A Note From Rod
Iowa Preaching Ban
Is Trump a Fascist?
The Cruz Promise
Why We Fight
This week we’re going to sum up the Republican National Convention, which surprised in many, many ways; and take a look forward at the Democrats and beyond. Whatever differences Republicans have with each other just now, the difference between these two parties could not be more extreme.
But before we get to the Conventions, it’s worth taking a second to examine just how dangerous that difference has become.
You’ve probably never heard of the unelected Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Just before the RNC, it announced that Iowa pastors may not preach any sermon in a service that’s “open to the public” that might cause any transgendered person to feel “unwelcome.”
“Unwelcome.” That’s the standard.
Let’s apply that to other things. Imagine if the FEC ruled that no Convention could allow a speaker to give a political address that might cause any Democrat to feel “unwelcome.” Or any Black Lives Matter protestor to hold a protest that might make a police officer feel “unwelcome.”
The difference? Neither Democrats nor Republicans would ever do the latter; the former is more or less what Iowa Democrats just did.
But of course it’s more than merely banning free speech Democrats don’t like. The First Amendment protects speech, but the very first freedom it protects is religion: it is your right to your own way of understanding the world, not dictated to you by government, as it had been in Europe (and increasingly is again).
The early settlers were Christians, escaping oppressive established state churches. Most Americans are Christians even today. But most Democrats today are not: they are after all the party which, at their 2012 Convention, booed the mere mention of God in front of all of us on national TV.
Shredding the First Amendment and banning preaching Democrats don’t like – and make no mistake, if they can ban one sermon, they can ban them all; if they can ban sermons, they can ban every form of speech everywhere – sounds surreal, like a dystopian movie. But it’s here, now. And with Scalia dead, a 4-4 Court could not overturn a bad lower court ruling. Indeed, with Kennedy, it might uphold it.
More to the point, if Hillary appoints even one Justice, the First Amendment is gone. Within the year. (The Second Amendment is too.)
That’s what this election is about. It’s about whether or not your government puts your preacher in prison.
So back to the RNC, which frankly (and completely opposite the MSM’s coverage) was the best organized, best run Convention in my lifetime with the sole exception of 1984. Whatever may be said of Donald Trump, he knows how to put on a show.
Let’s start at the end. Trump’s speech knocked it out of the park. How do I know this? The old fashioned way: polling.
CNN spared no effort to tell its viewers how “dark” and “scary” the nominee’s speech was. Apparently projecting, they literally called it “dystopian.”
Unfortunately for them, they then polled their viewers to “prove” their narrative. Oops!
It turns out that viewers of the speech saw something very different. 73% thought Trump’s speech takes the country in the right direction, vs. 24% who agreed with the talking heads. Just 60% of speech viewers were favorable to Trump’s policies before the speech, which means that the speech moved the dial quite a lot.
And when asked whether Trump’s speech made viewers more or less likely to vote for The Donald, 56% said more likely, vs. just 10% who said less so.
The leftists (and #NeverTrump) continues to push the “dystopian” line: you’ll hear a great deal more of it at this week’s DNC. Ironically enough, both groups cite back to an imagined “sunny” Ronald Reagan, and compare Trump in ominous, fearful tones.
Both conveniently forget the 1980 Reagan campaign I knew. Jimmy Carter had ruined America. Reagan made no bones about it. He vividly painted that very dark picture – and was called a scaremonger and worse for it – and offered an alternative he alone was able to lead.
They also forget Richard Nixon’s “law and order” campaign, in a 1968 in which the exact same leftists now ruling us were burning America’s cities to the ground. They were “killing pigs” then too, these very same individuals who are now gray-haired “statesmen” pretending to moderation. They were going to “fundamentally transform” an America they loathed, and they didn’t care who died in the process (or rather, they cared very much that very specific people die).
2016 is shaping up as all of the economic and national security nightmare of 1980, plus all the domestic mayhem of LBJ’s last year. It’s probably worth noting that I have just described the final year in office of three of our last four Democrat Presidents: their policies breed catastrophe.
Trump, like his predecessors, laid out the case against this, and proposed a solution. Not entirely flatteringly, the Wall Street Journal’s Bill McGurn dubbed Trump “The Dark Knight” for his efforts. But the comparison is appropriate, and would have been whichever Republican had won. America faces dire crises, deliberately engineered by the aged Baby Boomers for well-telegraphed reasons. We can plunge headlong into the Joker’s world or, messy or not, let Batman save us.
