The politics of refusing power

Usually, politics is a competition between individuals and factions each of which wants to be, as we say, “in power.”  In Japan, though, there is a political struggle between a faction that wants to put a man in power and that man who does not want the power.

As we blogged about, the party of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has won enough seats in parliament to accomplish his goal of revising the Japanese Constitution, which was primarily the work of Gen. Douglas MacArthur after World War II in an effort to ensure that Japan would become a peaceful Democratic nation.  Abe wants to bring back elements of pre-war Japan.  He and his party have connections to a group that wants to bring back both Japanese militarism and Emperor worship.

But now the Emperor has given an unexpected speech in which he rebuked those efforts, including the desire to give him more power and to treat him as a god.  Ironically, those who think the Emperor is a god are opposing him!

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Evan McMullin for President?

Finally, an independent candidate for president has emerged, an alternative to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump:  Evan McMullin.

Who?  He has been a top staffer for the House Republican Conference and was a former CIA officer and Goldman Sachs businessman.  The 40-year-old Mormon is conservative, pro-life, and apparently has the support of at least some NeverTrump conservatives.  He has raised some money and has PAC support, even though the deadline for an independent getting on the ballot has already passed in 26 states.  This would be his first elective office.

In other words, it sounds like to me, he isn’t qualified either.  I rant about this, as well as giving more information about him, after the jump. [Read more…]

Did Trump call for Hillary’s assassination?

Donald Trump has done it again, appearing to say something so over the top that some say it disqualifies him from being president:

“Hillary wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment. And by the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Does that sound like he is calling on “the Second Amendment people,” that is to say, gun owners, to assassinate her?

Trump’s apologists are saying that he was just calling on the NRA and everyone concerned with Second Amendment rights to rally around his candidacy and support him with their votes, so as to prevent her from abolishing the Second Amendment and picking her judges.

But he is clearly talking about after her election.  “Nothing you can do folks” to prevent her from picking her judges.  If he were talking about voting against her, “folks” could certainly do that.  Here he is talking about people doing something “if she gets to pick her judges”–that is, if she is elected and has presidential power.

Aren’t I right?  Is there any other way to read this statement that takes into account what it actually says?

I suspect he was joking, but still, how reckless and undisciplined and thoughtless this shows him to be!  Is he trying to get people not to vote for him?

I would add that what he said should also be offensive to “Second Amendment people,” since it plays into the liberal gun-control advocates’ stereotype that owners of firearms are potential criminals and dangerous to society.

Threatening a presidential candidate, by the way, is a federal offense, punishable by five years in prison.

UPDATE:  I just heard the next line:  “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”

It “will be a horrible day” that Second Amendment people come together to vote for him?  This pretty much, shall we say, shoots down his own campaign’s spin on the statement, as well as other attempts to interpret what he said in a positive way.  The best we can do is say he was joking, but, even then, that’s a joke that can’t be justified, either practically (since it could come off as a marching order for a loony follower) or politically (since it gives more people a reason not to vote for him).

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Conservatives voting Green?

Some conservatives, refusing to vote for Donald Trump, are hatching a “Machiavellian” solution to the problem of whom to vote for.  They are going to vote for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein.  Why?  If the Greens get 5% of the vote, they will qualify for federal funds in 2020, which will let them be more competitive next time.  The conservatives believe that if this happens, the Greens will split the leftist vote, hurting the Democrats against a revived Republican party.

Is this over-thinking?  Is that a legitimate strategy, to vote AGAINST what you believe, as a tactic to advance your agenda long-term?

Could you make a similar case to vote for the Libertarians, despite dissatisfaction with these particular candidates, to help them become a force in the future?  Libertarians would surely turn down the federal money.  But their immediate goal is to score 15% in upcoming polls so that their candidate Gary Johnson could participate in the debates against Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Telling pollsters you are for the Libertarian candidate could result in at least someone in the debates arguing for conservative economics. [Read more…]

Clinton’s social gospel vs. Trump’s prosperity gospel

Bobby Ross brings together some religious reporting on both candidates and gives us one of those instantly clarifying paradigms.  I’ll summarize after the jump.

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Trump’s knee-jerk retaliations

Donald Trump has the pathological habit of responding to every criticism by lashing out with vicious personal ad hominem attacks against the critic and, if possible, his or her family.  He did it in the primary campaign, most notably by mocking the appearance of Ted Cruz’s wife and accusing his father of complicity in the Kennedy assassination.

Now he has struck out at a father whose son was killed fighting in Iraq for criticizing him at the Democratic convention.  Also at the fallen soldier’s mother, even though she never said anything.

But it keeps going:  The two Republicans who most took him to task for insulting the grieving family were House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain.  So Trump is retaliating against them by refusing to support them in their re-election primary campaigns!

These men, professional Republicans that they are, have swallowed their misgivings and said that they are supporting Trump.  But he won’t support them.  So much for party unity.

Imagine the retaliations that would be possible for President Trump! [Read more…]