Credit Default Swaps

A CDS is a swap — one set of cash flows is swapped for another set. In a CDS, this usually means an insurance like premium is paid by the buyer (of protection), and the seller just collects free money — until there is a Credit Event, like a default on a bond.  Then the seller has to pay up.

But, unlike an insurance company, the seller might not have much in the way of reserves.

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Harvard – the Apex Generator of Hate and Resentment by Groupthink

Why is politics so full of Hate lately?  Reps say it’s the fault of Dems, who say it’s the fault of Reps.  Those in the cities (mostly Dems) say it’s the fault of those in the country (mostly Rep) who say the reverse.  Blacks blame Whites, who blame racists, both White and Black, which justifies, in many Black minds, calling the whites guilty.  Many women and feminists blame men, both those successful AND those not successful; a growing number of men are blaming feminists.

These blame games are a distraction.  The root cause is found, in plain sight, in the Humanities departments of Harvard.  And the other top 5, top 20, top 100 apex colleges.  Because the Harvard History Department dominates all the other top college History Departments.  And the History Department

 

 

Cosmic issue – age, shape. Starting with First Cause, either personal (God) or not (atheist). A Mystery.

It seems that different ways to calculate how old the universe is, from the European Planck space telescope’s detailed measurements or verifying those measures.

from the Planck  Cosmic Microwave Background – CMB

The CMB is a snapshot of the oldest light in our Universe, imprinted on the sky when the Universe was just 380 000 years old.

The link shows a map of the expanding universe.  (Not just expanding, but the expansion is accelerating.)  Yet the 13.8 billion year estimate from Planck is NOT being verified.

Wait a second, we’re not passing this test — we’re failing the test!'” says Riess, co-author of a new paper about the research to be published in Astrophysical Journal.

He estimates that his results, taken at face value, indicate a universe that is only 12.5 billion to 13 billion years old.

This means that the current accepted model(s) and theories are inadequate.  We’ve already added Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

Maybe we need Dark Light?  Or Dark Gravity?

Or Dark Time?

Whether it’s the Big Bang of chance, or of God’s design, both believers and atheists believe in some “creation”.  Most of me believe there’s some kind of decision making consciousness, a God. One of Justice and Mercy, which acts thru people. Our Christian God.  Like Thomas, I also have doubts at time.

Bob Dylan celebrated his 75th birthday, and his life is also one of Mystery.  He won a Nobel Prize, and I think his fantastic lyrics deserve “our highest honor” for literature.  And we need good literature.

 

 

Follow Hungarian lead to save Christian Europe? Less migration, more fertility. Help married families.

With the tragedy of the Notre Dame fire receding, yet continued issues about Muslims and Christians living in peace together, it is interesting to see how Hungary is responding.  Electing Viktor Orbán, once again with a big majority.

Against illegal migrants, especially Muslims.

Supporting families having more children.

Both of these make sense, tho being against immigration is very anti-PC, and the PC-Klan is happy to eLynch most folks who propose it, including Prime Minister Orbán.

CRB posts Hungary and the Future of Europe

“Hungary must protect its ethnic and cultural composition,” he [Orban] said at Kötcse (which more or less rhymes with butcher). “I am convinced that Hungary has the right—and every nation has the right—to say that it does not want its country to change.”

Long, interesting historical details and current situation:

This [EU liberal] project of creating neutral institutions has two problems. First, it is destructive, because the bonds of affection out of which communities are built are—by definition—non-neutral. Second, it is a lie, because someone must administer this project, and administration, though advertised as neutral, rarely is. Some must administer over others.

“It is not written in the great book of humanity that there must be Hungarians in the world,” he said in his State of the Nation address in February. “It is only written in our hearts—but the world cares nothing for that.” … The Treaty of Trianon turned a cosmopolitan, advanced central European powerhouse of 20 million people—the Kingdom of Hungary, Budapest’s half of the Austro-Hungarian empire—into a statelet of 8 million and divvied up two thirds of its territory among other nations.

Big economic turnaround.

He raised the minimum wage. He cut personal income tax rates sharply, from 30% to a flat rate of 16% (they would fall further, and corporate rates would bottom out at 9%, the lowest in Europe). He made up for those cuts by introducing special sectorial taxes on companies that had emerged from the financial crisis intact, and had even profited from it—mostly foreign banks, energy companies, and retailers. He “nationalized” pension funds—although this was more a bookkeeping arrangement than the radical program it was often presented as. And he averted a foreclosure catastrophe by convincing banks to accept payment in Hungarian forints for loans that Hungarian homeowners had taken out in Euros and Swiss Francs. He linked welfare to work. He began reclaiming some of the industrial enterprises so gullibly surrendered after the fall of Communism, buying back 21% of the energy giant MOL from Russia in 2011.

Orbán’s program, universally denounced as a gamble, was a staggering success. Hungary had repaid its IMF loans in full by 2013. The country now has 4% growth and an unemployment rate of about 3%. Debt has fallen from 85% to 71% of GDP, and labor force participation risen from 55% to around 70%.

Orbán was the first conservative politician to rediscover, after the crash of 2008, that a “strong state” is sometimes needed to attain conservative ends—in this case, avoiding the debt bondage and extinction of sovereignty that were to be Greece’s fate.

