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And these people call the Trump electors stupid.

I can say very sincerely that I don't have much of an opinion of the brains, far-sightedness, or cunning, of the average modern politician. As far as I am concerned the breed of Bismarck and Disraeli, never mind Cavour and Lincoln, is extinct. But for sheer insanity of stupidity, for self-destructive inability to see the nose on your face, for doing the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong way and for the wrong motives, absolutely nothing compares with the pursuit of Russian hacking of Democrat computers. The Democrats should forget about those damned e-mails. They should forget about Russian intrusion, Putin, Assange, the FSB, Russian hackers and everything else. They are doing, quite literally, every wrong thing they possibly could. And if they have any influence on the CIA and the FBI at all, they should tell these bodies to shut up about them, too.

Consider, first and foremost, what a disastrous scene is playing out right now. Leaders of America's “intelligence community”, as they call them these days, are going to the President-elect to, in effect, beg him to show some public support for their position. This places Trump in the position of the receiver of supplications, and the arch-spies in the position supplicants. Now, if they think that Trump will ever give in on the issue in any public way, they are so politically stupid that to remove them from their positions would be a relief: nobody who puts himself in such a humiliating and destructive should be in a position to advise the most powerful man in the world. What the Hell are they thinking? Even if Trump were a good man, he would not have the least incentive to give in to their demands. He has called their credibility into question; to go back on that would be a setback, and also an open sign of creeping compromise with the hated DC establishment he has been elected to trash. And what does he have to lose if he doesn't? Precisely nothing. The half of his supporters who admire him regard his behaviour as all-American, and the half who voted for him in horror at the idea of a third Democrat term had such a low idea of him anyway that nothing could lower it. His core supporters would probably not think of being shocked at nations interfering in each other's internal affairs; as far as they are concerned, that is what they do. And indeed there is something about this that the Democrats, in particular, ought not to be doing, since the idea of American politicians complaining about foreign countries interfering in their elections would make a lot of the traditional left in foreign countries gag. American interference in other countries' politics is part of the hereditary folklore of exactly those forces who ought to be the Democrats' natural allies on the international stage, and to have the CIA of all agencies be the bearer of protests on this subject would rouse the bitter laughter of hundreds of millions from Santiago to Berlin. There are instruments of power that the Democrats should not be seen to be using.

But if the tactics are demented, the strategy is suicidal. The Democrats should have killed talk about those damned hacked e-mails. They should have made sure that everyone forgot that they had ever been published. Because whether or not it was the Russians who hacked them, there is one thing that no Democrat has been able to say: that they are not true. And so long as they are, and so long as they are in public, they show that everything that Catholics and Christians believe about the Democrat leadership and their attitude to them is absolutely true. The ignorance, the brutality, the contempt, the assumption that Catholicism is a remnant to be swept into the trash-can of history, are all there in black and white. And that is exactly what the Democrats should try to make people forget.

Trump has not been elected by the hard-core of unfocussed anger he expresses. He has been elected because millions of Catholics and Evangelicals had become convinced that another term such as the last two would mean the beginning of persecution in earnest, a legal and extra-legal assault on the churches that would lead them to have to make the dreadful choice between apostasy and second-rate citizenship. The split in the Christian communities ran between those who, like me, Catherine Alexander, or Rachel Hamilton, thought that Trump was so bad that he would pollute every cause he touched, and those, like Tony Esolen or Jonathon van Maren, thought that the prospect of a Rodham Clinton presidency had to be avoided even at the price of touching the foul thing. The idea of a widespread Christian enthusiasm for the orange adulterer is grossly overstated. Many people, as Barbara Ehrenreich observed, voted in advance, as if to get the damned thing over with.

But if that is the case, and if the Christian vote made the difference, then, if the Democrats cannot wean themselves of their addiction to abortion and rainbow causes, they should at least do their best not to have it talked about. And that means silence, silence, silence. And if personal documents fall into enemy hands to show what your real attitude is, be superior, ignore them, treat them with contempt. The madder you get, the more you prove that it's all true, and that the enemy has shown you as you are.
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Nothing could be more stupid than the mass negative reaction from every Tory, Republican and Conservative I know to the rising anger about income inequality. Let me explain something to you brain-deads, in the unlikely event that any of you should be able and willing to listen: We have been through five years of HELL caused purely by the idiot greed and purblind optimism of both sides of the ruling classes, left and right. You are both guilty. The majority of the population, middle and working classes and the lumpenproletariat below, were all made to pay to restore some sort of order to the ships of states that the top one per cent had driven straight into the storm; and all this time, not one banker has gone to jail or ended up in the unemployment queues, not one broker had his ill-gotten gains confiscated, not one politician has been convicted or impeached. We all know that we are the victims of the crimes of others and that the criminals are all "too big to fail" or jail. And now, on top of it, we are told to rejoice and give thanks to our wise leaders because larger numbers of McJobs, paid a pittance and as secure as a fungus-eaten tree branch, are becoming available, and the scum on top call this a recovery. Now I know that the left are as guilty of this as the right, and Obama and Labour just as much to blame as Cameron and the Republicans. But if you Stupid Parties allow Obama the monopoly of hypocritical compassion and of tokenistic but visible efforts to raise the bottom wages, then you will be punished at the polls once again, and, you pathetic shower, you will have deserved it. What I think of a continued rule of that gaggle of sexual antinomians and elite ignorami that dares call itself the left, I had better not say. (And Italy just managed to find the worst leader for its own Democratic party it could possibly hope for - but that is another story again.) Roll on the dark ages, come the barbarians, I don't think there is any health left in this world.
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A long passage (I could not bear to quote more) from Guy Benson, political editor of Townhall.com:

Read more... )

Notice that this supposed conservative, who is supposed to appeal to Christians, reproaches Obama not for his law-breaking, not for his abortionism, not for his secrecy about his past life, but because "he scolds... like a preacher". In other words, what makes Benson mad is that Obama speaks like a Christian minister. And he is perfectly right. That there is nothing admirable about wealth, that success is at best a delusion, that everything you have - beginning with your very self - is something that you were given and for which you cannot be proud but should be humble and grateful, is central and basic Christian doctrine. Anyone familiar with the New Testament will know that I have practically quoted throughout this paragraph, and will know where from.

This is what the Republicans have chosen to attack about Obama's platform: not his illegality, not his assault on religious freedom, not his extreme and underhanded support for abortion, not the secrecy that surrounds the man - but the fact that, for once, he repeated what twenty centuries of Christian teaching and twenty-five centuries of pagan and Christian philosophy had to say about wealth. IN the same way, they did not pick a candidate with principles to oppose Obama's false but real principles; they picked the unprincipled, two-faced, but undeniably rich Mitt Romney. It's all part of the same picture.

To Guy Benson, success it its own justification and demands, requires, respect and admiration. This is the Berlusconi view of the world: I built a bunch of big corporations, why doesn't everybody love me? And let us bear in mind that Berlusconi is far more successful than someone like Romney; his personal fortune dwarfs Romney's, and, unlike the latter, he has actually built companies and even towns that will outlast his life. (Berlusconi was a property developer before he went into sports and media, and built the handsome Milano2 development.) His claim to respect, and to political leadership, should by that standard be better based. And my point is not just that the man has ruined the country and been an utter disaster as a political leader; this should just tell us that the skills of a property developper and media tycoon are not necessarily transferable to political leadership. The fact is that, personally, Berlusconi is a clown. On Republican grounds, he ought to be a role model. A wiser man, who would no doubt be blasted by the average Republican as a practitioner of the "politics of envy", said that "God shows what He thinks of money by the kind of men He gives it to." Is it your impression that we are likelier to meet better moral characters, wiser people, and indeed better company and more fun persons, among the "successful" than in any other layer of society?

The Republican Party seems bent on making itself the bootlicker of the rich, whether or not they even want this despicable service (and some of the richest and most successful men in America have made it perfectly clear that they don't want it). Benson's article shows that they had not even failed to understand Obama's points: they had understood them and rejected them - evidently wealth is its own justification. As Aristotle is said to have said, if water itself sticks in a man's throat, what will you give him to wash it down with? I loathe Obama for his contempt for the law and his fanatical abortionism, but what do his opponents have to offer that would make worth anyone's while to get out of bed on polling day?
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It was once possible to believe that Ann Coulter was, if not either couth or convincing, at least convinced; that what she said, she believed. I even once had an argument with someone on the issue. Well, as far as I am concerned that was disproved to the hilt by her behaviour in the last election, where that supposed maenad of the movement right aimed all her slings and arrows at John McCain - even going on the record as saying that he was more liberal than HIlary Clinton! - while promoting, as the hero of the conservative conscience, none other than the sleazy, conscienceless, thousand-faced deal-maker Mitt Romney!

For anyone who wanted to see, that should have been the sign that this posturing professional of aggression and insult was in the pocket of the party establishment, the RINOs and Rowes, and that her game was to keep conservative anger stoked while herding it along safe, establishment-friendly ways. Anyone who supports Romney - or Giuliani, for that matter - cannot possibly be a serious conservative. Even the poor excuse that his shameless performance as Governor of Massachusetts was dictated by the complexion of that state holds no water: Romney had no need to look for the governorship of Massachusetts, of all the States of the Union. How about Utah, for instance, the Mormon homeland, whose winter Olympics he was reputed to have saved? And this was the man Coulter promoted to her readers as the champion of conservative causes.

