Patterico's Pontifications

12/5/2019

Jesus Wept

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:06 pm



[guest post by Dana]

I mean, He wept hard.

This morning, Nancy Pelosi put her political skills on display when a reporter asked her if she hates Trump. Pelosi, who was already moving off stage, turned around, gave him the stink eye and proceeded to dress him down as she returned to the podium where she would be in full focus and on mic so nothing she said would be missed:

“As A Catholic, I resent you using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is heart full of love, and I always pray for the President.”

Good for you for praying for the President, Nancy. But when you’re offended by a reporter associating a word like “hate” with you, and you angrily claim that your Catholicism begets nothing but love in your heart for everyone, there are some third-trimester babies taking it in the back of their fragile little skulls that would like to have a word with you about your definition of “love” and “hate”. If they could speak, that is. And also, if they weren’t dead.

Anyway, Christopher J. Hale, who identifies himself as an Obama campaign alum, TIME opinion contributor & Fox News Democratic regular, and practicing Catholic, posted his reaction to seeing Pelosi masterfully run the table, and I wanted to hit my head against the wall as I realized, this is what today’s Christianity looks like:

I say this with total sincerity: Nancy Pelosi reminds me of Jesus. She’s an enduring witness to truth, to justice, to mercy, and to compassion. The President and his Christian supporters could learn something from her!

If you look at the interaction with James Rosen, I just think the quality of the moment was deeply Christian. It resonated to me in this way: “I don’t hate the man. I’m doing this in service of justice and the common good. I wish him the best, and I pray for him daily.”

In contrast, Trump might actually be the most un-Christian president in our nation’s history—a serial philander who has never asked God for forgiveness and cheated on each of his three wives, including the last one with a porn star while his child was less than a year old.

You can follow the gospel of Jesus Christ or you can follow Donald Trump—a man whose life and character is a total affront to Christ—but you can’t do both.

To believe that Pelosi is an honest representation of Christianity with her righteous indignation, all the while knowing that her compromised faith includes a horrid devaluation of the most innocent lives is a bit mind-boggling. And while Trump is certainly all that Hale claims him to be, it’s a bit rich for Hale to make the serve God or mammon speech after having extolled Pelosi as a paragon of Faith while conveniently ignoring her callousness toward the unborn and blatant disregard for the teachings of the Church.

And it’s not just this particular Democrat’s view of Christianity that I am piling on. It’s the popular Christian figures of the day as well who, in the name of God, have compromised their faith to justify their support of Trump: here, here, here, et cetera. I’m not going to list off the number of God-fearing politicians who have done likewise because that is just a fetid swamp of muck. And besides, we already know who they are, these politicians who talk out of both sides of their mouths. And while I’ve never been a fan, “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle…” resonates these days.

Anyway, in reading about Pelosi, Hale, and the various “Christian” leaders and politicians who have twisted Christianity to fit their personal and political agendas, I was reminded of this from A.W. Tozer:

“…the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity whose hands are indeed the hands of Abel, but whose voice is the voice of Cain. The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before the cross it bows and toward the cross it points with carefully staged histrionics–but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Nancy Pelosi Instructs House To Proceed With Articles Of Impeachment

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:54 am



[guest post by Dana]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning:

“The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution. He is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.

Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.

Before Pelosi’s announcement, President Trump had urged Democrats to make a quick decision with regard to impeachment:

After Pelosi’s announcement this morning, President Trump came out swinging:

Note:

Trump is alleged to have abused the power of his office by putting personal political gain over national security interests, engaging in bribery by withholding $400 million in military aid Congress had approved for Ukraine, and then obstructing Congress by stonewalling the investigation.

[…]

Based on two months of investigation sparked by a still-anonymous government whistleblower’s complaint, the Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report found that Trump “sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process and endangered U.S. national security.” When Congress began investigating, it says, Trump obstructed the investigation like no other president in history.

And:

In saying that she was instructing “chairmen” to draft the charges, Ms. Pelosi left open the possibility that the other five panels that have investigated Mr. Trump and his administration — including the Intelligence Committee that drew up the Ukraine report and the Ways and Means Committee that has pressed for the release of the president’s tax returns — could also play roles, a break with past practice.

You can read Pelosi’s full statement here.

