The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Wile E. Coyote

The Wile E. Cayote of the U.S. House of Reps, Adam Schiff, has enlisted a motley crew of helpers to try to catch the Road Runner, Donald Trump. Among the players in the motley crew are Nancy Pelosi, who has been dragged kicking and screaming into an impeachment vote that I suspect she knows (deep down) will not end well, and Gerald Nadler, who plays the role of the large boulder that Wile E continually tries to drop on the Road Rummer. Among other members of the motley crew are a brain trust that includes Democrat congress men and women (Richard Blumenthal and Maxine Waters come to mind) who have howled for Trump's impeachment since before he was inaugurated.

Wile E. thinks that by lying about "bribery" and/or "quid pro quo" that resulted in aid that was never given to the Ukraine (oh, wait, the aid was given to the Ukraine) for an investigation of the corrupt Biden father and son (oh, wait, the investigation never happened). Wile E., along with other members of the motley crew, keep telling us with a degree of solemnity that is laughable that they are doing this to "save our democracy" and "protect our constitution." If you didn't know it was actually happening, you'd think this was all a political parody.



Picture it, Wile E. sitting bug-eyed in the desert with a pencil and a large ream of paper, using a boulder (Nadler?) as his desk. Scribbling a report that is evidence-free and innuendo-rich, he keeps breaking the point of his pencil as he scribbles, grabbing at sheets of paper that keep blowing around him. Meanwhile, the road runner goes "bleep, bleep" on Twitter.

I suspect that at this point, with the notable exception of the progressive wing of the Democratic party, their trained hamsters in the media and a few other members of the the GOP and deep state, the American public takes this impeachment travesty no more seriously that they take a Road Runner cartoon.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Anger

As we move toward the new year—and a presidential election year to boot—there's much talk within the main stream media about a "divided country." In what has to be an epic example of chutzpa, the media and their Democrat masters would have us believe that Donald Trump is the sole cause of these divisions. And in a way, they're right. After all, Trump won an upset victory against Hillary Clinton (and the Left) in 2016, and the Dems and their trained hamsters in the media have never been been able to get past it. Trump's bombastic style, along with his precedent-setting inclination to punch back when he is attacked, have created an incurable case of Trump Derangement Syndrome that has infected the four constituencies who have wanted him removed from office since January, 2016.

The latest impeachment circus is simply another example of the deranged behavior that began after Trump's election. It began with the "Russian collusion" hoax, spilled into the "obstruction" narrative, then flowed into the despicable behavior (and lies) exhibited during the Kavanaugh hearings, and now exists in the form of Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler and company. The Dems seem to think that these attacked on an elected president and their outright refusal to accept the results of an election or accept that there are those who disagree with their ideology, would somehow erode support for Trump. What they have accomplished over 3-plus years is to stoke anger—throughout their base, to be sure, but also among a much larger group of citizens who despise the Dems' actions. Sarah Hoyt addresses Democrats and the media when she writes:
There is an anger in the land I don’t think you’re even vaguely aware of. I’m not — not even close — the most hot tempered on our side. And I was a very reluctant Trump voter. But watching your sham-wow-impeachment (It’s Russia, it’s Ukraine, it’s taxes, it’s mean tweets against the squad, it’s the fact that orange man bad), your attempt to reverse elections you don’t like, and silence people who don’t agree with you, has me spitting mad, furious, not even sure what to do with all this anger. And I’m not alone. You have no idea of the anger stalking this land. (And if you say “you sound angry” guess what “Damn skippy. You have no idea how angry.” The only ones not angry aren’t paying attention.)
Hoyt uses the Jeffrey Epstein case as metaphor for just how stupid the political and media elites think the people are. Their "He committed suicide ..." narrative followed by "Nothing to see here, move along ..." followed by their recent obsessive focus on Prince Andrew while an ex-President of the United States was documented to have flown on Epstein's Lolita Express 26 times using it a lot like an Uber to Epstein's properties is ... well .. insulting. They expect us to accept all of this and shut up. Instead, we get angrier and angrier about the Epstein cover-up, and yeah, about the Trump witch hunt as well.

Whether it's the growing #Walkway movement among Dems who may not like Trump, but are embarrassed at the behavior of their leadership over the past 3 years, or the #Blexit movement that has seen African American support for Trump increase rather substantially over the same time period, or that many Latinos (should I append an "x" instead of an "o" be PC?) support Trump despite (or maybe because of) his positions on illegal immigrants, the Dems refuse to look or listen or learn.

