Friday, August 19, 2016

If Donald Trump is a courageous man who has the guts to say things that others won’t, why does he always backtrack what he said in the heat of the moment at his rallies?

I have a question for all the Donald Trump supporters who see him as a courageous man who has the guts to say things that others won’t
writes Jason Taylor in a Resurgent post entitled Hillary Clinton Ought To Be Eternally Grateful To Donald Trump:
Why does he always backtrack what he said in the heat of the moment at his rallies? And afterwards why does he send out his handlers to hit the airwaves to “explain” what he meant? Why doesn’t stand by the position he articulated in front of his adoring supporters? Where’s his courage when he’s questioned on his positions? Or does he only have “courage” when speaking in front of a like-minded crowd? That’s not courage, it’s pandering.
Trump’s most recent comments in re: the “very long vacation” indicates his resolve that his loss will be very large. Trump will then become the “biggest loser” in America which will haunt him and his family for a generation.
 … Here’s the bottom line: Trump has no interest in being president. He makes these constant ludicrous statements at his rallies because he’s all about the reaction he gets from his supporters. He says something, they go nuts, the media gets all riled up then he walks it back as a “joke” or “sarcasm”. He loves getting attention and that’s it. I’m sure when the election is over and he’s lost, he’ll say he never wanted to be president anyways and that it was all just a big joke. I would be very surprised if there will even be debates. Again, Donald doesn’t want to be president.

I’ve always disliked it when someone would use the term “hater.” Understandably, for all of us there are people or things we just can’t stand. Yet to use hater seemed hyperbolic.

I have, however, come to the conclusion that Trump’s followers perfectly exemplify that word. They are haters. Their hate eats away at them and at the threads of unity that should bind us all together as Americans. Donald Trump is the worse candidate for office in the history of our republic because he exacerbates that hate on a daily basis for his own gain. It’s not enough that he just lose to Hillary; he has to lose so that the vast majority of Americans let the haters know that their kind of angry vitriol and intolerance of others will not rule the day. That is not who we are.

At the start of recess, when the bully trips one kid, a fair number of kids will laugh.

But as recess goes on, and all the bully does is keep bullying over and over, by the time recess is over, fewer and fewer kids are finding it funny. By the end of recess, there are only a handful of kids who still find the bully amusing.

Simple playground politics.

Trump said today republicans had a difficult path to the White House but stressed that wasn’t his fault. Does this man ever take responsibility for anything?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

RIP Toughy the Cat

Today, my parents' cat died.
Toughy (or Tuffy) was 14 years old.

My parents thought he would grow to be at least 17 or 18, like most of their felines, or around 23, like their previous cat, Funny Face, who doubled as Toughy's friend — especially since Toughy fully deserved his name. (He loved nothing better than a being stroked fast'n'hard — back'n'forth, in both directions, the length of his body — like some kind of Oriental massage.)

My folks, who could be described as old-timers, have been having health problems for the past year.

My father went to a clinic last week and it was discovered that he thankfully had no (skin) cancer.

My mother also visited the doctor's this week and it was discovered that she had no (stomach) cancer either.

Toughy, who seemed in perfect health only two weeks ago, suddenly stopped eating, and would only lap up the juice of her cat food, incapable of swallowing the hard stuff.

Yesterday they took Toughy to the vet's where he spent the night.

After being scanned today, it was discovered that he had five tumors throughout his body, and there was nothing to be done.

And so he was put to sleep this morning.

Call me silly if you want, or superstitious, but doesn't it seem that, in some manner, deliberately or otherwise, consciously or not, Toughy took on the diseases of the masters whom he loved (and who loved him in return) and sacrificed his life for them?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Every 4 Years, Scandinavians are "scared shitless' by whoever is campaigning for the GOP

Reality sometimes gets distorted by distance, as when, eight years ago, several Danes informed me that the United States would never elect a black man as President
writes Jeffrey Frank in the New Yorker.
This year, the visit [to Denmark, the country into which I’ve married and where, over the years, I’ve often been asked to explain what’s happening back home] was a chance to express the belief that, though Americans may practice political brinksmanship, we are not about to let loose a bomb—or probably not.

