Author Archives: Bok

Trump’s Animal Spirits

161205animal spirits

James Fallows, in the October Atlantic, says Jane Goodall told him that Donald Trump reminds her of a chimp:

In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” Jane Goodall, the anthropologist, told me shortly before Trump won the GOP nomination. “In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks. The more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”

Animal Spirits

The elite made a monkey of Trump before the election. But since then he’s released the stock market’s animal spirits. Oil and the dollar dig The Donald too.

Many 401-k investors are bullish because stocks have hit record highs. But Clinton Foundation investors – not so much.

Well, at least one Clinton supporter has done ok. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is up 8% since the election.

 

Flag Burning

161203flag burning

Trump tweet of the week: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences, perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail!”

The Huffington Post reported that most people think President-elect The Donald goes too far. They think flag burners should keep their citizenship. However, they’re cool with the jail part.

Flag Burning

Justice Scalia, for his part, wasn’t cool with either jail or loss of citizenship for burning a flag. Here are a few lines from a Pittsburgh Post Gazette editorial on Scalia’s opinion of flag burning:

“If I were king,” the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said in an interview, “I would not allow people to go about burning the American flag. However, we have a First Amendment, which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged. … Burning the flag is a form of expression. Speech doesn’t just mean written words or oral words. … Burning a flag is a symbol that expresses an idea.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that flag burning is a protected form of free speech. And Salon said Trump was cool with that when he appeared on The David Letterman Show in 2015.

Of course, the court also ruled that campaign issue advocacy spending by corporations and unions is  a protected form of free speech.   We know Hillary’s not cool with that. The Citizens United case involved  a movie critical of her. Here’s the trailer.

My favorite example of the exercise of free speech by flag burning occurred at the RNC convention in Cleveland last summer. The burner became the burnee. He caught himself on fire.

 

 

Bitter Clingers, Deplorables, and Fox News

161202fox news

On the  campaign trail President Obama attempted to transfer his base of support to Hillary Clinton. He pleaded,”I’m not on the ballot but my policies are.” And he warned that he’d take it as a “personal insult” if African Americans failed to turn out for her. Well, Obama Nation didn’t show and Hillary lost. Trump was elected president with majorities in the House and Senate.

Another shellacking.

In a Rolling Stone interview the president analyzed the  shellacking. And he concluded his lost legacy was due to a failure to communicate with middle America. That would be the Coal miners he and Hillary promised to put out of work. The Bitter Clingers. The Deplorables.

Fox News

That and Fox News. “Part of it Obama said, “is Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country.” Personally, I hardly noticed Fox in bars and restaurants in my midwest chunk of the country. But maybe that’s just me.

Progressives are also blaming Fake news for Hillary’s upset.

A month ago a federal court ruled that Rolling Stone defamed a University of Virginia administrator with malice. The administrator was awarded $3 million.

The magazine had published a fake news story about rape.

 

Nancy Pelosi House

161201 Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi won 134 votes to Tim Ryan’s 68 to hang on as House Minority Leader. Ryan is taking credit for giving her a scare. But winning 68% of the vote sounds like a landslide to me.

Maybe they should demand that Jill Stein do a recount.

Nancy Pelosi

And maybe Nancy Pelosi should give the Democratic party a scare. Under her leadership they lost 63 House seats in 2010 and 13 more in the 2014 midterms.

Republicans now own “the White House, and the Senate, and the House, and 33 governorships and 68 (of 98) state legislative chambers.”

 

Castro’s Long Reign

161129 castor's long reign

Fidel Castro finally got term limited. He died at age 90. Not a bad run considering he took power in 1959. Castro’s long reign outlasted 10 U.S. presidents. He retired in 2008.

Ben Domenech at The Federalist thinks Castro’s big mistake was joining the wrong team – the Soviet Union. Another mistake may have been stealing U.S. owned businesses in Cuba.  That led to the Bay of Pigs invasion, the U.S. embargo, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and oddball assassination attempts.

Castro’s Long Reign

Many world leaders treated Castro as a normal public official. MaClean’s thinks Justin Trudeau went from being the most interesting man in the world to “international laughingstock” with his Castro eulogy. Just for laughs, here it is:

“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President. “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation. “While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”. “I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba. “On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”

Prisoners of History Narrative

John Kerry thinks the U.S. and Cuba were ‘”prisoners of history.” Maybe he had a mind meld with White House narrative boy Ben Rhodes. Rhodes told The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg, “America sometimes makes itself a prisoner of our own history. We have a very complicated history with Cuba.”

For its part, The Wall Street Journal editorial board reports that the average monthly wage in Cuba is $20.

Hard to figure how the guy got re-elected.