Huge blow for APC ahead of Bayelsa governorship election as 6,000 members defect to PDP   

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At least 6,000 members and loyalists of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa ahead of the state's governorship election.
          

Kogi election: APC already scared of defeat - PDP campaign DG   

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The governorship election slated for November 16, in Kogi state, is becoming more interesting as both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and its main challenger, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) engaged in verbal attacks
          

Simon and Jackie Go Crazy   

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So, I visited Montreal Simon to read his latest post, which was a condemnation of the Scheer Conservatives and their fans who are bringing USA-Repugnican style hatred and violent rhetoric up here. It started off well with a picture of some sub-literate right-wing moron holding up this ridiculous (and frightening) hand-made sign:


I've said on numerous occasions that stupid people must have the same right to vote as non-stupid people. But there needs to be gatekeepers to prevent the rise of stupid ideas and rage-fueled political movements from having any prominence greater than the level of three city blocks. Alas, for reasons of selfish cynicism our media and corporate elites see fit to pander to these cretins and stir them up. As well (whose kidding who?) from their own behaviour and the words that flow from their mouths, pens, pencils, keyboards, many among our elites aren't all that intelligent either.

Montreal Simon goes from trashing right-wing assholes calling for Trudeau to be "hung" (or run over by a truck) for taxing them, for verbally acknowledging global warming, for admitting Syrian refugees, for marching in PRIDE parades, and etc., ... where was I? .... Oh yeah, ... Simon goes from condemning those assholes to conflating them with progressives who yell at him for buying the TMX pipeline (so as to bail-out the Bay Street parasites who invested in that bitumen project) and praises Trudeau for asking his supporters (booing the guy) for tolerance as he lets his security drag the man away.

Immediately afterwards Simon mentions a guy who threw an egg at Trudeau during a climate march in Montreal, but it's unclear from the Global News video what that guy's agenda was. Personally, I've never gotten too incensed about ordinary people throwing pies (or, now, eggs) in the faces of politicians.

"What if that pie/egg had been a gun or a bomb or a knife?!?"

Yeah. But you're missing the important point that it wasn't a gun or a bomb or a knife. It was a cream-pie/egg. You could just as well shriek that the hand of someone extended for a handshake could have been a gun. But it wasn't. The person sticking their hand out to a passing politician just wants a handshake. Just as the person with the pie wants to make a statement and not kill anybody.


Simon then starts his spiel about how Justin Trudeau is the most activist politician fighting climate change EVAH!!!! because of his carbon tax and his investments in renewable energy industries. But, if Simon were honest (or not honestly ignorant) he would know that this is mere tinkering and that it is all cancelled-out by his continuing to develop the Tar Sands. Which is par for the course for a liberal politician. They're the masters n' mistresses of using empty words to gull their deluded followers. They "feel your pain." They "want to see all people rise to their full potential." They "don't want to see anyone left behind." They say the things we want to hear in order to get elected and continue to say those things as they enact policies that contradict their flowery words.

The end result of political cowardice and deliberate deceit by politicians like Justin Trudeau is going to be the extinction of most of the earth's life-forms. It will AT LEAST mean the deaths of tens of millions of people. Given this, it was justified for that protester to yell at Trudeau for his sickening devotion to the TMX pipeline. And it is the height of stupidity to conflate environmentalists with legitimate grievances with Islamophobic, racist, right-wing homophobic shit-heads threatening all their adversaries with murder. (Notice how that protester at the Liberal rally stayed right where he was and didn't make a step towards Trudeau.)

And, of course, the first "commentor" was Simon's in-all-but-name co-blogger "Jackie Blue." I haven't (and won't) read her entire densely-packed, extended comment. But she basically says that leftist "shit-disturbers" are as big a threat (to "rational centrists") as right-wingers. Now, given the evidence from Simon's own post, anyone not an idiot can see that isn't true. She then goes on to whine about the progressives who didn't vote for mass-murderess, corrupt scumbag Hillary Clinton. Because "Jackie Blue" continues with the bullshit story that she's a US-American and she continues with the bullshit belief that Hillary Clinton wasn't a murdering scumbag.

Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War you stupid fuck! She voted for a war based on obvious stupid lies. The war she voted for has KILLED ONE MILLION IRAQIS and maimed and traumatized millions more. And that's only one of her colossal "mistakes" that she made while servicing the oligarchy and becoming a multi-millionaire herself. And it was Hillary's own sense of entitlement that led her to rig the Democratic primary to defeat Bernie Sanders and thereby bring on the presidency of Donald Trump. Hillary gave us Trump you imbecile!

As a species, we have to do the hard work of overthrowing his rotten, inhuman, ecocidal system. And the longer that (mostly decent-minded) people like Montreal Simon pledge hysterical allegiance to hucksters like Liberals, the longer (and perhaps TOO LATE) will it take to start that job in earnest.


(I'll end by saying that I probably won't be voting. My riding is a contest between the Libs and the Cons. And, from reading this article, I'm pretty much deflated about my choices anyway.)

          

Council passes progressive "Community Covenant" at the first council meeting of the new council (10/1/2019).    

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The program begins with an introduction by long time newscaster and pundit Pat Nolan. This is new. In the past there was no commentator. Pat opens the meeting by giving stats on the makeup of the Council and the new diversity. The Council has its first member of the Muslim faith, its first Hispanic women, 20% of the body is openly LBGT and half the members are female. Nolan gives historical data from a time when the Council was all male to the present. Nolan summarizes what is on the agenda and what future controversies are brewing.

At timestamp 6:11 the vice mayor gavels the meeting to order. The meeting opens with an invocation and the pledge of allegiance. I don't know that anyone is advocating to discontinue this practice but in some progressive communities they have done so. Charlotte, N.C, Cleveland, OH, Phoenix, AZ. and a lot of smaller communities have discontinued the prayer to open city council meetings and the ACLU and atheist groups have been pushing to ban prayer at the opening of town council meetings. A few cities have discontinued opening meetings with a Pledge of Allegiance. It there was a move to ban opening prayer or a pledge in Nashville, it would be accomplished by removing that requirement from the rules of the Council. This meeting operates under the old rules.  The Council will adopt new rules on Dec. 3rd.

At timestamp 11:25, Mayor Cooper addresses the Council. The speech is congratulatory and an expression of a desire to work together to solve problems.

There is some housekeeping measures. Vacancies on various boards that are to be filled by the Council are announced. There are then the presentation of some memorable recognitions. Consideration of legislative agenda begins at timestamp 59:45.  None of the legislation was very significant and nothing of much interest happened in this the first meeting of the new Council.

