Friday, August 18, 2017

China and India Guard Against the Preposterous

By George Friedman Aug 18, 2017

China and India have been locked in a military standoff in a remote section of the Himalayas for a couple of months. At first it appeared to be the latest of the minor clashes that have flared between the countries for decades. But this time it has lasted longer than usual. There are two questions to be answered. The first is what is the geopolitical interest, if any, that is driving the standoff? The second is why is it happening now?......To Read More....

My Take - I found this commentary interesting and since they say "we value your thoughts and opinions", I send my thoughts back. No one has ever responded so I have no idea if anyone reads them, but here are my thoughts.
Dear Mr. Friedman,
I enjoyed your commentary, but the thing that keeps coming back to me is what is the gain for either country to invade. China's economy is fraudulent and they know they can't afford such an endeavor.  India's is much better, so why would they want to invade China? 
China's an economic, ethic and bureaucratic mess filled with such massive corruption it's amazing they get anything done.The ethnic Han are hated by all the other ethnic groups, who consider China's government to be illegitimate, and most of the areas you highlight have low populations with terrains that are either mountainous or arid, with societal paradigms that have been foundational for centuries.  China isn't a truly modern nation - it's a mess!  
When China's economy collapses - and I expect that in less than ten years, and maybe as little as five -Tibet will become totally independent, outer reaches of China are now and have been ruled by local commies making up the rules as they go along, potentially turning China into a "former" nation once again ruled by war lords. 
Most of the Chinese population of almost one and a half billion people live in an area no bigger than the land mass East of the Mississippi River in the U.S. When they collapse starvation will become so severe they'll be begging India for food. So what do I think is really happening?  
I think this is just another one of China's object lesson military actions as was the 1962 action against India.  The difference now is India was completely shocked their fellow socialists would invade them, but that's not going to happen now and China knows it.  
But the Chinese just wanted to give their neighbors an intimidation smack in the head.  That same mentality is at play now as what China wants to do is create an Eastern Asia economic hegemony though intimidation.  They're doing it with Japan, the Phillipines and attempting to thwart the U.S. with their territorial claims in international waters.  They need to keep America's Navy out, which is why they're wasting money on aircraft carriers with out of date Russian technology.   
That may have been a viable plan under Obama or Clinton, but that won't work now.  
At any rate - interesting commentary.  
Best Wishes, 
Rich Kozlovich
Paradigms and Demograhics




The Federal Government Should Get Out of Infrastructure

August 17, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty

I’ve called for the abolition of the Department of Transportation. On more than one occasion.  So I was very excited to see this new video about infrastructure from Johan Norberg.



Very well put. As Johan says (channeling Bastiat), we should remember that jobs are destroyed when money is taken out of the private sector to build infrastructure.

So it behooves us to make sure that any new project isn’t a boondoggle and instead will increase the economy’s productive capacity.

Which is why we should strive for decentralization and shrink Washignton’s footprint. If a state or local government is paying for its own projects, presumably it’ll have a greater incentive to avoid wasteful pork. When the federal government pays, by contrast, that’s a recipe for waste.
Veronique de Rugy explains the issue in a column for Reason. She starts with some economic analysis.
Economists have long recognized that roads, bridges, airports, and canals are the conduits through which goods are exchanged, and as such, infrastructure can play a productive role in economic growth. But not all infrastructure spending is equal. Ample literature shows, in fact, that it’s a particularly bad vehicle for stimulus and does not, in practice, boost short-term jobs or economic growth. …Publicly funded infrastructure projects often aren’t good investments in the long term, either. Most spending orchestrated by the federal government suffers from terrible incentives that lead to malinvestment—resources wasted in inefficient ways and on low-priority efforts. Projects get approved for political reasons and are either totally unnecessary or harmed by cost overruns and corruption.
And she concludes by arguing for market forces rather than federal involvement.
[Trump] should put an end to the whole idea that infrastructure should be centrally planned, taxpayer-funded, and the responsibility of the federal (as opposed to state or local) government. The current system obliterates the discipline that comes from knowing a project needs to pay for itself to survive. User fees should become our preferred option for funding infrastructure. That change kills two birds with one stone: It lessens the need for massive federal expenditures, and it gives the private sector an incentive to spend money on crucial but not exactly sexy maintenance tasks. …If Trump wants the United States to have “world-class” infrastructure, the surest way is through market-based reforms that increase competition while reducing subsidies and regulations. Embrace real privatization, not federally directed private investments.
Writing for U.S. News & World Report, Tracy Miller similarly argues that decentralization is the best approach.
Highways as well as public transportation are currently funded with money from the federal Highway Trust Fund, and by state and local governments. …Money from the fund has strings attached that raise costs and limit state and local governments’ ability to choose which projects have priority. These strings include prevailing wage laws, which require contractors receiving federal money to pay unionized wages even if they could attract qualified workers willing to work for less. High-profile projects chosen by politically powerful congressmen can easily take priority over projects that would generate greater benefits for their constituents. From an administrative standpoint, it would not be very difficult to reduce or eliminate the federal government’s role in highway and transit funding. Instead of gas taxes going to the federal government before being returned to the states, as is presently the case, each state could collect all taxes on fuel sold within its borders and decide how best to spend it. This would make it possible to downsize the U.S. Department of Transportation, saving taxpayers billions of dollars.
He explains why reform will lead to better – and cheaper – transportation.
Local governments – with greater awareness of the local needs of metropolitan areas, small towns or rural areas – can do a better job of funding and managing roads, highways and public transportation that serve primarily local residents. State governments or private firms, meanwhile, can best manage interstate and other major highways that cater mostly to long-distance travelers, especially if they could cover expenses with user fees. …Many drivers object to the idea of paying tolls for the use of currently “free” interstate highways, whether they are managed by private firms or state governments. But highways aren’t free – the costs are hidden within our fuel taxes. If mileage-based user fees are applied to all highways and set at the correct levels, they can become a much more efficient (and ultimately cheaper) replacement for fuel taxes. 
Professor Edward Glaeser of Harvard summarizes the issue nicely in an article for CNBC.
Our current system of federal funding for transportation means that taxpayers in New York fund highways in Montana and drivers in Utah pay for New York’s airports. If President Trump wants to seriously improve American infrastructure spending, he should champion a new federalism for transportation, in which infrastructure is funded by states, localities and especially the users themselves. …The best decisions are made when decision-makers bear the costs and reap the benefits. When companies invest, they agonize about whether future customers will pay enough to cover the production costs. …Having lived through Boston’s Big Dig, I am well aware of how the promise of federal funding skews local decision-making. Local leaders stop asking themselves whether the benefits cover the costs because it’s somebody else’s nickel. …Detroit would have never built its absurd People Mover Monorail without federal encouragement and funding.
He elaborates on some of the implications for different types of infrastructure.
If new automotive infrastructure is meant to be self-financing, then the decision to build is a straightforward business investment and there is little need for large-scale federal funding. …The beneficiaries of metro systems are the businesses and commuters within a state. They could be funded with local property or sales taxes. My favorite metro funding model is in Hong Kong, where the city’s private mass transit system funds itself by building high-rises atop new train stops. …More federal funding for dysfunctional airports just perpetuates the status quo. They would be far healthier if they were split apart from the larger agency and allowed to operate, compete and charge higher landing fees, either as independent self-funding public airports, as in the U.K., or as private entities.
Amen. I’m not surprised to see Hong Kong as a role model. And I’ve already written about the U.K.’s success with privatization.   Speaking of privatization, a column in the Wall Street Journal points out that this is the way to improve airports in America.
Why do American passengers pay so much to get so little? Because their airports, by global standards, are terribly managed. Cities from London to Buenos Aires have sold or leased their airports to private companies. To make a profit, these firms must hold down costs while enticing customers with lots of flights, competitive fares and appealing terminals. The firm that manages London’s Heathrow, currently eighth in the international ranking, was so intent on attracting passengers that it built a nonstop express train to the city’s center. It’s also seeking to add another runway, as is the rival firm running Gatwick Airport. American airports are typically run by politicians in conjunction with the dominant airlines, which help finance the terminals in return for long-term leases on gates and facilities. The airlines use their control to keep out competitors; the politicians use their share of the revenue to reward unionized airport workers. No one puts the passenger first.
The author cites the San Juan airport as an example of what can happen under privatization.
If you want to see how much better American airports could be, take a plane to Puerto Rico. Until four years ago, the main airport in San Juan was run, and neglected, by an unwieldy bureaucracy, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority. The terminal was a confusing jumble of dim corridors. On rainy days, the ceilings leaked; on hot days, the air conditioning faltered. The stores were tacky and the restaurants greasy spoons, often rented at bargain rates to politicians’ friends or relatives. …Airlines switched operations to other Caribbean hubs. In 2013 the Ports Authority leased the airport for 40 years to Aerostar, a partnership operating airports in Cancún and other Mexican cities. The new managers agreed to make capital improvements, reduce landing fees and pay the Ports Authority $1.2 billion—half up-front. The result, three years later, is an airport nobody would call Third World. The redesigned concourses are sleek and airy, and revenue from new retail and restaurants has doubled. …Airlines no longer control the gates, but they’re reaping other benefits. “We’re paying lower fees for a much better airport,” says Michael Luciano, who runs Delta’s operations in San Juan. “Almost every area has been renovated. You go into any restroom, and it’s bright and clean—things like that are really important to our customers.” Passenger volume has been growing 4% annually, well above the industry average.
I can personally vouch for this. Because of all my travel in the Caribbean, I’ve used the San Juan airport extensively over the years, including just last week for the Liberty International conference.
The difference between today’s airport and the dump that used to exist is like the difference between night and day.

