Sunday, May 29, 2016

My response to Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager has written a thoughtful piece explaining why he cannot understand the position of many conservatives, including myself, who do not see that stopping Hillary Clinton is more important than stopping Donald Trump. This is my response to Mr. Prager and several other people I respect who feel the same way..

My respect for Dennis Prager knows no bounds, but he is one of the several people whom  I respect whom I believe to be dead wrong about this. It seems to me that their strong and very appropriate distaste for Hillary Clinton has blinded them to what Trump is. Those memes of Donald Trump in a Nazi uniform about to push a button that will gas Bernie Sander or of Ben Shapiro (above) dressed as a concentration camp inmate at “Camp Trump” were posted on the internet by Trump’s supporters, not his opponents. Spend any time at all on Twitter with them and you’ll come to realize the kind of people he attracts.

As bad as Hillary would doubtless be, I fail to see a single one of the issues Mr. Prager mentions on which we can rely on Trump to act any differently than she would. He changes his positions as often as he changes his shirt. Less than a year ago he was for amnesty, pro-choice, and favored a single-payer compulsory national health care system. Only a few months ago he held up his radical pro-choice sister as an example of the kind of people he’d appoint to the Supreme Court. He has no principles as we understand the term. His positions are whatever might be advantageous to Donald Trump at the moment. Donald Trump is his only cause. Several psychiatrists have written to warn that he seems to be a classic case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and warning us about the dangers of giving such  person power.  Could you sleep at night knowing that the man whose finger was on the button flew into an abusive rage whenever somebody criticized him, habitually threatens people who disagree with him with the powers of retaliation he would have at his disposal if he is elected? Shouldn’t we expect the President of the United States at the very least to have greater emotional maturity than a third grader?

This is a dangerous man- and an evil one. We must not let our distaste for Hillary blind us to the strong possibility that Donald Trump might actually be worse. There are some elections in which the phrase “lesser of two evils” has no meaning because both options are unacceptably evil and to choose between them is to soil ourselves morally. No, Mr. Prager. We did not side with Stalin against Hitler because he was the lesser evil; in fact, at least in terms of his total number of victims, Stalin was almost certainly the greater evil of the two. We did what was right in the circumstances without regard for the distinction between the two. We simply found ourselves on the same side as he was when Pearl Harbor was bombed. That is a huge difference!

Either of these people would be a one-term president, Hillary because of her age, her personal abrasiveness and the fact that only twice in our history has either party won four straight presidential elections, and Trump because he’s both crazy and incompetent and would enrage those who follow him now by his failure to follow through on his promises. The question is who we want to elect in 2020. If Trump wins- unlikely as I believe that to be- it will be a liberal Democrat, and it may be a generation before another Republican is elected. Worse, the Republican party will be captive to a movement that is opposed to everything it has historically stood for. That is why in view of Trump’s nomination, I no longer consider myself a Republican, and wish for Mr. Kristol’s New Federalist Party, or whatever it’s called, not simply a short future as a lifeboat for real Republicans, but permanent status as a conservative party which excludes the racists, anti-Semites and neo-fascists who have turned the party of Lincoln and Reagan into the party of Trump.

It will be decades before the GOP can invoke Lincoln or Reagan again with a straight face. I’d rather be an independent than to share a party which has shown itself capable of nominating the man. There are elections in which both candidates are so evil that the question of who is the lesser is meaningless. And one becomes morally an accomplice of any evil when one knowingly votes for it.

This, I believe, is one of them.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Texas DA's affidavit shows that her office colluded with Planned Parenthood in the video case

The guilty parties have admitted to illegally conspiring to transfer an investigation into from Planned Parenthood's baby chop shop business to pro-life journalists David Dalieden and Sandra Merritt, who sought to expose it.

Assistant District Attorney Sunni Mitchell admitted deceiving Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in order to share evidence against Planned Parenthood with attornies for the abortion provider. Paxton had ordered the Harris County District Attorney to conduct an investigation into allegations, supported by videos made by Dalieden and Harris, that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling pieces of aborted fetuses for profit and designing abortion procedures so as to ensure the saleability of organs. Paxton had specifically ordered the District Attorney's office not to share evidence with Planned Parenthood. But the DA disobeyed the order, and Planned Parenthood attorney Josh Schaffer says he then "suggested" to the District Attorney's office that the investigation be re-directed to Dalieden, Merrit, and the Center for Medical Progress. That "suggestion" was followed, and Daleiden and Merritt rather than Planned Parenthood or its officers were indicted.

Schaffer said that he was informed by the District Attorney's office that no investigation of Planned Parenthood ever took place.

