Franz-Josef On The Throne

Last week I remarked that “For the socialist, Franz-Josef must always be on the throne and if he is not then his straw man must be created.”

As always the Leftist are out to prove me correct.

Just a few of the headlines/calls to action/cries for help from this week:

“Make Trump End Gun Violence”

“Impeach Trump Or Climate Change Will Kill Us All”

“It Was Illegal To Profit From Healthcare Until Nixon”

You get the gist…

One would think, from these headlines/calls to action/cries for help that Republican Presidents were Emperors and not Presidents – to the point “For the socialist, Franz-Josef must always be on the throne…”

Dealing with reality, past or present, is a losing argument for Leftist. In their twisted arguments Obama/Clinton/Carter failed to end gun violence, climate change or healthcare problems because they were foiled by evil Republicans, even when the evil Republicans failed to hold the House or Senate and even when the legislation responsible was passed by Democrats? Yet Trump/W/Bush I/Reagan/Nixon (everyone ignores Ford) somehow magically acquired Franz-Josef-like Imperial Power that Obama/Clinton/Carter failed to acquire? Is that about how that line of logic goes?

Obviously it is all the fault of the NRA…

Still not at peak absurdity.

More good news: Trump’s triumphs the media tries to hide and some conservatives try to ignore.

 
 
It is fashionable for some conservatives and libertarians to point out dumb things Congress or President Trump does, and to huff it makes no real difference which party controls the federal government. I feel that way myself sometimes. The impression is reinforced by a media that, in its most recent hostile self-embarrassment frenzied wrongly over how Trump tossed too much fish food into a koi pond, while largely ignoring his substantive and successful visits with a number of heads of state. Herewith, some recent reasons I’m pleased that Donald Trump won last November.
 

On the domestic front, At Trump’s direction, cabinet heads are overseeing a historic slowdown and rollback of intrusive regulations. Business confidence and consumer confidence are surging as a result. A Democrat administration would never take this direction. It’s doubtful whether any of the other Republican candidates from 2016 would have, either.

 

Singling out one of the stars, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is bring law and order to an agency with a history of overreaching lawless disorder. On a matter of substance, Pruitt is unraveling the EPA’s power grab over electricity generation via its sweeping rewrite of pollution laws. The war on coal is over, Pruitt declares.
 
On a huge matter of process, Pruitt declared an end to collusion between radical environmentalists and sympathetic bureaucrats, the so called sue and settle strategy. For decades, it’s been a dirty little open secret that activists achieve regulation through litigation. They would bring a lawsuit against the EPA arguing for more aggressive enforcement of various policies. They agency would settle, and gleefully put the screws to business and property owners, because it “had to.” No more, Pruitt says:
The days of regulation through litigation are over. We will no longer go behind closed doors and use consent decrees and settlement agreements to resolve lawsuits filed against the Agency by special interest groups where doing so would circumvent the regulatory process set forth by Congress. Additionally, gone are the days of routinely paying tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees to these groups with which we swiftly settle.
 
 
On foreign policy, I’m pleased to have a president who puts American interests first and does not seem embarrassed by American strength and prosperity. Consumers of American media wouldn’t know it, but Trump’s Asia tour was a resounding success. He was received with respect, he schmoozed ably with world leaders, and reached a number of favorable understandings and agreements. This includes a little reported pact with China, in which China agrred to invest an eye-popping $84 billion in petrochemical projects in West Virginia.
None other than Piers Morgan formerly of CNN wrote that Trump’s trip was a triumph the media tried to hide.
 
Undoubtedly, they’ll keep trying.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Senators keep gunning for nominees’ religious beliefs.

We have posted before about Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee exhibiting hostile attitudes toward nominees’ religious faith. One of the most aggressive, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse apparently wants to become the committee’s chief spear carrier in that regard.
 
