The Bookworm Beat 2/11/16 — the “watching the political parade” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265As this election year’s craziness continues, I keep trying to keep myself from getting upset. My mantra is that I should save my energies for things I can change, either directly or through my own small contributions. For everything else, I need to relax and watch the passing spectacle. That’s what this post is all about.

Socialism’s shortages kill people.  One of the hallmarks of socialism is shortages, with Venezuela being the latest example.  Canada has socialized medicine.  (They also have cheap drugs, but that’s because American companies invest in R&D, costs they recoup by passing on to American drug purchasers, while the Canadian government helps supplement drug costs.)  That’s why a teenager in Canada who could have had a stem cell transplant died — the donor was available, but the hospital beds weren’t.

Unemployment is a core feature of a centralized economy.  The theory behind a centralized (i.e., government managed) economy is that everyone works and everyone benefits.  The reality is that the more the government manages the economy through taxes and rewards to cronies, the more it stifles individual initiative — and the result is unemployment.  With the Obama economy staggering into its eighth year, one can’t really blame millennials, who have never seen a functioning free market, for thinking that the best they’ll ever get is more government hand-outs, courtesy of Bernie.

The media is trying to ignore Ted Cruz to death, but he’s still the strongest conservative candidate.  The media willingly gave Donald Trump free advertising by covering him endlessly.  It wasn’t just that he was “so clever” that he played them.  They wanted to be played because they believe that, outside of his core 35%, he’s unelectable.

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, is scary.  After all, Rush anointed him the closest thing we’ll see to Reagan in our era.  Since savaging Cruz hasn’t been working, the media is trying a new tactic:  ignoring him.  That is, they are deliberately denying the American people a chance to hear from a top-ranking presidential candidate.  Gawd, but our media is corrupt.

Still, Ted Cruz plays the long game, and Fox News Latino thinks he’s still got game.  Philip Klein also thinks that New Hampshire is anomalous, since it’s kind of like Europe in that even its conservatives are Leftists.  Look at the rest of conservative America, and Cruz is still the last conservative candidate standing.

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[VIDEO] Cruz ad attacks Donald Trump on eminent domain and campaign donations

Ted Cruz anti-Trump adThis Ted Cruz video, which attacks Trump for donating to Democrat politicians and for using eminent domain for his own profit, has gotten high praise in some quarters, but I have to admit that it doesn’t work for me, for four reasons:

First, I don’t like using kids to sell products.  I find them fundamentally uninteresting.

Second, I had a hard time understanding at least half of what they said.

Third, in part because the kids were so unintelligible, I couldn’t figure out what point they were making with regard to eminent domain, which really is an Achilles’ heel for Trump — and I’m someone who stays abreast of political information.

Fourth, Trump’s has a good response on campaign donations, which is that he is an American businessman who’s played the game by greasing all the wheels, left and right.  You need a harder hitting commercial explaining just that point — why it may be good business, but it’s dishonest politics and damages America in profound ways over the long run.

Overall, I think the Cruz team has put out some great ads and done fine “rapid response” work.  This one isn’t the one for me, though.  What do you think?

New Hampshire wrap-up open thread

New Hampshire resultsI won’t lie: I’m not happy with Trump’s victory. I don’t believe Trump is a true conservative; I think he’s a Trumpista, who heads the cult of himself. To that end, I’m concerned that he’ll say or do whatever it takes to capture the national zeitgeist to his advantage.

The one other point I want to make is that New Hampshire is a microcosm of everything I’ve said is the problem with Open Primaries: Party members don’t get to pick their own candidate. Instead, it’s a statewide free-for-all, with people free to make mischief for the other side’s candidate.

I strongly suspect that, if someone breaks down the numbers, Trump got the smallest percentage of his votes from actual conservative Republicans. As someone who lives in an Open Primary state, I resent the hell out of a system that allows people who do not support conservative values to help select the so-called “conservative” candidate.

