Monday, November 12, 2018

The only force in current post-American politics and discourse accurately taking the measure of the Very Stable Genius

It sure looks like, on the basis of the previous three posts, that it's Beat-Up-the-President Day at LITD.

Well, damn it, he has it coming. North Korean appeasement seems to have failed. He's reinforced his image throughout Europe as arrogant and erratic. His bloviating about the Florida recounts is unhelpful.

Now, what kind of reaction would the throne-sniffers of various types have to the sum total of what we've posted so far today have? Wayne Allen Root would immediately blurt out the latest employment and consumer confidence numbers. Sean Hannity would probably go the this-is-how-far-the-tentacles-of-the-deep-state-extend route. Laura Ingraham's emphasis would probably be on the illegal-alien factor. Kurt Schlichter would take the "just-trample-'em-all-under-foot" approach.

But here's the thing: In the aftermath of the midterms, it's pretty clear that, beyond the VSG's base, he's not in as good a shape as he was in 2016. Lower numbers for suburban voters and white women. A newly constituted House preoccupied with intensifying investigations.

LITD harbors no regrets at all in maintaining the steady-as-she-goes course it's been on since the fabled descent on the Trump Tower escalator. The good policy moves remain worthy of applause, but the guy's glaring personality flaws have real-world ramifications.

As is the case with most outlets and people taking this stance, LITD rejects the meaningless "Never Trump" label, used for purposes of derision by the throne-sniffers. We neither intend to defect to the Democrat party - what in God's name could they possibly have to offer any conservative? - nor hunker down in obscurity.

Contrary to the smug diagnoses of Trump's slavish devotees, we haven't withered as a force and disappeared. In fact, we're going to prove indispensable as the need for a coherent argument against Leftism is shown to be beyond the Trump-is-fabulous / MAGA camp's capabilities.

You knew this one was too hot for the VSG to keep his mouth shut about

As if the Florida close-numbers-in-the-Senate-and-governorship-races situation weren't volatile enough, the VSG just has to weigh in:

President Donald Trump weighed in on the battle over counting ballots in Florida's Senate and governor's race Monday and, as he has done before, claimed without evidence that the integrity of the election had been compromised.
The president tweeted that the results from Election Night should be accepted and both Republican candidates, Gov. Rick Scott, who's running for U.S. Senate against Sen. Bill Nelson, and former Rep. Ron DeSantis, who's running for governor against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, should be declared the winners of their respective races.
I don't know that I'd go as far as ABC News and say "without evidence." For instance, this Brenda Sykes has a track record of shady activity at ballot-counting time. (Even there, a question looms large: Why, for cryin' out loud, hadn't Rick Scott fired her before this latest cycle?)

But there's this thing called state law, and the spreads in both of the Florida races in question are within the margin that automatically necessitates a recount. (Not that the election officials in the two counties in question hold state law in any kind of regard. They weren't providing regular updates, as the law requires, regarding outstanding ballots.)

The Scott and DeSantis teams, most definitely including the lawyers, are on the case and we don't need overblown rhetoric from the blowhard-in-chief complicating matters.

As we know, Democrats are power-mad savages who will stop at nothing to drag their own over the finish line. There's helpful rhetoric in fighting them, and unhelpful rhetoric. That Donald Trump would understand that. But it's very, vey unlikely. VSG gonna VSG.

The Paris gathering as a pivotal turn away from the postwar order

Does anyone doubt that the Very Stable Genius's decision to arrive at the functions involved in the armistice-commemoration summit on his own rather than participate with European leaders was meant to send an America-first signal?

Possible merits of such a signal aside - it's undeniable that the rest of NATO should be paying much more for its own defense - such gestures strengthen the hand of French president Macron as he chooses the term "nationalism" as something to regard as having ominous portend.  It also allows Macron, and like-minded European leaders, to craft an agenda for a new era in which the American umbrella's significance is diminished, an agenda that includes such resource-wasting silliness as "combatting climate change" and such harmful developments as the supplanting of Europe's Christian foundation with an utterly alien culture brought from far-off failed states.

