Archive for December, 2016

Watch California and learn what not to do

In the brouhaha about the electoral college, one observer reported that taking LA and NYC out of the election would have put the popular vote and the electoral college in sync. A more common observation just notes that the tilt in California would handle the difference. That means the electoral college procedure worked as intended for who wants LA and NYC or just California to govern the rest of us? A case in point is the pension panic in Loyalton, CA. See Californians See Their First Pension Cut. — “For years, we’ve been warning this day was coming: California pensioners in the small town of Loyalton have just been told that their benefits will be cut in 2017.”

Three years ago, Loyalton pulled out of CalPERS for current employees after being told that its accounts were only 40 percent funded even though the city had reliably paid its dues to the system. Now, CalPERS openly admits it’s punishing current Loyalton retirees for that decision.

This is just the beginning. CalPERS is only 65 percent funded overall, after failing to realize its expected 7.5 percent return.

The pension problem is much more than just a California problem, of course. It is even at the core of the Social Security solvency worries. California is just at the head of the pack and showing how ugly the situation can get. Somebody is going to pay. The state determined it is to be the pensioners in Loyalton right now. This might be a pity ploy to try to get the federal government – you and I – to pay. As can be seen in places like Cuba and Venezuela and many other socialist governments, there comes a point where you run out of other people’s money. 

There is another path, it is to grow more money rather than to print more money. That, coupled with improvements in management and governance, might reduce the pain. The problem is that the Left’s understanding of growing more money is a skewed and misplaces as their understanding of many other issues such as gun control and climate change. 

There are many lessons from history and California is providing such lessons much closer to home. Watch California and learn how to avoid their mistakes.

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Inadvertent public service of the “but Mom, the Emporer is naked!” variety

Thomas Sowell gives a ‘thanks’ shout out to The New York Times’ Fictitious Image of Gun Carriers because it “inadvertently performs a public service by bringing an unbelievably stupid and dangerous idea to the surface, where it can be exposed for what it is.”

Liberals imagine that law-abiding citizens do not have any idea how to use a gun responsibly — and that criminals will start following rules.

The fatal fallacy of gun-control laws in general is the assumption that such laws actually control guns. Criminals who disobey other laws are not likely to be stopped by gun-control laws. What such laws actually do is increase the number of disarmed and defenseless victims.

The fallacy of believing that the way to reduce shootings is to disarm peaceful people extends from domestic gun-control laws to international disarmament agreements. If disarmament agreements reduced the dangers of war, there would never have been a World War II.

But who reads history these days, or checks facts before leading the charge to keep law-abiding people disarmed?

It is a call out to those whose perceptions are at odds with reality, to those who create reality to fit rather than accommodate their fantasies to what actually is. Sowell provides examples and underscores the absurdity provided by the NYT. And do keep in mind that it is folks whose perceptions are as twisted as the NYT that are all in a tither about Fake News(tm). The dellusions are being discussed. That is good if reality is considered a good basis for guiding behavior.

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Understanding idolatry in science

Thomas P. Sheahen picks up on Idolatry in Science. He starts with a previous Pope (the current one is not helpful in these matters).

One of the enduring controversies over the years has been the purported conflict between science and religion. An alternate view is that religion and science are complimentary paths to knowledge, not opponents at all.

Pope John Paul II, circa 1987: “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.”

there is a remarkably concise definition of idolatry: “confusing your own concept (or model or image) with the actual reality.”

Whether in Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism or any other religion, that’s a pretty clear warning not to think that your own understanding of God is fully accurate.

The factor that saved physics is the predominance of observational data over theory. Richard Feynman’s famous quote is taught to every grad student: “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

Sheahen gets stuck on “A large majority are convinced that this model represents nature perfectly” when talking about scientists and accepted theories. He brings in physicists on classical mechanics and biologists as evolution as his foil. In doing this, he weakens his argument. He would do better to after the quacks who don’t understand quantum mechanics and the creationists who don’t understand evolution. Both of these theories do adhere to “actual reality” within a scope that a proper scientist understands and the engineer or technician that creates innovations based on these theories accommodates. 

The key here is idolatry and climate alarmism is one effort to rationalize an idol with a science brand. It is too bad that the author weakens his argument by trying to impugn actual science with religious dissonance. John Paul II describes how science and religion can hold each other to account and that is a fundamental reason why Western Cultures were able to build on both. The message goes both ways: if you disdain science because of religion or disdain religion because of science, you also disdain the accountability needed for human intellectual growth.

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That popular vote

Election results have settled. Hot Air reports National popular vote now final: Clinton finishes 2.1 points ahead, Trump has highest vote total ever for a Republican. This is Allahpundit’s story so be aware of the NeverTrump bias.

Dave Wasserman of Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight has been tracking the numbers day by day for weeks and says they’re now official.

Trump’s total of nearly 63 million votes is almost a million votes better than the second-largest total by a Republican in history. … Second place belongs to George W. Bush, who received a little more than 62 million votes for his reelection bid in 2004 …

As for Hillary, her margin over Trump of more than two points was four times as large as that of Al Gore, the last popular-vote winner to lose the electoral college, who won by half a point in 2000. She finished with the third-most votes of any presidential candidate in history, just slightly behind Obama’s 2012 mark

Only two polls measured correctly that Clinton would hit 48 percent and no poll had Trump doing as well as 46 percent.

