Open Thread

I’ve been trying to work up an idea of Conservatism – and it is difficult. Methinks I’ll concentrate for a bit on writing my novel (my first: solo effort…got the inspiration a couple days ago and have about 5,400 words down already. It’s going to be a fairy tale…”fantasy” is the genre it is called these days, but fairy tale is what it really is…and a proper fairy tale. Our fairy tales these days – Star Wars, Harry Potter, eg – are all wrong because the heroes have special powers…in a proper fairy tale, the hero is an ordinary person who battles prideful people who have special powers). I’m still going to ponder Conservatism – what it means; what it is for; how we might get it – but it’s going to be secondary for a bit. I’m finding that working out a story about a hero, his friends and his enemies is far more fun than I ever expected it to be.

Elizabeth Warren is miffed that McConnell won’t talk to her. This might be rude – but, honestly, what on Earth could McConnell have to talk about with her?

Pretty good article on the Secession movement in California – about both the people who want to remove California from the Union as well as those who want to break up California into smaller States. I, as I’ve said for years, back the latter effort. In fact, I’ve come up with a new wrinkle for my Secession idea – the creation of City-States. Think about it – Los Angeles and New York dominate their respective States…what is going on in rural New York and California is buried under millions of votes in Los Angeles and New York City. Essentially, win those cities and you’ve won the State…which is why, de-facto, the Senators from New York and California essentially only represent the interests of Los Angeles and New York City (with a bow to the San Francisco Bay Area in California, as well). I’ thinking that any city that grows to more than 750,000 population should automatically become a City-State…boom!, it’s no longer part of the State it is in, but is off on it’s own…has it’s own Senators and whatever local government they decide (they’d essentially keep their own House members as is). The former State no longer collects taxes there (debt is apportioned based on per-capita debt in the State at the time the City-State is created), the City-State no longer has a say in the State government. It’s designed to ensure that States are never dominated by over-large urban areas.

Nations are taking precautions against a blow up in Korea. This is the fruits of thinking there is a substitute for victory. Had Truman allowed MacArthur to win the Korean War, none of this would be going on. Korea would be a unified, democratic nation and China might not even be communist. If war, then war all the way. If you don’t want to war all the way, then don’t war, at all.

Robert Stacy McCain takes note of Sarah Silverman’s words and actions. I gotta hand it to McCain…he risks his sanity for us on a daily basis by actually trying to understand Progressives.

Don Surber notes how Trump is working on plans to actually reduce the number of people working for government. This cuts at the very heart of Progressive power in the United States. It is similar to what Walker did in Wisconsin. Without the massive power and money of government employees, the left simply lacks the genuine support to contest for power in the United States – outside a few very blue areas in the big cities. If Trump can do this – and you know the bureaucracy will fight back desperately; even harder than they did against Walker – then he will have set the stage for GOP/Conservative victory for a generation. Doesn’t matter if Trump’s intent is mere efficiency (I’ll bet that is his prime motivator); the fact of the matter is that reducing government employees means reducing Progressive power.

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22 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Retired Spook April 17, 2017 / 7:43 am

    I’m still going to ponder Conservatism – what it means; what it is for; how we might get it

    I thought your first effort a few threads back was pretty good — only a couple things I didn’t agree with. Coming up with an all-encompassing definition of Conservatism that all Conservatives agree on is a next to impossible task. I think the more specific you try to be, the more disagreement you’re going to get. But at least we can disagree without being disagreeable, something the Left has never learned to do.

    • Amazona April 17, 2017 / 12:48 pm

      I think it hard to define Conservatism only if you want to fold in all sorts of moral and social issues into what I think should be a POLITICAL consideration. It also muddies the waters when people fail to define 21st Century American Conservatism, as the word is wholly dependent on the time and place. As an example, in 1775 it was the royalists who were conservative, in the politics of the time and place, while today it is those who fight to preserve and defend the system of government created by those rebelling against those conservatives who are considered Conservative today.

      I don’t even try to address any concept of Conservatism other than what I consider pure POLITICAL Conservatism. That is, the belief that our nation is best governed by a federal government severely restricted as to size, scope and power, with most authority left to the states, or to the people. To me, any belief that the size, scope and power of the federal government should be expanded, contradictory to the Constitution, is not a Conservative position.

