Spring Fundraiser 2016, Day Six
We’re rounding the bend into the home stretch now.
The Baron says our donations have maintained their pace, though a few old faces are missing. He has to keep track; I have the luxury of waiting until the Octave is over. That’s when I have the leisure to read each name and think about the person who gave and where they live.
My post-quarterly process of pondering our donors is then followed by a payment to Vlad Tepes before I leave the page. I’m so glad I had the inspiration a few years ago to tithe your donations; I was sure that inspiration was utterly right when it suddenly dawned on me to give the sum to Vlad Tepes.
This step has become one of the most pleasurable aspects: as I am, Vlad’s memory is like a sieve, thus the gift always takes him by surprise. The closest description I can think of is watching one of your favorite relatives open a present you enjoyed giving to them. My wish for each of you is that you have a Vlad-equivalent in your life, too: a creative person of integrity who can’t remember who he’s sworn never to work with again, a person of deep wit and humor with a strong sense of silly, and someone who continues to surprise you with off-hand anecdotes which make you realize how widely his talents reach. The sterling silver cross he created is just one example of his talent.
The first time I ordered a chain from Amazon it was too short, so I returned it for a longer (stainless steel, not silver) version. I’m not much of a jewelry person, though I do ask for earrings when the Baron travels — each pair is a reminder of where he went. (I wish some genius would sell earrings in sets of three. Many women would snap ’em up since earrings have the same cannibalistic tendencies socks do: in the middle of the night the alpha earring consumes its timid rival.)
I also don’t generally advertise my faith, but… Sometimes I forget to tuck in the cross after I put it on — yeah, ADD. Like putting on one earring. On occasion I notice I’ve made someone uncomfortable (i.e., they stare at my chest, which hasn’t been worth a glance for some years now). When that happens, I pull the cross inside to rest on my tee shirt. Can’t make folks uncomfortable, or have them thinking I’ve made their space less safe, eh?
Each time we do one of these Fundraiser Octaves I’m always surprised — and always mention — how quickly this week has seemed to fly. Since your response to our appeal this time has been even more encouraging than usual, I am especially heartened. On the other hand, the process itself cheers me, and that hasn’t changed; it’s simply moved to an ever-earlier point in the week. One thing that has changed over our years of fund-raising is the locus of my concern about these quarterlies. In the beginning it was a stomach-fluttering “can we possibly find the courage to keep asking for donors to step up for a whole week?” As often happens, though, the “answer” is provided when the question itself changes. Thus my underlying thought as I go through each day of this fundraiser is now “how do we maintain the presence of mind required to create an appeal worth your time?”
I’m not sure those are really different questions.
The image at the top is my choice. Well, they all are: the Baron found lots of illustrations from that era and we narrowed our selections down to what you’ve seen this week. It was such a wonderful era for Soviet art; what a shame that talent didn’t pass over into Soviet architecture. Anyway, notice how they’re all marching fearlessly left, umm, “Left”. As in Hard Left. It looks backwards to me, as though the image had been flopped. But then the Left has always seemed retrograde at best. One worn-out idea after another.
Did you know both English colonies in America tried communism at one point or another? I read about these experiments in George Washington’s first biographer, his friend Supreme Court Justice Marshall:
Marshall described two very different places: the hard-edged, wintry Massachusetts Bay Colony founded by Englishmen with a desire to practice their own form of Christianity while excluding everyone else; and the earlier-begun Virginia colony, a commercial enterprise from the start, but whose state religion reflected that of England. Thus the state-controlled Church of Virginia was a mini-me branch of the Church of England for many generations.
Both new colonies firmly believed in the idea of share-and-share-alike. This ‘sharing’ included paying your fair share of labor. But both would learn, each in its own way, that you cannot induce a man to work for some vague ‘good of all’. A man works for himself and his group, however he defines that group — and back then, it was a kin network.
Both colonies tried various forms of punishment to encourage individuals to produce more for the sustenance of all. Even being put in stocks on the public common, a physically painful and deeply shaming experience, didn’t bring the desired outcome of higher individual productivity or a feeling of responsibility for the general welfare. It was only when each colony finally gave in to human nature and allowed a man and his family to produce for themselves that prosperity followed.
But, as Marxists and other totalitarian regimes were to prove over and over again, that utopia where the rich support the poor is as elusive now as it was then. To produce for oneself releases the creative juices of productivity and innovation. Private enterprise is the engine of abundance, the scourge of scarcity. You have only to look at the rate of innovation in a given country to know where it stands on the spectrum of economic freedom.
Today, there are various measures in use to figure out who’s “best”. In the old days — say, the first quarter of the 20th century — America won hands down. But no one keeps the crown forever without performing due diligence. Says Bloomberg:
The best antidote to stagnation is innovation, the creation of products and services that make life better—whether it’s air conditioning, vaccines, or text messaging. Every country wants to foster a culture of innovation, but it’s not easy to do. “I’ve had dozens of meetings over the years with leaders from around the world who asked how they can build their own Silicon Valley,” says Breyer. “It never works.” He has his own theory about what does work, though it’s not exactly scientific: There’s a magic. There’s a love for entrepreneurship and experimentation that must be there.
