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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


The trained hamsters in the main stream media warn of utter chaos within the infant Trump administration and of "racists" and "bigots" among his nominees for cabinet positions. They get the vapors over the (admittedly ridiculous and unnecessary) tweets still emanating from the president-elect.* Yet, there are early signs that Donald Trump just might do few good things.

Everyone agrees that infrastructure improvement—roads, bridges, airports, sea ports, etc.—are necessary. But in the past, these projects have been government boondoggles, draining billions of taxpayer dollars, getting mired in regulatory delays, being attacked in the courts, and taking far, far too long to complete (e.g., the Boston "Big Dig" took 25 years start to finish).

It looks like the Trump administration might take a different tack by establishing a set of incentives to encourage private investment in some infrastructure projects, reducing the regulatory burden that slows construction to a crawl, and even suggesting legislation that might make it harder for, say, the usual environmental groups, to use lawfare to block development or make it prohibitively expensive.

The Wall Street Journal writes:
The Trump plan will offer some discipline because it is designed to move private capital off the sidelines, and investors, unlike politicians, expect a decent return. In an October white paper, Trump economist Peter Navarro and investor Wilbur Ross detail what they call “a huge infrastructure gap,” which they attribute to a lack of “innovative financing options.” They think they can unleash about $1 trillion in the capital markets with a tax credit equal to 82% of private equity investment, much as states and cities encourage real-estate development.
The key in all of this is lifting at least some of the burden from beleaguered taxpayers to private investors who would be driven to control costs, accelerate schedules, and ultimately achieve revenue for the new airport or bridge project. Let's say an airport in the New York metro areas needs an significant upgrade. The current approach is to have taxpayers throughout the USA contribute to the project, even though the majority will never use the airport. It might be better to have private investors do the upgrade (under new regulatory rules that would make the project less expensive and development time shorter) and then recoup their investment through fees that would be collected over many years.

If Trump can overcome "privatization" objections from Democrats, who never saw a taxpayer funded boondoggle they didn't like, he just might reduce regulation on such projects to a manageable minimum, establish laws the protect such projects from many types of blocking lawsuits (after all, the government itself can't be sued in many situations, can they?), and change the bidding process so that the best work is done and the lowest price, rather than the best political contributor is rewarded at any price.

The result just might be the beginning improved infrastructure that is privately funded, privately maintained, and simply better. After all, what have we got to lose?


* The media hamsters are like small children who need to "act up" in an effort to get the adults in the room to pay attention. Because their credibility is gone, they get more and more extreme in their empty indictments of anything and anyone who do not dovetail with their left-leaning ideology.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Denial and Attack

The Democrat post-election tantrum has now morphed into a bizarre strategy of denial and attack. The original 'shock and awe' reaction had progressives looking for new rental property in Toronto, hunting for psychological peace in world gone wrong, and demonizing half of the U.S. voting population by calling Trump supporters racists, bigots, KKK-sympathizers, Islamophobes, and every other epithet in the progressive vocabulary. The original strategy hasn't really changed, but the focus has shifted.

Denial. The election results must be questioned. Although there is no evidence of hacked results, the Dems demand a recount in battle ground states. The hypocrisy of this is breathtaking. Recall, it was the Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media who got the vapors when Donald Trump simply intimated that he wanted to wait for the election results before he committed to accept their veracity. Trump was "unamerican" for the threat to question results—when his election loss was all but assured. And then, an "extinction level event" occurred. Trump won, meaning that questioning the results is now perfectly okay, even if there is no evidence of wrong-doing and Trump's lead in all three battle ground states is low and mid-five digits.

The tattered remainder of Hillary Clinton's campaign has aligned itself with Jill Stein of the Green party—the very same Jill Stein who this weekend suggested that the murderous, oppressive dictator, Fidel Castro, was a great man. Perfect! Imagine, for just a moment, if the Trump campaign aligned itself with a supporter of Saddam Hussein. Wait ... does that imagining make me Islamophobic?


The editors of The Wall Street Journal comment:
On Saturday what’s left of the Clinton campaign said it will join the recount effort demanded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The conspiracy theory for which they have no evidence is that Russian hackers rigged voting machines to manipulate the results. The Obama Administration has said it detected no such hacking and that the elections were “free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”

But reality doesn’t matter in the fake-news world of the far left any more than it does on the far right. The recount may be a progressive gambit to raise money from the gullible, or perhaps to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election. The ultimate Hail Mary would be to raise enough smoke about irregularities that individual electors would deny Mr. Trump the 270 votes he needs in the Electoral College.
Attack. Virtually every person suggested for a Trump administration post is attacked as a "racist." This comes as no surprise in the sense that the Democrats have weaponized the word and use it so frequently it has lost its core meaning. Heather McDonald comments:
Democratic pundits are calling on their party to court working-class and non-coastal whites in the wake of this month’s electoral rout. But the Democratic Party is now dominated by identity politics, which defines whites, particularly heterosexual males, as oppressors of every other population in the U.S. Why should the targets of such thinking embrace an ideology that scorns them?

The most absurd Democratic meme to emerge from the party’s ballot-box defeat is the claim that it is Donald Trump, rather than Democrats, who engages in “aggressive, racialized discourse,” in the words of a Los Angeles Times op-ed. By contrast, President Barack Obama sought a “post-racial, bridge-building society,” according to New York Times reporter Peter Baker. Obama’s post-racial efforts have now “given way to an angry, jeering, us-against-them nation,” writes Baker, in a front-page “news” story.

Tell that valedictory for “post-racial bridge-building” to police officers, who have been living through two years of racialized hatred directed at them in the streets, to the applause of many Democratic politicians. Black Lives Matter rhetoric consists of slogans like: “CPD [Chicago Police Department] KKK, how many children did you kill today?” “Fuck the police,” and “Racist, killer cops.” Officers have been assassinated by Black Lives Matter-inspired killers who set out to kill whites in general and white police officers in particular. Gun murders of law enforcement officers are up 67 percent this year through November 23, following five ambushes and attacks over the November 18 weekend that left a San Antonio police officer and a U.S. marshall dead. A few days before those weekend shootings, anarchist wannabes in Austin led a counting chant based on the template: “What’s better than X dead cops? X + 1 Dead Cops.”
But all of that is perfectly okay in the victimization culture that has been cultivated by the Democrats over the past eight years. If you're defined as a victim, anything you say or do is excused because ... victimization.

It is truly ironic that the Democrats criticized the questioning of election results as "unamerican" until they do it, and bemoan the fact that they have lost the "white working class" while at the same time demonizing the white working class. Then again, clear thinking is not something that the Dems have exhibited for quite some time.


The main stream media continues to undermine its own credibility. In what has to be a classic example of unintended irony, The New York Times trumpets the following headline above the fold: "Trump Claims, With No Evidence, That ‘Millions of People’ Voted Illegally."

That may be true, but why not add a complementary article, above the fold (right next to the one about Trump) that is headlined: Clinton Campaign, Democrats and Green Party Claim, With No Evidence, That the Election Count in Key States is Fraudulent or Hacked by the Russians"?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Look Back

Many progressives and most Democrats continue to beclown themselves with their near-hysterical reaction to the election of Donald Trump. Recent demands for a "recount" in key battleground states, or op-ed pieces in the NYT that suggest (less than subtly) that Trump voters are really just "White Nationalists," or the suggestion that "fake news" was the reason Hillary lost, or any of the many, many unhinged rants that pop up in major media sources on a daily basis actually make progressives look foolish. I'm embarrassed for them.

But I got to thinking—maybe I was guilty of being a sore loser way back in November of 2008, when Barack Obama won the election. So I went back to the OnCenter archives and found this post from November 10, 2008, less than a week after the election. Here's what I wrote:
Many of my friends and relatives voted for Barack Obama and are now ecstatic that he has been elected. It’s nice to see.

Knowing that I had grave reservations about candidate Obama, many of them have addressed the issue with me. At this point the conversation is predictable.

Always with a probing smile (and some degree of good natured smugness) the friend or relative asks, “So what do you think about Obama's win?”

“He ran a brilliant campaign and the people have spoken. He’s the President!” I say. “I wish him well. The country needs solid leadership.”

At this point, the friend or relative cants their head slightly. “So you’re no longer worried about him?”

I pause for a moment. “No, I didn’t say that. He’s the same guy he was two weeks ago. I just think that he deserves the benefit of the doubt.”

At this point, the friend or relative usually goes into a brief critique of John McCain and/or a full blown rant on Sarah Palin, as if to convince me of the righteousness of Obama’s election.

“I smile. “All of that is moot, isn’t it? Barack Obama is President and now we’ll just have to see who he picks as his advisors and cabinet and what he does over the next four years.”

Probing still, the friend or relative looks for signs of derangement. “So you’re worried about what he’s going to do.”

“Well, let’s just say that I’m watching closely to try to understand who he really is,” I say calmly.

The friend or relative frowns. “So … you’re worried he’s too far left. That’s crazy, he’s just too smart and pragmatic for that. He’ll surprise you.”

