Friday, November 25, 2016

Lat Night of the Proms

Englishness gone mad
In The Road to Little Dribbling, Bill Bryson describes his British Citizenship test. He was asked to identify Sake Dean Mahomet (introduced shampoo to Britain), the other name for the 1944 Education Act (The Butler Act), who Jenson Button is (Formula One racing driver), what is the actual name of Big Ben (the Elizabeth Tower) and other such important and essential bits and bobs relating to British culture.

There is an easier way to do this. Simply require candidates to watch The Last Night of the Proms and disqualify them if they regurgitate during the performance: It would certainly discriminate between the unsuitable and the seriously unstable, both of which we don't really want or need in Britain.

Nothing else comes close to capturing the essence of the English character in all its glory than the Last Night of the Proms. The Last Night is really the official end of the British Summer, so much as summer actually exists here. The venue is the Royal Albert Hall. I know this for my step-son used to work there. Stories he tells of the antics at the Last Night are the stuff of which legends are made.

Prom is short for promenade concert, a term which originally referred to outdoor concerts in London's pleasure gardens, where the audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing.”

The Last Night of the Proms celebrates British tradition with patriotic music of the United Kingdom. That's the bare-bones explanation. The reality is something actually and seriously quite different.

Many people's perception of the Proms is taken from the Last Night, although this concert is very different from the others. It usually takes place on the second Saturday in September, and is broadcast in the UK on BBC Radio 3, and on BBC2 (first half) and BBC1 (second half). The concert is traditionally in a lighter, 'winding-down' vein, with popular classics being followed by a series of British patriotic pieces in the second half of the concert. This sequence traditionally includes Edward Elgar's "Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1" (to part of which "Land of Hope and Glory" is sung, n.b. to which I often append the sub title, “Land of Shite and Tories”) and Henry Wood's "Fantasia on British Sea Songs", followed by Thomas Arne's "Rule, Britannia!".

However, the "Fantasia" did not feature from 2008 to 2011, though "Rule, Britannia!" has retained its place in the programme in its own right. The full "Fantasia" re-appeared in 2012, but was again absent from the 2013 concert. The concert concludes with Hubert Parry's "Jerusalem" (a setting of a poem by William Blake), and the British national anthem, in recent years in an arrangement by Benjamin Britten. The repeat of the Elgar March at the Last Night can be traced to the spontaneous audience demand for a double encore at its première at a 1901 Proms concert. The closing sequence of the second half became fully established in 1954 during Sargent's tenure as chief conductor of the Proms. The Prommers have made a tradition of singing "Auld Lang Syne" after the end of the concert, but it was not included in the programme until 2015. However, when James Loughran, a Scot, conducted the Last Night concert in the late 1970s and early 1980s he included the piece as part of the programme. Since 2009, "You'll Never Walk Alone", for audience participation has been included annually– a contribution made by the current Proms director, Roger Wright.”

I had to include this Wikipedia explanation just to set the stage, for I believe nothing quite like The Last Night exists in any other country or culture. It is so saccharinely sweet and intrinsically twee that it would be impossible to either imitate or even replicate to a close approximation. And then again, why would you want to?

This year's guest tenor was, as the Telegraph put it, “Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez steals the show at Last Night of the Proms as he delights fans with Inca costume.” His finale was Wahine Guantamamea sung whilst wearing his Inca King gear. No, I'm not making this up – he pranced around the stage dressed as a gooney bird and sang Land of Hope and Glory to thousands of Union Jack-waving pelicans in the crowd – the assemblage which contains possibly the greatest collection of saddos and wierdos on the planet (with the exception of the Mathematics Department at Birmingham University). He warmed up by singing various operatic pieces. At this point, they show sub-titles in English, but this does not really help. Even the most rudimentary of language students can see that the sub-titles bear no actual resemblance to what is being sung.

Now, I will not abuse those who like opera: I just never found the reason or sense in it. There is no melody. It's is really just organised shouting (in a foreign language).

