Author Archives: R.D. Walker

James Madison on why pluralism secures liberty

In Federalist No. 51, James Madison eloquently argues that a unified nation governed by majority rule is always at risk of tyranny. He explains that pluralism and a broad range of interest is the best means of protecting the liberty of all.

It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.

There are but two methods of providing against this evil: the one by creating a will in the community independent of the majority that is, of the society itself; the other, by comprehending in the society so many separate descriptions of citizens as will render an unjust combination of a majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable. The first method prevails in all governments possessing an hereditary or self-appointed authority. This, at best, is but a precarious security; because a power independent of the society may as well espouse the unjust views of the major, as the rightful interests of the minor party, and may possibly be turned against both parties. The second method will be exemplified in the federal republic of the United States. Whilst all authority in it will be derived from and dependent on the society, the society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests, and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority.

In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects. The degree of security in both cases will depend on the number of interests and sects; and this may be presumed to depend on the extent of country and number of people comprehended under the same government.

In other words, the much vaunted unity that so many Americans seem to desire is the path to tyranny. Far better to have such a large number of separate interests that it is impossible for any oppressive majority or coalition to form.

The bottom line: Americans coming together in a single voice is very dangerous. A pluralistic society made up of many groups with many interests is, on the other hand, the best means to preserve individual liberty.

6 Comments

Moral Equivalence?

The POTUS and Bill O’Reilly had a talk.

In an interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, which will air ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday, Trump doubled down on his “respect” for Putin — even in the face of accusations that Putin and his associates have murdered journalists and dissidents in Russia.

“I do respect him. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them,” Trump told O’Reilly.

O’Reilly pressed on, declaring to the president that “Putin is a killer.”

Unfazed, Trump didn’t back away, but rather compared Putin’s reputation for extrajudicial killings with the United States’.

“There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers,” Trump said. “Well, you think our country is so innocent?”

In other words, Trump is defending Russia by disparaging the United States. This is called the moral equivalence fallacy and it is nothing new.

It is common tactic. Obama used it to defend Islam.

During the Cold War a most favorite tactic when responding to a conservative critique of the Soviet Union was to respond that the United States is no better and sometimes worse. Noam Chomsky made a career out of making the argument that the US is no better than the Soivet Union.

Palestinian apologists argue that Palestinians hiding behind children is the moral equivalent of Israeli soldiers protecting children.

It goes on… Animal rights activists argue that a humans and rats are morally equal. Killing a rat, therefore, is the same as killing a boy.

In fact, Godwin’s Law exists as a means to discourage the use of the moral equivalence fallacy that exists almost every time anyone is compared to Hitler or the Nazis.

The United States is in no way morally equivalent to the neo-fascist, authoritarian autocracy that is Putin’s Russia. The President of the United States should stop arguing it is. It is not only embarrassingly inappropriate, it is not true.

21 Comments

Saturday Night Radio Live

You are going to want to check out this site. It is radio stations from around the world on a map app. Very cool.

I chose a random station in Siberia… It was playing Toby Keith.

3 Comments

Will here makes a good point…

I know this will come as a surprise to some of you but I have not been a big Trump booster. Nope, believe it or not, he wasn’t my first choice in the Republican primary. In fact, even now, I would prefer a limited government, free trade, free markets president who was, at the very least, no more divisive than Barack Obama. But you get what you get and we have Trump.

I have found myself defending him here and there lately. Not because I think he is a man to be idolized – I don’t – but because the vitriol against him from the unhinged left is so severe it is at risk of overwhelming even the support DJT gets from those who would forgive him for a 5th Avenue homicide.

The bottom line is that the hair-on-fire, TEOTWAWKI, Nazis-behind-every-bush, military coup boosting, burn-down-the-library, leftist weirdos are driving me to his defense.

This is what people mean when they tell the unhinged left, “You want more Trump? Because this is how you get more Trump.” If through their extremism Trump haters drive people like Will and me into the arms of the Donald, they will have truly lost it all.

17 Comments

Judge Blocks Executive Order, POTUS Reacts

On Friday, a federal judge did this…

A federal judge in Washington state on Friday temporarily blocked enforcement of President Trump’s controversial ban on entry to the United States, and airlines planned to begin allowing passengers from banned countries to board, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Following the ruling, government authorities immediately began communicating with airlines and taking steps that would allow travel by those previously barred from doing so, according to a U.S. official.

