December 17, 2017

Peggy Noonan makes the case for longer term thinking

Peggy Noonan is what you could consider a beltway conservative - old school, establishment-leaning and averse to radical moves to the right.  There's a case to be made that slow and steady is the way to go, regardless of what you think of president Trump. Peggy Noonan makes that case, in a pretty compelling way.  If you want conservative thinking to win out, you need to think about things from a longer term perspective - both looking backward, as well as looking forward. The long view matters.

Right, but also not.
From the perspective of looking backwards, what did president Reagan do right? He communicated intelligently and clearly, and consistently.  What did president Obama do wrong? He tried to move the country too far left, far faster than anyone thought possible.  Ultimately it backfired because the Democrats lost so much power during his presidency. That's not something we want to see under president Trump.  That means being more like Reagan, and less like Trump.

President Trump is in many cases simply trying to undo the damage president Obama caused. But it's not so much 'the what' that Noonan takes issue with ultimately, it's 'the how'.  Her case, even as someone who hopes to see a dramatic change in Washington, is compelling. In fact, it's a case I've made myself in the past, albeit for Canada. Canada ultimately did not grow weary of conservatism but rather of a party that had been in power for 9 years and seemed boring, and without any compelling narrative or momentum.

Noonan's take is not so much about the pace of president Trump's agenda (it's been annoyingly slow after all), but rather the presentation.  Presentation she argues, is important.  We'd be remiss if we dismissed her point without pause to consider it.
In 2018, we have to do better, all of us. We need to improve. In the area of politics this means, in part: sober up, think about the long term, be aware of the impression you’re making, of what people will infer from your statements and actions. So much hinges on the coming year—who is in Congress and what they think they were sent there to do, the results of the Mueller investigation. If the latter finds crimes and the former goes Democratic there will be moves for impeachment in 2019. There will be international crises as always, but 2018 may produce one of unprecedented historical gravity in nuked-up North Korea.

...There is inspiration in the Alabama outcome. To see it in terms of the parties or Steve Bannon is to see it small. The headline to me: American political standards made a comeback. Roy Moore’s loss was not a setback for the GOP; it was a setback for freakishness.
She surmises;
Thirty-three states have U.S. Senate races next year. Primary voters should absorb what happened to Alabama Republicans after they picked Mr. Moore. They took it right in the face. They misjudged their neighbors. They were full of themselves. They rejected the sure victories offered by other contestants and chose a man whom others easily detected as not well-meaning. They weren’t practical or constructive and they didn’t think about the long term. They didn’t, for instance, take into account that there were independents in the state whose support could be gained with the fielding of a more serious Republican.
It's not a trivial point. In politics Vince Lombardi's borrowed point should be a mantra; "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." It comes back to Noonan's point, to get conservative goals accomplished, the GOP must live and thrive beyond just the Trump presidency. To do so, it must continue to win. Roy Moore can be a harbinger of an abrupt halt to the America first agenda, or it can serve as a warning that as conservatives, we need to be smarter about how we vote and whom we support.

To me, that doesn't mean Trump can't be Trump, but rather it should be a little more tempered and honed to be brought into play when necessary. Keep some of your powder dry mister president. As for other candidates, maybe don't be too Trump.  If Trump works for Trump, it doesn't mean that will work for someone else, just as the president Obama approach didn't work well for the Democrats in congress.  Instead Republicans should be themselves, and the best version of themselves.

It also doesn't mean abandoning our goals, only changing our tactics to achieving them. It means our candidates must be palatable to a larger group of voters than just ourselves. It's easier to hold a Republican's feet to the fire than a Democrat's, because a Democratic senator owes a Republican voter nothing whatsoever. Holding Roy Moore's feet to the fire now is pointless because he has no power - he lost. In some ways it means that as conservatives our job does not entail finding the most conservative candidate no matter how unpalatable they may be more broadly, voting for them and then going away until the next election. That approach has failed in Moore's case and in others since the Tea Party's rise. It means, as has often been said, nominating the most conservative, electable, Republican and then to keep the pressure on that they do not succumb to the unrelenting inside the beltway pressure to drift leftward. That means after the election, keeping that Republican representative on notice that we are always watching and will provide unrelenting pressure of our own to keep them on the right path.

Noonan's advice is debatable. After all, Republicans won several elections earlier in the year and Moore is the only real surprise upset of a Republican since president Trump's election. And she takes her conclusions a step too far in my opinion. But the argument is not without it's merits, and we would do well to heed it at least partially. My thinking is that we need pitbulls in congress and the senate, but we need them to be able to come across as Golden Retrievers in the media. Just like Reagan. That's because to affect real change, we need more Republicans in the congress and senate, not less.

Sunday verse

December 16, 2017

The Injustice Department

Via Politico a story on how those within the Justice Department discussed collusion against a Trump electoral victory. Both agents had been part of special counsel Muller's Russia probe, evidence again that highly partisan people are involved in a systemic anti-Trump agenda.
Two FBI agents assigned to the investigation into alleged collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia exchanged text messages referring to the future president as an "idiot," according to copies of messages turned over to Congress Tuesday night by the Justice Department...

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok wrote to Page in August 2016.

It’s unclear who Andy is, but other messages suggest he may be FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. He recused himself from Clinton email-related issues one week before the presidential election, but Republican critics have said he should have done so sooner because of his wife’s campaign for the Virginia state senate was supported by Clinton allies...

Shortly after the election, Page suggested Trump might be brought down by scandal.

“Bought all the president’s men,” she wrote. “Figure I needed to brush up on watergate.”
The fact that they have been removed is of zero consolation to those of us who believe this probe is a government-run lynching of a sitting president. They are merely symptomatic of a larger problem and their removal does not address the underlying flaws with the investigation.

Saturday Learning Series - Palestinian Lie

A video from a few years back about the Palestinian Lie.