I particularly enjoy it when the camera focuses on the orchestra. Now these folks are very skilled musicians. But the whole shemozzle is so artificial that it positively reeks of sycophancy. The first violin believes he is the modern-day equivalent of Julius Caesar's First Spear Centurion. The promenaders ooze orgasmic noises when he deigns to wave at them. (Hand me the sick bag please, Hazel) And, I really wish someone could explain to me why there are no left-handed violin players in an orchestra?

I tracked this down:


I am a left handed violinist, as in bow in left hand. I play classical, as well as many other styles.

In your opinion, what would be my odds of getting into an orchestra? Be honest, say what you feel and think.

Obviously there a big stigma attached to playing left handed in the classical world.

Answer (or should I say Antwort?)

You want me to be honest, so I will. I have been a manager of orchestras and professional musicians for more than 30 years and I have to tell you stand NO CHANCE at all of getting a job in an orchestra if you play the wrong way around. Your bow will always be going in the wrong direction, with the potential to clash with your stand partner. You will also 'look' very strange in the middle of a section. Also, your instrument will be facing the opposite way to everyone else's, leading to balance problems. There is no 'stigma' against left-handed players in music. There is a higher proportion of left-handed people in the music profession than almost any other strand of society. However, they were not as unlucky as you in being 'allowed' to play a string instrument back-to-front.

Every left-handed string player I know (and there are lots, owing to the relatively high proportion of left-handers in the music business) was taught to play the correct way. They actually have the advantage of using their strong hand to play all those fiddly left-hand fingerings.

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you should never have been allowed to learn to play 'the wrong way'.

My case is well and truly rested. 20% of the population are excluded just for being born left-handed! Where is the march on Downing Street?

The finale includes Jerusalem – words by that well-known drug addict William Blake who must have been high as a kite when he postulated that Jesus strolled about England. Because it has become a kind of English pseudo-anthem tells you all you need to know of the real English character. Odd, weird, jingoistic, mad as a March Hare.

The finish is Auld Lang Syne and two verses of God Save the Queen. Since no-one actually knows more than one verse now-a-days they have the big screen with the words helpfully scrolling by. How thoughtful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sunday Times does the election

The Sunday Times Does the Election

        a view from across the pond

From Camille Paglia

Talentless, venal Clinton deserved to lose. . . . any other Democrat would have won this election because so many people voted for Trump just to stop the utterly sociopathic Hillary from gaining office. . . . Bill Clinton was a skilled politician – I voted for him twice – who knew how to negotiate with people and enjoyed public life - but Hillary had none of these qualities. . . she rose to prominence on her husband's coat tails and never accomplished anything on her own. . . her attempts to reform healthcare as first lady were a disaster . . . she became senator for New York through pure nepotism . . . as Secretary of State she spent a lot of time on airplanes meeting people and shaking hands . . her only legacy was destabilizing North Africa . . . we must terminate all connections with the Clintons . . . they must be consigned to the dustbin of history . . . they have drained too much of our mental and political energy for 25 years.

From John Glancy in Wilkes-Barre. Pa.

77 year old Joe Brown voted for Obama in the last two elections. . . this year he switched to the Republicans . . . why? . . . we need a change . . . Obama did nothing . . . Brown loathes the system and the “Washington elites” . . . people are angry about illegal immigration . . . in Wilkes-Barre the Hispanic population has increased by 523% . . . it would have been difficult to find a candidate worse placed to win in Wilkes-Barre than Clinton . . . academic, dynastic, elite . . . Maureen Frank, 58, believes people voted for Trump because “they're uneducated, they're idiots” . . .

