Do Something !

This has become a familiar problem in politics. At the moment that any news item comes along, media hacks want to be able to report on what reactions and consequences will result from the item. Politicians become immediately anxious to influence any outcomes in a direction favorable to them. Pundits have to have something clever or ponderous to say about everything. And, if it is international, all eyes are on the President to see how he will respond.

No; I am not about to talk about President Trump. I am thinking about President George Herbert Walker Bush. The memorial chatter in observance of his death has got me irked. He is rightfully being remembered as the great statesman who presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union. But he was called “gracious” and “statesman” and “reserved” in ways to deliberately contrast with President Trump, in hopes of making President Trump look bad by comparison. That was a very different time with very different circumstances. Current motives for lauding President G.H.W. Bush are transparent.

Now there is a spate of “he was actually horrible” reaction pieces. Here is an example of the c**p I mean:

Especially compared with current occupant of the Oval Office, George H. W. Bush was a dignified figure who served his country steadfastly in war and peace. He represented a center-right, internationalist strain of Republicanism that barely exists today. But it doesn’t make sense to canonize him.

Steadfast

I remember the G.H.W. Bush Administration days. I recall all the histrionics over the open discontent coming from behind the Iron Curtain, which was building because Mikhail Gorbachev was holding steady on his course of “Glasnost,” which was translated as “Openness.” I also recall mass media giving voice to lots of chatterers who were urging President Bush to “do something!” These were counterposed with chatterers expressing high anxiety about things going badly wrong if he did the wrong something. There was a huge debate raging over just what America should do to take advantage of the situation.

President G.H.W.B. was the right man for this circumstance. He was a cold warrior, well-acquainted with all the players, including China. He was well known by most world leaders. Nobody thought he would act rashly, and he was circumspect. In this case, by “circumspect” I do not mean to say that he was risk-averse, but, rather that he exhibited a pattern of careful and well-informed decisionmaking: “a careful consideration of all circumstances and a desire to avoid mistakes and bad consequences.”

There was a great storm of confusion and loud voices urging all sorts of action, and all sorts of fearmongering about what America might do to exploit the situation. President G.H.W.B. started calling heads of state, beginning with Gorbachev and proceeding all the way down the roster. This was something he had been doing all through 1989, since the unrest in the Eastern Bloc presaged the unrest in Russia. I recall some Important People predicting that, just as Luis XIV’s reforms let the pressure off just enough for the French cauldron to boil over in 1789, so Russia would explode in a massive bloodletting, and that the unrest would be a great opportunity for America to exploit.

Bush was calling to reassure everyone that America would not act rashly nor aggressively, and, if assistance was wanted, would help the Russian people to back away from generations of Communist rule, and that he looked forward to embracing his Russian friends as free partners on the world stage. The central message was that President G.H.W. Bush intended to do nothing, and allow the Russians and their client Soviet partners readjust their internal affairs without American meddling. This had been his consistent message to Gorbachev all through 1989.

You are probably familiar with several aphorisms to the effect of, ‘when things are going in a good direction, don’t get in the way.’ But that is really hard do; to refrain from acting when there is a daily clamor for you to act.

President Bush was faulted for inaction, called a “dumb lucky bystander,” trashed daily in the press. He was even called “a wimp;” which is a stunning description of a man who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross while piloting 58 torpedo bomber missions from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Media shenanigans

You have to remember that this was back in the days of Leftist mass media hegemony. There were only the three alphabet networks, Public Broadcasting, and a brand-new little-known phenomenon, a cable channel dedicated to full time news broadcasting. CNN was new and was just one of 100 cable channels competing for attention in the relatively new world of cable. The only conservative publications were Commentary and National Review, both with miniscule circulation then as now. The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal was the only widespread source of conservative thought in America. The New York Times and the Washington Post dominated the national conversation, much more back then than now.

There was little in the way of talk radio. Rush Limbaugh had started in 1988 with 56 stations, the year after the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, and was barely on over 100 stations at the time. (Otherwise, talk radio was mostly local, interviewing local commissioners and municipal department heads, or discussing health issues with a local doctor, or national shows that talked about music and Hollywood celebrities.) The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine allowed the major media organizations to quit maintaining a balance of “liberal” (Leftist) commentary and conservative commentary.

So media was a Leftist project, but most Americans did not recognize just how far left it had become. This allowed President Bush to be slandered daily with little in the way of countervailing defense. There were still a hundred or so conservative daily papers in those days, but they were overwhelmed by the flood of Leftist ink and Leftist broadcasting.

President G.H.W. Bush had his defenders, including the most stalwart Bob Dole. But on the national scene, he was holding steady, reassuring the world most evenings by telephone to encourage everyone to simply let the Soviet system collapse without meddling, and not to worry about all the fearmongering from the press. When the Berlin Wall fell, there was a new round of fearmongering about American meddling, which kept G.H.W.B busy soothing political anxieties around the globe in early-early morning or very late-night phone calls.

By the time of the 1992 campaign, the Soviet Union had collapsed, with total casualties less than a hundred, not millions. Boris Yeltsin had been leading the new Russian Federation for a year, and the whole subject was considered “old news” as far as American mass media was concerned.

Steadfast

Saddam Hussein miscalculated badly. He mistook American inaction during a clear moment of opportunity to be an indication of American weakness and of President Bush’s personal weakness. He invaded Kuwait, which he had wanted for a very very long time. His minions treated Kuwaitis badly. News of atrocities, and refugees, slipped out of Kuwait.

The ruling family of Kuwait had an important personal friend in George H.W. Bush; they had had warm acquaintances for many years. He told Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait or else. Then, to back up his threat, he requested that the Pentagon get to work in earnest on war plans.

But the situation was complicated by the fact that there was no Soviet counterbalance to American power, and the Europeans were going nuts about American cowboys swaggering around the world and breaking things. There was all sorts of Congressional carping about how G.H.W. Bush would lead us into a disaster. So, President Bush decided to act as the leader of a group, and then patiently pulled together a coalition. Several (seemingly) important international members decided to play coy, and so President Bush agreed not to invade Iraq, but instead to go only so far as was needed to liberate Kuwait.

He kept his promise. Even though it was clear to everyone that what would be best would be to move on in to Baghdad, President Bush kept his promise.

Steadfast

There were some really interesting economic changes in the 1980s. The one we best remember is the Reagan tax cut. But there was a stock market crash in 1987, and a slo-mo disaster among savings&loans that began with a high profile bankruptcy in 1985, then progressed through a number of bankruptcies until Charles Keating’s Lincoln Savings went bankrupt in 1989. The deregulation of savings&loans under Carter ended with new regulations in 1990. That was accompanied in a budget deal in which the Democrats had forced President Bush to accept a deal that modestly raised taxes, famously breaking his “no new taxes” pledge from the 1988 campaign. The American economy stalled into a mild recession in 1990.

President G.H.W. Bush huddled with his economic team, and decided that the fundamentals of the American economy were sound and that things were sorting out smoothly. He decided that the best approach was to do nothing and let the power of American enterprise work things out.

Of course, mass media was full of chattering about how awful the Bush economy was and how out of touch Bush was because he was spending all his time palling around with his international friends.

The campaign began in earnest in the fall of 1991, with America still technically in recession, but with signs of recovery all around. Democratic candidates all agreed that America needed a huge jobs bill to “put America back to work.” The most robust counterpoint to that was from Ross Perot, who was spending his own millions to put the budget deficit and the national debt into the national conversation.

The campaign of 1992 was really ugly if you were paying attention. Pat Buchanan ran a strong primary challenge in which he decried the national debt, trying to leverage some of Ross Perot’s work.

Bill Clinton emerged soon as the favorite Democrat. He had southern charm, a boyish grin, and spoke about being a “New Democrat.” His wife was a career lawyer lady popular among the Planned Parenthood wing. He could carry all those Southern conservative Democrats along with all the Leftist coastal Democrats and the rust belt union states. The pundit class agreed that he had what it would take to unseat an incumbent.

What nobody except Rush Limbaugh was talking about was that mass media was working as an extension of the Democrat campaign.

Media talking heads started saying that Bush was so focused on international events that he did not care about domestic affairs. Their spin was that his energetic and careful restraint on the international front caused him to neglect domestic issues. The recession was blamed on Bush, and the actual causes were ignored. Democrats raised the hue and cry, and mass media amplified it.

