Out and About on a Friday

I’ve seen people saying that in a choice between Trump and Hillary, Hillary is the better choice. This just flabbergasts me – for all that Trump has done, he’s not as bad as Hillary. Hillary has deliberately lied again and again throughout her public life. I’m not talking about the exaggerations and evasions common to politics – I’m talking about deliberately lying to the American people about what she has said and done. The latest outrage, in my view, is the way she’s claiming that the families of the Benghazi dead are lying about what she said! This is getting very far into the theater of the absurd – and she just keeps going down it. Like Trump, Hillary is incapable of admitting error…but so far Trump’s enormities haven’t lead to the catastrophe which has been Hillary Clinton actions. I can well believe that Trump will wind up as disastrous as Hillary…but to say he’s now, today, worse than Hillary is just silly.

For those casting blame for the rise of Trump I do suggest you check one, last place before finishing: the mirror. It is all of us Conservatives who have failed, to one degree or another. Sure, some are far more culpable than others, but each of us had a duty – if we wish to engage in politics, at all – in making our movement palatable to the widest possible cross-section of Americans. If the GOP primary electorate was even 15% African-American, then Trump simply would not have been able to get as far as he did. Whatever happens in November – the Election of Generalissimo Trump or the Coronation of Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I – we Conservatives need to think long and hard about how we get more people into our movement.

Watch what people do, not what they say. People are saying that Trump is a massive electoral defeat waiting to happen…but if that were the case, then President Obama wouldn’t be turning up the heat to save Hillary (and his legacy) from Trump.

Is the fate of the GOP in the hands of Kasich?

Secretary of State Kerry, once again Johnny-on-the-spot, has declared that ISIS is committing genocide against Christians and other non-Muslims. Only a liberal, American government would take more than two days to figure this out…and only a liberal, American government would only make the move when forced to by outraged public opinion.

John McCain is in trouble in Arizona – only leads his challenger by 1 percentage point. Question: will McCain seek some anti-Establishment street cred by endorsing “whacko bird” Cruz? Alternately, will McCain toss over the GOP in order to save his own political skin and try to force a vote on Obama’s SCOTUS nominee?

GOP Establishment increasingly shows itself willing to rally around Trump – meanwhile, the True Cons grow ever more dismayed by him. So, we might have Everyone But Conservatives for Trump…this year will be strange.

Hey, remember Islamist terrorism? It’s still a thing.

Instead of appointing a Harvard or Yale lawyer to the Supreme Court, why not someone who lives in the real world?

In contested conventions, the guy who starts with the most votes usually doesn’t win it. Reason: If you can’t snag a first-ballot majority, it indicates a firm level of dislike for your candidacy. Those who vote against you the first time tend to dig in their heels and cast about for any reasonable alternative. We’ll see if this comes out like that if the GOP convention is contested.

I Think I’ve Figured This Out

On Wednesday I was driving around and I had on the radio the Rush Limbaugh Show. I don’t listen too often because, well, Rush usually doesn’t tell me anything I don’t already know; his opinions that I agree with are already internalized and those I don’t agree with never shake me from my views. But, there he was, happily talking away. And then he said it – he asserted that it is absurd to think that we can get Apple to return I-phone manufacturing to the United States…I can’t remember the exact words, but it was something along the lines of there are 500,000 people working for Apple in China with a built infrastructure for the entire manufacturing process and we just can’t duplicate that in the United States. It infuriated me to hear anyone say that the United States can’t do a thing – and then later that day I happened to run across several other people making the same assertion. And said assertion is nonsense.

I know – labor costs. I realize that China pays it’s workers nearly nothing. I also realize – though our Capitalist Captains of Industry never like to mention it – that to do business in China requires massive bribery…but with that bribery you can pretty much do as you like. No need to trouble yourself too much over environmental regulations, safety measures or other trivia like that. But even with that, I just don’t buy the notion that you can’t make something better and cheaper in the United States.