From Niall Ferguson

. . . the politics of the Republic has always been a blood sport . . . at least this year we didn't have an actual duel of the sort that killed Alexander Hamilton in 1804 . . . the economist Paul Krugman wrote in The New York Times, “people like me . . . truly didn't understand the country we live in . . . We thought that the great majority of Americans valued democratic norms and the rule of law. It turns out we were wrong. . . a huge number of white people living in rural areas don't share our ideas of what America is about. For them it is about blood and soil (Hitler's German: Blut und Boden) refers to an ideology that focuses on ethnicity based ideas – my italics) about traditional patriarchy and racial hierarchy. . . I (Ferguson) received an email from my old university, “we have heard from students, faculty and staff who have expressed anger, anxiety and fear . . .take care of yourselves and give support to those who need it” . . . the Founding Fathers provided for this . . . Alexander Hamilton warned “of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants”. . . It will not be like that. This is how democracy in America was and is meant to work . . . the hysteria on the left is partly because being this wrong has to hurt . . . the Princeton Election Consortium gave Clinton a 98-99% chance of winning . . . how did they get it so wrong? . . . it was very close . . . Clinton was predicted to get 47% of the vote, she got 47.7% . . . the pollsters critically underestimated Trump's vote . . . predicting he'd get 44% . . . in fact he got 47.5%. . . most waverers and undecideds chose Trump . . . if just one in a hundred votes chose Clinton over Trump she would have won 307-231. . . nice try, but no cigar . . . Democrats assumed the Electoral College would help their candidate . . .it did not . . .because Trump spoke in so derogatory terms about Mexicans and Muslims, partly because his campaign won the support of white supremacists, the standard liberal answer is race won it for Trump. . . at first sight the whitewash theory seems to be supported by the data. . . Trump beat Clinton 62%-33% in counties that are at least 85% white. . . in placed where 97% of the population was born in America he won 65%-30% . . . yet 29% of Hispanics voted for Trump - same percentage of Asians and 37% of other racial groups – even 1 in 12 black Americans voted for him . . .but, class turned out to matter at least as much as race. . . your income, your education and your distance from a big city were at least as predictive as your colour . .
the hillbillies were not too drunk or drugged to vote. . . for the average American family the last 16 years have been a round trip via a massive financial crisis . . . Yale economist Ray Fair's simple model which predicts elections on the basis of economic performance clearly pointed to a Democratic defeat. . . lots of well-educated Americans voted for Trump . . . more than half of the over 64's voted for Trump, less than third of 18-24's. . . women voted for Trump 53% of them. . . the status quo offered by Clinton can be summed up as SNAFU – but the alternative may well be FUBAR. . . the word “work” featured nine times in Trump's victory speech . . . deal with it.

From Ron Liddle

I see that John Kerry, the US Secretary of State has been on a trip to Antarctica. Good move. Get used to it John – it's where your staggeringly inept party will be, metaphorically, for at least four years. Get used to the silence and the desolation and the whale-blubber sandwiches. . . the list of utterly pointless people ferried to the North or South Pole by the climate change monkeys is so lengthy they even asked me to go on one of these daft beanos . . . why would I do that? . . . it's cold there . . . I do not believe, as does the President-elect that climate change is a “Chinese hoax” . . . I think climate change is probably happening . . . it's all the attendant baloney that makes me wish to reach for my revolver, if I had one . . . perhaps the most stupid policy was the rush for diesel . . . children can now look forward to choking, nausea and turning blue as a consequence of nitrogen oxide poisoning . . there are calls to ban diesel cars from London's roads . . . But nothing beats wind farms . . . nothing comes close . . . the Scots in particular are gung-ho and aim to destroy the beauty of their entire country by planting them wherever . . . they do enormous damage . . . offshore wind-farms are basically Moulinex blenders for gannets and kittiwakes . . . they discombobulate whales and mince bats (I include this article just to show that Mr Trump is not alone in his environmental scepticism!)

Sunday Times lead editorial page 18

The election of Donald Trump broke so many precedents it is not surprising that the world has been left wondering what will happen next in Washington . . . Mr Trump's victory was not quite a “Dewey defeats Truman moment . . . but it came close . . .pollsters expected a clear win for Clinton, the most optimistic model gave him a 29% chance . . . it is important that Trump's victory should not be seen as the end for free trade, open markets and globalisation . . . the election, after all, was between two candidates notable for their lack of appeal – Mr Trump was regarded by enough people as the lease worst . . . another Democratic candidate might have won easily, just as another Republican might have beaten Mrs Clinton by a larger margin . . . Trump won because he spoke directly to the American working class . . . in the rust belt they probably do not expect him to reopen mothballed steel mills and closed coal mines (I'm not so sure about that!) . . .the Democrats are losing touch with their traditional power-base but have not quite lost it . . . people need to be convinced that open markets benefit them and not just big corporations . . . people do not like open borders and uncontrolled immigration . . . Politicians who ignore, this, as Mrs Clinton mainly did, will suffer . . . Jean-Claude Juncker always strikes the wrong note on behalf of the EU. “We need to teach the President-elect what Europe is and how it works, predicting two wasted years whilst Trump tours a world he doesn't know . . . Angela Merkel, whose open door immigration policy ranks as on of the gravest errors of recent times, offered to work with Trump only on the basis of the values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views . . . Europe seems determined not to learn anything from Trump's victory . . . our “special relationship” may become rather important again in the next few years.

