Saturday Sounds

Seems the Left isn’t happy with Dana Loesch’s recent NRA ad that addresses their violent methodologies.  The NRA is happy to tell them to “get over themselves.”

By the way, the “clinched fist of truth” may catch on.  There is a saying that “during times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

OK, Left: “you say you want a revolution…”

Doing the small stuff right first

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?”  Luke 16:10-12

Victor Davis Hanson notes the all-too-familiar scene of elected leaders pontificating about speculative global matters while failing utterly to address the needs of those closer to home, who put them in office in the first place:

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg used to offer all sorts of cosmic advice on the evils of smoking and the dangers of fatty foods and sugary soft drinks.  Bloomberg also frequently pontificated on abortion and global warming, earning him a progressive audience that transcended the boroughs of New York.

But in the near-record December 2010 blizzard, Bloomberg proved utterly incompetent in the elemental tasks for which he was elected: ensuring that New Yorkers were not trapped in their homes by snowdrifts in their streets that went unplowed for days.

The Bloomberg syndrome is a characteristic of contemporary government officials.  When they are unwilling or unable to address pre-modern problems in their jurisdictions – crime, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate transportation – they compensate by posing as philosopher kings who cheaply lecture on existential challenges over which they have no control.  …

We have become an arrogant generation that virtue-signals that we can change the universe when in reality we cannot even run an awards ceremony, plow snow, fix potholes, build a road or dam, or stop inner-city youths from murdering one another.

Governors who cannot build a reservoir have little business fantasizing about 200-mph super trains.

It’s said that “all politics is local.”  The failure of our self-righteous ruling class to address some very basic responsibilities is one of the main factors propelling the rise of the likes of Trump.  There are encouraging signs, however, that some in our capitols are listening to the rising anger; for instance, the call by 10 U.S. Senators and a number of Representatives to curtail or forego the standard Congressional recess in August in order to get some actual work done.

What a concept…

Note to the GOP leadership: it’s not gone unnoticed that you’ve spent more time fighting the president than trying to enable the agenda that got him elected.  You may think you’re blocking a fluke presidency.  In reality, if you stymie Trump you’re going to like what comes next even worse.  In martial arts I was taught to use three escalating approaches to stop a threat: “nice” (evasion and warning), “not-so nice” (evasion and inflicting a “stinger”), and “nasty,” involving serious physical injury to the assailant when all other options had failed and the threat had become critical enough to justify serious violence.  The Tea Party was “nice” and civil; they were unfairly demonized and marginalized.  Trump is the “not-so-nice” second attempt to get the government’s attention.  God help us all if we arrive at “nasty.”

If a Congress cannot pass a balanced budget on time, or a Mayor cannot deal with large-scale violence in their city, or a State legislature cannot pass a budget at all, then these people have no business occupying their current positions, much less running for higher office.  (And I repeat: running for an office should require the candidate not currently hold an elective office, since modern campaigning inevitably results in shortchanging current duties.) We, the people, need to stop looking at the seniority and patronage of our individual representatives, and hold them collectively responsible for our nation’s current woes.  In fact, we need to borrow a phrase from The Donald himself:

You’re fired!”

Poverty and the “success sequence”

George Will examines how failing to follow the “success sequence” often leads to devastating poverty:

The success sequence, previously suggested in research by, among others, Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution, is this: First get at least a high-school diploma, then get a job, then get married, and only then have children. Wang and Wilcox, focusing on Millennials ages 28 to 34, the oldest members of the nation’s largest generation, have found that only 3 percent who follow this sequence are poor. …

One problem today, Wilcox says, is the “soul-mate model of marriage,” a self-centered approach that regards marriage primarily as an opportunity for personal growth and fulfillment rather than as a way to form a family. Another problem is that some of the intelligentsia see the success sequence as middle-class norms to be disparaged for being middle-class norms. And as AEI social scientist Charles Murray says, too many of the successful classes, who followed the success sequence, do not preach what they practice, preferring “ecumenical niceness” to being judgmental.

In healthy societies, basic values and social arrangements are not much thought about. They are “of course” matters expressing what sociologists call a society’s “world-taken-for-granted.” They have, however, changed since President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed “unconditional” war on poverty. This word suggested a fallacious assumption: Poverty persisted only because of hitherto weak government resolve regarding the essence of war — marshalling material resources. But what if large causes of poverty are not matters of material distribution but are behavioral — bad choices and the cultures that produce them? If so, policymakers must rethink their confidence in social salvation through economic abundance.

