How I See Things

Caitlyn Jenner is working on Kim Kardashian to get her on the Trump Train because 2016 is just like that.

In a more serious vein, Father Frank Pavone – head of Priests for Life – has had plenty of kind words to say about Donald Trump and, from what I heard on Catholic radio this morning, is actually working in some sort of advisory capacity to Team Trump on pro-life issues. In fact, I’ve found that some pretty serious heavy-hitters in Conservatism are getting on the Trump Ranch – very likely in a naked bid to have some control over policy in any Trump Administration. This is smart – always wise to have your finger in the pie when policy is being determined – but it also shows that there is something going on out there.

Ted Cruz gave his semi-endorsement to Trump on Friday, much to the pain of some people…but not that many people, it would seem. I think that in large measure the GOP part of the population is starting to make full peace with the reality of Donald Trump. No matter how you slice it, he is carrying the GOP banner into November and I, for the first time, actually think he’s got a slight edge to win this thing. To be sure, by my calculation using RCP’s polls, if the election were held today Hillary would get 273 electoral votes and thus the Presidency…but that is a razor thing margin; and it presumes a Clinton victory in VA, CO and PA. That is Hillary winning the 2004 GW States of VA, CO and NM…those States voted GOP just 12 years ago; one of them flips red, she’s done. She’s been forced right back against her electoral “fire wall”. Now, to be sure, there’s a lot of campaign left to go and Trump could step in it, again…but the trajectory, at the moment, is all going Trump’s way (and I suspect he won’t step in it again because that is no longer part of his plan – but, we’ll see).

I’ve heard the rumors that Bush 41 might endorse Hillary. Could be true. The Bushes and the Clintons have become friends over the years and Bush family pride is still probably smarting from Jeb’s shellacking by Trump. On the other hand, the future of the Bush family currently resides in George P. Bush, Texas’ Land Commissioner…endorsing Hillary, even by HW, might make the Bush name toxic in Texas. If they want George P. to be Senator, governor or President one day, turning on Trump, especially this late in the game, might be deadly. On the other hand, I don’t think it would help Hillary – it would just be more evidence that the Establishment is against Trump; this would likely help Trump in the long term (as well as harming Hillary among dyed-in-the-wool pinkos who think that the Bush family is the personification of all evil).

As for me, I went on a Twitter rant last night and I’ve decided that I’m rather done with partisan politics. In this sense: I refuse to accept the neat and ready divisions which have been used to divide us one from the other for the past few decades. I’m Conservative because I’m Catholic and I’ll never be anything but Conservative because to be Catholic means to be all about preserving things, refurbishing them, bringing the eternal truths from the past to the present and into the future. But I’ve found that I have little really in common with many who call themselves Conservative…a lot of them seem to be so stuck on themselves and their little worlds that they don’t appear to give a damn what is happening…they only care that they are highly esteemed and respected (and they don’t care by whom they are esteemed…just call ’em brilliant and they’ll be your friend). It is true that I’ve seen some astonishingly vulgar and hate-filled things emanating from some Trumpsters (my Twitter block list is stuffed quite full with them), but I’ve seen the exact same sort of vulgar and hate-filled things emanating from some NeverTrumpers. To me, to be a Conservative also means to be a gentleman – hurling insults even at people who hurl them first is not what a gentleman does, at least in my understanding. Yes, in my life I have hurled many an insult – but I pray God I’ll never do it again. I’m done with all that. This isn’t a game of one-upsmanship. This is the life of our nation at stake – and too many people are playing around with hatred and division.

I suspect we’ll see Trump sworn in come January – but whether it is Trump or Hillary, it will be time to rebuild Conservatism. But it will have to be a Conservatism which is quite different from what we’ve had. It will have to be a ground-up, people-centered movement designed to restore decency in American life. It will have to be about fighting for justice tempered with mercy. It will have to be about protecting people from government on all levels. It will have to be about the poor and the working people far more than about the rich, who can look after themselves quite well. It will have to be about an America no one dares assail, but which does not go looking for foreign monsters to destroy; but which will destroy any foreign monster which dares to cross our path. It will have to be a movement which listens more than it talks, and which acts with determination regardless of how well it polls.

