Trump Will Win

Notwithstanding the usual wisdom of betting markets, which have Biden as a heavy favorite, I believe that not only will President Trump be re-elected, he will trounce his opponent.

Biden’s chief strengths are that he is widely perceived as a nice, moderate fellow and that he is not Donald J. Trump, who is neither nice nor moderate. Those strengths carried the day in the Democratic primaries, mostly because the party’s leaders were terrified of the alternatives, and they, with an assist from our nation’s current travails, have given him a commanding lead in the polls. If the polls and betting markets are right, he can coast to the finish line, which appears to be his present strategy.

Before focusing on Biden’s weaknesses as a candidate, perhaps we should look at the bigger pictu...

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A Pro-Regulation Post(!)

John Maynard Keynes famously parried a question about the possibly adverse long term effects of some policies he was recommending by remarking, “In the long run, we’re all dead.” Decades later, in reference to Keynes’s comment, William F. Buckley, Jr. quipped “Well, now he’s dead, we’re not, and we’re living with the consequences of his mistakes.”

Buckley’s retort highlights what should be, but all too often isn’t, an ongoing constraint on decisions by governments and businesses: a consideration of the possible consequences of their choices out beyond the personal horizons of the individuals who are directly involved...

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A Betrayal

In Bill Barr’s recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the Attorney General asked “Since when is It okay to try and burn down a federal court?” adding later that: “What makes me concerned for the country is this is the first time in my memory the leaders of one of our two great political parties, the Democratic Party, are not coming out and condemning mob violence and the attack on federal courts.”

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Most of our major media companies wish to elide the differences between protesting and rioting. The scene of an MSNBC reporter standing in front of a burning building while trying to reassure us that the gatherings are mostly peaceful and “not unruly” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1mxJMIIMuE) will not soon be forgotten...

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Records

Years ago, on a visit to a new internist, I was asked to estimate how much exercise I was getting each week.

“Over the last year, an average of 505 minutes” I responded. “I have daily records going back fifteen years.”

My new doctor gave me a startled look before returning to her note-taking. “I’ll put that down as obsessive-compulsive,” she said with a wry smile and a shake of her head.

***

I started keeping daily records of my exercise in 1991.

In those days, essentially all of the exercise I got was on a bicycle. I was riding with friends nearly every day. Every summer a group of us rode our bikes from New York’s suburbs to the coast of Maine and for a couple of years the faster members of our group competed in formal races...

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Follow the Money…

Lenin is said to have remarked that “When it comes time to hang the capitalists, they will vie with each other for the rope contract.” The behavior of Western elites in recent years affirms the shrewdness of his prediction; we have been selling an awful lot of rope to China.  

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It’s more complicated than that, you say: nobody in China wants to hang American businesspeople. Fair enough, they don’t. Provide the American business people with cheap labor and sell American consumers things, sure; not kill them.

Oh, one has to put up with a certain amount of IP theft to do business with the Chinese, to be sure, but the upside is there: cheap labor, great logistics and an enormous potential market...

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A False Sense of Safety

In an email exchange this morning about the stark contrasts between red and blue states in their regulatory responses to Covid-19, a friend ventured the opinion that “liberals are pussies”. As a matter of interest, this particular friend is well aware that he is categorically vulnerable to the virus, so his perspective on how governments should handle it isn’t driven by a false sense of security.

Irrespective of how much you might hate, or just be amused by, my friend’s chosen imagery – I think he’s onto something. In the roots of their belief system, if not necessarily in their personal behaviors, progressives are notably timorous. 

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Right-leaning pundits and internet commenters have been suggesting for months that blue state politicians and their cheering sections...

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John Prine, 1946-2020

Over the three months since John Prine died of Covid-19, I’ve often found myself thinking about him. Maybe you have too, but probably not.

In some ways, he was a typical victim of the virus. He was in his seventies and severely immuno-compromised as a result of two near-death bouts with cancer. Since those illnesses, in 1998 and 2013, respectively, he had seemed to be held together by chewing gum, string and strength of character, and his voice had changed markedly.

But in this respect he was anything but typical: all that while he kept writing and performing marvelous songs – and a few that, as longtime readers of these posts know, really ticked me off.

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I just completed a desultory bicycle ride; it was hot and sticky outside and I had no desire to push myself...

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Fauci’s Follies

I’m sure that Dr. Fauci is a bright guy and that he means well. My guess is that, like a lot of other dedicated doctors (and nurses), he has been working pretty much around the clock for months to slow the pandemic and ameliorate its effects on the American public. In spite of those admirable characteristics and efforts, though, as to his role of guiding the nation’s response to Covid-19, he’s well past his sell-by date.  

Dr. Fauci has made at least three mistakes that collectively show him to be the wrong man for the job.

The first of these, early-on in the crisis, was telling the American public that masks were useless when he knew the opposite to be true...

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The Virus Wanes/Our Media Panic

It irritates me that our media are full of what has aptly been described as panic porn with respect to the so-called Covid-19 reopening spikes, particularly given that the virus’s spread has been slowing for months. If you follow along for a bit, it won’t be hard for me to show you that slowdown with readily available data, simple math and a pinch of deductive reasoning, the combination of which elements seems to be beyond the capabilities of the overwhelming majority of journalists and television personalities.

This https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/ website will provide many of the data points...

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Nonessential Workers

One realization I found darkly amusing during the recent lockdowns is that I had spent much of my working life in jobs now all-too frankly described as nonessential. Kind of put me in my place.

Perhaps you had the same thought about your own roles. Almost certainly, the same is true of most people – I’d be curious to see the percentages. We nonessentials aren’t part of the supply chains necessary to sustain life.

I don’t mean to imply that nonessential jobs are unimportant. In addition to the value provided to customers, they provide sustenance for us and our families. And if we’re lucky, they’re fun and interesting. It’s just that other people won’t really suffer very much if we don’t show up.

Oh, maybe they’ll have fewer options for dining out, or for entert...

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