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  • Archive for the 'Politics' Category

    Life in the Fully Politicized Society (rerun)

    Posted by David Foster on 20th September 2016 (All posts by )

    (The politicization of American society has increased markedly since I wrote this post in May of 2014.  Sports, for example, is now politicized–see what happens when a culture loses its last neutral ground?–along with everything from shopping to education. The sway of ‘progressive’ orthodoxy continues to extend its sway over all aspect of American life.)

    Many will remember Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech, in which she said:

    Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed….You have to stay at the seat at the table of democracy with a man like Barack Obama not just on Tuesday but in a year from now, in four years from now, in eight years from now, you will have to be engaged.

    Victor Davis Hanson notes that she also said:

    We are going to have to change our conversation; we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history; we’re going to have to move into a different place as a nation.

    …which is, of course, entirely consistent with the assertion made by Barack Obama himself, shortly before his first inauguration:  “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

    It should be clear by now that all aspects of American life and society are rapidly becoming politicized. Obama has greatly accelerated this movement, but he didn’t initiate it.  The “progressive” political movement, which now controls the Democratic Party, has for a long time been driving the politicization of anything and everything.  The assertion “the personal is political” originated in the late 1960s…and, if the personal is political, then everything is political.

    Some people, of course, like the politicization of everything–for some individuals, indeed, their lives would be meaningless without it. In his important memoir of growing up in Germany between the wars, Sebastian Haffnernoted divergent reactions from people when the political and economic situation stabilized (temporarily, as we now know) during the Stresemann chancellorship:

    The last ten years were forgotten like a bad dream. The Day of Judgment was remote again, and there was no demand for saviors or revolutionaries…There was an ample measure of freedom, peace, and order, everywhere the most well-meaning liberal-mindedness, good wages, good food and a little political boredom. everyone was cordially invited to concentrate on their personal lives, to arrange their affairs according to their own taste and to find their own paths to happiness.

    But this return to private life was not to everyone’s taste:

    A generation of young Germans had become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions…Now that these deliveries suddently ceased, people were left helpless, impoverished, robbed, and disappointed. They had never learned how to live from within themselves, how to make an ordinary private life great, beautiful and worth while, how to enjoy it and make it interesting. So they regarded the end of political tension and the return of private liberty not as a gift, but as a deprivation. They were bored, their minds strayed to silly thoughts, and they began to sulk.

    and

    To be precise (the occasion demands precision, because in my opinion it provides the key to the contemporary period of history): it was not the entire generation of young Germans. Not every single individual reacted in this fashion. There were some who learned during this period, belatedly and a little clumsily, as it were, how to live. they began to enjoy their own lives, weaned themselves from the cheap intoxication of the sports of war and revolution, and started to develop their own personalities. It was at this time that, invisibly and unnoticed, the Germans divided into those who later became Nazis and those who would remain non-Nazis.

    I’m afraid we have quite a few people in America today who like having “the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions.”  But for most people, especially for creative and emotionally-healthy people, the politicization of everything leads to a dreary and airless existence.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Book Notes, Germany, Human Behavior, Leftism, Politics, Russia, USA | 21 Comments »

    Seth Barrett Tillman: The European Parliament’s 2016 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th September 2016 (All posts by )

    Excerpt:

    I suspect there is no General James Longstreet Prize, and if someone asked me if such a prize should be created, I would say “no”.
     
    There is no Rommel Prize, and if someone asked if such a prize should be created, I would say “no”. (And—just to be clear—I am not comparing Longstreet and the Confederacy to Rommel and Nazi Germany.)
     
    There is a Sakharov Prize, and if someone had asked me prior to its creation whether it should be created, I hope I would have had the moral clarity to say “no”. There were and there are other people in Europe and elsewhere who this prize could have been named for: persons who were not quite so morally ambiguous. E.g., Average people—people who were not heroic or even particularly bright. Perhaps it could have been called the Ivan Denisovich Prize. It speaks volumes about the modern European zeitgeist that a major prize is named for Sakharov, but the founders of NATO—which protected Europe from Sakharov’s warheads—remain largely unknown. It goes without saying that the American taxpayer who paid for Europe’s defence (and who continues to do so) is entirely lost from sight. Europe’s cosmopolitan transnational elites much prefer believing that the years of peace and plenty were their creation, as opposed to their being the beneficiary of American good will beyond their control.

    Seth’s argument is well worth reading in full.

    Posted in Deep Thoughts, Europe, History, International Affairs, Military Affairs, Morality and Philosphy, National Security, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics, Russia, USA, War and Peace | 1 Comment »

    Seth Barrett Tillman: Law of the Clinton Candidacy

    Posted by Jonathan on 13th September 2016 (All posts by )

    Seems like a good idea:

    Don’t you think the Democratic National Committee, Vice President Biden, and Senator Tim Kaine, the Democratic Party’s candidate for VP, each already have on file a full-length memorandum on these questions? Maybe the mainstream media could “obtain” copies for the rest of us?
     