I’m actually in a pretty good mood. First off, because if Trump does win, the people who are likely to be most annoyed are precisely the people who need to be most annoyed. Secondly, because the Obama Era is coming to a close – even if Hillary wins, his ability to simply usurp power goes with him. He was a unique person in a bizarre set of circumstances which won’t be replicated…Hillary might try, but everyone dislikes her and so the rock-ribbed loyalty of the left won’t be there, nor the trembling fear on the right. Hillary’s Nemesis might be Trump in November…but if its not, then it will be her utter failure in office starting on January 20th. She’s one term, if she gets one to begin with.

And, so, off we go into November. We’ll see how it comes out. Just about any scenario you can draw is plausible to at least some degree. But fear not and fret not – things will be as they will. After that, it is up to us to just do the best we can.

A Sneering Contempt for the People

I saw a McMullin tweet earlier wherein he stated that real Republicans and Conservatives put principle over party – it sounds like a reasonable statement until you examine it closely. What McMullin is saying is that any Republican or Conservative who supports Trump is unprincipled. That is an astonishingly arrogant thing to say.

I think it is pretty clear that I take a dim view of President Obama (for a mere $3.99 you can get all the details here), but I would never say that all those who back him are unprincipled…I believe most of his supporters back him precisely on principle. They are wrong principles, or misunderstood principles, but principles nonetheless. To be sure, a large collection of unprincipled hacks have attached themselves to Obama, and are also attached to Hillary…and, indeed, some such have attached themselves to Trump. That is in the nature of things – unprincipled hacks always try to hitch themselves to something the believe they can profit off of…but almost all people who back a candidate for elective office sincerely believe that candidate is the best choice on principle.

What McMullin’s tweet shows is a level of sneering contempt for people – for regular, honest folks who are making what they think is the best decision at the time. They may be wrong – they may, indeed, be fabulously wrong – but to think that they are all stupid, or venal is outrageous. And in practical terms, if one is Conservative, how are you to win if you just wrote off what will be – even if it is in defeat – about 60 million Americans as stupid?

The people are what they are – human beings being prone to error and folly…but the key to understanding is that no matter how gauche a person might be, that person is still a child of God, made for eternal joy with God. You dare not denigrate such a person – because, after all, given the observation that the last shall be first and the first, last, the person you are holding in contempt might be raised quite higher than you, in the End…and, as an aside, if you do hold that person in contempt you might find that in the End that you’ve chosen the very worst part of it. For better or worse (and in the long run, mostly for the better) we have decided that our government will be decided upon by the votes of the people – this means that you must first and foremost respect the people. Yes, even the barely-literate, poorly dressed, loud and vulgar lout who is making a ruckus. If you can’t respect that person then you’ve no business seeking office.

The people who are held in contempt are the farmers, the mechanics, the plumbers, the family men and women. In short, the people being held in contempt are those who actually do the business of making our society work day by day. You might not think much about that clean, running water which is unfailingly delivered to your tap every day, but it takes a lot of hard work by dirty, gritty people to make sure that water gets to you. All the investment bankers, artists and fashion designers in the world won’t help you much if someone isn’t willing to get down into the drains and fix things for you. And those people who do that sort of work for you – no matter how vulgar they are – deserve your absolute and immense respect. If you can’t give it to them, then you’re one of the saddest specimens of human being imaginable. Smart guy – you go listen to them, first; once you’ve done that, then you can tell them what you think; and if you truly listened, you are going to think differently than before you listened.

It isn’t that McMullin’s statement was the first bit of sneering contempt we’ve seen in politics this year – plenty of people have that attitude, left and right. I can’t see that working long-term as a viable electoral strategy. Come what may on November 8th, the future of Conservatism rests upon the ability to show respect for the people.

Weekend Open Thread

Last weekend of summer! This year has just flown by – and we all hope that the election will soon be over, but deep down we all know it’ll be a 269-269 tie and it will just go on and on and on…

Hillary is going to beg for some Millenial support. Meh. I guess she could offer to cancel student loan debt and that my wow some…but the bottom line is that the kids aren’t going to turn out in droves for a 69 year old politician who has been clinging on to DC for 25 years.

Netanyahu is catching some flack from the usual suspects about his accusation that the Palestinian leadership wants to ethnically cleanse Jews from the West Bank…but the bottom line is that is what they demand.

Hillary is “freakishly” unpopular – or, at least, that is how Progressives view it. The actuality is that she’s a corrupt barnacle on the American body politic and no one really likes her, nor wants her to be President.

Shocking news: Obama Administration covering up a report showing that the border is pretty much wide open. I know, you just can’t believe this.

