Hillbilly Energy

By Rod Dreher

In retrospect, that interview in the summer was a seismic warning of the election earthquake to come in the fall.

In late June last year, Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance’s memoir of his tumultuous childhood lived on the border between Appalachia and the Rust Belt, appeared in bookstores, attracting little notice. A month later, an interview Vance did about the book with The American Conservative went viral, melting down this magazine’s internet server three times and propelling the book to the No. 1 slot on the New York Times bestseller list.

Vance, 31, became an overnight media star, the go-to guy to explain Donald J. Trump’s appeal to the white working class. As a Yale Law School graduate now working in finance in San Francisco, Vance straddled the sharp cultural and experiential divide between deepest Blue and deepest Red America. Given Trump’s stunning victory, and the fact that the Rust Belt delivered the win, Hillbilly Elegy was undoubtedly the most important political book of 2016.

What does the accidental hillbilly prophet see in Trump Nation’s future? Vance forecasts a great deal of instability ahead with challenges that he is not sure either party is capable of meeting. Come what may, though, the Hillbilly Elegy experience convinced its author that he has a calling to leave the world of high finance to take a hands-on role in helping to solve the social crisis his bestselling book so powerfully describes.

♦♦♦

Though a Republican, Vance was not a Trump supporter. Throughout the election season, he made it clear in interviews that he believed Trump to be a false messiah bound to break the hearts of his supporters.

Nevertheless, the Trump phenomenon was an apocalypse in the strict sense of the word—that is, an unveiling that revealed some startling truths about economic class and culture in America. In the aftermath of this historical election, Vance says the vote showed most of all how staggeringly out of touch elites—both liberals and conservatives—are with an enormous number of their fellow Americans.

“They couldn’t imagine that anyone would vote for Trump, couldn’t imagine that a person might not even love Trump but would vote for him anyway,” says Vance. “Something analogous happened with the book. So many readers have told me that they had no idea that people grew up like I did. They didn’t understand where so many of us came from, so they didn’t understand Trump.”

As the national media’s premier explainer of the Trump phenomenon, Vance says journalists searching themselves to see how they got so much wrong should get out of their coastal bubbles, choked with the acrid, blinding smoke of confirmation bias, and spend serious, sustained time among ordinary Americans—both those who voted for Trump, and those who hate him.

After all, identity is a complicated, many-layered thing. Hispanic voters were expected to despise Trump and turn out in record numbers to vote for Hillary Clinton. In the end, exit polling showed that Trump won 29 percent of the Hispanic vote. One working-class …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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John Stossel: President Trump has just broken my heart

By John Stossel I wasn’t a big Donald Trump backer — on TV I have called him a bully, a narcissist, etc. — but his first days were thrilling! …read more

Via:: Stossel

      

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John Stossel: President Trump has just broken my heart

By John Stossel I wasn’t a big Donald Trump backer — on TV I have called him a bully, a narcissist, etc. — but his first days were thrilling! …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Trump delivers somber SCOTUS nomination and even liberal media offer reluctant praise

By Dan Gainor Donald Trump delivered a somber and solemn Supreme Court nomination is less time than it takes to drive a few blocks in D.C. during rush hour. And most of the media ate it up. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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With Gorsuch, Trump Delivers

By Rod Dreher

So it’s Neil Gorsuch for SCOTUS: a jurist who is conservative, but not mad about it.

With this pick, the president has come through in a big way for socially conservative voters who chose him over Hillary Clinton because of the Supreme Court’s future. On Gorsuch’s views regarding religious liberty, Andrew T. Walker says:

In addition to his defense of Hobby Lobby’s religious liberty claim, Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion in a little-known but significant religious liberty case. In Yellowbear v. Lampert (2014), Gorsuch sided with the plaintiff, Andrew Yellowbear, a prisoner of native American descent who sued the Wyoming Department of Corrections for preventing him access to a sweat lodge which he argued was part of his faith. Gorsuch ruled that the Department of Correction violated Yellowbear’s religious rights.

In his ruling, Gorsuch noted that applicable law regarding sincerely held religious belief protects considerably more than the right to hold religious belief in private. Rather, the law protects religious exercise. He explained, “Even if others of the same faith may consider the exercise at issue unnecessary or less valuable than the claimant, even if some may find it illogical, that doesn’t take it outside the law’s protection. Instead, RLUIPA protects any exercise of a sincerely held religious belief. When a sincere religious claimant draws a line ruling in or out a particular religious exercise, “it is not for us to say that the line he drew was an unreasonable one.” He also cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1993) in his opinion, noting that it “passed nearly unanimously” and that “RFRA was (and remains) something of a ‘super-statute.’”

Gorsuch has not ruled on abortion case, but he has come out against euthanasia.

