June 29, 2018

George Will - not so useful, just an idiot.

I had time this morning to read a number of articles/posts on a broad range of topics of the day.  Much of it had to do with the the president's potential nominees for replacing Justice Kennedy who is retiring from the Supreme Court.  But the one that caught my eye was this article in the American Spectator by Emerald Robinson, The Collapse of the Never-Trump Conservatives. Probably because it meshed well with my tongue-in-cheek take on whether George Will's departure from the Republican Party. Was Will being a political genius in leaving the Republican Party in hopes of creating a split in the Democrats between moderates and progressives, thus ensuring continued Republican hegemony in the Congress and White House? Or was he just a useful idiot for either the Republicans or the Democrats?

It turns out, according to the Spectator article that he's just clueless and basically an island unto himself.  So not useful, just an idiot:
George Will, was not for surrender or appeasement. He had finally found an enemy to relish: his fellow conservatives. One measure of Will’s self-exile was the indifference his most recent column elicited, though it urged Republicans to vote against the GOP at the midterms “for their own good.” Was anyone still listening? It was Will who sagely warned the world mere days before the election: “Until the Republican Party gets right with minorities in this country, it’s never going to win another presidential election.” Not content with that spectacular blunder, Will had doubled down with attacks on Billy Graham and Vice President Mike Pence. The symbolism of such stunts, at least, was clear. As a model conservative, Will stands alone in his own estimation. And what could be more conservative than voting for liberal Democrats?

In that sense, Will’s latest column was merely the fitting coda to a long career of effete snobbery — one that had led him to “leave the party” before it won the White House and march off into the wilderness.
That's called hitting the nail on the head.

Friday Musical Interlude - Klingande

Klingande - Jubel.  Definitely catchy, and some great sax if you like that sort of thing.

June 27, 2018

Window Wednesday - Kennedy retirement

Reagan appointee, and unfortunately swing vote SCOTUS Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring, meaning president Trump will be appointing another Supreme Court Justice.  Based on the president's track record, it will be an originalist.

Buh bye.

Liberal reaction:

Woke Wednesday - Lindsay Shepherd

Lindsay Shepherd is a university Canadian professor's teaching assistant.  She is also no longer a Leftist. Still a liberal, but at least she recognizes the problems of the Left. Give her more time.

Here's the background of why she has come to this realization in a meeting with Jordan Peterson on Steven Crowder's show.

EDIT: Here's the recording that Lindsay Shepard made of her reprimand meeting held by Canada's Wilfred Laurier university for simply showing a video that included multiple viewpoints.  She was smart to record the entire thing, and the blow back to the university after she went public was well deserved.
This is a meeting between teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd and Wilfrid Laurier University representatives. Shepherd was called in for violating the school's gendered and sexual violence policy by screening a few minutes of a TVOntario program featuring Jordan Peterson which debated the use of new gender-neutral pronouns.

George Will, useful idiot or political genius?

George Will, perennial NeverTrumper, might be a useful idiot. Or... he might be a political genius set to doom Democrats to non-contender status for decades. American Greatness surmised this of the NeverTrumpers:
...That leaves NeverTrump Republicans with a set of very painful choices. They cannot retake their party without accommodating the views of voters who they so far have denounced from their pulpits. But they are not strong enough to beat the pro-Trump coalition on their own, nor are they numerous enough to win with a new party, as Juleanna Glover suggested in the New York Times earlier this year. To win without Trump backers, they would need either permanently to join the Democrats, strengthening the moderate Left in their perennial battle with progressives for party control, or join independents and dissident center-left Democrats to form a new, aggressively centrist third party. Either course would require compromise on issues that many have championed for the majority of their adult lives.
The American Greatness essay argues Trump supporters need these people to win. Currently, perhaps yes. But a third party of centrists who need to fight a two front war with both progressives and Populist Republicans will eat away from Democrat support far more than it does from Republicans. For a demonstration, see Canada. Instead of needing 50%+1 support to win a state, 40% becomes pretty safe. For president at least that's true. 

 The Senate and Congress are another story.  In some districts that are far left the remnant Democrat would not be a serious contender and vice versa.  But it's hard to see a close Republican/Democrat district having a third party not help the Republican candidate.  The real danger is a potential coalition in Congress having the seats to override a Republican seat plurality.  That might come down to the Republicans having to run stronger candidates and with the Republican Establishment believing that means RINOs, perhaps a Republican civil war could follow resulting in 4 parties, not 3.  At that point it becomes a crap shoot as to who wins seats.  And there's always the possibility that the Democrats would (erroneously) be seen as the centrist party and take enough voters from both the Republicans and socialists to become a dominant party.  Just like in Canada they would then ally with the socialists and conservatives could end up in the wilderness for decades.

