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

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Belief

On Friday, I posted a piece entitled "Sexual McCarthyism" discussing the use of wholly unsubstantiated allegations of sexual abuse as a bludgeon to destroy people who you don't like. Although polling is difficult here, I would suspect that a substantial minority of Democrats along with a much, much smaller percentage of independents and a tiny percentage of Republicans simply believe that Christine Blasey Ford's allegations are true.

I have on numerous occasions noted that far too many Democrats operate on belief, rather than evidence. They seem perfectly willing to believe in fantasy (e.g., socialism will lead to a utopian existence), even though clear, irrefutable historical evidence indicates that their belief cannot withstand the harsh glare of reality. When fantasy collides with reality, reality wins every time.

In the case of Ford v. Kavanaugh, we honestly don't know what the reality of the situation is and that provides an advantage for the Dems. Sure, every shred of evidence currently offered suggests significant skepticism when assessing Ford's allegation. The accused unequivocally denies the charge; no other person, even those who Ford named in attendance at the "party," has any memory of the party or the incident; Ford herself can't remember the date, the time, the location, the manner in which she arrived or left, and the alleged event is shrouded in the mists of time, when both people were juveniles—36 years in the past! And now, Ford is negotiating her testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee in a manner that is clearly political.

Byron York comments:
... Democrats are dedicated to trying to stop the Kavanaugh nomination on the basis of a charge without verification.

Now, out of the Democrats' faith comes a new argument: It doesn't matter whether Ford's charge is true. It is credible. And that is enough, because even a credible allegation -- no word on who defines what that means -- disqualifies Kavanaugh for a seat on the Supreme Court.

"The truth is, I believe her," Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said. "She has a credible allegation against Judge Kavanaugh."

Some academic Ford supporters lent their scholarly credentials to the credible-is-enough argument. "The existence of credible allegations against Judge Kavanaugh should be disqualifying," wrote Cardozo Law School professor Kate Shaw in the New York Times. "If members of the Senate conclude that a credible accusation of sexual misconduct has been made against Judge Kavanaugh, that should be enough to disqualify him."
Wait, what!? A Law Professor suggests that we jettison the notion that evidence-based allegations be valued above evidence-free allegations, that belief in the allegation is all that matters? I have to wonder whether she feels the same way about recent allegations of sexual abuse (that do have substantial evidence associated with them) again DNC co-Chair and Minnesota AG candidate, Keith Ellison?

When Christine Gilliband (D-NY), a sitting U.S. Senator, suggests that all one needs is "a credible allegation," she has crossed a line and entered into the realm of McCarthyism. Joe McCarthy alleged, often without evidence but always with innuendo, that a person was a "member of the communist party" because they knew someone who was a member, once spoke to a member, of even attended a meeting in which communists were present. He made what his supporters believed (that word again) were "credible allegations." As a consequence, the accused lost their careers, were often publicly shunned, and were ruined. Years after, whispers continued to surface.

Byron York continues:
So there it is: Ford's supporters believe in her because they believe in her. They think a credible allegation is enough to disqualify Kavanaugh. And even if that allegation is not, in fact, true -- even if Kavanaugh is innocent -- he is still disqualified. In the current battle, Kavanaugh's opposition is essentially faith-based, trying to create an environment in which there is no way he can win.
Heh. Political genius on the part of the Dems. And a really convenient, if cynical, argument in this case. And here I thought that Democrats eschewed "faith-based" initiatives.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Sexual McCarthyism

When a man violently assaults a woman and there is clear, irrefutable evidence that the assault occurred, the man is scum and deserves imprisonment. When men use positions of power to harass women, impact their employment or job prospects or otherwise injure them professionally, they are scum and deserve opprobrium. When men make remarks that belittle women or think them incapable of strong action or leadership, they are jerks or worse and deserve harsh criticism or worse. All of that is true, not because PC or #MeToo says it's true, but because decent human beings have believed it to be true for centuries.

But what happens when one group weaponizes a broadly-held belief that woman should be treated with respect and dignity (like all humans) and then uses that belief as a cudgel? That's called 'sexual McCarthyism' and it is cruel, vicious, indecent and reckless. Toby Young comments:
It is hard to know what has caused this sexual McCarthyism. One claim, often made by #MeToo advocates, is that American universities are in the grip of a rape epidemic and if the authorities don’t start taking their responsibilities to protect women more seriously it will only get worse. In fact, sexual assaults of female college students in the US dropped by more than half between 1997 and 2013. In the same period, young women in college were less likely to be assaulted than those who weren’t. The ‘rape epidemic’ claim is a symptom of the hysteria, not its cause.

