Wednesday, November 30, 2016


The President-elect exceeds expectations by making good cabinet selections.

The President-elect lives down to low expectations by musing on Twitter about how he would like to eliminate free expression criminalize flag-burning.

One of the most brutal, murderous, racist, homophobic tyrants of the last hundred years dies -- and American liberals (including one who was the Green Party nominee in this year's presidential election) respond by praising him.

Said Green Party presidential nominee launches a suspicious-looking movement to force three states to hold recounts.

A resort town in one of my favorite areas on Earth gets scorched by a sudden wildfire of apocalyptic proportions.

Normally I could blog for hours about any one of these things, but right now I don't have it in me.

I have often been accused of complimented for writing about politics a lot. Which I do. But as hard as this is to believe, I take no joy in it.

Ok, ok, every now and then I do take a little bit of joy in it, but not often and not much. I want government to be far away from our lives and not meddle in them, so that we never have to think about it.

Unfortunately, however, 'tis not in government's nature to leave us alone and let us be free. Therefore, I feel a duty to keep an eye on government, and that sense of duty often drives me to my keyboard to cry foul in print (or whatever passes for print these days).

Right now, however, the drive is not there. Last week I started writing a post about the Electoral College, which I believe to be a vitally important topic, but I can't motivate myself to finish it, at least not for the time being. My "current events needle" is stuck on zero and I have no desire to step on the gas.

A few weeks ago, I loved hiking in the Smokies in their pleasant autumn temps. I treasured snuggling with Parker when I tucked him into bed tonight. I enjoyed driving fast across the bridge this morning, windows down, when Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" came on the radio. The political world was nowhere on my mind when those things happened, and looking back, that's how I like it.

Right now I want to take my family and move to the mountains, and spend every day enjoying the company and horsing around and appreciating life. The last thing I want to do is get my knickers in a twist about Chuck Schumer saying something slimy or Donald Trump saying something nutty.

It is normal for me to take a bit of a blogging break in December, by recycling previous posts about Christmas rather than hammering out new ones about shenanigans in DC and Damascus. This time around, my break from "political blogging" is going to be longer than normal (barring unforeseen circumstances).

2016 has been a rough year and I am putting my wires back into the plugs where they belong. Sure, I will write about politics again -- probably starting by finishing that Electoral College post I mentioned -- but that won't be for a while and it won't be as frequent.

I am not going soft -- I will still call out politicians and opinion shapers who need to be called out -- but you will be seeing a larger proportion of uplifting, unpolitical things posted here in 2017. And right now that's all I have to say.

Well, that and may the Christmas season bring you joy and peace, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

Take care.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Post-Election Thoughts

I remember precisely what I was doing when I realized Donald Trump was going to win the election.

Our Chihuahua had started running in circles in front of the couch, her nails making a sound on the hardwood that always irritates me. I asked if she had to go potty and she responded by circling even faster, which I took to mean yes, so I stood, grabbed her leash from the coat rack, stooped over, slid it round her neck, and turned to lead her to the front door. That was when I heard Megyn Kelly proclaim that Fox had a major announcement to make.

Those words caused me to pivot back around and look at the TV. Seconds later Kelly said Wisconsin was being called for Trump, and that's when I knew his momentum could not be stopped.

He had already taken the swing states of Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio; was running neck and neck with Hillary in the usually blue states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and New Hampshire; and all signs indicated he was going to win usually blue Iowa... so when the Badger State turned red on a day without college football, it became clear that electoral history was being made.

Schadenfreude instantly began coursing through my veins despite me having repeatedly written that Trump ain't fit to be prez... My virtuous side thrilled at the thought of Clinton Inc. getting rebuked by America because America's voters decided they are not going to tolerate any more above-the-law corruption in public office... My less virtuous side grinned at the thought of Hillary's arrogant, self-absorbed ass being denied the MacGuffin she does not deserve yet feels entitled to... And my entirely unvirtuous side cackled gleefully at thoughts of Rachel Maddow losing control of her bowels and Lena Dunham's half-watt brain straining to figure out how to make good on her promise to move to Canada.

But then I felt sorry for Canada and especially for the people of Vancouver, whose tranquility was threatened by Dunham identifying their city as the specific place to which she would relocate in the event of a Trump victory.

Today, no matter how much the devil on my one shoulder tells me to enjoy the spectacle, the angel on my other one reminds me that I have opposed Trump and been serious about opposing him. So with those competing voices in my ears, here are some of my post-election thoughts:

Democrat Implosion
On November 8th most members of the punditry and political class were certain that Trump's candidacy proved the GOP was in the throes of an existential crisis... but come November 9th it was obvious that it is the Democrats, not the Republicans, who are in crisis.