Back to George Will.  He's left the GOP.  Really; it happened when no Republicans were bothering to care anymore.  Now if he's just an anti-Trump #NeverTrumper then he's effectively a useful idiot for the Democrats.  That's especially true if he believes there's no potential split on the Democrat side.  But if he believes that the Democrats might break apart into socialists and center-left Democrats, then he's either a useful idiot for Republicans, or a political genius trying to ferment a Democrat split by looking for fellow 'moderates' to form a centrist party, thereby splitting up the Not Trump vote and effectively ensuring that Trump not only wins a second term but is benefited by midterm results as well.

While I'd like to think that George Will is the latter political genius, evidence has me sticking with the useful idiot theory.  My hope is that he is either wildly successful as a useful idiot for the GOP, but my expectation is that he just goes away, or ends up on CNN, which is basically the same thing.

Thankfully, nobody gets the real reason for unwavering Trump support

The media, the Democrats and the left would have you believe that the reason for president Trump's high level of support among Republican supporters is that because he's Hitler and Republican voters are Nazis, or at a minimum, they are all racist, bigoted, homophobic, mouth-breathing Neanderthals. That's awfully simplistic and simply a salve for their hurt feelings over losing the election in 2016.
But a lot of conservative media also misunderstand president Trump's support, at least in part.

American Greatness, a conservative website recently had this to say;
The GOP nominated Trump because he represents the views of a majority of the party’s voters. His views on immigration have at times been bluntly and offensively expressed, but polls have shown for years that nearly half of the GOP’s general election voters want to deport illegal immigrants. Will is upset by Trump’s tariffs, which he called his “border folly,” but clear majorities of Republican 2016 primary voters thought international trade cost America jobs. The so-called “Muslim ban” that has so outraged some NeverTrumpers? Analysis of the primary and general elections show it was the single most important reason Trump won both races.

The same holds true for other issues motivating other prominent NeverTrump figures to break ranks with the GOP. Some are furious over the President’s now-rescinded policy of separating children from parents who seek asylum at the border, but polls showed that Republicans supported it by a wide margin. Prominent evangelical conservative writers frequently criticize their co-religionists’ embrace of Trump, but most evangelical voters think their position is too tenuous to question a deal for judges and policy with a man whose ethics they may privately deplore. A plurality of Republicans also think NATO helps our allies more than it helps the United States, a 2016 Pew poll found. Trump’s calls for our NATO allies to spend more or else risk American disengagement is anathema to prominent NeverTrumpers who write about national security, but such demands reflect the views of a very large number of Republican voters.
All true, but not the whole truth.  To understand why the support has not only not faltered but indeed stiffened go back and look at the first sentence above.  Back in 2008, this happened:

But instead of doing what his supporters begged for, McCain did this:

Seeing the enthusiasm for McCain's VP nominee, Sarah Palin, candidate Trump was ahead of the curve on understanding the frustration of Americans, while John McCain just did not get it. Palin did, but McCAin was just to anemic to win.  In 2012, Mitt Romney was still too reserved and allowed a potential win to slip away. The frustration remained pent up for eight years and only grew.

What Main Street America wanted was someone who would push back against the creeping socialism, and someone who was not afraid to fight back hard.  President Trump understood that earlier than most and he still gets it.  And here's how it plays out:

-Americans see someone who has resolve and fights back when attacked and it is clear that resolve applies to global politics as well as political opponents using personal attacks.  McCain was Neville Chamberlain and Donald Trump is General George S. Patton.  Honestly, who would you rather have as a leader?  Peoople want a leader with a backbone; president Trump clearly, unapologetically, has a backbone.
-Americans who support the president's policies empathize with the attacks because attacks on him represent attacks on them.  In fact, increasingly, the attacks are now coming directly towards Trump supporters because attackers are realizing that president Trump WILL fight back.
-Because the attacks are incessant, the empathy is steeling the resolve of his supporters.  The fact is that the attacks are personal, and clearly an attempt to bully the president and conservatives into submission, the empathy, and the resolve of supporters has two possible outcomes - submission or fighting back.  President Trump's resolve has inspired Republican voters to be like him instead of John McCain.