Paul Krugman's laughable election night economic forecast

NYT economist and blind political partisan Paul Krugman on election night 2016 predicted that the end was nigh for the world economy as a result of Trump's election. So wrong, so wrong.

Krugman's op ed that night included this gem;
It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?

...If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never...

Now comes the mother of all adverse effects — and what it brings with it is a regime that will be ignorant of economic policy and hostile to any effort to make it work. Effective fiscal support for the Fed? Not a chance. In fact, you can bet that the Fed will lose its independence, and be bullied by cranks.

So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight. I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened.
Even though I despised president Obama's disastrous economic policy positions, I knew America would survive them for four years, and then begrudgingly eight years. Krugman is so enlightened, he's beyond rational thought.

And today? The DOW is at record highs in response to the tax bill supported by the president. That's not the be-all-end-all of economic success, but it is certainly an important indicator of how the economy is performing.

It's Freedom of association, stupid

YouGov has a poll out indicating that Americans are 'torn' between religious freedom and something they refer to as marriage equality.  It's rife with flaws. First and foremost, this is not a matter of polling, it's a Constitutional matter.  Additionally, polling should never trump common sense even though public opinion often runs counter to basic intuitive logic. That's a formula for mob rule which runs counter to democratic principals (the latter point is a debate for another day).

Here's some of the YouGov findings;
The Supreme Court is wrestling with balancing religious freedom and equal rights in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, deciding whether a baker’s First Amendment religious protections permit him to violate Colorado anti-discrimination regulations and refuse to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Americans are torn, too. But on balance, they seem to come down on the side of religion...

But the more important distinction, perhaps, may be that a plurality sees a violation of the First Amendments religious freedom protections if someone were to be required to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. That is particularly true for Republicans, 74% of whom say this would violate First Amendment religious freedom. 47% of independents also agree, as do one in five Democrats.
While there appears to be a general support for the law, there is a freedom of religion implication that people are not comfortable with embedded in the law. I haven't heard anyone argue this point however; there is also a freedom of association violation within the law.

The Constitution protects both rights, though with association the protection is implicit not explicit;
Clearly, the First Amendment protects the individual rights to freely exercise one’s religion, speak freely, publish freely, peaceably assemble, and petition the government. Technically, the freedom of association is not mentioned. It is sometimes subsumed under the freedom of assembly but usually by limiting it to things such as trade unions and collective bargaining.

Legally, the freedom of association is considered to be a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. In the Supreme Court case of N.A.A.C.P. v. Alabama(1958), a unanimous Court ruled that the NAACP did not have to reveal to the Alabama attorney general the names and addresses of the NAACP members in the state because it would violate the NAACP members’ freedom of association. Writing for the Court, Justice John Marshall Harlan II said in the decision that
immunity from state scrutiny of membership lists … is here so related to the right of members to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in so doing as to come within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment. [Alabama] has fallen short of showing a controlling justification for the deterrent effect on the free enjoyment of the right to associate which disclosure of membership lists is likely to have….
Freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the “liberty” ensured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The thing is, if freedom of association is protected, does it not extend to commerce?  Am I not entitled to decide with whom I want to conduct business?  I don't want to engage in commerce with the mafia, can a court order compel me to do so?  If I choose to turn down business I am using my freedom to exclude association with certain people.  Clearly that's a tenuous argument or it would have successfully been put forward before now.  I'm just not sure why there isn't a valid case to be made for the idea.

December 15, 2017

Friday Musical Interlude - The End

In response to Newt Gingrich's dread that the GOP is about to collapse in 2018, today's feature Friday Musical Interlude is The Doors' The End from 1967.

December 13, 2017

Democrat wins in Alabama: This is a real problem

Last night Republican candidate Roy Moore lost the race for the Alabama senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. A Democrat won in Alabama. Time to panic. Well...maybe not. But there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

First, let's get a few things straight (which will be clarified later);
(1) This is not a sea change repudiation of president Trump.
(2) This was a self-inflicted wound by the GOP.
(3)  The Democrats are often a shrewd and always ruthless political machine ready to pounce on any opportunity, or to manufacture one as needed.

What happened? 

Voters in Alabama did not like Roy Moore enough to elect him to the senate.  Roy Moore was not an ideal candidate; the Establishment did not want Moore as their first second or third choice. The Tea Party/#MAGA faction did not want Moore as their first choice either. As a result of a battle between Luther Strange (the establishment's choice) and Mo Brooks (the populist choice). The primary tanked the chances of Brooks after the establishment went all in for Strange, going so far as to enlist president Trump to endorse him during the primary race.

When it came down to Strange and Moore, the people spoke - the establishment has failed Main Street America for decades, so Moore was their reluctant choice over another establishment vessel during the runoff election.  President Trump was dealt a bad hand, forced to endorse Moore in an effort to maintain a 2 seat advantage in the senate. 

The Democrats pounced, digging up either real or fictitious dirt on Moore related to allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior towards women from decades ago that mysteriously arose 30 days before the general election.

The result was a lot of Republicans stayed home and the depressed vote, along with an energized Democrat base was enough for a slim win for the Democrats in the state, and so too the senate.

This was all avoidable. The Republican civil war should be resolved as quickly as possible. The Establishment and the populist/Tea Party/#MAGA faction will have to learn to compromise with each other or else this ridiculous, unneeded loss will be repeated again and again.  The Democrats' civil war might be simmering as well but at the end of the day they fall in line with whomever the winner turns out to be.  And while that sort of toe-the-line mentality is not conducive to the healthy debate of ideas, given the state of affairs within the party,  maybe that's the truce that is necessary.

The truce is vital given that we know how Democrats will take any issue no matter how small or untrue or true it might be, and try to turn it to their political advantage. And they frequently do so quite effectively. This is the real problem.  The GOP may be a big tent, or want to be, and that's a good thing - as long as there is no fighting inside the tent.

