The problem of activist proxies

Via a reader, this is a very interesting document (.pdf) from the US Chamber of Commerce containing one of their member’s testimony to a Senate Committee. This excerpt near the beginning gives a flavour of what they’re protesting:

Public companies and their shareholders are increasingly targeted through the proxy system and other means over issues that are unrelated to – and sometimes, even at odds with – enhancing long-term performance. Topics that should be reserved for the legislative and executive branches of government – including a variety of social and political issues that may not be directly correlated to the success of the company – are increasingly finding their way into proxy statements and being debated in boardrooms. This has created significant costs for shareholders and in many instances has distracted boards and management from focusing on the best interests of the company.

In short, activist shareholders are demanding companies adopt SJW-driven policies which have a detrimental effect on financial performance. So who’s responsible?

As the Manhattan Institute has pointed out, labor-affiliated pension plans have historically been the most active at advancing such agendas that do not correlate with long term performance. From 2006-2015, labor-affiliated investors sponsored 32% of all shareholder proposals at the Fortune 250, many of which deal topics of a social or political nature. Both the Department of Labor (DOL) Inspector General and the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit have expressed skepticism as to whether the shareholder activism engaged in by labor-affiliated funds is actually connected to increasing share value.

No doubt those in charge of managing the pension funds have guaranteed incomes and rock-solid personal finances so are happy to risk their members’ retirement incomes to pursue their own political goals. There is some good news, though:

The DOL took action this year in order to ensure that Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) fiduciaries are making investments based on economic factors and not elevating environmental, social, or governance (ESG) impacts over returns.

I wonder how many pension funds divested from oil stock, which traditionally pays consistent dividends, at the behest of SJWs?

A 2015 Manhattan Institute Report found that the social activism engaged in by certain public pension plan systems – such as the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) and the New York State Common Retirement System (NYSCR) – is actually correlated with lower returns for the plans. In other words, public pension plan beneficiaries and taxpayers in such jurisdictions are actually harmed when the overseers of public pension plans emphasize social or political goals over the economic return of the plan.

Outdated SEC proxy rules have allowed motivated special interests to take advantage of this system to the detriment of Main Street investors and pensioners. The problems we face today have in part stemmed from a lack of proper oversight over proxy advisory firms and a failure to modernize corporate disclosure requirements. Activists have been able to hijack shareholder meetings with proposals concerning pet issues – all to the detriment of the vast majority of America’s investors.

So the problem isn’t just that activists wreck the returns for their own members, they wreck those of anyone else investing in the company as well. I suppose the moral of the story is, when choosing a company to invest in, to look at whether their stockholders include public pension plans – particularly those from the New York or Californian public sectors.

This also chimes slightly with what I’ve been said before:

The deficiencies within the U.S. proxy system must also be viewed against the backdrop of the sharp decline of public companies over the past two decades. The United States is now home to roughly half the number of public companies than existed in the mid-1990s and the overall number of public listings is little changed from 1983. While the JOBS Act helped arrest that decline, too many companies are deciding that going or staying public is not in their long-term best interest.

So stay small, stay private, and avoid both regulations and the lunatics. It also won’t surprise many to learn that government regulations have created a cosy little duopoly, either:

Activist campaigns, as well as routine proxy matters that companies deal with today, are also magnified by the outsized influence of proxy advisory firms. Two firms – Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”) and Glass Lewis – constitute roughly 97% of the proxy advisory firm market, yet both are riddled with conflicts of interest, operate with little transparency, and are prone to making significant errors in vote recommendations that jeopardize the ability of investors to make informed decisions in their best interests.

What was I saying earlier about “guaranteed incomes and rock-solid personal finances”? The authors believe the answer is greater regulation for proxy advisory firms, but I don’t know if that won’t just deliver another set of unintended consequences further down the line. My preferred solution is more people stand up to idiotic lefties and SJWs wherever they are to found, using mockery, humiliation, and a refusal to play their game. Alas that will require courage, a trait largely absent in today’s business world.


Should societies be pleasant or durable?

