America • Cultural Marxism • Energy • Environment

Climate Cult Exploits Harvey

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Shortly before Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, meteorologist and climate writer Eric Holthaus unleashed a Twitter torrent confessing his depression about the new president. Holthaus admitted he was seeing a counselor due to his “climate despair” and whimpered that it was difficult to work or do much of anything.

“We don’t deserve this planet,” Holthaus tweeted. “There are (many) days when I think it would be better off without us.”

But Hurricane Harvey has apparently boosted Holthaus’ spirits. He is working at a feverish pace now, churning out a number of “I-told-you-so” articles and interviews. By Monday, Holthaus had already penned an overwrought article for Politico, where he wags a literary finger at us:

We knew this would happen, decades ago. We knew this would happen, and we didn’t care. Now is the time to say it as loudly as possible: Harvey is what climate change looks like. More specifically, Harvey is what climate change looks like in a world that has decided, over and over, that it doesn’t want to take climate change seriously.

There was more back-patting: “If we don’t talk about the climate context of Harvey, we won’t be able to prevent future disasters and get to work on that better future. Those of us who know this need to say it loudly.”

Nothing like a devastating Category 4 hurricane to cure those climate blues!

Of course, Holthaus is not alone. Before the first raindrops started to fall in Houston, climate activists and their propagandists in the media were already blaming Harvey on man-made global warming. But that wasn’t enough. President Trump, his voters, and the Republican Congress are also culpable. Oliver Willis, a writer for the anti-Trump website Shareblue, suggested via several tweets Sunday morning that the hurricane could have been avoided had we listened to Al Gore, honored the Paris Climate Accord, and elected Hillary Clinton:

https://twitter.com/owillis/status/901839258759159810

Even though some cooler heads in the scientific community cautioned against politicizing the hurricane while people were losing their lives, homes, and every possession, activists and the media would hear nothing of it. They persisted. Pope Francis even got in on the action, calling for a world day of prayer for the care of creation: “We appeal to those who have influential roles to listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, who suffer the most from ecological imbalance.”

It’s impossible to catalog all the ridiculous comments and accusations made over the past week, so a few highlights will have to suffice. In a CNN.com article, Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University professor and regular climate scold, demanded the resignation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott over the hurricane: “Once the immediate crisis ends, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, should resign with an apology to his state and his country. Then the Texas delegation in Congress should make a public confession. They have lied to their constituents for too long, expecting the rest of America to keep bailing them out.” Sachs called Texas a “moral hazard state” (he must have missed all the amazing videos of Texans helping each other regardless of color or political persuasion) because “Houston is an oil town, and the American oil industry has been enemy No. 1 of climate truth and climate preparedness.” Despicable.

Some cheered the devastation. George Monbiot, a particularly noxious climate writer for The Guardian, implied Houston deserved what it got:

The storm ripped through the oil fields, forcing rigs and refineries to shut down, including those owned by some of the 25 companies that have produced more than half the greenhouse gas emissions humans have released since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Hurricane Harvey has devastated a place in which climate breakdown is generated, and in which the policies that prevent it from being addressed are formulated.

Cenk Uyger, co-host of a YouTube news roundtable called “The Young Turks” (he’s not so young, as it happens), best represented the unintellectual and unscientific view of the climate cult when he said this on Monday:

So, if you’re one of those snowflakes who is going to get triggered when I say this has to do with climate change, go ahead and cry right now. If you’re gonna say it’s too say it’s too soon, I’m gonna say it’s too late. It’s not too soon to talk about climate change, we should have talked about it a long time ago so these storms wouldn’t be this severe. If you are a knucklehead who doesn’t understand science, and you say, oh well we used to have storms like this before, that doesn’t answer anything.

Alrighty, then. After we clear away the bluster, blame, and political posturing, what does the science say? Despite warnings after Hurricane Katrina that huge storms would increase in the near future, it has been 12 years since a major hurricane hit the U.S. mainland, and Harvey is only the fourth Category 4 or 5 hurricane since 1970. Between 1929 and 1969, the United States suffered through 14 storms of that magnitude.

Roger Pielke, Jr. is a leading expert on extreme weather; he has been personally and professionally attacked by climate alarmists for his scientific evidence debunking the false claim that climate change causes more extreme weather events such as hurricanes. “Scientific assessments, including those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. government’s latest National Climate Assessment, indicate no long-term increases in the frequency or strength of hurricanes in the U.S. Neither has there been an increase in floods, droughts, and tornadoes, though heat waves and heavy precipitation have become more common,” Pielke wrote in Friday’s Wall Street Journal.

He denounced those politicizing Harvey, noting “without data to support their wilder claims, climate partisans have now resorted to shouting that every extreme weather event was somehow ‘made worse’ by the emission of greenhouse gases.” Pielke suggests a better solution is to focus on preparing for weather catastrophes rather than assigning blame.

But alas, laying blame is what liberals and Democratic politicians do best. Rather than make a compelling case based on science or evidence, they exploit tragedy to advance their agenda, which has less to do with science and everything to do with control. Whether it’s a massive storm, violence in an American college town, or a mass shooting, these folks only know how to reflexively respond with emotion. A destructive deluge in America’s fourth largest city is no exception.

 

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Big Media • Congress • Conservatives • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Energy • Environment • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • Immigration • Law and Order • Political Parties • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trade • Trump White House

How to Right the Ship

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Ever since Donald Trump declared his candidacy for the presidency, the media assault on him, his family, and his supporters has been blistering and relentless. As a result, millions of Americans—and billions of people around the world—have developed a warped, even demoniacal, impression of the sitting president of the United States.

Nevertheless, given this media pummeling, Trump’s approval ratings, especially among Republicans, have held up remarkably well. Lately, though, there have been signs that even the president’s core supporters are wavering, and his poll numbers are dipping. We must analyze and address this alarming development in a clear-eyed way, and we must do what we can to rebuild public confidence in Trump, the Republican Party, and conservatives.

First, though: why the downward trend? President Trump and Republicans have weathered a number of setbacks recently. The media twisted a story about Donald Trump, Jr. seeking information on Democratic collusion with Russia into confirmation of Trump’s collusion with Russia—no small feat, given the utter absurdity of the underlying logic.

Republican efforts in the Senate to repeal and replace Obamacare have hit a wall of opposition from recalcitrant members of their own party—elected officials who promised their constituents a fix was on the way, but who are unwilling to vote for anything but a perfect bill. As a result, it is unclear whether Republicans in Congress will keep years of consistent promises to abolish Obamacare and replace it with something better. In addition, Trump’s chief of staff and chief spokesman resigned under pressure, and his new communications director was let go after just 10 days. The apparent instability in the administration, combined with rumors of further dissension within the ranks, have fed a narrative of “chaos” at the highest levels of our government.

It’s true, some of Trump’s own actions have reinforced the media’s negative characterizations. Trump’s tweets are sometimes juvenile and it’s odd to see a president attacking his critics personally. More importantly, Trump has not shown the necessary discipline in articulating his positions on major issues, like the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. He has vacillated on what the Republicans’ best course is: repeal and replace, repeal then replace, or sit back and watch Obamacare collapse under its own weight. He has also alternately complimented and cajoled his fellow Republicans, who in turn have offered him less than full support. Trump openly criticized his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Some senators, meanwhile, such as Jeff Flake of Arizona, have lambasted the president. Others have refused to vote for Obamacare-related bills that the Republican leadership and Trump have endorsed. Perhaps most distressingly, Republicans have joined with Democrats in pursuing the farcical investigation of alleged “Trump-Russia” ties. In the process, the Republican Party has become more disunited and dysfunctional than it has been in a long time—which is quite a feat.

How to fix these problems? The first step may well be one that President Trump has already taken: the appointment of General John Kelly, his Homeland Security secretary, to replace Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff. Kelly is greatly respected on both sides of the aisle, and he may be just the man to bring greater discipline and focus to the West Wing. The next task will be to hire a communications director who can plug the press leaks that have fed the false media narratives about the president. Anthony Scaramucci had his charms, and seemed intent on rooting out leakers, but his presence became too much of a distraction and he had to go. It’s crucial for an experienced, competent, and less combative communications director to craft the administration’s message and do a better job of harnessing Trump’s own brand of eloquence to deliver it. The president is at his best when he speaks directly to the people.

Above all, the Republican message should be coordinated at all levels, and members of the administration, members of Congress, and party officials need to be on the same page. That’s a big ask. Fact is, the Trump phenomenon has exposed fissures among the Republican and conservative coalition hitherto concealed. Where grassroots Republicans have been keen to fight back against the media and Democratic Party’s attacks on the president, most professional Republicans have flinched and buckled. By showing weakness, they ensure that the attacks against them will intensify, and their agenda will be derailed. By standing together, unapologetically, in defense of their principles, Republicans and conservatives can not only achieve their goals but also maintain the support and confidence of Americans.

The best recipe for a turnaround in fortunes for Trump and Republicans, in the end, is success, which begets more success. Republicans need to repeal Obamacare, as promised. They need to overhaul the immigration system and the tax code, as promised. They need to lighten the regulatory burden and unleash economic growth, as promised. These are all reforms that unite Republicans and conservatives and, more importantly, appeal to large swathes of Americans. If the Democrats want to vote no, so be it, but Republicans have it in their power to deliver wins on these issues to the country, and to themselves. That would be a good start to changing the political dynamics that, for the moment, have turned against Trump and his supporters.