A look at what the first city on Mars might be like. As for me – until we really get a handle on radiation in space and what low/zero gravity does to humans (or find a way to manufacture, as it were, gravity at need), we’re really not going to get anywhere in deep space. We can go to Mars (and I think we should), if we like – but I suspect we can’t stay there long, with current technology.

Barack Obama’s legacy. It ain’t too good. But you already knew that because you bought this book. Right? Come on, it’s only $3.99 on Kindle. Geesh. Can’t get a cup of coffee for that, and this will last longer.

Scare a Democrat friend of yours: point out this Michigan poll.

Book Review: Trump the Press

Just how did Donald Trump manage to get so far? Think about it. He’s a businessman and reality TV star with no political experience whatsoever and yet he managed to beat what is arguably the strongest GOP primary field in history and is now, at worst, tied in the polls with Hillary with less than eight weeks to go. That is an astonishing achievement, no matter how you look at it. And, fortunately for us, someone with a great deal of insight did look at it.

Don Surber has written Trump the Press: Don Surber’s Take on How the Pundits Blew the 2016 Republican Race. What I found interesting is that Surber started out the 2016 so conventionally – and, honestly, exactly where I was:

I began 2015 by accepting the conventional wisdom about the deep bench of Republican governors in the race. But I liked Trump’s message. No one else was willing to say what he said: Build the wall. Challenge political correctness. Make America great again. My first choice, Scott Walker, faded, while Donald Trump blossomed. The napalm-vitriol used on Trump by conservative commentators intrigued me. The hotter their hate, the more I realized his prospects were rising.

I, too, got a bit of a boost at (some) of Trump’s rhetoric. Keeping in mind that I was and remain an amnesty shill (we really can’t deport 11 million – or whatever number it really is – people), I still saw the logic behind Build the Wall. After all, the fact that we don’t control our border doesn’t mean it is uncontrolled – it just means we’ve turned it over to criminal elements who ruthlessly exploit the people who illegally cross it. Mercy, if nothing else, requires us to build the wall – and, yes, if that means a twenty foot high, concrete wall from one end of the nation to the other, then that is what we’ll have to do. Build the wall – whatever sort of wall proves necessary to ensure that 99.9% of the time, no one crosses into the United States without our knowledge. But, still, as expressed here, I retained my doubts and shifted from Jindal to Walker to Rubio to Cruz. Anyone other than Trump. But while I – and so many others – were casting desperately about for any expedient to stop Trump, Trump was winning – and Surber has found out why.

One other assumption that drove the doomsayers to their demise was that this was an unusual election year full or surprises.

Well, Trump was unusual, but the path to his victory was pretty routine. Like Reagan, he won the debates and pilled up primary wins early and often. Trump succeeded because, like Reagan, he could speak through the media filters to get his message across. In Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, his critics, too, call Reagan racist and stupid and dismissed him as a celebrity and a joke…

…Those who wrote off Trump when he entered the race will write tomes to explain what happened. It boiled down to four words: Make America Great Again.

Ignore the press, find a way to get your message out, root for a strong America. Pretty simple, huh? But no Republican since Reagan has figured it out as well as Trump has. So far, of course! Surber is pretty convinced that Trump will win – I’m still not so sure. But if he loses it won’t be because of the reasons given by the MSM and the cohort of disappointed (and increasingly irritating) Never Trumpers. If he loses, it will because of the sheer political muscle that Team Clinton can bring to bear. Remember, almost all power centers in the United States are now pulling for Hillary – they are scared to death that someone they don’t own will get in. But once you’ve read Surber’s book, you’ll start to understand how much of a disadvantage they have against Trump; and like they had against Reagan, it is because they still refuse to take him seriously. I still don’t know how I’ll vote in November – but one thing that I have learned is that Trump is a formidable candidate. I’ve been saying for a long time that I suspect Trump is working from a strategic plan. I even suspect that at least some of his verbal gaffes were tactical. Don Surber’s book lays out just how wrong the experts have been so far in 2016 and are likely to remain wrong right up until, say, Colorado is called for Trump on election night.

The book is available in Kindle and Paperback at Amazon.

Out and About on a Tuesday

Some are convinced that Basket of Deplorables will convince people to stay away from Trump. Others are convinced that Hillary’s physical collapse will push her out the race. Yet others are convinced that a lot of people don’t know what they are talking about. One thing 2016 has taught me is that the political experts are nothing of the kind – passing themselves off as dispassionate observers (left or right) of the political scene, what I’ve actually seen is a collection of ill-educated, petulant children who get really, really mad when reality doesn’t match up to their predictions.

