Some Gregorian Chant for the Season

You've All Been Very Bad

Headline: "Santa Claus Converts to Calvinism, Puts Everyone on Naughty List."

The undue importance of Senate elections

If the election is that momentous, the government is too powerful.  Jeffrey Tucker laments the early 20th-century triumph of Progressivism that put the choice of U.S. Senators in the hands of voters rather than state legislators:
. . . In 1913, the 17th amendment of the US Constitution was ratified. The stated intention was to eliminate perceived corruption and legislative deadlocks.
Sure enough, it did end some deadlocks, enabling an expansion of government power that would not have otherwise been possible. It also fundamentally changed the structure and political dynamic of Congress itself. The devolved structure of American government was upended and political rights of the states declined. The Senate became another version of the House, directly elected and thereby subject to the same demagoguery, factionalism, and demographic recrimination that characterized elections for the House.

The Hezbollah/Obama Report is a Bombshell

But, as Rebeccah L. Heinrichs explains, it's not really a surprising one if you followed the Iran Deal closely.

I've met Ms. Heinrichs. She isn't a political operative, if you're thinking that from the fact that she's slamming the Obama administration after the fact. Rather, she's a legitimate expert on ballistic missiles.

A Rockabilly Christmas



The Reverend Horton Heat did a whole Christmas album. If you have Amazon Prime, you can stream it for free; also on Spotify.

A Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday

The Yuletide


Today is the Winter Solstice, the traditional beginning of the Yuletide. The Christmastide does not begin for a few days (traditionally Vespers on Christmas Eve).

Feedback

I haven't gotten very excited about the tax bill either way, believing that it fiddled in minor ways with individual tax brackets and generally pushed food around on the plate.  On the other hand, I do favor the lowered corporate tax rate, because I believe there should be no corporate tax at all:  I'd prefer to do the taxing at the individual level, where any money not ploughed back into the means of production will have to go eventually, in the form of salaries to workers or dividends to stockholders.  AT+T already has announced a $1,000 bonus to its workers to celebrate the tax cut.  See other similar corporate responses here.

What's more, I think the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions will have a salutary effect on the most broken part of the current tax system, which is the failure of feedback mechanisms.  As this article makes clear, a principal effect of the SALT deduction cap is to move toward a system in which the people who vote for higher taxes will be the ones who actually have to pay them.  Any system in which citizens can easily vote for other citizens to shoulder most of the tax burden is bound to spin out of control.

I'd rather see lower taxes and smaller government, but if there must be high taxes and large government for important and worthy tasks that can't be accomplished any other way, then let those who want it put their money where their mouth is.

The Last Jedi, Take II

Meditations on leadership and its failures, from the Angry Staff Officer. (That's almost every staff officer, in my experience.)

Pssst -- That's Illegal, Rosie


Someone should tell her.

Yule dog

She really wasn't happy about this outfit.


Jól

A Punk Rock Christmas

Sex and Vengeance

What I’ll say for now is we should try to hold in balance two truths. Sex is an intractable conundrum rather than a solvable problem. But that does not absolve us of the obligation to try to make better arrangements to minimize the chance that people are victimized by it. But we should attempt this in full recognition that there may not be a satisfactory way to render safe and tractable the will to domination and subordination that radical feminists rightly see as bound up in sexual desire without summoning up a will to purity and control—and vengeance—at least as destructive as the thing it opposes.
It even be that sex is the safer, and less destructive, of the two impulses. After all, all of nature is founded on it: it is the flourishing of every higher species, and the waxing of every human nation.

Good Advice

Headline: "Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What's Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions."

On the other hand, just because it has gone that way in the past -- or, even because it usually goes that way -- doesn't mean it doesn't sometimes go the other way too.

The Last Jedi

For those who have seen it, and for those who don't mind spoilers, a review.

Spoilers are likely in the comments, so if you don't want them, stay out of the comments.