Author Archives: R.D. Walker

Hillbilly Elegy

JD Vance is a rust belt hillbilly. He grew up plain white trash. He has risen above his “adverse childhood experiences”, however, and now provides us a unique perspective on what ails the American working class and why it isn’t a problem that is going to be solved in Washington.

I just completed this book and I think it is required reading for most Revoistas. From the back cover…

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town.

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In HillbillyElegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck.

The Vance family story began with hope in postwar America. J.D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.


A new MSM world record!

The next sentence you read is from CNN and is the stupidest sentence ever published by a mainstream media franchise.

Under a Donald Trump presidency, sex is about to get a lot less fun.

That’s because Trump has tapped Tom Price, an anti-abortion and anti-contraception congressman from Georgia, as his director of Health and Human Services. Price is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act and a proponent of defunding Planned Parenthood, an organization that serves more than 2.5 million patients, many of them low-income, every year.

Somebody call Guinness and get this in the book.


Major foreign investment in US planned

It would appear a major investment is to be made by a Japanese mogul and his Saudi partners.

Masayoshi Son, the brash billionaire who controls Sprint Corp., said Tuesday he would invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 new jobs, following a 45-minute private meeting with President-elect Donald Trump.

The telecom mogul, who made his fortune in Japan with SoftBank GroupCorp., announced his investment plans in the lobby of Trump Tower, though he didn’t provide details. Mr. Trump took credit for the investment, saying his November victory spurred SoftBank’s decision.

Mr. Son told reporters he planned to “invest into the new startup companies in the United States.” It would be difficult to create 50,000 jobs entirely by investing in startups, which generally employ few workers. Sprint employs about 30,000 people and has cut jobs to combat losses.

In an interview, Mr. Son said the money will be coming from a $100 billion investment fund that he began setting up earlier this year with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund and other potential partners.

More here


Talking to Taiwan?

Having given it some thought, I think the telephone call between Trump and the leader of Taiwan was appropriate and I agree with Trump that it is his right to do so.

Trump Tweeted: “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!”

He makes a good point. The democracy on Taiwan can be argued to be the government of mainland China in exile. It predates the communist revolution in China and, as a democracy, it is certainly more legitimate than the government in Beijing. It is absurd that the POTUS cannot speak to the leader of a fellow democracy. In fact, it is absurd that the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

I read, however, that China sent two nuclear capable bombers to fly over Taiwan on the day of the call. That sends a clear message. Let’s play this out.

What if Trump decides to establish diplomatic ties with Taiwan? What it, as a result, the mainland Chinese decide that they must act now or lose what they consider to be a runaway province forever?

Suppose the Chinese launch a major bombing campaign on Taiwan followed by an amphibian invasion toppling the government. This seems unlikely but it certainly doesn’t seem impossible. Then what? What should President Trump do?




Trump’s Carrier deal is wildly popular


Free markets and free trade were not on the ballot this year. This is why.

Donald Trump’s first major action as president-elect — the deal he and Vice President-elect Mike Pence struck last week with Carrier Corp. — is earning high marks from American voters, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll shows.

Voters surveyed overwhelmingly view Trump’s negotiations with Carrier — which resulted in about 1,000 manufacturing jobs at the heating, ventilation and air conditioning company remaining in Indiana rather than moving to Mexico — as an appropriate use of presidential prerogative. And a majority of voters say the Carrier deal gives them a more favorable view of Trump, though his overall favorability ratings were virtually unchanged from mid-November.

If I analyze only the seen and ignore the unseen, I truly love this deal too.

More here.


A faithless Republican elector in Texas

He won’t cast his vote for Donald Trump.

I am a Republican presidential elector, one of the 538 people asked to choose officially the president of the United States. Since the election, people have asked me to change my vote based on policy disagreements with Donald J. Trump. In some cases, they cite the popular vote difference. I do not think presidents-elect should be disqualified for policy disagreements. I do not think they should be disqualified because they won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote. However, now I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office.

Find out why he won’t cast a vote for Trump here.


Trump and Gore have a “very interesting meeting”

As Trump told the New York Times, he would keep an “open mind” on the issue and acknowledging that human activity might be connected to changes in the climate.

