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Trump’s prophetic voice

by Crowhill on 8 October 2015

Most people associate prophecy with telling the future. It’s more about interpreting history. A prophet explains the trajectory of events. Why are things happening this way? And, given that pattern, how might they turn next?

Obama had a little bit of a prophetic voice with his idea of hope and change, and “transforming America.” People wanted change — but ISTM they weren’t certain what kind of change they wanted. They just wanted something different, and Obama offered that. Details weren’t necessary, so he didn’t give many.

Now, people are frustrated. Nothing is getting done, and it seems as if we’re falling behind. Even losing.

When Obama had his hissy fit about gun control, he implied that we have these great ideas and workable solutions all ready to go, just queued up to be passed into law, but evil people controlled by the NRA are preventing it.

That’s the tenor of contemporary politics from all sides. “We have lots of ideas, we just can’t get them done because blah blah blah.”

Enter Trump. He’s a guy who gets things done. He has a TV show where he makes decisions. He turned beauty contests into a franchised business. There are huge buildings with his name on them.

And he has a simple, understandable explanation for why nothing is happening. Because everybody is stupid. More than that, they’re not in it to win.

Trump is offering an explanation and a vision. It’s crude and simple — somewhat like “hope and change” — but at least it’s something.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-10-08  ::  Crowhill

Why even Trump or Carson would be better than any Democrat

by Crowhill on 8 October 2015

Trump is a clown with impulse control problems and Carson would be completely out of his league as president. If I could select the next president from the Republican field, I would probably pick Rubio. He’s inexperienced, but he’s incredibly smart and I agree with most of his positions.

But when it comes right down to it, I’d pick any one of them over a Democrat, because I’m not sure the country can endure another Democratic president.

Don’t get me wrong. The country won’t fall to the communists. There won’t be mayhem in the streets or a zombie apocalypse. There could well be 60s-style riots and such, but we survived that. Rather, the threat of another Democratic president is that we are dangerously close to losing our system of government.

As I see it there are three foundations to our government: (1) delegated authority, (2) separation of powers, and (3) checks and balances. All three of those things are in serious trouble, and a Democratic president would hasten their destruction.

Delegated authority means that each organ of government does what it’s authorized to do and no more than that. Separation of powers means that each part of the government has its proper sphere and it doesn’t interfere with the others, while checks and balances means that the varous branches of government have the ability to rein in the other branches if they get out of hand.

None of these things are working very well right now. We have laws and executive actions that go beyond the delegated authority of the federal government. Both the president and the Supreme Court act like legislators. And Congress and the states have been horribly remiss in reining in these excesses.

So far these abuses of power haven’t been all that awful. They’ve been serious — maybe even egregious — but we can recover. E.g., the same-sex marriage decision was an absolute monstrosity, but the country will survive it.

My fear is that we’re getting close to the point where there will be no turning back. The very concept of limited government is mocked when it’s not ignored in today’s political discussions. The Supreme Court is no longer expected to call balls and strikes according to the written rules, but to bring about cosmic justice according to whatever the current social norm happens to be.

This is incredibly dangerous territory. We will either stop this nonsense and go back to the rule of law, or we’ll be ruled by petty bureaucrats, lawyers, tyrants and the latest rant on social media.

You might be wondering what this has to do with electing a Democrat because every president — Republican and Democrat — has tried to expand executive power. That’s simply what people in power do. They grasp for more of it.

The problem is that conservatives are unable to fight this process. They continue to bring feather pillows to gun fights while the liberals fight dirty and take more and more ground. Republicans are simply incapable of standing up to a Democratic president or reining in an out of control judiciary.

Democrats aren’t perfect, but they are far better at imposing their will and opposing their enemies. This is partly because they have the media on their side. Because of this, liberals are able to slow our slide into lawlessness when conservatives are in power. Conservatives are simply not able to do it. There are reasons for that, but the reasons don’t change the fact, which is that conservatives are inept and ineffective in this struggle.

If we have another Democrat in the White House, both presidential and federal power will increase, and we’ll have even more liberal Supreme Court justices who have no respect for the rule of law.

It’s not (generally speaking) the actual decisions that are the problem — taken individually. It’s that there’s no restraint on them. It’s a continual slide into lawlessness, where the actual words on the page make no difference.