But ... but ... but ... the polls, counter the hamsters. Hoyt responds:
I hope you boys and girls are telling the polls what they want to hear. (Bats eyelashes) “Why Mr. Poll taker, I can’t wait to vote Trump out of office. I’m all for Biden/Warren/Harris/Mayor Pete/ Bernie Sanders [gargles with mouth wash, followed by sheep dip]/Tulsi/Bloomberg/the rest of the clown car.” That is a form of (real, not their imagined bullshit) resistance, because you’re messing with their knowledge of how many votes to manufacture. We must beat the margin of fraud. And we know they’re going to fraud like nobody’s business.
So for the rest of us—"deplorables," many independents, and most of the GOP—the anger is there ... seething below the surface. Unlike the activist Left who express their faux-outrage at the drop of a proper pronoun, the outrage among the rest of us will remain hidden ... until November, 2020. Then ... it will surface.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

The Opus

In a style that is now expected from the most smarmy politician in a generation, congenital liar and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, released the Democrats' indictment of Donald Trump along with the tacit recommendation that he be impeached and removed from office. The editors of the Wall Street Journal (no friends of Donald Trump) derisively call the Schiff report an "Opus" and go on to write:
The report’s summary sentence reveals the weakness of its case with overstatement: “The president placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.”

Yet every President seeks some political advantage in pursuing foreign policy. That includes Barack Obama when he asked Dmitry Medvedev to tell Mr. Putin to go easy on missile defense until after the 2012 election.

As for undermining election integrity, that was Bill Clinton when he vacuumed foreign campaign contributions from the Riadys and multiple other foreigners in 1996. Or Hillary Clinton in 2016 when her campaign financed Christopher Steele to spread Russian disinformation on Mr. Trump to the media and FBI.

Mr. Trump, in his reckless way, asked President Zelensky for the “favor” of investigating Joe Biden and tried to delay military aid. But as Senator Ron Johnson relates in his recent letter that is a more even-handed account of events, Mr. Trump’s attempts were resisted across Washington and ultimately failed.

None of this undermined elections or “endangered” U.S. national security because there was no investigation and the aid was never withheld. [emphasis mine] Even if aid had been withheld, that would merely have put U.S. policy back to where it was when Mr. Obama denied Ukraine lethal military aid for several years until Mr. Trump provided it.

The Starr report laid out irrefutable evidence that Mr. Clinton lied to a grand jury and tampered with witnesses. Those were criminal offenses. The evidence that Richard Nixon obstructed justice was also clear once the tapes became public. By contrast, Mr. Schiff’s report mentions no specific crime and is full of too many inferences and overbroad assertions to provide a convincing impeachment case.
Of course, none of that matters in the least. As soon as the 2016 election was done, the Dems decided that their mission was to remove Donald Trump from office, not by defeating him at the ballot box, but 'by any means necessary.' Subsequently, they have lied, exaggerated, promulgated hoaxes, become hysterical and now, manufacture a flimsy case that argues that impeachment is the only path forward. I guess Schiff believes that the weight of 300 pages of innuendo and blather gives his partisan report gravitas. It does not.

UPDATE:
--------------

The trained hamsters in the mainstream media are all atwitter, reveling in the "damning" report issued by the Democrats. There's only one problem, like everything that the Dems have attempted to remove Trump from office over the past three years, it's evidence-free and innuendo-laden. The editors of Investor's Business Daily write:
... read into the report, and then look through the Republican response, and you come to realize that the Democrats fail to support either claim. In fact, in some ways, they make Trump’s case for him.

The report never actually accuses Trump of engaging in bribery.

Despite all the foreboding tones and dark insinuation, the impeachment report never actually accuses Trump of bribery. In fact, the word “bribery” appears only four times in the entire 300-page document: once when it quotes the impeachment clause of the Constitution, twice in reference to accusations of bribery against Biden, and once in defending the impeachment inquiry itself.

Trump’s actual crime apparently was not following the “script.”

Despite its attempt to paint a picture of Trump as a corrupt leader, the report actually showcases that at the heart of the impeachment are the hurt feelings of career bureaucrats.

The report says that, in advance of Trump’s call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, “NSC staff had prepared a standard package of talking points for the president based on official U.S. policy. The talking points included recommendations to encourage President Zelensky to continue to promote anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine, a pillar of American foreign policy in the country as far back as its independence in the 1990s when Ukraine first rid itself of Kremlin control.

“This call would deviate significantly from that script.”

