On Keeping the Senate Informed

…to the level Senators deem appropriate.  In a Wall Street Journal article about the fate of the newly negotiated trade agreement between the US and Mexico, there was this plaint from one Senator among others:

Lawmakers from both parties have complained that the Trump administration has broken with precedent by not regularly briefing with Capitol Hill and leaving them largely in the dark about crucial details of the negotiations. “Who knows what’s happening,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R, TN), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, with a shrug.

Turkey and Natural Gas Pipelines

War on the Rocks has an interesting piece on Turkey’s desire to become a natural gas transshipment hub feeding Europe and perhaps Russia.  I think, though, that WOTR underplays the purpose of Turkey’s transshipment goal.

Recall the existing conflict between Turkey and Europe over immigration, economics, rule of law EU-style rather than as Recep Erdoğan does it, and a host of other excuses for Turkey to claim to be put upon.


Now Facebook wants to hook up with banks to collect our financial information and our shopping habits as revealed by our credit card charging history.

No. Not ever. Not with Facebook’s lack of concern for our privacy or our personal data.

Facebook said it wouldn’t use the bank data for ad-targeting purposes or share it with third parties.

Sure. I might know about some beachfront property for sale north of Santa Fe, too.

Any bank that hooks up with Facebook in any way loses my business altogether.  Full stop.

Department of YGTBSM Department

Recall the California (and others) foolishness in banning plastic straws.  Now there’s a company, FinalStraw, that makes metal straws.  They’re steel.  They’re collapsible.  And they come with a carrying case.

What’s next—”cigarette” holders for vapers?

Some people’s children.  Jeez.

A Next Step

A step has been taken to mitigate the destructiveness of Obamacare.  A new rule has been promulgated by the Trump administration that will

allow for the proliferation of cheaper, less-comprehensive health plans that have been restricted by the former Obama administration.

Under the rule, actual health insurance plans will be allowed that cover a range of health-related matters that more closely align with a customer’s interests.  These plans also will be good for a year and be renewable for a total of three years, a drastic improvement over Obamacare’s limit of 90 days.  A further improvement of this rule:

Based on What Law?

Federal District Judge Robert Lasnik of the Western District of Washington has blocked, temporarily, the online distribution of blueprints for printing 3-D guns.  Lasnik’s temporary restraining order is subsequent to a settlement reached between Defense Distributed and State (which previously had blocked the posting of the plans) that functionally set aside State’s security objections to the posting.  The State of Washington, et al., then sued to reinstate the prior block.

In decrying the settlement that’s the subject of his TRO, Lasik wrote

Equal Outcomes

New York has them.

A 7-yr-old in New York tried to sell lemonade from his stand last week, and he was shut down by the State’s Health Department.  He didn’t have the required business license, you see.

Up stepped Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), who offered to pony up for the boy’s license next year.  As if a child needs one.  However, as the WSJ put it regarding this Progressive-Democrat version of largesse,

will [Cuomo] pay for every child in New York caught up in illicit lemonade sales?


Paying for Health Care

John Cochrane correctly decried the costs of health care in today’s economy, but he has the wrong solution.

Why is paying for health care such a mess in America? Why is it so hard to fix? Cross-subsidies are the original sin.

No, cross-subsidies, “sinful” as they are, are not the original sin.  The original sin is government involvement at all in the form of any sort of subsidy.  Far from the subheadline’s claim that “honest subsidies” (eliding the oxymoronic nature of that label) would encourage competition and innovation, they’d do the opposite, as all subsidies do: they’d suppress competition and innovation by giving the government-favored recipients a government-mandated advantage over their government disfavored competitors, freeing the one from competition’s pressures to innovate and reducing the other’s access to resources needed to innovate—and stifling competition’s engine, the need to innovate to stay ahead of rivals.

Are Tariffs Protectionist?

Certainly, they can be.  And tariffs, for a long time, were intended to protect domestic industry from foreign competition as well as being a major source of income for a nation.  Our own nation was a skilled practitioner of the tariff arts for our first 125+ years and again during the Great Depression and the aftermath.

And that’s the line the Koch brothers are taking with regard to President Donald Trump’s tariff impositions.

The urge to protect ourselves from change has doomed many countries throughout history.  This protectionist mind-set has destroyed countless businesses.

Who’s Doing the Blocking?

Yoram Hazony has a book coming out—The Virtue of Nationalism—that he wanted to advertise on Facebook.  Fat chance.  After he accepted Facebook’s Boost Post process, he got some boosted postings of his book, and then he got

Your ad was not approved because your Page has not been authorized to run ads with political content.

Never mind that the book is a history of the rise of the nation-state and a comparison of nationalism with imperialism.  Doesn’t matter.  It’s about nationalism, and so it’s political.