Open Thread

Roger Moore passed away – I always liked him in every movie I saw him in. Seemed a man of great class. But I think my favorite movie of his was The Wild Geese. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It is slightly dated as it’s set in Cold War Africa, but it holds up well, and that situation can easily be replicated in today’s world.

The DNC is having a hard time raising money. Part of this, I think, is just a general disgust with politics…but it also shows that for all the talk of the Resistance leading the way to victory, Democrats are actually in a very weak position.

Jane Sanders figures that the Iranian elections “show how it’s done”. Yep – you just have a body of unelected tyrants decide who can run, and then leave their minions in total control of the media and the voting process and, presto!, you’ll get the result you want.

Paul Ryan has some kind words for the victims of the Manchester massacre…and, naturally, the left just pours on the hatred.

Morrissey says what everyone with a brain is thinking in regards to Manchester – and a lot of people are upset about it because Reasons.

As regards that, last night I had some thoughts on the matter over on Twitter, I guess I could distill it down to this: we have a choice – we can fight, or surrender. Building more police barricades and having soldiers patrols our streets (ie, putting ourselves under military occupation), doesn’t actually do anything: it is just surrender on the installment plan. My view is that we should fight – but I caution all those who wish to fight to remember that it would be a long, nasty and bloody fight. On the other hand, I looked it up last night and found that between 2006 and 2015, about 190,000 people were killed around the world by terrorism. Not all of that is Islamist, terrorism, it should be noted – but I’ll bet the overwhelming majority of it was (and that the overwhelming majority of the dead were Muslims). 190,000 people is, well, the death toll you’d expect from a major war…so, as far as people dying, fighting isn’t going to alter the numbers. Nor, given how terrorists kill people, will the fighting be any more nasty than it is, now. It will, however, be our troops participating…and they may have to take some very stern measures. If your heart doesn’t allow you to contemplate that sort of thing, better to get on with surrender. On thing certain, if you do decide we should fight, don’t do this after the war is over:

The Pride of the Never Trump Conservatives

Over in the Twitter-verse, I’ve noticed something of late: I now think I’ve got more Progressive followers than Never Trump Conservative followers. Over the past month, the Never Trump contingent has faded away. I admit to being the instigator of the un-follow in a couple cases (they just got too irritating), but mostly it has been them un-following me. I think I know why.

Just as Pride is the worst sin, so is Humility the best virtue, at least in my opinion. Pride gets you into all sorts of trouble, but being humble tends to keep you far away from such things. It is easy to want to take a proud person down, but it is hard to punch a humble person. Someone who has already admitted their limitations is nearly possible to insult, as it were…if someone were to really dig into me, I guess my response these days would be along the lines of, “wow, you found out I’m imperfect: alert the media!”. I used to be quite proud. I still suffer from the sin of Pride. On the other hand, I’m now 12 years into actually trying to be Christian and some humility has been able to creep into my worldview. I no longer have to win: I no longer have to be right: I no longer think I’ve got the answers – at least not in any sense which would make me want to get down and dirty with someone over it. Discuss things: fine. Fight in nasty terms about things: sorry, I’m busy. What is wrong with our Never Trump Conservatives is that they are too proud.

If pressed, I do believe they’ll admit to being wrong about their predictions in 2016 – though I suspect they wouldn’t like it if you brought that up. But one thing I’ve yet to see is a post-mortem on themselves. Not once have I seen one of our prognosticators admit, boldly, that they missed some pretty obvious things and that they are not wise and knowing beings. One of the things I kept bringing up to them last year was the about net 100,000 Democrats who switched to Republican in Pennsylvania. That was my first indication – real, solid indication – that the result in November might not be what people thought. I kept bringing it up, they kept shooting it down. And that was fine. It was just one, isolated data point…while the polling and the long-term political trends were all in favor of Hillary. But after the election, when it was all laid bare and we could see what happened, I never saw one of them say, “man, did I miss some easy-to-see things! Wow, what a fool I was. I promise to be more careful in the future and I’ll try not to fall into seeing only that which confirms my Narrative”.

The result of this lack of introspection is what we see, now. The prediction was that Trump would lose – and not only lose, but bring down the GOP Congress with him. Complete and utter electoral defeat was the result of nominating Trump! Don’t nominate him! For goodness sake, if you do that, you’ll be destroyed! But, the GOP voters went ahead and nominated him anyway. And from the point Trump wrapped it up until election day, all the Never Trumpers were gleefully reporting about just how badly Trump was going to be wiped out, and the GOP with him. It was going to show those dratted fools that you can’t nominate someone like Trump. I’ll bet that many of them were already working on their post-election articles and books about how the Lesson of Trump was to never, ever trust the yokels. That the yokels had better get with the program and start doing as their betters told them.