The Democratic Party is now on a six-year losing streak that includes consecutive mid-term shellackings and massive losses of state legislatures and governor's mansions, in addition to last week's unprecedented presidential defeat.

What makes the presidential defeat unprecedented? The fact that it came against a candidate who: 1) has never held a single political office, not even dog-catcher; 2) ignored every rule of conventional political wisdom known to man; 3) is distrusted even by many in his own party; and 4) oversaw a thinly staffed campaign that did little oppo research or internal polling and had only a fraction of the field offices his competitor had.

Despite being portrayed by the media as anti-Hispanic and anti-black, Trump increased the GOP's share of both the Hispanic vote and the black vote by substabtial margins.

Making matters even more dire, the Dems lost Wisconsin for the first time since 1984, Michigan and Pennsylvania for the first time since 1988, Iowa for only the second time in the last seven elections -- and came within two points of losing Minnesota, which has not voted Republican in 44 years (a full twenty years longer than California).

Since 2008, when Obama was first elected, the percentage of votes to go Democrat in presidential elections in the Midwest has dropped from 54 to 45... and the change in Midwestern electoral votes is even more dramatic, having gone from 80-38 Democrat in 2012 to 88-30 Republican this year.

Even in the Northeast, which Clinton still managed to win, her share of the vote was four points smaller than Obama's in 2012.

On the same night Trump defeated Clinton for the presidency, a Republican was elected governor of Vermont -- by nine freakin' points.

And back in usually blue Pennsylvania, where a U.S. Senate seat was up for grabs, more money was spent on Democrat Kathleen McGinty's campaign than has ever been on any Senate campaign in all of American history -- yet she still lost to Republican Pat Toomey.

So yes, it is the party of the jackass, not the party of the pachyderm, that is in free fall.

Will the Dems...
...look in the mirror when they search for someone to blame for their defeat?

In a sane world, when you get routed so thoroughly and nominate a presidential candidate who is so bad she can't even beat the opponent described above, it would cause you to reconsider what you are doing. But the Democratic Party is run by people who seem incapable of understanding that they aren't perfect, so who knows what the party's long-term reaction will be?

There has been some talk of turning the reins over to its leftist wing, the one where Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are perched. However, many of the party's leaders are the exact kind of people Sanders is talking about when he rails against "millionaires and billionaires," and Warren The Fake Cherokee is herself one of those people, even if her fans don't realize it. So what are the odds of the party going in that direction? And if it does, will moving that way increase or decrease its chances of winning in the future? I dunno.

Meanwhile, I have seen online comments that say the states that voted for Clinton are the smart ones so the others should go to Hell where they belong. That sentiment is fueling the suddenly trending movement for California (and perhaps California, Oregon, and Washington in unison) to secede from the country because Clinton lost. I daresay that that attitude is not only smug and infantile, but also stupid and ignorant, and it disproves its own "we're better" premise. It is the primary reason Trump beat Clinton, which means the Dems will be committing political suicide if they embrace it and advance it.

Primary Reason?
When I say that that smug attitude is the primary reason Trump beat Clinton, what I mean is that this was a backlash election. People voted for Trump not because he offered compelling ideas or high policy, but because they are sick of snobbish elites looking down their noses at them and insulting their intelligence, and they love that Trump punches back at the elites without apologizing. Because the vast majority of elites are on the left side of the political spectrum, the voters' backlash inevitably drew far more blood from the Democratic Party than from the Republican Party.

So, will the Republicans...
...successfully walk the tightrope on which they now stand?

In case I wasn't clear in the previous section, let me put it a different way: Trump's victory was not really a victory of conservatism or Republicanism, it was merely a rejection of elitism.

Now, with him of all people being the face of both the populist revolt and the GOP, the GOP is in a precarious position.

Starting in January Republicans will own the executive branch and both chambers of the legislative branch, which means they will be able to do whatever they want because Democrats will be numerically incapable of stopping them. This means that every policy failure for the next two years will be owned by the GOP because new policies will have few (if any) Democrat fingerprints on them. In turn, this means that if things don't go well, the GOP could get slaughtered in the 2018 mid-terms.

As always, Thomas Sowell had it right when he quipped: "Donald Trump is a wild card. We don't know whether he was play-acting when he carried on like a juvenile lout or when he played the role of a mature adult. But he and the country could both benefit from some serious introspection on his part." The fact that Trump is not conservative on many issues (and has changed political parties almost as frequently as George Steinbrenner used to change baseball managers) means congressional Republicans will have their work cut out for them if he heads out of bounds and needs to be brought back between the lines. If that happens, I hope they are up to the task.