Bloomberg’s 2015 ranking of the world’s 50 most innovative countries takes a more prosaic approach to the question, focusing on six tangible activities that contribute to innovation. South Korea tops this year’s overall ranking. The U.S. places sixth, and China 22nd. Morocco finishes last.
Here are their six “tangibles that contribute to innovation”, and each endeavor has a top country (this listing is for 2015, but I doubt it’s changed much). I’ll list the top two countries in their respective categories:
- Research and Development: South Korea and Israel
- Manufacturing: Switzerland and Ireland
- High Tech Companies: America and China
- Post-Secondary Education: South Korea and Russia
- Research Personnel: Finland and Iceland
- Patents: South Korea and Japan
As you can see, South Korea is an economic powerhouse. But so is Israel. And Ukraine made top five in the post-secondary education list. Ireland in manufacturing? Who knew? We keep hearing about the parlous state of the PIIGS, after all.
I recommend an examination of the whole listing, which you’ll see as you scroll down the page.
Much in line with my own economic philosophy, Bloomberg says:
This attempt to measure innovation leaves out one important but hard-to-quantify influence: government regulation, which can either accelerate or impede the adoption of new ideas. Politicians and regulators are often wary of change.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler says that because of strict driving rules in Germany, his company has conducted all of its work on new automated systems in the U.S., where “there is more freedom and liberty to do it.”
Uber, the mobile app that connects drivers and riders, is another example of how governments approach innovations that threaten the existing order. Taxi drivers all over the world hate Uber. In the U.S., customer demand has mostly overwhelmed attempts by cities and states to stop the company from operating. But France has banned one of its services. “In Paris it’s impossible to get a taxi,” says economics professor Hall. “It’s illustrative of the resistance to innovation.” Sometimes, Hall says, the best thing a government can do to promote innovation is get out of the way.
The regulations in the U.S. are rising at an alarming rate. They do create their own industry of employment: programmers, accountants and lawyers to help companies stay in compliance. Not to mention a big slurp for the paper industry. But such jobs add nothing to our productivity, and in the final analysis, what we produce for others to use is the core of our vitality.
So here we go. Where does Donald Trump stand on regulations? From an interview about plans for his first hundred days…
…one of the things we want to do, Joe, is get rid of regulations. And we have regulations that are —
[bumf by The Donald redacted]
[People]…talk about regulation more than they talk about taxes. Now, you know, one of the things we’re going to be doing is lowering taxes very substantially. We’re lowering the business tax. We’re lowering the tax on individuals. You know, we’re the highest taxed nation in the world, and we’re going to be lowering taxes. But Joe, more than even taxes, they [people at his rallies] talked about regulations. And it is, it’s terrible. I mean, I know from my businesses it’s terrible, but these people are affected even more than I am. And it’s incredible, when I listen to the stories, where people can’t even open up small businesses. They have to go through all sorts of rules, regulations, 90 percent of which have no bearing on what they do. So I think from the standpoint of your show, and the people that watch your show, we’re lowering taxes very substantially, and we’re going to be getting rid of a tremendous amount of regulations. And also having to do with energy, it’s so difficult for our country. I mean, it’s so, so difficult. I believe in solar, and I believe in all of the new forms that we’re coming up with. I use solar. But it’s about a 30-year payback, Joe. That’s not exactly something that people are going to be rushing out to buy, and they don’t have it perfected, and the strength isn’t there yet. And — but we’re going to be opening up energy. We’re going to get the miners back to work. We’re going to be doing a lot of things, Joe, to spur the economy.[my emphasis — D]
A few things to note: Trump is a businessman, not a politician. But that doesn’t mean he can’t strategize politically. That shot over Hillary’s bow (maybe even a direct hit amidships?) regarding the coal mines she wants to shut down? Political gold.
Does he lose the Greenie vote? No, because he never had it. He probably factored them out even as he factored in all those Bill Clinton votes in Appalachia that are now his.
Looking for #TrumpNews, I happened upon this piece (and yes, I am so very glad Breitbart is giving Europe seat and voice in the news. It’s so overdue):
Seems that while all the Republicans of any note plan to boycott the GOP Convention, Geert Wilders will be there. Definitely his American friends will be among Trump’s supporters:
Geert Wilders, who is presently facing charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Moroccans in his native Netherlands is a prominent leader in the European counter-jihad movement and has praised the Trump candidacy for its unaccommodating stance on Muslim mass migration.
Speaking out after Ted Cruz and John Kasich stood down from the Republican candidate race and left Mr. Trump as the only credible candidate earlier this week, Mr. Wilders said of Mr. Trump: “He has guts, a lot of good ideas and speaks to broad groups in society”, reports Rotterdam’s largest newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
Of the coming race against the candidate most likely to lead the Democrat Party into the 2016 election, Mr. Wilders said: “Clinton may well win in the primaries, but she is incredibly unpopular with the ordinary man and woman in the U.S. I give Trump a good chance”.