Now, however, it has to be impossible to hold any illusion about her genuineness. Anyone who does not agree that she is a party hack eagerly in the service of party management must be wilfully blind. Some of us still remember one of her low points, when she made a nasty joke about John Edwards, with the clear implication that, one, Edwards was homosexual, and, two, that this made him contemptible (http://fpb.livejournal.com/231050.html). Well, now it seems that homosexuals are only contemptible if they are Democrats. Republican homosexuals are fine, upstanding members of the community, whose money she is glad to take as keynote speaker in a meeting. What a complete fake.
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Robert Novak is one of the most famous conservative journalists in America. He is, thank God, an honest man, and is quite willing to tell truths uncomfortable to Republicans. Today's column about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is required reading:

Read more... )

A bad joke

Apr. 8th, 2008 08:57 am
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This article (http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/CalThomas/2008/04/08/civil_tongues?page=full&comments=true) starts by arguing for politeness and substantial dialogue between opponents in the coming American Presidential elections. The zinger, however, is in the last two paragraphs. Look at the ugly, repulsive caricature of Democratic politics it gives - and ask yourselves if the author even understands what being polite to opposing views actually means. Even I, with my temper and all, could do a better job of presenting a picture, rather than an insulting caricature, of an opponent's viewpoint.
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If the Republicans wanted to win at the coming elections - and, perhaps even more important, not to confirm every commonplace of anti-American propaganda throughout the world - they should have sent Cheney (and perhaps Rumsfeld) on a diplomatic mission to Antarctica for the last couple of months. His outburst about pretend drowning being a legitimate kind of interrogation has been manna to al-Jazeera, MoveOn.org, the Daily Kos, and the Brutish Broadcasting Creeperation. But what was worse was the number of would-be reasonable Republican columnists, people who claim to be the real mainstream of American society - and, increasingly, are - who, instead of suggesting that he should suffer from a few weeks of laringytis or that he should retire to the Rockies to fish and shoot deer, have lined up to support him, even claiming that pretend drowning is not torture. All of it, mind you, said with the earnest, moralizing tone with which they (rightly) denounce the New Jerk Dimes' assaults on American security and the crass exploitation of Mark Foley's flirts with young adults by the party of gay rights. Be serious: do you imagine that if such... call them procedures... were used by any American cop, against the worst, most murderous, and most provenly guilty, of gang members - the case against the gang member would not collapse in court, and the cop and his accomplices would not go to jail, among the execrations and disgust of all decent Americans? Have you morons learned nothing from the Abu Ghraib calamity? The West is held to a higher standard of behaviour than the stateless gangs of murderous thugs who hate it; and rightly so, for these are the standards we chose for ourselves. To imagine that American citizens are protected from treatment that is acceptable even for criminals of other countries is to make a nonsense of the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence. This should not even need saying; it should be as obvious as the sun in the sky. But evidently Cheney and a number of Republicans are blind to self-evidence.

A curse on the party spirit, and a plague on both your houses. The Foley affair showed the Democrats eager to throw overboard every bit of principle they had ever claimed with respect to gay rights, merely in order to show a little-known Republican in a bad light; and the water-torture affair now shows hordes of Republicans willing to throw overboard the very historical principles they claim to live by, the principles upon which the Republic was founded, just in order to support a morally tone-deaf old man. I can see the need of things like Guantanamo, special courts, and even limitations on published evidence, because this security crisis - it is hard to call it a war, though it has some of the features of one - is something completely new in the last few centuries of history: militarized banditry with a politico-religious justification, yet leaderless and stateless, with no state to hold responsible (though many are accomplices) for its soldiers' behaviour, no common uniform, organization, or aims, supported by an anarchic network of mosques, self-proclaimed leaders, Islamic financiers, and deviant secret services. In these circumstances, to hold the enemy to every word of the Geneva Conventions, which none of them ever signed, which none of them regard except with derision, and which never envisaged worldwide banditry of their kind is, whatever the US Supreme Court may happen to think, total insanity. But there is something much more important than the Geneva Conventions, which, after all, only codify the transient and ever-changing laws of war; and that is our own collective conscience, the values in whose name we have built our societies, the values in whose name our fathers fought and died against kings and tyrants. And if Dick Cheney thinks that these grey old rules may carelessly be broken for the delusion of advantage against a fanatical enemy, then he is almost as revolutionary and as destructive as that enemy; and to that extent, he has to be rejected by the sane majority of both parties.
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A remarkably brief, yet pregnant observation by famous Catholic and conservative columnist Robert Novak:

WASHINGTON -- Disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley had two excellent job offers in the private sector this year when Rep. Tom Reynolds, National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, talked him into seeking a seventh term.

Although Reynolds says Foley was merely deciding whether to run again, the talk in Republican circles on Capitol Hill was that he was ready to leave Congress. His inappropriate e-mails to a former page were known to the Republican leadership late last year. The 16th congressional district was considered so safely Republican that any GOP candidate could carry it but now likely will be lost with Foley still on the ballot.


This is what Republicans think of values voters. One does not know whether to be more disgusted by the cheap immoralism or by the short-term stupidity that kept a major political risk in place even when he himself had the sense to want out and a good reason to leave. The last elections have proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is a major, indeed election-winning section of the American electorate to whom "values" are a major consideration; this episode shows that the Republican party leadership regards them with utter contempt. Their views do not count and are not taken into consideration. They know that values voters have nowhere to go, since the Democrats are against everything they stand for; and so the Republicans take them for granted. And the American political system makes it extremely difficult for a third party to emerge, even when the two existing ones simply do not represent their electors.
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...this is not just stupid, it is dangerous.

Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.
It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

Read more... )

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