By the way, let’s also dismiss the notion that there’s some sort of infrastructure crisis.
I’ve already shared data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, which shows that the United States actually ranks relatively high compared to other nations.

And I’ve also shared solid numbers making the same point from Chris Edwards, one of my colleagues at the Cato Institute. Michael Sargent of the Heritage Foundation has a tweet that nicely shows that there isn’t a crisis.



Oh, and let’s also consider the example of Japan, which thought infrastructure spending was some sort of economic elixir. That didn’t work so well, as pointed out by the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. economy isn’t growing at merely 2% because of potholes or airports… The prime illustration is Japan, which since the 1980s has tried to build its way out of stagnation. The country now boasts perhaps the world’s most spectacular suspension bridges, maglev trains, elevated highways and man-made islands, but the cost was trillions of yen of debt (now 230% of GDP) and no better growth. Nor could a monorail save Detroit. Projects make economic sense only to the extent they clear rigorous cost-benefit tests.
And if you want to know the infrastructure that is least likely to pass a cost-benefit test, just look at mass transit.  A good place to start is the Wall Street Journal‘s recent editorial on a subway line in New York City.
New York City opened a new subway line—about a century after the project was proposed and merely decades after ground-breaking in 1972…by far the most expensive train track in the history of the world. The story is an example of what not to do… This first phase of the new line—amounting to 1.6 miles in a single neighborhood, with three new stations and a renovated stop—cost some $4.451 billion. …The next leg of the Second Avenue subway, which would extend the train 29 blocks north into Harlem starting in 2020, is projected to cost an astonishing $6 billion, and that is surely an underestimate.
Gabriel Roth, writing for the Washington Examiner, has the right idea.
…abolish the subsidies. The federal government forces road users to spend some $10 billion a year on non-road assets of little or no benefit to them. Those payments are not only wasteful in themselves; they also encourage states and local governments to squander money on mass transit, whose costs users are not prepared to cover — not even the operating costs. If local communities consider such expenditures important, they should pay for them themselves.
By the way, just to show my libertarian bona fides, I think decentralization is just part of the answer. In my fantasy world, the private sector plays a bigger role.  And the good news, as I wrote back in 2014, is that my fantasy is reality in some instances.  Here’s another example from Hawaii.
Their livelihood was being threatened, and they were tired of waiting for government help, so business owners and residents on Hawaii’s Kauai island pulled together and completed a $4 million repair job to a state park — for free. …The state Department of Land and Natural Resources had estimated that the damage would cost $4 million to fix, money the agency doesn’t have, according to a news release from department Chairwoman Laura Thielen. …So Slack, other business owners and residents made the decision not to sit on their hands and wait for state money that many expected would never come. Instead, they pulled together machinery and manpower and hit the ground running March 23. And after only eight days, all of the repairs were done, Pleas said. It was a shockingly quick fix to a problem that may have taken much longer if they waited for state money to funnel in. “We can wait around for the state or federal government to make this move, or we can go out and do our part,” Slack said. “Just like everyone’s sitting around waiting for a stimulus check, we were waiting for this but decided we couldn’t wait anymore.” …”We shouldn’t have to do this, but when it gets to a state level, it just gets so bureaucratic, something that took us eight days would have taken them years,” said Troy Martin of Martin Steel, who donated machinery and steel for the repairs. “So we got together — the community — and we got it done.”
Reminds me of the guy who built some stairs at a park for $550 because the Toronto government was taking too long and planned to spend $65,000 to do the same thing.
And here’s another case study from Portland.
Portland Anarchist Road Care (PARC) is a community collaboration of skilled workers who volunteer their services to fix the damaged roads around Portland, Oregon. Citing concerns about governmental bureaucracy, the current political climate, a lack of funds and a seeming lack of care, the members of PARC decided to take things into their own very capable hands.
I have no idea whether these people are libertarian-minded anarcho-capitalists or deeply confused left-wing nihilist anarchists, but kudos to them for steeping up and doing a job cheaply and efficiently. The very opposite of what we expect from government.
P.S. Since Nazis are in the news and since I’m writing about infrastructure, here are some blurbs from an academic study on how Germany’s National Socialists used autobahn outlays to generate political support.
The idea that political support can effectively be bought has a long lineage – from the days of the Roman emperors to modern democracies, `bread and circus’ have been used to boost the popularity of politicians. A large literature in economics argues more generally that political support can be ‘bought’. …In this paper, we analyze the political benefits of building the worldʹs first nationwide highway network in Germany after 1933 – one of the canonical cases of government infrastructure investment. We show that building the Autobahn was highly effective in reducing opposition to the Hitler regime. …What accounts for the Autobahn’s success in winning “hearts and minds”? We discuss the economic and transport benefits. In the aggregate, these have been shown to be minimal (Ritschl 1998; Vahrenkamp 2010). …we argue that the motorways…increased support because they could be exploited by propaganda as powerful symbols of competent, energetic government. …Our results suggest that infrastructure spending can indeed create electoral support for a nascent dictatorship – it can win the “hearts and minds” of the populace. In the case of Germany, direct economic benefits of pork‐barrel spending in affected districts may have played a role.
Seems that politicians, whether motivated by evil or run-of-the-mill ambition, love spending other people’s money to build political support. Is it any wonder that we hold them in such low esteem?

