Odds and Ends…12/10/2019

The most important near term test vote for U.S. Presidential politics is not the pending pre-ordained impeachment of Mr. Trump by the Democratic House, soon to be followed by acquittal by the Republican Senate. Nor is it the fast approaching Iowa caucus, scheduled for February 3, 2020, or the New Hampshire primary, scheduled for February 11, 2020. The most important vote takes place in Britain this Thursday December 12 in the contest between the current Tory PM Boris Johnson, and the Labour candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr. Johnson has a comfortable lead in the polls. Nigel Farage leader of the Brexit Party is cooperating with Johnson by not running candidates against Brexit friendly Tories, so that pro-Brexit candidates avoid splitting the vote. While Johnson has a lead in the polls it is worth noting that (a) British polling results have been less than stellar, and that (b) Theresa May managed to blow a 17 point polling lead the last go around.    `

Boris Johnson’s campaign has two major planks. First, he insists he will “get Brexit done.” Second he says that Britain will continue to depend on a market economy to produce prosperity. On the other hand, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is essentially an old line communist / socialist who has yet to find a bad word to say about dictators in Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela etc. Plus he is an anti-Semite who maintains friendly relations with Hamas. When it comes to Brexit he is  playing coy, saying that he will remain neutral until there is another referendum, so that “the people can decide”. 

Of course, the people already decided in the last referendum. But they didn’t vote the right way. So the game plan is to have vote after vote until the people vote the right way, in which case the results will be declared to be definitive. 

The British election provides a clear unvarnished choice between a market friendly pro-Brexit Tory PM and an old line anti-Semitic socialist who promises to nationalize key British industries and impose punitive taxes on “the rich”. If Jeremy Corbyn wins this contest, it does not bode well for the United States. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and the Squad will have the wind at their backs. 

This Just In…

In a recent Monmouth University Poll 900 respondents were asked whom they would rank as the better President: George Washington or Barrack Obama. Among registered voters 58% named Washington as the better President while 33% picked Obama. Among self-identified Democrats 63% chose Obama as the better President against 29% who picked Washington. 

In a different poll when Republicans were asked to choose between Abraham Lincoln and Donald Trump, 53% chose Trump as the better President. 

And while we are at it…

In 2015 then New York Attorney General Eric Schniederman (a Democrat) sued Exxon Mobile under the Martin Act claiming that shareholders were defrauded by Exxon. The government argued that Exxon had defrauded investors by not revealing its internal estimates of projected future compliance costs of climate regulations. Schniederman’s successor, Letitia James (a Democrat), prosecuted the civil lawsuit, which does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It only requires a preponderance of the evidence. Nevertheless, the judge presiding over the case found Exxon not guilty on all counts. 

In response, according to the Wall Street Journal, Ms. James later made this statement. “Despite this decision, we will continue to fight to ensure companies are held responsible for actions that undermine and jeopardize the financial health and safety of Americans across our country, and we will continue to fight to end climate change”. 

No one this side of sanity can have any doubt whatsoever that this obviously losing case was brought for political purposes. The respective Attorneys General were simply looking to burnish their street cred with climate activists to prepare for the next campaign. And they were perfectly happy to abuse their power for that purpose. Which come to think of it, is exactly what Donald Trump is credibly accused of. 

But somehow or other I don’t expect to see an outpouring of progressive voices demanding Ms. James’s removal from office.


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