The Trump Phenomenon

Thoughts from Walter Russell Mead:

I don’t think the system is quite as corrupt as some Trump supporters believe or, perhaps more accurately, I lack their confidence that burning down the old house is the best way to build something new. But it would be equally wrong and perhaps more dangerous to take the view that there is nothing more fueling his rise than ignorance, racism and hate. The failure of the center-Left to transform its institutional and intellectual dominance into policy achievements that actually stabilize middle class life, and the failure of the center-Right to articulate a workable alternative have left a giant intellectual and political vacuum in the heart of American life. The Trump movement is not an answer to our problems, but the social instinct of revolt and rejection that powers it is a sign of social health. The tailors are frauds and the emperor is not in fact wearing any clothes: it is a good sign and not a bad sign that so many Americans are willing to say so out loud.

Those of us who care about policy, propriety and the other bourgeois values without which no democratic society can long thrive need to spend less time wringing our hands about the shortcomings of candidate Trump and the movement that has brought him this far, and more time both analyzing the establishment failures that have brought the country to this pass, and developing a new vision for the American future.

Yes, as I’ve been saying for months, I get that people are angry, and I get why; the current political class is the worst in memory, and I’m angry too. I just can’t see a willful ignoramus and reality-show con artist who doesn’t even know what liquified natural gas is as the solution.

Nutrition Labels

The guy who came up with the stupid idea says they don’t work:

If the nutrition label doesn’t work, how else can the government help consumers make more informed, healthier choices? For starters, the FDA should be more like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the people who created the Internet. Instead of just focusing on trying to fix the unfixable, the FDA could shift its focus toward thinking more creatively about viable solutions and give up on what isn’t working.

First, the FDA would need to honestly concede how little it knows about how different foods and food combinations actually affect individuals with distinct genetic and environmental factors, along with their personal preferences or capacity (or willingness) to exercise. The FDA would need to expand its base of knowledge and understanding within these areas and then consider how manufacturers and consumers would respond to any changes the FDA suggests as a result.

But that would involve having to do real science.

And of course, despite their failure, Michelle and the FDA commissioner continue to cheer lead for them.

[Update a while later]

Sorry, there’s nothing magical about breakfast.

I rarely eat breakfast, except on weekends, or vacation. I’ll generally go all day without eating if I’m just working at home. But when I do eat breakfast, I try to make it mostly protein and fat. Cereal is a dietary abomination, invented by a scientific whack job in Battle Creek.

The Obama Justice Department

…acted in bad faith on immigration, and has finally gotten a comeuppance for it:

These accusations aren’t even the most audacious aspect of the court’s 28-page order. In a decision that will be studied in legal-ethics classes for decades to come, Judge Hanen placed many of the lawyers at the Justice Department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. — known as “Main Justice” — under his personal supervision. This relief is reminiscent of federal courts that placed recalcitrant school districts under supervision to ensure compliance with desegregation orders. Or more recently, this relief is akin to judges who placed deficient police departments under federal oversight to ensure they reduce police brutality or other offenses. What is remarkable here is that Main Justice will now be required to report to Judge Hanen’s authority for the next five years to improve its ethics.

Of course, when has this administration ever acted in good faith? It just usually gets away with it. “Improving their ethics” would seem to be an effort in futility.

Choosing Airline Seats

I have to say, I learned absolutely nothing from this, and one of the things I “learned” is wrong. It used to be that the earlier you chose seats, the better your choices, but that is no longer true. American is now charging extra for “premium” (read window or aisle, or more leg room), and if you are early, and want one, you have to pay for it. One trick I have learned, though, is that they open up for free at check-in time if passengers have canceled. When we flew back from Miami last week, we managed to change our previously assigned center seats to windows the afternoon before flight, without having to pay the $34 they had asked previously.

California’s “High-Speed” Rail

It is beyond boondoggle:

they build a boondoggle to nowhere in the middle of a sparsely populated area and expect people to ride just for the thrill of it?

The politicians responsible for this disaster — including Governor Jerry Brown — should go to jail for misuse of taxpayer funds.

Instead, they’ll be reelected, because idiots now have a majority among California voters.

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