Of course, part of the danger – here as in Gotham – is that no one really knows whether this vigilante is really what he appears to be. We just know the Joker will kill us, and that the status quo has failed.
One bit of “dark” did not happen: we were promised that there would be blood in Cleveland’s streets, certainly #BLM riots, possibly political assassinations. And of course, all of this would be Donald Trump’s fault. Because he’s a Nazi, you know.
In reality, Cleveland was one of the more peaceful Conventions on record.
The reason? Well, there are several, but the biggest was that Republicans put their money where their mouth was and actively encouraged open carry at the Convention.
So with all these armed people, disagreeing vehemently in the summer heat, it had to have been a bloodbath, right?
Not one shooting. Not one death. Not even a single arrest.
Oh, and contrary to what we were assured going in, not one #BLM riot or assassinated cop. Indeed, the armed citizens actually guarded the police.
Folks, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work. And let us be perfectly clear:every mass shooting in America in modern history has been in a “gun free” zone.
An armed society truly is a polite society.
By the way, have you ever noticed that no one worries about Republicans showing up to murder anybody at the Democrats’ Convention? If Trump were a Nazi, and his supporters Brown Shirts, wouldn’t they?
Do I sound a little more pro-Trump than I have previously? Well, yes I do. I still have all the same reservations as before, make no mistake. But yes, something has changed.
First, as I told you last week, personnel is policy, and Donald Trump is picking our very best people for the most important jobs. There’s Jeff Sessions and Newt Gingrich. There’s the national security team, with people like Generals Mike Flynn and Jerry Boykin. There’s the economic team, headed up by Reagan’s finest: Steve Moore, Larry Kudlow and Art Laffer.
Then there’s the judicial team, which is basically the crew over at the Federalist Society. There’s the Heritage Foundation, tasked with staffing the incoming Administration. And of course, there’s Trump’s unprecedented support for the conservatives on the Republican Platform Committee.
Explain to me how either of my favorite candidates would have topped this?
But second, I am truly tiring of the irrationalism of some of my friends. Every one of my readers knows that I have opposed Trump all along. But you also know that I predicted – against the certainty of every pundit and most of you – that Trump would surprise everyone, and I did so from the very beginning. I lost more than a few readers over my “stupidity” for suggesting he wasn’t just a joke candidate who’d flame out by, well, more than a year ago.
I am still being told – by otherwise smart people – that Republicans lost to Hillary the day Ted Cruz lost Indiana. And maybe they’re right. But to a man, they’re people who told me Trump could never even last long enough to compete in the Iowa caucuses.
Why should I listen to these people? Remember “Bush Derangement Syndrome”? They obviously have the Trumpian equivalent, some of them because they simply cannot process something outside of the normal box, just as many of them could not process that Brexit could win. But I increasingly suspect – and I say this as a Cruz supporter – that many of them have invested so much pride in their position that they cannot see what’s in front of them without feeling the need to tear out their eyes.
So when these otherwise fine folks tell me Trump is a Nazi, and I see absolutely no evidence of it other than a few out-of-context pictures of him waving, or perhaps his tendency to focus his brand around himself, or to persuade people more effectively than a bunch of dry-bones GOP fat guys, I start to see an avalanche of confirmation bias.
Sadly, I also see a willingness to slander that borders on Alinskyism. And I wish it stopped at slander. Remember the violent attacks against Trump supporters in San Jose? RedState actually applauded the thugs! Lots of my friends, many of them Christians, agreed. Because Trump is a Nazi you know.
So where are Trump’s Brown Shirts again? We’ve seen plenty of Hillary’s of late.
Just one more thing on this Nazi topic. Vox (not a publication I frequent) recently asked five experts on the nature and history of fascism whether Donald Trump qualifies. All of them are anti-Trump. All of them laughed at the idea, though not before giving scholarly reasons why he doesn’t get close to the definition. The article is worth a look.
So this brings us back to slander and confirmation bias. And both annoy me every bit as much when directed at Donald Trump as the abominable “Lyin’ Ted” moniker did when directed at Senator Cruz. Irrational unfair attacks just make me crazy. And I don’t care who the target is.
Donald Trump was not my candidate. I’m still uncomfortable with him in a number of respects. But just as he is daily improving my comfort level through concrete positive action, I find myself more and more dismayed at those who, supposedly out of “character,” are becoming exactly what they claim to have beheld.