Ilhan Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia before coming to the United States as a refugee aged 14. Last November she became the first Somali to be elected to the United States Congress, and one of the first Muslim women. She has yet to even take her seat in Congress, but she’s already decided American society needs a radical overhaul:

I have written before about how I don’t think new citizens to a country should be given the vote: if you want a say in how you are governed, feel free to stay at home. I might be persuaded those who have lived 20 years in a country should have the right to vote, but I also don’t see their being denied as a fundamental injustice. The views of those who were born in a country ought to prevail over those of newcomers who chose to relocate, but people are so wedded to the idea of universal suffrage this idea sits well outside the Overton window in the west. The trouble is, universal suffrage is about 100 years old at best, which in historical terms makes it very much still in the experimental stage.

One of the more hubristic characteristics of modern political commentators and activists is they believe their preferred policies mark the end of history, that the societal conditions they have largely imposed on others will be here forever. Few stop to think that the Ottoman empire lasted 600 years before disappearing altogether, so perhaps the jury is still out on 5 years of gay marriage and 40 years of wimmin’s rights. Now it may well be that a society in which religion plays no major role, gays get married, and legislation ensures gender parity in the upper management of big companies is very pleasant and all who live in it enjoy long, healthy, fulfilling lives. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the society will survive more than a generation or two. It rarely occurs to people that pleasant societies might not make durable societies, whereas history certainly suggests that societies built on harsh conditions can prove remarkably enduring.

My point is that any society which allows rank outsiders to enter and immediately set about agitating for radical change probably won’t last very long. Any society which allows foreigners to take part in their national political process such that they attempt to overturn parts of the constitution, suppress free speech, and denounce the population as racist is engaged in a suicide pact. The Founding Fathers stipulated that the US president must be an American; had it occurred to them that Somalis would be running for Congress and seeking to radically change America, they might well have imposed similar criteria for all holders of elected office. Serious countries do not allow their political systems to be infiltrated in this manner: Britain banned Catholics from holding public office for two hundred years, believing them to be a fifth column. Somehow, America has gone from a country which insisted newcomers adopt their values to celebrating those who don’t.

I’m sure there are lots of very good, principled arguments for allowing Ilhan Omar to run for Congress and then denounce Americans as white supremacists, just as I am sure there are sound reasons for allowing known jihadists to roam free in European capitals. But the question is, can a society which tolerates this survive? And if so, how long before it is unrecognisable? This won’t end well.


Snobbery instead of governance

The BBC, two days late, decides to run a front-page story on Trump and the WWI commemorations (which I wrote about here):

The White House has defended US President Donald Trump’s decision to miss a memorial event on Saturday after he faced a backlash.

Mr Trump, who was in France to mark the centenary of World War One’s end, cancelled a visit to a US military cemetery because it was raining.

Bad weather and “near-zero visibility” grounded the presidential helicopter, White House officials said.

French, German and Canadian leaders attended memorial events on Saturday.

However, Mr Trump was reluctant to bring extra disruption to Paris traffic for a last-minute motorcade, his officials said.

So it was a security issue then and not, as many pretended, that Trump simply couldn’t be bothered because it was raining.

“President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said, noting the trip was 60 miles (96km) north-east of Paris

Compiègne, the location of the ceremony in question, is situated a little further east of Charles de Gaulle airport and if he were to get there from Paris via motorcade they’d probably have closed the A1. This not only would have caused havoc on the périphérique but might have caused people to miss their flights, so I expect the good citizens of Paris are rather glad Trump decided not to go. Also, there is no acknowledgement that this particular ceremony was a sideshow: the main one took place on 11th November on the Champs-Élysées as normal, and Trump was in full attendance.

From here, it just gets pathetic:

Critics observed how Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had travelled 118 miles outside Paris to attend a ceremony – in the rain – at a cemetery in Vimy.

And what is the security operation surrounding the Canadian PM versus that of the US president?

Notable criticism came from British Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood, who took an apparent swipe at the president on Twitter, saying “rain did not prevent our brave heroes from doing their job”.

I’ve praised the bravery of Tobias Ellwood on this blog before, but he’s acting like a child here. So is this man:

His comments followed a scathing rebuke from Sir Nicholas Soames, a grandson of the wartime British leader Sir Winston Churchill.

The MP tweeted that Mr Trump was not fit to represent the US and said that he was a “pathetic inadequate” for not defying the weather “to pay his respects to the fallen”.

