Seriously, but not Literally

This could be a book review, except all I’ve read is the Amazon excerpt, which was enough to sell me the book, which I’ll likely read today – it’s that good. What book is that? This one: The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics, by Salena Zito and Brad Todd, Crown Forum, New York.

Thing is, I’m one of the people she’s writing about (no, not personally) but their background is my background, it is our shared history – in the breadbasket and manufactury of America. We are the people who elected Trump. Why? Because we had simply had enough of what many, likely most, of us see as the uniparty.

Time for something new. And Trump speaks our language, blunt, to the point, always looking out for America First. It was Zito that first described so well how we take Trump, then and now: We take him seriously, but not literally. That’s also how we take each other. How a Brooklyn born, Manhatten based multi-millionaire builder/CEO manages to sound like us is remarkable, but he does, and on 20 January 2017, a president of the old America took office. After all, he is the President of the United States, not the freakin’ world.

Fred Siegal of City Journal has a good review of the book up there, here is an excerpt from that.

Despite Trump’s narrow margin of victory—just 77,000 votes—in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Zito and Todd see the 2016 election as representing a tectonic shift in America’s electoral plates. “Far from a fluke, the 2016 election was a product of Obama’s globalist conceits that produced defective trade deals, open borders and an aggressive secularism.” Trump’s victory was his triumph, not the Republican Party’s.  Neither the two-time Obama voters who switched to Trump nor the habitual nonvoters who came out to the polls in 2016 saw much to rally around in the GOP. Their ties are to Trump, a finding with implications for the upcoming midterms.

“Eighty-nine percent of Trump voters represented in the Great Revolt Survey agree with the statement ‘Republicans and Democrats in Washington are both guilty of leading the country down the wrong path,’” Zito and Todd write. An Iowa voter insisted that the “only person that is able to turn me against Trump is Trump.” Similarly, in economically hard-hit Ashtabula, Ohio, east of Cleveland, a voter said: “So to ask me what would extricate me from Trump would be like asking me to remove me from myself, from my family, and from my community.” The most important issues for voters in the authors’ survey were “restoring manufacturing jobs, protecting Medicare and social security and appointing conservatives to the Supreme Court to protect religious liberty being threatened by assertive Hilary Clinton Progressives.” One interviewee said that NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, “is no longer an acronym—it’s a noun, and a profanity.”

It’s interesting that as this goes on, not to mention the hysterical bleating from the Democrats and the Never-Trumpers (in whom I fail to discern any difference) the president’s support from Hispanics and Blacks is starting to rise, not surprisingly, a rising tide really does lift all boats, and their lives are getting better. Even most of the Republican party seems to be starting to see the light, not least because it’s fairly easy to primary a candidate, even to the Senate level, especially with a popular president providing the tar and feathers.

Zito and Tod see American politics as a tectonic process, huge groups crashing into each other and changing. They have at least a fair amount of right. The morphing of the Whigs and others into the nascent Republican party in the 1850s was one. Don’t forget they fielded their first candidate for president in 1856, Lincoln was only the second. The Democratic Party’s switch to Progressivism in Wilson’s term, soon followed by Roosevelt paved the way for the welfare state.

This may well be the next, as the center of America, the people (and their sons and daughters, and grandsons and granddaughters) who fight America’s wars, build and fix America’s machines, and feed the world, once again bring their common sense, reality-based outlook to the governance of the country.

I don’t think it will end with Trump, either, there is an optimism in the air. And when the most open and largest market in the world starts flexing its muscles, the world will change, and not for the better for snowflakes and bureaucrats anywhere in the world. Have I mentioned that the Atlanta Federal Reserve is predicting an annual growth rate of 4.7% in this quarter? We’ve only just begun.

There’s an old Negro spiritual that says it well:

Get on Board, little chillun’, Get on board.

 

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Week in Pictures: Finally Sunday

Quite the week, never a dull moment was there?

Spreading the revolution.

Seriously bad language here, NSFW, You have been warned.

This is what winning looks like

A proper childhood:

All the things mentioned here are still echoing down the corridors of the internet, and doing (not so) Great (anymore) Britain untold harm.

By definition: Real News

And a very nice early fifties Dodge pickup to end with.

Mostly from PowerLine this week. Enjoy!

Enemy of Our Foes and a Friend of Our Allies

What a nice way to wake up! Welcome Home, Guys!