Have at it.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

12/4/2019

How Dare Pete Buttigieg Work With The Salvation Army To Help The Poor, Sniffed The Narrow-Minded Critics

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:32 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Pearl clutching because a gay mayor joined with a Christian organization to help raise money for those in need. Dear God, what fresh hell is this:

Pete Buttigieg is drawing criticism after pictures of him volunteering for the Salvation Army, which has historically opposed gay rights, recently resurfaced on social media.

[…]

In the photos, Buttigieg is seen standing outside Peggs restaurant in South Bend, Indiana, where he is the mayor, for the Red Kettle Ring Off, an annual charity initiative during which public officials compete to raise money for the Salvation Army. While the photos were from 2017, Buttigieg, who has surged to the top of many polls of Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa, has been participating in the event since at least 2015, according to local news reports. He also held an event at the Salvation Army in South Bend last year.

Enter the angry and aggrieved, upset that a gay man would brazenly break rank and volunteer his time with a Christian organization to help raise money for those in need. Some “concerns”:

“Apparently race issues aren’t the only thing @PeteButtigieg is slow to grasp,” one tweet read, referring to past comments Buttigieg made about the lack of educational role models in low-income, minority neighborhoods. “What is his excuse for not realizing the Salvation Army is homophobic?”

“We in the #LGBTQ & others are nuanced,” wrote one user. “The act of service to others doesn’t mean the absolution of another’s hate to others.”

The irony, of course, is that Mayor Pete was doing what every other mayor in America would do, if asked. In other words, he was serving his community, he was reaching out to others, he was acting on behalf of those in need in a non-discriminatory manner.

Apparently, in certain communities, working alongside those with whom you may not agree should cancel out and supersede any noble call to help others in need. Screw you, poor people! Funny how the those who have benefited in some way from Buttigieg’s work with the Salvation Army haven’t been complaining… Maybe, just maybe when you are homeless, hungry, alone, and simply have no fight left after being worn down by the grinding struggle of life, from whom and where that hot meal, warm coat, and comfort comes doesn’t really matter all that much. It’s just so damn easy to criticize from the cushy, lofty thrones of the smugly privileged. How shameful it is that these critics believe themselves and their cause to be what is most important here. And how blind to not see that a gay man volunteering to work with the Salvation Army is, ironically, an illustration of loving one’s neighbor, and thus a witness in itself. Clearly the mayor and the organization understand that this isn’t about them. Their’s is a greater calling embracing an outward focus on others. That should be celebrated.

In a recent interview with Out, Director of Communications David Jolley clarified the Army’s mission with regard to the LGBT community:

[T]he Salvation Army has “evolved [in its] approach” to serving the LGBTQ+ community. “As we build and remodel emergency shelters and transitional housing across the country, we consider ways to help LGBTQ+ individuals feel safe and cared for,” he said. Jolley cited a Las Vegas dorm that exists exclusively for transgender individuals, a San Francisco detox facility for patients with HIV/AIDS, and the organization’s work with transgender sex trafficking victims in Baltimore.

In addition, the organization makes it clear that all are served. You can read more about their LGBTQ outreach here, as well as watch a number of testimonials from gays who have been helped by the Salvation Army:

Serving suffering humanity without discrimination: Oh, that all communities would do likewise.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Judiciary Committee Impeachment Hearing – Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:25 am



[guest post by Dana]

The House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing is currently underway. President Trump and his counsel have declined to attend the proceedings. His lawyers released a statement, in part:

“We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings. More importantly, an invitation to an academic discussion with law professors does not begin to provide the President with any semblance of a fair process. Accordingly, under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.”

Note: President Trump is currently in London for a NATO meeting.

The committee’s Democrats invited Harvard law professor Noah Feldman, Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, and University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt to testify. The Republican members invited George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley to testify.

Briefly, from Turley’s opening statement:

“First, I am not a supporter of President Trump. I voted against him in 2016 and I have previously voted for Presidents Clinton and Obama,” Turley said in his written statement. “Second, I have been highly critical of President Trump, his policies and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns. Third, I have repeatedly criticized his raising of the investigation of the Hunter Biden matter with the Ukrainian president.”

Turley even said, contra Trump, that Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky “was anything but perfect.”

[…]

“I get it: You’re mad,” Turley said. “The president’s mad. My Republican friends are mad. My Democratic friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog seems mad. And Luna is a goldendoodle, and they don’t get mad.”

He added: “So we’re all mad. Where’s that taken us? Will [a] slipshod impeachment make us less mad, or will it only give an invitation for the madness to follow in every future administration?”

