The Bookworm Beat 9/15/16 — the “polls they are a’changin'” edition and open thread
If Bill Clinton and Al Gore couldn’t do it, then no one can. A Leftist Facebook friend posted an article from The Hill with a lede saying that Donald Trump “floats rolling back food safety regulations.” The implication, obviously, is that in Trump’s America, we’re all going to die from salmonella and e. Coli. Read through to the end, though, and you discover that Trump is instead making a remarkably sensible suggestion:
Trump’s economic policy plan also calls for “an immediate halt to new federal regulations and a very thorough agency-level review of previous regulations to see which need to be scrapped.”
Agencies would be required to list all regulations and rank them in terms of their contribution to growth, health and safety. The goal, Trump said, would be to strengthen the rules that are useful and reduce the rules that harm the economy.
One of my Leftist Facebook friends stopped with the lede, of course, and envisioned our nation drowning in fecal matter emanating from food-poisoned Americans. In a comment, I quoted the above language and suggested that it was a good idea to control regulations, which are so big no one can know them, are often non-effective, are frequently inconsistent with each other, and are too often quasi-legislation.
To seal it for this Leftist, I reminded him that Bill Clinton had assigned Al Gore this very task of cutting back on America’s burgeoning regulations, although it never came to anything. And that’s when my Facebook friend essentially said “Well, if Al Gore and Bill Clinton couldn’t do it, then no one can. After all, Trump has never been a politician, and he’s really stupid, so what does he know?”
My reply was that voters may be hoping that it’s an advantage that Trump hasn’t been a politician. He may have out-of-the-box (i.e., out-of-D.C.) ideas that actually work. The response? A reiteration that Trump is stupid. (Has there ever been a Republican candidate, no matter how successful and brilliant, whom the Left hasn’t called stupid? I don’t think so. It’s a tired idea.)
Agencies must be reined in. Exhibit A in the “agencies need to be cut back and God willing Trump is the man to do it” category is the fact that the FBI thinks it is more important than Congress is. So it was that Jason Chaffetz had to explain to the acting FBI chair that, no, Congress gets to have all of the notes from Hillary’s FBI interview — and then serves him, then and there, with a subpoena.
The funny thing about the WaPo’s indictment of Trump as a scam artist. The Washington Post is beside itself with excitement that ardent Hillary supporter, and pay for play attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is starting an investigation into Trump’s charitable foundation. I got three paragraphs into the WaPo editorial supporting this investigation and castigating Trump before I broke into uncontrollable laughter:
In fact, an exhaustive investigation by Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold shows that Mr. Trump retooled his foundation about a decade ago to act as an intermediary for other people’s charitable giving, a racket from which Mr. Trump gained in reputation and from which he may even have occasionally profited.
Mr. Trump does not appear to have given his own money to the Trump Foundation since 2008, and by then Trump funds had become a tiny slice of the organization’s revenue. Since then, the available records suggest, a charitable group that bears the billionaire’s name has been funded by others. That has not stopped Mr. Trump from claiming credit for doling out other people’s cash.
Is it just me, or does the above perfectly describe the Clinton Foundation? The only difference, in fact, is that Trump hasn’t used his foundation to allow foreign actors to buy American treasure (uranium, anybody?) or manipulate America’s foreign policy.
Otherwise, both foundations are what rich, well-connected people do: they tap their friends for big checks and then give it out to the poor, with the foundation’s name emblazoned on the checks the poor ultimately receive. Again, the only difference is that the Clinton Foundation is corrupt on a grand scale with serious implications for America’s national security.
All of this proves, once again, that Scott Adams is correct: Trump takes their poison and turns it to his benefit.
Why did Hillary lose? Apropos Hillary Clinton, Sadie, a good friend to this blog, has an interesting question. The first looks at the past and gives the obvious answers, yet she lost; the second asks where her supporters from 2008 are now:
Why did Hillary lose the 2008 election?Thirty years of ‘expertise’. Two-term senator. Worked for children/women/healthcare. (Her words not mine)Follow up question: Her supporters 8 yrs. later – where are they? Employed, married, married w/children? Homeless? Still in college?
I would say that a lot of the young women who supported Hillary are living in their parents’ basements, after finding that a Womyn’s Study degree does not open doors for paying jobs.
Here’s something I can tell you: I have seen only a handful of Hillary bumper stickers lately. Living in the Blue as I do, in 2008 my world was drowning in Obama stickers. In 2012, there were a lot of stickers. This year, nothing. Trump supporters value their cars to much to put bumper stickers on them, and Hillary supporters are apparently way too apathetic.
The Clintons blow the world up. Daniel Greenfield reminds us that, during the 1990s, Bill Clinton handed North Korea nuclear weapons, and in the 2010s, Hillary Clinton, working with Barack Obama, handed those weapons to the Iranians. We’ll be lucky if America and her allies (Israel, Japan, South Korea, etc.), survive the coming Clinton-pocalypse.
