Is It Time To Admit Character Doesn’t Matter?

Sadly, this is pretty much true. In some ways, we have been lying to ourselves all my life, and likely much longer.

[…] Maybe we vote largely on policy or, as they say, an assessment as to which candidate is best for our wallet, but character is a deal-breaker. Bad character equals no vote, it is thought. Hence: Unleash the dogs of investigative journalism and lay bare as many foibles, peccadilloes, and bad grade-school report cards you can unearth. It goes to character.

How much more do we need to see to know this notion is entirely preposterous? The only character issues most voters care about are the ones associated with the candidates they have no intention of voting for: Yes, those character flaws they care about. A lot. […]

Three presidents, [Kennedy, Nixon, Clinton] all men of very questionable “character,” as that term is customarily (and rather incessantly) applied in the context of presidential political gymnastics. No, that’s not all they were, but it is certainly part of what they were.

All three were given a pass by the majority of the electorate, and they were given that pass for the same reason and in the same way Hillary and Donald are currently being given a “character” pass.

That Brings Us to Hillary and Donald

Does anyone—other than Hillary supporters—have the ability to un-see the completely obvious corruption, insider finagling, roaring personal ambition, arrogance, phony-baloney pandering, and habitual prevarication (okay, call it “Clintonian Parsing”) that has draped her entire career, a level of broad-based malfeasance that would not only disqualify anyone else for any public office, but most likely land him in the pokey?

He is a guy willing to cut off the health insurance of a deathly ill infant nephew if it suits his purposes.

Does anyone—other than Trump supporters—not understand that he has made his fortune by cynically buying off politicians to get them to put their thumbs on the scale, his scale; that, over and over he has shown a willingness to say or do anything to further his own personal interests, happy to roll over anyone or anything that stands in his way; that at his own father’s funeral all he could talk about was himself, that he is a guy willing to cut off the health insuranceof a deathly ill infant nephew if it suits his purposes; that he is a nasty, mean-spirited bully obsessed with self-aggrandizement so rampaging that it is possible to imagine him doing just about anything, changing any position at any time, in order to get his next magazine cover; and that his level of debate discourse rises only insignificantly above “Your mother wears combat boots”?

They don’t care. Or, more accurately, character only counts if it’s the other guy we’re talking about, and, even then, it only counts with people already inclined against the candidate, serving to deepen their antipathy, not create it.

via Is It Time To Admit Character Doesn’t Matter?.

I’d say it is, or it’s time to get over our prejudices and make it matter again.

Cruzing: and Trumpery

English: Seal of the President of the United S...

English: Seal of the President of the United States Español: Escudo del Presidente de los Estados Unidos Македонски: Печат на Претседателот на Соединетите Американски Држави. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, Iowa had its caucuses last night. There were some surprises.

Ted Cruz won, quite handily. That can be attributed to a few things: 1) superb organization on the ground, 2) his overt Christianity, and, 3) anybody but Trump. Don’t know about you, but all three would have motivated me. Not to mention that he is the real deal, a conservative who walks (and votes) as he talks, and doesn’t back down, not even in Iowa on corn subsidies. Of the viable candidates as it looks now, anyway, he’s likely my choice. His victory speech is too long, and wanders a bit but, it also tells us much of the man. I think he’s a formidable opponent for the statists, maybe the only real one.

Then there is Trump and his trumpery. He’s a past master at pulling wool over eyes. He’s managed to get a fair amount of support from evangelicals and conservatives/libertarians, simply because he’s a politically incorrect blowhard, who does understand why we’re so unhappy. The biggest problem for me is that, like Obama, he’s mostly a statist, and his candidacy is more of a cult of personality than anything else.

Rubio, is pretty far from ideal, I think, a bit of an egoist, and much too much of an establishment darling. All that said, he’s better than Trump, a low bar, obviously! I can live with him, but don’t think he’s the best.

As for the Democrats, well, nobody knows yet. That’s a win for Bernie. And there’s this, for all that he’s an economic idiot, who actually thinks socialism is viable, which is risable. At least he’s personally an honest man, which makes him a better choice than Hillary!. He’s also honestly against the crony-capitalist pork fest that Washington has become. So he’s a far better choice than Clinton is, which is damning with very faint praise.

Overall, what struck me is that 50% of the Republican votes AND 50% of the Democratic votes were for anti-establishment candidates. That strikes me as something of a record.

What’s it mean? This:

Are There Any Men in Europe?

abuse_germanyJess’ choice yesterday to lead with Yeats’ Second Coming was in my view directly on point. I also agree with everything she said in the post. It does seem darker than the thirty’s do in retrospect, at least. For all the aberrations at Oxford then (“We resolve not to fight for King and Country”) and now (trying to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes, who in establishing his scholarships had more guts than almost anybody, in specifying that colour was to have no place in selecting winners). The left has always been racist, both here, and in Europe, witness the furor from the Democrats over TR having dinner with Booker T. Washington, or Wilson’s segregation of almost everything and the institution around that time of Jim Crow. Again we see those who refuse to study history, condemning

Of course the left has always been racist, witness the furor from the democrats over TR having dinner with Booker T. Washington, or Wilson segregation of almost anything and the institution around that time of Jim Crow. Again we see those who refuse to study history, condemning themselves or their children to reliving it.

