Monday, August 06, 2018

He fights

This is from last year but is very relevant to current Leftist attempts so brand conservatives with incivility

My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum. They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.”

Here’s my answer: We Right-thinking people have tried dignity. There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency.

We tried statesmanship.

Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain?

We tried propriety – has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney?

And the results were always the same. This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob.

I don’t find anything “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper” about Barack Obama’s lying about what went down on the streets of Ferguson in order to ramp up racial hatreds because racial hatreds serve the Democratic Party.

I don’t see anything “dignified” in lying about the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi and imprisoning an innocent filmmaker to cover your tracks.

I don’t see anything “statesman-like” in weaponizing the IRS to be used to destroy your political opponents and any dissent.

Yes, Obama was “articulate” and “polished” but in no way was he in the least bit “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper.”

The Left has been engaged in a war against America since the rise of the Children of the ‘60s. To them, it has been an all-out war where nothing is held sacred and nothing is seen as beyond the pale.. It has been a war they’ve fought with violence, the threat of violence, demagoguery and lies from day one – the violent take-over of the universities – till today.

The problem is that, through these years, the Left has been the only side fighting this war. While the Left has been taking a knife to anyone who stands in their way, the Right has continued to act with dignity, collegiality and propriety.

With Donald Trump, this all has come to an end. Donald Trump is America ’s first wartime president in the Culture War.

During wartime, things like “dignity” and “collegiality” simply aren’t the most essential qualities one looks for in their warriors. Ulysses Grant was a drunk whose behavior in peacetime might well have seen him drummed out of the Army for conduct unbecoming.

Had Abraham Lincoln applied the peacetime rules of propriety and booted Grant, the Democrats might well still be holding their slaves today.

Lincoln rightly recognized that, “I cannot spare this man. He fights.”

General George Patton was a vulgar-talking.. In peacetime, this might have seen him stripped of rank. But, had Franklin Roosevelt applied the normal rules of decorum then, Hitler and the Socialists would barely be five decades into their thousand-year Reich.

Trump is fighting. And what’s particularly delicious is that, like Patton standing over the battlefield as his tanks obliterated Rommel’s, he’s shouting, “You magnificent bastards, I read your book!”

That is just the icing on the cake, but it’s wonderful to see that not only is Trump fighting, he’s defeating the Left using their own tactics. That book is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – a book so essential to the Liberals’ war against America that it is and was the playbook for the entire Obama administration and the subject of Hillary Clinton’s senior thesis.

It is a book of such pure evil, that, just as the rest of us would dedicate our book to those we most love or those to whom we are most indebted, Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer.

Trump’s tweets may seem rash and unconsidered but, in reality, he is doing exactly what Alinsky suggested his followers do. First, instead of going after “the fake media” — and they are so fake that they have literally gotten every single significant story of the past 60 years not just wrong, but diametrically opposed to the truth, from the Tet Offensive to Benghazi, to what really happened on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri — Trump isolated CNN.. He made it personal.

Then, just as Alinsky suggests, he employs ridicule which Alinsky described as “the most powerful weapon of all.”... Most importantly, Trump’s tweets have put CNN in an untenable and unwinnable position. ... They need to respond.

This leaves them with only two choices. They can either “go high” (as Hillary would disingenuously declare of herself and the fake news would disingenuously report as the truth) and begin to honestly and accurately report the news or they can double-down on their usual tactics and hope to defeat Trump with twice their usual hysteria and demagoguery. The problem for CNN (et al.) with the former is that, if they were to start honestly reporting the news, that would be the end of the Democratic Party they serve. It is nothing but the incessant use of fake news (read: propaganda) that keeps the Left alive.

Imagine, for example, if CNN had honestly and accurately reported then-candidate Barack Obama’s close ties to foreign terrorists (Rashid Khalidi), domestic terrorists (William Ayers & Bernardine Dohrn), the mafia (Tony Rezko) or the true evils of his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright’s church.

Imagine if they had honestly and accurately conveyed the evils of the Obama administration’s weaponizing of the IRS to be used against their political opponents or his running of guns to the Mexican cartels or the truth about the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the Obama administration’s cover-up.

So, to my friends on the Left — and the #NeverTrumpers as well — do I wish we lived in a time when our president could be “collegial” and “dignified” and “proper”? Of course I do.