    Would not this make a suitable—if not outstanding—law journal mini-symposium issue: “The Hillary Clinton Candidacy: The Legal Issues”? Any takers? An impromptu mini-symposium could be organized, held, and published on line prior to the November election, particularly where all articles are kept to a maximum of 7 pages (footnotes included).
     
    The “natural born citizen” issue generated several timely full-length articles. Surely there is time and means to do this too. The on line supplements to the primary student-edited print journals are particularly well suited for this task. Any takers?

    Posted in Elections, Law, Politics | 1 Comment »

    A Lament for These Times

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 8th September 2016 (All posts by )

    No – upon reconsideration, not a lament – more of a bitchy rant, pounded out between finalizing one book, the last chapters of another – both intended for the fall/holiday market season, wherein most of my direct sales are made.

    Yes, politics and the social scene appear to be getting stupider, reactionary and more risible in every passing day. Unfortunately, I do not possess a reservoir of spleen the size of Lake Michigan, the hours in a working day, or the energy in which to give certain topics the thorough and at-length venting which they so richly deserve, so a series of brief drive-by crankiness will have to do.

    1. Hillary Clinton is not a well woman, as ought to be obvious from her infrequent public appearances, horrific coughing fits, and the hovering solicitude of a guy who may be her medical handler/personal physician. Infrequent appearances, small, sparsely-attended rallies – while Donald Trump – who is in the same age bracket, mind you – keeps going and going like the Energizer Bunny, packing them in by the thousands every other day or two. It could be that she and her people are so convinced that the election is already in the bag, that she need only make the slightest pretense at a campaign. But just looking at her gives me the impression that she is being held together with duct tape, bailing wire and prescription medication.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Blogging, Civil Society, Current Events, Politics | 38 Comments »

    Seth Barrett Tillman: Trump, Confirmation Bias, and the Rule of Law

    Posted by Jonathan on 6th September 2016 (All posts by )

    Trump is the first presidential candidate of my lifetime who has been regularly criticized for making public statements conforming to rule of law principles. Part of the confusion in the minds of his many critics arises from simple confirmation bias. But another part comes from an inability of his critics to plainly discuss what they mean by the rule of law. No doubt much of it is simply disagreement with the man’s over-the-top style and his political orientation—but normal disagreement about political principles, absent clear on point evidence, ought not lead to claims that one’s opponent is a threat to the rule of law.
     
    So what is the “rule of law”? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that query. I well remember my graduation from law school. A thoughtful fellow behind me said, as we waited on line to receive our degrees: “Seth, after three years of law school, as far as I can tell, the rule of law is what a prosecutor says is at risk if he loses a criminal case heard by a jury.” That answer of convenience will not do. Other people fill in the rule of law with all good and noble principles: the rule of law is human rights, separation of powers, democracy, etc. This approach is not helpful either, for even if the virtues of these other principles were contestable, their content and optimal scope remains deeply contested.
     
    Without attempting to fully define the rule of law, I will put forward some minimal necessary (but not sufficient) conditions associated with the “rule of law”. A person’s conduct is inconsistent with the rule of law, if he knowingly disobeys established law without seeking a change in the law from the legislature (including referenda where permitted by law) or validation of his specific conduct from the courts. On the other hand, a person’s conduct is consistent with the rule of law, if he obeys the judicial orders of lawfully constituted courts, and if he obeys the rules associated with the conduct of litigation in those courts.*

    Read the rest.

    Posted in Law, Political Philosophy, Politics, Trump | 5 Comments »

    The dividing line between free expression of religion and free speech

    Posted by TM Lutas on 29th August 2016 (All posts by )

    Clemson University has stepped into controversy by enforcing its free speech zone on a clear case of religious expression. An off campus preacher came on campus to invite students to pray with him. This was shut down as a violation of the university policy requiring an approval process and limiting activity to free speech zones. Unfortunately for Clemson, what was going on was not solely free speech. It was free exercise of religion as well.

    Clemson University’s overall rating of respect of individual rights in education is low. It is rated red by FIRE (its lowest rating) but not for its facility policy which is marked green (FIRE’s highest rating). According to a Clemson official in their media relations department, there is no restrictive policy on religious expression just like there is no restrictive policy on freedom of the press. So why is Clemson able to restrict religious expression but not journalism under their free speech zone policy?

    At posting time, there is no answer.

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Politics, Religion | 17 Comments »

    Has Hillary Clinton Gone Full Cat-Lady?

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 26th August 2016 (All posts by )

    Hillary Clinton is famous for the term “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” to “otherize” the conservative movement.

