Friday, November 18, 2016

Trump is the Best Thing That Has Happened to Israel in Years

Leftists never hesitate to lie if that seems expedient.  They have to lie.  Reality is so hostile to their claims and ambitions.  So the media are awash with unapologetic claims that Trump is a racist and sexist.  They state those things without apology or explanation.  They speak it as if it were incontrovertible  and universally accepted.  Yet any objective analysis show both claims to be quite false.  Trump has treated women very well in his businesses and there is no doubt of his friendship to Israel.

Both Trump and I went to Presbyterian Sunday School as kids and, even though I am now an atheist, I cannot lose, nor do I want to lose, a feeling that Jerusalem is the holy city and that  Israel is the God-given land of the Jews.  Some feelings die hard and I strongly suspect that Trump has inherited similar feelings.  You don't have to be a Jew to love Israel.

And the Left are not done lying when they talk about Trump. His supporters get traduced too. "Spengler", below takes on one such myth

The hysteria in the Establishment is astonishing: today's email blast from the usually staid Financial Times begins, "Donald Trump has chosen Reince Priebus, the establishment head of the Republican National Committee, as his chief of staff, while naming Steve Bannon — his campaign chair who ran Breitbart News, a website associated with the alt-right and white supremacists — as his chief strategist and counsellor."

To claim that Breitbart is associated with white supremacists is a despicable lie, but the FT feels compelled to say such things because polite opinion requires ritual anathemas of Trump. And the liberal Jewish website The Forward writes, "The reaction was quick and furious from Jews and anti-hate groups. The Anti-Defamation League, which stays out of partisan politics and vowed to seek to work with Trump after his election, denounced Bannon as 'hostile to American values.'" The Forward headline asks, "Will Steve Bannon bring anti-Semitism into Trump's inner circle?"

This again is a foul slander. I know Steve Bannon, and have had several long discussions with him about politics. I first met him when he approached me at a conference to tell me that he liked my writing, which is unabashedly Zionist. Steve is strongly pro-Israel, and it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that he is anti-Semitic.

The Establishment is floored and flummoxed. It doesn't understand what it did wrong, it doesn't understand why it has been evicted from power, and it can only explain its miserable situation as the consequence of an evil conspiracy. In short, the Establishment is having a paranoid tantrum, compounding its humiliation with a public meltdown. Sadly, that includes liberal Jews.

Trump's election is the best thing that has happened to Israel in many years. It eliminates the risk of a diplomatic stab in the back at the Security Council and sends a dire warning to Iran, the only real existential threat to the Jewish State. The security of the Jewish people in their homeland is vastly enhanced by the vote on November 8, and Jews everywhere should thank God that the head of state of the world's most powerful country is a friend of Israel with Jewish grandchildren. Instead of slanders, Jews should offer up prayers of Thanksgiving.


See also: The SPLC Calls Bannon A Bigot For Something Charlie Rangel Also Said

And: Alan Dershowitz Defends Steve Bannon: ‘Not Legitimate To Call Somebody An Anti-Semite Because You Disagree With Their Policies’


The delusional Left and its tribes

Scott Lively

The rioting of leftist street activists in response to the election of Donald Trump is entirely predictable and will quickly morph into a very large and highly destructive international “resistance” movement if is not effectively countered. To respond appropriately, we must first understand that the political left is delusional and implacable, but easily defeatable if we act quickly and don’t waste our time trying to bargain or compromise with them.

The top tier of the leftist elite is not populated by the self-righteous know-it-alls of academia, nor the Stalinist autocrats of the Democratic Party, nor the utopianist manipulators of the foundations and “nonprofit” sector: It is ruled by the story-tellers and dream-weavers of Hollywood. That is because the core of the Cultural Marxist worldview – what defines its purpose and drives its zealots – is “The Narrative.” According to this narrative, the world is enslaved to an ancient and deep-rooted system of institutional bigotry of various forms to which the masses are largely blind, but thankfully there exists a growing network of enlightened social justice warriors. It is the role and duty of these brave and selfless champions of the oppressed to replace the evil established order with an egalitarian socialist utopia only they are privileged to envision and implement. The urgency of this need, and righteousness of their goal, justifies whatever means are necessary to achieve it.

This is roughly the same narrative introduced by Karl Marx in the 19th century, refined by the Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism in the 1920s and ’30s and embraced with religious fervor by American liberals since the 1960s. It is what drives every aspect of the leftist political agenda.

If you’ve ever tried to debate a true-believer liberal on any aspect of that agenda, you know that facts, reason and logic are frustratingly unpersuasive. That’s because their “reality” is the closed universe of the social justice narrative. Like the schizophrenic, the leftist ideologue interprets all facts, reason and logic as confirmation of their delusion or disregards them as if they don’t exist.

However, while the fantasy of the schizophrenic is uniquely personal to him, the leftist narrative is a common, shared mass-delusion that is continually being both self and mutually reinforced. It is Hitler’s “Big Lie” phenomenon on a massive scale, and its impact on the society as a whole is dramatically compounded by mutual reinforcement across multiple spheres of social influence.

For example, when Donald Trump recommenced a temporary moratorium on immigration from Muslim countries conditional on proper vetting procedures for applicants, the left (some disingenuously, some delusionally) instantly began misrepresenting that as a “ban on Muslims.” In a truth-oriented culture that claim would have been quickly dismissed, but in our leftist-dominated culture the lie was then continually repeated by leftist media organs, establishment Democrats and Republicans, leftist college professors and street-activist organizations. The chorus of multiple false witnesses created a “false reality” in the general public that persists to this day. It is one of many such misrepresentations fueling the hysterical moral outrage and street violence of the anti-Trump rioters whose narrative-driven sense of purpose and identity blinds them to actual reality.

I have also been and am currently a victim of the leftist “narrative.” A subplot of it holds that all disapproval of homosexuality leads inevitably to hatred, violence and murder of homosexuals. It is a paranoid delusion within a delusion, but when the Ugandan government put forward a bill proposing severe criminal penalties for homosexuality and pederasty following my visit there in 2009, and later, David Kato, a leader of Ugandan’s “gay” movement was murdered in his home, the global leftist media named me as the evil mastermind of a campaign of genocide against homosexuals. It never mattered to them that I opposed the Ugandan bill as written from the beginning and had advocated for rehabilitation and prevention during my visit. Nor did they care that the confessed and convicted murderer of David Kato was his own “gay” lover whom he had bailed out of jail to be his live-in boyfriend. All that mattered was the narrative – and so the whole truth was suppressed in favor of only those facts that fit the false reality.

I’ve endured four years of intensive litigation charging me with “Crimes Against Humanity” as a direct consequence of the leftist commitment to their narrative. As U.S. president, Donald Trump, and what’s left of normal society in this nation, is facing (at least) four years of similar leftist hatred and delusion but on a much, much larger scale.

To paraphrase a famous Hollywood movie, “That army of social justice warriors is out there! It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear! And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead!” The hard left is the Terminator of the cultural/political sphere. It’s mission is conquest, supremacy and elimination of Judeo-Christian civilization. Any attempt at compromise with it is just perceived as weakness to exploit. In the end either the truth or the leftist narrative will prevail.

