Posts Tagged ‘Trump’

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Asset forfeiture 101

February 13, 2017

Frankly, it’s a little disappointing that Trump wants to wind back the clock on asset forfeiture. It would be disappointing to hear this from anyone, of course, but it’s worse because Trump has a bully pulpit these days.

Several states have banned the practice in the last year or two and the Institute for Justice has been waging war on it for quite a few years now – with some success. Check out their Policing for Profit page.

In the meanwhile, the folks at Reason are keeping the banner high.

I’m not wishing misfortune on anyone, but maybe if one of Trump’s family members or close friends had been a victim of civil asset forfeiture then he might have a different view of what often comes down to highway robbery.

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Sharing the Trump humor

February 5, 2017

Dan Mitchell posts some amusing videos at International Liberty today. Here’s one from the Netherlands.

OK… Since Be Social Education (whatever that is) got the Netherlands video taken down, here’s the clip from Switzerland. Later… The Netherlands clip is back. Did ‘Be Social’ decide to be sociable?

The idea seems to have gone viral. There are similar videos from Denmark, Germany, and many others.

See also #everysecondcounts.

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The protest stimulus

February 3, 2017

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And he’s not even President yet

January 11, 2017

The news about Donald Trump, the Buzzfeed & CNN articles, and all the reaction to them is quite a show, idnit? The fixes that man gets himself into sometimes remind me of The Perils of Pauline (when I’m feeling charitable).

But the worry, of course, is what he might be getting all of us into.

I don’t know the merits of the document about Trump’s alleged dealings with Russia. At this point, the problem is that the large majority of us don’t know the merits of it.

Glenn Greenwald makes some excellent points about what’s been going on recently at The Intercept today. RTWT.

The Deep State Goes to War with President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer

IN JANUARY, 1961, Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address after serving two terms as U.S. president; the five-star general chose to warn Americans of this specific threat to democracy: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” […]

This is the faction that is now engaged in open warfare against the duly elected and already widely disliked president-elect, Donald Trump. They are using classic Cold War dirty tactics and the defining ingredients of what has until recently been denounced as "Fake News."

Their most valuable instrument is the U.S. media, much of which reflexively reveres, serves, believes, and sides with hidden intelligence officials. And Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry and damaging those behaviors might be.

The serious dangers posed by a Trump presidency are numerous and manifest. There are a wide array of legitimate and effective tactics for combatting those threats: from bipartisan congressional coalitions and constitutional legal challenges to citizen uprisings and sustained and aggressive civil disobedience. All of those strategies have periodically proven themselves effective in times of political crisis or authoritarian overreach.

But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. […]


Here’s a more humorous take.


This reent Reason podcast has Nick Gillespie talking to Greenwald about ‘Russian “hacks,” Donald Trump, Wikileaks, and the End of Media Status Quo’. I recommend at least the first 20 minutes.


Finally – and especially for those who haven’t yet ‘recovered’ from the election – I suggest this post from last November: YOU ARE STILL CRYING WOLF.

I won’t try to excerpt it because, as its author writes, it’s a "reduction of a complicated issue to only 8000 words, because nobody would read it if it were longer."

So, yeah, it’s long. But if you have the time, RTWT.

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A Constitutionalist Revolution?

January 7, 2017

Where do I sign up?

Jeff G sent this shortly before last Thanksgiving. On the one hand, I’d be thrilled if this turns out to be true. On the other, I’m not sure it applies to the Trump voters I know. Most of those were concerned about (a) the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court and (b) defeating Hillary Clinton at all costs (not necessarily in that order).

Maybe the "SCOTUS voters" had this constitutionalist point in mind. But I’m thinking they could have made the point more clearly by voting for Johnson-Weld.

Here’s John C. Eastman, a constitutional law scholar, writing at the Claremont Review of Books last November. It’s an interesting read and he makes some very good points.

The Constitutionalist Revolution

It started even before Donald Trump was declared the winner. The pundits and commentators, stunned beyond belief, began to pontificate about how this could possibly have happened. No one they know thought that Trump was anything but a boorish oaf. And the uniform view in their circles was that Trump’s supporters were even worse. Must be, else they wouldn’t be Trump supporters.

Then I started to notice a different narrative as the night wore on while the country was awaiting results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania—the so-called rust belt. White, blue collar workers were angry at Washington, the pundits conceded. They have lost their jobs to a global economy that they cannot control, and the government—their government—was ignoring their plight. Whether Trump could deliver on his promise to help them, they seemed to know that Hillary Clinton would not.