Reversing social regression using public policies to create a healthy culture is akin to “nation-building” abroad, an American undertaking not recently crowned with success.

As Will points out, those who want to escape poverty need mentoring at least as much as they do resources.  Knowing what the norms are higher on the socio-economic ladder is essential to making progress.  Such mentoring should occur naturally in two-parent families.

But those seem to be an endangered species in the United States.

Distract and demolish?

While CNN (and many of its fellow travelers) are now caught up in the fact the network essentially threatened to “out” a citizen for exercising free speech, the Trump administration continues to make at least American history great again:

President Trump donated the first quarter of his presidential salary (to the Antietam Battlefield National Park) in early April, totaling $78,333.  The Interior Department said that after Trump donated his salary to the National Park Service, anonymous donors sent money for the agency to use in preserving the nation’s historic parks, which are suffering from a $12 billion maintenance backlog.

On top of this, Trump has reduced White House spending:

There are 110 fewer employees on White House staff under Trump than under Obama at this point in their respective presidencies.  Nineteen fewer staffers are dedicated to The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). Currently, there are five staffers dedicated to Melania Trump vs. 24 staffers who served Michelle Obama (FY2009).

The pattern in all of this seems to be that Trump’s seemingly random social media messages are keeping the corporate media in a state of apoplexy while his administration actually has the nerve to do some of the things he promised to do:

Trump scares the media, makes them angry, and distracts them. Meanwhile, quietly he moves from accomplishment to accomplishment. Downsizing the State department and EPA. Getting most of his travel ban enacted. Illegal immigration is down significantly. Exited TPP and the Paris accords. Hiring freeze on federal employees. Revocation of DAPA. Border wall prototypes being built. Handcuffs removed from ICE. Supporting apprenticeships. Reestablishing the Space Council. Establishing an American Technology Council. Establishing the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. Implementing a strategy for “America First” offshore oil drilling. Reducing federal power and increasing local power over education. Revocation of multiple executive orders written by Barack Obama. Directed EPA to revoke “Waters of the United States” regulation (the one that extended federal control of waterways to include non-navigable waterways such as irrigation ditches, flood ponds, and puddles). Revoked Obama’s Social Security gun ban. Revoked DoE Title IX guidelines. Banned administration officials from lobbying their federal agencies for five years, as well as banning them for life from lobbying foreign nations and political parties.

This is only a partial list. And while this has been happening the MSM has been focused on fake Russian collusion and his tweets and his trolling.

I believe that these are effective tactics supporting a long term strategy, and that it is working.

Several of the accomplishments above took considerable time and coordination.  Many of Trump’s choices for key positions seemed solid when first announced (It doesn’t get any better than General James Mattis for SecDef).  If it turns out that he put principled, capable people in charge of executing his promised agenda, then provided top cover by keeping the corporate media focused on him personally rather than what his administration was doing, it’s possible he might go down as one of our more accomplished presidents.  Despite the cringe-inducing antics at times, it seems the president may understand how to navigate and negate our current media-saturated environment better than any Republican president since at least Reagan — if not earlier.

Here’s hoping there truly is a method behind the madness.

Is America still a Nation?

Patrick Buchanan explores this question for Independence Day:

In the first line of the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson speaks of “one people.” The Constitution, agreed upon by the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia in 1789, begins, “We the people …”

And who were these “people”?

In Federalist No. 2, John Jay writes of them as “one united people … descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs. …” If such are the elements of nationhood and peoplehood, can we still speak of Americans as one nation and one people?

We no longer have the same ancestors. They are of every color and from every country. We do not speak one language, but rather English, Spanish and a host of others. We long ago ceased to profess the same religion. We are evangelical Christians, mainstream Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, agnostics and atheists.

Federalist No. 2 celebrated our unity. Today’s elites proclaim that our diversity is our strength. But is this true, or a tenet of trendy ideology?  After the attempted massacre of Republican congressmen at that ball field in Alexandria, Fareed Zakaria wrote: “The political polarization that is ripping this country apart” is bout “identity … gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation (and) social class.” He might have added – religion, morality, culture and history.

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Knowing the heritage

While it’s not wrong to celebrate the Fourth with fireworks and hamburgers, a “holiday” isn’t really a holiday unless one takes at least a moment to remember the significance of what is being celebrated.  Today we celebrate one of the most radical statements in history, the signers of whom literally pledges their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to bring into reality.

Would YOU be willing to put everything on the line for these words today?

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world:  Continue reading