They also reinforced it through dishonest reporting on the economy. They reported every bit of economic news, maintaining a careful accounting. But that is not how Americans learn news. Bad economic news was reported, and good economic news was reported. Then the bad news was repeated, while the good news was shelved. Bad news got talked about, and good news did not get talked about. Reporters asked questions at news conferences about bad news, but not about good news. Chattering shows dwelt on bad news and ignored good news. Editorials focused on bad news and not good news. If much of the American economy is dependent on “consumer confidence,” then the whole economy resisted recovery because consumer confidence was killed by constant media focus on bad economic news.

James Carville famously observed that Clinton’s main message was “it’s the economy, stupid.” This sound bite leveraged the mass media narrative in a way that was condescending and arrogant, which was what made Carville such a good hatchet man.

At every opportunity, at the Convention and all through the fall campaigning, G.H.W. Bush kept saying that all the indicators were that the economy had bottomed out in the early spring of 1992, and that the American economy was robust, things were building up, and that the best thing to do about the economy was to do nothing.

He was ridiculed. He was mocked and and scoffed. He was called “out of touch.” He was called an out-of-touch elitist who never did his own grocery shopping. In an effort to address that, he went grocery shopping, which turned out disastrous when it became clear that he had never seen a checkout scanner in use. He was widely mocked for that, although grocery scanners had only come into widespread use in the past five years. The optics were bad.

And he was too genteel to call out the reporters who rode Air Force One for their poor and unfair journalism. They continued to carry bad economic news to boost Bill Clinton.

And in the third ring of this circus H. Ross Perot stole enough votes away to throw the election.

Clinton Economy ?

George H. W. Bush lost in 1992 and Bill Clinton became president. He had his massive jobs program introduced and passed in the House. It was spiked by Bob Dole in the Senate. Dole killed it so dead that it never was mentioned after that.

Mostly it was forgotten because it was not needed. Other economy-boosting measures introduced by Democrats also died. What happened was that the Fed kept interest rates low, and that was all that was needed for the American economy to recover. It was more than a recovery. It was a booming economy.

So, what Bill Clinton actually did for the economy was to do nothing, because Bob Dole prevented him from doing the stupid stuff he had promised while campaigning. He even won reelection in 1996 on the basis of his wonderful economic performance.

Bill Clinton and the Democrat-Media Complex are still taking bows for the wonderful economy of the 1990s. Nobody ever observes that it was G.H.W. Bush’s (and Bob Dole’s and Ronald Reagan’s) economy and economic policy that initiated it and provided room for American ingenuity to flourish.

Economists’ Assessment

In the July reports on the first half of 1993 a report came out that said that the economy was great, all indicators were up, and things looked really rosy.

What went unreported was a little paragraph in which it was noted that the bottom of the recession had been reached in March of the previous year.

What G.H.W.B. had been saying about the economy was exactly true. But Americans were never told that.

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Christmas on December 25th

Hey, gang, we are going to celebrate the Festival of the Birth of Jesus on December 25th this year. We are going to join with all Western Christians and all the saints who have gone before us for the past 1900 years and more. Now, probably on a facebook page near you, sometime this Advent season you will see someone telling you how the Christians selected the date of December 25th by appropriating the date of a Pagan festival. That is a crock, and an anti-Christian slander, and this article is to explain why.

    Most of you plain don’t care whether Christians appropriated a Pagan date. This is the typical reaction from Christians. We don’t really think that there is anything special about the date, it is just the traditional time for an annual celebration of the Nativity miracle. And, since we believe that mankind is corrupted by sin, and because we are all aware that church leaders have let us down on many occasions, we do not find this tale to be particularly troubling, and it sounds believable. So, Christians are generally not disconcerted by this tale, and we generally accept it without question.

Unfortunately, this is the sort of deference on the part of Christians that allows anti-Christian falsehoods to proliferate. Many Christians, such as G.K. Chesterton, accepted this tale as true. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia entry for Christmas (which was written in 1908) mentions this theory with the remark that it is “plausible.” Lots and lots of Christians have simply accepted this anti-Christian falsehood, mostly because it is considered an unimportant detail.

There is much to say regarding this anti-Christian slander, so I will provide some long-winded information and some links for anyone who is interested, or who is cornered by someone who finds this particular assault on the traditional Christmas story to be troubling.

Appropriation theory

Anti-Christians have said that the date of December 25th was deliberately picked to coincide with a Roman Pagan celebration. There are several versions, but here are the two most popular ones: one says that it co-opted a solstice celebration, just getting the date off by a couple of days, and the other says it was to co-opt a festival for Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun god). Both versions are falsehoods that keep going around on the internet.

First, neither the Greeks nor the Romans had a solstice festival before Sol Invictus. Sometimes I have seen anti-Christians on the internet raise the fact that other Pagans definitely did, but that does not hold up. There is no evidence that early Christians were in the business of co-opting dates or practices from the surrounding Greek Pagan culture (they opposed it in many ways), and, even if they were, they certainly would not have gone about picking dates from some far-away Pagan culture.

The second version also fails, on the basis that the Sol Invictus festival was initiated long after the Christians had agreed that December 25th is the most likely date for the Nativity. The Christians arrived at the December 25th date by completely independent reasoning that had nothing to do with any December events.

Mea culpa

The Sol Invictus theory was a speculation by a 12th-century writer, and it was accepted by Christians and non-Christians alike as possible and plausible; in those days it was extremely difficult to access the sort of historical records that would have shed light on this theory. This theory was reported later as fact by a Protestant who was using it as a smear against the Roman Catholic Church. It was spread by anti-Catholic Protestants. It has been picked up and used since the Enlightenment by anti-Christians of all sorts, and it gets spread today on the worldwide web by many who seek to undermine the teachings and traditions of orthodox Christians, both Catholic and Protestant.

Early Christian thinking

The Christians of the second century discussed the likely dates for several events in the life of Jesus, in the absence of precise dating in the Gospels. The matter that got the most discussion was the time of the Crucifixion, which was important for dating the Easter festival that commemorates the Resurrection. They were looking to establish the most appropriate date for this important feast, and were employing a Jewish tradition that held that prophets died on the same date that they were either born or conceived.

The short version of the reasoning is: that before John the Baptist was born, when his father Zechariah received his vision, he was serving in the Temple. From Luke chapter 1:

Now while [Zechariah] was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. …

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21  And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22  And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

The early Christians reasoned that if Zechariah could not be looked in on, then he must have been in the Most Holy Place, behind the veil, and so the event must have occurred during the annual festival of the Day of Atonement, which takes place in September. This was corroborated by a separate line of reasoning that was based on the rotation of the priests, and informed by a comment found in Josephus to backtrack and learn that Zechariah’s division of priests was serving in September.

If Elizabeth conceived John in September, then it would have been March when Mary conceived Jesus:

26 In the sixth month [of Elizabeth’s pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

They set the Feast of the Annunciation as March 25. Nine months later is December 25. This was established long before the first Feast of Sol Invictus. Clement of Alexandria wrote about it near the year 200 AD, as did Hippolytus of Rome. It appears from their writings that the date had been established prior to their day. Sol Invictus was first decreed by Emperor Aurelian in 274 AD.

Summary

Here is an excerpt from an article by William Tighe:

Thus, December 25th as the date of the Christ’s birth appears to owe nothing whatsoever to pagan influences upon the practice of the Church during or after Constantine’s time. It is wholly unlikely to have been the actual date of Christ’s birth, but it arose entirely from the efforts of early Latin Christians to determine the historical date of Christ’s death.

And the pagan feast which the Emperor Aurelian instituted on that date in the year 274 was not only an effort to use the winter solstice to make a political statement, but also almost certainly an attempt to give a pagan significance to a date already of importance to Roman Christians.

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Troll Comeuppance

I wrote a post that featured an incident of character assassination. While trying to figure out who the character assassin was I ran across a slightly humorous incident I thought I would share here.

As the clock neared 8:15 pm, she was anxiously awaiting a tweet she had no control over, set to go out from her account. Feinberg had recently lost a bet with her editor at HuffPost, Tommy Craggs, who had won free rein to write and schedule a tweet in her name—which meant that, if she hewed to her Twitter hiatus, the tweet would sit, unexplained, at the top of her feed for a week.