December 11, 2017

If you can't win in the court of public opinion...blow something up?

President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. He won the election, he represents America in terms of foreign affairs. Some people just cannot handle those facts.  Their solution? Kill people (or try to kill people);
(CNN) An explosion Monday morning at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan is, in the words of Police Commissioner James O'Neill, a "terror-related incident."

The explosion happened on a walkway below ground near 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. The suspect, Akayed Ullah, and three other people were injured.

...Recent Israeli actions in Gaza compelled Ullah to carry out the attack, a law enforcement source said. The suspect was upset, in his words, with the "incursion into Gaza," the source said, but did not elaborate on what incursion he may have been alluding to. Israel launched airstrikes this weekend against what it said were Hamas targets in Gaza after several rockets were fired out of Gaza towards Israel. This came amid widespread protests over President Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Terrorism to promote peace.  If that's all you have got, you have no argument, and you are losing.  Clearly you do not support a peace process either if your solution to a position you do not like, is to respond with violence.

Violence and terrorism have always been the response of groups like Hezbollah, and the PLO and ISIS and even domestic terrorists. This is why they do not deserve a seat at the table because they are talking peace while acting and supporting violence.  Peace cannot ever be had when it is achieved entirely at the expense of one side's well-being.  If you can't compromise, you cannot negotiate peace in good faith.  Period.

However, while there will undoubtedly be violent responses to Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, this isn't exactly one of those situations. Notice that CNN throws president Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem into the mix? The connection at this point, is spurious at best and deliberately misleading at worst. The rest of the CNN story regarding motivation, is clearly about Israel and Gaza. CNN is still agenda-molding their stories to suit their own narrative.

December 10, 2017

December 8, 2017

Friday Musical Interlude - For Al Franken

Sweet Sisters version of the Ray Charles staple, Hit The Road Jack.

December 7, 2017

Buh Bye, Franken

Today Al Franken has proffered his resignation from the senate, while taking a swipe at president Trump and also Alabama senate Republican candidate Roy Moore. Yawn.  You were never nearly as enlightened and brilliant as you thought Al. Go away.  You're not a martyr, you're not a genius and you are not relevant politically. You never were. Take refuge in your comedic history instead of your comedic stance on issues.

I for one am ignoring your jabs as you leave, because I really don't care about what you think.  Your party's agenda has been a poison to America and that's more important than you, or Moore or anything else at this point in history.

Oh Jerusalem

The media is once again apoplectic over something president Trump has done.  He's declared that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That's something previous presidents have promised but not delivered.  Yet the media claim this upends the peace process.

They are referring  to same peace process that has seen no lasting peace in the region really since 1947. How this supposedly derails it when it's been off the rails since forever, isn't clear to me.

They are referring to the change as 'radical' even though it pales in comparison to president Obama's recognition  and attempt to normalize relations with the brutal, communist, dictatorial regime in Cuba.  A change which garnered if anything, praise in the mainstream media.

Israel has always treated Jerusalem as its capital.  Many in the Middle East view Israel as the enemy and used the peace process as a way to stymie anything to do with the nation's interest.  This changes nothing other than letting Israel know that America stands beside its ally.  Pretending to be a neutral peace broker was always a farce.  No country is truly neutral. Yes Switzerland, I'm looking at you.

December 3, 2017

December 2, 2017

I don't think Mitch McConnell gets it

First let me give GOP Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell credit, he got an imperfect but good tax bill passed through the senate. That's no small tax given the slim majority of Republicans and the rogue elements within the party who are more liberal than conservative and a series of failures on Obamacare.  So good job Mitch.


That Obamacare thing got even slightly more irksome after the win because despite the fact that the tax bill removes the healthcare mandate, perhaps choking Obamacare off for good (and how did McConnell get McCain's support on that?), McConnell still had to put his foot in it afterwards;
“Just what the country needs to get growing again,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in an interview after a final burst of negotiation closed in on a nearly $1.5 trillion package that impacts the breadth of American society.

He shrugged off polls finding scant public enthusiasm for the measure, saying the legislation would prove its worth. “Big bills are rarely popular,” he said. “You remember how unpopular ‘Obamacare’ was when it passed?”
That last part sure sounds like someone who has come to terms with Obamacare as being palatable now. So despite the senate victory, I don't think he really gets it. 

Well, maybe he gets some of it:
Back home in Kentucky just hours after the Senate narrowly pushed through the nearly $1.5 trillion tax bill, McConnell predicted that the boldest rewrite of the nation’s tax system in decades would generate more than enough economic growth to prevent the burgeoning deficits being forecast.

“I not only don’t think it will increase the deficit, I think it will be beyond revenue neutral,” he told reporters. “In other words, I think it will produce more than enough to fill that gap.”
That's true, as this video points out.

But that whole Obamacare comment...Mitch might be so out of touch as to have to go. After the win we should give him a chance to clarify, but the implication of him not getting that is scary.

Saturday Learning Series - Football edition

Basic Football defenses explained.  I'm not sure if there is still a lot of taking a knee during the national anthem going on, but I'm going to check in on it tomorrow.  With that in mind, here's a primer on NFL defenses for those who don't understand.

December 1, 2017

As if on cue

This morning as an aside on the Flynn nearly-non-event, I noted it's the same feeding frenzy of speculation as it is for the Rex Tillerson firing.  I said it's not going to amount to anything.

As if on cue, president Trump tweeted just after noon EST today,
Seems pretty definitive.

Friday Musical Interlude - Lies

Apropos for today, Thompson Twins' Lies from 1982.