This Tweet is indefensible. An independent judiciary is one the cornerstones of the republic. It is certainly permissible for the president to disagree with a judge’s decision but to disparage and mock him is just unjustifiable. An executive branch that shows contempt for the judicial branch is flat out dangerous.

I will give the POTUS the benefit of the doubt and assume he still hasn’t fully grasped the implications of actually being the head of the executive branch of government. When he was a celebrity television personality, he could say anything he wanted and it didn’t matter. I think this Tweet is a carry over and he isn’t really trying to undermine the authority of the judicial branch.

When the President of the United States speaks, however, his words carry an powerful gravitas. These words indicate that the President of the United States of America will disparage and undermine the decisions of judges with whom he does not agree. That is a dangerous place to take the country.

34 Comments

Friday Night at the Movies: State Fair

RD filling in for Brad who is dealing with technical issues.

Friday night has arrived and tonight you are in for a cinephile’s treat. State Fair is a 1945 American musical film with original music by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The film stars Jeanne Crain, Dana Andrews, Dick Haymes, Vivian Blaine, Fay Bainter, and Charles Winninger.

In tonight’s feature, a beautiful but bored Iowa farm girl (Margy Frake) and her family head for a few days at the Iowa State Fair. On the first day, both Margy and brother Wayne meet attractive new flames. They aren’t alone as so does their father’s prize hog, Blue Boy. Must the summer romances end when the fair closes? Watch and see.

Also watch for Harry Morgan of MASH fame when he appears as a dishonest carnival barker.

Oh, and Jeanne Crain is reason enough to watch.

Let the show begin.

3 Comments

A Message from the President of the United States

12 Comments

Trump says he will “destroy” the Johnson Amendment

During comment at the National Prayer Breakfast this week, Trump made one clear policy statement: “I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.”

The Johnson Amendment bans all tax-exempt nonprofits, including churches and charities, from “directly or indirectly” participating in any political candidate’s campaign.

Frankly, I support the effect of Johnson Amendment. Politically, I think it is a fair concession for any organization that pays no taxes. In exchange for relief from the heavy burden of taxation, organizations agree to be politically neutral. That seems eminently fair to me.

I support it as regular church attending Christian as well because I believe that we should render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s. It is, in my opinion, improper for preachers to tell their congregations for whom God wants them to vote.

A strong argument can be made that it isn’t the role of the government to tell churches what to tell their congregations. I support that argument. Because of this, I am not opposed to ending the Johnson Amendment per se. I don’t think, however, that it will be good for churches, good for Christians or good for America if, freed from the amendment, churches begin immersing themselves in politics. In fact, I think it will be almost universally negative in effect.

Like Martin Luther, I believe it is highly destructive to intermingle church and state. I recognize, however, that it isn’t the role of the government to protect churches from themselves. As a council member in my church, I will do all I can to ensure my church continues to focus on the Gospel and God’s law, not politics.

Finally, we need to thoughtfully consider the tax-free implications. It is easy to envision creation of hundreds of radically leftist, tax free, ostensibly religious political action committees if the amendment is destroyed. This unintended consequence of “destroying” the amendment is almost a certain outcome.

56 Comments

Trump to Israel: Stop announcing settlements…

The White House adopts a position similar to the Obama Administration on settlements.

The White House warned Israel on Thursday to cease settlement announcements that are “unilateral” and “undermining” of President Donald Trump’s effort to forge Middle East peace, a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post.

For the first time, the administration confirmed that Trump is committed to a comprehensive two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict negotiated between the parties.

The official told the Post that the White House was not consulted on Israel’s unprecedented announcement of 5,500 new settlement housing units over the course of his first two weeks in office.

This is largely and adaptation of Obama Administration policy as well.

Nikki R. Haley, the new American ambassador to the United Nations, condemned Russia on Thursday for its recent “aggressive actions” in eastern Ukraine.

“We do want to better our relations with Russia,” Ms. Haley said during her first remarks to an open briefing of the United Nations Security Council. “However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.”

She made it clear that American sanctions imposed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea would remain in place.

This sort of thing is actually pretty common. Campaigning is different than governing and new presidents usually learn a thing or two after getting into office. Obama campaigned on closing the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. He signed an executive order to close it during his first year in office. It is still there.

I suspect that Trump and his team are learning that some long standing US policies – policies that predate Obama by decades – aren’t as pointless as they may have thought.

Leave a comment

Calling for a military coup…

It just keeps getting stupider….

