What’s the most overblown issue of our times?

That was the question posed to a panel last night at FreedomFest, the most spectacularly interesting conference year after year I ever make my way to. In Las Vegas each year in July, a city more interesting than you might ever expect, and it has nothing to do with gambling or gamboling.

More later, but on the panel, each went for global warming (or whatever the in-fashion term might be) but the last panelist chose “White Supremacy” which, to me, won hands down.

Last night we were listening to Herman Cain, today it’s Candice Owen. If you want “diversity”, this is the place too come. Candice will be speaking on open borders.

And yet, in the hotel, Fox News was not in amongst the fifty or so stations I could choose from until I complained to management. The local paper politically is a super-charged version of The WP or NYT. How Trump keeps ahead is only because he is as articulate as he is, though every supposed error is featured beyond imagination.

And let me add these two items from Instapundit to round things out. Accusations of racism is the only arrow in the Democrat quiver and when you listen to “The Squad” – the new public face of the Democrats – there is nothing more repulsive and racist.

TAMMY BRUCE: Trump vs. AOC and ‘the squad’ – What bare-knuckle fight means for 2020.

Trump’s comments may be blunt, but they’re not “racist,” an accusation now thrown about by the Democrats as casually as saying hello. That, in fact, is the cold, hard strategy.

As Clay noted in his comments about Ocasio-Cortez accusing Pelosi of racism: “You’re getting push back so you resort to using the race card? Unbelievable.”

Unfortunately, it’s all too believable when smearing your opponents is the only card you have.

Still, after years of lies about his character and intention, USA Today reported the president’s approval rating among Republicans is now at 93 percent and the GOP’s approval rating among Americans is at 51 percent.

Trump is shoring up his base while at the same time turning Democrats against one another.

I’m not getting cocky, but this tumultuous week has nevertheless been a good week.

And then there’s this.

PAUL CURRY: The Squad to Re-Elect President Trump. “Donald Trump, by injecting himself into the Democrat’s civil war and compelling the Pelosi establishment to embrace the Squad, may have just pulled off a classic Tom Sawyer move. Rather than allowing the Democrats to reign in their extreme left flank and quell the temper-tantrum-like calls for impeachment, he has gotten the left to embrace their darker demons and make the Squad the face of the party. In doing so, he has made four freshman Congresswomen the Squad to Re-elect the President.”

It might be a Grand Master-level trolling event if Trump were to send them all campaign donations in the maximum amount.

It’s a pleasure to be at FreedomFest. Staying with my family in Toronto I never talked politics a single time. My wife, alas, wandered into a conversation with a cousin and never saw her insufferable indignation and anger coming, until it was too late. The shallower they are, the more angry they get is all I can say.

Trump not surreal at all


You can read my live blog here, and then there’s this news report, Donald Trump just gave an amazingly surreal speech in Las Vegas from which I will quote a bit to see how surreal the attitude of the headline writer is. The story is pretty accurate, and is worth reading through. The Drudge headline for the link is “Trump Rocks the House in Vegas”. It begins:

Donald Trump just gave one of the most bizarrely captivating speeches of his several-weeks-old campaign.

Standing in front of an animated screen in Las Vegas on Saturday, Trump spoke passionately for almost a half an hour, hitting some of his main talking points: President Barack Obama’s weakness, a ‘porous’ southern border, his business successes, and even Benghazi.

It was one of two similarly themed speeches in the day. Later, he spoke before a crowd of what his campaign said was more than 15,000 in Phoenix.

Trump made illegal immigration the primary focus of both speeches, railing against the Mexican government for supposedly sending undocumented immigrants to the US.

Although others like to compare him with Ronald Reagan, the closer comparison for me is with Dwight D. Eisenhower for whom his first elected office was also that of President. I thought it was a very effective speech, and while there are still lots of questions that must hang in the air for a while, there was nothing flaky about how he behaved or what he said. What made him different was that he was willing to take issues head on and not pussyfoot around. Hillary won’t take questions from reporters, all of whom are her friends and supporters. Trump took questions from the floor and answered every single question that the audience was willing to put up, both friendly and hostile. And while there were some vacant areas that he will have to think through more carefully, he made no mistake on the night. You would not want to write him off, at least not yet. For me he was much more impressive than Marco Rubio had been the day before.

UPDATE: Trump’s speech has had wide circulation here in the US. I am now at Stanford for the next couple of days and saw an AP story in the local press, garbled of course, and negative, but still mentioned. This, however, is the take from Breitbart: TRUMP IN VEGAS: SLAMS OBAMA, HILLARY, JEB… CROWD GOES WILD. Some of the flavour:

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Republican candidate Donald Trump addressed the FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas, telling delegates of his underestimated wealth, his passion for securing America’s border, the slanted portrayal of him in the mainstream media, and how he believes that China and Mexico have “smarter leaders” than the United States.

Some libertarians, who the conference is aimed at, believed that Trump would receive a hostile reception at FreedomFest. But the crowd was generally supportive, or at least open-minded, to Trump’s run. One delegate told Breitbart London, “He doesn’t pretend to be anything. People were surprisingly supportive of him.”

The report captures the essence of the surprise in finding Trump make sense about the issues he dwelt on. But his trying to locate his support within the Tea Party movement, as discussed in the report, may be the largest surprise of all.

Watching Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck came to Freedomfest and spoke for an hour, without notes but with a tonne of props. Extraordinarily impressive, he just used a series of artefacts to structure a story about the nature of the American dream. The most interesting part was the story of Washington crossing the Delaware. His back to the wall, only 2000 troops left, he wanted to attack the Hessians on the other side of the river. But these were the best soldiers in the world at the time so it was impossible to think how he could get his men to take them on.

It was then that Thomas Paine wrote about the times that try men’s souls. He described how Paine wrote the text on a drumhead, had it printed and sent to Washington. It was this text that had the men get into those boats and fight the battle that would begin the ascent. And the way Beck began the story was to say that the picture no longer exists because it was bombed into oblivion by the British when bombing Germany in 1945!

The painting, it seems, was by a German admirer of America who hated the left revolutionaries of Europe and painted the painting in homage. The painting had never been housed in America but in Germany. It was painted in admiration of the American way of politics. That same small but important admiration of America in Europe was shared by those in France who commissioned the Statue of Liberty. The assembly of the Statue was itself a different story, since it required the skills of a man who had been railroaded into jail during the Civil War, driven into a self-imposed exile, eventually went to work in Cairo for a French contractor, and when he came back home many years later, because of his experience was uniquely able to understand how to assemble the statue because he knew how to read French industrial drawings.

American exceptionalism remains and the home of the idea of freedom that others to this day wish to share.