A snippet Teresa May – better safe than sorry

The Prime Minister wore a sari to visit a temple in Bangalore for the final day of her trip to India last week. It's now traditional for visiting leaders to wear the costume of their host country. George W Bush and Vladimir Putin wore traditional silk jackets in China in 2001 and Chilean ponchos during a summit in Santiago in 2004. So, here is the appeal to Teresa May, when Donald Trump comes to Britain for his first state visit, we beg of you: don't let him anywhere near Brighton beach and its nudist beach.

From Adam Boulton

Donald Trump is making nice . . . He praised and looked forward to dealing with Barack Obama . . . he told Americans they owe Hillary Clinton a debt of gratitude . . . even professional protesters got a backhanded compliment . . . just like Brexit, no-one saw this coming – including the candidate himself . . . several hours after the polls closed the Republican pollster, Frank Luntz stated flatly that Mrs Clinton was the next president . . . (I'm just guessing, but he may now be looking for another job) . . . Nationwide Mrs Clinton got 444 000 more votes than Mr Trump, but Trump won 30 states to Clinton's 20, so nobody (except real hard-core numpties!) is disputing the result . . . the winner has abandoned his claim that the system was rigged . . . an unabashed Nigel Farage hastened to the US offering to the the “responsible adult” in the room when the PM and the President meet . . . nobody in the US was remotely interested in what Britain was saying . . it seems with each new President we have a nervous breakdown over whether we are cringing low enough before our masters and whether they really love us . . . his team: veteran right-wingers who remained loyal to him, many of them failed candidates – Rudy Guilianil, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie . . . these are all establishment figures, not blue-collar insurgents . . . and none is a noted friend of the UK . . . Trump's priorities are domestic . . . Mrs May should be careful . . . hugging the President (watch out for your bum Teresa!) got Tony Blair involved in Iraq and Afghanistan . . . Trump's foreign policy statements have been contradictory, sometimes isolationist, sometimes aggressive . . . to tie the UK too closely to Trump in the hope of scavenging from the billionaires table would be rash.

From Heather MacDonald

America's Republican elite are as stunned by Trump's conquest of the White House as the Democrats and the press . . . They shouldn't be, since they created the conditions that led to his improbable victory . . . for decades the Repubs suppressed the debate about the costs of mass low-skilled immigration . . . questioning the open borders policy led to charges of xenophobia or were simply ignored . . . immigration was said to be unalloyed good . . . however, residents of areas with large numbers of low-skilled immigrants were experiencing a different reality exemplified by California, the state most transformed by mass immigration . . . the majority of babies now born there are Hispanic and Hispanics have expanded their numbers six-fold since 1970 . . . in the 1950's and 60's California led the country in educational achievement, today the percentage of students lacking the most rudimentary maths and reading skills matches those in Miss, Louisiana, Alabama . . . (so why are Californians still voting for the Dems?) . . . Hispanics have the highest rate of unwed teen pregnancy of any group in the nation . . . low-skilled immigrants depress the wages of less-educated workers . . . in 2016 only two in three American adults without a college degree were working . . . thanks to competition from low-skilled immigrants . . . to go by his campaign performance Trump would seem a deeply-flawed national leader – thin-skinned – childishly vindictive and almost pathologically narcissistic but voters were willing to overlook his failings because he voiced their concerns on immigration . . . the Republican establishment could have prevented the Donald's rise years ago by subjecting its open borders orthodoxies to empirical testing and to good faith moral criticism . . . it has fallen to a boorish reality TV star to articulate some basic truths: the citizens possess the right to police their borders; a country's immigration policy should serve first and foremost the interests of its citizens; and lawlessness in one area breeds lawlessness in many others . .
Trump's famous “wall” is far less important than the enforcement of immigration laws in the interior of the county, including against employers . . . the country watches breathlessly for every hopeful sign that the seriousness of the office he has won will make Trump mature and teach him long-overdue impulse control.