Here’s what I don’t get about the British ruling classes. Half of them want to suck up to European technocrats which explains their anti-Americanism, but even those that want out of Europe seem to make extra effort to antagonise their most important ally. It’s fine that Britain wants to get out of Europe, but where’s the value in MPs taking swipes at Trump on Twitter over trivial, wrongheaded stuff like this? America has lots of allies and special interests, and Britain needs American support more than America needs Britain. The ruling classes fell over themselves to brown-nose Obama who hated Britain, but even though Trump has repeatedly shown he’s open to warm relations with Britain, the ruling classes prefer to engage in petty sniping.

I expect the answer lies in snobbery. Even the supposedly better Tories prefer to burnish their credentials with other members of the ruling classes by virtue-signaling against Trump’s supposed rudeness and inadequacy than building workable relations with the one country whose help we need once we stumble out of the EU in March next year. Once again, our ruling classes have shown they are utterly incapable of doing the one thing they exist to do: govern. If Britain wants to avoid disappearing into irrelevance, it needs a wholesale replacement of those in charge. The only upside I can see is that I doubt Trump paid any attention to these cretins.


Lest we forget to bash Trump

Blue checkmark Twitter has been alight this past 24 hours with complaints that Trump is a disgrace. Why this time, I don’t hear you ask? Apparently, rather than join Merkel and Macron at Compiègne, the site where the 1918 Armistice was signed, Trump decided to stay in his room and watch TV because it was raining. I have no idea whether this is true or not, but given this version is being widely circulated by lefties and it happens to suit their narrative, we’ll be safer assuming it’s a load of bollocks.

There are several reasons why Trump may not have attended. Was it on his agenda? The main Armistice event is today under the Arc de Triomphe, I don’t know if attendance at Compiègne the day before is normal for a US president. Was Trump even invited? Many people posted pictures of Obama standing in the rain, albeit at a wholly different event but you’d not know that from any caption. This is known as “fake news”. I’m certain that had Trump gone along, the same people now saying “disgraceful” over and over would complain he wasn’t welcome and he did or said something inappropriate. Or his wife looked too good in her outfit, as usual.

The blue checkmarks also simpered over this Tweet, and followed up in the comments with more Trump-bashing:

It’s a good pic, but I fear the sycophants are missing a vital point. Angela Merkel, who was supposed to be the leader of the free world when Trump “abdicated the responsibility”, is barely in charge of Germany having been rejected at the ballot box. Macron, who is fresh from honouring the leader of the Vichy Regime, has a popularity rating of 29%, a record low. Meanwhile, the Americans have just had a vote which, if it not exactly providing Trump with a ringing endorsement, did not show he was wildly disliked either.

So here we have American, British, and European elites praising two deeply unpopular leaders for a cutesy photo-op while criticising, for the millionth time, a president who remains popular with the masses. Perhaps Trump was being disrespectful for not going to Compiègne, but standing on the graves of dead soldiers to virtue-signal your dislike for him is hardly better.

That’s not the only point they’ve missed, though. A popular view among the dim or dishonest is that it was Trump-style nationalism that caused WWI, whereas it was as much about competing empires as anything. One could hardly argue, as you might with WWII, that populations were whipped into war fever before the shooting began in 1914, nor that those who fought were doing so for selfish internal interests. If we’re looking for parallels between today and the pre-1914 situation on mainland Europe, we might want to look at the EU and it’s economic and political bullying of member states and Macron’s recent call for pan-European army. For the elites, though, this is all good. No doubt Archduke Ferdinand thought much the same thing when planning the tour of his subjects in the Balkans.

Frankly, the sight of deeply unpopular German and French leaders cosying up, cheered on by elites who scream hysterically about an American president, does not bode well for peace in Europe.


The Blue Dribble

US Democrats win House in blow to Trump

booms the BBC’s headline, whose coverage throughout the night would have you believe he’s just been turfed from office. In reality, the results are so mediocre even the BBC has had to tone things down a touch.