RS2019-31 adopts a "community covenant" which is described as goals by which the Council can measure itself.  It is, "A resolution expressing the support and commitment of the Metropolitan Council toward principles constituting a Community Covenant with the aim of increasing prosperity and reducing poverty in Nashville and Davidson County." It calls for "equitable growth," and "diversity." It commends "living wages and family-friendly benefit."  While this bills lays out a plan that progressives will look upon as a pledge for a progressive agenda, it really is not.  If lays out goals and commends good things. It does not say how these things would be achieved.  I also favor affordable housing and prosperity and ending poverty and think a living wage is a good thing. I think progressive efforts to make these things happen and mandate them is most often counter productive.

Several of the new progressive Council members speak on the bill. Councilman Glover speaks on the bill and moves to amends it. Since the minutes of the meeting are not posted I do not know the exact wording of Glover's amendment but I understand that it clarified that the implementation of these goals would have to follow normal procedures and come back before the Council. It is discussed. There are points of order and some confusion. There are suspension of rules and an amendment to the amendment. I commend Vice Mayor Jim Shulman for patiently explaining the process and indulging procedural errors on the part of new council members and providing gentle guidance.

Council member Ginny Welsch, probably the most radical of the new progressives, speaks against Glover's proposal. Glover's amendment passes. The resolution is adopted by a voice vote.  This discussion is worth watching and the resolution worth reading to understand the tenor of the new Council. To see the discussion see timestamp 1:19:26 - 1:51:25.



          

   

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‘Big Bad Trusts’ Are a Progressive Myth

Today’s tech titans, like yesterday’s industrial giants, will diminish in time thanks to competition

The resurgence of progressivism in America has brought growing support for a return to Progressive-era trustbusting. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a plan to break up tech companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook. Berkeley professor Robert Reich, once the resident progressive of the Clinton administration, opines, “Like the robber barons of the first Gilded Age, those of the second”—the tech giants—“have amassed fortunes because of their monopolies.” Even in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, a newspaper headline declares, “Big tech needs to face a Theodore Roosevelt -style trust busting.”

According to progressive legend, when trusts and cartels in the late 19th century exploited consumers, trustbusters rode to the rescue. Today’s progressives are ready to reincarnate yesteryear’s remedies. The problem with this narrative is that it has little basis in fact.

If the Gilded Age was plagued by anticompetitive behavior, the data should show output falling and prices rising in monopolized industries. In a 1985 study, economist Thomas DiLorenzo tested this hypothesis for industries accused of being monopolistic during the debate on the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. He found that output in those industries actually increased by an average of 175% from 1880-90—seven times the growth rate of real gross national product. On average, prices in the so-called monopolized industries fell three times as fast as the consumer-price index. When it comes to the progressive itch to attack large firms, a famous line comes to mind: “Ignorance lies not in the things you don’t know, but in the things you know that ain’t so!”

Steel output grew by 242% from 1880-90, but during the 10 years after the Sherman Act, it grew by only 135%. Other “monopolized” industries with large differences in growth rates in the decades before and after the Sherman Act include copper (330% vs. 133%), petroleum (74% vs. 39%), refined sugar (65% vs. 48%) and cigars and cigarettes (121% vs. 40%).

Prices tell a similar story. On average, in the industries for which data are available, inflation-adjusted prices fell at a faster rate, or rose at a slower rate, in the decade before the Sherman Act than in the decade after it. The real price of steel rails fell by 43% from 1880-90, but fell by only 0.7% from 1890 to 1900. The wholesale price of sugar fell 22.4% from 1880-90 but fell by only 6.1% from 1890-1900. A similar pattern played out for copper, pig iron and anthracite coal.

In reality, the turn of the 20th century was an era of vigorous industrial competition driven by the implementation of new technologies, new sources of supply, and improved management. Economies of scale produced industrial concentration. Most of the trusts and cartels that subsequently formed to keep out competition gradually failed without any government intervention.

The history of the American Sugar Refining trust, which formed in 1887, illustrates this pattern. The Sugar Trust had only fleeting success at limiting production or raising prices over the ensuing 20 years. U.S. refined-sugar production more than doubled from 1887 to 1907. Despite the trust’s efforts to keep them out, competitors built factories and undercut its prices in less time than it took to prosecute a major antitrust lawsuit. In 1893, when the Grover Cleveland administration filed its first Sherman antitrust suit against American Sugar, the margin between the prices of raw and refined sugar was 1.15 cents a pound. By the time the Supreme Court decided the case in 1895, new competitors had driven the margin down to 0.88 cent a pound—a 23% decrease.

Unlike the trusts, tariffs and regulations actually succeeded in squelching competition in the Gilded Age. Standard Oil benefited from tariffs on oil and refined products. Henry Havemeyer, the first president of American Sugar, stated at a congressional hearing in 1899 that “the mother of all trusts is the customs tariff bill. . . . Without the tariff, I doubt if we should have dared to take the risk of forming the trust.”

The first legislative action of the trustbusting era came with the establishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887 to regulate rail freight rates. Economist George Hilton and historian Gabriel Kolko found that railroads supported federal regulation because their attempts to stabilize rates through cartels had repeatedly failed. Real rail freight revenues fell 17.7% per ton-mile from 1870-90. The Interstate Commerce Act banned price rebates, the mechanism the overbuilt railroad system had used to reduce prices. When trucks began to compete with the railroads, Congress brought trucking under ICC regulation. Whatever its initial impact or intent, over time evidence mounted that transportation regulation actually impeded competition.

By the 1970s, the anticompetitive effects of economic regulation, especially in transportation, were acknowledged by progressives from Ralph Nader to economist Alfred Kahn. In the greatest deregulatory effort of the 20th century, President Jimmy Carter led the opening of competition in the railroad, airline and trucking industries. Peer-reviewed economic studies have consistently shown that the transportation deregulation of the Carter era produced significant price reductions and improvements in service.

The rise of Big Tech is virtually a replay of the rise of scale-driven industrialization at the turn of the 20th century. We’ve seen rapid growth of large firms fueled by technological innovation and economies of scale accompanied by declining prices. This time around, extraordinarily, the new “monopolies” are giving many of their products away.

There are legitimate policy concerns involving Big Tech, such as claims of censorship. But history shows little evidence that breaking up big tech companies or regulating them as monopolies will benefit consumers. Before policy makers repeat the failed experiments of the past, they should determine whether trustbusting is really about protecting consumers or merely about expanding the power of government.

