The New Left

The modern Left and their Progressive-Democratic Party are showing their true heart, and there’s no room for freedom in it; there’s not even room for disagreement.

The Progressive-Democrat movement already has attempted to mass murder Republican Congressmen gathered for a baseball practice, nearly succeeding in the case of Steve Scalise (R, LA).

Now we have two Republican candidates for Minnesota state office being assaulted.

One suffered a concussion from his assault; the other was assaulted as she (!) tried to prevent the theft of campaign yard signs already erected in yards.

Building It

Chao Deng’s piece in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal chronicled the failure of People’s Republic of China rampant infrastructure spending to stimulate economic activity.

China bolstered economic growth for decades by pouring trillions of dollars into roads, factories, railroads and more, and doubled down to protect the economy from the global financial crisis of the last decade.

Deng went to lengths to point out that, for all those trillions, businesses did not appear, factories remain unused, roads and railroads are only lightly traveled, and even the high rise apartment buildings remain largely empty.

The EU and National Sovereignty

Poland enacted a law at the start of the year that lowered the mandatory retirement age of all of its judges from 70 to 65.  This resulted, among other things, in the required retirement for 27 of the nation’s 72 Supreme Court judges (a too-big Court, anyway IMNSHO, and they ought not be replaced, but that’s a separate story).

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS [Prawo i Sprawiedliwość]) party says the changes are necessary to a justice system they say is controlled by an untouchable “caste” of judges steeped in communist-era mentality.

The European Union has demurred.

Drift

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, had some thoughts on how the US should interact with today’s People’s Republic of China.  Among other things, he wants three key areas of disagreement to be accepted and…managed.  (I’ll leave aside his blithe, and erroneous, assertion that the “trade war” between the PRC and us is our doing and not the PRC’s.)

The most realistic option for the future is to focus on managing the two countries’ major disagreements. This approach has worked for four decades when it comes to Taiwan.

Decisions

In a Wall Street Journal article Monday, Google’s MFWIC, Sundar Pichai, defended his decision to support the People’s Republic of China with a Google “search” engine that’s carefully compliant with PRC censorship requirements.

What interests me this time, though, is this bit:

Mr Pichai…played down the idea that the Project Maven decision was made only based on employee feedback. He said Google has also listened to experts in ethics and artificial intelligence.

Project Maven is a DoD program intended to develop artificial intelligence for American national defense purposes—including, yes, an improved ability to kill our enemies when they attack us.

Pharma and Drug Prices

The Trump administration has proposed a rule that would require companies advertising drugs to provide the list prices of those drugs in their advertising—including their television advertising.  Big Pharma is opposed, and wants instead to be left to voluntarily provide pricing information by having links in their advertising that would guide folks to a separate Web site.

I sympathize with Big Pharma on this. Government regulation already is out of hand; the Trump administration is reducing that, and this is an unnecessary addition.

There is an alternative.

Income Taxes and Retirement Savings

Professor Benjamin Harris (Kellogg School of Management) made a case for redoing our 401(k) retirement savings system.  He had several good points, too: the tax break today compared to the taxes due on withdrawal during retirement’s usually lower tax rate is irrelevant to those whose current income is low enough to go untaxed or not taxed much.  Contributions are tax deductions vs tax credits equal to a portion of contributions.  The whole system is complex from a tax-figuring perspective (what are the tax brackets in play for a particular saver, what taxes will be in play when the saver retires, how will investments perform in the interim).

Discrimination

The discrimination suit against Harvard is underway, and the first day produced some interesting claims.

William Fitzsimmons, Harvard’s admissions dean since 1986, defended the policy [of favoring some applicants over others on the basis of race] by saying the letters to white students in more rural states help the school recruit from areas where students may be less aware of Harvard.

This is nonsense. If student awareness were the goal, instead of sending letters to favored individuals, Harvard would advertise, would communicate with the junior high schools and high schools of those rural areas.

A Couple of Questions

I don’t often cite PowerLine, but here’s a statistic that wants a little discussion.

It wasn’t easy for the Times/Siena poll locate its sample of 800 likely voters. The poll made 51,983 calls in search of those 800 likely voters.

This is what The New York Times said about the sample—absent the hype:

Can Democrats turn Texas blue? We made 51,983 calls, and 800 people spoke to us.

Hyped or blandly reported, this is a statistic without context, and so it’s meaningless.

A Quality of Education

A Harvard junior has had the effrontery to write an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that’s critical of Harvard and its admission practice.  In the piece, he cited a criticism he gets when he’s rude enough to comment on campus.

How can you be against affirmative action? That’s racist[.]

What a sad commentary this is on the quality of education available at our colleges and universities, especially one that pretends to superiority. Plainly, Harvard, et al., are teaching nothing of logic or history, only bald ideology. Any program that carries race (and gender, as affirmative action programs do) as criteria for admission, or any other gain, is by design racist (and sexist). And, this racist and sexist design was built in at the origin of affirmative action programs, including Harvard’s.