Gore was originally scheduled to meet just with Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, who is not registered with a political party and has already pushed her father to adopt positions usually promoted by Democrats. Gore told reporters that after that meeting, he then had “an extremely interesting conversation” with the president-elect.

“I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect. It was a sincere search for areas of common ground,” Gore told reporters after spending about 90 minutes at Trump Tower in Manhattan during the lunch hour Monday. “I had a meeting beforehand with Ivanka Trump. The bulk of the time was with the president-elect, Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I’m just going to leave it at that.”

Expect Sean Hannity to run a segment tonight proving with geometric logic that climate change has always been a core conservative issue of the Republican Party.

More here.


A Selection from “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen”

Originally published in July 1850 by Frédéric Bastiat

Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James B., when his careless son happened to break a square of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact, that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation — “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?”

Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions.

Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier’s trade — that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs — I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen.

But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, “Stop there! your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”

More below the fold…


Trump to intervene in business decisions on a ‘day-by-day’ basis

The President of the United States is going to make daily interventions with companies that make business decisions of which he does not approve.

Pence said the deal Trump reached last week to keep Carrier, a unit of United Technologies Corp, from shipping jobs to Mexico from an Indiana air conditioner plant showed the incoming administration would confront U.S.-based firms when needed and use a carrot-and-stick approach to keep them from offshoring jobs.

The Carrier deal included $7 million in tax breaks to encourage United Technologies to keep the jobs in Indiana. On Twitter early Sunday morning, Trump also revived his campaign threat to slap a 35 percent tariff on imports of products made by companies that have moved production out of the United States.

“Please be forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake,” Trump said, telling companies that moved jobs overseas would face “retribution or consequence.”

I can’t even imagine the storm of indignation that would have arisen from the conservative blogosphere if this was coming from Barack Obama.

More here.


The Fatal Conceit, once again, appears before us…

This may be nothing more than a turn of a phrase and thus a minor annoyance. If so, I don’t know if it is worthy of a full post, but here we go anyway. Trump says he is leaving the business world to work full time in his new day job.

“I will be holding a major news conference in New York City with my children on December 15 to discuss the fact that I will be leaving my,” Trump wrote on social media, breaking his announcement up into multiple posts. “Great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country in order to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! While I am not mandated to ….do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”

That is mostly appropriate and innocuous. There is one part that is like fingernails on a chalkboard to my ear, however. It is this…

“…in order to fully focus on running the country in order to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

I will just cut to the chase. This guy isn’t going to “run the country” and he shouldn’t be saying he is. Nobody runs the country. The country, for the most part, runs itself via a hundred billion decisions a day by 330 million people.

The idea that anyone can “run the country” is a form of leftist jackassery F.A. Hayak called the “Fatal Conceit”. Regarding this conceit he famously said, “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

Every morning in my podunk town in Iowa, fresh bread, fresh milk and fresh doughnuts are delivered to the local Casey’s General Store. They do it every day and never miss a day. All across America, before dawn, bakers are making bread and it is sent out in trucks to a million locations in every corner of the nation. Gasoline is delivered, ATMs are filled with cash, cement mixers head out, coffee shops receive shipments, credit card transactions occur, new cars are transported, steel gets delivered, taxi drivers head out and on and on and on. The whole list of the economic transactions occurring in any given moment would fill a library.

Literally tens of billions of economic decisions and transactions occur every day in America. A flow chart plotting this reality would crash the biggest mainframe computer devised by man. Millions of transactions and decisions are made every minute of every day. Some are based on logic and programming, some are based on nothing more than human whim and emotion: Do I want a doughnut this morning or just coffee? There is no centralized control structure dictating how each of us should behave. Localized interactions between individual and group entities lead to the emergence of “intelligent” global behavior that is incomprehensible to individuals.

Market economies create a spontaneous order; a more efficient allocation of societal resources than any human plan could ever come close to achieving. This spontaneous order has created virtually all of the wealth, health, education, comfort, recreation and quality of life we enjoy today. The market economy is why humans no longer hunt and gather in tiny, family groups.