As is noted in the report, the population is growing so vote counts against history make a poor metric. Of course, that growth in population might also be related to why Clinton’s entire edge in the popular vote was in the California vote. See Snopes for how a left leaning organization tries to rationalize this. Or check CBS News:

Looking at the vote totals in each state helps explain it: Clinton’s entire popular vote margin, for example, is less than her overall margin of victory in California (which she won by more than 4 million votes). New York, too, is a populous state that delivered Clinton 1.7 million more votes than Trump but couldn’t help her overcome the Electoral College deficit.

Because of these two recent examples where the Electoral College outcome defied popular opinion, some clamored for its abolishment after Nov. 8, protesting that the college had outlived its usefulness.

Note the use of “defied” and then check out The Nation for a flavor of the dissonance.

But one thing is certain: Clinton’s win is unprecedented in the modern history of American presidential politics. And the numbers should focus attention on the democratic dysfunction that has been exposed.

When a candidate who wins the popular vote does not take office, when a loser is instead installed in the White House, that is an issue. And it raises questions that must be addressed.

What is important here is to recognize that there was no Trump mandate,

The questions were addressed. See the Federalist Papers. From Allahpundit to left wing rags, the question about foisting California rule on the rest of the country is shovelled under the rug. The election results by county map is set aside. The Clinton Archipelego map makes no impression. “No Mandate?” the map says otherwise. The majorities in Congress, Governorships, and state legislatures would be to disagree.

There is a reason why the U.S. election system is the way it is and it is to prevent the big guy from bullying the smaller folks. In this election, the smaller states said “enough” and these examples show that the bully is having a hard time getting the message.

Oh, and one other thing: have you seen the rumor mongering about the California immigration problem and how California accomodates illegal immigrates in a manner that makes it easy for them to vote? There’s already some wondering about voting irregularities that have shown up in Democrat dominated big cities. It looks like California might be another field for entertainment and fun with data mining. 

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Awareness is growing: the difference is getting hard to ignore

Patricia McCarthy describes The Vast Cognitive Gulf between the Left and the Right. The election highlighted behavioral differences that can be seen in many other venues.

There is an abyss between how the Left and the Right accepts loss. What explains this? The Left will produce countless “studies” that “show” they have bigger brains, are a more advanced species and that conservatives are truly mentally impaired. That is what they do. Nothing makes them feel better than demeaning their ideological opponents on pseudo-intellectual grounds.

Everyone knows it is the self-appointed morally superior Left that is behind the tyrannies of multiculturalism, political correctness, a genderless society, man-made global warming, the promotion of homosexuality and gay marriage, the crusade against all religions but Isalm, the most violent and intolerant faith on the planet. Not all Muslms are violent and intolerant of course, but 99% of all terrorist acts are committed by radicalized Muslims. And the Left’s knee-jerk response is to protect the jihadis and blame the Right for their crimes.

The Left loved Castro, and Stalin and Mao — they still do. What explains that? It seems sheer moonbattery to anyone on the Right. They were psychopathic killers, each of them.

The results of this election have broken up families and friendships and it is the people on the Left who break up with those who voted for Trump. ‘Tis a mystery.

We live in the greatest, most successful, least racist, most sane, welcoming and productive country on the planet.

In other news this morning is objection to Justice Thomas missing in a Smithsonian exhibit while Anita Hill is on display. That’s a typical “who’s your hero” difference coupled with an attempt to re-write history. Then there’s the political expression of the CIA that tosses out innuendo but refuses to provide any support – even to its Congressional oversight committee. You don’t have to look far to find plenty of substance but you will need to know yourself and your perceptional bias to make sure you are not going down the sewer with the left. 


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The arrow has fallen short. VDH observes

VDH on The Animal Cunning and Instinct of Donald Trump at the National Review.

Yet even after destroying the Clinton Dynasty, the Bush-family aristocracy, the Obama legacy, and 16 more-seasoned primary rivals, Trump was dismissed by observers as being mostly a joke, idiotic and reckless. Such a dismissal is a serious mistake, because what Trump lacks in traditionally defined sophistication and awareness, he more than makes up for in shrewd political cunning of a sort not seen since the regnum of Franklin Roosevelt. Take a few recent examples.

Or did he sense that his candidacy was touching off an “any means necessary” effort of unethical progressives to warp the law and custom for purportedly noble ends? After the election, that supposition was more than confirmed.

Trump has a habit of offering off-the-cuff unconventional observations — often unsubstantiated by verbal footnotes and in hyperbolic fashion. Then he is blasted for ignorance and recklessness by bipartisan grandees. Only later, and quietly, he is often taken seriously, but without commensurate public acknowledgement.