The Dichotomy
And now, back to the more enjoyable pastime of chuckling about liberalism's double standards.

In the days leading up to November 8th, and for much of November 8th itself, the Democrat Media Complex was openly fretting about whether Donald Trump and his voters would peacefully "accept" the results of the election. Obviously the DMC assumed Clinton was going to win.

But when the assumption didn't pan out, liberals took to the streets and started rioting in many of their enclaves, even supposedly laid-back Portland. In Chicago, a white man who rioters assumed had voted for Trump (he wore no Trump clothing and his car had no Trump stickers) was dragged from his car by a black mob and pummeled. Somehow the "Media" part of the DMC (and yes, I know there's really not a difference) went out of its way to call the riots "protests" and use the phrase "mostly peaceful" in every story about them.

If Trump had lost and any of his supporters behaved like that, do you think the DMC would have used the phrase the "mostly peaceful" to describe them? If a white mob in Wichita assaulted a black man on the assumption he voted for Clinton, do you think the DMC would be mostly mum about the incident, or do you think it would have trumpeted it in newspapers and news shows for weeks on end?

Speaking of whether the DMC would choose to trumpet a story or be mum about it, what do you think its choice would be if Trump had lost and then not appeared to address his supporters when the results were known... and then people who were in his presence had claimed that he was kept from public view because he went "into a rage" and "picked up objects and threw them at attendants and staff" and "began yelling, screaming obscenities, and pounding furniture" in a "psychotic drunken rage"?

Well, all of the above has been said about Election Night Hillary by people who are in a position to know. I don't know if the claims are true, which might be a good reason for the mainstream media (also known as the DMC) to have kept quiet about it... but do you really think they would be quiet if identical reports existed about Der Trumpster? Me either.

...the GOP should not settle for only an anti-media and pro-policy stance. It must take very public steps to disown the so-called alt-Right.

(Personally, I despise the term "alt-Right" because it describes people who are bigots and not conservatives and including the word "Right" in their moniker is an attempt to glue them to a movement where they don't belong. But I'm not gonna go down that alley right now because it's a whole 'nother blog post. Plus, the term has become so common and so convenient to use that I'm actually going to use it.)

Back to my point: The alt-Right consists of a small number of people, perhaps even vanishingly small, but there is no way to tell exactly how many there are or exactly who they are. After all, it's not like they register anywhere, and many of them don't use their own names when posting their vitriolic comments online. Plus, some of the worst "alt-Right" comments are posted not by conservatives, but by liberals who claim to be conservatives and then go on to say racist things because they know it will make conservatism look bad.

Some Republicans are probably tempted to assume that the alt-Right is just another media-created fiction cooked up to discredit conservatism and the GOP... but it is not fiction, as many prominent conservatives can attest after having been personally targeted for refusing to be silent about Trump's flaws.

The inability to measure the size of the alt-Right, and to know who belongs to it, understandably makes millions of black people (and other minorities) nervous. Because alt-Right voters voted mostly for Trump (and those who didn't vote for Trump probably went for a motley mix of write-in and third party candidates) this is the GOP's problem to deal with. Exclusively the GOP's problem. And the GOP must deal with it rather than put its head in the sand.

I suspect that Steve Bannon, in his heart of hearts, is not the deplorable bigot many of his critics make him out to be. But I also believe that people like Ben Shapiro tell the truth, so I am inclined to believe what he wrote abut Bannon here, and I know that Breitbart News became sensationalist and unreliable after Andrew Breitbart died and Bannon took over -- so if we are going to purge the alt-Right, let's just say that a good way to start would be for Trump to change his mind about giving Bannon the position of Senior Counselor to the President.

The Electoral College
I have a lot to say about it and it deserves its own post. So instead of writing about it here, I'll write about it in the near future.

For now: Au Revoir!

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Ughlection

Ugh. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think about the 2016 presidential election. The only reason I'm writing about it is because I feel obligated to, even though I would rather be typing away about family or hiking or college football or black hockey players, or any of the other topics I've written about in the eight years I've had this blog.

Many of the posts I've done have been about politics and national and world affairs. That's because I believe national and word affairs are important; that they have actual impact on people; that at some point you and I might be those people -- and because I believe that means we have to keep an eye on what our politicians are up to.

But when you are given a choice between Awful Candidate A and Awful Candidate B; and the only credible argument A's supporters can make for A is that he/she is not B; and the only credible argument B's supporters can make for B is that he/she is not A; and the one who represents your party takes stances that are often in contrast to the principles which have guided the party for generations -- it makes it hard to feel like banging the drums for people to vote in either direction.