Must be quite the feeling to get out of a North Korean jail, and then off an airplane that is marked “United States of America” and be met on the airstairs by the President himself and Mrs. Trump, at three in the morning.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, from Caroline Glick:

For more than twenty years, successive U.S. administrations have been vexed by the challenge of Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons. And from the time the problem first emerged during Bill Clinton’s tenure at the White House, there have only been two viable means to block Iran’s path to the bomb.

The first path is the path of regime change. This option requires the U.S. to precipitate Iran’s economic and social collapse through crippling economic sanctions and active support for the Iranian people as they rise up against their theocratic overlords.

The second path is to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations and assets through limited covert and overt strikes.

Parallel to these two options, over the years, U.S. policymakers — first and foremost President Barack Obama — created two imaginary options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. Obama and his advisors framed the public discourse around their nuclear negotiations as a contest between them.

First, they said, is the option of all-out war. The U.S. could lead an invasion of Iran, along the lines of the U.S.-led invasion of Iran in 2003. In the course of a massive war, the U.S. goal would be to overthrow the Iranian regime and forcibly end its nuclear program.

The other option, they insisted, was to cut a deal with Iran under which Iran would voluntarily give up its nuclear program in exchange for trade deals, and for international acceptance of Iran’s other malign behavior – from its sponsorship of terrorism and regional aggression, to its development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

The purpose of the Obama administration’s propaganda war on behalf of the nuclear deal was to delegitimize criticism of the content of the deal by claiming that everyone that opposed the policy was a warmonger (or, conversely, making “common cause” with hard-liners in the Iranian regime that wanted war against the U.S.).

In the event, both of the options were imaginary. No one in the U.S. or the international community has ever proposed a massive U.S.-led invasion of Iran. It was never considered. It is a policy that exists nowhere and is advocated by nobody.

As for the notion that Iran could be convinced to concede its nuclear program voluntarily in exchange for international legitimacy, planeloads of cash, and a blind eye to its other bad behavior, this, too, was a fantasy.

Obama’s nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), did not involve Iran agreeing to give up its nuclear program. The deal simply required Iran to work on certain aspects of its nuclear program – advanced centrifuge development and ballistic missile development, for instance — while limiting others, like certain uranium enrichment activities, for the duration of the deal.

In other words, to prevent the imaginary possibility of a U.S. led ground invasion of Iran, the Obama administration financed Iran’s regional aggression and sponsorship of terrorism to the tune of $150 billion dollars in sanctions relief. It legitimized Iran’s ballistic missile program and guaranteed Tehran’s eventual acquisition of a nuclear arsenal.

While doing all of that, Obama’s nuclear diplomacy weakened the America’s ability to implement either of the two actual options for blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.

The JCPOA required the U.S. and its partners to abrogate the crippling nuclear sanctions which were spurring the Iranian people to rise up against the regime.

As for the option of limited strikes, the JCPOA rendered them politically impossible. How could the U.S. sabotage or destroy its diplomatic partner’s nuclear installations?

All of that changed on Tuesday.

By abandoning the JCPOA and reinstating U.S. sanctions that were suspended in 2016, Trump resuscitated both actual options for blocking Iran’s path to the bomb.

The sanctions option, which he implemented right after he concluded his remarks, will destabilize the regime by drying up its financial flows.

The downstream impact of the sanctions is twofold. First, they will diminish Iran’s ability to sponsor terror and carry out regional aggression in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Afghanistan, and beyond. Second, by reinstating crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy, the U.S. will weaken the regime’s hold on power.

As for the option of direct strikes against Iran’s nuclear installations, Trump did not put the option on the table on Tuesday, but he created the political space to consider them either separately or in conjunction with sanctions. Indeed, at his cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump intimated that the prospect of just such strikes is under consideration when he warned Iran of “severe consequences” if it reinstates the nuclear activities it had limited under the JCPOA.

The salutary effects of Trump’s move are not limited to the its positive implications on U.S.’s real options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. His announcement accomplished two related goals as well. […]

Keep reading: Trump’s Iran Deal Decision Was a Masterstroke. Keep reading.

There may be a phrase in this article that I disagree with. If so, I missed it.

The world is once again beginning to be safe for free people. There is still a lot of hell to go through, but we have started the return.

 

Progressive Authoritarianism

responsibility-42

This is a bit newer (April 2015) than most of the posts this week, but I think you’ll find it valuable.