And then Trump won.

I think all of us have had a good laugh watching replays of election night – the way our liberals just started to go to pieces as it became ever clearer that Trump was the next President. But what we don’t have is the same thing for the Never Trump Conservatives. And that’s a pity – because they went to pieces just as badly. Fundamentally, the reason the Never Trump Conservatives are signing on to the bizarre Trump/Russia theory is that Trump still must prove to be a disaster. He was supposed to be a disaster on November 8th and, dang it, he’s going to be a disaster no matter what! Almost unconsciously, I think, the Never Trump Conservatives are falling into a weird world of paranoid conspiracy theories because that is the only place where their judgement of Trump still holds water. It doesn’t hold up to the electoral result and it doesn’t hold up to what Trump is actually doing (you know, all that repealing regulations; securing the border; rebuilding our position in the world; nominating Conservative judges and department heads). They only have two ways out – flat out admit they were wrong, or go along with theories about Trump which are increasingly divorced from reality. Pride is preventing them from doing the former and just about forcing them to do the latter.

Some of the people I used to respect are becoming unreadable these days – because what they write is ultimately based upon the stupid theory that there was collusion between Trump and Russia to throw the election. They won’t admit it, but that is what it comes down to. Trump couldn’t have won otherwise, you see? After all, they have their historical voting patterns in Pennsylvania and turnout models for Michigan which demonstrate conclusively that Trump lost the election…and if reality isn’t fitting the theory, then reality is wrong! All the stories about disarray in the White House; about Trump people turning on him; about Congressional GOPers getting ready for impeachment…it all stems from a wish that it were true, because it must be true, because if it isn’t true then the Never Trump Conservatives are wrong. Admitting to being wrong is one of the hardest things to do…and Never Trump isn’t even close to admitting it.

As I’ve stated elsewhere, I suspect that most who have persisted in being Never Trump Conservatives to this point will wind up Progressives in the near future. The only ones who won’t are those who finally climb off the high horse and actually think about things. Maybe Trump will wind up a disaster…but, meanwhile, there he is actually doing things and people of wisdom will look at what he’s doing and work on that to determine if he’s doing well or poorly. They won’t, that is, work from the assumption that he’s a disaster and then present carefully served up bits of information (true or false, it doesn’t matter) to confirm their belief. For most of them, though, it’ll be easier to say, “I stopped being a Conservative because the Conservatives proved themselves wrong by electing Trump”. They’ll then go on to work out the mental backflips necessary to ensure their friendly reception on the left – they’ll keep their desire for lower taxes and for randomly bombing things, but they’ll drop the rest of it (and, for some of them, it’ll be a gigantic relief…you can tell they don’t really like being aligned with people so out of it as to respect the traditional family and other tiresome things).

As for me, I say “good riddance”. Conservatism, as it was from the 1950’s until Reagan is now dead. It had it’s point and it’s victories – but mostly it was about defeating the scourge of Communism. In that, it patched together a coalition which was dedicated to defeating Communism…which was fine, but not everyone who is anti-Communist is Conservative. It just seemed that way, for a while. I look forward to a new Conservative movement – one which is actually in the business of conserving things. Trump is not the guy to bring this about – though in policy it looks like he’ll help matters along in a lot of areas. He’s not, however, going to tackle some crucial things like entitlements, nor does he seem particularly interested in such matters as private property rights. That’s ok. No politician is ever going to be our savior. We true Conservatives will back him as he advances what we like – and work to a future where a genuine Conservative movement can capture power of itself, and then begin the arduous task of making America a Conservative nation.