P.P.S. Fans of “public choice” doubtlessly will be amused by the IMF’s 2014 flip-flop on infrastructure.

Bannon’s Time Is Up

Roger Stone The Daily Caller's Men's Fashion Editor


Steven K. Bannon, the swashbuckling former Goldman Sachs banker and press baron of Breitbart news who calls himself “Chief Strategist” of Trump’s historic campaign, is in deep trouble within the Trump White House.   To be clear, I am no fan of National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster whose globalist views and hires are negating the foreign policy the President ran on.  I am one who had publicly defended Bannon from false charges of racism and anti-Semitism yet I have concluded he is a spent force, never being willing to spend his political capital to help his friends and in some cases helping empower the very Globalists he claims to oppose.......Self-promotion and ham-handed leaking have hurt Steve badly in the Trump orbit. There is no Karl Rove in Trump-World.........
 
Bannon covered Priebus’ ass and they lavished each other with wet kisses. Meanwhile, no Trump campaign veterans were being hired in the Trump White House.  But it’s far worse than this.
 
Bannon engineered the ascent of Rex Tillerson at State........correctly tabbed the rise of veteran Romney-ites at State.......... never even lifted a finger against the appointment of quislings like Dina Habib Powell and Goldman Sachs’ Gary Cohen.........
 
When Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio who was a strong and articulate supporter of the President and his criticism of our current Immigration policies, was indicted for civil rights violations of prisoners in his custody the Obama Justice Department made certain he was tried under the wrong statue to deny him a jury trial. The Justice Department illegally monitored the Sheriffs communication with his lawyer as well as improperly communicating directly with the judge during his trial Arpaio’s prosecution is a political hit job and the government’s misconduct in his prosecution are certainly grounds for dismissal by the Trump Justice Department. Steve Bannon never mentioned the case to President who was shocked to learn about Arpaio’s conviction..........

There is no reason for conservatives to be upset about the coming purge of Steve Bannon. He did a lot to help himself but not much to help us.........To Read More....

Calexit III? New ballot measure plots another route to California independence

August 17, 2017
                                        

CNN uses terrorist's list to name 'hate groups'

 
In the uproar over Charlottesville, CNN isn't anxious to compare the actions of the self-identified Nazi driver of a car who plowed into a crowd of people on the left side of the political spectrum with this left-wing progressive who was stopped before he could complete his plan to kill as many conservatives as he could. But CNN should really try. After all, it's using the progressive's own hit list to ID hate groups in America ... Read the latest now on WND.com

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Feel The Bern: Maduro is Done and Venezuela is Toast. Another Socialist Paradise!

By Rich Kozlovich

Recently I commented Maduro wanted to loot what was left of Venezuela's wealth before fleeing to some country that would take he and his thugs.  Of course, some will be left behind to suffer the fate they richly deserve - but Maduro and the upper echelon will flee somewhere, and it's my guess it will be Cuba. And I think that's why he visited Castro's socialist paradise, whose economic system and health care are now only second to Venezuela - from the bottom that is - and not to pay tribute to Fidel Castro's memory. 

Over the years Cuba has been a strong supporter of Chavez and Maduro, but now there's nothing left...what now?

Police are setting fire to motorbikes belonging to the press, seemingly because they were reporting on battles with national guardsmen and the anti-government protesters.

The army is starving and soldiers have been caught crossing the border into Guyana to beg for food.  Among the average citizen that's been going for a long time - but never soldiers. One national guard officer wanted to launch a revolt (he's arrested) to prevent the country from going into "total destruction".  Sorry, you should have thought about that five years ago!

The government destroyed their own economy with their stupid socialist insanity, and now they're so broke they can't import basic necessities.  With hunger being endemic and triple-digit inflation, the government is completely unable to import basic goods. Starvation is now becoming the rule rather than the exception, and people are fleeing to Colombia, Brazil and Guyana just looking for food. 

Now with U.S. sanctions Maduro wants to meet with President Trump, saying "Here's my hand", but funny hand he's offering since he claims he's going to challenge the sanction in U.S. courts.  His economic problems go far deeper than Trump.

Because of the phony vote that gave him dictatorial powers, "a number of corporations" are wanting action taken against the country. “On Thursday, Credit Suisse barred transactions involving certain Venezuelan bonds and business with Venezuela's government and related agencies has to undergo reputation risk reviews. This comes after Goldman Sachs faced scrutiny for buying $2.8 billion in bonds issues by state oil company PDVSA."  "In light of the political climate and recent events in Venezuela ... we want to ensure that Credit Suisse does not provide the means for anyone to violate the human rights of the Venezuelan people," Reuters said, citing a Credit Suisse memo." 