Many on the left were hoping for a “blue wave” during these midterms, which would see the Democrats retake the House with a workable majority. Most people were predicting a 35-40 seat advantage over the Republicans, who under Trump have been ineffective in Congress and divisive (but reasonably effective) everywhere else. It now looks as though the Democrats will have a majority of around 27 seats, which is slim by historical standards and few can deny they expected a lot more. Perhaps more importantly, the Democrats not only failed to retake the Senate but actually lost ground, conceding two seats to the Republicans.

What this means is, come January, the Democrats will start throwing every spanner in the works they can think of to unseat Trump. As the BBC says:

They could also more effectively block his legislative plans, notably his signature promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.

If that wall was going to get built, funding would have been approved when the Republicans held the House and construction would have already started, so I doubt this will make any difference. As far as legislation goes, Trump’s administration hasn’t done much which is hardly surprising given Paul Ryan was in charge of that and he couldn’t even manage to draft an alternative to Obamacare. Where Trump has made the biggest impact is in rescinding a whole swathe of Obama’s executive orders, and appointing judges to the Supreme and lower courts. Given the Republicans retain control of the senate and no longer rely on independent votes, they ought to be able to continue with this apace. Liberals from coast to coast will be on their knees praying daily that Ruth Burger Gingsburg, who is 85 years old, hangs on until at least 2020.

But this is equally important:

The Democrats could now launch investigations into Mr Trump’s administration and business affairs, from tax returns to potential conflicts of interest.

The majority population would likely welcome some increased level of congressional oversight, but I suspect they’ll have a low tolerance for the sort of lunacy they were witness to during the Kavanaugh hearings. Assuming Nancy Pelosi is elected speaker without an internal bunfight, Trump will relish batting away one deranged accusation after another; he’s at his best when under attack from buffoons who think the old rules still apply and he can portray himself as the only sane person standing. That crazies on the Democrat side are already screeching for the House to impeach Trump doesn’t bode well for the next two years. They’re hedging their bets on the Mueller report producing something damning, but my guess is whatever’s in there will hurt Democrats more than Trump and he knows it. It’s telling that even Pelosi is distancing herself from talks of impeachment; perhaps she’s looked at the election results and realised that the lunatics the Dems ran fared badly while the more sensible ones did well. Whatever happens between now and 2020, the Democrats need to convince American voters they’re not mental, and this means behaving like adults in Congress. Can they manage it? I doubt it, but we’ll see.


Virtue-signaling and derangement in the wake of a massacre

Over the weekend a lunatic walked into a synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and shot dead 11 Jews who were at worship. It quickly transpired that the murderer was a far-right headcase who thought the Jews were responsible for all America’s ills, including mass immigration. His social media accounts show he detested Trump, believing him to be in thrall to the Jews and not doing enough to halt their nefarious plans. The answer, he believed, was to murder a bunch of elderly Jews.

Despite the motivations of the perpetrator, and the fact that Ivanka Trump is Jewish having converted to get married, liberals and fake conservatives across America are blaming the attack on Trump. The reaction of non-American Jews wasn’t much better. Here’s a British chap who writes for the Jewish Chronicle:

Sugarman’s timeline is filled with how he mourns for his co-religionists in the US, yet the sanctity of the still-warm bodies is not so great that he can’t stand atop them to virtue-signal about Trump. My first question is why a journalist would think it appropriate to start talking about gun laws before the smell of cordite has gone from the air. Secondly, what is wrong with Trump’s response that if the worshipers had been protected with arms, things would have gone differently? Europeans love to scoff at the unsophisticated, redneck Americans who think armed protection is the answer to such massacres, but I used to walk by a Jewish centre one street over from my apartment in Paris on a daily basis. And have a guess what? It was guarded throughout the day by two soldiers wearing combat gear and each carrying a FAMAS. The protection was brought in after the kosher supermarket shootings in Paris which took place two days after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I understand that many synagogues and Jewish cultural centres across Europe now have armed guards stationed outside, yet none of these leave British Jewish journalists unable to find words to express their hatred of the head of government. We needn’t think too hard as to why that is.

Laurie Penny, who is apparently now in the US involved with writing a TV show, has quickly learned which drum to bash in her new career:

If Trump’s speaking at a political rally shows he is rather callous towards Jews, I wonder what we should make of Laurie’s hit-piece on Ivanka which begins:

IVANKA TRUMP HAS WRITTEN a book about female empowerment, and it is about as feminist as a swastika-shaped bikini wax.

