Wednesday, October 26, 2016

He's a Weird Monkey, Very Funky

The always interesting David P. Goldman who channels Spengler at PJ Media, riffs on the Nobel Prize for poetry awarded to Bob Dylan. Goldman doesn't approve of the choice, but does approve of Dylan ignoring the Nobel Committee.

Goldman believes Dylan is primarily a satirist, a put-on artist, and I'm inclined to agree. My favorite scrap of Dylan doggerel is this, from the 1971 I Shall Be Free, No. 10:
Well, I set my monkey on the log
And ordered him to do the Dog
He wagged his tail and shook his head
And he went and did the Cat instead
He's a weird monkey, very funky.
Look up those lyrics and tell me this is a Nobel poet....

Follow the Money

The frequently readable Ross Douthat writes for The New York Times. Today he tries to dissect what went wrong between conservatism's elite and its populist base, and there is merit in some of his reasoning.

Douthat believes the issue is just the populist base vs. the conservative intelligentsia - a two-sided conflict. He fails to understand it was a three-cornered relationship, not merely two.

Yes, the two groups he mentions are real enough. What he leaves out is the third leg of the stool, the wealthy fat-cat party funders. A relatively small group of 0.1%ers with enormous amounts of money who have paid the party's bills for decades.

On key issues like open borders and free trade, the big donors and the populist base are at loggerheads. The donors favor both while the base opposes both. What benefits one harms the other.

Historically the conservative intelligentsia sided with the bill-paying donors whose money funds the foundations and journals at which they labor: Hoover, Heritage, AEI, National Review, Weekly Standard, etc. So have most Republican candidates who need donor money to afford to run.

Only someone very wealthy could espouse views popular with the base and ignore donors' disapproval and non-support of his or her candidacy. No such wealthy person spoke up for populist values in past election cycles and thus the base was left to support what the party offered them, as better (if not by much) than what the Dems put up. Or stay at home as many rust-belt blue-collar whites did in 2012.

Trump was willing and able to self-fund his primary campaign and actually spoke in favor of populist interests. It is little wonder populists went for him in their millions.

The dilemma faced by the base is that they cannot afford to support impecunious pundits and candidates, as the fat cats can and do. Ironically, the working class now must rely on maverick moguls like Trump to speak for them. Mavericks, like Trump, will often be offbeat personalities with baggage.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Corrupt Appearance, and Perhaps Reality Too

The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports Democratic Party money going to the wife of the FBI official who was in charge of the Clinton "investigation" which concluded there was no indictable offense. They write:
A PAC controlled by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, one of Bill and Hillary Clinton's most consistent backers, donated $467,500 to the Virginia state Senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe. Her husband is FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who runs the Washington Field Office – the subagency in charge of investigating Clinton.

The Virginia Democratic Party, normally at McAuliffe's beck and call, also donated $208,000.
It is important to note that the donations and the unsuccessful run which they supported happened before Jill McCabe's husband Andrew became head of the FBI investigation. However, with a wife active in Democrat politics, is it reasonable to expect him to pursue a fair and vigorous investigation of the party's favored candidate after Clinton's buddies gave the wife's campaign nearly $700,000?

People who know better - Director Comey, AG Loretta Lynch - should have seen the appearance of impropriety in all this. Oversight of the investigation would then have gone to someone with no glaring conflict of interest. What actually happened gives off a bad aroma. The FBI ends up looking soiled, diminished.

Blue Lives Matter, Americans Agree

The Gallup polling organization reports respect for police is very nearly the most positive they've ever seen, and the highest since 1967. More good news, while conservatives, non-city dwellers and whites have somewhat more positive attitudes, a real majority of every group young and old, white and not, rural and urban, Democrats and Republicans respects our police.

This is wonderful news for a group that has, as a consequence of the Black Lives Matter movement, felt beleaguered and under threat. I wonder if the pro-police sentiment Gallup found will translate into an anti-Clinton vote?

Trump has been much more vocal in his support for police and his rejection of police racism accusations. Hat tip to for the link.

Warren: Right for Once

COTTonLINE rarely agrees with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), aka Fauxohontas. It helps when she slips into sarcasm, as what she finds risible we are likely to find true. The Daily Caller quotes her reacting to Trump's characterization of Clinton as "such a nasty woman."
On November 8th, we nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes.
We can certainly agree with her characterization of her ideological sisterhood - nasty, indeed, and proud of it. "Proud" in the same way we're proud of being "deplorable," if I wanted to be fair, which I don't.

