A Note From Rod
I’m grateful for all of you who faithfully read RodMartin.org and who send so much positive feedback. It means a lot.
Today is Memorial Day, and living in a country which last had to fight a war on its own soil more than a century and a half ago, we have a lot of heroes for whom we should be particularly grateful.
My ancestors have defended this country literally since the first permanent English settlement — Jamestown — was founded. Captain Thomas Graves, an original investor in the Virginia Company and my eleventh great grandfather, risked more than just his capital on what was probably the most speculative-imaginable venture of his day.
A founder of the first freely elected legislature in the New World (the Virginia House of Burgesses), Captain Graves also defended the early settlers from the ever-present threat of attack, whether from Indians in the forest or Spaniards on the sea.
Likewise, my fifth great grandfather General Joseph Martin explored Kentucky and Tennessee before Daniel Boone, grew up with Thomas Jefferson, lived next door to his best friend Patrick Henry, played a crucial role in winning the American Revolution, and helped ratify the U.S. Constitution. (Mel Gibson’s The Patriot is very loosely based on an amalgam of Joseph Martin and Col. Benjamin Cleveland.)
These men, and men like my grandfather Foy Evans, a B-17 navigator in World War II, and my father Dallas Martin, who served in West Germany at the height of the Cold War, are the reason we celebrate today. Whether or not they gave their lives, they put their lives between ours and the enemy’s. There could be no freedom without them.
Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination this week, completing a rise as stellar as it was believed to be impossible.
Except by me, of course. I told you from the beginning (and in writing: there’s a paper trail) that Trump was a serious threat to the Republican field. Everyone called me nuts. “Trump is a clown!” “Trump isn’t even in this to win: he’s just brand building!” “Trump is a joke: he won’t get 1%.”
Didn’t see this coming, did you?
In point of fact, all three of my contrarian picks have knocked it out of the park. The only Republican — out of 17! — who was supposed to be a bigger no-hoper than Donald Trump was Ted Cruz. He came second, and might have won the whole thing on a second or third ballot had he not dropped out after Indiana. And on the other side, Bernie Sanders is in real danger of winning California, even after everyone (including me) has written him off.
Yeah, if there had only been some way by which we could have put some money on these predictions. Cuz if there were, I’d have all of yours. <wink>
You know Trump is winning when even The Resurgent, home of Erick Erickson — the founder and most vociferous spokesman for #NeverTrump — publishes a piece called “The Two Issues That Will Win Trump the White House“.
The issues identified are gun rights and climate change. And oh by the way, they’re right. It’s definitely worth a read.
Meanwhile, across the world in the Japan Times, a very different piece ran this week: “Trump Sends Shivers Down Spines of Nations Trying to Solidify Global Warming Pact.”
Reading that, it took me a second to remember that I’m still not comfortable endorsing Donald Trump.
My dear friend Jack Wheeler (architect of the Reagan Doctrine), has no trouble remembering: he’s #NeverTrump all the way, and he can articulate a strong case why. But that doesn’t take anything away from a theory he propounded this week.
If you’ve been awake, you know that the State Department’s Inspector General released his report this week on the Clinton email scandal. It was, as her opponent might say, “a disastah”: it outlines at 83 pages’ length the extraordinary degree to which Hillary violated federal law and flouted US national security.
Interestingly, the usual suspects did not defend her. The Washington Post‘s official editorial was a scathing denouncement, headlined “Clinton’s Inexcusable Willful Disregard for the Rules“. WaPo White House correspondent Chris Cillizza’s take was similar: “Hillary Clinton’s Email Problems Just Got Much Worse“. And the over-the-top leftists at MSNBC went even further: “She’s Lying Straight Out“.
(Oh, and if you’d like a conservative take, here’s Newt Gingrich: “Virtually Everything Hillary Said Was a Lie“.)
