Bahrain, in case you didn't know, is in Asia.
April 30, 2016
April 29, 2016
One more rant today on the same topic as my last two posts. Paul Joseph Watson versus social justice warriors (SJW). There's definitely language and offensive stuff in the video below.
After a few anti-SJW videos today, you'd think I was assaulted by one today. No. I'm normally pretty tolerant of stupidity but it's good to finally see people standing up to this stupidity.
I most often find Alex Jones' Info Wars too far out there for my taste. However, Billy Corgan, front man of alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins, took social justice warriors to task as a guest on the show, and it's too good to ignore.
April 25, 2016
So Ted Cruz and John Kasich have agreed to co-ordinate efforts to deny Trump the delegates for the Republican nomination for president. The question is why. Actually, the real question is "Why make that public?"
What's the gain in letting everyone, including Team Trump know that? Is it to inform voters how they'd like them to vote? Is it to scare Trump into panicking and making a campaign mistake? Is it to tacitly inform Super-PACs how to spend their money more effectively to counter Trump's momentum post New York? As Trump suggests, is it desperation? Is it to avoid the appearance impropriety because they've already been doing just that?
I don't see any real upside to it.
April 24, 2016
Some great reads recently in a few major dailies that are worth checking out.
Weather Channel founder wants politics out of climate change debate.
FBI should pursue Clinton, so says...Salon? Well, it would help Bernie Sanders.
The Federalist has an interesting case for Trump. Cultural Warrior.
Mark Salter erroneously believes that one third of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents will not vote for Trump and hes destined to lose in November if he's the nominee. Conservatives held their noses and voted for Romney, McCain, Dole and Ford. If establishment or establishment-loving Republicans do not do the same for an outsider (be it Trump or Cruz), they will be the ones responsible for the demise of the GOP.
Curt Schilling, honest pariah.
Meanwhile Obamacare continues to collapse under it's own weight.
For some reason The Economist believes Clinton is the one who can unleash American competitiveness. This despite Hillarycare, driver's licenses for illegals, Whitewater, Benghazi...To be fair they say her plans are not bold enough. But then why not make the headline about who has the best plan rather than trying to suggest to Clinton what she should do instead of what she would really do? Timidity, that's why.
April 23, 2016
April 22, 2016
Cycles. The Bible covered this subject over a millennium ago in Ecclesiastes. Whether you are Christian or not, this truism applies:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
The verses continue to cover other things for which there are different seasons. The point is universal; everything, absolutely everything is cyclical. There are ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys in absolutely everything from global warming to the economy, to bull markets and bear markets to politics and human behavior.
The length of the cycles are not always consistent from category to category or even within a specific category. For example economic growth periods typically last much longer than recessions (unequal cycles) but during the Great Depression there was an inconsistently long down cycle.
This idea is important to keep in mind during turbulent times such as these. As the Persian saying goes, "this too shall pass". The reason this struck me today is because of Peggy Noonan's column today in the Wall Street Journal where she laments the decline of lucid, eloquent discourse in American politics.
Have you had your 2016 Moment? I think you probably have, or will.The Moment is that sliver of time in which you fully realize something epochal is happening in politics, that there has never been a presidential year like 2016, and suddenly you are aware of it in a new, true and personal way. It tends to involve a poignant sense of dislocation, a knowledge that our politics have changed and won’t be going back.We’ve had a lot to absorb—the breaking of a party, the rise of an outlandish outsider; a lurch to the left in the other party, the popular rise of a socialist. Alongside that, the enduring power of a candidate even her most ardent supporters accept as corrupt. Add the lowering of standards, the feeling of no options, the coarsening, and all the new estrangements....A friend I’ll call Bill, a political veteran from the 1980s and ’90s, also had his Moment with his child, a 14-year-old daughter who is a budding history buff. He had never taken her to the Reagan Library, so last month they went. As she stood watching a video of Reagan speaking, he thought of Reagan and FDR, of JFK and Martin Luther King. His daughter, he realized, would probably never see political leaders of such stature and grace, though she deserved to. Her first, indelible political memories were of lower, grubbier folk. “Leaders with Reaganesque potential no longer go into politics—and why would they, with all the posturing and plasticity that it requires?”
She provided an even more low bar example in the piece. This too shall pass. Noonan should know better, she's older and undoubtedly possesses far more political insight than I do. Politics in America has not always been eloquent or refined. It's fluid. What we witnessed during the heyday of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher or Churchill or the Founding Fathers is more likely the shorter cycle. But the pendulum can only swing towards the guttural for so long before it swings back or the pendulum actually breaks.
America can only decline for so long before it snaps back or collapses like ancient Rome or Greece. But even such a calamity would not be the end of the ideals that made America great, just as the collapse of the U.S.S.R. did not ensure that communism ended up in the 'dustbin of history' for all time, the ideals of liberty and justice for all shall not perish if America does. They might ebb, but they will eventually flow once again. But prior to such a catastrophe of an American implosion, politics will surely snap back from the brink of Idiocracy and allow for an American mending. Just as Obama won in 2008 and 2012, he was severely rebuked in 2010 and 2014 by voters. And just as Trump and Clinton might embody the negatives Noonan concerns herself with, neither will be relevant in 8 or 9 years at most.