One way or another, though, this too shall pass. If nothing else, we can simply wait for Democrats to squander their advantages and self-destruct, as they so often do. No condition is permanent, especially in politics. Trump, and Republicans, will surely rise again.

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California • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Energy • Environment • GOPe • Government Reform • Hollywood • The Culture • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

Who’s Really Lying About Climate Change?

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Arnold Schwarzenegger really should be careful about calling people liars. Especially when he’s trying to pass off faith as scientific fact.

Maybe you saw the former governor and erstwhile action star berating conservatives the other day for refusing to accept his view that the answer to climate change is the heavy hand of government.

“Don’t those conservative Republicans get the message?” he asked. “And can’t they just think about it for a second and say, ‘Maybe we should stop lying to the people.’ Stop lying to the people. Stop it.”

Lying, eh? It’s a wonder he didn’t add, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

Schwarzenegger was on hand Tuesday for Gov. Jerry Brown’s big cap-and-trade bill signing ceremony on Treasure Island in San Francisco. After months of wrangling and the eventual defection of eight Republicans, Brown and the Democrats succeeded in extending the program until 2030.

Read the rest at the Sacramento Bee

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2016 Election • America • Cultural Marxism • Donald Trump • Education • Environment • Identity Politics • Immigration • Obama • political philosophy • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker)

Inside Chomsky-World

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Some 35 years ago I attended a party in honor of Noam Chomsky. A group of us stood around him, hearing his thoughts on the relevance of psychology to linguistic theory. Inevitably, conversation flagged—not least because he didn’t see much relevance in it—so I piped in. I had just seen an ad in Forbes featuring Chomsky, and I asked him how that had come about. What followed was an hour-long lecture on American Middle-East policy. The group dwindled as he went on. Soon I was the only one left listening. His account was multifaceted, intricate, and utterly brilliant. As far as I could tell, it touched on reality only lightly. But it was an intellectual tour de force of a sort.

That brings me to philosopher George Yancy’s interview with Chomsky the other day in the New York Times. To say that it touches on reality lightly would be far too kind.

So, why talk about it at all? Because some people are still listening. I have friends on the Left who think highly of this interview. They believe it captures something important. And I want to understand what they see in it. I’m interested in how people on the Left are thinking about our current political moment.

I used to understand liberals. We tended to share the same goals, though we might prioritize them differently. We disagreed about various empirical questions. But we could discuss them openly and rationally.

That rarely seems possible now. I no longer understand why many of my political opponents see the world as they do. Whatever they are, they aren’t liberals. I find it hard to find common ground. And that worries me.

Consider Yancy’s opening question: “Given our ‘post-truth’ political moment and the growing authoritarianism we are witnessing under President Trump . . . .”

Stop right there. What “growing authoritarianism”? Let’s see, it’s been five months. Has Trump sent stormtroopers to assault members of other parties? Has he jailed thousands of Democrats, including their political leaders, for thought crimes? Has he cajoled the Congress to grant all legislative power to his cabinet? Did he burn down the Capitol and blame it on the Democrats? Has he opened concentration camps for his political opponents? Have his followers roamed campuses burning books? No? Within five months of seizing power Hitler had done all that.

What are these people talking about?

Apparently, Chomsky’s answer reveals, climate change, “a truly existential threat to survival of organized human life.” That’s right. Climate change—and the North Carolina legislature and Trump administration declining to act on it.

If this seems out of proportion to authoritarianism rhetoric, that’s because it is.

It’s also an article of quasi-religious faith rather than a rational conclusion. Yancy and Chomsky assume that science shows us that we face an existential threat. Neither is trained in environmental science. Has either read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report—not the political summary, but the whole thing? Do they read scientific journals on the topic? Are they familiar with the arguments of critics such as Richard Lindzen and Roger Pielke? Do they read blogs by critics such as Watts Up with That? Can they discuss the differences between satellite data sets? The differences between those, oceanic measurements, and surface records? Are they familiar with the variation among existing models? Can they explain why some ought to be preferred to others? If so, no sign of it here. The issue isn’t up for debate.

North Carolina’s legislators, like members of the Trump Administration, view climate change models with skepticism, as the products of political activism as much as science. (Disclosure: I studied environmental physics in the 1970s, when the big fear was global cooling. That alone makes me skeptical. But, also, I do follow the science, which seems to me inconclusive on the causal questions that would drive policy.)

But maybe Chomsky is right. Why is disagreeing with him on climate issues “authoritarian”? His explanation: Trump has decided to “ban regulations and even research and discussion of environmental threats and race to the precipice as quickly as possible (in the interests of short-term profit and power).”

Notice the conflations evident in this passage. “Ban regulations”? The president is the head of the executive branch. He has the authority to issue orders to his subordinates; it’s not authoritarian to use the authority you legitimately possess. And deciding not to regulate something—not to exert control over it—is not authoritarian.

“Ban… even research and discussion”? That starts to sound authoritarian. But no one has done it. Within the executive branch, again, the president has the right to order people not to spend their work time pursuing such matters. They are free to research and discuss whatever they want when not on the clock. Scientists outside government face no restrictions at all.

“Race to the precipice as quickly as possible”? To my knowledge the president has not commanded that emissions be maximized.

“In the interests of short-term profit and power”? Note Chomsky’s willingness to ascribe motives to his opposition without bothering to examining what they believe and why.

Chomsky’s conflations are instructive, for we get a hint here of what he finds authoritarian: exerting control over the administrative state. Regulatory agencies, in his view, should be able to act independently of any higher executive or legislative authority. Like a group of Platonic guardians, they should have complete authority over their domains; attempts to encroach on their independence are inherently pernicious. Chomsky’s vision is oligarchic. His opposition, in contrast, finds the risk of authoritarianism in the power of the administrative state. Holding it accountable to the people by way of Congress or the president isn’t authoritarian. It’s precisely the opposite.

Yancy asks what people can do when the situation is “so incredibly hopeless and repressive.” Why he finds it so remains unexplained.

Chomsky is more optimistic. He smears the Republican Party as “ultra-reactionary,” for reasons that again go unexplained, but finds hope in the 2016 Sanders campaign, which failed only because “elections are pretty much bought.”

That’s why Jeb Bush won the Republican nomination and Hillary won the election.

But could someone as far Left as Sanders have won? On Chomsky’s political spectrum, Sanders was a moderate; he merely advocated “mildly progressive (basically New Deal) programs.” Remember: Sanders repeatedly called for a political revolution. Anyone remember FDR doing that? Roosevelt didn’t promise a universal basic income or free college to everyone, either.

That tells us something about Chomsky’s spectrum, and about the way Leftists tend to see American politics more generally. I have heard others make similar remarks over the years, as if having a radically shifted spectrum were a badge of honor. Chomsky concludes that the Democrats have been failing because they haven’t gone far enough to the left!

Chomsky outlines Trump’s designs:

  • “Creating a tiny America”—MAGA!
  • “Isolated from the world”—How? Trump is no isolationist, as his foreign policy so far has demonstrated amply.
  • “Cowering in fear behind walls”—You mean, actually pursuing an immigration policy based on our self-interest, which virtually every other nation on earth outside the EU does?
  • “While pursuing the Paul Ryan-style domestic policies that represent the most savage wing of the Republican establishment.”—Brother, if you think Paul Ryan is savage, you really need to meet my alt-right friends.

What, other than global warming, worries Chomsky? Modernizing our nuclear arsenal: “As we have recently learned”—Chomsky often speaks as if new information (surprise!) has demonstrated conclusively what he has been saying all along—“the modernized U.S. nuclear force is seriously fraying the slender thread on which survival is suspended.” He somehow misses that the point of a nuclear arsenal lies not in its use but in deterrence. If no one has confidence that your weapons will fire or explode because they were built 40 years ago, their deterrent effect is reduced.

What is this new information to which Chomsky is privy? It’s in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. To quote Obi-wan Kenobi, “Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long, long time.” Those are the guys with Communist connections and the doomsday clock always pointed to a few minutes before midnight. They were ridiculous alarmists in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s and haven’t gotten any better. They think Trump has brought us back to 1953 levels of hostility. He’s out to provoke nuclear war with Russia!

If Donald Trump is an authoritarian monster who wants nuclear war, why do so many people support him? Yancy refers to their “servile deference.”

[In a robotic voice: All hail Donald! He never lies, and he’s always right!]

But Chomsky demurs, arguing that Trump voters are affluent, reactionary, nervous about their social and economic position, and of course racist and sexist. He does note that median income has fallen significantly in the past decade. That might have had something to do with voters’ rejection of Hillary’s promise of more of the same. But Chomsky finds that explanation too simple. The real problem, he says, is “Fox News, talk radio and other practitioners of alternative facts.”

We could easily turn that around: Democrats are so disconnected from reality because they depend on the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and other “practitioners of alternative facts.”

