Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Education, Energy, Environment, Health Care, Immigration, Intelligence, Latin America, Law, Middle East, Politics, Regulation, Taxes, Unemployment | Tags: Nominees for the Cabinet, Not Media Speculation, The Left Attacks
Donald Trump has nominated Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of State to wide praise from Republicans. He has broad and remarkable international experience, a deep understanding of the global economy and personal relations with many state leaders throughout the world. Imagine, a Secretary of State who knows what he’s doing and understands the geopolitics.
President-elect Donald Trump wants Goldman Sachs president & COO Gary Cohn as the Director of his National Economic Council. Trump says that Cohn will put his talents as a highly successful businessman to work for the American people, growing wages for workers and stopping American jobs from going overseas.
Cohn said: “I share President-elect Trump’s vision of making sure every American worker has a secure place in a thriving economy, and we will be completely committed to building a nation of strength, growth and prosperity.”
President Obama felt that having served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was enough prior knowledge of world governments and geopolitics, so we got Hillary Clinton whose accomplishment was the air miles she racked up, and John Kerry.
Steven Mnuchin has been nominated as Secretary of the Treasury. He was Trump’s campaign finance director, and obviously highly successful in that job. Hillary raised and spent $1.2 billion, and Trump, in contrast, spent $616.5 million, and had $31.5 million left over. He is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who has become a trusted financial advisor.
Ryan Zinke named as Interior Secretary is a first term congressman from Montana who will lead Mr. Trump’s efforts to open federal lands and water to fossil-fuel development and reverse many of the Obama administration nonsensical regulations.
Rick Perry who has been named as Secretary of Energy is the former governor of Texas. He served for nearly 15 years in the country’s biggest energy producing state. His record as governor was outstanding.
Andy Puzder has been named as Secretary of Labor. He is CEO of CKE Restaurant Holdings, parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, and has been a vocal advocate of cutting back the regulations that have stunted growth in the restaurant industry, and he has argued against raising the minimum wage higher than $9 an hour, and criticized the Affordable Care Act.
Wilbur Ross has been named as Commerce Secretary. He is a top economic adviser to Mr. Trump. He is chairman and chief strategist of W.L.Ross & Co. a private equity firm and has extensive experience in corporate restructurings.
John Kelly, has been named as Secretary of Homeland Security. He is a retired four star Marine General who directly supervised U.S. Operations in Central and South America as chief of Southern Command. His post involved monitoring drug trafficking and other smuggling activity around our southern border.
Linda McMahon has been named as Administrator of the Small Business Administration. She is the co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut, but very successful in building a business.
Elaine Chao has been named as Transportation Secretary. She was the first American woman of Asian descent to be appointed to the cabinet when she served as a very successful secretary of labor in the administration of George W. Bush. She is married to Majority Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell.
Mike Pompeo has been named as Director of the CIA. He is a West Point graduate, first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 as part of the tea-party movement. He is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Intelligence Committee, and was a member of the special committee investigating the 2012 attacks on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
Michael Flynn has been nominated as National Security Adviser. He is a retired Army General who had served in top roles across the military as director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and intelligence adviser to Gen..Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Donald McGahn has been named as White House Counsel. He was the president-elect’s campaign lawyer and is a former member of the Federal Elections Commission. He is currently a partner at Jones Day in Washington D.C. where he has specialized on political law issues.
The Left, unsurprisingly, is having hissy-fits. Three Generals? During the campaign Trump was called “Hitler,” one of their usual epithets. Now its “Authoritarian.” From Bill McGurn at the Wall Street Journal: (Talking Points)
From the New Republic: “Donald Trump Is Already Acting Like an Authoritarian.” National Public Radio: “Donald Trump: Strong Leader or Dangerous Authoritarian?” The New York Times: “Beyond Lying: Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Reality.” The New Yorker: “Trump’s Challenge to American Democracy.”
The Left finds fault with any nominee who has not served in government as somehow not qualified. That pretty clearly demonstrates the mindset. The Left are proponents of big government, the better to regulate you with. They believe firmly in their own anointed superiority, and usually, never have worked in private business, and thus know how the deplorables out there should go about their lives.
Three Generals? Will they lead us to war? Oh please! Nobody hates war more than those who have experienced it. No experience in Government—that is a positive qualification.