Finally, Trump sensed that the proverbial base was itching for a bare-knuckles fighter. They wanted any kind of brawler who would not play by the Marquess of Queensberry rules of 2008 and 2012 that had doomed Romney and McCain, who, fairly or not, seemed to wish to lose nobly rather than win in black-and-blue fashion, and who were sometimes more embarrassed than proud of their base. Trump again foresaw that talking trash in crude tones would appeal to middle Americans as much as Obama’s snarky and ego-driven, but otherwise crude trash-talking delighted his coastal elites. So Trump said the same kinds of things to Hillary Clinton that she, in barely more measured tones, had often said to others but never expected anyone to say out loud to her. And the more the media cried foul, the more Trump knew that voters would cry “long overdue.”

But lost amid the left-wing hatred of Trump and the conservative Never Trump condescension is that so far he has shattered American political precedents by displaying much more political cunning and prescience than have his political opponents and most observers.

his candidacy has not only redefined American politics but also recalibrated the nature of insight itself — leaving the wise to privately wonder whether they were ever all that wise after all.

Examples and illustrations provided. Read all about it at the National Review.

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Reflections on Trump and the team he is building

Ray Dalio, Chairman & Chief Investment Officer at Bridgewater Associates, L.P. provides Reflections on the Trump Presidency, One Month after the Election at LinkedIn that is one of the more sober assessments about where Trump is going based on the evidence currently on the table. It is observation and measure rather than speculation and hyperbole. 

Now that we’re a month past the election and most of the cabinet posts have been filled, it is increasingly obvious that we are about to experience a profound, president-led ideological shift that will have a big impact on both the US and the world. This will not just be a shift in government policy, but also a shift in how government policy is pursued.

This particular shift by the Trump administration could have a much bigger impact on the US economy than one would calculate on the basis of changes in tax and spending policies alone because it could ignite animal spirits and attract productive capital. Regarding igniting animal spirits, if this administration can spark a virtuous cycle in which people can make money, the move out of cash (that pays them virtually nothing) to risk-on investments could be huge.

The question is whether this administration will be a) aggressive and thoughtful or b) aggressive and reckless. The interactions between Trump, his heavy-weight advisors, and them with each other will likely determine the answer to this question.

We can get a rough sense of the experience of the new Trump administration by adding up the years major appointees have spent in relevant leadership positions. … Trump’s administration stands out for having by far the most business experience and a bit lower than average government experience (lower compared to recent presidents, and in line with Carter and Reagan). But the cumulative years of executive/government experience of his appointees are second-highest. Obviously, this is a very simple, imprecise measure, and there will be gray zones in exactly how you classify people, but it is indicative.

While the Trump administration appears very right-leaning by the measures above, it’s worth keeping in mind that Trump’s stated ideology differs from traditional Republicans in a number of ways, most notably on issues related to free trade and protectionism.

Trump’s appointees bring lots of high quality business leadership experience from roles that required pragmatism and judgment.

It’s also of note that Trump has leaned heavily on appointees with military experience to compensate for his lack of foreign policy experience

By and large, deal-maker businessmen will be running the government. Their boldness will almost certainly make the next four years incredibly interesting and will keep us all on our toes.

Different. But not by that much, really, as far as qualifications and experience. The difference is in focus and goals and that is why there is a deathly fear of change in certain circles.

BTW, about those circles, the Electoral College vote brouhaha was contained mostly within them. The defectors did more damage to Clinton than they did to Trump. This might help localize the damage to proper governance and keep it to those trying to destroy it.

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A Cal Thomas sermon prompted by Michelle Obama

It was the wife of the President that stimulated thought. Call Thomas says Michelle Obama did not learn hope and humility as first lady — “Michelle Obama shows her time as first lady has taught her neither.” In the process he cites a Wisconsin Senator and Saint Paul.

Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming once said, “Those who travel the high road of humility will not be troubled by heavy traffic.”

That descriptive and funny line came to mind after I heard what first lady Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey last week in a TV interview. Because of Donald Trump’s election, she told the former talk show host, “We are feeling what not having hope feels like.”

She couldn’t prove that by the polls.

Michelle Obama’s hubris that only her husband could provide hope, despite the unpopularity of his policies (his personal popularity remains high), may be why St. Paul cautioned: “Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought.” (Romans 12:3). Pride is the first sin, which leads to all others.

Anyone who puts faith in a politician to make his or her life better is worshipping a false god. Politicians can make your life worse by overtaxing your income, overregulating your business and conducting foreign policy in ways that put America’s security at risk, but the qualities that improve any life — a good education, strong work ethic, self-control, taking personal responsibility for one’s actions, obeying the law, developing good character — these are virtues over which government has little influence.

A friend of mine once observed that humility is so light a grace that once you think you have attained it, you’ve lost it. Humility is the polar opposite of what Michelle Obama displayed to Oprah and what the president has mirrored during his eight years in office. Throughout his presidency, you might have thought the pronoun “I” was his first initial for all the times he referred to himself.

Where is your faith? Really? Christmas gets a lot of attention for the greedy crass commercialism which is on blatant display but there is another side of that which doesn’t fit the meme of the Christmas bashers. Most of that awful capitalism and mercantileism is about a third party whether by obligation or by passion. What one sees, the buying and selling or the giving is an expression of where one lives. Are you into a belief in government or do you focus on those “virtues over which government has little influence?” What gives you the most significant positive vibes: giving or getting?