Keep the internet in America. McClatchy News asks “Should U.S. Keep Control of Group That Handles Internet Domain Names?” Yes, the answer is yes, and really, really yes. And am I the only one who wonders whether Obama even has the right to give away U.S. property without congressional approval? Ted Cruz needs your support on this one because he’s fighting the good fight.
And no, I don’t believe the New York Times which says that techies diss Cruz’s concerns. If there’s one thing I’ve learned watching the Left, it’s that whatever they promise is a lie, especially when they assure us that “If we do X, nothing bad will happen.” Giving up U.S. power over something that totalitarian giants clearly want tells me instantly that it’s a bad idea.
They hate us, they really hate us. Dan Bongino says that, if there’s one thing the last political cycles have taught us, it’s the fact that the Leftist elites hate us, they really hate us. To them, if we’re kept ignorant in the right way (which really means the Left way), we can be used to keep them in power. However, if we’re not constantly monitored and corralled, we’ll go crazy with bibles, guns, homophobia, Islamophobia, racism, misogyny, and all sorts of other hideous sins.
Oh, the one exception is Muslims, a substantial number of whom are openly and proudly (often homicidally) racist, homophobic, misogynistic, antisemitic, and anti-Christian. There’s nothing deplorable about them, at least if you’re Hillary Clinton.
Must read — which means you must read this. Publius Decius Mus wrote a much-heralded article saying that we are at a Flight 93 moment: It’s gamble on Trump or die. I reached the same conclusion some months ago, so I happen to think the essay was very good.
A lot of people, however, especially #NeverTrumpers, thought the essay was very bad. Publius Decius Mus has written a long rebuttal to those naysayers. It’s as compelling as his/her original article, so you should definitely read it if only to understand what drives those who actively support Trump or oppose Hillary.
I want to quote one passage from this new essay because it sums up what’s become my way of thinking, which is that sclerotic, corrupt D.C. cannot continue as it does. Like a festering boil, it needs to be lanced, and Trump is the only lancer on the scene:
I urge readers to go back through John Marini’s argument, to which I cannot do anything close to full justice. Suffice to say here, the current governing arrangement of the United States is rule by a transnational managerial class in conjunction with the administrative state. To the extent that the parties are adversarial at the national level, it is merely to determine who gets to run the administrative state for four years. Challenging the administrative state is out of the question. The Democrats are united on this point. The Republicans are at least nominally divided. But those nominally opposed (to the extent that they even understand the problem, which is: not much) are unwilling or unable to actually doanything about it. Are challenges to the administrative state allowed only if they are guaranteed to be ineffectual? If so, the current conservative movement is tailor-made for the task. Meanwhile, the much stronger Ryan wing of the Party actively abets the administrative state and works to further the managerial class agenda.
Trump is the first candidate since Reagan to threaten this arrangement. To again oversimplify Marini (and Aristotle), the question here is: who rules? The many or the few? The people or the oligarchs? Our Constitution says: the people are sovereign, and their rule is mediated through representative institutions, limited by written Constitutional norms. The administrative state says: experts must rule because various advances (the march of history) have made governing too complicated for public deliberation, and besides, the unwise people often lack knowledge of their own best interests even on rudimentary matters. When the people want something that they shouldn’t want or mustn’t have, the administrative state prevents it, no matter what the people vote for. When the people don’t want something that the administrative state sees as salutary or necessary, it is simply imposed by fiat.
Don’t want more immigration? Too bad, we know what’s best. Think bathrooms should be reserved for the two biological sexes? Too bad, we rule. And so on and on.
To all the “conservatives” yammering about my supposed opposition to Constitutional principle (more on that below) and who hate Trump, I say: Trump is mounting the first serious national-political defense of the Constitution in a generation. He may not see himself in those terms. I believe he sees himself as a straightforward patriot who just wants to do what is best for his country and its people. Whatever the case, he is asserting the right of the sovereign people to make their government do what they want it to do, and not do things they don’t want it to do, in the teeth of determined opposition from a managerial class and administrative state that want not merely different policies but above all to perpetuate their own rule.
If the Constitution has any force or meaning, then “We the People” get to decide not merely who gets to run the administrative state—which, whatever the outcome, will always continue on the same path—more fundamentally, we get to decide what policies we want and which we don’t. Apparently, to the whole Left and much of the Right, this stance is immoderate and dangerous. The people who make that charge claim to do so in defense of Constitutional principle. I can’t square that circle. Can you?
Don’t stop there, though. PDM goes on to point out that Trump’s actual proposals, although castigated as Hitlerian, are in fact closer to warmed-over Bill Clinton stuff, including putting a stop to the flouting of our immigration laws, a position Clinton made explicit in 2005. When you think about it, Trump isn’t turning back the clock very far — just 25 or 30 years ago, before the Left got hold of things and went insane.
The 1933 parallels are becoming unnerving. Let’s go back to 1933/1934 in Germany, before (a) Hitler’s antisemitism went from nasty to apocalyptic and (b) Hitler decided that world domination would be a good thing. Instead, let’s look at the peaceful early years of the Nazis.