“Nothing would make me happier.”

Over the next two months, we’ll begin to get an inkling of who the real Barack Obama is and how he’ll govern. Richard Fernandez (Wretchard) of the Belmont Club uses a wonderful metaphor to describe the process:
Imagine you are presented with an urn which is said contain an equal number of red and yellow marbles. You can’t look inside but you can reach in and draw marbles. So you pick out a red, a red, a red, a red and a red. Despite your efforts to shake the contents round, you keep pulling out reds with only the very occasional yellow. Now what’s the probability the urn was correctly labeled as containing an equal number of red and yellow?

Students of stats can calculate the answer if they knew the numbers of reds and yellows drawn at apparent random. But the exercise is not unlike watching Obama announce his cabinet. Obama is a labeled moderate. A transformative person. Right. Now we watch him announce his cabinet. Appoint his key officials. Each appointment is like a marble from an urn conveying information about the true value of Obama’s political soul, not the labeled value. It’s early days yet. But keep track of the marbles. Even if you can’t convince anyone else what the sample means, at least you will know, from empirical evidence, what the probable truth is.

So far, Barack Obama has selected only one or two “marbles” from the population of people who will become his close advisors and cabinet. But as more marbles are selected over the coming months, we’ll begin to have a clearer view of whether the new President's "moderate/pragmatist" label is accurate or not.

So far, we don’t have enough information to begin to analyze the results. But that’ll change soon. The President-Elect’s long time supporters and the MSM will label him a “moderate”, a pragmatist, and a bipartisan/transformative politician regardless of the picks that are made. But a clear-eyed analysis of each “marble” may lead objective observers to another conclusion. Let the counting begin.
Funny. I don't see too many published pieces coming from progressives that have the tone of my 8-year old post. Progressives have decided that there's no reason to "wait and see" how Trump governs and absolutely no reason to give him "the benefit of the doubt." I guess that's because progressives occupy such an elevated moral high-ground, that they have absolute, unquestioned insight into the future.


Daniel Payne summarizes the crazy rhetoric and actions of many progressives and Democrats following the election of Donald Trump:
[The Democrats] have the media, they have the colleges, they have the youth when it comes to numerous important metrics, and they had the presidency for the foreseeable future: Hillary Clinton was more or less ordained, she would re-make the Supreme Court in her image, and they assumed that changing demographics would ensure them both the executive branch and Congress for years to come. Upon this foundation—one of seething, permanent Bush hatred mixed with a belief in their own infallibility—progressives constructed a political edifice of smug near-total self-assurance. Donald Trump’s nomination seemed to only set everything in stone: Trump of all people could never snatch the presidency away from Clinton, they reasoned, and in any case he wouldn’t dare.

Upon this foundation, liberals built a shaky edifice of assumed political superiority. The election of Donald Trump—not merely an earthquake but an extinction-level asteroid event—brought it all crashing down ...
None of this, of course, excuses the unhinged behavior, but it does help to explain it.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Upon learning that Fidel Castro had died, I was reminded of a decade old email exchange I had with a computer science professor at the Universidad de Matanzas in Cuba. He indicated that he had been in contact with colleagues in Central and South America, and understood that the Spanish-language edition of my book, Software Engineering: A Practitioner's Approach, was widely used in those places. He asked whether it might be possible to send him a comp copy of the book.

I indicated that normally review copies of any of my books were ordered through McGraw-Hill, but he responded by telling me that that wasn't possible in Cuba, and could I still send him a copy? Fortunately, I had a an extra copy of the Espanol edition in my office, so I mailed it to him. Two months later, he received it and sent me a 'thank you' email.

He told me that his many software engineering students would use that single copy as a reference and thanked me profusely for giving them the opportunity. I asked where his students worked once they got their degrees and whether there were any new business opportunities in Cuba.

"The government," he replied, "there are very few jobs outside government here." He indicated that his students often spent time in other countries where they worked in IT. He wrote that "their salaries are returned to the Cuban people."

At the time, I didn't fully understand what that meant, but later on I learned that Cuba supplied various Central and South American countries with skilled labor, confiscated a significant percentage of the salary paid to the Cuban workers for that skilled labor, and used the monies as a source of foreign currency.

The graduated software engineers received minimal pay, and the government took the rest. That was Fidel Castro's Cuba–The socialist paradise.

For fifty years, Fidel Castro has been a man revered by many on the Left. Castro's legend, much like his contemporary Che Geuvera, was a fairy tale version of a man and an anti-imperialist "revolution" that may have had the the best of intentions at the beginning, but ultimately destroyed and/or brutally silenced his opponents. It can be argued that in many ways, Castro's revolution destroyed the economy of an entire country.

The Wall Street Journal writes:
Mr. Castro pursued egalitarian ideals of free health care, housing and education, while outlawing free speech, jailing dissidents and banning fair elections. He played world politics with the skill of a grandmaster, but embraced an ideology that ultimately failed. He overthrew one dictator in 1959 only to become Latin America’s longest-ruling one, 49 years.

He sought to free Cuba of its dependence on sugar and make it a wealthy country, only to bankrupt the island and make it dependent first on the largess of the Soviet Union, and then of Venezuela. But Venezuela’s economic crisis has curtailed aid to Cuba.
The Castro fairy tale emphasizes "free medical care and education" to the people of Cuba. What it conveniently leaves out is the economic wreckage that any socialist/communist centralized government leaves in its wake. Healthy and educated people need a vital economy to prosper, and that's something that Castro's socialist government failed to give them. Sure, the software engineering students at Universidad de Matanzas got a "free" education, but they paid for it in ways that students in free countries with vibrant economies can't even imagine.

American and European leftists suggest that Cuba was unable to build a viable economy because of the U.S. trade embargo. But Fidel had ample opportunity to moderate his anti-U.S. stance and refused to do so. He also had ample opportunity to build viable trade relationships with South America and Europe, but his insistence on a centralized economy controlled by the elites with his cadre made that impossible. In fact, he reveled in his revolutionary posture while his people suffered.

Today, Cuba remains an economic basket case. Shortages—from basic foods stuffs to car parts to aspirin and prescription drugs—abound. Cuba's infrastructure is crumbling, business initiative is suppressed, and economic growth is non-existent. A repressive government stifles free speech and threatens any opposition.

In Miami, Cuban exiles celebrated in the streets after the announcement of Castro's death. They, better than anyone, can understand the manner in which Castro's ideas of a socialist utopia turned their country into a beggar-nation.

Fidel Castro was undoubtedly an historic figure, but he was not a man who made his people's lives any better. He was, however, still another example of why socialism often leads to repression and economic collapse, rather than triumph.


And this 'remembrance' from Carlos Eire:
One of the most brutal dictators in modern history has just died. Oddly enough, some will mourn his passing, and many an obituary will praise him. Millions of Cubans who have been waiting impatiently for this moment for more than half a century will simply ponder his crimes and recall the pain and suffering he caused.

Why this discrepancy? Because deceit was one of Fidel Castro’s greatest talents, and gullibility is one of the world’s greatest frailties. A genius at myth-making, Castro relied on the human thirst for myths and heroes. His lies were beautiful, and so appealing. According to Castro and to his propagandists, the so-called revolution was not about creating a repressive totalitarian state and securing his rule as an absolute monarch, but rather about eliminating illiteracy, poverty, racism, class differences and every other ill known to humankind. This bold lie became believable, thanks largely to Castro’s incessant boasting about free schools and medical care, which made his myth of the benevolent utopian revolution irresistible to many of the world’s poor.

Many intellectuals, journalists and educated people in the First World fell for this myth, too — though they would have been among the first to be jailed or killed by Castro in his own realm — and their assumptions acquired an intensity similar to that of religious convictions. Pointing out to such believers that Castro imprisoned, tortured and murdered thousands more of his own people than any other Latin American dictator was usually futile. His well-documented cruelty made little difference, even when acknowledged, for he was judged according to some aberrant ethical code that defied logic.
It seems that some on the Left regularly adopt an "aberrant ethical code that defie[s] logic." "Revolution" and "anti-imperialism" trump any possible transgressions committed by those who are "revolutionaries." It's okay to look the other way as long as murder, imprisonment, repression, and corruption are all committed to further the socialist revolution.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Turn It Off

New England, New York, and the West Coast are the only true strongholds for Clinton supporters. Within those regions, there is nowhere, with the possible exception of some cities in Massachusetts and Vermont, that had stronger support for Hillary than some parts of Brooklyn, New York. David Marcus has written an interesting essay on Brooklyn in the days after. He writes about grocery shopping in a local 'organic' store in Red Hook, Brooklyn:
The mood in the store was glum. As in most of Brooklyn, people stared ahead, moving slowly, still in shock from the political earthquake of Tuesday night.

After getting our Brazilian Arabica ground for drip (I know, I should really use a French Press), Libby and I walked towards the organic maple syrup. That’s when it started. I suppose there had been music playing in the store, but I hadn’t noticed until a familiar guitar lick pierced the air and a soft voice said, “Turn it up.”