–Dana

Having Some Fun with the Arguments Used to Defend Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:35 am



I decided to have some fun on Twitter this morning, imagining what it would be like if the same arguments used to defend Trump had been used to defend Hitler.

I am not comparing Trump to Hitler. Anyone who says this in the comments section is a liar. I am a) having some fun and b) comparing arguments in defense and not the people themselves. As odious as Trump is, he is not Hitler.

(If Hitler were living today, however, Trump would suck up to him and praise everything Hitler did, and you know that’s true — because the more like Hitler any current world leader is, the more Trump praises them.)

Without further ado, here are the tweets.

Actually, I had no intention of quitting my day job, but thanks for the unsolicited advice!

12/3/2019

Intersectionality Bingo Folds Her Tent [Updated]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:18 pm



[guest post by JVW]

As Dana posted on this blog earlier today, California Senator Kamala Harris has announced her exit from the 2020 Democrat Presidential Primary. Dana characterized the announcement as “expected, rather than surprising,” but I have to slightly disagree. My feeling is that the senator’s announcement is unexpected, but not exactly shocking. I had assumed that despite the layoff of campaign staff that she would tough it out until the California primary, but perhaps she had not allocated her money wisely and saw her campaign donations drying up as her numbers continued to drop in the polls. I suppose a fourth or fifth-place finish in the California Primary would have been extraordinarily embarrassing for a home state candidate who still harbors future political ambitions, so rather than subject herself to the indignity she has wisely chosen to call it a day.

I admit upfront and without evasion that I do not care for Kamala Harris as a politician. I find her to be a deeply unprincipled careerist and I think the way she got her start in San Francisco politics was sleazy and unethical. Depending upon which way the winds blow, she is a tough-as-nails prosecutor who prioritizes making the streets of San Francisco safe for the city’s residents and visitors, or else she’s the progressive advocate for rehabilitative justice and an implacable opponent of harsh punishments rendered to minorities and the poor who run afoul of the law. When socialism seems ascendant in her party she wants a single-payer health care plan that would eliminate private coverage, but when she’s surrounded by union members or wealthy progressives she suddenly decides that there is a place for private health care after all. And she has absolutely zero compunction about changing her mind on this issue from hour to hour.

That said, up until this fall I really did think she was a shoo-in for the nomination. She seemed to me to be everything that progressives desired. She had Barack Obama’s biracial background, but with an even more glamorous pedigree, being half-Asian rather than half-white. She had Hillary Clinton’s gender, but was a generation younger and had nowhere near her political baggage. She came from the wealthiest state in the nation and already had a rolodex full of progressive donors who, I assumed, would keep her rolling in dough. I figured that a candidate with all that going for her would easily sweep aside the various white men and the fake Indian on the way to the nomination.

So I suppose I owe Democrats an apology of sorts. Rather than just fall for the superficial benefits of intersectionality, voters appear to be rather discerning at this point in the game, and that’s probably best reflected by the continuous rise and fall of the top candidates. Kudos to the members of the donkey party for seeing through the disingenuousness of Kamala Harris and finding another candidate to support. This is also proof-positive that, just like in 2016, I am destined to be wrong with respect to just about everything in the coming election.

And yes, I am going to mention My Little Aloha Sweetie’s epic takedown of Senator Harris in the second debate:

In just forty-eight seconds, Tulsi Gabbard’s perfectly-aimed torpedo breached Kamala Harris’s hull and though it took a few months, the ship sank at long last today.

Interesting coda: I would have preferred that she remained silent savoring her victory, but I guess My Little Aloha Sweetie is ready to mend fences:

UPDATE: Are you ready for an insipid take from the Dog Trainer? Here is what Carla Hall, one of their editorial writers (but of course), had to say:

I’m not surprised that Kamala Harris has dropped out of the presidential race. Sinking poll numbers, dwindling finances. That can only mean a death spiral for a campaign. But I’m deeply disappointed. Other people have left the race and I’ve thought, “Wait — they were still in?” But poll numbers aside, Harris was a candidate with a unique presence. And how exhilarating to see a smart, accomplished, powerful senator who is also a black woman running for president. Why has it even taken this long?

And for a minute there, she was on fire. There she was, onstage for the second debate, amid a bickering, cross-talking crowd of candidates, when she shushed the stage with the line, “Hey, guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table.” The audience erupted in applause, and the next night her crack earned an admiring “Damn….” from late-night talk show host Seth Meyers, one of the most clever and insightful political commentators on television. It was exciting to see her rise above the crowd. And I loved that she flustered the avuncular, overly confident Joe Biden by reminding him of his opposition to court-ordered busing and that she made the whole country take a week to revisit segregation in schools then — and, unfortunately, now.

