Agreeing and not agreeing with Milo 0

Milo Yiannopoulos on Trump:

We don’t entirely share his views on Marco Rubio, but with everything else he says here we heartily agree.

But here he rants against atheists – only reason given, they have no sense of style. More of this conversation is taken up with his disgust with fellow male homosexuals (“Lesbians don’t exist,” he says) who are unkind to Christians:

Needless to say, we don’t agree with him at all about atheists and atheism, but we find what he says, as always, entertaining.

None of us here at The Atheist Conservative, by the way, looks or dresses or behaves the way he describes the appearance and behavior of his typical atheist. But we all laugh with him at the picture he draws.

Posted under Commentary, Conservatism, Humor, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, July 1, 2016

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The new Republicanism 0

It is more than likely now that Donald Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee in the presidential election this November.

It is therefore very likely that the Republican platform will be what he wants it to be. And many Republicans, especially the go-along-to-get-along pillars of the Grand Old Party, most prominently its leaders in Congress, do not like what he wants. They repudiate him and his ideas. They say he is unfaithful to conservative principles and will alter long-standing Republican policies. But if their choice is between changing principles and policies to those of Trump or breaking the Party asunder by thwarting the will of the millions of voters he attracts, they will accept – are slowly coming round to  accepting – Trump and his vision for America. (While probably still planning to knock it into a more familiar and acceptable shape.)

What do his conservative Republican critics object to in particular?

In an article hostile to Donald Trump, but accepting that he is almost certain to be the Republican nominee, Linda Chavez writes at Townhall:

Trump represents a repudiation of the Republican Party’s commitment to smaller government, free trade and an internationalist foreign policy.

Let’s consider these commitments one by one, and assess how far Trump is likely to change them, and how bad the change would be.

Smaller government is certainly a cherished principle of conservative Republicanism. We list it among our core conservative ideals, along with individual freedom, a market economy, and strong defense. Regretfully we admit that government is not likely ever again to be actually small, but does Trump not say anything that suggests he would reduce the hugely overblown bureaucracy oppressing Americans now? He does. He says he will lower taxes. Lower taxes must mean some shrinking of government. And that’s probably the most any conservative Republican could do.

It’s on free trade that we have a difference of opinion with Trump. He has indicated that he would match tariff barriers with tariff barriers. We think that’s counter-productive. But it’s not enough to induce us to call Trump a wrecker of American prosperity. In fact, most of his economic thinking is likely to increase American prosperity very considerably. He would stop foreign aid unless America got something back for it. He would make those countries that want American military protection contribute to the cost of it. And he has plans for job creation which we’re inclined to trust because, as an extremely successful businessman, he has done it.

As for the Republican “internationalist foreign policy” – we’re coming to that.

Here are some points from Charles Krauthammer’s syndicated column on Trump’s recent foreign policy speech. Much as we respect Charles Krauthammer, on this rare occasion we disagree with him.

On the Republican side … foreign policy has been the subject of furious debate. To which Donald Trump has contributed significantly, much of it off-the-cuff, contradictory and confused. Hence his foreign policy speech on Wednesday. It was meant to make him appear consistent, serious and presidential. …

Its major theme, announced right at the top [was]: America First. Classically populist and invariably popular, it is nonetheless quite fraught. On the one hand, it can be meaningless — isn’t every president trying to advance American interests? …

On the other hand, America First does have a history. In 1940, when Britain was fighting for its life and Churchill was begging for U.S. help, it was the name of the group most virulently opposed to U.S. intervention. It disbanded — totally discredited — four days after Pearl Harbor. …

The irony is … it is the underlying theme of [Obama’s] foreign policy — which Trump constantly denounces as a series of disasters. Obama, like Trump, is animated by the view that we are overextended and overinvested abroad. …

Both the left and right have a long history of advocating American retreat and retrenchment. The difference is that liberals want to come home because they think we are not good enough for the world. Conservatives want to wash their hands of the world because they think the world is not good enough for us.

That’s nicely put! Our disagreements will come below.

For Obama, we are morally unworthy to act as world hegemon. Our hands are not clean. He’s gone abroad confessing our various sins — everything from the Iranian coup of 1953 to our unkind treatment of Castro’s Cuba to the ultimate blot, Hiroshima, a penitential visit to which Obama is currently considering.

Trump would be rightly appalled by such a self-indicting trip. His foreign policy stems from a proud nationalism that believes that these recalcitrant tribes and nations are unworthy of American expenditures of blood and treasure.

At least Krauthammer calls it “a proud nationalism”. Linda Chavez, in her article, likens Trump’s nationalism to disreputable [?] European nationalist groups which are better described as tribal. She seems to forget that the United States has for centuries been a melting-pot, and the American nation has been – until very recently under Obama – the least tribal in the world. And Trump’s “nationalism” is better described as patriotism. That’s what an American’s “proud nationalism” really is.