Faced with divergent accounts of reality, shaped as much by what they omit as by what they include and how much of it is true, a reasonable person ought to seek ways of evaluating those accounts or, failing that, suspend judgment. But Chomsky simply takes his account for granted and moves on.

The Republicans aren’t just wrong; they’re criminal. Republicans want “to destroy the conditions for organized social existence.” They want “to enhance the already dire threat of terminal nuclear war.” They want “to deprive tens of millions of health care and to drive helpless people out of nursing homes.” Evidently, in Chomsky-world, Donald Trump seeks to blow up the world and send us all back to the Stone Age. He wants to take us back to the situation before St. Obama, when there were tens of millions dying in the streets, when the death rate was astronomical, when the elderly wandered through neighborhoods, begging for scraps of food, peering through windows longing for a glimpse of what they used to have, looking in vain for a place to die . . . .

Chomsky concludes: “It’s easy to condemn those we place on the other side of some divide”—finally, something this interview amply demonstrates.

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America • Cultural Marxism • Defense of the West • Environment • feminists • Identity Politics • Religion and Society • The Culture • The Left

There’s More Than One Way to Destroy an Environment

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The Establishment Left went into full meltdown over President Trump’s unceremonious withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, which Barack Obama had signed with such fanfare. Naturally, former Vice President Al Gore weighed in, calling the move a “reckless and indefensible action.” Hillary called it an “historic mistake.” Leonardo DiCaprio said it was “careless.” And, in oft-repeated tones now losing their impact, Mark Hertsgaard in the Nation described the president’s decision as a “crime against humanity.”

The Paris Accords, of course, have numerous defects that have been well described by others. It’s expensive. It won’t significantly slow down the growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide. It would require a massive transfer of wealth from the First World to the Third World.

And it rests on a shaky foundation. The notion of manmade global warming, while trumpeted in the media as the consensus of science, is unscientific in many important respects. Real science involves experiments, predictions, and falsifiable hypotheses. Global warming theory, by contrast, involves extrapolations from computer models that have had a dismal record of predicting near-future events, let alone what may happen in 100 years. Indeed, this failure to make accurate predictions is now so pronounced that the meaningless term “climate change” has replaced “global warming,” because the last decade’s predicted rise in temperature has failed to materialize.

Climate, of course, has changed much in the past, with several ice ages followed by warming periods, both before and during man’s existence on this planet. The data on which global warming models are based has been entangled with numerous flaws, when they were not outright fraudulent. At the same time, the role of the sun, the oceans, and various unknowns remain mysteries to a great extent.

What is most curious, though, is what is most taken for granted: the association of the political Left and “climate change” hysteria. After all, the Left now prefers the term “progressive,” and progressivism is fundamentally an optimistic attitude about change. The simplest explanation for the Left’s enthusiasm, of course, is that modern environmentalism is driven by Left-wing hostility to technology and capitalism, and a desire to undo the West’s preeminence in the same. A feature, not a bug, of most climate change policies is empowering international institutions and the West’s Third World competitors.

At the heart of climate change rhetoric one finds a salutary impulse: taking steps in the present to prevent an avoidable disaster in the future. This represents the theme of Cassandras from time immemorial, whether Edmund Burke’s prediction of the tragedy of the French Revolution or Enoch Powell’s prescient warning of mass immigration in his “rivers of blood” speech. Indeed, one may consider this wariness of irreversible and immoderate change the most fundamental conservative instinct.

Not long ago, it was conservatives who criticized the mania for industrialization and championed conservation. Richard Weaver famously wrote in Ideas Have Consequences:

It is a matter of elementary observation that nature reflects some kind of order which was here before our time and which, even after atomic fission, defies our effort at total comprehension. . . We get increasing evidence under the regime of science that to meddle with small parts of a machine whose total design and purpose we are ignorant produces evil consequences.

What is undeniable and completely illogical is that those on the Left concerned about our impact on the globe 100 years hence and counseling against air conditioners and styrofoam cups do not share this concern in other more immediate matters with more tangible impact.

Whether the subject is family relations, sexual mores, or multiculturalism, the Left has no fear of change whatsoever, even though many more civilizations have disappeared through corruption, decadence, and hostile invaders than have through a small variance in the thermometer.

While the earth seems to host life on its most inhospitable corners even after great natural disasters, cultures and nations have proven to be more delicate things. Many civilizations who have failed to adapt have disappeared, either through genocide or incorporation into a more organized competitor. Much of the ordinary work of civilization takes place not through government and force, but through custom. Our expectations, habits, taboos, and assumptions are the product of tradition and folkways. These are taught and retaught among a people, and through them a people acquires a sense of common loyalty, common destiny, and common symbols of good and evil.

As Burke wrote:

The legislators who framed the ancient republics knew that their business was too arduous to be accomplished with no better apparatus than the metaphysics of an undergraduate, and the mathematics and arithmetic of an exciseman. They had to do with men, and they were obliged to study human nature. They had to do with citizens, and they were obliged to study the effects of those habits which are communicated by the circumstances of civil life. They were sensible that the operation of this second nature on the first produced a new combination; and thence arose many diversities amongst men, according to their birth, their education, their professions, the periods of their lives, their residence in towns or in the country, their several ways of acquiring and of fixing property, and according to the quality of the property itself—all which rendered them as it were so many different species of animals.

Historically, American culture and people were Christian and European, and specifically English. Things like the jury system, limited government, the nuclear family structure, our entrepreneurial spirit, notions of fair play, our self-reliant individualism, disdain for nepotism, and distaste for corruption were perfectly natural and widely held beliefs. Conservatives, protective over this highly integrated whole, were wary of the changes that occurred over past 50 years. This had much to do with opposition to the earlier sexual and divorce revolution of the 1970s and their handmaiden, the welfare state. Combined, these phenomena entailed many harms, as well documented by Charles Murray in Coming Apart. But before that damage could be repaired, court-ordered gay marriage came along, and only a few short years later, the mania for transsexualism, even among very young children. Simultaneously, we see an embrace between the Left and Islam, an austere and politicized religion that harbors little tolerance for ordinary Christianity, let alone the post-Christian hedonism promoted by the Left.

What the fruits of all this experimentation will be, no one can say, but what can be said for sure is that a moral consensus centuries in the making has disappeared on a great many subjects.

If burning coal and natural gas were enough to send the planet over the edge, one would think the same spirit of caution would animate tinkering with things like gender roles, women in combat, the introduction of Muslims into Christian societies, and much else. But in these matters the, Left, which superficially embraces a spirit of cautious stewardship in the realm of the atmosphere, embraces that of mad scientist in the moral sphere.

While I am a “global warming” skeptic, I consider it possible that fossil fuel use is doing preventable damage to the earth. I would also say that what can and should be done if that were true is a subject on which reasonable people can disagree. But what is thoroughly unserious and contradictory is the cavalier attitude the Left has brought to bear on our moral environment, when it remains so solicitous of the physical environment.

Man is, above all, a creature of habit, culture, and tradition. From the most universal—thou shall not steal—to the most culturally specific—thou shalt not litter, fail to tip (at least) 15 percent, or wear white after Labor Day—the creation and existence of pleasant, functioning, and safe communities depends on various prejudices and habits, many of which are not easily justifiable on the basis of immutable first principles, and many of which are hard to recover if they are overwhelmed by baser instincts and alternatives.

The Revolutionaries of 1789 France, like the climate change vanguard, imagined themselves to be applying scientific rationality to practical politics. It was the age of Diderot, the metric system, and the Encyclopédie. They ran roughshod over ancient boundaries and purported to reorganize society on scientific principles. They disdained tradition as a useless artifact that failed to conform to their a priori theories. And, since this change did so much violence to the preexisting order, they faced massive resistance, engaged in massive blood-letting, and ushered in a century of internal instability.

While “climate change” may be inevitable, a prudent concern for the future is fundamentally conservative. But man’s flourishing varies more by his culture and laws and countrymen, than by his physical environment.

Even now the basic contours of American life remain intact from “sea to shining sea.” But the introduction of a few tens of millions of hostile aliens, or alien customs in our domestic family life, portends far more trouble today and tomorrow than anything going on in the atmosphere.

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America • Asia • Donald Trump • Economy • Environment • Foreign Policy • Trade

If You Thought the Trans-Pacific Partnership Was Bad, Get a Load of This

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Donald Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the much-reviled Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on his first day in office.

This was a big win for his supporters, his detractors—America as a whole.

The problem is that leaving TPP is meaningless as long as America remains in the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). What is TiSA? It’s a proposed international agreement among the United States, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Chile, Columbia, Peru, Norway, Switzerland, Pakistan, and Turkey. Although is has been through 21 rounds of negotiations since 2013, very few people know it exists—fewer still know what it does. Put simply, TiSA deregulates international banks and financial firms, voids internet privacy laws, and broadens the definition of “services” to include manufactured goods, thereby reviving TPP.

Basically, TiSA was designed as a backdoor to ensure unfettered economic globalization could continue if TPP died—it was a failsafe. This becomes increasingly clear when looking at documents released by WikiLeaks.