It’s highly significant that despite its utopian rhetoric, Hollywood’s vision of the future, as portrayed in nearly every forward-looking film, is so dark and dystopian. Subconsciously, the leftist writers, actors and directors know that their worldview produces chaos and disaster, but their fanatical loyalty to the social justice narrative blinds them to the truth, even at the top of the Marxist food chain.

The only effective response to the leftist narrative is the continual reaffirmation of the plain truth without apology or compromise. No spin. No waffling. No pandering to political correctness, I believe this plainspoken approach on policy matters by Donald Trump was by far the single most important factor in his victory over the unified leftist lie-machine. It will define him as one of the greatest American presidents if he continues on that track. He and we must resist the pressure of the GOP establishment and the “experts” on cultural and political matters to trade plainly spoken truth for manipulative “messaging” and public-relations strategies, no matter how well-intentioned.

Trump’s campaign exposed the whole network of hard leftists across the entire culture and every sphere of public influence, including the media. They knew that if Hillary won, they would be vindicated by the elevation of their narrative to the status of officially accepted “reality,” allowing them to lie and spin forever after with impunity. So they came out of hiding, thinking a Clinton presidency was inevitable. Thus, Trump’s victory has made the job of “draining the swamp” all the easier. It is now incumbent upon all of us who love truth and the former truth-based culture we once enjoyed as a nation to work quickly and vigorously to take back all of the seats of power, and use them probatively to affirm truth, like water cannons dousing street anarchists’ fires. If one truth-teller rises up for every leftist liar, their “uprising” will quickly fail.



Stop Calling Mike Pence Homophobic

Democrats unfairly distort Pence’s record with distractions – and sometimes outright lies. Facing the most gay-friendly Republican nominee in history, the LGBT intelligentsia have engineered a phobic Frankenstein Veep to keep their minions from considering non-leftist alternatives.

Start with the most fabulously contrived lie about Mike Pence: that he supports “conversion therapy,” or in one grotesque iteration, that Pence “advocated for public spending on conversion therapy in Indiana.”  The article’s hyperlinks provide no support for the baseless charge.

Conversion (or “reparative”) therapy noxiously tells people, including teens participating involuntarily, that navel-gazing, role-playing, and prayer can “heal” their homosexuality. I’ve been denouncing this fraudulent practice for a decade, since it doesn’t work, misrepresents genuine religion, insults the integrity of queer experience, and tortures innocent youth.

And that’s what the people penning Mike Pence’s Web site (I’ve seen no evidence he wrote it personally) referred to in 2000 when they said federal AIDS money should be redirected “toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Those 14 words are the only evidence Pence’s detractors have proffered to show the man supports conversion therapy. But conversion therapy is about changing sexual orientations, not behavior. That’s why we’ve been fighting it so hard!

Much more HERE


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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Alt-right star Milo Yiannopoulos and what the movement is really all about

A YOUNG Donald Trump supporter and member of the “alt-right” movement pitched for the role of Press Secretary in a Trump Administration said he would relish the chance to turn briefings into a reality television show.

Senior Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who describes himself as “the most fabulous supervillain on the internet”, has made a name for himself as a leader of the alternative right-wing energised by the President-elect’s campaign and victory.

The UK-born shock columnist has recently seen his name added to a half-genuine list of contenders for Josh Earnest’s role — something Mr Yiannopoulos said he would love to turn Apprentice-style if given the chance.

“I would have everybody show up in my house, throw The New York Times and The Washington Post in the back room, have E! Entertainment Television and TMZ at the front and on Tuesdays only answer questions about fashion,” he told The Sunday Times.

“The more you stick your nose up to the establishment ... the more people are gonna love you for it.”

Now, the young commentator may well get his wish. He’s one of the main figures in the new alt-right powered by Breitbart news that this week confirmed a direct link to the White House with the appointment of former editor Stephen Bannon as Mr Trump’s chief strategist.

It comes alongside the selection of establishment Republican Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff and cements the status of the alt-right as the latest political force on the scene.

So who is Milo Yiannopoulos and what is the alt-right really all about? Here’s what you need to know.


Milo Yiannopoulos made a name for himself peddling shock tactics across US universities on his “dangerous faggot” tour where he defended hazing as a last bastion of masculinity, spoke about “why trannies are gay”, how “feminism is cancer” and the “election is rigged”.

He’s also produced podcasts and election videos railing against mainstream media and the establishment.

He didn’t doubt Mr Trump would “sail” into the White House off the back of the Brexit vote which proved “it doesn’t matter how loudly you call people bigots, racist and sexist, tell them that they’re being xenophobic — you name-calling them doesn’t work anymore,” he told the Times.

It’s an idea central to the new wave of right-wing politics championed by Breitbart which Mr Bannon described as the “platform for the alt-right”.

The site contains merchandise for sale and has been dismissed as “cheerleaders” for the far-right but is now set to become a major source of news on the Trump administration, with expansion planned in France and Germany to coincide with elections there next year.

In March, Mr Yiannopoulous and Allum Bokhari described the group in their “Conservative guide to the alt-right” as an “amorphous movement” of subcultures from “intellectuals” to “natural conservatives” and a “meme team”.

They’re “dangerously bright”, mostly college-educated men who live in a “manosphere” and revel in busting taboos on race, feminism, misogyny and any other kind of political correctness.

“Previously an obscure subculture, the alt-right burst onto the national political scene in 2015. Although initially small in number, the alt-right has a youthful energy and jarring, taboo-defying rhetoric that have boosted its membership and made it impossible to ignore,” the pair claim.

Those involved value homogenous communities over diverse ones, want stability, hierarchy and subversion, with some “young rebels” drawn to it “for the same reason that young Baby Boomers were drawn to the New Left in the 1960s: because it promises fun, transgression, and a challenge to social norms they just don’t understand”.

“Just as the kids of the 60s shocked their parents with promiscuity, long hair and rock’n’roll, so too do the alt-right’s young meme brigades shock older generations with outrageous caricatures,” their guide reads.

They also claim the alt-right is separate to outright racists and white supremacists including the so-called 1488ers who praise Hitler. They claim the rise of the group comes after years of political correctness and a “safe space” culture gone too far.

“Had [the Left and establishment] been serious about defending humanism, liberalism and universalism, the rise of the alternative right might have been arrested.

“Instead, they turned a blind eye to the rise of tribal, identitarian movements on the Left while mercilessly suppressing any hint of them on the Right. It was this double standard, more than anything else, that gave rise to the alternative right. It’s also responsible, at least in part, for the rise of Donald Trump.”

Critics say the movement is dangerous, riddled with racism, xenophobia and misogyny as shown through Breitbart content that has included headlines saying women don’t get jobs in tech because they “suck at interviews”.

Another claimed birth control makes women “unattractive and crazy”. The site has also defended Mr Bannon is a “friend of the Jewish people” after his ex-wife made claims he did not want his daughter “going to school with Jews,” which Mr Bannon denies.