This has been the underlying view of conservative isolationism … It is not without its attractions. Trump’s version, however, is inconsistent and often contradictory. After all, he pledged to bring stability to the Middle East. How do you do that without presence, risk and expenditures (financial and military)? He attacked Obama for letting Iran become a “great power.” But doesn’t resisting that automatically imply engagement?

More incoherent still is Trump’s insistence on being unpredictable. An asset perhaps in real estate deals, but in a Hobbesian world American allies rely on American consistency, often as a matter of life or death. Yet Trump excoriated the Obama-Clinton foreign policy for losing the trust of our allies precisely because of its capriciousness. The tilt toward Iran. The red line in Syria. Canceling the Eastern European missile defense. Abandoning Hosni Mubarak.

Trump’s scripted, telepromptered speech was intended to finally clarify his foreign policy. It produced instead a jumble. The basic principle seems to be this: Continue the inexorable Obama-Clinton retreat, though for reasons of national self-interest, rather than of national self-doubt. And except when, with studied inconsistency, he decides otherwise.

Is Trump’s patriotism a “version of isolationism”?  Is it “inconsistent and often contradictory”? By “unpredictable” did he mean what Krauthammer is taking his words to mean?

What did Trump actually say?

We quote his speech in part (find all of it here):

America first will be the major and overriding theme of my administration. But to chart our path forward, we must first briefly take a look back. We have a lot to be proud of.

In the 1940s we saved the world. The greatest generation beat back the Nazis and Japanese imperialists. Then we saved the world again. This time, from totalitarianism and communism. The Cold War lasted for decades but, guess what, we won and we won big. …

Does he regret those American involvements? Not at all. He is proud of them.

Unfortunately, after the Cold War our foreign policy veered badly off course. We failed to develop a new vision for a new time. In fact, as time went on, our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. … We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper. Very bad. It all began with a dangerous idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interests in becoming a western democracy.

With that we could not agree more strongly. It is not possible to turn states like Iraq and Afghanistan – Arab states, Islamic states – into Western style democracies.

And as for his comment on Obama’s actions – they have been “unpredictable” in that they make no logical sense. Krauthammer chooses them as examples of unpredictability to condemn Trump’s recommendation of it, when in fact Trump means something entirely different – as we shall see.

We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans and just killed be lives, lives, lives wasted. Horribly wasted. Many trillions of dollars were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill that void much to their really unjust enrichment.

They have benefited so much, so sadly, for us. Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster. No vision. No purpose. No direction. No strategy.

Trump goes on to “identify weaknesses in our foreign policy” and to say how he would fix them. Among them (they are worth reading in full) is this:

We’ve had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies, something that we’ve never seen before in the history of our country. He negotiated a disastrous deal with Iran, and then we watched them ignore its terms even before the ink was dry. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, cannot be allowed. Remember that, cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. And under a Trump administration, will never, ever be allowed to have that nuclear weapon …

At the end of his analysis and outline of his intentions he promises:

 This will all change when I become president.

To our friends and allies, I say America is going to be strong again. America is going to be reliable again. It’s going to be a great and reliable ally again. It’s going to be a friend again. We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests and the shared interests of our allies.

Does that sound isolationist?

We need a long-term plan to halt the spread and reach of radical Islam.Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States and indeed the world. Events may require the use of military force, but it’s also a philosophical struggle, like our long struggle in the Cold War.

Absolutely right! And no other politician, as far as we can recall, has said it before.

He goes on to speak of “working very closely with our allies in the Muslim world”, which is one of the few points on which we disagree. There can be no such thing as an American ally in the Muslim world, precisely because “the philosophical struggle” prohibits it. Islam is ideologically opposed to the West.

… And then there’s ISIS. I have a simple message for them. Their days are numbered. I won’t tell them where and I won’t tell them how. We must as a nation be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We tell everything. We’re sending troops. We tell them. We’re sending something else. We have a news conference. We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now. But they’re going to be gone. ISIS will be gone if I’m elected president. And they’ll be gone quickly. They will be gone very, very quickly.

So that is what Trump means by “unpredicatble”. A commander-in-chief does not announce to his country’s enemy just when its army will stop fighting and when he will withdraw his troops – as Obama has done. It is a military absurdity!

He goes on to say “we have to rebuild our military and our economy”.

The Russians and Chinese have rapidly expanded their military capability, but look at what’s happened to us. Our nuclear weapons arsenal, our ultimate deterrent, has been allowed to atrophy and is desperately in need of modernization and renewal. And it has to happen immediately. Our active duty armed forces have shrunk from 2 million in 1991 to about 1.3 million today. The Navy has shrunk from over 500 ships to 272 ships during this same period of time. The Air Force is about one-third smaller than 1991. Pilots flying B-52s in combat missions today. These planes are older than virtually everybody in this room.