This is quite interesting, and a fair read of where our society/ government is trying to go, and why. It also goes into some detail as to why if we are wise, we probably don’t want to go there. By Joel Kotkin writing in The Orange County Register.

Left-leaning authors often maintain that conservatives “hate democracy,” and, historically, this is somewhat true. “The political Right,” maintains the progressive economist and columnist Paul Krugman, “has always been uncomfortable with democracy.”
But today it’s progressives themselves who, increasingly, are losing faith in democracy. Indeed, as the Obama era rushes to a less-than-glorious end, important left-of-center voices, like Matt Yglesias, now suggest that “democracy is doomed.”

Yglesias correctly blames “the breakdown of American constitutional democracy” on both Republicans and Democrats; George W. Bush expanded federal power in the field of national defense while Barack Obama has done it mostly on domestic issues. Other prominent progressives such as American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner have made similar points, even quoting Italian wartime fascist leader Benito Mussolini about the inadequacy of democracy.

Like some progressives, Kuttner sees the more authoritarian model of China as ascendant; in comparison, the U.S. and European models – the latter clearly not conservative – seem decadent and unworkable. Other progressives, such as Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir, argue that big money has already drained the life out of American democracy. Like Yglesias, he, too, favors looking at “other political systems.” .
. .
Progressive authoritarianism has a long history, co-existing uncomfortably with traditional liberal values about free speech, due process and political pluralism. At the turn of the 20th century, the novelist H.G. Wells envisioned “the New Republic,” in which the most talented and enlightened citizens would work to shape a better society. They would function, he suggested, as a kind of “secret society,” reforming the key institutions of society from both within and without.

In our times, Wells’ notions foreshadowed the rise of a new class – what I label the clerisy – that derives its power from domination of key institutions, notably the upper bureaucracy, academia and the mainstream media. These sectors constitute what Daniel Bell more than two decades ago dubbed a “priesthood of power,” whose goal was the rational “ordering of mass society.”
Increasingly, well-placed members of the clerisy have advocated greater power for the central state. Indeed, many of its leading figures, such as former Obama budget adviser Peter Orszag and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, argue that power should shift from naturally contentious elected bodies – subject to pressure from the lower orders – to credentialed “experts” operating in Washington, Brussels or the United Nations. Often, the clerisy and its allies regard popular will as lacking in scientific judgment and societal wisdom.

Unlike their clerical forebears, this “priesthood” worships at the altar not of religion but of what they consider official “science,” which often is characterized by intolerance rather than the skepticism traditionally associated with the best scientific tradition. Indeed, in their unanimity of views and hostility toward even mild dissent, today’s authoritarian progressives unwittingly more resemble their clerical ancestors, enforcing certain ideological notions and requiring suspension of debate. Sadly, this is increasingly true in the university, which should be the bastion of free speech.

I find that there is a lot of truth in this concept, unfortunately, like any other closed society, it breeds corruption. Who hasn’t noticed amongst this ‘elite’ a huge amount of influence peddling, not mention pandering, to obtain funding? In Wolf Hall, we watched as Thomas Cromwell curried favor with Henry VIII, do we not see the same process underway (for quite a while now) in Washington?

The killer “app” for progressive centralism, comes from concern about climate change. A powerful lobby of greens, urban developers, planners and even some on Wall Street now see the opportunity to impose the very centralized planning and regulatory agenda that has been dear to the hearts of progressives since global “cooling” was the big worry a few decades ago. This new clout is epitomized by the growing power of federal agencies, notably the EPA, as well state and local bodies of unelected regulators who have become exemplars of a new post-democratic politics.

Of course, this is in large part the model presented by postwar Europe, and we are watching as it demonstrably fails, which makes it less and less likely to be a model we should follow. Most likely the free-est country in Europe is the UK, not least because they share our suspicion of government (although it is not nearly as virulent). But the UK has, since 2008, created more jobs than the rest of Europe combined.

The fly in the ointment here, of course, remains the electorate. Even in one-party California, local constituents are not always eager to follow the edicts of the nascent “new Republic” if it too strongly affects their lives, for example, by forcibly densifying their neighborhoods. Resistance to an imposed progressive agenda is stronger elsewhere, particularly in the deep red states of the Heartland and the South. In these circumstances, a “one size fits all” policy agenda seems a perfect way to exacerbate the already bitter and divisive mood.