Jeremy Clarkson – as usual had the last word

Almost all my friends are bleeding-heart liberals . . .they host fund-raising evenings t buy padded bras for people with trans-gender issues and they are utterly bewildered and devastated by the Brexit vote . . . they cannot understand why we are leaving because everyone they ever met in their pastry shop and dinner party and on the touch-line of every school sports pitch wanted to remain . . . of course they are completely stunned by the Donald Trump thing, because the Americans they know seem so sensible . . . “I was with Gwyneth only last night trying out some smoothies and she's such a lovely girl . . . they can't understand the US election result because they all go to America a lot and to them the place always seems so reasonable . . . they stay at the Mercer in New York and Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica California . . . all the celebs were for Hillary and she lost . . . (I've been trying for what seems a life-time to explain to the English that the real America lies, in general and in the most part, between New York and California) . . .
Now they are wondering if democracy has had its time . . . if I were to suggest that people with low IQ's (another one of Adolf's great ideas!) should be given less of a say in who runs the country than those in Mensa, most would nod sagely and say pensively, “It may have to come to that, because it's ridiculous that my cleaning lady has the same influence in an election as me.” . . . But I'll let you into a little secret . . . all those words that I cannot use any more in this newspaper . . . all those jokes no-one can say any more on TV . . . all those phrases that are no longer socially acceptable in Notting Hill and the home counties . . . well, up North you will hear all of them, all the time . . . political correctness simply doesn't exist in a Doncaster pub . . . because there is no time to worry about the correct word for “cross-dresser” when you haven't got the money . . .in parts of America there are people who spend all day in a queue for the food bank . . . how much of a shit do you think they give about trans-gender issues or polar bears” . . . in parts of Britain all my friends see from their Range Rover window as they drive to Scotland for a bit of shooting are towns and villages full of young people who have nothing to do all day but reproduce . . . Dims breeding dims, is what my grandfather used to say . . . every time there's an election some politician come on the TV they half-inched (stolen, I translate from British to American – ain't I wonderful!) to say he will make life better, so they vote for him and then find out later that his idea of underprivileged is actually someone who wants to dress up in a frock (dress). . . yes my heart bleeds for those who are bullied because of their sex or their looks or their sexual orientation, but it only bleeds because I've got a ton of money and two houses . . . if I had an empty larder (kitchen cupboard) and a rash and a terrible hacking cough, I assure you of this: I wouldn't care a bit . . . Trump talked a lot of nonsense in his campaign, if I were to meet him I'd probably dislike him on a cellular level; however he said the politicians had let the poor down . . . Ker-ching; he said they would always let the poor down . . . Ker-ching . . . and the only thing that could provide them with jobs and money was business – big business . . . Ker-ching again . . . they said, Yep, the future's bright, the future's orange . . .happily I have a solution . . .The Palace of Westminster is to be closed for essential repairs . . . MP's will have to meet somewhere else and I reckon they should all go to Hartlepool (they hung the monkey – I mean yes they really did hang a monkey – look it up on Wikipedia) . . . after a few years in this former steel town they might start to understand that in the big scheme of things Eddie Izzard's right to wear a pink beret is not that important (look that one up as well)

Friday, November 11, 2016

A House Divided

Trump Trumps All

Well, it's over. After what must surely rank as the strangest, most polarized campaign in history, Donald Trump is now the President-elect.

You have to go back to Abraham Lincoln's election to find an equivalent shake-up to the established order – and we all know where that led us.

