Archive for compare contrast

Morally straight

Robert Knight says Goodbye, political correctness — “There is scouting life beyond the Boy Scouts of America.” The BSA has been a target for the modern left with pressure to include, support, condone, and even honor those who engage in what traditionally has not been considered moral behavior.

Trail Life, for which Mrs. Garibay was an adviser, took off rapidly. In the first year or two, half of the troops comprised former Scout troops sponsored by churches or home schoolers that broke away after the Scouts chose political correctness over being “morally straight.”

I asked Mr. Hancock what really sets Trail Life apart from other youth organizations, and he said, “We were forged in the fires of the cultural struggle, and we will not bend or bow.”

He noted that his son, who earned his Eagle badge just before the Scouts caved, had not renewed his membership. In response to a BSA letter asking why, he sent a three-word reply: “You weren’t brave.”

There is opposition to the destruction of social mores. It will need bravery. And courage, And fortitude. What they are up against is not going down gently.

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Foolish and ignorant. Or an alternative.

Bruce V. Sones provides a comparison and contrast in Choosing Tillman or Kaepernick — “Recent events point to one who was the real hero and patriot.”

As I began reading the Colin Kaepernick article in the sports section of Monday’s Columbia Daily Tribune it provoked me to ask myself the question: Are you a Tillman or a Kaepernick? I am speaking, of course, of Pat Tillman and Colin Kaepernick. Both men heard our national anthem and each had a different reaction. Mr. Tillman ran to the sound of the drums and Mr. Kaepernick ran from the sound of the drums. I thought about the differences.

As I read the article further I marveled at the magnitude of how much press I had heard or seen on the Colin Kaepernick story over the past couple of days. I felt saddened our sports events are no longer a place for us to go to get away from the daily grind and our sports figures are no longer sports heroes but are social tools of our political wings and the media.

As I laid the paper down I realized Colin Kaepernick, by sitting through the national anthem, is doing what he should be doing. He does not deserve to stand for our national anthem. He is uninformed and his actions do nothing to make America better but do everything to continue the false narrative of his new teammates, the agitators.

UNR still has Kaepernick on a pedestal and there’s even a display at the airport. It should be an embarrassment to hold up as hero one who shows that the education he received at the university was so flawed and so poor.

Are you a Tillman or a Kaepernick?” Are you one who builds a society and defends it or are you one who tries to destroy it and steps aside when it comes to actually doing something for the poor, the oppressed, and the ignorant? Do you see what you advocate such as in Cuba or Venezuela or other places where the heroes you put on your T shirt have held sway? Is intellectual integrity and social responsibility anywhere on your set of desired values?

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Grok Trump?

The IBD claims that Establishment Republicans Shoot At Trump — And Hit Themselves In The Foot

many of the examples these erstwhile Republicans provide to back up their decision apply as much to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as to Trump.

Trump has serious character flaws, to be sure, but Clinton has an actual record of failure in just about everything she did as secretary of state. And that’s to say nothing of the cavalier disregard for national security with her use of an unsecured private email server while at State. Even the head of Obama’s FBI admitted that Clinton’s recklessness likely put classified information in the hands of our enemies.

Constructive criticism of any candidate is important. But there’s a difference between constructive criticism and the tawdry political opportunism on display this week by Republicans who ought to know better.

There are other groups that are making fools of themselves, too. Thomas Lifson takes up the case where Trump successfully baits media into hysteria. Again.

The anti-Trump media (another name for the mainstream media) have resumed their frenzied claims that Donald Trump is out to unleash indescribable horror in the American people. The current version of doom is that he is calling for NRA assassins to kill either Hillary Clinton or her Supreme Court nominees, or both. What he actually said was this:

“By the way if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Within thirty minutes, according to Rudy Giuliani interviewed on Fox News this morning, the Clinton spin machine had shaped the media narrative. Trump was not calling for electoral activism (at a rally of electoral activists!). No, he was calling on “Second Amendment People” to use their evil guns to kill someone or other.

Given these conditions, it would make sense for Trump to capitalize on the media’s inability to be fair, and get them to anger his base to turn out. And also to discredit themselves in the eyes of persuadables in the general public. People who despise him are going to write bad things about him anyway, so why not push them over the edge into revealing more than they intend about their own prejudices?

And Howard Kurtz explains how the Media justify anti-Trump bias, claim he’s too ‘dangerous’ for normal rules,

The media’s legions of Trump-bashers are finally acknowledging the obvious.

And trying their best to justify it.

But there’s one problem: Tilting against one candidate in a presidential election can’t be justified.

This is about the mainstream media’s reporters, editors and producers, whose credo is supposed to be fairness.