Go to a hardware store and look for a hammer – I’ll bet dollars to donuts that almost all you find are made in China. What is a hammer? Just a piece of steel fashioned in a certain shape. It isn’t rocket science. It isn’t a complex device. I defy anyone to tell me that we can’t replace that Chinese factory using 500 workers to make hammers with a factory in the United States employing 50 workers in a highly automated manufacturing system…and by using our ability to automate along with our superior infrastructure to make that hammer cheaper than the Chinese can, especially as they then have to ship it thousands of miles before it even arrives in the American market. Oh, I realize that right now – at the moment – we can’t because our tax and regulatory system makes it exceptionally difficult to build and open a factory. But don’t tell me it can’t be done. It darn well can be – as soon as we want to do it. It just takes the political will to say “screw you” to people raking in profits off of sweated Chinese labor.

And thinking all that over, it occurred to me – there is the appeal of Trump in a nutshell. Lay aside for a moment the nauseating racists and anti-Semites who have latched on to him, solely on the strength of his early immigration comments. Such people are numerous, but not all that much – remember, we live in a nation of 317 million people, if even 1% of them hold to a particular view it can seem like a lot – especially with Social Media to magnify their voices (Twitter seems gigantic, until you realize that every day 83.31% of Americans don’t use Twitter, at all). A guy getting Trump’s vote totals – and goosing up GOP turnout numbers to some-times record levels – isn’t getting that because a few people like his Great Wall of Trump idea. He’s getting that level of support because a lot of regular folks are moving his way. And my view is that they are turning out for him because he says we can be great.

Keep in mind when someone says, “those jobs aren’t coming back”, it is invariably someone with a well-paid gig that isn’t affected by jobs moving to China. Lawyers, bureaucrats, corporate executives, consultants, MSMers, professional politicians…it is that sort of person who tells the blue collar slob that his blue collar job is gone for good…and even if he takes a job at Disney at 60% of his previous factory wage, he’ll have to train a foreign replacement, brought in quite legally via the H-1B visa program. Meanwhile, China doesn’t seem to want us to outsource our army of consultants and lawyers probably because the Chinese are smart enough not to want such people in large numbers lawyering and consulting an economy into ruin. An army of experts will rise to ridicule the idea that we can make things in the United States better and cheaper than foreigners can – and I’ll bet not one in a thousand of the people telling us such things have ever made one thing in their whole lives. And the people who do make things are rather angry that they are reserved for the “short end of the stick” portion of American life.

This is the United States of America! We’re the people who in just over a century rose from a colonial backwater to the most powerful nation in human history. We went to the Moon! And someone is going to tell me that this nation that did all that can’t make a hammer? Can’t even make a belt or a pair of shoes? Nonsense! It is our economic policies which have priced American manufacturing out of world markets, not some fundamental inability of Americans to compete. And let me tell you, if you really hold the view that we can’t out build and out compete every nation on Earth, then we might as well close up shop as a nation – allow ourselves to be annexed by some other nation with a bit more grit and determination. Grab a clue – a nation which can’t make things eventually can’t buy things, either. American consulting isn’t going to be enough on the global market to satisfy our demand for consumer goods, folks – in order to continue to get, we’re going to have to give. For 50 years we’ve just been giving money – magically printed up for the occasion by the Federal Reserve…but eventually you can’t print enough money to convince people to provide your needs and desires. Eventually they will want something and your degree in business management won’t be it.

I have been saying for a while now that the way to beat Trump is to out-Trump him – not in the vulgarity, but in the gut…where people live and feel. People who back Trump rather absurdly believe that Trump is on their side even though there is zero evidence that he is actually on their side…but he’s saying he is, and it is working with large numbers of people. So, beat him at it – say you’re on their side, as well…assert that the United States will be the manufacturing leader of the world; the export leader of the world; the agricultural leader of the world; the mining leader of the world; the energy production leader of the world…that we’ll clear out of the way every last tax and regulation which makes it hard for Americans to build and grow. Leave it to the Democrats to tell their voters that they’ll manage the decline and provide a bit of welfare and job training for non-existent jobs…we take the path that says, “we’ll reform things so that there will be X Million new manufacturing jobs by 2020”.

