God Bless Us, Every One: The Gift of the Trump Economy

Christmas Week is always full of blessings.  Thanks to the good folks at pro-MAGA news aggregator Whatfinger News (and a helpful tip from photog of Orion’s Cold Fire on how to submit links to them), The Portly Politico has seen its best week in terms of traffic all year.  Two pieces, “Napoleonic Christmas” and “Christmas and its Symbols” made the main page, leading both to surpass my previous top post for the year, “Milo on Romantic Music.”  Apparently, people still get riled up about Napoleon.

It’s also been a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and to overeat lots of delicious, rich foods.  If you’ve never heard of the Appalachian delicacy “chocolate butter,” do yourself a favor and look it up.  Yes, it’s even better than the name suggests.

Of course, all of that good cheer requires a solid financial foundation.  And in his three years in office, President Trump has shattered records for unemployment, wage increases, and economic growth.  Economics isn’t everything, but the Trump economy is something for which we should give thanks.

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Lazy Sunday XXVIII: World History

Most of my pieces here at The Portly Politico focus on American politics and culture, with some occasional dabbling in British and European affairs.  But contrary to Ron Swanson’s historiographical claim, history did not begin in 1776 (though everything that came before may have been a mistake).

As such, I’ve written a few pieces about events, current and historical, that take place in more exotic locales.  While I am a parochial homebody, I appreciate travel and the contributions of other cultures (I still wish I’d seen London and Paris before they became part of the Caliphate).  I wish I had the time to do more of it (on that note, stay tuned for details of my trip to the Yemassee Shrimp Festival).

So, here’s some worldly pieces for your Lazy Sunday:

  • North Korea Reflections” – I wrote this little piece on the occasion of President Trump’s historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore.  My interpretation of the summit was cautiously optimistic.  It’s still unclear what the future holds for US-Nork relations, but the gambit seemed to work—North Korea is a still a bloodthirsty, repressive, totalitarian regime, but they aren’t lobbing missiles around constantly anymore.
  • The Impermanence of Knowledge and Culture:  The Great Library and Notre Dame” – this post was a synthesis of two events—the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria, and the burning of a substantial portion of the Notre Dame Cathedral.  The fire at the latter riled up conservatives and traditionalists because the structure had endured for so long as a symbol of Christianity and of France’s faithfulness.  France is not a very faithful country now, but Notre Dame remains a powerful symbol of man’s capacity for focusing on the greatness of God.  The major point of this piece was to drive home how even great edifices eventually crumble, and that knowledge and culture must be preserved actively if they are to endure.
  • Sri Lankan Church Bombings” – coming on the heels of the catastrophic Notre Dame fire, the island nation of Sri Lanka was shaken on Easter Sunday of this year with Islamic terrorist attacks on churches.  Democrats referred to the slain Christians as “Easter worshippers” in what appeared to be a concerted effort to appear politically-correct.  Yeesh.
  • America’s Roman Roots” – I wrote this piece earlier in the week, based on an excellent op-ed a colleague sent my way.  Commentators often fixate on the similarities between the United States today and the Roman Empire, but often miss the parallels to the Roman Republic.  Those parallels exist because the Framers of the Constitution pulled heavily from Roman tradition, even naming key institutions like the Senate after their Roman counterparts.  The Roman Republic holds valuable lessons for Americans for how to craft a robust society that enables citizens to live worthwhile lives.

That wraps up this little tour around the globe.  Rome, France, Sri Lanka and North Korea—not a bad start, though I’d better get Africa and Latin America into the mix soon, lest I catch flack from the SJWs for lack of inclusion.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Trade War with China is Worth It

There’s a lot of disingenuous scuttlebutt flying around about a looming recession, the inverted yield curve, and the costs of the trade war with China.  I can’t help but think such doom and gloom reporting is part of an effort to undermine President Trump.  Investor and consumer confidence are emotional, fickle things, based as much on feeling as they are on hard economic data.

