March 17th, 2017

Turning up the heat

It occurs to me that one consequence of the election of Donald Trump has been to turn up the heat on politics in this country.

Trump’s election is both a result of greater anger on the part of many voters, and of more willingness to take risks and vote for someone highly unconventional; and a cause of greater anger on the part of the opposition.

That last sentence is observation only, rather than an assignment of blame to Trump. He is a lightning rod for various feelings that have been brewing for a long long time.

A lot of people compare what’s going on at present to the turmoil of the Sixties. I don’t see it that way. I actually think things are worse now, but perhaps that’s because I was young then—and although I was paying attention to events, I wasn’t quite as involved in the news of the day (and its details) as I am now. What I see at present is a more basic undermining of the social contract and the rule of law, and a more profound lack of knowledge on the part of much of the populace about the underpinnings of our government and what makes this country special.

Extremely distressing and disturbing. That’s why, no matter what the topic du jour on which I’m writing may be, there’s an underlying concern that’s become extreme.

But perhaps it’s just mud season—although the mud got covered over with quite a bit of snow this past weekend. But March snow melts pretty quickly, even in New England.

62 Responses to “Turning up the heat”

  1. physicsguy Says:

    Yeah, I think the New England weather just adds to the malaise. Even with bright sunshine and temps edging above freezing the snow is not melting here. It’s too dense and has essentially become ice.

    Even my family, which consists of mainly MOR types, has engaged in political arguments. I don’t think it would take too much to set off something like 1969, only worse.

  2. Griffin Says:

    Part of the issue for me is the politicization of everything. Some days it seems like there is nowhere to turn to escape from it. This is not a good thing for a culture as it leads to constant friction and a lack of culturally unifying events.

  3. J.J. Says:

    neo: “A lot of people compare what’s going on at present to the turmoil of the Sixties. I don’t see it that way. I actually think things are worse now, ….”

    I agree that it’s worse. Here’s why. In the 1960s there were still a lot of students in college who were still attuned to traditional values. The college administrations were weak and compliant in the 1960s, but today they actively encourage the students to be radicals. Most of the violence was committed by young blacks filled with rage and there was at least some actual reason for their rage. Today, with far less in the way of actual grievances and much progress, blacks have committed violence, but a lot of the violence is being committed by young white men and women – who have no real grievances except they disagree with the conservative/traditional view of the world. Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dorhn were a lot like them in the 60s, but this time there are far more of them.

    Politics has become more partisan. In the 60s there were many moderate Democrats and Republicans. There was a lot of compromising going on in Congress. Today we have no Scoop Jackson or Patrick Moynihan Democrats. They are all quite far left and they have no intention of compromising. Though Nixon was not well liked by the Dems there was no active, overt campaign to destroy him until Watergate revealed a way to at least weaken him. When he was brought down by a concerted effort from the most progressive members of Congress and the MSM, it was the beginning of a trend. Progressives and the MSM have been looking for the next Nixon to bring down. They believe they have found their man in Trump.

    What is interesting to me is that most Republican politicians would have been brought to their knees by the onslaught that Trump has endured. He remains standing and is often on the offensive. Can he endure? Ah, that is the question. My hope is that he can and will.

  4. KLSmith Says:

    I have political ennui.

  5. DNW Says:

    Yes. The social situation has changed.

    These are not your father’s conservatives, nowadays.

    Conservatives, once typified by a conventionally minded person sputtering in indignation, are in large part better informed and ideologically educated – in part due to libertarian influences – than they ever have been before.

    They have revisited the philosophical and anthropological predicates which justified the natural rights inferences that informed Jeffersonian classical liberalism in the first place, and have thus become more confident and less cowed.

    And the modern liberals?

    The left, long convinced that it was riding the crest of a morally irresistible historical wave, is now confronted by people who are shockingly demanding that the left explain just exactly how their usual moral conceits are sustainable in the face of the generalized acids of deconstruction and nihilism which these very same postmodern liberals have applied to the entire human project – when they wished to undermine tradition.

    You know: If no men have natural rights as you say mon amie … then, modern liberal men have no natural rights; n’cest pas ?

    So piss off and cry to someone else, dear “other”.

    Modern liberals, having been so used to having it all their own way, leveraging the Democrat Party client class in order to get what they want via slogans minus argument, are hardly in a mood – much less intellectually prepared – to play the game which they have inaugurated; and cannot now successfully “argue” their case for that “shared fate” predicate which they stupidly assumed was forevermore settled political science.

    They gave up on argument in the 60’s. Now, they can only rage. And that line of attack only works when those you rage at are unwilling – like our baffled greatest generation parents – to shoot back at people whom they have always assumed were fellow, emphasis on “fellow”, Americans.

    They, the greatest generation could not process it.

    We, on the contrary, have had forty years of demonstrated leftist arrogance, example, and unslakable desire in which to come to terms with what they are, and what they want.

    Of course the political situation is worse.

    One party which has heretofore been a punching bag, has decided to fight back. And it is scaring the hell out of the professional political class.

    It should.

  6. parker Says:

    It is worse now than the turmoil of the 60s. The left has gone hard left and has created an ‘army’ of LIVs with no roots in history or the very foundations of Western Civilization. They have created a 3 monkeys generation and their hatred has no boundaries. This will not end well for anyone.

  7. Ben338 Says:

    The problem, as I see it, is that much of Leftism looks more like a religious movement than a political movement. One can compromise with political opponents, but not with heretics. As long as Keftists view their opponents as heretics, there can only be a fight to the death.

  8. Ben338 Says:

    “Leftists”, not “Keftists”. How did that ever make it past spell check?

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Ben338:

    Is spellcheck breaking down, too?

  10. Mac Says:

    “What I see at present is a more basic undermining of the social contract and the rule of law, and a more profound lack of knowledge on the part of much of the populace about the underpinnings of our government…”

    You are correct, Neo. I was a hippie/radical in the Sixties. I’m one of the few from my circle in those days who changed. The others adjusted to normal life in most ways but kept their convictions. Many engaged in that long march you’ve discussed. As we know that has been quite successful. And part of that success has been the weakening you describe. Many of them still have a sort of Carl Sandburg patriotism and the residue of high school civics respect for the institutions. But their children do not. They only know that America is an evil place and must be fundamentally transformed. Respect for the Constitution etc is simply not part of their mental equipment. We might as well be talking about primogeniture or the divine right of kings.