In his questioning of Leonard Steven Graszn, nominated to the US Court of Appeals, Whitehouse spent the end of his time exploring the appropriate role of religion in judicial rulings and in the committee’s consideration of judicial nominations. Grasz and Whitehouse appeared to agree that religion per se should play no role in either. Rulings should be based on the law, and approval of a nominee should be based on his or her qualifications.
 
Whitehouse concluded with a seemingly reasonable sum up question: Is it appropriate for the committee to try to assure itself the nominee will adhere to that standard, and keep personal religious beliefs out of his rulings? Yes, Grasz agreed.Watch the exchange starting at 5:25 in the YouTube link below.
 
The problem with this seemingly arm’s length accord is that it opens the door for all manner of personal probing about what those beliefs are and how they might influence a nominee. This would be an unusual and insidious direction for examinations to go. There have always been nominees of various faiths. Many have come from churches with traditional views on the sanctity of life, family and marriage structure, freedom of religious practice against government regulation. The fact of the diversity of religious views has not previously been an invitation to senators to cross examine nominees about the details of their doctrines. Doing that smacks of an agenda to intrude, to expose, to isolate, and to ridicule. This is particularly troubling where Sen. Whitehouse appears to have precisely that agenda.

Indeed, in the hearing, he argued that “there’s simply no way to prevent a judge’s . . . personal beliefs from influencing” the judge’s rulings It appears Whitehouse is setting up a one-two. Ask questions eliciting any belief in a doctrine that does not comply with current legal trends, then argue the nominee will be unable to follow the law. Rather he’ll be improperly influenced by his church’s teachings.
 
Reinforcing this concern, the ABA investigator who gathered information for the ABA’s report to the Senate questioned Grasz about why he sent his children to a private religious school. That is not relevant fact gathering. An ill wind blows.
 
 
 
  

 

“The Most Fatal Thing A Man Can Do Is Try To Stand Alone”

“The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.” ― Carson McCullers

Some smart people have drawn parallels between our current global society and culture and the culture and society the world knew in the years leading up to World War I. On the surface those comparisons appear preposterous – but if one looks a little deeper then perhaps the critical traits are very similar. The primary trait that we appear to have in common with 105 years ago is the belief that the world dynamic and organization is static. Now – again – on the surface that assertion appears preposterous. Look a little deeper and it is perhaps not preposterous at all.

One can easily argue that the Trump people and the Sanders people are interested in burning it all down. However if one was to listen to what they actually proclaim then they are less interested in burning it down than they are in cherry-picking events, policies and social dynamics from the past. Furthermore they are predicating this wish list of cherry picked items on a perpetual continuation of the current system.

The differences in Trump and Sanders culture are really not about changing the fundamental system but more about which cherry picked items from the past get included on this wish list. Beyond even that the cherry picked items are often derived from a fictional past created to conform to an ideological and political imperative. The wish list has little to do with what really happened in the past and nothing at all to do with cultural, economic and political context around these supposed events. Both the Trump and Sanders people to a large degree believe that sheer government power can create a fictional past that they wish to reside in today.

Sometimes societies just collectively go insane. However it is a strain of insanity that we have known before.

In a very real way the Trump and Sanders people are fighting against change. Perhaps more specifically they are fighting against the unknown that is an inherent component of change.

Socialist in 1912 Europe were ostensibly fighting for change – but were they really? Socialism was derived as a response, and successor, to a specific government-economic-cultural model. Once that specific government-economic-cultural model ceased to exist the socialist argument also ceased to exist. In order to perpetuate the socialist argument the socialist have had to create fictional straw men to argue against – because the pro-socialist argument simply ceases to exist when the target of its’ argument also ceases to exist. Socialist always become fully invested in a static system – having to create new fictions and new straw men in order to adapt to change and make your ideas appear appealing is strenuous work. When the pre-existing system utterly melted down from 1917 to 1919 the only socialist capable of taking advantage of that meltdown were Lenin and Trotsky. Lenin and Trotsky succeeded due to their willingness to kill anyone with an alternate idea and by creating fiction on the level that Orwell wrote so eloquently of in ‘Animal Farm.’

