“Pericles, Alexander, Augustus, Charlemagne, Churchill, Reagan, Thatcher” – Trump? 14

That a serious and excellent historian should even be considering whether President Trump will qualify to stand among the greatest of the great leaders of history, is a tribute to him that could most satisfactorily rile the Democrats if they were to hear of it.

Victor Davis Hanson is the historian who reflects on President Trump’s ambition for America and how leaders who had similar aims in the past succeeded and failed.

He writes at American Greatness to answer his own question, ”Does ‘make X great again’ ever happen in history?”

The short answer: Sometimes.

Here’s one example. By 527 A.D., the Eastern Roman Empire at Constantinople seemed fated to collapse like the West had a near century prior. The Persian Sassanids were gobbling up Byzantine lands in the east. Almost all of old Rome west of Greece had already been lost.

A growing and unsustainable administrative state exercised near control of Constantinople. Christianity was splintering into irrelevant factionalism. The law was a selective mess.

Justinian was certainly an unlikely emperor: an outsider of peasant stock from the northern frontier, an Eastern Latin rather than Greek speaker (and likely the last native Latin-speaking emperor), who would marry an infamous but shrewd courtesan, Theodora.

Yet in some 38 years of sometimes brutal rule, Justinian through the leadership of his brilliant generals, Belisarius and Narses, stabilized the eastern borders. He reclaimed for eastern Rome North Africa, Sicily, much of Italy, and some of Spain, often through small, well-organized armies and prudent alliances. He reformed the bureaucracy, systematized Roman law (Codex Justinianus), and built the magnificent Christian cathedral of Hagia Sophia — the largest church in the world for a thousand years.

Justinian might have done even far more had not a devastating three-year epidemic of bubonic plague spiked and wiped out a quarter of the empire’s population. The millions of losses created a permanent manpower shortage that left the Byzantines vulnerable to relentless Gothic enemies in Western Europe — and ultimately, a century and a half later, the conquests of new Islamic armies in the Middle East and North Africa.

Because from the get-go, Islam has been a religion of war, as it is now. 

The outsider Justinian’s agendas were those of many past reformers and restorers: apply the law equally and rationally, control government finances, restore the value of the currency, unite and inspire the population with iconic buildings and new infrastructure, reform and enhance religious practice [hmm], and offer predictable and steady rule.

History is replete with leaders who wish to perpetuate the status quo and to manage supposed permanent decline, but less frequently witnesses a few successful “great again” reformers of various stripes and agendas, both elected and the more ruthless (e.g., Pericles, Alexander, Augustus, Constantine, Charlemagne, Elizabeth, Catherine the Great, Joseph II, Lincoln, Churchill).

In our own time, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are the most notable restorers. Both came into power at a time when the English-speaking West was considered near spent.

A much talked about “crisis of confidence” and “malaise” had led to general British and American depression about the costs of containing global communism. No one seemed to know what to do about the economy — given stubborn stagflation, low growth, high unemployment and inflation, and a rising “misery” index.

Oil shortages and rising prices were proof of “peak” oil in a dependent West — and permanent reliance on corrupt Middle-East petrodollar kingdoms. Radical Islam and Middle East terrorism were on the rise. 

They were the same thing.

But then so were ascendant “Tiger” economies in Asia that seemed in perpetuity would make cars, steel and just plain stuff better and cheaper than in Detroit or Manchester.

The cultural residue of the Sixties made any call for reformation and renewal seem quaint and hokey.

The late Sixties of the last century being when the New Left began its “long march through the institutions”; which succeeded in the twenty-first century in the almost total takeover of education in the West, and culminated in the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States. These were the Cold War victories of communism.

The United States would no doubt follow Britain’s postwar trajectory.

Downwards.

Declinism — supposedly due to moral nihilism, debt, spiritual emptiness, permanent energy shortages, Cold War militarism, laziness, statism, corruption — was thematic in think tanks and current in-the-know books. …

By “spiritual emptiness” was meant a desertion from the Christian churches. Of course, we see that as one good trend among all those undeniable evils.

After the end of the roaring 1960s and late 1970s, both Thatcher and Reagan were written off as near kooks, advocating strong defense, renewed nationalism, optimism, traditionalism, limited government, lower taxes, smaller government, and free-market deregulation — as pathways to a new muscular Britain and renewed superpower United States.

The results of their revolutions were the collapse of global communism …

That is to say, the collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire in Eastern Europe. As pointed out above, the ideology of communism was not defeated but steadily on its way to its greatest triumphs. But much was restored through the political victories of Reagan and Thatcher. Much was made greater.

…  the eventual restoration of Anglo-American international finance, recalibrated American entrepreneurism, and energy renaissances. Certainly the United States today in terms of technology, defense, agriculture, fossil fuel production, and higher education towers over its competitors in ways that would have seemed impossible in the 1970s.

Higher education? Well yes, in the sciences and technology. In innovation. Despite the ever more arrogant imposition of Leftist orthodoxy in the academies.

The idea of a Trump economic restoration in 2015-2016 seemed equally absurd. Larry Summers had assured us that annualized 3 percent GDP growth was the stuff of “fantasies.” He predicted instead a recession at 18 months of the Trump term, while Paul Krugman insisted on a market collapse in early 2017 with dubious chances of recovery.

We could never “drill our way out” of an energy crisis—so Obama had insisted and wrote off the very idea of a manufacturing rebound as some myth requiring a “magic wand”. Massive illegal immigration was a permanent fact of life, as was the new demography and identity politics. We were apparently to live with the Iran Deal and though not spoken, an eventual nuclear Iran. Nuclear missiles pointed at the West Coast from North Korea required “strategic patience.”

“Lead from behind” …

Surely the most absurd of Obama’s many absurd formulations!

… diplomacy relied on an international consensus of the sort illustrated by the Paris Accord and permanent refugee status of the Palestinians — as well as avoidance of disruptive moves likes leveraging NATO partners to meet their promised contributions, moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, considering taboo tariffs to trim China’s huge surpluses and its assumption that its ascendance to global hegemony was a matter of when, not if.

Trump had lots of assets and advantages in seeking to restore U.S. power and prosperity. American research universities dominate global education. American frackers had produced more natural gas and oil than ever thought possible. Agriculture had never been more productive, and the United States had unused leverage and economic clout to recalibrate trade deals and alliances in a more symmetrical fashion.

The dilemma of Trump’s restoration was similar to that of many radical reformers: being an abject outsider meant he was beholden to few insiders and was largely immune from stifling and ossifying establishment groupthink. Yet his pariah status also ensured little inside help, lots of status quo deep state venom, and a learning curve required to rein in the chariot of a huge and dangerous bureaucracy.

No one knows how this latest historical effort to make great again a perceived ailing state will play out. On the plus side, Trump has sought to restore traditional jurisprudence through impressive judicial nominations. He has praised rather than lectured business and helped to free the animal spirits of capitalism. Trump cut rather than raised taxes, deregulated rather than stymied entrepreneurialism, and expanded energy leasing on federal lands and green-lighted pipeline construction.  His current foreign policy team of Bolton, Mattis, and Pompeo is impressive and seeks to restore U.S. deterrence that will bring far more stability to the world than mushy lead from behind subordination. A possible Chinese agreement to cut their trade surpluses and play by international trading rules, and a North Korean guarantee of denuclearization would be the most significant foreign policy developments since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Where has Trump’s MAGA agenda stalled?

And why? Who stalled it?