Libby and I both stopped and looked at each other. “Seriously?” said my wife, a very disappointed Clinton supporter. She started gripping her soft Tomme Crayeuse a little too hard. By the time Ronnie Van Zant’s drawl started in with “Big wheels keep on turnin’,” everyone in the store was standing in shock. Brows were furrowed, people mumbled to each other. The song seemed to get louder as one of those New York moments happened, when everyone was thinking the exact the same thing.
In a faux pas to end all faux pas, the store was playing "Sweet Home Alabama"—a song from Trump country. The progressives, to a shopper, were mortified.

Marcus continues:
As the election grew near, confidence was overflowing. A big victory was on the horizon for Lena Dunham and the new Brooklyn. This ground zero for upscale progressivism was ready for a party; white male supremacism was about to be crushed beneath a professional high heel.

Fittingly, perhaps, the only exception to Clinton mania in Brooklyn was in the southern part of the borough. In Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst, big trucks could be seen with “Hillary for Prison” and “Make America Great Again” detailed on their back windows. This is not the Brooklyn of “Girls” or “The Slap.” It is the Brooklyn of “Blue Bloods,” the home of cops and firemen, plumbers and construction workers immune to the appeal of a President Clinton. These are people who listen to Skynyrd, and not ironically.
There is an arrogance and condescension among many progressives that is palpable among those who do not buy into their world view. Its presence has been greatly magnified by their reaction to the presidential election results, and although abating just a bit, Democrats and progressive can't seem to let it go.

Again, from Marcus:
Along with being called deplorable, Trump’s supporters (of which I was not one) have been treated in a way that is rare in American politics, and deeply troubling. The campaign that emerged from Brooklyn didn’t just attack the politics of people who don’t live in big cities. It attacked their entire way of life, and promised it was dying.

When the angry older woman with the anti-Trump button [Love Trumps Hate] asked the clerk to turn off the song, the younger woman looked at her sympathetically and said, “I don’t know how.” In that moment, something seemed to click.

Of course, this woman thought that “Sweet Home Alabama” could just be turned off. After all, we can block out things we disagree with. We can unfriend people on Facebook, block them on Twitter, and decide not to let their negativity be a part of lives. For many progressives, this is the key to wellness.

But turning off Skynyrd doesn’t make it go away. Somewhere in the land where the stars still shine, it plays on, whether you hear it or not. The shock and despair in Brooklyn over Hillary Clinton’s unfathomable defeat comes in no small part because her denizens refused to hear the rumblings of an America they chose to ignore.
I have written many times about the statue of three monkeys—one with hands over his eyes, another with hands over his ears, and the last with hands over his mouth. Marcus' tale of the grocery store is a metaphor for the first two monkeys—Democrats refused to see and absolutely refused to listen. Now, they apply the last monkey with hands over his mouth not to themselves (they're very willing to speak), but rather to stifle the speech of those who disagree with their narrative. Just 'turn it off' ... except they can't.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


For many months prior to the election, I argued that Hillary Clinton was dishonest and corrupt. Although her trained hamsters in the media did their best to protect her, celebrities and the glitterati endorsed her, and the Democratic party tried desperately to push her over the finish line, she lost. Her loss was in part predicated by her decision to use a private email server, violating national security law (the FBI's tepid exoneration not withstanding) in the process. In addition the Clinton Foundation—an influence peddling scheme masked as a charity—provides circumstantial evidence that Hillary broke the law.

Having said all of that, I'm impressed that Donald Trump has indicated that he will not endorse a criminal prosecution of Hillary or Bill Clinton. The decision shows maturity, bi-partisan political judgement, and common sense—three characteristics that have been sorely missing in Washington over the Obama years. The editors of The Wall Street Journal comment:
Donald Trump’s approval rating is up nine points since Election Day in one survey, and one reason may be that he’s setting a tone of expansive leadership. A case in point is his apparent decision not to seek the prosecution of Hillary Clinton for her email and Clinton Foundation issues ...

That’s the right move—for the country and his Presidency. We know from reading our email that many Americans want Mrs. Clinton treated like Mel Gibson in the climactic scene of “Braveheart.” Their argument is that equal justice under law requires that she be treated like anyone else who mishandled classified information.

But discretion is also part of any decision to prosecute. FBI Director James Comey was wrong to exonerate Mrs. Clinton before the election because that wasn’t his job and he let the Attorney General off the hook. Loretta Lynch should have taken responsibility for absolving or indicting her party’s nominee—and voters could hold her and Democrats accountable.

The voters ultimately rendered that verdict on Nov. 8, and being denied the Presidency is a far more painful punishment than a misdemeanor or minor felony conviction. Prosecuting vanquished political opponents is the habit in Third World nations. Healthy democracies prefer their verdicts at the ballot box.

Prosecution would also stir needless controversy that would waste Mr. Trump’s political capital. President Obama made the mistake of blessing then Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision in 2009 to have a special prosecutor investigate CIA officials over post-9/11 interrogations. This made Mr. Obama look vindictive and ideologically driven, and it was among the decisions that set the tone for the hyperpartisan Obama Presidency.
The media, still smarting from the wide spread rejection of their advocacy for Democrats, has tried mightily to characterize Trump's first weeks as president-elect as "chaotic" and his early cabinet choices as "racist" and "extreme." What the trained hamsters don't seem to realize is that the public has discounted their opinion for what it is—self-serving propaganda driven by a desperate need to demonstrate that their broad-based opposition to Trump was justified. The reality is that Trump appears to be less partisan, less vindictive, and more level-headed that his predecessor was ... at least after two weeks. His position on a Clinton prosecution is indicative of broader moderation and that is encouraging.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


The Obama administration has had few significant successes during its eight years in power, but there is one success that is worthy of note. Obama eased the way for private enterprise to take the lead in our efforts in space, allowing companies like Space-X to take over some of the heretofore major responsibilities of the government bureaucracy that we have long known as NASA. The result was faster technology innovation, much reduced expenditures, and the driving force that capitalists call competition. It's all for the good.

As Glen Reynolds writes in USA Today:
The good news is that, as I’ve noted before, space — at least the burgeoning commercial space industry — has been one of the Obama Administration’s notable policy successes. Where not long ago the United States was looking at an aging fleet of increasingly dangerous space shuttles, we now have a flourishing collection of private companies providing transportation into earth orbit, from SpaceX, to Blue Origin, to Virgin Galactic, to a number of smaller companies ...

The good news is that, as I’ve noted before, space — at least the burgeoning commercial space industry — has been one of the Obama Administration’s notable policy successes. Where not long ago the United States was looking at an aging fleet of increasingly dangerous space shuttles, we now have a flourishing collection of private companies providing transportation into earth orbit, from SpaceX, to Blue Origin, to Virgin Galactic, to a number of smaller companies.
The Trump administration should learn from this. It should continue and expand private sector involvement and competition in Space. allowing a downsized NASA to be an administrator, rather than an developer.

But far more important, Trump should expand private sector involvement into many other government domains—infrastructure development in which development and construction costs are borne by private companies, who then get an attractive return on investment via per-use payments for use of new roads, bridges, airports and ports. But that's not all. It might be possible to do everything from tax collection to food stamps using out-of-the-box private enterprise solutions. If customer service and the resulting profit were motivating factors for private sector players, fraud and abuse would drop dramatically, services would likely improve because of competition, the government work force would be reduced (via attrition or more aggressive reductions), and demands on taxpayers would be reduced. And instead of focusing on flower deliveries or Uber 3.0 functions, the geniuses around the country who keep claiming that they want to "change the world" might focus their skills and innovative thinking for government services. If they are allowed to unleash their development powers, good things just might begin to happen. After all, the current Big Intrusive Government approach is a mess. What have we—the taxpayers—got to lose?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


As expected, the Democrats don't like any of Donald Trump's recent candidates for his cabinet—as if that's a surprise. But the candidate they like least is Jeff Sessions. Trump's appointee for Attorney General is a right winger who said and did some questionable things 30 years ago. But his more recent history is reasonably solid, if very conservative. I don't like his stands on some social issues, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't make an attorney general that executes his office ethically and manages the DoJ without blatant partisanship. That, in and of itself, would be a refreshing change from the DoJ under the leadership of Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. Since the Democrats are upset about Sessions' past "extremist" views, a thorough vetting is justified.

Interesting though, that the Dems seem unconcerned about the extremist left-wing and cryto-Islamist views of the likely nominee for DNC chair, Keith Ellison. An extreme left winger, Ellison is being championed by none other than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—as it that's a surprise. Scott Johnson comments:
Ellison embodies the identity politics on which the Democrats have staked so much of their success. As a black Muslim in a one-party town with a left-wing newspaper (Minneapolis's Star Tribune), it has served him well. Ellison has been insulated from the kind of media scrutiny that his checkered past would have received elsewhere.