Putin, also arriving on his own at the Paris summit functions, is obviously aware of the emerging dynamic. He's no doubt ready to talk energy, security and whatever else might surface in the course of conversation with those portions of Europe that have decided that America in the age of Trump is an increasingly peripheral player.

The VSG winging-it style is proving to have lasting implications, not all of which may serve the cause of any kind of American greatness.

It's looking like post-America got took in the latest round of North Korea appeasement

Ben Shapiro at the Daily Wire:

On Monday, new satellite images showed that North Korea has continued to upgrade its ballistic missile program at 16 secret facilities. As The Daily Beast reports, “The development suggests North Korea’s promise to shut down one major test site was an attempted deception.” The Center for Strategic and International Studies states, “North Korea’s decommissioning of the Sohae satellite launch facility, while gaining much media attention, obscures the military threat to U.S. forces and South Korea from this and other undeclared ballistic missile bases.”
All that beautiful-letter-his-people-love-him-he's-strong-and-talented nonsense has, at least so far, only had one result:

Trump legitimized the regime.
So, unless there's yet another move in the works that really does amount to 5-D chess, it looks like the summit-and-beautiful-letter approach joins the Agreed Framework and Six-Way Talks on the ash heap of futility.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The folly of thinking we have what it takes on our own

One of the sad cultural realities of 2018 post-America is that you can expected to be disgusted / saddened / enraged by one or more posts whenever you scroll your Facebook news feed.

A few minutes ago, I saw one that qualifies. It wasn't even from one of my friends. It was one of those "popular across Facebook" posts. Some lady interviewing an "ex-fundamentalist" minister who said something to the effect of "if we're more concerned with our souls getting to heaven than we are with the environment or racism, there's something faulty about our religion."

As we know, this kind of thinking, couched as it was because this guy wants to make the average person coming across his conversation say, "Hey, yeah, you know, this guy has a valid point," actually has a fairly long pedigree, going back at least to Walter Rauschenbusch and his social-gospel theology. And I daresay that the drastic decline in mainline Protestant denominations' memberships over the past 50 years and their concurrent preoccupation with "social justice" is not a coincidence. (My master's thesis was on this topic.)

It certainly showed up in a diatribe Chris Cuomo let loose with in the aftermath of the California country-bar shoot-up:

Have you ever asked God to comfort the families of a victim? Then you downright mocked them. So says Chris Cuomo — the brother of Andrew, who claimed “[America] was never that great” (here) and insisted that pro-gun conservatives “have no place in the state of New York.”
“’First, I would like to offer my thoughts and prayers.’ Because that’s what you do when you offer, thoughts and prayers. You mock those who lost loved ones, because if you gave it any thought at all, you would never walk away from any of these without figuring out a better way to deal with them. And prayer — you think leaving it to God is the answer? ‘We pray for strength; we pray for wisdom; for resolve.’ But we clearly don’t want to act on any of those here. So what are you praying for?”
Yeah — what are you praying for, you jerks?
“What would it take? How about a stadium full of children of the most influential people in our society all holding puppies? What if they were all shot and killed? Would we act? ‘Oh, don’t be ridiculous to suggest something like.’ Is it? is it ridiculous? More ridiculous than doing nothing, time after time? Listening to these people pouring out their pain, crying along with them, saying you care?”
There ya go: if you pray, you don’t care. 
What this mindset does is render almighty God an abstraction, a concept rather than an immediate reality.

And that is exactly why our society is so sick and rotten.

When our Lord says for us to come to him and he will make our burdens light, that he has overcome the world, that's not just some kind of "nice thought" that gives us a psychological lift when the going gets tough.

We are to turn over our entire beings to Him. He doesn't demand it, though. He invites us. He created us to be sovereign (as He is sovereign), but we should (that's should, not must) use our free will to lay our sovereignty at the foot of the cross and live our lives as acts of worship.

The mentality of the likes of the minister whose video I saw on Facebook, or of Chris Cuomo, is rooted in the most basic folly to which the human being succumbs: the idea that we can do this thing called human existence on our own.

Those of us who have given up this way of approaching life must go forth as agents of grace, witnesses to the immediacy and utter necessity of God. Embracing that is and always has been the only remedy for whatever ills beset any society that human beings organize. All other "solutions" merely heap on yet more folly, depriving us of the joy for which He created us.