Answer: The Republican Party:

A Republican majority House and Senate squandered a rare chance for radical change between 2017-2018 by failing to repeal and reform Obamacare, failing to build a border wall, failing to pass an immigration law that would secure the border and ensure only meritocratic, legal, diverse and measured immigration, and failing to stop out of control spending and debt by addressing unsustainable entitlements.

Both both President Trump and the Republican Party failed to foresee how low the Democrats would sink:

Trump and the Republican Party also have underestimated the effects of radical changes and protocols in voting laws, such as voter harvesting in California that has made Election Day totals largely irrelevant. Trump has neither chipped away at the 90-percent negative coverage of the media nor yet made it irrelevant. …

Inept Justice Department decisions led to the venomous Mueller investigation that ignored real wrongdoing as it chased a Trump collusion unicorn. In some sense, if Trump’s election as the first president without either political or military experience was unprecedented, equally unparalleled was a 90 percent hostile media, coup-like attempts to abort a presidency through absurd resorts to the Logan Act, Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment, lawsuits, impeachment writs, and non-stop celebrity talk of assassination, and death and destruction to the Trump family. Almost any other man Trump’s age would long ago have collapsed under the stress and venom.

The future of Trump’s solid two years of achievement is uncertain. The more his economic policies and foreign affairs bring results, the more the hatred of him grows, both inside and outside his own party.

So Trump’s three signature long-term agendas hang in the balance — checking China’s often ruthless rise to global commercial and eventual military supremacy, growing an economy that includes preeminent American manufacturing, energy production, and industrial output, and ending the idea of a bicoastal elite adjudicating politics and culture for a supposedly backward and declining traditional interior.

No one knows quite how to fathom Trump’s paradox. His extraordinary powers of resilience and retaliation stave off the constant assaults from progressives and the media, and such defiance inspires a red-state America. Yet so far Trump’s caustic retorts also stymie winning over enough swing and minority voters to achieve a 51 percent ruling majority to ensure his ideas of restored greatness.

Is that so? His tweets are his undoing? Yet they are instant communications with his constituency. His loyal followers like them. And their votes put him in the White House.

For now, Trump’s fate may be in the hands of others—as it was in 2016 when what put him over the top was wide scale repugnance at the thought of a corrupt President Clinton and all that her victory would entail. The final take-over of the Democratic Party by progressive extremists might well empower Trump to reelection.

Yet it is a scary idea that the fate of making America great again might hinge on the nihilism of the Democratic Party.

Not if the Democratic Party is defeated in 2020.

It is quite possible, it is even likely, that Donald Trump will be one of the great restorers of history whose achievements endure.

Stupidité! 2

It seems to us that the (unlikely but actual) president of France, Emmanuel Macron, has a crush (decidedly not reciprocated) on President Trump. We do not think that is stupid, just more emotional than is necessary.

Macron came to Washington, D.C., made some speeches, either completely empty – just loose strings of grandiose phrases – or plain nonsensical, and got away unharmed.

Bruce Bawer writes what needs to be said about Macron’s stupidities at Front Page:

Last week, Emmanuel Micron, I mean Macron, visited Washington, had dinner at the White House, and gave a speech on Capitol Hill in which he referred to Hemingway’s memoir A Moveable Feast as a novel, identified the French architect of Washington, D.C., whom Americans know as Pierre L’Enfant, by his middle name, Charles, and attributed a famous line by Ronald Reagan to Teddy Roosevelt. The line in question was the one about how freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.

There was, in fact, a good deal of rhetoric in his speech about freedom – and the threats thereto. Given what’s going on in France these days, that would only make sense. But his approach to his country’s – and the West’s – current travails was, to say the least, curious. On 9/11, asserted Macron, “many Americans had an unexpected rendezvous with death.” How poetic! How French! And how inappropriate a way to refer to thousands of people being evaporated one fine Tuesday morning. He made it sound as if death by jihad had been their divinely ordained destiny – as if the hijackers of those planes had been instruments of some cosmic will.

Macron went on to mention the “terrible terrorist attacks” that have struck his own country in recent years. “It is a horrific price,” he pronounced, “to pay for freedom, for democracy.” Meaning what? In what sense are such attacks the “price” we “pay for freedom”? Did Macron mean something like what London mayor Sadiq Khan meant when he said that living with terrorism is “part and parcel of living in a big city”? I’d say the people who died on 9/11 were paying for American leaders’ blithe indifference to the existential danger of Islam – and that those who’ve died in more recent terror attacks in Europe were paying for their own leaders’ cowardly irresolution (or outright defeatism) on the subject.

Macron might have said something gutsy about his fellow politicians’ culpability in the violent deaths of terrorist victims. But no. Like every other European-establishment political hack, he posed as a hero of freedom. Some hero: he didn’t dare breathe the word Islam or Muslim or even jihad. But what else to expect from a man who … has called for Arabic to be taught in every French high school, for “cathedral mosques” to be built in every major French city, and for enhanced measures to be taken against critics of Islam?

In any event, Macron’s grandiose Gallic gush about freedom – and about the cherished centuries-long friendship between the American and French people (yeah, tell that to the cab drivers in Paris) – was really just throat-clearing before he got around to the Paris climate-change accords, the Iran deal, and trade.

Yes, there was this, somewhat later in his oration: “Both in the United States and in Europe, we are living in a time of anger and fear because of these current global threats, but these feelings do not build anything….Closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world. It will not douse but inflame the fears of our citizens.” Qu’est-ce que c’est? The French claim to love logic. But where’s the logic here? By “current global threats”, Macron presumably meant jihadist violence and Islamization. But what was Macron telling us to do about them? Nothing. Fear is bad. Anger is wrong. And stronger border controls? They won’t work, because they won’t stop the world’s “evolution”. Is evolution his euphemism for Islamization?

Macron proceeded to denounce “extreme nationalism”. Clearly, he wasn’t talking about actual far-right fascists. No, he meant “America first”. He meant Brexit. “Personally, if you ask me,” he said, “I do not share the fascination for new, strong powers, the abandonment of freedom, and the illusion of nationalism.” In short, he was equating “freedom” with rule by the EU and UN (for which he worked in a plug) and indicting ordinary folks who actually think their countries belong to them. During his rant about climate change, Macron proclaimed that we need to save the Earth because, as he put it, “there is no planet B!” Well, I couldn’t help thinking, there’s no France B, either. And the fact is that his own country is going down the tubes – and fast. But if you believed his speech, the only threat to liberté, égalité, et fraternité in the West isn’t Islam but “fake news”. 

Yes, he actually used those words. Unlike Trump, however, he wasn’t referencing the left-wing distortions of CNN, the New York Times, and their European equivalents. Here’s what he said: “To protect our democracies, we have to fight against the ever-growing virus of fake news, which exposes our people to irrational fear and imaginary risks.” Irrational fear? Imaginary risks? Plainly, here was yet another craven European pol who, even as Rome is burning, insists that the problem isn’t the arsonists or the fire but the firefighters. How many of the House and Senate members applauding him on Capitol Hill knew that Macron recently called for a law in France that would summarily close down online sources of “fake news” – by which (he’s made clear) he means news sources critical of Islam?

Macron’s Washington speech, as it happened, came only days after the release of the most comprehensive study yet of Islam in France. Co-sponsored by the Sorbonne, it concluded that the country’s second- and third-generation Muslims, who make up seven or eight percent of its population, are increasingly Islamized. Most have no respect for French law and culture; most approve of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Researcher Olivier Galland said his results were, “to put it mildly, harrowing” – reflective of community values in stark contrast with those of la belle Republique.