Socialism is predicated on opposing a specific system – and if that system does not exist then a fictional opposition system must be created in order that socialism not appear as absurd as it actually is. For the socialist, Franz-Josef must always be on the throne and if he is not then his straw man must be created.

To summarize, change is the lethal enemy of socialism.

The Trump people often seem to be equally as wedded to cherry picking the past. The newsflash here is that Trump is not Reagan and this is not the 1980’s – but quite a few people seem to have predicated their view of the world on Trump being Reagan and this still being the 1980’s.

The world is changing and that change is quite possibly going to be on a similar scale as 1914-1919. Demographics, debt and the human yearning for power and wealth drives the change. These three things are intertwined with each other. To a large degree we in the United States are oblivious to the change and how these things are connected.

These three things are not secrets but the popular culture in the United States has relegated them to the category of not important – mostly because they do not fit the narrative that popular culture desires to be true. Four articles from just this weekend’s news:

From “Deutsche Bank: The Fiat Money World May Be Coming to An End”:

“Reid’s basic contention is this: The dominance of the fiat currency system since Richard Nixon decoupled gold from the dollar in 1971 “is inherently unstable and prone to high inflation,” and an offsetting disinflationary shock that kept it afloat since 1980 is now slowly reversing.

If that’s the case, Reid says the fiat currency system — a term which describes any currency whose value is backed by the government that issued it, rather than by a commodity like gold or silver — could be “seriously tested” over the next decade.”

From “Is There Any Way Out of the ECB’s Trap?”

“Despite the massive injection of liquidity, he knows that he can not disguise political risks such as the secessionist coup in Catalonia. The Ibex reflects this, making it clear that the European Central Bank does not print prosperity, it only puts a floor to valuations.”

From “Animation: The Rapidly Aging Western World”

“However, one problem of particular importance – at least in places like Europe and the Americas – is a rapidly aging population. As the population shifts grayer, potential consequences include higher dependency ratios, rising healthcare costs, and shifting economies and cities.”

From “What Now?” by James Kunstler:

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has been a giant gasoline bomb waiting to explode for decades. It occupies one of the geographically least hospitable corners of the earth. Its existence as a modern (cough cough) state relies strictly on the reserves of oil discovered as recently as the late 1930s, that is, within the lifetime of people still reading this blog. The oil supply is in steep decline, and so, of course, is the stability of the kingdom.

Politically, it’s a super-medieval operation, an absolute monarchy tied to a severe religious order with the law floating precariously between the two, and old-fashioned customs such as the public beheading of criminals (for misdeeds such as “adultery,” “atheism,” and “sorcery”). The Saud clan has controlled the throne all these years, and its grip on power is slipping as the country itself slips into the prospective next era of its history, minus the endless gusher of oil that has made its existence possible — hence, a true existential crisis without the usual pseudo-intellectual bullshit.”

Of course on top of all of this is the global debt. Global debt now approached 360% of global GDP (see attached chart) – debt accumulated by the same constituencies that also have aging demographics. Let that sink in. Paying that debt back or defaulting on that debt is a requirement – a requirement that does not fit the narrative of either the Trump or the Sanders people. The demographics-debt conundrum is driving the change that both the Trump and Sanders people violently oppose. Just a note – debt and demographics are infinitely more powerful than any political system or fantasies that our popular culture embraces. Our collective insanity is the compulsion to embrace and predicate our lives on the ephemeral when that ephemeral has a limited shelf life with the expiration date in clear sight.

The world has elected to adopt an unsustainable monetary policy that has created unprecedented debt – and elected to do that at a time when the demographics for the people who have consumed that debt are such that repaying that debt would be most damaging and unpopular. Change is barreling down the highway at us and we have decided to have a picnic in the middle of the road.