    Yesterday she came out with the “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy 2.0” — The Vast Vladimir Putin-led “Great Extreme Nationalist Conspiracy.”

    Pardon me but...What the H*ll?!?

    As Sundance over at The Last Refuge put it:

    Secretary Hillary Clinton, campaigning to become President of the United States, actually gave a public speech claiming that Vladimir Putin was using mind-control to manipulate nationalist inhabitants of planet earth in a grand conspiracy against her campaign.

    And if you don’t believe her, YOU are the conspiracy theorist.

    Think about that for a few minutes.

    Folks like Alex Jones at Infowars and Milo Yiannopoulos at Breitbart are delighted.  Hillary rewarded their troll-ish behavior with more eyes than they ever could have gotten themselves.

    The first rule of the Internet is Do Not Feed the Energy Creatures.  It lets folks like Joseph Watson at Infowars post videos like this —

    There is one more person that is thanking the All Mighty for Hillary’s speech…Donald Trump.

    While Hillary’s campaign staff may have panned the speech as a way to duck a debate with Trump by painting him as “an extremist,”  it feeds the revived and remade by the Alt-Right  meme of the CRAZY CAT LADY.

    The old CRAZY CAT LADY meme involved near senile old hags scaring small children at the edge of their picket fences.  This one has been around since Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

    The Alt-Right CRAZY CAT LADY meme — which is borrowed from the pickup-artist/seduction  community — reshapes the old-hag meme to apply to college-graduate career women who have spend all their prime attractive years from 18 to 36 taking birth control and chasing bad-boy cads while leaving good but boring men behind.  Then discovering as they approach their ’40s there is no one out there for them to marry and settle down with, save for their cats.

    Part and parcel  of that Alt-Right CRAZY CAT LADY meme is advertising scientific studies about the fact that hormonal birth control makes women act and smell different — act less sexy — during the most fertile days of their monthly cycle.

    Making this study popular study is a huge indictment of feminism in general and first-generation feminists in particular.  It is intended as such.  Such offensive but hard-truth lines are intended as an opening move of a seduction routine for career women on the “cat lady track”.

    That Hillary as a “first generation feminist” is parroted by Milo Yiannopoulos in a Presidential-candidate address citing that birth-control study shows that the Alt-Right is living in Hillary’s head rent-free.

    It was Hillary’s Megyn Kelly moment.

    That Trump, who Hillary accuses of being Alt-Right, recognizes that point goes without saying.

    Trump is going to use this “Hillary the CRAZY CAT LADY” meme for all that is worth between now and election day.

    Posted in Elections, Politics, Trump | 29 Comments »

    Hillary Clinton’s Alinskyite Attacks on Pharma Companies

    Posted by Jonathan on 25th August 2016 (All posts by )

    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” (Saul Alinsky)

    Hillary is clever to go after individual companies. If she attacked the pharma industry as a whole, it could unite politically in response and perhaps gain political support from other industries that would reasonably see themselves as similarly vulnerable. But individual companies have no defenses against this kind of attack. By singling out one victim she discourages other industry players from doing anything in response, because any company or industry group that responds risks being targeted in the future.

    She has done this kind of thing before. She will probably keep doing it because it’s politically effective. Her attack on Mylan destroyed a large amount of wealth, and probably not just for Mylan’s shareholders. Today Mylan’s CEO is groveling in the media. As with past political attacks by Hillary and others on vaccine manufacturers, yesterday’s attack on Mylan will discourage pharma companies from introducing valuable new products and will reduce the availability of current products. We will probably see more of this kind of extortionate behavior by the federal govt if she is elected, because that’s how the Clintons operate and because a Hillary administration would appoint more lefty judges and DOJ and regulatory officials who would go along with it.

    Posted in Big Government, Crony Capitalism, Economics & Finance, Health Care, Leftism, Markets and Trading, Politics | 42 Comments »

    Why does George Soros try to destabilize the West ?

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 23rd August 2016 (All posts by )

    George Soros is a Hungarian born billionaire who seems to be funding a lot of malicious mischief around the world. Why ?

    Soros was born in Hungary in 1930.

    That Wiki article is very favorable to Soros and does not mention a few things.

    There is considerable discussion of Soros’ role under the Nazis.

    It has been alleged that he was a collaborator. Apparently, he did admit doing some things that could be criticized although the role of a 14 year old is pretty weak.

    It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a — a very personal experience of evil.

    KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this [Christian] protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

    Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

    KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

    Mr. SOROS: Yes. That’s right. Yes.

    KROFT: I mean, that’s — that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

    Mr. SOROS: Not — not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t — you don’t see the connection. But it was — it created no — no problem at all.

    KROFT: No feeling of guilt?