  11. Big Maq Says:

    Not to say we don’t have problems today, but “worse” today?

    How do those who think it is so propose to measure it?

    For instance, mentioned above, if all there was to measure was college campus activity, then it seems protests today, by and large, are tame in number and effect, despite the “larger number of students who hold conservative values”.

    This sentiment echos the over wrought “911” case made during the election campaign.

    Many wanted a “fight” and a “fight” is what we all shall have.

    If that actually accomplishes what we want is an entirely different question.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    I don’t “propose to measure it.” Or rather: (a) I don’t think it’s possible to really measure it (b) I “measure” it by my own impressions, having been around for both eras (and I was not a child during the 60s); and (c) As far as I do “measure it,” I use my impressions of the criteria already stated in the post:

    What I see at present is a more basic undermining of the social contract and the rule of law, and a more profound lack of knowledge on the part of much of the populace about the underpinnings of our government and what makes this country special.

    This sort of article seems to agree on the lack of civic and historical awareness, although it’s short on statistics.

  13. huxley Says:

    I agree with neo and others here. My gut sense is the current turmoil is worse than the sixties. (And the early seventies were no picnic either. Practically speaking the sixties were really 1960-1975.)

    However, it’s easy to forget, because the media didn’t cover it consistently, that there were over 20,000 bombings back then. I can’t find a good overall number now but here are a few data points:

    The hearing, part of an investigated led Senator John L. McClellan, Democrat of Arkansas, concluded that from January 1969 to April 1970, the United States sustained 4,330 bombings — 3,355 of them incendiary, 975 explosive — resulting in 43 deaths and $21.8 million in property damage.
    https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/27/1969-a-year-of-bombings/?_r=0

    And:

    [The Weather Underground’s] attacks began three months later, and by 1971 protest bombings had spread across the country. In a single eighteen-month period during 1971 and 1972 the FBI counted an amazing 2,500 bombings on American soil, almost five a day. Because they were typically detonated late at night, few caused serious injury, leading to a kind of grudging public acceptance. The deadliest underground attack of the decade, in fact, killed all of four people, in the January 1975 bombing of a Wall Street restaurant. News accounts rarely carried any expression or indication of public outrage.
    http://time.com/4501670/bombings-of-america-burrough/

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    huxley:

    The US left was more violent during the Sixties, but that’s because the US population was more to the right during the Sixties. The left felt it had to be more violent, because it was smaller and weaker otherwise. It’s grown much larger and more powerful in influence over people’s minds and opinions, so there’s not so much need (right now, anyway) to be as violent.

    Gramscian march and all that.

  15. huxley Says:

    neo: I did say I agreed with you and others.

    My point was that people do forget or were never aware just how violent that period was. I think it’s worth remembering.

    The violence wasn’t just some high-profile assassinations, riots and Kent State. The left executed tens of thousands of bombings. We were lucky the left was mostly careful about killing people.

    Even though I track this stuff I was surprised when I went back and looked up the numbers.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    huxley:

    Yes, I knew you agreed.

    I was just pointing out a few things, not so much for you as in general.

  17. Sergey Says:

    In Sixties, these society destroyers were just a bunch of spoiled children on campuses. Now the same people comprise a whole alternative society dominating newsrooms, universities faculty and most of positions of power in administrative state. They do not throw bombs anymore, no need for that, they just rule the rest of the country. So, the situation is much worse.

  18. Yann Says:

    A lot of people compare what’s going on at present to the turmoil of the Sixties. I don’t see it that way. I actually think things are worse now

    The 60s were a social revolution. No matter how chaotic it seemed, at the end of the day everybody was in the same side.

    Now, it’s war between nations. That’s a basic difference: it’s not about disagreements in one side anymore, it’s a war between different sides. It’s about balkanized states.

    It’s far worse. And it’s not gonna calm, it’s gonna grow from here on.

  19. Sergey Says:

    “at the end of the day everybody was in the same side.” Really? This was a temporary retreat of conservative politics, while most of the country still was center-right, only sidelined from public view and silenced. Now conservative politics returned, with vengeance.

  20. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    In the 60’s the welfare state was not yet so fully inplanted as today. SS was continuing yet most men lived only a few years past 65 so no crisis in funding. LBJ’s great society was not yet totally in place. There was still a military draft with a potent Soviet adversary. College was just beginning to be required for all jobs.

    Today the slightest hint that welfare (call them entitlements if you wish) benefits will change brings total panic. But the huge costs of supplying these benefits is now coming home to roost. That is the real crisis in politics. The whole social justice program is in part a control to keep the welfare state in place. That’s why the knives are out.

    Unfortunately, Trump catered to the nationalist vibe and its subgroups which played right into the lefts hands. No “Happy Warrior” he.

  21. Stubbs Says:

    Since the late nineteenth century “educated” people saw the natural development of society as a movement to the welfare state. Today’s left is realizing that, not only do many people now reject this future, the direction of “educated” opinion might be turning against them. Too many people are coming to view individualism and capitalism as likely to produce a better future for all people. Hence, the fervor of the reaction to Trump and American nationalism.

    And as has been the case often in the history of such profound changes, even the vanguard right has not figured out all the necessary tactics and goals. Meanwhile, the left behaves less and less as it would if it had history or reason on its side.

  22. Frog Says:

    I agree with all preceding comments and with Neo, except DirtyJobsGuy’s:
    “Unfortunately, Trump catered to the nationalist vibe and its subgroups which played right into the lefts hands. No “Happy Warrior” he.”

    American exceptionalism cannot survive without nationalism, meaning the broad sense of that word, not the Leftist deconstruction thereof. Nationalism is not quite the same as patriotism, especially Hillary’s perverted use of the latter in her straw-man statement, ““I’m sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this [G W Bush] administration, somehow you’re not patriotic.”

