Control-Alt-Right.

Multi-Culti Political Correctness is on the March!  It targets whitemales!  So say the mainstream media and the liberal hate groups (whose stock-in-trade is panic) when describing the “alt-right.”[1]  Still, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.[2]

Is that the case with the “alt-right”?  The movement that called itself the “Alternative Right” sprang from disillusionment with mainstream conservatism in the 2000s.  Mainstream conservatism seemed to some people to be nothing more than compromise with liberal fascism.  Richard Spencer (1978- )[3] became the champion/lightning-rod of the movement.  In 2008, Spencer founded a magazine called Alternative Right to criticize mainstream conservatism.

Once upon a time, Jeffrey Herf wrote a fascinating book about the Nazis called Reactionary Modernism.[4]  According to Herf, German reactionaries combined a “great enthusiasm for modern technology with a rejection of the Enlightenment and the values and institutions of liberal democracy.”  Perhaps the same analysis applies to the Alternative Right: Rebranded as the “alt-right,” the movement’s members are particularly adept at using modern social media and on-line sites to propound its message.  Breitbart.com is the leader of the pack,[5] backed up by postings on Reddit and 4chan.

It appears that many conservatives are fed-up with the sacred cows created by orthodox liberalism.  Hillary Clinton’s notion that “half” of Donald Trump’s followers fall into the category of “deplorables” wildly over-states their numbers.[6]  However, some of the people who are fed-up also really are repellant: anti-Semites, white supremacists, and Islamophobes.  As a result, racist and anti-Muslim incidents occurred.  Donald Trump told one television interviewer who asked about offenses committed by his supporters, “If it helps, I will say right here to the cameras: Stop it.”[7]

Meanwhile, liberal hate speech continued to pour forth after the election just as it had before.[8]  Trump is “openly contemptuous of democratic norms”; he’s a “misogynist, xenophobic bully.”[9]  Some post-election anti-Trump demonstrations turned violent.  One poll reported that 23 percent of those who voted for Hillary Clinton did not accept Donald Trump as the president.[10]  One accused Trump supporter was beaten by some enraged citizens of the “Windy City.”  It’s worth pointing out that such extremists are only a tiny, loud, fringe of Hillary Clinton’s supporters.  (Indeed, apparently some of them didn’t even vote in the election whose results they now protested.)

[1] Why is ISIS the “so-called Islamic State,” while “alt-right” is just “alt-right”?

[2] “The rise of the alt-right,” The Week, 7 October 2016, p. 11.

[3] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_B._Spencer

[4] Jeffrey Herf, Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich (1984).

[5] God, I’m old!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO_brEreGLw

[6] Her denunciations of Trump and those in the media (where journalists tilt overwhelmingly toward Clinton), may have fed into a nervous panic by liberals.  A story in Slate.com reported anecdotal evidence that the prospect of a Trump victory had sent many people to therapists.  See: Michelle Goldberg, “A nervous breakdown over Trump,” The Week, 7 October 2016, p. 12.

[7] “After election, protests and a spike in hate crimes,” The Week, 25 November 2016, p. 5.

[8] Trump is a “crude, shallow, sneering dissembler” and a “showboating huckster.”  “Driving away young voters for decades,” The Week, 2 September 2016, p. 12.  Media coverage of Trump’s many scandals is “not having the predicted effect” because “we’re a nation of idiots,” “The media: guilty of ‘false equivalence’?,” The Week, 30 September 2016, p. 16.

[9] “After election, protests and a spike in hate crimes,” The Week, 25 November 2016, p. 5.

[10] “Poll Watch,” The Week, 25 November 2016, p. 17.

Internal Migration.

If you go, well, Donald Trump scored big in the areas hollowed out by Chinese competition against “old industry,” Hillary Clinton did OKish in the areas marked by “new industry,” then the problem facing Democrats is how to expand the ranks of those employed in those new industries.

In theory, the internet and high-tech industry should allow people to work from anywhere in the country.  Omaha, Nebraska should be as good—if not a better— place to live as Seattle, Washington.  This should reduce the need to migrate.  In fact, it hasn’t worked out that way.

In zee old days, earlier old industries got replaced by new industries.  Moreover, American workers moved in pursuit of job opportunities.  Before the Second World War, about 15 percent of Americans lived outside the census division in which they were born.  By 1970, 25 percent of Americans lived outside the census division in which they were born.  Thus, under-paid Southern farmworkers could get better-paying assembly-line jobs.  All you had to do was move from Fordyce, Arkansas to River Rouge, Michigan.  So, lots of geographic displacement.[1]  Then this trend began to slow down during the 1980s.

Instead, for decades now, workers with more education have been streaming toward the great cities on the coasts, while less educated workers have been left behind.  During the first decade of the 21st century (2001-2010), the migration rates for the college-educated were about 2 percent per year; the migration rates for those with only a high-school education were 1.2 percent per year; and the migration rates for those with less than a high-school diploma were 1 percent per year.