Not since Dwight Eisenhower, a war hero with extensive experience of “governing” the most fragile coalition in history, has anyone entered the Oval Office with less governmental experience. This may or may not be a bad thing, but it is certainly unique.

First of all, how did he do it? As more and more information becomes known, it seems that almost anyone except Hillary could have won for the Democrats. In many respects, she lost it more that he won it.

But, it cannot be quite that simple. The fact is she got more votes, but he got them were it mattered. In state after state, he won a majority by simply not being Ms Clinton. Folks were not sure of much, other than that they were fed up with the Establishment and wanted a change. (Remind anyone of Brexit?). Out in the rust-belt where jobs have gone overseas and the blue-collar has not been replaced by the white collar the anger was thick and sloppy enough to cut with a dull butter knife.The more the voters were told about the bullying tactics of Trump, the misogamy, the crazy ideas and the lack of a coherent plan, the less they seemed to care. They wanted change, almost any change, and now they've got it.

I saw a quasi-poll that had Bernie Sanders running The Donald a close race and maybe winning. Why? Bernie was fresh, he was new, he was seen as a outsider and he was saying unpalatable things that upset the Establishment. Ditto The Donald.

Where do we go from here?

First, back to Lincoln who told us that a house divided against itself cannot stand. The protestors currently roaming the streets of New York, Chicago, Seattle and other great cities must be heard, but they must not be allowed to spoil the Trump victory with their vitriolic asserton that they will not accept the result. That is not the American way. Donald Trump has said he intends to be a President for all the people. He must get a chance to deliver.

But, deliver what?

The parties all publish their platforms. (In Britain they are called Manifestos.) What was in the Republican platform and can they deliver it? Here's what they said:


The establishment of a pro-growth tax code as a moral imperative. We oppose
retroactive taxation. We condemn attempts by activist judges at any level of government to seize the power of the purse from the people’s elected representatives by ordering higher taxes. We oppose tax policies that deliberately divide Americans or promote class warfare. Because of the vital role of religious organizations, charities, and fraternal benevolent societies in fostering generosity and patriotism, they should not be subject
to taxation and donations to them should remain deductible. To guard against hypertaxation of the American people in any restructuring of the federal tax system, any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment. (Income Tax – my interjection and explanation) to switch to a territorial system of taxation so that profits earned and axed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment here at home. We believe American companies should be headquartered in America.

Well, they would say that wouldn't they. All parties say they are going to simplify the tax system, and raise more money whist actually cutting rates. It's what parties do. I remember The Donald telling the voters that the national debt had to be cut. How? When? Where?

Freeing financial markets

The Republican vision for American banking calls for establishing transparent, efficient markets where consumers can obtain loans they need at reasonable rates based on market conditions.

Hard to argue with this one – you might as well argue against Mom's apple pie. As usual the devil is in the detail.

Increase transport infastructure

Our country’s investments in transportation and other public construction have traditionally been non-partisan. Everyone agrees on the need for clean water and safe roads, rail, bridges, ports, and airports. President Eisenhower established a tradition of Republican leadership in this regard by championing the creation of the interstate highway system. In recent years, bipartisan cooperation led to major legislation improving the nation’s ports and waterways.

This looks like one of the key points that President Trump is going to be able to move on and move on quickly. Infastructure means improved competitiveness for business and lots of construction jobs for Trump supporters. Dare I mention The New Deal – or will many Republicans faint if I do?

Building the Future: America’s Electric Grid:

Our nation’s interstate electric transmission system has long been a catalyst for developing and delivering low cost energy while spurring economic growth throughout the United States. The grid is aging, vulnerable to cyber and terrorist threats, and unprepared to serve our energy needs of tomorrow.

Ditto the infastucture comments. Add the shale gas and the coal question. Can Trump find common ground with West Virginia miners and new-age, mega-bucks shale gas drillers?

Start-up Century: Small Business and Entrepreneurship

A central reason why the 20th century came to be called the American Century was the ability of individuals to invent and create in a land of free markets. Back then they were called risk-takers, dreamers, and small business owners. Today they are the entrepreneurs, independent contractors, and small business men and women of our new economy. Their innovation drives improvement. . .