    Mr. SOROS: No.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Civil Society, Human Behavior, Politics | 27 Comments »

    Seth Barrett Tillman: Trump, Academia, and Hyperbole

    Posted by Jonathan on 19th August 2016 (All posts by )

    Excerpt:

    As to the Article XII argument …. In a peer reviewed journal article, Professor Somin wrote: “[T]he Privileges and Immunities Clause requires states to treat migrants from other states on par with their own citizens, thereby facilitating interstate mobility.” Somin cites U.S. Const. Art. IV, § 4. See Ilya Somin, Book Review, 28 Const. Comment. 303, 305 & n.5 (2012) (reviewing Michael Greve, The Upside-Down Constitution (2012)). But that’s not right: Article IV, Section 4 is the Guarantee Clause, not the Privileges and Immunities Clause. Now just to be clear: my point isn’t that both Trump and Somin are equally dopes. Rather my point is that anyone can miscite the Constitution, and we should be loathe to call someone “profoundly ignorant” just because they cite to the wrong article or the wrong clause. Anyone can make a mistake.

    Read the whole thing.

    Jonathan adds: It’s not just academia. The media, and in my (and probably your) experience Trump opponents in private conversation, apply different and much harsher standards to Trump than they do to Hillary. One of the current memes is that Trump isn’t stable enough to have his finger on the nuclear button. Yet Hillary, whose gross negligence made her and our secrets available to hostile foreign powers, and who appears literally to have sold out her country in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation, gets a pass.

    Posted in Academia, Law, Politics, Rhetoric, Trump | 20 Comments »

    An Important Point About the Election

    Posted by David Foster on 15th August 2016 (All posts by )

    Daniel Henninger, writing in the Wall Street Journal, points out one consequence of a Hillary Clinton presidency: the continuation and acceleration of the trends that are destroying American higher education.

    One mechanism of destruction is the use of federal enforcement agencies to further entrench political correctness. Expect a lot more Star Chamber proceedings and witch-burnings. Another mechanism is increased federal dollars pipelined into the education industry, eliminating any incentives for reform.

     

    (also posted it the members’ section at Ricochet)

    Posted in Academia, Education, Elections, Politics | 41 Comments »

    “A new governing aristocracy made public deception acceptable”

    Posted by Jonathan on 13th August 2016 (All posts by )

    Thoughts on the nexus between the growth of government and of an elite governing class, and the rise of flagrant, unaccountable, public lying by politicians and other officials who are members of that class:

    …This statistical fact is, however, also a good example how radically this new American “aristocracy” has changed America in recent decades. Even President Obama in his first election campaign, only eight years ago, still categorically rejected the label of being a “socialist” for fear of becoming unelectable. Only eight years later, Bernie Sanders, a declared Socialist would, likely, have become the elected Democratic presidential candidate, had the party leadership not undemocratically conspired against his election.
     
    [. . .]
     
    Many, maybe even most presidents before Clinton, of course, also have on occasion been less than truthful; but nobody, except of course Nixon (“I am not a crook”), has in recent history so blatantly lied to the American people as Bill Clinton and, yet, gotten away with it, in the process changing American politics for ever by demonstrating that the modern multimedia world practically always offers the opportunity to relativize the truth of the message (to quote Bill Clinton, “it depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”).
     
    The political “aristocracy” learned this lesson very quickly and, of course, nobody better than Hillary Clinton. She would never have dared to follow through with the absolute insane idea of establishing her own Internet server while serving as Secretary of State, had she not been convinced that she could manipulate the truth, should it be discovered. Piercing her words, as her husband had done so well during the Lewinsky Affair, she, indeed, has successfully avoided indictment by the Justice Department, even though a majority of Americans, likely, believe that she escaped because of special considerations by Obama’s Justice Department. Completely exposed in her deception by the FBI investigation, she, remarkably, still continues to lie in her statements to the public.

    Read the whole thing.

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Culture, Current Events, Deep Thoughts, Media, Obama, Political Philosophy, Politics, Society, USA | 21 Comments »

    Contemplating Evita

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 12th August 2016 (All posts by )

    … Or as I used to refer to Hillary as “Her Inevitableness.” This was back in that campaign season of 2008, when she and the Fresh Prince of Chicago were going toe to toe. I called that contest “Ebony vs Ovary” and regret that such a pithy phrase never caught on in the blogosphere.