These aren’t those times. This is war. And it’s a war that the Left has been fighting without opposition for the past 50 years.

So, say anything you want about this president - I get it - he can be vulgar, he can be crude, he can be undignified at times. I don’t care. I can’t spare this man. He fights for America!



The mythical “rules-based international order”

How often do you hear about the “rules-based international order”? It just rolls off the tongue and grabs headlines, doesn’t it? But that was not always the case.

Do a Factiva search of the three main newspapers in the US, Britain and Australia: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal; The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian; The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian ­Financial Review.

Insert the words “rules-based” and “international order”, and you will find that in the 30 years from 1985 to 2015 the term was used only 38 times. However, since ­Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign on June 16, 2015, the term has been used 321 times (as of July 30).

The logic is clear. Western journalists, scholars, politicians and policymakers all too often refer to the rules-based international order because its demise is blamed primarily on Trump’s “America first” agenda. By raising tariffs, weakening alliances, withdrawing the US from international agreements and supping with the devil — from Kim Jong-un at Singapore to Vladimir Putin at Helsinki — the US President has left a void in world leadership. As a result, he has undermined faith in the open, free international order of the post-Cold War era.

It’s a reassuring argument. For if almost everything is the fault of Trump, the problem is temporary and can be fixed. However, it’s an explanation that distracts us from contemplating more uncomfortable possibilities, ones that may cast doubt on deeply held convictions about international relations since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

For there are several fatal flaws that have helped undermine the effectiveness of the rules-based order so beloved by the foreign policy elites. Here are four of them.

It was widely held that democracy was the wave of the future. With the collapse of Soviet communism, it was assumed there was no viable alternative to liberal democracy: it was “the end of history”, in the fashionable phrase of the day. Almost every nation was bound to become a liberal democracy. It would be relatively easy to create a liberal international order because spreading democracy would meet little resistance.

In 1987, according to leading human rights watchdog Freedom House, 34 per cent of the world’s nations were free. By 2007, that rose to 47 per cent.

But in the past decade the number of liberal democracies has been declining. Indeed, some leaders today, from Turkey’s Recep Tayyip ­Erdogan to Hungary’s Viktor Orban, champion illiberal democracy.

To the extent this trend continues, it will be difficult to create a world in which almost all nations are liberal democracies.

The second illusion of the post-Cold War era was that nationalism was a thing of the past. Some pundits even proclaimed the end of the nation-state. However, as the populist explosion across Europe shows, national identity remains a powerful force. Because nationalism is all about self-determination, it does not fit with a situation where international insti­tutions — from the EU to the World Trade Organisation — make policies that have a profound effect on their member states.

No wonder most British citizens voted to leave the EU in 2016: they felt their nation had surrendered too much power to Brussels and it was time to reassert British sovereignty.

The third illusion of the rules-based international order that has been badly damaged is the belief in co-operation among the rival powers.

In the 1990s, it was widely assumed that the more communist China and post-communist Russia integrated into the global economy and became members of international institutions, the likelier they would become peaceful and even democratic.

However, neither China nor Russia has embraced Washington’s efforts to spread the liberal international order. Far from it. Xi Jinping is the most authoritarian leader since Mao Zedong and China is more assertive than ever. Putin is a modern-day tsar who will play hardball to protect what the Kremlin sees as vital strategic interests in its back yard.

For China and Russia, being fully absorbed into the liberal international order means allowing Washington to dominate the system militarily as well as economically and politically. Neither is going to want US military forces in what they deem as their spheres of influence.

In recent years, Beijing’s leaders have sought to create a sphere of influence in East Asia in the hope they will push the US out of the western Pacific, just as the Americans pushed the European powers out of the Western hemisphere in the 19th century.

In 2014, almost three years before Trump arrived in the White House, Putin annexed Crimea (home of the Russian Black Sea fleet) in response to the Western-backed coup to topple a pro-Russian regime in Kiev weeks earlier. After seeing decades of Western expansion to its doorstep, Moscow has been pushed to the point where it is now committed to undermining NATO and the EU.

The fourth illusion of the post-Cold War era was the belief that the US, as the sole remaining superpower, was seemingly invincible. As Charles Krauthammer put it in 1990, the US should “lead a unipolar world, unashamedly laying down the rules of world order and being prepared to enforce them”.