The idea that a country can be effectively and efficiently “run” by a man or even the centralized bureaucracy of a massive administrative government is indeed a conceit and it is indeed fatal. This conceit is behind the failure of socialism wherever it is tried. It is the conceit that looks to be fatal to the economy of Venezuela.

No man runs the country. Every second hundreds of millions of decisions and transactions occur in a cloud of organized chaos that is based on individual motivations that no human and no computer could ever understand, replicate or organize. Any radical change to the system, any attempt to control it, any attempt to “fundamentally transform” it is doomed to fail. It would be impossible to model, control or even comprehend effects of change.

We witnessed the failure of the Obama Administration to “run the country”. We will witness it again if Donald Trump believes that he can do better than Obama at a task no man can do. Obamacare is collapsing into a pile of socialist rubble because a few arrogant people thought they could better organize the nation than the organic organization of market forces. Thus it always goes.

Let’s pray that Trump’s arrogant comment was just hyperbole.


Trump convinces Carrier to stay


No doubt about it, this is great news for Carrier employees and the local community.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump and Mike Pence, Indiana’s governor and the vice president-elect, plan to appear at Carrier’s Indianapolis factory to announce a deal with the company to keep roughly 1,000 jobs in the state, according to officials with the transition team as well as Carrier.

Mr. Trump will be hard-pressed to alter the economic forces that have hammered the Rust Belt for decades, but forcing Carrier and its parent company, United Technologies, to reverse course is a powerful tactical strike that will hearten his followers even before he takes office.

“I’m ready for him to come,” said Robin Maynard, a 24-year veteran of Carrier who builds high-efficiency furnaces and earns almost $24 an hour. “Now I can put my daughter through college without having to look for another job.”

I hate to be a cynic but I am compelled to heed the admonition of Frédéric Bastiat and consider the unseen along with the seen.

The article is basically silent on the terms of the deal. Was it a tax break? A massive no-bid government contract? A threat? All of these have downsides.

If it was a tax break or a no-bid contract it puts Carrier at an advantage over competitors who didn’t threaten to leave and, if the advantage created by the government is great enough, saving these thousand jobs may cost several thousand elsewhere. If it was a threat, it leaves Carrier in a weakened state that may result in the loss of the business completely.

It is extremely difficult for the government to make deals like these that have no unseen cost.

There isn’t a regular on this site who failed to understand that Obama’s bail-out of General Motors was not necessarily good for America even though it was an unvarnished good for GM, the UAW and local communities near GM operations. We recognized that when government manipulates the market, both the seen and the unseen must be considered in order to judge the costs and benefits of the action. This situation is no different.

Again, this is great news for the employees of Carrier and the benefits of the deal will definitely be seen. If, on the other hand, the deal turns out to result in the loss of, say, twice as many jobs as were saved, that pain will be left largely unseen.

More here.


Obamacare hater to be HHS Secretary

That’s gonna leave a mark.

If President-elect Donald J. Trump wanted a cabinet secretary who could help him dismantle and replace President Obama’s health care law, he could not have found anyone more prepared than Representative Tom Price, who has been studying how to accomplish that goal for more than six years.

Mr. Price, an orthopedic surgeon who represents many of the northern suburbs of Atlanta, speaks with the self-assurance of a doctor about to perform another joint-replacement procedure. He knows the task and will proceed with brisk efficiency.

Mr. Trump has picked Mr. Price, a six-term Republican congressman, to be secretary of health and human services, Mr. Trump’s transition team announced Tuesday morning.


Trump, for some reason, tweets against flag burning

He is against it.

Although the Supreme Court has declared flag burning to be a constitutionally protected form of free speech, Donald Trump said Tuesday he still wants to make the practice illegal.

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag,” the president-elect tweeted Tuesday. “If they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

It’s not known what inspired Trump’s condemnation of flag burning, or whether he will call on Congress to attempt a new law banning it.

Expect a rash of flag burnings to ensue.


This isn’t Reagan’s Party anymore…


Of course we didn’t need Stephen Moore to tell us this. We knew this would be the result of Trump winning months ago.

Donald Trump’s economic adviser Stephen Moore told a group of top Republicans last week that they now belong to a fundamentally different political party.

