Blunted from overuse

By now it should be obvious that the charge of ‘racism’ is as likely to mean someone had the audacity to stand up to the Left than it is to mean someone is genuinely bigoted.  Case in point: there is a good argument to be made that Senator Durbin’s now-challenged accusation that President Trump referred to certain places in the world as “s***holes” was merely a setup so that the president could perform public penance by passing a DACA compromise acceptable to the Democrats.

Painting Trump as an unrepentant racist requires rewriting history, though:

2000: Trump declines to run as a Reform Party candidate.  In explaining why, he said  “The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani,” he said in his statement. “This is not company I wish to keep.”  ((For the record, I think charges of “neo-Nazism” against Buchanan have always been overblown, but that’s beside the point here.  — Jemison))

1998 VIDEO: Jesse Jackson praises Trump for a “lifetime of service to African-Americans.”

1997: Trump praised in the Wall Street Journal for opening Mar-a-Lago Club to African-Americans and Jews, a move opposed by other Palm Beach clubs at the time.

1986: Trump receives Ellis Island Medal of Honor, alongside Rosa Parks and others

Senator Rand Paul has pointed out that Trump funded one of his medical mission trips to Haiti, where the erstwhile optometrist restored vision for more than 200 Haitians.  It’s worth noting he mentioned this in partial defense of the president despite a generally bumpy political relationship with Trump.  And it’s worth noting at least one relative of Dr. Martin Luther King thinks Trump is a friend to African-Americans.

Illegal and chain immigration hurts the black community as much, or more, than anyone else.  Trump may be boastful and a loudmouth.  But it seems he’s genuinely trying to make the American Dream possible again, without regard for grievance politics.  If he can blast through the withering public sniping and achieve increased opportunity for all, he’ll have shown conclusively that crying “raciss!” is simply the last refuge of a Left that has nothing else substantive to offer.

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In other news: water is wet

It appears humanity continues to need examples of why certain cherished economic theories simply don’t work:

A Panera Bread Co. restaurant in the St. Louis area where patrons have paid as much or little as they want for a meal for almost eight years is closing its doors.

Panera founder and executive chairman Ron Shaich told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the St. Louis Bread Co. Cares Community Cafe in Clayton, Missouri, is closing Tuesday because it was on a month-to-month lease and the store would have required a big investment. St. Louis Bread Co. is part of St. Louis-based Panera, which operates more than 2,000 bakery-cafes.

The nature of the economics did not make sense,” Shaich said.

The cafe opened in 2010 in an existing Panera-run restaurant blocks from the St. Louis County government buildings. The idea for the Clayton cafe was that people who could afford to pay the suggested price or more would do so, subsidizing those who could pay just a portion of the price or none at all.  ((i.e. “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need…”  — Jemison))

In the seven years since, “we served probably a half-million meals through this cafe, all at no set prices, as a gift to the community,” Shaich said in a phone interview with the Post-Dispatch. He said customers paid, on average, about 85 percent of the suggested price, proving, he said, “that people are fundamentally good.”

“We loved it, it worked well, it proved that the idea would work,” Shaich said.

No, it proved that the operation could continue only until it required an infusion of new capital, and those who could provide it decided not to throw good money after bad.  If they only averaged 85% of the suggested price, it was probably bleeding cash the entire eight-year run.  Heck, even the Soviet Union managed to stumble along painfully for 70 years until the contradictions of its economics caught up with it.  That doesn’t mean they were on to something.

Never take for granted

The right to assemble for worship:

Chinese police officers demolished one of the country’s largest evangelical churches this week, using heavy machinery and dynamite to raze the building where more than 50,000 Christians worshiped.

The Golden Lampstand Church in Shanxi Province was one of at least two Christian churches demolished by the authorities in recent weeks, part of what critics describe as a national effort to regulate spiritual life in China.

Under President Xi Jinping, the government has destroyed churches or removed their steeples and crosses as part of a campaign that reflects the Communist Party’s longstanding fear that Christianity, viewed as a Western philosophy, is a threat to the party’s authority.

