Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Betrayed by politicians

What Ben Shapiro says about politicians below is pretty right.  But he has a very strange gap in his understanding of it.  He does not seem to know WHY politicians break their promises,  They don't break them because they are crooks (though some may be).  They break them because they have to.  The recent omnibus spending bill is a good case in point.  Really conservative Senators such as Rand Paul threatened to vote against it unless it contained certain measures that were close to their hearts -- but measures which were generally a low priority for others.  So nothing would have got through on GOP votes alone

So the GOP leadership, abetted by Mr Trump, had to put in provisions that would attract some Democrat votes.  And they did.  So the conservative purists by their obstinacy handed the Democrats a significant win.  Instead of getting more of what they wanted they got less.

And it was all old hat to Trump.  He has been doing "deals" like that for most of his life:  I give you something and you give me something. It's called compromise and it is one of the distinctive talents of British-origin people.  Most of the world doesn't understand compromise at all.  They only understand winning and they will keep fighting until they do win.  But both sides can't win so one side will be destroyed, which is usually disastrous.  In countries with a tradition of compromise, on the other hand, domestic peace and calm is normal.

So in the Ommnibus bill various Democrat objectives were financed but Trump got a big dollop of money for defence and other objectives.  He may even find ways of using that money to build the wall.  So what you got was typical of compromise.  The weaker side got a few small wins and the stronger side got bigger wins.  But nobody got all their wishes.

So that is why politicians betray us.  They live in a world where different people have all sorts of different wishes.  And finding a way through that to deliver ANYTHING to their voters is a major achievement.  They can only do their best.  You do have to consider the other guy.

When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution of the United States, they feared the possibility of partisanship overtaking rights-based government. To that end, they crafted a system of checks and balances designed to pit interest against interest, promoting gridlock over radical change. The founders saw legislators, presidents and judges as ambitious in their pursuit of power.

They could not have foreseen our politicians.

Our politicians aren't so much ambitious for power as they are afraid of accountability. And so, we have a new sort of gridlock on Capitol Hill: Politicians campaign in cuttingly partisan fashion and then proceed to avoid solving just the sorts of issues on which they campaigned.

Last week, for example, Republicans passed a massive $1.3 trillion omnibus funding package to avert a government shutdown. It included full funding for Planned Parenthood and the regional Gateway rail project, but not full funding for the border wall. Republicans had spent years decrying deficits, criticizing funding for Planned Parenthood and ripping useless stimulus spending; they'd spent years clamoring for a border wall. When push came to shove, they did nothing.

Meanwhile, Democrats tore into the Republican budget for failing to ensure the permanent residence of so-called DREAMers, immigrants living in the United States illegally who were brought to the country as children. Then they rallied in Washington, D.C., along with gun control-minded students from Parkland, Florida, calling for more regulations on the Second Amendment. When Democrats held control of Congress and the presidency from 2009 to 2011, however, they promulgated no new gun legislation and passed no protection for DREAMers. Instead, then-President Barack Obama issued an executive action during his re-election cycle after saying repeatedly that he could not legally do so, and he complained incessantly about guns.

So, what should this tell us?

It should tell us that we, the voters, are suckers.

Our politicians use hot-button political issues in order to gin up the base and get us out to vote. They talk about how they'll end funding for Planned Parenthood and cut back spending on the right; they talk about how they'll end gun violence and protect DREAMers on the left. Then, once in power, they instead focus on broadly popular legislation instead of passing the legislation they've promised. They campaign for their base, but they govern for the center.

So, what are the real differences between the parties? The Republican Party is in favor of tax cuts and defense spending; the Democratic Party is in favor of increased regulation and social spending. All the other discussion points are designed merely to drive passion.

Practically speaking, this means gridlock on the issues about which Americans care most. Don't expect Republicans to stop funding Planned Parenthood anytime soon. And don't expect Democrats to start pushing serious gun control. They keep those issues alive deliberately to inflame excitement during election campaigns. Then, once in power, those issues go back into the freezer, to emerge and be defrosted when the time is right.

It's a convenient ploy. It means that partisan voters will never buck their party — after all, if the other side gets into power, they'll really go nuts. And, hey, maybe this time , our party bosses won't lie to us.
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But they will. And we'll swallow it. And the government will grow. But at least we'll have the comfort slamming one another over issues that will never get solved.



British PM's "Russia" narrative falls apart

The accusations hurled at Russia are very poorly founded.  Are the sanctions based on a rush to judgment that is entirely wrong?  There are varieties of Novichok gases and it is not only Russia that uses them.  Israel is another.  And this version may be a very amateur version of the stuff.  It hasn't killed anyone yet.  Was it an attempt to set Russia up? Russia would have used the real stuff

Update: "UK scientists have been unable to prove Russia made the nerve agent A-234 (also known as "Novichok") which was used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury."

Yulia Skripal has risen from her death bed and looks like she will make a full recovery from the “deadly nerve gas attack.”

Sarcasm aside, I am delighted that she is on the mend just as I was with DS Nick Bailey's speedy recovery. However, I do now wonder how Boris and "Saint Theresa" are going to spin this and fit it in to their, "it was the Russians wot done it" narrative?

We were told by the Sun newspaper amongst others that, "Novichok is one of the deadliest nerve agents ever created and reported to be five times more potent than the notorious VX gas.

The victim's heart and diaphragm are unable to function properly after coming into contact with the substance — leading to respiratory and cardiac arrest.

Those affected usually die from total heart failure or suffocation as copious fluid secretions fill their lungs."