Beyond even that – the linchpin in the global monetary system is the political stability of the Gulf States and most importantly of Saudi Arabia. If Saudi Arabia were to turn away from the petrodollar it is then entirely likely that the whole house of cards as we have known it will come down.

Everything we know in terms of government services is likely to change. By change, I mean to go away. The welfare state is dying due to debt-demographics and having predicated its’ continued financialization on the House of Saud. No matter how many North Africans that Europe imports or Central Americans that the United States imports it will not be enough to change the fundamental demographics – but it does change the fundamental culture. China and Japan are not even trying to import younger people in order to salvage their welfare states – unlike Europe and the United States, Asia appears simply willing to take the pain. Global monetary policy has created a debt trap in order that the shelf life of our fantasy narratives may be extended – a debt trap dependent on the Saudi’s to boot. The debt trap will eventually spark a liquidity crisis that will lead to a general economic crisis. As I said above, it is a strain of insanity that we have known before. When interest rates rise, as must inevitably happen someday, the fantasy narratives will come to an end for all but the most deluded.

Those of us who recognize this demographics-debt-monetary policy-Saudi situation is driving the change that will come, we have more interest in determining what comes next than arguing violently over what are ephemeral issues, excepting circumstances where the ephemeral issues will determine what comes next. In short – the more freedom and liberty then the more fluidly and adeptly we will be able to adapt to the coming change. This is why enhanced government control – such as socialism – will cause more pain as the changes occur. In fact, government control can only extend the pain. The last thing we will need is government trying to ‘fix this’ or make it ‘fair.’ That is an invitation to experience the next Lenin and Trotsky.

I began this article with a quote from Carson McCullers, “The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.” A coalescing is beginning to occur among those who acquiesce to the reality of the coming change. While it may sometimes appear that we stand alone, every day more and more people from across the political spectrums who have maintained that ability to recognize fictional narratives for what they are point out the reality to come.

Buckle up.

The Tribe Defending Religious Faith at Town Hall

Some of President Trump’s judicial nominees have faced questioning from Democrat senators that seems more like a religious inquisition than discussion of judicial philosophy and temperament. The senators’ motives appear troublingly anti-faith. I posted about it here yesterday. Town Hall published a modified version today. Please check it out at the link below.

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Left’s Litmus Test for Confirmation: Deny Your Faith or Be Rejected.

 

 

Left’s Looming Litmus Test for Confirmation: Deny Your Faith or Be Rejected.

 
 
Some of President Trump’s judicial nominees have faced questions from Democrat senators that seem more like a religious inquisition than a discussion of judicial philosophy and temperament. Notre Dame law professor Amy Barrett was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals last week, but not before having a notable exchange with Sen. Diane Feinstein who challenged her on a number of Catholic teachings and concluded: “The dogma lives loudly within you and that is concerning.” Sen. Dick Durbin probed another fine point of jurisprudence, asking: “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” Both senators voted against Barrett in committee and in the full Senate.
 
Feinstein and Durbin’s queries drew widespread criticism. Some suggested Democrats were hazardously close to imposing a religious–or more precisely, an anti-religious–test for confirmation. Other major media, however, pressed on, trying to keep nominees’ religious beliefs a viable question mark for confirmation. “Some Worry About Judicial Nominee’s Ties to a Religious Group” fretted The New York Times. The Times printed a lengthy article questioning Barrett’s membership in an interfaith group called People of Faith, that promotes integrating biblical principles into members’ personal and family lives. The Atlantic was surprisingly politically candid, and observed that conservative religious positions on issues like marriage or abortion will make nominees targets for interrogation. “What’s the line between examining a nominee’s religious convictions and believing those convictions disqualify her from serving the country?” The magazine was marking a path for Democrat senators to keep testing that line.
 