Of course, results will matter – once you promise, you’d better deliver. But if all you’re promising is low-rent stuff like “improving opportunity” then you’re not saying anything at all. What is “improving opportunity”? It is a meaningless phrase which makes it sound like you’re going to do something, maybe. Tell people you’ll bring the jobs back from China and it sounds much more vigorous…and as you’re not Trump, you can actually come up with some plans which will do just that. Part of our problem, of course, is that Rubio and Cruz are both lawyers…lawyers have a hard time understanding regular folks (so, too, do real estate tycoons like Trump…but somewhere along the line he found out that people at least want to hear that something concrete is going to get done for regular folks which doesn’t amount to a government poverty hand-out). Come on, Ted and Marco – think about it! And then go out and say it. Sure, those invested in the current system will rise in fury and scorn over any promise to bring jobs back…but you can see how much such words work regarding votes. And you guys needs some votes – the only way to really stop Trump is to get more delegates than he does, and time’s a wasting.

Anyways, that is how I see it right now – Trump is at least speaking to desires; Rubio and Cruz are speaking to theories and playing around with “vote for me because Trump sucks”. That won’t do the trick…might deny Trump a first-ballot nominating majority, but it won’t actually stop him, nor get either Cruz or Rubio in to the White House.

Super Tuesday

UPDATE III: Votes are still being counted, but I’m encouraged. It has been a good night for Trump but not that good. There’s no reason, I can see, for either Rubio or Cruz to get out at this point (Rubio’s big stand will have to be in FL in two weeks. He must win there).

Sure, Trump still is the front-runner and has the best chance of getting the GOP nomination, but there is a chance that either Rubio and Cruz will keep dogging him and denying him a first-ballot majority, or one of them may yet become the Anti-Trump and roll up more delegates than Trump. We’ll have to see how it comes out.

UPDATE IV: Ok, so the votes are counted.

First and foremost, the Democrat turnout has collapsed against 2008 and the GOP turnout was not just large, it was remarkably large, historic…record setting, I understand in some States. These are numbers which in normal politics would indicate a Republican landslide in November…but with Trump at the top of the heap, we just don’t know…and might not know until the votes are counted on November 8th.

Second, I don’t see any reason for Bernie to drop out on the Democrat side. Hillary did roll up some big wins, but the States that the primaries are heading to are much more Bernie-friendly. In the end I do expect the Democrat leadership to muscle Hillary into the nomination, but if I were Bernie – or one of his supporters – I’d carry on the fight. I’ve talked with a number of these Democrat Bernie supporters…unlike the Obama-bots, they don’t seem to be relentlessly nasty people. They are wrong, but not wrong-headed. I wish them well – I don’t want a Socialist United States, but I admire the sincerity and conviction of these people.

Third – now what, for the GOP? As I said last night, no reason for Cruz or Rubio to back out at this point, though Rubio has to win in Florida on the 15th to remain in any way credible. There is a chance – a small one – that the combination of Cruz and Rubio can deny Trump a first ballot majority at the Convention. This does not mean that Trump isn’t going to be the nominee – the only way to prevent that at this point is for a candidate to roll up more delegates than Trump does, and that is a vanishingly small probability. But if Cruz and Rubio come to Cleveland with enough delegates to prevent Trump from winning on the first ballot, then Trump is going to have to make a deal…and it will be a deal with two candidates who rose out of the TEA Party movement. In other words, if Cruz and Rubio are worth anything, they’ll be able to force Trump to make some moves which would make a Trump candidacy and Presidency far more palatable. Just as one scenario: Rubio gets the VP slot, Cruz gets a SCOTUS promise. That sort of thing would make #NeverTrump into #WTFOkIGuessTrump. We’ll have to see how that plays out (no, I’ll never be a Trump supporter)

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The Trump Plan

No, not his plan to Make America Great Again – there’s no real details on that. Deliberately – it is an excellent and effective advertising slogan into which everyone can pour whatever mental content they like. What I’m talking about is Trump’s plan to win.

