Yes, we are at sea…rounding England from Ireland, on our way to Cherbourg, France.
We’re doing far more back-and-forth travelling this year than we would like.
With a little luck, though, we’ll be able to settle into our new digs in Ireland next year, and not have to move around so much.
The sea was rough last night.
We ate our evening meal with trepidation and made our way to our cabin, bouncing from one side of the corridor to the other.
But it seems to have settled down this morning, allowing us to work at our laptop without getting nauseous.
Opening it up…we find the following items:
Our old friend, Charles Koch, has dared to defy the Trump team. The Donald says Koch is now a ‘total joke’ in the Republican Party.
As for the president himself, he says he threatened to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his wall — a threat that he may or may not have already disavowed.
In the two reports, we find the end of the Republican Party…and the end of the Republic itself.
Charles Koch, for dear readers who don’t know him, runs the multinational company that bears his name.
He is a very traditional conservative with a libertarian bent. His goal is a small government with short arms. It does not reach for the stars. It does not support the zombies in idleness…nor the cronies in luxury. It minds its own business.
Donald J Trump is not a conservative. But he has very long arms. And he has captured the hearts of many people who say they are conservatives.
He has also captured the soul of the Republican Party, to the horror of at least one old-fashioned, thinking Republican — George F Will — who now says we’d be better off with Democrats.
So what is it that has The Donald so cross with Koch?
The New York Times sets up the contretemps:
‘Mr. Koch’s simmering frustrations with the president over trade and immigration have now spilled over into an ugly public feud with Mr. Trump and candidates who side with him. By calling Mr. Trump’s trade policies “detrimental” and denouncing divisive leadership, Mr. Koch is making a provocative political move that — be it hardball strategy or more of a ploy — threatens to complicate Republican efforts to hold on to their slim congressional majorities in the November midterm elections.
‘Mr. Trump hit back on Tuesday by attacking Mr. Koch; his ailing brother and business partner, David; and the powerful political network they founded as “totally overrated” and “a total joke in real Republican circles.”
‘”I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas,” Mr. Trump fumed on Twitter in an early morning series of posts. And several Republicans, including some allies of the Kochs, accused them of self-aggrandizement.’
Poor Charles. He is a man of ideas. He reads widely and thinks deeply. He could have an intelligent discussion with Thomas Jefferson or Charles Darwin.
He could hold his own with Archimedes, Newton, Planck, or Boyle. But he’s no match for The Donald. Not in a public food fight. Not in 2018.
As a republic degenerates, so, too, does the level of public discourse.
Instead of taking on the Kochs’ conservative, small government ideas — which were once the backbone of the Republican Party — Mr Trump uses the skills learned over decades in the tabloid press and reality TV to attack, ad hominem, the brothers themselves.
He even kicked David Koch off his golf course in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Charles Koch hopes to bring Republicans back to their core principles — balanced budgets, free trade, and limited government. That is, he would really like to see Mr Trump follow through on his campaign promise to drain the swamp.
Yesterday, we guessed that the economy has not really revved up. The latest number — 4.1% — for GDP growth is, we believe, a fluke and a fake.
Nothing meaningful has happened to change the tepid growth rates we’ve seen since 2008, or to put a brake on the slide towards bankruptcy.
Tax cuts — without spending cuts — merely postpone the problems. Trade barriers make them worse. So does increasing the Pentagon budget.
The rest is eye wash.
Save the Republic
Charles Koch is right. The way to save the Republic is to go back to basics: honest money and small government.
But it is a little late in the imperial cycle. Too many zombies voting for handouts. Too many cronies with too many sticky fingers in too many pots.
And neither party could win the popular vote by relying on ideas. There just aren’t enough thinking voters.
Instead, as the Republic matured, elections had to be fought and won on feelings, preferably fraudulent ones.
Traditionally, the Democrats had to pretend to care about equality — the poor, minorities, cripples, orphans, and half-wits — offering to rob the rich to redistribute money to the poor.
The Republicans had to pretend to care about security. They were hard-hearted, but they could be counted on to make sure the nation’s finances were in good hands and the Bolsheviks were kept out of the suburbs.
Alas, both parties are now parties of Big Government.
Both want to use more federal win-lose power — spending, policing and regulating — to cure the problems caused by Big Government.
And neither seems to know or care that they are headed for catastrophe.
Editor’s Note: A few minutes before publishing, Bill sent a note in to our team. He arrived safely in France, and shares a picture as he debarks from his vessel.
William, Duke of Normandy in Normandy, France