A couple of random Convention thoughts.
First, Trump’s children were truly impressive. Each of them was passionate, articulate, and obviously a lot more competent than 99% of humanity. Eric and Don Jr. were clearly a lot more conservative than Ivanka (Tiffany seemed more conservative too), but then, Ivanka started her speech by saying she was neither a Republican nor a Democrat, and unlike the Democrats, Republicans actually allow a diversity of opinion.
Regardless, all four Trump children are an enormous credit to their father. The older three (children of Ivana) were deeply wounded by their father’s affair with Tiffany’s mother (Marla), and it is reported that Don Jr. would not speak to his father for a year and a half. Still, somehow The Donald not only reconciled with them, but they have come to adore him, have followed him in his career, and have chosen to work for and with him as adults.
Very few parents can say these things. Donald Trump is clearly doing a lot right.
(At this point some obnoxious person will say that the kids just followed the money. But you can’t fake this much affection. And anyway, their mother, Ivana, has tons of money and is a successful developer in her own right. They could have worked for her, or for absolutely anyone in the world.)
Second, this was one of the most interesting, best put-together Conventions I’ve ever seen. Space does not permit all my thoughts on this. But I particularly want to point out one speech from Monday night, that by Patricia Smith, mother of one of the young heroes left to die in Benghazi.
The media alternately attacked it or ignored it, apparently forgetting their canonization of Cindy Sheehan. Apparently Gold Star Mothers only have “absolute moral authority” if they’re protesting outside Bush’s ranch (but then, Sheehan discovered this too).
Regardless, you need to see it. And if you haven’t already, you absolutely need to see 13 Hours.
A final note on Cleveland. I know a lot of you are going to ask me what I thought of Ted Cruz’s speech. You know I fought hard for him, and you know I love him.
So it pains me to say it, but I thought what he did was heartbreaking.
Ted was one of the people who took very seriously my early warning that an infuriated Donald Trump might in defeat spend any amount of money necessary to burn down the Republican Party this November. I told him personally, along with anyone else who would listen, that whatever Republicans did, we had to treat Trump fairly: that if he lost fair and square he’d be fine, but if he thought he’d been cheated, Hell would have no fury as The Donald scorned.
This fear suddenly came home to the Washington crowd when in the first GOP debate, the only person on stage not to promise to support the eventual nominee was Donald Trump. Note well: everyone promised to support the eventual nominee before and without Donald Trump.
This caused a lot of scurrying. Reince Priebus went and met with The Donald. An agreement was sorted out. A written pledge was drafted for every candidate’s signature, and indeed, every candidate signed it. It reads as follows:
“I [name] affirm that if I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is. I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party.”
Note too that this pledge was and is unconditional. That was deliberate.The entire purpose of the pledge was to box in Trump, and to crucify him when or if, after losing, he refused to endorse or (God forbid) launched a third party bid. Everyone who signed the pledge – except perhaps Donald Trump – did so completely self-servingly.
Ted, who at the time was engaged in a public bromance with Trump, helped lead the charge for this promise. And he proceeded to reaffirm it at every opportunity thereafter, publicly and repeatedly, distinguishing himself as the one candidate you could count on to keep his promises no matter what.
I certainly believed him. And even right this minute, I can tell you that – this one matter aside – there’s hardly a candidate or a person alive with more integrity than Ted Cruz.
But while Ted’s breaking of his promise – and make no mistake, he absolutely broke his promise – might be forgivable, it is by no means excusable. There were plenty of ways to keep his word and still defend Heidi, and Rafael, and conservatism. And if anyone on Earth is smart enough to figure out how, it’s Ted Cruz.
Some #NeverTrump types have claimed that any objections to Ted’s call to “vote your conscience” somehow “prove” that Trump’s supporters think they cannot vote for the nominee in good conscience. But this is slanderous. “Vote Your Conscience” was the rallying cry of the #NeverTrump effort to steal the nomination from Trump in the Rules Committee last Friday: Ted had to have known this, and saying it from the stage was a dog whistle. It erased any possibility that he was acting other than in hostility.
I’m heartbroken. Because I’ve believed in him. And because I’ve told you to believe in him. And because he’ll never now shake the ugly, horrifyingly wrong “Lyin’ Ted” moniker. And above all, because he was special.