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Book Review: ‘Order Without Design,’ by Alain Bertaud

An Urban Planner Describes the Flaws of His Profession

Who should run cities, economists or urban planners? This is a trick question: the answer is that neither group can fully know how to run such complex systems. But if planner Alain Bertaud had to choose, he’d vote against his own profession.

In his recent book Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities, Bertaud writes that planners have largely botched urban growth worldwide, and should approach it by using more insights from economics. For decades, Bertaud has trotted the world to study and help plan cities himself. He worked first for the United Nations, then the World Bank, then as a private consultant. He’s now a research scholar at NYU, where he’s learned from that school’s renowned economists.

Economics would be useful to planners, he writes, because it’s scientific. It uses technical, real-world data to create models on how cities behave, and how they would behave if given variables change. This means economists can better understand markets, predict outcomes, and determine best practices based on a defined set of goals.

Planners, by contrast, are “normative”, meaning they shape their premises not through empiricism, but norms and fads from their micro-culture. Their use of terms like “quality of life”, “neighborhood character”, “livability,” and “sustainability” are not technical, but derive from how they and their peers subjectively define these words. This means that planners depend on truisms and pseudo-science to shape policy.

One example Bertaud describes comes from his time spent in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which in the 1970s was exploding in population, as rural Haitians migrated there to escape poverty. Bertaud was part of a team of U.N. bureaucrats who visited the city to advise on its growth. Many of his colleagues thought the growth should be dispersed nationwide, rather than concentrating in Port-au-Prince.

“At the time,” writes Bertaud, “planners were debating about the optimum size of cities, usually advocating for a size between half a million and a million people.”

Yet the economics literature had already debunked this notion. Economists back then were saying (as they do now) that cities get more productive the more they grow, due to agglomeration benefits, and there was no reason to cap population at one million people. Bertaud didn’t understand these benefits until he met an economist for the first time, while in Haiti. From then on, he became convinced that economists should have a bigger role in educating planners.

If that happened, planners would then be less prone to view cities as tabula rasas that should be designed based on their own cultural tastes, and more prone to view cities as what they actually are: labor markets. This “cities as labor markets” theory is the second big premise of Bertaud’s book.

A city’s fundamental raison d’etre is that it’s where people go to find jobs. Cities grow based on their ability to provide economic opportunity, and decline if that opportunity vanishes. The key role planners should play is not to choose which industries bolster these labor markets, but to set the conditions for growth, by allowing the development of housing and transportation that lets people access and expand these labor markets. Housing and transportation is where Bertaud thinks planners could better apply economic thinking. For example, rather than mandating zoning laws that are arbitrary and fixed, planners should observe the price signals in their markets, and use it as feedback to adjust the zoning. Every few years, zoning regulations should be subject to cost-benefit analyses, to ensure they’re accomplishing their stated goal, not just inflicting financial hardship and high home prices.

For transportation, planners should ignore their preconceived biases about the “right” transport modes and layouts, and instead focus on what will actually shorten commutes and improve mobility. This too can be done through price signals – namely tolls and congestion charging – that more efficiently delineate road space and ease traffic flow. Whether or not this leads to the overwhelming use of rails, buses, carpools or single-occupancy vehicles will vary by city, and depend on how those respective modes are priced.

One flaw of Order Without Design is that Bertaud never really defines “planner”, which causes him to isolate planners for unfair blame. Globally speaking, planners from the U.N. or federal governments may have power over land-use decisions. But in the U.S., policy is made less by professional planners—who graduated from planning schools and have AICP certification—than by politicians. The anti-economic thinking that drives our land-use policy is really more a reflection of the American people and who they vote for than of urban planners, who are largely powerless (if still misguided) advisors.

But the basic message of Bertaud’s book holds. Cities are often viewed and treated like aesthetic or cultural objects, rather than labor markets where people go to work. Their housing and transport grids are planned as such, ignoring this functional role of cities. Introducing economics to the urbanization process would help solve the problems now common in cities worldwide.

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Jeff Jacoby: Instead of resurrecting the 'People's Pledge,' let's bury it for good

REPRESENTATIVE JOE KENNEDY, the youngest member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, announced last week that he would run against Senator Ed Markey, the oldest member, because, he said, "I've got new ideas and a new approach." Really? In nearly seven years in Congress, Kennedy has emitted few whiffs of originality or unconventional thinking. Why would that change if he replaced Markey in the Senate? In any case, as skeptics promptly pointed out, on political issues there are no meaningful differences between the two left-wing Democrats.

As if to validate the skepticism, Kennedy's first big campaign proposal, delivered in a press release on Tuesday, was a so-called People's Pledge to keep third-party advertising out of the Senate race. That was anything but a new idea: Markey had proposed the exact same thing when he first ran for the Senate in 2013 — and he was only recycling a gimmick from the race between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown a year earlier.

But the People's Pledge isn't just a tired, old idea. It's a tired, old, bad idea. It is arrogant and antidemocratic, and its purpose is to squelch free speech — in particular, the form of speech most valued in the American constitutional system: speech about politics, candidates, elections, and issues.

Kennedy wants his rivals (who include attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan and businessman Steve Pemberton, in addition to Markey) to repudiate in advance any "outside" advertising — that is, any advertising from any source other than the candidates' own campaigns. The purpose of the "People's Pledge" is to put teeth into that repudiation. It provides that if an outside organization spends money on TV, radio, or online ads in support of any candidate in the race, the campaign being helped would pay a penalty: It would have to donate half the value of the ad buy to a charity named by the other campaign. Political groups wanting to weigh in on the Massachusetts Senate fight would thus be dissuaded, since the more they spent to assist any candidate, the more cash that candidate would have to forfeit.

Warren and Brown were extravagantly praised when they agreed to this arrangement in 2012. Their pledge was welcomed as a victory for "civility," and the candidates were awarded props for coming up with a way to reduce the influence of money on their high-profile Senate race.

But the "People's Pledge" proved a bust. When all was said and done, the 2012 Brown/Warren race, far from restoring civility to politics, was among the nation's nastiest. And the candidates' agreement did nothing to diminish the importance of money. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Brown and Warren battle turned out to be the most expensive Senate campaign in the country. As Rosie Gray reported in BuzzFeed, Brown and Warren's much-admired pledge "appears to have accomplished roughly the opposite of its goal."

So when Markey, running for the Senate a year later, attempted to revive the pledge, his Republican opponent sensibly declined. When Secretary of State Bill Galvin tried the same ploy during his reelection fight in 2018, his Democratic challenger, calling it an "empty gesture," likewise refused.