Harris County District Attorney Devin Anderson admitted to breaking the law by making the indictments of Dalieden and Merritt public before they were served or arrested. She downplayed the violation as "technical" and "inconsequential." The admissions came in an affidavit filed by Anderson in opposition to a motion to quash the indictments against Dalieden and Merritt.

In 2013, Harris protected an abortionist accused of murdering an infant born alive and subsequently killed despite video and photographic evidence of his having done so. The doctor was represented by a close friend of Harris who had contributed to her campaign. Mitchell also has close ties to the pro-choice community. Questions have consistently been raised by attornies for Dalieden and Merrit as to the ability of either to conduct an unbiased investigation.The admissions came during proceedings to quash the indictments against Dalieden and Mitchell.

But the farce may not be over. The judge overseeing the hearing on the motion to quash the indictments against Dalieden and Merritt is Brock Davis, DA Mitchell's former law partner.

Expect a motion that His Honor recuse himself.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Donald dons his tinfoil hat. Again.

You may remember that back when her husband was president, a dear friend of Hillary Clinton- White House aide Vince Foster- committed suicide in Rock Creek Park. By all reports, Hillary was devastated.

Well, Donald Trump is insinuating that he was murdered and that Hillary had something to do with it!

Why would she do that? Why would he think that? Why with no motive or evidence would he say it even if he did? Is there any nutty conspiracy theory this man will not endorse? He's claimed that vaccines cause autism. I've yet to hear him admit that President Obama was not, as he claimed, born in Kenya. He's claimed that George W. Bush knew in advance that 9/11 was going to happen and that he knew that there were no WMD's in Iraq when he ordered the invasion. He thinks that Antonin Scalia may have been murdered, and claimed that Ted Cruz's father was somehow implicated in the Kennedy assassination.

Does he ever stop and pay attention to what's going to come out of his mouth next?

Does he care?

Do you?

How can anybody rest when a major American political party is about to nominate somebody as immature and irresponsible as Donald Trump to be the guy with his finger on the button?

No wonder the tinfoil hat brigade loves Trump. He's one of them!

ADDENDUM: Glenn Beck discusses this insanity:

Ignore the polls. It's not going to be close.

It's written by a liberal in a liberal paper, but here's a pretty good explanation of why you shouldn't believe that because the polls are close at the moment and Rasmussen has him winning by five points he's going to escape being buried alive this November.

Rasmussen's methods have given them a track record of overestimating the Republican vote, and their methodology this time out leads to conclusions that are almost funny. Hillary is not going to get less than half of the non-white vote, and The Donald isn't going to come anywhere near 23% of the Hispanic vote! And once the Democratic propaganda machine that did such a number on better men like John McCain and Mitt Romney is done with this clown, he's going to wish he'd never embarked on this ego trip.

The real thing to worry about is the Democrats retaking one or both houses of Congress. But only twice in our history ha either party won four straight elections. Trump will be such an enormous drag on the ticket that losing Congress is quite possible.

Hillary will be rather elderly in 2020. She's already crazy unpopular- unpopular enough that she'd be a sure loser against almost anybody other than Donald Trump. We can ride out four years of Hillary. Help is on the way in 2020. And who knows? The Supreme Court may even still be salvageable.!

But Hillary is going to win, it's not going to be close- and don't panic at the prospect of four years of Hillary Clinton. The Republic will survive it far more easily than the abject failure Trump would be as president, and the stain it would put on our nation's soul to elect him.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Trump's ugly following, and why it must not be allowed power

Twitter is a fascinating place. Talk politics- and especially about Donald Trump- on Twitter for very long these days and Trump's core constituency will come scurrying out from beneath whatever rocks they call home like so many cockroaches.

Be warned. Not only are they crazy and full of hate, but they are not from the same planet the rest of us call home. Or even the same galaxy. They have their own reality- and it has very little to do with the one we live in.

Some actually seem to imitate The Donald's juvenile habit of responding to criticism or disagreement first, last and always by character assassination and name-calling. Some even imitate his cadences and rhetorical style, incoherence and all.

Here you will find self-proclaimed fascists and anti-Semites galore, along with white supremacists of every description. They are coming out into the light now because they've been legitimized by Trump's impending nomination by the party of Abraham Lincoln. They have a special term for conservatives who do not like Trump. They call us "cuckservatives."

The "cuck" part is a shortened form of "cuckold." The term implies that we are willing to have African-American men seduce and rape our wives and daughters. When you encounter a person using that term, be aware of who- and what- you're dealing with.When you crawl into bed with Donald Trump, these are the people you're sleeping with.When you vote for Donald Trump, that is what you're making common cause with and legitimizing.