France’s mainstream news media reacted to the study with outrage. Galland and his team, charged Le Monde, were “stigmatizing Muslims”. But for those not interested in whitewashing Islam, the study only affirmed a grim reality that has been reported worldwide for years in what Macron would call “fake news” media – a reality of no-go zones, mass car burnings, large-scale gang riots, police who are scared to arrest Muslims, firefighters who hesitate to enter Muslim neighborhoods, anti-Semitic attacks that are driving Jews from France, historians who feel compelled to write “Islamically correct” textbooks, and high-school teachers who (as Millière puts it) “go to work with a Qur’an in their hands, to make sure that what they say in class does not contradict the sacred book of Islam.” Oh, and a tiny cohort of brave fools who are put on trial for daring to speak the truth about all this.

Another recent document is of interest here. On March 19, Le Figaro published a statement signed by about one hundred French intellectuals, among them Alain Besançon, Pascal Bruckner, Alain Finkielkraut, Bernard Kouchner, Robert Redeker, Pierre-André Taguieff, and Ibn Warraq. “Islamist totalitarianism,” they warned, is gaining ground in France by, among other things, representing itself “as a victim of intolerance.” It has demanded – and received – “a special place” in French society, resulting in an “apartheid” that “seeks to appear benign but is in reality a weapon of political and cultural conquest”. The signatories declared their opposition to this silent subjugation and their wish “to live in a world where women are not deemed to be naturally inferior….a world where people can live side by side without fearing each other … a world where no religion lays down the law.”

On the one hand, it was a powerful manifesto – nothing less than a j’accuse for the twenty-first century – whose power lay in its courageous candor about the real threat facing the Republic of France. On the other hand, my response upon reading it was: Well, good luck with that. Some of these intellectuals have been saying these things for a long time; others have joined the chorus more recently. All praise to every last one of them. But nothing will change in France until public proclamations by intellectuals give way to meaningful nationwide action by ordinary citizens – who, alas, in the second and deciding round of last year’s presidential election, gave Macron, this would-be Marshal Pétain, twice as many votes as the woman who, whatever her imperfections and her unfortunate parentage, is the closest their poor broken country has to a potential Saint Joan.

We are not fans of Saint Joan. But we do think Marine Le Pen would have been the better choice for the presidency of France in this late hour when the Islamic jihad needs urgently to be engaged and defeated and the EU disbanded – as she advocates.

The origin and decay of American liberty 4

The United States of America was – uniquely among nations – established on the idea of liberty.

Liberty is not, however, as The Declaration of Independence declares it to be, an “unalienable Right” endowed to Men by “their Creator”.

Nor is it “natural”.

It is a man-made artifact.

We quote from The Constitution of Liberty by F. A. Hayek, Chapter Four, Freedom, Reason, and Tradition:

Though freedom is not a state of nature but an artifact of civilization, it did not arise from design. …

The development of a theory of liberty took place mainly in the eighteenth century. It began in two countries, England and France. The first of these knew liberty, the second did not. As a result, we have had to the present day two different traditions in the theory of liberty … the first based on an interpretation of traditions and institutions which had spontaneously grown up … the second aiming at the construction of a utopia, which has often been tried but never successfully. …

What we have called the “British tradition” was made explicit mainly by a group of Scottish moral philosophers led by David Hume, Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson … drawing largely on a tradition rooted in the jurisprudence of the common law. Opposed to them was the tradition of the French Enlightenment … the Encyclopedists and Rousseau … are their best known representatives. …

There is hardly a greater contrast imaginable between their respective conceptions of the evolution and functioning of a social order and the role played in it by liberty. …

The British philosophers laid the foundations of a profound and essentially valid theory, while the French school was simply and completely wrong. …

Those British philosophers have given us an interpretation of the growth of civilization that is still the indispensable foundation of the argument for liberty. They find the origin of institutions, not in contrivance or design, but in the survival of the successful. …

This demonstration … represented in some ways an even grater challenge to all design theories than even the later theory of biological evolution. For the first time it was shown that an evident order which was not the product of a designing human intelligence need not therefore be ascribed to the design of a higher, supernatural intelligence, but that there was a third possibility – the emergence of order as the result of adaptive evolution.

While liberty needs to be guarded by the rule of law, it will dwindle and perish under regulation.

The more a nation is regulated and organized, the less liberty the people have. A society highly organized and regulated by government is an unfree society.

The United States is becoming ever less free. Its successive governments have become increasingly regulatory, or to put it another way, increasingly Leftist. The trend was interrupted and to some extent reversed by the presidency of Ronald Reagan. When he left office, the decay of liberty resumed. In the last eight years, President Obama – a firm believer in regulatory government – has all too often imposed his personal will by dictatorial executive order. In doing so, he acted as an enemy of the country he presided over.

The great Sovietologist, Robert Conquest, noted that there are “Three Laws of Politics”.

John Derbyshire recently recalled them, writing at National Review:

1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.

2. Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing.

3. The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.

And he adds:

Of the Second Law, Conquest gave the Church of England and Amnesty International as examples. Of the Third, he noted that a bureaucracy sometimes actually IS controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies – e.g. the postwar British secret service.

As the most historically important example of the Second Law, we can now add the United States of America.

Excellent as the US Constitution is, it has not kept governments from the fatal tendency.

The Democratic Party has become a wholly left-wing organization. If the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, is elected to the presidency in 2016, the people will lose such liberty as remains to them.

The fire and the fire engine 7

To vote for Hillary Clinton and side with the Democratic Party is to side with America’s worst enemy – Islam.

Donald Trump made this clear in the speech he gave yesterday in Ohio.

Frank Gaffney writes at Breitbart:

Yesterday in Youngstown, Ohio, Donald Trump delivered the best speech of his campaign to date. Newt Gingrich rightly called it the most important since Ronald Reagan left office.

In fact, in many ways, it was very Reaganesque. After all, long before he became president, Mr. Reagan warned that every generation faces an existential threat to freedom. Mr. Trump made clear that he recognizes the threat to freedom in our time, which he explicitly characterized as “Radical Islam” and its guiding, supremacist ideology, Sharia.

The GOP nominee also channeled President Reagan by espousing a comprehensive strategy highly reminiscent of the one the Gipper formally adopted in his National Security Decision Directive 75 and employed to defeat freedom’s last existential threat: Soviet communism. Mr. Trump recognizes that now, as then, we must bring decisively to bear all instruments of national power – economic, military, intelligence, information and ideological.

The last element, which was emphasized repeatedly in the Trump speech, reflects an essential understanding that has eluded past administrations of both parties and some of the candidate’s most vociferous critics, Democrats and Republicans alike: Jihadists who seek the destruction of our country, its Constitution, and people employ different tactics – including violence, migration, material support for terrorism, recruitment, indoctrination, conversions and stealthy subversion. But they are all motivated by the same ideology: Sharia. Donald Trump declared yesterday that if you embrace that supremacist doctrine, you must seek to supplant our Constitution and, therefore, you are not welcome here.

Specifically, the speech adopted a basic principle: As a foreign national and would-be immigrant to this country, you must share our values to gain admission. That filter has for too long been absent and has greatly contributed to the ominous demographic trends facing not just Europe, but this country, as well: growing numbers of transplanted and inherently hostile populations, most of whom have no interest in assimilating and, rather, insist that freedom-loving Americans accommodate their demands and, ultimately, submit to Sharia.