As such, I suspect that major media outlets are attempting a bank-shot:  scare investors and consumers enough, and they panic into a recession.  President Trump’s greatest strength at present is the booming economy and low unemployment rate; take that away, and loopy, socialist Democrats have a much better shot in the 2020 elections.  With Leftists like Bill Maher actually hoping for a recession to unseat President Trump, that’s not a far-fetched speculation at all.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The State of Education Update

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Back in February, I wrote about the “The State of Education” in the United States today.  The post detailed the travails of a New York City public school French teacher, Mary Hudson, and her often horrifying experiences trying to mold young minds in the worst of conditions.

Fortunately, I do not teach in corrupt, inner-city New York City public and magnet schools helmed by incompetent administrators; nevertheless, some of the underlying problems Ms. Hudson faced are universal for educators in all settings and all across the country.  I teach at a small private school in rural South Carolina—about as distant from the bustling, crammed schools of urban America as one can get—and still see some of the same issues that faced Ms. Hudson at work.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Photog’s Prognostications

Fellow blogger and e-friend photog of Orion’s Cold Fire has a piece up today about some of the events percolating in the long 2020 presidential election season (as well as a little Brexit shout-out to Boris Johnson, the odds-on favorite for Prime Minister).

According to photog, a recent New York Times piece from popular Leftist economist Thomas Friedman suggests that slightly-less-radical progressives are getting worried by the antics of certifiably-crazy-radical progressives, for fear that those antics will cost Democrats the 2020 election.  Much of the op-ed is Leftist boiler plate talk about mortgaging the environment for quick growth now, along with some baseless claims of racism, but there is an acknowledgment that giving free healthcare to illegal immigrants and eliminating our borders is a tad unrealistic.

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TBT: Progressivism and Political Violence

It’s another late post today, as my post-New Jersey schedule is still a bit wonky.  I just got done with a twelve-hour stint of uncling, so there was barely time to eat lunch, much less write a blog post—even a quick TBT feature.

Given the recent attacks on conservative journalist Andy Ngo, it seems apropos to dedicate this week’s #TBT to one of my classics of the modern, TPP 3.0 era:  “Progressivism and Political Violence.”  I wrote this essay back in June 2018, and I’ve probably linked to it more than any other post I’ve ever written, because it touches upon so much of the Left’s pathos.

I wrote at the time that, if the Left lost all the arms of the government, they would use extreme violence to accomplish their ends.  That was before I fully appreciated how extensive and pervasive the Deep State truly is—the Left is so entrenched, it can never really be out of power in the current state of play.

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Progressivism and Political Violence

The modern Left idealizes political violence.  That’s a bold statement, but it’s true, and the truth of that claim dates back to the French Revolution.  That revolution—so different from our own—was the root of almost all totalitarian movements in the 20th century, and of the American Left’s current mood for mob activity in the name of “progress.”

The big story in the world of the American Right this week has been Democratic Congresswoman “Auntie” Maxine Waters’s calls for active disruption of Trump administration officials in their private lives, to the point of harassing them at restaurants, department stores, and gas stations—even picketing at their homes, as happened to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen‘s home twice.

Waters’s execrable remarks—and her blasphemous contention that “God is on our side” (if she’s referring to Baal, the ancient Canaanite fertility god who worshipers tried to appease with child sacrifices, I’m sure he is pleased with Democrats’ support of abortion, but THE One True God must be weeping constantly over those lost lives)—were inspired by the ouster of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the Red Hen, a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.  In a Fox News interview after the fact, Sanders’s father, former Arkansas Governor and bassist Mike Huckabee, alleged that the progressive owner of the restaurant followed the Sanders party down the street, heckling them.

None of these events, in my mind, are surprising, but, rather, a reminder of the progressive Left’s taste for violence—or, at the very least, of achieving its long-term political goals by “any means necessary” (a slogan of the so-called “Resistance”).

Recall the soon-forgotten shooting of congressional Republicans last year as they practiced for Congress’s annual interparty baseball game.  That attack, the fevered result of a Bernie Bro’s break with reality, nearly killed Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise.  It’s easy to forget the anti-Trump hysteria of 2017 (because the anti-Trump hysteria of 2018—after the President’s proven himself in office—seems even more unhinged), but the Left was out for blood after the Inauguration, with pink-hatted activists shouting at the sky in protest.