Jack’s theory runs like this:
“First, [Obama’s] team encourages Trump Hysteria at every possible opportunity. He sees Trump as the way to destroy the Republican Party, just rip it apart…
“Second, he realizes that in addition to his personal hatred of Hillary, she is the one Dem candidate that could be defeated by most any Pub candidate… she is a ghastly candidate, immensely unlikeable whom no one trusts and everyone views as a liar.
“[I have] been predicting for many moons now that Zero wants Biden to run, not Hillary, who will protect his ‘legacy’ while [she] will destroy it. Further, Zero believes firmly that Biden would defeat Trump in a landslide – and in that, he’s very likely right.”
Well, maybe, maybe not. But Jack’s a brilliant guy. The email case would have died long ago without Obama’s backing. And Trump would have a far harder time against a Dem whose negatives weren’t stratospheric.
If Bernie wins California, things could — not will, but could — shift very fast.
I cannot (or at least will not) attest to this personally, but it bears repeating. Jack Wheeler again:
The day before, Tuesday (5/24), I had a lengthy talk with a close friend who’s far higher up on the Forbes List than Trump and has vast political connections.
Multiple sources, he told me, are confirming that an FBI recommendation of indictment of Hillary is pending, that the media is being primed to demand she quit her campaign once the FBI announcement is made, and that the DNC (Democrat National Committee) is planning how to replace her with Biden.
I have found that billionaires are as subject to wishful thinking as the rest of us, sometimes even more so. But still, this sounds right.
As to the Biden thing, assuming Obama thinks Bernie might be bad for Dems come November (here’s his top aide praising “Venezuela’s Economic Miracle” just three years ago, here’s Sanders praising Fidel Castro just two months ago, and also in 1985, and so on ad infinitum), this play makes a lot of sense.
First, the reason why: Biden could not have beaten Hillary in the Democrat primary, period. Running him last fall — at best — would have split the Dem Establishment and handed the nomination to Sanders, but it probably would have just humiliated Biden. That wasn’t a risk Obama or Biden were willing to take.
Second, the way to achieve it: if Sanders wins California, the margin of victory at the Convention is likely to be held by the super delegates. If Hillary is indicted, they’re likely to want to flee, but may not want to flee to Sanders. In that scenario, Biden could easily emerge as a white knight and “unite the tribes” on the second ballot.
I don’t believe this is what’s going to happen. But it’s absolutely a possibility. So once again, California matters, perhaps more than it ever has.
None of this would be an issue if Clinton weren’t so thoroughly loathed. The idea that 83% of Millennials — including Millennial women — refuse to support her, that 34% of Democrats openly distrust her, and that Donald Trump — with astronomical negatives — is beating the stuffings out of her, tells you why there’ve probably been a few sleepless nights over at the DNC.
Team Hillary writes all this off as misogyny, which seems to be the standard answer now for all things inconvenient, just as racism has been for the last eight years.
But what about all those Millennial women? Are they all woman-haters too? You can almost hear Hillary in a rocking chair somewhere, muttering about their ingratitude and occasionally yelling at some of them to “Get off my lawn!”
As we discussed last week, Hillary’s “girl power” campaign is tanking. Obama, Kerry and Gore all finished significantly better with women than she’s polling right now…against Donald Freakin’ Trump! And he is annihilating her with men.
This is not how things were “supposed” to go.
Coming back to Sanders though, rest assured he’s worse. I’ve already mentioned his praise of assorted Communist dictators, whom he “previously” considered “Democratic Socialists” like himself.
Bernie-types constantly rage at me for suggesting that “Socialism” and “Democratic Socialism” have anything to do with one another, a point which seems particularly ironic given their adoration of Hugo Chavez up until the instant Venezuela went into too-obvious-to-ignore free fall.
So yesterday on Facebook, I posted my easy way to distinguish between the two very, very different positions. I hope it helps.
Socialism is when leftists use the government to steal things that belong to other people.
Democratic Socialism is when leftists vote to use the government to steal things that belong to other people.
Now do you understand? You haters.
So back to Trump. As we discussed last week, his Supreme Court short-list was not only stellar but rather more believable than many thought.