Political analyst and author Thomas J Main has described it as the “main challenge” to America’s way of life — with the anti-gay, diversity, feminism and gun-control positions hiding a “truly sinister” ideology.

“Alt-Right thought is based on white nationalism and anti-Americanism,” he wrote in the Los Angeles Times. “The Alt-Right holds, in essence, that all men are not created equal, and that as racial equality has displaced white dominance, America has declined and no longer merits the allegiance of its white citizens.”

US Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblat also slammed the decision to see Mr Bannon installed in the White House saying: “It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house’.”

Even former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro told TIME Mr Bannon “regularly abuses people” and “sees everything as a war”. “Every time he feels crossed, he makes it his business to destroy his opponent.”

University College London US politics professor Iwan Morgan told Mr Trump is definitely in for a wake-up call when he will have to reconcile different expectations of his presidency.

“Every president finds what got you to the White House isn’t what’s going to make you good in the White House. There is a sense now of anti-cosmopolitanism and nativism back in vogue. The sense of Making America Great Again is tied up with not only stopping change but reversing change.”

While “it’s very difficult to prove there wasn’t an anti-women vote in 2016,” he said there is a possibility that the first black President and the potential for a woman may have left some Americans feeling “that sequence was possibly too much change”.

“This is a 50/50 nation and the problem is that the 50 per cent who voted for Clinton can’t believe the other 50 per cent voted for Trump and the 50 per cent who voted for Trump can’t believe the other 50 per cent voted for Clinton.,” he said.

“Trump can be a unifier, he just hasn’t showed it yet and I suspect he would find it difficult. He’s going to have to find a way of persuading people to do what he wants.”



At conference, political consultants wonder where they went wrong

Amusing to see the know-alls realizing that they know nothing

Just days after Donald Trump’s surprise presidential victory, the nation’s professional political forecasters and persuaders — the pollsters, the ad creators, the campaign strategists — gathered in Denver for their annual convention.

It was supposed to be a celebration of big data and strategic wizardry for a multibillion-dollar industry that has spent nearly a century packaging political candidates.

Instead, the conference of the International Association of Political Consultants felt like a therapy session for a business in psychological free fall.

At the governor’s mansion in Denver on Friday, Emmy Ruiz placed a hand on the shoulder of a fellow Hillary Clinton operative. “It’s like we’re at a funeral,” said Ruiz, dressed — perhaps coincidentally — in black.

Participants seemed eager to take part in the post-mortem analysis of what went wrong.

“I need to make sure I state this very clearly so that nobody thinks that I feel otherwise: I got this really wrong,” said Chris Anderson, a Democratic pollster who had predicted a Clinton win, speaking during a session before the gathering at the governor’s mansion.

“We’re going to continue to learn from Donald Trump how to effectively message. Because he can do it really well,” Anderson said.

Political consulting was born, many say, in 1933 when newspaper writers Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter were hired to defeat Upton Sinclair in his antipoverty bid for governor of California. When Sinclair lost, he blamed the defeat on a “staff of political chemists.”

The industry has since evolved into a sophisticated army of data analysts, message crafters, and others whose firms turn billions of dollars given to candidates and their surrogates into services. Television advertisements. E-mail lists. Get-out-the-vote strategies.

But everything about this election seemed to throw into question the value of those tactics — and even of the consultants themselves.

In the end, Clinton’s battalion of advisers was defeated by a wild, seemingly unchoreographed candidate who, according to the most recent data, spent more money on shirts, hats, signs, and similar items than on field consulting, voter lists, and data.

Over the weekend, 150 or so participants moved between a high-ceilinged conference room at the Westin hotel and other activities, including the reception at the governor’s mansion and a dinner at an adobe fort in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Organizers canceled a tour of a marijuana grow house after too many people expressed interest.

In one session dedicated to polling, three panelists who had predicted Clinton would win took to the stage, framed by a royal blue backdrop.

Instead of PowerPoint presentations and state-by-state voter analyses, there was self-flagellation, as some admitted they had spent the election seduced by “magical thinking,” unable to envision a Trump presidency and therefore blind to the story in front of them.

Margie Omero of PSB Research theorized that pollsters had held back Trump-leaning data, unwilling to release something that looked like an outlier. Or that Trump supporters had simply not told pollsters the truth, either embarrassed by their choice or angry at callers whom they perceived as part of a conspiracy against him.

“It was impossible to conceive of an incoming President Trump,” said Omero, whose firm has worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton over the years.

In one of the more raucous portions of the conference, consultants assembled for a post-mortem session on campaign strategy.

Onstage was Ruiz, who ran Clinton’s operation in Colorado, and Rich Pelletier, a deputy campaign manager for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whom Clinton faced in the Democratic primary race. Between them was Wayne Allyn Root, a Trump adviser wearing a pinstripe suit, a red tie, and a very, very broad smile.

“He was going to win from the beginning. Nobody got it. And I got it. I knew it,” said Root, describing a campaign strategy based more on gut and anecdote than science. “No matter how bad the polls look, they are meaningless because the anger and volatility of this electorate does not show up in the polls. My people are not telling the pollster they’re for Donald Trump.”



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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

More reactions to Trump

With Trump the next President, a lot of us conservatives are feeling more relaxed than we have been for a long time.  The tyranny we fought against is now on its last legs. I have certainly made changes in my lifestyle.  I am following the news less and spending more time on personal relationships.  And I am far from alone.  There have been very favorable reactions to Trump in many quarters.

Most important by far for world peace are the reactions to Trump from Russia and China.  After them, no-one else really matters.  The war-mongering Democrats had built up big tensions with Russia in the probable hope that they could have a nice little war with Russia somewhere -- probably in the Baltics -- that would end up with Russia being humiliated and glory won for themselves.

But nobody wants peace more than military men.  We die in wars. So we combine readiness to fight with a hope of peace.  And  America's servicemen certainly don't want to die for the glory of someone in Washington D.C. and for someone who despises them.

And The Donald has won for us the best hope yet of world peace -- something that every sane person wants.  We read that both Russia's Putin and China's President Xi have made strong overtures to Trump for continued peaceful relations, overtures which are consistent with what Trump himself has often advocated.

Trump for peace and prosperity!


With Putin as Trump’s BFF, war fears fade

Although fighting in Aleppo between the rebel forces and Syrian government troops, aided by Russian air power, continues, fears of a global war has eased following the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the US on Wednesday.

No less than Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Trump on his victory over rival Hillary Clinton.

In the congratulatory telegram, Putin said he hopes to work with Trump in removing from the crisis state of the Russian-American relations, Independent reported.

Putin, who looks forward to easing the western sanctions on Russia for Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 from Ukraine, said he has confidence in “building a constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington that is based on principles of equality, mutual respect and a real accounting of each other's positions, in the interests of our peoples and the world community.”

Russian MPs even cheered on news that Clinton had conceded to Trump after Vyacheslav Nikonov, chairman of Russia’s parliamentary committee on education and foreign affairs, announced Trump’s poll victory.