Because nothing represents solidarity with Jews like mentioning swastikas when attacking one in print.

There is also a lot of sentiment like this:

It’s hard to tell whether he genuinely thinks this, or whether it’s just an excuse to show his dislike for Trump. Emanuel Miller is a generally decent sort, but anti-Trump derangement infects many otherwise sensible people. Now Miller lives in Israel, and he will be fully aware of the opprobrium that was heaped on Trump when he moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Hell, the UN even held a special session to denounce it. He will also be fully aware that Trump, by scrapping the nuclear “deal” and re-imposing sanctions, severely clipped the wings of Israel’s greatest threat, Iran. He’s also halted funding to the Palestinians for using the money to buy weapons which they then use to attack Israel.

So we have Trump attracting the world’s wrath for brazenly pro-Israeli policies, while Jews wring their hands that he’s “careless” with words. Well here’s the thing. If Trump wasn’t indifferent to the supposed consequences of his words, and worried about what people would think of him, the embassy would still be in Tel Aviv, the Iranians would still have their deal, and workers in Palestinian rocket-factories would still have their dental plans. They’re both sides of the same coin: you could have that nice man Obama back – who of course was never careless with words or empowered extremists, oh no – but how good was he for the world’s Jewry? The Mullahs seemed rather fond of him, at any rate.

Sadly, a lot of commentary following the synagogue shooting consists of people lining up to virtue-signal over Trump, even if it means denying that he’s one of the most pro-Jewish presidents in living memory. Some have gone further, seizing the opportunity to equate any criticism of George Soros as anti-semitic and shut down all discussion over immigration. These are the much the same people who give fawning coverage to Linda Sarsour, ignore Louis Farrakhan, and wave Palestinian flags at BDS rallies.

In summary, it’s probably best to ignore most of what’s being said about the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue, even by people who are normally sensible; it’s too much effort to separate genuine opinions from anti-Trump derangement and in-group virtue-signaling. Finally, there’s this:

If only the Jews had a word for chutzpah.


Skewered on two horns

Two stories from the US. The first:

There has been an outpouring of anger in the US from politicians, celebrities and human rights groups over a report alleging the US policy on gender recognition could be changed.

A report in the New York Times on Sunday said a government memo proposed officially defining gender as biological and fixed.

The change would rescind previous policy which eased trans recognition.

Instead, it would define gender solely on the genitalia people are born with.

That this is remotely controversial says rather a lot about the times we live in.

The administration of former President Barack Obama adopted a definition of gender in federal policy which made it easier to allow individual choice and self-determination.

What the BBC doesn’t tell us is that Obama didn’t pass a law, it was one of his infamous Executive Orders; this is why it is so easy to reverse. The reason Obama didn’t pass a law was because it would never have got through Congress.

Activists fear the changes allegedly being proposed could in effect “define out of existence” Americans who currently identify as transgender – a community who are said to number at least 1.4 million people.

Obama’s policy dates from 2010. Prior to that, trans people existed, both physically and legally. The idea that 1.4m people will cease to exist because they’re categorised under their biological sex is the product of mental illness, which the BBC seems happy to propagate.

The report has generated an angry response from some people in and outside of the US, including swathes of the LGBTQ community.

Advocacy groups organised a demonstration on Sunday evening in New York and another protest is planned outside the White House in Washington DC on Monday Morning.

In a series of Tweets on Sunday, the National Centre for Transgender Equality described the changes as an “abomination” and “a reckless attack” on transgender lives.

Okay, let’s park that there for a moment.

The second story is this:

President Donald Trump has said the US will “begin cutting off” foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador because of a large convoy of migrants heading north.

Mr Trump criticised the countries on Monday for allowing people to leave the region and come “illegally” to the US.

The group is travelling through Mexico, but is still far from the US border.

The mid-terms were already going to be a struggle for the Democrats after their Brett Kavanaugh smear campaign backfired badly, and these two issues are just going to make things worse. Note how few Democrats are actually speaking about either; normally they’d be all over the media condemning Trump. The reason for their silence is they know full well that going into an election decrying a Trump administration for officially recognising only one’s birth gender, and reversing the lunacy of self-identity, will cost them heavily in terms of votes. They will be seen as mental, and rightly so. The trouble is they’ve made the headcases their base, who will be appalled their representatives aren’t standing up for them. Most will vote Democrat anyway, but some will stay at home while others will agitate for greater lunatics to oust their current representatives.