Regionally, the “Rust Belt” states (Iowa, Michigan, Ohio) and the Plains States have shown the greatest out-migration of college-educated people.  In contrast, California, Maryland, Texas, South Carolina, New York, and Massachusetts have witnessed the greatest in-migration.  So, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Baltimore, Washington, New York City, and Boston offer a certain cachet.  One puzzle here is that Michigan and Michigan State, Ohio State, and Iowa are all major research universities surrounded by “blue townships.”  The same goes for Stanford and Washington, but less so for Oregon. Brigham Young, .

Why do younger, better-educated people move?  One Michigan State economist suggested that “lots of talented young people all over the country are eager to see new sights…”  So, give them interesting cities, with lots of youth culture.  Whatever “youth culture” means.  It appears to mean talking to non-company people over coffee; lots of chances to co=operate.

[1] See: “The Grapes of Wrath” (dir. John Ford, 1940).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M9fJMqhlZY

The illegals.

Much in life and government is refined guess-work[1].  Thus, huge numbers of illegals entered the United States in the years before the financial crisis and “Great Recession” slammed the brakes on the economy.  Thus, in 2000, Border Patrol agents arrested 1.6 million people trying to cross the Mexican-American border.  An estimated 12 million entered in 2007.  Then the economic slow-down greatly reduced job opportunities in the United States, so illegal immigration slowed precipitously.  Only an estimated 188,000 entered in 2015.

Since the economic slow-down, illegal immigration has slowed.  Generally, estimates on the number of illegal immigrants currently in the United States converge around the figure of 11 million.  Of these, an estimated 8.1 million are working or looking for work.  Another estimate holds that two-thirds have been in the United States for at least 10 years.  Yet another estimate holds that 60 percent of the illegals are to be found in California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.  Basically, where there is work for lots of industrious, low-skill people.[2]  Farms, construction sites, and the hospitality-industrial complex provided a lot of work.

About 5.5 million are Mexicans; about 40 percent over-stayed a legally-obtained visa.

In 1992 the US had about 4,000 Border Patrol agents along the frontier with Mexico.  The rest made the dangerous crossing of the border.  A fence now blocks about one-third of the 1.954 miles-long border.  In 2010 the US had about 21,000 Border Patrol agents along the frontier with Mexico.

Proof of citizenship is required for Medicaid, food stamps, and welfare, so the illegals don’t qualify for these taxpayer-funded benefits.  On the other hand, the children of illegals do attend the public schools, and—if they themselves were born in the United States—as American citizens, they qualify for some medical care and welfare benefits.   The Heritage Foundation calculates that the illegals cost American taxpayers almost $15,000 a year.

The illegals have become a political football.  Democrats want them to be granted a “path to citizenship” without any further hindrance.  Oh, sure, there are the “criminal immigrants” who should not be granted citizenship.  About 7.5 (NOT 75 percent) percent of the illegals are criminals.  Virtually all of these—91 percent—were deported.  However, under the Obama administration, “your chances of getting deported are close to zero” if you have not committed a serious crime.  In contrast, Republicans demand a “securing of the border: before any legalization occurs.

[1] “The illegal immigrant population,” The Week, 30 September 2016, p.11.

[2] Personally, I think that trying to run this broke-ass country without illegals is just like trying to run it without fat black ladies.  It can’t be done.  As the witchy thug girl says to Marcus in “About a Boy,”  “Are you taking a piss?  ‘Cause if you are, your gunna get a slap.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lssgt-nJ2sY

The e-mails.

 

When she agreed to accept the Secretary of State job as consolation prize from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton pledged that she would separate the Department of State from the Clinton Foundation.  How well did she keep that pledge?  Law suits by the conservative Judicial Watch group and hacking of computers by Russian intelligence groups have cast some light on the question.[1]

In August 2016, the Associated Press reported that 154 non-governmental individuals had either spoken face-to-face or by phone with Hillary Clinton during the time she served as Secretary of State (2009-2013).  Of those 154 people, 85 had either made donations to or had promised to give money to the Clinton Foundation.[2]  For example, Bono requested an up-link to the International Space Station for a concert.  Initially, the Clinton campaign/foundation claimed that the “quid” rarely received a “pro quo.”  All the same, Clinton Foundation officials brought the concerns of the donors to the attention of the State Department.

Thus, in 2009, Bahrain sought State Department approval for the purchase of $630 million in American-made weapons.  This marked a 187 percent increase over purchases made in previous years.  Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Defense Forces, sought an interview with Secretary of State Clinton.  Doug Band, at the Clinton Foundation, e-mailed Huma Abedin to ask for the meeting.  The Crown Prince, he wrote, was a “good friend of ours” and had contributed $32 million to a Foundation program.  He got the meeting and Bahrain got the arms purchase approval.[3]  It has been argued that the Crown Prince would have received a meeting with Clinton as a matter of course, so no impropriety occurred.  If the Crown Prince would have received a meeting anyway, why did he contact Band about a meeting and why did Band contact Abedin?

Between 2001 and 2015, while his wife was Secretary of State and then the heir-presumptive to the Democratic presidential nomination, Bill Clinton earned $132 million in speaking and consulting fees.[4]  Did companies and institutions set that much value on his wisdom?  New York is not a community property state, so Hillary Clinton cannot be accused of having enriched herself.  Still, the optics are bad.