But Maduro is a typical socialist thug  - while his country is swirling down the sewer - he spouts  "we will never cede to foreign powers."  Well, let me clarify this for you Little Nicky - no one wants your country, except maybe Russia. Some are worried this will give Russia a toe hold in Northern South America. Well....who cares?   That's means Russia will go broke even faster than they are now.  And Cuba may be the only nation he and his thug buddies can flee to.  How much of their stolen loot it may cost them will be negotiable....maybe....especially since Cuba is an economic mess, they may need all that stolen loot to house you in one of their luxury housing projects.

Related image

Another Socialist Paradise that Felt the Bern!


Education in America


Because Protecting the Environment Is Important, Capitalism Should Play a Bigger Role

August 16, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
 
Over the years, I’ve had fun mocking the silly extremism of the environmental movement.
 
All you really need to know is that it’s supposedly bad to be a red country.
That being said, protecting the environment is a worthy and important goal.

And that’s why some of us want to give the private sector a bigger role.

John Stossel, for instance, has a must-watch video on how capitalism can save endangered rhinos.



Professor Philip Booth expands on the lesson in the video and urges broad application of market forces to preserve the environment.

Especially well-enforced property rights.
…what is needed for better husbandry of ecological resources is more widespread and deeper establishment of property rights together with their enforcement. The cause of environmentalism is often associated with the Left. This is despite the fact that some of the worst environmental outcomes in the history of our planet have been associated with Communist governments. …a great deal of serious work has been produced by those who believe in market or community-based solutions to environmental problems, and a relatively small role for government. For example, Ronald Coase and Elinor Ostrom are two Nobel Prize winners in economics who have made profound contributions to our understanding of how markets and communities can promote environmental conservation. Indeed, the intellectual and moral high ground when it comes to environmentalism ought to be taken by those who believe in private property, strong community institutions and a free economy.
Philip explains why private ownership produces conservation.
If things are owned, they will tend to be looked after. The owner of a lake will not fish it to near extinction (or even over-fish the lake to a small degree) because the breeding potential of the fish would be reduced.
He then explains the downside of public ownership.
On the other hand, if the lake is not owned by anybody, or if it is owned by the government and fishing is unregulated, the lake will be fished to extinction because nobody has any benefit from holding back. Local businesses may well also pollute the lake if there are no well-defined ownership rights. The much-cited work here is Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons (1968), though, in fact, Hardin was simply referring back to a pamphlet by William Forster Lloyd which was written in 1833. In that pamphlet, a situation was described whereby common land was open to grazing by all. The land would then be over-grazed because a person would get the benefit of putting additional cattle on the land without the cost that arises from over-grazing which would be shared by all users.
He points out that one advantage of Brexit is that the U.K. can implement a fisheries system based on property rights.
Now that fishing policy has been repatriated, the UK should establish property rights in sea fisheries. Few would seriously question private property when it comes to the land. For example, it is rare these days to find people who would suggest that farms should be nationalised or collectivised or returned to an unregulated commons where anybody can graze their animals without restriction. It would be understood that this would lead to chaos, inefficiency and environmental catastrophe.
And since we have real-world evidence that fisheries based on property rights are very successful, hopefully the U.K. government will implement this reform.

So what’s the bottom line on capitalism and the environment?
If we want sustainable environmental outcomes, the answer almost never lies with government control, but with the establishment and enforcement of property rights over environmental resources. This provides the incentive to nurture and conserve. Where the government does intervene it should try to mimic markets. When it comes to the environment, misguided government intervention can lead to conflict and poor environmental outcomes. The best thing the government can do is put its own house in order and ensure that property rights are enforced through proper policing and courts systems. That is certainly the experience of forested areas in South America.

Let’s close by noting one other reason to give the market a bigger role. Simply stated, environmentalists seem to have no sense of cost-benefit analysis. Instead, we get bizarre policies that seem motivated primarily by virtue signalling.
And don’t forget green energy programs, which impose heavy costs on consumers and also are a combination of virtue signalling and cronyism.

No wonder many of us don’t trust the left on global warming, even if we recognize it may be a real issue.

P.S. There is at least one employee at the Environmental Protection Agency who deserves serious consideration for the Bureaucrat Hall of Fame.

Weimar America

Posted by Daniel Greenfield 27 Comments Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ Sultan Knish Blog
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to cheer on Communists and Nazis punching each other in major American cities while civil society disintegrates around them.

In Dallas, a black nationalist activist shot and killed 5 police officers at a Black Lives Matter anti-police rally. Instead of condemning BLM, Barack Obama defended a racist hate group whose role model is Assata Shakur, a wanted black nationalist cop killer, at the funerals of the murdered officers.

The left killed civil rights and replaced it with black nationalism. The racial supremacism of black nationalism that killed those officers is everywhere. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ibram X. Kendi are lionized as brilliant thinkers instead of hateful racists, Amazon has ordered a black nationalist secessionist fantasy from Aaron McGruder and Showtime aired ‘Guerilla,’ a miniseries glamorizing Black Panther terrorism.

But racism is a two-way street. So is violence. Extremists feed into each other.

You can’t legitimize one form of racism without legitimizing all of them. The media may advance this hypocritical position. Obama used the shameful “reverse racism” euphemism that distinguishes between black and white racism. But propaganda and spin don’t change the physics of human nature.

Either all racism is bad. Or all racism is acceptable.

Charlottesville is what happens when you normalize racism and street violence. Every normalization of extremism equally normalizes the extremism of the opposite side.

A civil society depends on a consensus. ‘Racism is bad’ is an example of such a consensus. If you normalize black nationalism, you will get more white nationalism. If you normalize leftist street violence against Trump supporters, you will also get more street violence against leftists.

Extremists want to eliminate the consensus of civil society. They want to destroy the idea that there’s any solution except violence through confrontations that show the helplessness of civil society.

That’s true of black nationalists and white nationalists, of Communists and Nazis, of Antifa and Vanguard, of the tankies and hipster Nazis of the Alt-Left and the Alt-Right. They’re a set of evil twins and when you unleash one, you unleash the other. Their real enemies aren’t each other, but everyone in the middle. The bourgeois normies who don’t want to replace society with their totalitarian nightmare.