I love him. But there you have it. I hope he recovers well, and I’ll do all I can to help him. He is still one of the most talented, brilliant, conservative advocates of our time. But I’m not going to lie to you and pretend this was okay.
And the Democrats? Well, as you know they start their Convention this week. They go into it with their national Chairman, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigning in disgrace after Wikileaks released over 20,000 DNC emails proving (among other things) that her team used party resources to utterly screw Bernie Sanders.
Trump was right, though about the Democrats rather than the Republicans: the process was indeed rigged.
This new email scandal, like the one immediately before it (what is it with Hillary Clinton and email?!), cannot help but blow back on the candidate. The DNC wasn’t just working to undermine Sanders: it was working to help Clinton. The refs were corrupt. And now that’s plain for all to see.
This is a problem. 67% of Americans said Hillary isn’t trustworthy even before this new revelation, and most Americans – including 63% of independents – believe she should have been indicted for her mishandling of classified information. More troubling still, 30% say that Trump is more honest than the average politician, vs. just 15% for Hillary, a two-to-one deficit that could count.
But the real trouble for the Hildebeast is the party unity problems this necessarily unleashes. As I told you at the time, of the 34% of Democrats who named “honest and trustworthy” as the most important value they were looking for in a candidate back in the early primaries, 95% voted for Sanders.
This isn’t over.
It’s also not over because of Hillary’s somewhat puzzling choice for VP. Tim Kaine may well secure Virginia (which got good news this week when its Supreme Court struck down Terry McAuliffe’s unconstitutional plan to allow 206,000 felons to vote, 70% of whom would have gone for Hillary). But at what cost?
Kaine is a boring white guy who, if anything, is to the right of Hillary. He has considerable foreign policy experience and is capable of talking tough. This is no doubt intended to attract independents whom Hillary is able to scare into voting against Trump, and perhaps it might be successful.
Mind you, “to the right of Hillary” is not at all conservative. Kaine’s ACU rating is 0.00. No, that’s not a typo: zero point zero zero, like Bluto Blutarsky’s GPA. But he has a perfect 100 with both NARAL and the LGBT movement’s Human Rights Campaign, he’s sought to force churches to pay for abortions, and he was Obama’s point man at the DNC during the Obamacare fight. You couldn’t get less conservative without being Hugo Chavez. Or Hillary.
Still, Kaine does nothing to shore up Sanders supporters who were hoping for a unity ticket, or short of that, Elizabeth Warren, Corey Booker, Julian Castro or similar. Kaine’s support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership already has many progressives worried that Trump could flank the Dems on trade (and oh by the way, he will). Democracy for America released a statement on Thursday – aimed at Kaine – saying that it would be “disqualifying” if the VP nominee were someone who’d helped “banks dodge consumer protection standards.” And numerous Sanders supporters are calling Kaine a “tool of Wall Street” and an “agent of oligarchy.”
But more than that, Kaine represents everything that MoveOn, DFA and the rest of the progressive left hates about the Clintons, which I will sum up with one word: triangulation. Hillary’s choice of Kaine seems like yet another Clintonian betrayal, reaching right when “the cause” is left, ignoring the base to pander to the enemy, putting Hillary’s interests above…everyone’s.
To many, Kaine – however leftwing he may seem to us – is a DINO. And he will make those people hate her even more than they did when they fought first for Obama and then for Sanders.
Add the DNC’s latest scandal and you have a rather volatile mix.
Don’t worry though: just as this year’s Republican platform is the best on record, this year’s Dem equivalent is the absolute worst.
1. A job-annihilating national $15 minimum wage, aimed at boosting union pay (and mandatory dues), replacing current minimum wage workers with robots, and guaranteeing there will be a massive welfare-dependent underclass to attend #BLM and #OccupyWallStreet rallies forever.
2. Abolition of all restrictions on abortion whatsoever, including U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund all abortions anyone might want in every country on Earth.
3. Trillions of dollars in new taxes (reality check: the entire U.S. economy is only $18 trillion) to pay for even more trillions in new entitlements, the deficit presumably made up through greatly increased debt and money-printing.
4. Amnesty for everyone, plus taxpayer-funded attorneys for every illegal immigrant, er, undocumented Democrat.
5. Full nationalized healthcare by extending Medicare to everyone, because, well, you know, Obamacare has worked so well.
And that’s just their warm-up act.