Charles Robertson, global chief economist of Renaissance Capital, said the chances of the sanctions on Russia being lifted has risen substantially which would improve investment climate in Russia, Reuters reported.



China's Xi tells Trump cooperation is only choice

Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in a telephone call that cooperation was the only choice for relations between the two countries, Chinese state media said, in their first interaction since the U.S. election.

Trump had lambasted China throughout the U.S. election campaign, drumming up headlines with his pledges to slap 45 percent tariffs on imported Chinese goods and to label the country a currency manipulator on his first day in office.

His election has injected uncertainty into bilateral relations at a time when Beijing hopes for stability as it faces daunting reform challenges at home, a slowing economy, and a leadership reshuffle of its own that will put a new party elite around Xi in late 2017.

"The facts prove that cooperation is the only correct choice for China and the United States," China Central Television (CCTV) cited Xi as telling Trump in the call that occurred on Monday in China.

"The two sides must strengthen coordination, promote the two countries' economic development and global economic growth, expand all areas of exchange and cooperation, ensure the two countries' people obtain more tangible benefits, and push for better development going forward in China-U.S. relations," Xi said.

CCTV said Trump told Xi he was willing to work with China to strengthen cooperation and that he believed U.S.-China relations can "definitely achieve greater development".

The two agreed to maintain close communication and meet soon, CCTV said. Xi had congratulated Trump in a message delivered shortly after his surprise election victory last week.



Philippines' Duterte says to stop quarrels with U.S. after Trump win

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte congratulated Donald Trump on his election win and said on Wednesday he now wishes to stop quarrelling with the United States, recalling his anger at the Obama administration for criticising him.

The maverick leader, dubbed "Trump of the East" for his unrestrained rants and occasional lewd remarks, has repeatedly hit out at Washington in recent months, threatening to cut defence pacts and end military joint drills.

"I would like to congratulate Mr. Donald Trump. Long live," Duterte said in a speech to the Filipino community during a visit to Malaysia.

"We are both making curses. Even with trivial matters we curse. I was supposed to stop because Trump is there. I don't want to quarrel anymore, because Trump has won."

Duterte won a May election by a huge margin and is often compared with Trump, having himself been the alternative candidate from outside of national politics.

He campaigned on a populist, anti-establishment platform and struck a chord among ordinary Filipinos with his promises to fix what he called a broken country.

But the biggest surprise of Duterte's presidency so far has been his hostility toward the United States, shown during near-daily eruptions of anger over its concerns about human rights abuses during his deadly war on drugs.

He has also threatened repeatedly to severe a military relationship that has been a key element of Washington's "pivot" to Asia.

Duterte on Wednesday told Filipinos how angry he had been at Washington, saying it had threatened to cut off aid and had treated the Philippines like a dog tied to a post.

"They talk as if we are still the colonies," he said.



Britain still wants the impossible

One has to give British Conservatives credit for their strong principles but the idea that you can have any sort of ideal outcome in the Middle East is absurd.  Many fine young British and American men have already died in the pursuit of the ideal there -- and for what benefit?  Sometimes you have to settle for the possible

Britain is facing a diplomatic crisis with the US over Donald Trump’s plans to forge an alliance with Vladimir Putin and bolster the Syrian regime.

In a significant foreign policy split, officials admitted that Britain will have some “very difficult” conversations with the President-elect in coming months over his approach to Russia.

It comes after Mr Trump used his first interviews since winning the US election to indicate that he will withdraw support for rebels in Syria and thank Vladimir Putin for sending him a “beautiful” letter.

Mr Trump said that he will instead join forces with Russia and focus on defeating Isil. He has previously said it would be “nice” if the US and Russia could work together to “knock the hell out of Isil”.

His views are in stark contrast with those of Theresa May, who has accused President Assad’s regime of perpetrating “atrocious violence” and said that the long-term future of Syria must be “without Assad”.

The dramatic shift in US policy has prompted significant concern in the Foreign Office, and Britain will use the next three months before Mr Trump enters the White House to try to convince him of the importance of removing President Assad.

In his first interview Mr Trump told the Wall Street Journal that his administration will prioritise defeating Isil in Syria rather than removing President Assad.

He told the Wall Street Journal: "I've had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria. My attitude was you're fighting Syria, Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS.

He added that if the US attacks President Assad’s regime “we end up fighting Russia”.

It came as Vladimir Putin urged Donald Trump to encourage Nato to withdraw its forces from Russia's borders as part of a bid to improve relations.

Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin's official spokesman, said in an interview with The Associated Press that Russia now sees "NATO's muscles getting bigger and bigger and closer and closer to Russian borders." He said that as a "confidence-building measure" between the US and Russia Mr Trump could help relations between the US and Russia by "slowing down" or "withdrawing" Nato's military presence entirely from its borders.

There are also mounting concerns over the future of Nato after Mr Trump suggested that the US may withdraw support from the organisation because European members are failing to “pay their bills”.  During a visit to Norway Sir Michael Fallon agreed that the levels of expenditure by EU countries is “not good enough”.

The Prime Minister will on Monday evening say in an address at Mansion House in London that Brexit and Mr Trump’s election shows that “change is in the air”.

While defending globalisation she will say that Britain and the West must recognise the concerns of those who feel left behind.

She will say: “These people – often those on modest to low incomes living in rich countries like our own – see their jobs being outsourced and wages undercut. They see their communities changing around them and don’t remember giving their permission for that to be the case.”

Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, hopes that he can act as a “bridge” between Britain and Mr Trump and help to address concerns about the future of Nato.

He told Fox News: “Mrs May’s team have been quite rude about Trump. There are some fences to be mended. He’s got to meet her. We can have a sensible trade relationship, cut tariffs, we’re massive investors in each other countries, we’ve got a bright future.”

In France:

[National Front leader] Marine Le Pen told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC One that US and European aggression have provoked Russia. She also suggested Mr Trump's victory increases her chances of becoming President because of her patriotism.

Ms Le Pen said: "The model that is defended by Vladimir Putin, which is one of reasoned protectionism, looking after the interests of his own country, defending his identity, is one that I like, as long as I can defend this model in my own country."



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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What to Believe and Do About Statin-Associated Adverse Effects

The Statin craze is a long way from dead yet but the medical establishment is gradually coming to terms with the bad side-effects of statin use. At one time they denied any bad side-effects.  So the article excerpted below is interesting.  It is particularly interesting for the two sentences I have highlighted below.  Basically, medical researchers and drug companies just didn't want to know about side-effects from their new wonder drug.

And they still don't.  The summary below does not capture well, for instance, the mental effects of statins.  These are widely reported by patients but are virtually dismissed below.  Statins can give you Alzheimer-type symptoms so it is possible that the upsurge in Alzheimers in recent years is in fact misidentified statin use.