Jesus is the answer, whatever the question.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday roundup

If there's an exceptionally exceptional piece by Kevin Williamson out on a given day - everything he writes is exceptional - we lead with it in a roundup. I can't remember a more thorough summing up of  one of the basic differences between the American Right and Left than what he offers this morning. The Left tends to view things on a national scale, where as the Right tends to look at things microcosmically, starting with individual sovereignty and moving up through the cultural distinctions of various locales and regions, and setting great store by the sovereignty of states.
He reminds us that we must consider history's nuances. For all the keep-it-local impulse that the Republican Party, particularly since the modern conservative movement has been impacting it, is informed by, there's a corporatist / grand-scheme element that dates back to the great Abraham Lincoln:

The Republican party of President Lincoln’s time had a wing that was recognizably conservative in the contemporary sense of that word, but President Lincoln, like his fellow Republican President Eisenhower a century later, was very much interested in what he called “improvements,” meaning mostly what we now call “infrastructure,” canals and railroads in one century and the federal highway system in the next. These projects were thought of as being national in the sense that they would improve the economic productivity and public life of the nation as a whole by enabling the easy movement of goods and people — and, if necessary, soldiers: It’s the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.
And the argument can be made that some degree of nationwide uniformity has been necessary:

Projects that are national in scope in a country as large and complex as the United States inevitably require standardization and regimentation. In the early days of railroads, different railways used different gauges of track, a situation that was of relatively little practical consequence until the railroad network grew extensive enough that the discrete systems began to interconnect. Different parties had different political and economic interests in particular configurations of track — hence the so-called Erie Gauge War — but competition among the railroads and the economic power of the major industrial and agricultural concerns inconvenienced by incompatible tracks were sufficient to ensure almost universal standardization. The emerging Internet had standardization needs that were in many ways similar.

In our time, we think of progressives as being anti-business, or at least skeptical of the political and economic power of big corporations and business alliances. But the political thinking of the Progressive Era was profoundly influenced by the business philosophy of the time, which was not the libertarian-oriented business thinking we are used to hearing from Charles and David Koch or the Chamber of Commerce. The experience of building out the railroad network had left a profound mark on American business culture, as had the emergence of such techniques as the use of standardized and interchangeable parts in machine construction (one of Samuel Colt’s many contributions to American life), assembly lines (particularly in the automobile industry), and more systematic approaches to business management. Frederick Winslow Taylor’s “scientific management” philosophy was ascendant, and business and government alike was consumed with efficiency, rooting out waste and redundancy, and coordination. Many of the leading business thinkers of the time were frankly corporatist (the railroads had been a textbook example of corporatism in action), decrying “destructive competition,” duplication of effort, and the general messiness of free markets. You can still hear the echoes of that when Senator Sanders decries the many available brands of deodorant. 

Add in the foundation to this provided by the progressives - Thorstein Veblen, Richard T. Ely, Herbert Croly, John Dewey, Woodrow Wilson et al - which posited that in an age of urbanization and industrialization, the Constitution alone was no longer a sufficient operating manual for federal government and that a cabal of pointy-headed experts needed to be appointed to executive-branch agencies to guide the nation on matters ranging from energy production to transportation to health care to education to management-labor relations, and you have a one-size-fits-all policy:

If you believe that what the world needs — what America needs — is efficient expert management, then you will pursue policy goals that emphasize size, scale, homogeneity, systematization, and regimentation. And your preferred instrument almost always will be the federal government; 50 states doing things 50 different ways is incompatible with your vision of intelligent expert administration.
This explains some of the Left's current obsessions, the Electoral College and the Senate:
It is unsurprising, then, that most of the foregoing Democratic arguments are mere demands for greater political power disguised as calls for “fairness,” an infinitely plastic concept. And we can be reasonably confident that if certain shoes had been on other feet — if Democrats enjoyed a commanding position in the states, or if Mrs. Clinton had won in the Electoral College with a couple million fewer votes than Donald Trump — that the intensity of their complaints would be diminished. But this is not only naked political calculation: The belief that the United States should be administered as a single unitary entity and that the 50 states are 50 impediments to national progress and efficient national administration is deep in their political thinking. In fact, it may even be the case that their political calculation is a lagging indicator driven in part by their policy vision: Being so focused on Washington, it is natural that the Democrats have allowed the atrophy of their political muscle in the states, leading to diminished power in them. At the same time, the people in the more rural states have not failed to appreciate that the Democrats’ Washington-first approach devalues them and their communities — precisely the problem that our constitutional order was designed to ameliorate. 