Removing a president from office for not sticking to a set of bureaucratic talking points would set an interesting precedent.
And therein lies the problem. The Dems have decided to create a new political precedent that attempts to negate the vote of 63 million people all because the Dems lost to a guy they don't like. What they don't seem to realize is that they're stoking anger. But more on that in a future post.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The Midwife of Stupidity

Amazon Prime has produced a relatively vapid action-adventure series, Jack Ryan, based on the Tom Clancy character of the same name. It's innocent enough escapist entertainment, this year set in strife-torn Venezuela which is shown suffering from all of the ills that the actual Venezuela has endured ever since socialist dictators Hugo Chavez and then Nicholas Maduro took over—economic collapse, food and medicine shortages, corruption, human right abuses, lack of medical care, mass out-migration, and of course, an elite leftist ruling class that experiences none of that.

The interesting thing about the Jack Ryan treatment is that the Hollywood writers never discuss what got Venezuela into this mess. That is, they NEVER mention socialism as a cause. Sure they create an evil, murderous dictator along Maduro lines, but never once mention his political ideology. Not surprising, but typical of the manner in which the left manages the narrative to their advantage. Oh, BTW, the dictator's political opponent is a woman, described as a "social justice" proponent who is backed by smiling and enthusiastic "leftist" (the script writer's terminology) young people. Um ... wasn't it the "leftists" who allowed Chavez and Maduro to destroy their country in the first place? Never mind.

Anyhow, the Jack Ryan treatment on Amazon Prime is indicative of the new Left in the United States. In essence, the Left and its trained hamsters in the media want to censor information that conflicts with their narrative. That censorship takes many forms including 'fake news' achieved via outright lies by their media allies or conscious omission of key information (as in the case of Jack Ryan).

Brendan O'Neill provides an important comment on this:
Censorship is the midwife of stupidity, and more importantly of dogmatism. When religious or political or moral ideologies are insulated from critique, they become dogmas. They become belief systems that are cleaved to, not because they have been tested and discussed in the public sphere, but because their adherents just know that they are right. These are the perfect conditions in which arrogance and intellectual hollowness can flourish, and in which defensiveness and fury become the default responses to any challenge from outside.
Reread that simple paragraph. It contains much to consider.

The Left doesn't want its ideas to be "tested or discussed" because those ideas are deeply flawed. That's not an opinion but rather a conclusion based on factual evidence drawn from places like Venezuela where those ideas have been implemented as part of governance. Catastrophic results ensued.

In a recent post I noted that Leftists really do believe they're the smartest kids in the room, but often exhibit "defensiveness and fury" when their ideas and policies are questioned vigorously. These smartest kids exhibit an "arrogance and intellectual hollowness" that is evident in their writing, in their world view, in their predictable ad hominem attacks against anyone who disagrees, and in their ideas and actions.

They MUST be challenged from the outside.

Maybe that should be Jack Ryan's next mission.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Corbyn

Americans pay very little attention to politics in the U.K.—and that's a shame, because U.K.'s left-wing Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, may very well be harbingers of the probable direction of an increasingly left-wing Democratic party in the United States. Corbyn is an anti-Semite, plain and simple, and yet, the British left tries to mask his Jew-Hatred as something else. They claim that his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric is all about "palestinian rights." If any of this sounds familiar, it should. Increasingly, Dem leaders in the U.S., like Bernie Sanders, have begun to sound a lot like Cprben. Not as overt or as extreme to be sure, but still—a lot like Corbyn.

David Harsanyi comments of a recent Corbyn apologia in the left-leaning Washington Post:
In a now-deleted tweet, the Washington Post informed its 14 million followers that the historic condemnation of Jeremy Corbyn by the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom was triggered by Labour Party leader’s strong support for “Palestinian rights.”

As numerous people quickly pointed out, this is a detestable falsehood. Indeed, the article to which the tweet linked notes that a review of online posts by Labour members uncovered “examples of Holocaust denial, crude stereotypes of Jewish bankers, conspiracy theories blaming 9/11 on Israel, and even one individual who appeared to believe that Hitler had been misunderstood.”

Despite this, the rest of the Post’s story is something of a whitewash. Like so many others that have covered Labour’s moral deterioration, it goes out of its way to note that, “Corbyn, alongside many in the left-wing of his party, are strong supporters of Palestinian rights and fierce critics of Israel’s right-wing government.” This insinuation — that Corbynite animosity towards British Jewry is predicated on the existence of a “right-wing Israeli government” — is a myth.

For one thing, despite public perception, the right-center coalition run by Benjamin Netanyahu hasn’t altered Israeli policy governing the West Bank and Gaza in any significant way from its predecessors (other than, perhaps, by offering Palestinians more autonomy). For another, even if Netanyahu had altered that policy, there has never been — and almost surely never will be — any Israeli government of the right, left, or center that would placate the average Corbynite.

