Time for another week of news stories and opinion pieces!
The Trump Cabinet
Stephen Chapman’s column appears on Townhall, and he is usually a critic of Trump. He is praising Trump’s selection of Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State and Andrew Puzder for Secretary Labor.
According to Chapman, Puzder has actually expressed openness to some
minimum wage increase, as well as “a path to legal status—-short of
citizenship—-for illegal immigrants” (Puzder’s words, as quoted by
According to this Boston Globe article,
current Secretary of State John Kerry “praised as thoughtful some of
Trump’s nominees, including defense secretary nominee James Mattis and
Rex Tillerson, who Trump has selected to be Kerry’s successor.”
Mattis: Trump Cabinet’s Lone Green Hope?: James Mattis Believes Climate
Change Is a Security Threat and Catalyzed the Military’s Fuel
Efficiency Efforts, by Eric Wolff.
James Mattis is President-elect Trump’s choice for Secretary of
Defense. Mattis believes climate change is real, he helped move the
military towards fuel efficiency, and he’s unafraid to speak his mind!
Townhall: Is Trump’s Pick for Budget Director a David Stockman Redux?, by Veronique de Rugy.
According to Veronique de Rugy, Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s selection for
Office of Management and Budget, is a budget cutter. But he’s for
fiscal restraint when it comes to the defense budget and corporate
cronyism, too, and the former may not endear him to Republicans! I am
concerned about possible Republican cuts in social programs for the
needy. At the same time, I respect Mulvaney for challenging budgetary
bloatedness in the programs many Republicans love.
More on Trump
Townhall: Will Trump Be the ‘Transformative’ President Obama Wanted to Be?, by Jonah Goldberg.
Barack Obama in 2008 presented himself as someone who wanted to
transcend ideology and listen to ideas from the other side. Donald
Trump, similarly, is behaving in ways that may indicate that he, too,
wants to transcend ideology. I loved this part in Goldberg’s column:
“Going into the GOP primaries, the conventional wisdom held that the
winner of the contest would be the candidate who displayed the most
ideological purity. Instead the brass ring went to the contender with
I was a conservative in 2008, and, while I voted for the McCain/Palin
ticket, I respected and admired Barack Obama for transcending
ideology. Now, in 2016, my political stances are more on the liberal
side, and I like that Trump is transcending ideology.
Townhall: Trump’s First 100 Days for Black America, by Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
Jackson advocates “regulatory reform,” vouchers for school choice,
and sentencing reform as measures that can help African-Americans. This
article stood out to me because Jackson addressed an argument against
school choice: “Critics typically recycle two tired arguments against
allowing poorer parents the right to choose where their children are
educated. The first is that school choice pulls money away from public
schools. It does not. This accusation is at odds with actual public data
that demonstrates per-pupil spending in public schools increases after
school choice programs are implemented. (For example, per-pupil spending
in Milwaukee public schools rose 58 percent in the years following the
implementation of its voucher program.)” You can read the column to see
what the other argument is. On a related note, see here for a similar argument for school choice, and here for anti-school choice arguments.
The 2016 Election
Washington Examiner: Faithless Electors Less Faithful to Clinton Than Trump, by Salena Zito.
I thought that was ironic! Not exactly the narrative people were expecting!
Ori Weisberg on Facebook:
“Many of us have been operating with the assumption that the Clinton
campaign neglected rust-belt communities, and this is the chief reason
she lost the election. This is certainly what Trump’s supporters want us
to believe, because it reinforces their depiction of the left as out of
touch, echo-chamber dwelling, bubble-inhabiting, smug elitists. But it
comes from the left as well. There was a recent article on Sanders
staffers who claim they weren’t listened to and knew this was coming
that seems to corroborate this, and has some credible claims (http://www.thedailybeast.com/…/team-bernie-hillary-fucking-…).
But one metric contradicts it. Clinton certainly DID show up where she
needed to. Here is her number of appearances per state in October: FL
33, OH 30, NC 28, PA 26, MI 19, NV 17, IA 16, WI 11, NH 9, NY 8, CA 6,
MA 6, CO 5, MN 4, AZ 3, DC 3, IL 3, TX 3, ME 2, VA 2, GA 1, MD 1, MO 1,
NJ 1 (https://hillaryspeeches.com/speech-arc…/2016-2/october-2016/).”
I am tempted to believe that stereotype about some on the left,
perhaps on account of my own experiences and prejudices. Yet, I am not
surprised that Hillary Clinton showed up in those states. But she
obviously failed to make the connection with enough voters in those
states to win, and her neoliberal positions and ties to the
establishment probably did not help her.
On ABC This Week last Sunday,
Democratic National Committee chairperson Donna Brazile was interviewed,
and she was complaining about the hackings. Yet, she acknowledged that
the Democratic Party still has work to do: “You know, I’m not going to
sugarcoat what happened on Election Day. We, the Democratic Party has a
lot of things that we have to do. Donald Trump cracked the blue wall,
OK? He cracked the blue wall. We had a blue wall. We should’ve
maintained it. We should’ve kept it.”
George Orwell Was a Reactionary Snitch Who Made a Blacklist of Leftists for the British Government, by Ben Norton.
“Apologists insist Orwell simply ‘sold out’ later in life and became a
cranky conservative, yet the story is more complex. Orwell had a
consistent political thread throughout his life. This explains how he
could go from fighting alongside a Spanish Trostkyist militia in a
multi-tendency war against fascism to demonizing the Soviet Union as The
Real Enemy — before returning home to imperial Britain, where he became
a social democratic traitor who castigated capitalism while collaborating with the capitalist state against revolutionaries trying to create socialism.”
Book Plunge: Science and Religion
3 hours ago