At Townhall, Allie Stuckey invites us to contemplate the sheer arrogance of this:

A viral tweet listed Republicans for which white women voted in the midterms and concluded, “white women gonna white.” 

Don’t worry, though. The Women’s March is here to help us out: “There’s a lot of work to do, white women. A lot of learning. A lot of growing. We want to do it with you.”
What this amounts to is the essential leftist message: "You will be made to get your mind right." There will be no room for this:

The claim is that we are voting against our own interests. But this assumes our interests are liberal interests—abortion, closing the “gender pay gap,” gun control, etc. And they’re just not. We women who vote Republican do so because, in general, we believe in things like the Second Amendment, lower taxes and restrictions on killing the unborn. We are not oppressed. We’re just not progressive. 
And these people will be erased from your memory:

These are the same people who completely ignore successful conservative women like Nikki Haley, Condoleezza Rice, or Carly Fiorina–not to mention the Republicans who ran in the midterms. Martha McSally, colonel in the Air Force, congresswoman and Arizona senatorial candidate certainly isn’t trying to repress women. The first female governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, doesn’t seem to be relegating women to the kitchen. Young Kim, Congress’s first Korean-American representative, isn’t exactly a slave to the patriarchy. These women, though, just don’t fit the narrative.

Rachel Larimore at The Weekly Standard says that the disgusting and insulting calling out of Mia Love (among other Republican Congressional candidates who lost on Tuesday) as having lost because she was insufficiently loyal to him (" . . . gave me no love and lost. Sorry about that, Mia.")  puts the lie to the idea that he gives an actual diddly about abortion.

The relentless march of the campus jackboots:

At Colorado State University (CSU), administrators have designated the common greeting "long time, no see" as non-inclusive language.
That's according to a student, Katrina Leibee, who writes for the campus paper, The Rocky Mountain Collegian. Leibee met with Zahra Al-Saloom, director of diversity and inclusion at CSU, who showed her a list of terms and phrases considered contrary to the university's mission of fostering inclusion.
"One of these phrases was 'long time, no see,' which is viewed as derogatory towards those of Asian descent," wrote Leibee.

Leibee also noted that administrators discouraged use of "you guys" in favor of "y'all," which is gender neutral (and ungrammatical, but this is apparently less of a concern). Her column does not claim that administrators force students to use the gender neutral terminology, just that such terminology is preferred.
Al-Saloom did not respond to a request for a comment.
Not that it will persuade the Very Stable Genius, but John Yoo, George Conway and Clarence Thomas all think the VSG's appointment of Whitaker as acting AG is unconstitutional.

And the indispensable Heather MacDonald, writing at City Journal,  (I'm currently reading her new book The Diversity Delusion, and it's excellent) says that firing Jeff Sessions was a dumb move on the VSG's part, that the VSG couldn't have asked for a more reliable ally on immigration policy and basic law and order.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Why we call them Freedom-Haters - today's edition

Now it's personal. When the jackboots start talking about controlling what goes in my mouth, the hair on the back of my neck stands straight up:

It would drive up the price of your barbecue but a global "meat tax" could save 220,000 lives and cut health care bills by $41 billion each year, according to a new study.
The numbers are based on evidence that links meat consumption to increased risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.
Three years ago, the World Health Organization declared red meat such as beef, lamb and pork to be carcinogenic when eaten in processed forms, including sausages, bacon and beef jerky. 
Health officials have also declared that unprocessed red meat like steak and burgers are "probably" carcinogenic. Other carcinogens such as cigarettes and alcohol are regulated in order to reduce cases of chronic disease.
A team of researchers led by Dr. Marco Springmann, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University, estimated the rate of tax that would be necessary to offset health care costs related to red meat consumption. 