I started this letter with word of Iowa leftists’ effort to ban preaching (and any other speech) they don’t like: in a word, totalitarianism. Under the 40- and 50-year-old leftists Hillary will place on the Supreme Court, your church will lose its tax status and your preacher will go to prison. This is not hyperbole. It’s just a matter of when.
Think it’s just churches? Several Democrat state attorneys general have been threatening companies like ExxonMobil with prosecution for “fraud” because they haven’t pushed the left’s line hard enough on climate change, which prosecutions the new Democrat platform now demands.
Oh, and six months ago New York passed a city ordinance imposing a $250,000 fine for each use of a pronoun any transgendered person finds offensive. A biological male wants to be called “she” (or “zhe” or “hir”; and yes, those are among the scores of new pronouns you better get right)? That’s $250,000 per “mistake” (or refusal to say what you’re told, which we quaintly used to call “freedom”). You could easily run up a several million dollar tab in a single conversation.
The Democrats are systematically seeking to criminalize any opinion with which they disagree.
There are very different views of America in play here. It would be hard to illustrate this better than in this map, which shows the differences in charitable giving by region. Consider:
The left’s worldview is increasingly that charity is bad. Charity is the province of charitable institutions, like your local church, or the Salvation Army, or the American Red Cross. Indeed, when I posted this map on Facebook, several leftists immediately attacked it on grounds that some of this alleged charity had gone to churches, and therefore didn’t count. Why didn’t it count? Because it didn’t go to causes they support, they said. Yes, they really said that, straightfaced.
They were also pretty clear that the proper way to support those causes which they do support is with tax dollars.
To the left, government is omniscient. It is (like the pony-tailed guy told us in the 1996 town hall) our mother and our father: it always knows best. Barack Obama told us how we “didn’t build that”: everything we have is really from government. He doubled down on that thought in his infamous “Life of Julia” video, in which mediating institutions are eliminated: there is only Julia, and the omnipresent state, her sole benefactor, her “Big Brother.”
For the left to accomplish these things, it must control everything. The state must be made omnipotent. Every competing institution must be eliminated. Eventually, every dissenting opinion must either be marginalized or squelched.
We’ve seen this play before.
The conservative vision – and what American conservatives conserve are the values of the American Revolution – is very different, as the map above illustrates: families, communities, churches, voluntary organizations, businesses, startups, everyone free to pursue their own vision, to disagree, to live as they want, no matter whether it happens to be what I want, to argue, to persuade, to be. Not to be part of someone else’s vision. To be who God made them to be, to be all that they are capable of being, to be things utterly mundane or that no one has ever dreamed of before.
The map is an illustration of these different approaches because it shows these beliefs in action. Conservatives see a problem and join together to solve it themselves, out of resources they’ve earned, and then move on to the next thing. The left waits for government to act as its parent, and resents anyone who does otherwise.
Unfortunately, it goes far beyond that. The left – whether in America, or Venezuela, or Attlee’s Britain, or Pol Pot’s Cambodia – sees government as a means of settling scores, of punishing its enemies, of getting its way. It deifies the state, giving itself the power to dispense all blessings and curses, and in so doing seeks to make itself part of its god.
Will Donald Trump roll this back? I honestly do not know. But will Hillary advance it beyond the point of return?
One last thing. If you didn’t go to see Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie, Hillary’s America, do not pass Go, do not collect $200: go straight to your theatre. And take every potential voter you know. This is a must-see. The trailer is here, but it doesn’t vaguely do it justice.
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 Murray N. Rothbard
As the Democrats prepare to adopt a platform demanding a national $15 minimum wage, we reprint this classic, by famed Austrian economist Murray Rothbard, on the destructiveness of such proposals and whom they really hurt.
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by Rod D. Martin
At this weeks DNC we’ll all hear a lot about alleged Republican racism and the supposed migration of Southern racists from the Democrat Party to the GOP. But is that what really happened? And just how many of the Dem’s old Segs really made the switch?
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Despite the global debacle of Socialism — most recently exemplified in Venezuela’s total collapse — Democrats assure us that it is Capitalism that’s failing, and not only that, that free markets are immoral.
But is that really true? In this short essay, Rod arms with with the facts you need.
by Rod D. Martin
With Trump ahead in Pennsylvania, it’s worth revisiting this op-ed from January, in which Rod lays out the case for a possible Republican realignment. There’s an opportunity that few conventional candidates could seize. But nothing about 2016 is conventional.
You can read about the world anywhere. You come to RodMartin.org to understand it.
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