And now some of them are flat-out making the case for unfairness—an unprecedented approach for an unprecedented campaign.

Many of the reporters who feel compelled to stop Trump are undoubtedly comfortable because all their friends feel the same way.

But they are deluding themselves if they think that going after one candidate in a two-candidate race is what journalism is about.

Deluding themselves, indeed. Jim Rutenberg of the NYT refers to “coded appeals to racism or nationalism” which is the kind of language used when you are not able to find a reality to support your perceptions.

This is the establishment under the microscope. Establishment has been an ugly word since the 60’s, Those who made it an ugly word were successful and became ‘establishment’ themselves. Now they are trying to defend themselves because they have become the worst of what they railed against in the past. Trump is the one who brought to microscope to the table and what he is making visible is not pretty. But the ‘people’ knew that. That is why Trump is getting traction. Some of the ‘establishment’ get this, they Grok Trump. Others don’t and they are suffering dissonance.

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The State Propaganda Machine gets some notice

Thomas Lifson note that there is Fifty times more TV network coverage for Khizr Khan than Pat Smith

Media bias has entered new territory in the United States with the nomination of Donald Trump. Somethig approaching scared moral duty to defeat him permeates newsrooms across the country. So it is no surprise that news judgments are ridiculously skewed, to the point where comparisons with totalitarian regimes are becoming thinkable.

Jim Waurishuk picks it up with The Left’s Anti-Trump Political Media Show

What went on last weekend mainly on CNN and Sunday News/Talk shows is an outrage. The liberal media is in the tank for Hillary Clinton, and they know it. First of all the Khans stood on the stage of the DNC Convention and not only told their story, but savagely attacked Mr. Trump. They said two things that were way out of bounds; The First, that Mr. Trump has made no sacrifice, and the Second, that Mr. Trump never read the Constitution.

Then there’s Matthew Boyle on Khizr Khan: ‘I Was Just Joking’: Media Apoplectic as Khizr Khan Attack on Donald Trump Goes Down in Flames.

Over the weekend and for the past few days since Khan spoke alongside his wife Ghazala Khan about their son, U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004, media-wide reporters, editors, producers, and anchors have tried to lay criticism on Trump over the matter. They thought they had a good one, a specific line of attack that pitted Trump against the military—and supposedly showed him as a big meanie racist in the process.

But, as Breitbart News showed on Monday midday, that clearly was not the case. Khizr Khan has all sorts of financial, legal, and political connections to the Clintons through his old law firm, the mega-D.C. firm Hogan Lovells LLP. That firm did Hillary Clinton’s taxes for years, starting when Khan still worked there involved in, according to his own website, matters “firm wide”—back in 2004. It also has represented, for years, the government of Saudi Arabia in the United States. Saudi Arabia, of course, is a Clinton Foundation donor which—along with the mega-bundlers of thousands upon thousands in political donations to both of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2016—plays right into the “Clinton Cash” narrative.

Meanwhile, hours after Breitbart News presented this information publicly in a coherent report on Monday, others in media engaged in willful distortion of the story’s origins.

But, facts be damned, the entire mainstream is on a warpath to try to stop Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton. It’s also worth noting that each and every one of them is in their own right working to undermine Trump and elect Clinton.

Much can be gleaned from the moral preening seen as a faux outrage filled with judgment and prognostication that reveals the propaganda. One problem is that many of those ‘neverTrump’ camp followers do not notice the “faux” in their outrage and nobody ever thinks they are engaging in moral preening. This tends to lead to hyperbole and sometimes that goes astray. It appears that the Gold Star episode is yet another of those. One wonders how many and how often for these reveals is needed to make a dent.

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How did it get this far apart?

Robert Knight calls it A tale of two platforms and says that “The glaring differences give Americans a clear choice.”

Regardless of the Trump-Clinton matchup, it’s instructive to contrast the Republican and Democratic Party platforms. While nearly identical in length, they reveal utterly opposite worldviews.

The 54-page Republican platform calls for greater personal responsibility; decentralizing power; a balanced-budget amendment; reducing the size and scope of government; parental rights; gun ownership and religious liberty; tax incentives for economic growth; reducing taxes across the board; a crackdown on the Internal Revenue Service; overturning the Supreme Court’s rulings on Obamacare, abortion and same-sex “marriage”; rejecting any treaties not vetted by the Senate; rescinding President Obama’s executive orders granting amnesty to illegal immigrants; withholding federal funds from “sanctuary cities”; building a wall on our southern border; rebuilding American military strength, and exerting international leadership against ISIS and other threats.