At this rate, what we’ll end up with in this election is the “Democrat” party fronting a socialist, and the “Republican” party fronting a big government Democrat (that would be Trump, who believes as devoutly in the government as the Democrats do). What true conservatives want, of course, is SMALL GOVERNMENT. That option looks as if it’ll be off the table in this election, and that does not bode well for America’s future.

End of rant. Now it’s your turn.

Ted Cruz needs to explain to non-Evangelical voters that they need not fear him

Cruz and a crossNow that Ted Cruz, for the time being at least, is the front-runner, I’m starting to get emails from conservatives in Marin who are disturbed by his open expressions of Christian faith.  Just like their Progressive neighbors, they’re worried about finding themselves in a theocracy.  I therefore think Ted Cruz needs to start campaigning beyond the Evangelicals he’s courted.  This requires him to say something along the following lines:

“Yes, I am a person of deep faith.  My faith is the most important thing in my life.  It informs my values and keeps me humble by reminding me every minute of every day that I am not the most important thing in the world.

“In addition to being a Christian, though, I am an American and a strict constitutionalist.  I would never seek to impose my religion on others, although there is no doubt that my religion shaped my values.

“It’s because of my faith that I value life, liberty, and happiness.  After all, my religion tells me that God gave us the gifts of life, individual freedom, and the capacity for joy.

“You can like or dislike the religious values that shaped me, but you should never worry that I will try to force my religion on you.  The Founders, in their great wisdom, understood that there is no surer way to impose tyranny than to make government an arm of a church, temple, or mosque.”

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Celebrating Cruz’s victory in Iowa — and remembering that conservative Trump supporters are still our friends

Cruz Rubio TrumpI’ve made no secret over the past few months about the fact that I support Ted Cruz, and hope very much that he will be the Republican nominee.  His intelligence, his political courage, his quite unexpected ability to speak to ordinary people in accessible ways about complex matters, his grasp of the issues, his consistent conservativism, his wicked sense of humor and, above all, his fealty to he Constitution make me believe that he is the best candidate for what is proving to be both a troubled and pivotal time in American history.

I’ve also been open about the fact that the possibility of having Donald Trump as the Republican candidate concerns me.  I truly admire the way he’s bulldozed the media stranglehold and ridden roughshod over political correctness.  I also recognize that he’s made all the right noises for a vast American middle that’s fed up with unlimited illegal immigration and worried about radicalized Muslims riding into the US on the illegal immigrant train.  I believe I’ve said all along that Trump has added something important to this campaign season.  It’s just that I can never get away from a few major concerns, such as my sense that the campaign is more about Trump than it is about America, and that he’s a performer and will say whatever he needs to get to his current audience (whether he really means it or not).

Most of all, though,  I worry that Trump does not value the Constitution any more than Obama does.  To me, an America without the Constitution as its political centerpiece is just another First World leftist country heading downhill fast.  After eight years of Obama’s deep and abiding disdain for the Constitution, I’m not sure we can handle any more of that and still be the unique, exceptional country we are.

I won’t lie, therefore, and pretend that I’m anything but delighted about the outcome in Iowa.  To me, the strongest constitutionalist won, and that’s the correct outcome.

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A few words on last night’s unpleasant Republican primary debate

Republican debate moderators Megan KellyI watched the first 40 minutes and then stopped.  My problem was the moderators, who I thought were dreadful.  (Since I read my news and don’t watch it, I approached them with an open mind, since I had no idea what shtick each brought to the table.)  I wanted to hear substantive answers on pressing issues, and they were playing “gotcha.”  Watching the moderator/candidate interactions was unpleasant and, I quickly realized, a complete waste of my time.

I found particularly reprehensible the fact that they gave Rubio and Cruz only a minute to respond to those gotcha videos on immigration.  I prefer Cruz’s immigration stance to Rubio’s, but it was an insult to both men to force them to distill complex ideas and actions down to a single minute in the face of out-of-context video clips.  The tone of the debate was such that I expected to see everyone “perp walked” off the stage with reporters shouting questions at them about their future prison of choice.