That’s a parody comment, right? Please tell me they are not that delusional.

38 Comments

You are going to see this anyway…

You may as well see it here first. I have no idea what to make of it but I am sure more will be made of it than should be.

Link in Tweet.

10 Comments

Happy Woodchuck Day

Yeah, I know, but in my neck of the woods we call them woodchucks.

25 Comments

Engaging in boycotts is getting more difficult…

No Budweiser, nothing from Kellogg’s or Pepsico, no Harry Potter, no Target, no Netflix or Lyft, no Oreos, no Amazon.com or NFL and now no Google, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook or Uber.

21 Comments

Repairing rather than repealing Obamacare?

Evidently some in the GOP are leaning that direction.

Some Republicans in Congress are starting to talk more about trying to “repair” Obamacare, rather than simply calling for “repeal and replace.”

There’s good reason for that.

The repair language was discussed by Republicans during their closed-door policy retreat in Philadelphia last week as a better way to brand their strategy. Some of that discussion flowed from views that Republicans may not be headed toward a total replacement, said one conservative House lawmaker who didn’t want to be identified.

Using the word repair “captures exactly what the large majority of the American people want,” said Frank Luntz, a prominent Republican consultant and pollster who addressed GOP lawmakers at their retreat.

“The public is particularly hostile about skyrocketing costs, and they demand immediate change,” Luntz said in an e-mail response to questions. “Repair is a less partisan but no less action-oriented phrase that Americans overwhelmingly embrace.”

3 Comments

Violence at Berkeley shuts down Yiannopoulos speech

More leftist violence to prevent free speech… and it works.

25 Comments

Toughs calls with leaders of Mexico and Australia

The President of the US has a strongly worded call with Mexican president.

In an interview with the Mexican news outlet Aristegui Noticias, Estevez, who cited sources on both sides of the call, said, “It was a very offensive conversation where Trump humiliated Peña Nieto.”

Estevez said that while both the White House and the Mexican president have released information about the call, both sides characterized it as a “friendly” conversation and neither disclosed what was said.

Estevez said she “obtained confidential information” corroborating the content of the discussion.

“I don’t need the Mexicans. I don’t need Mexico,” Trump reportedly told the Mexican president. “We are going to build the wall and you all are going to pay for it, like it or not.”

Trump hinted that the US would force Mexico to fund the wall with a 10% tax on Mexican exports “and of 35% on those exports that hurt Mexico the most,” Estevez wrote in Proyecto Puente.

Before the call, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump was considering a tax on imports from Mexico to pay for the wall.

And a harsh call with Australian prime minister.

President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.

At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin — and that “this was the worst call by far.”

“This is the worst deal ever,” Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center.

Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admission of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”

Trump returned to the topic late Wednesday night, writing in a message on Twitter: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”

7 Comments

Is the universe a hologram?

If so, the discovery of that fact must be a glitch in the matrix, huh?

A UK, Canadian and Italian study has provided what researchers believe is the first observational evidence that our universe could be a vast and complex hologram.

Theoretical physicists and astrophysicists, investigating irregularities in the cosmic microwave background (the ‘afterglow’ of the Big Bang), have found there is substantial evidence supporting a holographic explanation of the universe—in fact, as much as there is for the traditional explanation of these irregularities using the theory of cosmic inflation.

The researchers, from the University of Southampton (UK), University of Waterloo (Canada), Perimeter Institute (Canada), INFN, Lecce (Italy) and the University of Salento (Italy), have published findings in the journal Physical Review Letters.

A holographic universe, an idea first suggested in the 1990s, is one where all the information that makes up our 3-D ‘reality’ (plus time) is contained in a 2-D surface on its boundaries.

Read more at PHYS.ORG

4 Comments

Tillerson Confirmed

Leave a comment

“Scientists'” March On Washington Being Planned

Here is Forbes.

They’re hoping to send a message that action is necessary to prevent changes to existing environmental and health policies now being proposed by the Trump administration that they believe could have devastating effects on our planet and its residents.

With the Trump administration poised to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement and a former employee at Badlands National Park posting unauthorized tweets about the effects of global warming, along with the reported recent cancellation of a planned CDC conference on global warming, scientists are drawing a line in the sand : they will not stand by on the sidelines as the new administration forges ahead with policies which oppose clearly established facts and scientific principles.

The ‘scientists’ have made a statement.

There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives. The Earth is becoming warmer due to human action.

