Friday, March 25, 2016

What country music can tell us about Trump’s rural appeal

There's some good country music but I have just been listening to "Als geblueht der Kirschenbaum", sung by soprano Martina Serafin and written by  Carl Zeller around 100 years ago.  So amazing that such a wonderful song is now so little known.  Anyway, back to country music and country thinking:

Like just about everyone with a background in economics, I favour free trade.  It creates jobs as well as destroying them and it makes prices cheaper for everyone.  And Trump has a degree in economics. So one would expect him to support the Trans Pacific trade agreement.

But on the other hand his base don't like such deals.  They see only that it loses Americans jobs.  So which way will Trump go?  I am fairly sure that he will scrap the TPP.  It's the only way for him to go politically and the TPP has fairly slender benefits for America anyhow.  It only frees up trade slightly. It mostly benefits the fat cats and cronies of Washington DC and Wall St. So scrapping the TPP will be a splendid bit of tokenism.  It will cost little but will confer great political credibility

Pundits in Washington are befuddled. Three weeks after the SEC primary and after the last southern votes were cast last week, they wonder: how did a brash New Yorker win the south? Save for Cruz winning Texas, most of the former Confederacy voted for Donald Trump. Rural America beyond the south is largely trending the same way.

More remarkable still is that Michigan, Illinois and even Massachusetts agree with their southern brethren. How often does the industrial north agree with the south in a Republican primary? These areas, north and south, have been fertile ground for an uprising because both are feeling the pain from bad economic policies; Mr. Trump did not plant the seeds of populism, but he is enjoying the harvest.

These places, particularly the south, have always had a populist streak, and country music has reflected it. From Merle Haggard merle haggardsinging about being laid off from the factory in 1973 in “If we make it through December” to its culmination in Celebrity Apprentice winner John Rich’s “Shutting Detroit Down” in 2009, rural America is not friendly to the globalization that it perceives is shipping jobs overseas. In the recent ALG-Pat Caddell poll, 59 percent of Republicans answered agreed that “Over the last two decades the free trade agreements signed by the United States with other countries were more a benefit to foreign countries.”

The chorus of Rich’s song captured the anger well:  “Because in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down, while the boss man takes his bonus paid jets on out of town. D.C.’s bailing out them bankers as the farmers auction ground. Yeah while they’re living up on Wall Street in that New York City town, here in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down.” Does that sound like someone who would support the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact? After the bailouts and economic stagnation, is it any wonder rural America no longer trusts the government to negotiate on their behalf?

Rural America is still hurting, and globalization doesn’t have many rural fans. Why would it? According to the USDA, while rural unemployment has more or less correlated with metro unemployment, rural poverty is more prevalent than in metropolitan areas.  Ostensibly, this indicates that the rural American is having a harder time bouncing back than his urban counterpart. Why would they to chance losing more jobs to a bad trade deal?

Compare the above U.S. Department of Agriculture map with county breakdowns in the GOP primary contest, and you’ll see that Donald Trump has done well in most of the states that have purple spots. The process of transitioning from post-agrarian to industrial and then to post-industrial has been an ugly one for rural America, and particularly the south.

If there is a place where the rural south and industrial north converge, it’s Missouri, one of the last true Border States; it is a sort of microcosm of Trump’s support base. On the map, you see the southern half of the state, largely removed from Kansas City and St. Louis, has more in common with Arkansas than it does with the northern half of the state.

In Missouri, the population centers tended to go for Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), including Kansas City, Springfield, Jefferson City, Columbia, Cape Girardeau and little Hannibal. Rural Missouri and St. Louis, which according to the St. Louis Fed was hit hard during the recession and lost a congressional district in the recent census, went to Donald Trump. Generally speaking, the western part of the state voted like Kansas, the eastern part like Illinois and the southern part like Arkansas; the former who voted for Cruz, the latter two who voted for Trump.

Even in the 1990’s and 2000’s when the nation had a better economy, this strain could be felt. It was expressed in songs like Alan Jackson’s “Little man” and Travis Tritt’s “Country ain’t country no more”. Both songs talk about the decline of small towns and farms, and drip with contempt about the new south’s developing their communities out of existence. This sort of “sentimental shame” as Merle Haggard called it, fuels the desire to hold on to what they have, and restore what they’ve lost.

Rural Americans have never liked the convoluted trade deals their politicians vote for; when they were polled about it in the recent ALG-Caddell poll, 72 percent, including 76 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement “The same political elite who have been rigging the political process in Washington are the same ones that have been rigging trade deals that hurt Americans, but benefit themselves.”

Instead, they are opting for the candidate that never held elected office, because they’ve had it with the insiders who rig trade deals against them. That sentiment isn’t just held in the south, but all over the nation.

Country music itself has changed. Many of the songs that now come out of Nashville are dirt road anthems that tend to be apolitical. On occasion, when country singers do engage in social commentary, the frustration with the economic status quo comes out. Listen close enough, and you can hear people who are tired of losing ground, and are fighting to preserve their way of life.



Hillary, Bernie, and the Fixed-Pie Fallacy

Both candidates argue for higher tax rates on evil rich people, as well as sinister corporations, ostensibly because bigger government will make America more equal.

For those who care about the real world, however, this isn't such a good idea. Larry Lindsey, a former Governor at the Federal Reserve, writes in the Wall Street Journal that leftist policies actually cause inequality.

"...when you look at performance and not rhetoric, the administrations of political progressives have made the distribution of income more unequal than their adversaries, who supposedly favor the wealthy.... inequality rose more under Bill Clinton than under Ronald Reagan. And it wasn't even close. While the inequality increase as measured by the Gini index was only slightly more during Clinton's two terms, the Theil index and mean log deviation increased two and three times as much, respectively.

Barack Obama's administration follows this pattern. The Gini index rose more than three times as much under Mr. Obama than under Mr. Bush. The Theil index increased sharply during the Obama administration, while it fell slightly under Bush 43"

Larry explains what drove these results.

"And two big factors are easy-money monetary policies that artificially push up the value of financial assets (thus helping the rich) and redistribution policies that make dependency more attractive than work (thus hurting the poor)

Democratic presidents presided over bubble economies fueled by easy monetary policy. There is no better way to make the rich richer than to run policies that push up the price of financial assets. Cheap money is a boon to those who have access to it.

* Transfer payments under Mr. Obama increased by $560 billion. By contrast private-sector wages and salaries grew by $1.1 trillion. So for every $2 in extra wages, about $1 was paid out in extra transfer payments-lowering the relative reward to work.

* the effective tax rate on the extra earnings-including lost government benefits such as food stamps, the earned-income tax credit, and medical support payments-is between 50% and 80%. This phaseout of the ever increasing array of benefits has created a "working-class trap" instead of a "poverty trap" that is increasing inequality and keeping the income of these households lower than they might otherwise be"

I especially like Larry's conclusion.  He points out that statist policies have a long history of failure. The only real beneficiaries are members of the parasite class in Washington.

None of this should really be surprising. If the socialist ideal of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" worked in practice, the Berlin Wall might still be standing.

Redistribution through the political process is not costless-even in a perfect world there would be a large bureaucracy to feed.

Special-interest elites also emerge when so much money is being moved around. They take their cut, introducing even more inefficiency into the system... voters who think the progressives running today are going to reduce inequality are falling into the same trap as people entering fifth or sixth marriages-the triumph of hope over experience.

So why do our friends on the left have such an anti-empirical approach to the issue of inequality? Instead of fixating on inequality, why don't they focus on policies that will actually help poor people?

Some of them probably don't care. They simply view class warfare as a way of creating resentment and getting votes.