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Election Maps

Instapundit cites the Clinton Archipelego as spotted by conservative talk radio host John Cardillo.

You may have seen the map with states or counties as red or blue depending upon their vote. The Clinton Archipelego shows the vote with color gradients for areas where Clinton had a majority. All of the area where Clinton did not get 50% are represented by a blue sea. The result is potent in its message.

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Electoral College Assault

There is a lot of discussion about the Electoral College prompted by the massive assault including harrassment and death threats and worse related to the election’s losers. Paul Mirengoff summarizes the situation as The Left Marches on the Electoral College.

The left has been marching relentlessly through our institutions for decades. That’s a major reason why confidence in our institutions — e.g. the mainstream media — is so low.

electors are being asked to ignore the outcome in their states, and the request is backed in some cases by attempts at coercion.

As far as I know, conservatives/Republicans never considered urging the Electoral College to nullify Obama’s victory on this basis (or any other). To do so would not only have been absurd, it would have been obscene.

The same is true of what the left is trying to do now. And the left is doing it without a murmur of disapproval from the Democratic party.

Meanwhile, liberal pundits are calling for president-elect Trump to stop talking about the election in order to “heal” the country.

Faced with claims that his victory was illegitimate, President George W. Bush tried to heal the country. He never denied the thinness of his victory margin and he compromised with Democrats on judges and on some policy matters.

This approach didn’t work out very well for Bush or his party. Trump has a different one in mind, and I don’t blame him.

Then there’s Jazz Shaw who thinks We’ll clearly need to take a fresh look at faithless electors when this is all over.

John Sexton was just writing yesterday about ongoing harassment of and threats to the electors in advance of tomorrow’s vote, but the questions which have come up this cycle are going to linger well into the future.

Even if everything goes off relatively smoothly tomorrow, the gauntlet has been thrown down in terms of whether or not the electors can or should be able to overturn an election.

While there have been some minor skirmishes over individual electors over the years (and a seriously large one in 1836) we haven’t generally politicized the Electoral College all that much. But in the 21st century, everything is up for grabs because politics is now generally accepted as being a bloodsport. Many of our government institutions have operated over the centuries essentially on the honor system, largely because the Founders assumed that those in positions of power would likely be unwilling to do anything too untoward. Well, they never saw 2016 coming, obviously.

We may be forced to fix this situation, but I’m not exactly sure how.

I remain unsure, but this conditions on the ground are getting ugly. The stage has been set for some sort of sore loser, electoral college revolt the next time enough people are angry about the outcome of an election. Even if it’s not happening this year, you can easily imagine it taking place in your lifetime. We’d be wise to figure out how to patch this system up before the dam breaks entirely.

Back on PowerLine, John Hinderaker notes the position of the State Propaganda Machine in Trump Tweets on harassment of electors, and the Associated Press rebuts.

So it’s only fair that the Democrats try to steal the election by threatening and–who knows?–bribing Republican electors! The AP has come out of the closet, in case you hadn’t noticed, as a Democratic Party organ.

The AP tweet took the ‘both sides do it’ by equating Trump’s campaign rhetoric to the assault on the Electoral College. That meme about Trump promoting violence and rioting and other leftist tacts has been shown to be Fake News(tm) but exposure of falsehood doesn’t appear to matter to the AP if it doesn’t fit the story that want to exist.

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Petty and Vindictive

Characteristics that can be seen — and are often denied and refuted by “everybody does it” or ‘reduce to insignificance’ or whatnot — are being inspected. The denial is on parade and, no, both sides do not do it. Obama ditches promise of ‘smooth and efficient’ transition to Trump provides examples to consider.

Mr. Feehery said the transition is “more like the Clinton-Bush” transfer in 2001, when some Clinton officials, angry at the election outcome and the U.S. Supreme Court decision ending a recount in Florida, were accused of mischief, including removing the “W” keys from computer keyboards in the White House.

This time around, a case might be made that there is a bit more of a stimulus for petty and vindictive behavior. Consider how PEOTUS responded to the First Lady’s comments.

“Michelle Obama said yesterday that there’s no hope,” Mr. Trump said as the crowd booed loudly. “But I assume she was talking about the past, not the future, because I’m telling you, we have tremendous hope. We are going to be so successful as a country again.”

That goes back to the current President’s ‘we won, get over it’ comments early in his administration followed by the partisan steamrolling in legislative issues like Obamacare. That indicates an investment in ideology that is perhaps unhealthy.

While all elections have consequences, the promised reversal of much of Mr. Obama’s agenda is causing deep disappointment and frustration among loyalists in the departing administration.

Mr. Obama seems to be taking a willfully rosy view of the transition, judging from some of the frustration expressed by Trump advisers such as former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway. She said Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton should call a truce with the incoming administration if they “actually love the country enough.”