Now that he's facing a serious challenge to his Senate seat, Markey no longer seems quite so enamored of the idea that third-party advertising should be kept out of the race. His campaign manager agreed only to "review the proposal" made by Kennedy. It's hard to imagine that Markey, facing the toughest reelection fight of his career, will spurn the help of independent groups. One such group, Environment Massachusetts, has already said it will raise $5 million for a campaign "to promote the senator's remarkable record" to the state's voters.

"Remarkable" isn't the word I would choose to describe Markey's congressional career. But if Environment Massachusetts and its supporters want to spend money to sing Markey's praises, why should they be stifled? If the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which has endorsed Kennedy, wants to run ads promoting his virtues, why shouldn't it do so? For that matter, why should any group with strong opinions about the Senate race – charities, corporations, political parties, advocacy organizations, houses of worship, or simply an ad hoc amalgam of interested citizens – be deterred from weighing in?

The winner of the Massachusetts Senate race will have power to influence the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans, here in the commonwealth and around the nation. Health care, housing, taxes, immigration, foreign policy, judgeships, war and peace — senators have a say in all of them. Which means that virtually everyone has an interest in who gets elected, and compelling reasons, perhaps, to influence the voters' decision. Should they be silenced? Of course not!

Anyone with something to say about the Massachusetts Senate race should be encouraged to say it. No group with strong views on the issues or the candidates should be denounced for spending money to disseminate those views. Robust political expression is the very quintessence of free speech, and in an election campaign, "outside" and "third party" voices are just as legitimate as those of the candidates themselves.

The "People's Pledge" is a terrible idea. Let's hope we've heard the last of it.

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Australia: Evidence of Cardinal Pell's innocence suppressed by the police.  They were always out to "get" him

Cardinal Pell was convicted of pedophilia on uncorroborated evidence

There was an interesting report in The Australian yesterday about two women of irreproachable standing whose testimony was sidelined by Victoria Police during its investigation of George Pell. Inexplicably, the women were not called by the defence. Jean Cornish and Lil Sinozic are not run-of-the-mill observers or blow-ins. Church office-holders and former senior school teachers with a hawkish concern for the safety of children, they were arguably the most authoritative eye-witnesses of all. Like everyone else who was at St Patrick’s Cathedral, they dismiss the claims against Cardinal Pell as impossible nonsense. By now the revelation is not surprising.

At the committal hearing for the case in March 2018, Detective Christopher Reed admitted he didn’t bother taking statements from “nuns, choir members and other church officials which he told the court were favourable to Cardinal Pell.” He also failed to obtain the exact dates the Cardinal presided at mass in 1996. Asked why, under cross-examination by Robert Richter QC, Reed admitted that he executed a warrant at the wrong address. “I didn’t know where the archives were,” he said. It is a concern when a detective in a case of this magnitude doesn’t have the skillset of a Dominoes delivery driver. Surprisingly, Reed and Detective Superintendent Paul Sheridan managed to find their way to Rome to interview Cardinal Pell.

From the start, VicPol’s decisions about whose statements to heed, whose to avoid, who to pursue and who to disregard have been peculiar; some would say suspicious. Remember “the swimmers”? They were the public prosecutor’s B Team. If the “choirboys” failed, the swimmers would be beckoned forth from the red-brick shed of times gone by to regale a second jury with tales of surreptitiously brushed buttocks and sneakily squeezed privates beneath warm waves of sun-drenched, chlorine-flavoured play contemporaneous with the last Shah of Iran. There were, of course, no corroborating witnesses for this malarkey but there were many exculpatory witnesses. Alas for the pool accusers, their case was thrown out by County Court chief judge Peter Kidd in February.

Having hoisted them aloft to make a splash, the ABC (also known as the Keli Lane channel) subsequently abandoned the swimmers. Both video and transcript of its bizarre special on their accusations have been deleted. That’s understandable. As well as actionable, the 7.30 Report episode is embarrassing. The transcript can still be found online, however. If the men were so credible that they merited the combined power and treasuries of the ABC and Victoria Police, why were recollections of “repeated abuse by a female relief teacher” and a “vicious teacher who made him masturbate and perform oral sex” not pursued? Robert Richter asked police if they scorned these allegations (at the high end of seriousness) because officers were only interested in ‘getting’ Pell. “Detective Superintendent Sheridan rejected the assertion, telling the court there could have been a viable explanation.” But he didn’t say, and apparently didn’t know, what it was.

One of three possibilities logically follows: one, the supposed culprits are dead. Two: that Victoria Police allowed two hard-core child rapists to remain unsought so as not to imperil their manic Pell operation. A public failure to find or successfully charge “female relief teacher” and “vicious teacher” would have been fatal to the more banal charges against the Cardinal. Or three: that police concluded the accusations against the mystery teachers were either false or indemonstrable but charged Pell using the complainant duo’s other ‘evidence’ anyway. Whether the latter two scenarios would be justiciable as perversions of the course of justice is for legal officials in Victoria to determine. I’m sure they’ll be all over it any day now.

Were it a leftist beloved of leftists and not Cardinal Pell in solitary confinement – I should say, being tortured in solitary confinement (cf. the UN Special Rapporteur and the ABC, 2014) – the calls for a royal commission would be frenzied and incessant.

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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I Was Cursed Out of a Coffee Shop for My Views

Marilyn Synek

I never expected my weekly morning ritual of coffee and crepes at a popular local coffee shop would be interrupted by a vulgar, verbal attack that would make national headlines.

On Sept. 11, a cafe employee in Lincoln, Nebraska, named Natalie Weiss recognized me from across the room as an employee of the Nebraska Family Alliance. We’re a local nonprofit that winsomely seeks to protect the unborn, combat human trafficking, support families, and champion everyone’s First Amendment freedoms.

As I soon learned, Natalie, who is transgender, disagrees with many of our views.

After seeing me, Natalie approached me without provocation and began to curse at me for who I am, what I stand for, and the work I do. As other patrons in the crowded shop watched, Natalie called me “f—-ing bigoted trash,” demanded I leave, and shouted that if I tried to return, I’d be refused service.

I was stunned by those hateful words. I’ve always treated the employees of this cafe with respect and courtesy and never broadcast my political beliefs in the shop.

During my lunch break, I shared my experience with my Facebook friends. Within hours, my story had attracted hundreds of comments and made the local news. I soon learned Natalie had been fired for that outburst.

I received considerable support and an apology from the coffee shop owners, but I also received hateful messages, including graphic death threats from complete strangers.

This isn’t the Nebraska I know, love, and proudly call my home. This isn’t the best our diverse and tolerant country can offer. We can do better. We have to.

People who know me can tell you I believe in God, hold a conservative worldview, value the dignity of every human being, and treat people with care. These personal values are why I chose to study political science and spent my undergrad years working in political, government, and policy-related internships, leading to my current job.