But many leftists are doubtlessly sincere and genuinely want to help the less fortunate.

The problem is that they suffer from the fixed-pie fallacy. My Cato Institute colleague Chelsea German explains this fundamentally flawed understanding of the world.

"The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer." Senator Bernie Sanders first said those words in 1974 and has been repeating them ever since. .A simple logical error underlies Sanders' belief. If we assume that wealth is a fixed pie, then the more slices the rich get, the fewer are left over for the poor. In other words, people can only better themselves at the expense of others. In the world of the fixed pie, if we observe the rich becoming richer, then it must be because other people are becoming poorer. Fortunately, in the real world, the pie is not fixed. US GDP is growing, and it's growing faster than the population"


And it's not just the U.S. data on how all income classes are climbing over time. Check out the "hockey stick" showing how the entire world is becoming richer.

Last but not least, Kyle Smith also addresses the topic of inequality in his New York Post column. He starts by explaining there isn't a problem.

"...there is no inequality crisis... The US is only 42nd (out of 117 countries measured) in income inequality, according to the World Bank. We're only 16th when it comes to the wealth held by the top 1%.

He then makes a far more important point, which is that it's good to have an economy and a society where people can become rich by providing goods and services that the rest of us value.

"Inequality is to some extent a residual effect of success: If there weren't any billionaires or millionaires, inequality would be vastly diminished. America attracts and breeds success so brilliantly that we nearly beat the rest of the world combined in some respects: 42% of the world's millionaires are Americans, and 49% of those with $50 million or more in assets. The American tendency to respect, and expect, success runs counter to the progressive plan to tax it away."

He basically reaches the same conclusion as Larry Lindsey. In other words the left's favorite policies help Washington insiders and hurt poor people.

"A cap on incomes above, say, $100,000 would massively increase both equality and poverty as millions of middle-class people whose jobs depend on the rich in one way or another found themselves unemployed.

People tend to suspect, rightly, that government intervention in the name of fighting inequality will lead to exactly what's happened in the Obama era: more inequality, with bureaucrats and their cronies standing to gain"

The President isn't the only leftist to have this spite-driven mentality.



Pretty boy is going to be a big problem for Canada

His brain is scrambled.  I wonder what he is on?

For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Philosophers on U.S. Presidential Politics

Below is a blurb from a publisher of philosophy books.  Philosophers are overwhelmingly Leftist.  What it reports is an amusing example of how Leftists live in a little self-created bubble that has no connection with reality.  According to the authors, conservatives "place high regard upon insatiable appetites for luxury, excess, spectacle, and power".  Whaat!  No conservative would recognize that description of himself.  It's just a fantasy dreamt up to justifty Leftism.  Leftists can't handle reality so construct straw men to burn.  They are damaged people.

But they get some things right.  I and many other conservatives would agree that Trump "strongly appeals to disaffected, middle-of-the-road Americans who have become divided from traditional conservative politics due to the unpopularity of such ideals".

And there is some truth in their statement that Trump "has demonstrated that in order to get the support of voters who identify with the Republican Party, would-be candidates must vilify ideas and instead communicate solely in one-liners".  The spineless nature of the GOP establishment has indeed brought us to that.

But it is very one-eyed in completely ignoring what Trump actually says.  Their closed minds probably make it impossible for them even to hear what he says. Trump opposes illegal immigration when everybody else seems to have given up on that.  Americans don't want their country messed up by throngs of troublesome immigrants and Trump alone speaks for such concerned Americans

Routledge authors, Robert Talisse, Scott Aikin, and Jason Brennan provide a philosophical insight on the state of the Republican Party, and the establishment of the Trump brand.

With the U.S. presidential race imminent, Routledge authors have been weighing in on the state of U.S. politics over on the Daily Nous, as possibly the most principled, and possibly the least principled politicians in the U.S. are currently going head to head for the American presidency.

Robert Talisse (author of Engaging Political Philosophy, and co-author of Why We Argue and Why We Should) and Scott Aikin (co-author of Why We Argue and Why We Should), have weighed in on the debate with an exploration of the trouble with political conservatism in America today, and how such concerns have presented a challenge to the Republican Party.

According to Talisse and Aikin, the central ideas of political conservatism are becoming increasingly unpopular, as they place high regard upon insatiable appetites for luxury, excess, spectacle, and power, all of which are social forces that dissolve tradition and foster divisions. Such unpopularity has therefore led the Republican Party to build a political coalition among people who ultimately have little in common, which requires a strategy by which divisions are overshadowed by some unifying purpose.

Comparatively, Jason Brennan (author of Why Not Capitalism? and co-author of Markets without Limits) adds that democracy works because it doesn’t work. Brennan qualifies this by explaining that Trump has become a populist candidate in the presidential race as he has played to misinformation, anger, and prejudice, as the mean, median, and modal amounts of basic political knowledge among voters is generally quite low. Therefore, Trump is doing well because democracy is working, because there has been a break down in various checks parties place on voter ignorance.

Moreover, he is rising as the likely Republican nominee despite widespread opposition, because he strongly appeals to disaffected, middle-of-the-road Americans who have become divided from traditional conservative politics due to the unpopularity of such ideals, of which Talisse and Aikin speak of.

In this way, Trump has consequently become the manufactured unifying purpose that is needed to overshadow the divisions that have arisen. He has demonstrated that in order to get the support of voters who identify with the Republican Party, would-be candidates must vilify ideas and instead communicate solely in one-liners - all this in the service of selling what is promoted as a brand. As, Talisse and Aikin remark that conservatism was supposed to be the idea that values were more than brands, but branding is now all the Republican Party has at its core as a political faction.

For more information, visit Daily Nous for the full debate.


The man who encouraged mass migration to Britain has a rethink

Tony Blair says 'flabby liberalism' is helping terrorists because elite feel too 'guilty' to take on the extremists.  Since he himself could be seen as a flabbly liberal, perhaps this has significance

Tony Blair has warned that ‘flabby liberalism’ is helping terrorists because Britain’s elite feel too ‘guilty’ to tackle the spread of extremism.  The former Labour prime minister said many in politics are now ‘unwilling to take people on’, fearing that they will be seen as intolerant of other cultures.

Speaking ahead of today’s terror atrocities in Brussels, he branded such an approach ‘ridiculous’ and said it had left our country’s liberal values vulnerable to abuse.

Mr Blair urged the establishment to ‘defeat violence’ by ‘attacking extremist thinking’ in schools and wider society. And he said there needs to be a tougher centre ground approach to migration and the refugee crisis, which for many politicians is a still a toxic issue.

He told the BBC: ‘We're in a situation where we have to fight back.  ‘The centre has become flabby and unwilling to take people on. We concede far too much.  ‘There's this idea that you're part of an elite if you think in terms of respectful tolerance towards other people. It's ridiculous.’

He added that too often moderate voices are defensive about arguing their case, fuelling a culture of extremism in religion and politics.  ‘One of the problems with the West is that it constantly can be made to feel guilty about itself - and I'm not saying there aren't things we should feel guilty about,’ he said.  ‘But you know, we shouldn't let people intimidate us into thinking there are certain values we shouldn't be standing up for.

‘I'm a supporter of multiculturalism. But there's been a long period of time when we've allowed the concept of multiculturalism to be abused.’ As an example, he said that if people were asserting the equality and fair treatment of women that they should not be made to feel ‘somehow we're being culturally insensitive’.  ‘We have to be clear no one has the right to abrogate those basic human rights.’