Flynn situation not a cause for panic for Trump supporters

If you lost these two salient points in the hysterical glee of the media, it's understandable.  (1) What Michael Flynn has plead guilty to is lying to the FBI.  This implicates him only. (2) He claims that he was instructed by Donald Trump to talk to the Russians.  But it was about ISIS.  All of this puts an impeachment as within reach as it was before today.  In other words it's far away and not going to happen.
Flynn told the agents that he didn’t ask Kislyak on Dec. 29 to moderate Russia’s response to U.S. sanctions imposed by the Obama administration that day -- a statement he now admits is a lie. He also lied by claiming not to recall the ambassador saying Russia had decided to do just that...

In a previous conversation with the Russian, he discussed a U.N. matter, asking him to delay or defeat a security council vote. He also lied to the FBI about that...

Flynn resigned on Feb. 13 after only 24 days on the job. In his resignation letter he apologized to the president and vice president for giving them “incomplete information” about his interactions with the Russian ambassador.
[emphasis added]

As ABC reports:
Retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn has promised “full cooperation” in the special counsel’s Russia investigation and, according to a confidant, is prepared to testify that Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.
Gee, that doesn't sound like collusion with Russia in any way shape or form. Don't forget that Flynn was fired after 24 days after having lied to Mike Pence about his Russia ties.

The hysteria today is all speculation. Just like the Tillerson stuff.

November 30, 2017

Double standards on the right? I'm okay with it.

Al Franken has to go. Senator Cornyn as well.  Matt Lauer?  Good riddance. Roy Moore, may not be as pure as the wind driven snow, but SO WHAT?  I personally have stopped caring and I'm going full Alinsky on the left. 

Let's get one thing straight, sexual harassment is a bad thing. No one in their right mind will dispute that. But the left has for decades deliberately applied double standards (Alinsky-style) to conservatives and the right has been suckered by it no matter which side of the aisle the issue occurred. Now that the left is awakening to their own duplicitous evilness, we're supposed to stand up alongside them and arm in arm agree with everything they want to do now?

How well has that worked in the past for conservatives? Instead of arranging a circular firing squad we should stand back and let them implode and apply double standards ourselves. 

Dinesh D'Souza explains my thinking more eloquently.  Not that I couldn't do it myself given time to prepare it.

Ben Shaprio, brilliant as he is, fell prey to the old Democrat trick that has had a great track record for them in the past. Dinesh D'Souza isn't falling prey to the double standard. And he might have some solid ground behind him.

To sum up - push back, hard.  And when they don't push back on the left when arguing among themselves, push forward, harder.

Thursday Biden Bash - He's no Hillary. Oh, wait...

Fake accents are a Hillary Clinton thing right?

No, they're also a Joe Biden thing.

It's not his only accent gaffe. We'll circle back at a future date.

Homelessness charity begins and ends with government. OR ELSE.

If this isn't proof that liberals want the solution ONLY to come from government, I don't know what is.  A private citizen does something to help homelessness and the city of L.A. immediately crushes his results, proving that in the eyes of leftists, charity begins and ends with government.

Wait, wait, wait! Remember this?

Matt Lauer, just fired from NBC for sexual harassment, only months ago, was grilling for Bill O'Reilly about being pushed aside from Fox News, for sexual harassment. He practically could have been interviewing himself.

At times it seems in the interview as if Lauer was looking for advice for his own situation.

November 26, 2017

Sunday verse, long form

A little different Sunday verse today, a video of a reading of the entire Proverbs in one hour and 40 minutes.

November 25, 2017

Why Poland matters

Poland for years has been carrying the banner of Western values of freedom of speech, individual liberty, Christian values, and national sovereignty .  Perhaps it's because Poland has not been truly free since World War II, having been subjugated and then by the communists of Soviet Russia.  Having tasted freedom for such a relatively short period of roughly three decades, they are not about to surrender their liberty to globalist and/or dictatorial leadership, or creeping Sharia Law.  The Polish people seem to get what the Germans (and many Americans) are unwilling to recognize.

These two videos illustrate a lot these points that you'll not see in the mainstream media in America or much of Western Europe.

Poland has managed to carry this through an Obama presidency which was antithetical to many of these values AND in the face of Russian aggression in the Ukraine, which truly says something for the backbone of the Polish people.

Saturday Learning Series - The true story of Thanksgiving

Via none other than Rush Limbaugh himself, the details of Thanksgiving you don't normally hear about.

November 23, 2017

Thursday Biden Bash - Hands On

Joe Biden is a handsy kinda guy, in the current political climate, that's very un-PC.

Via Howard Kurtz of Fox News:

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a wonderful, joyful Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2017

Liberals, Democrats Can't Stop Slipping Further Away from Religious Voters

As The Atlantic frets over the Democrats' hold on religious voters, more and more Democrats and establishment liberals continue to be accused of sexual harassment by the day. While liberals used to hold Republicans and conservatives to the highest possible standards, it seems under the surface they themselves have been not quite as pure as the wind-driven snow. The double standard is now openly on display as there are vast swaths of the liberal establishment that are disquietingly quiet about it all.

As a refresher, her's a list which is undoubtedly incomplete (Conyers and Franken already aren't mentioned, for example, nor are the likes of Kevin Spacey):

Granted, there are also a lot of duplicitous liberals who suddenly are aghast at Bill Clinton's sexual foibles decades ago. It's mere opportunism.

If The Atlantic is expecting to somehow for liberals' to continue their hold on religious voters, the timing of the article is either curious or stupid.  Yes there's unproven and denied allegations re: Roy Moore in Alabama and CNN is dutifully trying to remind us all of Trump's comments (not actual inappropriate touching or advances on women) as if that rises to the same level as groping.

But the other 90+% of the allegations are all against liberals.  That's not going to help The Atlantic's recommendation to sway back religious voters. Voters cannot be so easily fooled by the mainstream media any longer.  President Trump's election has proven that.

It will be interesting to see if there is a liberal Democrat implosion or a civil war within the Democratic party as a result of all of these things coming to light. It might. 