Trump’s array of economic advisors are divided between those who believe in carrots and those who believe in sticks. One group rejects mainstream economic thinking and believes in eliminating trade deficits, and views taxes on companies that move jobs abroad as necessary sticks to reduce a 15 year slide in income for middle class Americans. The opposing camp champions supply-side economics and believe in slashing red tape and taxes to make the U.S. a top destination for business is a worthwhile carrot. Then there’s a third group who aren’t particularly ideological. (I‘m an ideological supply-sider)
Mr Trump’s supporters are probably equally divided. A lot of us want the EPA abolished. Is the Energy Department necessary? Is the Education Department needed? I suspect that it is unlikely that any agency will be eliminated, for all have their proponents, and for the Left—they are essential. Getting rid of a department approaches the impossible.
Trump has advocated eliminating Education. Each department has its own culture, many are long-standing and deeply entrenched. Eliminating departments will take a back seat to Mr. Trump’s goal of growing the economy and putting America back to work. There will be more silly attacks from the Left, but the Right has not been this strong for 80 years. Progressives just haven’t figured that out yet.
Expect some bitter confirmation battles. They are outraged with the appointment of Scott Pruitt to the EPA, he is not only an attorney who has taken the EPA to court (on a lawsuit filed by 27 states against the EPA. Rex Tillerson (a businessman, an oil man? ), the Generals, and Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education who is a champion of charter schools and opposes Common Core. Major fight! This is a group selected for their expertise and their ability to take on a fight to make a difference for the country. I’m impressed.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Free Markets, Freedom, Health Care, Politics, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Excellent Appointment, Replacing ObamaCare, The Unafordable Care Act
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Representative Tom Price (R-Ga), a leader in the efforts to replace ObamaCare, to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services. This is a very good nomination, though Democrats are howling, and trying to launch a coalition to save their failed program. Representative Price is an orthopedic surgeon who knows his way around the practice of medicine. He has introduced H.R.2300 the Empowering Patients First Act —legislation that puts patients, families and doctors in charge by focusing on the principles of affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation, choices and responsiveness.
We’ve all read of price increases of 25% and more—reportedly 100% in some cases, laughed grimly at the statement that “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” But how did it go so wrong for so many people?
The Left has long wanted to control health care, preferably single-payer like Britain’s. Why? The British put in their program not long after WWII, and because it is “free” they have kept voting for Labor in order to keep it. It may not be very good care, and those rich enough to afford private care do so. But old people die in hospital from neglect, or dehydration, yet the people are afraid of changing. The Left really wants regulations that people keep voting for, and they don’t care if it is out of fear of change.
Please read this post from Ricochet by a physician about the death of the primary care physician. He says “We are directed to “practice medicine” strictly according to directives handed down from on high by panels of sanctioned experts, and accordingly we are enjoined from taking into account our professional experience, our intuition informed by judgment when we advise them about their medical issues.” He adds:
We are strictly limited to 7.5 minutes per patient “encounter,” and the content of this brief encounter is determined by certain Pay for Performance checklists which have been given to us by yet other expert committees. These checklists assure that most of our 7.5 minute encounter is spent asking about important medical topics such as the storage of handguns in the home and sodium in the diet, for if we skip any items on the list we define ourselves as substandard caregivers.
This is how the Left operates. They think up a program that will fill all of their emotional needs to do nice things for people. Once they get it made into law, they have to pay for the mess they made, so they start making regulations that will let them pay the medical providers a lot less, because they cost too much. Patient A fell, and thinks she broke a bone in her foot. Doctor sends her off for an X-Ray and gives her a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. That one is under the 7.5 minutes. Patient B is diabetic, overweight, and has a potential heart condition, and needs some major counseling on diet and exercise, and a prescription or two. She’s a nervous type and clearly worried about her health. 7.5 minutes? That truly stupid regulation came from some bureaucrat who knows nothing about medicine, and is concerned only about keeping the budget under control.
Multiply that situation across the practice of medicine, and you see how and why ObamaCare has failed. Doctors are opting out in droves. Seniors have trouble finding someone who will accept Medicare patients, Medicaid patients get sent to nurse practitioners instead of doctors, or are told they can’t be seen until next May.
Have you seen a doctor who has engaged a scribe to take notes of the patient encounter so the doctor can talk to the patient instead of the computer? Read the British papers to see why we should never consider their system. There are few, if any, programs that the federal government bureaucrats can manage successfully. Monica Crowley remarked today that “government has no profit motive, only a power motive.” Excellent insight. Competition, free markets,and small government that does only those few things that bureaucrats can’t manage to screw up.
Here is a link to Dr. Tom Price’s statement, with links to the Empowering Patients First Act and a section by section description of the legislation.
The Weekly Standard’s “After Repeal” about the game plan for undoing ObamaCare.