Although there are practical political grounds for doubting that Ellison is the man to lead the Democrats back to power, that is an issue for Democrats. The case against Ellison that should concern all Americans is moral. To borrow a term, he is a bad hombre...

Ellison's history as an active member and local leader of the Nation of Islam remains a deep secret to Ellison's constituents in his district. He blatantly lied about it when he was running in the 2006 DFL primary. He suppressed it in his 2014 memoir, My Country, 'Tis of Thee. Indeed, in his memoir he presented himself as a critic of Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

Speaking of Farrakhan, Ellison writes in his memoir: "He could only wax eloquent while scapegoating other groups." Ellison writes of the Nation of Islam itself: "In the NOI, if you're not angry in opposition to some group of people (whites, Jews, so-called 'sellout' blacks), you don't have religion."

He should know. He was speaking from his own personal experience in the cult.

Ellison was not happy when the Star Tribune published my column "Ellison remembers to forget" on its opinion page. In the column I restored some of his own history that he had left out of his memoir. He promptly sent out a fundraising letter to his fans asserting that my column represented "a new low" in the manifestation of anti-Muslim bigotry against him.

The cry of bigotry was another lie, but Ellison invited St. Paul Pioneer Press political reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger and others on his email list to fight back against his alleged victimization with a modest contribution to his campaign. I posted a copy of his fundraising letter to Stassen-Berger in "In which Keith Ellison finds me of use."

How has Ellison gotten away with his act? It helps to be a Democrat. It helps to be black. It helps to be a Muslim. It helps to have a sympathetic press. It helps to play to a Minneapolis crowd in a one-party town. And yet Ellison seeks to take his act to a national audience. He dreams of higher office.
Hmmm. Let's see. It's perfectly okay for Dems and their media hamsters to examine 30-year old statements from Jeff Sessions and accuse him of "racism," but it's absolutely not okay to examine the far more recent history of Keith Ellsion. After all, if one were to do that, you'd have to conclude that Ellison is an anti-Semite, an extreme left-wing Islamist, and a closet supporter of Louis Farrakan—a person at least as contemptible as David Duke.

But Ellison will skate because he's a member of multiple protected classes. That has become S.O.P. for the democrats and exemplifies a laughable level of hypocrisy.

Monday, November 21, 2016


Imagine for just a moment that a newly elected Democrat vice president, let's say someone like Elizabeth Warren, attended a concert and was lectured (albeit respectfully) by an entertainer on her need to embrace people of religion who feel threatened by the new democrat administration, and otherwise listen to those who think that income redistribution and socialist cultural change is a very bad idea.

The proverbial $#!t would hit the fan. The left-leaning media would be of one voice—condemning the entertainer for his/her lack of respect and possible misogyny and for his/her inappropriate political speech and grandstanding manner. Likely, boycotts of the production would be suggested. The entertainer would become persona non gratia among the New York and LA glitterati. And as for the target of the lecture—I wonder how Warren would have reacted. Thankfully, we'll never know.

I know how Mike Pence reacted after the Hamilton incident—with absolute class. Pence suggested that the incident was democracy at work and lauded the play and the actors as “an incredible production and incredibly talented people.” Right-leaning commentators weren't so kind, but most writers simply noted that the Hamilton cast was rude to one of its guests.

Donald Trump has a lot to learn, and he can begin by studying his Vice President-elect. Instead of tweeting a demand for an apology (exactly what the left wanted Trump to do), he should have remained silent letting others respond as appropriate. Hopefully, he'll learn. I also hope his advisors will keep him away from Twitter as January 20th approaches.


Here's an example of some of the more thoughtful criticism of the Hamilton episode from Paul Horowitz:
What I find slightly more interesting and, given what I know about the political self-satisfaction of the class of people that can afford tickets to Hamilton, less likely to be noted outside of actual left or right circles, is what the decision to speak once necessarily implies about all the decisions not to speak. Every day, especially given both ticket prices and the nature of its audience and cultural appeal, Hamilton plays to an audience of neoliberals, militarists, wielders of economic power, beneficiaries of massive corporate corruption and economic and political inequality, people who exploit connections in a relatively closed circle of the rich and powerful, etc. And those are just the nights when Hillary Clinton catches the show! A substantial part of its consumer base and business model is brokers, corporate lawyers, legacy admits to the Ivy League, executives, managers, investors, media elites, and so on. Its audience base is people who can afford to complain about the help, or praise their nannies (who they may or may not pay well or legally), not the nannies themselves. No doubt the regular audience could do with a pointed extra-script lecture or two as well! But that would be bad for business, and disturb the audience-validating, as opposed to audience-challenging, function that is the essence of musical theater.

None of this yet reaches Hamilton Inc.’s cozy relationship to President Obama, and the mutual benefits and ego-stroking that were involved in it. Maybe the PBS documentary cut this part out, but I don’t recall the actors at the White House performance of Hamilton breaking script to say, “Mr. President, we, sir–we–can’t help but notice that you have raided and deported the hell out of undocumented immigrants in record numbers. Also, what the [deleted] is up with the drones, or Syria, or….” I suppose that actually would have been seen as rude in people’s eyes. But once you start picking and choosing your exceptions and special occasions, of course you are making a political statement, conscious or not, about all the morally complicit and dubious audiences you are happy to flatter, the number of questionable actions–deportations, assassinations, killings, etc.–you are willing to “normalize,” and so on.

UPDATE (11/22/16):

And this from Richard Fernandez who reacts to the Hamilton lecture directed at Mike Pence::
One might add the cast of Hamilton was not just "alarmed and anxious" but thoroughly bewildered. That such an uprising [the election of Donald Trump] could happen without any warning sent shock waves through the Left. Worse there may be more to come. Nigel Farage warned that elections in Austria and Italy may confirm the trend.

If Liberals don't understand what happened they will be at a loss to fight it. Saying no no no no no no! is not enough. Unless they know the cause of the disease they can't seek the cure. Lecturing people from the stage may make them feel good, but it is what got them into trouble in the first place. The instinct to repeat the same failed tactics more frequently and insistently is unlikely to lead to a different result.

Perhaps the liberal project does not want to know what ails them because they fear what they will find, and many already probably suspect what it is. The Leftist impulse is founded on the conviction they have a special position in the "arc of justice", a privileged vantage in the moral universe, a place in the vanguard of history. To suddenly admit they don't, to admit that they are no better than anyone else and possibly a good deal worse is not an easily correctable fault.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Vote Shaming

As progressives continue their grieving process, some are ramping up their unhinged rhetoric directed at people who voted for Donald Trump. Here's an example from Jessica Valenti in the left-wing newspaper, The Guardian:
Trump voters sure are sensitive lately. They’re upset that the cast of the hit play Hamilton made a statement to Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, and that the audience booed him. They’re displeased that their vote is costing them relationships with family and friends. And for some reason not entirely clear to me, they’re unhappy with Starbucks and decided to demonstrate as much by … buying lots of coffee at Starbucks.

The same people who wear shirts that read “fuck your feelings” and rail against “political correctness” seem to believe that there should be no social consequences for their vote. I keep hearing calls for empathy and healing, civility and polite discourse. As if supporting a man who would fill his administration with white nationalists and misogynists is something to simply agree to disagree on.

Absolutely not. You don’t get to vote for a person who brags about sexual assault and expect that the women in your life will just shrug their shoulders. You don’t get to play the victim when people unfriend you on Facebook, as if being disliked for supporting a bigot is somehow worse than the suffering that marginalized people will endure under Trump. And you certainly do not get to enjoy a performance by people of color and those in the LGBT community without remark or protest when you enact policies and stoke hatred that put those very people’s lives in danger.

Being socially ostracized for supporting Trump is not an infringement of your rights, it’s a reasonable response by those of us who are disgusted, anxious, and afraid. I was recently accused by a writer of “vote shaming” – but there’s nothing wrong with being made to feel ashamed for doing something shameful.
Okaaay, then. Let's see if we can deconstruct this stuff. Ms. Valenti seems to feel that civility after a political loss is essential, but only for those who disagree with progressive thinking. During Obama's years, any criticism, no matter how justified, was often labeled as uncivil or "racist." Hmmm. There's a word you've probably heard one or twice in recent weeks. But now, Ms. Valenti suggests that civility after a political loss can be jettisoned proudly. After all, "deplorables" must undergo "vote shaming."

What Valenti and her many progressive friends seem incapable of understanding is that Trump's victory was in large part a rejection of Democrat governance over the past eight years. Tens of millions of people voted against progressive governance, not for Trump. In essence, the voters have given the the Dems a "timeout" — sent to their room to ponder why it is that their big government model was rejected as ineffective, arrogant, and wasteful. And like the small children who are generally the victims of a timeouts, the Dems sit in their room pouting, punching their pillow, and otherwise blaming anyone but themselves for their predicament.