Finally, the Republican candidate to be our next Commander-in-Chief spoke of a reality that can no longer safely be ignored: There are “networks” in America that support “radicalization”. In so doing, he recognized another hard lesson from Europe’s experience. Violent jihadists rely upon and exploit the infrastructure (including Islamist mosques, societies, cultural centers, front groups, influence operations, etc.) that has been systematically put into place in the West over the past fifty years by Islamic supremacists, notably those associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. …

Much encouraged by President Obama, who has numerous Muslim Brothers advising his administration – to what ends we have seen in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya …

We have no choice but to identify, designate and roll-up such operations. …

At no point since 9/11, and arguably for thirteen years before, has there been a better articulation of what’s at stake and what needs to be done to secure freedom, namely by seeking and achieving Victory over Jihad. We desperately need more such visionary and collaborative leadership.

The other candidate for the Presidency, Hillary Clinton, wants to import many more Syrians – that is, many more devotees of Sharia – into the US. (According to Politifact, 550% more.) She is being massively helped to achieve her aims with funds by billionaires who do not understand that they, along with all non-Muslims, will be the victims of her pro-Islam policy.

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

A massive hack of socialist billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations suggests that his various nonprofit organizations are little more than fronts for his many political activities. His growing closeness to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should be a warning to all.

The hack by a group called DC Leaks, includes 2,576 files from various Soros groups from 2008 to 2016. The DC Leaks website says the attack was “launched by American hacktivists who respect and appreciate freedom of speech, human rights and government of the people.”

Apart from the ease with which the Soros group’s computer system was breached, what we’re learning so far fills in the troubling details of how Soros goes about his business. No doubt, in coming days, more revelations will emerge as researchers comb through the thousands of documents.

But what’s emerged so far is eye-opening. In one of the purloined memos from 2011, titled “Extreme Polarization and Breakdown in Civil Discourse”, a nonprofit Soros group proposes conducting opposition research on a number of highly prominent American critics of radical Islam, including Pamela Geller, Frank Gaffney and Robert Spencer. It also targeted conservative activists and intellectuals David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, Cliff May and former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, Liz Cheney. All of them are strongly pro-Israel and have warned about the threat of radical Islam.

The memo suggests that the research was outsourced to the Center for American Progress (CAP), a leftist think tank that has “received millions of dollars in grants from Soros’s groups”… 

Oh yes, CAP also happens to have been founded by John Podesta, Hillary’ Clinton’s campaign chief. One of many close ties between Soros and Clinton.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post notes that some of the hacked emails show that the Soros Open Society Foundations’ stated goal was “challenging Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies,” in part by “questioning Israel’s reputation as a democracy”.  This is an old Soros trick: He spends money to delegitimize governments and others with whom he disagrees. It’s not about debate, and certainly not “open”, as his groups’ names all suggest. It’s political subterfuge in service of a far-left agenda.

So remember the next time Hillary postures as a pro-Israel Democrat – her campaign has ties to groups that actively undercut the Jewish state, our only real ally in the Mideast. 

But it goes well beyond just Israel. In yet another revelation from the doc-dump, a memo called the “List of European Elections 2014 Projects” details the elaborate efforts of Soros’ well-funded global network to manipulate election outcomes in Europe. The memo includes over 90 Soros projects in Europe to influence election outcomes. Now, through Hillary, he wants to do the same here. And Soros has the clout. …

Happily, he does not always succeed. He tried to influence the British referendum on withdrawal from the European Union, hoping to keep Britain in that corrupt bureaucratic dictatorship, and he failed. 

Fox News reports that Soros has given an estimated $9 million to Hillary-favoring super PACS in 2015 and 2016, more than anyone else. But he’s not Hillary’s only billionaire. Not by a long shot. “Within the past year,” Fox News reported earlier this month, “a total of 24 billionaires have donated more than $42.5 million to two Clinton campaign arms and three allied super PACs”. 

So while Soros and other billionaires fund Clinton’s campaign and other left-wing causes, the Clinton Family Foundation focuses on extending the Clintons’ political clout both here and abroad by trading political access for cash. The Clintons have together pulled in more than $240 million since leaving the White House “dead broke”, as Hillary once put it. Now the Clinton Foundation reportedly is under federal investigation for its questionable fundraising practices.

“It’s a way, effectively, to get around those campaign laws,” noted Peter Schweizer, author of the extensively documented book Clinton Cash, in a recent interview. “Hillary Clinton running for president in 2008, if you’re a foreign oligarch, you can’t give to her campaign, but you can have Bill Clinton give a 20-minute speech for half a million dollars, or you can make a $5 million donation to the Clinton Foundation, and you’ve got access every bit as much as if you had raised money for their political campaign. That’s really what the Clintons have done.”

As the saying goes, between the fire and the fire engine you cannot be neutral.

The fire is Islam, stoked by Soros, Podesta, the Clintons …

The fire engine is manned by Donald Trump, Pamela Geller, Frank Gaffney, Robert Spencer, David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, Cliff May, Liz Cheney …

The GOP – thwarted and vengeful? 14

The Republican establishment is appalled at the prospect of their nominee being Donald Trump.

What might they do about it?

Kevin Rex Heine writes (in part only – so please follow the link and read the whole thing) at RIGHTMI.com

To say that the 2016 Republican Presidential Campaign has become interesting since June of last year is a bit of an understatement, to say the least. An out-of-the-blue “chaos injection” on June 16th (that FOX News polling saw coming as early as March 31st, but no one else picked up on until late May) became the nationally-recognized front runner not five weeks later, completely leapfrogging the “heir apparent” (who promptly went into a freefall, and has now exited the campaign). Because of this chaos injection, one candidate, who was until that point considered to be irrelevant, leapfrogged to become the national runner-up about five and a half weeks later (and was the national front-runner for three days in November), and two young guns are now openly tussling for second place nationally, neither of whom were supposed to have a realistic chance to begin with.

As should have been expected, the thorough derailing of the coronation train for the republican heir apparent makes the professional political establishment very unhappy, and, of course, they’re hell-bent on doing something about that. But the reason that all of their scrambling is increasingly ineffective is that they don’t seem to really understand the causa provocare of the outsider’s challenge, perhaps because they really don’t understand the degree to which the typical voter is disgusted with the political status quo in America, or why. Thus, predictably, the flailing increasingly exposes them for who they are and what they intend, which conversely makes the outsider’s job that much easier. …

Beginning with congressional leadership action in late 2013, carrying through the 2014 national and state party decisions to modify the primary calendar and delegate allocation and binding rubrics, and concluding with the state legislative actions in early 2015 to set the 2016 primary calendar into law, the roadmap was set to secure the nomination for one John Ellis Bush, and accomplish it knowing that their hand-picked candidate would only rarely poll outside the 15% to 20% range of popular support until after the “game day” primary on March 15th (Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio). Anticipating viable “outsider” challenges from Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, and even Rick Perry (Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum being considered either irrelevant or improbable, and Donald Trump completely unanticipated), the split-and-fracture strategy was implemented, and augmented by compromising from within the four anticipated challengers (a sabotage job that only Cruz seems to have recovered from).

Thus, with every single intel tripwire triggering in the exact order and construct needed to validate the hypothesis, the 2016 presidential cycle was looking to be a colossal exercise in futility for the grassroots activists and main street voters, as the coronation trains to Cleveland (republican) and Philadelphia (democrat) were designed to produce a very specific general election match-up (Bush vs. Clinton), which would be a win for the professional political establishment and deep pocket financiers regardless of the November outcome. And then . . .

… The one and only reason that Cruz has no path to nomination, absent Trump, is because the RNC/GOPe “roadmap to Cleveland” was specifically and explicitly designed to prevent Cruz (along with Perry, Walker, Paul, and Carson) from ever securing enough delegates to become the nominee, or enough delegation majorities to force a floor fight over the nomination. The roadmap was designed to produce exactly one predetermined result (with a backup option in the event that ¡Yeb! failed to gain traction), and lock it down on the first ballot in Cleveland. The one and only reason that both Cruz and Carson are still in the mix is that, eight months ago, Trump came in and proceeded to singlehandedly shred the establishment roadmap, and systematically demolish two years of meticulous backroom planning.

