Both my computer and I have been moving sluggishly this weekend, but things have been happening at WOW! Magazine, the collaborative online magazine from the Watcher’s Council. If you crave more than my blog can offer, check these out:
The migraine is fading, helped by a surprise three-hour nap, and my energy is returning. Yay!!! Now I can blog:
Was losing good for Ted Cruz? I was really in it to win it for Ted Cruz. I continue to think he is the most principled conservative in American politics. But was that principled stand his Achilles heel? Peter Weber argues that, if nominated, Ted Cruz had only two choices, neither good: Be principled and lose, or abandon his principles . . . and still lose, because then he wouldn’t be Ted Cruz.
Me? I still would have preferred Ted Cruz who actually is what Trump pretends to be — a game changer destroying the entrenched Washington way of doing things.
The empty Palestinian museum is an apt metaphor for the Palestinian cause. Daniel Greenfield finds a useful metaphor in the expensive, empty building meant to commemorate the “Palestinian” people:
This post’s title, of course, is facetious. Dennis Prager is entirely unaware of my blog (and, no, I’m not complaining about that fact). I have noticed over the years, though, that Prager will often write a post that says what I had earlier blogged about, although he always says it better than I did (which is why he gets paid the biggish bucks). The latest example is Prager’s article stating that the scariest aspect of Donald Trump’s elevation in the Republican Party reflects the fact that Americans no longer understand either the nature of America or the nature of conservativism. They have hot-button issues, but no broad conservative principles.
Allow me to quote myself to the same effect:
It appears that Ted Cruz still has a few tricks up his sleeve, not to get into the White House in 2017, but to force Donald Trump to sign onto a conservative agenda:
Senator Ted Cruz’s supporters are mounting an effort to seize control of the Republican platform and the rules governing the party’s July convention, the first indication that Mr. Cruz will not simply hand his delegates over to Donald J. Trump.
In an email sent Sunday to pro-Cruz convention delegates, a top aide to the Texas senator wrote that it was “still possible to advance a conservative agenda at the convention.”
“To do that, it is imperative that we fill the Rules and Platform Committees with strong conservative voices like yours,” wrote Ken Cuccinelli, who was the campaign’s former delegate wrangler and a former attorney general of Virginia. “That means you need to come to the national convention and support others in coming, too!”
Mr. Cruz is planning a Monday evening conference call where, as Mr. Cuccinelli writes, Mr. Cruz’s former officials plan to “discuss what we can do at the convention to protect against liberal changes to our platform, and how we can right the wrongs in the rules from 2012!”
The “wrongs” Mr. Cuccinelli was referring to are the changes pushed through at the last convention by supporters of Mitt Romney that would have made it harder for a candidate’s name to be placed in nomination.
But Mr. Cruz’s supporters and other conservative activists are also deeply concerned about Mr. Trump’s general election agenda, and want to ensure that he does not alter the party’s platform. Since locking up the nomination last week, Mr. Trump has made clear he intends to run a populist campaign against Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, indicating he is open to higher taxes and an increase in the minimum wage.
But Mr. Cuccinelli said Mr. Cruz, who has been silent since withdrawing from the race last Tuesday, had no intention of trying to rewrite convention rules in an effort to deny Mr. Trump the nomination.
“It’s important that this not appear as though we are pulling at stunt at this convention,” he said, adding that the goal is to advocate for policies preferred by the sort of hard-line conservatives who backed Mr. Cruz’s campaign.
“This is about protecting movement conservatism,” he said, pointing to party planks on abortion and saying the delegates should consider language regarding transgender bathroom access.
“We want to have girls go in girls’ bathrooms,” he said, highlighting an issue on which Mr. Trump has broken with social conservatives by supporting the rights of transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.
Read the rest here. As I read this, Ted Cruz is doing what he’s always promised to do: Try his best to protect constitutional conservativism in the United States of America. A Trump presidency would certainly be more palatable if he were constrained to follow core conservative ideas. (Although, thinking about it, it’s hard to imagine anything constraining Trump.)