Commentary Magazine “Cleaning Up Obama’s Health-Care Mess”
From AEI: “The four legs of a new health-care system” by James C. , who writes about health care regularly, and Scott Gottlieb M.D.
From the Hoover Institution: “The Unaffordable Care Act” by Richard Epstein.
From the WSJ: “Diagnosing Your Doc”s New Euphoria” Suddenly there’s hope for dismantling ObamaCare—and restoring sanity for doctors and patients
Imagine! A real physician in charge of HHS. I remember when the Democrats pushed through the Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote, and Obama brought out a troop of doctors (?) in white coats with stethoscopes over their shoulders. (Is that what you would wear as a doctor going to the White House?) So costumed, they sat on chairs on the lawn while Obama gave a speech.
Filed under: Blogging, Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economics, Economy, Energy, Environment, Health Care, National Security, News, Police, Politics, Regulation, The United States | Tags: A Changing World, Government Dependence, Trust but Verify
You have a computer by which you can visit this blog. So tell me, how do you get your news? The younger Millennials seem to get theirs from Facebook and Twitter and other social sites. Democrats rely on reliably Progressive websites, and Republicans assume from that bit of information that Democrats are unfamiliar with any websites that disagree with their conclusions.
Do you depend on “name” websites that you trust because everybody else seems to list them? Do you pay attention to a lot of individual bloggers (well, you’re here, so possibly you do.) What I’m getting at is who can you believe and who do you trust? What got me off on that theme was an article from February 22 of this year about “Big Data” in the Wall Street Journal, by Michael Malone. If the link doesn’t work, Google it, and do read the comments.
I wasn’t quite sure what “Big Data” was, compared to—little Data, so I looked it up. Merriam Webster: data: 1. factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning or calculation. 2. information output by a sensing device or organ that includes both useful and irrelevant or redundant information and must be processed to be meaningful. 3. information in numerical form that can be digitally transmitted or processed. That is, perhaps, helpful, but not exactly confidence building.
Hillary Clinton’s ‘Invisible Guiding Hand‘ had a statistician behind every strategic decision named Elan Kriegel.”To understand Kriegel’s role is to understand how Clinton has run her campaign—precise and efficient, meticulous and effective, and, yes, at times more mathematical than inspirational. Clinton advisers say almost no major decision is made…without first consulting Kriegel. ” That worked out well. But is perhaps a clue to Hillary’s uninspiring campaign.
At Maggie’s Farm, one of the group of authors had an article last year that I saved titled “Are We Overly Reliant on Data?” And his reflections on daring to ask the question.
A USAToday headline from September: The “VA quit sending performance data to national health quality site.” Saw an article today about a veteran who was unable to get the care he needed when a wound was full of maggots in a VA Hospital, and shortly died of sepsis.
From Climate Depot: “Italian meteorologist Colonel Paolo Ernan: Data manipulated to make people believe in global warming.” Well, yes. It has long been apparent that alarm about global warming exists only in the computer programs devised to emulate the real climate of the Earth. They put into their programs what we know about climate, what we think we know, what they thought was likely and lots of pure guesswork. We know a little about El Nino and La Nina, for example, but we don’t know or understand much of anything about the actions of clouds. And if you want to know what is going to happen in 50 years, you’ll have to wait for 50 years to find out if you were right.
Holman Jenkins, writing in the Wall Street Journal at the end of August, 2014, “Big Data and Chicago’s Traffic-cam Scandal.”
Big data techniques are new in the world. It will take time to know how to feel about them and whether and how they should be legally corralled. For sheer inanity, though, there’s no beating a recent White House report quivering about the alleged menace of “digital redlining,” or the use of big-data marketing tactics in ways that supposedly disadvantage minority groups.
This alarm rests on an extravagant misunderstanding. Redlining was a crude method banks used to avoid losses in bad neighborhoods even at the cost of missing some profitable transactions—exactly the inefficiency big data is meant to improve upon. Failing to lure an eligible customer into a sale, after all, is hardly the goal of any business.
The real danger of the new technologies lies elsewhere, which the White House slightly touches upon in some of its fretting about police surveillance. The danger is microscopic regulation of our daily activities that we will invite on ourselves through the democratic process.
It seems that when you hear the term “The data tells us…” a caution flag should rise. You need to investigate a lot further. But everyone is relying on data, especially ‘big data.’ Hillary did, and is paying the price. Her team pretty much shut Bill out. Bill certainly has some major problems with, um, integrity, but he has always had excellent political instincts. On the other hand, Hillary does not have any. But there you go, water under the bridge.