Political pundits I know who grade the performances of presidential candidates on whether they laid out their cases like rigid geometry proofs scoffed that she did a bad job that night, yet her poll numbers skyrocketed. I loved that, too. She quickly nailed the ultimate honor: She became a character in a “Saturday Night Live” skit, portrayed by Maya Rudolph.

And there you have the mindlessness of the modern young progressive (from her profile picture accompanying the piece, I am guessing Ms. Hall is roughly 30): She was adored by Seth Meyers (yeah, I’m having trouble remember who that is too) and by the cast of Saturday Night Live, so verily she was an outstanding candidate. Ms. Hall also lauds Intersectionality Bingo for being great on abortion rights, as if that was some existential threat front-and-center on the minds of a majority of voters and not the speciality hobby horse of high-strung young feminists. You can go on and read the rest, but I’ll save you the time and tell you it is absolute dreck. It is only axiomatic to be sure, but rest assured that a crappy candidate is likely to turn out and be a crappy leader.

– JVW

Impeachment, Democrats, And 2020 Key States

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:32 pm



[guest post by Dana]

While most Democrats support impeachment, Democrats in 2020 key states may take a hit as a result, which in turn could benefit Trump:

Democrats and Republicans are mirror opposites on the issue, with an average of 86 percent of Democrats supporting impeachment, compared with 9 percent of Republicans. Democrats have grown more united in their support for impeachment since before the inquiry began, when polls showed roughly two-thirds supported impeachment. Among Republicans, an average of 87 percent are opposed, while 8 percent of Democrats say the same.

[…]

Battleground state polls show a more negative reaction to the impeachment inquiry, signaling more risk to Democrats and potential benefit for Trump. An average of 44 percent supported impeachment, with 51 percent opposed, averaging across a dozen October and November polls in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin. That’s a flip from an average of national polls that finds support for impeachment narrowly edging opposition, 47 percent to 43 percent.

The depressed support for impeachment in key states was first signaled by a series of New York Times-Siena College polls conducted in mid-October, which found between 51 and 53 percent opposing impeachment in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

But several other polls also have found that support for impeachment in key 2020 states lags the country overall. At the most negative, a mid-November Marquette University Law School poll in Wisconsin found 40 percent of registered voters support impeaching and removing Trump, while 53 percent are opposed. Fox News polls in North Carolina and Nevada showed opposition to impeachment outpacing support by eight and seven points, respectively. The best results in key states have shown voters divided over impeachment, such as a Muhlenberg College poll of Pennsylvania voters.

Obviously these are states that Democrats are going to need to carry if they want to take back the White House in 2020. But in the meantime, Trump’s approval ratings remain steady and fairly unchanged since the impeachment inquiry began in earnest. The indication being that public hearings, witness testimony, and even on-going revelations about the president’s questionable behavior, untruthfulness or anything negative continues to have little impact:

In Gallup polling from mid-September to mid-November, Trump’s approval has tiptoed between 39 percent and 43 percent approving. In Quinnipiac University polls, the story is no different: Between 38 percent and 41 percent of registered voters approved of Trump from late September to late November.

Here are a few observations about impeachment and the 2020 election from three familiar swing states:

From Wisconsin:

About a third of people are saying they’re paying a lot of attention, but a third are saying little or no attention. So there’s, you know, a gap in the sort of degree to which this is a riveting exercise. And the other thing I’d follow up on is that the kinds of issues that we saw motivating voters in 2018 like health care and preexisting conditions are things that are largely absent from the discussion right now as impeachment dominates. When those proceedings are over, presumably we’ll come back to more the issues of the Democratic primary and shaping the fall election…Democrats favor impeachment, but not as nearly universally as Republicans oppose it. And the modest number of independents are a bit more opposed to impeachment than in favor of it, though the gap there’s not large.

From Michigan:

[P]eople here have made it very clear that the impeachment hearings are a political campaign. I don’t get a sense that they’re connecting it right now with anything except the 2016 election and the 2020 election…Trump and his reality show team are master marketers who have convinced his base that he is responsible for everything good in America, whether it’s legacy victories such as low unemployment rates here to the myth that farmers and autoworkers are doing better. No one’s really paying attention to issues because the issue right now is just Donald Trump, and that is not the way I think Democrats can win. Impeachment should not have been a campaign.