Woodward: Clinton Foundation Corrupt

As a panelist yesterday on Fox News Sunday, star Watergate reporter Bob Woodward was asked (scroll down) by moderator Chris Wallace:
When you see what seems to be clear evidence that Clinton Foundation donors were being treated differently than non-donors in terms of access, (snip) are voters right to be troubled by this?
Woodward replied:
Yes, it's a -- it’s corrupt. It's -- it’s a scandal. (snip) The mixing of speech fees, the Clinton Foundation, and actions by the State Department, which she ran, are all intertwined and it's corrupt. You know, I mean, you can't just say it's unsavory.
Corrupt crooks headed back to the White House? "It's a scandal."

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tectonic Shifts

Michael J. Totten attended the Democrat convention in Philadelphia and writes up for City Journal his interactions with Clinton and Sanders supporters. His point is that while everyone talks about the schism in the Republican Party, the Democrats only just managed to paper over their similar chasm. He concludes:
These young millennial delegates are the rising generation. They preferred Sanders over Clinton by a margin so overwhelming that the word “landslide” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

There’s nothing inevitable in politics, but these delegates, if they take over the Democratic Party in the future, will control the platform and the messaging, and their extreme views, combined with their generation’s startling disregard and even contempt for democratic and broadly liberal principles, will scare the daylights out of moderates in the party and could easily trigger an existential crisis.

If the Democrats crack up after another election cycle or two, however, we’ll look back to the 2016 primary and the convention that followed, when Bernie Sanders and his young revolutionaries nearly toppled an establishment icon, and say that, yes, this was bound to happen—and sooner rather than later.
Perhaps predictions of the impending demise of the GOP have been overdone? I can imagine Sanders' Maoist moonbats driving centrist Democrats out of the party. A fair amount of this happened during the McGovern anti-Vietnam years.

Poor Bill

Matt Drudge's Drudge Report has the following set of photos as its illustration as we write this. Someone did various crops of the one photo to make a collage of snarls. This is Hillary as her Secret Service protectors have described her.

She looks like the distilled essence of ex-wife. I took the liberty of posting it here for, as you know, Drudge changes illustrations more than once a day and it soon will be gone.

Venezuela Update

The slow-motion train wreck that is Maduro's Venezuela continues to tear the country apart. Now the legislature, dominated by opposition members, proposes to try Maduro for violating democracy. Most likely the charge is based on cancelling a referendum on his presidency. Reuters via Yahoo News reports:
The measure is unlikely to get any traction given the government and a compliant Supreme Court have systematically undermined the legislature, but it marked a further escalation of political tensions in the crisis-hit OPEC nation.
As this progresses, I think it likely Maduro will arrest the opposition members of the legislature and declare himself President for Life. It's the Latin American way - via del caudillo.

The article implies Venezuelans think themselves more civilized than other Latins. Why that should be true is entirely unclear, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Weird Immunological Science

Newser reports scientists are getting closer to developing a vaccine for the common cold - actually an array of rhinoviruses. Work at Emory University has developed a vaccine that protects against many common cold viruses, at least in monkeys.

Dreary and miserable, but rarely fatal, colds are a drag. I'd gladly avoid having more colds. Faster, please.

A Welcome Echo

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, commenting on the current presidential race.
Remember: The Tea Party was polite, and was insulted and destroyed. Trump voters aren’t polite, and they’re angry. If Trump loses, what comes next? Nothing you want to see.
Exactly. COTTonLINE has been beating this drum for over a month.