The 52-page Democratic Party platform promises a new War on Poverty and the Bernie Sanders-inspired Socialist War on the Rich [not their wording]; massive new public works projects; expanding federal programs at every level; more tax-subsidized abortions; cradle-to-grave health care; a “cradle-to- college pipeline”; free public college tuition for all; free childcare; mandatory national service; racial affirmative action; the LGBT political agenda; new regulatory mandates on businesses; a radical climate change agenda; leading “a broad coalition of allies and partners to destroy ISIS’ stronghold in Iraq and Syria,” and sky-is-the-limit confiscatory taxation, including a new levy on financial transactions, to pay for it all.

The question is how the politics became this divisive, how the two major parties became so separated in values and perceptions.

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Perspective and context

VDH ponders Trump and the Politics of Moral Outrage. The current brouhaha about Russian hacking is just one example that illustrates his points. That example is about perceptions, actual causes, the use of satire and humor, outrage, and political machinations.

No doubt, some of Trump’s flamboyant invective is isolationist, nativist, and protectionist. Certainly, we are in the strangest campaign of the last half-century, in which members of Trump’s own party are among his fiercest critics. In contrast, the ABC/NBC/CBS Sunday-morning liberal pundits feel no need to adopt NeverHillary advocacy. They apparently share little “Not in my name” compunction over “owning” her two decades of serial lying, her violations of basic ethical and legal protocols as secretary of state, her investment in what can be fairly termed a vast Clinton pay-to-play influence-peddling syndicate, and the general corruption of the Democratic primary process.

Amid the anguish over the Trump candidacy, we often forget that the present age of Obama is already more radical than most of what even Trump has blustered about.

Is Trump’s threatened “isolationism” worse than the present “lead from behind” or the empty step-over lines, deadlines, and red lines of the last seven years? Or than refusing to increase security at Benghazi and creating fables to hide the dereliction? I often hear the question: “Who knows what Trump might do?” I hear it much more often, in fact, than I hear anyone recall “We came, we saw, he [Qaddafi] died” or “What difference does it make?” The point is not to excuse Trump with “you too” moral equivalence, or to cynically race to the bottom of low-bar politics, but again to remind our ethicists that we live in an age characterized by Petronius’s Satyricon, not the elder Cato’s moral republic — and if they object to that fact, there were plenty of occasions to voice their outrage long before Donald J. Trump left The Apprentice. Trump may well be Trimalchio, but neither Clinton nor Obama is a Scipio (more likely a Catiline, Clodius, or Milo).

Like it or not, this election is about degree, relative political agendas, and comparative hazard, not about marrying ideological purity and consistency with sobriety and character — a sad fact that did not enter our politics with Donald J. Trump.

The current campaign is change and the state propaganda machine and established politicians are having a tough time trying to figure out what is going on. There are lessons to be learned about the people and about the wisdom of those who framed the U.S. systems of government.

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People notice

At least Tammy Bruce thinks so. Chaos at the Democratic National Convention — “The chaos of the Democrats follows the noisy challenge of the GOP.”

Americans notice things like no American flags on the DNC convention stage. It might be small to some people, but it’s a statement. The Democrats think so because someone made a deliberate decision to eliminate the image of the Stars and Stripes. After criticism mounted, they added them the second night. What sort of people need to be proded into including the American flag at a convention for the presidency?

The contrast is there. It is not only in symbols such as the U.S. Flag and other Americana that usually overwhelms at a national party convention. It is also in the speakers and topics that are chosen to be on the agenda. As Bruce noted, it is also in the management of the convention itself, something that isn’t noticed if well done.

Politics seems to have risen above opinion and reason and even integrity. It has gone beyond patriotism and pride in one’s society. Do the people notice? Do they care? They will tell us soon.

Then take a look at the DNC platform. IBT describes it For Democrats, Is It ‘Great America’ Or ‘Hate America’?.

The bedrock of America has always — always — been its free-market system, which has provided greater wealth and opportunity for more people than any other system ever. Yet, there have been no comments made from the convention stage in unqualified support of our free-market system. None.

The truth is, as the Democratic platform clearly shows, the Democratic Party now is in near total opposition to the free-market system we have — favoring instead top-down control of nearly every aspect of American life.

or consider answering the question Why Are ‘Progressives’ Fighting Against Uber and Airbnb?/

So in other words, to help out rich, politically connected special interests, progressives like Warren are perfectly willing to cause direct harm to middle-income families.

This isn’t being progressive, folks. This is being reactionary.

An anti Airbnb notice even came out with the Washoe County property tax notice. Will people notice?

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Soros v Koch

A number of Democrats in the Senate are having a go at the Koch brothers claiming that they are defrauding the public and should be silenced. Meanwhile, there’s George Soros. Kelly Riddel says Beware the Soros zombies — “They’re headed to the Republican convention with a mission to disrupt and distract.”