Jason Willick comments on this when he writes:
Both Brexit and Trump were manifestations of cascading failures of the governing elites of the Western world, who pushed too hard for universalistic values and grew fundamentally disconnected from their populations. Saving liberalism will require elite introspection and a deeper understanding of our current crisis of governance. Self-satisfied assurances that anti-establishment voters are clueless—that they didn’t understand the significance of their vote and will now change their minds, or that they could be educated if social media sites simply promoted the right news outlets—are borderline suicidal.
But if you believe Ms. Valenti, "introspection" is unnecessary and Trump voters are "clueless" or something worse, so vote shaming is the way to go.

As the tantrum continues, progressives inadvertently indicate that they are in service of the "governing elitists" who are "disconnected from their populations." Gee, and here I thought this was all about empathy with "the masses" and speaking truth to power.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


In the aftermath of an election in which Democrats got thumped at the presidential, congressional, state (governors and state legislative) levels, you'd would think it would be time for serious introspection, but it appears the Democrats are going to double down on failed policies and a failed blue model. Kim Strassel writes:
We teach our children that what matters isn’t how we handle success, but how we handle defeat. Tell that to the collapsing Democratic Party.

Here’s what Democrats know: They got thumped last week. Donald Trump cleaned their clocks, despite his disorganization, controversies and lack of money. Senate Democrats blew at least seven competitive races, and they remain in the minority. House Democrats blew even more, and they remain in the minority. Democratic governors got thumped. Democratic state legislators got thumped. Democratic dog catchers—if there were any on the ballot—got thumped.

What Democrats should realize, because everyone else does, is that voters rejected both their policies (which have undermined middle- and low-income families) and their governance (which has fueled rage at a power-hungry federal government). Hillary Clinton proposed more of the same. Coal workers said no. Blue-collar union workers said no. Suburban moms said no. Small businessmen, drowning under Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare, said no.
But "no" is not a word that true believers want to hear. So instead of recognizing that it's just possible that Americans are less than enamored of a big intrusive government (B.I.G.) that stifles everything from the way we work to the way we think, Dems insist those same Americans want more of it.

But it's more than that. The past 11 days have been an object lesson in how to be a sore loser. In a snarky, but nonetheless honest appraisal of the reaction from the Left, Judah Friedman provides guidelines for the Dems moving forward (tongue planted only slightly in cheek):
... [make] sure protesters remain on the street, blocking highways and businesses. There is no better message to those out of work than people who don’t want to work. College, elementary, and high school kids should continue to stage walkouts. Who doesn’t enjoy watching their tax dollars at work?

... Getting more celebrity endorsements is also a key factor for the next presidential election. Whoever is the next Democrat nominee must ensure that he or she or they acquire endorsements, not just from every entertainer in America, but every entertainer in the world.

... Continue to berate, unfriend, and threaten to fire all those who supported the president-elect. Nothing is more charming to most Americans than inclusion and tolerance.

... Get the fringe voters. Keep kneeling during the national anthem. Continue to call out our police departments for being racist...

... Never ever call it radical Islam. In fact, every time there is an attack abroad, and God forbid domestically, keep insisting Islam is a religion of peace, while knocking intolerant Christians.

... absolutely have Keith Ellison as the next head of the DNC. I’m sure many Americans would be okay with his ties to Louis Farrakhan and organizations like CAIR. What Republican or mainstream American voter didn’t like hearing him compare George W. Bush to Hitler?

... Create your own communities of thoughts and ideas. The college campuses and the social and mainstream media were obviously not enough to get you over the Trump in this election. So my idea for you is safe zones or sanctuary states. Oh wait, you already have that in New York and California, and that didn’t work.
To Friedman's list I would add:
  • be sure to accuse every Trump cabinet nominee of "racism" or "Islamophobia" or ... heck, they know the list of empty epithets;
  • never, ever criticize a protected class (e.g., black lives matter activists or domestic Muslim extremists) no matter how outrageous their words or actions;
  • never, ever criticize universities that ban speakers with a viewpoint that conflicts with progressive thought;
  • refuse the meet with or negotiate on any substantive legislation, if it has been proposed by the GOP;
  • celebrate "sanctuary cities" even when their policies result in an increase in crime
  • boo and then lecture a Vice President-elect in a Broadway theater on why he's a bad person. After all, an upscale audience of limousine liberals and stage actors are the sole arbiters of what's moral and right; with ticket prices topping $150 a seat, Broadway is a wonderful haven for middle class people, isn't it?
I have to believe that some Democrats are becoming uneasy as their party veers to left, thinking (the heresy!) that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren might not be the best leaders to have. I'm sure that a few want it to stop. But they would be berated and even demonized for a lack of progressive purity.

But no worries. The Democrats sit on a high moral plain, so they can see the future better than any of the rest of us. After all, they saw the future way back in 2008 and it was oh-so-bright—until it wasn't.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Safety Pins

The Left has entered the final throws of their denial-outrage-anger-protesting-moralizing-contempt-bitterness-snarkiness-fingerpointing-hysteria-fear precipitated by the recent election of Donald Trump. At the same time, an interesting symbol has been adopted by young, left-leaning people—the safety pin. I'm not sure young leftists understand the irony of the symbol. John Kass comments:
The safety pins are becoming symbols of solidarity for the young on the left who oppose Trump. And they're quite the fashion accessory ...

A safety pin on your clothing demonstrates solidarity with the anti-Trumpsters, and a shield from shaming. But there's a problem with the pins. The irony of it all.

I thought irony died decades ago, but it insists on reanimating itself.

They're safety pins! S-a-f-e-t-y Pins.

Safe space, safe pins, get it? Safety pins were once used to secure cloth diapers so baby bottoms wouldn't get pricked.

I had hoped they'd wear something a bit tougher, like a needle, or a bloody "Game of Thrones" spike. Can't they find some symbolism just a tad less baby-bottomish?

"These pins — not the wearing of them or the pictures posted of folks wearing them — are not about safe spaces," wrote Trump critic Demetria Lucas D'Oyley in an article headlined "Come On, White People: We Need More Than Safety Pins to Make Us Feel Safe" that appeared in The Root.

"They're about not wanting to be perceived as a racist. Like, 'I might be white, but I'm not like them, over there. I'm enlightened.' No, you're not. You're trendy."

The Left has achieved something quite remarkable. By overusing and misusing the epithet "racist", they have deadened it's meaning. And that's an insult to those who fought so hard against actual racists back in the day. But back to "safety."

A hypothetical: Let's assume that a college age American woman wearing a small necklace with a Star of David is joined by her friends— a young gay male wearing a rainbow coalition tee shirt, a young Mexican immigrant wearing a small gold cross celebrating his Catholic heritage, and a young African American female wearing tight-fitting but certainly not inappropriate workout clothes. They're interacting, laughing, and enjoying a walk together. All of them are anti-Trump, and all are wearing safety pins, of course.

I wonder whether this group of friends would be safer on the mean streets of any city in Florida (one of many states that voted for Trump) OR on the streets of, say, Gaza City or Kabul, Afghanistan or Qom, Iran or Mecca, Saudi Arabia? Recall that in those places religious police sometimes brutally attack women for not wearing Sharia-proscribed clothing, gay people are murdered for being gay, and Christians and Jews are eradicated because they are non-believers.

Of course, just asking that question makes me "Islamophobic," doesn't it? Or maybe "racist" or is it "xenophobic" or maybe I'm guilty of "white privilege"?

You know what? The Left hurls those words around so they don't have to answer the questions associated with my hypothetical. The implication makes them uncomfortable and that takes them out of their narrative. Not to mention that it highlights their own hypocrisy in suggesting that citizens in Florida (and elsewhere) who voted for Trump are less evolved than they, but somehow, citizens in the other cities in my hypothetical are ... what? So they rely on name calling.

There are many of us among the "deplorables" and the 'unenlightened" who are no longer intimidated by the Left's empty accusations of racism or Islamophobia or bigotry or white privilege. After all, consider the source.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


The Democrats are crazed with anger and grief because—Donald Trump. The reasons for Trump's victory are complex and will be debated and discussed for years. But one thing is clear—almost 60 million Americans rejected the Tsunami of vicious personal attacks directed at Trump by Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media. Trump himself used tacky, personal attacks heavily during the campaign, but those attacks came from candidate Trump—an individual—rather than from a powerful national entity like the main stream media or the Democratic party.

During this past election, politics of personal destruction (PoPD)—an approach that has served the Left quite well over the past few decades—failed, and failed big. So what do the Democrats do? Do they reflect on the efficacy of PoPD and modify their approach with fact-based arguments about real issues and policies? Do they look inward to assess the blue model of governance and ask why it was roundly rejected, not just in this election, but in 2010 and 2014? Nah ... that's not their style. Best approach: double down on PoPD. Case in point—Steve Bannon.*

The editors of the Wall Street Journal comment:
One post-election question is whether Democrats plan to treat defeat as an education in the limits of personal destruction as a political tool, and the early evidence isn’t promising. Witness the Chernobyl over Steve Bannon, who will be President-elect Trump’s “chief strategist” as liberals assail him as a white supremacist and anti-Semite.