And what are we doing about this? President Obama has proposed a 2017 defense budget that in real dollars, cuts nearly 25 percent from what we were spending in 2011. Our military is depleted and we’re asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming.

We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest, single investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned, and I mean unquestioned, by anybody and everybody.

Does that sound “isolationist”?

But we will look for savings and spend our money wisely. In this time of mounting debt, right now we have so much debt that nobody even knows how to address the problem. But I do. No one dollar can be wasted. Not one single dollar can we waste. We’re also going to have to change our trade, immigration and economic policies to make our economy strong again. And to put Americans first again.

But, he says …

I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only is possible, absolutely possible. Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries.

Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can’t make a deal under my administration, a deal that’s great — not good, great — for America, but also good for Russia, then we will quickly walk from the table. It’s as simple as that. We’re going to find out.

Fixing our relations with China is another important step — and really toward creating an even more prosperous period of time. China respects strength and by letting them take advantage of us economically, which they are doing like never before, we have lost all of their respect.

We have a massive trade deficit with China, a deficit that we have to find a way quickly, and I mean quickly, to balance. A strong and smart America is an America that will find a better friend in China, better than we have right now. Look at what China is doing in the South China Sea. They’re not supposed to be doing it. …

To be militarily strong again, and at the same time try to negotiate better relations with an aggressive Russia and China – is that “contradictory” or is it speaking softly while carrying a big stick? 

I will not hesitate to deploy military force when there is no alternative. But if America fights, it must only fight to win. …

Our power will be used if others do not play by the rules. In other words, if they do not treat us fairly. Our friends and enemies must know that if I draw a line in the sand, I will enforce that line in the sand. Believe me.

My goal is to establish a foreign policy that will endure for several generations. That’s why I also look and have to look for talented experts with approaches and practical ideas … We have to look to new people because many of the old people frankly don’t know what they’re doing

No country has ever prospered that failed to put its own interests first. Both our friends and our enemies put their countries above ours and we, while being fair to them, must start doing the same. We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism. The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony.  I am skeptical of international unions  … And under my administration, we will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs. …

I will view as president the world through the clear lens of American interests. I will be America’s greatest defender and most loyal champion. …

The world is most peaceful and most prosperous when America is strongest. America will continue and continue forever to play the role of peacemaker. We will always help save lives and indeed humanity itself, but to play the role, we must make America strong again. … We have to and we will make America great again.

Where are the alleged “inconsistencies”? Where is the “jumble”. (We urge doubters to read the whole speech and tell us if they find any inconsistencies or contradictions that we have overlooked.)

The speech as a whole could be taken as a manifesto of the new Republicanism – what the Republican Party will stand for under the leadership of Donald Trump. He will take the Party forward, but not in the direction it has long wanted to go. It wanted to go, but did not move. He will make both good and bad decisions, as leaders generally do. But he will make them in the interests of a strong and prosperous America, and that is an America that is good for the world.

Pretzels from Neptune 6

We are about to make sweeping generalizations, with no attempt to accommodate all shades of opinion. ( Shades of opinion are welcome in comment.) 

Left and Right inhabit different universes of discourse. Completely different issues concern them.

The biggest issues on the American Left (in random order) are:

  • Climate and the Environment
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Social Justice

To elaborate a little more:

The Left – internationally – holds man-made global warming to be an urgent threat to all life on earth, and tries in the name of saving the planet to force redistribution of wealth over the whole world, the redistributing agent being ideally a world government run according to Leftist values.

The one freedom the Left passionately advocates for is that of Each to seek sexual satisfaction of any kind, and for Each to choose a personal sexual identity, all personal choices connected with sex to be protected by law and subsidized financially, where required, by government.

The Left catalogues all Americans and all foreign nations according to a race analysis, according to which the white race is privileged and oppressive, and all institutions, led by government, have a moral duty to compensate non-whites and handicap whites.

All inequalities between sexes, races, and classes are considered by the Left to be unjust, the injustice being perpetrated by institutions and needing to be corrected by government using any means, including quotas for opportunity and advancement; adjustment of standards for inclusion and compensation; enforced limitations on the expression of dissenting opinion; the redistribution of wealth and power.

The Right does not concern itself with these issues unless compelled to, in which case its dismissive opinion of them is:

Man-made global warming is not true and would not be a bad thing if it were.

Sex is a private matter, only of public concern if it harms children.

Race is irrelevant to all political issues.

All justice is personal, having no meaning apart from the individual; standards must be upheld; power belongs to the powerful and cannot be bestowed; wealth is inescapably unequal in a free society, equality and liberty being mutually exclusive.

