and ideological understanding.  (Note that he’s beaten me to some of entries, but I’ll nonetheless produce a list of the same length as his.)  I see a proper understanding of politics as having to be based in a proper understanding of economics and of society, with both of those requiring bases in human nature.  Taking a multidisciplinary approach provides you with a sort of pyramid of learning, with a broad base and an ever-narrowing region of specificity, capped by the field in which you’re most directly involved.  At the base of my pyramid are ethology and evolutionary biology; atop them sits evolutionary psychology, paleoanthropology, archaeology, and history.  Human nature is, after all, just a special case of ape nature, which is just a special case of social animal nature, which is just a special case of animal nature.

                I highly recommend this approach to anyone wanting to achieve a deeper understanding of why we’re here and how we got here.  The most vocal advocates of views at either end of the ideological spectrum refuse to grasp the existence of their own blinders with respect to human nature.  While it’s true, for instance, that religious conservatives refuse to acknowledge that we’re apes, many progressives refuse to acknowledge that we’re territorial, hierarchical, acquisitive, carnivorous, aggressive, pack-hunting apes.

  1.  The “Personal Investigation” (Nature of Man) series by Robert Ardrey:
    1. African Genesis
    2. The Territorial Imperative
    3. The Social Contract
    4. The Hunting Hypothesis
  2.  The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond
  3. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
  4. Collapse:  How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond
  5. The Moral Animal by Robert Wright
  6. After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000-5000 BC by Steven Mithen
  7. Before the Dawn:  Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade
  8. The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker
  9. The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
  10. The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek
  11. The Fatal Conceit by F. A. Hayek
  12. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
  13. The Great Depression by Lionel Robbins
  14. Free to Choose by Milton Friedman
  15. Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman
  16. The Golden Bough by James George Frazier
  17. The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
  18. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  19. New Deal or Raw Deal? by Burton W. Fulsom
  20. The Myth of the Robber Barons by Burton W. Fulsom
  21. The Prize by Daniel Yergin
  22. The Commanding Heights by Daniel Yergin

Opinion | Democrat’s New Year’s Resolution: Make Trump Open the Government Without Border Funding

broken wall

 

January 3rd will mark the beginning of the era of ‘short leash’ Donald, where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the incoming House dems will have subpoena power and a mandate from the American public to hold the alt-president accountable.

If Trump thinks he’s going to hold the country hostage to get five billion for his wall, he’s going to have a really big problem explaining why he said beforehand that he would be happy to shut it down, adding that he would not blame Democrats…And then he blamed Democrats.

For those who are just joining the political discussion, Trump painted himself into a corner with his last minute demand for $5B to fund a border wall that nobody wanted or currently wants to pursue.

Once his plan backfired and the partial shutdown started, he felt forced to stand his ground by declaring that he would shut down the southern border using (and essentially abusing the power of) the U.S. military.

shortly after submitting his empty threat, he made the desperate claim that the impacted federal employees actually supported the shutdown because they ultimately supported the wall. The alt-president’s claim was quickly shot down by Union leaders. After all, why would he tell his own supporters so coldly to trade their physical labor for rent?

He foolishly expects the Democrats to cave under the pressure he’s putting furloughed employees through. It won’t work.

And, guess what? He’s still not getting the wall and the government should be shut down until we get him to acknowledge his own failure by signing a bill to reopen without his border money. Yes, not simply less money for it. I’m saying absolutely  no border wall money at all.

As soon as he declared he would take less money for his wall, I knew then and there that I could give him zero and he’d be the one begging me. Trump would not have asked for less if he weren’t afraid on some level. Democrats must target that fear like a hunter to its prey.

This country doesn’t belong to Donald Trump or to the people who smile when they see a child gassed at the border. This country belongs to those who will tear the wall down and will see to it that those smiling faces are turned into ones of hopelessness. There’s only one true way to rid them of their happiness.

 

 

Opinion | Dear Alt-President Trump, The American People Are Better Than You

bribezilla_2000x1124

In case you haven’t read yet, the latest update, so far, is that Trump revealed Navy Seal’s faces and identities in a video he tweeted Wednesday while visiting Troops in Iraq. It is operational security that the identities of members of special operations forces are covered up and their faces pixellated on any photographs.

Was it because he just wasn’t aware like usual or because he’s low-key trying to put our personnel in harm’s way? Let’s examine.

Let’s say Putin was feeding Trump specific instructions to do certain things, knowing the American people would just chalk it up to ignorance. Would Trump be able to keep his mouth shut about it? I don’t think so.

I highly doubt that our real members of government are still giving the alt-president accurate information considering that he couldn’t keep some of the information from early briefings a secret.

As soon as he became the Republican nominee in 2016, he started receiving intelligence briefings. Before he was even elected* he had already revealed that there was a secret military base in Saudi Arabia. And that’s just one of the examples showing Trump can’t shut up.

I truly believe Donald Trump simply cannot perform the duties expected of a president. Showing up to work everyday, keeping with the traditions that already make our country great, not saluting generals of cult-nations, and not bowing to our enemy Putin – That’s what the American people, we the people, expect of the president. Trump simply cannot live up to those expectations.

The American people expect a president to show up to work everyday because that is what they have to do to survive. They don’t get to go golfing or run away to a self-owned resort when the going gets tough, they have to take it and keep on going. They also can’t ask daddy to get them a special diagnosis from the doctor either. From the highest paid CEO to the employee making minimum wage, none of them can go through one day at their job and make as many mistakes as Trump does without getting fired.

