Watching Trump Derangement Syndrome in action in 2020 — Bookworm Room

We’re only five days into 2020, but thanks to the Soleimani strike, Trump Derangement Syndrome is already exceeding anything we’ve seen before. I knew that 2019 wasn’t the year of peak crazy Trump Derangement Syndrome, despite the excesses of the House’s impeachment process. I knew that the Left would be compulsively driven to up its…

Watching Trump Derangement Syndrome in action in 2020 — Bookworm Room

On Soleimani’s death, the Democrats are looking to an imaginary constitution — Bookworm Room

Democrats misunderstand the Constitution when they contend that the president lacks Constitutional power to deal with a sudden attack against America. Oona A Hathaway, a professor of International Law at Yale, writes at The Atlantic that “The Soleimani Strike Defied the U.S. Constitution.” According to her, our Constitution required that Trump first seek Congressional approval…

On Soleimani’s death, the Democrats are looking to an imaginary constitution — Bookworm Room

It seems the Democrats like imaginary clauses in the Constitution. But then that’s why they’re so upset about Trump appointing judges who don’t acknowledge these invisible clauses.

The Recycling Scam

To an extent almost unimaginable, the developed world “recycled” literally billions of tons of waste over decades—metals, plastics, paper, wood—by shipping it to the People’s Republic of China on Chinese ships returning from delivering Chinese goods for sale in developed countries. China accepted it all, paid for it, and used its huge and eager workforce—paid often less than one-tenth of comparable U.S. labor—to transform whatever was in truth recyclable into materials for its industrial-manufacturing-construction powerhouse.

In fact, though, as we now know, somewhere between 30 and 50 percent of what was promiscuously shipped out of the developed economies to be “recycled” was actually dumped by China, as unusable, into landfills and the oceans of Southeast Asia, where it has become a major cause and poster-child of environmentalists as an “island” (sometimes) or a “sea” (sometimes) of floating plastic waste.

Today, we know this in far more detail and know that the developed world never really faced the “economics” of recycling—impossible without the market pricing system. We know it now because, on the first day of 2018, China announced to the world its “National Sword Policy.”

No longer would China accept and pay for the hundreds of millions of tons of often unrecyclable trash from the developed world, trash arriving in China so hopelessly mixed, dirty, and loaded with impurities that China was polluting its own country and also its coastal waters. China was finished with this arrangement. Henceforth, “recyclables” shipped to China must be 99.5 percent pure or, to put it another way, limited to one-half of one percent impurities. Plastic imports to China have plummeted 99 percent.

FEE.org

And similarly, when the LADWP decommissioned the plastic shade balls on one of its reservoirs, I got a call from a farmer in Northern California. He wanted to know if he could be given those plastic balls to cover his holding ponds. I called around and learned, among other things, the LADWP was unable to recycle those balls. Over years floating in the reservoir, they pick up enough grit that they ruin the machines designed to shred recyclable plastic. So the only alternative left was to send them to a landfill. Or to find someone willing to take them off our hands.

After a couple of days of inquiry, we made arrangements to ship them to this farmer, and everyone was happy.

Because the farmer wanted the balls to float on top of his holding pond, I did emphasize that the balls were to be shipped intact, and not crushed or shredded. This was because over the years, I’ve learned the obvious is far from obvious to everyone.

Bernie’s embrace of gun control endangers American liberty

With Bernie rising in the polls, getting closer to controlling our government, note how he has started to demand dangerous, anti-liberty gun control. The website I Like Bernie, But… seeks to address concerns that voters might have about Bernie Sanders, and to assure them that his plans work, that he’s electable, and that his vision his sound.

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Think about this: Progressives are worried about leaving guns in the hands of individuals who can manage in a single incident, and only with spectacular effort or negligence, to kill people in fairly low numbers. At the same time, Progressives, who currently look to Bernie as their leader, desperately want to hand all weapons over to the government, leaving the population unarmed, despite compelling evidence showing that armed governments with an unarmed population at their mercy kill in the millions, with a few million dead here and another fifty million dead there.