Civil rights group Color of Change — which Mr. Soros gave $500,000 to in his Foundation’s latest tax return — collected more than 100,000 signatures on a petition to demand Coca-Cola and other companies withdraw their support from the [Republican] convention. The petition that featured a Coke bottle with the label, “Share a Coke with the KKK.”

Brave New Films, which received $250,000 from Mr. Soros‘ foundation, tried to make waves for Republicans by creating misinformation about their convention through social media.

Deceit and lies — that’s what these groups are up to — and they’re using the mainstream media as their pawns.

Last weekend, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a progressive organization that was given $900,000 by Mr. Soros’s Foundation, held a People’s Convention in Pittsburgh, to organize social justice movements ahead of the political conventions both in Cleveland and Philadelphia.

That’s right, Mr. Soros is actively working to build another ACORN.

It is one thing to voice an opinion, another entirely to fund demonstrations to disrupt and destroy and silence the opposition. Soros v Koch illustrates the difference and tells much about the ethics and values that are at play in current politics and the stark differences between parties.

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Trump Dissonance

Some get it. Consider Byron York: How Trump speaks. Some folks are beginning to notice that Donald Trump is different. Others, like ‘reporters’ in the mainstream propaganda machine, appear to remain clueless. The clueless don’t want to admit that, maybe, they are a bit weak on understanding so they go on attack and demean, humiliate, and castigate. In doing so, they are missing a phenomena.

Instead of a prepared stump speech that he gives over and over again — the standard diet for political reporters covering the presidential race — Trump instead has chosen to deliver a stream of consciousness performance designed to capitalize on his celebrity, to entertain, to attack opponents, and to address the actual issues in the race. And most of all, to keep his audience awake and paying attention.

People aren’t offended by the bragging because they sense it’s part of the act, and they appreciate the occasional touch of humility.

Still, amid it all, Trump manages to cover some of the bases of a conventional political speech. In Cincinnati, he devoted the first part of the speech to attacking Hillary Clinton in light of the Obama Justice Department’s decision not to charge her in the email affair.

Trump interspersed issues throughout the Cincinnati speech. As always, he never discussed specifics of how he would handle any given issue, choosing instead to talk in terms of goals.

But here’s the striking thing, whether the attendee is a loyal Trump fan or not: After all of Trump’s rambling and meandering, after one discursive aside after another, many of those attending still manage to come away from Trump’s speech with concise and focused takeaways.

He communicates in a way far different from what the political world is used to — but he communicates.

it’s clear Trump faces an enormous, perhaps insurmountable obstacle in getting his message out. He clearly believes he is a great communicator, and he is in fact a very good one. But as a political speaker, Trump is so far outside the box that he has virtually overwhelmed the senses of those reporting and analyzing the news, making it difficult for some voters who haven’t actually seen him to get a clear picture of his appeal to supporters.

A key is to consider behavior. In one column from Erik Erickson who thinks We Have Betrayed Our Founders, for instance, one can observe:

“The biggest problem is falling into the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy and not making crucial distinction about differences. That is especially important to do when the options are not attractive.

“For Hillary, his recitation is witness (lied, jeopardized national security). For Trump, it is judgment (swindled, rigged, dog whistled). That shows a crippling anti-Trump bias.

“Another problem is the ‘vox populi’ logical fallacy in asserting a growing consensus that Trump would be a disaster. That also falls into conflating the known (Hillary) with the unknown (Trump).

“Then the ‘both sides do it’ again in “allegiances now to themselves”

“As for Trump’s character, I think Erickson is off base. People I trust that know him, such as Limbaugh (and Savage) and his extended family and ex girl friends, tell a different story. His campaign tells a different story. His funding solicitation tells a different story. The angry and irrational response to Trump from certain quarters also tell me a different story.

“Demagogue is not, IMHO, a proper label for Trump. Calling Republicans the “adult party” is nonsense when looking at how they have responded to elections and as an opposition party in Congress.

“What Erickson also misses is that the Founders saw our country as being run by citizens, ordinary folks who are not career politicians. Trump fits that bill. Hillary does not.

“Trump is also a much better fit for a moral person than Clinton but it takes a close look at the ‘swindle, rigged, etc’ judgments to understand this.

“Erickson also bypasses the fact that Trump won the nomination over a stellar field of competitors and did so by following the rules. The need is to understand why Trump gets the support he does and you won’t find that by taking the road that Erickson is following.”

There is cognitive dissonance and many who thought they were on top of the game are showing significant behavior anomalies in trying to handle it. Time to get off the high horse charging around waving sabers and put the weapons aside and get down with the masses to figure out what is really happening. 