Meanwhile, Mrs May has gone on a walking holiday in Wales with her husband. She will need the time to think! Last year she did the same and came back to London and called a snap election after repeatedly saying she would not do so. Will she come back this time and offer either an explanation or even an apology to Russia?

This whole saga has played out like a very poor version of the Board game Cluedo. Was it the Reverend Green in the conservatory with a piece of lead piping?

No, it was Putin with gas on a pizza. No it was gas in the car's air conditioning. Or was it in Yulia's suitcase? Finally, we are told it was on the door handle!

It has taken them three weeks to make this discovery? It's hardly Inspector Morse is it? More like The Keystone Cops.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has already acted as the prosecutor, judge and jury and stated it was, "the Kremlin wot done it."

Theresa May has then waded in with her size 9 kitten heels and given the Russians a virtual kick in without producing any real evidence either to the British public or the Kremlin.

Please remind me, why is she refusing to allow the Russians to examine the nerve gas?

Are we really meant to believe that, just like in a poor children's cartoon, where the crooks wear stripy jumpers and carry a bag with "SWAG" written on it.  Two Russians have come to the UK, effectively with a bag of gas with instead of the word "SWAG" on it there are the words, "NOVICHOK MADE IN MOSCOW".  Far-fetched I know but so is Theresa Mays and the MSM's narrative.

However, all joking aside, the real danger in this whole episode is the way that Theresa May is now using this "mystery" to both paint Russia as our enemy and to clamp down on free speech.

On Wednesday, to little fanfare in the MSM press and broadcast outlets, she published the Security Capability Review. This document examines the threats to the UK's security.

Theresa wrote the foreword to the document in which she talks about the Manchester and Westminster terrorist attacks and then in almost the same breath and sentence she includes the attack in Salisbury.

I'm sorry, but putting the Salisbury incident on the same level as the Manchester Arena attack that killed 22 people, mainly children, and Westminster is not only ludicrous but also deeply insulting, not only to the victims and their families but to the whole country.

Unfortunately, she doesn't stop there as she then lists who the threats to the UK are.

She starts with Islamic State and no one would argue with that. Next, she names North Korea which is understandable but I would say after Trump's intervention their threat is on the wane. Then she states that the other threat is Russia!

This assertion seems to be based on the Salisbury attack, in which at the moment no one has died and in fact two are on the road to recovery?

She seems to also rely on an article in the Telegraph which reported that Russia put out more than 20 stories "trying to confuse the picture and the charge sheet" over the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia in Salisbury.

Another view of the Telegraph's report, could of course be that Russia was merely trying to offer a counter narrative to the one the UK Government was peddling.

Are alternative views no longer tolerated in the UK? Now with the wheel falling off the Government's propaganda wagon, with the recovery of Yulia and the Policemen, those counter narratives don't seem so stupid, do they?

However, the Telegraph's assertion plays directly into the other narrative the Government are playing that Russia is the epicentre of all fake news.

Theresa now wants to counter this "propaganda and fake news" by telling every department of State to put security at the top of their agendas.

She is also going to use the BBC to "spread our values" around the world.

The BBC?! The Biased Broadcasting Corporation?!  Do they really mirror the views of most British citizens?

I am afraid on this point I have to agree with the veteran left wing journalist and documentary maker, John Pilger who says in an interview on RT that, "the BBC is the most refined propaganda service in the world."

In this new strategy which has been titled The Fusion Doctrine, UK Intelligence services are instructed to swamp, divert, counter and even close down any sites, trolls or posts that are peddling "misinformation."

This is a very scary prospect as who are these people that will decide what is and what is not acceptable? Will it stop just with sites based in Russia? Of course not!

How free will you and I be to express our cynicism over events like Salisbury in the future?

Just remind me are we living in 2018 or 1984?



Gun Ban Finally Makes a Difference in Crime — London Murder Rate Overtakes NYC

Progressive gun control advocates here in America will often point to the gun ban imposed in the United Kingdom as an excellent example of how significantly restricting the right of citizens to lawfully possess most firearms will lead to a safe and violence-free Utopia of sorts.

Common sense dictates that such an assertion is patently false, but now there are factual numbers coming out of the city of London cited by Fox News disprove the ludicrous assumption that banning guns makes citizens safer.

In the month of February, the city of London officially surpassed the city of New York in terms of its murder rate for the first time in modern history.

Furthermore, while the murder rate in NYC has declined by nearly 90 percent in the past 30 years, murder and other violent crimes are on the rise in London.

The shocking story of historical significance was first reported by The U.K. Sunday Times, which noted that London suffered 15 murders in the month of February while New York City had 14.

Though not yet “official,” it appears the trend continued through March, as London experienced 22 murders in comparison to only 21 murders in NYC during the same period.

Given that these two cities have similarly-sized diverse populations, that means people are being murdered at a higher rate in London as opposed to NYC, despite the English city’s strict gun control laws.

In fact, it is those strict gun control laws which have led to a sharp rise in knife crime across the U.K., and especially in London, where murders have increased by a stunning 38 percent in the past four years.

All told, London still has fewer murders (46) than NYC (55) so far this year and had fewer murders last year, as well. However, what used to be a massive gap between the murder rate of the two cities going back to the year 1800 — it fluctuated from about half to 1/20 — has closed significantly, and if the surge in knife crime continues unabated, could vanish altogether.

The U.K. Daily Mail, which ran through a litany of recent murder victims, pointed out that no less than 12 people have been fatally stabbed or shot to death in just the past 19 days in London, proving once again that violent criminals don’t obey gun bans and will still obtain firearms, or simply resort to other weapons such as knives



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