Thursday, May 18, 2017

Donald Trump Interview: "We’re going to make it 10%; Now it’s 35% … this would be the biggest tax cut in the history of the country … We want to keep it as simple as possible"

President Donald Trump sat down on May 4 for an interview with The Economist
DONALD TRUMP, the President of the United States, along with Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, sat down for a conversation with editors from The Economist on May 4th, 2017. What follows is a lightly edited transcript. 
 … we’re bringing our taxes down so low that you won’t even need the barrier because the taxes are so low, that people are going to stay.

 … We’re letting that money come back in. And that has two barriers which you have to watch. It’s got a barrier of the tax, which we will take care of. We’re going to make it 10%. Now it’s 35%...
Sorry, 10%? The repatriation taxes?
The repatriation. Inversion. The corporate inversions, which is a disaster, with the companies leaving. But they want to bring back their money. Number one, the tax is too high but the other thing that’s too high is the bureaucracy.
Mr Mnuchin: Correct.
President Trump: I have a friend who said even if you wanted to bring it back in you can’t because you have to go through so many papers, so many documents, so many…
Mr Mnuchin: We’re going to make it simple
President Trump: You have to do…Steve, they told me you’ve got to sign books and books of stuff, you pay millions of dollars in legal fees and they almost don’t allow you to bring it back in.
Can I ask you a question about the politics of tax?
It should be like one page.

Can I ask you about the focus of the tax cut because you’ve spoken about a massive tax cut for ordinary workers…
Right, this would be the biggest tax cut in the history of the country.
But the biggest winners from this tax cut, right now, look as though they will be the very wealthiest Americans.
Well, I don’t believe that. Because they’re losing all of their deductions, I can tell you.
But something like eliminating the estate tax.
I get more deductions, I mean I can tell you this, I get more deductions, they have deductions for birds flying across America, they have deductions for everything. There are more deductions…now you’re going to get an interest deduction, and a charitable deduction. But we’re not going to have all this nonsense that they have right now that complicates things and makes it…you know when we put out that one page, I said, we should really put out a, you know, a big thing, and then I looked at the one page, honestly it’s pretty well covered. Hard to believe.
Will you keep interest deduction in the corporate tax? Will corporate interest payments…Do you want to answer?
Mr Mnuchin: We’re contemplating it. We’re contemplating it.
So what would your preference be Mr President? You know about that very well.
 … we’re contemplating various things, but one of the things that’s very important is simplicity. We want to keep it as simple as possible. Because even if you do, it’s complicated. I mean even if you keep it simple with taxes it gets complicated.
 … But we’re going to be getting a lot of companies moving back and we’re going to get very few companies leaving the United States because we went from the highest tax rate of…not only major, you know they always say major countries, just about the highest tax rate period. And then when you add all the other things. And then when you add the regulations to the tax…I’ve had people tell me, because I’ve cut massive regulations and we’ve just started, believe me. But we’ve cut regulations massively.
Read the whole thing

The Economist paints a Rosy, If Not Heroic, Portrait of Soros, Depicting His Adversaries as Little Better than Racist

Of course, you can count on a mainstream media outlet like The Economist to write a (mostly) flattering, or at least positive, portrait of George Soros, referred to as the "Canary in the global mine".

Not a word about such things as the Hungarian quietly buying District Attorneys' seats (köszönöm to Instapundit)…
An appetite for risk made George Soros a billionaire, but also made him enemies, as has his congenital philanthropy. In recent months these resentments have reached a new, alarming pitch. Two strands of criticism, in America and abroad, seem to have fused, a confluence epitomised by a pair of obscure letters sent by Republican politicians. A group of senators wrote to Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, and a clutch of congressmen to the comptroller-general, taking aim at the same detail: the role of USAID, America’s foreign-aid agency, in Macedonia, specifically its collaboration with the local arm of Mr Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF).

Mr Soros has supported democratic reform in central and eastern Europe since he distributed photocopiers among activists in the 1980s. His programmes avowedly promote free media, fair elections and clean government, rather than opposition parties, but local autocrats often miss the distinction. The Kremlin, which blamed Mr Soros for peaceful uprisings in Russia’s ex-Soviet neighbours in the 2000s, kicked his affiliate out in 2015. Belarus and Uzbekistan have also given him the push.