Feinberg, 27, has a kooky sense of humor and isn’t easily embarrassed, but what seemed like a playful wager was suddenly feeling a lot more serious. She cringed helplessly as Craggs’s message materialized online for all to see.

I want to apologize for my recent tweet, which has been deleted,”  read the cryptic note. “The joke was offensive and not at all funny — particularly in our current climate — and I deeply regret any pain I may have caused.”

Though Feinberg had done nothing wrong, she was still worried the message would bring trouble. “Right now, I’m anxious about people thinking I tweeted something super racist,” she told me, taking a swig of her beer. She sighed as a string of notifications began cascading down the screen of her phone

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Media v Evangelicals –2018 part 9

Tribalism.

Yes, that stale accusation is making the rounds once again. After a diversion of several weeks, Big Media is now in panic mode since early voting has started. Big Media was distracted by Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, and used that as the launch pad for attacks on white women, in an attempt to shame and bully white women who were leaning towards Republican candidates. They showed how desperate they are to wedge voters away from the GOP and President Trump. Now they are returning to more familiar ground, which is continued attacks on white Evangelicals in an attempt to wedge them away from President Trump’s GOP.

Of course the New York Times is leading the charge. They ran an article that purported to provide a political history of Evangelicals: “Religion and Right Wing Politics: How Evangelicals Reshaped Elections.” It is mostly forgettable. It contains several howlers, such as “American evangelicals had long steered clear of politics,” which is silly. It would be better to say that American evangelicals had long been politically divided. This article incorrectly cites the Moral Majority as the beginning of political realignment of Evangelicals. I think that is really clueless. The Moral Majority got its start and gained traction because the Democrat Party started kicking traditionalists and conservatives out and embraced moral confusion. Along the way, the NYT quotes Michael Gerson as part of the “Religious Right.” Ha.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/us/religion-politics-evangelicals.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

The New York Times also did a feature where they invited young Evangelicals to comment on their personal politics. They said they received 1500 comments. They printed ten or so. It was pretty much what you would expect. The New York Times’s favorite Evangelicals are actually ex-Evangelicals. The young Evangelicals the NYT chose to quote expressed quite a lot of confusion and dissatisfaction with their Christianity.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/us/young-evangelicals-politics-midterms.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

NeverTrumper David French wrote a column at National Review in which he riffed on the NYT comments from young Evangelicals and blamed this youthful religious confusion on Donald Trump. He charged “tribalism.” How tedious.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/11/the-two-different-temptations-facing-young-evangelicals/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NR%20Daily%20Monday%20through%20Friday%202018-11-01&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives

My favorite media critics noticed all this, but in this case they are very clever but ultimately less than helpful. They are pro-life Democrats, though, so it is not surprising that they are not up to the challenge of giving this mess the thorough mocking that it all deserves.

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2018/11/2/thinking-about-donald-trump-young-evangelicals-the-new-york-times-and-screwtape

They did manage to pass along this nice observation:

it’s amazing the degree to which the voices in this unscientific survey that ended up in print — in the world’s most powerful newspaper — sound exactly like you would expect young evangelical Times readers to sound.”

Exactly.

Elsewhere, NPR is rooting for liberal Evangelicals, hoping that they will persuade some traditionalist Evangelicals that Trump is so immoral that they should not vote for him.

https://www.npr.org/2018/10/25/660375278/finding-common-good-among-evangelicals-in-the-political-season

So, as you might expect, a last-minute flurry of attempts to wedge Evangelicals away from President Trump. All of this is oriented towards the midterm elections.

Nothing new; I just thought I ought to put out an update before election day.

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bimbo number three

Senator Grassley has an admission from the third lady that her story of Kavanaugh rape was entirely fiction.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/11/02/brett-kavanaugh-accuser-referred-fbi-doj-investigation/1863210002/

“…took responsibility for authoring an anonymous letter that made allegations that Kavanaugh and a friend raped her. After she was tracked down and interviewed by Senate investigators, the woman recanted and said she was not, in fact. the author  and had never met Kavanaugh.”

Grassley claims the woman is a left-wing activist and told investigators it was “just a ploy,” he wrote in the letter. Her full comments to investigators were not made available ….

There is more detail at Twitchy:

HOLY S*IT: Woman who claimed Brett Kavanaugh raped her now says she made the whole thing up

She further confessed to Committee investigators that (1) she “just wanted to get attention”;
(2) “it was a tactic”; and (3) “that was just a ploy.” She told Committee investigators that she had
called Congress multiple times during the Kavanaugh hearing process – including prior to the time
Dr. Ford’s allegations surfaced – to oppose his nomination. Regarding the false sexual-assault allegation she made via her email to the Committee, she said: “I was angry, and I sent it out.”
When asked by Committee investigators whether she had ever met Judge Kavanaugh, she said:
“Oh Lord, no.”

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An obituary to share –Mario

NPR has a feature worth reading.   It is an obituary of a plumber.   He started his own company.   He worked hard and his business grew.   He ended up owning some property, which is how he became the landlord for the Nintendo office in Tukwila, Washington.

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/02/663372770/mario-segale-inspiration-for-nintendos-hero-plumber-has-died

Another friend of Segale’s commented on that story: “My direct understanding and perception is that Mario Segale doesn’t mind at all the fact that his name inspired such an iconic character, and that he shows humble pride in that fact in front of his grandchildren and close-knit adult circles.”

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NBC News, Enemy of the People Oct 2018

You all recall who Julie Swetnick is, right?   She is the woman who said that Brett Kavanaugh had participated in gang rapes at high school parties.   She connected with Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who became famous for his representation of Stormy Daniels the porn star.

Avenatti sent a statement that he took from Ms. Swetnick to the FBI, and offered on her behalf that she was willing to testify as to Judge (now Justice) Kavanaugh’s youthful misdeeds.   The day before the supplemental hearing that was scheduled to hear the accusations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Avenotti went public with Ms. Swetnick’s allegation.

Here is a summary version from the Washington Post:

She said in an affidavit that Kavanaugh was present at a house party in 1982 where she alleges she was the victim of a gang rape.

Kavanaugh immediately issued a statement in response: “This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don’t know who this is and this never happened.”

Enemy of the People

So here is how NBC News showed themselves to be the Enemy of the People.  The Daily Caller has the story.   On September 27,

…Avenatti claimed … that he knew a second woman who could back up Swetnick’s allegations.

The second woman wrote in a declaration, “During the years 1981-82, I witnessed firsthand Brett Kavanaugh, together with others, ‘spike’ the ‘punch’ at house parties I attended with Quaaludes and/or grain alcohol. I understood this was being done for the purpose of making girls more likely to engage in sexual acts and less likely to say ‘No.’”

But that second woman contacted NBC News to say that Avenatti had her story wrong.

The second woman, however, contradicted those claims in a phone interview with NBC on September 30, just a few days before Avenatti published her declaration.    “I didn’t ever think it was Brett,” she told NBC.

She later texted NBC on October 4 after reviewing the declaration published by Avenatti, writing, “It is incorrect that I saw Brett spike the punch. I didn’t see anyone spike the punch … I was very clear with Michael Avenatti from day one.”

But NBC News sat on that information.   They did not disclose this information until after the Senate had voted to confirm Justice Kavanaugh.   NBC News allowed their comrades in Leftist Big Media continue to call Brett Kavanaugh a “serial rapist” and a “gang rapist,” knowing that the gang rape story had holes in it, and that the alleged witnesses disputed the story.  In particular they had the comments from this one key witness, but they chose to stifle that information.

https://dailycaller.com/2018/10/26/nbc-buried-information-gang-rape/

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#WontBeErased

Leftists have a new reason for high dudgeon this week.   The New York Times reported on a draft memo allegedly leaked from HHS that Team Trump is working on to make changes to interpretations of sex law.   The NYT headline:  “Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.”

An internet search shows lots of fearmongering editorials about how Team Trump is going to redefine gender to eliminate all 57 (or 72) shades of confusion.

Team Trump needs to make this clear.   What is needed is to define the word “sex.”   There are only two sexes, male and female.   Everyone who is not either XX or XY has a serious birth defect.