    One can see the PC perversion of nationalism by googling its definition.
    -Merriam-Webster: “loyalty and devotion to a nation;”
    -Wiki: “Nationalism is a complex, multidimensional concept involving a shared communal identification with one’s nation. It is a political ideology oriented towards gaining and maintaining self-governance.”
    -www.dictionary.com: “Nationalism is the belief that your own country is better than all others. … Patriotism is a healthy pride in your country that brings about feelings of loyalty and a desire to help other citizens. Nationalism is the belief that your country is superior, without question or doubt.”

    See the subtle morphing? Which leads to this:http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/03/15/angelina-jolie-warns-of-rising-tide-of-nationalism-masquerading-as-patriotism/
    And this, in the Boston Globe: “The GOP has become the party of white nationalism” yesterday.

    Perversions of meaning. Nationalism is becoming a dirty word in the PC world of ever-moving definitions. The link to Nationalsozialismus is always there beneath the surface.

    The alternative to nationalism is internationalism aka globalism. Does one need to be reminded the communist anthem was The Internationale? Workers of the world, unite! Most forms of Islam have at their root the concept of conversion to the Ummah by force even if honored only in the breach, thus globalist.

    There is no citizenship without nations. And nationalism.

    So Trump, by being a nationalist, by putting the national interest first, played right into the left’s hands, DJG? Have you thought that through? One does not win by losing. The Left lost.

    Hubert Horatio Humphrey, who was called the “Happy Warrior”, is long dead. He was part of the 1960s Democratic Party that gave away the store in which we now find the shelves appallingly bare.

  23. Brian E Says:

    It’s worse in the sense that the march toward progressive anarchy, which picked up steam in the 60’s and 70’s exemplified with the communist led Vietnam war protests, legalized abortion, and gay insurrectionist intimidation to normalization and the 90’s with it’s romanticism of globalism and the attendant chaos that it has sewn to today where the gay intimidation movement is being replayed by the gender confusion movement.

    The progressive/cultural Marxist isn’t happy that there has been a new found realization that the results of all our progress isn’t a march toward Eden, but a descent into Hell and the newly born Nationalism is a last gasp effort to stop the slide.

    While Trump is currently the darling of the Nationalist/alt-Right movement, he’s really not one of them, as they confuse American nationalism with white identity, while it really is Judeo-Christian morality that forms our core, which is very much not ethnic centered.

    I try and avoid the use of Nationalism in describing the awakening today, but rather Populist as that certainly has a national character component without all the baggage that the left is ascribing to the Nationalist label.

  24. Yann Says:

    “at the end of the day everybody was in the same side.” Really? This was a temporary retreat of conservative politics, while most of the country still was center-right, only sidelined from public view and silenced.

    Still is far from what is happening now.

    Now it’s about people who just don’t feel they belong to the same nation. And when there’s a common resource that can’t belong to everybody and there’s different nations that want it (let’s say food, energy, water… or let´s say a country) people just kill each other.

    This is what is happening now.

  25. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian E – you do realize that some of the economic policies you advocated are the kind of things the dems “used to” argue.

    It is very much those policies that enhance the very power we all are concerned the left/progressives exert while in office.

  26. Big Maq Says:

    “I don’t “propose to measure it.” Or rather: (a) I don’t think it’s possible to really measure it (b) I “measure” it by my own impressions, having been around for both eras (and I was not a child during the 60s); and (c) As far as I do “measure it,” I use my impressions of the criteria already stated in the post” – Neo

    In essence it is all about how “I”, the observer, feel about it.

    Sorry. That is very much a cop out.

    You could make (and have made) much better arguments for a position.
    .

    At best, there are some ways that today is “better”, and other ways it is “worse”, but without citing some facts, it is hard to really tell if one side objectively outweighs the other.

    I suggest that folks are suffering from some recency effect, and judging it emotionally against vague memories of the some ideal past that never was.

    This thinking, without something to substantiate it, in some ways is a buy into the flight 93 narrative.

    That narrative leads us down a path of justifying more of what it is we are fearing and lamenting here.

    The “fight” is on. This is what many wanted.

    “Turning Up the Heat” has consequences. Just don’t think the kind of “fight” this “leadership” engages in will lead to the results y’all hope for.
    .

    What is truly “distressing” is the day by day uncertainty itself.

    Nobody knows what trump is going to latch onto next. Nobody knows what he really stands for. Nobody knows how far he will go on any item.

    We all hope he does the right thing. In many cases, it seems he has (e.g. his cabinet). But, will he work with them, or will he do his own thing?

    In the meantime, trump distracts and muddies it all by his lies, rants, and obsession with perceived personal slights.

    What is “worse” is that we clearly don’t have someone “trustworthy” (on many levels) nor “knowable” in the WH, and damn few in his own court to set him straight.

    These are and will continue to be rough times on the account of all this.

  27. Yankee Says:

    Some of this turmoil comes from having non-stop 24-hour news coverage, and the Internet. A break from the news is often healthy (and nothing much tends to happen anyway). Another source is the intertwining of politics into the culture, just as government has grown larger and taken on more responsibilities, in ways that would seem strange to those in the 1700s and 1800s.

    For that matter, the 19th century had a lot of social unrest, not just the Civil War, but also periodic economic downturns, labor battles during industrialization, and anarchists (culminating with Pres. McKinley’s assassination in 1901). Still, the racial make-up and cultural cohesiveness was different then from now.

    At any rate, I still get very great pleasure from hearing the words, “President Donald Trump” every day. All of these controversies we discuss now have been years in the making, yet many can be resolved, and overcome (in a favorable way) by clear thinking and straightforward talk.

  28. Irv Says:

    Big Maq – You assume that since you find Trump unpredictable and you can’t figure out what he stands for then no one else can either. I have not seen any attempt on your part to try to understand. It seems to me that in every case not only don’t you give him the benefit of the doubt but you always assume the worst possible motives for his actions.

    I, and many others, find him completely predictable and consistent. He is a patriotic businessman who is very appreciative of the success this country has allowed him and would like for others to have the opportunities that he has enjoyed.

    He believes wholeheartedly in the free market capitalistic system and thinks that it always has and always will provide to most benefit to the most people.

    He believes, like most successful businessmen in my experience, in negotiations that are never zero sum but that can always be made to the benefit of both parties.