Accepting these truths also means accepting the reality that Cruz has exactly two options if he wants any post-convention relevance: (a) Do whatever is necessary to mend fences with both Carson and Trump, and position himself to provide constitutionally-sound policy advice to Trump post-convention, and perhaps even post-election. (b) Broker some behind-the-scenes deal with Rubio, and position himself to become Rubio’s running mate (or Rubio to become his), on the assumption that a combined Rubio-Kasich-Cruz effort can force a contested convention. …

Given that Donald Trump had floated the idea of campaigning for POTUS before (1988, 2004, and 2012), as well as for Governor of New York (2006 and 2014), one could forgive the professional political establishment, deep pocket financiers, and corporate media talking heads for not taking the guy seriously on Wednesday, March 18th, 2015, when he launched his exploratory committee for the republican POTUS nomination. But in the thirteen weeks between then and the Tuesday, June 16th, formal announcement of his candidacy (“I am officially running for president of the United States.”), Trump did things that he wouldn’t do if this were a mere publicity stunt – stock divestitures, disconnecting conflicts of interest, and escrowing certain real estate sources of income. Yeah, he’s serious about this, and because he isn’t owned by either Wall Street, or K Street, or the RNC/GOPe party apparatus, by the time that the professional political establishment, deep pocket financiers, and corporate media talking heads actually figured out that “The Donald” was, in fact, quite serious about his stated intentions . . .

The timing of Trump’s entry into the campaign was, I believe, intended to take advantage of the entire RNC/GOPe 2016 primary construct, once it was locked into place, in a way that allows him to use the rules changes against the very people those changes were designed to benefit, effectively hoisting them on their own petard. Should Trump secure a majority of the convention voting delegates (Rule # 40(d)), and a majority of the delegations of at least eight states severally (Rule # 40(b)), then, according to Rule # 16(a), which binds delegates to the outcome of their statewide (or district-specific) popular vote on at least the first ballot at convention, one Donald John Trump, Senior, becomes the nominee of the Party of Reagan. Game, set, and match to Trump, and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it . . . on paper.

Trump was also savvy enough to know what he was walking into … brilliantly [exposing the weakness of] the road map during a presser last August (full video here). Yet, since his entry, he has spoken the truth both to the powerful and the common on trade reform, immigration reform, foreign policy failures, tax reform, and veterans’ issues (among many others). In doing so, he has forced the other candidates, on both sides of the aisle, to respond by engaging in serious discussions on those very same issues. He also had the stones to go after George W. Bush regarding 9/11 and Iraq, which is supposed to be sacred ground to “republicans” … And that wall on our southern border? Notice that neither Felipe Calderon nor Vincente Fox are questioning whether the wall should be built, but only that Mexico will not be paying for it (a distinction that the press is somehow overlooking). Yet, there’s something that neither of them wants us to know about, which likely provides a means (in addition to renegotiating trade agreements and impounding the foreign aid) to raise enough money – at Mexico’s expense – to pay for the wall. …

But –

Just because the game may soon be all but over on paper doesn’t mean that the powers that be are going to quit, no siree! The uni-party globalists are aware that a Trump win ultimately means that their hands will be forcibly pried from the public trough, and they don’t care for reversing the decline of America that not only they, but also their philosophical ancestors, have been engineering for a shade over a century. The prospect of a nominee, and in all likelihood a president, who isn’t owned by them (therefore doesn’t answer to them), has detailed insider knowledge of what needs to be done to restore America to greatness (plus openly “America first” in his thinking), and is well aware of what they’re up to, has them quite concerned. And those of us who’re paying attention are seeing the indicators that they’re preparing to reach deep into their bag of dirty tricks.

Students of history may recall the “Republican Disunity” 1964 campaign ad run by Lyndon Johnson, which focused on public remarks from republican governors Nelson Rockefeller (New York), William Scranton (Pennsylvania), and George Romney (Michigan), said remarks calling the credibility of republican senator and presidential nominee Barry Goldwater (Arizona) into question, and saying in effect that Goldwater’s nomination and election would essentially end the Republican Party. This was the ad that ultimately gestated the principle now known as Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment.

(Which was, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”)

More recently, in the 2014 U. S. Senate primary runoff in Mississippi, the National Republican Senatorial Committee pulled out all the stops to defend one of the establishment’s own (Thad Cochran) against an insurgency challenger (Chris McDaniel). Recall that McDaniel won the initial matchup on June 3rd, but because he finished 1,719 votes short of an outright majority, a runoff election took place three weeks later. During those three weeks, racist attack ads, paid for by prominent republican senators and Karl Rove’s super PAC motivated black democrats to show up and boost Cochran to a 7,667-vote runoff win. (Apparently, a little vote buying didn’t seem to hurt, either.)

Now, while you’re thinking about Goldwater and McDaniel, allow me to also remind you of Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller, and Ken Cuccinelli, each of whom upset an entrenched establishment insider in their primaries, and each of whom was subsequently and openly betrayed by the Republican Party in the general campaign. These five names should suffice to remind you that the RNC/GOPe will not hesitate to burn down their own house, as long as they retain their seat at the public trough. And yes, that means that the professional power brokers and deep pocket financiers will have no problem with a Hillary win this year, because they will still have the access that they crave, and the damage to liberty and the republic be damned.

The signals were already being sent late last year, that the professional political establishment was preparing to lay the groundwork for one of two options, either (a) force a contested convention, so as to block Trump’s nomination on the convention floor and insert a more suitable option, or (b) field an independent general election candidate – à la George Wallace – who can potentially pull enough states to force an Amendment XII Electoral College deadlock, and throw the election to the House of Representatives. Option A requires the candidates already in the field to be able to, individually or collectively, hold Trump below the 1,237 delegates needed for nomination majority; option B requires someone acceptable to the RNC/GOPe, who could credibly conduct an independent campaign against both Trump and Clinton.

Do you think it a coincidence that now – after convincing wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada (and a credible second-place finish in Iowa) – that the attacks on Trump start to ratchet up in volume, intensity, and viciousness, attack ads that will be using paid acting talent in an attempt to force Trump to respond, and take him off his message? Do you think it ironic that the Isolate-Ridicule-Marginalize strategy includes last cycle’s news, who has been conspicuous by his heretofore silence, suddenly weighing in to state his absolute certainty that there must be some sort of bombshell hiding in Trump’s tax returns? Do you find it curious that there is now intel that the deep pocket financiers have already developed a contingency plan in the event that neither Rubio nor Kasich have gained any traction by March 15th? Does it surprise you at all that the person currently envisioned as the savior of the RNC/GOPe professional political establishment [Mitt Romney], is not in the current field of candidates?

And you can bet that Donald Trump is well aware of what the power brokers and financiers are up to, as he made subtly clear at a Mississippi rally roughly two months ago. Even better, we now have the probability that a certain former chairman of the Republican Governors Association [Chris Christie], previously thought to be a part of the plan to grease the skids for a JEB nomination, may in fact have been a Trump mole the entire time. That hypothesis, if true, would explain much.

If this analysis is right, Donald Trump, far from being the oafish clown so many are making him out to be, is extraordinarily smart, highly politically astute .

Thus far, he has outfoxed them all.

 

(Hat-tip for the Heine article to Sonya Kantor)

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)

In with the new 5

The times they are a-changing.