The issue of gender confusion can be left alone.   That ship has sailed.   The Left has enshrined all sorts of gender confusion into popular culture.

But there is no good reason to let anything but science be the definition of, and limiting factor for, the word “sex,” especially in matters of sex law.

We should all be careful to delineate the difference between the two concepts.

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White Women

I have noticed several stories over the past few weeks about white women voters. Also, I have seen fewer articles that appeared to be attacks on Evangelicals. In the heat of the 2018 campaigns, Big Media seems to have given up on wedging Evangelicals away from President Trump. They are now aiming at white women. They want to cry and bully and shame and scare enough white women to boost some sorry Democrats into office.

This is not so much a matter of articles. It has been a spate of editorials. The trick is that many of these editorials are hiding out in news pages instead of on opinion pages. When you are looking online, it is frequently hard to tell that you are clicking on an editorial until you are several paragraphs into the work. Big Media has quit separating news from opinion, and they have the idea that theirs are the only acceptable opinions.

White women, here are a few examples. In media eyes, you are the oppressed and you don’t even know it, or else you are determined to retain the privilege that comes from belonging to your class. You are either hateful racists or else clueless drones. Here is an example from a Leftist site:

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-reasons-why-white-women-vote-republican-and-what-to-do-about-it/

To understand the “white woman story,” we must first acknowledge that white supremacy remains the prevailing force in electoral politics….

There was a 20-point gap in support for Hillary Clinton between college-educated (56 percent) and non-college-educated (36 percent) white women in 2016. But there was also significant within-group variation, with support for Clinton 10+ points higher among unmarried women than married women and roughly 30 points higher among non-evangelicals than evangelical Christians across all educational levels. Such associations are significant because they reveal how systemic influences like marriage and evangelical Christianity interact with white supremacy to influence white women’s political behavior, through the explicit ideologies they propagate and the more insidious ways they reflect and perpetuate other structural inequalities. Some white women face voting pressure from their more-conservative husbands, a dynamic Hillary Clinton acknowledged in her analysis of her 2016 election loss.

I read parts of that article to Snooks.

Gee, I’m a married Evangelical Christian white woman.”

Well, Honey, you are just a slave of the Patriarchy.’

No; “I’m Queen. It’s good to be Queen.”

__  __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __  __

Julie Kelly had a post last week at American Greatness, to take down some of this nonsense (Oct 8).

https://amgreatness.com/2018/10/08/dems-midterm-message-white-women-are-rape-apologists/

White Republican women’s support for Kavanaugh unleashed a collective primal” scream  (again) from Democratic women over the weekend once it was clear he would be confirmed.”

Ms. Kelly cited some of the more high-profile examples of accusations of white supremacy, and then the way Leftist women turned on Susan Collins as a “rape apologist.” She gave particulars from atrocious editorials by Alexis Grenell in the New York Times and by Lucia Graves in The Guardian. Ms. Kelly mocked them with ridicule that would make the Happy Warriors proud. Then she began wrapping up with this:

It’s hard to see the value of the Democratic Party picking a fight with the largest voting demographic four weeks before a crucial election. But the tactic is obvious: Democrats cannot sway white women based on their ideas for the economy or national security or tax policy, so they’re left with coercion and intimidation. They want to shame white women voters into electing more Democrats by implying if we vote for Republicans, we are enabling and empowering rapists.

__  __  __  __  __

The Hill ran an article that dove into polling. https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/409796-understanding-the-white-women-thing

Trump got a smaller percentage of white women’s votes (52 percent) than did Mitt Romney in 2016 (56 percent), John McCain in 2008 (53 percent), or George W. Bush in 2004 (55 percent). The truth is, most white women vote for Republicans — and they have for a long time.

That article, by Jamal Simons, focuses on one particular progressive project aimed at white women:

…GALvanize USA, an organization focused on persuading more white women to make common cause with the progressive base on Election Day.

The group has been conducting research and testing strategies in four key states: Maine, Michigan, Washington and Iowa. Their work won’t have much impact in the 2018 election cycle but they hope to learn enough lessons this year and next to move some of these voters in the 2020 presidential cycle.

GALvanize is working from internal data that identify white women as the largest block of persuadable voters. Their husbands, brothers and sons are often far more conservative and, in many of the big swing states, white voters make up a larger proportion of the electorate.

__  __  __  __  __  __  __  __

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran a poll in Georgia shortly after the Kavanaugh Confirmation. They were horrified at the results. https://politics.myajc.com/blog/politics/white-women-voters-are-sticking-not-just-with-kemp-but-trump-too/tG6ypbHIcNNUJW2tL4MGYL/

In the race for governor, Kemp [a white man] leads Abrams [a black woman] 48 to 46 percent, a statistically insignificant difference given the poll’s margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. Raising the first eyebrow is the fact that Abrams has the support of only a bare majority of female voters – 50.4 percent.

Separating out white women voters, the margin of error jumps quite a bit – given that the subgroup is smaller, but the general trend is clear. Kemp gets 69 percent of the white female vote, compared to 27 for Abrams.

__  __  __  __  __  __  __

Slate ran an editorial that told white women to shut up and follow the lead of women of color:

http://www.statepress.com/article/2018/10/spopinion-white-feminism-allyship

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I saw Emmitt Till and the Scottsboro Boys dredged up in anti-white editorials. The hatred poured out on white women who don’t toe the Progressive line was really impressive in the depths of the emotional content on display.

I also kept seeing the statement that 52 percent of white women had “voted against their own self-interests” by voting for President Trump. I saw that at Skirt and at USA Today and a couple of other places. Because, I suppose, all women want unlimited abortion, and all women want expanded entitlement programs, all women want to fully restore Obamacare, and all women want open borders, and women don’t care about jobs or government overreach or individual liberties.

As far as Leftists are concerned, there is only one set of acceptable positions for women to take, and women who voted otherwise did so because they are oppressed by their menfolk.

__  __  __  __  __  __  __

There was a round of excitement in the Progressive ranks when Taylor Smith endorsed Democrat Phil Bredesen for Governor of Tennessee, over Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn. For example, Yahoo News and Google News both featured this column from GQ, by Mari Uyehara:

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/taylor-swift-political-awakening-america-180558458.html

Swift has mostly shied away from politics, so much so that she’s been lambasted for it in the past. But her call to action this week seemed to portend something greater rumbling below ground: the political awakening of America’s once politically neutral white women. 

Politically neutral? No, just politically divided, as noted above in that article from The Hill. The fact that women are divided between the parties does not mean that women are neutral. Maybe they are just thinking that women on opposite sides cancel out each others’ votes? I thought that was a pretty meaningless comment, but on first reading, it sort of sounded like something, maybe.

But what she is really getting at is that women who voted for Trump just were not thinking right.

__  __  __  __  __  __  __

Relatively high in a Google search is an editorial that Time ran on October 4, by the emotionally troubled author of The Vagina Monologues. There is no need to hear more from her, but here is the link:

http://time.com/5415254/white-women-brett-kavanaugh-donald-trump/

__  __  __  __  __  __   __

The Atlantic ran a column by Neil J. Young, “Here’s Why White Women Are Abandoning the GOP.” His evidence is a Sept. 26 LA Times poll. He blames the historic slight majority of white women who voted for the GOP on their class consciousness and on security issues. He says Republicans are now hurting with white women because the Democrats have embraced the #metoo movement and established a bright line opposing sexual misconduct, and cites the cases of Al Franken and John Conyers. I thought the whole thing sounded mostly like wishful thinking:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/will-white-suburban-women-vote-republican-november/571720/

National Review noticed this phenomenon and ran this article by Kyle Smith:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/white-women-becomes-a-disparaging-term/

One of several items cited was this:

A writer for  The Root castigated Taylor Swift because “like some white women, she uses her privilege to not be involved until she’s directly affected.”

The unnamed writer, Michael Herriott, took umbrage at this, and replied with an even more bile-filled racist screed. It is not worth discussing, but it possibly could serve as an example of race hatred:

https://www.theroot.com/a-requiem-for-white-women-which-the-national-review-sa-1829747262

 

Marriage Gap

I think the Leftists are lazy and comfortable in their groupthink. They see a racial divide where there are other factors at work.