Mr. Bannon is the former chairman of the incendiary Breitbart News website, as well as a Goldman Sachs alum, Navy veteran and early investor in “Seinfeld.” He kept a low profile at Donald Trump’s elbow for the final campaign stretch, but according to Senator Elizabeth Warren at the Journal’s CEO Council on Tuesday, “This is a man who says, by his very presence, that this is a White House that will embrace bigotry.”

We’ve never met Mr. Bannon, and we don’t presume to know his character, but maybe one lesson of 2016 is that deciding that Americans who disagree with you are bigots is a losing strategy. Politics would be healthier if accusations of racism in the country that twice elected the first black President were reserved for more serious use.
The claims made against Bannon are scurrilous. Yes, he's a controversial figure—he doesn't fit in with the elites on both the right and he left who run the country. Yes, he's a firebrand who wants to dismantle government as it is—to "drain the swamp." But he is not an "anti-Semite" or a "white supremacist"—PoPD accusations that have no basis in fact. In their desperate attempt at bolster their narrative, the Left suggests that the CEO of a news organization personally adopts the opinions of every writer working for that organization. Even more ridiculous, that the same CEO is responsible for every commenter who ever posted a comment about an article. That. Is. Absurd.

The Left doesn't have to like Bannon, but puleeze, spare us all the strident shouts of "racist," or "anti-Semite" (rich coming from the Left, given the strong stain of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel feeling emanating from Leftists), or "white supremacist" or ... all of us are all too familiar with their tiresome list of ad hominem slurs.

Roger Kimball adds an additional comment:
It is perfectly understandable that Trump's opposition fears and loathes Steve Bannon. They would have to be insensate morons not to appreciate that it will be largely through Bannon's instrumentality that Trump will accomplish his program.

But that is no excuse for the campaign of hysterical calumny directed at Steve Bannon's character.

Readers of [left-wing strategist] Saul Alinsky will remember Number 13 of his Rules for Radicals:
"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
We have lately witnessed a florid example of this mendacious Alinskyite tactic in the disgusting attacks on Bannon for being a white supremacist, anti-Semitic spokesman for the "alt-right."
When Democrats begin to debate policy without attacking the character of their opponents, when they propose policy positions that they can defend based on facts, not belief or emotion, when they jettison PoPD and come to grips with the harsh reality they lost, maybe we'll begin to listen. But until then, a significant percentage of citizens simply tune them out.


*But don't for one second think that PoPD is directed solely at individuals. In a screed entitled, "There's No Such Thing as a Good Trump Voter", Jamelle Bouie writes:
And the people [Trump voters]who watched these events, who brought their families to gawk and smile, were the very model of decent, law-abiding Americana. Hate and racism have always been the province of “good people.” To treat Trump voters as presumptively innocent—even as they hand power to a demagogic movement of ignorance and racism—is to clear them of moral responsibility for whatever happens next, even if it’s violence against communities of color. Even if, despite the patina of law, it is essentially criminal. It is to absolve Trump’s supporters of any blame or any fault. Yes, they put a white nationalist in power. But the consequences? Well, it’s not what they wanted.
Yep ... that's the kind of thoughtful commentary that will move us all away from PoPD. Not a single good person in ~60 million. Not one. All of them in favor of "ignorance and racism." Hate and racism is the "province of 'good people'." Maybe that's why all Trump voters fit within a basket of "deplorables" who are themselves "irredeemable." And maybe, just maybe, institutionally-based PoPD is why the Democrats lost.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


The Left was absolutely sure that the the leftward march begun by Barack Obama would continue. Democrats believed that despite her many flaws, Hillary was a slam dunk winner and would initiate policies that would converge with, rather than diverge from Barack Obama's. #Nevertrumpers on the GOP side believed that it was better to have Hillary Clinton as president than to have a GOP candidate who was not ideologically pure. Richard Fernandez suggests that the unhinged post-election rhetoric of almost all elites on both the Right and the Left  is due to one simple idea—divergence. He writes:
The tale really began in 2008, or to an even earlier when many Democrats refused to concede the 2000 presidential elections to George W. Bush. In each case the effects were similar, but growing in amplitude. "Not my president" replaced by "not your president". The 8 years of George Bush led to Barack Obama, determined to undo his predecessor and "fundamentally transform America". The 8 years of Obama have similarly led to Donald Trump who is equally determined to uproot what his predecessor planted.

Neither side appears ready to accept the legacy of the other. We have a series each step of which consists of undoing the previous term. The result is divergent. Each election creates a backlash which drives half the country away from the other half. There is no coming together in consensus but rather a growing drifting apart. What David Brooks offers with his vision of impeaching Trump within a year is more conflict, the same old, same old at a higher tempo. Why wait till 2020 when they can begin changing the president now? Why wait a year when you have now?
Stated more simply, the Left and the Right are moving further apart—diverging in their world view, their understanding of culture, their affinities, their leaders, and their overall approach to governance.

For the eleven years of its existence, the tag line of this blog has been: "The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts."
As both factions move further to the left or right, their lenses offers more than just distortion. It allows less and less reality to pass through. In actuality, Donald Trump, despite all of his negatives, is a political moderate—his lens might actually be far less distorted than the crazies of both ends of the political spectrum who oppose him. Both the Left and the Right are dying. The socialist model and its concomitant reliance on "fairness" and "diversity" has failed so often it has become a joke. The arch-conservative world view that applies social mores of the 1880s to the 21st century is no longer in step with modern times. Yet both endsw of the spectrum refuse to moderate their positions and attack Trump even before he has taken office because he represents a somewhat different approach.

Fernandez writes:
Perhaps time and history will bring a new beginning, a lasting consensus, another age that suits us all. No one can predict how the 21st century will develop. Perhaps humanity will go its several ways, divided into affinity groups, or even among the several planets. The one likely thing is the solution is probably not what we now imagine. All the pundits in the world couldn't even predict Trump. How can they know the future? All we know is that we are lost, but given time we will find a way. Humanity always has.
 But not before significant upheaval and sometimes, great pain.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Levels of Hate

It took less than a week for the media to begin asking hard questions to anyone associated with Donald Trump. Like this one:

"How is President-elect Trump going to stop the racist, Islamophobic, anti-Mexican, anti-LGBT incidents that are occurring regularly across the United States since his election?"

Hard, probing question are good—that's something that should have been done for the past eight years, but wasn't. I'm pleased that the trained hamsters of the media have grown some teeth.

But the media's questions should be based in fact, not the nightmare landscape imagined by unhinged thinkers on the left. Sadly, the question noted above is the latter.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown comments:
Let's get this out of the way: there's no doubt that Donald Trump's policies may pose a direct threat to certain classes of American people. But in the wake of his Tuesday night election as president of the United States, there has been a wave of people worrying for the physical safety of Mexicans, Muslims, and anyone else who isn't white, male, and gender-conforming. The fear seems to legitimately be that there are would-be perpetrators of sexual assault and race-based violence that have been well-behaved so far but will now, emboldened by a President-elect Trump, suddenly go wild with the raping and the hate crimes.

Implausible? I think so. But the narrative has been bolstered by a few high-profile incidents of alleged aggression in Trump's America.

The first one to really go viral involved a Muslim female student at the University of Louisiana who claimed to have had her hijab ripped off and her wallet stolen the day after Trump's election by two white men wearing Trump hats. But on Thursday, local police announced that the young woman had admitted she fabricated the story. "This incident is no longer under investigation," the Lafayette Police Department said in a press release.

In another incident, this one in San Diego, a young Muslim woman's purse and car were stolen by one white male and one Hispanic male. While the men allegedly made negative comments about Muslims, it seems car stealing was more their motivation than harassment or intimidation—which is obviously shitty, but not necessarily a Trump-inspired act of bigotry.

And an alleged incident of a gay man named Chris Ball getting beaten up by Trump supporters in Santa Monica on election night seems to have not happened the way it was initially recounted, if the incident even happened at all. The Santa Monica Police Department posted a message to Facebook Thursday saying that neither the department nor city officials had "received any information indicating this crime occurred in the City of Santa Monica" and "a check of local hospitals revealed there was no victim of any such incident admitted or treated."

Other instances of "Trump inspired" violence and vandalism have also turned out to be hoaxes or misinterpretations. An alleged Ku Klux Klan rally in honor of Trump's victory turned out to be an old photo of conservatives carrying U.S., Gadsden, and Christian flags that were billowing out in a manner mistaken in a grainy photo for Klan robes. There were no Southern Illinois University students posting blackface selfies to social media after Trump's win.
Because these make-believe instances fit perfectly into the trained hamsters' narrative, they were never fact checked (something every legitimate reporter should do). Instead, they are promulgated as actual incidents. The intent is to inflame the left and to frighten minorities and others.