So the report below does serve as a warning but should be regarded as a minimal warning.  The problems are undoubtedly greater than the author, Paul D. Thompson, acknowledges.  Thompson is of course convinced that the benefits of Statins outweigh the problems but on my reading of the literature, that only applies to people who already have experienced heart problems: angina, stroke, heart attacks.  Dosing up people with statins as a general preventive measure seems on my reading to be devoid of ANY benefit and likely to do harm.  As another curent article in JAMA says: Statins for Primary Prevention; The Debate Is Intense, but the Data Are Weak

Possible statin-associated adverse effects include diabetes mellitus, hemorrhagic stroke, decreased cognition, tendon rupture, interstitial lung disease, as well as muscle-related symptoms.1 Statins increase the risk of diabetes consistent with the observation that low cholesterol levels increase diabetes risk.1 Although statins reduce total stroke, they increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke consistent with the observation that low cholesterol levels are associated with an increase in hemorrhagic stroke.1 Statins appear to reduce or have no effect on cognitive decline.1 Tendinopathies and interstitial lung disease have possible mechanistic links to statins, but their association with statins is based solely on a small case series.1 The frequency of these possible drug-related complications is unknown but is low and outweighed by the vascular benefits of statins therapy.

Statin-associated muscle symptoms are the most frequent statin-related symptoms. Experts agree that statins can cause muscle symptoms with marked increases in creatine kinase (CK) levels, usually defined as 10 times the upper limits of normal because this has been observed in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) with an estimated occurrence of 1 additional case per 10 000 individuals treated each year.2 In addition, statins can cause a necrotizing myopathy with antibodies against hydroxyl-methyl-glutaryl Co-A reductase.1 This condition must be recognized promptly because it can lead to persistent myopathy. These patients present with muscle pain and weakness plus marked increases in CK levels that do not resolve with drug cessation. Statin-associated necrotizing myopathy is newly recognized and rare but may be more frequently diagnosed now that a commercial test for the antibody is available.

In contrast, there is considerable debate as to whether statins can produce milder symptoms such as myalgia, muscle cramps, or weakness with little or no increase in CK levels. Collins et al2 reviewed the possible adverse effects found in RCTs of statin therapy and concluded that statin-associated muscle symptoms without marked CK elevations do not exist or are extremely rare because they are not reported in the statin RCTs. These authors suggested that these symptoms may be inappropriately attributed to statins due in part to patients being warned of such possible adverse effects by their clinicians.

Most clinicians, however, are convinced that these symptoms exist and are caused by statins. The incidence of statin myalgia has been estimated at 10% from observational studies.1 The Effect of Statins on Skeletal Muscle Performance (STOMP) study is the only randomized, controlled double-blind study designed specifically to examine the effects of statins on skeletal muscle.3 The STOMP trial had predefined criteria for statin myalgia, which included onset of symptoms during treatment, persistence for 2 weeks, symptom resolution within 2 weeks of treatment cessation, and symptom reappearance within 4 week of restarting treatment. Nineteen of 203 patients treated with statins and 10 of 217 patients treated with placebo met the study definition of myalgia (9.4% vs 4.6%, P = .054). This finding did not reach statistical significance, but it indicates a 94.6% probability that statins were responsible for the symptoms. This result occurred even though the study participants were young (mean age, 44.1 years), healthy, and treated with statins for only 6 months. Creatine kinase values were not different between the 2 groups. These results not only suggest that the true incidence of statin myalgia is approximately 5% but also support the observation that approximately 10% of patients will report symptoms of myalgia. Collins et al2 reanalyzed the STOMP trial data after including 29 patients treated with atorvastatin and 10 with placebo who discontinued participation because of personal reasons, yielding a P value of .08 and used this finding to support their assertion that statins do not cause muscle symptoms without markedly increased CK levels.

Diagnosing true statin-associated muscle symptoms is difficult. In the Goal Achievement After Utilizing an Anti PCSK9 Antibody in Statin Intolerant Subjects (GAUSS-3) study,4 the presence of statin myalgia was determined by randomly assigning patients with presumed statin muscle symptoms to receive either 20 mg of atorvastatin or placebo each day for 10 weeks followed by a 2-week hiatus before crossover to the alternative treatment. Only 209 patients (42.6%) developed muscle symptoms during atorvastatin treatment. An additional 130 (26.5%) developed muscle symptoms during placebo-only treatment, 48 (9.6%) developed muscle symptoms during both treatments, and 85 (17.3%) did not develop symptoms during either treatment.

Other evidence supports the idea that statins can cause skeletal muscle symptoms without abnormal CK values. Muscle biopsies show differences in gene expression among patients with statin-associated muscle symptoms during statin treatment and compared them with asymptomatic controls.5 Statins also produce slight increases in average CK levels and augment the increase in CK observed after exercise.1 Rhabdomyolysis is more frequent in participants in RCTs who are receiving statins and have variants in the gene for solute carrier organic anion transporter family member 1B1 (SLCO1B1),2 which regulates hepatic statin uptake. The SLCO1B1 gene variants that reduce hepatic uptake allow more statin to escape the liver and enter the extra portal circulation and ultimately skeletal muscle. The SLCO1B1 variants are also associated with mild muscle adverse effects in study participants treated with statins.6

How could the statin RCTs miss detecting mild statin-related muscle adverse effects such as myalgia? By not asking. A review of 44 statin RCTs reveals that only 1 directly asked about muscle-related adverse effects.7 In the STOMP trial, investigators called patients twice monthly to ask specifically about muscle symptoms.

JAMA. 2016;316(19):1969-1970. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16557


Trump Plans Ambitious Agenda

Donald Trump has announced an ambitious agenda for his first 100 days in office, but it's becoming increasingly clear that achieving it will be more difficult than he suggested during the campaign.

At the top of his list, which he outlined during the past several months, is repealing President Barack Obama's signature health care law, known as Obamacare. Trump has said the program is costing consumers too much, is damaging the economy and represents an unwise intrusion of the government into the health care system.

Prospects are good that the law could be repealed within several weeks of Trump's inauguration as president because voters this week placed the White House and Congress under GOP control. Political scientist Ross Baker of Rutgers University says repealing Obamacare is one of the issues on which Trump can find common ground with congressional Republicans from day one. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that repeal is a top priority for the Senate GOP. The House is likely to agree.

There are several sticking points, however, such as what to do about the estimated 24 million Americans who would lose health insurance if Obamacare were abolished. How Trump and fellow Republicans solve this problem remains unclear.

Another area of apparent agreement within the GOP is immigration, one of Trump's biggest talking points during the campaign. The billionaire real-estate developer has big plans, and congressional Republicans seem willing to move forward with the required legislation despite expected Democratic opposition.

Trump wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, and have Mexico pay the bill. Trump also wants to deport millions of immigrants who entered the United States illegally and have committed crimes since they arrived here. One problem, and it's a vexing one for Trump, is that the government of Mexico says it won't pay for the wall. And specifics are still lacking on the deportation plan.

Trump has talked about temporarily prohibiting the entry of Muslims into the United States because some of them might be terrorists. This Muslim ban, if Trump proceeds with it, is likely to be challenged in court, tying up the plan for many months until it is resolved by the judiciary.