Street violence raises the bar so that only the violent will participate in protests. If you “no platform” campus speakers, then the only speakers you get will be those willing to face bomb threats, arson, and physical assaults. If you fire people for their views, political activism becomes the province of anonymous trolls and unemployed street thugs. Extremism limits political discourse to extremists.

If Democrats really want to stop the rise of Neo-Nazi violence, there’s a very easy way. Stop normalizing black nationalism and the Alt-Left. End the racist witch hunts for white privilege. Make it clear that street violence is unacceptable and that racism is bad no matter who it comes from. Allow people you disagree with to express their views without trying to destroy their lives.

But that’s the opposite of what the Dems will do. They don’t want fewer Neo-Nazis; they want more of them. They don’t want fewer attacks like Charlottesville and Charleston. They want more of them.

The Dems have become an extremist party run by the radical left. Obama, Holder, and Lynch made common cause with black nationalist hate groups against civil society. It began when Obama defended the vile racism of Jeremiah Wright and concluded with DOJ organized race riots. DNC boss Tom Perez addresses La Raza and his deputy Keith Ellison is a veteran of the Nation of Islam.

The radical left wants to see Neo-Nazis gain prominence on the right to polarize the country. It wants to see our values and norms drowned in violence so that it has an excuse to eliminate free speech. It seeks to eliminate democracy by making the other side appear nightmarishly dangerous. It plots to impose a totalitarian system on the United States by empowering extremists to destroy the current system.

And their opposite numbers waving swastika flags want the same thing. The difference is that they don’t control the Republican Party the way that the Alt-Left and black nationalists control the Democrats.

Charlottesville is what happens when civil society fails. And those who set the terms of permissive discourse, who control the media, academia and social norms, are responsible for the failure.

Conservatives don’t have that kind of power. It’s the left that does.

Liberals, if there are any left on the left, can shut down racism and extremism. Or they can continue normalizing it until it’s mainstream and meaningless.

If you want to understand how we got to Charlottesville, the events at Evergreen State on the other side of the country are as good a place as any to start.

Evergreen’s President Bridges, the progressive who had called for safe spaces and allowed intersectional left-wing racists to terrorize his campus over their demands for racial segregation, was asked in an interview about accusations that he is a white supremacist.

Bridges replied that he doesn’t believe that he is a white supremacist. And then added, “It depends on what you mean by white supremacist.” He concedes, “I am a white person in a position of privilege.”

White privilege is how the intersectional left defines white supremacy. Any white people who aren’t allying with them to destroy Western civilization are defined as white supremacists. And even those who do, like Bridges, can always be accused of white supremacy for not destroying it hard enough.

When you spend enough time accusing everyone who doesn’t share your politics or even your race of racism, you make the term meaningless.

That’s what the left did over eight years of Obama. By the time the election rolled around, Hillary was defining all Trump voters as racists and sexists.

When you spend enough time crying wolf, eventually a real wolf appears. A real wolf showed up in Charlottesville.

The left spent eight years dismantling any meaningful definition of racism for political reasons. The practical effect of their actions was to eliminate social sanctions for actual racists.

And the real racists were happy to take advantage of the new climate.

When the left insists that everyone with white skin is part of white supremacy, that Shakespeare, Beethoven and all of Western civilization embody white supremacy, it’s echoing the actual talking points of white supremacy.

If you tell all Obama critics and Trump supporters that they’re racists often enough, some will decide that maybe they are racists.

If you tell a student who objects to racially segregated areas on campus that she is a white supremacist, she will be more likely to become one.

When you marginalize everyone to the right of you, some of the marginalized will accept the definition.

And when that happens, the left wins, the extremists win, and it becomes harder to maintain any kind of functioning civil society in which we settle conflicts through compromises rather than street violence.

Compromises are uncomfortable.

After the Civil War, the Union was preserved, but Southerners were allowed to honor their cause. It was an uncomfortable compromise, but it helped limit the violence from a conflict that had claimed the lives of 2% of the population. The Taliban campaign by black nationalists to tear down Confederate memorials was a deliberate effort at shattering a compromise that kept civil society working.

And that too led to Charlottesville.

Uncomfortable compromises are how we learn to live with each other. It means that there can be memorials of Robert E. Lee and streets named after Malcolm X. Tolerating people whose views we don’t like is one of the best ways to marginalize domestic extremists. When one set of extremists is empowered to wipe out the other, we end up with a civil war. Just ask Edmund Ruffin and John Brown.

Democrats claim a mandate from the “Right Side of History” to eliminate all the compromises. Catholic nuns must pay for abortions and birth control, Christian bakers and florists must participate in gay weddings, every white person must confess their racism, and every left-wing extremist must get their way.

That’s how you tear a society apart.

The Bill of Rights is an uncomfortable compromise. It says that we have to put up with people we don’t like. The Democrats, under the influence of the left, are rejecting that idea. But that goes both ways too.

You can have a liberal society or an illiberal one. But you can’t have a society that is selectively liberal when it comes to your bigotry, but illiberal of the bigotry of others, that believes you have the right to say anything you please without consequences, but that no one else does, that you can punch, but not be punched. That’s a totalitarian state. And the only way to realize it is through violence.

Democrats need to take an honest look at the street violence in Seattle, in Portland, in Berkeley and Charlottesville, and decide if this is what they really want. If they don’t, it’s time for them to stop normalizing left-wing extremism. If they do, then they are to blame for the next Dallas or Charlottesville.


(This article originally appeared at Front Page Magazine)

Not Just the Alt-Right: Leftist Violence was on Display in Charlottesville

By Onan Coca August 15, 2017

The moment a violent white supremacist chose to use his car as a battering ram on a crowd of protesters was the moment that the leftwing fear mongers were handed a free pass for their hateful, and violent rhetoric and beliefs. Up until that moment everyone who opposes the liberal fascism of the anti-free speech, anti-free assembly, anti-free association leftists like Antifa, the Occupy Movement, and Black Lives Matter could remind the world just how violent and destructive the leftists have been.   Now, when we remind them of their hateful rhetoric and their violent (and destructive) actions, they shout at us about “false moral equivalencies,” and the fact that the leftists have yet to kill anyone...........To Read More......

The Left Exploits the Charlottesville Tragedy

Excusing its own violence while taking aim at Trump.
 

How to Defeat the Fear Industry

By Alex Berezow — August 9, 2017

Living in Seattle, food phobias are everywhere. If you're afraid of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, GMOs, hormones in meat, pesticides, gluten, or anything that requires a PhD scientist to produce, then Seattle is your organic Mecca. Despite that Seattle's economy is partially built on the biotech sector (not to mention that the much-loved University of Washington has an enormous biomedical science program -- of which yours truly is a graduate), Seattle is a global headquarters of kooky food fads and alternative medicine.