"The least intrusive form of regulation is a tax to raise prices and reduce consumption," Springmann told CNN.
Researchers concluded that the UK government should introduce a tax of 79% on processed meat such as bacon, and 14% on unprocessed meat such as steak. 
And mind you, this is not coming from any national government. This is coming from a body with the word "world" in its name.

Normal people who cherish their liberty can't let their guard down for a second these days. Jackboots cook up ways to tyrannize us without relent.

Ratcheting up the ugliness in post-America - this hour's edition

Vox cofounder Matthew Yglesias has dog vomit where decent people have souls:

I think the idea behind terrorizing his family, like it or not as a strategy, is to make them feel some of the fear that the victims of MAGA-inspired violence feel thanks to the non-stop racial incitement coming from Tucker, Trump, etc.
I agree that this is probably not tactically sound but if your instinct is to empathize with the fear of the Carlson family rather than with the fear of his victims then you should take a moment to reflect on why that is.
There's that passive-aggressive formulation that Freedom-Haters have made into an art form. A cable-TV commentator has "victims."

This is how stable societies unravel.

Ratcheting up the ugliness in post-America


Fox News host Tucker Carlson was at his desk Wednesday evening, less than two hours before his 8 p.m. live show, when he suddenly started receiving multiple text messages.
There was some sort of commotion happening outside his home in Northwest D.C.
“I called my wife,” Carlson told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “She had been in the kitchen alone getting ready to go to dinner and she heard pounding on the front door and screaming. ... Someone started throwing himself against the front door and actually cracked the front door.”
His wife, thinking it was a home invasion, locked herself in the pantry and called 911, Carlson said. The couple have four children, but none were home at the time.
But it wasn’t a home invasion. It was a protest.
According to now-deleted social media posts shared by Smash Racism D.C., a local anti-fascist organization whose members have been tied to other demonstrations against prominent Republican figures, activists showed up outside Carlson’s home Wednesday and they had a message for him.
“Tucker Carlson, we are outside your home,” one person could be heard saying in the since-deleted video. The person, using a bullhorn, accused Carlson of “promoting hate” and “an ideology that has led to thousands of people dying.”

“We want you to know, we know where you sleep at night,” the person concluded, before leading the group to chant, “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!”
Roughly 20 people had gathered outside Carlson’s residence, said Lt. Jon Pongratz of the D.C. police. Authorities received a call at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and responded “within a few minutes,” Pongratz told The Post. 

We all know where this is headed, don't we? There's not going to be a mass scaling back, is there?

For some time, the Left has been playing the "hate" card against conservatives, trying put us on the defensive, to force us into a position of explaining why our worldview isn't hateful. Now the message is "Just shut up and prepare to have your home, and if we can get to you, your person violated."

Folks, this is raw jackbootery. The gossamer thread by which civilization hangs is fraying badly.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Acosta-VSG dustup at today's presser

Not sure I've ever seen anything quite like it. Notice how the VSG paces the floor to give himself a moment to compose a response. He almost looked like coming off the platform to punch Acosta was among the options he was considering. Then comes the drop-the-microphone-very-terrible-person weighing-in.

The VSG is exactly right that Acosta was grandstanding with that pure opinion-expressing regarding the wave of Latin Americans who intend to, another two months into their march, become illegal aliens in the US. He was baiting the VSG about the term "invasion."

That said, this confrontation must be put into the context of the entire presser. LITD finds the portion in which the VSG got his strong-arm on by saying about the likes of the highly principled conservative Mia Love, "hey, you didn't unequivocally support everything about me and my agenda, too bad, so sad" really disturbing.

Which leads me to my basic conclusion. The VSG is now prepping for a position of maximum ugliness should it be necessary in dealing with Nancy Pelosi and House committee chairs. He was displaying his chops, sending strong signals as to the level of brinksmanship he's willing to go to as the next two years unfold.

I don't like the way Donald Trump conducts himself. Never have. But when the Left goads him, what they're doing is peeling away of layers of assumption about public conduct that are difficult to re-emerge from.

We're off and running. The next phase of post-America's parlor game called "Can It Get Any More Brittle?" is underway.