Saturday Snickers, late

Steven Hayward came forward with his weekly collection of cartoons, recaptioned photos, and generally snarky sayings for Power Line yesterday. I was, however, busy with weekend guests and had no time to enjoy them and share a few with you. Here are my tardy picks:

Cartoon of Hillary and Donald facing Chris Wallace in debate, Hillary's voice balloon says:
Can we stop the insinuations about my character and get to the questions Donna Brazile told me you'd be asking?
Cartoon of a zombie headed for a polling place. Looking on are Donald Trump and a generic Democrat. The Donald speaks:
Hey, that dead guy is voting early!
To which the Democrat rejoins:
Stop undermining confidence in U.S. elections! 
Photo of Margaret Thatcher at the top of her game, posed with chin resting on interlaced fingers, captioned:
Please tell me more about liberals shattering glass ceilings.
Photo of an incredulous looking Bill Clinton, captioned:
So let me get this straight ...
My wife's campaign strategy is to portray Trump as a womanizer?
Photo of a mellow dog, wearing a Trump-style bouffant reddish-blond hairpiece, captioned:
You know, I'm automatically attracted to humans - I just start licking them. It's like a magnet. Just lick. I don't even wait. And when you're a good boy they let you do it. You can do anything.
Two photos of Barack Obama, top one captioned:
Spends eight years whining about "Inheriting a bad economy...."
Second photo captioned:
Tells Trump to "Stop whining." 
Cartoon of a red baseball cap, with this embroidered lettering:
Make Kaine Catholic again. 
A tweet:
Therapist: so why do you want to end your marriage?
Wife: I hate the constant Star Wars puns.
Husband: Divorce is strong with this one.
And finally a slogan:
If life gives you lemons ...
Throw them away and get some BACON
Side benefit: as a pork product, bacon tends to repel certain people.

Update: South Africa

Occasionally it is worth looking in at the experiment in inter-racial coexistence that is post-apartheid South Africa. Writing in the Daily Maverick as a white South African, Steven Boykey Sidley asks the question, "Are we still welcome here?"

From his column, it is clear the calm pragmatism of the Mandela days is wearing very thin. Sidley writes:
I felt welcome enough to return from another country I had called home for nearly two decades. My daily lived experience, for the most part, seems far removed from the vicious racism of some of the Fallists, or even the oft-repeated anti-white lashings of the EFF, and even occasionally by the ANC as they try to seduce those voters who would approve of the sentiment.
Sidley worries the calm he experiences day-to-day is a bubble, a bubble that could one day pop and leave him in fear for his life. He concludes:
If not for me, who does not have the energy to start again elsewhere, then at least for my children – are we still welcome here?
One suspects his private answer is "NO" or he wouldn't have asked the question. Formerly exceptional South Africa has been regressing toward the African mean, which isn't good.

Good News

The Investor's Business Daily/TIPP Poll tracking poll for today finds:
With 16 days to go until November 8, Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by 2 percentage points — 43% to 41% — in a four-way race.

The poll results include responses from 783 likely voters, with a weighted partisan breakdown of 282 Democrats, 226 Republicans, and 259 Independents. The results reflect the rolling average of six days' worth of polling.
The Trump trend line is up, albeit gently. The news could be (and has been) worse.

Quote of the Day

Pseudonymous blogger Publius Decius Mus, writing at American Greatness in rebuttal to some critical things written by National Review's Jonah Goldberg.
The Right will either reconcile on terms favorable to Trump’s issues or it will split. There will be no going back to the status quo ante.
We at COTTonLINE have argued thus for months.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Not-So-Bad News

RealClearPolitics links to a Reuters story about two successive iterations of their Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Clinton led Trump 44 percent to 40 percent, according to the Oct. 14-20 Reuters/Ipsos poll, a 4-point lead. That compared with 44 percent for Clinton and 37 percent for Trump in the Oct. 7-13 poll released last week.
This was after the bad news about Trump's potty mouth comments. Reuters' interpretation of the finding is interesting.
The polling data showed Trump's argument that the Nov. 8 election is "rigged" against him has resonated with members of his party.
Their reading - Clinton lost no support, but Trump gained back some lost support, people who had responded "undecided" or "third party" a week earlier. That makes sense, perhaps as the furor died down more Trump supporters were willing to admit their support, felt less social pressure to deny supporting him.

I look forward to reading the text of Trump's major speech in Gettysburg scheduled today. He will reveal his plan for the first 100 days of a Trump presidency. Maybe it will never happen, but maybe he (and we) will get lucky, eh? In true "master persuader" style Trump calls it his "closing argument."

Friday, October 21, 2016

What Is At Stake

The Conservative Treehouse has the complete text of a Trump speech given just over a week ago, and it is worth reading the whole thing. Hat tip to for the link.