The biggest issues on the American Right (also in random order) are:

  • Individual freedom
  • The economy
  • Defense
  • The Constitution

A little more:

The Right holds that individual freedom is the highest value. All innovation, all progress, depends on it.  It requires absolute freedom of speech. The prime duty of government is to protect it.

Capitalism is the only system that lifts people out of poverty and secures prosperity. The Right wants the free market to be left to operate without government interference.

The government’s duty of protection requires a strong military to defend the nation from foreign attack; to maintain America’s superpower status of which the Right is proud; and specifically at this time to stop the advance of Islam and its terrorism.

The Constitution established the best possible system of government for a free society and the Right holds that it must be upheld and defended in its entirety.

The Left does not concern itself with these issues unless compelled to, in which case its dismissive opinion of them is:

The individual is less important than the collective, and individual interests are always subordinate to those of the collective.

Capitalism is evil, it values profits above people, it allows some to be rich while it keeps the many poor. The economy needs to be planned centrally by government for the equal good of all.

Wars should never be fought. Spending money on the military is a huge waste. America should not be the world’s policeman. It should not be a superower.

The Constitution is an outdated document. It says nothing about slavery. It stands in the way of an enlightened executive, such as President Obama’s, hampering his laudable efforts to change America into a more equal society.

Plainly, there is no common ground between Left and Right.

Dennis Prager writes at Townhall:

Just about all candidates for president regularly announce their intent to unite Americans, to “bring us together”.

It’s a gimmick.

If they are sincere, they are profoundly naive; if they are just muttering sweet nothings in order to seduce Americans to vote for them, they are manipulative.

In his acceptance speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, John Kerry, one of the most polarizing figures in modern American political history, said, “Maybe some just see us divided into those red states and blue states, but I see us as one America: red, white and blue.”

And President Barack Obama, who has disunited Americans by race, class and gender perhaps more than any president since the beginning of the 20th century, regularly campaigned on the theme of uniting Americans.

In his 2008 victory speech, President-elect Barack Obama said: “We have never been just a collection of … red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”

In their current campaigns for president, Republican Gov. John Kasich and Democrat Hillary Clinton regularly proclaim their intention to bring Americans together. He, one suspects, because he is naive, and she, because she will say pretzels come from Neptune if it will garner votes.

Bringing people together is actually the theme of John Kasich’s entire campaign.

One headline on the “Meet John” page of his website says, “BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER, LIFTING PEOPLE UP.”

Senator Rob Portman said of Kasich on Feb. 1, 2016, “I am endorsing John Kasich because I believe he is the person our country needs to bring Americans together.”

And Clinton, who, according to CNN, is tied with Trump for the most negatives in presidential polling for either Republicans or Democrats since 1984, also speaks repeatedly about her ability and desire to bring Americans together.

The “Hillary Clinton for President Supporters” Facebook page has even said, “We’re in the business of bringing people together.”

What’s more, on April 6, 2016, CNN posted a YouTube video titled: “Hillary Clinton — We need a president who can bring people together.”

Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton, wrote on The Hill website that “Clinton wants to bring us together”.

Beyond Kasich and Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders made this a major theme in one of his ads called “Together”, which begins with Sanders saying, “Our job is to bring people together.”

Even Trump, who divides Republicans – not to mention other Americans – like no Republican ever has, uses this mantra.

A January article on The Hill site quoted Trump saying, “I can really bring people together.”

Gov. Chris Christie introduced Trump on Super Tuesday, and a NJ.com column released that night was titled, “Christie on Super Tuesday: Trump is ‘bringing the country together’.”

For the record, Sen. Ted Cruz speaks about uniting Republicans, but not often about uniting all Americans.

All calls for unity by Democrats are particularly fraudulent. Dividing Americans by race, gender and class is how the left views America and how Democratic candidates seek to win elections.

But calls for unity are meaningless no matter who makes them, because no one who calls for unity tells you what they really mean. What they really mean is that they want to unite Americans around their values — and around their values only.

Would Clinton be willing to unite all Americans around recognizing the human rights of the unborn? Would she be willing to unite all Americans around support for widespread gun ownership?

Of course not.

She is willing to unite Americans provided they adopt her views.

Would Sanders like to “bring people together” in support of reducing corporate and individual income taxes in order to spur the economy?

Would Kasich be in favor of “bringing Americans together” by having them all support increasing the size of government and the national debt? One hopes not.

I first realized the dishonesty of just about all calls for unity during a 10-year period in which I engaged in weekly dialogues with clergy of all faiths. Protestant and Catholic clergymen and women would routinely call for Christian unity. When I asked Protestants if they would support such unity if it entailed them adopting the sacraments of the Catholic Church and recognizing the pope as the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the discussion ended. Similarly, when I asked Catholic priests if they would give up the sacraments and the papacy in order to achieve unity with Protestant Christians, all talk of unity stopped. And, of course, the same would hold true for both Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews who routinely call for Jewish unity.