Both parties are guilty of this, but the Republicans are taking us downhill in a child’s wagon while Democrats are setting a land speed record.

From this perspective, Trump as president might be the best thing to happen to this country. Democrats would fight him tooth and nail, and the media would be his relentless enemy.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-10-08  ::  Crowhill

How Biden could win in a landslide

by Crowhill on 8 October 2015

The Republican field is a mess. Despite having several very serious and well-qualified candidates, Trump and Carson are leading — which demonstrates that the Republican Party is in such awful disarray that a half-decent Democrat should be able to sweep the field. (In case you didn’t get the implication, Trump and Carson are neither serious nor well-qualified.)

So who is this Democrat champion?

Bernie Sanders isn’t even a Democrat, and he spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union. The man is far too extreme and will never win.

Hillary Clinton repels men with epic skill and isn’t even doing well with women. Even without her self-destructive email scandal, she’s toast.

The other Democrats can’t get out of single digits, which leaves us with Joe Biden.

People have largely forgotten that he’s a loose-lipped goof and that his previous campaigns were destroyed by a plagiarism scandal. He’s enjoying the fact that, next to sophomoric and incompetent Barack Obama, he looks like the grown up in the room.

But there’s more than that. Biden is neither stridently pro-choice nor rabidly anti-gun. He also seems to be an advocate for the working man. If he were to play that correctly — offering a moderate position on abortion and gun rights, and promising a “tough but distant” foreign policy — he could clean up the field.

I know the Democratic Party regards abortion as a sacrament and has no toleration for anything short of full-on infanticide, but … what choice would Democratic voters have? They’re not going to support a Republican, and if they had a blue-collar / not shrill / experienced fellow like Biden ….

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Biden in the White House. I would prefer any of the Republicans to him. Yes, even the clown candidates. But I sincerely think that Biden could win in a landslide if he ran a smart campaign and tried to appeal to the middle.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-10-08  ::  Crowhill

No, Father Barron, bishops do not have “families” in that sense

by Crowhill on 7 October 2015

Bishop Robert Barron is a reliably interesting fellow who usually has a good take on currents events and issues. He recently had some interaction with Chris Matthews, who is reliably a blustering idiot.

He also had some discussions with Brian Williams, who I had thought was taking an extended leave of absense from pretending to be a newsman, but apparently he’s still around.

“Isn’t it odd,” Williams asked during the coverage of the pope’s visit, “that those without families are setting the moral agenda for families?”

Yes, of course it’s odd, but this is the sort of thing that gets conservative Roman Catholics all riled up, so Bishop Barron had to reply.

He said that priests actually do have families — not in the obvious sense that they have mothers and fathers and siblings — but that “their parish is their family.” (Isn’t that precious.) He went on to say that his bishop’s ring is a wedding ring, “for it symbolizes our marriage to the people we serve.”

Listen, dude, nobody but me is married to my wife, and it’s simply inappropriate for you to imply otherwise. You can make up all sorts of “symbolic” silliness if you want to, but … no, you’re not married, and despite your weird attempt to evade Williams’ question, it is very strange that a bunch of celibates are deciding on the moral agenda for families.

This next comment is going to offend some people, but it makes an important point so I’ll risk it.

I was chatting with some buddies recently about this and that, and one of them mentioned a woman he knew who … uh, services her husband every morning. “It takes five minutes of my time,” she allegedly said to my friend, “and he’s the happiest man in the world and will do anything for me.”

That woman should be the keynote speaker at the Synod on Families.

The point is that there are things about married life that need another point of view. Priests and bishops hear about family issues in the confessional, and in that respect they might end up knowing more about marriage than married couples do. But there’s a practical knowledge about marriage that they lack. Both perspectives are necessary, and the idea that a bunch of celibates can figure it out on their own should be quite strange to anyone.

7 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-10-07  ::  Crowhill

I learned something about guns from a liberal

by Crowhill on 6 October 2015

On CSPAN radio this morning I heard Hillary Clinton talk about a law in Florida that prohibits pediatricians from asking parents if they have a gun in the home. Of course that sounds really stupid.

It apparently stems from a case in which a pediatrician told a family to get another doctor if they refused to answer his questions about their guns.