Nebraska Family Alliance has received unfair slander in recent days. If even a fraction of the negative stories about our group were true, I wouldn’t work there.

I joined this team because it advocates—carefully and kindly—for policies that serve all Nebraskans. I don’t expect everyone to share my beliefs, but I do welcome rational debate and reasonable discussion.

Some people have suggested that a barista berating me and threatening to deny me future service is no different from a cake artist or a florist declining certain requests that contain messages they would prefer not to celebrate, design, or promote. But it’s incredibly different.

The artists in recent major court cases simply didn’t want to speak messages that violated their convictions. The cafe employee in my case, however, had no such burden.

Jack Phillips and Barronelle Stutzman are business owners who treat all clients with respect and kindness. They serve everyone who walks through their doors. And, like any other business owner, they run their small businesses consistent with their mission and values.

Jack will sell you anything he has made, but he won’t custom-design cakes celebrating Halloween, bachelor parties, or same-sex weddings.

Barronelle happily served a gay customer for nearly 10 years before she told him she couldn’t create custom floral arrangements to help celebrate his wedding. To this day, she says she’d gladly welcome him back.

Both of these business owners, and others like them, have been dragged through long legal battles and repeatedly threatened simply because they don’t want to be forced to create messages or celebrate events they don’t agree with.

If I asked a printer to design a poster for a Nebraska Family Alliance event and they objected to the message, I would understand their decision and go to another business. Tolerance goes both ways, and civil disagreement and discourse on important issues facing our country is a necessary component of a pluralistic society like ours.

I know what it’s like to serve people who don’t agree with me. During high school and college, I worked for a restaurant for seven years and served LGBT patrons. I enjoyed serving delicious barbecue to all my guests.

If I had the chance to serve Natalie, I would do so—and happily—regardless of our differing worldviews.

As Americans, we will inevitably disagree on political and policy issues. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom to peacefully express our ideas and promote what we believe. It also protects our freedom not to participate in speech and events that promote things we don’t believe.

This freedom and the ability to have civil discourse is what makes our country the best nation on earth. Every person should be treated with dignity and respect and not suffer unjust discrimination.

But disagreement isn’t discrimination. We have to be able to discuss our disagreements without cursing, threatening, or banning each other from communal spaces.

I know this kind of shared, diverse society is possible because I’ve participated in it. I have friends who believe I’m wrong in my convictions. We not only coexist and tolerate each other’s differences, we grow and learn from each other.

These are the friendships that make democracy thrive, ones that I hope we all value and pursue.

I enjoy sipping coffee and savoring crepes surrounded by my neighbors who may believe differently than I do. That’s a wonderful thing, and I hope we never lose it.

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In California, the Right to Gender ‘Transition’ Is Threatening Religious Liberty

In the age of transgenderism, the right to medically transition is threatening some of the most basic freedoms we’ve known, such as religious freedom.

Consider a recent case out of California, where a state appeals court ruled that a transgender man can move forward with a lawsuit suing a Catholic hospital for discrimination.

In April 2017, Evan Minton sued Catholic medical provider Dignity Health after one of its hospitals refused to give her a desired hysterectomy, because doing so would have contradicted Catholic teachings against sterilization.

Originally, the San Francisco Superior Court ruled in Dignity Health’s favor and dismissed the case on the basis that Minton received the desired procedure from another Dignity Health hospital with a less restrictive policy.

But now, a state appeals court has reversed that decision, and tossed the case back to a lower court.

This could pave the way for any person, via the court, to compel a religious organization to violate its religious convictions.

As one might expect, Minton applauded the decision. “I feel that this appeals court let [Dignity Health] know that they can’t do that, that they have to treat transgender people with dignity and care. That means the world to me,” he told KCRA, a local news channel.

Minton added: “The fight’s not over because what this appeals court has done has affirmed transgender people, but now we go back to the Superior Court and we make our case there.”

In 2016, Minton scheduled a hysterectomy with a surgeon at the hospital to aid in the transition process from female to male. A couple days before the surgery was set to occur, the hospital became aware of the situation and cancelled the procedure, citing its core religious beliefs.

In a statement last week following the appeals court decision, the hospital said, “Catholic hospitals do not perform sterilizing procedures such as hysterectomies for any patient regardless of their gender identity, unless there is a serious threat to the life or health of the patient.”

Even though Dignity Health offered to find another hospital willing to do the hysterectomy, and another non-Catholic, Dignity Health hospital ended up doing the procedure, Minton went forward with the lawsuit.

With the help of the ACLU, Minton filed a lawsuit against Dignity Health claiming that it had denied medical care on the basis of gender identity, which he said qualified as “sex discrimination in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.”

But this is not what actually occurred.

Dignity Health did not deny Minton care on the basis of gender identity; it simply refused to carry out the sterilization procedures it considered harmful, and would never perform on any patient.

Dignity Health’s faith-based policy means its doctors vow to “protect and preserve the bodily and functional integrity” of patients, and that the patient’s “functional integrity … may only be sacrificed to maintain the health or life of the person when no other morally permissible means is available.”

As such, Dignity Health forbids sterilization procedures since they go against Catholic moral teachings about what is good and conducive to flourishing.

The Court of Appeals decision is especially egregious because it acknowledges Dignity Health’s religious freedom as a Catholic hospital, but goes so far as to say the exercise of that freedom in this case—particularly under California law—amounts to discrimination.

To provide a sampling, the court wrote:

The pleading alleges that Mercy allows doctors to perform hysterectomies as treatment for other conditions but refused to allow Dr. Dawson to perform the same procedure as treatment for Minton’s gender dysphoria, a condition that is unique to transgender individuals.

Denying a procedure as treatment for a condition that affects only transgender persons supports an inference that Dignity Health discriminated against Minton based on his gender identity. This is true even if the denial was pursuant to a facially neutral policy.

Another portion of the ruling essentially states that forcing the hospital to violate its religious principles does not actually violate its free exercise of religion because California has a “compelling interest in ensuring full and equal access to medical treatment,” which purportedly supersedes any religious liberty claims and makes any compulsion claim null and void.

This not only seems like a blatant violation of the free exercise clause, but would pave the way for courts to violate all kinds of organizations’ religious rights if the state holds there is a greater interest at stake than religious liberty.

It remains to be seen how this case will shake out—and whether federal courts will pick it up and, perhaps, strike down the state court’s ruling.