Well. There are certain things I accept as fact with no alternatives too. For example, John 3:16. I accept what is written in that verse with no alternatives as a result of sola fide: faith alone.

Faith, however, is not based on the scientific principle. If I eschew faith and apply the scientific principle to John 3:16 my results are inconclusive and I cannot accept that it is fact with no alternatives. The use of the scientific principle would cause me to have reason to deeply suspect the premise of the verse.

The first sentence in the statement above, therefore, isn’t science at all. It is faith. They are accepting that the Earth is becoming warmer due to human action out of faith, not science… leftist faith.

Here is some strongly supported science you can bet they won’t be addressing as these questions represent heretical violations of the faith…

  • That independent human life exists before birth.
  • That ‘transgendered’ people remain genetically the same sex.
  • That GMO foods have been consistently shown to be safe for human consumption.
  • That a diet that includes meat is safe and healthy for humans.
  • That here is no evidence that homosexuality is a genetic trait.
  • That there is no evidence of a tie between vaccines and autism.
  • That not all aspects of climate warming are negative, many are positive for mankind.
  • That men and women tend to have different innate psychological characteristics.
  • That nuclear power is safer for the environment than many other types.

Again, this march isn’t about science. It is about politics. Everything is politics.

16 Comments

Maybe they won’t have to use the nuclear option…

Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Perhaps the Democrats won’t fight the nomination of Neil Gorsuch and the GOP will not need to go nuclear.

New York Times: Why Liberals Should Back Neil Gorsuch

I am hard-pressed to think of one thing President Trump has done right in the last 11 days since his inauguration. Until Tuesday, when he nominated an extraordinary judge and man, Neil Gorsuch, to be a justice on the Supreme Court.

The nomination comes at a fraught moment. The new administration’s executive actions on immigration have led to chaos everywhere from the nation’s airports to the Department of Justice. They have raised justified concern about whether the new administration will follow the law. More than ever, public confidence in our system of government depends on the impartiality and independence of the courts.

I believe this, even though we come from different sides of the political spectrum. I was an acting solicitor general for President Barack Obama; Judge Gorsuch has strong conservative bona fides and was appointed to the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush. But I have seen him up close and in action, both in court and on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee (where both of us serve); he brings a sense of fairness and decency to the job, and a temperament that suits the nation’s highest court.

Right about now, the public could use some reassurance that no matter how chaotic our politics become, the members of the Supreme Court will uphold the oath they must take: to ‘administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich.’ I am confident Neil Gorsuch will live up to that promise.”

The Cato Institute approves as well…

Neil Gorsuch is probably the most like Scalia. He has a well thought out conception of constitutional interpretation and the way that structure protects liberty. He’s most known for his opinions supporting religious liberty and pushing back on the administrative state.

And Ted Cruz…

36 Comments

Anthony Weiner is in real trouble this time

Prosecutors consider bringing major felony charges with 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Federal prosecutors are weighing bringing child-pornography charges against former Rep. Anthony Weiner over sexually explicit exchanges he allegedly had with a 15-year-old girl, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Weiner, a New York Democrat, is being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which seized his electronic devices, including a laptop and a cellphone, as part of the probe.

Officials initiated the investigation last fall, after the Daily Mail in the U.K. reported that Mr. Weiner had exchanged sexually explicit messages and photos with the girl.

In recent weeks, according to some of the people familiar with the matter, attorneys for Mr. Weiner have had discussions with federal prosecutors in Manhattan in hopes of dissuading them from bringing charges, or at least from bringing the most serious one: production of child pornography, which carries a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence upon conviction.

More here.

3 Comments

Budweiser’s Immigration Ad

Let the boycotts begin because everything is political.

35 Comments

How to be a Populist

Steve Bannon has a heavy influence in the White House and has openly boasted that he has made a study of European populism. I have also been recently studying populist movements on the left and the right in America and around the world. I thought it would be instructional to put a short primer on how to be a populist on the site.

I have listed a few fundamental aspects of populism and highlighted each with a comment that I have pulled from the Wall Street Journal and other sites.

Populists are always present themselves and their leaders as “outsiders”.

“The FED bailed out the Russian hedge fund collapse and Wall St. during the 90s which set up TBTF and TBTJ behavior during 2008 with TARP. Crony capitalists now control both parties at the donor class level. It took an outsider like Trump to break through the uniparty firewall.”