Marriage is key. Marital status explains the divide at least as well as race, and I think better. White women who vote Republican tend to be married women.

Blaming white women for gross racism is lazy and feeds their stupid narrative. They blame the difference on racism, when there is clearly a basic difference in perspective at work.

This is not a secret. It is widely known. They choose to avoid it, because it does not serve to advance their narrative. Even when they acknowledge it, it is a quick wink and then on to other stuff. Buried in a mountain of Leftist stuff, NPR ran this very brief piece:

https://www.npr.org/2018/09/26/651710680/women-voters-marriage-gap-and-the-midterms

NPR really liked what they heard from a Democrat pollster who says she sees signs that married women are leaving the Republican ranks, so they did a follow-up:

https://www.npr.org/2018/10/02/651439266/married-women-may-be-moving-away-from-the-gop

That article is focused on Michigan. I noticed that the same woman is featured as a woman-on-the-street in both articles. That makes me hopefully think that the whole thing may be wishful thinking. It is mostly based on disapproval ratings for President Trump. That may or may not make a difference on election day.

Likewise the marriage gap is at work when the broader subject of all voters is considered. Blacks are married at a much lower rate than whites. I think that has a lot to do with both the economic conditions of blacks and their voting habits.

Republicans have become the party of married people. This is because of Democrat hostility to traditional marriage. The GOP should be running against the Democrats as the party that breaks up families.

Western civilization is at stake.

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Five Clusters of Voters

There is anxiety in the ranks among the Democrats. I saw this reflected in a new report on some polling that was done in 2017. The poll came from the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. The Democracy Fund was launched by the founder of eBay, and is a Leftist project. The Voter Study Group claims to be “nonpartisan,” but they are sociologists, so we know they are Leftists.

The research involved a k-means cluster analysis on the dataset to group the electorate using their prioritization of issues on a Likert scale, which allowed for a grouping of the electorate into five distinct voting “clusters.” In “Placing Priority,” these groups were named

Democrat/Independent Liberal Elites (DILE),
Democrat-Leaning Working Class (DLWC),
Moderate Younger Middle-Income (MYMI),
Conservative Younger (CY), and
Conservative Older (CO).

Each one of these groups, formed based on issue priorities rather than demographics, exhibited distinct political and ideological preferences.

Right off the bat I thought they had something really interesting. They used measures of attitudes and voting preferences to sort the data. They ended up with five groups, plus ten percent in a category called “Not Identified.” Do you see how they uncovered a natural division on the Democrat side between elites and working class? But on the Republican side, the divide is between older and younger voters.

The report expresses a great deal of distress because they did not find as much difference between the two Republican-voting groups as they found between the two Democrat-voting groups. In fact, the differences between the Conservative Younger and Conservative Older groups are inconsequential. Among the conservatives, the older voters are more interested in protecting Social Security and Medicare. The younger conservative voters are less interested in the social issues and could be characterized as a little bit libertarian.

They have little to say about that. Their focus is on the Democrat divisions. They are really concerned, because they see trouble on the horizon. Here is a key paragraph:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which had significant focus on climate change, racial and gender equality, and gay rights as important issues, was received positively by DILEs (nearly 97 percent of whom voted for Clinton). However, in the primary against Senator Bernie Sanders, she found herself defending the economic record of President Obama, which subsequently caused her to become the candidate of the status quo. Donald Trump — with his significant focus on trade deals, tax cuts, and bringing jobs home — more directly incorporated economic change into his overall campaign message, yielding a meaningful boost from DLWCs, a far larger cluster group by percent of the electorate. This magnified Trump’s appeal among the four clusters — DLWC, MYMI, CY, and CO — that ranked the economy and jobs as top issues. According to national exit poll data, among those voters who said the economy was “not so good,” Trump won an absolute majority over Clinton, 53 percent to 40 percent.

So the economy and jobs were priority issues for all voters except the Democrat-Elites.

All Republican candidates need to be running on a platform of needing the support of the people so that they can keep the Trump economy booming. That is how they can pull the “working-class Democrats” away from Leftist stupid stuff. Democrat Elites, of course, are a lost cause.

As are our own elites, but they are small numbers and concentrated in hopelessly blue states so that they don’t really matter.

The view from Never

Mona Charen wrote a column on this topic: https://ricochet.com/558866/a-word-on-behalf-of-religion/

I repeat this R> comment #18 by Arizona Patriot, to which I need not add anything:

Arizona Patriot

Overall, I agree with Ms. Charen’s assessment. I am surprised that she is surprised. I am one of those “religiously observant Trump voters” who she apparently now agrees, based on the Elkins data, didn’t all of a sudden turn into a racist Nazi white supremacist Klansman. Rather, we made a transactional choice to support the President despite his flaws.

This is why guys like me have been so infuriated by the unfair and unsupported accusations of wrongdoing leveled by commentators like Ms. Charen.

Unfortunately, in this same column, her erroneous prejudice remains on display:

Mona Charen:

Organized religion has suffered the worst loss of reputation. In 1973, 65 percent of Americans expressed strong trust. That has declined to 38 percent in 2018.

The ongoing scandals involving sexual abuse in the Catholic Church have doubtless contributed to organized religion’s loss of standing. That some major evangelical leaders, like Robert Jeffress, Tony Perkins, and Jerry Falwell, Jr., have become shameless flacks for a cruel and immoral president has sullied their own reputations while giving the side eye to the faith that supposedly commands non-situational ethics.

Please don’t lecture me about the demands of the Christian faith. Ms. Charon seems clueless on the subject. There’s the whole “render unto Caesar” part. There’s the whole “in this world, but not of this world” part. It is far, far more complicated than she thinks. It certainly does not demand that we never associate with sinners. Quite the contrary.

The Jews and the Christians should share this understanding. Read the book of Daniel.

Further, the very Gallup survey that Ms. Charen cites does not remotely support her hypothesis, which attributes declining “strong trust” in organized religion to Trump. Let’s look at the numbers. The Gallup data is  here (scroll down about halfway).

Strong trust” in organized religion was 65% in 1965 and 38% in 2018. And this is supposedly Trump’s fault, or more precisely, the fault of religious leaders who supported Trump.

But it was down to 42% in 2015, before Trump. So no, it seems to have little or nothing to do with Trump.

I suspect that the decline doesn’t even have much to do with the Catholic Church scandals, but with the appalling degeneration of the morality of the Democrats. It is very difficult, these days, to be a religious believer and a Democrat, given the illegitimacy, abortion, and homosexuality issues. This is the growing cultural divide, so it is perfectly understandable that increasingly radical Democrats would express less support for organized religion.

This, incidentally, is precisely what the Elkins study cited by Ms. Charen says. (“Left-right culture wars over L.G.B.T. rights — particularly government sanction of same-sex marriages — have likely soured many Democrats’ views of Christians.”)

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Doughboy’s letter from home

I inherited a few mementos when Uncle Fred died five years ago, and my Cousin Bo sent me some old papers. I started looking through them after Dad died two years ago. Among them is a package of letters that were preserved by my great-grandmother from my grandfather’s time in World War I. Mostly they are his letters to home that were kept by his mother. The Army heavily censored all soldiers’ mail, so they mostly consist of “I am still alive and I heard from” this or that relative. His name was Otis and he died when I was a small boy.

   A couple of the letters are different. Below is a letter that he kept in his kit and brought back from the war. It is a letter from home. We are approaching the centennial of that letter.

It is not real encouraging. Things at home were pretty grim. The Spanish Influenza had hit hard in the South.

The family lived in Memphis, where my great-grandfather was the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church. He preached two sermons every Sunday; one in German and one in English. In the letter, there are references to “Synod,” which is the gathering of clergy and lay representatives that the Lutheran Church –Missouri Synod holds once every three years. It was always held in St. Louis in those days, but these days it moves around to different cities. (I served as a lay delegate two years ago when it was held in Milwaukee.) Since the Synodical Convention is only held once every three years, skipping one was a big deal. Arno and Victor were Otis’s brothers; Victor was a student in the seminary and had hoped to see his Father who had been planning to see him on a trip that got cancelled.

