PowerLine – One More Thing About Brexit

PowerLine – One More Thing About Brexit

PowerLine Daily digest - Old Guard Audio.com

PowerLine Daily digest – Old Guard Audio.com

Daily Digest

Why Did Agriculture “Arise”?

Posted: 26 Jun 2016 03:16 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)Narratives of human history conventionally say that agriculture “arose” around 13,000 years ago. But why? At Watts Up With That, Susan Corwin suggests a plausible explanation:

Because it would work as CO2 became plentiful!

All the academic articles say: “and then agriculture happened”.

The “accepted wisdom”/consensus is:

…here was no single factor, or combination of factors, that led people to take up farming in different parts of the world.

But It is simple: it occurred because it Started Working…13,000 years ago.

At that time, the Ice Age had ended. Rising temperatures led to higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. It was approximately 13,000 or 14,000 years ago that CO2 levels rose high enough to allow robust plant growth. Ms. Corwin offers this chart:


One amendment is appropriate: it is not quite true that below 160 ppm of CO2 “plants all die.” Rather, as “photosynthesis stops” implies, all plants that require photosynthesis die. That is pretty much all plants as far as we are concerned.

As is so often true on WUWT, the comments are at least as interesting as the post. The one irrefutable takeaway is that a reasonably high level of CO2 is necessary for life, and human civilization, as we know it.

One More Thing About Brexit

Posted: 26 Jun 2016 02:59 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Well, one more thing, but surely not the last. Anyway, if you think there are parallels between sentiment in Britain and in the U.S., and recall how Margaret Thatcher’s victory in 1979 was a harbinger of Reagan’s victory the following year, consider this: If Boris Johnson is the next prime minister of Britain, and Trump is the next president of the United States, they’ll have something in common beyond ideology. It could be summarized like this:

Boris Trump copyBoris Trump?

Boris Trump 2 copy

Sense on Guns from . . . The NYRB?

Posted: 26 Jun 2016 01:10 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Ordinarily you wouldn’t expect much accuracy or sense in an article about guns and gun control from the New York Review of Books, but there it is, in David Cole’s review of three new gun books in the current edition. In particular, this:

Congress has not passed a gun control law since it sought to ban assault weapons in 1994, and that law proved largely ineffectual. It is remarkably difficult to define an “assault weapon.” They are semiautomatic, which means they fire a new bullet with each trigger pull, while automatically reloading. But most guns made today are semiautomatic, so the ban on assault weapons focused on the cosmetic military appearance of certain guns, and was easily evaded by alterations in design. Moreover, while gun rights proponents are hard-pressed to offer a legitimate reason for civilians to own assault weapons, they are used in a very small proportion of gun crimes. Most crimes involve ordinary handguns. So the assault weapon ban did little if anything to advance gun safety and Congress let it lapse in 2004.

Cole is skeptical of some of the improvisations of gun grabbers, such as Firmin DeBrabander’s tortured theoretical argument that gun possession is anti-democratic:

These assertions, notwithstanding the obligatory references to John Locke, Machiavelli, Hannah Arendt, and Michel Foucault, are frankly difficult to square with political reality. The NRA may advocate for an individual right, but its influence derives precisely from collective democratic action. Far from threatening democracy, it expertly deploys the techniques of majoritarian politics. The NRA has achieved its victories not by threats of insurrection but through the classic methods of democracy: debate, dialogue, lobbying, and electioneering. Its source of strength lies not in the weapons its members own or carry, but in the votes they cast and the arguments they make.

Surely by this point NYRB readers on the Upper West Side will be getting the vapors. It gets better. Cole implicitly throws cold water on the proposal that Democrats sat in for this week of banning anyone on the terror watch list from buying a gun:

Others have proposed adding “suspected terrorists” to the list of those ineligible to purchase guns at licensed gun stores, a sensible suggestion so long as Congress adopts fair procedures and clear standards for so designating individuals. (At the moment, terror watchlists are notoriously overinclusive, adopted in secret, and virtually impossible to get off of, so significant reform would be necessary.)