Nolan Brown recounts other phony anti-black, anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican claims and them summarizes:
Pushers of this "rampant racist crimewave" in Trump's America story will dismiss posts like this one, and anyone who challenges their narrative, as naive, enabling of racists, or unconscionably non-empathetic to non-straight, white, Christian Americans. But I'm not the one trying to stoke false terror in vulnerable people or over-hype America's levels of hate for pageviews and Twitter faves.
The trained hamsters (with teeth) will never give up the narrative ... never. Because if they did, it would be admission that their work is often garbage and their ethics are often bankrupt. Before looking for "levels of hate" among Trump's supporters, they would do well to reflect on the "levels of hate" within their own ranks and among their ideological clones on the left.


It looks like every left-leaning media outlet is calling on Donald Trump to "denounce" the "hate crimes" that exist in their fevered imagination, but didn't actually happen in the real world. He did denounce any hate speech, but that never stops the trained hamsters from beating a dead horse. Sean Davis writes:
In an editorial published just two days after Trump was elected to be the 45th president of the United States, The New York Times demanded that Trump “denounce the hate”... The Boston Globe followed up with an editorial the next day demanding the same thing using the exact same words. “Trump must denounce the outbreak of hate,” the paper’s editorialists declared.

Twitter is chock full of blue-checkmarked celebrities, journalists, and politicos calling on Trump to denounce. Denounce this. Denounce that. Denounce Trump for hiring this person. Denounce Trump for not hiring that person. Denounce, denounce, denounce.

What’s curiously missing among this deluge of denouncement demands, however, is a single demand that Hillary Clinton denounce the violent, anti-Trump protests that are being waged in her name. After all, it’s not Trump’s supporters who are tipping over cop cars, torching businesses, or beating up Trump voters. The rioters won’t listen to Trump, but they might listen to Hillary or Obama. Did Hillary Clinton make a big, public show of denouncing the violent protests raging in cities like Portland, and I just missed it? That seems to me to be the only innocent explanation for the refusal of so many of her most prominent acolytes to call on her to denounce the violence.
Here's the thing. Only those who disagree with the Left can commit "hate crimes" or do bad or distasteful things. The anti-Trump rioters are "full of passion" or are experiencing "fear" or "disappointment" or "dismay." There's nothing for Clinton to denounce because blocking traffic, starting fires, trashing cars, breaking windows, and attacking Trump supporters are all okay—as long as the people doing it are on the Left.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Scott Adams is a keen observer of the American scene. His comic strip, Dilbert, has been followed by millions and is among the most accurate (and funny) studies of American corporate culture, its workers, and its managers.

Adams has spent the past week observing the reaction to Donald Trump's upset victory in the presidential election. He provides an insightful explanation for the extreme reaction of many progressives on social media and many millennials who now protest in the streets of some American cities. Adams writes:
Earlier this week listed 24 different theories that pundits have provided for why Trump won. And the list isn’t even complete. I’ve heard other explanations as well. What does it tell you when there are 24 different explanations for a thing?

It tells you that someone just dropped a cognitive dissonance cluster bomb on the public. Heads exploded. Cognitive dissonance set in. Weird theories came out. This is the cleanest and clearest example of cognitive dissonance you will ever see. Remember it ...

This brings me to the anti-Trump protests [and I would add, many anti-Trump social media posts]. The protesters look as though they are protesting Trump, but they are not. They are locked in an imaginary world and battling their own hallucinations of the future. Here’s the setup that triggered them.

1. They believe they are smart and well-informed.

2. Their good judgement told them Trump is OBVIOUSLY the next Hitler, or something similarly bad.

3. Half of the voters of the United States – including a lot of smart people – voted Trump into office anyway.

Those “facts” can’t be reconciled in the minds of the anti-Trumpers. Mentally, something has to give. That’s where cognitive dissonance comes in.

There are two ways for an anti-Trumper to interpret that reality. One option is to accept that if half the public doesn’t see Trump as a dangerous monster, perhaps he isn’t. But that would conflict with a person’s self-image as being smart and well-informed in the first place. When you violate a person’s self-image, it triggers cognitive dissonance to explain-away the discrepancy.

So how do you explain-away Trump’s election if you think you are smart and you think you are well-informed and you think Trump is OBVIOUSLY a monster?

You solve for that incongruity by hallucinating – literally – that Trump supporters KNOW Trump is a monster and they PREFER the monster. In this hallucination, the KKK is not a nutty fringe group but rather a symbol of how all Trump supporters must feel. (They don’t. Not even close.)

In a rational world it would be obvious that Trump supporters include lots of brilliant and well-informed people. That fact – as obvious as it would seem – is invisible to the folks who can’t even imagine a world in which their powers of perception could be so wrong. To reconcile their world, they have to imagine all Trump supporters as defective in some moral or cognitive way, or both.
On many occasions over many years, I've discussed the "through-the-looking-glass" world in which many progressives place themselves. Never has that been more evident than in their view of Donald Trump (the "MONSTER") and in their reaction to his victory. The opinion of 60 million American voters shattered the progressive  looking glass, and their reaction has indeed been "cognitive dissonance."

Adams is correct when he suggests that the only way to cope with the clear evidence that your fantasy has been destroyed is either accept that the fantasy was flawed, modify your world view, and move on, or to double down and move from fantasy to "hallucination."

Many thoughtful progressives are slowing coming to grips with the former option, but many others fully intend to embrace the latter. It's hard to lose, but it's very sad, pathetic even, when you cling to a fantasy that caused the loss in the first place. 

And this, from left of center commentator, Steven L. Carter
Yes, Trump ran an often ugly campaign. Yes, I am among those worried about his unpredictability. But the left has work to do, not only on policy and organization but also on attitude. Too many of my progressive friends seem to have forgotten how to make actual arguments, and have become expert instead at condemnation, derision and mockery. On issue after issue, they’re very good at explaining why no one could oppose their policy positions except for the basest of motives. As to those positions themselves, they are too often announced with a zealous solemnity suggesting that their views are Holy Writ -- and those who disagree are cast into the outer political darkness. In short, the left has lately been dripping with hubris, which in classic literature always portends a fall.
Hallucination coupled with hubris is an ugly mix. Let's hope it dissipates quickly.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Protected Class

Among the many things that progressives do well is to create protected classes—people of color, people belonging to an approved religion, people of a specific gender or those who are gender fluid. Under the increasingly repressive laws of political correctness, one is allowed to discuss a protected class only in very specific and controlled ways.

For reasons that are not at all clear, the Left, along with a majority of progressive politicians, now consider 1.6 billion Muslims—nearly a quarter of the word's population—as a protected class.  This collides with Donald Trump's assertion that some members of Islam are dangerous and should be prohibited from immigrating to the United States. Trump never suggested any action against Muslim citizens or legal residents of the U.S., but after observing the chaos that has overtaken Europe, his position is to restrict immigration, something that is absolutely not a right, human or otherwise. Progressives have proceeded to brand the president-elect a "racist" and suggested that Muslims already in the US are living "in fear."

Because Islam is a protected class, it seems that any discussion of Islam that questions its basic tenets or suggests that those tenets lead some to extreme violence is verboten. Anyone who suggests, for example, that the tenets of Islam and ISIS are inextricably connected is labeled as "Islamophobic." Left-wing politicians like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been so focused on the protected class that they refuse to use any adjective that connects terror and Islam in one phrase. They argue that we must work with Muslims to combat "violent extremism" (note the words) and that if we speak frankly about the intersection of Islam with terror and violence, we will alienate Muslims. This is nonsense and contradicts their primary premise—that Muslims are peaceful and accepting of the West. If, in fact, their premise is true, then why would Muslims not want to rid our country and the world of their co-religionists who are violent, radical, and anti-Western. The progressive argument does not make sense.

In many posts on this blog I have suggested that the West should demand that Islam reform itself. It is not up to us the find a solution to Islamic terror, it is up to Muslims to purge Islamists from their midst. But when truly moderate Muslims suggest reformation, the Left ostracizes them, calls them names, and refuses to listen. One such moderate Muslim is Ayann Hersi Ali, a true hero in the war against radical Islamic terror. Her position is not only intelligent, it is irrefutable. The following video is very important:

Donald Trump should invite Hirsi Ali to the White House in his first 100 days. He should listen carefully to what Ali recommends and initiate policies to reshape the battlefield against radical Islam. The world will be a far better place if Hirsi Ali's words become the basis for doctrine.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Listen and Observe

If you spend any time at all on social media, it's pretty apparent that progressives are angry and dismayed at the result of the election. Their commentary is apocalyptic and sometimes unhinged—"Trump is a Nazi ... Trump will trample my human rights ... Trump will destroy America as we know it ... Trump is a racist ... a bigot ... a disaster!" Some on the far left have decided that the best avenue to channel their anger and dismay is to stage "protests"* in some cities, carrying signs that read "Trump is NOT my president" ... or the ever-popular "Love Trumps Hate." It's rather amusing that so much hate comes out of a crowd that carries "Love Trumps Hate" signs, but I suppose that's just a quibble.