Combined with president Trump delivering on conservative justices, tax reform, jobs, better trade deals and immigration reform the notion becomes that president Trump is fighting for me so I will fight, or at least vote, for him.

The irony that liberals and Republican never-Trumpers fail to realize is that the attacks only help president Trump and like-minded individuals in Congress to win.  I for one have come to a peace with the idea that hopefully the unhinged Left, just keep it up for another 7 years or so.

Left Unhinged

I had to share this.  The GOP is finally pointing out had evil the left has become.  It's about time.

June 23, 2018

Saturday Learning Series addendum on Iraq (Kurdistan)

In today's Saturday Learning Series on Iraq, there's a few mentions of the Kurds.  The Geography Now channel on YouTube did a separate video on the Kurds, and it's worth a post.

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Iraq)

The geography and flag of Iraq.

Charles Krauthammer: an icon passes

Charles Krauthammer passed away on Thursday. My prayers are with his family.  I didn't always agree with him but he was a great thinker and he will be missed.

June 21, 2018

Amazon dinged by SCOTUS

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has handed down a ruling that helps everyone but Amazon and their ilk, as well as their consumers. 

Via AP:
The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.

The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impacted online sales tax collection.

The high court ruled Thursday to overturn those decisions. They had resulted in some companies not collecting sales tax on every online purchase. The cases the court overturned said that if a business was shipping a product to a state where it didn’t have a physical presence such as a warehouse or office, the business didn’t have to collect the state’s sales tax. Customers were generally supposed to pay the tax to the state themselves if they don’t get charged it, but the vast majority didn’t.
This makes brick and mortar stores like Walmart more competitive with president-Trump-unfriendly Jeff Bezos' Amazon because the non-sale-tax-paying discount effectively disappears. That may help rejuvenate brick and mortar retailers in the marketplace, but don't count on it; the trend is going to continue to be towards online shopping.  But Amazon's unfair competitive advantage is effectively gone. Customers in states where sales taxes are high are hurt as well, if they were previously not self-paying the tax.

The most interesting fallout is actually the impact on state sales taxes. A state with a high sales tax, more often than not is going to be a liberal state.  This ruling might in the short term generate more sales tax revenue and/or lower online shopping relative to store visit shopping. But ultimately online sales should normalize; there is a large disincentive to shop online relative to before as a result of newly enforced sales taxes. In a no state sales tax scenario, the impact will be non-existent.  That just a superficial first look, but if states end up with more sales tax, then that could help the federal government potentially offload governmental services to the state level and thereby lower the annual deficit.  

Even at first glance this is not an inconsequential ruling.  More to come for sure.

June 20, 2018

Trump getting snookered on illegal immigrant children detention

Forget the fact that these detentions predate president Trump.  Forget the fact that Republican lawmakers didn't act on the president's wall when they had the opportunity.  Forget the fact that Democrats manufactured this sudden 'crisis'. The president is being played and he's getting snookered and by signing an executive order he's choosing a bad path.  He's snookered because by not signing an executive order on the issues was also a bad path.

The fact that the president is facing a real crisis in public relations on the issue means the president has to sign an executive order to mollify the critics.  Not signing it meant a lot of political fallout come the November midterm elections.  It means a potential re-emergence of a blue wave election.  It probably wouldn't have happened but it was a possible outcome.  The White House did not effectively communicate that the problem predates him, and that Congress needs to change the law.  Having been more effective the president would not be facing this crisis. But not doing something about children of illegal immigrants being separated from their parents is no longer feasible at this point.

On the other hand, signing it allows a rule deviation that the president's supporters would rather not have seen.  That's political fallout.  Furthermore, it creates a logistical problem for housing these families together - how are they going to shelter these people?  And if it is able to do so, it's taking away from Americans in need of shelters, which has its own bad optics.

But maybe the president still gets the Trump card on this.  If groups like the ACLU sue to block the president's executive order, then they look like they are the anti-humanitarian politically driven ones in this case.  And maybe this ramps up Republicans to do something about the law, and sooner rather than later.

June 16, 2018

Saturday Learning Series - Geography (Iran)

This one should be interesting; Iran.

The Iranian flag:

June 15, 2018

Friday Musical Interlude - Reaction videos

As a change of pace, I thought I'd include something that I've started watching recently: people reacting to music videos for songs they have never heard before. It falls into a couple of categories from what I've seen, either people stepping outside of their own genre of musical tastes or younger people reacting to older songs they've never heard before.  It's interesting to watch, especially when they are surprised they love their discovery.