Even more absurd are the calls of naive Christians and Jews to have all the “children of Abraham” – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – unite.

The calls themselves can even be dangerous. One would be hard-pressed to name a single free society that was ever united outside of wartime. The only truly united countries are totalitarian states.

So, why do presidential candidates repeat this nonsense every four years? Because Americans fall for it every four years.

But it’s time to grow up.

The gap between the left and right is unbridgeable. Their worldviews are mutually exclusive.

The Left is dangerously wrong.

A strengthening party with a weakening leadership 7

Here is anti-establishment Mark Levin, at CPAC 2016, on the state of the Republican Party. He deplores the fact that its leaders still don’t understand how their failure to use the immense power they’ve been given to oppose Obama, is the cause of the rebellion of millions of Republican voters (expressed in their enthusiasm for Donald Trump –  whom Levin does not actually  mention).

And we quote from an article by (anti-Trump) Kurt Schlichter at Townhall which says and deplores the same thing: the Republican Party leadership has learnt nothing from all that is happening.

Even morons don’t slap their paws on a hot stove twice, but then the GOP Establishment would have to work pretty hard to rise to the level of “morons”. Exhibit A in the case against the cloistered, sheltered Ruling Class is the latest column from mainstream media conservative catamite David Brooks. I’d link to it, but I don’t want to send traffic to the hateful New York Times. Just Google “David Brooks smug clueless jerk” and it should pop right up.

Brooks opposes Trump for all the wrong reasons. He thinks Trump is low class, which Trump is, but that’s where his analysis really ends. Trump, and his followers, are uncool – and even worse, they refuse to acknowledge the natural right of Brooks and his ilk to command them.

Substantively, except for Trump’s recent conversion to actually enforcing immigration laws (which offends both Brooks’ finely tuned sense of decorum and his desire to underpay his housekeeper), Trump and Brooks often seem to agree on a lot  … But while Trump knows his market … Brooks admits he does not actually know anyone who Trump appeals to. For that, he sort of apologizes and promises that in the future he will try harder to do better to comprehend the residents of the country he presumes to write about. …

How condescending. “Oh, I really should have understood the actual people who make up the conservative base better. Duly noted. Now all kneel before me!”

Understand that he’s no fan of Ted Cruz either, mostly because Ted Cruz is so uncouth that he actually presumes to fight the progressive elite that gently pats Brooks on his noggin and invites him to all the best parties, secure in the knowledge that on command he will obediently denounce, disavow and repudiate the same Republicans he is supposed to be representing.

So, Trump gets about 40% of the primary vote and Cruz about 30% and, while I did go to a public school, I still think that adds up to at least 70% of the GOP electorate voting for one or another candidate whose platform is essentially a middle finger to the people like Brooks who ran the party for the last 30 years.

We need to be clear on who the people supporting Trump are. I’m a Trump opponent, though I will vote for him against that evil harpy Hillary Clinton in the general because her combination of unhinged malice and bottomless stupidity will lead her to create a climate that invites lasting damage to the Union, including but not limited to actual violence. But many who agree with me about Trump’s perfidy are seeing what they would like to see rather than what truly is when it comes to the people who support him. …

So let’s understand who Trump’s voters are. … They are not just impoverished victims bitter because they can’t make Buicks anymore. There’s this meme that they are all dirt poor Appalachian oxy addicts, and that’s just silly. … While there is a huge economic displacement component to Trump’s appeal, most of his followers are the “work hard and play by the rules” people who get disrespected by the elite (when people like Brooks bother to notice them at all) but who do much of the work building and defending this country. Note the prominence of American flags [and] veterans’ issues … at Trump rallies. And then there is the talk of prioritizing America’s interests – do not underestimate the appeal to Americans of a politician willing to take America’s side.

Trump fans are not all racists and xenophobes. A lot of conservatives have used the same kind of leftist slanders to tar these people that helped alienate them in the first place, hence the way Trump’s rejection of political correctness is always cited as a yuge part of his appeal.  …

“Yuge” has now passed into the English language, because Trump uses it so often – because his ambitions, his plans, his wall … everything about Trump is huge. Or rather, YUGE.

True, Trump’s followers refuse to follow the rules of the PC kabuki dance that coastal elitists instinctively adhere to when discussing issues of race, sex, or Islam. That doesn’t make them terrible – it just makes them honest. Sure, the coastal types who carefully refer to illegal aliens as “undocumented workers” may frown when some guy from Phoenix calls these criminals what they are – you think the kind of citizen who supports Trump would get a pass if he broke the law? – but it’s the elitists who are the liars. It’s the elitists using PC to cover up the truth about the economic disruption and crime illegals cause, not the Trump voters.

The elitists need to change, not the Trump fans.