Trump wants to persuade Congress to cut taxes and reform the tax system, but this would also take many months and it's uncertain if Democrats and Republicans are willing to take it on.

Trump wants to reduce federal regulation, and he can do much of this through executive action, bypassing Congress. This is likely to include pulling back a number of Obama's controversial executive actions and reversing or modifying the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to make it much harder to build and operate coal-fired power plants. This was an effort to limit climate change, but Trump has questioned the validity of human-caused global warming.

Trump wants to void trade deals made by Obama, such as renegotiating or withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement. And this appears to be very possible.

Other items on Trump's to-do list will be tougher to implement. Trump favors imposing term limits on Congress but McConnell opposes them. And McConnell is less than enthused about Trump's plan to boost spending on infrastructure, apparently because it would cost so much money.

Another big decision will be naming a Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump aides say he will quickly make his choice, possibly on his first day in office. This will set up a major confrontation in the Senate as Democrats are expected to rally against Trump's choice.



Disenfranchisement, Democrat Style

In an interview with actress Gina Rodriguez, Barack Obama was asked the following question: “Many of the Millennials, Dreamers, undocumented citizens — and I call them citizens because they contribute to this country — are fearful of voting. So if I vote, will immigration [officials] know where I live? Will they come for my family and deport us?”

Obama replied, “Not true. And the reason is, first of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself and there is not a situation where the voting rolls somehow are transferred over and people start investigating, etc. The sanctity of the vote is strictly confidential in terms of who you voted for. If you have a family member who maybe is undocumented, then you have an even greater reason to vote.”

Did Obama just declare that it was ok for illegal immigrants to vote? It seems so, though it’s not case closed because he went on to say illegals are “counting on you to make sure that you have the courage to make your voice heard.” His deliberately ambiguous words are alarming given all that Obama has done to eviscerate Rule of Law on the immigration front.

Meanwhile in Virginia, it was recently learned that Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe has successfully granted 60,000 ex-convicts voting rights in time for voting in the election, helping tip the state in favor of his long-time friend Hillary Clinton. It had been initially reported by his office that he was able to review and sign only 13,000 approvals after the state courts overruled his attempted illegal blanket pardon of more than 200,000 ex-convicts. In fact, those pardoned felons received voter registration forms with a letter from McAuliffe with pre-paid return postage.

It’s clear that Democrats have little problem with the legality of voters, so long as those voters support their candidates. What’s ironic is just how much Democrats wail about voter disenfranchisement, all while disenfranchising citizens with their continued efforts to get votes from illegal immigrants and felons. Is it any wonder that many Americans believed Donald Trump when he talked about the election being rigged?



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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, November 14, 2016

Major Douglas and the "Social Credit" cult

I see that there are still some people around who believe in the "Social Credit" movement founded in the 1930s on the madcap ideas of Major C.H. Douglas.  Douglas was a clever engineer with an enquiring mind.  He did not restrict his reading to engineering.  And one day he made a most interesting discovery:  There was far more money in circulation than the government had ever issued.  How come?  He could have asked economists and bankers why but instead he made up his own explanation for it.

He decided that it was the fault of the banks. Bank bashing goes back nearly a thousand years, if you count the expulsion of the Jews from England by Edward Longshanks in 1290 A.D., so it was no wonder Major Douglas eyed the banks with suspicion.

But the theory he came up with was really weird.  He decided that the banks lent out money they did not have.  He decided that a banker could have a ledger with $5,000 lent to Bill Blogs at the top of it and the $5,000 would somehow magically end up in the pocket of Bill Bloggs.

He was aided in this preposterous theory by something known as Fractional Reserve Banking.  Under FRB, banks don't have to keep all their deposits under lock and key.  They can lend out (say) 80% of their deposits because most people leave their money in the bank for safekeeping.  They don't all suddenly  withdraw all their money at once.  On the rare occasion that DOES happen it is called a "run" and is sparked by some panic or other.

So major Douglas opined that the $5,000 to Bill Bloggs came out of the funds that were available for lending after the reserves were set aside.  What the good Major didn't realize was that banks have a legal obligation to lend no more than their deposits minus reserves.  Only the government is allowed to print money and any bank that tried to do so would have the government come crashing down on its head.  The money for Bill Bloggs had to come from deposits.  It could not be conjured up out of thin air.

So how does it all really work?  It's so simple it should be taught in grade school.  What happens on average is that when Bill Bloggs gets his loan from Bank A, he promptly deposits most of it in another bank -- or even the same bank. Say he deposits $4,000 of his $5,000 in Bank B. That bank now has a nice little deposit that it can lend on.  The original depositors who gave bank A the deposit of $5,000 to mind still have $5,000 to their name and can draw on it at any time while Bill Bloggs now has $4,000 to his name in bank B and can draw on that at any time.  Add those two together and the citizens of the place where the banks are located now have a total of $9,000 to their name ($5,000 plus $4,000).  $4,000 of money has seemingly been created out of thin air.

So that was what Major Douglas saw.  There was far more money in the banks than there "should" have been.  And he was nearly right in attributing that extra money to the banks.  It was the banking system as a whole that created the money, not any individual bank. No bank benefited from the "created" money.  Only the community as a whole did.  Economists refer to the whole thing as the "velocity of circulation".

If you Google "Major Douglas"or "Social Credit" you will get up heaps of sites claiming that Major Douglas was right.  What I have just said is usually found only in Economics textbooks.  I taught senior High School Economics for a couple of years so that is why I know about it

The above example is of course simplified.  The money held in reserve is not cash.  Cash only forms a small part of the money supply.  Most of the money supply exists in the form of credit balances.  So banks keep only a minor amount of their deposits in cash.  Most of their reserves are amounts they have to their credit with the central bank.


I am afraid that the picture below made me a bit teary

The caption on it was: "My veteran grandpa was asked by a little girl if he would do it all again. He said, "Yes, for you.""

I suppose that I am a sentimental old fool but a tiny part of my excuse might be that I am a former member of Her Majesty's Australian Armed Forces.  Would a Leftist be moved by that picture?  I can't imagine it.


An open confession of Leftist hate

Although he lives in the penthouse high above the crowd, it might be tough for President-elect Donald J. Trump to get some rest when he gets home.

Thousands of protesters chanted “New York Hates You” and “Not My President” in front of Trump’s flagship New York building, the Trump Tower.

Protesters filled 5th Avenue for five blocks, essentially closing down an iconic, much-visited neighborhood of midtown Manhattan. Those who weren’t holding signs raised their middle fingers – many of them taking selfies of the gesture — toward the glassy black 58-story tower that had become a symbol of the Trump candidacy.

The New York protest appeared to be the largest of dozens of anti-Trump demonstrations taking place elsewhere in the country, in Chicago, Boston, Oakland, Portland and other mostly Democratic cities.

The New York crowd was dominated by young people, many of whom had just voted in their first presidential election and were aghast at the results. Tourists in an open-top sightseeing bus that had been surrounded in the clogged street also yelled their opposition to Trump.