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Political fact checking: tool of the trade

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. calls is a Fact checker fandango — “Research of the record fails to trip Trump.”

Mr. Potato Head was working with CNN’s posse comitatus to bring down Mr. Trump for his revelations about Crooked Hillary, but it is they — the so-called fact checkers at CNN — who were brought down.

After last week’s speech, it appears Donald Trump’s charges against Hillary Clinton are absolutely copper bottom. CNN’s “fact checkers” should be retired. Like all politicians, Mr. Trump might occasionally exaggerate a trivial matter. Hillary lies repeatedly on things that matter.

It is an interesting use of “copper bottom.” That comes from efforts to keep the hull of wooden sailing ships free of barnacles and other sea creatures that destroyed the hull and reduced sailing efficiency. Here, the implications are that the ‘fact checkers’ are analogous to the barnacles and other destructive creatures.

The tragedy is that so many are willing to go so far in trying to defend the indefensible. Calling themselves “fact checkers” is doing a disservice both to facts and to checking for integrity and honesty.

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Utah v. Strieff, does SCOTUS have a racism problem (tell me it ain’t so!)?

Jazz Shaw thinks The Fourth Amendment wasn’t created to protect the guilty but one SCOTUS case got some riled.

The Libertarians are up in arms over yet another Supreme Court decision this week which involves the question of when police are allowed to use evidence of a crime in the prosecution of a suspect. In a five to three ruling which crossed the normal ideological battle lines of the SCOTUS justices, the court found in the case of Utah v. Strieff that evidence of a crime discovered during a traffic stop could be used if the suspect has an outstanding warrant for an unrelated offense. (New York Times)

The responses from Justice Sotomayor in her dissent and from the Libertarians who are bemoaning the death of the Constitution are equally maddening, though for different reasons.

An officer with a gun. (Every lethal force encounter between police and minority suspects)

No one can breathe. (“I can’t breathe” Eric Garner)

Until their voices matter. (Black Lives Matter)

This wasn’t a Supreme Court dissent. It was a series of excerpts from a Black Lives Matter diatribe in a case which wasn’t even addressing questions of profiling or any other related issue.

In this case, Shaw is illustrating racism by example. Paul Mirengoff describes how those illustrating racism and calling for decorum and such might be expressing projection in A penny for your thoughts — “Here’s the measured response of a British leftist, Laurie Penny, to the Brexit:”

“So, here’s the thing. This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world, and yesterday the frightened, parochial lizard-brain of Britain voted out, out, out, and today we’ve all woken up still strapped onto this ghost-train as it hurtles off the tracks.”

There is, of course, more to the Brexit than the desire to curb immigration by low-skilled Europeans. Many Brits wanted to wrest control of Britain’s destiny from EU bureaucrats. In other words, they wanted much more say than the EU will allow them in determining what the “modern world” will hold in store.

They shall have it. No wonder leftists like Penny are incensed.

The Brexit vote also prompted outrage at xenophobia and other such contemptuous moral failings. As with the similar flailing against Trump, the level of the outrage says more than the allegations and accusations.

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Paradigms, due process, and civility: guns

Scott Adams thinks he knows Why Gun Control Can’t Be Solved in the USA. One problem is the idea of “solved” as applied to gun control as the debate has little to do with guns and a lot to do with control. The Democrats temper tantrum in the House yesterday showed that. The temper tantrum was about due process, not gun control, as due process was the only sticking point on a Senate bill the Democrats otherwise supported. Adams also illustrates the misdirection problem.

So it seems to me that gun control can’t be solved because Democrats are using guns to kill each other – and want it to stop – whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats. Psychologically, those are different risk profiles. And you can’t reconcile those interests, except on the margins. For example, both sides might agree that rocket launchers are a step too far. But Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as “Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”

Let’s all take a deep breath and shake off the mental discomfort I just induced in half of my readers. You can quibble with my unsupported assumptions about gun use, but keep in mind that my point is about psychology and about big group averages. If Republicans think they need guns to protect against Democrats, that’s their reality. And if Democrats believe guns make the world more dangerous for themselves, that is their reality. And they can both be right. Your risk profile is different from mine.

Fear always beats reason. So as long as Democrats are mostly using guns to shoot innocent people (intentionally or accidentally) and Republicans are mostly using guns for sport or self-defense, no compromise can be had.

When fear drives people to solving the wrong problem, there is a solution to be had. In the Adams scenario, this would be for Democrats to address the reason why they are killing each other – e.g. inner city crime. The problem here is that they oppose the effective and proven methods. Stop and frisk has been set aside in New York. Black Lives Matter works on a false premise to emasculate proper policing. Releasing criminals from prison on a false pretext of racial disparities in the prison population is another. None of these have anything to do with gun control but they do have something to do with murder and mayhem.