The low, hostile, tabloid tone was especially disappointing because I’d hoped that Trump’s absence would clear the air and allow for a more substantive and meaningful debate.

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Are you supporting the presidential candidate who shares your values?

I took the “I Side With” quiz and discovered that I’m not imagining things — Ted Cruz is indeed the candidate for me, since I side with him (or does he side with me?) 92% of the time. If you have a chance, you should check out the I Side With site and see whether you’re supporting the candidate who most closely reflects your values.

I side with Ted Cruz

A word about Donald Trump’s Fox News debate boycott

Donald Trump mouth taped shutI think Trump is very clever for getting as much airtime about not showing up at a debate as he would if he did show up at the debate — all without the risk of saying something at the debate that might backfire.  Rather than add to that airtime, the only thing I’ll say is that, because of the media obsession with him and because of his larger than life personality, Trump’s presence debates makes it difficult for the other candidates to get the time they deserve to give their message to the American people.  I am therefore happy that he won’t be there, simply because I want to hear what everyone else has to say.

The Bookworm Beat 1/26/16 — the “race heating up” edition and open thread *UPDATED*

Woman-writing-300x265It wasn’t just women who were attacked on New Year’s Eve in Cologne.  When I first read about the hundreds of sexual attacks that Muslim immigrants perpetrated against women in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve, I only vaguely recorded the fact that the Muslims were also setting off fireworks.  It was only in the back of my mind that I asked myself “Are over-the-counter fireworks part of the European New Year tradition?” It turns out that, whether or not they’re part of the New Year tradition, they were definitely fired as part of the “We are Muslims and we don’t allow any other religions to function around us” tradition:

Barbara Schock-Werner, who served as cathedral architect between 1999 and 2012, was present at the well-attended religious service along with several thousand other worshippers. Shock-Werner told the German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine, that the cathedral experienced an unprecedented and massive rocket and ‘banger’ fireworks barrage that lasted the whole service.

“Again and again the north window of the cathedral was lit up red, because rocket after rocket flew against it,” she said. “And because of the ‘bangers’, it was very loud. The visitors to the service sitting on the north side had difficulties hearing. I feared at times that panic would break out.”

Cardinal Rainer Woelki, who presided at the New Year’s mass, also complained about the “massive disruptions.”

“During my sermon loud ‘bangers’ could be heard,” Woelki said in the paper, Die Welt. “I was already annoyed beforehand about the loud noises that were penetrating into the cathedral.”

Shock-Werner believes the religious service was deliberately “targeted for disruption” due to the attack’s timing. The mass took place between 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., which, she said, “is actually no time to be already shooting off New Year’s rockets in such great volume.”

If anyone tells you that more Muslims mean less violence, don’t believe them.  That’s a fable that belongs in the “Lies, damn lies, and statistics” category.  While nations under the jackboot of theocratic Islam may have less violent crime between Muslims within a given Muslim nation’s borders, the reality is that Muslims don’t play well with others (and “others” means everyone else in the world, including women, Jews, Christians, Hindus, gays, the wrong kind of Muslims, etc.).

Rome goes full dhimmi.  Iranian president Rouhani is heading to Italy and, in his honor, the Italians are temporarily wiping out their culture (or, at least, for now the wipe-out is temporary).  Here it is, the grandeur that once was Rome:

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The Bookworm Beat 1/19/16 — the speed round-up and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265Another day, another incredible collection of articles I think you’ll like, all of which I’ve tried to present in a way that’s both interesting and brief.

Yet another government lie. Is everything we think we know about the cost of living data false? And worse, is the actual cost of living increase we’re facing in the double digits in many cities? The Chapman Index says we’re the victims of a sustained lie hiding how much less our money buys.  In other words, inflation is much worse than you realize.