Legalizing marijuana, lowering educational standards, outsourcing jobs, encroaching government restricting liberty, yes we must make our voices known and fight for what we believe is correct or America might not snap back, just as Rome eventually did not recover from it's own flawed choices. But the ideals that created America will remain in hearts and minds, and will someday, somewhere once again flourish in a significant way.
While Noonan conflates Trump as the solution with Trump as the problem, she is not all wrong in her observations;
My Moment came a month ago. I’d recently told a friend my emotions felt too close to the surface—for months history had been going through me and I felt like a vibrating fork. I had not been laughing at the splintering of a great political party but mourning it. Something of me had gone into it. Party elites seemed to have no idea why it was shattering, which meant they wouldn’t be able to repair it, whatever happens with Mr. Trump.I was offended that those curiously quick to write essays about who broke the party were usually those who’d backed the policies that broke it. Lately conservative thinkers and journalists had taken to making clear their disdain for the white working class. I had actually not known they looked down on them. I deeply resented it and it pained me. If you’re a writer lucky enough to have thoughts and be paid to express them and there are Americans on the ground struggling, suffering—some of them making mistakes, some unlucky—you don’t owe them your airy, well-put contempt, you owe them your loyalty. They too have given a portion of their love to this great project, and they are in trouble.
Quite true. But dark despair at politics or the GOP or in anything, is not only unhelpful, it's wrong: To everything there is a season.
April 21, 2016
For years I've run (often intermittently) a Thursday Hillary Bash, pointing out her floundering, her weaknesses, and her scandals etc. I haven't had the time to do so lately, but fear not Hillary-haters. This week I've outsourced my Thursday Hillary Bash to Camille Paglia - noted feminist and most recently, Sanders supporter. Paglia has often written things that support conservative positions in her no-holds-barred opinion pieces.
Despite apparently socialist tendencies apparent in her support of Bernie, she gets it right about Hillary, and in this case her blind supporters.
Did I mention 'unflinching'?
What is it with the Hillary cult?As a lifelong Democrat who will be enthusiastically voting for Bernie Sanders in next week’s Pennsylvania primary, I have trouble understanding the fuzzy rosy filter through which Hillary fans see their champion. So much must be overlooked or discounted—from Hillary’s compulsive money-lust and her brazen indifference to normal rules to her conspiratorial use of shadowy surrogates and her sociopathic shape-shifting in policy positions for momentary expedience.Hillary’s breathtaking lack of concrete achievements or even minimal initiatives over her long public career doesn’t faze her admirers a whit. They have a religious conviction of her essential goodness and blame her blank track record on diabolical sexist obstructionists. When at last week’s debate Hillary crassly blamed President Obama for the disastrous Libyan incursion that she had pushed him into, her acolytes hardly noticed. They don’t give a damn about international affairs—all that matters is transgender bathrooms and instant access to abortion.
Well put. Holding a mirror up to many Democratic voters must be more effective when it comes from Paglia than it does from the likes of me (an unknown conservative with a keen grasp of the obvious). It's heartening to see that Paglia has not swallowed the Clinton Kool Aid. And what happens to Paglia's choice if as expected, Clinton wins the nomination? It might not be as obvious of a Jonestown moment as you might expect. And just maybe, that anti-Trump women's voting block won't be so single-mindedly monolithic as to inevitably crush a Trump candidacy in the general election come November.
April 20, 2016
It's more than a little ironic that on a day dedicated to lethargic thinking (4-20), and embracing stupidity, the Treasury Department announced that President Andrew Jackson is being de-prioritized from the $20 bill in favor of...Harriet Tubman?
I get it; inclusivity dictates that a female, or an African American appears on U.S. currency, or ideally, both.
WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew on Wednesday announced the most sweeping and historically symbolic makeover of American currency in a century, proposing to replace the slaveholding Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman, the former slave and abolitionist, and to add women and civil rights leaders to the $5 and $10 notes.Mr. Lew may have reneged on a commitment he made last year to make a woman the face of the $10 bill, opting instead to keep Alexander Hamilton, to the delight of a fan base swollen with enthusiasm over a Broadway rap musical named after and based on the life of the first Treasury secretary.But the broader remaking of the nation’s paper currency, which President Obama welcomed on Wednesday, may well have captured a historical moment for a multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial nation moving contentiously through the early years of a new century.
Jackson it seems, will still be on the back.
I'm not against putting worthy candidates on currency, but this is so clearly an act of pandering as to be sickening. Currency has historically been the preserve of heads of state (i.e. presidents and national founders like Franklin).
I know the slippery slope argument is not a strong one, but I feel compelled to ask, how long until we see LeBron James on the $100 bill? Tiger Woods? Madonna? Obama?
Needless to say, I'm not a fan of the decision.
April 19, 2016
It should not come as a surprise that both Trump and Clinton won their 'home' state. What's a bit surprising are the margins of victory. Trump crushed Kasich and Cruz garnering ~60% of the vote so far. Cruz did himself no favors in New York by using the phrase 'New York values' earlier in the cycle. But Cruz wasn't expecting to win in the Empire State. Still, 60% has to be a vindication for Trump who has seen his momentum slow in the last few weeks.