“[W]e want a Hungarian Hungary and a European Europe,”

Bigger gov’t support for married families.

The National Catholic Register (US ) has a story on Katalin Novak, Hungary Family Minister: Supporting the Family is Not ‘Nazism’

The Hungarian Parliament passed sweeping pro-family legislation April 1, guaranteeing various married couples and families interest-free loans, mortgage assistance and even childcare allowances for grandparents.

The seven-point package is an “important milestone” in the history of Hungarian family policy, says Katalin Novak, Hungary’s minister for the family, in a Europe that is renouncing its Christian culture and “slowly committing suicide.”

Novak also explains in this April 12 interview with the Register why Hungary has pursued such an overt pro-family approach since 2010, one that statistics show has led Hungary’s abortion rate dropping by 33.5% from 2010 to 2018, marriage increasing by 43%, and divorce decreasing by 22.5% between 2010 and 2017.

Bigger gov’t support for married families.  For any country that wants a better future, this is what is needed.  Remember the “two main things about Economics:”

  1. Incentives matter (this is especially important in considering “unintended consequences”)
  2. There’s No Free Lunch — globally; somebody has to pay.

Those who pay for any program will often favor the program results, but want some other program that somebody else pays for.

On helping normal people, most low-tax conservatives want less “general” help by gov’t, because the gov’t programs are usually helping “those who need it the most”.  All programs that help those in need, include an incentive for folk to “be in need”.

Between an unmarried woman with a child, and a married couple with a child, the unmarried woman “needs” aid more, on an individual level.  What a good future society needs is more married women with children, and a higher proportion of children born to married couples.

Most gov’t welfare supports more poverty, but a more comfy poverty.  How to increase the incentive to get married and have children?  Increase the incentives for being married and having children.

Hungary is doing it.  More countries should follow.

 

Armenian Christian Genocide – we need honesty so as to be moral

True morality requires factual truth in order to make the world better.  Apr 24 is the date given as the start of the WW I Ottoman Empire Muslim genocide against Christians.

PJMedia has a good post.

April 24, marks the “Great Crime,” that is, the genocide of Christians—mostly Armenians but also Assyrians—that took place under the Islamic Ottoman Empire throughout World War I.  Then, the Turks liquidated approximately 1.5 million Armenians and 300,000 Assyrians.

Unlike many genocides, this was more religious based then money-envy of success based.  But still very Tribal.

In her memoir, Ravished ArmeniaAurora Mardiganian described being raped and thrown into a harem (consistent with Islam’s rules of war).  Unlike thousands of other Armenian girls who were discarded after being defiled, she managed to escape. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified: “Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross,” she wrote, “spikes through her feet and hands, only their hair blown by the wind, covered their bodies.”  Such scenes were portrayed in the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, some of which is based on Mardiganian’s memoirs.

I’ve seen a photo of many naked, crucified Christian girls.  No “religion of peace” does this in the name of religion.

Indeed, if we “fail to deal radically” with the “horror” currently being visited upon millions of Christians around the Islamic world—which in some areas reached genocidal proportions—we “condone it” and had better cease talking “mischievous nonsense” of a utopian world of peace and tolerance.

Islam needs to be reformed, by Muslims. In the meantime, now and possibly many future generations, need to figure out how to push Muslims to be more accepting of living in peace with non-Muslims.  So far, that’s only happening in Israel, in the Mid East.

Mueller Report Reactions – No Collusion, but a wimp-out over obstruction – now we wait for indictments of deep state criminals

Conclusion – no collusion.  Pres. Trump was right about it being a witch hunt.  Mueller’s job included indictment or decision to not indict on obstruction charges, but he failed to do either.  A Wimp.

Now I wait for indictments of the deep state criminals.  And I’d prefer indictments, sooner, than deeper “investigations”.  There are lots of crimes.

Trump has tweeted and will tweet on this.

Apr 11, Daniel John Sobieski thinks, and I agree, that Barr Will Find Spying On Trump Directed by Obama

The announcement by Attorney General William Barr that yes, he believes Team Trump was spied upon by Hillary and the Democrats and yes, he’s going to look into it is a rarity these days – a genuine bombshell. And he’s going to investigate the application process used by the FBI to convince a FISA judge to grant a surveillance warrant against Trump campaign gadfly Carter Page. Make some popcorn and sit back.

Neo has a few posts and many thoughts, like Democrats and NeverTrumpers cant wholly abandon the collusion narrative its too useful

“Useful?” you might ask. “What do you mean, useful? It makes them look crazy and desperate.” … to deny collusion would be to say “we were wrong for over two years.” That’s hard, very very hard. Hard, embarrassing, and humiliating. Best to double down on the Big Lie. It’s worked in the past.

For me, Nunes has officially sent some referrals for criminal investigation to the DOJ. I remain eager to see, hear of, indictments of the deep state gov’t criminals whose multiple illegal acts, and actual illegal conspiracy, have created this mess.

I’ll “believe” in indictments when I see them.

Thinking of the “silver lining”, Congress has been so busy wasting time on this, they only got done a Huge Tax Cut, and allowed Trump’s Deregulation to proceed. The two main requirements for more economic growth in most OECD countries – tax cuts and deregulation.

And no new boondoggles of spending huge amounts of gov’t money. Hmm, Trump’s running up as much new national debt as Obama did, despite a large increase in tax income to the gov’t. Trump’s a big spender too, but this is not a good time to cut — it would be a good time to “freeze” more programs, but Dems won’t agree.

The Russia Hoax (witch hunt?) was to divert attention from Obama’s criminal acceptance of Clinton’s email crimes, and the illegal deep state cover-up.

Dozens should be indicted and tried for so many crimes. Will they be indicted?

Andrew McCarthy, a Trump critic and formerly strongly defensive of the FBI, is a key explainer of what’s been happeing.

Apr 18 Barr Press Conf: no obstruction

Barr laid out the facts that the president could have shut down the investigation but did not; that he could have asserted executive privilege to withhold information from the investigation, but instead made numerous witnesses and well over a million documents available to the special counsel; and that – reportedly according to Mueller – the president sincerely felt frustrated that the investigation was unfairly undermining his presidency. The point is that these facts so cut against the idea of corruptly impeding an investigation that it is inconceivable the prosecutor could prove an obstruction case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Which Neo also posts.  She adds:

I’ve noticed over time that one of the obstacles to the public’s making sense of things like the Mueller report—in addition to the press and politicians issuing tons of partisan spin on it—is that legal issues are involved that require a certain sophistication of logic and judgment. They are certainly not impossible to understand for a person without legal training. But their meaning is not immediately obvious, and therefore they very easily lend themselves to distortion.

I hope indictments come and that it will be interesting. Comey and Rosenstein, both re-submitting the FISA application, using the Steele dossier. Who decided not to verify it? When?  Lots of deep state crimes. Maybe RICO should be used?

McCarthy Apr 19 The Mueller Report Vindicates Bill Barr

Just to recap, the attorney general was accused of misrepresenting Mueller’s report; of providing a false summary of the report; of plotting to use grand-jury law and other secrecy provisions as a pretext to redact most of the report; and of calling an extraordinary press conference in order to exculpate the president by projecting a fraudulent version of the report.

These accusations were slanderously false.

So many Dem accusations are false.

Neo Apr 19  The Mueller Report, the persistence of Russiagate, and the conspiracy theory phenomenon

Do the MSM and the Democrats believe their own conspiracy theories about Trump? I think that some do and some don’t, but the believers are quite numerous and it gives their drive more conviction. As with just about all conspiracy theories, we have the leaders and the followers, and the Democratic politicians and the press are the leaders here, and the Democratic voters are the followers. It helps if the leaders are true believers, but they don’t necessarily have to be.

Neo’s posts often have multiple interesting things, this one ties “belief” in Trump being guilty to other conspiracy beliefs.

Believers can certainly be non-rational about their beliefs. Whether religious, anti-religious, or belief in some event that never happened.

Those that believed that the Mueller Report would show that Trump colluded must come to grips with the fact, long “known” (strongly suspected?) to many of us, that there was no evidence of collusion, or of any crime.

This belief was always known to be falsifiable. Most religious beliefs are not falsifiable, and therefore not subject to the scientific method.

What is subject to that method, is comparing how extremist believers with different beliefs act, and making probabilistic estimates about future actions. Such estimates can then be checked with the facts, as they occur, or don’t.

Another fact about humans is that, as they change their beliefs, they can claim to themselves that they were never “really wrong”. I’m sure most Mueller Report believers are in the process of doing some versions of that, now. Also, some of them will just up and say, “They were lied to, they believed the lies by the Dem media and the Dem liars, and now … ?? (some will support Trump?)”

Mueller’s failure to find evidence against the non-guilty Trump is huge exoneration. The obstruction issues are going to be increasingly seen as distractions from going after the guilty deep state criminals: Comey, Lynch, McCabe; Clinton, Rice, Obama.

Actually, I’m waiting to find out the names of the 8 criminal referrals Nunes is supposed to be sending.

I’ll believe in indictments when I read that some of the criminals are indicted. I already believe they should be indicted, including HR Clinton.

Neo Apr 20 Jeffrey Toobin and guiding perceptions: guilt by emotion

Toobin, a liar, lying.  Or does he really believe his own untruths?  Neo adds he’s a:

Harvard Law graduate and legal analyst for CNN, giving us the benefit of his Deep Thoughts from a Deep Mind.

Hey, I’ve got an idea, Jeff. Let’s investigate you for something you didn’t do—like, for example, treason—and then leak lies about it like a sieve, lies that implicate you in massive guilt and threaten your family, your job, and everything you hold dear. And then let’s have people report on every single thing you do and say after that and analyze your emotions. Of course, you won’t be the least bit frustrated, I’m certain.

Oh, and by the way, if Trump had not been frustrated and angry, Toobin would have found that to have been evidence of guilt, too.

Neo Apr 20 The Mueller report’s second half: special counsels and political documents

One of the many problems with the Mueller report is that it is not evenhanded, nor is it meant to be.

Mueller’s report is essentially a prosecutor’s charging document that does not charge anyone with a crime, yet it tells a biased story in its interpretation of what happened and what people said. [Nat Review]

A good link by Snow on Pine leads to the FISA Court, Woods Procedures And Carter Page

How did the FBI not violate the Woods Procedures when it presented unverified opposition research paid for by the opposing party — the “Steele dossier” — to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to obtain a warrant to spy on an American citizen for over a year? Moreover, were the FISA court Judges who signed off on the application and three separate renewals aware of the origins of the dossier and if not, why not?

The FBI lied/ obfuscated.  The FISA court judges either knew and accepted the lies, or “didn’t want to know” and accepted the lies, with deniability.

The FBI agents, Comey (3 times) and Rosenstein (once) should be indicted.  Every FISA judge who signed off should be impeached.

Real Clear Politics Apr 21 Dershowitz: Media Gets “F” Grade On Mueller Coverage, CNN Chose To Trust Avenatti Over Me

The report itself is a Rorschach test. You could find in it anything you want. Because there is material very, very critical of the president. In my introduction, I show how Mueller got the law completely wrong on obstruction of justice, and I lay out what the law on obstruction is. You can not be charged with obstruction if you’re the president, and you simply exercise your constitutional authority to fire Comey or anyone else. I lay that out carefully.

This repeats some of what he said in The Hill, but I didn’t then read, Apr 18 Alan Dershowitz: Who won, who lost in Mueller report

Now that the Mueller report has been released, the spin game begins. Each side has been given sufficient material in the report to claim victory and to attack the other side. …

So, in the end, both sides won something and lost something. On balance, Trump won more.

The real question is, did the American people win? On that, I still believe, as I did even before Mueller was appointed, that a far better approach would have been to appoint a nonpartisan commission of experts to look into Russian efforts to influence our election and to seek ways of preventing such intrusions in the future.

Anti-Trump Rolling Stones author Matt Taibbi thinks The Press Will Learn Nothing From the Russiagate Fiasco

The inability to face the enormity of the last few years of errors will cost the news media its credibility, even with blue-state audiences.

“Fake news? Mueller isn’t buying it,” writes David Bauder of the Associated Press. He noted that with a “few exceptions,” Mueller’s investigation “repeatedly supports news reporting that was done on the Russia probe over the last two years.” …

You know what was fake news? Most of the Russiagate story. There was no Trump-Russia conspiracy, that thing we just spent three years chasing. The Mueller Report is crystal clear on this.

I certainly hope the Dem Derangement Syndrome media loses audience, but I’m not so sure.  Tho a big loss in viewers indicates that possibility.

Apr 24, American Greatness has 25 Questions for Robert Mueller

Much like the Steele dossier, the FISA application on Carter Page, and most of the news media’s coverage of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, the Mueller Report reads more like political propaganda aimed at harming Donald Trump than a sober collection of facts and evidence.

There is call by a Dem for Mueller to testify.  Maybe the Reps should be ready with some questions, too.

Victor Davis Hanson notes Apr 25 that the Mueller Investigation Was Driven by Pius Hypocrisy.

The problem with the Muller investigation, and with former intelligence officials such as Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and McCabe, is pious hypocrisy. Those who have lectured America on Trump’s unproven crimes have written books and appeared on TV to publicize their own superior virtue. Yet they themselves have engaged in all sorts of unethical and illegal behavior.

Well, over 2 hrs just to compile this, and it’s not over yet.

Trump’s biggest mistake, maybe, was in not pushing to re-open the Clinton email crime coverup.  I thought he did this because he knew the Dems were dirty against him, but he wanted to move on.  They didn’t.  Now, I don’t think he can.  The many crimes and the criminal actions to cover up the crimes, need to be more deeply investigated.

What I think.

Hillary’s illegal server was set up so she could run her Clinton Bribery Foundation outside of gov’t controlled, and backed up, servers.  Obama and all top gov’t folk knew and accepted Hillary’s illegal server.  And the bribery – “pay to play”.  And the Clintons getting rich.

Being outside of the gov’t also allowed Clinton to avoid FOIA requests. Now I don’t remember the details of who discovered, when, that Clinton had an illegal server. So look it up here in FactCheck.  March 2013.  I wonder if the “statute of limitations” runs out?  This is a fairly pro-Clinton summary of the cases.  Illegal server only public when Congress demanded emails in the Benghazi Investigation (remember Clinton’s support for turning Libya into a slaver state again).

Comey covered up for Clinton on many illegal acts and bribery.  That would be no-longer-discussed had Clinton been elected.  With Trump, the cover-up crimes were liable to be investigated.  So the FBI / CIA, in conspiracy with the DNC, tried to entrap the Trump campaign into some kind of collusion with Russia.  To distract and hopefully impeach Trump.

So. Trump, thru Barr and (maybe soon with a report?) IG Horowitz (or Huber?), the deep state criminals need to be indicted.  But a new investigation into the illegal Clinton emails should be made, and she should be indicted.

We wait for indictments of the cover up criminals, and illegal server criminal Clinton. A big part of why I’m NeverHillary.

 

 

Anti- Anti-Trump, also Anti- Anti-Christian, yet also Anti-PC

Neo posts about Norman Podhoretz

when Podhoretz uses the phrase “my soon to be new set of ex-friends,” he’s harking back to a book he wrote in 2001 entitled Ex-Friends: Falling Out With Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Lillian Hannah Arendt, and Norman Mailer.

Norman talks about becoming anti- anti-Trump; his son John remains a NeverTrumper.  Tho not as extreme as Bill Kristol.  Gets many parts of an interview from Ace.

In the comments is a reference to this great essay (I just copied).

My take on the great interview and essay:
Trump is a walking, talking rejection of multiculturalism and the post-modern ideas that support it. Trump believes there are such things as truth and history and his belief in these things is much more important than whether he always tells the truth himself or knows his history—which admittedly is sometimes doubtful.

I liked Norman’s being uncomfortable with the anti-Trump folk, and becoming anti-anti-Trump. I’m very much on board with being anti- anti-Christian; anti- anti-pro-life, and anti- anti-Rep. So I’m in the anti-PC group, and was, and remain, NeverHillary. Still hoping that they will Lock Her Up. (even think that Trump made a mistake not to push for a real investigation early – tho it’s not too late. And revenge; hm, isn’t that a dish best served cold?)

Trump fights against PC bull manure, and is fighting FOR America:
The core idea of each of these anti-P.C. blasts, when taken in aggregate, represent a commitment to America’s bourgeois culture, which is culturally “Judeo-Christian,” insists on having but one language and one set of laws, and values: among other things, loyalty, practical experience, self-reliance, and hard work. Trump was affirming the goodness of our culture. Odd as it may sound, he was telling us how to live a worthy life.

Wow, really a great essay. Tho he doesn’t mention another great essay, the Flight 93 election, Thomas K makes reference to how, without Trump, it might have gotten so bad it could never get back. My second thought, after 93, was it probably will never get back — but it might.

He finally points out what I’ve concluded, the primary source of the rot is at our colleges, especially our elite colleges.
the purpose of higher education, in particular elite higher education, is to train future citizens on behalf of the common good. If the elite universities are promoting multiculturalism, and if multiculturalism is undermining America, then the universities are violating their obligation to the common good no less than were they giving comfort to the enemy in time of war.

We need to end Fed research to colleges which discriminate against hiring Reps as professors; end tax-exempt status for them, and punish them as much as the law against discrimination allows.

Plus support Rep students filing suits against “hostile environments” by the colleges. We should plans on what to do drawn up, so Reps can propose those plans in 2020, get elected, and fulfill the plans. Gov’t supported ed requires hiring Reps as well as Dems.

 

 

Our House Divided: Multiculturalism vs. America

  American Mind (complete copy)

Following Trump’s lead—and Lincoln’s.

Many conservatives did not see that Trump had framed the 2016 election as a choice between two mutually exclusive regimes: multiculturalism and America. What I call “multiculturalism” includes “identity politics” and “political correctness.” If multiculturalism continues to worm its way into the public mind, it will ultimately destroy America. Consequently, the election should have been seen as a contest between a woman who, perhaps without quite intending it, was leading a movement to destroy America and a man who wanted to save America. The same contest is being played out in the midterm elections.

I realize the term “multiculturalism” is somewhat dated, but I mean to freshen it up by using it in its most comprehensive sense—as a political philosophy. Multiculturalism conceives of society as a collection of cultural identity groups, each with its own worldview, all oppressed by white males, collectively existing within permeable national boundaries. Multiculturalism replaces American citizens with so-called “global citizens.” It carves “tribes” out of a society whose most extraordinary success has been their assimilation into one people. It makes education a political exercise in the liberation of an increasing number of “others,” and makes American history a collection of stories of white oppression, thereby dismantling our unifying, self-affirming narrative—without which no nation can long survive.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump exposed multiculturalism as the revolutionary movement it is. He showed us that multiculturalism, like slavery in the 1850’s, is an existential threat. Trump exposed this threat by standing up to it and its enforcement arm, political correctness. Indeed, he made it his business to kick political correctness in the groin on a regular basis. In countless variations of crassness, he said over and over exactly what political correctness prohibits one from saying: “America does not want cultural diversity; we have our culture, it’s exceptional, and we want to keep it that way.” He also said, implicitly but distinctly: the plight of various “oppressed groups” is not the fault of white males. This too violates a sacred tenet of multiculturalism. Trump said these things at a time when they were the most needful things to say, and he said them as only he could, with enough New York “attitude” to jolt the entire country. Then, to add spicy mustard to the pretzel, he identified the media as not just anti-truth, but anti-American.

Trump is a walking, talking rejection of multiculturalism and the post-modern ideas that support it. Trump believes there are such things as truth and history and his belief in these things is much more important than whether he always tells the truth himself or knows his history—which admittedly is sometimes doubtful.

His pungent assertion that there are “shithole” countries was an example of Trump asserting that there is truth. He was saying that some countries are better than others and America is one of the better ones, perhaps even the best. Multiculturalism says it is wrong to say this (as it was “wrong” for Reagan to call the Soviet Union “evil”). Trump is the only national political figure who does not care what multiculturalism thinks is wrong. He, and he alone, categorically and brazenly rejects the morality of multiculturalism. He is virtually the only one on our national political stage defending America’s understanding of right and wrong, and thus nearly alone in truly defending America. This why he is so valuable—so much depends on him.

His shortcomings are many and some matter, but under present circumstances what matters more is that Trump understands we are at war and he is willing to fight. In conventional times, Trump might have been one of the worst presidents we ever had; but in these most unconventional times, he may be the best president we could have had.

2016 and the Meaning of America

“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”

Most conservatives did not see Trump in 2016 as a man defending America. This was in large part because they did not see that America was in need of defending. What conservatives did see was Trump’s policies (which didn’t line up with conservative ones) and his character (which didn’t line up, period), and they concluded the country was nowhere near in bad enough shape, and Hillary Clinton not enough of a danger, to justify enthusiasm for a man so manifestly unfit for the role.

In what might be a case of everybody’s-out-of-step-but-me, many conservatives have concluded that if the electorate voted into office a man so obviously unfit to be president, there must be something wrong with the electorate.

I think the explanation for Trump’s victory is actually quite straightforward and literal: Americans, plenty of whom still have common sense and are patriotic, voted for Trump for the very reason he said they should vote for him, to put America first or, as his campaign slogan had it, “to make America great again”—where “America” was not, as many conservatives imagine, code for “white people.” In other words, the impulse for electing Trump was patriotic, the defense of one’s own culture, rather than racist.

In a thoughtful essay in the Spring of 2017 on the future of the conservative movement, Yuval Levin expressed the view, common among conservatives, that the country was in decent shape. He was puzzled therefore why a number of thinkers associated with the Claremont school held “that things almost could not be worse” and that it was therefore necessary “to mount a total revolution.”

Levin and like-minded conservatives have matters backwards. Multiculturalism, not Trumpism, is the revolution. Trump’s campaign, and its defense by his intellectual supporters, was not a call for a revolution but a call to stop a revolution. Trump’s intellectual supporters did not say things could not get worse; they said without a sharp change in course there was a good chance we shall never get back home again.

Trump’s entire campaign was a defense of America. The election was fought not so much over policies, character, email servers, or James Comey, as it was over the meaning of America. Trump’s wall was not so much about keeping foreigners out as it was a commitment to a distinctive country; immigration, free trade, and foreign policy were about protecting our own. In all these policies, Trump was raising the question, “Who are we as a nation?” He answered by being Trump, a man made in America, unmistakably and unapologetically American, and like most of his fellow citizens, one who does not give a hoot what Europeans or intellectuals think.

Clinton, in the other corner, was the great disdainer, a citizen not of America but of the world: a postmodern, entitled elitist who was just more of Obama, the man who contemptuously dismissed America’s claim to being exceptional. What she called the “deplorables” were the “anti-multiculturalists.” She was saying, in effect, that she did not recognize the “deplorables” as fellow citizens, and they were, as far as she was concerned, not part of the regime she proposed to lead.

Perhaps Trump’s most effective answer to Clinton’s and the Democrats’ multiculturalism was his attacks on political correctness, both before and after the election. Trump scolded Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail. He pointed out that on 9/11 some Muslims cheered the collapse of the twin towers. He said Mexico was sending us its dregs, suggested a boycott of Starbucks after employees were told to stop saying “Merry Xmas,” told NFL owners they should fire players who did not respect the flag, expressed the view that people from what he called “shitholes” (Haiti and African countries being his examples) should not be allowed to immigrate, exposed the danger of selecting judges based on ethnicity, and said Black Lives Matter should stop blaming others.

The core idea of each of these anti-P.C. blasts, when taken in aggregate, represent a commitment to America’s bourgeois culture, which is culturally “Judeo-Christian,” insists on having but one language and one set of laws, and values: among other things, loyalty, practical experience, self-reliance, and hard work. Trump was affirming the goodness of our culture. Odd as it may sound, he was telling us how to live a worthy life. Trump is hardly the ideal preacher, but in a society where people are thirsting for public confirmation of the values they hold dear, they do not require pure spring water. Even Trump’s crass statements objectifying women did not seem to rattle Trump women voters, perhaps because it did not come as news to them that men objectify women. In other words, Trump was being a man, albeit not the model man, but what mattered was that he was not the multicultural sexless man. A similar rejection of androgyny may have been at work in the Kavanaugh hearings.

It was only a generation or so ago that our elite, liberals as well as conservatives, were willing to defend America’s bourgeois culture, American exceptionalism, and full assimilation for immigrants. Arthur Schlesinger expressed his view of assimilation this way: the “Anglo-Saxon Protestant tradition … provides the standard to which other immigrant nationalities are expected to conform, the matrix into which they are to be assimilated.” That meant giving up one’s home culture, not necessarily every feature and not right away, but ultimately giving up its essential features in favor of American culture. In other words, there are no hyphenated Americans.

Trump understands that “diversity is our greatest strength,” which is multiculturalism boiled down to an aphorism, is exactly backwards. America’s greatest strength is having transcended race, and the one major exception was very nearly our undoing. In light of this history, the history of the world (one “tribal” war after another), and the multicultural car wreck that is Europe today, to manufacture cultural diversity is nothing less than self-immolating idiocy. Trump might not put it in these words, but he gets it. The average American gets it too, because it is not very difficult to get: it is common sense.

Conservatives and Republicans are Complicit

Trump’s strengths are his courage, his common sense, and his rhetoric. He gets to the essential thing, the thing that no one else will say for fear of being called a “racist” or “fascist” or one of the other slurs that incite the virtue-signaling lynch mob.

His “shithole” remark was one example. Another occurred in 2015 when Trump, after a terrorist attack, proposed a ban on all Muslims until “we figure out what the hell is going on.” Virtually everyone, the Right included, screamed “racism” and “Islamophobia.” Of course, to have defended Trump would have violated the multicultural diktat that Islam be spoken of as a religion of peace. But like Trump, the average American does not care whether Islam is or is not a religion of peace; he can see with his own eyes that it is being used as an instrument of war. When Muslim terrorists say they are doing the will of Allah, Americans take them at their word. This is nothing but common sense.

Trump’s attempt to remove District Judge Gonzalo Curiel from a lawsuit in which Trump University was the defendant, in part because of the judge’s Mexican ancestry, was another instance where cries of “racism,” from the Right every bit as loud as from the Left, substituted for common sense. It was thought absurd for Trump to claim the judge was biased because of his ethnicity, yet it was the elite’s very insistence in making ethnicity a factor in the appointment of judges that invited Trump to respond in kind. We make ethnicity an essential consideration and then claim ethnicity should not matter. That is not common sense.

Getting to the essential, commonsensical heart of the matter is the most important element of Trump’s rhetoric, but even his often cringeworthy choice of words sometimes advances the conservative cause. This is a sad reflection of the times, but these are the times we live in, and we must judge political things accordingly. When, for example, Trump mocked Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser, he was doing something else that only he can: taking multiculturalism, and its “believe all women” narrative, head on. We should continue to cringe at Trump’s puerility, but we should appreciate when it has value.

In each of these instances, when conservatives joined liberals in excoriating Trump, conservatives were beating up our most important truth teller. Conservatives and Republicans should be using these instances to explain America and what is required for its perpetuation. In the examples listed above, they should have explained the importance of having one set of laws, full assimilation, and color blindness; the incompatibility of theocracy with the American way of life; that under certain circumstances we might rightly exclude some foreign immigrants, not because of their skin color but because they come from countries unfamiliar with republican government. Instead conservatives are doing the work of the multiculturalists for them: insinuating multiculturalism further into the public mind. Conservatives have, without quite realizing it, agreed to play by the multiculturalist’s rules and in so doing they have disarmed themselves; they have laid down on the ground their most powerful weapon: arguments that defend America.

The Kavanaugh Hearings: Multiculturalism at Work

In exposing the dangers of multiculturalism, Trump exposed its source: radical liberal intellectuals, most of whom hang about the humanities departments (and their modern day equivalents) at our best colleges and universities, where they teach the multicultural arts and set multicultural rules. And from the academy these ideas and rules are drained into the mostly liberal, mostly unthinking opinion-forming elite who then push for open borders, diversity requirements, racism (which somehow they get us to call its opposite), and other aspects of multiculturalism.

Multicultural rules were in full force in the Kavanaugh hearings. Armed with the chapter of the multicultural creed that covers “male oppression of women,” Democrats could attack Kavanaugh with accusations conjured out of nothing. At the same time, multicultural rules required Republicans to fight with one hand behind their backs: they were forced to allow a case with no basis to go forward, could not attack the accuser, and had to use a woman to question her. Republicans reflexively accepted their assigned role as misogynists (and would have been accepting the role of racists had the accuser been black). True, Republicans had no choice; still when one is being played one needs to notice.

Had Trump tweeted, “I don’t give a rat’s ass about the sex or color of the questioner,” I suspect the majority of Americans would have applauded. After all, that is the American view of the matter. It’s not the average American who requires a woman questioner or a black one. We know that because Trumpsters have told us. It’s not typically the parents in our inner-city schools who demand teachers and administrators with skin color that matches that of their children. It’s not ordinary Mexican immigrants who are agitating to preserve their native culture. It’s the multiculturalists.

Multicultural rules flow from multiculturalism’s understanding of justice, which is based not on the equality of individuals (the American understanding) but on the equality of identity groups oppressed by white males. In the Kavanaugh hearings, the multiculturalists did not see a contest between two individuals but rather between all women who are all oppressed and all white men who are all oppressors. Americans claimed the multiculturalists violated due process and conventional rules of evidence, but from the multiculturalists’ perspective what Americans saw as violations were actually multiculturalism’s understanding of due process and rules of evidence. Americans were seeing a revolution in action.

We now find ourselves in a situation not unlike that which existed before the Civil War, where one side had an understanding of justice that rested on the principle of human equality, while the other side rested on the principle that all men are equal except black men. One side implied a contraction and ultimate extinction of slavery; the other, its expansion. It was a case of a ship being asked to go in two directions at once. Or to use Lincoln’s Biblical metaphor, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Lincoln did not mean that the country could not stand part free and part slave. It could, as long as there was agreement that slavery was bad and on the road to extinction. But once half the country thought slavery a good thing and the other thought it a bad thing the country could no longer stand. It was the different understandings of justice that were decisive because when there are two understandings of justice, as in the Civil War and now, law-abidingness breaks down. In the Civil War, this resulted in secession. Today, this results in sanctuary cities and the “resistance.” To get a sense of how close we are to a complete breakdown, imagine that the 2016 election, like the Bush-Gore election, had been decided by the Supreme Court. One shudders to think.

What to do, and How to do it.”

Conservatives have been dazed by Trumpism. Even those conservatives who now acknowledge that Trump has accomplished some good things are not certain what is to be learned from Trumpism that might inform the future of the conservative movement.

The lesson is this: get right with Lincoln. He made opposition to slavery the non-negotiable center of the Republican party, and he was prepared to compromise on all else. Conservatives should do likewise with multiculturalism. We should make our opposition to it the center of our movement. Multiculturalism should guide our rhetorical strategy, provide a conceptual frame for interpreting events, and tie together the domestic dangers we face. We must understand all these dangers as part of one overarching thing.

This approach, however, will not work unless conservatives begin to think about politics like Lincoln did. That they do not may explain why so many of them missed the meaning of the 2016 election. This topic is complex but I think it comes down to this: As compared to Lincoln’s thinking about politics, conservative thinking tends to be too narrow (i.e., excludes too much) and too rigid.

What for Lincoln was the single most important political thing—the public’s understanding of justice—many of today’s conservatives think not important at all. It should not then be surprising why they missed, or underappreciated, the political dangers of multiculturalism with its assault on the American understanding of justice. Having missed or underappreciated multiculturalism, conservatives could not see that those attributes of Trump that in conventional times would have been disqualifying were in these times just the ones needed to take on multiculturalism. Trump was not a conventional conservative, yet his entire campaign was about saving America. This is where conservatism begins.

Education is another area that conservatives believe is less politically important than Lincoln did. Conservatives must relearn what Lincoln knew, and what, until the mid-twentieth century, our universities and colleges also knew: the purpose of higher education, in particular elite higher education, is to train future citizens on behalf of the common good. If the elite universities are promoting multiculturalism, and if multiculturalism is undermining America, then the universities are violating their obligation to the common good no less than were they giving comfort to the enemy in time of war. In such a case, the government, the federal government if need be, can rightfully impose any remedy as long as it is commensurate with the risk posed to the country and is the least intrusive option available.

Reorienting the conservative movement is a formidable undertaking, but we have a few big things in our favor: for starters, most of the country, including many who are not Trumpsters, appear to object to multiculturalism and its accompanying speech codes. In addition, multiculturalism, as with abolition, has the potential to energize the conservative movement. Conservatives, who are in the business of conserving things, come to life when there is something important to conserve because this allows them to stake out a very distinctive and morally powerful position with enough room to accommodate a broad coalition. In this case, that really important “something” is our country.

This essay may be reposted in full with, at top, proper attribution to The American Mind, a publication of the Claremont Institute, and a direct link to this page.
Thomas D. Klingenstein is a principal in the investment firm of Cohen, Klingenstein, LLC and the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute.

Notre Dame on Fire — Christianity is burning, will it burn down?

Copying (the sincerest form of flattery) from Ann Althouse links.  North Rose window:

The fire, before the spire falls.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/15/paris-notre-dame-cathedral-on-fire-reuters.html#

It’s a horrific loss.

Fine 7 min history.

Live France 24

AP:

France’s civil security agency says “all means” except for water-dropping aircraft were deployed to tackle the blaze. The defense agency said those were unsuitable for fires like the one at Notre Dame because dumping water on the building could cause the whole structure to collapse….

Earlier Trump had tweeted, “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out,” so that answers that.

A Notre Dame spokesman said earlier that the church’s entire wooden interior was in flames….

On Thursday, 16 religious statues were removed from the peak for the first time in over a century to be taken for cleaning and therefore escaped the blaze.

Also seen early on Neo:

There is really no news on the cause of the fire, although you can easily speculate that the two leaders are accident and terrorism. Whichever it is, however, the symbolism of the decline of a great culture and a great religion springs obviously to mind.

Speculation only as to the cause.

My guess is that it was a “smart arson” attack that used careless reconstruction stuff to look like an accident, and to make it unlikely to find any evidence that it was arson (no empty gas cans just out of range).
Without strong evidence of arson, it will be called an accident.  Were it a cigarette, it could have been a real accident, terrible

This is certainly an omen of the decline of Christian based civilization. It is hugely (or just slightly?) based on the acceptance of homosexual priests and then acceptance of adult homosexual sex. Which is not illegal, unlike the pedophilia which law enforcement is being used to punish various pedophile priests, most of whom are homosexual. The Church does NOT seem to be getting rid of gay priests, but it needs to do so.

See how many priests died of AIDs.

The failure of the Church to integrate healthy marriage sexuality has created a Church culture of far too much hypocrisy.

This combines with the feminist capitalism unofficial de facto motto:
“Better a high paid wage-slave than a low paid mother”.

The West is suffering from a population neutron bomb — the buildings are left, but not the people. In Italy, where are the children? Or in France?
Oh, right — only the Muslims living in or near the “no-go” areas are having kids, lots of kids.
They are the future of France, and possibly of ex-Christian civ.

When young, I liked Ayn Rand. She, like many Libertarians (tho she was Rep), didn’t have children, nor even a faithful marriage.
Christian Capitalist civilization needs a rebirth of faithful marriages with more kids.
Christian European civ is definitely getting smaller, now. It might expand again.

Notre Dame. So beautiful and awesome, both. I only visited it once, in 1989, 200 years after the storming of the Bastille.
Maybe it really was just an accident, a careless cigarette.
Maybe a deliberate cigarette.
We’ll probably never know for sure.