The link the Post draws is nonsensical. Are we to believe that the Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition referred to anti-Semitic terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah as his “friends” in a speech in front of Parliament because he was worried about final status negotiations? Did Corbyn appear multiple times on the Holocaust-denying Hamas-backing Iranian regime’s propaganda channel because he misses Yitzhak Rabin?

The man who participates in a 2014 wreath-laying ceremony for the terrorists who murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics and prevaricates when asked whether it is “anti-Semitic to say that Rothschild Zionists run world governments” is no friend of the Jews.
True ... no Democratic leader in the U.S. has gone as far or as extreme as Corbyn, but then again, the Brits have had a strong anti-Semitic strain of politics for many decades, so Corbyn's overt anti-Semitism is more easily tolerated.

That may very well come to pass in the United States. The Democrats and their left-wing base have adopted a rather strong anti-Israel bias of their own and have been escalating their anti-Israel rhetoric for at least a decade. Give them another decade, and their own 'Corbyn" may very well emerge. Just another reason they do not deserve to lead.

UPDATE (12/3/2019):
-------------------------

It's easy to find examples of the 'corbynization' of the democratic party on a daily basis. Cameron Cawthorn reports:
Anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour linked Israel to white supremacy while speaking at a pro-Palestinian conference on Friday.

"Ask them this: How can you be against white supremacy in the United States of America and the idea of living in a supremacist state based on race and class, but then you support a state like Israel that is built on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everybody else?" Sarsour said.

Sarsour, a prominent surrogate for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, made the comparison while addressing the American Muslims for Palestine conference in Chicago. She also questioned how Zionists could oppose the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border while supporting Israel.
on a daily basis.
It is true that some dems have tried to distance themselves from Sarsour, but criticism of her extreme positions within the party and among the Dem,'s trained hamsters in the media is muted or non-existent. No point in alienating the Dem's hard-left base, is there?

Maybe someone in the media should as Bernie what he thinks about Sarsour's comments. Nah ... not gonna do that.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Moral Grandstanding

It's labeled differently, depending on the circumstances and the time period, but it's a phenomenon that has gotten increasingly worse over the past decade or so. It occurs when someone takes a strong position in order to demonstrate their perceived moral superiority over others who might question whether the position is correct or exaggerated or even wise. Whether it's concern about "income inequality," or "racism," or the "climate crisis," or "homelessness" or any of dozens of other points of moral outrage, there are many who insist on moral grandstanding (a.k.a., virtue signaling or moral preening).

Although moral grandstanding can be found across the political spectrum, it is particularly prevalent among those on the Left. That's what makes an article by Brian Resnick in left-leaning Vox rather fascinating. Resnick writes:
. ... On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, people are using social platforms to make themselves look moral (and therefore good). It’s status-seeking, not argument, and it detracts from the democratic goal of actually engaging in arguments in good faith.

The thing is, it’s hard to know if someone is moral grandstanding when they, for instance, declare on Twitter they’re the “fathers of daughters” in expressing their outrage in the latest revelations from the #MeToo movements. Or it’s hard to know if it’s grandstanding when people join in on the latest Twitter pile on, attacking a person with a questionable opinion.

In 2017, philosophers Justin Tosi and Brandon Warmke wrote in an essay in Aeon that moral grandstanding “leads people to adopt extreme and implausible claims, and it devalues public moral discussion.” In other words: it’s yet another reason why public discourse has grown so toxic in recent years.

That’s why, recently, Joshua Grubbs, a psychology professor at Bowling Green State University, and colleagues (including Warmke and Tosi), conducted a psychological survey assessing (among other things) a nationally representative sample on their tendency to grandstand.

One of the questions they asked is: “Do you agree with the following statement: When I share my moral/political beliefs, I do so to show people who disagree with me that I am better than them.” It turns out, a lot of people agree with that question, and others like it.

According to Grubbs, “We’re at a time where partisanship is high, where people are just being savage to each other on the internet.” And he hopes that through studying moral grandstanding, we can better understand why.
Professor Grubbs argues that moral grandstanding occurs on both ends of the political spectrum, and I have no reason to doubt his assessment. However, he also contends that the amount of grandstanding is distributed equally—left and right. And that is difficult to believe. He notes:
The people who grandstand report more conflict in their life. But they also report they’ve grown closer to others over political and moral topics. In some senses, maybe it works: it alienates you from people who you don’t like, and draws you closer to people who you do like.

Can it be bad? Absolutely. There are people out there who are probably complete charlatans just trying to grandstand their way into some sort of financial benefit or social benefit.