    It appears to me that you confuse his personality with his beliefs and actions. If you take his comments as generalizations and not specifics then they make sense. The truest thing I’ve heard said is that his supporters take him seriously but not literally and his detractors take him literally but not seriously.

    You also denigrate the ‘flight 93’ mentality of many of his followers. We have very good evidence, even though you may think it’s insufficient, that he’s the last chance for the survival of our constitutional republic.

    Without getting into the discussion of whether this time is worse than the ’60s there is one thing that is for sure. This is not the same country it was in the ’60s. The news media is now almost completely controlled by the far left as is the entertainment media, the educational complex and the federal bureaucracy. Therefore the totalitarian leaning actions of the left are much much more effective and enduring.

    I think you dismiss the Trump supporters reasons for doing so without seriously considering them adequately. Please try to evaluate Trump more on his actions and treat his statements more as generalizations than specifics, regardless of how they might sound to you.

    Just one example is that when Trump says that Obama wiretapped him, what I hear is that Trump believes that Obama used the apparatus of the intelligence community against his campaign in the same way that he used the IRS against conservative organizations during the election and in the same way that Fox’s Rosen’s phone was monitored by the FBI. You may disagree but you can’t possibly say that those beliefs are without evidence.

    If almost all of his statements are looked at with that attitude (benefit of the doubt wise) then he’s not nearly as bad as he’s made out to be by the media and the anti Trump crowd of both parties.

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    Big Maq:

    No, not a cop out at all.

    It would be a cop out, I suppose, if I had said that I was going to measure it, or use some quantifiable objective standard, then just went on my feelings.

    But that’s not at all what this post is about. Just because you might like me to write about that, that doesn’t mean it’s what my purpose is. Note that the category under which this post is filed is “me, myself, and I” and then “politics.” It is a personal essay—and yes, it’s about my feelings. That’s what it’s meant to be.

    What else do you think that Eeyore drawing is there for?

    I write all sorts of posts with all sorts of tones. Sometimes they’re meant to be funny. Sometimes a post is rather dry, with a lot of facts and statistics. Sometimes a post is about history. But sometimes a post is in the nature of a personal essay, a reflection, a reaction, an impression, a feeling. That’s what this post is. It’s also an invitation to readers/commenters to compare their impressions of one era versus another, and which they personally feel is “worse” (or better).

    And if anyone wants to throw in some statistics about a certain measure of “worse” (for example, violent crime), that person is welcome to do so. Then we can discuss whether other people agree that that’s an important measure.

    Just because you happen to want a certain type of post doesn’t mean a person is copping out by not writing that post.

  30. Brian E Says:

    Big Maq– I think we’ve had this conversation before.

    Since the 1970’s real wages have declined (or should I say haven’t kept up with inflation) for the middle/lower middle class.

    In the 70’s it was possible to live (frugally) on a single wage earner. Now it is rare that both couples aren’t working. That makes job mobility difficult or impossible.

    As the free traders have sold their bill of goods, millions of jobs have left for cheap wage/low regulation countries to the benefit of investors.

    While I’m against a single payer socialized medical system, I’m not against helping the lower middle class/working poor access health care. Whether or not the AHCA will do that is suspect, since I agree with Cotton that it’s unlikely stages two or three will ever be enacted.

    It’s interesting you claim to not be able to understand what Trump is doing.

    “In the meantime, trump distracts and muddies it all by his lies, rants, and obsession with perceived personal slights.
    What is “worse” is that we clearly don’t have someone “trustworthy” (on many levels) nor “knowable” in the WH, and damn few in his own court to set him straight.”

    Trump is preventing the MSM/left from stabilizing the target. By keeping them off guard, always reacting, they haven’t been able to gain traction at bringing him down.

    Notice with his tweet about Obama “wiretapping” him, how quickly the MSM/left decided that he hadn’t colluded with the Russians, and there was nothing to see. That wasn’t coincidence. Obama (the leftist IC) was surveilling his administration. Notice how carefully constructed the denials are.

    What’s making his job harder are the GOPe that are doing some of the lifting for the MSM/left.

    So far, what exactly has he done through the EO’s that you object to? Do you think installing THAAD in South Korea is the appropriate response for the previous administrations inability to persuade China to reign in NK (or China’s incompetence)? Do you think demanding Germany pay the required 2% of GDP for NATO is a good thing, or do you think Europe should continue to skate while we foot the bill?

    What do you think of proposing a re-alignment of Cabinet functions?

    You aren’t going to get everything you want. Trump is going to have liberal/tradition big government proposals. You’re going to have to decide which is more important.

    But carping from the sidelines because he isn’t conservative, or predictable enough for you, so transparent enough so you can “know” him is just playing into the traditional role conservatives have been cast, with the predictable results.

  31. AesopFan Says:

    A lot of good points were made, and certainly the “better or worse” perception is personal and contingent on remembrance (I for one had no idea that so many bombings occurred in the Sixties – which for me was mostly centered on the Woodstock-type “rebellion” – in which I took no part). There was far less news coverage of the violence, compared to today with the ceaseless internet and viral videos, and I wasn’t paying that much attention.
    That said, I agree mostly with this:
    J.J. Says:
    March 17th, 2017 at 5:37 pm
    neo: “A lot of people compare what’s going on at present to the turmoil of the Sixties. I don’t see it that way. I actually think things are worse now, ….”

    I agree that it’s worse. Here’s why. In the 1960s there were still a lot of students in college who were still attuned to traditional values. The college administrations were weak and compliant in the 1960s, but today they actively encourage the students to be radicals. Most of the violence was committed by young blacks filled with rage and there was at least some actual reason for their rage. Today, with far less in the way of actual grievances and much progress, blacks have committed violence, but a lot of the violence is being committed by young white men and women – who have no real grievances except they disagree with the conservative/traditional view of the world. Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dorhn were a lot like them in the 60s, but this time there are far more of them.

  32. Ymarsakar Says:

    We have very good evidence, even though you may think it’s insufficient, that he’s the last chance for the survival of our constitutional republic.

    That republic is already dead for the people can no longer deserve to have it when they rely on a person to save it. That is what autocracies are made for, not republics.

    He believes, like most successful businessmen in my experience, in negotiations that are never zero sum but that can always be made to the benefit of both parties.