A new sort of politics is arising: populist, passionate, inconsistent, pragmatic, loud, muscular, energetic, boastful –  and gloriously capitalist.

It’s case is put in exclamations rather than arguments. Policy statements abrupt as a tweet.

Donald Trump invented it, heralds it, personifies it.

The conservative National Review got a bunch of conservatives – some of them greatly and justly respected as thinkers of the Right – to explain that Trump doesn’t belong with them.

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They’re right. He doesn’t.

But it is they who must catch up.

Mark Steyn puts it this way:

I’ve received a ton of emails today asking me what I make of the National Review hit. I used to contribute to NR, and I generally make it a rule not to comment on publications for which I once wrote. … Nevertheless, notwithstanding some contributors I admire, the whole feels like a rather obvious trolling exercise. …

I don’t think Trump supporters care that he’s not a fully paid-up member in good standing of “the conservative movement” – in part because, as they see it, the conservative movement barely moves anything.

If you want the gist of NR’s argument, here it is:

I think we can say that this is a Republican campaign that would have appalled Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan…

A real conservative walks with us. Ronald Reagan read National Review and Human Events for intellectual sustenance…

My old boss, Ronald Reagan, once said…

Ronald Reagan was famous for…

When Reagan first ran for governor of California…

Reagan showed respect for…

Reagan kept the Eleventh Commandment…

Far cry from Ronald Reagan’s “I am paying for this microphone” line…

Trump is Dan Quayle, and everyone and his auntie are Lloyd Bentsen (see here): “I knew Ronald Reagan, I worked for Ronald Reagan, I filled in Ronald Reagan’s subscription-renewal form for National Review. And you, sir, are no Ronald Reagan.”

You have to be over 50 to have voted for Reagan, and a supposed “movement” can’t dine out on one guy forever, can it? What else you got?

Well, there are two references to Bush, both of them following the words “Reagan and”. But no mention of Dole, one psephological citation of Romney, and one passing sneer at McCain as a “cynical charlatan” – and that’s it for the last three decades of presidential candidates approved by National Review, at least to the extent that they never ran entire issues trashing them.

Will the more or less official disdain of “the conservative movement” make any difference to Trump’s supporters? Matt Welch in Reason:

Many or even most of the people who make a living working in politics and political commentary—even those who think of themselves as outsiders, such as nonpartisan libertarians—inevitably begin to view their field as one dedicated primarily to ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth, and NOT to the emotional, ideologically unmoored cultural passions of a given (and perhaps fleeting) moment.

I’d put that contrast slightly differently. The movement conservatives at National Review make a pretty nice living out of “ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth”. The voters can’t afford that luxury: They live in a world where, in large part due to the incompetence of the national Republican Party post-Reagan, Democrat ideas are in the ascendant. And they feel that this is maybe the last chance to change that.

Go back to that line “When Reagan first ran for governor of California…” Gosh, those were the days, weren’t they? But Reagan couldn’t get elected Governor of California now, could he? Because the Golden State has been demographically transformed. …

The past is another country, and the Chamber of Commerce Republicans gave it away. Reagan’s California no longer exists. And, if America as a whole takes on the demographics of California, then “the conservative movement” will no longer exist. That’s why, for many voters, re-asserting America’s borders is the first, necessary condition for anything else – and it took Trump to put that on the table.

Dr. Brad Lyles writes at Canada Free Press:

It is discouraging to find the National Review, home to a profundity of prominent pundits, attacking the frontrunner, Donald Trump, on the very eve of the first primary contest. “Conservatives against Trump?” Really? …

Conservatives against Trump misses the point entirely. None of us regular guy and gal Conservatives out here in flyover-land … are encumbered by the ridiculous ages-old insistence upon purity in Conservative candidates.

Most people in the real world understand life is composed of incessant demands we make “trade-off” decisions. Traditionally, the only political class denying the reality of trade-offs has been the Left. It is certainly no longer helpful, if ever it was, for our Conservative literati to parse candidates’ strict allegiance to Conservative doctrine (and I write this as a life-long staunch Conservative).

How can National Review be so wrong? How can so many Conservative luminaries be so wrong?

It is easy. They can adopt the timeworn requirement that a Republican candidate, especially one who self-identifies as a Conservative, be a purist Conservative. In the current circumstance, however, the literati actually do possess the option of a purist Conservative, Ted Cruz. For the first time in history (well, aside from Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan), Conservative purists can realistically expect to run a purist Conservative candidate.

And it is true Ted Cruz is a proven Constitutional Conservative, his dedication to the cause attested to by his education, training, practice, office, and nearly every single word he’s ever uttered.

But now (or at least since June 16, 2015), a quasi-Conservative has entered stage left, pirouetting far beyond every other diva on the stage and stealing the limelight every single damned day since.

How can this be? How has Trump been able to polarize the debate so deliciously — among Conservatives? Easy answer: The self-immolating wing of the Conservative Movement, including the bright lights at National Review, again, insist upon purity.

Is this prudent? In particular, does Ted Cruz’ Conservative purity predict he will/would be superior to Trump as President? Reflexively, we Conservatives would answer, “of course”.

Life doesn’t always work that way, however. We are constrained by trade-offs not of our own choosing. For example, Cruz will endeavor to reinstate Constitutional principles. But, striving against the hydra of the Administrative State and the Crony-Capitalist Establishment, Cruz will likely make no more headway than even Ronald Reagan when merely trying to close the infant Department of Education.

Furthermore, Cruz’s legal/Constitutional expertise just simply is no match for Trump’s likely success in his emblematic asymmetric approach to diplomatic, economic, cultural, and military endeavors. Moreover, Trump’s personal history of success in most every endeavor, cannot be underestimated as a boon to the Presidency.

There is one more spectacular element which makes Trump likely to be a natural-born comprehensively successful President — and for Constitutionalists as well. He has declared himself, and then doubled down, on his intention to destroy radical Islam — declaring the need for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country — how incendiary! And he declared to “build a wall”,  and shut down illegal immigration. Whoa! And he not only survived the media conflagration following both pronouncements, he destroyed the media in the process.

These two issues, illegal immigration and radical Islam, are the two pivotal issues of our time, the “existential” issues that are truly existential. If we do not prevail in these two arenas, we will prevail in none.

But wait … the citizen can also win a guy who  emphasized the necessity of a “huge” military (and huge support of Vets). But there’s more. … The citizen can also win draconian tax cuts, slashed regulations, with the jobs and prosperity inevitably to follow (Ex. Presidents Harding, JFK, and Reagan). …

In particular, Trump has accomplished what no politician, ever, has accomplished. He owns the media. He defeats the media and gets his message out no matter the forum and in every forum.

In fact, some would argue the media and its sibling Political Correctness Movement are the true“existential” threats facing this country. Both facilitate nearly all dangerous things we contend with. Trump’s conquest of these malign forces, as President, may be the most pivotal accomplishment of any President in history. Imagine four more years of this tour de force! Fabulous!

Trump can bring us successes on the political battlefield — and for Conservatives — unmatched even by Ronald Reagan. And it will be fun! National Review and its peerless contributors should be ashamed of their lackluster vision.

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Posted under Capitalism, government, immigration, Islam, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 24, 2016

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Neo … what? 19

We had supposed that Neoconservatives were persons who had been on the Left, seen the light, and so become conservatives.

We thought they charmingly but mistakenly considered it possible to spread democracy, love of liberty and Austrian School economics round the world.

But it seems we were largely wrong.