Other considerations here include the Russians Did It, Fake News, Electoral College assaults, riots, falsified threats, hyperbolic anticipation of doom and gloom, and the eternal parade of pessimism and negativity that has taken over the state propaganda machine. The people have spoken (at least those outside of California) and they demand to be heard. What California and its ilk have been pushing for the last eight years is not acceptable to the U.S. at large. Denial of that fact isn’t helping anything or anyone.

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First it was pre-season football. Now it’s pre-season politics

Jazz Shaw says Democrats already accusing Trump of “treason” a month before he takes office.

This weekend you can catch a preview of what the next four years of mainstream media coverage of the Trump presidency will look like by checking in at the Boston Globe. … Yes, you read that correctly. It’s still more than a month before the PEOTUS will be sworn in and we’ve already got someone bringing up the word “treason” and tying it to his name.

No, it doesn’t appear that this was manipulation on the part of the Globe. Shattuck fires of the “treason” charge only four words into the article. And the basis for this suggestion rests entirely on the fact that Trump took issue with the conclusion drawn by some in the intelligence community that the Russians hacked the DNC’s email accounts to help him win.

Oh… so there’s no evidence. But you’ll just fire off an editorial in the Boston Globe suggesting it anyway, eh?

the real issue here is why a long established newspaper would agree to run such a blatantly hyperbolic, partisan piece of trash which is clearly designed to undermine national confidence in the electoral process and delegitimize the incoming president. In a more sane period of American politics you might expect that a newspaper with the standing of the Boston Globe would take a look at this column and at least hesitate before giving it the green light.

Sadly, that’s not the case today. The mainstream media learned nothing from the lessons of 2016 and you can expect to see a non-stop barrage of attacks on Trump over every single thing he says or does over the next four years. Today’s example is just one of many cases where we see that the press isn’t even waiting until he takes the oath to begin attempting to derail his presidency. So fasten your seat belts, kids. There’s a lot more of this to come.

Forecasting the future is always difficult and is particularly suspect when it has no tie to reality – as much of the Left’s fantasies about Trump appear to be. Things are a bit different when you extrapolate from what is currently in evidence. Pre-season football is about choosing a team roster most likely to win based on what players actually do on the field. Shaw is doing much the same thing here: anticipating the future by looking at what the media is currently doing. As such, his advice to “fasten your seat belts” is worth serious consideration.

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attack and provoke

“When liberals say the only reason conservative Christians oppose gay marriage is prejudice, they have to overlook facts like, oh, that a very senior Justice Department lawyer concedes in Supreme Court oral argument that their churches, schools, and charities may be severely penalized for following their religious beliefs. It’s not paranoia when people really are out to get you.”

Rod Dreher describes How The Left Overreached In Court (ht InstaPundit). He cites “Sean Trende, on what the left has done over the last four years to attack and provoke religious conservatives.”

Trende wrote a book and his topic appears to be particularly apt in a contrast between Obama and Trump

The major theme of my book is that all party coalitions fall apart because, well, governing is hard and it inevitably forces parties to choose among members of their coalition. More importantly – and this is where I think realignment theory isn’t just wrong but also counterproductive – parties see their wins as a sign that they’ve finally “won” at politics. But this hubristic take is always wrong, and usually destructive.

The overreach that he describes as coming from this hubris and “I won” may be correlation and not causation. Much of the assault on Christians may be related but inherent rather than stimulated. It may be that it is made less inhibited by a political winning that gives it credence and support. The recent episodes of the bullied standing up to such assaults may be to similar awareness that a new winner is going to stand behind them, too.

Then there is who won and why. Obama made it very clear that his win was ideological and his purpose was to push an agenda with the full support and collusion of his political party. Trump presented a different flavor. He enlisted the Republicans to his cause as a part of gathering together a coallition of support. His goal wasn’t to create a new way of governance and life but rather to undo the new way that the Left had imposed in such things as Obamacare and other socialist left leaning governance and top down control over basic life activities. 

“Attack and provoke” is a tactic but perhaps not an intentional one. The thesis of Dreher is that it has run amok and Trende indicates that this may have been due to a lack of restraint in tempering the ‘enthusiasm’ for the ideological goals. When pushing for what Christian’s consider immoral behavior, the sky is the limit. There is always more you can do and this means there is no lid for the left. In reducing that behavior, though, there is a floor. That is why the Obama goals foster going too far and the Trump goals have natural limits. There is no limit on what you can do to “attack and provoke” but there is a point where people cannot be left any more alone. The question then becomes one of choosing when the leaving alone becomes a community concern such as with crime and dereliction.

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Now it’s guns. Insidious political warfare

One of the traits of the left is persistence. That is why they never engage in debate but only in argument. They will not accept loss. If one tactic doesn’t succeed, they try another and they will push it to the brink. The election provides just one blatant example. Gun control is another. In Nevada, the Clark County immigrants and Californians were able to push through an onorous background check law whose implications are ominous. In California, they are after ammunition. Then there’s the U.N. Thomas Mason calls it Obama’s parting shot — “The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty gives away the rights of all Americans.”