As I absorb all of this, I've come to the conclusion that part of the reason for all the progressive anger and dismay is that progressives only seem to listen to and associate with other progressives. When they encounter an opposing (conservative) viewpoint they often shut down and refuse to listen. In the extreme, they shout down the speaker while stigmatizing him or her with ad hominem attacks. For example, if one were to express concern with Muslim immigration from countries with a strong Islamist presence, a true progressive would react with outrage, suggesting that the speaker was "Islamophobic" or "racist", despite the fact that Islam is not a race. The fact that Muslim immigrants in Europe are causing significant negative societal changes seems to have alluded progressives.

Johnny Oleksinski comments:
This election made it abundantly clear that social media, in trying to replace the real world, has led us astray. It’s taken an already divided nation and perilously widened the gap by making virtue of extremity. Worse yet, it fooled pundits and campaign advisers into believing the entire populace actually agreed with them.

It’s no wonder that Trump’s victory is being called a “shocker” and “stunning” by most media outlets. Twitter especially is an Admiral’s Club for journalists, a group that boasts few conservative members. So, for them — spending their days in a Manhattan office, dismissing all Trump supporters as trolls — it really was.

After Richard Nixon’s victory in 1972, Pauline Kael wrote, “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken.”

Then, Kael’s liberal myopia was understandable. She lived in New York City and worked as a film critic for The New Yorker — not exactly a blue collar gig in not exactly a Rust Belt state. Today, however, ignorance is voluntary.

Voted for Hillary Clinton? Block! Voted for Donald Trump? Mute! Voted for Gary Johnson? Unfriend! And so it goes until the majority of a person’s conversations are held with ideological clones. Like a thin-skinned executive, we’ve neatly pruned our social circles into packs of “yes” men. If that’s what makes you happy, go for it. But no informed, conscientious citizen should confuse his online playground with reality.
Progressives (liberals, if you prefer), can actively avoid any understanding the the conservation narrative by avoiding the small number of media outlets that carry it and avoiding physical or online acquaintances who espouse it.. For example, many of my progressive friends state, "I would never watch FOX NEWS, it's garbage." I won't read The Wall Street Journal, it's biased," "I unfriended her because she's a Trump supporter." What they're really saying is, I won't listen to, read about or associate with another viewpoint.

Conservatives, on the other hand, have no choice but to listen to a left-of-center narrative. Virtually every media outlet presents that narrative daily, almost every TV show that presents a political perspective in its comedy or drama does so from a progressive point of view, the same goes for most, if not all, Hollywood movies, most popular novels, and a small, but growing number of sports celebrities. The workplace has become oppressively PC. College campuses are now totalitarian bastions of progressive thought. Although I doubt that many conservatives agree with the progressive narrative, they understand its content because they are bombarded with it daily. They have no choice but to listen and observe. None at all.

Because they have failed to listen and observe, progressives have been able to create their own reality in which the blue model works flawlessly, big government solves all problems, open borders are a moral imperative, the economy is a zero-sum game in which the success of one group precipitates another group's failure, where everyone but "White Men" is a victim, and—this is important—where there was no possibility that Donald Trump would win the election—none! As an example, see this video.

When Donald Trump pulled off the greatest political upset in the history of this country, reality collided with the progressive fantasy. The signs were there. They were faint and often ambiguous, but if you listened and observed, they were there. I failed to listen and observe carefully enough and I missed them, thinking that Clinton would win. But far too many progressives refused to listen or observe at all. That's why shock ensured, anger followed, and now dismay has set in.

The lesson for all progressives is to listen and observe outside of the echo chamber that is "the narrative." You might not like what you hear and see, but at least you'll have clear understanding of reality as it is, not as you wish it to be.


CNN has continued its "Clinton News Network" image by giving the protests near blanket coverage. It's as if the "protests" somehow justify the network's blatant anti-Trump bias during the campaign, implying See, people are demonstrating in the streets ... we at CNN were justified in our opposition to Trump.

Of course, the peaceful protests are now becoming violent—no surprise. The Left tends to do that. Just consider for a moment what would have happened if right-wing extremists rioted in the streets after a Clinton victory. There would be no talk of "passionate opposition" or "fear" or "human rights". Instead, there would be full throated condemnation from every quarter, including every talking head on CNN.

Not all media is as bad as CNN. The editors of The New York Daily News, a vociferous opponent of Trump, comment:
Thousands of protesters aghast at the prospects of Donald Trump assuming the august office held by Washington, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt have taken to the streets in dozens of cities, odiously chanting “Not my President.”

Many blocked traffic. Some burned American flags. More than 100 people were arrested amid reports of vandalism and sporadic violence.

We objected to Donald Trump’s candidacy as forcefully as anyone. But street protests that amount to primal screams against the outcome of a fair and legal national election are worse than petulant, worse than ineffective.

They will make it harder for principled opponents to block Trump’s policies and plans when they warrant strident opposition, which some most certainly will ...

... it is woefully ineffective to scream at the sky without a focal point, much less without a desired outcome. As currently unfolding, the masses furiously railing against Trump himself are effectively throwing a tantrum over the fact that 60 million of their fellow Americans made a choice with which they disagree.
Yeah ... "throwing an tantrum" describes it rather well, don't you think?

Friday, November 11, 2016


Regular readers of this blog know that I was no fan of Hillary Clinton. Her history (both short and long term) was one of dishonesty and corruption. But in the days leading up to the election, I was fairly certain that she would win. After all, she had it all—the media, the political organization, the money, and the "blue wall" of states that would never vote GOP—until they did. I was wrong about the outcome of the election, but I was not alone.

Peggy Noonan comments:
I saw Hillary Clinton winning for all the usual reasons. Now the usual reasons are pretty much out the window.

But some things should be said:

First, our democratic republic is vibrant and alive. It is not resigned. It is still capable of delivering a result so confounding it knocks you into the next room.

Nobody rigged this. Nobody hacked it. There weren’t brawls at polling places, there was kindness and civility. At the 92nd Street Y I got to embrace three neighbors. All this in a highly charged, highly dramatic and divisive election. We did our democratic work and then went home. It all worked.

Second, Donald Trump said he had a movement and he did. This is how you know. His presidential campaign was bad—disorganized, unprofessional, chaotic, ad hoc. There was no state-of-the-art get-out-the-vote effort—his voters got themselves out. There was no high-class, high-tech identifying of supporters—they identified themselves. They weren’t swayed by the barrage of brilliantly produced ads—those ads hardly materialized. This was not a triumph of modern campaign modes and ways. The people did this. As individuals within a movement.

It was a natural, self-driven eruption. Which makes it all the more impressive and moving. And it somehow makes it more beautiful that few saw it coming.
But the Left sees no beauty in the democratic process that didn't go as they planned. They grieve. I get that. We must give them some time to come to grips with the notion that the shocking results demolished their fantasy that everyone, except "deplorable" people, held their world view. That no person of color or of Latino origin might decide that the Democrat candidate was not an appropriate choice for president. That many women would vote for a man, not because he has an exemplary character, but because he does have ideas that are not all bad.

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama showed character in their reaction to the election results and to Trump himself. They understand, better than their many bitter supporters, that the process worked—it just didn't work in the way they liked. Clinton and Obama were gracious in defeat, and it appears that the current president is working to make the transition as easy as is possible. I applaud him for that.

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, many (including me) characterized him as a "cypher"—an unknown. We had to give him a chance to lead so that we could better understand his ability to govern. I would suggest that although many on the Left think they "know" Donald trump, they do not. As a politician and a leader, all they know are his distasteful words. His political deeds, his leadership potential, his future accomplishments (if any) remain a cypher.

Just Like Magic

I'm tellin' ya'—it's just like magic. Three days after his election to the presidency, and Donald Trump has already accomplished one thing that is good for the country.

The trained hamsters in the media have already jumped off their little rotating mesh wheels, grown sharp teeth, and begun to do what they should have been doing for the past eight years—their job! As I predicted months ago, the media will keep a Trump administration in check—and that's a very good thing.

CNN reporter Andrew Kaszynski is representative. He tweets: "Good aggressive investigative journalism – not puff pieces based off access to Trump or interviews with him – is more important than ever."

Wow! What a revelation! What integrity! What professionalism! Kaszynski is either too stupid or too ideological to understand the irony embodied in his tweet.

At least one element of the Trump victory was a repudiation of the trained hamsters, their blatant bias, and the clear evidence that they hid facts—the failures and dishonesty that might have caused Obama and the Democrats to change course and save their "legacy." Instead, they allowed bad decisions and bad policy to go unchallenged. Richard Fernandez describes this when he writes:
The corruption of the mainstream media did nothing more than open the doors to disaster [for the Democrats]. By turning the MSM into an adjunct of the progressive cause they [The Dems] stilled the last voices that would tell them the truth. By election day there was no one left to warn them and bam! they walked right into it.
The mainstream media refused to do "good aggressive investigative journalism" and instead relied on "puff pieces" that protected Obama, Hillary, and the Dems, trying to make them look good in a pathetically ineffective (we now know) effort to influence the election. They, as much as any other entity, were responsible for the Trump wave.

And now, aggressive journalism returns. Just. Like. Magic.