The Democrats have a similar problem with this migrant caravan. Only the most deranged anti-Trumpers and open-border advocates will see the footage on TV and think this mass of bedraggled humanity should be allowed to enter the US, not least because of the precedent it will set. It’s unlikely the caravan will reach the border before the elections, but this plays right into Trump’s hands anyway: all he has to do is say they’re not coming in. The Democrats, by contrast, have a choice of campaigning for the caravan to be let in, or staying silent. Neither is a particularly attractive choice in the run-up to critical elections. This is a problem solely of the Democrats’ own making: had a handful of them not backed open borders and mass illegal immigration (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama opposed both) they’d be able to support Trump’s position and campaign on other issues. But they decided everything Trump says must be opposed at all costs, and ended up supporting ludicrous policies which are now, at a crucial time, making them look as though they live on a wholly different planet to ordinary Americans. Their best bet is to therefore remain silent, but this will only upset their base.

I suspect the GOP will be happy to keep both issues in the press for as long as possible in the run-up to the mid-terms, hence Trump’s remarks:

Without offering evidence, Mr Trump has repeatedly suggested the caravan was politically motivated.

On Monday he urged people to blame Democrats for the border crisis, saying: “Remember the mid-terms”.

He also tweeted that the caravan contained “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners”. When he was later pressed by journalists on what this meant, he offered no origin for the claim but invited reporters to investigate for themselves.

The media think Trump will be discredited if his claims are questioned by the media. Trump knows most people only care about the thousands of people who are heading their way, and that the media would like to let them in. Not for the first time, by keeping it in the news they’re doing his job for him.

If the Democrats want the elections to be a referendum on transsexuals’ ideas of gender identity and whether a column of ten thousand assorted south Americans should be allowed to just walk into the United States, I’m sure the Republicans won’t object. The Democrats really have painted themselves into a corner, and it’s going to be fun trying to watch them get out.


Black, Smart, and Sane

From The Guardian:

More conclusively than it tells us anything about her genetic heritage, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s neatly choreographed release of her own DNA analysis makes one thing abundantly clear: she’s running for the White House in 2020.

The release was a direct rebuke to Donald Trump, who has made a habit of mocking her claims of Native American ancestry by referring to her by the racist moniker “Pocahontas”. Warren’s move is a clear gambit to get out in front of a controversy that has dogged her political career and could be a big stumbling block in the future.

Elizabeth Warren always struck me as being rather dim, and what The Guardian article doesn’t tell us is her stunt has backfired badly:

Warren released the results of her test, which showed her to potentially have 1/1024 Native American DNA dating back six to 10 generations. This sets the lowest bound of Warren’s Indian DNA at .098 percent and the highest at 3 percent.

The average European-American has 0.18 percent Native American DNA, according to a comprehensive study by the Genetic Literacy Project.

In other words, Senator Warren is quite likely to be even whiter than the average North American white bloke. This is also amusing:

According to a report by the Boston Globe, there is no Native American DNA available for genetic testing “because Native American leaders have asked tribal members not to participate in genetic databases.”

Therefore, in order to test for Native American ancestry, genetic researchers have to use samples from other parts of the world.

Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor, used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to attempt to calculate how much Native American ancestry is in Warren’s DNA.

Elizabeth Warren was always something of a laughing stock, and Twitter wasted no time laying the boot in. However, it was this tweet from Steve Sailor which got me thinking:

I’m currently going through the back catalogue of Joe Rogan’s podcasts, and caught the one from ages ago with Ben Shapiro. I’ve agreed with critics of Shapiro in the past but there’s no denying he’s a smart guy and wholly correct about certain issues. Shapiro made the point that it wasn’t so much Hillary Clinton’s neglect of Wisconsin which cost her the Electoral College but her failure to mobilise the black vote in Ohio. What made Obama’s victories secure was his ability to get blacks out to vote Democrat, whereas for Hillary (and everyone else) a lot of them stayed at home. Trump (or any other Republican) doesn’t need to win the black vote if they don’t come out and vote Democrat either.