What is missing in the efforts to solve a political problem is first the lack of intellectual integrity. There is no common basis in reality upon which to build any solution. The House tantrum shows just how deep a denial exists. That tends to lend credence to the idea that “Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats” as that is one of the fundamental reasons for the second amendment in the first place: citizen defense against irrational tyranny that eschews such concepts as due process much like the Democrats are advocating.

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Now here’s a rant for you: Derek Hunter on Why They Hate Us. The problem is that he isn’t that far off the mark as his examples illustrate.

If you only watch network news and read the New York Times you easily could come away with the impression that last Sunday morning a conservative Christian man, draped in crosses and screaming “Make America Great Again,” walked into a gay bar and murdered 49 people on direct orders from Republican National Committee headquarters located in the basement of the National Rifle Association’s headquarters, naturally, in a space they rent from Fox News.

What kind of sick monsters blame the horrific actions of one man on their political opponents? A lot of them, it turns out.

Although the poltroon declared his reasons, unambiguously, to the police and a local news station, Democrats saw an opportunity to advance their agenda of limiting the rights of all Americans. Ignoring the truth, every branch of the progressive left simultaneously and sanctimoniously struck the same cord – it was the gun’s fault.

Pure hatred is the currency of the Democratic Party in the 21st century. Democrats try to blame their political opponents for every act of evil or terrorism committed on US soil. The media parrots these nefarious charges as gospel. The truth eventually comes out but only after the lie has taken root with many.

The ends justify the means for the political left – and always have. Motivated by hate – for opponents, the Constitution and anyone who won’t submit to their belief of moral and intellectual superiority – there is no depth to which they will not sink, no pile of bodies on which they will not dance to advance their agenda. In then end it’s sad, it’s disturbing, it’s fascistic, and it’s progressive…and we are not, which is why they hate us.

You don’t have to look far to find your own examples, unless you are one of the very many who are in denial and joining in on the irrational and harmful behavior. What are your feelings? What is behind your perceptions? Do you cut off any who raise questions about your views?

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Believe it or not (and, no, this isn’t Ripley)

Mark Perry put up another map comparing U.S. state economies to that of foreign countries to try to illustrate just how massive the U.S. economy really is. The comparisons of GDP is only part of the story. There is another, more stunning, statistic about the power of the U.S. IBT comments Just How Crazy Big Is The U.S. Economy?

Economist and IBD contributor Mark Perry recently put together a map of the U.S., with the state names replaced with countries that have comparably sized economies. It is eye-opening.

New York’s economy, for example, is equal in size to all of Canada. California’s is as big as France. New Jersey and Saudi Arabia have comparable GDPs.

Perry’s map doesn’t show this, but you’d only have to combine Texas, Florida and Indiana to have a GDP that’s bigger than all of the U.K.
Overall, he notes, the U.S. produces 24.5% of the world’s economic output, but with less than 5% of its population.

There’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth at how much the U.S. consumes and a lot of this is in the zero sum game paradigm where what one has was taken from somebody who now doesn’t have. As with nearly every such manufactured crisis about how the world is going to run out of something, the paradigm is palpably wrong.

Perry points out that wealth is created and the U.S. does a better job of this creation than nearly another other country on the planet and by usually quite a large margin. Despite the numbers, many citizens don’t believe it. This may be because they are too close and cannot gain a broad perspective of just how good they have it. That provides opportunity for politicians. Sanders wants to emulate one poor producing country and Trump wants to protect against those who can’t compete.

Believe it or not, the U.S. is a big country in very many ways.

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Trumpysteria exposed

Luboš Motl takes on “Terry Tao’s “axiomatization” of the cheap anti-Trump mudslinging” — Donald Trump is fit to be president. The problem is that Tao illustrates the moral preening that casts judgments on others that is based on fantasies rather than realities.

I believe that many opponents of Trump must start to see how incredibly empty most of these attacks against Trump are. I believe that even many voters of the Democratic candidates feel some compassion for Trump and they start to see that he isn’t being treated fairly. Many people may become aware of the bulldozer of the would-be “establishment” that just mindlessly runs over all inconvenient people. I can’t tell you whether Trump will be elected the U.S. president but he may very well be elected and become “officially qualified”. And he may also become a great president, perhaps similarly to Ronald Reagan who had been forecast to be a failure in rants very similar to Tao’s rant but who proved all those rants entirely wrong.