Nevertheless, because I have invested a lot of time these last eight years explaining where I stand and why I stand there, I feel compelled to do it again on the eve of this big election. So here I go, and if you're expecting me to "endorse" either candidate, be prepared for disappointment.

Hillary Clinton - The Case Against
I could write a whole book about this but I'll stick with a Reader's Digest version.

In short, Hillary Clinton intends to violate the Constitution and eliminate the First Amendment; has a more than two-decade record in public office that consists only of failure; and is both power-mad and vindictive.

Don't believe She intends to eliminate the First Amendment? Well, She has said so Herself, though of course She uses the weasel words "overturn Citizens United." More than once She has said She will nominate Supreme Court justices who pledge to overturn the Court's prior ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and She has also advocated for intoducing a Constitutional Amednement to overturn the ruling.

Leftist politicians and commentators have been successful at convincing millions of Americans that that case was about bribery, but it was not. What those on the losing side of the case (Clinton's side) were trying to do was allow the federal government to tell private citizens what they are permitted to say about politicians and when they are permitted to say it. The Court's decision was 5-4, which means that if just one justice had voted differenly, the First Amendment would now be gone without the government needing to go through the hassle of passing an amendment to get rid of it.

Don't believe Clinton has a record of failure? As First Lady Her attempt to orchestrate a federal takeover of the country's healthcare failed... Later, She spent six years in the U.S. Senate during which She had no legislative accomplishments to speak of... Then She spent four years as U.S. Secretary of State, which put Her at the forefront of America's foreign policy, and during those four years She oversaw a Russian "reset" that saw us become Russia's whipping boy while Russia invaded free nations without a whimper of criticism from we who are supposed to be the leaders of the free world... And don't even get me started about Her treachery in Benghazi.

Don't believe She's power-mad and vindictive? Recall the travel office firings She orchestrated; Her campaigns to slander and destroy women who told the truth about Her husband; and the existence of a seven-level "enemies spreadsheet" kept by Her People, not for the purpose of targeting Republicans, but for targeting and punising loyal Democrats who were insufficiently obsequious to Her.

She claims to be a defender of women and children despite Her afore-mendtioned slander campaign against women who were sexually abused by Her husband; despite bragging about how She secured a light sentence for a child rapist; and despite the fact that She denies women the right to choose their chidren's school (a right that would be good for mother and child) while passionately advocating for allowing women to murder their children have abortions at any time for any reason (a "right" that is damaging to the mother and fatal to the child).

And I haven't even mentioned Emailgate, which is so jaw-droppingly scandalous that it disqualifies Her from holing any public office all by itself.

Hillary Clinton - The Case For
I've already said I don't believe there is any case that favors voting for Clinton (as opposed to voting against Trump) but some of Her acolytes have peddled the notion that She has "experience" and is not prone to the kind of "reckless" decision-making Trump is known for.

Well, like I already pointed out, Her "experience" is one of failure (with no offsetting success). And as I see it, Her lack of being "reckless" is more than offset by the fact that She acts with premeditated bad faith, has no remorse about harming people, and acts solely to increase Her own power and wealth.

Donald Trump - The Case Against
I could write a whole book about this but I'll stick with a Reader's Digest version.

In short, Donald Trump intends to violate the Constitution and would like to eliminate the First Amendment; has a more than three-decade record in business that consists mostly of failure; and is both power-mad and vindictive. Sound familiar?

Don't believe he intends to violate the Constitution? Well, maybe it would have been more accurate to say he displays no knowledge of what the Constitution says and that he intends to do whatever he wants no matter what; and thus, him violating the Constitution is inevitable because its constraints will frequently stand in the way of his desires.

As for the First Amendment, when Trump's critics and opponents have said things he doesn't like over the years, he has responded by suing them, threatening to sue them, issuing cease-and-desist orders -- and musing about the need to "loosen" libel laws to make it easier for him to have his critics prosecuted. Do you seriously want this man to have any say when it comes to your right to free speech?

Don't believe he has a record of business failure? Well, read this all the way through.

Don't believe he's power-mad and vindictive? Well, re-read what I just said about him and the First Amendment, then remember how he bragged that as president he would order our soldiers to commit war crimes (by killing not just terrorists, but their presumably innocent relatives) and that the troops would obey such orders (which military code says they should refuse) because it would be him, not some other president, giving them.

Then remember how he shrugged off allegations that Vladimir Putin has had journalists killed, and how he has spoken admirably of Putin and Hussein for running tight ships in which their subjects citizens know not to step out of line. Trump has spoken of Putin and other dictators not as dangerous men who should be resisted, but as men with whom he can "make deals." Do you seriously want him to be the leader of the free world?