[Letter from home] Oct. 13, 1918

Dear Otis,

How are you? Is the Flu in your camp? Or regiment rather? I
hope you have not got it. Arno is all well again, and as the schools are
closed this week yet, he will work. Anna Ringger is quite sick with
the Flu. So is Mr. Wergle. Otis, I saw in the paper where “Bill Little” died.  I will send you the clippings.

Otis the Flu is quite bad in Memphis. All public places, churches,
schools, Theaters; everything is closed.

It sure did seem fam’ly today, real old timey. No church, no tele
phone was supposed to ring, no automobiles except doctors and under-
takers. And during the week after 6 o’cl. every store is closed. You
can not buy candy, Ice cream, cigars or cigarettes. It looks dead.
All public places closed. You sure would not know Memphis again.

Papa will not get to see Victor this week as the Synod is called
off, on account of the Flu all over the country. I know Victor will
be disappointed.

Mr. Schromm died this morning of tuberculosis.

That great singer Mrs. Walter Wynn Yates died of the flu, also.

Well, Arno just came home and we must eat,

So I will close,

with Love, your dear

Mother

Nothing to do til tomorrow.” Never in the more than 25 years of my ministry did I have so lazy a day. Even the trolley was hushed – to give the operators a day of rest. They sure need it, with their operating force shot all to pieces by the flu. –Am sorry I can not go to Synod, as I was looking forward to that all summer. –But such is life. Hope you are having a good trip.

with love,    Father

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Trumponomics vindicates TKC 1101

TKC 1101, you were right.   You have been consistently correct on the American economy.   I have enjoyed your anecdotal approach to the underlying economy, the bottom-up view that told us that President Trump was on the right track to put America back to work and make America great again.   The gang of smart people at BallDiamondBall are similarly vindicated.

You are going to enjoy this article, even though you have to go to National Review to read it.  Deroy Murdoch has a great article up, titled “Obama Didn’t Build That.”   D. Murdoch uses a few good illustrations to completely dismantle Obama’s efforts to take credit for the Trump economy.

Murdoch’s illustrations come from a White House press conference that was held on September 10.  Sarah H. Sanders hosted while Kevin Hassett spoke.   K. Hassett is the Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.   I will provide links in the comments.

The Trump economy rocks.

Naysayers

I had a good laugh listening to NPR’s “Marketplace” coverage of the stock market highs.   They tried to look past all those bright thick silver linings to find little patches of dark cloud that they could focus on.   Other NPR shows have been very similar for many months.   They try so earnestly to let us know that most of the news is bad if you just know where to look.   They have to look really hard, and they can generally find some metrics that are not much different than they were under Obamanomics.   I enjoy the transparency of their frustration.   But “Marketplace” had me howling as they explained that other markets are down while ours is up, tried to brush it off, and then admitted that they are perplexed that, considering the international trade war, global investors are betting on Trump and America.

Here is an excerpt from the Politico, who seem to be cheering for a “Blue Wave” in November:

Hassett denied his appearance was prompted by a Friday speech in which Obama said, “When you hear how great the economy’s doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started.” The current economic expansion began in mid-2009, six months into Obama’s first term.

Trump replied shortly afterward at an appearance in Fargo, N.D.: “He was trying to take credit for this incredible thing that’s happening. … It wasn’t him.”

The dispute goes to the heart of Trump’s arguments this fall. Facing ugly projections for a GOP rout, the president is trying to persuade voters to stick with Republicans by arguing they’ve delivered an economic turnaround. But many major gauges on economic growth and job growth were just as strong during parts of the Obama years, even without Trump‘s deregulation and deficit-boosting tax cuts.

“One of the hypotheses that’s been floating around,” Hassett said in the briefing, “is that the strong economy that we’re seeing is just a continuation of recent trends.” But “economic historians will 100 percent accept the fact that there was an inflection at the election of Donald Trump, and that a whole bunch of data items started heading north.”

 

TKC 1101

TKC 1101 has been bringing us an occasional cheery message from his experiences as a business consultant.   He anticipated the trend, spotted early signs, and has kept us posted with updates.   I really enjoy those posts.   Thank you for the encouragement.

My own experience is in a sector that lags the general economy.   The vibe has been positive for months, and it is beginning to show up in terms of real work.

Go, Trump, go !

MAGA

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LifeSiteNewsDotCom

LifeSiteNews is a small anti-abortion activist group, pro-life journalism outlet, and news aggregator. It was launched in 1997 as a spinoff of Campaign Life Coalition. Both are based in Toronto. Unless you are a traditionalist Catholic or a pro-life culture warrior, you probably never heard of them.

They have had a lot of excitement lately.   For a year they have been fighting for their life as an organization. They had become very dependent on their Facebook page as their primary way to communicate with their network of donors, most of whom are Catholic families making small-time contributions. Facebook has been waging war against them.

Facebook ghetto

In addition to filtering them out of searches and giving them the “shadow ban” treatment, Facebook has refused to run their ads:

One response that our team received as the reason for Facebook’s disapproval of our ads is equally concerning. The ad pertaining to this response simply showed an image of a pregnant mother holding a photo of her baby’s ultrasound…

I do see that the ad has a fetus and while it involves your ad text and topic, it may be viewed too strong for Facebook to allow to show.

Such viewpoint discrimination is a direct attack on our shared life and family values, and is greatly affecting our efforts to fundraise and spread our news.

Yes, a pregnant woman showing off the ultrasound picture of her baby is “too strong” for Facebook. That is a transparent excuse that says Facebook does not like advocacy for babies. Facebook is enforcing the Culture of Death.

They do this by decreeing that accurately reporting on the abortion industry and Planned Parenthood is “fake news.” Truth is irrelevant; what matters is the narrative.

Facebook recently admitted to combating “fake news” by developing a system that ranks users’ trustworthiness on a scale from 1 to 10. This is determined by users’ opinions rather than objective investigations!

This means that aggressively pro-choice and anti-family Facebook users can rank LifeSiteNews as “untrustworthy” with the simple click of a button – just because they dislike the facts that we publish.

Facebook has therefore made it ridiculously easy for our highly organized, well-financed (George Soros, etc) and hateful opponents to have LifeSiteNews wrongly categorized as “fake news” and our traffic suppressed according to Facebook’s “terms of agreement.” Truth does not matter according to this mob-mentality-serving process.  

Sex scandals

If you are wondering where it was that you recently saw their name, it was because they landed the biggest Catholic scoop of August. In the middle of the Catholic summer of distress over new sex scandals, Archbishop Viganò released a letter that said that Pope Francis and the rest of the Vatican were aware of Cardinal McCarrick’s habit of pressing young seminarians for sex, and also that he had covered for homosexual priests who preyed on teenage boys. Pope Francis had rehabilitated McCarrick in spite of this knowledge.

Archbishop Viganò gave his letter to two conservative Italian journalists that he trusts. He also sent it to LifeSiteNews. Evidently that was the only English-language outlet that he trusts.

Since then, other traditionalist Catholics have gone directly to LifeSiteNews with background and new developments on these scandals.

Search and you will not find

Facebook is not the only internet service that is hostile to pro-life advocates. Several news aggregators have the habit of demoting LifeSiteNews as well as other conservative outlets. So for the past weeks we have seen searches that turned up dozens of articles and editorials that cited LifeSiteNews, but unless you type “lifesitenews” in your search, you will not see their original reporting on the first four pages of results.

Allies

I am not a Catholic. As a Lutheran, the Church of Rome teaches that I am condemned to hell as a Schismatic. Nevertheless I have several Catholic friends, and I find that traditionalist Catholics are my most trustworthy allies in the culture wars. I need strong Catholics to help rescue western civilization from the assaults of Satan.

Please consider giving a little support to LifeSiteNews, either with a few bucks, or by sharing their plight with your Catholic and pro-life friends.

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Media v Evangelicals 2018 part 8

Mass media, the legacy media, you know, those “Lamestream” guys, are keeping me busy tracking their continued attempts to wedge Evangelical voters away from President Trump. One way they do this is to pound on the hypocrisy angle at every opportunity. Of course, Evangelicals continue to provide lots of opportunities.

Hence the #MeTooForChurch series of exposes to detail those Evangelical pastors who have been caught in sin. Particularly notable this summer was the philandering scandal at Willow Creek, which is an Evangelical megachurch with a network of associated churches. Pastor Bill Hybels and his leadership team are out and the church is reeling. Almost every mass media outlet covered it, but all the articles seemed to be derivative of reporting by the Chicago Tribune and Religion News Service. There wasn’t an anti-Trump hook to this story, so it played out in the press the way most church scandals do.