But, of course, change is the one thing Brooks never even considers. Sure, he now acknowledges the need to socialize with people outside of Manhattan, by which he no doubt means flying to Iowa next time and awkwardly picking at a plate of French toast in some diner adjacent to a couple farmers in John Deere caps, silently wondering if the butter was locally sourced and counting the minutes until his flight back to La Guardia. But Brooks displays no intention whatsoever of altering any of his views based upon what he claims to have learned. Illegal immigration? Nope, he’s still at “Shut up racists”. Guns? Nope, he’s still at “Let me determine what few weapons you hicks should be glad I allow you to keep”. Obama? Nope, he’s still at “We can’t possibly actually oppose him – look at those [pants] creases!”

See Brooks, you and your buddies haven’t really learned anything because you haven’t shown any inclination to change anything.

Deep down – actually, not that deep down – you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong. You think your own base is stupid and easily led, and you’re just mad because they are too smart to let you and your ilk lead them anymore. 

Posted under Commentary, Conservatism, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Monday, March 21, 2016

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Be there? 14

Much can be said against Donald Trump. And much is said against him.

But what if he is the force – the only force on the horizon – that can and will smash “political correctness”? And ISIS? And keep savage Islam from any further invasion of America? And restore the borders?

Roger L. Simon looks on the bright side of a Trump presidency, writing at PJ Media:

Now that Donald Trump has wiped the floor yet again with the other Republican candidates in the Nevada caucuses, it’s time for the GOP to face reality — barring force majeure, they have a presidential candidate, like it or not. The so-called establishment has a choice: Get on the Trump bandwagon or try some desperate maneuver to stop him. But what would that be? A Rubio-Cruz ticket, assuming they would do it?  At the time of this writing, the two men added together don’t equal the Trump vote in Nevada — and that’s even assuming their voters would hold, which is a risky assumption, given the current momentum. I mean — Donald won 46% of the Hispanics!  Enough already.

A lot of my Republican friends are depressed about this situation. They worry that Trump is not a real conservative.  They cringe at his vulgarity. They are concerned he’s a bully, even totalitarian. I’m not.  And  I am not depressed, even though I admire many of the other candidates in the race.  Given the gravity of the situation, what Obama has done to this nation and the candidates being offered by the Democrats, a world class liar and a Eugene V. Debs retread, a personality as large as Donald may be necessary to revive our country. In fact, I think I’ll take the “may” out of that.

This is what I think the electorate senses and what the Republican establishment fears. Rather than being afraid that Donald will lose, many establishment folks, I suspect, are afraid he will win.  It will not be business as usual and most human beings seek business as usual, especially successful ones. What, for example, is more conventional and unchanging than the Democratic Party?  They have patented stasis under meaningless junk terms like “liberal” and “progressive”.  Nothing ever changes.  Republicans are at risk of doing the same thing with the word “conservative”.  If I hear another candidate claim to be the most “conservative”, I think I’ll bang my head against the table.  I can’t be the only one who feels that way.

So if I were a member of the Establishment, whatever that is, I would quit bellyaching, embrace Donald and make him my friend.  He’s ready and willing.  If you bother to check that ultimate news source the Daily Mail, you’d see that already he is hobnobbing with such Republican stalwarts as Rudy Giuliani, Arthur Laffer and Steve Moore. Unless I missed it, I didn’t notice the article mentioning David Axelrod or James Carville.

And listen to what Trump is actually saying.  He’s for lower taxes and a strong defense and he’s not really against free trade.  He just wants a better deal.  Who wouldn’t and who wouldn’t assume he’d  get a better one than the Obama crowd?  Or the Bush crowd for that matter, on just about anything. He’s also pro-life, despite soreheads … screaming that Trump supports Planned Parenthood when he has said explicitly he does not support what they do on abortion, only on other women’s health issues. …

Don’t fight Donald.  Be smart, co-opt him.  Or, as we used to say, be there or be square.  Next November depends on it.

Arguments pro and con are invited.

(And please do follow the link to the Daily Mail article, which is worth reading.)

Posted under Commentary, Conservatism, liberalism, liberty, Progressivism, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

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The man with the golden mane 6

The Democratic Party had gone wholly over to the dark side and had to be toppled from power.

But its only possible replacement, the GOP, had become so boring! Feeble, flaccid, sotto voce, forever falling as if by uncontrollable reflex into the posture of the pre-emptive cringe.

Until suddenly the busy, brash, boisterous, boastful Donald Trump arose in it and above it, roaring out terse insults and extravagant insincere praises.

Arose like a lion, like a leader. 

The man with the golden mane.

Whatever conservatives might hold against him is beside the point. He fights to win. And that is so new, so surprising, so revolutionary to Republican politicians that they can’t bring themselves to stand behind him even now that he’s their front runner.

But for as long as he is their front runner – perhaps all the way to the White House – they need to urge him on with thunderous (even if feigned!) enthusiasm.