SOURCE 






Maher: Rachel Maddow Wouldn't Shut Up if Don Jr. Did What Hunter Biden Did

We've played a lot of games of political "what if?" and "whataboutism" in the three years that we've been through the looking glass in America. On Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher, the host explored a hypothetical, wondering how the media would be reacting if Donald Trump Jr. were engaged in the kind of cronyism that Hunter Biden was in Ukraine.

The Hill:

"The more I read about this ... no, I don't think he was doing something terrible in Ukraine," Maher said of the younger Biden during a panel discussion on "Real Time" on Friday night.
"But why can't politicians tell their f---ing kids, 'Get a job, get a goddamn job!'" he continued. "This kid was paid $600,000 because his name is Biden by a gas company in Ukraine, this super-corrupt country that just had a revolution to get rid of corruption."

The liberal comedian and host added that it "just looks bad."

Personally, this kind of stuff doesn't bother me much. I'm old fashioned, I think the real corruption happens while politicians are in office, not after they leave and get rich from all of that "public service." Heck, I'd love it if my kid could walk out of college next year and into a pile of money using nothing more than her last name. Unfortunately, that's more likely to bring up law enforcement red flags than job offers.

Still, the media does have very selective outrage about such dealings. It's the epitome of greed, graft, and post-political corruption when a Republican does it, and business as usual when it's a Democrat.

Maher touched on that as well:

"It does sound like something Don[ald] Trump Jr. would do," Maher later added on his show Friday. "And if Don Jr. did it, it would be all Rachel Maddow was talking about."
The all-around sleazy optics of the Bidens' end of this has largely been glossed over in the mainstream media this past week. Conservative blogs write about it, of course, but that's it.

Thankfully, POTUS has been all over it as well.

In the end, there will more than likely be more questions about the Bidens than Trump's phone call. None of which will ever be asked by our intrepid political journalists.

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Australia: Same-sex unions divide what used to be the Methodist church

Uniting Church ministers who ­oppose same-sex marriage say they are being “pushed, harassed and bullied” out of the church by progressives at the helm of Australia’s third-largest denomination.

The Reverend Lu Senituli, minister of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations of the Uniting Church Sunnybank on Brisbane’s south side, said a fissure in the church was widening between large conservative congregations such as his mostly Tongan church, and inner-city churches and leadership “who want to drive us out to make way for the new church”.

Mr Senituli said the issue had come to a head since the “yes” vote in the national plebiscite on same-sex marriage. “They are using church procedures and withholding of funding and all sorts of tactics to get us to toe the line,” he said. “I have people sitting in my congregation taking notes so they can report on me to the church and have disciplinary measures enacted against me.”

However, the Uniting Church says ministers have freedom to refuse to conduct same-sex mar­riages and can continue to teach their belief that marriage may only be between a man and a woman.

Mr Senituli’s church is a member of a breakaway body in the Uniting Church established in 2004 called the Assembly of Confessing Congregations, set up for congregations that reject the progressive line on accepting gay ­clergy and same-sex marriage.

“The church now has two faith statements, or integrities on marriage,” Mr Senituli said. “One is that marriage is between a man and a woman, as according to holy scripture. But the second integrity is the covenant of love between two persons, regardless of sex.

“In practice it’s impossible to live our faith under these two integ­rities as they are contradictory. When a minister makes a statement to a presbytery to say we will not celebrate same-sex marriage, from that point the presbyteries, the regional body, begin to put the pressure on in every way.

“They start turning off the funding tap if you don’t toe the line. Life becomes extremely difficult. Regional bodies are working in collusion with liberals in congregations who find orthodox preaching offensive.

“I was removed from the nat­ional body on doctrine because my views didn’t represent the diversity of the Uniting Church. But I represent a thriving church with hundreds of members who hold traditional, scriptural views and my church has six services every Sunday.”

The president of the Uniting Church, Deirdre Palmer, was unavailable for comment, but a spokesman for the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly and the Synod of Queensland said ministers and celebrants authorised by the Uniting Church had the freedom to conduct or to refuse to conduct same-gender marriages.

“They can continue to teach their belief that marriage may only be between a man and a woman, and can continue to use a marriage liturgy that reflects that conviction,” the spokesman said.

“At the same time, we expect all our members to respectfully engage with those who may hold different biblical and theological views to their own, and to show respect to LGBTIQ Uniting Church members, who are full members, exercising a variety of ministries, both ordained and lay within and through the life of the Uniting Church.

“All parts of the church are accountable to our governance and regulations and when matters of concern arise in particular congregations, the Uniting Church has systems in place to manage those concerns.

“The matters raised with The Australian are known to the Uniting Church and are being addressed through appropriate processes, with ongoing consultation and support provided to the congregations. They are entirely un­related to the minister’s or the congregation’s Christian understanding of marriage.”

Mr Senituli’s church adopted its current name last month, changing its signage from Sunny­bank Uniting Church in defiance of church leadership to make clear its opposition to same-sex marriage and as a protest against allegedly being bullied on the issue.

The national chairman of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations, Hedley Fihaki, backed Mr Senituli’s claims, saying about 150 of the Uniting Church’s 800 congregations were ACC members.

He said ACC assemblies that had changed signs and logos to distinguish themselves from progressive congregations had received letters warning them they would no longer be under the protection of the church for issues such as insurance.

“The Uniting Church doesn’t see the dilemma we are in. The push to embrace diversity is an oxymoron, the two statements on marriage — you can’t have these two doctrines co-­existing together, in our opinion,” Dr Fihaki said.

“The Bible is very clear on this. Assembly doesn’t get why we can’t exist in this diversity framework. They are forcing us to accept it, but we can’t.”

SOURCE  

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Comment on Progressives Don’t Engage in Smears by Andrew    

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Anyone who thinks Norman Solomon is a Trump supporter either has no idea who Norman Solomon is or what the word "supporter" means. He's been a critic of the right since forever, whether it was coming from the GOP or the DCCC farm club. If your shit don't fly, don't throw it.
          

Understanding America's Cultural And Political Realignment   

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Understanding America's Cultural And Political Realignment

Authored by Richard Tafel via Quillette.com,

Understanding American politics has become increasingly confusing as the old party labels have lost much of their meaning. A simplistic Left vs. Right worldview no longer captures the complexity of what’s going on. As the authors of the October 2017 “Pew Survey of American Political Typologies” write, “[I]n a political landscape increasingly fractured by partisanship, the divisions within the Republican and Democratic coalitions may be as important a factor in American politics as the divisions between them.”

To understand our politics, we need to understand the cultural values that drive it. The integral cultural map developed by philosopher Ken Wilber identifies nine global cultural value systems including the archaic (survival), tribal (shaman), warrior (warlords and gangs), traditional (fundamentalist faith in God), modern (democracy and capitalism), and postmodern (world-centric pluralism). When combined with Pew’s voter typologies, Wilber’s cultural levels offer a new map of America’s political landscape.