Moore surprised some of the Republican lawmakers assembled at their closed-door whip meeting last Tuesday when he told them they should no longer think of themselves as belonging to the conservative party of Ronald Reagan.

They now belong to Trump’s populist working-class party, he said.

A source briefed on the House GOP whip meeting — which Moore attended as a guest of Majority Whip Steve Scalise — said several lawmakers told him they were taken aback by the economist’s comments.

Asked about his comments to the GOP lawmakers, Moore told The Hill he was giving them a dose of reality.

“Just as Reagan converted the GOP into a conservative party, Trump has converted the GOP into a populist working-class party,” Moore said in an interview Wednesday.

Get used to it.


Man beats female competitors in bicycle race

The words that follow in no way diminish the truthfulness of the subject line.

A transgender cyclist was the top women’s finisher at an Arizona race over the weekend, besting the nearest female contender by less than one second.

Jillian Bearden, 36, became the first transgender athlete to win El Tour de Tucson in southern Arizona on Saturday, completing the 106-mile course with a time of 4 hours 36 minutes 7.71 seconds.

A Colorado Springs native who has been competing professionally for 10 years, Ms. Bearden, who identifies as a woman, said the win is “absolutely huge” for transgender people who wish to compete against athletes of the same gender identity.

More here.


Source: Trump will not seek to prosecute Hillary Clinton

No surprise there.

This is just coming out this morning and it’s only attributed on background to “a source” with knowledge of the transition team’s thinking, but Donald Trump is supposedly not going to pursue any prosecution of Secretary Hillary Clinton over her email transgressions or even the pay to play activities of the Clinton Global Initiative. The story popped up on MSNBC’s Morning Joe during the first hour and it immediately prompted questions as to why this would be coming out now. (To be fair, there wasn’t a rush of other folks confirming the veracity of the source.) Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that Barack Obama is about to pardon a turkey so Trump felt a matching gesture of magnanimous generosity was called for.


Undermining the Electoral College

As far as I know, no electors pledged to DJT are at risk of going faithless. That said, a half a dozen Democrats pledged to Hillary are trying to start a wave that knocks down the electoral college.

Even the most optimistic among the Democratic electors acknowledges they’re unlikely to convince the necessary 37 Republican electors to reject Trump — the number they’d likely need to deny him the presidency and send the final decision to the House of Representatives. And even if they do, the Republican-run House might simply elect Trump anyway.

But the Democratic electors are convinced that even in defeat, their efforts would erode confidence in the Electoral College and fuel efforts to eliminate it, ending the body’s 228-year run as the only official constitutional process for electing the president. With that goal in mind, the group is also contemplating encouraging Democratic electors to oppose Hillary Clinton and partner with Republicans in support of a consensus pick like Mitt Romney or John Kasich.

There are different ways to amend the constitution, all of which require buy-in from a super-majority of states. It seems unlikely that many states out here in the hinterland are going to be inclined to vote away their influence and elect to become the colonial provinces of the coastal states. I am not sure these folks get that.

Let’s hope the president elect gets it.

More at Politico.


Hey liberals! Come live in the bubble!

It’s a planned community of like-minded free thinkers… AND NO ONE ELSE!


Now he has to make America great again

In a post below I commented on Trump’s plan to engage in massive deficit spending that, when you add in his tax cuts, will likely add to the deficit faster than did Obama’s spendingpalooza. I point out that deficit spending, along with import controls, is contradictory economic policy. Contradictory policy and-over promising are probably the biggest risk Trump faces.

DJT made big promises during the campaign. Most famously, he said he would make America great again. He didn’t stop there either. About 47 days ago he literally said “You have 40 days until the election. You have 40 days to make every dream you ever dreamed for your country come true.”

Unless every dream you ever dreamed for America is that Donald Trump will be president, that is a tall order.

He made hundreds of comments like that and he might be surprised to find out that millions of bitter clingers in the Rust Belt and across flyover land absolutely, positively believed he would follow through on those promises.

Now I am sure that to Trump it was hyperbole. It was sales. It was the art of the deal. It was just carnival barking. He was just pumping up the crowd. That’s not what it was to his fans. They believed it.

