Party of the Rich (and Privileged)

583828184-former-new-york-city-mayor-michael-bloomberg-gestures.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2An interesting article and the author may well have several points here. Some of what he says, I agree, and as usual, some of it I disagree with. But it’s undoubtedly true that the Democrats have become the party of the rich, especially the newly rich, who got that way on the back of the taxpayers.

There are very few endorsements that are going to matter in this presidential election, but Michael Bloomberg’s might be one of them. On Wednesday night in Philadelphia, the three-term mayor of New York City called on his fellow independents to vote for Hillary Clinton. “I am asking you to join with me not out of party loyalty, but out of love of country,” Bloomberg said. Why? Is it because he’s so enthusiastic about her many virtues? Nope, it’s because a Trump presidency would be an unmitigated disaster: “He would make it harder for small businesses to compete, do great damage to our economy, threaten the retirement savings of millions of Americans, lead to greater debt and more unemployment, erode our influence in the world, and make our communities less safe.” Ouch. […]

Well, much of that is BS, at least in my opinion. Trump is not likely to be good for small business, no statist really, let alone a protectionist is, but he’s at least arguably better than Clinton. Nobody, at least since Reagan, has really been good for small business, although Bill Clinton’s term wasn’t terrible, but this is not the 90s. Clinton will be absolutely terrible, her support comes from the big business, cronyistic, corporatist bloc whose income depends on Washington, not real serving of the customer. That is also the weakness of Gary Johnson, his is a rather peculiar Libertarianism. Continuing:

It turns out Bloomberg wasn’t alone in this regard. There are millions of voters like Bloomberg—call them the “Bloombourgeoisie”—who might have voted for Romney if not for his stances on social issues, just as there are millions of voters who never would’ve voted for Romney if he hadn’t flip-flopped on abortion, and if he’d supported an amnesty for unauthorized immigrants. Republicans have built a coalition that is a far better fit for culturally conservative working-class whites than it is for the Bloombourgeoisie. If Donald Trump is any indication of where the GOP is heading, that trend will continue in the years to come.

Recently, Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the think tank New America, argued that Democrats have replaced Republicans as the preferred party of America’s wealthiest voters. In 2012, Barack Obama won a larger share of the vote of households earning $220,000 or more than Mitt Romney, the first time since 1964 that voters in the top 4 percent of household incomes backed a Democrat over a Republican. It’s a safe bet that many of these well-off voters chose Obama over Romney for the same reasons Bloomberg did: RINO Romney was just too right-wing for their tastes. And if these voters couldn’t warm up to Romney, you can only imagine how they’d feel about Trump. […]

After all, it’s bankers’ bonuses that keep cab drivers, doormen, and servers of all kinds employed.

Where Bloomberg parts company with let-them-eat-cake types is in believing that low-wage workers should be provided with Medicaid, SNAP, and high-quality charter schools for their kids, because it’s the right thing to do and because, to be blunt, it’s an insurance policy against a reprise of the French Revolution. It’s not an entirely crazy political philosophy, and it’s shared by a decent number of upscale urban liberals and suburban moderates. Bloombergism is not far off from the progressive Republicanism once represented by Nelson Rockefeller and Jacob Javits. What it’s emphatically not is Sanders-style socialism, which holds that the chief threat to democracy is the outsized power of “millionaires and billionaires” like, well, Michael Bloomberg.

via Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton shows the Democrats are the party of the rich.

I can’t speak for you, of course, but none of these candidates speak for me. I, and likely you, have a fair idea of which level I’ll pull, but it will be in no sense a celebration, and may well be the wake of ‘my America’ to the world’s detriment. We’ll simply have to see.

Hat tip to Cranach

Why go into politics?

politicianWhy, indeed? Would you? I worked for Reagan back in ’76, as some know, and it disillusioned me for life. No, not Reagan, but the nonsense involved in politics. It’s interesting to read about (and write about) but that about all the involvement I (and for that matter) my integrity can stand. Here’s James Allan, writing about it in The Spectator.

The state of politics here, and in the United Kingdom, and in the United States, raises the question of why people go into politics. What is motivating our elected representatives?

Of course there is no one answer to that. People differ. Their motivations differ. And their ability and inclination to navigate the system and get selected to run as a candidate for a plausible party varies too. So this is not really an empirical question. When it is asked it’s really being asked on a normative level, on the ‘ought’ level of why the questioner thinks people should go into politics.

Here’s a better way of approaching the issue. Ask yourself who you think have been the most successful politicians in the post-War period in, say, the UK. Leave aside your political druthers and in my view you’d have to put Maggie Thatcher at or near the top of any such list. She was immensely successful in reforming the British economy (whether you like those reforms, or not). I think you’d also have to put Clement Atlee on the list too, at least as long as there is a British National Health Service. And my third pick would probably be Nigel Farage.