Why? The entire "natural is better" movement is predicated upon fear. Scaring people is a time-tested tactic employed by politicians. If a politician wants elderly people to vote for him, he will tell them that his opponent will take away their Social Security and push them off a cliff. If he wants to shore up the national security vote, he will say that his opponent will let terrorists into the country. And if he wants to appeal to youth, he will say that his opponent wants to steal their futures and prevent them from getting good jobs.......To Read More.....

African-American Homicide Rate Nearly Quadruple the National Average

By Alex Berezow — August 10, 2017

Murders in America have increased recently. This has been made horrifyingly obvious by the tragic nightly news stories coming from Chicago, a city whose homicide rate has skyrocketed in the last few years. (The homicide rate in Chicago is a legitimate hockey stick graph.)

The homicide rate in Chicago, though extremely alarming, is not the nation's worst for a large city. That dubious distinction goes to St. Louis. Other cities with higher homicide rates than Chicago include Memphis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Detroit, Cleveland, and Birmingham. (The Economist has an excellent interactive graphic that compares the homicide rate in 50 of America's most violent cities.)

Now, the CDC has provided additional data, showing homicide rates in America by race. (See below.)........To Read More....

Allen West Reveals What REALLY Happened In Charlottesville

August 15, 2017 8:49 pm  America Divided

The tragedy at Charlottesville, Virginia, has generated a lot of finger-pointing on both sides of the issue, and a lot of misdirection by the Left. Instead of objectively assessing the situation, both Democrats and Republicans opposed to the Trump presidency are using this as an opportunity to criticize President Trump.   Col. Allen B. West delivers a sober-minded analysis of Charlottesville, asking the questions the mainstream media won’t. As seen on Allen B. West, the highly-respected conservative icon explains how the Left let violence at Charlottesville spin out of control and is now applying a double standard to its coverage in order to damage the president.

Col. West begins by stating he deplores all forms of supremacy–be it white supremacy, black supremacy, or Islamic supremacy. He also expresses his condolences to the family of Heather Heyer, who was killed when a deranged man drove into a group of protesters. But then West does what no one in the mainstream media has done since the violence broke out on Saturday. He pauses to think rationally about what actually happened and tries to determine how future incidents can be prevented............

For West, as a black man, Confederate monuments are not “oppressive.” The leftist media wants minorities to believe that they’re somehow being oppressed by the mere presence of these historical sites. Former President Barack Obama sided with real-life oppressive historical figures several times during his presidency. Although he took a photo-op in Cuba in front of a picture of Che Guevara, West says he didn’t let an image make him feel oppressed .......To Read More...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Republicans Embrace Bad Economics and Bad Policy

August 15, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
 
To be blunt, Republicans are heading in the wrong direction on fiscal policy. They have full control of the executive and legislative branches, but instead of using their power to promote Reaganomics, it looks like we’re getting a reincarnation of the big-government Bush years.

As Yogi Berra might have said, “it’s deja vu all over again.”

Let’s look at the evidence. According to the Hill, the Keynesian virus has infected GOP thinking on tax cuts.
Republicans are debating whether parts of their tax-reform package should be retroactive in order to boost the economy by quickly putting more money in people’s wallets.
That is nonsense. Just as giving people a check and calling it “stimulus” didn’t help the economy under Obama, giving people a check and calling it a tax cut won’t help the economy under Trump.
Tax cuts boost growth when they reduce the marginal tax rate on productive behavior such as work, saving, investment, or entrepreneurship. When that happens, people have an incentive to generate more income. And that leads to more national income, a.k.a., economic growth.

 
Borrowing money from the economy’s left pocket and then stuffing checks (oops, I mean retroactive tax cuts) in the economy’s right pocket, by contrast, simply reallocates national income.

Indeed, this is one of the reasons why the economy didn’t get much benefit from the 2001 Bush tax cut, especially when compared to the growth-oriented 2003 tax cut. Unfortunately, Republicans haven’t learned that lesson.
Republicans have taken steps in the past to ensure that taxpayers directly felt the benefits of tax cuts. As part of the 2001 tax cuts enacted by President George W. Bush, taxpayers received rebate checks.
The article does include some analysis from people who understand that retroactive tax cuts aren’t economically beneficial.
…there are also drawbacks to making tax changes retroactive. …such changes would add to the cost of the bill, but would not be an effective way to encourage new spending and investments. “It has all of the costs of the tax cuts but none of the economic benefits,” said Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas, who added that “you don’t make investments in the rear-view mirror.”
I’m not always on the same side as Maya, but she’s right on this issue. You can’t encourage people to generate more income in the past. If you want more growth, you have to reduce marginal tax rates on future activity.

keynesian-fire1


By the way, I’m not arguing that there is no political benefit to retroactive tax cuts. If Republicans simply stated that they were going to send rebate checks to curry favor with voters, I’d roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders.

But when they make Keynesian arguments to justify such a policy, I can’t help but get upset about the economic illiteracy.

Speaking of bad economic policy, GOPers also are pursuing bad spending policy.
Politico has a report on a potential budget deal where everyone wins…except taxpayers.
The White House is pushing a deal on Capitol Hill to head off a government shutdown that would lift strict spending caps long opposed by Democrats in exchange for money for President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico, multiple sources said.
So much for Trump’s promise to get tough on the budget, even if it meant a shutdown.
Instead, the back-room negotiations are leading to more spending for all interest groups.
Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs, …also lobbied for a big budget increase for the Pentagon, another priority for Trump. …The White House is offering Democrats more funding for their own pet projects.
The only good news is that Democrats are so upset about the symbolism of the fence that they may not go for the deal.
Democrats show no sign of yielding on the issue. They have already blocked the project once.
Unfortunately, I expect this is just posturing. When the dust settles, I expect the desire for more spending (from both parties) will produce a deal that is bad news. At least for those of us who don’t want America to become Greece (any faster than already scheduled).
Republican and Democratic congressional aides have predicted for months that both sides will come together on a spending agreement to raise spending caps for the Pentagon as well as for nondefense domestic programs.
So let’s check our scorecard. On the tax side of the equation, we’ll hopefully still get some good policy, such as a lower corporate tax rate, but it probably will be accompanied by some gimmicky Keynesian policy.

On the spending side of the equation, it appears my fears about Trump may have been correct and he’s going to be a typical big-government Republican.