Standard Republican fare here extolling the virtues of laissez-faire capitalism. But, when we are competing with countries who do not subscribe to this economic model, chiefly the Chinese, it does seem a bit pie-in-the-sky. Interestingly, it seems that the entrepreneurs of small-town America may have been the source of Trump's votes in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Workplace Freedom for a 21st Century Workforce (Republicans are traditionally anti-union or at least as ambivalent towards organised labor as the Conservative Party in the UK)

The greatest asset of the American economy is the hard-working American. That is why our first priority is getting people back to work by fostering the kind of growth that creates jobs.

Can't argue with this! Just tell us what it means.

A Federal Workforce Serving the People

We urge Congress to bring federal compensation and benefits in line with the standards of most American employees. A Republican administration should streamline personnel procedures to expedite the firing of bad workers, tax cheats, and scammers. The unionization of the federal workforce, first permitted by Democrat presidents in the 1960s, should be reviewed by the appropriate congressional committees to examine its effects on the cost, quality, and performance of the civil service. Union representatives in the federal workforce should not be paid to conduct union business on the public’s time.

Standard Republican ideas.

Reducing the Federal Debt

We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations. A strong economy is one key to debt reduction, but spending restraint is a necessary component that must be vigorously pursued.

Hard to square this one with the promise of infastructure improvements. In common with all governments, the reduction in debt is really tied to pie-in-the-sky improvements in the overall economy. If this happens debt can be repaid. If not?

We the People

We reaffirm the Constitution’s fundamental principles: limited government, separation of powers, individual liberty, and the rule of law. We denounce bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance. Therefore, we oppose discrimination based on race, sex, religion, creed, disability, or national origin and support statutes to end such discrimination. As the Party of Abraham Lincoln, we must continue to foster solutions to America’s difficult challenges when it comes to race relations today.

Anyone against this one? I should hope not.

The Judiciary

The rule of law is the foundation of our Republic. A critical threat to our country’s constitutional order is an activist judiciary that usurps powers properly reserved to the people through other branches of government. Only a Republican President will appoint judges who respect the rule of law expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, including the inalienable right to ife and the laws of nature and nature’s God, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia. We are facing a national crisis in our judiciary. We understand that only by electing a Republican President in 2016 will America have the opportunity for up to five new constitutionally-minded Supreme Court justices appointed to fill vacancies on the Court. Only such appointments will enable courts to begin to reverse the long line of activist decisions — including Roe, Obergefell, and the Obamacare cases — that have usurped Congress’s and states’ lawmaking. . .

This is a tough one. Reading it one way, you could be excused for thinking that the Republican party has lost its sense of the historical, constitutional process. The Constitution makes it clear that the three branches, President, Congress and the Judiciary are co-equal. Any attempt by any party to tamper with this principle is not only bound to fail but will simply garner the opprobrium of the American people. Even FDR found this out when he tried to pack the Supreme Court to get his New Deal legislation passed.

Reading it another way, it is true that the President can nominate Supreme Court judges who he thinks will see things his way. (This doesn't always work) Congress will scrutiize their appointment. The Donald made great pay in the campaign about Hillary appointing Supreme Court judges and how this must be opposed. He may well get some of his own medicine.

Administrative Law

We call on Congress to begin reclaiming its constitutional powers from
the bureaucratic state by requiring that major new federal regulations be approved by Congress before they can take effect, such as through the Regulation Freedom Amendment.

That's the way it's supposed to work. Just need to know what “major” is?

Defending Marriage Against an Activist Judiciary

Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values.

This echoes Roe v Wade – another part of the circle which is going to be difficult to square as many of Trump'ssupporters will not, I believe, support restictions on either gay marriage or abortion. States rights?

It has always surprised me that either and/or both political parties seem to want to legislate public morality. Did they not learn from the Prohibition debacle?

On a personal level, I oppose on-demand abortion. But, I don't believe I have the right to impose my morality on others. The Republican-led federal government should stay out of the morality game. They can't win.

The First Amendment Religious Liberty

We pledge to defend the religious beliefs rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard religious institutions against government control.