That might strike you as odd at first glance. The other two made it to the top of the slippery pole and became Prime Ministers. Farage never even made it into the Westminster Parliament. He was elected to the European Parliament, but never, despite trying, to the UK Parliament. And yet his influence has been immense. He set up a political party solely to get the Brits out of the EU. At the time he did so, people laughed at him.When he got elected to the European Parliament in Strasbourg as a member of the United Kingdom Independence Party, they laughed at him again. But it was Farage and his party that forced David Cameron to hold the Brexit referendum. And after that Brexit vote, to quote the man himself, ‘they’re not laughing any more’.

And then Farage recently quit politics. He’d accomplished, or at least barring backsliding by the Tories under Theresa May he looks to have accomplished, what he went into politics to achieve. So he quit. On his own terms he was astoundingly successful. If you are a pro-Brexit person like me, then you will also judge Farage to have been a great force for good for the UK, and for the wider democratic world. But notice that I am ranking him as a much more successful politician than David Cameron, than Tony Blair, than John Major, and a coterie of others who made it to the top and became PM, not to mention the myriad of those who only made it into Cabinet and no higher.

via Why go into politics? | The Spectator

Now mind, he mostly talks about Australia here, and if you don’t know, the Australian Liberal Party are the conservatives, but it is true in all our countries lately. What did happen to the men of principle?

Sadly, I suspect it is our fault, we have put so much emphasis on our free cheese from government, that in an effort to survive, principles have been hounded out. That bodes ill for our future as free men and women, and so we’d best start looking for the way back from this crass, mercantilistic, cul-de-sac we find ourselves in.

Gays, the Left, Terrorism, and a bit on Oil

w1056We’ve been talking most of the week about gays and conservatives, in a political context. You can find those articles here, here, and here. And yes, I am always very grateful when Jessica chimes in on these matters, I’m an old fuddy-duddy sometimes and a younger (and female, not to mention British) perspective helps quite a lot.

As Jessica said the other day, we are not discussing this as a religious matter. The US, particularly, long ago decided that while most of our citizens are Christians, and a plurality quite strong ones, our government is, and was meant to be, secular, although Christian belief and principles lie at its heart.

Not the least of these is the right to worship (or not worship) as you please. That’s one reason it’s quite difficult for me, and hopefully for many of you to consider Islam as our enemy. They have just as much right to worship Allah, as we have our triune God, or for that matter, as many of our citizens do, to worship ‘the God’s of the Marketplace’.

Radical Islamists are another story, however. They have indisputably (unless you’re a leftist, I guess) made it clear that they are an enemy of our culture. If we are wise, we will recognize both that they are, and act on it. Yes, the world is a complicated place, and not prone to useful over-simplification very often.

The ad that leads this article makes a valid point. I found it both funny and profound, and I found the leftist hysteria that resulted from it even funnier. I haven’t heard even the most radical Christian say that we should be killing gays, have you? Didn’t think so. And that is the difference between Christian and radical Islamist – they do so advocate, and they do so act.

That leaves the question hanging as to why the left insists on propping up the Saudi (and other) fundamentalist Islamic regimes. Canada and the United States have it within our power to impoverish all of these states, to the point they would go back to being the irrelevant hellholes they were when the United States was founded. And make a profit doing it, just like we did with the Soviets.

In fact, the very people that first protested that ad were exactly the same people who killed the Keystone Pipeline. Leaves me wondering if they are simply against progress or against western civilization. Wonder if Jane Kleeb would like to answer that question, since it has cost our joint state of Nebraska several million dollars, just in the construction phase.

So, I can only conclude that those people consider it perfectly fine to kill gays, and support radical Islamists. After all, where I grew up, actions speak louder than words. Of course, as Jessica said the other day, leftists think of various groups as ‘brands’ (check out those WikiLeaks emails for more on this) and like some other mass marketers will say one thing to one group and quite the opposite to another. That’s why for those of us who pay attention, they long ago lost any credibility they ever had. Not the first brand to kill itself off that way, and I doubt it will be the last either.

Of course, none of this is new for the left, in either Britain or America (likely in all of Europe, but I don’t know as much about that). Radical Islam is hardly the first mass-murderer that the left has made an icon of, witness Castro’s executioner, Che Guevara, who the left has made an icon out of, as well as others. Here, find out a bit more about him, and see if you think he is an appropriate hero for anybody who values life, let alone freedom. Hat tip to The Daly Gator.

You’ll excuse me while I wash my mind of the thought of who some of my countrymen think are heroes.