What happened was not just part of the usual give and take of such negotiations, but a deliberate act of bad faith by Hillary Clinton. The firearms community was under the impression that the Department of State was negotiating in good faith. However, release of Mrs. Clinton’s Benghazi emails revealed the truth. As it turned out one of the reasons she supported the treaty was because it was opposed by the NRA. She wrote this in an email in March, 2011: “You know we’ve tried to support the U.N. small arms treaty but we have run into, as usual, fierce NRA and congressional opposition. But, I believe we have to keep trying. All the best, H.” Other emails showed her actively working with and meeting with anti-gun groups supporting the treaty at the U.N.illary herself identified that the treaty was about “small arms,” the U.N. term for gun control.

It’s like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football when he takes Lucy “in good faith” but finds that good faith should not be applied to Lucy much as it can’t be applied to anyone on the Left. In addition, you can also see the tactic of personalizing the opposition by selecting an evil enemy – in this case the NRA with Congressional Republicans tossed in as the NRA’s gullible dupes for extra, feel good, juice.

Restricting the right of individual self defense was a plank on the Democrat’s platform in the latest election. Many fronts being pushed for this plank but they miss Eric Raymond’s advice (see earlier post) which gets into reports this morning about women who have suffered assault using firearms training for therapy.

It appears that the populace may be getting a bit irritated by the persistence. A caller to Limbaugh mentioned a desire to be able to get up in the morning without having to worry about the next attack on her rights and freedoms and social customs. She isn’t alone. 

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Lawless – closest thing to a sci-fi movie plot about body parts

Kelly Riddel thinks it is an An important criminal referral — “Pro-life Republican legislators take aim at Planned Parenthood and its affiliates.”

The committee’s revelations are not based on the CMP videos, but rather 20,000 pages and documents provided voluntarily by the parties, including contracts, invoices, internal cost calculations, medical standards and guidelines, technician compensation policies and tissue procurement logs.

“I don’t take lightly making a criminal referral. But, the seeming disregard for the law by these entities has been fueled by decades of utter failure by the Justice Department to enforce it,” Mr. Grassley said in a statement this week. “And, unless there is a renewed commitment by everyone involved against commercializing the trade in aborted fetal body parts for profit, then the problem is likely to continue.”

In 1993, the House passed the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act which was intended to outlaw the commercial market for fetal tissue. During the 14 years since the law’s passage, the Department of Health and Human Services has never conducted a single audit to ensure it was being enforced, and the Justice Department hasn’t initiated a single prosecution.

Some abhorrent stuff, if the Obama administration were willing to investigate. Instead, Mr. Obama has been working overtime to protect Planned Parenthood. Just this week, the HHS issued a rule that bars states from defunding abortion providers through Title X funds.

It has been law for more than 20 years. Exposure was not difficult. It took horrific video to garner outrage to prompt investigation. Just how important the issue really is can be seen in the reaction of the defense. The attempt to criminalize whistle blowers failed prosecution in Houston but reached the legislature in California. As is often the case for such causes favored by the left, there is misdirection. The right to sell fetus body parts is considered a part of a women’s rights  over her own body and the government’s failing to pay for the activity is considered a denial of health services for women. 

Riddel says there “is a new sheriff in town” and that the 20 year history of turning a blind eye on the law will change. Maybe. The force is strong there.

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A climate consensus infects intelligence?

On the Russians Did It front, the president has announced a consensus that now the FBI, Clapper back CIA, say Russia interfered in U.S. election to help Trump. The ‘evidence’ is to be released to the public ‘real soon now’ and it’s all according to ‘reports’ – promise. really and truly.

The FBI and the Director of National Intelligence agree with a CIA assessment that Russian cyber attacks on the U.S. election were intended in part to help President-elect Donald Trump win office, according to news reports.

Reports from earlier this week indicated that the ODNI had not endorsed the assessment that the Russian’s got involved to help Mr. Trump win the election.

President Obama on Friday reaffirmed his belief Russia was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. But during his last press conference of the year, the president declined to speculate on the motive of the Russian hackers saying he wanted to give intelligence agencies a chance to finish a report on the cyber attacks before drawing conclusions.

This is going to be a good test for Fake News(tm). The authority – in this case POTUS – has reversed a previous position. The motive, means, opportunity, and method remain unknown. The stories are based on leaks, innuendo, and allegation. Confirmation in terms of fact and measure is promised but not delivered. The nature of the interference and how it could achieve the claimed objectives is vague and not specified. The only thing that does exist at present is a claim of consensus. That is a logical fallacy often seen in the human caused catastrophic climate change argument. 

Right now, the trolls are still being fed. Responsible media take POTUS at his word and that is probably a ‘best option’ despite the record to date. It will be interesting to see if he can actually deliver what he promises this time. That would then beg the question of what, if anything, to do. Since that would be left to his successor, it would add to the idea that the whole ‘Russians Did It’ meme is just a partisan political tactic to impugn, demean, and denigrate the opposition as such things have been used in the past eight years.

At this point, it is getting to be quite interesting seeing how that successor deals with the tried and true tactics of the Democrats. This latest issue just provides for yet another experiment and, if behavior patterns hold, it is only the next in a long long line of creative constructs in the battle plan of the left where futility isn’t considered stupid and anything goes.