We the people are better than Donald Trump because we’re adults. Because we’ve worked for important things and have suffered the pains to advance in life. What has Trump done but create failed businesses and steal money from innocent people? Not an ounce of actual work, that’s for sure.

 

 

 

 

*His election to the presidency of the United States has not been proven legal

 

 

 

Opinion | Trump is Never Getting His Wall

the wall

 

Quick Takeaways

  • Trump could have avoided shutdown
  • Third shut down of 2018
  • Claims most federal employees support his border wall

 

It’s not that hard of a concept for alt-president Trump and his dwindling base to understand. America simply doesn’t want the wall. If he tries to put one up to contain the will of the people, it will be destroyed by those same people the day after we force him out of office. What a waste of money that will be… That five billion he’s asking for could more than save Flint, Michigan, if not put a dent in our homelessness epidemic.

All he had to do was keep his mouth shut and the government would be open today, but at the last-minute he made a five billion dollar threat that his administration couldn’t cash.

Some people thought Democrats in the House were just giving into Trump’s bullying tactics, but those members knew it wouldn’t get approval in the Senate.

From day one of this alt-administration, Republicans have had control of all three branches of government, yet haven’t gotten anything done. Democrats haven’t even taken over the House of Representatives yet (that happens January 3rd) and we’ve already had three shutdowns, the last of which looks to be quite a long one. If this were the great American game of Baseball, this bum would be out already.

On Christmas day, set to the Incredible Hulk’s ‘lonely man‘ theme, Trump stated he was going to keep government shut down until he got his wall funding, which means until the end of his first and only term, most likely. If that’s not painting yourself into a corner, I don’t know what is. If he backs down from this threat, he’ll look weak to his base and really weak to realists. If he gets his wall funding, whatever does get built will be destroyed the day after we force him out.

Final thoughts:

Trump is too incompetent to know when to resign. He thinks he’s fighting a war on illegal immigration, but he’s actually fighting a war on progress, and he’s going to lose. He may get some parts of his wall constructed but it will be a colossal waste of money because it will be destroyed.

By fighting this stupid delusional war, he’s actually making it worse on racists, xenophobes, and homophobes, because legislation protecting minorities and protected groups in the future will be stronger and have more teeth. If he thinks America is bad now because we value multiculturalism instead of bigotry, he’s going to really want to vomit when he sees America of 2050 and we’re even more racially, sexually, ethnically, and culturally diverse.  Open borders are inevitable because the people trying to get in are human and the people who are trying to keep them out are dying of old age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opinion | The Economy Will Collapse Before Trump is Forced Out of Office

dystopian-abandoned-cities-new-york-nyc-1024x574


Quick Takeaways

  • Trump fears that Fed’s policies will turn him into the next Herbert Hoover
  • The Dow falls with every Trump tweet, negative gains for 2018
  • Weak people blame everyone but themselves

 

The collapse of the U.S. economy has to be weighing on Trump’s mind or the name ‘Hoover’ would not have come out of his mouth. He’s worried that the Fed raising rates, which they normally do as the economy grows, will cause a recession.

To be fair to Herbert Hoover, he was at least legally elected president. Not only is Trump’s comparison inappropriate, it’s flat-out wrong. Hoover didn’t cause the great depression. However, Trump, with every stupid tweet and self-inflicted wound upon his own illogical goals, is causing the economy to slow and eventually sink.

He’s scared, we all know it, and his worst nightmare of him knowing that we know has already long come true. Now he wants to blame the Fed in the event of what’s beginning to look like collapse.

Trump’s economy began just over a year ago, and the Dow has lost all of its gains of 2018. Everyday is opposite day as he squats in the White House, waiting for the inevitable day when we fire him either by force-out or through his most likely defeat in 2020. The people and I were told that there would be so much winning that we would be tired of winning. Well, if this is winning, the nation got tired of it a long time ago.

The people and I were told a lot of things. Some of those people I’m referring to are farmers. The trade war has prompted China to retaliate by canceling orders of our corn, soybeans, and other crops this year. In other words, our bread basket is rotting as we have an over-supply and there’s nothing we can do about it but take the loss.

If these farmers can’t pay their bills, they lose their farm. Never mind that the farmers are being sent aid with their own tax money.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that in the coming years we’re going to see foreclosure after foreclosure of those farms and the low prices we are currently seeing from over-supply will flip and food prices will sky-rocket.

Not only are our farms failing because of his self-inflicted wound he calls a necessary trade war, the budget deficit has risen much faster than when Obama was president.  If our credit rating is down graded again, it will tighten access to things like home and student loans. The dominoes will continue to fall well after we get Trump out of office.

Not only will the housing market fail due to lack of access to credit, schools will face bankruptcy because attendance will fall across the nation. If people stop buying things, employment opportunities will dry up because we know demand is what ultimately creates jobs.

As he and his whole movement, the alt-right, fail miserably, his blame has fallen on everyone but himself. That’s no surprise as weak people have trouble recruiting strong people to work for them and have a tendency to blame everyone else but themselves when things go wrong as a result of their bad decisions.

The man who said that he alone could fix the system that he never bothered to learn the inner workings of in the first place, is being fixed by the system and we are needlessly suffering in the name of making his America great again.