To the extent the Obama Administration discussed TiSA at all, U.S. trade officials contended the agreement would “create economic opportunity for U.S. workers and businesses by expanding trade opportunities.” Cutting through the boilerplate, TiSA would be much larger than TPP, and would have a similar effect. That is TiSA broadly, but the Devil’s in the details.

According Wikileaks, article nine of TiSA’s draft language would eliminate additional regulations for foreign financial institutions, ensuring that countries cannot make separate rules for foreign-owned banks. Ideally, this levels the playing field; in reality it would confer major advantages to foreign institutions over their American competition. Why? Because sub-national governments, such as U.S. states or Canadian provinces, often draw artificial boundaries to protect their local financial firms from competitors in New York or Toronto.

The utility of such regulations is hotly debated, but both sides should agree that TiSA would make things worse. Under TiSA, regulations would remain in effect domestically, but would not apply to foreign firms. Thus, big British banks, like HSBC or Barclay’s, would have a field day out-competing local American banks. It would be open season.

Another problem: according to an analysis by Public Citizen, companies would have the right to sell financial derivatives, including those not yet invented, in all participating countries. Essentially, individual countries would lose the right to restrict the type of financial products sold. This is a recipe for spreading financial contagion globally.

Next, article 10 of TiSA undermines Internet privacy by banning restrictions on the transfer of information in “electronic or other form” from any “financial service supplier.” This is a problem because “financial service suppliers” are not limited to corporations such as banks, but also include Internet service providers and data aggregators, including Facebook and Google. In essenceessense, TiSA would stop countries from making regulations that prohibit the movement of data beyond its borders, giving foreign firms free reign. TiSA would make “borderless data” international law.

The personal privacy ramifications of TiSA are obvious, but TiSA could also impact U.S. national security, as well as that of our allies. For example, German privacy laws preventing the transfer of data to Turkey would be voided—this could be a major problem, especially with the rise and radicalization the Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The same is true here: TiSA would make it much easier for foreign firms to act as moles. It makes us more vulnerable to blackmail, fraud, or other forms of cyberattack.

Finally, although TiSA was supposed to facilitate the free flow of services—for example, making it easier to hire a foreign accounting or engineering firm—the agreement goes well beyond that narrow scope. In fact, TiSA resurrects TPP by redefining “services” so broadly that many manufactured goods are covered. In effect, TiSA operates as a shadowy version of TPP.

As Deborah James of the Center for Economic Policy Research explains:

Corporations no longer consider setting up a plant and producing goods to be simply ‘manufactured goods.’ This activity is now broken down into research and development services, design services, construction services, energy services, employment contracting services, consulting services, manufacturing services, adult education services, payroll services, maintenance services, refuse disposal services, warehousing services, data management services, telecommunications services, audiovisual services, banking services, marketing services, retail services, postal and expedited delivery services, and after-sales servicing, to name a few.

Going further, a shoe or watch that measures steps or sleep could be a fitness monitoring service, not a good. A driver-less (sic) car could be a transport service, not an automobile. Google and Facebook could be information services and communication services, respectively.

Almost any modern good could technically be interpreted as a service under TiSA, and therefore TiSA revives the bulk of TPP. This will help facilitate increased offshore outsourcing, and will do tremendous damage to America’s economy.

But beyond that: Americans were against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and they would be against Trade in Services Agreement if they knew about it. In order for President Trump to fulfil his promise to Americans, he needs to scrap TiSA, just as he jettisoned the TPP. Thankfully, TiSA negotiations are currently on hold. That means Americans still have time to learn about TiSA, and resist it. It is not too late.

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America • Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Economy • Energy • Environment • EU • Europe • Greatness Agenda • self-government • The Constitution • The Left • Trump White House

“Pittsburgh Not Paris” Triggers the Eco-Nuts

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I have only now stopped laughing. I was going to write about President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord the other day, but the reflexive and hysterical insanity emanating from the anti-Trump eco-nuts had me in stitches. John Kerry (who signed the accord in 2015): “one of the most shameful [decisions] any president has made.” Bill “It’s-not-easy-being-green” McKibben: the withdrawal “undercuts our civilization’s chances of surviving global warming.” Yikes, Bill, really? The billionaire Dem donor Tom Steyer: “a traitorous act of war against the American people.” Wow.

Everyone seemed to be trying to outdo the next fellow in hyperbole. The Daily News reprised a variation on its most famous headline: “Trump to World: Drop Dead.” The angst was international. You don’t need much German to translate the headline from the Berliner Kurier: “Erde an Trump: Fuck You!” And so on.

Trump’s most memorable line—”I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”—was greeted by the ambulatory jelly that is the mayor of Pittsburgh with categorical repudiation. “Fighting climate change,” said Mayor William Peduto, “will not only save our planet, but save lives.” Try getting your head around that statement when you have a spare hour.

Hysteria on the Left was universal. But as many cooler-headed commentators observed, one of the really amusing things is that the Paris Accord means exactly nothing. Since it requires nothing of its signatories, it will yield nothing from them. As an editorial in The Wall Street Journal pointed out, “amid the outrage, the aggrieved still haven’t gotten around to resolving the central Paris contradiction, which is that it promises to be Earth-saving but fails on its own terms. It is a pledge of phony progress.”

The 195 signatory nations volunteered their own carbon emission-reduction pledges, known as “intended nationally determined contributions,” or INDCs. China and the other developing nations account for 63% of annual global CO2 emissions, and their share is rising. They submitted INDCs that pledged to peak the carbon status quo “around” 2030, and maybe later, or never, since Paris included no enforcement mechanisms to prevent cheating.
Meanwhile, the developed OECD nations—responsible for 55% of world CO2 as recently as 2000—made unrealistic assurances that even they knew they could not achieve. . . . Paris is thus an exercise in moral and social signaling that is likely to exert little if any influence on atmospheric CO2, much less on global temperatures.

Perhaps this is the place to note that CO2 is actually good for Gaia. Plants love the stuff. That’s what they eat. Did you know that the slightly higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere now are actually making the planet greener? Yes, it’s true. And since everyone on the hysterical Left likes to appeal to “science” (the scare quotes are necessary, since most of them know about as much about science as John Kerry or Al “Big-Carbon-Foot-Print” Gore), let me offer them a little instruction manual on the subject, The Climate Surprise: Why CO2 is Good for the Earth. For a very modest consideration and an hour’s reading, they could actually learn a little about the real science of climate change instead of repeating, mantra-like, the dogmatic imprecations that have been passed down to them from their tribal elders.

Trump’s most memorable line—”I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”—was greeted by the ambulatory jelly that is the mayor of Pittsburgh with categorical repudiation. “Fighting climate change,” said Mayor William Peduto, “will not only save our planet, but save lives.” Try getting your head around that statement when you have a spare hour.

But I digress. If the Paris Accord is mere window dressing, which it is, then why the hysteria?

Two reasons, chiefly. One revolves around that “exercise in moral and social signaling” that the WSJ editorial speaks about. The whole climate change industry is a multinational conglomerate issuing toxic plumes of virtue signaling, stultifying for economies and the truth, but catnip for the virtucrats who are acolytes in this pagan cult. In other words, getting on to the climate change bandwagon makes the disciples of this religion feel better about themselves. It’s a simultaneous absolution and holy communion. It is an invitation to smugness, a recipe for an intoxicating shudder of group narcissism: “We few, we happy few, we band of eco-minded fruitcakes.”

As Holman Jenkins put it, Trump declined to attend their church.

The second reason for the hysteria follows from the one serious effect of the climate accord. It has nothing to do with saving the environment. Every candid observer understands that the real end of the accord is not helping “the environment” but handicapping the developed countries. At its core, the accord is intended as a mechanism to redistribute wealth by hampering countries like the United States from exploiting its energy resources and growing its economy. Hamstring the United States, but let countries like China and India—industrial strength polluters, both—do whatever they want.

But I digress. If the Paris Accord is mere window dressing, which it is, then why the hysteria?


Like many international agreements, the unspoken subtext of the Paris Climate Accord is “hamper America. Grab as much of its wealth as you can. Say it’s in the name of ‘fairness.’”

That’s not going to wash with Donald Trump. In this respect, he has returned to a much more traditional view of the role of president. He is not the president of the world. He is the President of the United States. We seek to get along with others, but his first task is to assure the prosperity and well being of the citizens of the United States. America First.

As Andrew McCarthy and others have pointed out, in withdrawing from the Paris Accord, Trump has also returned to a more traditional—which is to say, a constitutional—view of treaties. The Paris Accord was a treaty. But it was never presented to the Senate for ratification. In this respect, it was just another of Obama’s initiatives to circumvent the Constitution and govern by administrative fiat. The reason that the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate to ratify treaties is because treaties can deeply affect the the lives of American citizens. McCarthy explains,

The idea is that no international compact should be imposed on the American people unless an overwhelming majority of elected officials in the upper chamber are convinced . . . that the compact serves the national interests of the United States. Not of the world. Not of the Earth. Not along the lines of harming ourselves in order to set an example for China and India that will purportedly be a boon to humanity and the planet. An international agreement must plainly benefit the American people. If it does not, the treaty clause’s operation will reject it.