In addition to the above, the ZMan made the point in his latest podcast that the whole Brett Kavanaugh circus was largely about white, middle-class women trying to gain control of the Democrat party. The entire third-wave feminist and MeToo movements are as much about internal Democrat party politics as opposing the Republicans; they want to be the party for deranged, purple-haired women who inhabit coastal California, Brooklyn, and college campuses. However, it doesn’t take much imagination to realise that a lot of blacks, especially men, will have watched them screaming “believe all women” as Kavanaugh denied baseless allegations of gang-rape and been a little concerned about where this was headed. After all, it is black men who stand the most to lose by standards of proof over rape being lowered. Somehow, this never occurred to the Democrats who rely on black votes to get them back into the White House. You’d have thought Kamala Harris or Cory Booker might have twigged, but the former is as thick as mince and the latter thinks he’s auditioning for a part in a political drama series every time he speaks.

One of Barack Obama’s many failings was he made the Presidency all about him, rather than the Democrat party. Then Hillary made the Democratic party all about her. Now both are gone (although Hillary’s still hanging around like a bad smell), the Democrats have no idea what they’re for. Elizabeth Warren running for president in 2020 will only serve Elizabeth Warren, and demonstrate the Democrats’ aren’t a serious party. Certainly, she won’t get the black vote out, and it’s hard to see who will out of the possible white candidates. The Democrats therefore need a candidate who is black, smart, and sane. Who would that be, then?


Finally, the Republicans grow a spine

So the GOP held their nerve and confirmed Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the Supreme Court, where he will be fully aware of the nature of the progressive forces ranged against ordinary Americans. In going all-in with their vile, baseless accusations against Kavanaugh, the Democrats may have blundered badly; if he was a nice, fair, and reasonable chap before the nomination, his experience over the past few weeks may have altered him somewhat.

In all honestly, I thought the Republicans were going to bottle it when they called for the FBI investigation, but it seems as though they played that hand deftly. The investigation didn’t reveal anything new about Kavanaugh and left prominent Democrats, as well as Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team, flailing around in frustration that the FBI was not doing their bidding. For once, the Republicans had the upper hand and they carried the momentum right through to the final Senate vote on Saturday.

The Democrats may also come to regret asking for the investigation. I don’t know what powers the senate committee has now Kavanaugh has been confirmed, but take a look at this letter from committee chairman Chuck Grassely to Ford’s lawyer:

Pay special attention to the final paragraph, and the reference to “recently uncovered  information”. This most likely refers to communications, perhaps uncovered by the FBI  investigation the Democrats insisted on, which show Ford’s allegations and subsequent testimony was part of a coordinated political attack on Kavanaugh. This would certainly explain why the Democrats suddenly went quiet and, would you believe it, Ford is no longer pursuing her allegations.

As I said, I don’t know what powers the senate committee has now Kavanaugh’s been nominated, but I hope the Republicans fully investigate what has gone on here and if there is any wrongdoing on the part of Feinstein et al, they apply the full force of the law. If the GOP does have evidence this was a coordinated hit as Grassley’s letter implies, they need to gradually leak this in the run-up to the mid-term elections and level criminal charges a few days before. The Republicans have shown rare backbone in the face of appalling behaviour from the Democrats, and they should waste no time in pressing home their advantage.

Meanwhile, liberals have decided that after accusing a Supreme Court nominee of  gang rape and dragging him and his family through the mud they have been too nice. From what I’m hearing on social media, a lot of people who would never support a Trump administration are intending to vote Republican, so disgusted are they at Kavanaugh’s treatment. Things could get a lot worse for the Democrats by the time 2018 is out.


Kavanaugh, Sex, and Alcohol

There’s an argument raging in the US at the moment over whether Brett Kavanaugh lied in front of the Senate Committee when he said he’d never “blacked out” from drinking. While Kavanaugh openly admitted to drinking lots of beer, he maintained he’d never blacked out in the sense he can’t remember a thing about what he might have done. The media, egged on by Democrats, are wheeling out articles saying this can’t be true, and that heavy drinking inevitably results in blackouts even if you’re unaware you had one.