Open Thread

The story about Trump giving highly classified information to the Russians is illustrative of all that is freakishly bizarre these days. Now, keep in mind, the story comes via an anonymously-sourced MSM story and has been denied by named witnesses who were in the room. But, still, those who oppose Trump are going with the MSM story. We expect this from our Democrat friends because they are highly partisan and the MSM is, after all, a mere stenographer of the DNC…but supposed Conservatives are going along with the MSM story, as well. This just astonishes me. The MSM lies all the time – by omission and commission – about Republicans of all stripes. Remember, Romney – likely the most morally decent man to seek the Presidency since Calvin Coolidge – was accused of giving people cancer. It isn’t like Trump is getting hit with things that other Republicans would be spared from. True, Trump has many more questionable aspects about his past that Romney…but the treatment of both men is the same. Given the relentless lies the MSM spreads about Republicans, why on Earth would any Republican lend credence to an MSM story absent stand-up-in-court proof that it is true? To be sure, maybe the MSM will, one day, find some proof of some genuine official wrongdoing on the part of Trump…that happens, and it will be our moral duty to condemn Trump. But until there is proof, why play their game? Why help them destroy Trump? I just don’t get it. It’s just stupid – and I can only figure that the Conservatives who are going along with this simply prefer to have ultra-liberal Democrats in power…some so they can make money writing books an articles about said Democrats, others because they are simply cowards who are afraid of our side exercising power.

Anyone thinking that we should do anything which might help the Democrats back into power – pay heed to a warning:

I’m not saying to view the Republicans uncritically. However, I daresay that the IRS harassment of the Tea Parties shall have seemed like hugs and cupcakes compared to the peevish, punitive, discriminatory crap that the Deep State would inflict on Trump voters in general, and red states in particular, given another chance.

So maybe we don’t want to let them have that chance.

White House still coy about whether Trump/Comey tapes exist.

A look at the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist networks.

That Dakota pipeline Trump has pushed through is going to cost Buffett about a billion dollars per year – and that’s a good thing. In case you wonder where the real opposition to Trump comes from, look no further than things like this. Trump is messing with the Ruling Class, and they don’t like it one bit.

We do need a Special Prosecutor.

Senator Toomey wants the police to be able to obtain surplus military equipment. I disagree with this idea. Of course, my whole thing about the police is that we’re doing it wrong…there is a need for some SWAT-like police units, but 99% of policing should be a cop on the beat, keeping the neighborhood safe.

Firing Comey: Start of the Swamp Draining?

The firing of Comey shouldn’t have really surprised us – as Byron York points out:

…the more institutionally-minded members of the Trump team wanted to see a process observed. In the case of removing Comey, that involved going through the chain of command.

The structure was this: The FBI director reported to the deputy attorney general, who reported to the attorney general, who reported to the president. When Trump fired Comey Tuesday afternoon, that chain of command had been in place for all of 14 days.

First, it took a long time to get an attorney general in office. Facing Democratic opposition, Jeff Sessions, one of the president’s first nominees, was not confirmed by the Senate until Feb. 8. Then, it took a long time to get a deputy attorney general in place. Rod Rosenstein, the deputy — and the man who wrote the rationale for axing Comey — faced similar Democratic delays and was not sworn in until April 26.

Only after Rosenstein was in place did the Trump team move ahead…

The most ardent “Drain the Swamp” guys wanted Comey out the second Trump’s hand came off the bible…but (and I think this is a better way to do it), the more experienced people had their way…regular order was to be done. It just took a long time, thanks to Democrat obstruction, to get regular order in place.

On thing I’d like to point out – some of you might remember “Pardongate”. This was where President Clinton issued a raft of pardons on his last day in office, most notably in the case of Marc Rich. Rich was indicted for massive tax and racketeering fraud (by Rudy Giuliani, as it turns out) and fled the country as he was looking at up to 300 years in jail if convicted. Rich’s wife had donated a bucket of money to the Democrat Party, to Clinton’s Presidential library and to Hillary’s 2000 Senate campaign…so, yeah, to a lot of people it looked like a quid pro quo (a President can, of course, pardon anyone he likes for any reason – but if it could ever be proved a President issued a pardon for corrupt reason, that President could be sent to jail). An investigation was launched and eventually dropped. The federal prosecutor who dropped it was Comey. So, Comey has a lot of long-term experience in explaining away questionable Clinton activities. Does this mean Comey is crooked? I have no idea – but he doesn’t appear to be ardent in making certain that the powerful come under close scrutiny in a court of law. At the end of the day, he was probably the very last person who should have had any say in the investigation of Hillary’s e mail mess.

This is also an illustration of how massive the swamp is…how interconnected all the corruption is on a lot of levels. And how it just goes on and on and on…because no one really ever does anything about it. Oh, sure, every now and again some low-level person will be caught stealing beyond his station and will get sent to jail…but the big boys and girls always manage to skate, don’t they? Ten years ago, Matt and I published Caucus of Corruption, detailing how corruption is endemic in the Democrat Party. One of the complaints launched against it was that we didn’t go into Republican corruption. Our answer to that was simple: sure, there are plenty of Republican crooks, but the Republican crooks are made to pay the price for their corruption. Democrat crooks are usually let off, if anyone ever bothers to look into the matter to begin with.