Jack Kerwick explains, at Townhall, what Neoconservatism is all about:

In spite of the ease with which the word “conservatism” is thrown about these days, most people who associate with the “conservative” movement are not really conservative at all. In reality, the so-called “conservative” movement is a predominantly (though not exclusively) neoconservative movement.

Contrary to what some neoconservatives would have us think, “neoconservatism” is not an insult, much less an “anti-Semitic” slur. The word, rather, refers to a distinct intellectual tradition — a point for which some neoconservatives, like its famed “godfather”, Irving Kristol, have argued at length.

To start with then, neoconservatism is not entirely neo; it refers to a tradition. Though not a conservative tradition –

In The Neoconservative Persuasion, Kristol argues for another claim: neoconservatism and traditional or classical conservatism are very different from one another. “Neocons,” he states, “feel at home in today’s America to a degree that more traditional conservatives do not.” Unlike conservatism, neoconservatism is “in the American grain”.  And this is because it is “hopeful, not lugubrious; forward-looking, not nostalgic; and its general tone is cheerful, not grim or dyspeptic”.

Furthermore: “Its twentieth-century heroes tend to be TR [Teddy Roosevelt], FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt], and Ronald Reagan,” while “Republican and conservative worthies” like “Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Barry Goldwater are politely overlooked.”

FDR a hero of American conservatism! Coolidge and Goldwater overlooked!

Neocons view the United States as “a creedal nation” with a “‘civilizing mission’” to promote “American values” throughout the world, to see to it “that other governments respect our conception of individual rights as the foundation of a just regime and a good society”.

But what creed would that be? What American values? And what individual rights did FDR nurture, protect, and promote?

Kristol is unambiguous in his profession of the American faith: the United States, given its status as a “great power” and its “ideological” nature, does indeed have a responsibility “in those places and at those times where conditions permit it to flourish”, to “‘make the world safe for democracy”.

Democracy, eh? In its “civilizing mission”. So there we go. We weren’t wrong in all our suppositions.

Here, Kristol articulates the foreign policy vision — “Democratic Realism” is what Charles Krauthammer calls it — for which neoconservatism is known. Yet to Kristol’s great credit, he readily concedes what most neoconservatives readily deny: Big Government abroad is, ultimately, inseparable from Big Government right here at home.

Kristol is refreshingly, almost shockingly honest: Neoconservatism, he informs us, endorses “the welfare state”. Its adherents support “social security, unemployment insurance, some form of national health insurance, some kind of family assistance plan, etc.” and will not hesitate “to interfere with the market for overriding social purposes” — even if this requires “‘rigging’” it instead of imposing upon it “direct bureaucratic controls”.

And this is “really conservatism”, and it “predominates in the conservative movement”?

As Kristol says, neoconservatives are “always interested in proposing alternate reforms, alternate legislation (to the Great Society), that would achieve the desired aims”—the eradication of poverty — “more securely, and without the downside effects”.  Neoconservatives don’t want to “destroy the welfare state, but … rather reconstruct it along more economical and humane lines”.

In vain will we search the air waves of “conservative” talk radio, Fox News,National Review, Commentary, The Weekly Standard, or any other number of mainstream “conservative” publications for a negative syllable regarding Irving Kristol. Though Kristol, like his son, Bill, is commonly referred to as a “conservative”,  he himself not only explicitly embraced neoconservatism as his “persuasion” of choice; Kristol happily embraced the distinction of being “the godfather” of this persuasion.

In other words, if anyone can be said to be the intellectual standard bearer of neoconservatism, it is Irving Kristol.

And yet here he is unabashedly conceding what some of us have long noted and for which we’ve been ridiculed: neoconservatism is every bit as wedded to Big Government as other species of leftism — even if its proponents want to use it in other ways and for other purposes.

Because Obamacare is woefully unpopular, neoconservative Republicans, both in politics and the “conservative” media, have nothing to lose and everything to gain from trashing it. But at this time leading up to the midterm elections, more traditional conservatives would be well served to bear in mind that, in principle, neoconservatives do not object to “some form of national health insurance”, as Kristol tells us.

So now we know. Neocons are socialists.

Indoctrinating the Green religion and its threat of hell on earth 11

There was a time, between the mid 1960s and the collapse of the Evil Empire around 1990, when little children were raised by “progressive” parents to fear that a terrible nuclear war was about to destroy all life on earth, starting at any moment, and all because the Western world was armed with nuclear weapons. The instilling of terror in the poor tots could not start early enough in the passionate opinion of hippie and New Left moms and dads. Ghoulish lullabies were sung to babies about carrion crows sitting on their cradles.

By winning the Cold War, the wicked West – led by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – put an end to that scam. Though maybe not to the effects of the dread deeply implanted in two or three generations of children.

What is it with the Left that it wants to instill anxiety and fear in their kids? Do they want their nights riven with shrieks as junior wakes hysterical from a nightmare? Seems so.

They’re at it again. This time the bed-time story – and the day time lesson – is that the earth is about to heat red hot, boiling oceans are about to rise and flood the continents, all the cuddly white polar bears will drown (because they cannot swim and have to to dwell on ice floes which will melt under them), the tops of the mountains will lose their pretty caps of snow, fish will mutate into Jesus Christ or Charles Darwin, and all because the wicked West won’t stop using aerosol cans, herding flatulent cows, driving motorcars, and breathing out.

This is from Front Page, by Mary Grabar:

Under [Arne Duncan’s] watch the Department of Education has become a propaganda arm used to influence the next generation to accept the idea of catastrophic man-made climate change as per the UN, the Environmental Protection Agency, and such groups as the National Wildlife Federation. 

In a multi-pronged approach, the Department is teaming up with various non-profit and government organizations and curriculum companies to promote “fun” contests and activities for students, while promoting the next phase of Common Core “State Standards” — in science.

For example, the Department’s latest Green Strides newsletter (February 28) announced three contests for K-12 students who display their agreement with the government’s position on climate change.

In that newsletter, the Department of Education announced that another federal agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], and its National Environmental Education Foundation, have “launched an exciting video challenge for middle school students called Climate Change in Focus”.  In this contest, middle school students are asked to make a video that “expresses why they care about climate change and what they are doing to reduce emissions or to prepare for its impacts”.  To win loyalty to the EPA, it is announced that winning videos will be highlighted on the EPA website. The effort sounds like the kids’ cereal box promotions of yore: the top three entries will receive “cool prizes like a solar charging backpack”,  winning class projects will receive special recognition for their school, and the first 100 entrants will receive a year’s subscription to National Geographic Kids Magazine.

Another contest, National Wildlife Federation’s Young Reporters for the Environment, invites students “between the ages of 13-21 to report on an environmental issue in their community in an article, photo or photo essay, or short video”. Entries should “reflect firsthand investigation of topics related to the environment and sustainability in the students’ own communities, draw connections between local and global perspectives, and propose solutions”.

Students are also encouraged to make nominations for “Champions of the Earth”, a “UN-sponsored award for environment, Green Economy, and sustainability”. …

Students already get exposed to climate change and sustainability in textbooks which are bought with taxpayer funds, as well as in videos and online materials produced by taxpayer-supported Public Broadcasting. Many students, of course, have had to sit through Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. …

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) — the next phase of Common Core — will make the situation worse, however. Students will be even less capable of distinguishing science from propaganda. These standards, like those for math and English Language Arts, were produced by Achieve, a nonprofit education group started by corporate leaders and some governors.

Started by lefties is our guess. Sensible decision to be “non-profit”. Who would buy their product?

As in the standards for English Language Arts and math, the NGSS are intended to be transformative, or as Appendix A states, “to reflect a new vision for American science education”. They call for new “performance expectations” that “focus on understanding and applications as opposed to memorization of facts devoid of context”. 