This raises a lot of interesting issues. First, I’ve had five kids so I know a little about pediatrians, and it is absolutely part of a pediatrician’s job to ask parents about safety concerns in their home. Do you have a coffee table? Are the knives out of reach? Do you have a good car seat? Are you using q-tips on the kids’ ears? Is there a gate for the stairway? Etc.

A pediatrician who doesn’t ask such questions would be derelict in his duties. And gun safety is clearly a fair topic.

But there are other issues to consider. For example, I wonder how people would react if a pediatrician told a family to get another doctor if the family refused to answer questions about illegal drugs.

Gun owners — like drug users — have a legitimate fear of being discriminated against. Yes, there is a crazy pro-gun culture in our country, but there is also a crazy anti-gun culture. Gun owners have reasonable fears along those lines. For example, they probably don’t want the pediatrician keeping a record of who does and doesn’t have a gun in the home.

But … for God’s sake, you have to protect kids from guns. So why couldn’t the Florida legislature come up with a law that accommodated gun owners’ concerns without prohibiting pediatricians from even asking the question?

For example, it would be reasonable to prohibit pediatricians from keeping a written record of who has a gun, and it would be reasonable to prohibit a pediatrician from refusing service based on gun ownership.

Are legislators just stupid, or what?

2 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-10-06  ::  Crowhill

You thought racism was bad. Meet the clans and the “Hidden Village” they inhabit.

by Crowhill on 6 October 2015

We tell ourselves that “all men are created equal” because we want them all to be treated as possessing the same “inalienable rights.” But we know for a fact that men are not equal. We vary from one another in almost every conceivable way, and not only as individuals.

Distribution curves show that groups differ from groups. Women tend to cluster around the mean while men tend to have more representation on the edges. And when was the last time you saw a white sprinter win the Olympics?

What if these unequal distributions were clumpy — so that very small groups of people shared a common set of remarkable traits? To be a member of this group you have to be at least two standard deviations above the mean in several ways. What would such supermen have in common with your run of the mill citizen, and why should they feel bound by the rules created by and for these average people?

Geof Franklin gets caught in such a world — in that Hidden Village — while searching for his missing son.

It’s free the rest of this week on Kindle. Check it out.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-10-06  ::  Crowhill

Bombing a hospital — something only Obama can get away with

by Crowhill on 5 October 2015

Today we heard the awful news that American forces may have bombed a hospital in Afghanistan. Doctors Without Borders has decided to follow Barack Obama’s playbook and issue condemnations before all the facts are in.

I’m content to wait for an investigation, but at this point there is one thing that is crystal clear to me. If this had happened under a Republican administration, the press coverage would be entirely different.

3 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-10-05  ::  Crowhill

An alternative to the minimum wage?

by Crowhill on 5 October 2015

Generally speaking I side with the right on most issues, but there are a couple aspects to the left’s argument for an increased minimum wage that I agree with.

The first is that a rising tide should lift all boats. We are a wealthy country, and in a wealthy country even the poorest should be able to live a decent life. (There is no contradiction between that and also believing there should be consequences for people who refuse to work.)

The second point the left makes is that some costs should be socialized. I also agree with that.

For example, the other morning I drove by a house in the neighborhood where a severely disabled kid was being picked up in a school bus. I could just see the money being spent — on the special equipment for the bus, the specially trained driver, the assistant assigned to help the kid, etc. I’m sure it’s enormously expensive, but it’s entirely appropriate for the community to share that sort of cost. The alternative — “congrats, you won the reverse lottery, so you have to go bankrupt caring for your disabled child” — is completely unacceptable.

That sort of thing is part of why I never got all that worked up about having to pay for the government schools while we homeschooled, and it’s why people with no kids at all still have to pay taxes to support the schools.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in favor of a government-run school system, but I am in favor of an educated public and I am in favor of socializing those costs across the whole community.

With those concepts in mind, what about the minimum wage?

The goal of raising the minimum wage is to ensure that working people can live a decent life. That is a good and noble goal. Among the many problems with achieving that goal through a minimum wage is that it will destroy jobs. Businesses will find ways to do things without using workers. They’ll cut back staff, find ways to increase productivity, and they’ll automate. The result will be fewer people working. The workers who were getting a poor wage would now be getting nothing.