That attitude, it can almost go without saying, is the deeper reason the Left hates Trump. As he said in his statement withdrawing from the Paris accord, a clean environment is a high priority for him. But on our terms, not on the terms of countries that seek to harm us. “The United States, under the Trump administration,” he said,

will continue to be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth. We’ll be the cleanest. We’re going to have the cleanest air. We’re going to have the cleanest water. We will be environmentally friendly, but we’re not going to put our businesses out of work and we’re not going to lose our jobs. We’re going to grow; we’re going to grow rapidly.

How the Left hates that: “We will be environmentally friendly, but we’re not going to put our businesses out of work and we’re not going to lose our jobs. We’re going to grow.” For the Left, being environmentally friendly doesn’t count unless it hurts. The idea is that if you really want to help the environment—as distinct from merely saying that you want to help the environment— you need economic growth. Why? Because only through growth will you have the resources to address the real (as distinct from the imaginary) problems besetting the environment.

Like many international agreements, the unspoken subtext of the Paris Climate Accord is “hamper America. Grab as much of its wealth as you can. Say it’s in the name of ‘fairness.’”

As I say, the last day or two has been delicious. There was the comic exhibition of hysteria, but there was also the embarrassing (though also comic) failure of logic. The United States, it was said, should not abandon its leadership role by refusing to follow what other countries are doing. Er, OK.

But among the many reasons to applaud Trump’s courageous decision to withdraw the 2015 climate accord is the independence it signals about Trump himself.

There are always a lot of rumors and innuendo swirling around the American president. But Trump has suffered from a veritable cloud of malicious rumor. “There’s chaos in the White House.” “His advisers hate each other.” “His advisers hate him.” “This faction is getting the upper hand.” “No, that one is.” And so on. One frequently heard suggestion is that Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, form a powerful liberal faction that will influence Trump’s policy on a host of contentious social issues, including environmental issues.

Those who like what Trump promised on the campaign trail should be heartened by Thursday’s announcement. Maybe Ivanka and Jared represent a liberal faction among Trump’s advisers, and doubtless, as relatives, they have privileged access to him. But that did not matter. Trump did what he always suggested he would do: he left the agreement not because he is hostile to the environment but because it was a bad deal for America. “We’re getting out,” he said. “And we will start to renegotiate and we’ll see if there’s a better deal. If we can, great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”

My, how the PC Leftists hated that! But Trump was right. The accord was a bad deal for the United States. Perhaps there’s a better deal to be had. If so: terrific. If not, America will follow its own course.

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Administrative State • America • Americanism • Congress • Deep State • Donald Trump • Economy • Energy • Environment • EU • Political Parties • Republicans • self-government • The Constitution • The Declaration • Trump White House

Self-Government Not Climate at Issue in Paris Agreement

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It’s time for a serious discussion about what just happened with the Paris Climate agreement. President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. participation was not only a fulfillment of his campaign promise and utterly predictable, it was his clear legal prerogative to do it. The Paris agreement was not a treaty; it was not law. It was a personal agreement between Barack Obama and a number of other world leaders. Their agreement not only lacked hard enforcement provisions, they were not binding on the home nations of any of the signators that did not then decide to make it the law of their lands.

For our purposes here, it is less interesting to debate whether or not climate change is natural or man-made, or whether the worst-case scenarios offered about its supposed effects are realistic. Those are questions of judgment and they are not the issue at hand. Instead, we want to focus on the legitimacy of these kinds of international agreements and how they are made under the United States Constitution. In other words, who gets to make the judgments discussed above? And who decides what the United States should do in response to potential climate change?

If the Paris accord had been ratified by the Senate, it would be federal law. If it was law, then President Trump would have no power to withdraw the United States from participating in it.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that climate change is caused directly by man’s activity and that it will lead to catastrophic environmental consequences. Within the next century, coastal cities will be inundated by the oceans, widespread crop failures will lead to worldwide famines, and any number of disastrous events will be the result of our failure to enact the provisions of the Paris Agreement.

If all this is true, then it was the duty of President Obama not only to make a personal agreement with other world leaders, but to make the case for the Paris Agreement to the Senate and the American people. It is only through ratification by the Senate that any agreement made by a President of the United States becomes a treaty under U.S. law.

Article 2, section 2 of the United States Constitution reads, “He (the President) shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.” If the Paris Climate Accord was an issue of primary importance, this should have been done.

If the Paris accord had been ratified by the Senate, it would be federal law. If it was law, then President Trump would have no power to withdraw the United States from participating in it. The primary duty of the President, as stated in section 3 of Article 2 is that, “he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” If it had been a ratified international treaty, President Trump would be obligated to carry out the Paris Agreement, barring an additional act of Congress to repeal it.

Why then was the Paris agreement not presented to the Senate for their ratification? Doubtless, many Democrats would defend then President Obama’s inaction due to the fact that there was a Republican majority in the Senate that might not have been receptive to the pact. That is hardly an acceptable excuse, and it is emblematic of a much deeper problem with President Obama’s take on governing. If the case for the Paris agreement is as clear as its advocates claim, certainly that case could have been made to the Senators and the the people that they represent.

For all their talk about “democracy” and the “people,” the simple truth is that progressives don’t have much use for democratic institutions. They do not really believe in self-government. What they believe in is government by an expert elite who deem it their fate in life to protect the people from themselves.

A poll conducted by the George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication in November of 2016, cited by the Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, The Atlantic and many other legacy media outlets, makes the claim that 71% of Americans support the Paris deal, with only 13% opposed. They go on to say that even a majority of Republicans, including Trump voters, support the Paris agreement. If this is to be believed, certainly the pressure of public opinion might have been mustered to pressure the requisite number of Senators to ratify the agreement and make a treaty, right?

For all their talk about “democracy” and the “people,” the simple truth is that progressives don’t have much use for democratic institutions. They do not really believe in self-government. What they believe in is government by an expert elite who deem it their fate in life to protect the people from themselves.

This was the regular course of action during the Obama presidency. Obama did not deign to make the case through our Constitutionally-mandated system of checks and balances, but sought instead to put into place policies that did not enjoy popular support by empowering unelected bureaucrats who shared his preferences to take on roles never envisioned by the lawmakers who created the laws that empowered them. We can see this nowhere more clearly than in “environmental” policy through the overreach of the Obama EPA.

What progressives in the Democratic Party (and, sadly, many wobbly members of the Republican Party) fail to realize, is that this is what brought them the Trump presidency.

Most of the United States still believes in the Constitution, and in the republican form of self-government. The American people remain capable of governing themselves. As Ronald Reagan said in his first inaugural address,

We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our Government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed. We not only do not need unelected bureaucrats running our lives, we resent their attempts to do so.

This is the grassroots swell that fueled the Reagan Revolution and that elevated Donald Trump to the Republican nomination and Electoral College victory, despite the best efforts of the progressive/media establishment to preserve the old order.

If progressives want to make a counter-argument within our Constitutional framework, they are most welcome to do so. Unlike the progressive bureaucratic order, our republican system does not stymie opposing viewpoints. The system the Founders created allows us as a people to make important decisions through our representatives in Washington. If they can make the stronger argument Progressives can still win. During his brief time in office, President Trump has worked diligently to restore national sovereignty and the principles of a self-governing republic. That, not climate change, is what really frightens progressives.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • America • American Conservatism • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Economy • Education • Electoral College • Energy • Environment • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • Healthcare • Hillary Clinton • History • Immigration • Israel • Political Parties • The Left • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

Trump’s Quiet Victories

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It requires a bit of perspective to see the trend in Washington: nothing fails to succeed like success. When presidents have threatened the Washington condominium of Tweedledee liberal Democrats and barely distinguishable Tweedledum Republicans, and then were seen as successes, opposition flaked off in retreat.

So it was with Richard Nixon, who arrived in Washington with all the baggage from the Alger Hiss affair and the Helen Gahagan Douglas Senate election (in which she called him “Tricky Dick” and he called her “the pink lady-right down to her underwear”), and the Chequers smear, but moved with agility abroad and at home. The president ran gradually better in the polls and was widely respected by the moderate and conservative majority of voters. Of course it all blew up when he mishandled the Watergate affair, but for four years the glacial mass of his opposition melted steadily.

Ronald Reagan incited fears of extremism and was represented as a simplistic dolt who should still be selling 20-Mule Team Borax in a cowboy outfit on television. But he was amiable, a magic public speaker; his tax cuts induced an immense economic boom, and his defense build-up culminating in comprehensive anti-missile defense deescalated and ultimately won the Cold War. The alarmists fell silent and he did not really attack the great Washington sleaze factory’s activities, so they endured him and closed in behind him when he returned to California.

As was foreseen, the response of the solid anti-Trump press after the election was not that public grievances against Washington must be based on something, but rather that there were more racist, sexist, gun-happy, Bible-thumping, lager-lout philistines than had been appreciated.

Donald Trump has not just been a distasteful opponent, as the D.C. political establishment generally considered Nixon; or a convivial Californian outsider like Reagan, who changed economic and strategic course but didn’t attack pillars of Washington incumbency. Nixon and Reagan had contested numerous elections as Republicans, and despite the odd rhetorical flourish, weren’t going to do more than make course corrections from their Democratic predecessors, Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter.