The Atlantic frets over Democrats' hold on religious voters

The hypocrisy doesn't help your case.
There's an article in The Atlantic today, explaining why the Democrats need to regain the trust of religious voters.  That's not the real point.  The real point is why they lost that trust in the first place.

The Atlantic, missing the point entirely (and not for the first time):
Democrats ignored broad swaths of religious America in the 2016 election campaign and the nation has suffered because of it. Yet calls for a recommitment to faith outreach—particularly to white and other conservative or moderate religious voters—have been met in some corners of liberal punditry with a response as common as it is unwarranted. Some quarters of the Democratic party would rather maintain rhetorical and ideological purity than win with a more inclusive coalition. For the sake of the country, the party must turn back to people of faith.

We know faith outreach works, because it has worked before. In 2005, after the reelection of a president many Democrats believed was clearly unfit for leadership, a concerted decision was made to close the “God Gap” that the GOP had so effectively exploited. Yes, the Democratic Party was losing among white religious people, but there was also an understanding in the party that its margins among black and Hispanic voters were limited by the perception that the party was antagonistic toward religion. Democrats took back Congress in the 2006 midterms, through a combination of direct engagement, district-based flexibility on policy, and rhetorical adjustments.
That's wrong on so many levels. Firstly the Democratic party is clearly only interested in providing lip service to religious voters. Their actions - from abortion, to prayer in schools, to hard stands on gay marriage  and birth control,  to banning of religious displays, to referring to religious voters in terms of being 'bitter clingers' - speak much louder than anything they might say during election season.  They want the votes of religious voters but they don't want to actually do anything to support their concerns because they are anathema to Democrat dogma. So they entice them with notions of being charitable and supporting the community as being a Christian duty. But not only do they not-so-secretly disdain Christian voters, they are openly hostile to them in political practice.

Even the Atlantic view the connection with those voters as a means to an end - saving the country from conservatives, and in the process, many conservative and often Christian traditional values.  The Atlantic speaks of outreach as having the ability to win back religious voters and they use 2006 as an example.  Even their example is wrong; 2006 was simply an anti-Bush anti-Iraq-war backlash.

The Atlantic article is cynical and hopefully religious voters don't fall for this sort of political sophistry any longer. Then again, the Democratic party seems to be headed towards a hard turning of its's back on religious voters anyway.  The true positions are more and more out in the open thanks to former president Obama.  What likely remains to be seen is if the Democrats can win with a more overtly anti-Christian platform.  Instead they are likely to continue to rely on a combination of identity politics and social safety net handouts hoping that will trump voter religious views when it comes to the ballot box.  The Democrats turned their back on religion decades ago, it's just now that people are finally starting to notice.  Assuming that stark stance remains,  whether it works remains to be seen, but for the sake of having a culture, a national identity and even social norms, let's hope it fails.

November 20, 2017

Anti-Quote of the Week - Morrissey

As soon as I see a good quote from an iconic singer, I immediately notice that Ed Morrissey points out that Morrissey isn't all smiles and sunshine for conservatives.
The British singer Morrissey defended both Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein in an interview this weekend, claiming their alleged victims knew “exactly” what was going on — and chose to “play along.”

“Afterward, they feel embarrassed, or they do not like it,” Morrissey said while speaking to the German news outlet Der Spiegel.

“And then they turn it around and say: I was attacked, I was surprised, I was dragged into the room.” …

“People know exactly what’s going on,” Morrissey reportedly said after being asked about the movie producer. “And they play along…But if everything went well, and if it had given them a great career, they would not talk about it.”
Oof. Sexual harassment  is never good. Apologizing for it is not good either.  That said, if someone is proclaiming their innocence like Roy Moore is in Alabama for example, they deserve the benefit of the doubt; innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  If guilt is established we are into new territory.  

Morrissey seems to be taking a different tack though  he seems to be defining the incidents as consensual, which is difficult to justify when you are dealing with someone who was 14 at the time.

Quote of the week - Morrissey

The week is still young but this is powerful enough to stand for another 5 days.  Former front man of iconic 80's band The Smiths, as well as solo performer Morrissey had this to say in his calling out German Chancellor Angel Merkel on her immigration policies:
“If you try to make everything multicultural, you will not have any culture in the end.
He goes on to say:
“All European countries have fought for their identity for many, many years.

“And now they just throw it away. I think that’s sad.”
You can read more here.

November 19, 2017

November 18, 2017

Has China's economy jumped the shark?

China is running into some serious economic and demographic challenges, as this FT documentary from last year points out.  China's boom may not yet be over, but it certainly appears there's a very real end in sight.

There are implication for Sino-American relations and even how China deals with North Korea, as these changes develop.

Saturday Learning Series - Understanding Computers and the Internet

Harvard University lecture series: Understanding Computers and the Internet.

November 17, 2017

Friday Musical Interlude - Foreigner live

Foreigner's I Want To Know What Love Is, live, with my daughter's school choir.

November 16, 2017

Franken sense demure

Al Franken, groper.  Al Franken is of course now a senator from Minnesota.  The timing could not be worse for Democrats.  Or maybe it couldn't be any better.

Not fake news
US Senator Al Franken has responded to a woman's allegations that he groped her as she slept and "forcibly" kissed her in a rehearsal for a comedy skit.

Leeann Tweeden says the two incidents happened in December 2006 on a tour to entertain US troops overseas, before Mr Franken entered politics.

The radio host wrote that the former comic "aggressively" kissed her while saying they had to rehearse a scene.

Mr Franken, a former Saturday Night Live writer, apologised for the grope.
This is happening at a time when the Democrats hope to pick up Roy Moore's Alabama senate seat. Rush Limbaugh today said the best thing the Democrats could do is to acknowledge it and basically expel Al Fanken from the party and appoint a new senator from the state (who would be a Democrat).  That leaves them the high ground in the suspicious Roy Moore flap. But Rush thinks Democrats will ignore the Franken situation while continuing to go after Moore.