In plain words, indoctrination – teaching what to think,  instead of education – teaching how to think.

And they can even manage to do this with the teaching of Mathematics. Wow!

It is precisely such short shrift to knowledge (dismissively referred to as “memorization”) to which science professors Lawrence S. Lerner and Paul Gross object. The standards bypass essential math skills in favor of “process”, they asserted last fall at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation blog. [They said that] Common Core standards, in all disciplines, are written with a lot of fluff to conceal their emptiness. …

Lerner and Gross condemn the “slighting of mathematics”,  which does “increasing mischief as grade level rises, especially in the physical sciences”. Physics is “effectively absent” at the high school level. … [They] attack the “practices” strategy, as an extension of the “inquiry learning” of the early 1990s, which had “no notable effect on the (mediocre) performance of American students in national and international science assessments”. 

With some sarcasm, they write, “It is charming to say ‘students learn science effectively when they actively engage in the practices of science’.” However, … beginners don’t and can’t “practice” [science]  as do experts. The practices of experts exploit prior experience and extensive build-up in long-term memory of scaffolding: facts, procedures, technical know-how, solutions to standard problems in the field, vocabularies — of knowledge in short.

Not only do the Next Generation Science Standards shirk the necessary foundations in math and science knowledge, but they explicitly call for including ideological lessons, such as “Human impacts on Earth systems”.

For grades K-2, students are to understand, “Things people do can affect the environment but they can make choices to reduce their impact.” In grades 3 through 5, students will learn “Societal activities have had major effects on the land, ocean, atmosphere, and even outer space. Societal activities can also help protect Earth’s resources and environments.” …

The objective, of course, is not teaching legitimate science, but indoctrination.

Amazingly, ten states have already voluntarily adopted the Standards.

Such efforts, coordinated by the Department of Education, threaten the future of science itself.

When will this lunacy pass? We venture to state our secret conviction, hoping the all-powerful EPA Gestapo is not listening:

The planet we live on is not under any existential threat. And if it were, there’s not a thing anyone could do about it. 

So sleep well, children. Happy dreams.

Tear down this red wall 3

There is a red wall in the schools and academies of America which needs to be torn down.

This is from Townhall, by Terrence Moore:

The ninth of November marked the twenty-fourth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, probably the most important historical event since World War II and the most important lesson about human freedom experienced within the living memory of most of us. …

How is this lesson being taught in the nation’s classrooms? For while those of us in our forties and older remember the fall of communism and its causes, today’s teenagers are wholly in the dark. What, then, are the high-school students of today being taught about what exactly — what principles, what forces, which people — brought down the Wall?

It is actually fairly easy to answer this question since forty-five states are now controlled by the testing and curricular regime known as the Common Core. … If we just take a quick glance at Appendix B of the Common Core English Standards, which recommends “exemplar texts” for reading, we find the addresses of a host of worthy historical figures: Patrick Henry, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, and, yes, Ronald Reagan. What a model of non-partisan selection!

But it would behoove us to look at which speech of Reagan is being recommended: “Address to Students at Moscow State University.” Now that is rather odd. Would that speech be the first that comes to mind when we consider “the best of Reagan”? Was that address the most historically significant? Why not the First Inaugural or his acceptance speech at the 1980 Convention or his important addresses on foreign policy or even his 1964 “A Time for Choosing” on behalf of Barry Goldwater that launched him to political prominence? Might this be a case of the architects of the Common Core wanting to look non-partisan by having Reagan’s name on the list while actually trying to take away the force of his message to America? We can solve the mystery by finding out what will take place in classes across the land …

On pages 403-4 of Pearson/Prentice Hall’s LITERATURE, Grade Ten, Common Core Edition, we see an editorial written on the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It appeared in The New York Times. It begins, “The Berlin Wall was bound to fall eventually”. …  [It] continues:

But that it came down as bloodlessly as it did 10 years ago this week is largely a tribute to one leader. Today Mikhail Gorbachev is a political pariah in Russia and increasingly forgotten in the West. But history will remember him generously for his crucial role in ending the cold war and pulling back the Iron Curtain that Stalin drew across Europe in 1945.

So there you have it. Gorbachev brought down the Wall. Why? Well, evidently because he was a good guy. In one line of the editorial we are treated to a masterful use of elliptical prose: “As political pressures began to build in the late 1980s, Mr. Gorbachev was left with two options.” Etc. What political pressures? Who or what brought those pressures? We are not told. The New York Times editors assign the words “enlightened,” “idealism,” and “pragmatic” to Gorbachev. Indeed, the General Secretary of the Communist Party is said to have had “a wisdom and decency that is sadly rare in international power politics”.  Does that comment extend to American participants in international power politics, particularly at that time?

Those of us who lived through those years and kept up with events might wonder what role, if any, Ronald Reagan played in this drama, according to the textbook editors. Will the adjectives “enlightened,” “pragmatic,” “wise,” and “decent” be applied to him? His name is not to be found in any of the documents concerning the fall of the Berlin Wall. But on page 449, we do find, as promised in the Common Core, his Address to the Students of Moscow State University held up as a model “exemplar text”.  Unfortunately, the address is so heavily highlighted with shades of green, blue, orange, gray, purple, and pink — and so buried under the jargon of two-bit literary criticism (central idea and point of view, methods of development, organizational structures, rhetorical devices, figurative language, tone and word choice) — that it is hardly readable. Worse still, in the textbook editors’ introduction to the speech, students are told the following:

Led by Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviets were blazing through the greatest changes they had seen since the 1917 revolution. Although reforms were rapidly taking root, they were not far enough from communist ideology for Reagan. . . . In this excerpt, notice how Reagan restrains his strongly anti-communist sentiments while still extolling the ideals he represents.

The lesson? The enlightened, idealistic, wise, decent, and yet pragmatic Gorbachev had events well under control. The Soviets were “blazing through changes”; i.e. reform must have been their idea. But things were not moving fast enough for the strongly-anti-communist (i.e. stubborn, right-wing) Reagan. Nonetheless, we, the editors, have found a rare speech in which he actually moderated his tone. That’s Reagan at his best, insofar as he had a best.

What’s missing in this account? “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Those are the words that brought down the Wall. But they are not to be found in the Common Core and therefore in the classrooms of America.

The architects of the Common Core plainly do not want the young people of America to read or to watch – for it is on the Web – that speech. The progressive bureaucrats who are now in control of the nation’s schools do not want the young people of America to know that the Cold War was won on principle, that courage and resolution on the part of Americans were essential to the ending of tyranny in the communist-controlled countries and the protecting of freedom in the rest of the world. They certainly do not want young Americans thinking that we were in the right and had to be prepared to use force against an evil empire. Above all, the arch-testers do not want today’s youth and tomorrow’s voters to know that in this contest for right and freedom a former actor named Ronald Reagan played the starring role.

He did – in partnership with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. All that Gorbachev can be credited with is that he saw – what by then was hard to miss – that the USSR could not survive. He tried to make adjustments so that it just might. It was impossible.

It had always been impossible for Communism to work. That is to say, it is not a system that can foster and protect prosperity, happiness, liberty, or even life. And when something can’t work, it doesn’t. The only surprising thing about the Soviet Union is that it creaked on in its hellish way for 70 years before it came to its grinding halt.

American children mis-educated by Common Core doctrine will not be told this. The compilers of Common Core text books seem still to have faith that Communism could work if only a few American generations could be brought up to believe that it could.

Leftists believe in the power of faith just as Christians do. But faith never has and never will overcome reality.

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