On the challenge of migration and refugees, he said that in an ‘era of anxiety’, a lack of a coherent mainstream response, has opened the door to more extreme arguments.  A lack of action from moderates often prompts people to turn to the hard right, he warned.  ‘If you don't give a solution, and you leave people with a choice between what I would call a bit of flabby liberalism and the hardline, they'll take the hardline I'm afraid.’

He called for a more assertive policy of ‘muscular centrism’.

And in apparent reference to the Trojan Horse scandal, in which hardliners tried to impose an Islamic agenda on state schools, he said tackling extremism begins in the classroom.

Mr Blair said: ‘The truth is this extremism is being incubated in school systems, formal and informal, which are teaching children a narrow minded and often hateful view of those who are different.

‘What people need to understand is that this culture of hate is taught.  ‘They are taught a culture of hate and they can be untaught it.  ‘This extremist thinking is what you have to attack, if you don't attack the ideology you'll never defeat the violence.’

Mr Blair also challenged the idea that promoting values of tolerance was a form of Western cultural interference. ‘The West has just got to get over this,’ he said. ‘There are many other people in the region who do not regard the notion of peaceful co-existence as a Western value, they see it as a sensible human value, a global value.’



Amid the repeated ISIS attacks, Trump is the one who is being responsible

DONALD Trump has reacted to the explosions that rocked Brussels by describing it as a “disaster city” and warning that “this is just the beginning”.

Speaking on NBC’s TODAY, Trump said: “Belgium is no longer Belgium. Belgium is not the Belgium you and I knew from 20 years ago, which was one of the most beautiful and safest cities in the world.

“Belgium is a horror show right now. Terrible things are happening. People are leaving. People are afraid. This all happened because, frankly, there’s no assimilation.”

Belgium is a country, not a city, but we’ll put that aside. Trump wasted no time in saying the terror attacks were more evidence that governments needed to crack down on extremists with any means possible — even using waterboarding — and that immigration policies had failed.

“I would close up our borders,” he told Fox News. “We are taking in people without real documentation. We don’t know where they’re from or who they are.  We have to be very, very vigilant with who we let into this country,” Trump continued.

“Brussels is a great example. Brussels was an absolutely crime-free city, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And now you look at it and it’s just a disaster.”

Trump, who has made immigration and security issues central to his 2016 presidential bid,reiterated his call for the US to bring back waterboarding to interrogate suspected terrorists.  "I would use waterboarding,” he said on ABC’s Good Morning America.

“And I would try to expand the laws to go beyond waterboarding.”



Is This The Key to GOP Victory?

Republican leaders who don’t think Donald Trump will fare well in the general election might examine the updated primary turnout statistics as a prediction clue.  Largely due to Trump’s candidacy, in 15 of the 19 states that have so far held primaries in conjunction with Democratic contests, more people have chosen to vote on the Republican side, and in record numbers.

Turning the clock back to 2008, it was possible to see the burgeoning support base for then-candidate Barack Obama based upon his success in Democratic primaries.  His advantage was largely tied to him exciting new people and motivating them to vote.

Eight years ago, confining our analysis only to the 19 states that have held 2016 primaries in which both parties have held electoral events, 60.5% of the people from those elections chose to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary.  Using this strong backing as a launching pad into the general election, then-Senator Obama went forward to win a convincing general election victory, capturing 53% of the national popular vote compared to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s (R) 46 percent.

So far, the numbers in the 2016 primaries are strikingly similar, yet to the benefit of the opposing party.  The most glaring factor is the turnout trend’s total about face.  Using the same 19 states that have already held primary elections, an even 57% have chosen to participate in a Republican primary this year, almost the exact inverse of what occurred eight years ago.

A factor that should worry both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) is that Democratic turnout was higher in 2008 than 2016 in all of these states but Michigan.

The 2008 Wolverine State vote was badly skewed, however.  Then-Sens. Barack Obama and John Edwards were not on the state’s primary ballot.  Because the Michigan Democratic Party had broken national committee rules by moving its primary, the Democratic National Committee leadership penalized their affiliate half of its delegate allotment.  In protest of Michigan’s actions, neither Obama nor Edwards entered the state primary.  Therefore, these major candidates’ absence from the Michigan campaign obviously depressed turnout to an unusual degree.

Does the increased voter participation number signal a Republican general election victory?  Obviously, it is too early to tell but the fact that GOP turnout is up in every state over 2012, and substantially so in some places – 286% increase in Virginia, 169% in Arkansas, 96% in Texas, 92% in Ohio, and more than double in North Carolina, for example – is clearly a good sign for the challenging party.  Conversely, as a sampling carrying negative overtones, over one million less people voted in the Ohio Democratic primary this week than when comparing to ’08.

Whether or not the possibility of a divisive brokered convention tampers these positive Republican grassroots trends remain to be seen, but the participation factor at this point in time likely signals a much stronger GOP general election performance than for the past two election cycles.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hate unlimited from Trump opponents

A PROTESTER who slapped a police horse in the face at a Donald Trump rally has been charged with abuse of a police service animal.

Police had been searching for the woman who hit the horse at a Trump rally in Kansas City on March 12, The Kansas Daily Star reports. April J. Foster, 29, was arrested on Friday following a tip-off from the public, who recognised her from a picture of the incident taken by a photographer for the paper.

The horse, named Dan, was hit while officers attempted to control protesters outside a Trump rally in downtown Kansas City.

According to the police report, Foster had first screamed in the horse’s face to scare him, and when that did not work, she hit the horse with her open hand. After slapping the horse, she ran back into the gathering of around 200 protesters, and police were unable to find her due to the size of the crowd.

Foster, who lists “animal welfare” under “causes April cares about” on her LinkedIn profile, was released on a $US500 bond and will appear in court on May 4.

It comes after Arizona police officer Brandon Tatum described protesters at a Trump rally in Tucson as “the most hateful, evil people I’ve ever seen”.

In a video, which went viral on Facebook, the officer explained how he had attended the rally to find out more about Donald Trump’s policies for himself.

He said he was shocked by the behaviour of the protesters and feared he would “have to punch a couple of people in self-defence”. “These people were acting so outrageous,” he said.

“I could not believe what I saw. You were just thinking that somebody was going to lose their temper and there was going to be a full brawl.”

The Arizona rally made headlines after one protester was punched in the face by a black Trump supporter, but Officer Tatum said the protester had instigated the fight by spitting on or verbally assaulting an attendee.

According to a YouGov poll, the 68 per cent of Americans blame the “mainstream media” for the recent violence at Trump campaign events. Trump has condemned the protesters, who he describes as “professional agitators”.



The Donald loves Israel

Donald Trump, staking out a pro-Israel position that had nary a mention of neutrality, earned an enthusiastic response to his speech at AIPAC’s annual conference.

The real estate billionaire and front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, speaking Monday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, softened two positions that have created unease among pro-Israel activists — his insistence on remaining “neutral” in brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace and his refusal to commit to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

On Jerusalem, Trump vowed to move the American embassy to the city, “the eternal capital of the Jewish people.” And he said the Palestinians must accept as a given the closeness of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely unbreakable,” Trump said. “They must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish state and it will exist forever as a Jewish state.”

Trump opponents who had said they would protest the speech because of his broadsides against minorities and his sanctioning of political violence were not visible during his speech, which earned repeated standing ovations.

Trump delivered broadsides against his likely rival in the general election, Hillary Clinton, calling her a “total disaster” and blaming her for last year’s Iran nuclear deal.

The line earned laughter and applause, although Clinton’s speech, earlier in the day, was well received.

His rhetorical flourishes at the United Nations’ expense were crowd pleasers too.  “The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It’s not a friend to freedom. It’s not a friend even to the United States of America, where as all know, it has its home. And it surely isn’t a friend to Israel,” he said.