Perhaps the best solution lies with the Constitution itself. Rather than run away from it, as Yglesias and others suggest, we should draw inspiration from the founders acceptance of political diversity. Instead of enforcing unanimity from above, the structures of federalism should allow greater leeway at the state level, as well as among the more local branches of government.
Even more than at the time of its founding, America is a vast country with multiple cultures and economies. What appeals to denizens of tech-rich trustifarian San Francisco does not translate so well to materially oriented, working-class Houston, or, for that matter, the heavily Hispanic and agriculture-oriented interior of California. Technology allows smaller units of government greater access to information; within reason, and in line with basic civil liberties, communities should be able to shape policies that make sense in their circumstances.

This is, of course, nothing less than the federalism the founders designed into our system, which wasn’t new, even then, the Catholic Church calls it subsidiarity, although it, like politicians, has always had trouble practicing it. In the eighteenth century as in the twenty-first, America is simply too large to be governed by an elite, centered in the capital, let alone by a clerisy without the requisite skill to understand even the concepts of what most people do.

One possible group that could change this are voters, including millennials. It turns out that this generation is neither the reserve army imagined by progressives or the libertarian base hoped for by some conservatives. Instead, notes Pew, millennials are increasingly nonpartisan. They maintain some liberal leanings, for example, on the importance of social justice and support for gay marriage. But their views on other issues, such as abortion and gun control, track closely with to those of earlier generations. The vast majority of millennials, for example, thinks the trend toward having children out of wedlock is bad for society. Even more surprisingly, they are less likely than earlier generations to consider themselves environmentalists.

They also tend to be skeptical toward overcentralized government. As shown in a recent National Journal poll, they agree with most Americans in preferring local to federal government. People in their 20s who favor federal solutions stood at a mere 31 percent, a bit higher than the national average but a notch less than their baby boomer parents.

If so, and I tend to agree, they may well save us all, simply by thinking for themselves and acting in their own self-interest. Because I think it self-evident that being ruled by a distant, connected (to each other) is not in our best interest, either individually or as a society.
Hat tip to Gene Veith at Cranach, The Blog of Veith

Another Wild Sunday Morning!

And a joke, from Ace’s

Two engineering students were biking across a university campus when one said, “Where did you get such a great bike?”

The second engineer replied, “Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, “Take what you want.

The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, “Good choice: The clothes probably wouldn’t have fit you anyway.”

From the Speccie:

On Tuesday Captain Shults contacted air traffic control shortly after 11AM and, after identifying her Boeing 737 as Southwest 1380 and noting that it was carrying “149 souls,” she calmly advised them that she had a serious in-flight emergency that required her to put the plane on the ground immediately. ATC then asked, “Where would you like to go? Which airport?”

The following is a condensed version of Captain Shults’ response:

The closest one, Philadelphia. We’re single-engine descending… We have a part of the aircraft missing… If you would have them roll the emergency trucks. It’s on engine number 1, captain’s side… could you have the medical meet us there on the runway, as well? We’ve got injured passengers.

Shults conveyed all of this in the same unemotional tones most people would use to order a ham sandwich. She then landed the plane as smoothly as if she were putting it down after a routine flight. Her next act, after graciously thanking the ATC guys for their help, was to go back and speak with each of the passengers as she and the rest of the crew helped them off the aircraft.

If I read correctly, she is also the first woman pilot of the Navy’s F-18. I’d fly with her anytime, anywhere. BZ Captain.

 

Of course!

Mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine as always.

And you know, for the last 53 weeks (about) we have managed at least one post per day, and I’m tired. So, I’ve lined up some of my best posts (in my opinion, anyway) for you, and I’m gonna take a few days mostly off, although I’ll look in some, so comments are welcome. Enjoy.

Ah, here’s my ride, I’m outta here!

 

 

A Weak of Portraits

Why? Why not!

Well, it was the weak err week of the Obama portraits. Well, what did you expect?

Which of these is not like the others?

Prophetic, maybe.

I’m surprised they didn’t pick these!

From the upcoming documentary “CNN: The Obama Years”.

Thanks, OregonMuse at Ace’s

Logic!

Somehow, this doesn’t seem to happen at my house.

Then there is the Olympics, I guess.

Did you think I’d forget?

Thanks to PowerLine and Bookworm as always.

And one more thing:

Have a good day!

 

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