I sort of agree, but with one wrinkle.  Al Franken recently denounced Harvey Weinstein for this very issue. Maybe Al Franken was thinking of leaving the senate anyway.  This could be a back pocket option to allow him to step aside for another Democrat replacement and leave them the moral high ground in pursuing the destruction of Roy Moore.  

The Democrats do not let a crisis go to waste, so why not take the same approach for a scandal.  Take a scandal and turn it to your own advantage. Al Franken taking the high road on his own sins, would certainly fit that bill.  Could this all be a set up?  If Franken bows out, I think it was a back pocket Plan B for Franken and the Democrats all along. Then again if he doesn't bow out, maybe he's just a duplicitous double-standard-holding jerk.

Thursday Biden Bash - plagarism

The Washington Post has a buried section of what it terms the Clinton frenzy, on the 1988 presidential election Democratic primaries on Biden's exploded nomination run:
Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr., a U.S. senator from Delaware, was driven from the nomination battle after delivering, without attribution, passages from a speech by British Labor party leader Neil Kinnock. A barrage of subsidiary revelations by the press also contributed to Biden's withdrawal: a serious plagiarism incident involving Biden during his law school years; the senator's boastful exaggerations of his academic record at a New Hampshire campaign event; and the discovery of other quotations in Biden's speeches pilfered from past Democratic politicians.

The controversy became two frenzies in one when it was disclosed that the campaign of Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis had earlier secretly distributed to several news media outlets an "attack video" juxtaposing the Biden and Kinnock speeches and revealing Biden's word theft. The Dukakis campaign at first stonewalled and denied any part in the tape's distribution, but when the truth emerged Dukakis was forced to fire his campaign manager, John Sasso, and political director, Paul Tully – the two who had orchestrated the maneuver. Dukakis himself insisted he had no prior knowledge of their actions, and though wounded, his candidacy survived the incident.
Two plagiarism incidents in one scandal.  It didn't hurt Obama during his run for the presidency but Biden isn't exactly Obama in terms of political cache. 

November 15, 2017

Sen. Ron Johnson's turn to shoot the GOP in the foot

Let's see - Obamacare repeal, X.  Border wall, X.  Tax reform and tax cuts - heading towards an X.
If the GOP can't avoid shooting itself in the foot on tax cuts, what good is it as a party.

Hey Senator Ron Johnson, shut up, suck it up, and do something for the team.  In the end any tax cut is a step in the right direction.  This isn't a matter of the perfect being the enemy of the good, this is a matter of getting something, anything, done before the midterm elections. ANYTHING.

It's not that I'm saying this is your last chance to do something...oh wait, it is.
WASHINGTON—Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) said he opposes the Senate Republican tax package, saying it unfairly benefits corporations more than other types of businesses.

“If they can pass it without me, let them,” Mr. Johnson said in an interview Wednesday. “I’m not going to vote for this tax package.”

Mr. Johnson’s position could undermine the Senate’s efforts to pass a tax plan by early December or get the bill to President Donald Trump’s desk by Christmas. Republicans are counting on near universal support from within the party to pass a bill on party line votes. With 52 seats in the Senate, Republicans can lose no more than two votes unless they can somehow find a way to win votes from Democrats.

Other Senate Republicans have expressed concerns. Jeff Flake of Arizona, for example, has worried about deficits and Susan Collins of Maine has worried about Republican plans to repeal the insurance coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act as part of a tax overhaul.

Until now, no Senate Republican has come out definitively against the GOP tax plan. The risk for Senate Republican leaders is that other Republicans get behind Mr. Johnson’s opposition.
The one way this turns out to be good is that the GOP are trying to signal to Democrats that they can't get their act together so that the Democrats don't bother to mount a decent opposition and then the Republicans surprise everyone with a consolidated, fully GOP-backed bill that gets to the president's desk without significant obstacles. In other words they make fake obstacles so that real ones don't get put in place. Now that would be sweet. Then again, I'm 99% certain that's giving the senate GOP too much credit.

Clinton-Russia collusion's slow walk revelation continues

Got away with erasing a hard drive, now wants to do the same with the truth
Well, well, well. This is sounding more and more like a conspiracy of voter disinformation.

Via Fox News:
The co-founder of the firm behind the anti-Trump ‘dossier’ told House investigators Tuesday that he personally discussed with members of the media allegations of Trump-Russia collusion, though he did not speak to the sources behind the claims, a source told Fox News.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson refused to answer key questions during his seven-hour, closed-door appearance before the House Intelligence Committee. The source said he would not answer questions on his relationship with specific journalists or ties to the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign, which financed the anti-Trump research via the law firm Perkins Coie.

But the source said Simpson acknowledged he did not personally look into certain aspects of the dossier -- which was authored by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and contained salacious allegations about the Trump team’s ties to Russia.

Simpson told investigators he never spoke to the underlying sources of the document, never traveled to Russia and did not verify the dossier beyond comparing the claims to “open source” media reporting.
There's a cover-up in progress but it seems like it is slowly unraveling.  At least it's unraveling in terms of credibility.  In court the defense of the Clinton campaign may yet prevail - but each new piece of evidence makes that outcome less likely.

November 14, 2017

Roy Moore charges - timing seem really odd.

I'm curious. Why did all of these accusations against Roy Moore not come out until just prior to the Alabama election? They didn't come to light during the primaries. All of these women making the claims, seem to be 'Republicans'. But the suspicion that raises is that if these people were indeed Republicans why didn't these allegations come out during the primaries?

Why wouldn't Moore's primary competitors have a chance to raise it?  They likely had not heard of it, that's why.

And why would they have not been informed during the primaries?  Why would the media have not been informed during the primaries?  Suddenly these accusations come to light right before the election. The accusations didn't matter a month ago? Or back as far as 1977 when some of them were alleged to have happened.  Really odd timing. 