From Pennsylvania:

Republican suburban voters – the ones who really have had a problem with Trump’s comportment and either sat it out in 2016 or voted with them – but in 2018, they decided they wanted to put the brakes on him. They’re really struggling now with these new congressional members who ran on, you know, a different kind of politics – who ran on health care, who ran on, you know, getting things done. And they’re frustrated with this vote that they made.

Not that they like Trump any more – they still don’t like him. But they’re frustrated that the vote that they did give to the Democrats has turned out to be sort of opening up the road towards impeachment, and they don’t like that.

Can Democrats have already forgotten the brutal experiences of Hillary Clinton in those three states during the last presidential election?

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Kamala Harris Withdraws From Presidential Race

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:39 am



[guest post by Dana]

From Roll Call:

“I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Harris wrote in a letter to supporters Tuesday. “It is with deep regret — but also with deep gratitude — that I am suspending my campaign today.”

Along with a frustrated campaign staff and internal fighting, Harris’s polling plummet makes the news of her withdrawal expected, rather than surprising:

Support for Harris in national polls peaked at 15 percent after her breakout debate performance in June. But it has been declining ever since, hitting a low of about 3 percent on Dec. 2, according to a Real Clear Politics average. That put her in sixth place, behind former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Still trailing in the polls, and with no real chance of taking the nomination, Tulsi Gabbard could nonetheless, be seen smiling to herself.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Yes: People Should Be Able To Judge For Themselves

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:28 am



[guest post by Dana]

When asked about removing political advertising on Facebook that contains misinformation, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reiterated his belief that individuals should be allowed to draw their own conclusions about elected officials because they actually have brains:

It’s really important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying, so they can make their own judgments. And, you know, I don’t think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news.

Zuckerberg remains firm in his position in spite of “nearly two hundred” Facebook employees complaining that “free speech and paid speech are not the same.”

The Facebook CEO acknowledged that it’s not an easy situation, but he gave people the benefit of the doubt for their intelligence and ability to ferret out truth:

… “At the end of the day, I just think that in a democracy, people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying.”

Pressed by King on whether that still applied in cases when the ads were spreading false claims, Zuckerberg repeated, “I think that people should be able to judge for themselves the character of politicians.”

Of course, as more Americans (especially millennials), social media gurus and Democratic lawmakers believe speech should be limited, Zuckerberg’s view is not a popular one. And it goes without saying that Zuckerberg’s motive is certainly suspect in this, but does that really matter when issues of speech are on the line? Anyway, for your perusal, here are a few comments at the linked piece:

Should private enterprise be allowed to refuse to sell food to blacks?

How about refuse to sell food to Democrats?

How much discrimination are you going to allow in the markets?

If you cannot justify refusing to sell food on those grounds, you cannot justify refusing to sell ads.

You are hypocritically and speciously praising market discrimination solely because it is discrimination you approve of and feel will advantage you.

And…

Oh FFS. It’s a bulletin board, not a part of the 4th estate.

A telephone pole papered over in I’m the Greatest posters.

There is no existential gooberness in danger of anything.

Here’s a good discussion about the issue.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

12/2/2019

Labour’s Campaign Manifesto: Same Old, Same Old

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:18 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Ten days out from the U.K.’s coming election and the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn has released its campaign platform, more stylishly described by our overseas cousins as a manifesto. Over at City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple makes an effective argument that Labour essentially calls for left-wing “quasi-totalitarianism,” empowering bureaucracies, trade unions, and public sector employees, the same formula that brought Britain to the brink of insolvency in the mid-Seventies before Margaret Thatcher was invited by Her Majesty to form a government.

Labour is betting that the people of Great Britain desire sweeping change. Whereas the word “radical” is largely eschewed by Democrats and Republicans here in the U.S., except when describing an opponent’s ideas, Mr. Corbyn and his leadership embrace it, promising in their preamble “Our manifesto is the most radical, hopeful, people-focused, fully-costed plan in modern times.” And they ain’t just whistling Dixie. Naturally, Labour favors all of the trendy Green ideas, but where the American left invokes what they believe was a golden age of government activism by calling their economic restructuring “the Green New Deal,” the British left ironically invokes what many of them believe was the historic ruin of their homeland by dubbing their plan “the Green Industrial Revolution.” It’s a platform that our delightfully clueless but earnest niece might recognize, praising windmills and solar panels while inveighing against cow farts and fossil fuel emissions; fetishizing public transportation while decrying private automobiles and ride-share companies; promising to seize energy and water systems from private hands and placing them into public ownership, though unconvincingly insisting that they will be community-owned and not micromanaged from London. In fact, much of the entire platform promises that the newly empowered government regulators will operate on a local, community-based level, which is certainly an attempt to allay the fears of rural residents that they will be thoroughly brought under the thumb of Whitehall.