Here are two reaction videos from WeeabooReacts.  I'm starting here because his reaction videos were the first ones that made an impression on me.  I don't recall but one of his might be the first reaction video I ever saw. 

First Fleetwood Mac's Dreams and second, Van Halen's Eruption guitar solo, in a live performance.  Warning - he swears a lot, but the reactions are priceless.

June 14, 2018

Nonsensible interruptus

It's been a busy couple of months for me and my regular posting has suffered as a result.  That should return to normal within the next month, which is a good thing as there is soooooo much going on that deserves commenting.

I will continue posting as I can over the next few weeks and hopefully return to top gear soon.

June 9, 2018

June 8, 2018

Ontario Canada goes conservative

A quick follow-up to yesterday's post on conservatism vs. liberalism vs. socialism in Ontario, Canada.  As I suspected, our ruling Liberal party was decimated.  As I suspected, our Hillary-Clinton-sounding-but-way-left-of-Bernie-Sanders NDP socialist party came second, and our conservative leader, tagged as our version of Donald Trump, won a majority government in provincial parliament.

He's pro-business, he's in favor of lower taxes for the middle class, he's hugely anti-government-waste.

I'm looking forward to four years at least of respite from the growth-choking liberal policies that have torpedoed our province.  In his victory speech, Ford did not disappoint:
In an emotional victory speech, Ford thanked his supporters and vowed to make Ontario “once again the engine of Canada.” He also paid tribute to his late brother, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who died of cancer two years ago.

“I know that my brother Rob is looking down from heaven,” Ford said, as the crowd erupted in cheers. “He is celebrating with us tonight.”

Ford said his election marks the beginning of an era of economic growth “the likes of which this province has never seen before.” He also reiterated some of his marquee campaign promises, such as cutting gas prices and reducing taxes for middle-income families.

“Tonight we have sent a clear message to the world: Ontario is open for business,” he said, before pivoting to address those who didn’t vote for him.

“In those who didn’t support us, I will work even harder to earn your confidence.”
Maybe instead of dealing with our Prime Minister, Donald Trump should deal with this guy. 

Friday Musical Interlude - Races Are Run

Prior to joining Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham released an album in 1973.  Races Are Run is one of the songs from that album.

June 7, 2018

Happening Now: Conservative vs Liberal vs Socialist in Ontario

My home province of Ontario (Canada's most populated province) votes today for a new premier (our version of governor).  After 15 years of Liberal party hegemony, fraught with scandal, corruption, inefficiency and some truly bad policy, voters are looking for a change.  Unlike the U.S. we typically have three viable options - the Liberal party (think Bernie Sanders), the New Democrats (think left of Bernie Sanders) and the Conservatives (which vary from people as conservative as Hillary Clinton, all the way over to Ronald Reagan).

Thankfully voters have finally had enough of the Liberals.  The provincial conservative party (sadly named the "Progressive Conservatives") held a strong enough generic lead to form the next government but in a snap leadership race months before the election (due to a sudden, not-so-surprisingly-ill-timed #MeToo-type scandal for their leader) they chose to elect the brother of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford (of crack mayor fame), as their leader.

He has no such scandal associated with him but he is not the most telegenic candidate.  He's been portrayed as Canada's version of president Trump by the media here.  They have attempted to smear him and his party.  Yet he clings to a slim lead in generic balloting.  The Liberals have not made a comeback - and risk garnering so few votes they may no longer qualify as a party if you can believe it. 

But this is going to be a change election.  The only other choice for change is the New Democrats (NDP) - the true socialists.  They have surged with a candidate who ironically speaks yells an awful lot like Hillary Clinton.  See for yourself.

She's also rude and exudes a sense of entitlement:

Just, wow. And apparently just HORRIBLE at basic math:

All that, said I expect our mini-Trump to win a majority government in provincial parliament as his votes are not so concentrated as the NDPs which will solidly over-perform in some areas, just as Hillary Clinton did in California, which did not help her one bit either.   Conservatives deserve to win because they are offering common sense.  They are listening to voters.

I'll report tomorrow on how it turned out.

June 1, 2018

Friday Musical Interlude - Long Distance Winner.

Prior to joining Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham released an album in 1973.  Long Distance Winner is one of the songs from that album.

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