Unless the accusers are actually Democrats.  It would certainly help Democrats in the election if the Republican candidate were badly tarnished.  And even if he wins, Republicans have played right into Democrat hands, by threatening to basically excommunicate him from the party, without any judicial decision on Roy Moore.

November 13, 2017

Matt Drudge strikes back

The Washington Post selectively chose a statistic in an attempt to discredit Matt Drudge's Drudge Report. Matt Drudge tweeted back his link to the Washington Post article about him being, get this, a Russian operative.

The response is brilliant. Just because the Drudge Report links to Russian news sources doesn't mean he's a Russian operative. He links to the Washington Post and he's certainly not their operative. Good news though, the more the left establishment tries to vilify every conservative as a Russian spy or dupe, the more ridiculous they sound, the more their initial Trump claims about Russia sound. They are not winning over any converts to their narrative, only reinforcing the kooks who have full blown Trump-Russia Derangement Syndrome already. Maybe that's the point. Maybe it's a get out the vote plan for the 2018 midterm elections.  Maybe it's an attempt to get far left voters to ever avoid visiting the Drudge Report site.

All I can suggest is that they keep up stupid and transparent tactics because in the end, this will help steel the backbones of those on the right as much as it will those on the far left. Maybe more. That's a status quo result, which helps president Trump because he's not lost any ground, despite the dubious polling (more on that later).  Meanwhile, the Drudge Report will continue to just fine without an endorsement fro the Washington Post.

Whole Cloth Trump-Russia Dossier used to manipulate voter emotions

Mark Twain once made the observation that it is easier to manufacture seven facts out of whole cloth than one emotion.  Seven 'facts' or even fewer, are being used though, to manufacture emotions it seems.   Byron York has a great summary of the history of the phony Trump-Russia dossier in the Washington Examiner.   There's a trail of cause and effect that stems from the events surrounding the phony dossier.  The article is worth a thorough read.  But here are some interesting points.

The dossier (cause) kicked off an FBI investigation (effect).
So the timeline is: The first dossier report was June 20, Steele approached the FBI near the start of July, and the FBI began its investigation in late July.
The work made it's way from Steele to Fusion GPS to the Hillary Clinton campaign which commissioned the ongoing work.
Steele continued to file dossier reports to the Clinton campaign and, apparently, to the FBI during the July-August-September-October time frame -- in other words, the period leading up to the November 8 presidential election. There were reports dated July 30; August 5, 10, and 22; September 14; and October 12, 18, 19, and 20.
This can only be considered dirty politics and not a national security issue, given the purchaser and the on-going nature of the data flow beyond the informing of the FBI. This is especially true in light of what happened next:
As the election approached, the Clinton campaign, through Fusion GPS, directed Steele to give the dossier information to a few journalists. At the "end of September," and again in October, according to British court papers, Steele personally briefed reporters from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, the New Yorker, and Yahoo.

...The Clinton campaign tried to publicize the report, but the dossier news did not really catch on. So in late October, according to those British court papers, with election day fast approaching and the allegations still not out, Fusion, acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign, directed Steele to brief Mother Jones. David Corn's article, which stayed away from the most incendiary parts of the dossier, was published on October 31, 2016.

One day earlier, on October 30, Harry Reid tried again to push the information into public view with a letter to Comey stating that the FBI possessed "explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his advisors, and the Russian government."

Of course, Comey knew what the FBI possessed. The point of Reid's letter was to get it out in public as the election approached.
The cause is purely political no doubt. But until we know if the dossier is fabricated of of whole cloth, or speculation based on some known facts, or partially or wholly true (which is not likely) we cannot know what the ultimate effect will be. Certainly even if the document is exposed to be an entirely politically motivated, fabricated document, the U.S. political landscape may have already become so polarized since 2000 that everyone will probably continue to believe what they already believe, on either side, that the truth won't even matter at that point.

November 12, 2017

November 10, 2017

Lauren Southern discussing/dismantling Libertarianism

There's some really good points in this video about Libertarianisms failings.

I soooo want this to play out.

Again? Really?
Hot Air's Ed Morrissey is reporting that Hillary Clinton is establishing a shadow DNC (Democratic National Committee) to compete against...the DNC:
Old and busted: Buying the DNC. New hotness: Competing against it. NBC News reports that former aides of Hillary Clinton have launched a new super-PAC that looks an awful lot like a campaign. Party Majority, NBC reports, will “act as a parallel structure to Democratic party committees at the national and state levels,” while remaining in the hands of “Clinton world,” as Jonathan Allen characterizes it later...

Eventually, Democrats would have figured this out anyway. The question remaining is why Party Majority and “Clinton world” wants to do this in parallel with the party rather than within the DNC itself, as Priebus did, which would increase its durability. The obvious answer to that would be control, and in the context of Hillary’s former grip on the DNC, it’s also probably the correct answer, too. “Clinton world” wants to act as kingmaker in the 2020 cycle, or perhaps operate as a platform to give Hillary a third shot at the White House by again locking out any competition early by monopolizing GOTV resources and cash.
As Ed notes, it's not like the DNC, which is currently busy shaking off the Clinton stranglehold, is going to stand by and just let this happen. They're bound to push back.

Instead of working together, which is not the Clinton style, this is probably going to turn into a street fight. The DNC vs. Party Majority could last right down to election day 2020, with the Democrats forwarding a candidate and Hillary Clinton running as an independent, both siphoning votes from each other and ensuring a president Trump second term. There's down ballot implications as well.

That's not the only possible outcome. There could be an eventual coming together, provided Hillary re-establishes her stranglehold on the DNC. That would also bode well for president Trump as she has proven to be a stiff, unfriendly, shrill and generally unlikable and unwinnable candidate. Other possibilities will present themselves along the way, but the thought of a knockdown drag out fight between Clinton and Biden bloodying each other prior to the general election is just too rich not to want it to happen.

