Saturday, October 22, 2016

Friday, October 21, 2016

An Establishment in Panic - by Patrick C. Buchanan

from WMD
Pressed by moderator Chris Wallace as to whether he would accept defeat should Hillary Clinton win the election, Donald Trump replied, “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”

“That’s horrifying,” said Clinton, setting off a chain reaction on the post-debate panels with talking heads falling all over one another in purple-faced anger, outrage and disbelief.

“Disqualifying!” was the cry on Clinton cable.

“Trump Won’t Say If He Will Accept Election Results,” wailed the New York Times. “Trump Won’t Vow to Honor Results,” ran the banner in the Washington Post.

But what do these chattering classes and establishment bulletin boards think the Donald is going to do if he falls short of 270 electoral votes?

Lead a Coxey’s Army on Washington and burn it down as British Gen. Robert Ross did in August 1814, while “Little Jemmy” Madison fled on horseback out the Brookville Road?

What explains the hysteria of the establishment?

In a word, fear.

The establishment is horrified at the Donald’s defiance because, deep within its soul, it fears that the people for whom Trump speaks no longer accept its political legitimacy or moral authority.

It may rule and run the country, and may rig the system through mass immigration and a mammoth welfare state so that Middle America is never again able to elect one of its own. But that establishment, disconnected from the people it rules, senses, rightly, that it is unloved and even detested.

Having fixed the future, the establishment finds half of the country looking upon it with the same sullen contempt that our Founding Fathers came to look upon the overlords Parliament sent to rule them.

Establishment panic is traceable to another fear: Its ideology, its political religion, is seen by growing millions as a golden calf, a 20th-century god that has failed.

Trump is “talking down our democracy,” said a shocked Clinton.

After having expunged Christianity from our public life and public square, our establishment installed “democracy” as the new deity, at whose altars we should all worship. And so our schools began to teach.

Half a millennia ago, missionaries and explorers set sail from Spain, England and France to bring Christianity to the New World.

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Today, Clintons, Obamas and Bushes send soldiers and secularist tutors to “establish democracy” among the “lesser breeds without the Law.”

Unfortunately, the natives, once democratized, return to their roots and vote for Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, using democratic processes and procedures to re-establish their true God.

And Allah is no democrat.

By suggesting he might not accept the results of a “rigged election” Trump is committing an unpardonable sin. But this new cult, this devotion to a new holy trinity of diversity, democracy and equality, is of recent vintage and has shallow roots.

For none of the three – diversity, equality, democracy – is to be found in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers or the Pledge of Allegiance. In the pledge, we are a republic.

When Ben Franklin, emerging from the Philadelphia convention, was asked by a woman what kind of government they had created, he answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Among many in the silent majority, Clintonian democracy is not an improvement upon the old republic; it is the corruption of it.

Consider: Six months ago, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton bundler, announced that by executive action he would convert 200,000 convicted felons into eligible voters by November.

If that is democracy, many will say, to hell with it.

Sign the precedent-setting petition supporting Trump’s call for an independent prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton!

And if felons decide the electoral votes of Virginia, and Virginia decides who is our next U.S. president, are we obligated to honor that election?

In 1824, Gen. Andrew Jackson ran first in popular and electoral votes. But, short of a majority, the matter went to the House.

There, Speaker Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams delivered the presidency to Adams – and Adams made Clay secretary of state, putting him on the path to the presidency that had been taken by Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Adams himself.

Were Jackson’s people wrong to regard as a “corrupt bargain” the deal that robbed the general of the presidency?

The establishment also recoiled in horror from Milwaukee Sheriff Dave Clarke’s declaration that it is now “torches and pitchforks time.”

Yet, some of us recall another time, when Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote in “Points of Rebellion”:

“We must realize that today’s Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.”

Baby-boomer radicals loved it, raising their fists in defiance of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.

But now that it is the populist-nationalist right that is moving beyond the niceties of liberal democracy to save the America they love, elitist enthusiasm for “revolution” seems more constrained.

What goes around comes around.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Coming Right Wing Explosion

from Bloomberg
As Europeans assess the fallout from the U.K.’s Brexit referendum, they face a series of elections that could equally shake the political establishment. In the coming 12 months, four of Europe’s five largest economies have votes that will almost certainly mean serious gains for right-wing populists and nationalists. Once seen as fringe groups, France’s National Front, Italy’s Five Star Movement, and the Freedom Party in the Netherlands have attracted legions of followers by tapping discontent over immigration, terrorism, and feeble economic performance. “The Netherlands should again become a country of and for the Dutch people,” says Evert Davelaar, a Freedom Party backer who says immigrants don’t share “Western and Christian values.”

Even Europe’s most powerful politician, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is under assault. The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has drained support from Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats in recent state and local elections, capitalizing on discontent over Germany’s refugee crisis. In Austria the far-right Freedom Party has a shot at winning the presidency in balloting set for Dec. 4, after an election in May that the Freedom Party narrowly lost was annulled because of irregularities in vote counting. The populists are deeply skeptical of European integration, and those in France and the Netherlands want to follow Britain’s lead and quit the European Union. “Political risk in Europe is now far more significant than in the United States,” says Ajay Rajadhyaksha, head of macro research at Barclays.

here’s a second test of populist muscle on Dec. 4, when Italy holds a referendum on constitutional changes proposed by the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Five Star is the leading opposition to the government’s plan to cut the number of seats in Parliament’s upper chamber and limit its powers, a move Mr Renzi is seeking to speed action on economic reforms. With the prime minister threatening to resign in the event of a “no” vote, growth-enhancing measures such as a corporate tax cut and help for Italy’s fragile banking system could be off the table. “You might end up having a political crisis on top of an economic slowdown and a banking mess,” says Bloomberg Intelligence economist Maxime Sbaihi. “Suddenly, stars could align for the worst.”

Recent polls show the “no” forces narrowly ahead. If they prevail, an interim government would take over until elections could be held, probably in 2017, says Wolfango Piccoli, co-president of Teneo Intelligence, a political advisory firm in London. “The big winner would be the Five Star Movement,” which could increase its 14 percent share of parliamentary seats, he says. Five Star probably wouldn’t gain sufficient backing to form a government but would have enough seats to deny any other party a solid majority.

That scenario underscores what may be the biggest risk of the nationalist groundswell: increasingly fragmented parliaments that will be unable or unwilling to tackle the problems hobbling their economies. True, populist leaders might not have enough clout to enact controversial measures such as the Dutch Freedom Party’s call to close mosques and deport Muslims. And while the Brexit vote in June helped energize Eurosceptics, it’s unlikely that any major European country will soon quit the EU, Morgan Stanley economists wrote in a recent report. But they added that “the protest parties promise to turn back the clock” on free-market reforms while leaving “sclerotic” labour and market regulations in place. France’s National Front, for example, wants to temporarily renationalise banks and increase tariffs while embracing cumbersome labour rules widely blamed for chronic double-digit unemployment. Such policies could damp already weak euro zone growth, forecast by the International Monetary Fund to drop from 2 percent in 2015 to 1.5 percent in 2017. “Politics introduces a downside skew to growth,” the economists said.

Here’s a Rundown on the Upcoming Elections:


Dec. 4 referendum

Prime Minister Renzi wants to curb the power of Parliament’s upper house and has said he’ll resign if there’s a “no” vote. That could plunge the country into crisis, likely leading to an interim government followed by national elections in 2017.

The “no” side is slightly ahead, but at least a quarter of voters remain undecided. Mr Renzi’s base is divided on the referendum, prompting him to offer concessions to appease party members who’ve opposed his plan.

March 2017 general elections

Voters will choose members of the national Parliament, where the Liberal Party holds the most seats and heads a coalition with the Labour Party.

Recent polls show Geert Wilders’s anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic Freedom Party running neck and neck with the Liberals. But even if the Freedom Party gets the most seats, it’s unlikely to find a coalition partner. Improving economic numbers could benefit mainstream parties, and Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte may shore up his support by boosting spending on health care and security.

April-May presidential elections

Voters will choose a president through a pair of primaries, followed by a first round of voting in April and a runoff in May. Bordeaux Mayor Alain JuppĂ©, a pro-European, business-friendly former prime minister, is the front-runner in a November primary of center-right candidates. The Left has its own primary in January; François Hollande, the deeply unpopular Socialist president, hasn’t said whether he’ll seek reelection. A wild card is Emmanuel Macron, a former economy minister under Mr Hollande who’s created his own political movement but hasn’t said whether he’ll run.

The first round of presidential voting will pit the primary winners against Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right National Front, and candidates from smaller parties. Polls show Ms Le Pen would win as much as 30 percent of the vote in April, enough to advance to a second round. But surveys show she’d lose a runoff to any mainstream candidate. In parliamentary elections in June, the party that wins the presidency is likely to gain enough seats to form a government. Despite Ms Le Pen’s popularity, the National Front holds no seats in the 577-member National Assembly and failed to gain control of any regional governments in elections last year.

September parliamentary elections

Chancellor Merkel faces stiff criticism within her coalition over her handling of the refugee crisis and hasn’t said whether she’ll seek reelection after 11 years in office. With her party convention set for December, she’s expected to signal her intentions soon. Low unemployment, rising wages, and slow-but-steady growth, along with broad support from the business community, would favor a fourth-term bid. Mrs Merkel’s government plans a €6.3 billion ($6.9 billion) income tax cut starting next year.

Following its recent state and local successes, the populist AfD could win seats in Parliament for the first time. But other parties would likely band together to deny AfD any power in government. And Mrs Merkel has a 54 percent approval rating—more than most of her European peers—while her CDU-CSU bloc still leads comfortably in opinion polls.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Can America Afford a Third 'Obama' Term?

In just eight years, the national debt shot up from $10.6 trillion to $19.7 trillion under the abject failure that has been the Obama administration. During those eight years, the national debt went from 73% of the GDP to 105% today.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Are You Satisfied?

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With the presidential election less than a month away, 28% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. This continues the low satisfaction levels that started near the end of the George W. Bush administration and have persisted under President Barack Obama. Satisfaction remains significantly below the historical average of 37% since Gallup began measuring it in 1979.

Americans' current level of satisfaction is similar to where it has been for most of 2016, with the notable exception of July. That month, 17% of Americans were satisfied according to the July 13-17 poll, conducted shortly after incidents in which police officers killed black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, and after five police officers in Dallas were fatally shot. July's satisfaction rating was the lowest since October 2013. By August, with news coverage focused more on other events such as the political conventions, satisfaction rebounded to the levels seen before July.

Americans' Satisfaction Similar to a Month Before 2012 Election
Hillary Clinton has said she is the only candidate who will continue Obama's policies, so her supporters might be worried that less than a third of Americans are satisfied with the country's direction near the end of Obama's second term. But a month before the 2012 election, in which Obama handily defeated Mitt Romney, the U.S. satisfaction level was 30%, similar to today's figure. Satisfaction did rise slightly to 33% immediately before the election, possibly because Americans approved of the way Obama handled the effects of Superstorm Sandy.

Heading into the Nov. 8 general election this year, 49% of Democrats, 24% of independents and 8% of Republicans are satisfied with the country's direction. Republican numbers are almost identical to four years ago -- when 7% were satisfied. Democrats (53%) and independents (29%) were slightly more likely to be satisfied in October 2012 than they are now.

Bottom Line

The finding that fewer than one in three Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. could appear ominous for the Democratic Party's chances of holding on to the White House in 2016. But satisfaction today is similar to what it was four years ago, when Obama won a second term. So while Clinton may pin her hopes for winning on convincing Americans of the need to continue with the course Obama has set, she would also benefit from convincing voters she can improve on what Obama has accomplished.

On the other hand, Republican Donald Trump has been able to focus heavily on his claims about what has gone wrong with the direction of the U.S. under Obama. With seven in 10 Americans expressing dissatisfaction with the nation's course, Trump has a large audience who agrees with his contention that the country is on the wrong track, even if many may not agree with his explanations for why that is the case. Trump's challenge is to convince Americans that he would be able to make things better in the future if elected.

In addition to influencing the outcome of the election, Americans' low satisfaction level could affect voter turnout on Nov. 8. When citizens are frustrated with the way things are going in the nation, they may be motivated to vote for change. Alternatively, their frustration could discourage them from voting. Gallup research from September found Americans were less sure they will vote in this year's election than they were in each of the past four presidential elections. One reason voters may be less inclined to vote despite high dissatisfaction levels is their dislike of the two candidates. Both Clinton and Trump have historically low favorability ratings.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 5-9, 2016, with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
- Source

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