In the post, Motl provides an accurate 9 point list of why there a sufficient chunk of the electorate does consider Trump qualified. It isn’t advocacy, it is a takedown of Tao and intellectuals who wand afield from integrity and honesty in their thinking. The point is that the matter of qualifications is one of being able to convince enough people to elect you that you win, no more and no less. Even criminals can be (and have been) qualified by this process.

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Coming to grips with the idea that reality may not be simple

Ed Stetzer struggles. “Lord, I Thank Thee That I am not Like Those Evangelical Trump Supporters” — “Religious scorn should not flow from our voting choices.”

This embrace of Trump caused some Christian leaders to react variously with disbelief, astonishment, despair, and, often, complete dismissal.

When religious leaders hold one view (strongly), and the grassroots hold another, it’s a recipe for religious scorn.

What we can’t do is scorn our fellow Christians who vote in ways we do not approve. In years past, I generally had to encourage evangelicals to avoid scorning fellow evangelicals who voted Democrat. Now, perhaps we need exhortation to avoid scorning those who vote for Donald Trump.

I get the concerns. Trump has made offensive comments, holds positions with which I deeply differ, and is like no candidate we’ve seen in recent history.

Yet, I am also worried that—whether he is elected president or not—the reaction to Trump’s campaign may harm the evangelical wing of the Church.
Here’s why:

Many evangelical leaders are embarrassed by the evangelical support of Trump. That’s reality. Yet, some of those leaders are responding poorly. Our gut reaction is to dismiss his supporters as not being “real” evangelicals, and to question their faith.

I’d like to suggest a different approach.

Rather than looking down with scorn on evangelical Trump supporters, perhaps we should sit down with them, listen to them, and hear their concerns.

There is a struggle evident. There is a lot of “I disagree” that is quite fuzzy – even fuzzier than Trump’s positions. There is an evident distaste for the person bleeding over to finding reasons to oppose – the kind of approach that leads to hate and even violence. There is a complete absence of consideration for the alternative. There is the absence of what actually is in favor of concern raised to new heights about what might be. There is the them vs us problem when it really is all us.

“we should sit down with them, listen to them, and hear their concerns” is loaded with hubris and exactly the human phenomena that started the column: “In the 18th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells a story about two men who go up to the temple to pray.”

Perhaps by listening, one can learn that one is being guided by fears when those ‘others’ are being guided by actual events and happenings. More than anything else, the evangelicals favoring Trump weight what they know and not what they fear. This includes knowing that Trump is bombastic and whatnot but it also includes knowing that his opposition doesn’t just talk the lie but walks the lie. The difference is important and shows in that Trump has been successful but his opposition has not. Ed struggles with this and many in his congregation are trying to tell him something. We can hope that he listens to them and to Jesus .

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Cowperthwaite and Hong Kong

Every now and then there is a civil servant who makes a difference. The Most Powerful Wealth Generator There Is is the story of one such colonial administrator.

At some point during our first conversation I managed to irk him by suggesting that he was chiefly known “for doing nothing.” In fact, he pointed out, keeping the British political busy-bodies from interfering in Hong Kong’s economic affairs took up a large portion of his time. Throughout Sir John’s tenure in office, the British political elite tried to impose its own ailing socialist economic model on Britain’s colonies, including Hong Kong. Sir John managed to quash all such attempts and Hong Kong benefited as a result.

The answer to growth is as simple as that. Liberty, the ability to own your own property, make your own mistakes and chart your own destiny is the key to growth for everybody. When you are free to pursue wealth, wealth happens. That’s because when people make free exchanges, both sides benefit from the exchange. When that happens, business and civilization thrive and grow.

and then there’s Venezuela…

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Where’s Star Wars?

Torgersen takes a look at The Martian and Mad Max and it is in water much deeper than just the Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. It is about a world view and the role of humanity past, present, and future.

Clearly, audiences across the globe had a much greater preference for the science fiction movie that focused on actual science being employed in a setting where science — and mankind — are making miracles happen.

But the professional body of Science Fiction and Fantasy writers liked their bleak future better. The future where a despotic madman keeps women as breeding and food stock, while the young men all die very bloodily, and too early; before the lymphoma and blood cancers (from the nuclear fallout, naturally) can kill them slow.

Of course, The Martian was every inch a Campbellian movie, while Fury Road was almost entirely New Wave.

Guess which aesthetic dominates and excites the imaginations of SF/F’s cognoscenti?

Now, I think there is a very strong argument to be made, for the fact that Campbellian vs. New Wave is merely the manifestation of a deeper problem — a field which no longer has a true center.

My personal stance has always been, “To hell with the hoity-toities! Give me my space cruisers and galactic adventure, like that which fired my imagination in the beginning!” But this is a very passé attitude. Nobody wants nuts-and-bolts SF/F anymore, do they?