Populists always argue their leader and their leader alone understands ‘the people’ and will fight the elite establishment.

“President Trump speaks from his gut, it isn’t reviewed by committee, poll-tested or otherwise massaged like most typical politicians do: his message is intended for the American people, not the ‘elites’. The problem isn’t that the ‘elites’ don’t understand President Trump, the problem is that the ‘elites’ don’t understand the American people.”

Populists support the ‘will of the people’ being promoted even if it undermines the Constitutional order.

“Congress is inflexibly hostile to the Trump administration – that became clear after McConnell warned the other day that the nuclear option would not be used and Trump’s SC nominee would not be confirmed unless agreed to by Schumer and the Democrats. So I fully support Trump simply ignoring Congress as much as possible. If Obama did it, then our guy gets to do it too.”

Populists are anti-intellecutal.

“INTELLECTUAL, that’s just another term for supporters of ‘Governmental Parasites’.”

Populists see the portion of the citizenry that opposes them as not really part of ‘the people’.

“The…liberati are constantly in the department stores looking for sales on fresh underwear since Trump’s election: they’re OFFENDED by Trump because he’s an American, and they … just … can’t … stand … Americans.”

Populists hate the opposition media and engage in open warfare with it.

“The mainstream media has already lost. The coin of the realm is trust, and they have actually been in a downward spiral since 1997. Finally, we have a Republican in office who understands they are the opposition party, treats them like it, and punches back at them twice as hard and twice as fast!”

None of these factors mean that a person or a movement is necessarily populist. It also doesn’t apply only to the right. All of the above would, with minor tweaks, apply to Bernie Sanders and his supporters as well.

None of the above is unique to populists but all populist movements manifest in this way.

18 Comments

Is Trump engineering a war with the media?

At Fortune, Mathew Ingram says that Trump’s media strategy is a trap and that the MSM is happily taking the bait.

Steve Bannon is many things, including the former chairman of the right-wing news site Breitbart News, which he once described as a “platform for the alt-right,” a strain of conservatism that includes white nationalists. But one thing he almost certainly isn’t is stupid. So why would he go out of his way to try and enrage the media?

There’s a fairly simple answer: Because he knows that doing so is a winning strategy. And he knows that because the tactic helped put Trump where he is now.

As John Herrman points out in a perceptive piece in the New York Times, all of this is an exercise in theatrical framing for Bannon, and thereby for Trump. The mainstream press—liberal, bi-coastal, latte-drinking know-it-alls, in the eyes of its critics—have been the campaign punching bag from the beginning. Cooped up in pens at rallies, pointed at, laughed at, and in some cases even spit on. The “dishonest media.”

Trump’s entire media strategy is designed to do an end-run around the mainstream media. It drives his use of Twitter, and of Facebook video as an alternative to TV, and the way he repeatedly threatens to de-emphasize the White House press corps.

What Bannon and Trump—perhaps knowingly, perhaps instinctively—latched onto is the fact that many people already don’t trust the mainstream media. And they have done everything they can to fan the flames of that mistrust. In many cases, it doesn’t matter whether what Trump says is accurate, it only matters that it sows the seeds of doubt.

Bannon is a student of populism and the logic of populism is that the populist leader must be the ‘voice of the people’ and, therefore, must fight the media. This is Populism 101. Based on this, I don’t think there is any doubt at all that Trump is making war with the media. Literally all populists do.

More here.

3 Comments

Quebec mosque shooting suspect not a Muslim

Not even close.

The suspect in the deadly attack on a Quebec City mosque was known in the city’s activist circles as an online troll who was inspired by extreme right-wing French nationalists, stood up for U.S. President Donald Trump and was against immigration to Quebec – especially by Muslims.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, a student at Laval University, grew up on a quiet crescent in the Cap-Rouge suburb of Quebec City and lived in an apartment a few kilometres away.

His online profile and school friendships revealed little interest in extremist politics until last March, when France’s far-right National Front Leader Marine Le Pen visited Quebec City, inspiring Mr. Bissonnette to vocal extreme online activism, according to people who clashed with him starting around this time.

In the wake of Sunday’s attack, rumours about the identity of the attacker have run wild alongside speculation about motivation, ranging from white supremacy to Islamic terrorism.

“I can tell you he was certainly no Muslim convert,” Mr. Boissoneault said. “I wrote him off as a xenophobe. I didn’t even think of him as totally racist, but he was enthralled by a borderline racist nationalist movement.

11 Comments