Trump’s biggest applause line was when he began a sentence, “With President Obama, in his final year – yay!”

AIPAC led opposition last year to the Iran nuclear deal and clashed repeatedly with the Obama administration in its unsuccessful bid to get Congress to nix the deal.

In her speech, Clinton earned applause for decrying Trump’s insults during his campaign against Mexicans, Muslims and others.

Trump, in his AIPAC speech, notably avoided some of the generalizations he has used to describe ethnic and religious groups.



Voters Deliver Subtle Message: Die, Donor Scum

by Ann Coulter

To the extent it's still standing after yesterday, the Stop Trump movement is comforting itself with the world's biggest lie: that John Kasich is the embodiment of the Republican Party, while Donald Trump is the bastard stepchild.

It's exactly the opposite.

It is no longer a question of what the party wants. The voters - remember them? - keep showering Trump and Cruz with Ceausescu-like percentages. The combined vote for Trump and Cruz is a ringing chorus of what this party wants: a wall, deportation, less immigration and no job-killing trade deals.

In other words, what the party wants is the diametric opposite of what the donor and consultant class wants. One would have to search the history books to find a party establishment so emphatically rejected by the voters as today's Republican Party has been.

Trump and Cruz don't agree on everything - Cruz is more interventionist on foreign policy, and Trump is more aggressive on bringing manufacturing home. But there's not much daylight between them on the crucial issue of whether to dissolve America's borders. By now, they both say build a wall, reduce immigration and protect American jobs.

In other words, Trump and Cruz have totally rejected the Bush/Ryan/Rubio/Fox News/WSJ/RNC establishment position on immigration.

After Mitt Romney lost an election he should have won in 2012, the Republican National Committee convened a group of experts to determine what went wrong, producing what it called an "autopsy." It was an autopsy because, you see, the party was dead. And the people who did the autopsy were the ones who killed it.

Have you ever heard of an autopsy being performed by the murderers?

The murderers' main recommendation was that Republicans "embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform" - i.e., amnesty. "If we do not," the autopsy continued, "our party's appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only."

God forbid the party respond to its core constituencies! Instead, the report bristled with advice on winning the Hispanic vote. The GOP was supposed to run Hispanic candidates, hire Hispanic spokesmen, demand yet more Hispanic immigration and correct its "tone."

It looked like our report got mixed up with the Democratic National Committee's report in the copier room. At least it was printed in English.

They put all this in their computer and out spit the perfect solution: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL.  Like all ideas developed by focus groups ("New Coke"), how could it possibly fail?

"On issues like immigration," the report instructed, "the RNC needs to carefully craft a tone that takes into consideration the unique perspective of the Hispanic community." How'd they like the front-runner's announcement speech about Mexican rapists and drug dealers? Off-message?

But Trump immediately leapt to the top of the polls and never stopped soaring. Only Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was smart enough - or hated the Republican establishment enough - to adopt Trump's pro-American immigration policies. Now the only question for voters is, which one is more electable: a Holy Roller preacher, or a brash alpha male billionaire?

They've crushed the rest of the field - winning large majorities of Hispanics along the way, incidentally. Between them, Trump and Cruz have won 77 percent of the delegates (1,067). The donor-approved, mass immigration advocates, John Kasich and the (late, lamented) Marco Rubio, have 23 percent (313).

Rubio was the apotheosis of the Republican leadership's proposal for national suicide - or the "Growth and Opportunity Project," as the autopsy was officially titled. He was handpicked for the presidency six years ago.

He got to Washington and promptly set about pushing an amnesty bill faster than you could say, "My dad was a bartender." In the darkest days of the nation's history, Rubio's bill actually passed the U.S. Senate. (One of the many hints that voters don't want amnesty was that the bill was blocked in the House, not by any major media opposition - despite media cheerleading, in fact - but by the people, rising up in a blind rage.)

But still, Rubio was the golden boy among GOP consultants, donors and their hired help, elected Republicans. He had unlimited money, resources, establishment support, conservative media cheerleaders and his own cable news channel.

His presidential bid was supported by 14 Republican governors, 22 Republican senators and more than two dozen Republican representatives, Washington think tanks, lobbyists, the Chamber of Commerce, Chipotle and Taco Bell. Time magazine put him on its cover as "Republican Savior."

And on Tuesday, he lost his own state in a landslide. Rubio lost every single county in Florida to Trump but one. He went 1 for 66 in a state where he is not only a U.S. senator, but also a former house speaker. He outspent Trump by about 500 percent and still lost his home state by 20 points.

Never was there a more perfectly kicked field goal - with Rubio as the pigskin. He was hiked and kicked right through the goalposts.

Gov. John Kasich is as awful on immigration as Rubio, but he's so boring, no one can ever remember anything he says. He opposes deporting illegal aliens because that's not "the kind of values that we believe in." ("We" being "the Democratic Party.") He bleats that illegals are "made in the image of the Lord," which would require America to admit everyone in the world - provided they can pass the rigorous background check of being human.

On Tuesday night, Kasich barely won his own state, making him 1 for 29 in GOP primaries. The one and only primary he's won is in the state where he's the sitting governor. He was endorsed by his opponent, Marco Rubio. He's campaigned almost nowhere else.

And yet Kasich came in less than 10 points ahead of a New York real estate developer - half of Trump's margin of victory over Rubio in Rubio's home state. Adjusting for the home state advantage, that's a humiliating defeat.

How many more GOP stars will die for mass immigration? So far, there's Eric Cantor, Nikki Haley, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC, Ben Sasse, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Fox News - 14 governors, 22 senators and two dozen representatives.

With increasing desperation, the media claim that 63 percent of voters don't want Trump based on votes cast for any other candidate in a 12-man race. What the delegate count shows is a resounding rejection of the immigration policies being pushed by the party leadership.

The establishment laughed at us. They wanted our votes, but then ignored us. They lied to us about opposing amnesty while repeatedly conspiring to pass it.

Now we're going into the presidential election with our 80 percent thunderous will of the people against immigration. I'm not sure someone who is more preacher than president is the most electable expression of that will, but whether Trump or Cruz, make no mistake about what the will is.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Can A Catholic In Good Conscience Vote For Trump?

The titular question has been posed oft of late, most recently by the Catholic News Agency in their coverage of “An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics” made by the big cheeses in American Catholic life. These were the real gorgonzola guys, not like us processed-cheese-food bloggers.

Anyway, regular readers know that I possess no great love of (popular) presidential elections, but the skew in the coverage of The Donald by (dare I say) establishment Catholics is of some interest. These folks aren’t happy, and they’re spending a lot of time telling the world of their distress. Now if all their pleas were solely meant to (say) tout Cruz over Trump, then that’s a terrific idea, dandy fine politics-as-usual, actions really not worth commenting on.

But there seems more to it than that.

Did you notice none of these prominent individuals or organizations have written similar cri de coeur warning an unsuspecting populace against Hillary? There are even hints some leaders would prefer or advocate Hillary over Trump, which is very odd indeed.

Here are the main complaints against Trump. (See the others here.)

[T]here is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.

On the assumption Trump is the Republican nominee, it is of interest to compare Trump and Hillary on these and other charges.

Trump says he’s anti-abortion, yet he may be lying and his support for anti-abortion legislation might be weak. Hillary is for government-subsidized abortion on demand for any who asks for any reason. Winner: at the worst there is no difference between the pair; but there is at least some chance Trump will act on his words.

Trump is vulgar, abusive, and overreacts to criticism with petulance. Hillary dismisses criticism or habitually and outrageously lies in response; she also barks like a dog and accuses her enemies of engaging in vast conspiracies. The comparison is slightly in Trump’s favor.