    Which is why Trum helped elect various Demoncrats to the Senate, because it was never zero sum. Just zero sum for the victims of Democrat power.

    Trump is preventing the MSM/left from stabilizing the target. By keeping them off guard, always reacting, they haven’t been able to gain traction at bringing him down.

    The Left is the least of America’s concerns. Whatever concern you think you have, it is always the one you don’t know that hurts the most.

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    As for bringing down Presidents, Nixon and Bush II aren’t examples of being brought down within a year. The Leftist alliance has deep strategies which runs longer than most conservatives can plan a budget for.

  34. Irv Says:

    Ymarsakar – A good leader doesn’t have to be an autocrat in order to be effective. Sometimes just removing the bad influences will be enough to start a country turning in the right direction. And once it starts turning, or at least stops accelerating in the wrong direction, an effective leader can help immensely without becoming an autocrat. Trump is not my savior but I firmly believe he IS the only person who could have stopped the democrat/media/establishment machine at this particular point in history. I am convinced that none of the others could have survived this long. How much longer he’ll make it is anyone’s guess but many people have lost much by underestimating him. It’s much more likely even after winning that he’s still being underestimated rather than over.

  35. The Other Chuck Says:

    Compare and contrast the 60’s with the present and for Neo it seems worse now. For young men who were of draft age during those years the 60’s were sometimes a death sentence, as Neo sadly knows personally. We either “voluntarily” enlisted in one of the services or were conscripted into the army. Over 58,000 of us died in Vietnam with another 150,000 plus wounded in action in a war brought to full force by a lying, Democrat son of a bitch, Lyndon Baines Johnson.

    If there is a single reason that explains the rise to power of the radical left in the last 50 years, it is that war.

  36. neo-neocon Says:

    The Other Chuck:

    Most of the men who died in Vietnam had enlisted. Some were volunteers-under-duress, as you point out. But many were actual volunteers; we just don’t know the proportions of the first category to the second.

    I’ve written a lot on this blog about Vietnam. Don’t know whether you’ve read my posts on the war’s second act (the Nixon part), but you might want to look at them if you haven’t. Because the Johnson part of the war (the Westmoreland part) was only part of it.

    That said, obviously a person’s evaluation of “worse” depends on that person’s actual situation at the time. I was speaking not of that sort of thing, but of the general political atmosphere in the country and my own perception of that atmosphere, then and now.

  37. Brian E Says:

    “As for bringing down Presidents, Nixon and Bush II aren’t examples of being brought down within a year. The Leftist alliance has deep strategies which runs longer than most conservatives can plan a budget for.”- Ymarskar

    I thought about that, and that’s true, of course. Trump’s tweets are a mixed bag, seemly creating the chaos that Big Maq objects to, while preventing the MSM/left from focusing on their target– it’s guerrilla offense. And it creates the impression of a lack of intellectualism that conservatives admire, it’s hard to form an argument with 140 characters.

    As someone else has observed, it’s the 24/7 nature of media that has shortened the news cycle to an extent people are judged Trump’s presidency after one week, two weeks, a month– an insanity itself.

    As has been stated by others, liberals take Trump literally, but not seriously, while supporters take him seriously, but not literally.

    Case in point was the use of the term “wiretapping”. The left/critics immediately dropped the apostrophes, which changes his meaning, and refuse to recognize the distinction even today. It was very clear that he was using the term as a general category of surveillance.

    Big Maq wants Trump to be “presidential”. But our 24/7 media doesn’t allow for that. In the case of Clinton and Obama, they used surrogates to hit back in the equivalent of pre-Twitter environment. Conservatives have historically had a disdain for such crudeness and in the case of Trump using surrogates, the MSM/left can demonize the messenger in a way that isn’t as effective when used against the President himself, which is why these jabs work best when applied by the President.

  38. Sergey Says:

    Attempts of globalists to make nationalism a dirty word demonstrate their inability to understand national feeling at all. Here I agree with George Friedman: “Nationalism is not based on minor idiosyncrasies of food and holidays. It is the deep structure of the human soul, something acquired from mothers, families, priests and teachers. It is the thing that you are before you even understand that there are others. It tells you about the nature of the world, the meaning of justice, the deities we bow to and the obligations we have to each other. It is not all we are, but it is the root of what we are. “

  39. Big Maq Says:

    A lot of people compare what’s going on at present to the turmoil of the Sixties. I don’t see it that way. I actually think things are worse now”– Neo –

    You are free to write whatever you like. What you said is fine as far as it goes, just as if I were to say that “today is cloudier than yesterday”, or “People seem to talk very loudly this year”.

    Many can agree that it is so, or that it is not. But, then, what is the point?

    Nobody is “right”, if no measurable basis of comparison is brought to light.
    .

    If it were merely an expression of “feeling”, then so be it. Yet, it seems there is more…

    ” a more basic undermining of the social contract and the rule of law, and a more profound lack of knowledge on the part of much of the populace about the underpinnings of our government and what makes this country special.”

    If this is the basis for being “extremely distress(ed) and disturb(ed)”, perhaps so.

    But it doesn’t necessarily make today “worse”.
    .

    What HAS come to light is how so many that we thought were “conservative” have changed tune so easily. How arguments many passionately made in the past now hold little to no bearing to the present. How what many call “fighting” has taken precedence over doing what’s needed and what’s right. How what we excoriated the left for while in power we are somehow oblivious to today with “our guy”.

    If it is about how people have lost what is essentially what makes America exceptional, then I emphatically agree that we have been rudely awakened in 2015-16 to what was probably the reality all along.
    .

    However, I would suggest our frame of mind is a choice we are making and justifying rather than having a good look around. We are seeing what we choose to see and ignoring the rest.

    Things are definitely not “okay” at present, but was there ever a time that people felt it was all “okay”?

    That we think it “worse” is probably more reflective of our own psychology than of the reality, or projecting a personal circumstance as true for the general populace.

    I would hope folks at least seriously ponder this possibility.

  40. OM Says:

    Given the history of the 20th century, hundreds of millions killed in warfare, genocide, and state-sponsored readjustments of population demographics, it is hard to take the concerns of the current resistors seriously. However, “you may not be interested in war, but war in interested in you” so the concerns are a pretext for seizing and maintaining power. Whatever it takes after all.