    Anyway – bend over, for here she comes again, the woman whose main qualification for high office seems to have been in staying married to her horn-dog of a husband who coincidentally was the occupant of the White House three administrations ago. She does not appear to be particularly charming or charismatic, or to enjoy the company of other people, as her spouse did. She also doesn’t seem to have any facility for above-board political wheeling and dealing among parties or individuals of equal standing. She has, however, been very good at ruthlessly manipulating others from a position of strength, in the manner of a Mafia don. She has a long-standing reputation of treating no-name personnel who worked in the White House or the State Department – military, housekeeping staff, and members of the Secret Service – with rudeness and outright abuse. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Conservatism, Current Events, Leftism, Politics, Predictions, The Press, Trump | 22 Comments »

    The forgotten history of Hillary Clinton

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 29th July 2016 (All posts by )

    This was posted on facebook as a comment to a WSJ piece on her campaign strategy.

    Dick Morris, former political adviser to President Bill Clinton: If you happen to see the Bill Clinton five-minute TV ad for Hillary in which he introduces the commercial by saying he wants to share some things we may not know about Hillary’s background, beware as I was there for most of their presidency and know them better than just about anyone. I offer a few corrections:
    Bill says: “In law school Hillary worked on legal services for the poor.”
    Facts are: Hillary’s main extra-curricular activity in ‘Law School’ was helping the Black Panthers, on trial in Connecticut for torturing and killing a ‘Federal Agent.’ She went to Court every day as part of a Law student monitoring committee trying to spot civil rights violations and develop grounds for appeal.

    Was this true ? Snopes has a sort of rebuttal.

    Hillary Rodham (as she was known then) wasn’t a lawyer then, either: She was a Yale law student, and like many of her politically-minded fellow law students who saw the latest “trial of the century” taking place just outside the main gate of their school, she took advantage of an opportunity to be involved in the case in a minor, peripheral way by organizing other students to help the American Civil Liberties Union monitor the trials for civil rights violations. Her tangential participation in the trial in no way helped “free” Black Panthers tried for the murder of Alex Rackley

    So the description credited to Morris is correct.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Biography, Current Events, Politics | 6 Comments »

    Gaslighting

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 26th July 2016 (All posts by )

    There was a brief hiccup of indignation last week regarding the French police choosing to downplay the fact that the dead hostages taken by Islamist terrorists at the Bataclan music hall had been viciously tortured and their bodies mutilated. There was the same brief hiccup of indignation when it appeared that the German police likewise chose to downplay those instances of sexual abuse perpetrated on local women by so-called Syrian “refugees.” A commenter on one particular thread discussing this observed, acidly, that we were now well into Pravda and Izvestia country, where the published news stories must be carefully scrutinized and parsed to tease out the actual facts; what is released regarding certain occurrences is not meant to inform us. Instead, such reports are meant to appear as if we are being informed, but the actual intent is to conceal and not to offend those in political power.

    I’ve begun to believe, though, that our establishment media and those elements of the Ruling Class (in the Anthony Codevilla sense) who control or collude with them are going well beyond simply obscuring current events – but are deliberately practicing a kind of mass-gaslighting on us all. Gas-lighting? Oh, yes; this is a definition, courtesy of the Urban Dictionary:
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Media, Politics, Society | 40 Comments »

    Happy thought

    Posted by TM Lutas on 25th July 2016 (All posts by )

    Once in awhile, you see a gem of an internet comment that justifies taking the time to dive in. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the hope and prayer of us all. Buddygonzo wishes that going forward we will all have “common sense email control”.

    Buddygonzo just won the Internet for today

    Posted in Humor, Miscellaneous, National Security, Politics | 13 Comments »

    Loyalty and Risk-Taking

    Posted by David Foster on 22nd July 2016 (All posts by )

    In one of the old Neptunus Lex posts that Bill Brandt has been rerunning at The Lexicans, Lex wrote about the man who was CO of his FA-18 training squadron:

    My student cohort held him in awe: We’d been told that he had received an Air Medal during the war for saving a squadron mate’s life, or his liberty anyway. The latter had come off target badly hit and managed to limp only as far as the harbor at Hai Phong before his machine came apart. The pilot had been forced to eject and was floating in his raft a mile or so off shore, when he saw an NVA patrol craft bounding out to seize him. The unlucky aviator was contemplating the austere amenities of the Hanoi Hilton when our CO roared overhead at 500 feet, firing a Shrike missile in boresight mode.

    The Shrike is an anti-radiation missile, designed to home on enemy radar and destroy it.  The radar-following mechanism is its only guidance system; the only way to hit a target that is not emitting radar is to get very close to it before you fire the missile–thereby placing yourself at considerable additional risk  Lex’s CO had taken that risk, destroying the North Vietnamese patrol craft, and making it possible for the shot-down pilot to be rescued by helicopter..

    Reading the story, I couldn’t help wondering:  which if any of our current crop of political candidates and leaders would–in the extremely unlikely event that they ever found themselves flying combat aircraft–have made the same decision?