Trump promises to use torture (waterboarding or worse) on the nation’s enemies; there is some small chance, as with many of Trump’s campaign rantings, that this is bluster. Hillary hasn’t been asked, but there is very little doubt she would do the same as Trump, only she wouldn’t boast about it. Winner: dismal records for both; the comparison is a wash.

Trump has consistently and for many years said he is against gmarriage (four years ago, when it was important, he gave an interview with Bill O’Reilly stating his opposition), though lately he softened his stance; one of his casinos had a strip club. Hillary is solidly for gmarriage, and for everything else in the great sexual rebellion. Winner: Trump.

Trump at least claims to be for religious liberty, but all we have is his word for it. Hillary is manifestly against traditional Christianity (as above); indeed, she has chosen government over religious liberty every time. Which of the two will be for “doctor”-assisted “suicide”? Winner: Trump by a length.

It’s unclear how much Trump would cause government to increase, but he has at least pledged to shrink part of it. Hillary promised the opposite: with her, look for accelerated growth of government with increasing intrusions into every aspect of our lives. Trump’s slightly ahead on this one.

Trump has given several indications he is less empire-driven than recent presidents. Hillary advocated the botched war with Libya while Secretary of State and she supported Iraq war while Senator; she would be highly interventionist; with her, there will be war. Winner: Trump at a canter.

Countries like China publicize their concerns that Trump is serious about, for instance, Chinese currency manipulation. Hillary announced several world leaders wanted to endorse her, but she asked them to keep it hush-hush. Winner: Trump easily.

Trump would eject illegal immigrants, build a border wall, and restrict immigration of Muslims; and there is good reason to think he means it; he has been called a “racist”. Hillary would, for discreditable reasons, grant amnesty to the millions who broke the law to make their way here; in future, she might even disfavor Christians over non-Christians; she panders to all grievance groups. Winner: It’s distressing to have to point out Muslims aren’t a race, neither Latinos; also, the term “racist” is asinine; also many Catholic organizations rake in piles of cash for “servicing” illegal aliens and are anxious the money not stop flowing: Trump rises to the top here.

Trump says he would eliminate the inheritance tax, and reduce the tax and regulatory burden on all native companies; yet his enemy here is the bureaucracy and those who oppose new tariffs. Hillary would advocate greater taxes and regulation; cronyism would surely soar to unprecedented levels under her. Winner: It’s not even close, though Trump would not be allowed to keep many promises; government would grow under him.

Trump has used crass language to describe some women; but it’s forgotten he’s also crass describing men. Hillary facilitated her rapist-husband by calling his victims “bimbos”, etc. etc., etc. Winner: Any answer besides Trump is “sexist” (another asinine word).

Trump would not nominate for SCOTUS a grievance or activist judge. Hillary would. Winner: Do you have to ask?

Trump’s grasp of Christianity is weak. Hillary’s also. Winner: A tie.

Trump lies. Hillary lies on steroids (if that’s the metaphor I want). Winner: Trump by any ε > 0.

Given that Trump is in the New York real estate business, he’s probably broken many laws; his business practices are not infrequently questionable. Hillary: Whitewater, travelgate, cattle futures, FBI Filegate, Chinese funding scam, Clinton Pardons March Rich et al., Benghazi, secret emails, and on and on and on and on some more. Winner: Trump, but he can’t be proud of the victory.



Washington’s despotic lawlessness

We’ve had a “try and stop me” president. Now we need one who will invalidate those actions

Paul Driessen

Washington is out of control. Legislators, judges and unelected bureaucrats want to control our lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no accountability even for major errors, calculated deception, or deliberate, often illegal assaults on our liberties and on citizens who resist the advancing Leviathan.

These themes animate Republican and conservative politics because they are happening – regularly.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is renowned for its annual Ten Thousand Commandments reports on federal rules. A scary but mesmerizing new analysis now maps how the Washington bureaucracy lawlessly imposes agendas that all too frequently contravene or disregard what We the People support, what is best for the nation, and even what Congress has enacted or refused to encode in legislation.

The studies’ author, CEI policy vice president Clyde Wayne Crews, analogizes the situation to the “dark matter” and “dark energy” that astrophysicists say makes up some 95% of the universe: the portion that we cannot observe directly, as opposed to the sun, moon, planets, stars, galaxies and gas clouds we can see.

“Regulatory dark matter,” he concludes, forms an equal proportion of all the rules and edicts that govern our lives. But it is “hard to detect, much less measure.” Indeed, his “map” is akin to early explorers’ depictions of North America – incomplete, but the best cartography possible with information currently available.

No one even knows how many Executive Branch agencies there are – estimates range from 60 to 438 – much less how many new rules they implement and impose each year. Officially, Crews says, they issued a staggering 3,554 new rules in 2014, while President Obama signed “only” 226 new laws enacted by Congress. Worse, of the 53,838 (!) formal final regulations included in the Federal Register from 2001 through 2014, only 160 (0.3%) received a “cost-benefit” analysis; we have no idea how the rest affect us.

Infinitely worse, this tip of the iceberg does not include tens of thousands of decrees issued in the form of:

* notices, bulletins, proclamations, circulars, guidance memos, and new or revised interpretations, policy statements and procedures;

* investigations, inquiries, warning letters, negotiated settlements to legal actions (often involving collusion between agencies and activist groups), explicit or veiled threats of legal action, armed agents raiding homes and businesses, or adverse publicity, coordinated with activists and the media; as well as

* blog posts, news releases, and emails or telephone calls to citizens or company employees.

All these actions have the force and effect of law. But few or none are covered by Administrative Procedures Act “public notice and comment” requirements, so they often escape scrutiny by courts, watchdogs and Congress. Many are supported only by “homogenized,” manipulated data; elaborate, imaginative or imaginary regulatory benefits; cavalier dismissal of costs; and no mention of benefits from the activity, chemical, energy source, industry or jobs being regulated, sometimes into oblivion.

EPA’s Clean Power Plan assumes that shutting down America’s coal-fired power plants – a tiny fraction of such facilities worldwide – can somehow stop climate change that is actually governed by numerous powerful natural forces over which humans have absolutely no control. The plan also assumes any global warming will be dangerous and ignores the many thousands who will be rendered jobless.

A “social cost of carbon” scheme concocted by a multitude of federal agencies makes the same faulty assumptions. It then hypothesizes every imaginable and illusory “cost” of carbon dioxide emissions – to forests, agriculture, water resources, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, human health and disease, coastal cities, ecosystems and wetlands. But it completely ignores every one of the obvious and enormous benefits of using fossil fuels … and of CO2’s immense fertilizing effects on forest and crop growth.

President Obama imposed both of these programs because Congress refused to enact almost 700 different cap-tax-and-trade and other climate bills. Rather than working with Congress to achieve at least some of what he wanted, Mr. Obama simply had his agencies issue decrees, as another way to “skin a cat.”

Where Congress has enacted legislation that the president dislikes – on illegal immigration or the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, for example – he simply tells his agencies not to enforce the “offensive” provisions. Meanwhile, Endangered Species Act rules are enforced with an iron fist against ranching, oil and mining operations, but ignored in the case of wind turbines and solar installations.

Under collusive sue-and-settle lawsuits, parties impacted by decisions never have an opportunity to speak or present evidence, or even be notified that a suit has been filed or adjudicated, until it is too late.

The entire system allows unelected, unaccountable government officials to decide winners and losers, and reward cronies and allies with taxpayer-funded grants and subsidies, while punishing critics and enemies.  “Progressive” judges defer to “agency discretion” and give bureaucrats free rein to do as they please, even when the rules, decisions and decrees do not comply with legal, constitutional or scientific requirements.