There are other people who are grandstanding with generally good intentions. They’re trying to boost their own status by talking about things.
Those of us who reside somewhere in the political Center are less likely to grandstand and as important, are less likely to exhibit the hive-mind mentality of those that do. The vast majority of our population (to the extent they care at all) now suffers from "outrage fatigue." And as a consequence, those who insist on moral grandstanding do nothing to change opinions or solve problems. They blow verbal smoke into the wind, accomplishing nothing except to reinforce their inflated sense of self.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Stories

On this Thanksgiving day, it worth thinking just a bit about this vast country that we all call home. Sure, on a personal level, we can all be thankful for our families, for the health and well-being of our significant others, our children, and grandchildren along with all of our extended families and friends. We can be thankful that unlike many, many places in the world, we live in freedom without the threat of widespread violence and upheaval. We live in a place where tens of millions live lives that are divorced from the political turmoil in the nation's capital—they work and play, they strive to better themselves and their families, and they reject the notion that the United States of America is systemically racist or anti-woman, or hegemonic, or irredeemably corrupt.

Think about it for half a second and you realize that millions upon millions of immigrants, gave up their home country, their culture, their family, their friends, and their livelihood to immigrate (often at substantial risk) to this wonderful place that is the United States. That's right ... it's a wonderful place no matter what some of our citizens and far too many of our politicians tell you.

Those millions of immigrants have assimilated into the American culture and have achieved at least some of what they wanted when they arrived here. On this day, they and their families give thanks for the opportunity that freedom has granted them and for a society that has by and large welcomed them.

And yet, storm clouds are brewing. Jason Willick writes about a book authored by historian David M. Kennedy:
The dominant American view until the late 20th century was that “we welcome all kinds of people but we expect them to assimilate into some range of standard values, behaviors, aspirations, ambitions.” Now, diversity itself has become the paramount value in parts of American culture. When celebrating difference replaces creedal values like liberty, fair play and respect for the Constitution, that undercuts “the project of assimilation,” Mr. Kennedy says.

Diverse societies need stories, even myths, to articulate what they have in common or what they are working toward collectively. Mr. Kennedy suggests that academic historians no longer contribute to this national understanding. When he was trained in the 1960s, most historians agreed on a “master narrative about American history.” It was based on the “perfection of the idea of democracy of this country.” That process was “incremental, slow, back and forth” but you could “still trace the arc.” And it gave Americans a way to talk about their national project.

Academic history is dominated today by “subsidiary questions” about “ethnic or racial or gender” groups, Mr. Kennedy says. These are “all interesting and legitimate stories in their own right,” but they have “squeezed energy out” of “the big, integrative, long-term project.” He worries that “the history of America is no longer the history of America—it’s about things that happened in America. But the fact that they happened in America is kind of incidental to the story.”
In it's own way, Thanksgiving allows a subtle rehash of the "story" of America that articulates what we all have in common. We cannot let a small but very vocal group of Leftists destroy the story with their own warped view of our history. We cannot let a narrative that emphasizes the obvious flaws that exist in EVERY culture dominate the story of a country that has allowed so many to achieve so much. Thanksgiving is our nation's push-back on that new warped narrative—and that's a very good thing.

UPDATE:
----------------

As if to underscore my comment in this post that a "very vocal group of Leftists destroy the story [of America] with their own warped view of our history, two op-ed examples appear just in time for Thanksgiving in the left-wing's newspapers of record—The New York Times and The Washington Post. Charles Blow of the NYT is an incoherent and often unhinged commentator on the political scene. Today, the NYT saw fit to publish his op-ed screed entitled—"The Horrible History of Thanksgiving." It would seem that Mr. Blow can't take a day off from his hateful narrative on the evils of early America and offer an optimistic comment on this wonderful holiday and what it represents. Pathetic.

And speaking of optimism or lack thereof, there's this op-ed by Fareed Zacharia in the WaPo—"It's Hard to be Optimistic About America Right Now." Why exactly? Is it because the middle class is doing so well, or maybe it's that wages are rising, or maybe it's the fact that more people of color and women are now employed than at any other time in the last 70 years. Or maybe it's because we've extracted ourselves from endless wars, or maybe it's because we've finally asserted ourselves in international trade deals, or finally asked allies in NATO to (let me coin a phrase loved by the Left) to 'pay their fair share.' Or maybe ... you get the picture.

The garbage narrative espoused by the likes of Blow and Zacharia is far more destructive that any of our country's failings they lament. It tears at the cohesion of our people and does great damage to what David M. Kennedy has called the “the big, integrative, long-term project.” But then again, may that's exactly what the Left wants.