    Eeyore and the resident theologian may disagree, but, IMO, you have to do the best you can, with what you have, where you are, and trust in God.

  41. Big Maq Says:

    “Big Maq wants Trump to be “presidential”. But our 24/7 media doesn’t allow for that.” – Brian

    Ends justify the means.

    Besides, didn’t trump promise he would become so? Lie. One of many.
    .

    Look, trump has a megaphone and he chooses to use it this way. It is more than just idle “chaos” that is a problem.

    trump is NOT making the case for his / the Congressional GOP’s proposals,
    he is NOT broadening his basis of support,
    he is NOT showing leadership at a time that requires it,
    he lies about things big and small, is unnecessarily personal and petty in his attacks, etc.

    Worst of all, many seem to be “okay” with all that or tend to excuse it away (see above).
    .

    Does it distract the msm. To some extent. But what is the price?

    Take this bit about trump’s claim about obama tapping trump’s offices. Then his WH is saying obama engaged the Brits to do this work. Meanwhile, the Brits, his own intel and LE leaders all deny there is anything to it. When asked for some modicum of substantiation from trump … crickets.

    He later jokes about the US tapping of Merkel’s phone, which must be hilarious to a person who lived under Stasi observation and threat. Yea, right.

    This is all somehow “helping” us, as it keeps the msm “off balance” or some such thinking?

    No!

    I want trump to be “presidential” because we need a g.d. PRESIDENT.
    .

    trump’s behavior has consequences.

    However, it is not all that immediately clear what and when those will appear.

    G0d forbid we hit upon a major crisis. We may well see the consequence then of this.
    .

    In the meantime, only hope that what seem like great picks for cabinet are people who are not mere order followers, but actually have influence and tame trump, focusing his “talents” in a more productive and coherent direction.

  42. The Other Chuck Says:

    Neo, I agree with you that the general political atmosphere is much worse now than in the 60s. I didn’t mean to rehash the Vietnam War, only provide personal perspective, which you invited.

  43. Sergey Says:

    I tend to believe that a major crisis is what needed to become serious for everybody – including Trump. To declare emergency rule and crush the so-called “opposition” which is in reality traitors and public enemy. And always were.

  44. Irv Says:

    Big Maq – I doubt that Trump’s joke to Merkel about them having in common that they were both wiretapped by Obama put her in mind of the Stasi. And even if it did, it was Obama that earned it, not Trump! Is there nothing Trump says or does that doesn’t have a negative connotation in your mind?

    To the vast majority of anti-Trumpers – I really get tired of all the gratuitous insults and name-calling, They are really counter-productive to your case. I am also tired of the term ‘liar’ being tossed around so loosely, especially as applied to statements that can be interpreted differently by people with a less biased attitude.

  45. Sergey Says:

    The vast majority of anti-Trumpers, according Roger Simon, are people who haven’t, in their wildest imaginations, faced real adversity, let alone a situation that would merit a true resistance. Heaven help them if they do. Résistance, my fat patootie!
    If Trump get serious to crush them, they would turned out incapable of any meaningful resistance (with small “r”). It makes sense to call their bluff. The results would be very surprising for them, but not for me.

  46. Brian E Says:

    “What HAS come to light is how so many that we thought were “conservative” have changed tune so easily. How arguments many passionately made in the past now hold little to no bearing to the present. How what many call “fighting” has taken precedence over doing what’s needed and what’s right. How what we excoriated the left for while in power we are somehow oblivious to today with “our guy”.” – Big Maq

    You’re going to have to be more specific, based on the charges you’ve made here. What is “needed and what’s right”.
    What did we excoriate the left for that we are now oblivious to?

    “Take this bit about trump’s claim about obama tapping trump’s offices. Then his WH is saying obama engaged the Brits to do this work. Meanwhile, the Brits, his own intel and LE leaders all deny there is anything to it. When asked for some modicum of substantiation from trump … crickets. ” – Big Maq

    You expect the Brits to admit surveilling a candidate or his campaign during a Presidential election? It is odd that the director of GCHQ resigned in January. With all this supposed evidence that the “deep state” was not surveilling Trump, it’s interesting that Trump when being interviewed by Tucker Carlson, didn’t back down from the claim. I have noticed that all the denials have been carefully worded, a non-denial sort of denial.

    Why are Republicans so interested in Trump retracting his charge? If it were true, it would be a scandal of Watergate proportions. I’m willing to wait a few more weeks to see how it plays out.

    This reminds me of a charge that came out of the OKC bombings in 1995 by a reporter named Jayna Davis that the Iraqi secret police (the third terrorist) was behind the bombing. Her evidence is compelling. Why was a third suspect, complete with a composite drawing released soon after the bombing to be soon retracted?

    For one, if Hussein had been found to have his fingerprints on the OKC bombing, could the Clinton administration have ignored it (the largest terrorist attack on US soil since WWII) like he did later with the Cole bombing and embassy bombings. It’s hard to believe a US president could be that derelict, but the Iraqi connection to the first WTC bombing was also minimized.

    It certainly isn’t hard to believe that the Obama administration was involved in ‘dirty tricks’ and the scandal would be severe enough that even the GOPe would like to avoid it.

  47. Big Maq Says:

    “You expect the Brits to admit surveilling a candidate or his campaign during a Presidential election?” – Brian

    No. But I also expect this admin, who repeat these things to have something more substantial than some tv celeb to quote.

    So, instead of talking about why this replacement for obamacare is the right thing to do and how trump’s own voters would get a better deal out of it, the discussion is largely taken up on this b.s..

    Again, trump is NOT providing the leadership he campaigned that he would. he is NOT providing the competence he campaigned that he was superior to all others.
    .

    So while it isn’t hard to believe obama MIGHT have done such, since the current WH DOESN’T have more than rumor to report, it amounts to a steaming pile of nothing.

    And, the sad part is it forces good people to come to defend such crap because it invites such vociferous recrimination from an already biased msm.

    A whole lot of energy is expended on all sides without getting the ball moved further down the field. Heck, it’s like the ball wasn’t even there.

    If anything, this eats at trump’s (and his denfenders’) credibility / his “political capital”.