I saw a Tweet today from one of our Thought Leaders who was saying we have to stop Trump in order to save our world. Oh, puhleeeese! It’s a Presidential election, folks, not the precursor to the End Times. In fairness, I have seen Trumpsters who are certain we have to elect Trump or Doom Awaits. To be sure, the election of either candidate brings a lot of doom-y thoughts to my mind, but that is mostly because of the overall situation, not anything specific to Trump or Clinton. We’re living in a world of lunacy, as I noted the other day – and what world are we trying to save? The one where we use fake money and debt to keep big banks afloat? Or is it the one where we allow a despotic regime like China’s to veto us in the UN? I get thoughts of doom because I’m certain that Hillary will continue the destruction and I’m not at all sure Trump even realizes what needs to be stopped.

On the plus side for a Trump Presidency is something that Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) points out – given that everyone (DNC, MSM, GOP regulars, bureaucracy) hates Trump, there will actually be a lot of checks to any unreasonable use of power by a President Trump. In order to get anything done, he’s going to have to battle through the unified opposition of the Ruling Class. Or, alternately, roll over for the Ruling Class and just do what they want, plus maybe a bit of border wall along the way. The flip side of that is voting Hillary – who will have the DNC, MSM and bureaucracy on her side and a GOP as frightened of offending her as they have been of offending Obama. In short, absolutely no check on her power.

Trump wants to do debates without moderators – smart move, and it would be an actual debate.

Yeah, there are some kooks floating around the edges of the Trump campaign – but no one seems to mind the kooks of BDS floating ever nearer the center of the American left.

They don’t call CNN Clinton News Network for nothing.

Sniper takes out an ISIS goon from a mile away.

On September 12th, 1683 a glorious victory – brought to us via a very brave Polish king and his army.

For some reason Christian refugees from Syria have a hard time getting into the United States.

9/11 Open Thread

Hard to believe that it has been 15 years – I can still remember so much of it so clearly. Getting a call from the Mrs’ daughter asking if anyone had heard from the other daughter who worked in Manhattan. Turning on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit live. Calling my father and telling him to turn on the TV…and then just watching, watching, watching for hours as the disaster unfolded.

It was supposed to be a turning point, but it ended up not being anything of the sort. The national unity which instantly asserted itself was torn down by various actors for cynical political reasons. These days, we’re not even really supposed to say what we’re fighting – and instead of being red blooded American patriots, we’re debating whether or not we should even stand for our national anthem.

Still, this is a day to remember those who died – on that day, and in the battles since then. I only hope that we some how manage to get through this time without a repeat of that day – this will take more luck than anything else, but one can always pray, and hope.

Crazy is as Crazy Does

If you ever read the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, you might recall a character names Wonko the Sane – a man who had built himself an inside-out house in order that when he was “outside” his house, he’d be “outside the asylum” – Earth, that is. He determined that the Earth was a dumping ground for lunatics when he noticed that there were instructions for use on a box of toothpicks. After all, no sane people would need such a thing. I’ve been feeling a bit like that – or, perhaps, like the scene in the original Planet of the Apes where Taylor, confronting Dr. Zaius, says, “I know who I am, but who are you? And how did this crazy, upside down world get started?”

I got going on this line of thought yesterday when I came across the 10,000th example of someone saying we have to stop Trump because Trump is insane – just this crazy lunatic who was going to destroy everything…or, at a minimum, start a war over some foreign leader’s disrespectful Tweet. Perhaps that is all true. Maybe Trump is completely ’round the bend. But it suddenly came to me in a flash that if he’s certifiable, then he’s no more crazy than everyone else out there. It came to my mind that I had read plenty of stories over the years of kids graduating high school while being unable to read. I looked it up – one source I found, which seemed a responsible source, claimed the number of illiterates getting diplomas each year is about 19%. That’s just on one in five – one in five people who can’t read are getting high school diplomas. But that isn’t the most insane aspect of it – in order for that to happen, at some point some reasonable, responsible people in positions of great authority had to decree that the logical, sane thing to do with someone who can’t read is to give him a diploma!