Rank and file Marines horrified by Obama orders. Actual Marines, not people who just pretend to be military experts for the sake of advancing the Obama administrations social re-engineering goals, are appalled by the demand that the Marines feminize everything, including the word “rifleman.” Incidentally, I found this link on the Facebook feed of a young Marine friend who raised in Progressive Marin. He noted that nothing can re-engineer the fact that, at a basic biological level, women aren’t as strong as men — and no amount of gender illusions will change that reality.

Conservative voters like Cruz. GOP establishment figures have always hated Ted Cruz, which I think is because he’s made them look like what they are — liars who told the voters one thing and then voted with Obama on just about everything. Now that the Republican primary is narrowing, the principle that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” appears to be coming into play, and the GOP is starting to line up behind Trump (who has, like the GOP itself, a distinguished RINO record on many issues). It’s worth remembering, therefore, that ordinary people — voters, not players — like Cruz.

Thomas Sowell on elections.  Elections aren’t about revenge or anger or “making a statement.”  Instead, as Sowell says, “They are held to choose who shall hold in their hands the fate of hundreds of millions of Americans today and of generations yet unborn.”  My brain is always a better and smarter place after reading Thomas Sowell.  I wish more Americans, especially young Americans, would read him.  Sadly, it turns out that, thanks to 50 years of Leftist control over education, too many of America’s so-called best and brightest are a terribly ignorant group of people who know nothing about America’s history, constitution, or political structure.  (H/T Sadie)

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Impressions of the Democrat Party debate

Democrat debateHaving watched the Republican debate on Tuesday, I decided that it behooved me to watch the Democrat debate today. A few things before I begin. First, I did not take notes, so I’m riffing here a bit without any specific road map. Second, I tried to watch the debate through two filters: a sane conservative filter and a unicorns and fairies Progressive filter. Third, barring short video clips, I hadn’t seen Hillary talk at length in years and I hadn’t seen Bernie talk at all. As for O’Malley (is that his name?), I’d never seen him talk at all. (I prefer reading to watching videos.)  With those parameters in mind, here goes:

I’ll start with the voices. As I commented with regard to the Republican debate, voices matter to me. Ten minutes into the debate, I knew precisely whom — or, should I say, what — each candidate brought mind. This is Hillary:

What an incredibly grating, hectoring attack dog she is.

This is Bernie:

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Post-Debate impressions and open thread *UPDATED*

Republican debate South CarolinaUnusually for me, I had time to watch some of the debate and I had access to a television.  (Yes, I can watch debates on my computer monitor, but I do my best debate watching stretched out on the couch staring at the big screen.)  I lasted all the way through to the fight over trade with China, and then my family called me away.  Once they were done calling, I discovered that I was too tired to resume.  I just couldn’t get my head back in the game.

Since I wasn’t taking notes, I can only comment on a few specific and memorable phrases, issues, and arguments.  Otherwise, the best I can do is give my impressions of the candidates.

Preliminarily, Kasich and Carson should not be on that stage — especially Carson.  I like Carson.  I think he’s a very intelligent man and a good human being.  I thought his response about Obama’s rules of engagement against ISIS was spot-on.  (Speaking of Obama’s refusal to bomb oil tankers that are funding ISIS, meek, mild Carson said “Tell them if you put people in them, we’re going to bomb them, so don’t put people in them.”  Exactly.)

Other than that, though, Carson was passive.  In response to each question, he basically said, “I’ll put the experts on it.”  Well, yes, that’s what a manager should do, but a really good manager sits down with his experts and begins with his own goals and ideas, before then asking for ways his plan can be done or reasons it cannot or should not.  Leadership begins with the leader, not the advisers.  A bad manager, such as Obama, listens only to himself and ignores the experts entirely.

My favorite drug in the world is Valium.  That’s the reason I never take it.  I’m a fairly tightly wound person, and Valium is the only thing that leaves me slow and mellow.  If I take Valium, I probably look just like Dr. Carson.  Again, he’s a good man, but he’s not presidential material.

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