It’s possible, of course, that I’m being needlessly pessimistic and we’ll get the kinds of policies I fantasized about in early 2016. But I wouldn’t bet money on a positive outcome.

Is There Still a Conservative Foreign Policy?

by Victor Davis Hanson August 15, 2017 4:00 AM @vdhanson @ National Review

The Trump victory and the Republican establishment’s mostly negative reaction to it have in matters of foreign policy called into question who is conservative, who not — and whether the old ideological rubrics even matter anymore.

Isolationists

For all practical purposes, there are no real isolationists today, at least of the 1930s mode. “Isolationism” is more a slur than a description of a common conservative ideology.
Even a Senator Rand Paul does not wish to unilaterally bow out of NATO — despite what he may say or write to paleo-conservative audiences. Readers of the American Conservative probably do not wish to bring all U.S. troops home from strategic U.S. bases in the spirit of the 1930s (when we actually had lots of bases abroad).

Rather, neo-isolationism today is akin to something like neo-interventionism of the late 1930s — a guarded willingness, mostly in reactive and defensive fashion, to use force only for perceived American interests abroad, without committing U.S. military resources in service to other nations or causes other than narrow American interests, however defined.

Note the paradox in the present controversies over H. R. McMaster: His nominally neo-isolationist and “America first” critics thought McMaster was too soft on Iran (he purportedly favored a reactive “let Iran break the deal and then pounce” approach). Instead, they advocated preemptively nullifying the Iran Deal — a move that could bring matters to an interventionist head and more quickly square Iran off against the U.S.

Neo-isolationists do not believe that the U.S. should shoulder the burdens of ensuring that the post-war global order remains operative, given that the perceived costs are too high, and returns to the U.S. are too ambiguous.

Neo-isolationism has become embedded within domestic populist doctrine based on the idea that interventionists themselves are often elite idealists who do not pay the costs of their own preferred policies — but that middle class Americans do, being asked to fight and die in places like Kandahar or Taji for reasons that remain unfathomable to them.

The challenge of neo-isolationism is that it is often evoked but rarely in any practical sense implemented in toto.

Jacksonians

The term has come back into currency with the rise of Trumpism and the inability to make the accusation of “isolationist” stick to either Trump or his supporters. Jacksonianism supposedly harkens back to Andrew Jackson’s “don’t tread on me”–style brashness — a willingness to hit hard against those who threaten the U.S. or its perceived interests, without worrying much about anything other than the restoration of deterrence.

The principle is that if adversaries harm a stay-at-home America, we will harm them far worse—but without concern about the aftermath on the ground, and with no presumptions that the United States has the responsibility or power to craft solutions that might involve long-term commitments. Live and let live — or let die — is the Jacksonian credo.

The key to Jacksonianism is that foreign policy and military action are calibrated solely in immediate and often ad hoc terms of U.S. interests (“to ask nothing that is not clearly right and to submit to nothing that is wrong”). It is essentially retaliatory and punitive in nature.

Jacksonians are not bothered about the sometimes frequent use of force overseas — only the conditions of its employment. A Jacksonian is no neo-isolationist; he wishes to have a profile abroad, but, far more significantly, a reputation not as a global fixer but as someone other nations respect and leave alone, given the deleterious consequences of provoking America.
When other nations and powers see America as both self-interested and volatile, the world, Jacksonians think, is a safer place — and without all the global policing and posturing.
When other nations and powers see America as both self-interested and volatile, the world, Jacksonians think, is a safer place — and without all the global policing and posturing. With some justification, Trump is seen as a Jacksonian, but such a stance is difficult to maintain in the globalist and interconnected world of the 21st century — in which a thuggish failed state like North Korea believes that it can take out Google, Facebook, and Apple in 45 minutes, and a half-million people living in their vicinity.

Realists

Realists are committed to traditional post-war U.S. leadership abroad, especially America’s role in what we used to call stewardship of the “free world.” But engagement realists, if unlike both neo-isolationists and Jacksonians, nevertheless similarly have no illusions about human nature.
Nations are mere collections of people and thus operate according to predictable patterns of behavior. Talk of human rights, democracy, soft power, multilateralism, and collective security through international organizations is all fine and good and may be of propaganda value on the world stage. But realists accept the tragic view that abundant force, economic and cultural clout, military readiness, perceptions of armed strength, alliances, balances of power, maintenance of deterrence — all these ancient concepts are what alone keeps a nation, and its allies and interests, secure.
Realists might wish that the world were more democratic, but they assess a nation’s friendliness based not on the degree to which it emulates American political and culture norms, but rather on whether it is stable, loyal, powerful, and likely, in frequent cases, to have the same strategic interests as the United States in preserving a post-war order that’s lasted more than 70 years.
Realists see peace as an aberration, and tension and war as the tragic norms in history. They do not wish to experiment with utopian bromides that can trigger dangerous instability. They are more likely to read Thucydides, Machiavelli, or Hobbes than Rousseau or Kant.
Realists see peace as an aberration, and tension and war as the tragic norms in history. They do not wish to experiment with utopian bromides.
For realists, tension and occasional crises are the prices we pay for deterring aggressors. Tranquility is rare, but the relative absence of existential wars is achievable.

Neocons

The “new” conservatives, in the foreign-policy sense, were originally often former globalists and liberals who maintained their optimistic faith in the power of freedom and democracy to lessen tensions and wars abroad. But they had lost the illusion that most countries could or would become democratic on their own, even if they had the wherewithal to risk it. They implicitly conceded that while the desire for freedom may be innate to humans, the messy business of building a republic or democracy might not be.

A neocon further believes that Jacksonianism and realism offer only short-term solutions to world tensions. Because Saddam Hussein is merely a manifestation of a dysfunctional Arab society, it would do little good just to remove him, in realist or Jacksonian fashion, because someone just like him would appear in his place.

Instead, only changing the root causes of the pathology — and this entails “nation-building” — will create the conditions under which autocracy and dictatorship are impossible. And as the world eventually reaches a critical mass of Francis Fukuyama–like end-of-history democratic governments, the Husseins and Assads will supposedly disappear gradually.

Neocons justify greater diplomatic efforts and foreign-aid investments abroad, as well as the likelihood of more costly foreign interventions, as the short-term price of establishing a long-term solution to global tensions. And as former liberals, the “new” conservatives believe that U.S. foreign policy abroad must reflect American values and that one purpose of our foreign policy is to spread the American idea of human rights and freedom, often regardless of the preexisting nature of the would-be recipient of U.S. fire and friendship.