But Trump was different. He launched a movement, paid for his own campaign, (no ghastly fund-raisers with the dumb, opinionated rich), dismissed the Bushes, McCain, and Romney as Clinton-Obama sound-alikes, and frontally assaulted Wall Street, Hollywood, the national media, the lobby system, and every adult in Washington D.C. (which voted 96 percent against him).         

Trump’s crushing victory in the Republican primaries was attributed to the weakness of the other candidates―he would hit a stonewall with Hillary. His victory over Hillary was a freakish product of the vagaries of the electoral system (from which John Quincy Adams, Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, JFK, and George W. Bush also benefited), and of Russian interference via Wikileaks and otherwise, and the conduct of FBI director James Comey. (Comey was at first praised for his “integrity” for recommending against indictment of Mrs. Clinton after recounting a sequence of her likely illegalities.) As was foreseen, the response of the solid anti-Trump press after the election was not that public grievances against Washington must be based on something, but rather that there were more racist, sexist, gun-happy, Bible-thumping, lager-lout philistines than had been appreciated.

In office, the fallback position of the irreconcilables has been that he could not get anything done. Yet he has dismantled the entire self-garrote apparatus promoting global warming and impeding off-shore and shale-oil production, and is dismantling and reversing the welter of financial regulation designed to promote the Dodd-Frank myth that Congress had lacked the authority to prevent the economic calamities created by official inflation of the housing bubble up to 2008, (with the full approval of the Congress). There is steady promotion of charter schools over the ignorance factories of the state school systems reduced to mockery by the teachers’ unions to which the Democratic Party is bound from sandal to mortarboard. 

In foreign policy, though, it is early. The Iranians shriek that the Americans and Russians are replacing them in the Middle East with the Turks; Assad now knows that gassing civilians can be hazardous; Hamas pretends to accept Israel’s right to exist, and the North Koreans denounce China, which created this Frankenstein Monster and sustained it to irritate the West, and which is now reducing trade across the Yalu. The direction, however tentative, is away from the universal contempt for the Obama policy of simply ordering, like a dancing master, that America’s friends and enemies change roles and places.                   

Now it is Trumpism, and not the corrupt left, that is advancing in ant-like, unpublicized, but constant forward movement, every week. The House health care vote confirms Republican solidarity, just six months after Speaker Ryan declined to share a platform with candidate Trump. Trump’s followers, who knew it would be a slog, are solid at near his electoral result in the mid-forties in the polls. His outnumbered media supporters and talk-show and social media backers are in place, despite some grumbling about the Syrian Tomahawk attack from the magnificent Ann Coulter and some others. The intellectual left has gone all the way to the end of the diving board. Michael Kinsley (as intellectual as left-wing journalists get in the U.S.) declares the president a fascist, as if mentioning the side on which his hair is parted. Christopher Browning in the New York Review of Books, with a few pro forma distinctions, laboriously likened Trump with Hitler, at such length that the unwary might imagine that there was a comparison to be made.

The party of Jefferson and FDR is unrecognizable, but it can still be distinguished from a liberal ISIS. The president’s shortcomings are overly notorious, but his enemies are no longer of this world. He will win, and change the nation for the better.

The bizarrerie of the intellectual right is illimitable. My dear and esteemed friend George Will, after an acrobatic exercise in the columnar snobbery that Trump was unaware that Andrew Jackson died 16 years before the start of the Civil War, (Jackson was concerned about the danger of civil war throughout his presidency, as George knows and Mr. Trump was alleging), has fled into the television embrace of Rachel the Madd and Mika Buzzfeed at MSNBC, the most astonishing flight since Joachim von Ribbentrop went to Moscow. They have all walked the plank; President Trump has induced self-destructive political bilharzia in the deranged effigies of once-serious and important people. I still love them, but I grieve for them.

The rank and file Democrats have plumbed new depths of scatological banality. The party chairman, Tom Perez, occupies a post once held by serious people like James A. Farley and Larry O’Brien. But Perez cannot speak a public sentence without assimilating the president to excrement. The people won’t have it. The self-targeted Democratic torpedoes, which Trump had the tactical intelligence to goad and then to consign to due process, were the lies about collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, and the challenge to the president’s constitutional authority over immigration, (reinforced by ninjas smashing and burning at Berkeley, and the mobbing of travelers at airports around the country and overseas). The torpedoes will come home on those who launched them in the next few months, warhead-first and at high speed. Then, frenzied partisanship will start to give way to the instinct of self-preservation, and the locked-arm solidarity of the Never-Trumpers will start to break up. The party of Jefferson and FDR is unrecognizable, but it can still be distinguished from a liberal ISIS. The president’s shortcomings are overly notorious, but his enemies are no longer of this world. He will win, and change the nation for the better.

Content created by The Center for American Greatness, Inc is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com

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Oilman Rex Tillerson and Ukraine

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“Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was heard, or overheard, to ask at a recent meeting of the Group of Seven foreign ministers. The remark sent the usually astute Anne Applebaum into medium dudgeon.

Writing in the Washington Post, she commented, snidely: “Unlike everyone who has held the job for at least the past century, he has no experience in diplomacy, politics or the military; instead he has spent his life extracting oil and selling it for profit.”

Whoa, Nellie. Extracting oil indeed.

Saying Tillerson has spent his life extracting oil without listing his very considerable executive experience is not even like saying Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton spent their lives messing around with girls while omitting to say also that they were U.S. presidents because it’s true that those two did fool around with girls.

Does the description conjure up a vision of a man in overalls digging in the sand? I forget: Do we have it in for people in overalls now? Or people who dig for a living? Or are the overalls meant only to be contrasted with the pinstriped suits diplomats wear—the kind of diplomats who effected the removal of all chemical weapons from Syria and prevented North Korea from getting the bomb?

And what is the problem we are meant to infer from “selling it for a profit”? What should Tillerson have been doing all those years he was at Exxon? Selling oil for a loss?

Saying Tillerson has spent his life extracting oil without listing his very considerable executive experience is not even like saying Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton spent their lives messing around with girls while omitting to say also that they were U.S. presidents because it’s true that those two did fool around with girls. Lots of them, apparently. Whereas there’s no indication in Tillerson’s biography that he himself has ever actually extracted oil. Nor are there any readily available photos of him in overalls.

It is possible, of course, that he was occasionally espied in overalls at the University of Texas at Austin, from which he received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1975, but we have no evidence of that. We do know, however, that later that year, at the age of 23, Tillerson joined Exxon as a production engineer.

In subsequent years, Tillerson became (deep breath): general manager of the central production division of Exxon USA; president of Exxon Yemen Inc. and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat Inc. (in Thailand); a vice president of Exxon Ventures (CIS); president of Exxon Neftegas Limited with responsibility for Exxon’s holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea; executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Company; president and director of ExxonMobil; and, on January 1, 2006, chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil has 83,700 employees and its revenue is $246 billion, making it the world’s seventh-largest company by revenue.

By contrast, the State Department has 69,000 employees and revenue of about $47.4 billion, making it the 192nd largest operation by revenue, just behind FedEx.

Oh, no. Wait a minute. The State Department doesn’t have revenue. The $47.4 billion is the amount it spends. Whew! Anne Applebaum might have accused them of doing something for profit.

Overalls or no overalls, Tillerson’s real skill, of course, is managing. His experience so exceeds the experience of the last two occupants of the office, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, that we (including Applebaum) should assume that he can manage the job at least as well as they did—admittedly, an embarrassingly low bar.

Secretary Tillerson’s remark, “Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?” was sufficiently provocative to cause the State Department to describe it as a “rhetorical device.”

But Applebaum saw it as a gaffe, prompting her to say that selling (promoting) something intangible, like American values and influence, can’t be achieved using the tactics of selling oil. Are we sure about that?

And just what, actually, is the U.S. taxpayers’ interest in Ukraine? Applebaum’s answer is: the principle of border security. That, she says, is what turned Europe into “a safe and peaceful trading alliance,” which made it rich and, inter alia, made the United States rich as well.

Funny: that sounds like the kind of thing a businessman, even one with less experience than Secretary Tillerson, might understand even better than a seasoned diplomat who had spent a lifetime in think tanks and government. Or a columnist.

It’s a good guess that the gravamen of Applebaum’s complaint is that Tillerson was not as verbally anti-Russian as she would like. But Russia, with its many nuclear weapons, is not Secretary Tillerson’s only problem: he has to deal also with North Korea and Iran—and a shrunken U.S. military that is not currently prepared to fight a three-front war. The U.S. taxpayers’ resources and patience are not unlimited (see: election of Donald Trump), raising, if not answering, the question, Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?

Content created by The Center for American Greatness, Inc is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com

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Activists Appropriate Holiday Spirit for Political Purposes

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It’s the same, every year. If our most cherished holidays aren’t denigrated falsely as pagan anachronisms, they’re indicted as examples of naked consumerism. As Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or even Easter and Christmas roll around, one can reliably count on the chorus of cynics ever ready with limitless reserves of smug to inform us that the holidays we celebrate are merely cynical creations of the card, flower, and chocolate companies and designed only to separate us from our money. There’s even a term for them: Hallmark Holidays.