I was uneasy about this trip, because I knew that I would hear a lot and be pushed to say a lot about our Presidential election and about the bomb in question: the inescapable Donald J. Trum …

 … Friends and relatives, though, would rather talk about Trump, and want assurance that he is an aberration, even more so when his words are translated without subtlety into Danish. (A headline in the widely distributed Metroxpress read “Trump: Gun owners Should Stop Hillary Clinton.”)

 … As for the view from Denmark, when I asked a favorite member of my extended family if she was really worried about the rise of Trump, she seemed uninterested in a possible Clinton landslide, or in Trump’s bad polls, but rather, with an alarmed look and speaking perfect Americanese, said, “I’m scared shitless.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Preparing for Elections and Examining the Issues: "Let us have both sides at the table" said Lincoln—"Each is entitled to his day in court"

Widespread voter ignorance is a serious problem in our democracy,
writes Ilya Somin in the Washington Post
including in the current election. Scientific American has a new article offering several helpful suggestions on how to be a better voter:
#1 Don’t just go with your gut. Voting well means making your choice from a standpoint of informed consideration and with an eye toward the common good, says Jason Brennan, a political philosopher at Georgetown University and author of The Ethics of Voting. “Suppose you go to a doctor and ask for advice about an illness—you’d expect the doctor to have your interests at heart and to think rationally about your symptoms,” he says. “Voters owe the same thing to each other and the electorate. Vote for everyone’s best interest, and when you’re forming your political beliefs, form them based on information and learning, not on the basis of quick thinking, anger or bias….”

#2 Don’t get all your news from social media. Most of us have unfollowed, unfriended or muted contacts on Facebook, Twitter and other networks because their political views make us mad. Doing so can give rise to narrowed political views and groupthink…

Try broadening your news sources by tuning to channels or sites, papers or magazines that have a different slant than you do….

#3 Watch the next debate with your eyes closed. A recent study by Joan Y. Chiao, then at Northwestern University, a founder of the new field of cultural neuroscience, found that voters perceive male candidates as more competent and dominant than female ones, based on facial features alone. What’s more, voters of both genders tend to prefer physically attractive female candidates, whereas attractiveness doesn’t matter for male ones….
#4 Know when to abstain. I have a confession to make: I didn’t vote in the presidential primaries. I’m not used to the mail-in ballots in my adopted home state of Oregon, and I sent mine in too late to be counted. Looking back, I think perhaps it was for the best: I’d been waffling for months about which candidate to choose and hadn’t taken the time to firmly ground my choice in facts and information. “We’ve found that having more information changes people’s policy preferences,” Brennan says. “We can specifically predict what the American public likely would choose if it were better informed….” 
All four of these points are good advice. The real significance of No. 2 is not so much that social media is bad, but that most people make too little effort to consider views opposed to their own. Too often, voters act like “political fans” rather than truth-seekers, overvaluing any information that supports their preexisting views, while ignoring or dismissing anything that cuts the other way. A responsible truth-seeker would make a special effort to seek out information sources with views opposed to his or her own. They are the ones most likely to provide a counterweight to his own biases, and to present information and arguments he has not heard before.

Suggestion No. 4 is particularly well taken. If you know little or nothing about the issues at stake in an election or referendum, you can often serve the public interest best by abstaining. It isn’t necessarily wrong to be ignorant about politics. But it is wrong to inflict that ignorance on your fellow citizens. As John Stuart Mill put it, voting is not just an exercise of personal choice, but rather “the exercise of power over others.” The people elected by ignorant voters will rule over the entire society, not just those who cast ballots for them.