The Left has taken America’s cold civil war hot because it doesn’t control any of the levers of power in government.  With the retirement of swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, progressives may see their last ace-in-the-hole, the courts, lost for a generation (to be clear, the Left is still dominant in academia, pop culture, the arts, major non-profits, the corporate world, and pretty much everything that isn’t the federal and State governments).  The last tactic, then, is to amp up their social intimidation to borderline—and, if necessary, actual—violence.

Consider that the Left can only push forward its agenda for any length of time through means of coercive power (although maudlin emotional manipulation comes in handy, too, and works well with easily-manipulated “feel-good” types).  Traditionally, that’s been through the power of the state—the massive reach of the federal government.

It was the modern political Left, growing out of the Progressive movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that brought first the New Deal, and then the Fair Deal and the Great Society, that vastly expanded the size, scope, and reach of federal power.

While Americans were largely content with some government assistance during the throes of the Depression—and naively believed that the federal government could actively solve the nation’s problems after the Second World War, given the government’s success in fighting that global conflict—they could not stomach actual Marxism.  So it was that Democrats began gradually to lose their mid-twentieth-century vice grip on the ballot box.

With the rise of the “New Right” in the 1960s and 1970s, followed by the election of His Eminence Ronaldus Magnus in 1980, Leftists increasingly turned to the courts to fulfill by judicial fiat what could not be achieved at the ballot box.

Take, for example, the overturning of California’s ballot initiative, Proposition 8, to amend the State’s constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage.  In California—the beating heart of the modern progressive movement—a small cadre of unelected officials overturned the will of the people.

Similarly, Justice Kennedy more or less decided that federalism doesn’t matter, and we should believe that the Founding Fathers meant to support casual same-sex boning, but just forgot to put it in the Constitution (I have friends who support same-sex marriage who disagree with the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, arguing that it oversteps the Supreme Court’s constitutional authority).

The courts were the back-up plan.  I’ve actually read (anecdotal evidence alert) some progressives posting on Facebook to the effect that, “Well, we overplayed the judicial activism thing for too long, and we relied on it at the expense of electoral victory.”  Those comments are rare—more of them are childish weeping and/or promises to move to Canada or “stop joking around.”

Now that President Trump is in the White House, Republicans control Congress, and the Supreme Court is ready to tip narrowly toward constitutional originalism, Leftists are apoplectic, and are showing their true colors.  They have two choices:  make a compelling case to the American people to elect more Democrats in November, or double-down on hysteria and send us hurtling closer towards the Second American Civil War.

While there’s been much talk of a “blue wave” this November, the Left’s outbursts and fascistic tactics seem to be hurting Democrats nationally.  That doesn’t mean they won’t take the House or the Senate—after all, some of these districts are so blue they keep voting in borderline illiterates like Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas—but their chances are narrowing.

Even if they do take control of one or both chambers, President Trump will still control the executive branch, and, as yet, has done nothing impeachable (being crude or saying awesome stuff on Twitter don’t qualify as “high crimes and misdemeanors”).  Sure, they might try, but it would be like the Radical Republicans impeaching President Andrew Johnson for ignoring an unconstitutional act of Congress—purely politically-motivated.

If there is impeachment in the House, it will fail—Trump will not be removed from office by the Senate—the Democrats will find themselves stuck for another two years with a president they irrationally despise.  The way things are going, he’s likely to win reelection in 2020 (please, sweet Lord).

But all of this is conjecture.  There’s a good chance Republicans hold onto the House and pick up vulnerable Democratic seats in the Senate (such as Heidi Heitkamp’s seat in North Dakota).  What then?  With a new conservative Supreme Court justice, the Left is marginalized at the federal level, other than their Deep State cronies.

My guess is that we’ll see more insanity and violence before we see less.  The Left will double-down on this progressive agenda for a decade, until a moderate, Bill Clinton-style moderate appears, or the economy turns sour (not likely!), or they can cobble together another Obama-style rainbow coalition.

The question is, will their propensity for political violence boil over into full-scale warfare and defiance of constitutional authority?  We’ve already seen California nullify federal law by refusing to enforce immigration law.  Distrust between people of different political backgrounds is at feverish highs.

Beyond some fringe kooks, no one on the American Right wants to see violence.  But the progressive Left’s deep-rooted love of “punching Nazis” and strangling dissent won’t broach much room for disagreement.