A friend of ours, Francis Phillips, writing last week in the Catholic Herald, had something to say about the comparison as well.

[Speaking of a woman who recently died, who had come to Britain in 1939 as a refugee from Germany]

Everything about her life spoke to me of an age that is past: her loyalty to her German history as well as her patriotic love for her adopted country; her reserve, her independence and the quiet inner strength that her faith gave her.

It struck me that, despite the horrors of the war, she had come to adulthood and to England during a less complex time in our history: patriotism was not a suspect stance to hold; the concept of multiculturalism, once unthinkingly vaunted, now agonised over, had not been heard of; there was no migration crisis (the post-war refugee crisis was a European phenomenon) and global terror had not been invented.

With her death and the gradual decline in the numbers of the other wartime refugees to this country, we have lost both the quiet and dignified witness of their lives as well as the high regard they had for our country’s values. We hardly know what these values are any more. Paradoxically, the times seem darker now than in 1939.

It’s true, I think, they do. And while Jess’ points are very valid, there something else as well.

Are there any men left in Europe?

In you missed it, there was a row over the weekend between the Kremlin and Berlin, about a 13-year-old girl who disappeared for 30 hours and then claimed to have been held by ‘southern appearing aliens’, and sexually abused, not to say gang-raped. Somehow the story only got public by means of social media in the Russian émigré community. The authorities now say she recanted the story to ‘professionals’. Maybe so, it wouldn’t be the first time that a kid lied to stay out of trouble. But it’s troubling that Russia apparently doesn’t believe it, and that a good number of Americans don’t either.

Patterico had something to say about this (specifically New Years Eve) as well.

[A]t the risk of sounding old fashioned, and not jumping to any conclusions, note that I am simply chewing things over in my mind. Given that, as I read reports from Europe and the US about the horrible events that night, I am having trouble finding any mention of German men fighting back against the assailants. I did find this as yet unverified report from a doorman at a luxury hotel in the area. It speaks clearly to the horrific events and the utter terror these women experienced:

“Throughout the evening again and again women came to me and asked if they could just stand next to me so I could look after them. I still didn’t quite know what that was all about. They told me they were chased by these guys”.

The men who had chased the girls then attempted to attack again, but martial arts expert Jurevic was ready: “These guys that chased them, then they really tried to attack me. I’ll have to be honest, I beat them all up.

“I’ve never witnessed something like this, I always thought this stuff would be some sort of right wing propaganda. But it was real!”.

Aside from that, and the passing mention of two men who tried to protect their female companions and one’s daughter, I’m not seeing where German men came to the defense of the throngs of women being victimized that night. It’s strikes me as odd given that large numbers of women were forced to walk through gauntlets of Muslim males upon exiting the train station and elsewhere in the square:

When we came out of the station, we were very surprised by the group we met, which was made up only of foreign men … We walked through the group of men, there was a tunnel through them, we walked through … I was groped everywhere. It was a nightmare. Although we shouted and hit them, they men didn’t stop. I was horrified and I think I was touched around 100 times over the 200 metres.”

Via: Where Were The German Men During The Cologne Attacks?

I may be old-fashioned here, or even a fish’s bicycle, but I was raised with that old Irish adage (even if I am Norwegian-American). “The first duty of the strong is to protect the weak“. That’s been true since, as John Ball had it, “Adam delved and Eve span”.  If it’s no longer true, then most likely our civilization is doomed, and we’ll see the denouement of Yeats poem.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Multicultural Appeasement In Cologne

There’s really not all that much to add to this, from Daniel Hannan, MEP. I suppose I could say that I’ve said all this as well, I have, and so have others. But until we act on it, it doesn’t really matter.

What was your reaction when you heard that there had been a series of organized mass sexual assaults across German cities? Sympathy for the victims? Anger at the perpetrators? Concern about the future? If so, you’re evidently not a German official.

Ralf Jaeger is the interior minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, where the worst attacks happened. He was in no doubt about what the real outrage was. Not the assaults and rapes, but the online comments by his political opponents.

“What happens on the right-wing platforms and in chatrooms is at least as awful as the acts of those assaulting the women,” he said. It’s the “at least” that is so staggering here. The police logged 516 criminal offenses in Cologne’s main square on New Year’s Eve, 40 per cent of them sexual assaults. But Herr Jaeger is less fussed about women being groped and robbed than about some skinhead loser posting obnoxious comments online.

I wish I could tell you that Herr Jaeger’s bizarre sense of moral priorities is unique, but he typifies his caste. Let’s recapitulate what happened in front of Cologne’s mammoth railway station that night. There was an orchestrated mob sexual assault of a kind not seen in Europe in centuries.

It has been seen before, however, in Tahrir Square. Egyptians even have a name for it: “Taharrush game’a.”