The rest of the manifesto is no better than the green dreck. Like American Democrats, Labour no longer spends money, it “invests” in social projects. So the new railways, upgraded highways (at the same time they are discouraging private automobile travel), bike paths, pedestrian ways, etc. will naturally pay dividends of some sort, probably in securing the vote of all of the construction workers who will be employed by this taxpayer largesse. In fact, Labour unsurprisingly wants to “rebuild” the public sector after “a decade of Tory cuts,” and to that end they promise to spend £150 billion to build new schools, hospitals, public housing, and retirement homes. Public employees will be guaranteed an immediate pay increase of 5%, and thereafter see their wages rise annually with the rate of inflation, irrespective of economic growth. All of this will be paid for by a tax increase on anyone making more than £80,000 per year (about $103,000 here) and an increase in the corporate tax rate from 19% to 26%, neither of which according to Labour will affect economic productivity. The minimum wage will be hiked to £10 per hour ($12.94, much more reasonable than the Democrats’ proposal!), the work-week will be lowered to 32 hours yet somehow with no reduction in weekly pay, and at the same time Labour will not let any private sector executive be paid more than twenty times the wage of the lowest-paid worker at that firm. Workers will be designated a minimum of 10 percent of a company’s annual profits, and they will be given one-third of the seats on a company’s board of directors. Labour promises not to increase the VAT, since that is regressive taxation, but vows to “launch the biggest ever crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion,” further empowering bureaucrats to wreck havoc in the lives of Her Majesty’s subjects.

There is so much more dim-witted demagoguery and rank pandering to unpack in this manifesto, but suffice it to say that any left-wing idea that has been bandied about here or abroad is represented: from subsidized rent for college students to universal basic income to hiring set-asides and quotas for women and minorities to giving the LGBT+ (Labour mercifully cuts off the alphabet soup at the end there) community whatever the hell it demands on any given day. And of course there is Labour’s barely-concealed anti-semitism and anti-Zionism. While Corbyn’s Labour Party talks a good game about eradicating anti-semitism and the party manifesto stresses the desire for a peaceful Israeli state living side-by-side with a peaceful Palestinian state, the manifesto also makes a pivot towards trendy left-wing third worldism by immediately banning arms sales to Israel, granting recognition to the state of Palestine, and advocating for every government which claims historical victimization by colonial powers, no matter how nasty and brutal their societies might currently be.

Finally, on the important matter of Brexit. Jeremy Corbyn has historically be very cagey with respect to the EU, at times signaling that he resents the influence wielded by capitalists in Paris, Berlin, and Brussels, but at other times singing the praises of multi-national governments and regulatory bodies. Labour’s manifesto leaves the party’s disposition on the issue of Brexit unspoken — a wise move considering that a large chunk of Labour voters are believed to have supported the Brexit referendum nearly four years ago — but promises to negotiate a new deal for Brexit within three months and then put it up for a new binding public referendum shortly thereafter. Because Labour has preemptively foreclosed on the idea of a no-deal Brexit, it’s kind of hard to see what sort of negotiating leverage Mr. Corbyn would have in securing a new deal, but if he can get enough voters to buy in to his nonsense then I guess more power to him. Even if the Brexit movement wins the second vote, the Labour manifesto pledges so much continued cooperation with the EU (for example, a promise to voters that Britain’s green policies will be no less strict than the EU’s) that it’s definitely a stretch to imagine that Britain would be rid of the meddlesome Brussels busy-bodies anyway.

This vote on December 12 could very well be a harbinger of what to expect next year. Just as the narrow pro-Brexit vote in June 2016 served as a indication of an anti-status quo sentiment which swept Donald Trump into the Oval Office less than five months later, so too might a Labour victory later this month act as a warning shot of a resurgent left who could stampede an Elizabeth Warren (or, crazily enough, a Bernard Sanders) into the White House. The polls today suggest that the Conservatives are on their way to a strong victory, but I wouldn’t be popping any champagne corks until Boris locks the doors at 10 Downing Street on December 13.

– JVW

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