    Posted in Human Behavior, Politics, USA, Vietnam, War and Peace | 25 Comments »

    Cruz, Pence

    Posted by Lexington Green on 21st July 2016 (All posts by )

    Rockefeller and Romney, rising stars, refused to back the doomed Goldwater bid in 1964. They ended their careers by trying to save them, by disloyalty. Two guys who fought for the team in 1964, knowing it was doomed, earned the respect of the party faithful and each went on to dominate the party and be elected and reelected in 49 state landslides — Nixon and Reagan. There is a right and a wrong way to play it when there are intra-party differences. You respect the voters and you respect the process, you fight for yourself in the primaries, and when you lose you fight for the team, you take the hit for the team, and your teammates remember your loyalty and reward it. Ted Cruz is a fool, who apparently thinks he can help Hillary win, then be in position to win in 2020. But he has shown brutal disloyalty, and even violated an express, public pledge to back the nominee. He can never be trusted again. He has, I hope, destroyed his political future. I liked Ted, if he won I would have supported him. But there is no going back from this decision.

    More importantly, Mike Pence gave a very good, solid, appealing speech. He managed to turn the Trump message into a more mainstream Conservative message, which is not really that hard. Well-played by Pence. He has set the foundation for a successful future, however this campaign ends up.

    UPDATE:

    This is what Ted should have said:

    I took a pledge to support the party’s nominee.

    I will keep that pledge.

    I would be lying to you if I said this is easy.

    My race against Donald Trump became personal, and ugly, and painful, in ways I won’t repeat tonight.

    Many people who supported me, people close to me, people I love, cannot forgive him.

    And I understand that.

    But there is too much at stake to dwell on the past.

    The race is over, it’s in the history books now.

    And the history of America’s future is unwritten.

    It is up to us to write it, together.

    What we need to do as a party is come together, and find the conservative values we do share.

    What we need to do as a party is come together, no matter how bitter the race was, no matter how much we may disagree, no matter what personal animosities we may still feel, and defeat Hillary Clinton.

    So, my fellow Americans, my fellow Republicans, tonight I keep my pledge, and I endore my party’s nominee for President, Donald J. Trump.

    Posted in Politics, Trump | 46 Comments »

    The Leftward Shift at Fox News.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 19th July 2016 (All posts by )

    I have not been a big fan of Fox News but it was the only source of relatively neutral political reporting on TV for years. Some years ago, Charles Krauthammer famously said, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes found a “niche market ” with 50% of the population.

    I said some years ago that the genius of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes was to have discovered a niche market in American broadcasting — half the American people. The reason Fox News has thrived and grown is because it offers a vibrant and honest alternative to those who could not abide yet another day of the news delivered to them beneath layer after layer of often undisguised liberalism.

    What Fox did is not just create a venue for alternative opinion. It created an alternate reality.

    A few years ago, I was on a radio show with a well-known political reporter who lamented the loss of a pristine past in which the whole country could agree on what the facts were, even if they disagreed on how to interpret and act upon them. All that was gone now. The country had become so fractured we couldn’t even agree on what reality was. What she meant was that the day in which the front page of The New York Times was given scriptural authority everywhere was gone, shattered by the rise of Fox News.

    Now, in a trend that has become depressingly common, the heirs of Murdoch are taking over and shifting the programming left. Roger Ailes has been named by a disgruntled ex-employee in a fairly laughable sexual harassment suit. Carlson was fired and then, after being fired, sued alleging harassment.

    Ailes, predictably, dismissed the charges as false.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Conservatism, Leftism, Media, Politics, The Press | 24 Comments »

    Melania Trump’s Speech Was Intentionally Sabotaged

    Posted by Lexington Green on 19th July 2016 (All posts by )

    Melania

    This story is more interesting and important than people seem to realize.

    What do we know happened?

    Melania Trump gave a speech at the Republican National Convention. The speech was long-anticipated, and long in preparation. It was considered by the Trump campaign to be a significant moment, where Melania Trump would be introduced to the public and her speech would humanize and soften the image of Donald Trump.

    The speech, during and immediately after Melania Trump gave it, was considered a success. She is not a professional politician or otherwise a public speaker by profession. So, her smoothly delivered and well-received speech was a solid success for the campaign.

    It was in the interests of Hillary Clinton’s campaign to undermine that success if possible. Denigrating Melania Trump for her looks, for the banality of the speech, and so on, were expected, and such mocking and insulting responses were of course under way during and immediately after the speech.

    Soon after the speech, how soon exactly is a point worth of investigation, the word began to circulate that Melania Trump had plagiarized language from a speech by Michelle Obama. In fact, there were some phrases which were identical. “You work hard for what you want in life, your word is your bond, you do what you say” and “you treat people with respect”.

    These phrases are not particularly noteworthy.

    They are boilerplate, even banal.

    Yet Melania Trump repeated them word for word.