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Reform your attitude

Eric Raymond is a software developer and open source ideolog who has posted an essay:Hey, Democrats! We need you to get your act together!

Donald Trump’s victory reads to me like a realignment election, a historic break with the way interest and demographic groups have behaved in the U.S. in my lifetime. Yet, Democrats, you so far seem to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

Here’s what I’ve been building up to:

You Democrats don’t just need to reform your gun policy, you need to reform your attitude towards the voters to a place from which your present policy looks as vicious and absurd as it does to them.

You Democrats don’t just need to reform your rhetoric about racism and sexism, you need to reform your attitude towards the voters to a place from which your present rhetoric looks as vicious and absurd as it does to them.

It’s all of a piece. You’ve forgotten how to be the party of the people. Trump was the price of that forgetfulness. Now, you need to relearn it, for all our sakes.

The alternative is that something like the Republicans, or possibly worse, dominates American politics for the foreseeable future. I don’t want that, and you should fear it more than I do.

So get your act together now.

Reform your attitude” is always good advice but it is a step in a process and not easy to do. It is advice that is most suited for one’s self and not for others. This keys in on why Clinton’s “irredeemable basket of deplorables” was significant but misses why Trump’s “make America great again” was similarly significant.

In much of Raymond’s essay where he promises to avoid “right and wrong and ideology” he brands others by who they are and the groups they have joined rather than work with actual behaviors and observables. To ‘reform an attitude’ is going to start with an examination of the perceptions that are the basis of that attitude. Raymond needs to do this for his ‘attitude’ about Trump, Republicans, and the identity groups he uses to rationalize his views. 

The implication in the claim that “Trump was the price” implies Trump expresses ‘wrong ideology’ and worse – the “price” is that of the suffering he will cause. That is an attitude that does need to be reformed and illustrates that Raymond’s advice needs to start at home. FUD Mongering of one’s own self drives all sorts of desctructive behavior. See Scott Adams for another geek’s perspective on this (scroll down for cites). 

Also: note the “you” messaging in the essay. Compare that to the I and we messaging in Trump’s speeches. Now find some of the self-help books such as those by Thomas Gordon to learn why this is important. 

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Exposure and analysis is a good way to learn. That is why it is good to see tactics, especially dishonest tactics, being discussed. Francis Menton provides an example in The Impending Collapse Of The Global Warming Scare.

If you want fundraising in the billions rather than the thousands, you need a good end-of-days, sin-and-redemption scare. Human-caused global warming is your answer!

Even as this scare has advanced, a few lonely voices have warned that the radical environmentalists were taking the movement out onto a precarious limb.

Now, enter President-elect Trump. During the campaign, as with many issues, it was hard to know definitively where Trump stood.

So, was he proposing business-as-usual with a few tweaks, or would we see a thorough-going reversal of Obama’s extreme efforts to control the climate by fossil fuel restrictions?

With the recently announced appointments, this is starting to come very much into focus.

So what can we predict about where the climate scare is going? Among members of the environmental movement, when their heads stop exploding, there are plenty of predictions that this will be terrible for the United States: … I see it differently. I predict a high likelihood of substantial collapse of the global warming movement, both domestically and internationally, over the course of the next couple of years.

EPA is supposedly where that science is vetted and approved on behalf of the public before being turned into policy. In fact, under Obama, EPA’s principal role on the “science” has been to prevent and stifle any debate or challenge to global warming orthodoxy.

essentially all prominent global warming alarmists refuse to debate anyone who challenges any aspect of their orthodoxy. Well, that has worked as long as they and their allies have controlled all of the agencies and all of the money. Now, it will suddenly be put up or shut up.

Now the backers of the global warming alarm will not only be called upon to debate, but will face the likelihood of being called before a highly skeptical if not hostile EPA to answer all of the hard questions that they have avoided answering for the last eight years.

If the multi-tens-of-billions per year funding gusher for global warming alarmism quickly dries up, the large majority of the people living on these handouts will have no choice but to go and find something productive to do.

Avoidance of debate is a tactic. Failing to show cause when called upon to do so by proper authority is a tactic. Calling those who disagree with you names is a tactic. 

It appears that these tactics are being exposed and the parties involved are being called to account. Let the debate, the actual debate, begin!

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TDS and related Hot Air

Not Air has a number of items today worth a look. Carlson’s interview is also noted as Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald Wears Soiled Diaper as Hat, Smears Canned Chili Beans on His Pudgy, Naked Body Before Mating Noisily with Male Ostrich [Warden] and (a more level headed report) The Tucker Carlson interview of Kurt Eichenwald.

On the Democrat’s assault on the election process is Video: Republican electors still getting death threats.

The strategy to overturn the election in the Electoral College isn’t working in Arkansas. Is it working elsewhere? According to the Associated Press, not at all:

Republicans chosen to cast votes in the state-capital meetings told AP they feel bound by history, duty, party loyalty or the law to rubber-stamp their state’s results and make him president. Appeals numbering in the tens of thousands — drowning inboxes, ringing cellphones, stuffing home and office mailboxes with actual handwritten letters — have not swayed them.

if the effort fails, it won’t be from lack of trying. Most of the pleas to reject Trump are coordinated, automated, professionally generated and, for those reasons, none too persuasive.