Russkies at the Prayer Breakfast

The New York Times wins the prize for this latest reporting period for an article about the National Prayer Breakfast. The article ran on July 27. The National Prayer Breakfast happened back in February. Why such a late-breaking article? Well, the obvious answer is Russians.

Yes, the NYT ran a hatchet job about the National Prayer Breakfast in which they noted that a couple of Russians were in attendance, including Maria Butina, which, according to them, taints the whole affair and confirms Trump colluded with the Russkies to derail her highness’s path to victory. Now, I would have been content to scoff them and mock them and call them “fake news,” but I saw that one of my favorite media critics, Julia Duin, took them seriously and provided a better response. Here is an excerpt from her post, which includes a quote from the NYT:

The bottom line: I’m just surprised it took the Russians this long to discover what everyone else knew – that the breakfast and its parent organization, the International Foundation, have been organizing “secret” meetings between foreign government leaders and U.S. politicians … for years.

Doesn’t the same sort of thing happen at Vatican embassies around the world? Is this news all that surprising? The key question is documenting the money involved.

What’s more, participants appear to see ultimate value in meetings and relationships seemingly irrespective of the motives of those present.

I would sub in “evangelistic value,” in that the motive behind the breakfast is to pave the way for the spread of the Gospel in foreign countries by inviting their government officials to the breakfast.

Remember, the folks at the breakfast – and the Foundation – are using this as an opportunity to reach the Russians (and others) just as much as the folks from overseas are using it as a way to reach influential Americans.

Well, yes, one of the original reasons for holding a prayer breakfast targeted to Washington politicians was to use it to reach out to leaders of non-Christian nations to persuade them to treat their Christians better, and possibly to persuade both American and foreign politicians of the truth of the Gospel.

Usual Stuff

Of some interest over the summer were media digs at Evangelicals in ways devised to emphasize that journalists think Evangelical Trump voters are all hypocrites. Salon ran an article, but since it is Salon, maybe they don’t qualify as news media. Their article excoriated Evangelicals for being hypocrites on account of Trump’s immorality, and then they paused to celebrate the general rise of sexual immoralities, and then they also celebrated the rise of people who have dropped out of traditional churches. Typical.

The only reason to mention Salon is because they get promoted in the feed at the Google News aggregator. Google promotes their catchy headline, and that is what puts them on my radar.   Their headline stayed in the Google News Spotlight for several days.

Mike Pence, Christianist monster

There was a spate of articles that seemed intended to wedge Mike Pence away from President Trump, or to simply portray Mike Pence as a monstrous theocrat. Since they were all simply rehashing stuff I have written about before, there is no need to give a blow-by-blow. SSDD.

Fundamentalist Racists

There was a more recent example. It was from an Alabama newspaper, but it also got featured prominently near the top of the default Google News page. This one was also intended to chide Evangelicals because they support immoral President Trump. They found a liberal Baptist history professor (he also has an MDiv but I don’t know if he was ever ordained). They quote him extensively saying the usual Leftist stuff:

There are broader issues at play, too, with Trump’s stand on Muslim immigration echoing past religious right alarms against non-Protestant immigrants changing the nation’s faith demographics.

“Trump is, at best, racially insensitive, if not racist,” said Leonard, a former religion professor at Samford University and retired divinity dean at Wake Forest University.

But many evangelicals like his style, Leonard said.

“Fundamentalists vest great power in the authoritarian leader who brooks no disagreement,” Leonard said. “They have an appreciation for Trump as an authoritarian figure.”

Baptists traditionally supported the separation of church and state, but shifted with the rise of the Moral Majority in 1979 and the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980. Despite being divorced, Reagan was the choice of evangelicals over Jimmy Carter, a born-again believer and Baptist Sunday school teacher who did not agree with the religious right on many issues.

That is pitiful dreck through and through. “Trump’s stand on Muslim immigration echoing past religious right alarms against non-Protestant immigrants changing the nation’s faith demographics.” This assumes the Leftists’ worst construction of “religious right alarms” about Muslim immigration, insinuating that the concern is with all “non-Protestant immigrants” and alleging that the problem with Muslim immigrants is demographic, which of course is code for racist. I am calling B.S. on Dean Leonard and AL.com and the reporter, Greg Garrison.

I think Dean Leonard has slandered Fundamentalists as well as President Trump.

I recall debates among traditionalist Christians regarding the difficult choice between irreligious divorcee California actor Reagan versus Baptist Georgia farmer Carter. We voted for Reagan. I don’t recall anyone being called “immoral” for making that choice. But I have been called immoral for voting for President Trump, and in fact, I saw that “immoral” smear tossed around again just this week by NeverTrumpers.

And I resent Dean Leonard’s slander that “Baptists traditionally supported the separation of church and state, but shifted with the rise of the Moral Majority….” Did Baptists stop supporting the separation of church and state? He alleges in that article that Baptists want to use the power of the state to re-establish their dominant political position. He is wrong. Baptists are appealing to government to stop coercing Christians into forced speech that celebrates the sins of the protected classes. Baptists and other traditionalist Christians are appealing to government to stop meddling in local bathrooms. The key for Baptists and other Evangelicals is that Team Obama was using the federal government to elevate non-traditional religion over traditionalist religions; we simply wanted the State to cease establishing Leftist religion.

Evangelicals, whether Baptist or not (I am not a Baptist), are politically active because we are defending ourselves against the attacks of the Left, who have been using the power of government, as has been discussed here at Ratburger.org on previous occasions. Leftists may cry “theocrat” but the truth is that they are the ones on offense and we are the ones on defense, and it has been this way ever since the Reagan Administration.

I will close this time with an opinion column that ran at The Atlantic. It was by Peter Beinart, a professor of journalism at CUNY. It was more of the ‘Evangelicals are racists’ stuff that I have been writing about all year. This one seemed to pivot; Beinard did not address himself to Evangelicals and gave no indication that he expected to have any Evangelical readers. He was not trying to wedge Evangelicals away from President Trump. He was giving Leftists permission to consider Evangelicals to be horrible racist, sexist, homophobic, mean persons, as a way to encourage Leftist political activisms. He wrote on the topic of corruption, brushing off all allegations of corruption by Hillary, and focusing on the corruption of Trump. He wrote that Evangelicals were more concerned about people of color corrupting the complexion of America than about Trump’s political corruption.

I think we will see less of the media attempts to wedge Evangelicals away from President Trump.   We have seen a number of pundits and journalists wailing about how, for all their attacks, articles, shows, editorials, histrionics and shouting, the needle has not moved; Evangelicals who support President Trump have remained unmoved.

I will put links in the comments.

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The Immorality of Trump

Is there a difference between political morals and personal morals?

When the ramping up and campaigning began in 2015, I was dismayed to see Donald Trump in the top half of the candidates who announced.   I perceived him as a bombastic arrogant New Yorker of low morals.   Is that an unfair characterization?

Well, bombastic and arrogant seem undebated; even his fans acknowledge that, and New Yorker seems not to be considered a drawback; he won lots of Southern votes.   What I want to address in this post is related to the way his fans call him an “honorable man” and a “principled man.”   Well, perhaps, but with qualifications.

Sexual Morality

Remember the “Access Hollywood” tape?   Journalists thought it would be an “October Surprise,” but in fear that they would be scooped (they had been holding it back for many months) they rolled it out in mid-September of 2016.   It made no difference to the polling numbers.   This puzzled journalists who knew that Evangelicals’ support was key to Trump’s base.   They had expected the Trump campaign to wilt.   The NeverTrump pundits were even more distressed than Leftist journalists.   They faulted the journalists who broke the story for not waiting until mid-October to drop their October Surprise.

We remarked at the time that it was old news.   Evangelical voters had already absorbed the understanding of Trump’s sexual immorality, and had decided to support his candidacy anyhow.   When the Nevers railed at “rationalizing” and said it was “immoral” to support such an immoral man, we brushed them off.   Our response was “but Hillary.”   The choice was clear.