Hillary beat Bernie by roughly 58% to 42%. That's a stronger than expected showing for Sanders and he'll have managed minimize her expected delegate dominance in her 'home' state. It ensures an even more drawn out primary on the Democratic side.
I'm sure the fallout from New York will be interesting. I've been slow on posting this month as I've been busier than usual with a myriad of things, but I'm sure there'll be some hot sound bites coming out of the latest contest so I'll have to find time to comment.
April 16, 2016
April 15, 2016
April 12, 2016
Victor Davis Hanson, at National Review wrote this recently, in regard to Donald Trump:
In sum, the white lower and middle classes are angry, and they are tired of being blamed for the unhappiness of other tribes. In our world, in which uncouth tribal leaders can say almost anything, these whites wanted their own Sharpton or Ramos, and finally got him with Donald J. Trump. As is true of most revolutionary movements, the aggrieved are not as angry at their perceived opponents as they are contemptuous at the enablers of them.
I've lost a lot of respect for the real 'bitter clingers' at National Review with their vitriol towards Donald Trump. It's been coming across as a personal hatred - something I'd expect as a gut reaction from a progressive liberal, rather than a reasoned and thoughtful debate over his worthiness. The latter is what I'd expect from National Review. In fact early on, when Trump was a novelty candidate they were merely dismissive and not vitriolic. In retrospect, those early arguments were probably fairly reasoned. But as Trump's prospects rose, the shrillness at National Review seemed to rise in response.
But Victor Davis Hanson I do respect and he's not off the mark in assessing the rise of Trump here.
Given his cruelty, obnoxiousness, and buffoonery, Trump should have been a three-month flash in the pan, exactly as most of his critics had prophesied and dreamed. I hope he will still fade, as he should. But the fact that he has persisted this long may be because the hatred our elites so passionately claimed was aimed at the Other was actually directed at themselves.
Yes, there's vitriol towards Trump in that but also truth. The 'hatred' was certainly originally directed at the Other. That explains the victories in the Senate and Congress dating bacvk to 2010. But then nothing was done and there was a transfer of not hatred, but grievance towards Republican elites and their enablers. I expect that Hanson recognizes that some of that includes National Review. The cure is simple - don't become part of the problem, be part of the solution. In that light, Trump is merely a symptom of the angst and frustration. Not recognizing that is the real issue, and it's preventing the party elite from doing anything effective to stop Trump. You want a better alternative then offer voters something that does not validate or ensure the status quo.
April 9, 2016
April 8, 2016
April 7, 2016
It's about time Bernie.
I said it yesterday - after Wisconsin, the Democratic contest is probably going to the convention undecided too, and it's going to be a mess just like the Republican contest.
April 6, 2016
Back about six weeks ago, I tried to do the calculus on who would win what state for both the Democratic primaries. I even posted about some of it. I need to dig out my Excel tables and see how I did on a state-by-state basis. But from the perspective of now, the races both are a lot more interesting than they were a week ago.
Ted Cruz trounced Trump in Wisconsin and Bernie Sanders has bested Clinton in a impressively growing string of contests too. It's becoming more and more possible (the unDemocratic super-delegates aside) that both parties end up having contested conventions if recent trends hold. I doubt many people would have guessed that a week ago.
Buckle your seat belts.
And as an unrelated aside R.I.P. Merle Haggard.
April 4, 2016
Donald Trump apparently made some abortion gaffe that is supposed to disqualify him from consideration for president.
In case you missed the tempest in a teapot, here's Chris Matthews, the 'interviewer' during the comments in question, on his take on the incident. I say interviewer because it's clear that he was trying to set up Trump for future Democratic attacks.
What Trump said was not particularly a gaffe. He was basically saying, based on the premise proposed by Matthews, that if a woman breaks a law, she should be punished. It's just like his stance on illegal immigration. If it's illegal, someone who does it is breaking the law. For lawbreakers there is a penalty, or there should be.
Interestingly, at the liberal Huffington Post, they're saying that Trump is demanding accountability and not portraying a woman getting an abortion as an innocent victim in all of this but rather an active participant, most likely (though not always) as was the case during the conception as well. Granted, HuffPo says he gave the respect accidentally, providing the obligatory editorializing of their own pass for Trump.
Nevertheless the real reveal here was not that Trump is a law and order guy and it supercedes abortion considerations, rather the reveal is about Matthews. Clearly they view their political agendas ahead of the law of the land. It also reveals a little bit of inconsistency on the anti-abortion right - they have long held the view that the woman is not the target of the punishment but rather the provider is. When a man visits a prostitute in violation of anti-prostitution laws, both participants are in violation of the law. Why would this be any different?
This is not meant to be a full-throated, mind-numbed robot defense of Trump. As with Rush Limbaugh, I am simply pointing out what I'm seeing. I'm in line with Rush a number of other ways on Trump too. He's not my ideal candidate. I'm not endorsing him. I'm not trashing him either though - if he becomes the nominee, I would support him in a heartbeat over Clinton or Sanders.