Don't be fooled. If you really and truly hate Hillary Clinton so much that you're willing to hand the White House and effectively the country to these people, well, you're entitled to the pleasure of their fellowship.

But I really can't see how any decent, normal person can have anything to do with them without wanting to take a long, hot shower.

And speaking of Donald Trump...

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway tweeted about this Marc Fitch article at The Federalist on the nature and uses of horror fiction.

Interesting and instructive.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Yes, there IS something worse than Hillary Clinton

A nation with a great past has fallen on hard times. Part of the problem is economic. Part is a loss of national identity and self-confidence. There is strong dissatisfaction with conventional politics and with politicians. The nation is severely polarized ideologically, but neither the Right nor the Left seems to have the answers people are looking for. The nation feels threatened by forces both inside and outside itself, and people feel insecure personally as well as financially.

Then along comes a man who transcends ideology. He is, quite frankly, a con man, a demagogue. His program is a self-contradictory mess, an ideological hodge-podge. The details may change over and over again. But they don't matter. Ideas don't matter. What matters is The Leader. He believes himself to be a man of destiny, a history-making, messianic figure who is able to solve all the nation's problems, not with policy or practical solutions, but through the force of his own leadership and personality. And his followers agree. No matter what he says, no matter what he does, they believe that he can do no wrong.

He, personally, is The Cause. His fanatical disciples don't care about his program or lack of it, nor his past, however shady, or the illogical and self-contradictory nature of his statements and will simply dismiss out of hand any evidence that they're being conned. They will believe anything he tells them, no matter how obviously false or illogical- because, having abandoned hope in policy and conventional solutions, they are putting their confidence in him personally.They have surrendered their judgment to him. If the Leader were to, say, commit murder in public on Fifth Avenue in New York in broad daylight, his followers would still stand by him. He knows that. He may even brag about it.

The Leader is a bully. He threatens and encourages violence against those who oppose him. But most of all, he sets himself up as the champion of the average man and woman against not only the plutocrats on the Right and the radicals on the Left but against The Other- against an unpopular minority or minorities perceived as alien and somehow threatening who can be made a scapegoat for the problems of the nation and of the average citizen. And he feeds on and enables and nurtures the bully and the bigot in the average citizen. He gives them scapegoats. He sanctions darker impulses of people who are angry at their own powerlessness and hungry for somebody to blame.

There is a name or this ideology of the Leader. It was originated by one of its most prominent advocates, a gentleman by the name of Adolf Hitler. It's called the F├╝hrerprinzip, and it is the sum and substance of the candidacy of Donald Trump.

"Make America Great Again" differs not at all from Mussolini's evocation of the glories of ancient Rome, or Hitler's harping on the greatness of the German past. Stirring a nation unsure of itself with memories of past glories now departed because it has been "betrayed" by weak leaders and diabolical enemies is a classic ingredient of the fascist appeal. And heaven forfend that anybody should point out that, with all its problems, America is still great!

Some may think I'm "jumping the shark," as the saying goes. "It can't happen here," they will insist. That was even the title of Sinclair Lewis's novel of the rise of Buzz Windrip, his fictional American dictator.Well, it is happening here, right before our very eyes.

As Robert Kagan points out in this piece in the Washington Post, the world has seen it before. It should be quite a familiar pattern by now:

The Republican Party’s attempt to treat Donald Trump as a normal political candidate would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic. If only he would mouth the party’s “conservative” principles, all would be well.

But of course, the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.

And the source of allegiance? We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation. Maybe some of it does. But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies — his proposals change daily. What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger. His public discourse consists of attacking or ridiculing a wide range of “others” — Muslims, Hispanics, women, Chinese, Mexicans, Europeans, Arabs, immigrants, refugees — whom he depicts either as threats or as objects of derision. His program, such as it is, consists chiefly of promises to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion. He will deport them, bar them, get them to knuckle under, make them pay up or make them shut up....

This phenomenon has arisen in other democratic and quasi-democratic countries over the past century, and it has generally been called “fascism.” Fascist movements, too, had no coherent ideology, no clear set of prescriptions for what ailed society. “National socialism” was a bundle of contradictions, united chiefly by what, and who, it opposed; fascism in Italy was anti-liberal, anti-democratic, anti-Marxist, anti-capitalist and anti-clerical. Successful fascism was not about policies but about the strongman, the leader (Il Duce, Der Fuhrer), in whom could be entrusted the fate of the nation.

Yes, the world has seen this before. And this is the thing which Republicans and conservatives obsessed with the idea that nothing could possibly be worse than Hillary Clinton fail to see: There is something worse, and it's playing out right before them. In order to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming president, they are prepared to vote for classic fascism- naked, frank, honest, unadorned, and not hiding what it is.