No citizen, small business or even large corporation can possibly even know all these edicts exist, much less understand or comply with them. Moreover, at least 4,500 carry criminal penalties, many regardless of any intent to violate a rule or commit a crime – and “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Astrophysics explains the consequences. A black hole in the cosmos has squeezed so much matter into a small space that the unfathomable pull of gravity prevents even light from getting out.

The Washington, DC regulatory black hole exerts such centralized gravitational force that federalism, states’ rights, state and local laws and customs, and personal liberties increasingly cease to matter.

The federal Goliath now costs US families, businesses, hospitals and organizations over $1.9 trillion a year! That is twice the entire federal budget in 1981. It’s equal to the entire budget in 1986, nearly half the incomprehensible Obama budget for FY-2017, more than the budgets of all other countries except China.

“The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they [resist] every kind of improvement,” economist and political analyst Ludwig von Mises observed 72 years ago. “They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent.”

America’s “soft despotism” is light years from the atrocities and gulags of its infamous predecessors. But it is highly effective nonetheless. The same agencies write, impose, enforce and adjudicate the rules, and impose punishment for infractions. They work tirelessly and imperiously to “fundamentally transform” our nation’s legal, energy, economic and social systems – and keep our fossil fuels “in the ground.”

They impose edicts that would never be supported by the People or enacted by Congress, and that they rarely if ever apply to themselves. They lavish billions on allies, while denying funding and legitimacy to critics, siccing IRS dogs on opposition groups, and threatening civil and criminal “racketeering” actions against anyone who “denies” the alleged “reality” of dangerous manmade climate change.

They seek to ban fossil fuels, biotech crops and insecticides – even from Third World families suffering from abject poverty, rampant malnutrition and disease, and a near total absence of electricity. They do all they can to silence and punish alternative views, and even the notion that there can be alternative views.

For seven years, our “Try and stop me” president and administration have used and abused their powers to impose their agenda. What we need now is a “Try and make me” president, who will refuse to enforce their edicts. Who will use his pen, phone and power to review them, root out any fraud and abuse behind them, and defund and bury them. Who will work with Congress to restore the rule of law and our Constitution, economic growth, and the role of personal liberties, opportunities and responsibilities.

Via email


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, March 21, 2016


The “Big Lie” has been around for over fifty years

“Except for Adolf Hitler's extermination of the Jewish people, the American bombardment of defenseless peasants in Indochina is the most barbaric act of modern times.”

That quote didn’t come from some Soviet hack coughing up copy for Moscow, but from Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. (Some years later, McGovern would compare the Communist massacres in Cambodia to the Holocaust and call for some of that barbaric military intervention.)

Vice President Hubert Humphrey also brought out Hitler when running against Nixon, declaring, “If the British had not fought in 1940, Hitler would have been in London and if Democrats do not fight in 1968, Nixon will be in the White House.”  Chicago Mayor Daley had accused Nixon of “Hitler type” tactics.

McGovern had set a record for comparing Nixon to Hitler, which made him very popular with the left, but he hadn’t originated it. Comparing any Republican presidential candidate to Hitler had been a standard Democratic political tactic for some time no matter how inappropriate it might be.

Before McGovern was comparing Nixon to Hitler, he was comparing Barry Goldwater to Hitler. Goldwater had a Jewish father and a distaste for Socialism, which would have made him unwelcome in the ranks of the racially and politically pure National Socialists, but that didn’t stop the Hitler accusations from being hurled by the Democratic party and its political allies in the press.

Governor Pat Brown of California said, “Goldwater's acceptance speech had the stench of fascism. All we needed to hear was Heil Hitler.” Mayor Jack Shelley of San Francisco claimed that Goldwater strategists got all their ideas from Mein Kampf.

Even though Goldwater had been an early NAACP member, NAACP leader Roy Wilkins warned, "Those who say that the doctrine of ultra-conservatism offers no menace should remember that a man come out of the beer halls of Munich and rallied the forces of rightism in Germany. All the same elements are there in San Francisco now."

The NAACP accused Goldwater of appealing to “fear and bigotry”. Martin Luther King said, “We see danger signs of Hitlerism in the candidacy of Mr. Goldwater.”

Union leaders launched a national campaign to denounce Goldwater as Hitler II. "I have drawn a parallel between Goldwater and Hitler and I make no apology for drawing that parallel," George Meany of the AFL-CIO declared. While Goldwater wasn’t Hitler, the CIO part of the AFL-CIO had strong Communist influences and after the Hitler-Stalin pact, some unions within it staged strikes to sabotage production and prevent aid from reaching the Allies who were fighting Hitler. Not only was Goldwater not Hitler, but some of the organizations represented by Meany had aided Hitler when Stalin told them to.

Accusing Republicans of being Hitler for assorted petty reasons dates back to the time when Hitler was still around. FDR accused Republican candidate Wendell Willkie of using “Hitler tactics” by repeating his slogans frequently. But it was the frequent associations of Republicans and Hitler by Democrats that was the true Big Lie. Its only purpose was a senseless association through the repetition of ridiculous and baseless accusations that every single Republican was just Hitler in a better suit.

Typical of this tactic was Senator Tom Lantos ranting, “If you overlook your involvement in the KKK, or the Nazi party, or the Republican Party, you are lying.” The issue at hand had nothing to do with Nazism. It was about Clinton’s Secretary of Agriculture taking bribes. The goal was to associate Republicans with Nazism by classing the two together as frequently as possible regardless of relevance, decency or truth.

In the Iran-Contra trial, Oliver North was accused of “following Adolf Hitler’s official strategy”. What did one have to do with the other? Nothing. But this sort of lazy accusation had become typical and routine. William Shirer, who had also compared Nixon’s bombing of Hanoi to the Holocaust and called Nixon an “apt pupil” of Hitler (Pentagon spokesman Jerry Friedheim was Goebbels), compared Reagan to Hitler for intervening in Grenada. Then Shirer compared Bush I to Hitler for trying to outlaw flag burning.

By the Reagan years, the left had achieved a banality of Hitler analogies. Everything Reagan did was just like Hitler. All of Reagan’s associates were just like Hitler. It was Hitlers all the way down.

President George W. Bush inherited this banality of Hitlers. To left-wing Truthers, open and covert, 9/11 was the Reichstag fire, the Patriot Act was the beginning of a national dictatorship and Bush was a dictator. As Kurt Vonnegut quipped, “The only difference between Bush and Hitler is that Hitler was elected.” Hitler wasn’t elected, Bush was, but you can’t expect a left-wing loudmouth to know history.

Congressman Charles Rangel compared the Iraq War to the Holocaust. “This is just as bad as the 6 million Jews being killed." (Rangel had also claimed that the Contract with America was worse than Hitler.) Senator Durbin compared Gitmo to Nazi concentration camps. Senator John Glenn compared Republican arguments to Nazi propaganda. “It’s the old Hitler business… if you hear something repeated, repeated, you start to believe it.” Like repeatedly accusing Republicans of Nazism.

Congressman Keith Ellison, a former Nation of Islam supporter who had defended its anti-Semitism, compared the September 11 to the Reichstag fire while hinting at 9/11 Trutherism.  Al Gore claimed that “The administration works closely with a network of rapid-response digital Brown Shirts”.

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, a former Klansman, compared Bush to Hitler stooge Herman Goering. Byrd, who had filibustered the Civil Rights Act, also compared efforts to block Democratic filibusters to Nazi Germany. The “nuclear option” that Byrd was denouncing became a reality under Obama and Reid, but by then using it did not make Senators Democrats into the successors of Nazi Germany.