      It just so happens that many, if not most, political Conservatives also share views on social issues, but I think it unfortunate that social/moral issues have become the standard for what people think of as Conservatism. I think it has resulted in the loss of many millions of votes, which has set Constitutional governance back by decades and which may have caused irreparable harm.

      I firmly believe that if we were to appeal to people on purely POLITICAL ideas, instead of telling people they have to change their minds on social issues to be able to vote for Conservative candidates, we would have a much larger segment of the voting populace.

      I had a business meeting the other day that ended with a short discussion on politics. The woman is a political conservative, who also believes in, very very adamantly, “choice”. When I said I think abortion is an atrocity, we agreed that no matter how we feel on this issue, it is a matter that does not belong in the federal arena of authority, and we parted as friends and political allies—who are quite willing to go toe-to-toe on the issue at the proper, state, level if it were to return to state decision-making.

      We shoot ourselves in our collective feet when we tell people they have to agree with us on social issues to vote for our candidates, but we do it all the time. And we end up driving voters over to the other side.

      • Retired Spook April 18, 2017 / 7:30 am

        IMO, any discussion of Conservatism vs. Progresivism must include the fact that Conservatism is driven by the idea that an orderly society must be governed by a set of rigid, but not unreasonable or unchangeable rules, and that people, organizations and businesses that break those rules must be punished. It’s not really that difficult a concept, but many on the Left don’t seem to be able to comprehend it.

      • M. Noonan April 18, 2017 / 9:47 am

        They sure don’t – turns out that Ossof guy running in GA06 doesn’t even live in the district! A simple change of address card would have fixed this…but I guess he felt that it was unimportant…

  2. Amazona April 17, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    Mark, I have a special place in my heart for stories of small people doing great things. To me, this is the essence of heroism. I recently looked up a book I listened to many years ago and found it on Audible.com, and bought it and listened to it again. It is by Neville Shute, the man who wrote “On The Beach”, and it is called “The Trustee From The Toolroom”. It is the story of a simple man who, in his determination to honor a promise and do his duty, does amazing things. Another Shute book, “A Town Like Alice” has a similar core theme, but it starts with some history of WW II in the South Pacific that many don’t know.

    You are right, we need to have stories which have the message that it doesn’t take magical powers to achieve great things.

    • M. Noonan April 18, 2017 / 1:00 am

      I did nearly 3,000 more words tonight – in a couple hours. The story is just writing itself. I hope it’s good. I like it, at any rate.

  3. Retired Spook April 18, 2017 / 9:37 am

    One of Sun Tzu’s basic strategies is “know thy enemy.” and Daniel Greenfield has the Left pegged spot on.

    • Retired Spook April 18, 2017 / 10:04 am

      As is often the case, particularly on sites like TownHall, the comments are at least as good as the article itself. These two from the same person are an excellent example.

      It’s not that the Left refuses to recognize any other authority;
      The Left doesn’t believe there is any other authority.

      When the Left controls the Senate its bills are imperative and represent the will of the nation. When any other group controls the Senate its bills are meaningless and to be vetoed by the President. When the Left controls the Presidency he has a mandate from the People and his every post-it and letter carries the weight of law. When any other group controls the Presidency his orders are illegitimate and he is to be impeached as soon as possible. When the Left controls the Supreme Court its findings are the word of God and the end of any discussion. When any other group controls the Supreme Court…….?

      The Left recognizes no authority but its own.

      ………

      The Left recognizes no authority but its own.

      Islamists recognize no authority but their own.

      That’s why the Left and Islam get along so well; They are kindred spirits. At some point they will butt heads but that will likely not occur until they are the only two groups left standing.

      • M. Noonan April 19, 2017 / 7:26 pm

        Robespierre spent his life talking up freedom and the Rights of Man, but in a candid moment during the Revolution reportedly said, when questioned about holding a free vote, “a free vote? Wouldn’t that just be the recall of the Monarchy?” (lost in the shuffle is the fact that as late as the 1871 French elections, the people were returning Monarchist majorities to the legislature when they were given a chance to freely vote). Lenin was even more cynical like that – just mere rationalizations for doing whatever the heck it was he wanted at the moment.

        It is what the left does – and it is why, really, even the Nazis were of the left…even leaving aside the “Socialist” in their Party name, the main mark of being on the left is that they would rationalize any act as long as it advanced what they saw as their interests.