Think about that White House aide trying to pry Acosta's microphone away. The exchange of facial expressions between her and the president. That look of hers that says, "What should I do here?"

Presidential pressers now have a physical element.

That's where we are.

UPDATE: The VSG acted both indefensibly (see above mention of the way he named names of Pubs who lost and attributed their losses to insufficient throne-sniffing) and defensibly. LITD applauds the way he shut down PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor for trying to make Trump's yes-I-am-a-nationalist stance our to be bigoted code or dog-whistling. Assuming the label of nationalist is indeed counterproductive, but it's not some attempt to convey a hidden signal about race.

Another kind of fallout from the disappearance of our unifying civic institutions: the diminishing role of political parties

Great Jonah Goldberg piece at NRO this morning. He invites us to take a look at the effect technological and cultural developments have had on our politics at various stages of our history, including the present:

Outside groups — the National Rifle Association, Planned Parenthood, unions, etc. — often do more to effectively organize voters around single issues or personalities than the parties do. The Kochs, Tom Steyer, George Soros, and Sheldon Adelson serve as party bosses, only outside the parties.
Technology is another, less obvious force siphoning power from the parties. For instance, as political historian Michael Barone has noted, the telephone dealt a grievous blow to political conventions, where insiders have outsize power.
Until the 1960s, the national convention was a communications medium,” Barone writes. “Political leaders in the various states seldom met each other, outside of sessions of Congress, during the four years between presidential elections.”

The telephone eliminated the need for the face-to-face negotiations. Today, political conventions are little more than infomercials for presidential candidates.
The Internet and cable TV have accelerated the eclipsing of parties. Opinion websites and TV and radio hosts now do more to shape issues and select candidates than the parties do. It’s a bit like comic books. Readership of comics has been in steady decline, but movie studios and toy manufacturers still feed off the brands created generations ago.

The weird thing is that the American people didn’t seem to notice. The largest voting bloc in America today call themselves independents, but most of them tend to be as partisan as everybody else, while “pure independents” are less likely to vote at all.
And yet, Americans keep talking about partisan politics as if the parties are in charge, and base voters on the left and the right keep railing against the party establishments like mobs unaware that they’re kicking dead horses. 
Factor in the fact that we now bowl alone and we can see that we're asking way more of politics than it can deliver:

Among the many problems with the rotting out of the parties is that the rot spreads. The parties are supposed to be where politics happens. McConnell’s point about money in politics is analogous to the larger trend. When you take political power out of the parties, other actors seize it.
When wielded by people who aren’t supposed to be in the politics business, that power corrupts. This is why every Academy Awards ceremony is peppered with asinine political jeremiads, and why late-night-comedy hosts serve as de facto Democratic-party organizers.
It’s why people such as Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, act like social-gospel ward heelers. It’s why the cable-news networks spend so much of their time rallying voters in one direction or another. And it’s why countless pundits and allegedly objective reporters serve as unofficial political consultants.
It’s also why Donald Trump could leverage his celebrity to seize the GOP nomination, and why someone like Oprah Winfrey could be next.
There are other, larger forces at work. The decline of strong independent institutions — religious, civic, and familial — has people searching for other outlets to find a sense of meaning and belonging. Identity politics, populism, and nationalism are filling that void.
Unless there's a mass turning to God, it's not going to get better.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A report on the ground from south-central Indiana

Okay, I'm back home and I've taken off my objective journalist hat now. It was hard to keep it on straight at the GOP event in my county, which I covered for Reising Radio Partners. Got great interviews with Greg Pence, the new Indiana 6th District House member (on the left in the photo), and Ryan Lauer, newly elected state representative from our district (on the right).

Really proud of Ryan. I know him and his wife Blair fairly well. In fact, chatted with his parents as my wife and I were going in to our polling place to vote this morning. Christian people, committed to free market economics, options-oriented education policy, and fierce defenders of the right to life of the unborn.

Saw a lot of old friends. It was a pretty electric atmosphere.

Now watching national coverage on FNC. Florida governor's race (also Senate race) on a knife edge, which I don't understand. It's a state with no income tax! Panhandle numbers still to come in.