Notice the underlying assumption. Trump’s voters were angry because government was not doing enough for them, not that it was doing too much to them. Six years into the Tea Party revolution — and make no mistake, this is an ongoing manifestation of the Tea Party revolution — the Washington crowd still does not get it.

I spoke to a lot of Tea Party groups when I was running for California Attorney General back in 2010. These were not (and are not) people seeking more handouts from government to make their lives better. And they were not backward hicks clinging to their guns and Bibles, as the Washington establishment on both sides of the political aisle believed. They are rock-solid citizens, deeply concerned about handing a $20 trillion debt to their kids, but even more concerned that we seemed to have incurred that debt in utter disregard of the limits our Constitution places on government. Eight years of President Obama exacerbated those concerns to the breaking point, and the prospect of a President Hillary Clinton doubling down on rule by executive pen, by acting assistant deputy secretaries, by “guidance” memos from deep in the bowels of an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy, provoked a citizen uprising. Not a populist revolt, as the pundits believe, but a constitutionalist revolt. […]

You see, the D.C. crowd has viewed the lack of a revolt to their expansion of government beyond its constitutional tether as indicative of agreement rather than mere toleration while the abuses remained tolerable. They should have read another line in that old Declaration: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” […]

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Crony-in-chief?

December 4, 2016

Peter Suderman writes an interesting column at Hit & Run about Trump, politics, and free markets.

Yes, We Should Worry About Donald Trump’s Business Conflicts of Interests—and His Whole Approach to the Interaction Between Government and Business

The president-elect was a crony capitalist businessman. Now he’s set to become a crony capitalist politician.

As a real estate developer, Donald Trump made and sought special deals designed to use the power of government to improve his personal bottom line.

The first building project he ever developed, the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manhattan, was completed using a multi-decade tax abatement obtained using his father’s connections. This was not a broad-based tax cut so much as a state-granted subsidy that granted Trump’s project the financial wherewithal to proceed. In 1994, Trump proposed that the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, become a partner with him on a $350 million theme park project, allowing him to get access to land by declaring a number of businesses as condemned properties. Over the course of his career as a developer, he repeatedly pressured the government to use eminent domain to clear private property owners out of the way, including one instance in 1994 in which he requested that the government kick an Atlantic City widow out of her home in order to replace it with a limousine parking lot. While campaigning for president, he aggressively defended the use of eminent domain, calling it a “wonderful thing,” and describing it as necessary for construction projects that create jobs.

For Trump, this is not merely a business strategy. It amounts to a working theory of how government and the private sector should interact. And it is one that should worry anyone concerned about maintaining a fair and proper division between the state and the private sector. […]

He doesn’t believe that the government’s role is to set clear ground rules and let market competition work things out. […]

Remember all the well-deserved grief Obama took for Solyndra and Fisker?

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

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How crony capitalism works

December 2, 2016

Kevin Williamson has a good article about how Trump ‘saved’ jobs at a Carrier plant in Indiana. RTWT.

The Economic Stupidity of the Carrier Bailout

One particularly tough and indigestible nugget of talk-radio stupidity afflicting the guts of conservatism is the idea that there is some sort of fundamental difference between bribing a business with tax cuts and bribing it with a wheelbarrow full of cash. The Trump-Pence bailout of Carrier’s operations in Indiana provides an illustrative case. […]

Republicans might have had a little bit of a point in the question of general tax cuts: A tax cut and spending are different things, even if the budgetary effects are exactly the same.

But in the matter of industry-specific or firm-specific tax benefits of the sort extended to Carrier in Indiana, they do not have a leg to stand on. These are straight-up corporate welfare, ethically and fiscally indistinguishable from shipping containers full of $100 bills. […]

For Carrier’s accountant, any pecuniary benefit will do. So far as the bottom line is concerned, a $7 million tax credit is the same as a $7 million check or $7 million in Apple stock or $7 million in gold. It’s all +$7 million on the line where you want it. […]

This is a case of Frédéric Bastiat’s problem of the seen vs. the unseen. The benefits are easy to see, all those sympathetic workers in Indiana. The costs are born by sympathetic workers, too, around the country, and by their families and by their neighbors. But those are widely dispersed, so they are harder to see and do not hit with the same dramatic impact.

But the math is the math is the math. Trump and Pence are trying to sell you a free lunch, the same way the Keynesians and their magical spending multiplier do when they promise that government stimulus programs (Trump is pushing one of those, too) will somehow magically pay for themselves. […]

I suppose the good news for most of us is that the State of Indiana (and its taxpayers) will be the ones picking up the tab for this.

Bastiat’s That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen.

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