        We, on our side, just can’t do that – not that we aren’t just as Fallen as our friends on the left, but we can’t sustain a lie in the advance of our cause because our cause is based upon what we believe to be objective truth. We might have it wrong; we might be misunderstanding it – but we’re still trying to conform ourselves to what is, not what we might prefer. The weakness of Conservatism this past century or so has been just so much as Conservatism has signed on to various Progressive ideas.

      • Amazona April 19, 2017 / 8:42 pm

        I don’t agree that “…the main mark of being on the left is that they would rationalize any act as long as it advanced what they saw as their interests.” This is certainly an element of Leftist ideology, but it is not the core of the ideology. I put Nazis firmly on the Left because it is a political model in which all, or nearly all, power is vested in a Central Authority.

        But I have a hard time using the term “Right” regarding any nation which does not have the choice between that and a limited Central Authority with most power remaining in local control. This is what bothers me about tossing around the term “Right” without context or definition.

        “Left” is easier to define, because of the rise of Leftist ideology and its application in various countries, under various names—–Communist, Socialist, Fascist, Liberal, Progressive. While they may have some superficial differences, they all depend on a Central Authority having massive control, and incorporate similar tactics for achieving power—denigration of religion, eroding the family, indoctrination as part of education, threats of violence and/or actual violence as part of intimidation, thuggery, personal attacks on opponents, etc.

        But what is “the Right”—much less the infamous “FAR Right”—-in countries other than the United States? Is it merely what is not Left? Is it merely what opposes the Left?

        When I, personally, refer to “the Right” I only do so in the context of 21st Century American politics, and then only in the context of choosing our own Constitution as the governing document for governing this country.

        I find the use of the terms “Right” and “FAR Right” in many cases as a pejorative, as a catch-all for whatever set of values, issues or attitudes the Left wants to demonize. So that brush paints various groups, such as white supremacists, as “FAR Right”. Why? This is an attitude which does not depend on political affiliation. Communists and Nazis, both hard-core Leftist ideologies, were racist and believed in a Master Race, as did Margaret Sanger, beloved by the Left. The American Democrat Party was hard-core white supremacist, until that became a convenient cudgel with which to batter political opponents and they became dependent on black votes.

        And we let them get away with it. Until we can define and defend the “Right” in this time, in this country, in a way that is solely political, we are going to be muddling around and will continue to be easy targets.

  4. Retired Spook April 19, 2017 / 7:57 am

    I understand why CNN would report something like this, given their ratings are in the toilet, but I’ a little surprised that the FBI would fall for it.

    CNN reported Tuesday that the FBI used the controversial “Trump dossier” in its application for warrant from the FISA court in order to monitor former Trump advisor Carter Page.

    “U.S. officials tell CNN that last year the FBI used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump’s campaign as part of the justification to get approval to secretly monitor Trump associate Carter Page,” Evan Perez reported. “Now those sources say that FBI Director James Comey has cited the dossier in some of his breifings to Congress in recent weeks as one of the sources of information that the bureau used to bolster its investigation.”

    ……………….

    Page also released a statement to CNN indicating that he was going to sue in response to the surveillance by the government.

    “I look forward to the Privacy Act of 1975 lawsuit that I plan to file in response to the civil rights violations by Obama administration appointees last year. The discovery process will be of great value to the United States, as our nation hears testimony from them under oath, and we receive disclosure of the documents which show what exactly was done in 2016.”

  5. Retired Spook April 20, 2017 / 9:04 am

    a political model in which all, or nearly all, power is vested in a Central Authority.

    I saw a comment in a thread on another site a while back that spoke to this in concise terms, something like, and I’m paraphrasing; I am perfectly capable of governing myself. I don’t need an all-powerful central authority to oversee everything I do, particularly when it’s funded with my money.

    • Amazona April 20, 2017 / 12:55 pm

      The core of the foundational philosophy of our nation was one of self government. The Constitution was written to severely limit the size, scope and power of the federal government, and to keep as much power as possible at the state and local levels. This was so important that the Founders took the step of reinforcing this in their 10th Amendment, a belt-and-suspenders approach to making it absolutely clear, in no uncertain terms, that if a power was not specifically delegated to the federal government within the actual words of the Constitution, it was forbidden to the federal government and up to the states, or the People, to decide.

      Every step, every single step, toward expanding the size, scope and power of the federal government, even for such allegedly benign purposes as Social Security and Medicare, has been a step toward the Left.