And never forget there are plenty of people living in the United States, Canada and Europe who’d like nothing more than to take down all the crosses and dynamite all the churches here, too.

Quote of the day – history edition

“First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same…

Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset… Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia…

In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think… The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.”

— Senator Ted Kennedy, defending the Immigration Act of 1965

Pinnochio

No more compromise. Period.

I guess the next two days will feature obligatory public pearl-clutching that the president asked why America would want immigrants from “s***hole nations,” instead of from more Western countries like “Norway.”

Yes, he absolutely shouldn’t have phrased it that way.  But I’ve traveled myself, courtesy of Uncle Sam’s Armed Forces, to a few “s***hole nations.”  Trump is imprudently making an important point that will be entirely overlooked: the only question that should drive policy in this area is:  ‘What does an unchecked flood of migrants from failed societies do for Americans already here?’ Answer: become a net burden.  Enough with the ‘diversity’ experiment.

The public displays of moral outrage over Trump’s latest remarks will push the real scandal off the front pages.  That scandal is that once again our lawmakers are proposing a compromise deal on immigration that is bad for America.  “Just let the Dreamers stay,” they preen, “and we’ll get serious about immigration enforcement this time.  No, really.”

They said that in the 1980s, too.  And the 1990s.  “Wiping the slate clean” as the 1986 law was supposed to do clearly didn’t solve the issue, because we have more illegal immigrants in America today than we did then.  And “amnesty” by any other name is just as unjust.  Lucy is simply preparing to yank the football away from Charlie Brown once more.  This is the best comment I’ve seen on the compromise proposals:

The basic problem with trading amnesty for so-called “Dreamers” (illegal aliens brought to America as children) for increased enforcement of laws against illegal immigration and greater border security is that those aims are fundamentally in contradiction…  (emphasis added)

So when it comes to the shell game negotiations now going on in Washington, as of now, I’m voting for gridlock.

Despite his appalling tendency toward diarrhea of the mouth, Trump’s administration has accomplished some noteworthy goals on behalf of America during this first year.  Some have compared him favorably to Saint Ronald of Reagan.  That should be a warning: Reagan’s two fatal errors were agreeing to the immigration compromise of his time, and not demanding spending cuts to offset the military buildup that allowed the U.S. to reengage the Cold War on a stronger footing after Vietnam.  The first created a demographic time bomb, the second a fiscal one.

As currently practiced, immigration to the United States changes our country more than it changes the immigrants.  We are expected to adapt to their norms, rather than the other way around.  And since norms in many of the countries of origin can be fairly described as producing “s***holes,” one wonders what future immigration advocates desire for America.

“Magic Dirt theory is a key component of immigration romanticism, too. Sure, Mexico and Central America are messed-up places, and presumably their inhabitants played some role in messing them up. If we just move thirty or forty million of those people to the U.S.A., though, our Magic Dirt will transform them into civic-minded Jeffersonian yeomen!”

I recently visited my parents, and some observations come to mind.  Their neighborhood has never been wealthy, but it has deteriorated noticeably over the four decades they’ve lived there.  The two houses across the street now each house multiple families of foreign origin who do nothing to keep their houses up, park semi-abandoned cars all over the yards, and party so loudly my parents have had to call the police multiple times.  One of the neighbors bragged to my father that he has 18 children by different women.

My formerly small-town home has seen wave after wave of migrants from all over the world, and I don’t see the “enrichment” such diversity was supposed to bring.  What I *do* see is the old YMCA where I took swimming lessons is now a Buddhist meditation center.  Large piles of trash litter the side of the road for a mile leading to the dump because avoiding the landfill fee is now common practice.  Similar disregard for the law manifests in myriad other ways as well.  My parents didn’t install a security system in their house until after I graduated college, and they now have concealed carry permits.  Sure, you can get authentic Thai, Mexican and Chinese food.  Few of the people I grew up with there would consider that a positive tradeoff.  In fact, few of the people I grew up with are still there.

