Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Adam Kissel's Appointment Reflects Brilliantly on the Trump Administration

A friend just forwarded an article in about  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's appointment of Adam Kissel to deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs.  I worked with Adam on a grant several years ago when he was with the Charles G. Koch Foundation, and he was professional, knowledgeable, and effective. He had previously worked for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, where he also had done important work.  Adam combines a restrained brilliance with integrity and a commitment to civil liberties. President Trump's appointments of Deputy Assistant Secretary Kissel, Secretary DeVos, and regulatory czar Neomi Rao augur well for the course the Trump administration will take.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The National Right to Work Committee Covers My Blog

The National Right to Work Committee blogged a piece on its website concerning my blog about the effect of right-to-work laws on disposable income.  The original blog post is at

If Not Now, When? Repeal Agenda 21

PO Box 130
West Shokan, NY 12494
June 6, 2017

President Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Via First Class Mail and Email

Dear President Trump

I support your decision about the Paris Agreement.  In addition, I urge your administration to consider rescinding US support for the Rio Declaration of 1992, which is associated with UN Agenda 21 and the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests.  As well, I urge the United States to withhold funding for all government and UN programs aimed to implement these documents.

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21 are couched in economically illiterate claims about how economic development occurs and how economic inequality ought to be addressed.   For instance, they commit the United States to reducing consumption and to “promoting appropriate demographic policies.”  They do not recognize that freedom and free markets are the sine qua non for meaningful economic development.
The Rio Declaration is anti-scientific.  Principle 15 advocates a precautionary principle whereby if “threats,” as defined by environmental extremists, exist, “lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures.” Such vague, anti-scientific language gives a carte blanche to scientism.   It is opposed to real science, and its anti-science bias was reflected in Al Gore’s ignorant claim that science can be “settled.”

Your administration can rescind American support for the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, and the statement on sustainable forests. It can rescind all budgetary items that support implementation of these totalitarian commitments.



Mitchell Langbert,Ph.D.

Monday, June 5, 2017

David J. Garrow's Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

I haven't read David J. Garrow's Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, but a friend forwarded Paul Street's review in Counter Punch.  Street's review is from a left perspective--one which would have been called New Left a few decades ago.  Thus, while Street's (and presumably Garrow's) analysis is accurate, we part ways with respect to Street's criticisms of Garrow as well as Street's conclusions and recommendations.

Street's rendition of Garrow makes some similar points to those I made in this blog in 2008 and 2009. Street puts more weight than I did--how could I have known?--on Obama's lack of substance and his pragmatism.  It was evident from the contribution numbers readily available in 2008 that Obama would be deferential to Wall Street, which he was, according to the review.  

The left has never understood that socialism begets elitism, so a more socialistic economy would beget a slightly different but essentially similar set of figures to Robert Rubin and Lloyd Blankfein.  The elites in communist and softer socialist states don't differ much from the current American elite. Cliches like "neoliberalism," "progressive" and "democratic"  confuse leftists like Street, who remain wedded to the false premise that Hoover's Progressivism was laissez faire.

While it is true that Hoover was more laissez faire than Franklin Roosevelt, the basic statist infrastructure--the Fed, the permanent war machine, the draft,  the income tax,  the process for providing regulatory subsidization to special interests--was already in place under Hoover, and he supported it.  The Republicans elected during the 1920s--Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover--had no interest in repealing the big-government institutions that Theodore Roosevelt (R), Taft (R) and  Wilson (D) had put into place.   While Taft was conservative compared to Roosevelt, he was in the Progressive tradition, favoring use of litigation over regulation of trusts to enforce federal regulation. Roosevelt had favored a more regulated approach, so he ran against Taft in 1912, enabling election of Wilson, who signed both the income tax and the Federal Reserve Act into law.

The American imperial state has been evolving since Lincoln and before, and socialism is not the solution. It is the problem. Obama was in the imperial tradition of Leviathan, and Street's review is worth reading.