In neocon thinking, dictators such as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt or the Saudi royal family can never be true allies, given that they are autocrats who squelch Western ideas of freedom. Though they’re not as dangerous to our interests as an ISIS or al-Qaeda, they put their own survival above their nations’ “true” interests.

Neoconservatism is the most expensive, in blood and treasure, of all ideologies, though rarely reckoned so by its proponents.

Globalists

Globalists, once almost always confined to the Left, do not believe in American exceptionalism. Rather, in Socratic fashion, they assume that they are “citizens of the world.” Global culture is their faith. Many are even libertarians, arguing that everything from iPhones and Facebook to the U.N. and global climate initiatives are inevitably creating one sophisticated, postmodern world out of many Neanderthal and pre-modern tribes. Just wait a bit, “don’t do stupid sh**” (as Obama himself described the Obama foreign-policy doctrine), and perhaps the masters of the universe in Menlo Park will unite us, and war itself will fade.

The globalists’ ultimate vision is one of 7 billion world residents, materially well off and holding the progressive worldview of Western, globe-trotting Silicon Valley executives, academics, foundation heads, deep-state bureaucrats, and elites in the entertainment industry, the media, and government. All such sophisticates find themselves far more similar to one another and to their counterparts in other nations than to their own kinsmen living just a few hundred miles inland from their coastal enclaves.
Globalism is a resurrection of the Western democratic confidence of 1913 that a world war could not break out.
I include globalists in the arena of conservative thinking in the age of Trump not because they fit traditional definitions of conservative custom and practice, but because in some sense they have gone full circle back to join isolationists and neo-isolationists in their view about the use of force and military expenditure. Some conservative globalists believe that America’s popular culture and its hip, cool, and insidious corporatism, while in some cases regrettable, are obviating the need for military interventionism and costly defense spending. In their estimation, this is a good thing, given that ties of mutual profit and free-market affluence are making a relic of war and armed force in general. Walk down University Avenue in Palo Alto and the new Esperantists in the sidewalk cafés believe that millions like them in Europe and Asia are rendering nationalism passé.

Globalism is a resurrection of the Western democratic confidence of 1913 that a world war could not break out — interlocking business, trade, and economic interests would keep the peace.

The Never-Ending Cycle

All these various worldviews do not operate in a vacuum; they go in and out of vogue depending on how well they operate on the world stage, or at least how fairly they are analyzed and described in the media. In general, we do not take a long-term historical view of their relative merits across time and space but rather calibrate their efficacy based on their immediate success or failure in the current politically charged landscape.

Trump did not create these fissures. Instead he tore off the scab of conservative unity and left an open wound of acrimony. In the process, he blew up the neoconservative argument — the formerly dominant Republican foreign policy — and perhaps all who embraced it. In his (post facto) nationalist attacks on the Iraq War, nation-building, and George W. Bush, Trump positioned neoconservatism as a naïve understanding of human nature that was both too costly to the nation and too hypocritical in the way it allotted those costs, and he thought it could never work in the tribal Middle East.

In that populist sense, he united neo-isolationists, Jacksonians, and realists through their shared pessimistic appraisal of human nature, and the principle that Americans owed more to their own self-interests and nationalist concerns than they did to humanity in general. Trumpism assumed that, by the 21st century, an Algeria, Somalia, or China was more than free to become democratic if they chose to — without the need for the permission of, much less help from, the U.S.

If Trumpians were deemed too cynical, then they would argue that while timeless human values were worth defending the world over and would eventually make a safer world and a more secure America, we nonetheless had no practical and cost-effective way to implement such visions. Nor did we have the mechanisms to ensure that all Americans would share the burdens of apparently optional wars and interventions.

An irony of the Trump wedge is that globalists of the Left, both those in the Obama camp and adherents of Hillary Clinton’s, were able to win over many neocons in 2016 election. The anti-Trump movement of Democrats and neoconservatives shared a faith in the ability of an American diplomatic and military elite of “wise” men and women, along with bipartisan institutions, think tanks, organizations, the media, and universities, to form global partnerships to promote end-of-history democratic and cultural protocols that promote peace and stability, from globally redistributive climate accords to multiparty agreements such as the Iran Deal.

They deemed themselves optimists about human nature, seeing no tribal impediment to democracy, for example, in the Islamist culture of so much of the Middle East. Trump’s achievement, if it can be so termed, may have been to return neoconservatives to their natural neo-liberal affinities and alignments with liberal allies.

A final cynical note. There are a few, but not many, doctrinaire neo-isolationists, Jacksonians, realists, neo-cons, or globalists. Take a survey of Trump’s current foreign-policy team, and it would be hard to find a single ideological doctrine that guides James Mattis, H. R. McMaster, or Rex Tillerson — or Donald Trump — at least in the fashion of a Jacksonian such as Steve Bannon. As aspect of Trump’s current challenges is that “bombing the sh**” out of ISIS is a sort of engagement in the Middle East that neo-isolationists abhor. Dropping a MOAB in Afghanistan is not retreating from foreign entanglements, nor is bombing WMD depots in Syria. A Pat Buchanan applauds Trump’s “American first” sympathies, but Trump’s most fervent supporters are currently accusing his NSC appointees of being too timid and in particular too shy about confronting Iran or being more active in the Middle East.

In some sense, Trump has never squared the circle of proclaiming that he wanted to punish our enemies while also staying out of the business of others. Being dedicated to both agendas is a hard thing to do — a dilemma that explains why conservative foreign-policy labels mean little if anything these days.

READ MORE:

The Korean Game of Thrones
Europe Between Trump and Putin
The Great Muslim Civil War — and Us

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, to appear in October from Basic Books.
 

If We Erase Our History, Who Are We?

Pat Buchanan, American Renaissance, August 15, 2017

“Are we building our utopia on a sandpile of ideology and hope?” When the Dodge Charger of 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr., plunged into that crowd of protesters Saturday, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, Fields put Charlottesville on the map of modernity alongside Ferguson.

Before Fields ran down the protesters, and then backed up, running down more, what was happening seemed but a bloody brawl between extremists on both sides of the issue of whether Robert E. Lee’s statue should be removed from Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park.

With Heyer’s death, the brawl was elevated to a moral issue. And President Donald Trump’s initial failure to denounce the neo-Nazi and Klan presence was declared a moral failure.

How did we get here, and where are we going?......Are we building our utopia on a sandpile of ideology and hope........To Read More.....