We’re living in scary times.

 

George Will’s Self-Destruct Sequence

Last week, America lost one of its great columnists, Charles Krauthammer.  Krauthammer was a former speechwriter for Democratic VP candidate Walter Mondale, then realized he was no longer a Democrat when Ronald Reagan became president.  Krauthammer was a political conservative, but he wasn’t a slave to ideology.  He remained intellectually-curious and -honest, even that meant he was wrong on a rare occasion (he argued for a $1/gallon gas tax nearly a decade ago).

Long-time Washington Post columnist George Will—a colleague of Krauthammer’s at the paper—similarly has a reputation for intellectual honesty.  Like Krauthammer, Will exists in a cosseted, Beltway-Washington, D.C., and hasn’t quite come to terms with the presidency of Donald Trump.

As such, it was with dismay—but not surprise—that I read Will’s derisive op-ed in the Post, “Vote against the GOP this November.”  Never has self-destructive defeatism sounded so literate.

Will’s specious argument boils down to these details:  President Trump is a borderline dictator; Republicans in Congress are afraid to criticize him for fear they will lose their seats; Americans should vote out enough Republicans that the Democrats take control, but there will still “be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery.”

Will points out that Congress has sacrificed its own important Article II powers in order to take the easier path of non-accountability, instead preferring to leave the hard decisions to the President and his power of executive orders.  While this point is valid, it’s not unique to the Trump administration, which, by all accounts, has used executive orders narrowly, and within the framework of existing legislation.  To read Will, this problem is due to Trump’s temperament and personality.

While the President may not enjoy criticism, he’s a big boy—not the coddled man-child that was President Barack Obama—and, besides, it’s Congress’s responsibility to pass and propose legislation.  If the President doesn’t like something, he can veto it.

Where Will’s advice truly goes off the rails is his claim that Democrats should be permitted to take control of the Senate, even if it brings in a “basket of deplorables,” because then a do-nothing Congress… would still do nothing!  He argues that enough Republicans would still be around that they would keep “the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control,” and would “asphyxiat[e] mischief from a Democratic House.”

What a load of malarkey.  As a conservative, which would you rather see:  a feckless Congress controlled by Republicans, or Democrats?  Even if you knew the Congress would be ineffective half of the time, the answer is obvious:  you’d opt for the former.  At least with ineffectual Republicans in control, you’d avoid groundless impeachment votes.

Indeed, look at the record of the current Congress:  the Senate confirmed conservative Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch; the Republican-controlled Congress passed the massive tax cut bill (which Will imperiously dismisses—when one enjoys Georgetown cocktail parties and fancy D.C. brunches for a living, money isn’t an issue); the Congress enacted the Right to Try Act, which will make it easier and cheaper for patients to try still-experimental drugs for deadly illnesses.

Logically, Will’s advice makes zero sense.  If the idea is to send a message to Republicans to be more independent from the President’s agenda—why would they want to be?—the price is too high.  Why make a point on principle if it costs you the future victories of still-higher principles?

I believe Will is sincere in his desire to see constitutional checks and balances restored, but President Trump represents part of the cure to that problem, not the disease.  Congress has the responsibility to step up.

That said, I also believe Will is blinded by a sincere hatred of—or, at the very least, a passionate distaste for—President Trump.  The man left the Republican Party, and urged Republicans to ensure Trump’s defeat, back in 2016—such are the depths of his disregard.  Now that Trump is president—and restoring the nation’s economy and national sovereignty—Will’s irrelevance as a national commentator is even further highlighted, and it seems his anti-Trump impulses grow even further.

Will thinks the ideal President should be balancing a tea cup on one knee while listening attentively to a farmer in Iowa (sadly, I can’t find this quotation online at the moment, but I remember reading it back in 2016).  For better or worse, the era of the Mitt Romney Republican presidential candidate has passed.  We are in the midst of a full-blown, no-holds-barred culture war in which conservatives have played the decorum card for too long.  Trump is a brawler, and while he may be imprecise or distractible, he has the guts to tango with the enemy—and win.

Will’s self-destruction as a conservative pundit is sad to witness, but perhaps it’s overdue.