The First Amendment: - Constitutionally Protected Speech

We believe the forced funding of political candidates through union dues and other mandatory contributions violates the First Amendment. Just as Americans have a First Amendment right to devote resources to favored candidates or views, they have a First Amendment right not to be forced to individually support individuals or ideologies that they oppose. We agree with Thomas Jefferson that “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

Fairly typical Republican anti-union stuff here; however I agree – except workers who benefit from “closed-shop” agreements lawfully entered into by unions and employers, Workers can not opt-out simply to become cheap-skates! BTW the sound you may hear is Jefferson spinning rapidly in his grave when he is the subject of praise from a party whose ideas he would certainly oppose if he were alive.

The Second Amendment: Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms

We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle.

Nonsense. I support the Second Amendment. I do not believe the right to bear arms is unqualified. I'm presuming this is in the platform to pander to the NRA. This is a good example of why some people voted for Trump. People supported him for a variety of reasons.

The Fourth Amendment: Liberty and Privacy

Affirming the Fourth Amendment “right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” we call for strict limitations on the use of aerial surveillance on U.S. soil, with the exception of patrolling our national borders for illegal entry and activity.

Typical politicians fudge. No unreasonable searches except when we think it's a good idea.

The Fifth Amendment: Protecting Human Life

. . . we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.

As I said, I support this philosophically, but it is a classic example of “Lord make me holy! (But not quite yet, please!)

The Fifth Amendment: Protecting Private Property

We call on Congress and state legislatures to enact reforms to protect law-abiding
citizens against abusive asset forfeiture tactics.

Sensible if applied sensibly. Not sensible if large landowners are allowed to milk the public purse.

The Fifth Amendment: Intellectual Property Rights

Today, the worst offenses against intellectual property rights come from abroad, especially in China. We call for strong action by Congress and a new Republican president to enforce intellectual property laws against all infringers, whether foreign or domestic.

Trump has already strongly hinted that the party is over for the Chinese. Good. Easy, quick and poular policy – except for the fact that they might ask for the debt to be repaid, like now.

The Ninth Amendment: The People’s Retained Rights

We welcome to our ranks all citizens who are determined to reclaim the rights of the people that have been ignored or usurped by the federal and intrusive state governments.

I suspect that what they mean is the things that they don't like.

The Tenth Amendment: Federalism as the Foundation of Personal Liberty

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

States rights? Not again, surely! The Congress must not attempt to usurp the powers of the Supreme Court.

Honest Elections and the Electoral College

We oppose the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and any other scheme to abolish or distort the procedures of the Electoral College.

I agree, despite the fact that Clinton won the popular vote. Remember Lincoln only won the popular vote in 1860 because he was not on the ballot in many southern states. The electoral college is a guarantee of state's legitimate rights.

Honest Elections and the Right to Vote

In order to preserve the principle of one person, one vote, we urge our elected representatives to ensure that citizenship, rather than mere residency, be made the basis for the apportionment of representatives among the states.


The rest of the platform is really just a list of aims and ideas. Nothing wrong with that but it does occupy more than half of the platform pages with waffle.

When the dust settles what have we got?

A Republican President and a Republican controlled Congress should be able to get things done. People will be waiting, not very patiently, for them to get on with it. All Presidents get 100 days to get moving. President Trump will be no different. He has already hinted that big things are going to happen. Can he turn the rhetoric into action? The Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, has said he is ready to seize the initiative, work with the adiministration and get things moving. Can he carry the house with him?

In the Senate it's 48 Dems and 52 Repubs. Trump should have support in the Senate, but Senators are notorious for their independence. Could be interesting.

The same can be said for the Supreme Court. Congress should be able to ratify any Trump nominees, but any really overt political ones may have problems.

The Bottom Line

I'm encouraged by most of the noises coming out of the President-elect's camp. Perhaps the reality of his achievement has just sunk in, but he certainly looks and sounds more presidential. He wants to be everyone's President and although all Presidents-elect say that I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Only time will tell if he can bridge the gulf between rhetoric and reality. Perhaps, as a reality TV star he will find it easy. Somehow I've got my doubts.