For all of these and many other reasons, I will not support ANY compromise on DACA, which was an openly admitted executive usurpation of legislative authority by the former president.  We’ve been sold this kind of “relief” too many times, and our good-hearted nature has been used to play us for fools.  Those who come here illegally have already shown disregard for our laws.  What makes us think that attitude will change once they’re here?  Particularly if we so obviously don’t intend to enforce our laws?

Mr. Trump, you were elected in no small part because after half a century of constant betrayal, the “posterity” of those who fought the American Revolution have run out of places to flee from the effects of these policies imposed on us by our self-proclaimed “betters.”  Many of your supporters in 2016 overlooked your personality and character flaws in the hope that maybe, just maybe, you would listen to the concerns of what some of our those ‘betters’ now openly dare to call “deplorables.”  If you sell us out, too, there is likely no chance those concerns will ever be addressed.

At least, within the system we used to respect.  This country was founded on the idea that systems sometimes fail the people.  Something about “altering or abolishing” government when it becomes destructive of life, liberty and property.  Despite the best efforts of today’s education system Marxist indoctrination factories, some of us still remember that legacy.  It’s our heritage and birthright.  And we’ll defend it.

Your move.

By the purse strings

Since leaving the military, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Michael Mullen has spoken often about what he considers to be the biggest danger to U.S. security: the national debt.

China may be about to give us an object lesson in that assessment:

China added to bond investors’ jitters on Wednesday as traders braced for what they feared could be the end of a three-decade bull market.  Senior government officials in Beijing reviewing the nation’s foreign-exchange holdings have recommended slowing or halting purchases of U.S. Treasuries, according to people familiar with the matter.

China holds the world’s largest foreign-exchange reserves, at $3.1 trillion, and regularly assesses its strategy for investing them. It isn’t clear whether the officials’ recommendations have been adopted. The market for U.S. government bonds is becoming less attractive relative to other assets, and trade tensions with the U.S. may provide a reason to slow or stop buying American debt…

Most Americans who pay attention to government spending habits are happy merely to see the deficit fall.  But even if the deficit were brought to zero (i.e. the government miraculously balanced its budget) the outstanding debt still has to be renegotiated periodically, as old bonds mature and new ones are issued.  When there is less demand for new bonds, the yield (interest) has to rise in order to become more attractive.  Thus, even with a balanced budget, our roll-over debt is a potential time bomb.

For the last decade, the U.S. has been able to take advantage of record low bond yields as the Federal Reserve held interest rates at historic lows in the wake of the mortgage debt crisis in 2008.  This, incidentally, is why your bank pays you next to nothing on your savings any more — the same policy that keeps the government’s borrowing costs low essentially robs individual savers.  Unlike taxes, people don’t immediately recognize this fiscal effect the debt has on them.

If forces beyond the government’s control — say, the largest holder of U.S. debt decided not to roll over its holdings — caused bond yields and interest rates to rise faster than desired, the results would bankrupt the U.S. Treasury overnight:

Given its sheer size, if the interest rate on that debt were to rise by even 1%, the annual federal deficit rises by $200 billion. A 2% increase in interest rate levels would up the federal deficit by $400 billion, and if rates were 5% higher, the annual federal deficit rises by a full $1 trillion per year.

The only way to begin mitigating this risk is to not just balance the budget but to start paying down the debt.  Think that will happen?

Me neither.  The day may be fast approaching when the government, in order to service its creditors, has no choice but to cut many of the programs people have become entirely dependent upon.  It may also impose confiscatory taxation, seizing the property of those who’ve managed to save and invest during these irresponsible years.  In both cases, the social consequences will be enormous.

As the Instapundit likes to say, “things that can’t go on forever, don’t.”  The exponential rise of our national debt can’t go on forever.  It’s simply a question of when an event will occur that undeniably shows the emperor has no clothes.