It’s best to assume the Democrat-media alliance is just saying whatever suits its cause at this point, but reading some of the commentary it sounds like teenage boys discussing sex, i.e. they don’t really know what they’re on about. Anyone who’s been around drinkers, of has drunk heavily themselves, know it affects people differently, and different drinks affect the same person differently. I have an Irish mate who would start fighting if he drank brandy; Bundaberg rum seems to have a similar effect on many Queenslanders. Some people get very aggressive and nasty when drunk, others soppy and affectionate. Some go quiet, others can’t shut up. I know a French lady who, when she’s had a few too many, insists on speaking English, a language she doesn’t know.

Now I reckon I’ve drunk as much if not more than Brett Kavanaugh, thanks to my hanging out with Russians and living on Sakhalin Island for four years. True, he’s probably drunk a lot more beer than I have but I’ve been on vodka and whisky binges at various parties which I’m surprised I survived. When I drink to excess I start to babble nonsense, not that anyone who knows me will notice the difference. But at some point my stomach really, really starts to hurt and I need to throw up, which I often do by sticking my fingers down my throat. Then the pain subsides and, if it’s a really big night, I keep drinking. I recall one night in a club in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk when a Russian I didn’t like challenged me to a drinking competition, glass for glass, and he was buying. I’m not sure who won, but I stayed in the game by running to the toilet and puking up after each glass. Yeah, I wasn’t at my most classy back then.

The point is, despite how much I’ve drunk, I’ve never blacked out or lost my memory. Eventually my stomach can’t handle any more drink and I have to stop, but I can always walk (if a little unsteadily) and find my way home, and although my memory is a bit fuzzy over who said what I always remember the basics. There is no chance I could drink so much I’d not remember sexually assaulting someone, and if I drank to my capacity I’d not even be able to mount such an assault. It’s therefore a complete falsehood to say Brett Kavanaugh’s heavy beer-drinking in college would lead to blackouts. Sure he might pass out once he’s in bed, but that’s not the same thing. Nobody assaults anyone while passed out. And while some people might experience blackouts, not everyone does.

Other than the obvious politically-driven malicious smear, what this reveals is America’s puritanical attitude to alcohol consumption. The drinking age in the US is 21, an age at which most are finishing college. Some American college campuses are situated in dry counties, meaning the students have to sneak booze into their dorm rooms as if they’re 15 years old and living in a boarding school. By contrast, British students are expected to get smashed at university, and if excessive drinking in college was a barrier to holding high office in your fifties then candidates would be thin on the ground. Actually, we’d probably be left only with Theresa May who I reckon would have made far better politician had she spent her student days getting wrecked down at the Union bar. Now Barack Obama is known to have smoked weed and snorted cocaine in college, and nobody said anything. This is mostly explained by the fact that the media would have glossed over Saint Obama sacrificing small children in his dorm room, but it’s also indicative that in America the chattering classes consider taking drugs less sinful than drinking. Weed is slowly being legalised across the US, and discussions on legalising drugs are a permanent feature among Americans who lean towards libertarianism. But when was the last time someone proposed lowering the drinking age? In fact, New York raised the drinking age from 19 to 21 in 1985.

What the Kavanaugh debacle also reveals is America’s rather puritanical attitude towards sex. There’s something about sex which a lot of Americans find rather icky; the flip side of this is the degenerates who go on and on about sex and flaunt their sexual practices openly with the intention of shocking everyone else. Both would seem rather odd to a Frenchman or Italian, and even the more reserved Brits find Americans’ obsession with the sexual proclivities of their leaders a bit strange. It’s hard to imagine the Monica Lewinsky scandal happening in Europe, at least not to the point where the entire country is clutching its collective pearls over a blow-job. That’s not to excuse Clinton’s behaviour towards an intern, but it’s significant that it was allegations of sexual misconduct which landed him in trouble.

It’s unlikely that a senior figure in European politics would find himself clobbered by accusations that he drank too much in college and made a clumsy attempt to get a girl’s clothes off in high-school. But in the US, the combination of alcohol and sex resonates in a way which turns the middle classes into puritans, who then pass moral judgement. This is why the attacks on Kavanaugh have been so effective.