Who can you trust? Not much of anybody. Whatever it is, check it out. Governments at all levels are too ready to rely on what they are told is authoritative. We are all too dependent on our computers, but they are changing our world, and our dependence is making us more vulnerable.
ADDENDUM: Rereading this, I’m not at all sure I made myself clear. I am not railing at data. It is simply a fact of life, and as we use our computers, our choices and comments and what we just looked at becomes data. The search engines on which we rely for information— rely on us for information they can sell to marketers. If you drop by Amazon, as I did, find that they are having a sale on bras, you will be followed around the internet with a choice selection of what you looked at, all day. As algorithms develop and refine searches, they will only get more intrusive. And we need good data, yet there is always the danger of over-dependence. Our only defense is a highly-developed common sense.
The case of computerized climate science is important. Climate alarmism, the belief that Earth is in danger, that the climate is changing and we have to save mankind has always been completely phony, but there are millions of true believers. The climate has been changing for millions of years. There are warm periods and ice ages. When the thermometers that the computer programs depend on for their data are situated next to air-conditioner vents or where acres of concrete reflect heat onto them, or they back up to a trash burner, the data is not going to be good. Ice cores help to tell about the past, tree rings are not so infallible.Satellite records are excellent, but don’t stretch far into the past.The rise of the oceans is measured in millimeters, not feet and in spite of Michael Mann’s claim that we’ll all be in trouble if the CO2 gets above 350 ppm, greenhouses happily pump in 1,000 ppm to help their plants grow —you know there is something haywire about their data. Yet because the data is politically popular and governments act upon it, it becomes dangerous.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Cool Site of the Day, Domestic Policy, Economics, Economy, Education, Energy, Health Care, Immigration, Politics, Regulation, Taxes, The United States, Unemployment | Tags: American Manufacturing, Regulatory Costs, Trump's Carrier Deal
Editor in chief of American Thinker Thomas Lifson has two important articles today, explaining Donald Trump’s Carrier deal. There has been much angst about the jobs saved at Carrier in the wake of tax incentives from the State of Indiana, because there are still a significant number of jobs going to Mexico. We misunderstand what Trump is doing, Lifson says, and explains what the President-elect has in mind. Do read both pieces, they really are important. What Trump intends:
He has announced that, reigning globalist economic theory to the contrary notwithstanding, the United States must maintain a manufacturing sector. The shift of manufacturing to low wage countries is not a law of nature, not an inevitability, and not a path that America will take in the future. We cannot abandon the regions of our country that have devoted themselves to manufacturing. He has not mentioned the national security dimension of such a policy, but it is obvious to all but a few theorists that you cannot maintain a strong nation if you depend on others to do your manufacturing.
The combination of information technology, robotics, new materials, and many other advances (including management advances such as lean manufacturing and continuous improvement organizational disciplines) has squeezed low value labor out of manufacturing. Global companies that locate within their most important market are able to create serious competitive advantages over companies assembling products in low wage companies through flexibility and rapid response time.
The second of the two companion pieces is “The Key to Trump’s Carrier deal: Next-generation manufacturing.” Do read both articles. There is a lot of important insight here.
Progressives are confident of their own knowledge and expertise, and feel completely confident in their ability to issue rules and regulations (backed up with enormous penalties to make sure you understand their importance) so that you will run your business in a way that the progressives find more agreeable. When I was looking for a new car last year, I learned the extent to which automobile design and performance has been changed and controlled by the EPA’s fuel efficiency standards. More aluminum, more substitution of light things for heavy things. One dealer said the outside mirrors would go soon because of that. Some have said that higher highway fatalities are probably due to the Fuel efficiency standards.
The addition of ethanol to gasoline, deadly for small engines like lawn mowers and appliances, has been shown to accomplish nothing in the prevention of greenhouse gases, and was a deal with the corn lobby to get enough votes to pass the 1990 Clean Air Act. Useless, but a highly expensive boondoggle that affected far more things than the amount of CO2 in car exhaust.
The federal demand to show calorie numbers for fast food on signs and menus has been shown to be completely ineffective because people don’t care. They know fast food is more caloric than an ordinary meal, but they want it because it’s fast and tasty. For the industry, the costs are enormous, but federal regulators are not interested in that. Ditto the drive for a $15 minimum wage, which is simply an unemployment program for the beginning or unskilled worker. McDonalds is already committed to a nationwide program of installing computer kiosks to replace workers.