Having thought about it a lot, I’m about to commit what many will believe is heresy: I believe conservatives should suck it up and vote for Trump so as to avoid a hard Left presidency. Trying to save the Republican party at this juncture is an intellectual and practical dead-end, akin to doing CPR on a pulse-free heart attack victim even as the sarin gas is leaking under the door, through the keyhole, and over the transom.
As a predicate to my argument, let me say two things. First, the more I know of Trump as a person, the less I like him. He is rude, crude, coarse, mean, and vicious. I think that he speaks to everything that is low in the human condition. Second, I deeply respect those who are stating a principled opposition to a Trump presidency, men such as David French, George Will, and Ben Sasse.
Respecting them, though, doesn’t mean that I think these men, and other like-minded people, are making the right call. From where I sit, the mere fact that Donald Trump was nominated means that the Republican Party is already dead. We can drag it around for a bit, and dress it up nicely, but it’s still a rotting corpse and one that cannot be resuscitated.
Perhaps my different take comes about because, unlike French, Will, Sasse, or other prominent members of the #NeverTrump crowd, I am not a lifetime Republican. The party doesn’t hold any emotional resonance for me. I wasn’t there intellectually during the glory days of Eisenhower or Reagan. I came to conservativism at the beginning of the 21st century by dint of very hard intellectual work.
Reaching conservativism meant that, after a lifetime of unthinkingly checking the boxes next to every Democrat candidates’ name, I had finally figured out that no Democrat policies worked to achieve the promised goals — and, indeed, that all of these policies were counterproductive:
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) May 4, 2016
A few points:
1. I think that, henceforth, we will no longer speak of “black swans” (i.e., utterly unforeseeable events that alter an otherwise predictable trajectory), but instead we will speak of “orange swans.”
2. Trump is a media creation. (UPDATE: And the media, having used him to drive others from the Republican field, will now destroy him.)
3. Just like the bizarre energy force in Star Trek’s “Day of the Dove,” Trump feeds on anger and other violent emotions.
4. Trump’s rise was inevitable once states created open primaries (which I rage against here in the context of Trump’s rise). Those who thought open primaries would drive states to the center were fools. Trump appealed to a coalition of angry, entirely disaffected liberals who have been furious at the way RINOs have subordinated conservativism to hard Left values (never mind that Trump espouses many of those same values) and to Democrats who agree with Trump about everything, including his racism. (And one doesn’t have to be racist to oppose our open border — but Trump’s Democrats seem to feed on the ugly racism Trump too often espouses.)
5. I’m tempted to vote for Bernie in the California primary, because if we’re going to Hell — meaning a nation that is no longer a free-market, constitutional entity — I’d like it to be a fast trip down. Sometimes it’s easier to recover from a sudden plunge than from a slow slide. Hillary will be a slow slide, as will Trump. [UPDATE: John Hindraker, in addition to saying that Trump won a definitive victory, is an anyone but Hillary voter. I would agree if I were certain the Trump would nominate hardcore conservatives to the Supreme Court. For me, the jury is still out on that one. After Trump suggested his sister, an ardent Leftist judge, for the Supreme Court, I got very, very worried.]
6. Ted Cruz fought one of the most brilliant rear-guard political actions I’ve ever seen. In four years, he’ll be a formidable opponent and, I hope, take the White House in time to get our country back on a Constitutional track.
UPDATE: I find it very hard not to agree with everything Larry Correia says.
My take on the decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 in place of Andrew Jackson? I find all this change and revisionism both silly and expensive but, having said that, here’s my position: They’re replacing the racist, slave-supporting, Indian-killing founder of the Democrat party with a gun-toting, Republican black woman — what’s to dislike? I think it’s great. And now on to the collected news of the day.