You might recall how Trump was saying that he wanted to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Hillary’s dealings – and how he hasn’t said a whisper about it since taking office. Has he just dropped it? Was it just campaign rhetoric? Maybe. Or, perhaps, he’s just biding his time…and making certain that those who would protect Hillary are no longer in a position to do so? Time will tell. But one thing I’ll say: if we ever launch a full-scale investigation into foreign influence and general corruption, a very large number of public officials are going to jail. Sure, a lot of them will be Republicans…but most will be Democrats. And here’s something to think on: Trump owes nothing to these people. If, in fact, he could enter the 2020 campaign with a dozen Republican officeholders in jail due to his Justice Department, it’d make him a hero to the Republican rank and file (especially as that would mean at least three dozen Democrats sharing their cells).

We’ll see how this comes out – but I do hope that the firing of Comey is only an opening shot in a larger, anti-corruption process.

Feeling Miserable Open Thread

Doc says it is allergies, but it sure feels like a flu…anyways, I’m plugged up, watery eyes, running nose, hacking cough…tired and blah. Loaded up with medication and not feeling like doing much. The novel is past 20,000 words and a friend just figured out a great, new twist for it, but I’m in no condition to write seriously. So, off we go with an open thread, here.

Thanks to Harry Reid, Trump has now started the process of packing the courts with Conservative judges. There’s nothing the Democrats can do to even slow it down, much…but, don’t worry liberals, you can still whine about Trump not being legitimate all you want.

Le Pen appears to have done pretty well with the French youth vote – and she got clobbered among the elderly. I’m telling ya, folks, the post-WWII settlement in Europe is breaking down right before our eyes.

The leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom collectively have zero children. Trump has five. Demographics is destiny folks – the future belongs to those who are there.

Obama’s proposed Presidential library is really ugly – I mean, seriously, it’s bad. We wonder if this book will be present?

Science is re-settled: we’re in for a mini-ice age, it seems.

A little peak at liberal racism.

Under Obama, the intel community was reading a lot of American mail.

Thinking About France and Europe

I admit to not spending too much time in my life attending to the details of French politics. I know a bit, but mostly of a general historical nature (such as: monarchists routinely got legislative majorities in free elections up to 1871). But with Marine Le Pen making it to the second round and likely to go north of 40% of the vote (ie, more than doubling the best result her father ever got), I thought I’d look into it a bit.

Le Pen’s National Front party was founded by her dad and other people who had been deeply involved in France’s Algeria War (as well a collection of Vichy collaborators, worn-out Monarchists and a host of other political oddities). That war was where Algerian nationalists fought the French for independence. One odd thing about that war – I’ve seen it in enough respectable sources to believe it true: more Algerian Muslims fought voluntarily on the French side than did on the independence side. Naturally, the Algerian Muslims who fought for France got very much the short end of the stick when Algeria was granted independence (they Algerian nationalists didn’t win it – they had, in fact, pretty much lost the military struggle…but to finish the job was no longer desired by France and De Gaulle felt it was better for France to give up the fight). And therein lies an odd tale, given that Le Pen (daughter and father) are most roundly condemned for being racist anti-Muslims…Marine’s dad had actually nominated a French Muslim for political office. This is something which makes complete sense when you’re talking about a guy who fought alongside Muslims. Pity that such a fact isn’t more well known – it might give us all something to chew on as we view French politics from the outside. But I’m pretty sure that a lot of people would prefer we just not think on it: just accept the Narrative, if you please…Le Pen (daughter and father) are just racist fascists out to destroy all that is good and true.

To be sure, this might well be the case – as I said, the National Front had at its foundation some former Vichy collaborators and thus I think it likely it contained some unrepentant fascists. You can also see why the elder Le Pen didn’t have much love for De Gaulle and often found a kind word for the Vichyites…De Gaulle had given up on Algeria (and in a strange twist of fate, it was those military forces which wanted to keep Algeria who convinced De Gaulle to return to power in France for the express purpose of saving French Algeria). It brings to mind a story I have heard – a fairly large number of French men joined the Waffen SS and fought quite doggedly for Hitler’s Third Reich. Indeed, among Hitler’s very last defenders were some French SS troops guarding the Reich Chancellery. Another group of French SS soldiers were captured in western Germany by Free French troops…the story goes that the Free French asked the SS troops, “how come you are in German uniforms?”, to which the SS soldiers responded, “and why are you in American uniforms?”. It makes you understand that there are actually quite deep fissures in French society – papered over for a long time by the compromises of De Gaulle’s Fifth Republic (it was designed to make sure that those who carried a grudge – right or left – could not rise to the pinnacle), but still very real.