The Martian box office take isn’t the only indicator. Look at the latest in the Star Wars saga. Whether it is almost feasible science extrapolated or dam’ the science for space adventure where the good guy wins, the box office seems to favor the feel good over the apocalyptic. Now consider that in light of political topics such as human caused catastrophic climate warming, the GMO and ‘natural organic’ foods controversies, energy resources, and other science related where is mankind political controversies. Does man overcome problems or does he (she) cause them?

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Watching a national suicide and a gooey mess of resentment and excuses

Joel D. Hirst on The Suicide of Venezuela.

I have watched the suicide of a nation; and I know now how it happens. Venezuela is slowly, and very publically, dying; an act that has spanned more than fifteen years. To watch a country kill itself is not something that happens often. In ignorance, one presumes it would be fast and brutal and striking – like the Rwandan genocide or Vesuvius covering Pompeii. You expect to see bodies of mothers clutching protectively their young; carbonized by the force or preserved on the glossy side of pictures. But those aren’t the occasions that promote national suicide. After those events countries recover – people recover. They rebuild, they reconcile. They forgive.

No, national suicide is a much longer process – not product of any one moment. But instead one bad idea, upon another, upon another and another and another and another and the wheels that move the country began to grind slower and slower; rust covering their once shiny facades. Revolution – cold and angry. Hate, as a political strategy. Law, used to divide and conquer. Regulation used to punish. Elections used to cement dictatorship. Corruption bleeding out the lifeblood in drips, filling the buckets of a successive line of bureaucrats before they are destroyed, only to be replaced time and again. This is what is remarkable for me about Venezuela.

I tried to fight the suicide the whole time; in one way or another. I suppose I still do, my writing as a last line of resistance. But like Dagny Taggert I found there was nothing to push against – it was all a gooey mess of resentment and excuses.

Witness is all around us yet many refuse to see. Consider VDH, 21st Century California Reverts Back to the Wild West.

I was the beneficiary (born in 1953) of the work of past generations. In my early youth of the 1950s and 1960, I can’t recall that we locked the house or perhaps even had a house key. We still used a shared open telephone line (my great-grandfather had strung it up with redwood poles and vineyard 12 gauge wire on glass insulators). It was also certainly a multiracial and intermarried upbringing, as Portuguese, Armenian, Japanese, Mexican-American, and Punjabi farmers both collaborated and competed with one another on their 40-80 acre vineyard homesteads.

That entire world, of course, is gone, a victim of wealth, affluence, consolidation and corporatization of agriculture, globalization, high-tech appurtenances, the postmodern ethos that followed the 1960s, and massive influxes of illegal immigrants. What I regret most, however, is the disappearance of the rule of law. In some ways, we have returned to the pre-civilized days of the 19th century. When I walk or ride a bicycle in rural areas, I expect that the dogs that rush out from rented-out homes and trailers are neither licensed nor vaccinated—and that fact is of no concern to authorities.

There seems to be many that put Venezuela and Cuba and Argentina and modern Greece and even California as role models. They see dictators and oppressors as heroes. What is not seen in that the path they seek to follow is one of human misery which is why so many are going in the opposite direction that they defy the law and other national border barriers to do so. That “gooey mess of resentment and excuses” drags all of us with it and there may not be a Reagan “shining city on a hill” for any of us to escape towards to escape.

What I regret most, however, is the disappearance of the rule of law

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Preposterous, climate consensus

Valerie Richardson notes that More studies rebut climate change consensus amid government crackdown on dissent, As the siege continues, it is evident that any area of weakness is getting reinforced.

“As the body of evidence refuting climate alarmism continues to balloon, the question of how the IPCC can continue ignoring it becomes ever more glaring,” said engineer Pierre L. Gosselin, who runs the NoTricksZone website and translates climate news from German to English.

In spite of that research — or maybe because of it — Democrats have renewed their efforts to clamp down on climate dissent.

Two weeks ago, 17 attorneys general — 16 Democrats and Mr. Walker, an independent — announced that they would investigate and prosecute climate-related “fraud,” citing investigations by journalism outlets accusing Exxon Mobil Corp. of stifling its own scientific research in support of the “settled science.”

While Exxon Mobil has denounced the accusations as “preposterous,” Mr. Walker followed up Thursday with a subpoena calling for the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s work on climate and energy policy from 1997 to 2007, including the nonprofit’s “private donor information,” the institute said.

There is kickback. Part is due to the gross abuse of basic freedoms. Part is also due to the fact that many of the accusations and allegations apply to the accusers and not the accused. Doubling down on insanity only makes the lunacy more obvious.

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