Friday Musical Interlude - Lousiana Blues

Another two hours of blues music.

November 9, 2017

Why do billionaires support Democrats who supposedly hate business?

According to the liberal British news source The Guardian, the three richest men in America, Gates, Bezos and Buffet - all Democrat supporters, are wealthier than the bottom half of all American's population.
The three richest people in the US – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett – own as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population, or 160 million people.

Analysis of the wealth of America’s richest people found that Gates, Bezos and Buffett were sitting on a combined $248.5bn (£190bn) fortune. The Institute for Policy Studies said the growing gap between rich and poor had created a “moral crisis”.
Of course it goes on to bash Republican tax cut proposals as exacerbating the problem. That view is shortsighted. But here's the real question - why are the three richest men in America supporters of a political party that supposedly espouses wealth redistribution?

The answer?  The Democrat party does support wealth redistribution - from the people to the oligopoly of insider elites.  The wealthy have their tax shelters.  They have their off-shored jobs and their legislation preventing new entrant competitors from garnering any portion of their over-sized share of the wealth pie. So as the Democrats preach fairness and equality, their actions in legislation and regulation do the exact opposite -they consolidate power and wealth around themselves.

Think of it - if Bezos, Gates and Buffet really cared they could divest themselves of 80% of their wealth to the bottom half of the country, or the bottom 10% of the country.  They don't.  They vote for consolidation.  They vote for tax laws that further favor them. They vote for Big government and really big business collusion.  And the Democrats take their donations and pay them back with government contracts and laws that further their goals.

Democrats meanwhile have owned welfare for decades and it just keeps growing worse.  They have owned public education for decades and no one is better off.  It's because Democrats don't really care. Democrats have changed into the party of big business.  They support unfettered 'free trade' in which the playing field is tilted heavily against the American worker.  They support globalization, which only enables the wealthy to be more free to abuse the system. Why?

It's a cabal, it's self serving, and they have duped millions of voters into believing that they are something they are not.  Billionaires know better, and are throwing their support behind candidates accordingly. Too many voters have not caught on.  Too many voters care that the president is crude and unpolished, egotistical and a loudmouth and they can't see beyond it to understand why president Trump won.  He won because he wanted to drain the self-serving swamp an establish a level playing field. Whether he is able to do so is another question but at least he was a billionaire willing to address the rigged system.

Thursday Biden Bash starts now

It appears that Biden 2020 is a go. In a puff piece on the supposed greatness that is Joe Biden *loud cough* ABC leads with two paragraphs that sure sounds like someone who is anxious to run:
Just over two years ago, then-Vice President Joe Biden announced that he would not run to succeed President Barack Obama in the 2016 presidential election. This week, he admitted he regrets that he doesn't currently occupy the Oval Office given the potential he sees in the United States.

"I regret that I am not president because I think there is so much opportunity," Biden told Oprah Winfrey in a clip from an OWN Network interview aired exclusively by "Good Morning America" on Thursday. "I think America is so incredibly well-positioned."
As an aside, don't bother reading the rest of the ABC piece unless you feeling like losing your breakfast. It's so puffy you'll end up feeling bloated. In any case, that sure sounds like someone who is itching to run: (1) expressing regret and (2) doing so on the Oprah Winfrey Network rather than keeping it within your closest relatives. 

So, as a member of the diligent opposition to progressivism it's time to start a weekly Thursday Biden Bash, just as I did prior to 2016 with Hillary Clinton.  I'm starting earlier in the cycle for Joe Biden than I did with the Thursday Hillary Bash for two reasons. (1) There's so much buffoonery with Joe, it's going to take time and (2) Joe has something Hillary didn't - a personality and the ability to connect with human beings rather than being a cold, distant snobbish elitist.  He's a friendly-seeming, pandering elitist snob. The real Biden, the plagiarist pandering stooge, needs to be exposed. Be prepared for a lengthy stroll down Biden memory lane in the coming years.

The Thursday Biden Bash may be premature. After all if Hillary Clinton decides to run again, she might become the Democratic front runner. God knows why, she's clearly unelectable except in ultra liberal New York. But failing a complete Democratic dam-burst on all things Clinton (for example Donna Brazile's new book exposing her tentacle-like grasp on the party and media),  she's got the connections and control for now, she could intimidate her way back into a third run. In that case the Thursday Hillary Bash would need to return. But frankly a Hillary Clinton third run would be a huge win for Republicans because Biden is clearly the stronger candidate for Democrats. At this point a wet rag would probably out-perform Hillary.

November 8, 2017

Clinton-Russia collusion gets amped up

Via Fox News, this earthshaking revelation:
The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the unverified Trump dossier, met with a Russian lawyer before and after a key meeting she had last year with Trump’s son, Fox News has learned. The contacts shed new light on how closely tied the firm was to Russian interests, at a time when it was financing research to discredit then-candidate Donald Trump.

The opposition research firm has faced renewed scrutiny after litigation revealed that the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid for that research. Congressional Republicans have since questioned whether that politically financed research contributed to the FBI’s investigation of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – making Fusion’s 2016 contacts with Russian interests all the more relevant.

The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya occurred during a critical period. At that time, Fox News has learned that bank records show Fusion GPS was paid by a law firm for work on behalf of a Kremlin-linked oligarch while paying a former British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Trump through his Russian contacts.

But hours before the Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, Fusion co-founder and ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson was with Veselnitskaya in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a confidential source told Fox News. Court records reviewed by Fox News, email correspondence and published reports corroborate the pair’s presence together. The source told Fox News they also were together after the Trump Tower meeting.
Don't expect to hear it in the mainstream media, but this is something that should come up in congressional hearings, where it cannot be ignored by the mainstream media.
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