 … Even relatively conscientious voters will often find it difficult to effectively combat their biases, or to learn enough to understand more than a small fraction of the issues addressed by the large and complicated modern state. Also, because of the very low chance that any one vote will make a decisive difference in an election, it is often rational for individual voters to be ignorant, even though there is a terrible systemic effect if large numbers of voters behave that way. For those reasons, among others, I am not optimistic that we will overcome the problem of political ignorance any time soon. In the long run, the most effective potential solution is to reduce the size and complexity of government, and and make more of our decisions in settings where we have better incentives to seek out information and use it wisely. Nonetheless, the situation might improve at least somewhat if more voters follow Scientific American’s excellent advice.
While a lawyer in Springfield, Abraham Lincoln was asked by his partner why on Earth he subscribed to pro-slavery newspapers such as the Richmond Enquirer and Charleston Mercury
We must be tolerant of the Southerners, and learn to live with them…
the rail splitter answered William Herndon (as illustrated below by Dan Greenberg in his and my upcoming The Life & Times of Abraham Lincoln);
Let us have both sides at the table, Billie…
… Each is entitled to his day in court.
(Something the Democrat Party, then (150 years ago) or now, as well as the 20th/21st century MSM, are not too keen upon, if they can help it…)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Do both communism and liberal democracy call for people to become New Men by jettisoning their old faith, customs, arts, literature, and traditions?

Accuturated's Mark Judge. has been reading The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies. The book,
by Polish scholar Ryszard Legutko …  is an intense read that argues that liberal democracies are succumbing to a utopian ideal where individuality and eccentricity might eventually be banned. As liberals push us towards a monoculture where there is no dissent, no gender, and no conflict, the unique and the great will eventually cease to exist. No more offbeat weirdoes, eccentric crazies, or cults. No more Nation of Islam there to call me a cracker. No more of the self-made and inspired figures of the past: Duke Ellington, Hunter Thompson, Annie Leibowitz.
Legutko’s thesis is that liberal democracies have something in common with communism: the sense that time is inexorably moving towards a kind of human utopia, and that progressive bureaucrats must make sure it succeeds. Legutko first observed this after the fall of communism. Thinking that communist bureaucrats would have difficulty adjusting to Western democracy, he was surprised when the former Marxists smoothly adapted—indeed, thrived—in a system of liberal democracy. It was the hard-core anti-communists who couldn’t quite fit into the new system. They were unable to untether themselves from their faith, culture, and traditions.

Both communism and liberal democracy call for people to become New Men by jettisoning their old faith, customs, arts, literature, and traditions. Thus a Polish anti-communist goes from being told by communists that he has to abandon his old concepts of faith and family to become a member of the larger State, only to come to America after the fall of the Berlin Wall and be told he has to forego those same beliefs for the sake of the sexual revolution and the bureaucratic welfare state. Both systems believe that societies are moving towards a certain ideal state, and to stand against that is to violate not just the law but human happiness itself.

… Legutko argues that, of course, there are huge differences between communism and liberal democracy—liberal democracy is obviously a system that allows for greater freedom. He appreciates that in a free society people are able to enjoy the arts, books, and pop culture that they want. Our medical system is superior. We don’t suffer from famines. Yet Legutko argues that with so much freedom has come a kind of flattening of taste and the hard work of creating original art.

We’ve witnessed the a slow and steady debasement of our politics and popular culture—see, for example, those “man on the street” interviews where Americans can’t name who won the Revolutionary War. Enter the unelected bureaucrats who appoint themselves to steer the ship; in other words, we’re liberals and we’re here to help. Inspired by the idea that to be against them is to be “on the wrong wide of history,” both communism and contemporary liberalism demand absolute submission to the progressive plan. All resistance, no matter how grounded in genuine belief or natural law, must be quashed.

Thus in America came the monochromatic washing of a country that once could boast not only crazies like Scientologists and Louis Farrakhan, but creative and unusual icons like Norman Mailer, Georgia O’Keefe, Baptists, Hindus, dry counties, John Courtney Murray, Christian bakers, orthodox Jews, accents, and punk rockers. The eccentric and the oddball, as well as the truly great, are increasingly less able to thrive. As Legutko observes, we have a monoculture filled with people whose “loutish manners and coarse language did not have their origin in communism, but, as many found astonishing, in the patterns, or rather anti-patterns that developed in Western liberal democracies.” The revolution didn’t devour its children; progressive-minded bureaucrats did.