There is a great German play in which a mysterious traveler checks in at an inn. He begins making requests of the landlord- and first, seemingly innocent requests, like permission to store a large number of barrels in the basement. The landlord agrees.

As the play goes on, the identity of the guest becomes clearer and clearer. He is Satan himself. And the reason for his presence becomes clearer and clearer. He intends to blow up not only the inn but the entire town. The barrels contain gunpowder.

The accommodating landlord helps his guest move the barrels downstairs. Moment by moment, the direction events are taking becomes clearer and clearer. Yet the landlord still remains the gracious host and accedes to the visitor's every request.

And then, at the end of the play, the visitor asks the landlord for a match. And he gives it to him.

We have ample warning. The world has seen this before.

The Trump phenomenon is a textbook reprise of the familiar story which has played out over and over again, from Germany and Italy in the 1930's to various South American nations ever since they gained their independence. The rise of Donald Trump is a classic example of the rise of Fascism.

There will be those who will dismiss this as an overreaction. They are wrong. It may well be that our institutions would stop President Trump from taking his inherently fascist movement to the lengths to which the movement has been taken by other Fuhrers and Duces and Caudillos. Or maybe not. But that's hardly the point, is it?

In America, we don't do things that way.

Yes, there is something worse than Hillary Clinton. And Republicans who plan to vote for Donald Trump in order to stop her from becoming president are planning, whether they want to admit this to themselves or not, to vote for it.

To vote for Donald Trump is to vote against everything American has ever stood for.

It is, simply and plainly, to vote for fascism- for the Fuhrerprinzip.

That and only that is what Donald Trump has to offer.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Symphony: If you have a blog, check it out!

You may have noticed the banner at the top of the page and the social media links on the left side, which are not standard Blogger widgets. They're from a service called Symphony, which is a nice tool for us bloggers, and a versatile one.

Blog widgets some and blog widgets go. I"m still in mourning for Blogrolling, which made linking to other blogs one finds useful so much easier and efficient. And I was delighted with Networked Blogs, the free utility which enabled blog posts to be automatically shared to Facebook and Twitter.

Alas, such things cost money and Networked Blogs has ridden off into the sunset. But Symphony, its replacement, is an upgrade. After a free trial you have to pay for it, but it includes links on your blog to social media and a banner (like the one above) with a specialized link to the web page of your choice, as well as a range of other tools which go far beyond simply automatically posting your blogging to social media.

Obviously, I liked free better. But the service is still very helpful. I get a great deal f traffic from Facebook and Twitter, and Symphony makes it possible.

I do wish Symphony would go back to Network Bogs' practice of posting a screen shot of the blog along with the link you one's post if there was no picture in the post itself. That little blue box in the white field is kind of ugly. Since I have two blogs, I also wish it were perhaps possible to get a discount on the second one, or maybe even get unlimited blogs for a single price. I have no idea o what the economics of this might be, but I would find it helpful.

But still, if you have a blog, check Symphony out. IAs I mentioned, it  provides a variety services besides the ones I use here, and while I can't actually quote the pricing schedule right off my head, it's not expensive. You even get a free trial- and, as you've probably guessed by now, a free year if you write a review on your blog! ;)

Trump issues new and improved version of the Bible

Donald Trump, a professing Christian, has long had serious problems with certain aspects of the Bible. Since it obviously cannot be Trump who is in error, he has therefore issued a new an improved version, fixing the things God got wrong.

It should be a big seller among Trump supporters, many of whom seem to have trouble telling the difference between the two anyway.

Trump expressed confidence that  the Almighty would b grateful for the mentoring. "I'm sure He'll be encouraged," The Donald said, "in his aspiration to someday be another Donald Trump."

God's press secretary, the Archangel Gabriel, had no comment but did not look happy.

Meanwhile, meteorologists were at a loss to explain the darkening of the skies over Trump Tower and the fact that lightning has struck it n the average of once every five minutes since the announcement. Coincidentally, that's the same average interval a recent study said passes between lies told by Trump.

The long-term forecast, in any case, is for heavy rain or forty days and nights beginning with the calling to order of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18.

Current Las Vegas odds on the election

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Beyond bizarre

Students at a California university have created a "listening space" to recover from the "trauma" of having Ben Shapiro give a speech there a few months ago.

This includes students who weren't at the speech.

Poor babies! Not only are they traumatized by hearing an opinion they disagree with, but they're traumatized by hearing about it.

I guess the term "liberal education" need to be revised to "progressive education." Or simply "nursery school."

HT: National Review Online