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is click on the TV – which is set to the local news because right around wake-up time is the time they do the weather forecast, thus allowing me to plan, weather-wise, my day. After watching that, I click over to the national news to make certain the world didn’t blow up in the night…usually, this is about 30 seconds because (a) if the world blew up it would be right there and (b) I can’t take more than 30 seconds of national news mindlessness at a time. But this morning the news was showing Trump at some sort of town hall event – I watched through two questions.

The first question was about the life issue – apparently originating from a couple Catholic guys, one of whom is a priest: once and for all, are you pro-life or pro-choice? Boom, goes Donald – “I’m pro-life”; then a bit of attacks on Cruz for questioning Trump’s pro-life credentials.

The second question was about Social Security – what will you do to save it? Trump’s answer – I’m going to make the economy so strong that we can fund it forever; I’ll never cut it or raise the retirement age; every other candidate will cut it; remember Paul Ryan? They had him pushing granny off a cliff in a wheelchair, they won’t be able to do that to me.

Trump didn’t provide any details, at all – but he said precisely what a winning electoral coalition wants to hear.

Make no mistake about it, the GOP has a disadvantage on Social Security – relentless Democrat lies have convinced a large number of people that in some way, the GOP wants to cut benefits to current Social Security recipients. Don’t doubt this – I personally know such people. That Social Security is a hideously bad program which doesn’t provide near what a privatized retirement plan could provide is neither here nor there: for tens of millions of people, it is all they have for retirement and even the slightest hint of risk to the program gives them a sinking feeling in their gut…and makes them, in the end, vote Democrat just to be sure. Donald Trump just laid down an immovable marker – he won’t cut it in any way, shape or form. Hillary tries to attack him with that, he’ll be able to smack down such talk and be convincing about it. Elderly voters already trend GOP…Romney won 56% of their votes in 2012…but Trump, by being absolutely firm on this, could increase the GOP share of the elderly a significant amount.

Trump is now officially pro-life, but he’s no Holy Joe and he’s never been involved in the fight over abortion, and thus hasn’t built up any “hate factor” on either side. The United States is becoming a more pro-life nation all the time, so being pro-life, aside from being crucial in the GOP primary, is in tune with the broad majority of the American people…who, though, still in their majority don’t want an actual end to abortion, at least in the early part of a pregnancy. Given the nature of Trump, a “War on Women” campaign against him would probably roll off…and do keep in mind that 21% of professed Pro-Life people voted for Obama in 2012, which is an absurdity…Trump could pull even more Pro-Life people into the GOP voting booth.

What this all boils down to me is that Trump, by keeping it vague but firmly on the side of the vast majority of the American people (gotta protect SS; you know, it is just better to be Pro-Life, etc), his plan is to win the GOP nomination and the Presidency by sheer out-appealing everyone else. Trump is not looking for wedge issues to divide the electorate and pick up just enough of it to secure victory (a long-standing Democrat tactic which the GOP has never been effective at) – Trump is looking to convince a gigantic majority that he’s for them.

Whether or not he can do it remains to be seen – just as it remains to be seen what, precisely, he’d do as President. But if he can do it, then he’s not only going to be the GOP nominee, but he’s going to utterly crush the Democrats in November.

I’m still hopeful that Cruz or Rubio can somehow stop him – but time is rapidly running out and I’ve yet to see them hit Trump where it would actually hurt…in the fact that he’s a rich man. Trump is rich, Hillary is rich – attack the rich. Go full-blast after corporations, rich people, the use of money by the Establishment to twist things. Still might not work, but hitting Trump on the fact that he used to be pro-choice or that he’s not a true conservative won’t get you anywhere…people don’t care about that. They are disgusted with business as usual and are searching – in both Democrat and GOP ranks – for whomever seems most likely to be a political hand grenade in DC. Just as in 2008 the whole exercise was to find the politician who was least like George Bush, so 2016 is all about finding the politician who is least like a politician. Hence, Trump.