The ‘Gay’ vote

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The Democrats, like most leftist political groups, like to think collectively, and in an age of identity of politics we have ‘the black vote’, the ‘hispanic’ vote, the ‘latino’ vote, the ‘women’s vote’ and the ‘gay vote’. You’ll note we don’t have the ‘men’s vote’ – not even the Left is silly enough to imagine men can be categorised as voters by their gender. That doesn’t stop it thinking of the other groups as ‘brands’ whose loyalty can be secured by offering concessions. As Neo was saying the other day, the assumption is that the ‘gay vote’ is mainly Democrat. Historically there is good reason for that, as it was the political Left which was in favour of lifting the various legal discriminations from which gay people suffered. Want to get married to another woman? The Right said ‘no’. Some part of the Right were quite nice about it, large parts weren’t, and no one really likes those who call them ‘dykes’ or ‘faggots’, it isn’t nice. So when it comes to voting, hey, vote Democrat or Labour.

In the UK our last PM, David Cameron, annoyed the heck out of some of his supporters by allowing gay people to get married; but he detoxified the Tory party for gay people. Because under that label, most people whose sexual preference is for someone of their own sex are just as diverse as straights. There is no intrinsic reason why a gay woman or man would instinctively vote for a party that wanted high taxation and more state interference – once the discrimination stuff is gone, gay people are free to vote the way their own instincts and political preference leads them – and many will favour free-market economics and the chance to make a buck or two.

This is hard for the Right, at least the Religious Right, as the Bible is quite clear on homosexuality. But the Bible is pretty clear on lending at interest, divorce and a whole set of things the political Right has managed to absorb and get past. As it does so on this issue, so it frees up people to vote according to their interests. A person who identifies as gay is always liable to put their civil rights at the top of the list, and if, in the past, that meant voting Labour of Democrat whilst holding your nose at the rest of the programme, so be it. Once that ceases to be so, as it now is in the UK, then all those other interests, and identities, come into play. A politics which makes people identify by their sexual preference or skin colour, is a crude politics which works for the crude only when most voters are of one skin colour and one sexual preference. In our pluralistic societies, this is no longer a vote-winner. Trump, who is nothing if not a pragmatist, gets it, and I hope others will too.

All those ‘interest groups’ that the Left targets are part of a wider society, and they can easily be disaggregated by political groupings who do the simple thing of appealing to the common public good. If that means that people of colour get the same rights as white people, well, frankly, great, and not before time; the same is true of the other groups, including gay people. As the slogan goes, some people are gay, get over it. Of course, in church, it is different, but here we’re discussing the political sphere.

‘Mad as hell’?

Mad as hell

There is a palpable anger in our politics on both sides of the Atlantic. Here in the UK, one Labour MP was shot recently, and others have been threatened. This verbal violence is happening in the Labour Party, which preaches equality and social justice. It did not happen under Miliband, Brown and Blair, but it does under Corbyn, who, of course denounces it, but seems incurious about why it is happening on his watch, and quite unable to stop it. One of the problems with being a social justice warrior seems to be that the end justifies the means; demonise your opponents, and then you can treat them as demons; it is not a good way to do politics. There were some ugly scenes and the RNC last week, and there will be at the DNC this week. Meanwhile across the Channel, there have been attacks in Nice, Munich and other places, and the authorities, presumably trying not to stir things up, play down any religious motive in them, which, alas, simply makes ordinary people even more suspicious about what is going on. All of this increases the sense many ordinary people have that politics has become a place where the elites enrich themselves at our expense – and to steal a phrase, it makes many ‘mad as hell’ and they ‘don’t want to take it’.

In the UK the opinion formers and the media were confident that ‘Remain’, their side, would win, and as a ‘Remainer’ I hoped it would. But they ran an ugly and negative campaign, mainly around economics, warning us of the consequences of failing to vote the right way. What they failed to understand was that millions already feel penalised by the system, so they didn’t really see it getting much worse for them personally; the alienated, the simply fed up and grumpy, and the ardent ‘leavers’ were sufficient to overturn conventional wisdom and the predictions of the pollsters, and so the ‘Remain’ side lost.

This time last year we were confidently being told Trump would not survive the summer; then it was the autumn he wouldn’t survive; then it was ‘Super Tuesday’ that would bury him; then it was an agreement among his challengers which would finish him off; then he became the nominee. The media don’t ‘get it’. He does not follow the Clinton playbook. We shall see, with Hillary whether that one still works, but it does not work with the millions who are sick to their back teeth of self-serving, venal and lying politicians. Sure, Trump’s a load mouth, sure he’s rich, but the Americans have never minded rich men, it is politicians enriching themselves to which objection is taken; Trump’s riches mean he can’t be bought; if Hillary were a listed company she’d have a who board of directors running her.