Traditional and widely accepted holidays are portrayed not as annualized ritual expressions of genuine love, filial piety, and a yearning to find light and redemption among the chaos of a difficult existence, but rather as the sneer-worthy diversions of rubes who fell for a con.

Since everything activists create is a cynical appropriation of the human spirit, they can’t imagine or understand real expressions of human meaning, beauty, or emotion. They can’t imagine that anything could exist solely to enrich the soul.

Let’s stipulate for a moment that these unproven origin stories are true, that the worst machinations of capitalist conspirators are the whole truth behind our ritual and cultural celebrations: Valentine’s Day was created by florists; Mother’s and Father’s day were concocted by greeting card manufacturers; Christmas was made popular by Hasbro, Mattel, and the Sears Wish Book; and Easter is a conspiracy to sell Peeps! What’s the worst evil that can befall these suckers?

Well, people would celebrate the ideals of those days and possibly choose (remember that word… choose) to part with some of their money in exchange for a symbolic product that, in some small way, expresses their desire to commemorate the day’s purported ideals. Ironically, many of the same critics who proclaim the worthlessness and even manipulation behind traditional holidays are active and vocal participants in the various “activist” holidays that have become so popular of late. Earth Hour, Equal Pay Day, and Earth Day, to name just a few, are all now Google holidays that invade our lives and social media feeds with banners, slogans and, of course, virtual and real rallies.

Created either by advertising agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, or activists, these holidays are not natural expressions of care, yearning, love, or even concern for the planet, so much as they are top-down attempts to use annual ritualization to create events that convey false optics of mass desire and, in-turn, parlay those optics into political coercion down the line. They are, as Daniel Boorstin put it in his landmark study of modern mass media, “pseudo-events.” They take what people do for one day—or even one hour—out of a year and try to build the illusion of consistent political will from that expression.

Just as cynics criticize Christmas for being commercial, these holidays, too, are replete with t-shirts, bumper stickers and other symbols which are often bought to signal participation or virtuous “mindfulness” without the requiring the purchaser to actually deeply examine the issues at hand. These are not holidays, they are pep rallies and marketing ploys dressed up as political events and they are designed to take advantage of people by putting them into a holiday and group spirit.

People light candles on a mountaintop to commemorate “Earth Hour”

Take Earth Hour for instance. The origins of the annual ritualization of darkness take us back to 2004 when corporate advertising giant Leo Burnett, at the behest of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a multinational NGO with deep corporate ties, dreamt up the idea of switching off the lights in Sydney, Australia for an hour. By March 31, 2007, the first “Big Flick,” as Earth Hour was initially called, occurred in Sydney. Over the next few years, with help from millions of marketing dollars and increasing social pressure, the holiday spread worldwide. By 2017, the USA Today reported that over 170 countries and territories became participants, and public landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum in Rome, the Pyramids in Egypt and the Golden Gate Bridge would have their lights shut off and public access hampered to acknowledge this holiday. (Parts of Sweden opted out, because of concerns about rape by recent migrants.)

The purpose of Earth Hour, according to the event’s website, is:

…to raise awareness and show people that it is possible to survive without all the electronic gizmos and energy consuming products that we have grown so accustomed to. By cutting back, people can make a huge difference and can take part in the battle against global warming.

Earth Hour isn’t just about the choice to live without gizmos for an hour though. On the “about” page of Earth Hour’s website, the organizers note:Earth Hour is more than an event. It is a movement that has achieved massive environmental impact, including legislation changes by harnessing the power of the crowd.” (emphasis added)


Similarly, Equal Pay Day attempts to use the patina of “awareness” and belonging to create legislative change. On April 4, we all woke up to have our social media feeds flooded with references to this day. Created in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity as “a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages,” It is a day where participants are instructed to:

Wear RED on Equal Pay Day to symbolize how far women and minorities are “in the red” with their pay!  On previous Equal Pay Days, grassroots organizing on fair pay swept local communities. Women’s business and professional associations, labor groups, civil rights organizations and others committed to equal pay coordinated activities to raise awareness about how to solve wage inequity.

Wearing festive red to demand equal pay from the man

Finally we come to Earth Day—the archetypal example of a holiday whose singular purpose is to generate political change. Depending on who you ask, Earth Day was either invented by Psychotic Murder Ira Einhorn (who was the emcee for the first Earth Day ceremonies in Philadelphia) or by activist governor Gaylord Nelson as a day for discussion of environmental problems. Regardless of whether it was founded by an activist or psychopath—or possibly a combination of both—the first Earth Day was a success. NBC News notes:

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Sen. Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day in the spring of 1970 as a way to bring national awareness to the fact that, at the time, there were no legal or regulatory mechanisms in place to protect the environment. About 20 million participants at various Earth Day events across the U.S. made Earth Day a success, and in December of 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues—the EPA.

Since then Earth day has become a staple of the culture. Never really a national holiday, it might as well be. There are t-shirts, cards, flowers, celebrations, school assemblies all designed to “raise awareness of the environment” and, as intended with that first Earth Day, enact “positive” changes with regards to people’s actions and government’s response to what organizers see as an environmental crisis. Despite the fact that American opinions about the issue of environmentalism and climate change vary widely, you wouldn’t know it from the way in which Earth Day has permeated the popular culture.

The bottom line for all these “celebrations” is this: They’re not holidays. They’re annual political rallies.

So if we continue to stipulate the unproven but unceasingly alleged “for-profit” origins behind our traditional holidays, the real question then, becomes this: How is that any more cynical and mercenary than these new holidays of mass hysteria?

Is the for-profit creation of an atmosphere where people choose to be nice to one another worse than an NGO’s attempt to create a ritually annualized political rally seeking to generate good will and hope for the purpose of providing political cover for the government coercion of the populace? Sure, you might feel bad about not sending Mom a card in May. But does that outweigh the fines and prison terms you might suffer for failing to comply with environmental restrictions that owe their existence in part because of pseudo-events such as Earth Day?   

What’s troubling is that as it becomes socially acceptable to criticize the traditional holidays, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to throw even the smallest bit of shade upon the “justice” holidays. So those who would criticize the traditional holidays while propping up social justice events do double damage. On the one hand they attempt to discredit holidays where free, choice-based expressions of compassion, love, and the search for meaning are encouraged while simultaneously creating an atmosphere that appropriates those same drives and needs and drives them towards coercive goals.

Ultimately, the distinction becomes one between holidays and annualized political events—with intelligentsia and popular culture increasingly seeking to establish the primacy of the latter at the expense of the former. In a stunning display of cultural projection, the organizers of these truly manufactured activist holidays seek to negate the possibility that real expressions of love, awe and compassion can exist without some top-down and mercenary organization to them. Since everything activists create is a cynical appropriation of the human spirit, they can’t imagine or understand real expressions of human meaning, beauty, or emotion. They can’t imagine that anything could exist solely to enrich the soul.

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Trump Needs to be Trump Tonight

Hours ahead of President Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress, the usual talking heads are on hand to offer their usual clichéd and conventional political wisdom. Just as they did in the campaign after he won the primary, the legacy media has a unified message to Trump: become “presidential.”

This was the same wisdom they shared with the world on the eve of the inaugural address. It was the same wisdom they offered during the primaries and ahead of the General Election, too. If Trump doesn’t “act presidential,” they warned, he’ll never be president. And yet here we are and here they are offering the same tired and unhelpful advice.For some time now I’ve been wondering: How can these people still not get it?

To say that Donald Trump was an unconventional presidential candidate is putting it mildly. Trump represents a fundamental change from the American political system as journalists who cut their teeth on 20th century politics understand it. He is at once undoing the status quo that Franklin Delano Roosevelt put into place while creating a coalition and paradigm for governing.

 

Think about it: When was the last time a presidential candidate not only lived up to his campaign promises, but didn’t change his demeanor the moment that he assumed office? Recently in an interview with Matt Lauer, former President George W. Bush cautioned the public that the view of the presidency looks a lot different from the campaign trail than from the Oval Office. While this is certainly true, where does it say that the man the people elected must somehow conform to fit stale and outmoded Washington standards? Bush, of all people, ought to know. They didn’t serve him so well, did they?

Trump has so far ignored every single convention that has been put into place in Washington, D.C. since his inauguration. His inaugural address is a case in point. Unlike previous presidents, Trump did not paint a rosy picture. He knew that those who overwhelmingly supported him have suffered—and have been suffering for the better part of 25 years. Indeed, many of Trump’s most ardent supporters have endured what amounts to an economic and social apocalypse.

Trump talked to the voters, not at them. Throughout the campaign and his first month in office, the president has broken through the filter of the entrenched partisan press and found ways to speak directly to the people. He does this every day. His message is clear: things are bad, we cannot keep going in the direction that we’ve been going, and only he (by which he means his identification of the problems, his proposals, and his kind of boldness) can repair the damage. This message has kept his supporters as galvanized for him as they were for him from the day he announced his candidacy.