There are other problems with the minimum wage, such as the silliness of setting one wage for the entire country, and the fact that some workers simply aren’t worth whatever wage you might pay them. There should also be exceptions for kids and starter jobs, and it would be insanity to offer more and more benefits while we can’t control the flood of people coming over our borders. No matter how rich the United States is, we can’t take everybody, so before we do anything about wages we have to control immigration.

Still, there is some justice to the complaint that a rich country should find a way to let even our poorest citizens earn a living. So, is there a way to achieve the left’s goal — that is, working people get a decent salary — without the negative effects of a minimum wage? I think so, and I think one possible way to do it would be to have a subsidy, which I’ll explain below.

Any proposed solution to the problem of underpayed workers has to meet the following objectives.

1. The market sets the price a business pays for labor.
2. People have to work to get paid (except in extreme conditions, of course).
3. Anyone who works makes at least $15/hour. (Or whatever the correct “living wage” is.)

Could this be done through a fund — supported by some kind of tax — that made up the difference between the wage the business can pay — based on the market rate for labor — and that $15 floor? So, for example, McDonald’s might pay $5/hour, but the fund would kick in the extra $10.

By itself, this wouldn’t work because every business that could would simply lower their wage to $0.05/hour and expect the fund to kick in the extra $14.95, so for this scheme to work there has to be some incentive for the business to compete for workers by paying a higher portion of the wage.

One possible way to solve that would be to require that some percentage of the wage the worker gets from the business goes to a retirement account. The worker would still come home with $15/hour, but there would be a strong incentive to work for the business that pays a higher portion of that $15.

This might only send the left on a new crusade — crying about how some people aren’t getting enough in their retirement accounts — but there’s no way to change the fact that you can’t give everybody everything.

Who would administer this fund? The left would want it to be the government, but I think the government is already too big. I think it would have to be something like an insurance company, monitored by a state- or local-based chamber of commerce. That is, some organization that wants to promote business and opportunity.

What would it cost, and how would we pay for it?

Something like 1.5 million people earn the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 / hour. As a quick calculation, let’s say three times that number make less than $15, and let’s say the average subsidy would be $4 / hour, or $8,320 per year. So this fund would cost $37 billion every year.

There are about 150 million people working in the United States, so that means this sort of program would cost each worker about $250 / year. If you add in administrative expenses and such, it’s probably more like $300.

Is it worth it? Minimum wage advocates say that paying the poor a “living wage” would help the economy, because now those people would have money to spend.

I have no idea if this crazy scheme would work, but wouldn’t it be nice if our political discussions included new ideas, instead of just trotting out the same old positions from 30 years ago?

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-10-05  ::  Crowhill

A “raging homo” says mass shootings are because we don’t let boys be boys

by Crowhill on 2 October 2015

This is an interesting article. How to stop mass shootings.

The problem, according to Nero, is that boys don’t have male role models any more.

Masculinity only becomes “toxic” when it is beaten down and suppressed and when men are told that what and who they are is defective. It becomes toxic when young boys are drugged in school because they don’t conform to feminine standards of behaviour. … Men must be allowed to compete. To fight. To shoot things. Today’s man-punishing, feminised culture is creating killers by suppressing these urges. We have to stop it.

I think he makes a good point — that some boys, who are told everything about them is wrong, are turning into frustrated, explosive men — but I don’t think that is the entire explanation. It’s a factor, but it’s not the cause.

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-10-02  ::  Crowhill

Will we finally have national concealed carry?

by Crowhill on 2 October 2015

I don’t like making political points after tragedies like the shooting yesterday. It’s cheap and insensitive, and is always ignorant. People make assumptions about what happened and why, and how to stop it, and then two weeks later we discover the situation was completely different and that the knee-jerk “remedies” wouldn’t have changed anything anyway.

Last night I was disgusted that the narcissistic jerk in the White House used this tragedy to demagogue about gun control. It also disgusts me when the media reflexively says “will we finally get more gun control?”

So since the tragedy is going to be politicized anyway, why don’t we politicize it the other way? The left thinks the only possible solution is gun control, but that’s wrong. There are other solutions.

How about a federeal concealed carry law?

(Dana Perrino said re: Obama’s rush to judgement, “his instinct is to speak before all the information is in.”)

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-10-02  ::  Crowhill

2015-10-01 :: Crowhill // General
This made me chuckle
2015-09-30 :: Crowhill // General
Obama’s war on due process