I don’t know where Europe goes from here. Clearly, the Europeans can’t go on as they are…but most of the Ruling Class of Europe is very determined to keep on as now. I can only figure that they feel they are doing well for themselves and that any rocking of the boat would result in their loss of power. That Europe may die doesn’t concern them…they know it will last through their lifetimes: it is 40 years from now when the chickens will come home to roost. France is the pivot of Europe – the nation which should lead a re-invigorated Europe in this new century. But, France can’t even figure itself out…however you want to slice it, a very large number of French people don’t subscribe to the status quo and want a very different France: and while France is unable to agree, in general terms, what it means to be France, there is no chance of real French leadership in the revival of Europe. The Germans have excluded themselves. The Hapsburgs are no more. Peter the Great’s Russian Empire is a dying shell of it’s former self, run by a tin-pot wanna-be Czar. Britain is moving away from Europe…but Britain has never set the pace in Europe; always being a bit outside and self-contained. France is all there is, and France isn’t in any condition to do it.

It’s all very sad, actually. I hate to see it. I, myself, feel no organic connection to Europe, as such. My Catholicism is a much stronger tie, but that is to the Holy See. But a dying civilization is a terrible thing to behold, especially when you can see that they can save themselves, but appear not to know how…or simply don’t have the courage to try. I suspect that Europe is in for some large upheavals over the next couple decades…something is eventually going to take charge in Europe and make Europe all that thing…I only hope it is a Christian civilization thing which does it.

Taxes, Libel and Spending Open Thread

Taxing the Blue States: it’s a thing

Democrats have been saying for years that we need tax increases, and that paying taxes is one of the greatest forms of patriotism. Now it looks like President Trump is going to put their beliefs to the test.

Trump’s new tax plan would hit blue states hardest, by eliminating the federal deductibility of state income and property taxes. That’s going to make it harder for blue states to maintain the high tax rates they’ve traditionally levied…

As attentive readers will have noted, I’ve long dropped off the idea of cutting taxes merely to cut taxes. There are taxes which are bad, and taxes which ain’t so bad…and also taxes which are merely useful for various purposes. I’ve long advocated a “wealth tax” on super-rich individuals who own a great deal in stocks and bonds…part of this is so that the income tax on less wealthy people can be reduced, but the other part is to make these super-rich liberals feel the heat: they’re always calling for income tax hikes they never have to pay because they don’t make income, as such. But I also like this idea of putting pressure on Blue State tax rates…they jack up their rates sky high and offset it by allowing people to deduct it from their federal tax. No more, as far as I’m concerned…you want to soak your people, then pay the full political price for it.

Should we amend our libel laws?

On Sunday, a day after President Trump railed against the press at a rally marking his 100th day in office, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said of amending the Constitution to expand libel law: “I think it’s something that we’ve looked at, and how that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story.”

It would take an amendment – case law on this is pretty set in stone: you can say what you want about people and unless the target can not only prove it a lie, but prove the person saying it knew it was a lie, then the accuser is off the hook. As for me, I don’t think that the 1st Amendment was intended to provide such iron-clad protection for dishonesty.

There is an argument to be made – and its a strong one – that when someone set out to critique especially a political person, the widest latitude must be given. It is a difficult thing to get into policing political comment. On the other hand, it is so hard to combat outright lies that mostly the are left out there, unchallenged in any meaningful way. And now in the age of social media, even regular folks are coming under the gun of crude fabrications for political purposes. I’ve said before what I’d want in this area: a mere protection of employment for things uttered outside the place of employment. I know this means that a person can run down their employer, but it also – and most crucially – means that a person’s job isn’t at risk if a Twitter mob decides to take exception to a statement. Losing a job is a huge risk for people…and to protect their jobs, people will do just about anything…even knuckle under to political correctness. We need to think on this and discuss it.

The spending bill to carry us through to October 1st is not getting a lot of Conservative approval. Rightly so – it is a bad bill. I only moderately excuse it by noting it is, really, Obama’s last budget. Had their been regular order in 2016, this (or something even worse) is what we would have gotten this year. I’ll forgive this dog of a bill if the FY 2018 budget has at least an ounce of Conservatism in it.