This week, though, Bloomberg reported (“Reaganomics Band Gets Back Together“) that Trump has assembled an economic team centering on Art Laffer (of Laffer Curve fame), Larry Kudlow and Stephen Moore. Short of adding George Gilder, this is simply impossible to top.
Personnel is policy, period. If Donald Trump is the Clinton clone some fear, he wouldn’t be taking cues from Steve: he’d be talking to Paul Krugman, or worse (if worse is possible outside Venezuela).
I remain skeptical. I believe in actions rather than words. But this is some reasonably serious, concrete action. We must watch closely for what follows.
We’ve talked a good bit about Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, our alleged NATO ally who in fact is turning himself into an Islamist Sultan. Well, Turkey’s chickens are coming home to roost. Reuters reports that the former Prime Minister turned President has assumed near authoritarian power, without bothering to change the constitution.
Erdogan could teach Obama a thing or two.
Still, the reality is that Erdogan’s Turkey is sponsoring ISIS: without Turkey, ISIS’s oil could not possibly get to market. On this at least, Vladimir Putin is not wrong.
How to deal with this is a rather thornier matter: Turkey is vital to Israel, covers Russia’s southern flank, and possesses NATO’s second largest army.
Still, you don’t keep a traitor in your ranks. And on this still highly-celebrated 563rd anniversary of the rape and slaughter of countless Christians in the sack of Constantinople, it’s time to wake up to the fact that Turkey’s leadership is seeking the lost glory of Islamic conquest, whether or not Europe is foolish enough to let it in the hen house.
ISIS survives on a sea of stolen oil. Turkey sells it for them.
So needless to say, they were happy when oil hit $50 this week. It’s not likely to go much higher for a while. But that’s certainly a lot better for producers than was $30. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal thinks $50 is the sweet spot for the global economy (though we’ve repeatedly discussed why it’s catastrophic for Saudi Arabia, Russia, et al.).
If you live in Texas or North Dakota, you probably agree with the Russians. And indeed, the losses to America’s oil sector are significant. But they’re short term. The gains to our overall economy are astronomical. What is the difference between $2 gas and $5 gas to millions of families? Whether you’re able to leave town — for Memorial Day or anything else — or not. Whether a plane ticket is affordable or not. And that ripples through the whole economy.
The difference between us and them is that we have a large, diversified economy, where a loss in one sector can be a boon to all the others. Saudi Arabia has no diversity, and has a kleptocracy that needs $100+ oil just to make its budget. As we’ve discussed previously, they are on track to run out of hard currency in just a few more years of this. They cannot possibly sustain it.
Meanwhile, America is now the world’s largest producer, on a fraction of the well count of just a few years ago. The price war is certainly no fun on the production side. But when it ends and we’ve both captured heretofore impossible market share and effectively capped the global price for decades to come, that will be quite another matter.
We’ve broken whatever was left of OPEC. It will never return.
As always, it was technology that made the difference. Fracking changed everything, at least for now. And by the time that’s not true, we’ll have diversified our energy use (e.g. Tesla) in ways that never allow the Saudis to pull a 1973 again.
South Carolina just became the 14th state to ban abortion after the 20th week (that’s the fifth month, after which babies are unquestionably viable these days, for those of you from Rio Linda). That’s a big step forward, even if it’s sad that it would even be an issue: pro-life arguments aside, only six countries in the world allow abortion after the 20th week, among them America, North Korea, China and Vietnam.
The Sanders left, of course, is now demanding the “right” to kill babies even after they’re born. But fortunately, the country is turning on them, on this one thing at least: even 67% of self-identified pro-choicers would ban abortion after the 12th (not 20th) week.
Given that even most Southern Baptists supported abortion in 1973, that’s progress.
SpaceX landed another Falcon 9 first stage this week, and the video is breathtaking, this time from inside the rocket itself.
I’ve written a great deal on the revolution this represents. But in light of our Bernie Sanders discussion, you might want to re-read this particular essay of mine, “Elon Musk, Bernie Sanders and What Socialism Has Already Cost Us“. The short answer? Two generations of unprecedented progress lost, for no good reason (indeed, for corrupt reasons) whatsoever.