Trump may not win but he has the establishment's number and his description of their perfidy is a powerful indictment. A sample:
It is our corrupt political establishment that is the greatest power behind the efforts at radical globalization and the disenfranchisement of working people. Their financial resources are unlimited. Their political resources are unlimited. Their media resources are unlimited. And, most importantly, the depths of their immorality is unlimited.
And sitting at the center of this web of deceit and criminality are Bill and Hillary Clinton, who seek to return to the White House. Imagine Bill back in the Oval Office, fondly remembering where Monica knelt in her blue dress and his other conquests. It isn't a pretty picture.

The Hunger Games Election: Clinton = Snow

Like several more prominent political bloggers, I'm a science fiction fan so you'll understand how I made the following connections. As I was reading the McCarthy article referenced in the post below, I was struck by his description of the third debate.
Trump seemed like the amateur he is, up against the consummate polished, status quo politician that is Hillary Clinton. She calmly and icily sliced him to ribbons—and she would have done the same to any Republican who could have won the nomination. (Just imagine: low-energy Jeb? Boyish Rubio? The inhumanly aggravating Cruz? She would have slaughtered them just as gleefully as Trump.)
Standing there in her white pant suit, Clinton reminded me of Donald Sutherland's white-suited portrayal of President Snow in Hunger Games. Clinton's icy calm was reminiscent of Snow's manner toward heroine Katniss in their early encounters.

I begin to think of this election as the opening round in the conflict between the districts and Panem, the capitol. That is, the opening round in a protracted conflict between everyday Americans and the scornful gilded uniparty elite in Washington.

Caveat: In life, unlike a novel or film, the good guys (and gals) don't always win.

Trump's Favor

Writing at The National Interest, Daniel McCarthy suggests Trump has done us a favor.
Trump, on the other hand, has helped to make clear exactly where Americans’ divisions lie and how intense they are. This is something that every one of his Republican rivals this year failed to do—and it’s why he won the nomination. Trump, the most unorthodox Republican in terms of his policies, was the one candidate who represented how a plurality of Republican voters actually feel: angry, betrayed by their own party’s failures, and totally opposed to Democratic administration, above and beyond any individual “issue” or cluster of issues.
McCarthy buys the conventional wisdom that Trump will lose, but draws two interesting comparisons with former consequential losing candidates.
Trump has shaken up American politics in much the way that Barry Goldwater and George McGovern once did. Both parties will have to contend with the divisions and passions he has brought to the fore, no matter what happens on Nov. 8. And if more conventional politicians cannot honestly deal with such things, we will see more unconventional figures like Trump in the future.
Ummm ... right. How about Ivanka in 2020?

EU Gridlock

An AFP article at Yahoo News concerns Canada's reaction to the EU's inability to sign a trade agreement both negotiated and about which both were excited. This reminded me of something about which I wish to rant, gently I hope.

The officials of Canada and the EU negotiated a trade agreement which both believe will be in their interest - in other words, win-win, not zero-sum. For those who don't follow nitty-gritty European politics, the reason the EU cannot finalize is that one of the two major regions in Belgium held a referendum on it and the people voted it down.

Now you might wonder why a subdivision of a country can kill something at the pan-Europe level. The U.S. equivalent would be half a state voting to nullify, not a state law but a federal law. In the U.S. this is not possible. How, you are wondering, is this possible in the EU?

The EU makes decision by consensus, if any nation won't sign on, an action doesn't go forward. No majority or super-majority votes, everybody has to be on board.

Allowing one member nation to stop progress seems foolish until you realize the EU only exists because each member knows it can stop anything it truly hates. If this decision rule were not in place, many (perhaps most) member states would never have joined, the EU would not exist.

The entire panoply of EU bureaucrats and pan-European regulations is built on a structure that requires unanimity at the macro level, if not at the micro level. Unanimity may be necessary for EU existence but it is also that which means the organization can never act as a nation would, will never be a United States of Europe.

Most of the time the EU work-around is to dodge popular votes on EU matters, Eurocrats hate referenda with good reason. When these are held the people so empowered quite often turn down what the EU wants to do.

A cold-eyed appraisal of the European Union finds it really exists in spite of the will of the people, not because of it. It is government by technocrat, dodging most of the time any reference to the popular will, which it appears to honestly disdain.

The U.S. isn't the only developed region where the governing elites neither reflect the popular will nor value it. The same is very true in the EU as well.