Source: Bernie’s embrace of gun control endangers American liberty

A response to Christianity Today

Galli [of Christianity Today] gives six reasons why Trump should be removed, either by impeachment or at the next election: (1) He attempted to “coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of his political opponents,” and this was “a violation of the Constitution.” (2) This action was also “profoundly immoral.” (3) “He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals.” (4) He has “admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women,” and he “remains proud” about these things. (5) His Twitter feed contains a “habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders,” and this makes it “a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.” Finally, (6) although the president has admittedly done some good things, “none of the president’s positives” can outweigh his “grossly immoral character.” Later he says that Trump has a “bent and broken character” and is guilty of “gross immorality and ethical incompetence.”

Townhall.com

Galli fails to say exactly what part of the Constitution he thinks that Trump violated. He claims that Trump tried to “coerce a foreign leader,” referring to a phone call from Trump to President Zelenskyy of Ukraine on July 25, 2019.

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My response is that I see nothing wrong with the president doing things that will bring him personal, political benefit. In fact, I expect that every president in the history of the United States has done things that bring him personal political benefit every day of his term. It is preposterous to claim that it is unconstitutional for the president to act in a way that is politically beneficial. In addition to that, when someone announces that he is running for political office, that does not mean he can no longer be investigated for prior wrongdoing. The opposite should be true.

So what happens to Mark Galli’s claim that the president violated the Constitution? His article provides no basis for this claim, and my conclusion is that it is incorrect.

Another reason to remove Trump from office, according to Galli, is that he hired and fired people who later became “convicted criminals.” This is a new argument. Previously, I was under the impression that our country holds a person responsible for his or her own wrongdoing, but not for the wrongdoing of others (unless the supervisor knew about the wrongdoing and failed to do anything about it). However, now Galli is implying that Trump should be held accountable – and removed from office! – for the wrongdoing of people who worked for him. This is the unjust principle of “guilt by association.”

Galli also wants to remove Trump from office because he has admitted to “immoral actions in business and his relationship with women.” At this point Galli must be referring to actions done before Trump was elected president, because he has not admitted to any immoral actions while in office. In addition, I am not aware of Trump admitting to any immoral actions in business, so Galli’s accusations seem overly broad.

Galli claims that evangelicals “brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior.” But I know of no evangelical leader who “brushed off” Trump’s words and behavior, for they were roundly condemned.

I myself wrote on Oct. 9, 2016, in Townhall.com, “I cannot commend Trump’s moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election. His vulgar comments in 2005 about his sexual aggression and assaults against women were morally evil and revealed pride in conduct that violates God’s command, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) … His conduct was hateful in God’s eyes and I urge him to repent and call out to God for forgiveness, and to seek forgiveness from those he harmed. God intends that men honor and respect women, not abuse them as sexual objects.” My call for Trump to withdraw made headlines in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and elsewhere.

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So what should the American people do now? Does Galli still want us to remove him from office because of some vulgar comments and actions back in 2005? The problem with this is that the American people were aware of those things in the 2016 election, and we elected him anyway. Claiming that we should remove him now for those things is simply an attempt to overturn the results of the election.

But what about Trump’s Twitter feed? Galli says it contains “a habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders,” and is “a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.” But is this true?

Before people condemn Trump’s tweets by merely reading about them in a hostile press, they should read them for themselves. Anyone can do this at Twitter.com. I just read through every one of Trump’s tweets from the entire past week (December 19-25), to see if Galli is correct in his accusation. 

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My question for Mr. Galli is this: how can you say that such tweets are “a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused”? The expression “near-perfect example” suggests that something like 90% or 95% of his tweets reflect morally evil choices. But, after reading these tweets, it seems to me that Galli has made a false accusation. The most objectionable thing that I see in these tweets is that Trump labels his political opponents with derogatory nicknames (Crazy Nancy Pelosi, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, and Adam Shifty Schiff), but that impoliteness is a comparatively trivial matter that comes nowhere close to being a “near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.”

I see in these tweets a president who is rightfully proud of a healthy economy, a stronger military, and the appointment of 187 federal judges who are committed to judging according to what the law says and not according to their personal preferences. Such accomplishments are morally good benefits for the nation as a whole, and they have been accomplished by Trump in the face of relentless opposition from Democrats. Far from being “morally lost and confused,” Trump seems to me to have a strong sense of justice and fair play, and he is (I think rightfully) upset that the impeachment process in the House was anything but just and fair.

Galli also claims that Trump’s tweets contain a “habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders.” Do Trump’s tweets contain lies? Galli himself gives no examples, but the Washington Post on December 16 carried an article, “President Trump Has Made 15,413 False or Misleading Claims over 1,055 Days.” 