Blame Democrats for today’s nasty politics. Politics has always been a rough-and-tumble business. After all, the people playing aren’t just winning cupcakes; they’re winning power. Nevertheless, for most of America’s history, there’s been a tacit agreement to conduct politics in a civil manner — fight hard, but attack your opponent’s politics, not his person. This year, that unwritten rule has vanished. One can point fingers at specifically nasty politicians, but the real story isn’t that nasty people do nasty things; instead, it’s that the American public is willing to accept that behavior. Andrew Klavan blames the Left for this cultural degradation:
As a proud right-winger, I’m appalled and disgusted by Donald Trump. Nonetheless, I feel a certain schadenfreudean glee at watching leftists reel in horror at his unbridled incivility. They truly don’t seem to realize: he is only the loud and manifest avatar of their own silent and invisible nastiness. In a veiled reference to Trump at a recent lunch on Capitol Hill, President Obama declared he was “dismayed” at the “vulgar and divisive rhetoric” being heard on the campaign trail. “In America, there is no law that says we have to be nice to each other, or courteous, or treat each other with respect,” the president said. “But there are norms. There are customs.”
Are there? When I hear this sort of thing from Obama and his fellow leftists, what I wonder is: Have they not listened to themselves for the past 50 years? Do they really have no idea how vicious, how low, how cruel, and how dishonest their attacks on the Right have been?
No, they haven’t; and, no, they don’t. The Democrat-monopolized media, which explodes with rage at any minor unmannerliness on the right, falls so silent at the Left’s almost ceaseless acrimony that leftists are never forced to confront what despicable little Trumps they often are.
American immobility. I’ve commented multiple times about the fact that Americans are less willing to relocate than they once were. The entire essence of America for several hundred years was people’s willingness to leave their homes, whether in the old country or the new, and to head south, east, north, or west in search of better opportunities.
Today, though, the combination of being weighted down by possessions (even the poor today own more than all but the rich owned in the past) and having welfare to turn to (no matter how minimal that welfare is) means that people in economically dead areas can stick around. It’s not a nice life, but it’s the life they know, and they can always make themselves feel better about things with a bit of meth or heroin.
Kevin Williamson got a lot of flak for saying that we as a nation need to stop expending energy and money on dying communities and should, instead, focus on the vital communities. Obviously, I agree. Now, Williamson, in the face of that flak, has doubled down and I still agree:
My answer is that if there’s nothing for you in Garbutt but penury, dysfunction, and addiction, then get the hell out. If that means that communities in upstate New York or eastern Kentucky or west Texas die, so what? If that’s all they have to offer, then they have it coming.
Mixed in with that common sense you’ll find some hard-hitting attacks on those who challenged Williamson. And I still agree with him.
The bottom line is that,while dying towns are sad and forcing people to leave their roots is sad too, at a societal level, that’s not a reason to keep functionally dead towns on taxpayer-funded life support.
(Incidentally, the same goes for Europe, which in its effort to preserve its past has calcified, making it less of a charming place, and more of a bizarre and frequently unpleasant place. I totally understood what Robert Avrech’s friend was talking about when he said that Eastern Europe, even without the Soviets, is “oppressive.”)
In the old days, when a political candidate had a good campaign commercial, s/he would spend money to get it on TV. Then came DVRs, which allow people to skip commercials (I know that I haven’t watched one on television in at least a decade).
So how do political candidates get their good commercials out? Through you, the people. It’s up to those who believe in a commercial’s message to help make it go viral.
I think the video below is a really good campaign commercial. If you support Ted Cruz, I suggest you too become part of the commercial’s spread through the non-traditional, people-centric means, such as email and social media:
If you feel as if we’re finally reaching the tipping point after more than 80 years of slo-mo corporate socialism (aka fascism), you are correct. Moreover, if you want to know how this tragi-horror story ends, you just need to look at Argentina, which was similarly situated to America economically, and which engaged in the same policies we’re pursuing now, only it simply speeded up the timetable.
If you can’t wait the 7 minutes to find out how the video ends, I’ll give you the short version: It ends badly.