His political views and hefty donations have led to vitriol in America as well. Denunciations of George W. Bush and the Iraq war made him a bogeyman among right-wing fulminators and conspiracy theorists. His support for Hillary Clinton and disparagement of Donald Trump—an “impostor” and “would-be dictator”—have reinvigorated his assailants. Recently he has developed a controversial sideline in local prosecutorial races, from Louisiana to Illinois, betting that reformist prosecutors can help change the criminal-justice system. Sometimes the candidates he backs seem as baffled by his interest as their rivals, but 12 out of his 15 picks have won.

 … In any case, Mr Soros’s infamy from the bayous to the Balkans is odd. He is certainly no saint. Some of his wealth comes from currency speculation, as when, short-selling the pound in 1992, he “broke the Bank of England”. He has a French conviction for insider trading in 1988. Yet he has given billions to worthy causes. Michael Vachon, a longtime adviser, points out that Mr Soros derives no personal benefit from his advocacy of, say, the rights of Roma or the abolition of the death penalty. In politics, Mr Vachon says, unlike many big-time donors he “is always lobbying for a public purpose, never for private gain”. Often he promotes policies, as on tax, that could cost him.

 … Whatever the causes, as Soros-bashing spreads—the idea of his global meddling gaining a meretricious credibility with repetition—so do other troubling views. One is the cynical claim that peaceful protesters, whether against Mr Trump’s policies or corruption in Romania, take to the streets only if they are bribed: usually, run the calumnies from Bucharest to Washington, by Mr Soros. “If we’d paid all the protesters they say we have,” jokes Laura Silber of OSF, “we’d be bankrupt many times over. It’s an insult to people standing up for their beliefs.” Second, ever-more supposedly democratic leaders are relying on external adversaries to bolster their positions, confecting them if necessary.

In its final paragraph, The Economist basically calls everyone opposed to "Public Enemy Number 1" a racist or an antisemite if not outright a Nazi.
Finally, there is the particular kind of foe that Mr Soros is made to embody. Portrayals of him as an octopus, or, as in a Hungarian billboard, as a puppet-master, inevitably recall the last century’s anti-Semitic propaganda. Some such echoes may be accidental, the conspiracists unconsciously defaulting to ancient tropes, but they are striking. In a tweet praising Mr Orban, for example, Steve King, a Republican congressman, called Mr Soros a “Marxist billionaire”. That chimes with the old slur against Jews whereby, as Tivadar Soros says in his book, “at one and the same time they held in their hands…the Western capitalist countries and Russian Bolshevism.” “He survived the Nazis,” Mr Vachon says of Mr Soros’s current situation, “and he takes a long view.” No doubt, but in some ways this must be depressingly familiar.

Is it time for us all to admit what a steaming pile of hypocrisy our entire conversation on race has become?

The doctrine of “separate but equal” is back
deplores Benny Huang on the Constitution website (thanks for the link, Maggie)
—this time at America’s most elite institution of higher learning, Harvard University. On May 23rd, black students will receive their diplomas in a separate commencement ceremony just for them.

Michael Huggins, president of Harvard’s Black Graduate Student Alliance (BGSA), helped organize the ceremony. He says that Harvard’s first black graduation is not about segregation because students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds may “attend.” It’s not clear if he means that students of all races are invited as spectators or as participants but it doesn’t really matter. Harvard wouldn’t allow such an event for white students even if the same ground rules applied.

The BGSA’s next president, law student Jillian Simons, is also proud of the event. “There’s an element of celebration and a very somber tone to it because of the things we’ve had to overcome,” said Simons. Her quizzical comment makes me wonder exactly what she thinks she’s “overcome.” Relentless pandering? Yeah, that would be difficult.

I hope she doesn’t mean that blacks at Harvard had to “overcome” racial prejudice. Blacks at Harvard are actually the benefactors of discriminatory admissions policies that lower the bar just for them. In order to gain admittance to this prestigious institution a black applicant can score 450 points lower on the SATs than an Asian applicant. This policy spurred a coalition of Asian-Americans to sue the university. The case is ongoing though I hope Harvard wins because I oppose all private sector nondiscrimination laws. Even so, we should stop pretending that black students have it harder. They’re given special favors and everyone knows it.