The EPA is probably the biggest offender. Their ideas about what is environmentally friendly are weak on science and heavy on agency power and control. It’s an agency of zealots, and should be abolished. That may not happen, but their power will be cut back. Myron Ebell will be a terrific advisor on the EPA and it’s overreach.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Intelligence, Law, National Security, Taxes, The United States | Tags: An Impressive Group, The Trump Cabinet so far, Trump Appointments
Courtesy of Jim Geraghty at National Review, here’s a list of the incoming cabinet so far: It’s a pretty impressive group!
Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions.
Secretary of Defense: General James Mattis
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Representative Tom Price
Secretary of Transportation: Former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao
Secretary of Education: Philanthropist Betsy DeVos
Treasury Secretary: Banker Steven Mnunchin
Secretary of Commerce: Financier Wilbur Ross
Deputy secretary of Commerce: Todd Rickets, co-owner of Chicago Cubs
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Dr. Ben Carson
Ambassador to the United Nations: Governor Nikki Haley
White House Chief of Staff: House RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
National Security Advisor: Former Defense Intelligence Agency director Michal Flynn
Deputy National Security Advisor: K.T. McFarland. Fox News Analyst who served in the Reagan Administration.
Department of Homeland Security: Marine General John Kelly (Ret) Former head of Southern Command, with special concern for Mexican border, and Gitmo.
CIA Director: Representative Mike Pompeo.
EPA Director: Oklahoma Attorney General, Republican Scott Pruitt
Administrator Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Indiana health-policy consultant Seema Verma
White House counsel: Donald McGahn partner at Jones Day who served as campaign counsel.McGahn is a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.
Marine General James Mattis will need a waiver from Congress, as he has only been retired for three years, and the law specifies military officers must be retired for seven years. General George Marshall required such a waiver, which was promptly given, as will be the waiver for General Mattis.
Senator Kirsten Gillebrand, who replaced Hillary in the Senate, and reportedly has presidential ambitions, says she will oppose General Mattis’ appointment. I guess she will take advantage of any opportunity to get attention. You’ve probably noticed that Democrats are really having a hard time accepting the new reality.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Election 2016, Energy, Environment, Health Care, Humor, Immigration, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, Unemployment | Tags: Doesn't Change Anything, Dr. Jill Stein, Recounting the Votes
Jill Stein’s campaign to raise money to challenge the vote in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan is apparently going nowhere rapidly. Pennsylvania informed her that the deadline was last Monday—a week ago, not today. Wisconsin said they weren’t going to do a recount. And Michigan just finished laboriously counting the ballots from the election for the first time, and Trump won healthily.
Haven’t seen any response from Dr. Stein, but she would seem to retain her 1% in the final tally, if it’s any comfort. Sorry about that.
ADDENDUM: When she filed her challenge to Wisconsin election results, Jill Stein assumed that the recount would be done by hand. State officials decided that counties would not be forced to do a hand recount of ballots. Officials decided a machine recount would do, unanimously. Now Stein is suing to force a hand recount. “We must recount the votes so we can build trust in our election system” she said in a statement. Since Wisconsin voting machines are not connected to the internet, hacking is unlikely. Officials said no recount will happen until she pays the $3.5 million fee ahead of time.The Democrat Elections Commission chairman cited a 2011 hand recount that changed only 300 votes out of 1.5 million as the basis for declaring a machine recount adequate. Real drama out in the hustings. (what are ‘hustings’ anyway?) Merriam Webster: “Hustings are where babies are kissed, flesh is pressed and media events are staged.
ADDENDUM II: After the first day of Jill Stein’s vaunted recount in Michigan, joined by Hillary, Hillary has gained 1 vote. She needs only 22,000 more for the election to be tied. Stein filed a petition with Michigan’s state Board of Canvassers on Wednesday, asking for a manual recount of every vote cast in Michigan in the presidential election. She also is leading efforts to force recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, claiming her goal is to “ensure the integrity and accuracy of the vote.”But not so fast! Michigan’s Republican attorney general filed a lawsuit on Friday to halt the vote recount attempt pursued in the state by Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein.
Michigan voters rejected Stein’s candidacy by massive margins but her refusal to accept that state verified result poses an expensive and risky threat to hard-working taxpayers and abuses the intent of Michigan law,” Bil Schuette said in a statement/
“We have asked the court to end the recount which Stein is pursuing in violation of Michigan laws that protect the integrity of our elections. It is inexcusable for Stein to put Michigan voters at risk of paying millions and potentially losing their voice in the Electoral College in the process”.
ADDENDUM III: It’s Over! A federal Judge in Michigan ruled that Jill Stein could not possibly win under any circumstances, and thus she had no standing to be able to challenge the election.