Reflecting on the rise of right wing populist politics on both sides of the Atlantic, including the seemingly all-conquering Mr. Trump and the likely victory of anti mass migration candidate in this month’s Austrian presidential elections, Mr. Wilders remarked:
“The patriotic spring in the U.S., Europe and Netherlands is unstoppable, trust me”.
Mr. Wilders called for Europe to close its borders to Muslim migrants in November, shortly before Mr. Trump called for a temporary halt on Muslim migration to the United States. Clearly impressed, Mr. Wilders said at the time:
“I hope [Donald Trump] will be the next US President. Good for America, good for Europe. We need brave leaders”.
The PVV leader takes a keen interest in the United States, and was present at the Garland Draw Mohammed Competition attack in 2015. Although he is a veteran campaigner himself, he has been taking clear hints from Mr. Trump’s forthright campaigning style, channeling the famous slogan by remarking “Make the Netherlands Great Again!” last month.
Yes, Mr. Trump raised a lot of eyebrows when he hired as his campaign finance manager a Soros ally. I don’t know much about Mr. Mnuchin — see here — but it should make people understand finally (if ever) that Donald Trump is not a politician. Not.a.politician.
The Donald built his successes (and owned his failures) on negotiating good deals more often — much more often — than he lost them. He will continue to make strategic business decisions in his campaign for president and they often will be outside-the-political-box decisions. Hillary’s counter-campaign will focus on these decisions, which will make her own quest take on the coloration of a reactive rant rather than pressing forward with her own ideas. It’s not hard to derail The Rage Gurl.
Meanwhile the rumors fly about Rudy Giuliani as Trump’s choice to head that dysfunctionally bloated bureaucratic bimboesque Homeland Security. That place will remain a blot on George W. Bush’s name until it closes. Fat chance. And speaking of fat, it’s obvious that Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, wants the vice-presidential nod. He risked ridicule and a cordon sanitaire by standing with Trump on stage when every other failed candidate treated The Donald as though he had a social disease. As though he were a social disease and the Devil Incarnate. Even businessmen understand payback, so Christie deserves some kind of plum for the horrendously difficult position he took. That is one I’ll be watching, i.e., how Trump treats Christie. It matters.
I’m not a Trump fan — I’ve never listened to more than two or three minutes of any speech, if that. So less than ten minutes…the man really is a megalomaniacal boor who takes twenty five words to say what could be conveyed with a fifth the verbiage. I’ve read them both and the list of lies by the current president would fill a book. And he has months more to ruin us. He’s a quiet megalomaniac.
Donald is megalomaniacal and he’s far louder. But he has one strength Obama hasn’t got at all: Trump is a consummate negotiator. He doesn’t always win, but he doesn’t spend time pouting or looking back. When Mexico’s President invited Trump down for a conference, I have little doubt he thought he can carve and slice the man to smithereens. I hope he’s done his homework on Trump’s track record.
Here’s the thing about Trump that #nevertrumpers don’t realize. He may not win, but he will make politics new again, at least as long as it holds his interest.
For the sake of our country’s welfare vis-à-vis the destructive globalists I hope he stays interested long enough to pull us out enough to get things moving again. Young people need jobs beyond the government sphere. Middle class people need to feel they have a voice. Old people want to know they’re not going to be swept up in the death panels of ObamaCare.
All I can suggest is that you give it time to see what develops between now and November. A businessman morphing into a presidential candidate without first establishing the requisite creds in the Senate or a governors’ mansion is unheard of. Almost. Dwight Eisenhower was a military man-college president and he could have gone with either party. Back then, the GOP had more gravitas than it does now. All the others listed here as “businessmen” cut their teeth in the lower ranks first. Even Herbert Hoover served in several government positions before running for President.
The other thing to watch for is some change in positions by Trump as he moves closer to November. Bearing in mind he’s a wheeler-dealer, expect him to backtrack in some areas. However, I doubt he will change his policies regarding the southern border, though he may craft his language more carefully.
And expect the more fragile of our feeble flowers to become even further unhinged as time moves on. The assassination attempts may never be very adept, but they are likely to occur. After all, this man proposes to make the whole country unsafe for them.
The B says yesterday was a good one, which is satisfying news indeed.
I’m a bit sad, though. This will be my final Fundraising post for the quarter. Oh well, I can always go on and on about other things. Like that horrible tragedy at Hillsborough and the continuing aftermath, something I knew nothing about till Sunday evening. To be so late to the event, and an American, feels intrusive. But it does explain some of the persecution of Tommy. Police-mindset, innit??
Yesterday’s donors arrived from the following places:
Stateside: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Texas
Near Abroad: Canada
Far Abroad: Australia, Croatia, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, and the UK
The Baron will be here tomorrow with the final fundraising post of the week.
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