Yes, it’s tax day, and what better day could there be to talk about all the distressing, expensive, and scary foolishness in the world?
Ripping off taxpayers with climate change craziness. Today has been a “suffer the climate change” day for me, so it’s appropriate to open with a riff about California’s infamous — and incredibly expensive — high-speed train to nowhere. The Independent Institute, a great libertarian think-tank located right here in the Bay Area, has this to say:
California’s “bullet train” is nowhere near completion, but already the high-speed rail system is taking the state’s voters and taxpayers for a ride. The gulf between the glowing promise and the gloomy reality is gargantuan. For this reason, the agency that manages the voter-approved project, which lacks transparency but not arrogance, has just won the California Golden Fleece Award, a prize Independent Institute gives each quarter to a state or local agency, official, or program guilty of egregiously fleecing taxpayers, consumers, and/or businesses.
When voters approved a $9.95 billion bond measure in 2008 to help fund a high-speed bullet train connecting the San Francisco Bay Area with Southern California, they were promised nonstop service from S.F. to L.A. in 2 hours and 40 minutes, at a total cost of $45 billion—all without taxpayer subsidies. Since then the California High-Speed Rail Authority has planned on dropping nonstop service, changing to non-dedicated tracks, and raising the travel time to almost four hours—changes that would cut ridership and revenue while raising total costs, now estimated at $64 billion.
Read more here and do think about subscribing to the Independent Institute’s newsletter.
And while I’m on the subject of climate change. A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a bunch of kids can continue their climate change lawsuit against the United States government and the Fossil Fuel Industry. If this insanity is not nipped in the bud, the Fossil Fuel Industry will be bankrupted, and all of us will be re-living the wonders of the pre-industrial era, complete with windmill power, Hobbesian mass starvation, and life expectancies in the 30s.
The gift of an “imperfect” child. This segment probably deserves its own post, but I’ll try to pack it in here. I was in a restaurant the other day and saw something one never sees any more in Marin, or anywhere in the Bay Area for that matter: a young child who had clearly been born with Down Syndrome.
There are certainly older people around with Down Syndrome. That the young people are missing isn’t because they’re being cured; it’s because, thanks to amniocentesis testing, they’re being destroyed in utero.
Dear New York Republicans:
Ever since Sen. Cruz used the phrase “New York values” during a Republican debate, I’ve been reading that large numbers of New York Republicans who support Trump are doing so because they cannot get over the psychic pain flowing from Ted Cruz’s statement. I cannot believe that this is true.
That is, I don’t believe that New York Republicans have morphed into the same type of special snowflake now occupying college campuses throughout America. Indeed, if that delicate sensibility characterizes the once stalwart conservative movement, our nation is in dire shape and cannot be saved.
Here’s what I think is happening: Those people who claim both to be Republicans and to have been so damaged by Ted Cruz’s words that they must vote Trump are lying. These people are either Democrats who are messing with conservatives or they are Trump supporters who are embarrassed to admit that they affirmatively embrace Trump and, instead, find it less embarrassing to blame Cruz’s words for a purely political decision.
New Yorkers are accounted to be some of the sharpest people in America. Whether they hail from the Big Apple or the parts upstate, we know that they talk fast, think fast, and pride themselves on their pragmatism. In other words, they are people who can distinguish a short-hand rhetorical device from an actual insult.
In regards to that short-hand rhetorical device. true conservatives fully understand what Sen. Cruz meant with those words. He didn’t mean the New Yorkers who rallied together for 9/11. Instead, he meant:
The latest polls show Trump up again and Cruz down. I don’t care. As we’ve discovered in the last few elections, polls no longer have much value today. Sure, some prove to be right at the end of the day, but that seems to be due more to random luck than to a successful polling strategy. Add to that the crude nature of push polls and, as I said, I’m ignoring the polls.
Of course, since I’m not studying polls, I need to do something else with my time. Watching this cute, clever Star Wars riff on Cruz’s campaign is a good way to spend 3 minutes. I’m still smiling: