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genferei's Posts

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The new National Security Strategy (pdf) is highly readable, attractively presented, and contains some soaring rhetoric. It also contains some diplomatese name-checking, and some less than elegant attempts to cast existing foreign outreach programs as part of a coherent policy. But overall it is well worth reading. As for substance – well, there is stuff […]

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There are some who see in Putin’s Russia a threat to peace in Europe by way of conventional arms, and in the world generally by means of cyber attacks and propaganda. If a President were to take this threat seriously, what should she do? Well, she could give a major foreign policy address in a […]

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Bought and Paid For

 

The scales have fallen from my eyes. Ricochetti will know me for a staunch believer in the important role the media plays ensuring the uninterrupted flow of facts and non-partisan commentary to the electorate.

Others may accuse journalists of having a thumb on the scale, or perhaps unconsciously ever-so-slightly tilting in a very lightly mainstream liberal way, but I defended the noble profession; I believed Jake Tapper and others when they told me that, even after decades working alongside their fellow scribes, they could not tell who they might have voted for; I knew that up until the moment someone joined an administration as a flack or spinner, their integrity was complete, and the moment they left that administration to return to their newspaper or network they reverted to their natural impartial state; I dismissed claims that links of blood or marriage between senior media and political figures were anything but irrelevant.

But now The Guardian — the standard bearer for “quality, independent journalism, which discovers and tells readers the truth” (I know, because they told me) has established a US nonprofit (of course, they are a giant money-losing organisation so it could hardly be otherwise) whereby donors can pay for “journalism” supporting their case. As they brazenly put it themselves:

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If your reply comment isn’t worth the time and effort to carefully trim the comment it is responding to, it probably isn’t worth making. It almost certainly isn’t worth reading: seldom does a one-line response appended to the bottom of 30 lines of untrimmed back-and-forth illuminate, although it may inflame. Preview Open

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For some reason, my mind has been turning towards the American Civil War. One challenge (at least to me) with following histories – particularly military histories – is to visualise where things actually happened. Particularly where a troop train might cover many miles, and a multi-day battle a few yards… Hence my bleg: can anyone […]

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The Genferei clan will be in Atlanta for the week of July 4th (1st through 8th). The Atlanta Ricochet meetup at the end of April looked like a bunch of fun. If anyone is up for a rematch I would love to encounter some locals (and potentially not-so-locals) and be set right about how things really […]

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The Conservative Party has released their manifesto for the upcoming General Election. As foreshadowed by Theresa May’s conference speech in October last year (so brilliantly covered in this post), it is pure big-government. We must reject the ideological templates provided by the socialist left and the libertarian right and instead embrace the mainstream view that […]

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The most intriguing element of the White House’s outline tax plan (a good explanation of which comes from Goldman Sachs, via ZeroHedge [obligatory Putin Stooges warning…]) is the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes. Much ink has been spilled on the pros and cons of such a deduction. The modern Republican position […]

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One has built support from a despised group into a political movement outside the normal channels. The other remorselessly pursues an ambition with scant regard for principle. One relies on breezy rhetoric and the inability to be pinned down in the usual categories. The other ruthlessly jettisons allies if they get in the way of […]

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Marine Le Pen Is not Donald Trump in a Dress

 

The race for President of France continues to be fascinating. The early leader and (surprise) winner of the center-right primary, the socially conservative, entitlements reforming, state shrinking, tough-love Francois Fillon is tanking in the polls over a scandal involving his employing his wife at government expense (“Penelopegate”). The largely unknown, and fairly cooky, Benoit Hamon was the (surprise) winner of the Socialist Party primary, which may well lead to the final death of that rather strange animal. The current darling of the (center) left is Emmanuel Macron, who is a sort of Third Way (Blair? Clinton?) figure operating outside the normal (such as it is) political channels.

You will recall that the French Presidential election operates in two rounds. The first round features everyone. The second round features the top two from the first round. It is a good bet that Marine Le Pen will be one of those top two, thus the action is to see who will oppose her in the second round. And win. Although voters on the right are slightly less likely to support a left-wing candidate against a National Front candidate in the second round than left-wing voters to support a candidate on the right opposing a National Front candidate in the second round, the effect is (highly likely to be) the same. Unless things go differently this time. And why, in the era of Brexit and Trump, wouldn’t they?

One reason is that Marine Le Pen is the product of an earlier time. Another is that she really doesn’t stand for anything terribly tangible. She is trying on the mantle of the French Trump today. A few months ago she was auditioning for the French Farage. Her father (Jean-Marie Le Pen) used to like being the French Reagan in the 80’s, when being for deregulation and free markets was counter-cultural. Insofar as she has policies (largely yet to come for this election) they are protectionist, welfarist, and statist. Her nationalism is not Donald Trump’s nationalism: that there is no room for prejudice in patriotism is not a sentiment that would come easily to her. Although she may well adopt it in the weeks ahead.

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It is no doubt true that every Department, Bureau, Office and Agency of the Federal government has a series of ‘Climate Change’ initiatives and the pots of money that go with them. One approach to fixing this waste would be to root through the nooks and crannies of the bureaucracy and comprehensively stamp them out. […]

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In which case, there is no need for any government funding – Federal, State or Municipal. Yes, I am saying that there are three orders of magnitude too many university students in America: instead of more than 20 million there should be, perhaps, 20,000. (I could be persuaded that the right figure was 2,000. I […]

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Is Jill Stein, of course. From her website, now repurposed as a conduit for dark money towards lawfare by recount: Stein attended a dinner Thursday night, sitting at the table with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “While the objective of that dinner was not to engage in serious discussions, Putin did appear to respond in his formal remarks […]

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Since the election much has been made of the preference of voters (particularly “white” voters) without college degrees for Donald Trump. This is contrasted with the preference of voters with college degrees for Hillary Clinton. (Of course, all this is based on exit polls which say Hillary won…) My question is about the difference between […]

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Donald Trump sat down with a bunch of folks from the New York Times – the “failing New York Times”, as Mr Trump would tweet. You can read the transcript here. And you should. Because if you rely on the media to tell you what went on you’ll miss all the fun. My favourite part […]

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It will come as no surprise that contemporary moral philosophy views patriotism with great suspicion, and the majority view is that it is basically evil. There is no principled basis on which to prefer fellow citizens to those human beings that happen not to be fellow citizens. Any basis advanced for such a preference – […]

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Chicago, Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Providence, Santa Fe, Denver and Washington D.C. have declared they will not change their policy of declining to enforce immigration laws against “undocumented migrants”. What can be done? The obvious answer is to surround the cities with overwhelming military force, drop leaflets on the populace giving them […]

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Steve Bannon in his Own Words

 

Buzfeed (I know, right?) has published a transcript of remarks made by Steve Bannon – via Skype – to an event organised at the Vatican by the Dignitatis Humanae Institute in the summer of 2014 entitled “Poverty and the Common Good: Putting the ‘Preferential Option for the Poor’ at the Service of Human Dignity.” Bannon was the speaker for a module called “Should Christians impose limits on wealth creation?” Both the timing (the exact date was 27 June 2014) and the topics need to be borne in mind. I urge you to read — or, at least, skim — the transcript. (Or listen to the recording linked at the bottom of the Buzzfeed piece.) To whet your appetite, here is my summary:

Capitalism, in its enlightened form, gave the Judaeo-Christian West the wherewithal to defeat the atheists in the Second World War. This capitalism generated great wealth, and spread it to the working-cum-middle classes, enabling a decades-long Pax Americana. Or, as Bannon puts it:

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Can one be a conservative in good standing while being skeptical about unrestricted immigration (whether on the grounds of culture, public safety, or solidarity with the working class)? What about holding a nuanced view of international trade agreements and their short- to medium-term effects? Or believing that nation-building in the Middle East is not an […]

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So said Donald yesterday. Or his speechwriter, anyway. What Donald actually said was: No other successful person, after watching this, and no other very successful person will ever again, ever — and who can blame them? Even me, I’d say, you’re right — will ever again run for office. I’ve heard it for years, if […]

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genferei

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