The Cologne police were overwhelmed. “The situation threatened chaos or serious injury, if not fatalities,” said their internal report. They attempted to clear the square but were “repeatedly bombarded with fireworks and bottles”. All the while, tearful women complained of assaults.

How did the police, in their public statement, summarize those monstrous events? “Ausgelassene Stimmung” – “Exuberant mood.” I suppose that’s one way of putting it.

In the days that followed, details began to leak out online. It transpired that almost all the men involved were Arabic-speakers, and that many of them had entered Germany as asylum-seekers. It emerged, too, that there had been similar organized attacks on women in cities across the country. And yet Germany’s police, politicians and pundits said nothing. The state broadcaster ZDF willfully ignored the story, later admitting that it didn’t want “to spread a bad mood.”

The mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, who has campaigned vocally for refugees, told her female constituents that it was up to them to keep men at arm’s length when walking in public. Meanwhile, German MPs pushed ahead with a law to ban hate speech against migrants.

Think about that for a moment. The German state lacks the resources to protect its female citizens from sexual assailants, but it has the resources to prosecute people who insult the assailants.

via Multicultural Appeasement In Cologne | PA Pundits – International.

Think We Can Say Goodbye To Obama In 2017? Think Again

Well, one year from today, we’ll have a new president, for good or ill. That’s up to us, between now and then. If we do the right thing, perhaps we’ll travel to those “sunlit uplands of peace” that Churchill talked about, if we don’t we’ll likely descend into the chaos, in one way or another. Either way, we’re going to be stuck listening to Obama natter on for a good many years, just like Carter, and for the same reason.

You see, if you accomplished something, like Washington, or Lincoln, or either Roosevelt, or Eisenhower, or Reagan, you don’t have to defend your legacy, others will take care of it, even if you’re dead. But if you were ineffectual, you have to spend every minute of the rest of your life protesting how great you were, like Carter has done. And make no mistake, Carter was a pretty good president compared to Obama. So you can guess how strident the coming years will be, as all the ‘true believers’ attempt to defend their failed hero.

Jack Butler had some thoughts about this, as well:

The authors of the Federalist Papers, a series of Founding-era “op-eds” that advocated adopting the Constitution, predicted this—specifically, in Federalist No. 72, which defended unlimited presidential terms. It argued that unlimited terms would keep presidents in power for as long as they could get reelected, which would encourage better behavior, as opposed to automatic removal, which could encourage recklessness if removal from office resulted regardless.

It would also limit the number of dissatisfied ex-presidents haunting the public square. “Would it promote the peace of the community, or the stability of government,” Federalist No. 72 asks,

…to have half a dozen men who had had credit enough to be raised to the seat of the supreme magistracy, wandering among the people like discontented ghosts, and sighing for a place which they were destined never more to possess?

Is there anything the founders did not think of?

He also said this:

The Cult of the Presidency

Although these examples suggest a partisan divide, the ex-presidential temptation is bipartisan, for three reasons. First, the aura of the presidency has risen and become a sort of currency, with which one can buy all sorts of influence and attention. Second, our media environment welcomes these newly elevated figures to lend authority to whatever narratives happen to duel on a given day. Third, and perhaps most important, the conventional wisdom of a president’s time in office is still forming in its immediate aftermath, which encourages the post-president to attempt to shape the inchoate opinion of this legacy.

One doubts Obama will spend his life after the presidency ‘on a beach somewhere drinking out of a coconut.’

Will President Obama resist these powerful incentives or succumb to them? Evidence from the Obama universe so far suggests not. According to The New York Times, Obama seeks a “blend” of the quiet and the loud post-presidency, as David Plouffe, his former campaign manager, put it.

via Think We Can Say Goodbye To Obama In 2017? Think Again.

Yay, us! Something to look forward to! :)

The serious lesson in here is that the president  has less power than we (and the candidates, usually) think he really has to change things, that’s why we endured as long as we have.

Saturday Links

Well, I’m more or less recovered, but there is a mass of stuff I read (and archived for use) while I was ill. So how ’bout some links today to help you (and me) catch up?

Hillary Clinton & Double Standards on the Left

The Flint Water Scandal

The Tribal War with Islam

This refers to much the same thing I said yesterday.

Obama’s Middle Eastern policy is a bad replay of Woodrow Wilson’s post-WWI efforts (and we know how that ended)

What we really need to talk about after Cologne

Europe Braces Itself for Terrorism as Germany and Other Countries Experience Sexual Jihad Firsthand from Rapefugees

Are there really two popes?

Affirming Anglicanism

The one thing most people think they know about economics is wrong

Sell everything ahead of stock market crash, say RBS economists

Oil could crash to $10 a barrel, warn investment bank bears

Project Fear: how Cameron plans to scare us into staying in the EU

The Brexit vote: it’s neck and neck

Why farms die and should die

And finally, only marginally suitable for work, but an example of “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome”.

How To Use A Thong

Well that cleans up some of my archives, and there’s something for nearly everyone there! :)


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