"I hate everything about Donald Trump,” said Jaime Reuter, 19, a student at Pace University in Manhattan. "Something has to be done."



A Blow to the Non-Elite Elite

There were a lot of losers in this election, well beyond Hillary Clinton and the smug, incompetent pollsters and know-it-all, groupthink pundits who embarrassed themselves.

From hacked email troves we received a glimpse of the bankrupt values of Washington journalists, lawyers, politicians, lobbyists and wealthy donors. Despite their brand-name Ivy League degrees and 1 percenter resumes, dozens of the highly paid grandees who run our country and shape our news appear petty and spiteful — and clueless about the America that exists beyond their Beltway habitat.

Leveraging rich people for favors and money seems an obsession. They brag about wealth and status in the fashion of preteens.

Journalists often violated their own ethics codes during the campaign. Political analyst Donna Brazile even leaked debate topics to the Clinton team. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank reportedly asked the Democratic National Committee to provide him with anti-Trump research.

Reading about the characters who inhabit the Clinton campaign email trove, one wonders about the purpose of their Yale degrees, their tenures at Goldman Sachs, even their very stints in the Clinton campaign. Was the end game to lose their souls?

One big loser is the Obama Justice Department — or rather the very concept of justice as administered by the present administration. It has gone the tainted way of the IRS, VA and NSA. The Justice Department clearly pressured the FBI to limit its investigation of pay-for-play corruption at the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.

Seemingly every few weeks of the campaign, FBI Director James Comey flip-flopped — depending on whether the most recent pressure on him came from rank-and-file FBI agents, the Clinton campaign or his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Lynch met with Bill Clinton in a secret “accidental” encounter on an airport tarmac while Hillary Clinton was under investigation. Immunity was granted to several Clinton aides without the FBI obtaining much cooperation in return. Clinton techies invoked the Fifth Amendment in refusing to testify before Congress.

Clinton campaign organizer John Podesta was in direct contact with his old friend, Peter Kadzik, a high-ranking Justice Department official who was tipping off the Clinton campaign about an impending hearing and a legal filing regarding Clinton’s emails. Until he was reassigned, Kadzik was in charge of the Justice Department’s probe of the Huma Abedin/Anthony Weiner email trove.

A special prosecutor should have been appointed. But Democrats and Republicans alike had long ago soured on the use of special prosecutors. Democrats felt Ken Starr went way beyond his mandates in pursuing Bill Clinton’s excesses. Republicans charged that Lawrence Walsh’s investigation of the Iran-Contra affair had turned into a witch hunt.

But now, it is clear why there was — and still is — a need for special prosecutors in some instances. In an election year, the Obama Justice Department certainly cannot investigate Obama’s former secretary of state and heir to the Obama presidency — much less itself.

Another election casualty is the practice of extended voting. The recent trend to open state polls early and over several days is proving a terrible idea. Campaigns (think 1980, 1992 and 2000) are often not over until the last week. When millions of people vote days or even weeks before Election Day, what the candidates say or do in the critical final days becomes irrelevant. When a candidate urges citizens, “Vote early,” it is synonymous with, “Vote quickly, before more dirt surfaces about my ongoing scandals.”

Voting should return to a single event, rather than becoming a daily tracking poll.

President Obama lost big time as well. He emerged from his virtual seclusion to campaign on behalf of Clinton in a way never before seen with a sitting president. By Election Day, Obama had resorted to making fun of Donald Trump’s baseball hats, and took the low road of claiming that Trump would tolerate the Ku Klux Klan.

While encouraging Latinos to vote during an interview with actress Gina Rodriguez, Obama seemingly condoned voting by illegal immigrants when he said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not be investigating voter rolls. A Trump victory, along with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, is a repudiation of the Obama administration’s legacy and its effort to navigate around the law.

The high-tech industry and Silicon Valley lost as well. The new high-tech class prides itself on its laid-back attitude rather than its super-wealth — casual clothes, hip tastes and cool informality. But in fact, we have learned from WikiLeaks that the 21st-century high-tech aristocracy is more conniving and more status-conscious — and far more powerful — than were Gilded Age capitalists such as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie.

Billionaire CEO Eric Schmidt of Google advised the Clinton campaign to hire “low paid” urban campaign operatives, apparently in hopes that his efforts would earn him some sort of informal Svengali advisory role in a hoped-for Clinton administration. A leaked email from tech executive Sheryl Sandberg revealed that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wanted to meet with people on the Clinton team who could help him understand “political operations to advance public policy goals.”

It became easy to say that a “crude” Trump and a “crooked” Clinton polluted the 2016 campaign. The real culprits were a corrupt Washington elite, who were as biased as they were incompetent — and clueless about how disliked they were by the very America they held in such contempt.




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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, November 13, 2016

A meditation on the Trump triumph

A conservative intellectual finds Trump has many things in common with American thinkers of the past

Trump is the first candidate since Reagan to take the fight directly to the opposition. For the most part, he does not instigate fights, he finishes them. Only after he is attacked does he go all in and defend himself and (it is important to add, the country) while simultaneously leading a counterattack on his opponent. His penchant to counterpunch aggressively has unhinged his opponents, the Clintons in particular, who literally paid people to harm fellow citizens at his rallies. Only someone like Trump could defend the United States against such thuggery. It was his penchant to defend himself, and this country, that ultimately led to his victory.

Jaffa is right about one important thing in this regard. Great statesmen are those who appeal to a timeless ideal and enduring principle.

As Jaffa noted in Crisis of the House Divided, Lincoln’s argument pertained to the rights we all possess by nature. It is this person who gives “rise to legitimate government.” Against the backdrop of one candidate’s attempt to circumvent consent, one thing the anti Trump people have failed to consider is that Trump is actually persuasive and reviving the twin pillars of safety and happiness. That he has attempted to persuade is a necessary condition to legitimate rule. Jaffa is explicit about this: “the first task of statesmanship is not legislation but the molding of that opinion from which all legislation flows.” He goes on to remind us that the “Constitution and Union were means to an end,” that secures “the equality of all men.”

Trump is a particular figure for a particular time no less than Lincoln was for his. Just glance at any number of his speeches, and you will find that his stated intention is to restore America. We also find that the economy’s dangerous trend of increasing debt has the effect of placing our country into a form of slavery—a slavery that is compounded by forcing people to pay for unusable healthcare insurance. His support of school choice and deliberate non-patronizing appeal to black voters is a direct assault on the academic Jim Crow that presently afflicts this nation.  His remarkable goal is the restoration of our ancient faith by defending without apology our Constitution and those natural rights stated therein. As Ken Masugi noted, his campaign’s focus on the fraudulent and rigged nature of the electoral system was not a complaint, but a defense, of the natural right of the consent of the governed. His opponent sought to overthrow that consent. Trump made the case for the consent of the governed. The voters responded by giving their consent to him.

Trump is thus a restorationist and a Declarationist. This is most obvious in his Lincolnian inspired promise to return the government to one “of the people, and by the people.”