To most people, Nazi analogies summon up images of the Holocaust and a ruthless dictatorship. To the left however, any populist reaction against their rule is Nazism.  In their world, there is a battle between progressive and reactionary forces. Any movement that dares to run for office by challenging progressive policies is reactionary, fascist and the second coming of the Third Reich. Republican victories are lazily attributed by liberal hacks to mindless public anger being exploited by right-wing demagogues.

And so the only thing we can truly be certain of is that any Republican nominee will be Hitler. It doesn’t matter what he believes. It doesn’t matter if Democrats considered him a moderate 5 minutes ago. Accusations of Nazism remain the default argument for a Democratic Party turned far to the left.

Republicans aren’t progressive. Therefore they’re Hitler. It’s really that simple.

Optimists thought that the Democrats had reached “Peak Hitler” under Bush. But for the left there is no Peak Hitler. The same tired line of attack has been trotted out for fifty years. It will go on limping around the liberal corral for another fifty years or a hundred years. The Big Lie will continue being repeated to indoctrinate each new politically active progressive with the conviction that anyone to the right is Hitler and that every election is a brand new battle to stop Hitler 2.0 from taking over America.

Goldwater was Hitler. Nixon was Hitler. Reagan was Hitler. Bush was Hitler. None of the latter three men declared the Fourth Reich, made themselves dictators for life and ran concentration camps. But the Big Lie retroactively rewrites the past by claiming that last decade’s Hitler was a decent moderate while the latest Republican Hitler is a terrifying monster. Goldwater, Nixon and Reagan were all resurrected as moderate contrasts to each other and then to Bush. The process of recreating Bush as a moderate has already begun. And so each Republican makes the electoral journey from Hitler to a political moderate whom a latter generation of liberals mourns while complaining that this latest Republican really is Hitler.



GOP Should Use Trump, Not Abuse Trump

Maybe it's because I'm a latecomer to Republicanism, having first pulled the R lever in 2003 for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the California recall election, but I'm confused.  I thought one of the first duties, if not the first duty, of a political party was to win.  If you don't win, everything else, every policy, every theory, every idea, is air.

That was until I joined the GOP.  I had read about the Spanish Inquisition and the Black Death, but now  I know what real bloodletting is about.  The attacks on Donald Trump by his fellow Republicans have been, to put it bluntly, waaaay out of proportion.  If -- as Trump himself said in his press conference Tuesday after winning handily in Mississippi and Michigan -- Mitt Romney had attacked Obama with half the vitriol he has attacked Donald Trump with, Romney would be president today.

And then there's the conservative punditocracy, so many of whom seem to be suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome -- or perhaps it's Trump Envy (for which I wouldn't blame them).

But I ask -- as someone who would gladly vote for any Republican candidate still running and probably any of the thirteen who dropped out -- what exactly do they find so terrible about Donald Trump? Yes, Lord knows, he can be embarrassing (though I suspect we will be seeing less of that) and maybe he isn't the most conservative of conservatives (wasn't John Roberts supposed to be that?), but he is clearly one of the more politically shrewd candidates to come along in a while -- and not just for a non-politician.  Just the way he is turning post-primary victory speeches into quasi-press conferences, monopolizing the media, reinvents the game. And he is expanding the Republican vote.

What most surprises me, however, is the approach taken to Trump by his enemies, those known under the rubric #NeverTrump and those better heeled who have blown millions on nauseating and evidently useless attack ads painting Donald as Mussolini with a bad haircut. For a group of smart people, in some cases very smart, they seem to have skipped Psychology 101 in college, making them curiously oblivious to the blowback from their assaults. Or maybe, more simply, they have forgotten what we all learned  in the school yard in the second grade -- if you can't lick em, join 'em. (Personally, I find it hard to resist someone who finally spoke a truth at that press conference that the media seems deliberately to have ignored all year: "I don't think there is such a thing as an establishment."  There isn't -- and who would want one?)

The best approach to someone like Trump, who is at heart a business pragmatist without rigid  ideological convictions (convictions that would make it extremely difficult for a businessman to function), is to love him to death. That way you bring him over to your side, politically and ideologically.  It should be obvious, like Willy Loman, Donald only wants to be "well-liked." He doesn't even make a secret of it. He wants to make a deal and fairly invites co-optation.

Trump himself, in that press conference or whatever you want to call it (press-infomercial?), extended an olive branch of sorts to his opposition in the Republican Party at large.  They should take him up on it -- at the same time urging him to reciprocate and keep it up on his end.  Start a mutual admiration society.

Now I realize Ted Cruz, victor in Idaho, is still in the game -- quite legitimately.  And, as I have noted, I would pleased to vote for him if he wins.  But the Trump Derangement Syndrome has got to go. Ix-nay on the anger-ay.  We are headed to an epochal  general election and November is closer than it seems. Close your eyes and it's here. The time to start dialing down the internecine warfare is now. After all, Trump won Hawaii.



Sarah supports The Donald

Sarah Palin calls protests at Trump rallies 'punk-ass little thuggery' as she campaigned with The Donald in Florida

Sarah Palin said protesters at Donald Trump's rallies were committing 'punk-ass little thuggery' as she campaigned with him in Florida.

'We don't have time for all that petty, punk-ass little thuggery stuff that's been going on with these quote-unquote "protesters" who are doing nothing but wasting your time and trying to take away your First Amendment rights, your rights to assemble peacefully,' she told the crowd in Tampa on Monday.

'And the media being on the thugs' side - what the heck are you guys thinking, media? It doesn't make sense,' she added as the crowd booed.

Palin, who endorsed Trump in January, spoke at his town hall in Tampa on Monday afternoon before catching a flight back to Alaska to be with her husband Todd, 51, who got in a serious snowmobile accident the night before.

At the rally, Palin thanked Trump's supporters for their prayers for her husband, before launching into a pitch for the Republican front-runner.

'Thank you guys for your prayers for my husband who is recovering in ICU right now after a little wreck on a snow machine - big wreck,' Palin said.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- with news about IQ, immigrants and education


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL 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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Why Putin's sudden pullout from Syria?

There are several reasons offered here but nobody but Putin himself really knows.

It seems to me that the biggest mystery was its suddenness.  None of the proffered explanations really explain that.  I think it can be explained from a military perspective, however.  But to offer that explanation, I have to expound the concept of an  "industrial base".  And I think I can do that best by going back to WWII.  I think the concept explains the outcome of WWII, in fact.

When WWII started, Britain was a major industrial power.  Its innumerable factories churned out goods that were exported around the world.  The days when Britain was the workshop of the world were gone but it was still a pretty big workshop.  And of particular relevance, it manufactured and exported lots of motor vehicles.  It still does but the nameplates on them these days are Nissan, Honda and Toyota, not Austin, Morris and Leyland.

And the aircraft of the day and the motor vehicles of the day had a lot in common.  They both used piston engines, for instance.  So when the war broke out the production of civilian motor vehicles was stopped and the factories were converted to make military aircraft.  And the resultant productivity from all those factories was huge.

The experienced fighter pilots of the Luftwaffe sat in planes armed with cannon while the Hurricanes and Spitfires of the RAF were armed with machine guns only.  Aircraft of the day could take quite a lot of damage from machine guns and still keep flying.  But a cannon hit was mostly curtains.  So the Luftwaffe pilots in their ME 109s made mincemeat of the poorly trained pilots of the RAF.  The kill ratio was vastly in favour of the Luftwaffe.