  48. Brian E Says:

    Big Maq, the ball is getting moved down the field– big time.

    But the real news is Merkel’s acknowledgement that Trump’s campaign theme, that our European partners need to pay more for their own defense, is correct. In truth the EU has been moving in this direction for a while, concerned about the Russian threat:

    “I was gratified to know that the President had aligned how important he thinks NATO is. NATO is of prime importance for us, and it was not without very good reason that we said during our summit meeting in Wales that also Germany needs to increase expenditure. We committed to this 2-percent goal until 2024. Last year we increased our defense spending by 8 percent, and we’re going to work together again and again on this.”

    Then this:

    Christine Dunes from the German Press Agency:
    ***
    And then, Mr. President, America first, don’t you think that this is going to weaken also the European Union? And why are you so scared of diversity in the news and in the media, that you speak so often of — fake news — and that things after all, in the end, cannot be proven. For example, the fact that you have been wiretapped by Mr. Obama.

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: A nice, friendly reporter. Well, first of all, I don’t believe in an isolationist policy. But I also believe a policy of trade should be a fair policy.

    And the United States has been treated very, very unfairly by many countries over the years. And that’s going to stop. But I’m not an isolationist.

    I’m a free trader, but I’m also a fair trader. And our free trade has led to a lot of bad things happening.

    You look at the deficits that we have, and you look at all of the accumulation of debt. We’re a very powerful company — country. We’re a very strong — very strong country.

    We’ll soon be at a level that we perhaps have never been before. Our military is going to be strengthened. It’s been depleted.

    But I am a — a trader. I am a fair trader. I am a trader that wants to see good for everybody worldwide, but I am not an isolationist by any stretch of the imagination. So I don’t know what newspaper you are reading, but I guess that would be another example of, as you say, fake news.

    Merkel noted that she has no problem with Trump’s putting America first:

    CHANCELLOR MERKEL: (As interpreted.) Thank you very much. Well, I’m here as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. I represent German interests. I speak with the President of the United States, who stands up for, as is right, American interests. That is our task, respectively. And I must say that I was very gratified to know the very warm and gracious hospitality with which I have been received here.

    What! Merkel defending super-nationalist Donald Trump? It’s possible she’s just happy not to have to deal with that two-faced former president who wiretapped her phone!

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/03/with-merkels-visit-trump-wins-again.php

    Things are getting done. The health care replacement bill isn’t going to make you happy, no doubt, since Trump ran on the notion that this bill had to keep the pre-existing provision and the 26-year-old free-rider provision. But do you honestly think the MSM would fairly describe the negotiations going on as the bill is being finalized?

    You never did answer what policies Trump has pulled back be EO that you object to. Since Trump is doing such a crappy job.

  49. Brian E Says:

    I left this out of a previous post.

    https://www.jaynadavis.com/

    I’ve linked to this before. But it’s a compelling investigation that Hussein was behind the OKC bombing among other events.

    In fact it reinforces the notion that Iraq was the correct central target on the war on terror.

  50. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian – re:12:39am

    The policies you have been advocating IS the G-March we have been lamenting.

    You cannot have a government who has the power to do what you are advocating (trade restrictions favoring specific industries, special deals for companies to “keep jobs”, bully, threatening, and worse to companies that don’t kowtow), and then expect that all will be fine once the next dem admin arrives.
    .

    When it comes to trade, the US has been the biggest beneficiary on nearly all counts.

    If you spent any substantial time outside of the US and heard the arguments from the other side about trade with the US, you’d think the US was practically “invading” theses countries, how “lopsided” they all feel about it, and all the “lost jobs” it amounts to locally.

    It is strange how many of the same arguments are being made.

    All parties to these trade deals are on the “losing end” and its citizens are “losing jobs”?
    .

    Can they all be true?

    Or, could it be that, like in life, not everyone “wins” and wins evenly, and not every “loses” and loses evenly?

    Ours is, after all, a largely capitalist society. In such a dynamic economy, that winning and losing happens by definition. However, the “pie” is expanding overall. (To its logical extent, in a not so dynamic economy, everyone just loses, as the focus is on dividing up that “pie”, not growing it).
    .

    Should we restrict trade in order to “bring back jobs”?

    Well, even if there are more jobs in one area created (doubtful it is anywhere near what people dream it might be, as technology has much to do wrt where job loses have occurred) who will lose jobs (as there surely will be)?

    Will there be “more” jobs on balance? (doubtful)

    And if the price of those restricted goods go up (as they surely will), what about the job losses due to the lower demand for those goods?

    How will other countries respond to our restrictions (and going outside the terms of our trade agreements)? Will we lose jobs in the exports to those countries?

    What should we do with those who lose their jobs as a result?
    .

    It is always easy to identify a group who would benefit from a policy, but often hard to identify who is hurt – usually because it is rather spread out.

    I’ve been arguing that the issue isn’t trade itself (the “cause” is actually more about technological progress), but, if we are to have government “do something”, how to help people in the transition.

    It would be far “cheaper”, and, in its more targeted nature, would probably do much more to accomplish the bigger goals than trade restrictions ever could.

  51. Big Maq Says:

    “Big Maq, the ball is getting moved down the field– big time.” – Brian

    Huh?

    Hardly.

    IF the obamacare repeal and replacement gets passed, it will be despite trump’s non-leadership on this issue.

  52. Brian E Says:

    Big Maq– I guess you missed the part where Trump re-iterated that he is all for free trade, when it also fair trade. Some of the loss of jobs can be solved by fixing the corporate tax rate, a reduction of stifling regulations- both environmental and bookkeeping– but some will need the bully pulpit to convince manufacturers it’s in their best interest to keep America fully employed.

    As to the AHCA, Trump is working congress and Tom Price is directing the effort. It’s not the ‘wiretapping’ scandal that kept the health care bill out of the headlines, it was the scandalous overreach of Obama Judges that stopped the Trump review of vetting to keep fundamentalist Islamic radicals from coming to the country.

    Until it passes the House, I don’t see too much value in Trump using the bully pulpit– it will be the senate where maximum public leverage will be needed.