Of Wilber’s nine global value systems, the Traditional, Modern, and Postmodern categories are most useful to understanding our moment. Traditional culture values disciplined adherence to assigned gender and social roles: men are providers and heads of households, marriage is between one man and one woman, and the institutions of the military, law enforcement, and the clergy are all highly respected. Historically, traditional cultures were monarchies or states ruled by “strongmen.” Modern culture superseded traditional systems in the West during the Enlightenment, and values rationality, democracy, meritocracy, capitalism, and science. Individual rights, free speech, and free markets harness an entrepreneurial spirit to solve problems.

Postmodern culture offers a borderless, geocentric political view that values pluralism. It challenges a pro-American narrative by focusing on the horrors of American history, including the exploitation of Native Americans, slavery, and persistent inequality disproportionately affecting historically disadvantaged groups. Those left behind by modernity and progress now seek recognition, restoration, and retribution via a politics of protest, and show little interest in building political organizations or institutions. We are currently living in a postmodern political moment of disruption, best described by author Helen Pluckrose in her Areo essay How French Intellectuals Ruined the West: Postmodernism and its Impact, Explained”:

If we see modernity as the tearing down of structures of power including feudalism, the Church, patriarchy, and Empire, postmodernists are attempting to continue it, but their targets are now science, reason, humanism and liberalism. Consequently, the roots of postmodernism are inherently political and revolutionary, albeit in a destructive or, as they would term it, deconstructive way.

When we overlay Pew’s data with Wilber’s Value levels, six cultural political categories emerge: Traditional Left and Right, Modern Left and Right, and Postmodern Left and Right.

Traditional Left: Devout and Diverse

If you live in an urban bubble, you may not even recognize the Traditional Left. Pew identifies these Democrats as “Devout and Diverse,” mainly comprised of minorities. Pew describes them as “…fac[ing] the most difficult financial challenges among all Democratic categories.” They are “the most religiously observant Democratic-leaning group, and the only one in which a majority (64 percent) says it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values… they have a strong support for the social safety net and further action on racial equality.” These Democrats don’t support gay rights or increasing immigration and, as Pew notes, “40 percent describe their own ideology as conservative.” They are the oldest of the Democratic voter groups and make up around six percent of all engaged voters.

Traditional Right: Country First

While the Devout and Diverse voters have almost no public profile in the media, the Traditional Right is perceived to be much larger than it is. Pew refers to them as “Country First” Republicans, who “fear America risks losing our identity as a nation.” They have largely negative views of scientists and artists, and are the most elderly of all typology groups. Primarily comprised of white men, they hold a generally favorable view of Trump and uniformly oppose same-sex marriage. They make up about six percent of all engaged voters.

While both Republicans and Democrats have socially conservative, anti-gay, anti-immigrant voters in roughly the same numbers, the social conservatives on the Right play a more prominent role in American politics, partly because they play a larger role in the GOP, and partly because the media like to highlight them to fit their own narrative. Based on their aging demographic, the traditional value level is unlikely to be as significant a force in future elections.

Modern Left: Opportunity Democrats

The Modern Left is best represented by Pew’s “Opportunity Democrats,” who are optimistic and pro-business. They believe “most people can get ahead if they are willing to work hard” to achieve the American Dream. Almost half of them say “most corporations make a fair and reasonable amount of profit.” They are primarily white, financially well off, and describe themselves as moderate. They are socially inclusive, liberal on immigration, and supportive of gay rights. They are also less likely to believe that blacks and women face structural barriers to advancement. Until recently, this group defined what it meant to be a Democrat, but they have lost their center of power. Today, they make up around 13 percent of all engaged voters.

Modern Right: Core Conservatives and New Era Enterprisers

Two different groups in Pew’s study represent Modern values among Republican voters. The larger and older of the two are called “Core Conservatives,” while the younger, smaller group Pew calls “New Era Enterprisers.” Both groups share modern values evidenced by their belief in the power of capitalism and democracy. Both believe in the power of the free market and the importance of America’s global leadership. Both remain optimistic about the possibilities afforded by the American Dream. They make up the 66 percent of Republicans who support the “Dreamers.” Their pro-immigration position is also confirmed in a Gallup report, which states that “… significantly more Republicans favor a path to citizenship than support building a border wall or deporting illegal immigrants.”

Core Conservatives are the largest Republican voter group. Made up of mostly white men, they enjoy the highest rates of home ownership of any voter group, and a majority believe that they’ve achieved the American Dream. They are the best educated of any Republican group, yet have the most negative attitudes toward the impact colleges have on our country. They are most likely to invest in the stock market and their most important issue is the economy. “Sixty-eight percent express a positive view of US involvement in the global economy ‘because it provides the US with new markets and opportunities for growth.’” In addition to their largely pro-free market and pro-immigration views, they have the most favorable view of Donald Trump among all voting groups. They represent 20 percent of all engaged voters.

New Era Enterprisers, meanwhile, are young, urban, and much more ethnically diverse. Pew points out that they are “strongly pro-business and generally think that immigrants strengthen, rather than burden, the country.” Innovation and entrepreneurship are most important to them. They are pro-immigration and pro-gay rights with the highest opinion of a role for government among any Republican group. Only a quarter of them self-identify as strong Republicans. They are the least supportive of Donald Trump among Republican groups, and the least likely to express negative attitudes toward the Democratic Party. They make up nine percent of all engaged voters.

Together these two modern Republican groups total 29 percent of engaged voters, and represent the center of power within the GOP.

Postmodern Left: Solid Liberals and Disaffected Democrats

The two Pew voting groups which make up the Postmodern Left are “Solid Liberals” and “Disaffected Democrats.” Both groups have negative views of capitalism and are concerned about America’s treatment of minority groups.

Solid Liberals is a bit of a misnomer as they tend to reject liberalism in its classical form. They are progressives who hold strongly negative views of businesses, question or reject the concept of the American Dream, and see the world through the lens of identity politics. They are mostly white, well-off, and well-educated, and they are the most secular voters found across voting groups. Ninety-seven percent strongly disapprove of Trump’s job performance. They are unlikely to have friends outside their political circle, and over half of this group would say “that a friendship would be strained if someone voted for Trump,” much higher than any other Democratic group. It isn’t just Trump they dislike. They are highly partisan in general and the least tolerant of Republicans among all Democrat groups. They are the largest engaged Democratic voting group and the largest of all voting groups in Pews voter typologies. They make up 25 percent of engaged voters.