However, in the years since the end of the Cold War, the US has fought seven wars — the Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Iraq-Syria — and it has been at war for three out of every four years during that period. Wars, by the way, that Trump says he opposed.

Pax Americana, remember, had been waning for several years before Trump’s election. Without an activist and assertive US, moreover, there is no plausible way to uphold the liberal international order. In the domestic realm, it’s a bit like having courts without a police force.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop speaks for many when she says: “The rules-based order will quickly fray if it is perceived that advantage can be gained by flouting it or working around it.”

However, that order frayed well before Trump. And its underlying problems cannot be fixed.

For all the praise recently lavished on the rules-based international order, our leaders fail to grasp the irrepressible reality of power politics.



Big government at work in Seattle

Once again, the oh-so progressive, oh-so enlightened Seattle City Council is showing the rest of the country what not to do. The idealistic leftists who control the Council are wasting millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars in failed attempts to solve problems the Council members created.

All this is turning Seattle into the poster city for the failure of Big Government. The city best known for fish markets, coffee stores, rain and flannel-wearing musicians is now becoming legendary for its incompetent leadership and its financial boondoggles.

The latest example of Seattle senselessness is the Council’s costly and deeply flawed efforts to get more people riding public transportation and bicycles. Other than spending lots of money, this effort isn’t accomplishing anything. 

Seattle was one of the first cities to get electric streetcars in the U.S., with the first electric car entering service in 1889. With over a century of experience, you would think the city would know how to handle public transit. Not so. Taxpayers are paying a big price for the incompetence of city officials.

The public transportation system in Seattle is a mess. Construction costs for new and upgraded streetcar and light rail lines are skyrocketing well above estimated costs.

One of the more unbelievable mistakes made was the purchase of 10 new streetcars last fall. Apparently, when the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) ordered the cars no one thought to check the measurements.

The order was placed for street cars that are likely too big for the tracks and the maintenance barn. The project is already $50 million over budget, not including the $52 million it cost for the 10 cars that may be useless. How has no one been fired for this?

Not only is Seattle having problems with its streetcar projects, but its bike lane experiment has also been an unmitigated financial disaster. In 2015, Seattle voters approved a $930 million transportation tax to fund something called called “Move Seattle.”

The nearly $1 billion initiative made bold promises, while increasing average property taxes by $275. One of the bold promises was 50 miles of bike lanes.

Many voiced concerns about the price tag of the ambitious project. After looking at the most recent costs of the bike lanes, their concerns were clearly warranted.

The city’s initial budget estimated $854,000 per mile for construction of the bike lanes and greenways. Incredibly, so far stretches of the bike lanes are costing over 1,000 percent more than expected.

The bike lane on Seventh Avenue clocks in at $13 million per mile, while the Second Avenue lane is $12 million per mile. At this rate, the bike lanes alone will cost more than the entire Move Seattle project.

Of course, no one has been held accountable for the cost overrun, as this is Seattle, where mistakes get people promoted.

Knowing all this, the Seattle City Council still voted to push more bike lane policies. On Monday, a resolution passed calling for SDOT to make sure bike lanes are connected, meaning yet more construction.

I’m not sure what is more infuriating – the fact that a bike lane project that didn’t connect all the lanes was approved in the first place, or that after monumental cost overruns the City Council’s answer was to spend yet more money.

What is truly amazing is that Seattle is trying to increase the number of bicyclists on the street at the same time it wants to increase the streetcar and light rail lines. As any cyclist can attest, rail lines and bicycle tires are a dangerous mix. Expanding both is sure to lead to more accidents.

Seattle and Sound Transit are already being sued for the tragic death of Desiree McCloud. The young woman was in a bike lane when her tire got caught in the train track, causing a horrific crash. McCloud was hospitalized and later died of her injuries.

With its spendthrift and clueless way, the Seattle City Council is showing all Americans the importance of voting in local elections. Too many us of neglect to do this, focusing on elections for president, national and statewide offices.

Local government is closest to the people and in many ways can have the most direct impact on our lives. In Seattle, big-spending liberals trying to fulfill their dreams are creating nightmares for the people of the city.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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