  6. Amazona April 20, 2017 / 1:15 pm

    And the worst part is, the bigger and more powerful our own Central Authority becomes, the less efficient and productive it is.

    I just finished a long audio book by the man who started to investigate Bernie Madoff and file reports on his activities with the SEC MORE THAN TEN YEARS BEFORE HE WAS ARRESTED. Yes, I know I am yelling—because this needs to be yelled! This man provided the SEC with report after report proving that Madoff’s financial empire was based on fraud, and the SEC flatly refused to pay attention. It’s a very scary book, as it details the utter incompetence of people who are put in charge of so many aspects of our lives, and the failure of this big agency to do its job. We’re not talking about a lack of extensive financial acumen here, though one would like to think that this (financial acumen) is a requirement of a top SEC executive. No, some of it was as basic as pointing out, with records, that a claim of (as an example) selling off $300 million of stock would show up in the market, yet when Madoff would explain his uncanny ability to make money when no one else was by telling people he dumped a stock before it tanked there was no record of this happening. And the SEC looked the other way. Madoff could have been, and should have been, stopped long before his Ponzi scheme destroyed so many lives and nearly destroyed the stock market.

    I just started a book about an FBI investigator’s efforts to uncover the actions of a spy, the most prolific spy we have ever had, and the agency’s determination to block the investigation and its other failings. It details the efforts to investigate a man named Rod Ramsay, who helped sell the Soviets, back in the late 80s as the USSR was falling apart and its leaders were becoming desperate, “the ability to utterly destroy the US”. This book is called “Three Minutes To Doomsday” and the Madoff book is “No One Would Listen”.

    In a similar vein, I am planning to buy a new book by Colorado Representative Ken Buck, who just released a book called “Drain The Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think,”

    From an article on Buck and this book: http://dailysignal.com/2017/04/14/congressman-says-corruption-in-washington-is-worse-than-you-think

    “One of the things that I found startling when I got here is that you have to pay dues to be on a committee,” Buck said.

    During the time he served on the House Judiciary Committee, Buck said he had to pay periodic dues of $200,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign committee of the House of Representatives.

    Now, as a member of the House Rules Committee, Buck’s periodic dues are $450,000.

    The obligation to pay dues, Buck said, forces members of Congress to hold fundraising receptions and encourages corrupt influences from special interest organizations who attend the fundraisers.

    “Who comes to those receptions with checks?” Buck said. “Lobbyists, special interests that want something in return. So there is a game that goes on that you owe the party money and you are expected to vote with the chairman and you are expected to help special interests groups in Washington, D.C.”

    Seriously? A Senator or Representative has to PAY a branch of the RNC to sit on a committee? In what crazy world does this make sense?

    • M. Noonan April 21, 2017 / 12:03 am

      In no sane world, at all…but the government is for the government. It is, I think, what people got tired of…and so elected Trump. A hand grenade thrown into the political mix. He certainly can’t be worse than what we’ve had…and he might wind up better.

      • Amazona April 21, 2017 / 10:48 am

        Trump was elected to a great extent due to what we already knew. I have to wonder if new revelations of new insanity will spur some kind of action. Buck’s comments on the requirement for payoffs to sit on committees was not meant as a criticism of Trump—–Trump is no fan of the RNC, and vice versa. It is an indictment of Business As Usual.

        I would expect the Left, so gung-ho on “lobbyists”, to jump on this. Of course, they can’t, because no doubt their own party does the same thing.

      • Amazona April 21, 2017 / 10:50 am

        And I might add, if we are going to write off the misdeeds of a political party as just “the government being the government” then we are admitting that the parties ARE the government. That is not a pleasant thought. It’s one thing to be responsible for who runs the government, but it is another step to admit that parties ARE the government.

      • M. Noonan April 21, 2017 / 11:14 pm

        It is a horrible mess – and, in the end, I think that “Drain the Swamp” is what elected Trump. Someone who is not connected to the Powers That Be who wouldn’t worry about what gets found out and who gets caught.

        Donald Trump is no angel – you know that, yourself, from your pre-election research on him. But I bet that he’s always kept just on the right side of the law…he’s not a stupid man and he pays lawyers to make sure. But these guys in government – mostly Democrats, but plenty of Republicans, as well – aren’t very bright. Plenty of them have repeatedly crossed over. They rarely pay the price because, until now, no Executive has really wanted to go after them…for fear of bringing down too many on his own side.