Lincoln believed in building up the Union and re-adopting its idea. The current “conservative” elite believe in burning down the house to save it. But, nothing could be gained from destruction of the Republic by handing it over to what is clearly a criminal crime family. It is imprudent at best to suggest that the country could have been saved by handing it over to a party that does not seek our enlightened consent. Yet, our consent is but one aspect of the American Idea. The other is having the ability to secure the blessings of liberty in order to pursue our own happiness. Trump argued that liberty and happiness is strengthened by the means of gainful employment.

NAFTA is a free trade document of more than 1,700 pages. Almost 700 of those pages are the treaty itself. TPP is another marvel of “free trade” weighing in at more than 2,000 pages. Neither are truly free trade agreements. They are riddled with crony capitalism and side deals that defy the very meaning of freedom. While the agreements are supported by many of the Never Trumpkins, the fact is it has not benefitted the majority of the people of this Union in a meaningful way. Cheap goods may be good for the consumer, but not when the consumer is out of a job. As Decius noted, free trade is not a principle, but, following Jaffa, it should only be a means to realizing our humanity founded in our natural equality.

America’s Founders were not strict free traders. Alexander Hamilton’s “Report on the Subject of Manufactures” remarks that domestic markets are preferable over foreign markets. He does not mean this in terms of rejecting foreign trade, but as a matter of national wealth, and even as a defensive mechanism so as not to rely on foreign nations for subsistence. The foreign obstacles to domestic business, are impediments so great, Hamilton believed, that they cannot conduct business equally. Foreign trade must exist on “terms consistent with our interest.”

The longest serving treasury secretary after Hamilton, Albert Gallatin, though in theory a proponent of free trade, stated in his “Free Trade Memorial” of 1832 that equal intercourse with Europe was not desirable because it would not encourage “domestic manufactures.” He supported a duty on imports of 25 percent so they fall “equally upon all.”

As it pertains to Trump, he is the first candidate in the 20th century to be in such concord with the Founders not only in his economic policy, but in the reason for such a policy: the defense of the American Republic against trade that harms the nation. In a modern context, free trade means literally the end of America because it is coupled with a borderless politics.

“The preservation of the hope of an equality yet to be achieved, was the ‘value’ which was the absolutely necessary condition of the democratic political process,” Jaffa wrote. “That men may be called upon to fight for such a conviction cannot be called a failure of democracy. It would be a failure only if they refused to fight for it.”

Those who abandoned our ancient faith failed because they did not fight for the heart and soul of our nation and the idea that gave it its birth.

Trump did.



The Great Liberal Freakout

The Great Liberal Freakout is under way, as we’ve noted below. Here’s my haul:

The head of the Joint Center for Political Studies, which the Washington Post describes as a “respected liberal think tank,” reacted to Trump’s landslide thus: “When you consider that in the climate we’re in—rising violence, the Ku Klux Klan—it is exceedingly frightening.”

Castro, still with us, said right before the election: “We sometimes have the feeling that we are living in the time preceding the election of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.”

Claremont College professor John Roth wrote: “I could not help remembering how economic turmoil had conspired with Nazi nationalism and militarism—all intensified by Germany’s defeat in World War I—to send the world reeling into catastrophe… It is not entirely mistaken to contemplate our post-election state with fear and trembling.”

Esquire writer Harry Stein says that the voters who supported Trump were like the “good Germans” in “Hitler’s Germany.”

Sociologist Alan Wolfe is up in the New Left Review: “The worst nightmares of the American left appear to have come true.” And he doubles down in The Nation: “[T]he United States has embarked on a course so deeply reactionary, so negative and mean-spirited, so chauvinistic and self-deceptive that our times may soon rival the McCarthy era.”

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, keeper of the “Doomsday Clock” that purported to judge the risk of nuclear annihilation, has moved the hands on the clock from seven to four minutes before midnight.

Oh wait, did I say this was the reaction to Trump??  Sorry—these are what the left was saying the day after Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980. Some things never change.



Republicans Maintain Strong Control of State Capitols. Here’s What That Means

Republicans largely retained their grip over state legislative chambers and governorships in Tuesday’s elections.

The Republican takeover of the presidency may have been the biggest election news, but political experts expect states to continue to take the lead on policymaking in the years ahead.

“Despite total Republican control in Washington now, states are where the action is—and will be—for public policy that actually impacts people,” said Dan Diorio, a policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

As of noon Wednesday, with a few results still not confirmed, Republicans have control of 66 of the nation’s 98 statehouse chambers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This does not include Nebraska, which has a nonpartisan legislature.

Before Tuesday’s election, Republicans held 68 of the nation’s statehouse chambers.

Republicans now control both legislative chambers in 32 states, compared to 13 for Democrats.

The GOP also increased its majority of governorships from 31 to 33.

In the most high-profile of the 12 states voting for their chief executive, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper declared victory over incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in North Carolina.

But Republican governors won in Missouri and Vermont in races that had been considered toss-ups.

And Republicans increased the number of states in which they hold what is known as a “political trifecta”—with one party in control of both legislative chambers and the governorship.

Republicans increased the number of states they fully control from 22 to 24. Democrats have total control of six states.

Combined, the results in the states did not dramatically alter the GOP wave of success that followed Republicans’ redrawing legislative districts in 2010.

Republicans were mostly playing defense in the 2016 elections, since most of the state legislature seats being defended by Democrats were safely blue.

“Democrats were poised to make gains due to the natural return of the pendulum to the other side,” said Tim Storey, the director of state services at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “But they did not make huge gains and Republicans got a couple of [new] chambers. So Republicans remain in a dominant position.”

During President Barack Obama’s presidency, Republican politicians have not been shy about enacting their agenda in states.

More than 900 state legislative seats have switched hands from Democrats to Republicans since Obama took office.

“Republicans have taken full advantage of their position in the states, including implementing tax cuts in a number of places, imposing stricter limits on abortion and voting rights, and combating controversial issues like gun control,” Storey said.

Republicans see more areas for policy gains after Tuesday’s elections.

Jonathan Williams, the vice president of the Center for State Fiscal Reform at The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), was especially enthusiastic about one noteworthy chamber that flipped from Democratic to GOP control—the Kentucky House.

The Kentucky House had been the last state chamber in the South with a Democratic majority.

Republicans gained control of the chamber for the first time since 1922 and only the third time in the history of the state.

Williams said that he expects the newly Republican-controlled Kentucky House to help ease the passage of right-to-work legislation, which is backed by Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, and the GOP-controlled state Senate.

Twenty six states have right-to-work laws, meaning workers have the right to not join a union.

“Right-to-work now becomes a slam dunk in Kentucky during the first 100 days,” Williams said.

Williams also counts Iowa as a state ripe for policy action. The hotly contested Iowa Senate flipped for Republicans, giving GOP total control of the state. Iowa’s Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, and its Republican-controlled House, have been stymied by the formerly Democratic-run Senate in enacting tax cuts.

“With the Republican takeover of the Iowa Senate, I can see Iowa as an area of opportunity for conservatives when it comes to tax cuts,” Williams said.



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