    These are all undisputed facts.

    What are the open questions?

    What possible advantage was there for Melania Trump to repeat Michelle Obama’s speech word for word?

    None. Zero.

    Michelle Obama’s words could be restated equally effectively with other phrasing. Using identical words makes no sense.

    There is no motive here.

    Nonetheless, it is barely possible that Melania Trump knowingly repeated those words from Michelle Obama’s speech, thinking no one would notice, even though tweaking a few words would have removed any hint of plagiarism.

    Perhaps Melania Trump is lazy, dishonest, and very stupid, and so indifferent to the success of her husband’s campaign that she knowingly plagiarized Michelle Obama’s language.

    That is one possible explanation.

    It is not convincing.

    However, there is more.

    There is also a passage in Melania Trump’s speech which is a direct quote from a Rick Astley song.

    In other words, Melania Trump’s speech was Rickrolled.

    To those who do not recall the fad from 2008 or so, Rickrolling was providing a link which purported to be something else, but in fact linked to a Rick Astley video, in fact, the very video whose lyrics were included in Melania Trump’s speech.

    The only plausible explanation for the presence of these lyrics is that someone who participated in the drafting of Melania Trump’s speech intentionally included the Rick Astley lyric, apparently as a signal the speech had been “hacked.”

    The Rick Astley lyric is a mocking gesture, a flipped bird from the saboteur.

    There is no rational explanation for Melania Trump knowingly or intentionally including the Rick Astley lyric in her speech.

    Someone who knew what the Rick Astley lyric represented included it in the speech.

    Others have suggested that the so-called plagiarism might have been intentional sabotage by someone involved in the speech-writing process, e.g. this article.

    In fact, there is no other plausible explanation.

    Either Melania Trump knowingly included the plagiarized Michelle Obama quotes in her initial draft — or she did not.

    It is barely possible she did, though highly unlikely.

    Either Melania Trump “Rickrolled herself” — or she did not.

    That is impossible.

    It makes no sense at all.

    Melania Trump’s speech was intentionally sabotaged.

    What no one seems to have pointed out is that the production of this speech, like any important written work product, is a heavily documented process.

    Melania Trump and the Trump campaign claim that she wrote the speech. What precisely that means is not clear. What it likely means is that she drafted it, or prepared an initial draft. What is certain is that whatever draft Melania Trump prepared was then circulated for comment and editing. That is the standard process. It is inconceivable that she wrote something in private and then gave the speech to the Republican National Convention with no input or review by anyone else. To the contrary, we know that the speech was the result of a long drafting process and was rehearsed repeatedly, and probably revised and refined during that process as well. Some number of other persons were involved in the process.

    The documentary evidence within the Trump campaign, including email traffic and draft versions of the speech, will show with certainty at what point in the drafting process the Michelle Obama language was added, and when the Rick Astley language was added.

    The documentary evidence within the Trump campaign will also with certainty identify the person who added each of these items to Melania Trump’s speech.

    If Melania Trump’s initial draft did not include this language, when was it added?

    Who put it in?

    What was that person’s motive?

    Did this person act alone?

    Was this a dirty trick done in collusion with others?

    If so, with whom?

    Did the person who added the language send email or text messages which can be examined to determine whether that person tipped off anyone to break the plagiarism story?

    Did that person breach any confidentiality agreement or other agreement with the Trump campaign?

    Is that person subject to a lawsuit?

    How did someone hostile to Trump, willing and able to sabotage Melania Trump’s speech, penetrate the campaign organization undetected?

    Are there other moles in the campaign organization?

    These are all questions that need to be answered.

    Determining precisely who was responsible, what their motives were, and how they did it, would be the kind of questions a real news media would be asking.

    Instead, they are acting like the Democratic operatives they are, presenting the consensus anti-Trump narrative, while failing to note that it makes no sense.

    Bottom line: A calculated attack was made on Trump’s campaign, his wife’s speech was hacked and an important success was turned into a circus and an embarrassment for the campaign.

    We need to know what really happened.

    We may be in for a season of more serious dirty tricks.

    This episode should be thoroughly investigated.

    UPDATE:

    A speechwriter has come forward claiming the Michelle Obama language was included in error.

    This does not explain the Rickroll, however.

    Posted in Politics, Trump | 64 Comments »

    Seth Barrett Tillman: The Libertarian/Popperian Case for Brexit: A Response to Professors Somin, Levy, Norberg et al.

    Posted by Jonathan on 19th July 2016 (All posts by )

    The so-called libertarian case against Brexit works like this. Nations do bad things. E.g., tariffs. And the European Union (“EU”) blocks some (perhaps many of) those bad things. Indeed, the EU has set up a tariff-free free trade zone. That’s a good thing. Therefore EU-good & Brexit-bad. This position is not entirely wrong, but it is only half the story.
     