      • Amazona April 22, 2017 / 2:52 pm

        When I said “…new revelations of new insanity..” I wasn’t referring to Trump, but to the general corrupt structure of our political parties.

        I quit donating to the RNC a while back, though I have sent quite a bit of money directly to candidates I support. This revelation of demands for money in exchange for committee seats just confirms my belief that the party needs a good power washing.

        My personal belief is that a lot of conservatives would gladly contribute to a party that has its goals clearly stated and in line with returning the nation to Constitutional governance, and not full of crap like this. We need more good solid conservatives like Buck and Gardner on committees. What kind of progress could conservatives make if we didn’t put such speed bumps in their way?

        In talking with Liberals, none of whom by the way has had the slightest inkling of the political model they are supporting, a constant complaint regurgitated is one of “getting rid of lobbying”. Well, as long as we have nearly all the power vested in a Central Authority, we need lobbyists to get our messages to our Congresspeople, as they are not very accessible to us. (Moving most of the power back to the states where it belong would gut federal lobbying and make it easier for citizens to work with their representatives, but that is another topic. It is, however, a good rejoinder to the Liberal complaints about “lobbying” and something they can understand.) Perhaps we could just rein in lobbying by setting aside lobbying days or weeks, and forcing Congresspeople to meet in public places, and make it illegal to have lobbyists attend these “receptions”, directly pay for junkets and benefits, etc.

        Technically, a lobbyist is supposed to merely present the concerns and wishes of his client to selected Congresspeople. Technically. So free up our Congresspeople from having to deal with them on a daily basis, eliminate all freebies and bribes, and have said lobbyist set up an appointment to meet with whomever in a specified place at a specified time, to present whatever the client wants presented. And make it illegal to meet at any other time, in any other place, to do business.

        If I want to hire a former Washington insider to make my case, because of his knowledge of the way Congress works and his relationships with some people in Congress, I can do that. But if I want him to pitch legislation concerning, say, drilling on federal lands, and I think certain people in Congress need to visit the sites, my selected lobbying firm has to run its costs through a government agency which then pays for transportation, lodging, etc., all expenses a matter of public record. It wouldn’t have to be a big agency, just enough to bank funds from lobbyists and use them to pay bills for transportation, meals, etc. A clearing house, so there is an accounting of lobbyist expenditures, and a framework for those expenditures. Anything outside that framework is illegal.

        I don’t want my elected representatives to have to spend time hustling money for the party, or holding “receptions” to court lobbyists or for them to be courted.

  7. Retired Spook April 21, 2017 / 6:13 pm

    This is potentially really good news.

    In a major victory in the ongoing Lois Lerner scandal at the IRS, non-profit election integrity organization True the Vote defeated an IRS motion to quash discovery in True the Vote v. IRS. The ruling means that everyone involved in the scandal could be compelled to submit every document related to the case and be deposed by True the Vote’s legal team.

    • M. Noonan April 21, 2017 / 11:11 pm

      If we ever really get rolling into investigating the Obama Administration, it will be explosive…and destroy the Democrats for a generation.

  8. Amazona April 22, 2017 / 2:26 pm

    The Left is showing its true colors. Now they are openly talking about military-type training and arming with various weapons including firearms, to take on free speech advocates, Trump supporters, etc.

    http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/04/21/antifa-wants-combat-training-and-firearms-after-losing-the-battle-for-berkely

    This after the AntiFa group, named in typically Leftist dishonest wordplay as allegedly being “anti fascist”, went to attack Trump supporters armed with various weapons (the Trump supporters were told to not carry any kind of weapons, as the police would “protect” them—said police then disappearing, leaving Trump supporters unarmed and unprotected) and were routed when one of their own smoke bombs blew back in their faces.

    Yeah, we can grin at the stupidity of not even checking wind direction before setting off a smoke bomb, but we need to get beyond enjoying their incompetence and focus on their publicly stated intent to undergo some degree of combat training and take firearms and other weapons to future clashes.

    At least now we have a DOJ that is more likely to keep an eye on violent protesters rioters and mobs.

    What I want to know is, what do these “Trump supporters” think they are going to accomplish? Why don’t they prove their moral and intellectual superiority by refusing to engage in public displays?

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