And I realize not many votes are yet tallied in Texas, but that Senate race is starting off on a really perplexing note.

Abrams being left in a cloud of dust in Georgia governor race at this point, which is beautiful to see.

James still coming up short against Stabenow in Michigan. We shall see.

Blackburn wins in Tennessee against Bredesen. Yay!

What I liked about the speeches at the local event was how God was invoked pretty much to a speaker. These are people informed by solid values.

God reigns supreme, no matter what happens in this realm.

With one oopsie, a Michigan reporter forever ruins her objective-journalist status

Should have verified that you'd ended the call first, darlin':

A reporter was caught on tape saying what she really thinks about Michigan Republican Senate candidate John James when she left him an obscene and insulting voicemail after thinking she had hung up the phone. “F*cking John James," she's heard saying. "That would suck.”
Brenda Battel, a reporter for the Huron Daily Tribune, left the crude message at James’s campaign office phone number Monday afternoon after requesting a post-election interview for Wednesday.
“Hi, my name is Brenda Battel. I’m a reporter with the Huron Daily Tribune in Bad Axe, Michigan,” Battel said in the voicemail.
“I’m looking to set up an appointment with Mr. James for some time on Wednesday for a phone interview regarding the election results,” Battel continued. “I’m probably going to send an email over to the with some details. Um, if you’d like to call me back, my number is … extension.… Thank you.”
After Battel thought she'd hung up the phone, she launched into a profane verbal attack on James.
“Man, if he beats her… Jesus! F*cking John James. Whew! That would suck! I don’t think it’s going to happen though,” Battel cursed. 
The Daily Tribune has since given her the heave-ho.

The LITD Election Day post

Vote for individual sovereignty, not collectivism.

Vote for unwavering adherence to the intent of the Constitution's framers, not some notion that it is a "living document."

Vote for people and businesses keeping their own money, not redistribution.

Vote for an understanding of what rights actually are, not the insidious notion that health care, a job, "affordable" housing and "clean" air are somehow rights.

Vote for normal-people forms of energy, like oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power, not play-like forms such as wind and solar power, which need government subsidies to be "viable."

Vote for the understanding that all of humankind had until five minutes ago that there are only two genders, not the insane notion that gender is fluid, or an abstract construct.

Vote for the understanding that all of humankind had until five minutes ago that marriage is defined as the lifelong union of a woman and a man.

Vote for religious freedom, not government-coerced sin.

Vote for national sovereignty and the rule of law, not rendering borders meaningless.

Vote for a foreign policy based on affinity with countries that, at least mostly, share our values and resolute opposition to America's enemies.

Vote principles. Do not be motivated by tribalism.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A complete and unsparing explanation of why identify politics is so dangerous

This is your must-read for today.

John C. Goodman, writing at Townhall, starts his column by laying out the dire numbers. At least post-Americans do see just how brittle their society is:

Here is something almost all Americans agree on: we’re divided.

Nine out of 10 Americans say political divisions in our country are a serious problem, according to a recent poll. Six in 10 say it’s a very serious problem.
He goes on to discuss how Paul Krugman's latest New York Times "column" is  a textbook study in how hate has replaced reason in the pronouncements of so many pundits. I'll leave that for you to read, because you should read Goodman's piece in its entirety.

A bit further down, he cites and fleshes out the three tenets on which modern-day identity politics rests: a racist view of rights and responsibilities, the implicit promise of retribution, and original sin:

A racist view of rights and responsibilities. Here’s the core idea: Your rights, your entitlements, your claims against others – indeed, your very value as a human being – depend on your skin color, your gender, your sexual preferences, your DNA, etc. Those characteristics determine your tribe. And tribes are not equal.
When Hillary Clinton and other Democrats address their national party conventions, there is the inevitable and obligatory listing of all the groups they are going to bat for: blacks, Hispanics, women, LGBTs, etc. The implicit promise: Democrats are going to do things for you that they are not going to do for others. In fact, whatever they do for you will likely be at the expense of others.
The implicit promise of retribution. The message of identity politics is the message of aggrievement. Either explicitly or implicitly, Democratic politicians are saying to their constituents: you have been treated unfairly; you haven’t gotten your share of society’s rewards; and in every case it’s someone else’s fault. If you are black, your oppressors are white. If you are female, your oppressors are male. If you are gay, your oppressors are straight. 
Most Democrats don’t use the term “white privilege tax.” But more than a few secretly believe we ought to have some version of that. And even if they don’t say it overtly, they imply that so-called “marginalized groups” are entitled to something everyone who isn’t marginalized is not entitled to. 