David Solway writes at the New English Review:

The GOP failed to use its congressional majority to assert its foundational doctrines on the misguided assumption that it could woo Democrat voters away from their traditional loyalties or perceived entitlement advantages by presenting itself as the lite version of the opposition. …

But why would left-leaning voters go for Leftism Lite when the real thing is available to them?

Stark examples of Republican surrender abound.  Most recently, a Republican Congress signing on to Obama’s omnibus funding bill has brought itself into tawdry disrepute.  Another instance involves the infamous Corker Bill, which could just as easily have been engineered by Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi.  Senate Republicans refused to deal effectively with the deficiencies of the Corker Bill – a bill, as Andrew McCarthy explains, that was totally inadequate from the beginning to counter the Iranian nuclear threat.  The affair smacks of RINO business as usual.

As Andrew Bostom writes in a critical blog entry for April 15, 2015, Senate Republicans “have cravenly acquiesced to cynical, perverse Obama Administration bullying so as not to be labeled ‘warmongers’.”  Once again, we observe the standard right-wing capitulation from what should have been a position of strength.

One recalls, too, the shameful spectacle of John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, and the bloviating Lindsay Graham doing Obama’s bidding in Egypt in defense of the Muslim Brotherhood, or of McCain coming to the aid of Hillary Clinton’s Brotherhood-tainted adjunct, Huma Abedin, when she was challenged by Michele Bachmann.  Such complicity – voting with or parroting the enemy – is a surefire recipe for yet another Republican electoral defeat … 

In an interesting article for American Thinker, James Arlandson comes to the defense of the GOP establishment, which knows that society “moves by degrees”, that “incrementalism is the only way to retransform America”,  and that the party must appeal to a majority of undecided voters.  It is not an entirely convincing article.  Such temperateness as Arlandson recommends sabotaged Mitt Romney’s campaign and did not prevent the installation of the most radical president in American history, whose skin color did not overlay his bred-in-the-bone Marxism.  And we recall that Ronald Reagan, arguably the best president of the 20th century, was anything but temperate.

It comes down to this: Republicans need to change their game plan and go on the attack, abide by their core tenets, use their congressional majority to stymie a rogue president on every front without fear of electoral blowback, take on a corrupt and partisan media (as Donald Trump is doing, and as Romney did not when he failed to rein in CNN’s Candy Crowley’s illegitimate intervention during the second presidential debate between Romney and Obama), and stop being polite to their political enemies.  They must rally behind their nominated candidate, whoever that turns out to be, turn a deaf ear to the “strategies” of political advisers and so-called experts (who are habitually wrong about everything), counter the debilitating sickness of political correctness, tackle issues like Muslim immigration and cross-border infiltrations on a consensus basis, and, generally speaking, appeal to principle rather than to the opposition.

A tall order, but RINOs [Republicans In Name Only] will not win the 2016 election. Blue Republicans will not convince a partisan, cynical, wavering, or undecided electorate. Canada’s Conservatives lost the [recent] election in part because they shrank from being truly conservative.  Similarly, should the Republicans lose in November 2016, it will be because they failed to be truly republican.

Or perhaps because they’ll fail to follow a new leader who is only just republican enough, only just conservative enough, but is above all a mover and shaker, who could lead them to victory.

Will he? Or will the sober and serious Marco Rubio do it? Or the strong steady Ted Cruz? One of them must.

Must beat the Democratic nominee, whether the crook or the commie.

In any case, the unfolding drama is exciting.

An exciting GOP at last!

 

(Hat-tip for the Solway link to our commenter cogito)

An atheist’s question 3

Ted Cruz answers a questioner who, after introducing himself as an atheist, asks the presidential candidate why he should vote for him.

Posted under Atheism, Conservatism, liberty, United States, US Constitution, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 9, 2016

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Fiorina first, Rubio runner up 6

Charles Krauhammer judges last night’s GOP presidential candidates’ debate:

We agree. (But not with Krauthammer’s comment that Carly Fiorina “had a severe demeanor”, which earned her an A- instead of her well-deserevd A in his judgment.)

We were very impressed with the way she supported her cogent arguments with concrete facts and figures.

Posted under Conservatism, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, September 17, 2015

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J’accuse 2

This kid, 13-year-old CJ Pearson from Georgia, would obviously do a better job in the White House than its present incumbent.

Posted under Commentary, Conservatism, government, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, September 17, 2015

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Eminent wrongheadedness 1

Eminent domain: The compulsory purchase of private property by government “for public use”.

Eminent domain:  Sheer robbery.