Not that I’m really upset about this hypocritical separate (but equal!) graduation. Let them have it—but then let’s all admit what a steaming pile of hypocrisy our entire conversation on race has become. I don’t want to hear any more talk about “inclusion.” It’s a stupid word that more often means its opposite. And while we’re at it, let’s count Brown v. Board of Education as a tragic mistake; after all, separate can be equal as long as it’s blacks who are excluding whites and not the other way around. Also, let’s stop musing about how hard it is for blacks to find their stride in mainstream society. Who ever said they wanted to?
Like all vexing social problems, this one has historical roots that deserve examination. I’ll begin by saying that black Americans did not create the parallel society that they currently cling to. White folks did that. Europeans came to this continent and created what was almost a perfect racial black/white dichotomy. The larger white group was the mainstream, while the smaller black group formed the alternative. Out of necessity, blacks set about creating their own parallel institutions—black universities, black professional organizations, black churches, black businesses, black publications, black sports leagues, black fraternities and black sororities.

These two societies were kept separate by law and custom until about the end of World War II. But then something unprecedented happened—with a little prodding by the so-called civil rights movement, the mainstream white majority relented and agreed to break down its own barriers. In historical terms, this happened remarkably fast and with remarkably little bloodshed. A system that had keep people apart for more than three hundred years unraveled in less than twenty.

And that should have been the end of it.

But it wasn’t—not by a long shot. It turns out that black people had developed a fondness for their parallel institutions. That’s understandable of course, though whites were fond of theirs as well and they still had to give them up. White institutions became integrated bi-racial spaces while black institutions were allowed to persist unchanged.

So the revolutionary transformation brought about by the so-called civil rights movement didn’t change quite everything. Two societies continued to exist even after the 1960s and still do today. One is black and the other was biracial before becoming multiracial over time. There was no grand merger between the two, as many white people imagined there would be.

Harvard’s black graduation ceremony is an excellent example of this. All of the graduates who participate in the black commencement on May 23rd will also graduate with the rest of their class two days later. One ceremony is the multi-hued, pluralistic, let’s-look-like-America graduation; and the other is the monochromatic Jim Crow version. Blacks get two graduations, one of which is set aside for their race. Whites get one ceremony and they have to share it.

How on earth can black America justify this? For starters, they usually try to pretend that their parallel society is still needed because the mainstream society is nearly as white as ever. For a good example of this phenomenon, consider Black Entertainment Television (BET). How many times have you heard it asked why there’s no White Entertainment Television? You know the pat answer to that. Saranya Khurana, who writes at the Odyssey Online, gave the same answer I’ve heard roughly a thousand times: “Most television today is the White Entertainment Television…BET was important for television because it was the first time black Americans had a show to call their own.”
So any channel that isn’t explicitly black is white by default? No, that isn’t even remotely true. It may have been closer to the truth when BET was founded in 1983 but even then network television had already featured two black sitcoms (The Jeffersons, Sandford and Son), a black cartoon (Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids), a black music-dance show (Soul Train) and a show about a white family that adopted two black children (Diff’rent Strokes.) So when Khurana says that BET was “the first time black Americans had a show to call their own” she’s wrong.

Black visibility on television only increased in the 1980s. I should know—like most kids of that era I looked forward to watching The Cosby Show every night before bedtime. If I had been a little older I would have watched Eddie Murphy carry Saturday Night Live through some of its toughest seasons before he moved on to a more lucrative career on the big screen. Or I might have watched Arsenio Hall debut as late night’s first black talk show host. During this same period, Oprah Winfrey’s success in daytime television made her a household name.

In the 1990s I graduated to Family Matters, In Living Color, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. All of these programs were hits because Americans of all races tuned in. MTV featured a plethora of black artists including En Vogue, Coolio, and Janet Jackson. Margaret Cho starred in America’s first Asian sitcom, All American Girl. The show flopped but mostly because Margaret Cho isn’t funny. In later years there would be more Asian shows, more black shows, a few Hispanic shows, shows about mixed-race families, shows about step families, shows about same-sex couples, and every other thing you can think of.