“We got a stack of letters from idiots,” said Republican elector Edward Robson, 86, a Phoenix, Arizona, homebuilder.

The bit of incompetent management craft in trying to robotically manage communications is likely related to the Washington D.C. swamp mentality that the President-Elect has used as a target. It might also be why he only needed to spend half as much on the campaign as his opponent.

On the Russian front there’s WSJ: Russians tried hacking the RNC — but failed.

The more plausible scenario would also explain why Russian hackers didn’t try harder to force their way into the RNC’s computers. They had already succeeded in their operation to create confusion and paranoia, which continues to this day. No matter who won, they would come into office under a cloud, weakening the transition and giving Russia more breathing room for a period of time. That seems a lot more likely than Putin personally targeting the woman who enabled the Uranium One deal.

It appears that the theft of party machine data was oportunistic and motivated more by the odds of finding something juicy than anything else. The lack of evidence about who actually did the dirty deed is very thin (non-existant) when it comes to Russia and accusations in that direction come down to motivation – the “more plausible scenario” is rather weak on this front. The assertions of the publisher that it was a disgruntled Committee member provides better evidence and much stronger motivation.

Allahpundit is one of Hot Air’s Trump Derangement Syndrome candidates. He expresses only a mild case mostly seen in the adjectives and adverbs used in describing things Trump and in the jumping to conclusions about what might be as if it already exists. You can still get some insight from his thoughts. Consider The Democrats’ “divestment or impeachment” bill aimed at Trump is futile but not stupid. The reasons for “Futile” and “Not Stupid” are given but one has to wonder how futile efforts cannot be considered stupid. It is only in the realm of Democrats expression of political warfare that this makes any sense.

But it’s probably not constitutional, as Ed notes. Warren’s fact sheet describes the bill as an attempt to implement the Emoluments Clause, but her bill applies to all presidential financial conflicts of interest and the Emoluments Clause, er, doesn’t.

So the bill can’t pass, and even if it could, it’d probably be shot down. In fact, since Congress’s consent is required by the Constitution before Trump can lawfully accept emoluments from foreign states, the bill is silly to begin with.

But that gets to why I disagree that this is stupid. The bill’s not designed to pass, it’s designed to put Republicans in a political jam and to raise awareness on the left about Trump’s conflict of interests.

You’d hope that any elected politician woould have a “conflict of interest” and that they reflect yours, too. These conflicts would be things that make it easier for you to keep and maintain a job or business, own your own house, be secure in your property and so on. The quote here shows how the left has corrupted this proper set of interests into an improper set and then cornered them to financial interests which were then used to help tar and feather anything to do with wealth gained by business, commerce, and other productive activity. 

Trump has already demolished the fund raising measure as a primary candidate success indicator. Some have noted that owning real estate all over the planet is probably good motivation to avoid war and conflict. The U.S. Constitution is only concerned about foreign governments buying influence, not a President’s business interests. Yet the Democrats have shown a penchant for attacking anything and everything from Christianity to the elections process to personal integrity even if the attack is completely lacking in any support and is scurrulous in the extreme (think Harry Reid on Romney to Eichenwald). Futile and not stupid needs to be called, exposed, and humiliated. Futile is stupid and the stupidity needs to be exposed for how dishonest it really is.

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Mass psychosis

Back in the day it was Bush Derrangement Syndrome. Now we have Trump Derrangement Syndrome and its expression makes BSD look tame. Thomas Lifson describes The most amazing Trump Derangement Syndrome meltdown yet. The example is simply a case study in asking for reasonable support for claims made.

Tucker’s modus operandi is to invite leftists on his show to talk about what they have written. After thanking them in a way that seems utterly sincere, he wields a stiletto, asking the interviewee to justify what he or she has written.

Now, I do not know Kurt Eichenwald, so any opinions I venture about him are my own surmises, and in no way are they statements or allegations of factual matters. But yesterday on Fox News he gave me the impression of a man in a serious mental crisis, refusing to answer questions directly, but rather going off on tangents, and then, in the end, speaking about a secret message from the CIA.

Eichenwald went on several tangents and at one point whipped out a binder titled ‘Tucker Carlson Falsehoods’ and threatened he would use it against the FOX News host on the internet.

This is one of my favorite moments in this landmark interview. Obviously, Eichenwald was prepared to go on the attack, but the idea that he would threaten an interviewer asking him to back up his claims by whipping out a printed binder is hilarious. As Tucker’s facial expression reveals.

The American Left is clearly in crisis, with mental health becoming an issue on a mass level.

TSD is also on display in regards to the “Russians Did It” claim. Whenever you see it pronounced that Mr. Putin himself messed with the elections and caused Denocrat’s loss, you don’t want to ask for evidence to support the claim or you will likely see what Lifson observered on Tucker Carleson’s interview. And it is very likely you will also be subject to a counter-attack that is reminiscent of the brouhaha over Romney’s “binder full of women.” In this case, that binder is the output of “fact checkers” and “fake news detectors” that came out of the wrong end of the organism.


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