I will never be a Trump supporter – because Trump, bottom line, is just another Progressive…a more patriotic variety of Progressive than we’ve seen for some decades. There used to be a lot of them, you know? Teddy Roosevelt was one, for instance. If he becomes President, I’ll support anything he does which actually works towards Conservatism, oppose anything he does which doesn’t. But if we in the GOP don’t want to have a Progressive, Patriotic Trump as President, then we’d better get our act together very fast…and that really means Cruz and Rubio getting their acts together.

So, About New Hampshire

Biggest thing for me about it is that 42,000 fewer people participated in the Democrat primary than in 2008; the returns aren’t 100% yet, but my calculation is that about 245,000 people voted in the Democrat primary last night, in 2008 it was 287,000. That is a 15% decline – rather large. What is shows that the Democrats are not enthused about 2016 – and the Democrats need at least most of 2008’s enthusiasm to carry their nominee – still almost certain to be Hillary – over the finish line. Meanwhile, over on the GOP side, a bit more than 280,000 people participated, while in 2012 it was 248,000 – showing GOP enthusiasm is up. If this sort of turnout prevails over the primaries (and I suspect it will), then it will demonstrate that the Democrats are in deep trouble.

From what I’ve seen, Sanders didn’t just beat Hillary, he crushed her. But, will it matter? Next up is South Carolina where the Democrat electorate is heavily African-American and African-Americans have been Clinton loyalists since 1992 – with the exception of 2008. But was 2008 merely a reflection of running against Obama, or an indication that African-American loyalty to the Clinton’s isn’t as deep as people think? We’ll find out in South Carolina – if Sanders can peel away even 35% of the African-American primary vote from Hillary, then we might not have Hillary as the Democrat nominee. And that, actually, worries me a bit. I know that the official line is that Hillary is impervious but I’m starting to suspect she’s a loser – against any GOPer. Sanders, the Socialist, is allegedly the George McGovern of 2016…but with his populist, anti-Establishment credibility, he might actually be harder to beat, especially if the GOP nominates someone like Jeb or Kasich.

On the GOP side, the only remarkable thing for me was Cruz coming in strong third – he spent little time or resources in New Hampshire and did very well. Meanwhile, Jeb poured in resources and came in fourth. It is time for Jeb to pack it in – though I suspect he’ll hang around until Florida. Rubio had a bad night – fifth place behind Jeb, of all things. Some say it was the debate and maybe that did it; I don’t really know. Maybe 2016 just isn’t Rubio’s year. Right now, I think it shapes up as a battle between Cruz and Trump, with a slight chance that Rubio rebounds as the Great Establishment Hope.

Get ready for a strange political year…

I’m Writing Another Long Post Open Thread

I really did like writing that last long post – and, so inspired, am in the process of writing another. It’ll likely become a series as I explore my views of just what, exactly, makes one a Conservative or a Progressive. But as enormously long posts take a long time to write, how about some content?

Well, the Broncos won – and all Chargers fans are delighted as it means the near-certain retirement of Manning and thus the Bolts will have a shot at the AFC West next year. As for Newton’s meltdown in the post-game presser: I cut him some slack. He’s a young, vigorous man who just had a fantastic year but the Big Prize – the thing he’s worked his whole, young life for – was ripped away from him…by that absolutely stunning Denver defense (I hadn’t seen a Denver game all year – I had no idea just how good those guys are). Newton will be back – and I think he’ll eventually get his well-deserved ring…and he’ll mature and do better.