From Truth Revolt:

The Sheahan family has owned a 400-acre mine in the Nevada desert town of Groom, 83 miles northwest of Las Vegas, since 1889. This was long before the construction of a secret United States Air Force military base in 1950s commonly known as Area 51. But the family is suddenly facing eviction if they refuse to comply with the military’s demands. …

The Sheahan’s may have just spent their last Labor Day on the property. They [had] until [last] Thursday to accept the payment offer from the Air Force or be evicted from their property through eminent domain. However, the Sheahans say the $5 million offer would be shared by 20 people and is “woefully inadequate” to cover 400 valuable acres that includes a silver mine, and all of the mineral, water, and timber rights.

“We want them to leave us alone,” mine co-owner Joe Sheahan said. “This is our property. It’s legal. These are patents that were signed by Ulysses S. Grant. This is not new stuff.”

Co-owner Barbara Manning added, “And we are not their threat. We have been trying to be really good neighbors for all of our lives and so have our grandparents and our parents.”

The mine has been unable to be worked since 1954 when the on-site mill was blown up and destroyed, believed to be caused by a jettisoned engine from an Air Force Jet. But at least once a month, family members take turns visiting the property to carry out maintenance, or just to simply get away.

Though the family has been allowed to stay on the property for nearly 60 years alongside the military testing base, it is now considered a security risk. From the report:

The Air Force now says that private land ownership in the testing area is incompatible with security and safety concerns.

This is a different line than the family was given back in 1984 when the Air Force sent them the following in a letter:

The Air Force could only terminate your rights through condemnation or purchase of the property. We have no intention of initiating such actions.

The Las Vegas news outlet states that the Sheahans [were]  hoping for Congress to step in to help them avoid eviction … But none of Nevada’s Republican or Democrat congressmen would respond to statement requests. The same goes for Senator Harry Reid and Republican Senator Dean Heller.

The use of eminent domain to confiscate this property may arguably be justified on the grounds that national security takes precedence over property rights.

But eminent domain is too often used to assist powerful commercial interests. The government seizes property and then sells it to private developers, claiming that the new owner will be serving “the public good”.

One entrepeneur who has taken advantage of eminent domain through such a process is Donald Trump.

From the Washington Times, by David Keene:

Conservatives are by their nature a fractious bunch, but through time they have consistently rallied around certain shared values. At times, national defense questions have dominated the national debate and the debate within the movement while at other times, social or economic issues have seemed to define the movement. In fact, however, while the public focus has changed based on circumstances, the basic views of all these hyphenated conservatives have never varied. The organizers of CPAC have for two decades polled attendees as to their core beliefs and have found a consistent belief in free markets and limited government as the dominant definer of the movement.

It’s time for conservatives who share these values to begin questioning the wisdom of the current fascination with Donald Trump. It is true that the man is successfully channeling the conservative frustration with our elected leaders and the media elite. Applauding his willingness to stand up to the false gods of political correctness is understandable as is the outrage at the way the oh-so-comfortable establishment has reacted to him and his rhetoric, but none of that can possibly justify elevating the man to the presidency of the United States. In fact, based on his public statements he is far more philosophically inconsistent or, dare we say it, “liberal” than any of the “establishment” candidates that so frustrate us.

More important perhaps is the matter of temperament. There is always a lot of talk about the “judicial temperament” required of judicial nominees, but the temperament of those we consider elevating to the presidency is even more important. A president’s inclination to abide by the constraints imposed on the office by the Founders is, as we have learned in recent years, directly related to his own concept of his place in the world. The current occupant of the Oval Office finds constitutional limits roadblocks to be bypassed or ignored. Listening to the Donald, one cannot escape the conclusion that he, too, sees himself as too important to be constrained by the scribblings of a bunch of dead white men. That alone is a reason to be skeptical about the man.

One only need go back to his reaction to the Supreme Court decision in the 2005 Kelo case giving government the power to expand the eminent domain power to allow the taking of private property not to build highways, but to give it to others so they can make money and the government can collect more tax money. … It didn’t trouble Mr. Trump, one of the few public figures in the country to publicly praise it. “I happen to agree with it 100 percent,” he said while conservatives around the country were tearing their hair out to find ways to restore the balance between individual property rights, government power and the public good.

Mr. Trump’s position then was predictable. He often entered into “partnerships” with local governments and got them to use their power to go after homeowners standing in the way of yet another Trump Tower, park or monument, and he couldn’t understand why private citizens should be able to stand in his way. A man who thought that way then and continues to think that way, regardless of whether he deserves applause for his positions on this or that issue is not one to be trusted with the awesome power of the presidency.

But it looks more than possible that Donald Trump could be the next president.

And he has some very good ideas. Just to start with, he wants to build a wall on the border with Mexico; hit ISIS hard; and make everybody richer (except hedge fund managers).

We think he would build the wall.

We hope he would destroy ISIS.

And wouldn’t  it be luvverly if he made us all richer?

 

(Hat-tip for the Washington Times article to our highly valued commenter liz.)

Posted under Capitalism, Conservatism, liberty, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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