She did enrich herself with a series of post-State Department/pre-presidential campaign speeches to private groups.  These groups included Goldman, Sachs.  In one speech, she had told bankers that in politics, “you need both a public and a private position.”  Her private position was that “my dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.”  Later, locked in a surprising primary battle with democratic socialist challenger Bernie Sanders, Clinton refused to release the texts of these speeches.  So, in October 2016, the Russians did it for her.[5]  Her statements were pretty much in the mainstream when given, but conditions had changed by the time the texts were released.  Again, the optics were bad.

[1] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Clinton_email_controversy

[2] “Clinton faces ethics questions over foundation,” The Week, 2 September 2016, p. 5.

[3] “Clinton Foundation: Was there a quid for the pro quo?”  The Week, 9 September 2016, p. 16.

[4] “Clinton Foundation: Was there a quid for the pro quo?”  The Week, 9 September 2016, p. 16.

[5] “Clinton: What the WikiLeaks emails reveal,” The Week, 28 October 2016, p. 8.

Rigged.

Foaming at the mouth before the election, Donald Trump asserted that if he didn’t win it was because the election was “rigged.”  He did not specify how the election might be “rigged”; he just asserted that it was rigged.  Then Trump won Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan by a total of 100,000 votes.  These narrow victories gave him a majority in the Electoral College.  If he had not won them, then Hillary Clinton would have been elected president.

“What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”  Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president in 2016, called for a re-count of the votes in the three states.  If all three states could be “flipped,” then Trump would lose the vote in the Electoral College just as he had lost it (by better than 2 million votes) in the popular vote.  She argued that Russian hackers might have messed-with the voting machines and that there had been voting irregularities.  She did not identify any specific irregularities; she just asserted that there had been voting irregularities.  Stein, who had raised $3.5 million for her presidential race[1], suddenly received $6.6 million in donations.  Then the Clinton campaign, after having conceded the election, joined the Stein campaign.[2]

“What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”  Once Hillary Clinton joined the effort to overturn the results of the election, Trump responded.  Trump tweeted that “serious voter fraud” had taken place in California, New Hampshire, and Virginia.  “Millions of people who voted illegally” had pushed Clinton to a nominal victory in the popular vote.  Trump’s claims were widely denounced  as ridiculous, but they’re not more ridiculous than the Clinton-supporter financed allegations that the Russians might have hacked voting machines or that un-specified “irregularities” had occurred.

[1] See: https://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/candidate?id=N00033776

[2] “[Trump] rages as recounts advance in three states,” The Week, 9 December 2016, p. 5.

Emergency.

Faced with a Republican Congress created by a majority of Republican voters, President Obama resorted to executive orders and administrative regulations to act on climate, immigration, and wages.  None of these initiatives have fared well with the courts.

For example, in February 2016, the Supreme Court issued a stay on President Obama’s regulations on the coal industry as part of his effort to respond to climate change.[1]  For example, in June 2016 the Supreme Court (4-4) upheld a lower court’s rejection of President Obama’s 2014 executive order that would have allowed almost half (5 million) illegal immigrants to escape deportation.[2]

For example, in May 2016, the Obama Administration’s Labor Department issued a regulation on over-time.  Previously, only workers making less than $23,660 a year were eligible for time-and-a-half over 40 hours/week.  Under the Labor Department regulation, anyone making less than $47,500 a week would qualify for overtime.  Businesses assumed that the new regulation would be sustained by the courts, so they began raising pay to the new minimum and by turning full-time workers into hourly workers.  Then, just before Thanksgiving, a federal judge in Texas (of course) blocked a Labor Department regulation on overtime pay.[3]  The Trump Administration is likely to withdraw the regulation.

So, who is in the right here?  Hard to say because a lot of jobs pay very little and require an awful lot.  Anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows that long hours involve constant toil and bullying by idiot supervisors for lousy money.  For that matter, the idiot supervisors themselves put in 60 hours a week or more trying to get to the next level.

On the other hand, one can easily get the feeling that Democrats believe that every business is Microsoft: immense profits from immense profit margins.  In fact, retailers, restaurants, and grocery stores all run in thin profit-margins.  Thus, when Washington, DC, mandated a raise in the minimum wage, Walmart cancelled plans to build two new stores in the district, and Washington restaurants cut employment by 1,400 workers in the first half of 2016.[4]

It seems likely that one part of President Obama’s “legacy” will be a judicial restriction of executive authority.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing from a non-partisan perspective.  American voters often have chosen a divided government.  This is annoying for politicians (Republican as much as Democrats) with agendas they want to push.  The resort to executive orders and regulatory changes does offer a way around this dead-lock.  However, it establishes a pattern of circumventing the Constitution’s division of powers.  Any president can portray anything s/he wants to do as the solution to some “emergency.”

[1] See: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/us/politics/supreme-court-blocks-obama-epa-coal-emissions-regulations.html?_r=0

[2] See: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/23/politics/immigration-supreme-court/

[3] “Issue of the week: Judge halts new overtime rule,” The Week, 9 December 2016, p. 38.

[4] “Proof that wage laws backfire,” The Week, 11 November 2016, p. 12.