Along those same lines, Trump has talked about it not being worth our while to defend some of our NATO allies if Russia attacks them -- despite the fact that we would be treaty-bound (and ethics-bound) to do so under Article 5. He has been officially running for president for well more than a year yet the words "freedom" and "liberty" have almost never crossed his lips. So again: Do you seriously want him to be the leader of the free word?

Donad Trump - The Case For
I've already said I don't believe there is any case that favors voting for Trump (as opposed to voting against Clinton) but I must admit that on the latter point, some of his supporters have made compelling arguments that he should be given the keys to the White House in order to prevent Clinton from nominating a leftist to the Supreme Court. I agree that a leftist taking over what used to be Antonin Scalia's seat would be the gravest threat to individual rights and liberty that our nation has ever seen, and therefore I do not criticize anyone who votes for Trump out of concern for the balance of the Court.

But the "vote for Trump to save the Court" argument assumes that he will appoint good justices, and I see no reason for anybody to assume that. To choose justices to appoint, one must have extesnive knowledge of the Constitution and also have a guiding philosophy about the rule of law, separation of powers, and role of government. Donald Trump has none of these.

Trump's only opinion regarding anything on Earth is that it (whatever it is) should be bent and manipulated to serve whatever Trump's perceived personal interests are at whatever moment in time the thought happens to be in his head. Yes, he has said he will nomiate an originalist to the Court, but there are no reasons to believe him and plenty of reasons to doubt him. If, come nomination time, he feels it would suit him better to appoint a non-originalist, he will appoint a non-originalist.

As far as I know, the only specific judge he has ever praised is his sister, who happens to be a hard core leftist best known for her advocacy of abortion on demand; i.e., for advocating in a way that runs entirely counter to originalism, seeing as how the Constitution says nothing about a right to abortion and nothing about a right to privacy.

Plus, Trump is a known liar of such renown that it seems like he enjoys betraying people's trust, so why wouldn't he enjoy betraying the trust of voters?

Considering all of the ways in which a Trump presidency is almost certain to be bad, is it worth giving him your stamp of approval on the off chance that he might on one single issue accidentally do something good? If you are a conservative, on what basis do you think Donald Trump can be trusted to deliver a good Supreme Court justice, when it was Reagan gave us Anthony "Weather Vane" Kennedy and W who gave us John "Obamacare" Roberts?

Yes, it's us
Many people have wondered how it is that "this is all we have" when it comes to our choices for president in 2016.

Not me. As I see it, the answer is simple and obvious: Amercian culture has degenerated, has debased itself, and politics is downstream from culture -- which means it has been inevitable that we would eventually end up with presidential candidates who are degenerate and debased, and this happens to be the year in which the chickens have come home to roost.

Policy differences aside, both parties had honorable candidates running for their nominations during this year's primaries, but the voters opted for the dishonorable ones.

On the Democrat side, Jim Webb is too trusting in big government for my taste, yet he is so dedicated to fighting despotism and terrorism that I would have voted for him in the general election if it was Trump he was running against. And although Bernie Sanders's ideas strike me as daffy and dated, they have the virtue of being sincerely held with positive intent... However, Democrat primary voters (with a big assist from the party's corrupt establishment) chose to nominate a crass corporatist who treats politics as Her own personal enrichment-by-extraction scheme, taking bribes through the Clinton Foundation and charging universities $300,000 for 30-minute speeches while decrying the cost of tuition.

On the Republican side, 16 candidates threw their hats in the ring and 15 of them were decent, dedicated public servants with a variety of governing philosophies... However, Republican primary voters chose to nominate the 16th candidate, a self-focused charlatan who has no governing philosophy and is, in the words of Virginia Hume, "almost pathologically incurious about policy."

In short, we the voters can't blame the parties for the options that are currently in front of us, for it is we the voters who put those options there when we had others to choose from. That is a cultural problem, not a political problem; and our politics won't get fixed until our culture does; and it is we, and we alone, who are capable of and responsible for fixing our culture.

What will happen tomorrow?
I have no idea, but I do know this: For our nation to become great again, all of us as individuals must start communicating with each other instead of at each other, and must start holding our own party accountable when it fails in its stated purpose.

And I know this: I will not blog about the election for a while, because by the time dawn breaks on Wednesday my wheels will be rolling me to the mountains, where cell signal is sporadic and I will have no computer.

In short, I will be in a place where politics are kept were they should be: Far, far in the distance and away from daily life.

So until next time: Auf Wiedersehen!