This, of course, is the problem with socialism: whatever its glorious aspirations, in denying reality it just doesn’t work. Capitalism allows people to make however much money they are able, but absent corruption, they are only able to do it by solving other people’s problems. Socialism, uninterested in equality of opportunity, demands an envy-driven equality of result, one which disincentivizes the very innovation that makes those solutions possible.
Don’t believe me? Ask yourself why Hong Kong is rich, Cuba is impoverished and Puerto Rico is bankrupt. In 1955, the three small islands had an almost identical per capita GDP. What changed? You know the answer.
Don’t think this can happen to a big country? Think again.
It doesn’t have to though. These are arguments anyone can understand. And therein we discover the lie inherent in the Democrat mantra that “demography is destiny.” Seriously? All ethnic groups think according to a stereotype? That’s Hillary Clinton’s belief on race and gender?
Who are the racists and misogynists again?
The left endlessly posits that demography is destiny because its strategy is divide and conquer. It wants us broken into interest groups, it wants to replace reason with group-think, it wants to pit all those groups against one another, and like Sauron, use the one ring of power “to rule them all.”
This is the motive behind the new assaults on obvious truth. The “identity” movement is about denying reality — New York City now says there are 56 genders, and will fine you $250,000 for each instance of saying otherwise. If the state may redefine reality, and punish those who do not conform, there is no limit to its utterly arbitrary, subjective power.
We certainly should not mistreat anyone. But neither should we accept that men who think they’re dogs aren’t mentally ill, nor should we buy that Democratic Socialism in America will turn out differently than Democratic Socialism in Venezuela.
It won’t, no matter how much Bernie Sanders “identifies” wise, or compels us to agree that the emperor has a lovely new suit of clothes.
So ignore whether Trump is or isn’t whatever. Ignore the specifics of this election. In every Venezuela, in every lost opportunity such as the one described above in my article about SpaceX, there is an opportunity to teach — and receive — truth.
The left is anti-American because America is not a place or a race but an idea. It’s an idea that brings millions here, year after year, “yearning to breathe free.” It’s a lot of work to teach them why that idea works, and what can keep it from working, in the face of such relentless debasement and propaganda.
But America has faced some form of that assault since before Thomas Graves and Joseph Martin ever saw these shores. And for four centuries, we have not been conformed to the world, but have increasingly conformed it to us.
God bless America, and us, as we struggle onward.
You can read about the world anywhere. You come to RodMartin.org to understand it. Do your friends a favor and pass it along; and remember, there’s a lot more we publish each week that doesn’t make the newsletter.
by Rod D. Martin
Special for Memorial Day: The amazing story of Rod’s fifth great grandfather, explorer, pioneer, statesman, patriot and Revolutionary War hero Joseph Martin. It’s a tale for the ages!
by Dr. Jack Wheeler
Special for Memorial Day: Barack Obama managed to avoid humiliating all of us for once, refusing to apologize this week for Hiroshima. But to fully understand why America needed to drop the Atomic Bomb, one first has to understand what happened at Saipan.
by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Sadly, this one is NOT a Memorial Day piece.
by Reva Goujon
As Donald Trump threatens Mexico, and as our southern neighbor edges upward toward the Top 10 global economies, a moment’s reflection is more than justified, regarding the complex history — far older than our own — of the part Spanish, part Indian nation, rooted in the ritualism of Catholic orthodoxy so very different from the Anglo Protestant reformism of those who settled to its north. Mexico is both a Third World kleptocracy and a rising power. And few Americans truly understand it at all.
by B.K. Marcus
Millennials say they reject Capitalism. But the reality is far more complex, and a whole lot more encouraging. Republicans may need to adapt their messaging, but these kids are better on message than you fear.
by Rod D. Martin
Pastors are forever preaching against the “idol” of your big screen TV or your bass boat, and the “materialism” behind it. But they’re being sloppy in their language, with dire consequences for their ministries and your faith.
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