Eight years ago, many of them voted for Hope and Change and that “yes we can” make America work for Americans.

That didn’t pan out for them. They are still bitter and they still clinging. This time, many of them voted for Trump.


Now he has to follow through where the other president didn’t. Now he has to deliver a better life for bitter clingers in the rust belt and beyond. He has to make America, if not great again, at least great enough that the rust belt that has been rusting since the 1970s feels fresh and new.

That is an damned tall order. It is highly unlikely he will accomplish it with contradictory economic policies and deficit spending that is inflationary, that increases interest rates and that crowds out private investment. It is unlikely he will do it with trade wars that are inflationary and reduce exports.

I suppose he has about two years to convince the bitter clingers across red America that we are on track for their dreams coming true. If not, they will turn back and happily embrace the socialist bromides of whatever crypto-Marxist heir to Bernie Sanders comes down the Pennsylvania Turnpike.


What about Tiffany?

Poor Tiffany, left out again.

President-elect Donald Trump has sought top security clearance for his three children, according to media reports here which said it could bring up potential conflicts of interest within the incoming administration.

The Trump team has asked the White House to explore the possibility of getting his children — Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr and his daughter Ivanka Trump along with her husband Jared Kushner — the top secret security clearances, CBS news and CNN said.

I, for one, think Tiffany would have much to offer regarding insight into the resolution of the Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile or in negotiations between the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and government forces in Southeast Asia.

Oh well, there is always Ivanaka.

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The Real Revo is nine years old today!



We may not be rid of the cut-rate Kennedy clan yet


This family is like an infestation of DDT resistant bed bugs.

While some pundits are declaring the Clinton political dynasty dead, sources tell us that it is far from over. Chelsea Clinton is being groomed for the New York seat held by Rep. Nita Lowey.

Chelsea could run for the seat in NYC’s 17th Congressional District once Lowey, a respected, 79-year-old career politician with nearly 30 years in office, decides to retire, we have exclusively learned.

Lowey’s district includes parts of Rockland and Westchester counties and, conveniently, Chappaqua, the Clinton family home base.


PepsiCo’s CEO says staff is terrified

They are terrified of Donald Trump.

PepsiCo’s CEO said the election of Donald Trump as president was terrifying her employees.

“I had to answer a lot of questions from my daughters, from our employees. They were all in mourning,” PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi told Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times’ DealBook conference on Thursday.

“Our employees were all crying,” she said. “And the question that they’re asking, especially those who are not white, ‘Are we safe?’ Women are asking, ‘Are we safe?’ LGBT people are asking, ‘Are we safe?’ I never thought I would have to answer those questions.”

That’s odd because I searched the Internet and could find no reference to her being worried about PepsiCo staff in Iraq, Afghanistan or Venezuela.


Roger Simon is in

He is quite enamored with the president elect.

Donald Trump will prove to be one of the greatest and most consequential American presidents, at least since Ronald Reagan and possibly before. No one will ever approach Washington or Lincoln, but Trump is positioned to be one of our most important leaders and be a true change-maker, turning this country around at a time when American power and greatness were on the wane.

Although I had previously suspected as much, I was convinced of this watching his performance on 60 Minutes Sunday. What we saw was Trump in the presidential mode he has long promised and he slipped into it remarkably easily, as if it had always been there and needed no coaxing. The daffy Donald of the primaries and later was far in the rearview mirror. (Was it ever real or just a masquerade?)

The interview demonstrated, as did his Gettysburg speech, the man knows what he intends to do. They are good and necessary things for our country. And the stars are aligned for him to do it. He is coming into office with a Republican Congress poised to get things done, a Supreme Court waiting to be filled, and a military largely grateful for new leadership.


Blue America

It is pretty scant.

Results are still trickling in, but it looks like Republicans will still control an all-time high 69 of 99 state legislative chambers. They’ll hold at least 33 governorships, tying a 94-year-old record.

That means that come 2017, they’ll have total control of government in at least 25 states, and partial control in 20 states. According to population calculations by the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform, that translates to roughly 80 percent of the population living in a state either all or partially controlled by Republicans.