Sanders and Hillary are tied in national polls – mostly a meaningless thing as the Primaries are a series of electoral contests which don’t 1 for 1 relate to each other…but it is a stunning fall from the heights for Hillary, who is now nakedly demanding Progressives support her simply because she’s a woman. I still think she’ll steamroll her way to the nomination, but she’s heavily damaged goods. This is what makes the GOP primary so important – whomever we nominate is likely the next President, even if it’s Jeb (that is a change for me – I thought him the one sure-loser for 2016, but Hillary is so bad that even Jeb could possibly beat her). Related: final poll for NH shows Bush in 2nd, Rubio in 4th. If it works out that way, then we’ll have Jeb to kick around for a while longer. I hope it’s not true – I hope by SC (or, at least, by the “SEC Primary” we’re down to a three man cage match between Trump, Cruz and Rubio). Also related: pretty, young woman is feeling the Bern…which is still rather sad, but I have about 1,567,978% more respect for any Prog backing Bernie than I do those backing Hillary. Seriously – Bernie is lots and lots of things I disagree with, but he isn’t a nauseating tub of corruption.

How do you fall on the “Obama is doing this deliberately/Obama is just an incompetent dolt” debate? My view: he’s an incompetent dolt who is managing to deliberately wreck things because for more than 7 years, no one has really dared to try and stop him.

NARAL/Moloch = Same/Same.

A financial expert opines that there is zero chance of a recession this year. I’m sure you’re comforted.

Keep Libya in mind – Obama’s failed war there might be heading towards Failed War II.

Draft women into the military? I’m a bit old fashioned – heck no. But here’s the thing – if we believe that women should serve in combat then there are two requirements:

1. Women must meet the exact same standards as the men and there can be no lowering of standards and

2. You’d have to register women for the draft.

Call me whatever you want – but I think that it is the duty of men to fight; to spare women, as far as possible, from the horrors of war. Liberals don’t particularly care about that – ramming through their idea of equality is far more important, even if “equal” means “lower the standards until the women can meet them”. They also aren’t at all concerned about combat efficiency because war is wrong and, at any rate, Soft Power will make war un-necessary. Meanwhile, careerists in the Armed Forces are willing to do anything to get another star on their shoulder and if that means lowering combat efficiency in order to suck up to the politicians, they’ll do it.

If all that is happening is getting you down:

A Ballade of Suicide

The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall;
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours–on the wall–
Are drawing a long breath to shout “Hurray!”
The strangest whim has seized me. . . . After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

To-morrow is the time I get my pay–
My uncle’s sword is hanging in the hall–
I see a little cloud all pink and grey–
Perhaps the rector’s mother will not call– I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way–
I never read the works of Juvenal–
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

The world will have another washing-day;
The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H.G. Wells has found that children play,
And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall,
Rationalists are growing rational–
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray
So secret that the very sky seems small–
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

Wow Iowa Caucus!

Didn’t expect this – I was resigned to Trump doing well, perhaps winning, and Hillary pushing back the Sanders challenge. As of right now, Cruz has definitely won it on the GOP side while Rubio surged to a very close-behind-Trump third place. Over on the Democrat side, it is razor-close…last I checked, only 0.2% separated Hillary and Sanders.

GOP turnout beat the previous GOP Iowa caucus record by about 50% – and we probably do have to tip our hat a bit to Trump on that, but it is clear that the other candidates had a hand in it, as well. Haven’t been able to find raw numbers on Democrat voters – which makes me suspect the numbers were unspectacular. If that is the case, then what we’ve got is a worn-out Democrat base which is bucking against a coronation of Her Majesty.

Everyone is still playing the “only my guy can win” game – ie, my candidate is the only one who can beat Hillary. Well, first off, the GOP might not square off against Hillary, to begin with, but even if we do, I’m more and more feeling that Hillary can’t win. Sure, she’s not as monstrously unpopular (by approval rating) as Donald Trump, but she’s darned sure more unpopular than any of other GOPer in the race…and her popularity is highly unlikely to improve between now and November. True enough, she and her operatives are nasty people and will use every dirty trick in the book against whomever the GOP nominates, but I don’t think that will work…not least because the American people may be growing tired of Democrat nastiness in the service of raw power.

At any rate, I’m highly encouraged by tonight. We’ll see how it goes to November…