SCOTUS Blog has a thorough description and analysis of Gorsuch as nominee. Excerpt:

In fact, one study has identified him as the most natural successor to Justice Antonin Scalia on the Trump shortlist, both in terms of his judicial style and his substantive approach.

With perhaps one notable area of disagreement, Judge Gorsuch’s prominent decisions bear the comparison out. For one thing, the great compliment that Gorsuch’s legal writing is in a class with Scalia’s is deserved: Gorsuch’s opinions are exceptionally clear and routinely entertaining; he is an unusual pleasure to read, and it is always plain exactly what he thinks and why. Like Scalia, Gorsuch also seems to have a set of judicial/ideological commitments apart from his personal policy preferences that drive his decision-making. He is an ardent textualist (like Scalia); he believes criminal laws should be clear and interpreted in favor of defendants even if that hurts government prosecutions (like Scalia); he is skeptical of efforts to purge religious expression from public spaces (like Scalia); he is highly dubious of legislative history (like Scalia); and he is less than enamored of the dormant commerce clause (like Scalia). In fact, some of the parallels can be downright eerie. For example, the reasoning in Gorsuch’s 2008 concurrence in United States v. Hinckley, in which he argues that one possible reading of …read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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With Neil Gorsuch Trump has chosen an original for the Supreme Court

By F.H. Buckley President Donald Trump made it clear in 2016 that he wanted to appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court, and in nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch he’ll get one. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Trump taps Gorsuch: Why the ‘Scalia’ seat on the Supreme Court matters

By Jay Sekulow Judge Neil Gorsuch, like the late Justice Antonin Scalia, is a remarkably qualified nominee with a conservative judicial philosophy and a commitment to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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Juan Williams: Democrats, Neil Gorsuch and Trump. Get ready for a toxic combination, America

By Juan Williams The polarizing politics of the Trump presidential brand coupled with the very real prospect that Democrats could use the filibuster make for a toxic combination. …read more

Via:: Juan Williams

      

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Sloppy Western Reporting and the War on Yemen

By Daniel Larison

Western media coverage of the war on Yemen and U.S. support for it is very rare to begin with, so it is most unfortunate that some major outlets do such a horrible job when they do choose to cover it. Consider this garbage story from FoxNews:

The Iranian-backed suicide attack targeting a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen on Monday may have been meant for an American warship, two defense officials told Fox News.

There is absolutely no evidence to support this assertion about an intention to target U.S. ships, and the “analysis” behind the story depends entirely on the Houthi use of their standard slogan in a video. It is slipshod analysis presented in poor, largely context-free reporting, and it does a huge disservice to the audience by misleading them about a conflict that most Americans know little about. The reaction from experts and journalists was deservedly harsh:

This is quite stupid and also dangerous in the current climate. Very irresponsible. https://t.co/7oOw9oGhTS

— Michael Hanna (@mwhanna1) January 31, 2017

Hey @FoxNews this article is utter nonsense and thus makes me think you’re fanning the flames for conflict with Iran https://t.co/IKBxR4FJ0l

— Laura Kasinof (@kasinof) January 31, 2017

As stupid as it is dangerous. Scary that there are officials w such minimal understanding of Yemen in key positions.https://t.co/DWqmiMLjxh

— Adam Baron (@adammbaron) January 31, 2017

Based on the info I have now, this story appears to be false and/or possibly based on incredibly bad analysis of a Houthi slogan. #Yemen pic.twitter.com/M4IbBjTkl4

— Samuel Oakford (@samueloakford) January 31, 2017

As ever, the extent of Iranian involvement in the war has been grossly exaggerated. Describing the attack on a Saudi ship as “Iranian-backed” is both inaccurate and inflammatory, and it ignores that the Houthis and their allies have their own reasons to target Saudi vessels engaged in attacking and starving their country. The danger in promoting such falsehoods is that it aids Saudi propaganda, encourages the administration to continue our shameful support for the war, and distorts the public’s already limited understanding of a conflict that the U.S. has been involved in for almost two years.

The problem here isn’t just that the claims made in the story are nonsense, but that they obscure the extensive enabling role that the U.S. had in wrecking Yemen while stoking fear about threats to U.S. ships for which there is no evidence. Further, the fact that the officials quoted in the story seem to have such a poor understanding of Yemen and the war there is especially alarming in light of our government’s ongoing involvement in supporting the Saudi-led campaign. If one wanted to stoke tensions between the U.S. and Iran on purpose on the flimsiest of pretexts, this is the sort of poor reporting of bad analysis one would publish.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative

      

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Gregg Jarrett: Trump was right to fire acting Attorney General Yates for breaching her duty

By Gregg Jarrett Sally Yates deserved to get canned. Now, the bar association should consider yanking her license to practice law. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines

      

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