Yet whenever a fleet of German bombers came over Britain with their Messerschmitt escorts, a flight of RAF fighters rose up to oppose them.  How come?  How come there were any RAF planes still flying after so many had been shot down?  The answer:  Britain's industrial base.  Britain could build fighter aircraft as fast as the Luftwaffe could shoot them down.

The bombers still mostly got through -- witness the devastation of places like Coventry and London -- but there were of course some losses and it became clear to the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht that they could use their planes to better effect elsewhere -- particularly in Russia, where it was in fact something of a turkey shoot for the Luftwaffe.  So they ceased their campaign against Britain.

Mr Putin is not in anything like the WWII British position. Russia has quite a small industrial base.  It is still mainly a primary-producing country.  The Soviets knew that of course so over many years they laboriously built up an economy within an economy. They built up a vast complex of factories and maintenance facilities that was permanently devoted to military production and maintenance.  So they could afford a war.  They could to some extent replace losses in battle.

Even so, however, they did not rely on that.  One of the interesting things revealed when West Germany took over East Germany was the very large stocks of all military materials that the East had built up.  They had in stock as much as ten times as many bullets, shells etc as the West did.  They were not confident that they could produce enough in a war to keep the troops supplied.  And since their military was closely integrated with Russia's, there is little doubt that Russia had adopted similar measures.

But when Gorbachev became President of the Soviet Union he was horrified by how much the military establishment was draining out of the overall Soviet economy -- and it seems likely that he immediately started to put the brakes on the military economy.  And when he fell in 1991,  the military economy was virtually abandoned.  Not only were Russia's ships, submarines and aircraft left to rust but the factories that produced them and the facilities used to maintain them were also left to rust.

So when Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin came to power in 2000, that decay had largely neutered Russia's armed forces.  And a lot of the decay remains unremedied to this day.  Most of the navy is still rusting in port and when Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov puts to sea it has to be accompanied by tugs in case it breaks down.

But Putin has slowly renovated enough of his forces to support limited interventions -- as in Georgia and Syria. But with the loss of the Soviet war economy he is up against Russia's limited industrial base.  He has used up a lot of the bombs and missiles that he had stockpiled and reached a point beyond which he dare not go.  He cannot soon replace the bombs and missiles he has used so runs the risk of Russia being unable to defend itself if he runs his stocks down any further.  He has hit a red line in his stocks of war materiel.  And when he saw that such a point had been reached, he immediately pulled the plug on his war in Syria.

So I think the suddenness of the pullout was motivated by a sudden realization of how far he had run down his stocks of war materiel.  I was actually waiting for that to happen because it was clear that Russia was using up a lot of bombs and missiles  that it could not rapidly replace.

UPDATE:  Two more thoughts about industrial bases.

With the vast U.S. industrial base and large population, both Germany and Japan were doomed as soon as the U.S. entered WWII.  That was most vivid when the allies started bombing Germany.  The heavily armed ME110 night-fighters and the skilled German anti-aircraft gunners were very good at knocking allied bombers down.  The average life of a bomber was about 4 sorties. An uncle of mine died in one.  But great waves of bombers just kept coming.  Civilian motor vehicle production had been converted into military aircraft production in the USA too.  Japan's Admiral Yamamoto actually foresaw that Japan could not compete with America's industrial base and large population when he opposed the strike on Pearl Harbour.

In the 21st century the world once again has a country that is the workshop of the world:  China. So combine that huge industrial base with China's almost limitless manpower and it becomes clear that China could not now be opposed in a conventional war.  The war would have to go nuclear almost immediately.


Australians come out in support of Donald Trump

Online polls are not very reliable but Australians are much less puritanical and uptight than are Americans so it seems possible that Trump has broader support in Australia than he has in America

AUSTRALIANS have come out in force to defend billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump and have even called for a like-minded personality to lead our country after warnings that a Trump White House would be bad news for Australia.

An online poll on The Daily Telegraph showed a surprising 71 per cent of respondents answered ‘No (Donald Trump is da man!)’ when asked ‘Are you worried about Trump becoming US President?’  There were more than 32,000 votes cast in the poll.

It came after a number of analysts and commentators suggested a Trump win in the November US presidential election would be dire for Australia.

"The words ‘President Trump’ should give Australians pause," Lowy Institute executive director Dr Michael Fullilove told The Daily Telegraph.  "Mr Trump reflects few of the values that have made America great. And judging from his speeches, he fails to see the advantages that flow to his country from being at the centre of the global liberal order."

His sentiments were echoed by Associate Professor Brendon O’Connor from Sydney University’s US Studies Centre who said Trump’s isolationist views were ‘an absolute disaster’.

But the comments from readers came thick and fast and overwhelmingly supported the billionaire. Some Aussie supporters even called for a personality like him to lead the country.

The story struck a chord with US readers and was picked up by a major news aggregator so many were supportive comments were from Americans, but there was no shortage of love from Aussies.

The story saw more than 800 comments posted



Is the Communist Party of China still communist?

Comments below by a Western man who has been in China for many years.  He arrived there in the days of Mao.  He is an old friend of mine.  He says that envy is still strong in China but all Chinese have learnt the hard way that Communism is not the way

I assure you there is not a single person in China that believes in communism. Not even the leaders. Especially the leaders.

Chinese universally are driven by one imperative, to advance the interests of their family. They will give their lives for that if nothing else. Ok a few say they miss the old days.  But what they miss is not the poverty, but the lack of a rich class.

People can stand poverty so long as it is equally shared. But they cannot stand wealth if it is not equally shared. Chinese suffer from the "red eye disease". When land reform came and they we encouraged to give the old landlord a bit of a beating, 100,000's of thousands were beaten to death. Their sin? Being rich without working for it.

Now over 80% of Chinese "own" their own land and house/apartment. You can beat to death a few hundred thousand, but who would be foolish enough to try and expropriate 80% of the population?  Even the US destroyed its economy by driving for home ownership over 65%.

You can indulge your idealist dreams of communism, but don't expect support from anyone in China.



A man who knows


Why Ireland's Economy Grew by 8% in 2015

March 17 was St. Patrick's Day, so it's worth taking a look at the state of the Irish economy to see how impressively the Celtic Tiger has made its roaring comeback.

According to the recently published 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, a handy cross-country annual analysis of economic policies by The Heritage Foundation, Ireland is the world's eighth freest economy.

The Irish economy has made impressive progress over the past three years. Undertaking politically difficult reform measures, including sharp cuts in public-sector wages and restructuring of the banking sector, Ireland has regained its fiscal health and become the first country to exit a European Union bailout.

The Irish economy had gone through acute and painful contractions during the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent recession. The Celtic Tiger almost went bankrupt.

Credit for the notable turn-around and ongoing recovery goes to the conscientious policy choices the Irish government has made in downsizing a bloated public sector, reducing the budget deficit, regaining fiscal health, and firmly adhering to polices to promote economic freedom and entrepreneurial competitiveness.

As documented in the index, Ireland has maintained an unusually open economy, buttressed by institutional strengths such as strong protection of property rights, efficient business regulations and competitive tax rates. Given all that, the government's fiscal restraint has been just what was needed to unleash faster growth.

Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has joined in the praise, saying in a recent report that the Irish recovery remains strong and the economy is "starting to fire on all cylinders." In an IMF conference entitled "Ireland-Lessons from Its Recovery from the Bank-Sovereign Loop," a member of the executive board of the European Central Bank remarked that "the Irish economy has been an outstanding success over the last years and months." The official warned against complacency but lauded the flexibility that has become the key component in Ireland's economic rebound.

No wonder that Ireland's economy grew by 7.8 percent in 2015, making Ireland the fastest-growing economy in the European Union for the second successive year. Time to give a toast to Ireland, indeed.



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