  53. Brian E Says:

    By the way, manufacturing jobs in the US fell from 19.5 million in the 90’s to about 12.3 million today. About half of those job losses can be attributed to companies exporting jobs (2.3 million) with the rest due to technological changes, but the increase in GDP would be about $700 billion if those jobs had remained in the US.

    https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2016/12/06/2180771/how-many-us-manufacturing-jobs-were-lost-to-globalisation/

  54. Big Maq Says:

    “I guess you missed the part where Trump re-iterated that he is all for free trade, when it also fair trade” – Brian

    “I guessed you missed the part where” I essentially said that, in practically EVERY country that has a trade agreement with the US, one can find the very same arguments made.

    They cannot all be “true”?

    And it doesn’t take much imagination to understand that from the other side, the US hasn’t exactly been a floor mat at the negotiating table. It has been negotiating from a position of power, given its economic size and political power.

    Who, then, is likely to end up with the “better” end of any of those trade deals?

    Often what is deemed “unfair trade” is a lack of favorable treatment for a specific industry or group (or several), but nobody talks about who “loses” under such a policy, if implemented.
    .

    If it were merely “bully pulpit” (i.e. hot air), that is hardly a concern. What you advocate goes well beyond that.

    Now, you can argue every which way that what you advocate is a good thing. BUT, we are still talking about that same power being in the next dem POTUS’ hands.

    Then what?

    What stops all that trump does from being undone? Especially if it is all either from EOs or strictly party line votes in Congress?
    .

    trump KNOWS when he tweets stuff like this, it will take up airtime. Evidently, he thinks that is more valuable use of that airtime than in making the case for things like AHCA.

    These “distractions” keep trump from building support beyond his base, without which he won’t ever get lasting change.

    Instead, they lose him credibility, as do those who seem to think this is no problem at all, or, worse, cheer this on.
    .

    That trust and credibility will be especially important if/when we have some kind of crisis.

    Maybe trump’s cabinet picks would be able to deftly navigate any crisis, but will trump listen to them? Or, will he issue some tweet that enflames the matter?

  55. Brian E Says:

    I don’t believe them. Every EU country has a trade surplus as a % of GDP– Germany’s was 8.8% in 2015.
    Mexico and US had a deficit of -2.7% of GDP.
    China had a surplus of 1.9% of GDP.

    Now this isn’t comparing country to country, so it isn’t completely definitive, but someone is fudging. I know that some (most) of the EU resents Germany’s trade imbalance.

  56. Brian E Says:

    Big Maq–

    Paul Ryan is on Hannity and said (paraphrase) : “I’ve really been impressed with the President rolling up his sleeves and getting involved with the House members…”

    He was in Kentucky at a rally for the health care bill tonight.

    I think you need to check your sources. You’re getting bad information.

  57. Brian E Says:

    I’m sure everyone has moved on, but I had read this article about the book Days of Rage some time ago and just found the link.

    Interesting stuff about the 60’s and 70’s.

    https://status451.com/2017/01/20/days-of-rage/

  58. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian E

    Already heard about trump’s bowling campaign with Congress.

    Suggest you check out how it is being received in the public sphere too. There is more to “selling” than just arm twisting your own party members.

    It is not only that the message isn’t getting out (as the airtime is filled with self inflicted controversy), but also that it is not a coherent one.

    This is, in large part, because trump has been rather hands off in formulating the solution, nor setting a direction on what he would accept.

    Heck, he is still saying it is “negotiable”. Nobody knows how big a swing in the final product that means. (See Neo’s recent post on that)
    http://neoneocon.com/2017/03/21/is-the-gop-health-care-reform-bill-dead-on-arrival/

    Without it being “agreed” what can anyone actually “sell”?

    And, let’s not talk about the strategic timing / prioritization.

  59. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian – a trade surplus does not equal “unfair trade”.

    I would suggest that deficit as proof that we are getting more value in return for what we provide the rest of the world.

    A significant part of this figure is on the strength of the US dollar (a good bit of which is driven by it’s – and US financial markets – safe haven / global standard bearer status).

  60. Brian E Says:

    Whether or not Trump has been an asset to the Republican health insurance debate depends on whether you’re a small government conservative or a big government Republican.

    I’m not surprised the party is at odds with itself, since Trump is at odds with the conservative coalition.

    As to fair trade, if we already have fair and free trade, not much will change with our trade agreements, if fair means equalizing our wage and regulation disparity with some nations.

    As American companies have moved production overseas, we’ve lost the technology equalizer that made our productivity equal in value to cheap labor countries.

  61. Big Maq Says:

    “As American companies have moved production overseas, we’ve lost the technology equalizer that made our productivity equal in value to cheap labor countries.” – Brian

    I really would like to agree, but I just cannot if the numbers don’t match the argument.

    We have to explain how it is that the value of what is manufactured (i.e. the “gdp” of manufactured goods) has been close to a straight line rising upwards (except for 2008) all this time.

    It is true that employment in that sector has turned downward, but it is not true that we’ve lost any “technology equilizer”.

    In fact, it is very much a story of increased productivity, as more value is produced with decreasing labor.

    It is the use of technology that explains MOST (if not the vast majority) of the decline in manufacturing labor.

    Blaming trade and overseas production is a confusion of cause and effect when observing two parallel events.

    In a way, it is not unlike the climate change argument one sometimes hears… “This year we had more tornadoes – must be due to global warming!”.

  62. Big Maq Says:

    “To the vast majority of anti-Trumpers – I really get tired of all the gratuitous insults and name-calling, – Irv

    Agree. Problem is this is a gratuitous game that is played on all sides nowadays. trump has been insulter in chief during his campaign.

    We really ought to hold all sides to the same standard.

    “I am also tired of the term ‘liar’ being tossed around so loosely, especially as applied to statements that can be interpreted differently by people with a less biased attitude.” – Irv

    Rather nuanced take. What did you make of trump declaring “lyin’ Ted”?

    Did you happen to think what trump said about Sen Cruz’s father was anywhere close to accurate?

    When you have a person who has a pattern of such “inaccuracies” strung out before you, do you conclude that maybe you are just being “biased” and that they all have a perfectly good, rational and objective explanation?

    Where do YOU draw the line between the speaker being merely (and innocently) misinformed vs intent to deceive?

    Would you (DID you) afford obama the same latitude and nuance?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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