They are trying. Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse asked district court nominee Trevor McFadden about his church’s teachings on gay clergy, the definition of marriage, and the roles of mothers and fathers in families. Whitehouse then asked McFadden if he would be able to follow Supreme Court precedent that reaches results different from the tenets of his faith. National Review writer Ramesh Ponnuru illustrates that this seemingly reasonable question might seem less reasonable if Republicans quizzed members of liberal congregations whether they could fairly enforce such policies as immigration law or the First Amendment rights of religious employers who object to funding abortion. Best to query directly about matters of policy and philosophy directly, without rooting them in a nominee’s religious beliefs.
 

It’s also important to recognize the bigger picture. These questions are part of a longer term trend to marginalize traditional religious beliefs and make believers somehow exotic and unacceptable.

 

One early such skirmish arose from Sen. Marco Rubio’s famous interview with GQ Magazine, when, unrelated to any other topic, the interviewer asked Rubio how old he believes the earth is. Rubio, then thought to be an early presidential frontrunner responded a bit clumsily and noncommittally. Of course the game was to either force Rubio to affirm a personal belief the earth is 4.5 billion years old—disturbing some of his fundamentalist religious supporters–or to mock and stigmatize him–and all others—who might hedge on commonly accepted scientific knowledge.
 
This position, stretched to its logical end, amounts to demanding that politicians reject belief in God’s divinity and supremacy. That is, it countenances loyalty only to a god who exercises no will or power or doctrinal demands beyond passively upholding the principles set forth in Science 101. The random question was untethered from public policy, from issues in the US Senate, or measures Rubio might pursue. It arose from a singular goal unrelated to reporting current events: GQ wanted to conjure an effective wedge question and discredit or embarrass a believing conservative.
 
Major national media took that ball and ran with it. If unchecked, this trend will take politics in an ugly, anti-religious direction. The slope it heads down would eliminate the reasonable space of co-existence between matters of physical science and matters of faith, doctrine, and belief. Traditionally, it has been possible to accept and apply all the knowledge that science offers while still believing there is divine power and truth that can’t be caught and measured under a microscope.
 
Some on the left want to end the accommodation, leaving only the science text as publicly acceptable. I experienced this around the time of the Rubio story. A Democratic activist posted on social media chortling about Rubio’s discomfort. I responded by questioning the relevance and good faith of GQ’s question. Suddenly, several other liberals were on the thread, demanding my answer to the same query.
 
Their interest in getting a term-limited state lawmaker on record was surprising. Their reasoning was revealing and troubling. The earth’s age is determined by scientific measurements of carbon, radioactivity, and other phenomena. Those technologies also inform the operation of nuclear reactors, radiation therapy, and a host of other modern processes. If someone believes in a literal account of biblical creation, then he’s a threat to modernity, technology, comfort.
 
It’s easy to see where the demands of this absolute thinking can lead:
 
Do you believe in the Virgin birth? Then how can we trust you to oversee HHS programs and youth sex education? If you won’t swear absolute allegiance to the principles of biological reality and sexual autonomy, then you are a menace.
 
Do you believe there was a Biblical flood? Is that established in the geologic record? How can you be trusted to oversee the Department of the Interior, the Geological Survey or BLM?
 
Did Moses part the Red Sea? You must be kept away from the National Weather Service.
 
Do you believe Jesus walked on the water to his disciples in the boat? Then how can you oversee a Navy that relies on conventional flotation physics to design its ships?
 
Do you believe He ascended after His resurrection? You are disqualified from commanding the Air Force: It relies on Newtonian physics to harness aerodynamics.
 
Do you believe in resurrection at all? How can we trust you to make life and death decisions if you believe life is just a dress rehearsal and we all get a do over?
 
Only creativity limits the attacks on traditional faith and the grounds to exclude believers.
 
If the Left has its way, the only learning and belief that will be okay to acknowledge is what comes from public school. That must eclipse and silence anything that comes from Sunday School.
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