I know as well as anyone that there are all sorts of reasons why this happens but regardless of all the reasons – no matter what excuses you try to make for why it even must be that 1 in 5 can’t read – there is no way a sane, rational person allows an illiterate to get a high school diploma. Know what else a sane, rational person doesn’t do? He or she doesn’t allow an illiterate to move on from the 11th grade to the 12th grade. Nor from the 10th to the 11th – you don’t allow someone who can’t read to move on from the 1st to the 2nd grade for crying out loud. If you’ve got the kid through the first school year and the kid is incapable of reading, then you do that year over again…and you keep doing it over again until the kid can read or it is proven conclusively that the kid lacks the wit to ever learn how. You don’t move such a kid on to the next grade – there’s no point! It is a useless exercise. It doesn’t help the kid – it doesn’t help anyone. It is monumentally stupid. It is actually harmful to the kid being advanced without learning to read. IT IS INSANE.

But such stuff just slides easily right over us – the School Board members aren’t ejected from the jobs. Teachers and Administrators happily go about their business on their path to collecting their pensions. Parents just roll with it. But that is also a relatively small thing in the panorama of insanity which is our modern world. Remember, we’ve got legal abortion – on the theory that a woman in a bad way will best be helped if we kill her unborn child. Following on with this great and oh, so sane idea we’re now working up plans for infanticide and euthanasia…because death is definitely the answer to all of life’s little problems…except, of course, in the case of people who ruthlessly murder other people; same people saying we must have abortion, infanticide and euthanasia are largely the same people saying we must not kill even the most horrendous criminal…and, heck, not only not kill them, but make their prison experience air conditioned because it would be insane to have criminals being punished suffer a bit.

Sane, rational, responsible leaders – people purportedly unlike that foaming at the mouth lunatic, Trump – gave us such gems as the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Got to love that – nothing like sending young Americans to die in war, tying their hands a bit so they can’t hurt the enemy too badly, and then losing the wars after massive amounts of blood are spilled. The same sense of responsible rationality has now got about 4,500 US troops in the Iraq/Syria theater of operations even though we have no declaration of war, no authorization to use force…and the Democratic candidate for President swearing up and down that she won’t deploy US troops to fight the enemy in a war we aren’t fighting (except we are, and people are dying – but no sane, responsible leader would bring that up to the American people because it would be insane to disturb their viewing of the latest Dancing with the Nitwits on TV…).

It was, of course, just the most rational thing in the world for us to stand by while China moved military forces into the South China Sea; while Russia invaded the Crimea; while Iran deployed forces to Syria; while Saudi Arabia fights a bloody war in Yemen; while Libya disintegrated…thank goodness we didn’t have an insane person running the United States! Who knows what would have happened? We might have got…what? A zillion people forced to be refugees, tens of thousands dead and Jihadists roaming around murdering and enslaving people.

Also in the Sane People’s favor is that $19 trillion in US debt. Only an insane person wouldn’t pile up that much debt. Nor would an insane person ever have thought up the clever idea of having the US Federal Reserve print up money so it could buy US bonds…I mean, my goodness, you’d have to be some sort of drooling, straight-jacketed moron to refuse to see the wisdom in that!

Tickets for not wearing seatbelts. Fines for collecting rainwater. Licenses for nail salons. Pushing for birth control when our fertility rate is below replacement level. Sending billions of dollars to our enemies. Building windmills in the 21st century instead of nuclear power plants. Allowing 18 year olds to vote and serve in the military, but not have a drink or a smoke. Demanding people bake a cake. Student loans so that colleges can charge ever higher tuition. Health insurance to cover you when you’ve got a cold, but will put you on a waiting list if you need heart surgery. Requiring people to have auto insurance so trial lawyer’s always got someone to sue. $250,000.00 for a 20 minute speech. You can go to jail even if you didn’t intend to commit a crime, unless you’re the Democrat nominee for President. Police with armored personnel carriers. Refusing to offend Jihadis. Going out of your way to offend Christians. Libertarians who love ObamaCare.

I assert without fear that no matter what Trump does in office, it won’t increase the level of insanity. It might keep the insanity going. It might drop some bits of insanity and pick up others, but Trump cannot increase the lunacy because we’re collectively so far ’round the bend we can’t see it from here. This is all nuts.

Get back to me in 2017 – if Hillary wins, then I assure one and all that the insanity will just keep on going. If Trump wins, it might keep on going, as well. But I’d like it much better if we started to insist upon some sanity. Something small – just to let us know we can be sane. Perhaps we can pass a law banning the government from fining us for collecting rain water. It won’t come up as an issue too often, but it would be a start…it would be something we could point to and say, with pride, “see, we’re not complete nutters”.