Original sin. Identity politics is almost always connected to the view that guilt for historical bad acts passes down through the genes. Also, it’s not individual genes. It’s the collective genes of your group that taint you.
Let’s say a member of group A sinned against a member of Group B years ago. Then, a modern descendant of an A is said to have a claim against a modern descendant of a B, even if there is no reason to believe that either ancestor was a party to any bad act. 

Here's how that has played out in Democrat campaign tactics over the last few decades:

·When George W. Bush ran for president in 2000, the NAACP produced TV ads falsely claiming that as governor Bush sought to protect three white racists who brutally murdered a black man by chaining and dragging him behind a pickup truck.
·It was Barack Obama himself (right on the eve of an election) who brought national attention to the claim that a black youth named Trayvon Martinwas the victim of a senseless white-on-black murder, when in fact, the shooter was a Hispanic with black ancestry, who was later found to be acting in self-defense.  
·Long after the claim was completely debunked, Democratic politicians continued to claim that a black delinquent named Michael Brown was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, after he raised his arms and yelled, “Hands up. Don’t shoot.”
·At the Democratic Party convention in 2016, Hillary Clinton had the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown sitting on the stage in front of a national TV audience with other supposed victims of white racism, knowing full well the entire pretense was a lie. 
Now, the Very Stable Genius is a lot of things, many of them quite objectionable, but anybody who isn't ate up with identity politics can see that he's not a racist. So where does that charge come from?

These charges come from super-sensitive liberals who are so consumed with identity thinking that they stand ready to convert the most innocuous comment into a tribal insult. Criticize the taking of a knee at a football game and you are anti-black. Oppose the caravan and you are anti-Hispanic. Criticize George Soros and you are anti-Jew. We’re not talking about reality here. We’re talking about a psychological disorder that seems pervasive on the left.
Now, fully digest Goodman's conclusion:

Threat to democracy. There was a time when the liberal democrats endorsed traditional civil rights – believing that everyone should be equal before the law. Those days are gone. There was a day when our universities were dedicated to the unencumbered search for truth, wholeheartedly defending the right of people to express views with which they disagreed. Those days are also gone.
Here’s why this is dangerous. One step away from the belief that you have no right to express your ideas is the belief that you have no right to vote. One step away from the idea that you have no right to express your ideas in the polling booth is the belief that the people you vote for have no right to govern.
When lawfully elected governments are deposed in other countries it is almost always in the context of a claim that elected officials had no legitimate right to be elected in the first place. 
It has not been over the top for LITD to characterize post-American leftists as goose-stepping jackboots. They really do intend to silence those who cherish freedom, common sense, basic human dignity, Western civilization and God.

Technical note: Sorry for the formatting weirdness. This happens with copying and pasting stuff from Townhall. If I can find out how to work around it, I'll clean this up visually.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Europe seems to be getting a clue regarding Iran

Maybe patty-cake with this bunch isn't so wise after all:

European leaders are opening the door to possible sanctions on Iran in the wake of terror plots across the continent -- even as they criticize the Trump administration for reimposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s oil exports and financial dealings.
Denmark’s intelligence agency on Tuesday said that it had foiled an Iranian plot to kill an opposition activist, and had arrested a Norwegian of Iranian descent. The suspect has denied the allegations and is being held in custody. Iran’s Foreign Ministry has denied any involvement and has issued a “strong protest” to the Danish government.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Danish diplomats are now calling for sanctions on Tehran, and the idea won broad support at a Wednesday meeting of E.U. ambassadors -- with at least eight countries backing calls for action -- including France and the U.K.
“I appreciate the support from my colleague @Theresa-May today. In close collaboration with UK and other countries, we will stand up to Iran,” Danish Prime Minister Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said after a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Three have been eight terror plots in Europe and the US so far this year.