It is precisely the reform of a prospective terror watch list gun buying ban that Republicans proposed but which Democrats opposed for purely political grandstanding reasons.

Brexit: The Gift That Will Keep on Giving

Posted: 26 Jun 2016 09:34 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)We’ve already had plenty of coverage here about the elite left’s unhinged whingeing about the Brexit vote, and I predict the Brexit vote will become for Europolitans what the sainted Citizens Uniteddecision is for lefties here in the U.S—a source of perpetual rage and blame for everything that bothers them about human existence in the 21st century.

I had thought that the scare campaign would succeed, and indeed between the late polls and the rally in the financial markets in the days before the vote it certainly looked that way. But then in the back of my mind I wondered if this would play out like Proposition 13 in California back in 1978. The scare campaign about how Prop. 13 would ruin California was turned up way past 11. I recall one legendary story of a local government official who said that when he told audiences that Prop. 13 would “cripple local government,” he saw nothing but smiles in the audience. That’s when he switched sides. And I think I’ve told the story here before of asking my dad, then serving on the local school board in a district heavily dependent on residential property taxes, what he thought of Prop. 13 and how it would affect the school district. “It’s a meat-ax approach to the problem that will wreak havoc on our finances. I don’t know how we’re going to manage if it passes.” “So, dad, are you gong to vote for it?” Answer: “Damn right I am.”

In the case of Prop. 13, there was a multi-billion dollar state surplus (thank you, Gov. Reagan) that Gov. Methuselah, I mean, Jerry Brown, denied existed until the day after Prop. 13’s landslide election, at which point he said, “Oh—look: a $4.5 billion surplus! I guess we’ll be able to survive Prop. 13 after all.” There are still lefties that say Prop. 13 did ruin California, but this thesis sits uneasily with their current thesis that progressivism has saved the state and made it into a model. And despite Prop. 13, California is among the highest-taxed states in the country, revealing that what really bothers liberals is any time the people say “No!” to them. I recall Tom Wicker’s New York Times column about Prop. 13 at the time, called “How To Spit in Your Own Face.” (Yes, I know, anyone who drooled as much as Wicker shouldn’t use that imagery, but self-awareness is something many liberals seem to lack.)

Likewise I think Britain will survive just fine or likely prosper (just as California boomed immediately after Prop. 13), and the EU might even consider laying off some of the 1,750 linguists, 600 full-time interpreters and 3,000 freelancers it uses to facilitate its meetings in Brussels and Strasbourg (because what good is a European parliament if you can’t have multiple locations), or even eliminating some of the many mid-level Eurocrats who have salaries higher than Prime Minister Cameron.

The final delicious irony is the way the Europolitans are pointing to the sour market reaction in Friday as evidence that Brexit is a mistake. It recalls to mind Winston Churchill’s comment in 1925, shortly after be became Chancellor of the Exchequer, that “I would rather see finance less proud and industry more content.” That was an odd thing for a Conservative Party leader to say at the time. Interesting today that it now finds an entirely congenial home amongst conservatives. Odd, isn’t it, that liberals suddenly care more about Wall Street than they do about the workers in the union halls?

Message: I sigh

Posted: 26 Jun 2016 09:01 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)In the course of campaigning in New Hampshire in January 1992 George Bush told an Exeter townhall meeting: “Message: I care.” We all heard about it endlessly at the time. As I recall, the media took it as an illustration of Bush’s supposed cluelessness.

Jonah Goldberg classed this episode among his “biggest peeves with Republicans: They read their stage directions, they explain their motives. And it drives me crazy.” He declared Bush the poster boy for this malady.

In the video below we have Madam Hillary doing roughly the same thing. Responding last week to Donald Trump’s comments on her faith, Clinton actually read the direction “Sigh” off her teleprompter from the text of her speech. Does Jonah know about this?

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