    First, the EU (and EFTA) free trade zone extends to EU (and EFTA) member states and their dependencies, and also to a few nearby non-member political entities (e.g., San Marino, Andorra, etc). This tariff-free free trade zone does not extend to the world. So when foreign goods are imported into the “tariff-free free trade zone” across the EU’s external borders, EU law mandates a “Common Customs Tariff”. In other words, hand-in-hand with the absence of tariffs among member states is an EU-imposed tariff against non-members’ exports. Whether this situation is a net gain for the people of Europe is a complex empirical question. That question is not answered merely by parroting the EU’s line: we promote tariff-free free trade. No, that question is not so easily answered because although the EU promotes some free trade, it positively discriminates against non-members’ exports.

    Read the rest.

    This is a long and well reasoned post that is worth reading in full. The gist of Seth’s argument is that the political phenomena lumped together as “Brexit” should be evaluated empirically rather than according to someone’s interpretation of libertarian doctrine; there are good reasons for supporters of freedom and open societies to favor Britain’s exit from the EU.

    UPDATE: Ilya Somin responds. The reader is invited to evaluate Somin’s full response for himself, but I was struck by this line: “Tillman’s discussion of immigration is notable for its implicit assumption that we can assess immigration policy while completely ignoring the freedom and interests of potential immigrants themselves.” Has there ever been a country that framed its immigration policy in any terms other than its own self-interest?

    Posted in Britain, Current Events, Europe, Libertarianism, Political Philosophy, Politics | 3 Comments »

    MOHAMED AND HIS TRUCK

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 15th July 2016 (All posts by )

    The headline at the Drudge Report says it all —  MOHAMED AND HIS TRUCK.

    A Tunisian born Muslim with French citizenship took a box truck and ran over hundreds during the annual French Bastille Day celebrations in NICE, Southern France.

    The UK Daily mail article at this link —

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3691895/He-drank-alcohol-ate-pork-took-drugs-NOT-Muslim-Truck-terrorist-Mohamed-Lahouaiej-Bouhlel-s-cousin-reveals-unlikely-jihadist-beat-wife-NEVER-went-mosque.html

    …said that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drank alcohol, ate pork, chased women at night clubs, beat his wife and took drugs.  He was a petty criminal, publicly violent, and possibly an informant for French police or internal security forces before he was turned into a suicide-murderer by those who he was spying on, according to David P. Goldman of the Asia Times.

    See Goldman’s article titled:

    WHY THE TERRORISTS ARE WINNING THE INTELLIGENCE WAR
    http://atimes.com/2016/07/why-the-terrorists-are-winning-the-intelligence-war/

    The only thing of importance in all of this is the realization that the law enforcement and internal security forces in the West have lost control.  No amount of law enforcement, electronic surveillance or gun control can prevent a suicide-murderer bent on religious self-immolation, and activated by the ongoing world wide social media incitement campaign(s), from killing dozens to hundreds.

    What cannot go on, won’t.

    Goldman suggests in his article that a General Sherman “March Through Georgia” style of collective punishment of Muslim civilian populations in the West can work to end this random death in the Western civilization’s life support.

    The bottom line — as BREXIT proved — is that publics in Western democracies can and will replace elites that say nothing can be done, and that Western publics “…will have to accept more Muslim Mass Immigration & Terrorism, because… (insert P. C. excuse here)”.

    Discuss.

     

     

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Culture, Current Events, Europe, France, Islam, Law Enforcement, Leftism, National Security, Politics | 61 Comments »

    Tweet of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 15th July 2016 (All posts by )

    If the #FamilyResearchCouncil wanted to win a SC case, then change name to Donald #Trump Research Council. #Ginsburg would be conflicted out

    Seth Barrett Tillman

    Posted in Humor, Law, Politics, Trump | 1 Comment »

    Seth Barrett Tillman: Impeachment of Associate Justice Samuel Chase

    Posted by Jonathan on 14th July 2016 (All posts by )

    Déjà vu.

    (Related: Justice Ginsburg apologizes over comments about Trump)

    Posted in Current Events, History, Law, Politics, Trump | No Comments »

    Seth Barrett Tillman: The Code of Conduct for United States Judges does not apply to U.S. Supreme Court Justices — why?

    Posted by Jonathan on 13th July 2016 (All posts by )

    The federal Code of Judicial Conduct applies to all Article III judges—except members of the Supreme Court of the United States. Is that because Supreme Court justices do not need ethics? No. Is it because they are better human beings, citizens, and jurists than their lower court colleagues? No.
     
    Consider recusal when judicial bias is asserted…

    Read the whole thing.

    Posted in Civil Society, Deep Thoughts, Elections, Law, Politics, Quotations | 7 Comments »