What exactly are these alleged lies?

The Washington Post article contains a link to their “Track Checker” webpage, where the “lies” are listed by category. The most common one (repeated 242 times) is Trump’s claim that that the US economy is now “perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history.” But the Post says this is a lie because “By just about any important measure, the economy today is not doing as well as it did under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson or Bill Clinton – or Ulysses S. Grant.” 

What the Post doesn’t tell you is that it depends on what you are measuring. The total economic output of the United States in Eisenhower’s last year (1960) as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) adjusted for inflation, reached a record high of $3.26 trillion. By 1968 (Lyndon Johnson’s last year) it had risen to $4.8 trillion. In Bill Clinton’s last year (2000), GDP was up to $13.1 trillion. The current projection for 2019 is that GDP under President Trump will reach $21.4 trillion. Therefore, judging by the total economic output of the United States, it is completely true to say that we are currently living in “the strongest economy in our country’s history.” Trump is not lying, but the Post is using some other measurement (such as percentage growth rate) in order to claim that Trump has told this lie 242 times. 

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And so it goes with one supposed “lie” after another. Upon closer inspection, the accusations do not hold up.

Galli’s final reason for removing Trump from office is that “none of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.”

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“You are a bad person” strategy of the Left: Although I do not believe that Galli himself is part of the political Left, it is also important to realize the kind of political climate in which Galli’s claim occurs. One Fox News commentator rightly observed that the political Left has realized that it can’t beat conservatives by arguing, “You have bad policies,” so it has shifted to attacks that take the form, “You are a bad person.” And the result is that President Trump has been the target of incessant character assassination by the media for the past three years (as have many other conservatives).

But Jesus told us how to evaluate someone’s character: we should look at the fruit that comes from his life. “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush”

We now have three years of results (or “fruit”) that have come from Donald Trump’s presidency, and, in my judgment, the fruit has been overwhelmingly good.

1. The appointment of two Supreme Court justices, 50 judges to federal circuit courts of appeal, and 133 federal district court judges (plus two other judges to specialized courts). All of them are committed to interpreting the Constitution and the laws according to the original meaning of the words and not according to their personal policy preferences.  ….

2. Significant tax cuts that have resulted in remarkable growth in jobs and wages. The good results are already seen in the paychecks of millions of workers, with the highest percentage growth occurring in low income jobs, the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, and the lowest black and Hispanic unemployment rates ever recorded.

3. Massive elimination of wasteful government regulations, giving a strong boost to business and job growth.

4. Strengthening our military with passage of the largest defense budget in our history.

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20. Promoting more ability for parents to be able to choose their children’s schools by appointing Betsy DeVos, a veteran school-choice advocate, as Secretary of Education.

Many more items could be listed.

I do not think a man of “grossly immoral character” (as Galli alleges) could produce this many good results

What about the negative results?

At this point someone will ask, “But what about the negative fruit from Trump’s presidency? Isn’t he responsible for the toxic, highly polarized political atmosphere we now live in?” 

I don’t think there is only one cause, and I’m willing to admit that Trump’s name-calling is one factor. But remember that it is the political Left, not conservatives, who have rendered themselves “the Resistance” and have continued to do everything they can to prevent the Trump administration from even functioning. 

Capitalism: Folks Doing Stuff

Although the term “capitalism” has long worked as a shorthand signifier for a market economy, there is a sense in which to use it at all is to accept the socialist’s premise that a market economy is a consciously created system, manipulated by its creators for their own material ends. But it isn’t that. A socialist economy is, by definition, a system—it must be created, planned, vigilantly monitored and forcefully regulated in order to function. But a market economy has no plan. It begins to exhibit the qualities of a system when its wealthiest actors are allowed to bend governmental policies to their advantage, but that is a vastly different thing from a system deliberately designed for stated goals from the beginning.

We will surely go on using the terms “socialism” and “nationalism” and “democracy” without knowing quite what we mean by them. We can hardly do otherwise. But at least those things exist. “Capitalism,” in the sense in which its leftist critics use the term, never did.

Wall Street Journal

The problem with the term “Capitalism” is that it was a label bestowed by opponents of capitalism, or at the very least, supporters of the planned economy alternatives. They approach the issue from the belief that the economy must be designed, and must have a designer. As a result, they bestow upon capitalism the assumption that it, too, is designed and planned.

It’s not. It’s just the result of folks doing stuff.