So, is BET filling a gap in the entertainment market for black viewers that the white-oriented television industry simply isn’t meeting? Hardly. Television is very multiracial and has been for quite some time. If BET was ever “needed” it certainly isn’t anymore. Yet the channel persists because there’s a demand for it, which is very different from a need. Its viewership consists mostly of blacks who only want to see other blacks when they flick on the television.

White people don’t have that luxury anymore. When they turn on the television they see fewer and fewer people who look like themselves. They certainly don’t have an entire channel of nothing but white people doing stuff white people do. That’s because whites agreed to merge their society, first with blacks, then with everyone else. But the agreement didn’t work both ways.

To a large degree, black America still segregates itself with no end in sight. And isn’t that really the rub of the whole separate but equal Harvard graduation? Sixty years after the so-called civil rights movement it appears that black self-segregation may actually be increasing, which is just insane. Blacks have retreated further into their own spaces, their own dorms, churches, and clubs where they moan about how hard it is being black in America. But it’s just noise, pay it no mind.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Rolling Stone Scandal Is Described Like an "Unexpected" Piece of "Bad Luck", Akin to a Natural Disaster

The sentence used by a CBS journalist to excuse a fellow MSM outlet's is replete with hidden meanings, via Scott Whitlock in Newsbusters (thanks to Instapundit).

Fake News Forgiveness: CBS Yawns at Rolling Stone’s False Rape Story: ‘Happens So Rarely’

By Scott Whitlock
The journalists at CBS This Morning on Tuesday offered breathtakingly little interest into one of the biggest fake news outrages in recent years. Talking to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner about the 50th anniversary of the magazine’s founding, the show’s co-hosts managed just two questions on Rolling Stone’s false accusation of rape at the University of Virginia. Gayle King dismissed the bogus story because it “happens so rarely” at the publication.

Gayle King dismissed the bogus story because … King sympathized, “It happens so rarely to you.” 
Not only does the mainstream media highlight the word "rarely," but the "it happens" construct is akin, almost, to being the passive voice. Rarely or otherwise, it is certainly a very long away from "Rolling Stone is responsible for this piece of fake news."

It is as if the Rolling Stone scandal were like a natural disaster, a bit of bad luck, entirely unexpected… 

In any case, as Barabbus points out, what Gayle King means is the thing that "happens so rarely" is "getting caught".

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Reason that Marine Le Pen Lost the French Election Is That, in Reality, the Front National Leader Is a Leftist

Following the defeat of the Front National, Éric Zemmour says on RTL (Dankeschön für Hildegard von Hessen) that Marine Le Pen is a leftist and that all her reflexes are on the Left, confirming, indeed, what No Pasarán has been reporting on the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen for years…

Related: The Leader of the Front National, Allegedly France's
Equivalent of the Tea Party's Extreme Capitalists,
Says That “Obama is way to the right of us”

• The Question Arises: Is the Le Pen Party Extreme Rightist
or Is It Actually a Reincarnation of the Communist Party

• Marine Le Pen: France Should Leave NATO, "Turn Its Back"
on the American "Hyper-Power", and "Turn Towards Russia" 

In Le Figaro, Éric Zemmour adds that Marine has rewritten the King Midas legend upside down: everything golden that she touches, she transforms into lead.

Éric Zemmour a donné son analyse des résultats de l'élection présidentielle, lundi 8 mai sur RTL. Marine Le Pen était dans le viseur. "Elle était donnée à 30% au premier tour, elle finit à 21%. Elle était donnée à plus de 40 % au second tour, elle finit à 35%. Ça, c'est l'effet campagne de Marine Le Pen. À chaque fois, ses idées sont bien plus hautes qu'elle. Il y a un vrai problème Marine Le Pen aujourd'hui", explique le polémiste.