On the business front, the Nazis told businesses “Make nice with the government and be rewarded, or don’t make nice and kiss your business goodbye.” On the health front, the Nazis were into nudity, natural medicine, health foods, body worship, and nature worship. On the religious front, the Nazis were extremely hostile to Judeo-Christian justice and morality. While they were eventually genocidal as to Jews, the Nazis didn’t love the Christian church either, preferring instead their New Age vision of an ancient Aryan-pagan worship. The Nazis encouraged attacks on Jews, especially (in the early years) on Jewish businesses. As the Nazis’ hold on power tightened, they started dividing the world into good people and bad (or maybe we should call them “deplorable”) people. Oh, and the Nazis loved Muslims.
Shorter version: the Nazis weren’t just about the Holocaust and world domination. Inside their borders, they were a totalitarian fascist regime that co-opted businesses to the state or drove them away, ditched Judeo-Christian ethics, worshiped pagan nature, and demonized the other within their own society. No wonder Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin thinks we’re getting ever close to a true civil war. I’m living in a blue enclave where most everybody (except me) is happy with the dominant Leftist paradigm, but people who have not benefitted from “International Elitists-R-Us” are much less happy to have their values overturned and insulted, their livelihoods destroyed, and their freedoms constrained.
The UN is Nazi Germany’s heir. Ironically for an organization that was meant to be a bulwark against another Nazi Germany, the UN has basically filled its shoes: totalitarian, anti-American, and, oy, yes, what’s that other thing? Ah, I remember. Antisemitic.
Biblical morality is good for society. I’ve long said that, while I am not a spiritual person, I have a deep reverence for the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, which I think is the tradition most likely to lead to stable, peaceful, and prosperous communities. I’ve also noted that if you do away with an external God, morality boils down to your bellybutton’s feelings at the moment. I’m happy to say that Dennis Prager agrees with me. More than that, he lays society’s ills on abandoning the Judeo-Christian tradition and warns that we’re traveling further down that path every day.
Making Bradley Manning’s punishment fit the crime. The US Military has decided to cut off Bradley Manning’s penis. It says volumes for the world in which we live that this is not an illegal form of torture. Instead, Manning has been begging for years to have his penis and testicles cut off, to have dangerous implants placed in his chest, and to be given drugs that may well cause him to have breast cancer, among other troublesome side effects.
This self-inflicted torture actually seems like a suitable punishment for the little man who stole the big American secrets and gave them to Wikileaks. It’s almost certain that human assets abroad died as a result of this information transfer.
Anyway, a few years ago, when Manning’s (Un-Manning’s?) demand to be mutilated first appeared on the horizon, DuffleBlog figured out the ultimate punishment for both un-Manning and Nidal Hassan, the Fort Hood murderer: switch them around! Since that’s just a nice fantasy, the only punishment I can think for Manning is to continue at my blog to refer to Manning as “Bradley,” not “Chelsea,” and to keep using those male pronouns. He does not deserve better.
Life in the military. It’s been way too long since I gave you links to America’s Sergeant Major, which is my favorite milblog. Am’s Sgt. Major grew up as the son of a Marine Sergeant and is one himself, which means that his insights into the unique world of the Marines stretch back decades. He’s served all over, in peace and war, which means he understands training and the use of force. He’s very, very funny, and he is a principled man who thinks seriously about the balance that warriors have to strike when they are part of a constitutional military serving a civilized (one hopes) nation. Anyway, he’s put up two posts, one about being a new recruit and one about a week in the life of a Sergeant Major, that I enjoyed and think are worth reading — especially for those of us who are civilians with little to no military contact.
The last time I saw Paris. The first time I saw Paris, they still had pissoirs, and the streets were literally (as in really and truly) covered with rivers of urine. It was medieval and nasty. The last time I saw Paris, the pissoirs were gone and they had those nice, self-cleaning toilets, at least in the tourist zones. It’s been a decade since then, and apparently Paris has reverted to its medieval state:
Despite its extraordinary charms, the City of Light can also feel like an anarchic, post-apocalyptic hellhole – people litter, spit and pee freely in the streets, as if the city were their personal lavatory, bin and ashtray combined.
Ubiquitous dog poo only adds to the fun, while young women unlucky enough to be stuck trying to get home after hours will know that the loutish menace only intensifies with the incessant sexual harangues of the litterers and the foulers.
The article doesn’t say who the foulers and harassers are but, from my place in the basket of deplorables, I have some guesses. Paris is fighting back, sort of, with fees that are no worse than love taps.
A little refreshing silliness. First, two minutes of people engaging in awesome, and often insane, athletic pursuits. Second, a fantasy parade of beards and mustaches. I am not a fan of either, but these are magnificent.
Remember, if you like knowing about today’s events and issues, you should check out WOW! Magazine, to which I contribute. It has interesting, fact-filled, insightful posts on many more things than I can cover in my round-ups.