And there was no question about the immorality of Donald Trump.   He had famously bragged about adulterous affairs with “top women” who were wives of “A-list” men whose names you would recognize.   He clearly had been planning to take up a wife number three at the very time he was planning the wedding with wife number two.   There were rumors of other affairs besides the ones he bragged about.   He said rude things.   He implied in the “Access Hollywood” tape that he was willing to take advantage of his star status to treat women badly.   He was uncouth.   He made reckless accusations in obvious bad faith.

Nevertheless, we chose to support Donald Trump.   He won the Republican nomination on the strength of support among Evangelical voters.   By the time the fall campaign season neared the debates, the revelation of the Access Hollywood tape was only one additional piece of evidence for an aspect of Mr. Trump that was already well known.   And the emotional distress of the Nevers over that issue was revealing of their true position.   Their failure to see that other issues were more important and more relevant was indicative that their moral values did not match our moral values.   Though they are mostly not Christian, they clamored about Trump’s sexual immorality.   They invoked Biblical teachings.

Though we are Christians and promote conservative teachings about sexual morality, we brushed aside their histrionics and continued to support Donald Trump, the unapologetic serial adulterer who famously opined that he felt no need to seek forgiveness.

Does this mean, as the Nevers say, that we have “jettisoned morality”?

No.  It only means that we made a different political calculation than they did.

Political calculus

I don’t care how many times the Nevers stamp their feet and shout that the choice in November of 2016 “was not binary,” that election was a choice between only two outcomes.   But it does beg the question:  why were Evangelicals determined to keep Hillary out of the White House?   Even if that left only one choice, to vote for an immoral man?

With the choice set before us, we chose to support immoral Trump over “moral” Hillary.

So now to explain.   Many of us would question that Hillary Clinton is “more moral” than D.J. Trump.   We are considering the entire range of personal morality, and not just sexual morality.   There are many aspects to the human moral condition.   Perhaps it is appropriate to weigh different vices and virtues differently when making political decisions.

Morals

One of the reasons that western civilization always prized Socrates, Plato and Aristotle was because they were exploring what makes something a virtue and what makes something a vice.   They were looking for a way to make distinctions between good and bad human behaviors, and this became the foundation of western philosophy.

It would have been far better to have grounded western philosophy in Solomon, for the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.   This may not be commonly recognized as it once was in America, but this is common to us Evangelical voters.   We use the Bible as our source for moral learning.   (As the universities embraced modern post-Enlightenment thinking, there was a deliberate shift of philosophy away from the Bible and to a line of thinking that is more directly descended from the Pagan philosophers.   Ethics for business and journalists is a field that draws on the language of philosophy and not on religious language.   When journalists hear terms they think are religious, they think “dog whistle.”)

We Evangelical voters recognize all sorts of aspects to human morality.   Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility were the classical “Seven Virtues” of Christian antiquity.   To those can be added Courage, Justice, Prudence, Faith, and Hope.   They come down to us through the generations.

While we may commonly recognize President Trump as lacking in chastity, prudence, temperance, humility and faith, we also thought he had shown a solid core when it comes to courage, diligence, and justice.   We see this in opposition to his 2016 opponent, Ms. Hillary Clinton.   We think of her as lacking in courage (triangulation and focus-group testing and scapegoating provide the evidence there).   We think of her as lacking a sense of justice (her attacks on Bill’s bimbos is recalled).   She showed a lack of both faith and courage, plus a lack of trustworthiness (which is an aspect of justice), when she disallowed a military response to Benghazi.   Her e-mail scandal, plus the baggage of many scandals from the Obama Administration, counted against her as moral failings.

This sort of evaluation did not necessarily leave us with a sense of balance, but it did leave us with a sense that there were other factors in the political decision that could outweigh Mr. Trump’s moral failings.

Fear

I posted this past weekend about the fears of Evangelical voters.   These have been very badly mischaracterized by Leftists in journalism, religion and politics.   The fear that a Hillary Administration would crush individual liberties was paramount in the consideration of many Evangelical voters.

We did not look to Donald Trump as some sort of spiritual savior.   We did see in Candidate Trump a clear alternative to the Party of Death and Mrs. Clinton.   We were far more concerned with fears that a renewed Democrat Administration could kick the final props out from under western civilization.   That would not endanger our salvation, but it would deprive our grandchildren of liberty.

We made the right choice.

President Trump has exceeded our expectations.   And, every day when I get up in the morning, Hillary is not my president.

Progress

I had been thinking about this when I stumbled across a post at R>.   (I was browsing there in the wake of their banning of our friend Ms. Hypatia.)   The interesting post was by one of their popular Catholic ladies.

She posted to describe how she has turned 180 degrees around in her thinking, just in the past year.   She was an ardent NeverTrumper all through the campaign, and for the first half of 2017.   In the past year she has experienced a complete change of thinking.   She posted to describe her thoughts, and to say that, though reluctantly, she now supports President Trump, and, in fact, strongly supports President Trump.

Her reasoning is that the ascendency of the Left is endangering western civilization to a far greater extent than she had previously realized.   The revelations of how deeply entrenched the Deep State is in the Department of Justice, the FBI and other agencies shocked her into looking more carefully at the threat within, and the hysterical groupthink swarming of Leftist mass media, with their transparent lies, confirmed for her that the pro-Trump conservatives were actually on the right track.

Here are delightful excerpts:

I’ve had to revise practically all my opinions. Maybe the outward civility and personal rectitude of people like George W., Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio actually were a liability. Maybe “principled politicians” like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz really are insufferable and out of touch. Maybe we needed a crude, narcissistic president to make headway in a crude, narcissistic culture. And maybe Trump’s not as bad a person as I’d thought. Maybe he does have some core principles and values down there somewhere, under all the bluster and mess. In any case, he’s getting stuff done, and his media-baiting has served the good purpose of exposing their extreme bias, thank God.

His enemies have proven to be far worse than I’d imagined. I knew Obama was a covert narcissist and a leftist ideologue, a Marxist even. I knew he was governed by an evil worldview that saw America as needing to be taken down some pegs, while peoples marginalized by colonialism were given a leg up. I knew he’d set out to be the great un-Reagan and un-Churchill. He had a Saul Alinskite political MO: ends justify whatever means; isolate a target (like marriage) and destroy it. Pose as high-minded, even-keeled, and above the fray, while really being deeply nasty and harboring contempt for American institutions and the rule of law. And oppose all things Judeo-Christian and conservative, except insofar as they provide a handy cover for a leftist social justice agenda. I knew his appointees were bad guys — either ideologues like him, corrupt opportunists, or both.

But even I couldn’t have believed it was  this bad — that the Justice Department and the FBI would shamelessly deploy the awesome tools of their trade to destroy Trump and elect Clinton, that the mainstream media would openly abandon even the pretense of objectivity to become flagrant propagandists while demanding the deference due to true reporters, that it would become almost impossible to have a conversation with an anti-Trumper (since to defend him is to be instantly shunned as a racist and a fascist), that so many of our institutions would be so decimated so fast.

It’s weird and ironic, but true: our best hope for national salvation lies in rallying round Trump.

I’m back with Rush and Drudge and Ricochet. I’m practically stalking Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hansen. Now it’s David French and Jonah Goldberg I can hardly stand to read. Forget about  Commentary and  The Weekly Standard. How can they not see what’s really going on here?  Who  cares how sleazy and corrupt Trump and his inner circle have been over the years? It’s nothing, just nothing, in comparison with the depth and extent of the corrosion at the heart of things in Washington DC. If we care about our country, we’ll make electing Republicans this November our top priority.

And then the capper came in the comments:

Why is Donald Trump the only person capable of saving the Republic?

Because he happens to be the President right now, and if he’s impeached, the corrupt DoJ and FBI plus their media sycophants will be vindicated and strengthened. Pence will be horribly weakened. The already divided Republicans will be more demoralized and divided, plus alienated from the voters. If he’s strengthened, on the other hand, he will be in a great position to clean house, plus do lots of other good stuff. Weak-kneed Republicans will be more likely to come on board, etc.  I’ll have hope that America can actually be turned back around.

With good moral devout Catholic married white female Nevers like her coming around to a full-throated energetic support for President Trump, I am taking heart and renewing hope that we can forestall the collapse of western civilization for a few more years.

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