"Marine Le Pen est de gauche"

Pour Éric Zemmour, le principal problème provient de sa stratégie de campagne. En d'autres termes, de la ligne Philippot, plus sociale qu'identitaire, plus économique que culturel. Une stratégie mortifère aux yeux du polémiste. "Même si dans ses discours, elle tient compte davantage de l'identité et de l'immigration, de l'islam qui sont les vrais sujets qui peuvent rassembler au-delà de son électorat, elle retombe dans sa stratégie inspirée de Florian Philippot, de gauche. Elle privilégie le social sur l'identitaire" a-t-il déclaré.

Mais Éric Zemmour ébauche également le scénario qui risque de secouer le FN dans les prochains mois : le remplacement de Marine Le Pen. Lors du débat face à Emmanuel Macron, elle a montré une incompétence crasse et une incapacité à prendre de la hauteur (...) Elle est tombée dans tous les pièges que lui tendait Emmanuel Macron, sans être capable de répliquer sur le plan économique et de parler de la France. Elle n'a pas la culture qu'avait son père ou la génération précédente.", a expliqué Éric Zemmour.

Enfin, après avoir rappelé que la présidente du FN était "de gauche, et que tous ses réflexes [étaient] de gauche", Éric Zemmour a évoqué l'union des droites qui permettrait selon lui d'asseoir des idées "majoritaires dans le pays" (sur l’immigration, l’islam…), mais cela dit-il, "ni Marine Le Pen, ni la droite classique ne veut de cette union". 

Monday, May 15, 2017

What Poll Really Shows Is How Public Education Has Turned Millennials Against America, Its Traditions, and Its Constitutional Rights

What at first seemed like a ray of hope that there could be a reawakening of Constitutional principles turned out, after at the briefest of inspections, to be a chimera
sighs Benny Huang on the Constitution website.
First, the (illusory) good news: a recent poll found that most young adults buy into bedrock principles of the First Amendment such as free speech and free exercise of religion. Several conservative websites picked up on this poll probably because an accompanying press release blared “New National Survey: Vast, Silent Majority of Millennials Overwhelmingly Support Religious and Social Freedoms.” This smelled fishy to me because today’s college students seem enamored with authoritarian college administrations—and enraged with those that aren’t authoritarian enough. They not only accept the enforcement of orthodoxy they demand it.

But I must be wrong about young adults’ authoritarian tendencies because the proof of their classical liberalism is right there in the press release—among 803 young adults surveyed, supermajorities said they supported free exercise of religion and free speech. So rest easy folks, the next generation stands ready to carry the torch of liberty into the future.

Unfortunately the internals of the poll demonstrate that the respondents don’t support basic constitutional rights; not in practice, and not when it really matters. They simply answered “yes” to a few softball questions that allowed them to think of themselves as broad-minded and tolerant.

The poll asked respondents if they agreed with the following statement: “Government should not interfere with the peaceful religious practices of Christians, Moslems, Jews, and people of other faiths.” A whopping 93% said yes. Awesome!

But another question put the lie to these millennials’ supposed libertarian streak. A full 53% disagreed that “Business owners should have the right to refuse service to people when certain practices are not in accordance with their religious beliefs.” There is absolutely no way to reconcile the results of this question with the aforementioned one. These millennials think they have a mindin’-their-own-business attitude toward other people’s lives, but they actually don’t. They want conformity and they want it to be enforced by the government.

The question strongly hints at one of the more controversial issues of the day: private sector nondiscrimination laws that pertain to “sexual orientation” (whatever that is) and their effect on religious business owners who do not wish to participate in same-sex weddings. I believe that the question was intended and generally understood in this way, though its vagueness (“refusing service”) could encompass other efforts to bring religious people to heel. In Washington State, for example, it is illegal for a pharmacy not to sell abortifacients. In California, the ACLU is actually suing a Catholic hospital for refusing to perform so-called “gender reassignment” surgery.

All of these laws make criminals out of religious people who simply want to be left alone to live their lives according to their consciences. These people are not violent and they are not forcing anyone to live according to their beliefs. They’re merely resisting attempts by others to coerce them into doing what they believe is wrong.

Personally, I think these people should have a shield with which to protect themselves from an overbearing government. And in fact they do have such a shield—it’s called the First Amendment. Sadly, 53% of millennials want to deny them that shield. And despite this demonstrated hostility toward other people’s rights they actually think of themselves as defenders of freedom. Pshaw!

But we should cut them some slack. For starters, most of them are victims of the public schools just like me. We learned more about the supposed injustice of American society than we did about our Constitutional rights. The lesson we internalized is that we need a muscular government to set things right.

Also, while many millennials may be confused about their basic philosophy, they are not uniquely confused. Very few of us have really examined our belief systems. If we did, we might not even use term belief system. It’s more of sentiment system—the way we feel about certain issues, rather than what we think about them.

Many of our beliefs go unexamined because we refuse to accept the tension that sometimes exists between two convictions that we experience on a gut level. I think I can shed some light on the two deeply felt convictions at play in this poll because I too once supported some of these intrusive laws, namely race-based private sector nondiscrimination laws.

I too was taught about the bad old days when cartoonish southern bigots had been free to discriminate against blacks. I was glad that the federal government finally showed up to punish these people. What took them so long? I considered these people to be monsters and I wanted them to be publicly humiliated and forced to change. I carried this vengeful desire with me well into my twenties.

You can imagine my shock the first time I encountered a staunch libertarian who told me that he thought it should be legal for private businesses to discriminate. I thought he must be bonkers, racist, or both. I can see now how wrong I was.

The two convictions I once held that were at loggerheads with each other are 1) a traditional American respect for our constitutional right to believe what we wish, to speak those beliefs aloud, and to live in accordance with our consciences without fear of government reprisal and 2) a belief that the government has an affirmative obligation to root out wrong thinking.

For a long time, I believed that both of these precepts could exist side by side with no apparent conflict. I no longer believe that. The second of these convictions amounts to heresy-hunting, which is not compatible with the first. After much meditation I decided that I could support conscience rights or I could support government-sanctioned, government-mandated, and government-enforced belief systems, but I could not support both. I decided to err on the side of freedom. I now consider the second of these convictions to be not just incorrect but oppressive and immoral. Government has no obligation to obliterate its citizens “bad” attitudes.

I know that some people will argue that I’m mischaracterizing the issue here because it’s actions that the government punishes not beliefs. Even if that were true—and it isn’t—actions are still covered under that “free exercise” thing. Anyone who persists in the belief that the government has every right [to] police people’s religious practices as long as they don’t attempt to police their thoughts should at least have the honesty to admit that they don’t really support the First Amendment. When a pollster asks if the government should interfere with other people’s peaceful religious practices, that person should say “Yes, absolutely. Keep those religious wackos on a short leash.” Anything else would be a lie.

Not that I believe for a moment that actions are the primary focus of these repressive laws. The goal is to destroy the thought behind the actions, to drum that person out of society, and to strike fear into anyone who might be tempted to believe the same thing. It’s remarkably effective tactic.

Private sector nondiscrimination laws are an excellent example of the criminalization of belief. The “crime” of refusing to serve someone isn’t actually a crime at all absent the illegal thought. I can refuse to serve someone because I’m too tired and just want to close up shop early, or because I don’t like the customer’s family, or because I don’t serve Yankees fans. Those are all approved reasons, which is to say approved thoughts. I can refuse to rent a room in my house to someone because he voted for Donald Trump—which was apparently all the rage in Washington, DC this past January—but I can’t refuse to rent to that same person because I think he and his boyfriend might have butt sex on the bed. It’s my aversion to his perversion that’s the crime. Without it, I would well within my rights to tell him to take a hike.

Oh, I suppose I can still believe what I want to, I just won’t be able to make a living without violating those beliefs. In time, I’ll make compromises with my own conscience, convincing myself that it’s not so bad to join in a sodomy celebration. They’re just two guys in love, right? If I can’t compromise my beliefs I’ll just lose my livelihood and be pushed out of the job market, that’s all.

But that’s not how America’s supposed to work. We’re supposed to be a free country with certain inalienable rights, some of which are spelled out in our First Amendment. Sadly, I fear those words are becoming a dead letter. Young people appear not to respect that amendment and this poll doesn’t change a thing.