Pew characterizes Disaffected Democrats as a “financially stressed, majority-minority group [that] supports activist government and the social safety net…” They are unhappy with America and their “disaffection stems from their cynicism about politics, government and the way things are going in the country. Disaffected Democrats would be the most likely to see the world through the lens of identity politics.”

A large majority of Disaffected Democrats say their side has been losing in politics, while fewer than half believe that voting gives them a say in how the government runs things, highlighting another hallmark of their beliefs: they have very little faith in the system.” They believe government has failed them and that, “poor people have hard lives because government benefits do not go far enough to help them live decently.” Unlike the white elite Postmodern Democrats, they often have lived in the same neighborhood their entire lives. They make up 11 percent of all engaged voters.

Together these two diverse progressive groups make up 36 percent of all engaged Democratic voters, which makes them the largest of any groups on the Left or Right. When pundits refer to the Democratic Party moving “leftwards” there are trying to capture this movement toward the postmodern level—the new center of gravity of cultural power on the American Left.

Postmodern Right: Market Skeptic Republicans

The group that is least understood in American politics is the Postmodern Right. While postmodernism on the Left focuses on the failure of modernity to address social justice in term of identity politics, the Postmodern Right questions the fundamental economic worldview of the Modern Right. In Pew’s survey, they show up as a new category named “Market Skeptic Republicans.”

Like those on the Postmodern Left, they share a strong skepticism of America exceptionalism, an overriding pessimism about the country, and they are critical of both political parties. They are the first ever “Republican-leaning group that is deeply skeptical of business and the fundamental fairness of the nation’s economic system.” They do not believe in lower taxes, which until recently defined the modern GOP, and they have an unfavorable view of banks and other financial institutions. Unlike other Republicans, Market Skeptic Republicans believe American capitalism is unfair, “an overwhelming share (94 percent) say the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests.”

The media often lumps them in as traditional conservatives because of their opposition to immigration. But that’s a mistake. They favor legal abortions in higher numbers than the Traditional Left Democrats, and they are the most secular of all Republican groups. They are also most interested in a white identity politics, mirroring those on the Left.

They are also the least loyal to the GOP. As Pew notes, “They stand out for their criticism of both political parties when it comes to caring about the middle class.” They hold a more favorable view of Donald Trump than most other Republican groups. Though not well known and ignored by the media, they are a larger voting group than the religious Right in the Republican Party, making up 10 percent of all engaged GOP voters.

Using Pew’s voter groups on an integral value map illuminates how polarization is causing divisions within, and well as between, America’s Left and Right. It also shows that the center of American politics has moved from a modern base which held the center of gravity for over a century to a new postmodern base. Today, the Democratic Party energy’s is centered at that postmodern level, while the center of the GOP remains modern.

What this Map Tells Us about the 2016 Election

In 2016, instead of hiring DC-based consultants, Donald Trump listened to conservative talk radio to plot his strategy. Just as a bat uses sonar, Trump bounces ideas off audiences and recalculates his path accordingly. He intuitively understood that the element unifying the different aspects of the Traditional and Modern Rights was their united opposition to the growing dominance of the urban elite, and the identity politics favored by the Postmodern Left. He exploited those tensions by aggravating them and antagonizing the mainstream media as a means of uniting the Right.

In addition, his post-truth worldview and ability to criticize establishment Republicans provided him with access to a new, postmodern Republican voting group—Market Skeptics. Writer David Ernst has argued in the Federalist that Trump is the first President to “turn postmodernism against itself,” because he grasped the postmodern idea of the anti-hero. 

If politics flows downwards from culture, then it was only a matter of time before a politician mastered the role. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump cracked that code. Tony Soprano, Walter White, and Frank Underwood are just a few recent examples of the enormously popular characters who have, each in their own way, stood in for the role of the complicated bad guy who fascinates millions of Americans.

Clinton’s Loss

No one told Hillary Clinton that the political landscape in which she and her husband had learned politics had changed. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton successfully navigated the values divide between moderns and traditionalists by polling and then speaking successfully to both traditional and modern voters on the Left and center-Right. That’s not the political world Hillary inherited.

Neither she nor Bill are at home with the postmodern voters that are now the largest voting group in the Democrat coalition. Bill Clinton repeatedly proved to be a liability in the 2008 and 2016 races because he failed to understand the demands of the newly “woke” Democrat coalition. Hillary was a modern candidate in a postmodern party without the cultural translation skills she needed to communicate with progressives. Many of those progressives voted in unusually high numbers for Green party candidate Jill Stein or simply stayed home.

What to Expect in 2020

Trump will again seek to unite his coalition by goading the Postmodern Left. Though incumbents are usually judged by how they performed in office, Trump will try to make these opponents the focus of his 2020 campaign, just as he did in 2016. The more he’s scolded by the media, the better his chances will be of reuniting his coalition. However, this strategy risks losing New Era Entrepreneurs, and losing any voting group on the Right makes Trump’s re-election difficult.

Democratic primary voters, meanwhile, are becoming more postmodern. The pressure to move from the modern liberal to progressive postmodern worldview in the crowded primary field risks alienating modern Democrats. Worse, whoever wins the progressive primary will need to work hard to attract any modern voters in the center and on the Right. Though two aging straight white men lead the polls in the primary as of this writing, the reality of a postmodern base in the Democratic coalition doesn’t bode well for straight white male candidates, and offers new opportunities to candidates who are female, black, Latino, or gay.

The challenge for Republicans is that the Traditional Right voting block is aging out. The divisions around business and the role of government between Market Skeptic Republicans and Core Conservatives are as profound as—if not greater than—the divisions on the Left. Worse, their larger voting coalitions are demographically much older. Trump risks pushing the remaining younger entrepreneurial, ethnically diverse voters into the Democrat coalition.

There is, however, one bright spot in this chaos. According to Wilbur’s theory, a new “integral” value system is emerging that “transcends and includes” the best aspects of earlier value systems. Jordan Peterson’s popularity may be an early sign of this—while embracing aspects of tradition, science, and therapeutic culture, his message and best-selling book appear to be resonating.

If this marks an early shift towards integral values, such a move could put an end to our vicious culture wars as new leaders emerge with the ability to see multiple viewpoints and accommodate their contradictions. Understanding American politics will continue to be hard work. But only when we understand culture will we understand politics so that we can transform it for the better.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/08/2019 - 18:05
          

APC on its way to destruction - Party's governors speak out, explain why   

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The governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have issued a warning concerning the crises that have reportedly taken over the party saying these may lead to the destruction of the political organisation.
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