For Tuesday’s  speech, Trump must continue being real. He should continue pointing out the problems and proffering his unique solutions. Tonight, I would expect the president to redouble his message. As I have said before, the president has no one but his supporters. They are united behind him. But, in order to keep his movement going, Trump must absolutely have some legislative victories. He should continue moving at breakneck speed, in order to keep his adversaries—in both parties and in the media—off-balance. If he lets up, he will not only lose ground politically, but he will lose the trust of his base as well.

In tonight’s speech, the president needs to reiterate that he is just getting started, not finishing. If I were the president, I’d call out Republicans in Congress—as only Trump can—and let the voters know that if they are upset with the speed of the process, it is entirely because of the inertia of the legislative branch. He needs to remind everyone that the Democrats have chosen defeat with the endless national protests and the selection of the radical, Tom Perez, as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Trump needs to keep winning.

Weakening his posture and trying to “reach out” as everyone keeps saying is not a prescription for Trump to keep his momentum going. Trump has what everyone in politics wishes they could have: a galvanized, united, and diverse base of loyal followers. People need to have their faith rewarded. Trump should push Congress to enact the Obamacare repeal and replacement and implement tax reform sooner than 200 days hence. He should encourage lawmakers to meet the expectations of the people.

Trump must be seen to be still championing the cause of the voters. Even if Congress cannot enact his agenda in under 200 days, Trump should remind Congress that he has the power to flood the phone lines of Capitol Hill with committed supporters who won’t let up pressure on their elected leaders in the House and Senate until they get what they want. This is the only way Congress will maintain discipline and continue pushing a Greatness Agenda through in a timely manner.

Fact is, our government has become unresponsive to the will of the people because our elected leaders have insulated themselves behind soft language and an entrenched good ol’ boys’ network that protects its own. Trump, with his constant, direct contact with the voters through social media, his utter disregard of convention, and his continued embrace of the least-expected political strategies cannot waver tonight.

The last thing Trump needs to do is morph into just another politician. If he embraces soft and weak language, he will have let down his followers who have pinned their hopes upon the Trump Administration to stop the bleeding. For Trump to Make America Great during these next four years, he needs to ensure that he keeps his base satisfied. Trump must keep up the pressure on the Republicans in Congress and continue baffling the media.

For Trump to continue being successful, he must be Trump tonight.

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California’s Roads and Highways are Crumbling

Did you hear about the freeway that ate the firetruck? It’s no joke.

The big storm that rolled through on Feb. 17 had most of us nervously eying the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam. But the torrential rains have also played havoc with the roads, with sinkholes and potholes the size of Volkswagens appearing at alarming rates up and down the state.

And so San Bernardino County firefighters watched helplessly the other Friday night as one of their engines tumbled off the side of Interstate 15 in Southern California. They were on scene to assist with a big rig that the freeway had already claimed. I-15, of course, is the main thoroughfare between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

About 90 miles to the southwest in the Los Angeles suburb of Studio City, a 20-foot sinkhole appeared on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, taking two cars and injuring one driver.

This wasn’t the first time recently that the roads have opened up and pitilessly taken a few cars in the process. In July 2015, a bridge along Interstate 10 between Palm Springs and the Arizona state line suddenly collapsed and partly washed away during a freak storm. An investigation later found that the bridge had at least four crucial design flaws that led to its failure.

No doubt about it: Our roads are terrible. Everyone knows this. Crawling or idling in bumper-to-bumper traffic every day is a fact of life for millions of commuters. A recent study by a private transportation analytics firm ranked L.A. traffic as the worst in the world. (Although, in fairness, the study didn’t include China.)

It’s also the case that California’s roads and highways are crumbling faster than work crews can repair them. Municipal road workers cannot patch and fill quickly enough, even when the weather is congenial.

Fun fact: Caltrans in 2015 received 4,106 claims from motorists for pothole damage. The agency paid just 423 of them. Why so few? Because most of the responsibility falls to cities, which lack the manpower and the money to keep up with demand. For a city like L.A., the tab will run into the hundreds of millions, if not billions.

And statewide? It’s a $500 billion problem. Easily. . . .

Read the rest in the Sacramento Bee

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A Dangerous Idiocracy in Washington, D.C.

“Smart Sidewalk,” Dumb Reporting: Pavegen’s special pavers near DuPont Circle in Washington, D.C. are supposed to capture energy from foot traffic. They haven’t worked as advertised.

We on the Right have been awfully mean to The Washington Post, calling the paper’s  so-called reporters glorified Democrat stenographers, so dumb they can’t tell you who was the first secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  So it’s only fair to point out a couple of interesting articles by reporter Michael Laris that appeared in the Post’s Metro Section.

The articles describe the District of Columbia’s cutting-edge “Smart City” experiment. Why this glorious breakthrough in sustainable “human-generated power” was not considered worthy of the front page, I can’t imagine, because there is more to it than immediately meets the eye.

What is it? It’s a strip of sidewalk, composed of 194 triangular-shaped “interactive” pavers located in a small park near Dupont Circle overlooking Connecticut Avenue, hooked up to 68 underground power generators.  The project is the brain-child of a British outfit called Pavegen.

What it’s supposed to do: It connects “physical and digital worlds through a single footstep” according to Laurence Kemball-Cook, Pavegen’s founder and chief executive.

But really—what is it supposed to do? It’s meant to collect the energy from pedestrians’ footsteps, transfer it to the underground generators, which will turn on a set of “interactive lights on the sidewalk,” and power the “LEDs meant to glow at night under new park benches.”

Kinda like an electric light powered by hamsters on a treadmill.

Furthermore, the sidewalk has a digital uplink feature that is meant to communicate energy-production data to a web page, so that the ecological theocrats can feel virtuous, having satisfied the commandment to lower human dependence on fossil fuels.

Are there any problems with the project? Well, yes. For one thing, the digital uplink feature is “relatively power-hungry,” so that the energy consumed in uploading the data to the web page will exceed the energy produced by the system. In other words, the information will not be good news for the eco-nuts.

The interactive lights aren’t working. During the opening ceremony in November, the promoters did a jig on the pavers and six little embedded lights glowed in sync with their footsteps. But now, nada. Even Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers couldn’t turn these lights on.

The dumb Washington weather isn’t obliging. The weather in Britain isn’t as variable as it is in D.C., where the uncooperative winter “has made energy production 5 to 10 percent lower than expected.” Oops.

But perhaps Kemball-Cook’s disregard of the importance of weather conditions to his experiment shouldn’t come as a surprise. Previously, his attempt to develop a solar streetlight for a large German utility was “thwarted by shade and other conditions.”

“It didn’t work. I failed. So they fired me,” Kemball-Cook explained. Would that we did the same to the politicians who fail us.

The pedestrians aren’t being helpful. Folks walking to or from the Metro entrance are cutting corners or missing the paved strip entirely, thus “reducing by up to 20 percent the amount of energy piped into a big battery system.”

“We should have moved the whole thing two feet to the left.” Oops.

So is that the solution? Don’t know; “the complete ‘footfall’ numbers aren’t yet clear.” We also don’t know whether pedestrians are purposely evading the “Smart Sidewalk.”

You see, the tiles are stitched together “with the corners balancing on a silver connector tied to generators below. The force of a footstep slightly depresses the corners, which accounts for the little wiggle while people walk. The downward force spins a flywheel, complete with magnets and copper, generating the juice.”

It feels like walking on rubber, observed one pedestrian, who quickly detoured off the tiles.

Washingtonians are ignorant. According to one observer, “no one knows what they’re walking on.” Washingtonians need to be educated. A placard or two would inform them that they are part of a sustainable-energy revolution. As it is, they often ignore the tiles.

Indeed, pedestrians who step on the Smart Sidewalk are initially put off by the experience. But once they are told about how their energy is being captured for re-use, they’re OK with it. At least, that’s what they told the Post’s reporter. It won’t do to appear politically incorrect in the District.

A dog-walker’s point of view. It’s one thing if you use the sidewalk merely to get from point A to point B. But what if you earn your living from walking on sidewalks? Observed one D.C. dog-walker: “I’d just rather have a well-designed sidewalk that drains properly—and no gimmicks,” astutely adding, “If we’re the test case, did we pay the full price or did we get a discount?” A shrewd question, especially as the developer admits it’s “not the most cost-effective solution right now.”

D.C. is the test case for “Smart Sidewalks.” The developers are currently speaking with officials in Chicago, San Francisco and the Middle East about additional installations. The Middle East? Isn’t that where much of the world’s oil and gas comes from? Why would the tyrannical absolute rulers of those countries be interested in energy-saving pavers, especially when regular pavers are a lot less expensive?

To encourage pedestrians to use the Smart Sidewalks, the developer will offer smartphone users a “digital currency” they can presumably spend on stuff. Walk on our nausea-inducing pavers and earn credits. Once you opt into the system, it will be able to know who you are and recognize you when use the high-tech sidewalk.

People, you are going to be kinetically tracked by your government. Several years ago we learned from documents revealed by Edward Snowden that our government has been “systematically collecting the phone records and online communications of millions of American citizens.” Without a warrant.

With Smart Sidewalks, our government will be able to track every move we make. This should have been front-page news for the Post. Instead, idiots on the Left (and a few on the Right) are obsessing about the Russians. Pauvre America. Pauvre Humanité.