Here in the UK, the new PM, Theresa May, came in talking of her sense of public duty and acknowledging that many people felt they were being left behind; these are good words, but they need to be followed by delivery. There is a palpable sense that the anger currently felt begins to threaten the system itself. The political system is not an end in itself, but it seems to have become one for the politicians and the lobbyists; unless it begins to fulfil the ends for which it exists – the public good  – the public may decide to end it – and if that happens, it won’t be pretty. We need to rediscover a sense of duty and morality in public life – we have gone on too long as though those were mere words – well words alone no longer suffice.

Critics of “Gays for Trump” Party Miss the Point |

An interesting follow-on from the GOP convention, and many bad things happening in the world.

Gay rights activists have not traditionally found a political home on the right. Yet gay activist and alternative-right icon Milo Yiannopoulus wants to change that, arguing that while the Republican party may not love homosexuality, Islam wants gays dead, and therefore gay people should support Trump (who Milo calls “Daddy”).

This was the theme of “WAKE UP,” billed as “the most fab party at the RNC,” which brought Milo together with controversial activist Pamela Geller who has gained notoriety for her “Draw Mohammed”cartoon competition as well as billboards in New York which read: “In the war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

The event was panned by media outlets such as Salon in a piece which shrugged off the event as a “virulently anti-Islam party at the RNC” and The Nation, which slammed it as “Islamophobes, White Supremacists, and Gays for Trump—the Alt-Right Arrives at the RNC.”

Teen Vogue said the event “perpetuates Islamophobia.” The Nation’s piece revealed the alarmingly open presence of white nationalists at the event and the seemingly small numbers of gay people who showed up.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who spoke at the event, referred to Europe as “Eurabia” and said, “Islam is the problem.”

If they would have looked to France, they would have seen that gay support for the far right has already happened there. In 2015 a national scandal occurred when it emerged that the winner of France’s largest gay magazine’s beauty contest was an outspoken supporter of France’s right wing Front Nationale.

As early as 2012, 26% of the gay community in Paris supported the Front Nationale, as opposed to 16% of straight people.

The rationale is startlingly simple. Milo’s cult status as an online provocateur has been generated by making controversial statements and pushing the accepted boundaries of discussion. He has been able to tap into the large and growing alt-right movement — a disparate collection of mostly young white males who support socially liberal policies but who hold the left in contempt for their perceived abandonment of liberal values when it comes to human rights abuses committed in the name of Islam.

Because of this, Milo and others make the argument that only the right will stand up to defend gay people against Islamist extremism.

The movement also partially consists of white nationalists and racists, who are able to maintain their foothold because they have consistently spoken out against radical Islam (and indeed Islam in general.)

Put simply, people would rather be racist than dead.

That’s very true, of course, even very socially conservatives don’t want to kill gays. They may want to ‘cure’ them or ‘convert’ them or something of that nature, but they universally realize that conversion at the muzzle of a gun is likely to be insincere, and invalid.

Personally, I would be more pleased if the gay activists would realize that many of us, on the right, simply don’t care, in civil manners about any groups, our quest is for individual rights for each and every one. What Martin Luther King referred to as the content of the character, rather than the color of the skin (and we could easily add sexual preference to that). That underpins all of our belief structure, including the free market.

However the ideology in question is not Islam, as Geert Wilders would argue, but is Islamism, the theocratic political project which seeks to impose the religion of Islam over everyone in the world and implementsharia governance, complete with hudud punishments. This ideology does threaten the freedoms of all Americans.

Tarring all Muslims with the same brush is not only morally wrong, but also facilitates the very thinking propagated by the Islamic State and other Islamist groups –- by dividing the world into two camps, Muslims and non-Muslims.

However, the refusal of the elites around the world — with a few notable exceptions such as the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron — to correctly name and challenge the issue has created a vacuum.

People know there is a problem and know that it needs to be tackled.

When the Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) object to billboards calling on Muslims to talk to the FBI if they become suspicious of terrorism, when President Obama and Hillary Clinton point blank refuse to name the ideology at fault, people will start to draw their own conclusions about who is to blame and take action accordingly.

via Critics of “Gays for Trump” Party Miss the Point |

And so our elites themselves have prepared the battleground for the battle between the west, and not our real enemy radical Islam, but Islam itself, and quite possibly our own elites, as well. But we should forestall that, for defeating the wrong army is not victory. We need discernment in our leaders as much as we need courage enough to see and identify the enemy. And yes, there is one, and no it is not Islam. It is radical Islam, and when we fight this battle, we will do enough inadvertent damage to Islam, without confusing Islam itself with it in our minds.

This is the mistake that our political leadership (all across the west) makes. The west will be defended in the end, but there should be enough leadership to show that proper targeting will save many, many lives, on both sides.

I see little reason to fear radical Islam once proper defense measures are put in place, ones that do not overly infringe on our desiderata: individual freedom. But we have leadership that appears to be using radical Islam as a means to control their own populations, rather than defend our civilization. That is unlikely to end well for them, for us, or for Islam.

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