My own theory is that a small minority on the identitarian Left have used various Maoist tactics, including public shaming on social media, to persuade people that their doctrinaire positions on #MeToo allegations and a range of other issues – gender is a social construct, masculinity is toxic, climate change is caused by misogyny, etc. – are much more ubiquitous than they really are, thereby stifling dissent.

To think about how this might work, imagine a modern-day version of ‘The Emperor’s Clothes’ set at an American Ivy League college. A skeptical undergraduate is taking a gender studies class and suspects midway through that only a small minority of his classmates actually believe anything the professor is saying. So when she comes up with a particularly far-fetched bit of postmodern Neo-Marxist nonsense – for instance, that menstruation is a social construct – he decides to call her out on it. How do his classmates react, assuming the majority of them share his skepticism?

Unlike in the original story, they don’t immediately burst out laughing and applaud him for his courage. Rather, they look around, trying to gauge the reaction of others and, at the same time, keep their own expressions neutral until they get a sense of what the majority believes. Nothing they see on each other’s faces tells them it’s safe to indicate they share the undergraduate’s skepticism – even though a majority of them do – so they keep quiet. Some of them may even start tutting and shaking their heads, not wanting those they imagine to be in the majority to suspect they hold the heretical view. At this point, the gender studies professor narrows her eyes, accuses the undergraduate of being a misogynist and uses the bias reporting hotline to contact the university’s diversity officer.

A week later, the miscreant has been kicked out even though the professor in question was clearly spouting nonsense and a majority of the undergraduate’s classmates secretly agreed with him.
The phenomenon that Young describes lies at the heart of many politically correct positions. Based on life experience, scientific evidence, and simple common sense, most of us understand that many PC claims are unmitigated nonsense. Yet almost all of us have become afraid to call them what they are—B.S.

Young notes that the Left, once the harsh opponent of puritanical thought, has now become its champion:
Who knows how long this paranoid atmosphere will continue. America seems to go through periodic bouts of hysterical puritanism, which partly accounts for the enduring appeal of The Crucible, Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem Witch Trials.
It is further ironic that the Left has become the champion of sexual McCarthism, adopting the methods and even the language of a man they had vilified in the past. When you ruin a person's life, jeopardize their career, and destroy their reputation using only sexual innuendo coupled with decades-old, unsubstantiated allegations that are almost impossible to disprove, you have become exactly what the #MeToo movement hates—people who harass others to control and intimidate them. If it's wrong to do that to a woman, it's equally wrong to do it to a man.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Decency

The Kavanaugh - Ford debacle, coordinated by the Democrats, reflects a ugly blend of the politics of personal destruction. The Dems express faux outrage over an 11th hour, unsubstantiated allegation that is being used to discredit a fully qualified candidate for SCOTUS, ruin his reputation for the rest of his life, and provide political leverage that just might wreck his chances of getting the nomination after all. They have the chutzpa to demand an FBI investigation that delays Kavanaugh's nomination even though they could have had an investigation completed had they asked six weeks ago. Instead, they have allowed last minute innuendo to ruin a decent man and at the same time, make demands that are so hypocritical, they would be laughable if they were not so dangerous.

The GOP looks like a deer in headlights, afraid to buck political correctness or MeToo hysteria to say ENOUGH! Correctly, the GOP has made an attempt to hear out Ms. Ford, even though her recollections are hazy and the event happened 36 years ago—in high school! But Ford has so far (predictably) demurred, demanding a 7th FBI probe of Kavanaugh after six turned up nothing that would indicate he is an abuser of woman. Of course, if an FBI probe were completed quickly, you can bet your life that Democrats would say that it wasn't thorough enough, that it was a 'rush to judgement,' that male bias pervaded the findings, that we must believe the accuser regardless of the outcome.

There appears to be nothing that would satisfy the Dems short of Kavanaugh removing his name from nomination—their overriding goal in the first place. This isn't about #MeToo or sexual assault or even about Christine Blasey Ford, who is either a purposeful tool or unwitting pawn in the Democrat's on-going psychodrama. The Dems have lost power and they cannot abide that. Any action, no matter how crass, that returns them power is acceptable and necessary. In fact, their recent actions vis a vis the Ford allegations are prima facie evidence why the broader American public has removed them from power.

John Kass is eloquent when he discusses this disgusting spectacle:
Because in their zeal to delegitimize Kavanaugh and delay confirmation until after the 2018 midterm elections, the Senate Democrats seem all too willing to delegitimize the Supreme Court itself.

Even if his nomination is confirmed by the Republican majority, the as-yet-unsubstantiated allegation of an attempted high school rape will hang from his neck for as long as he lives. And from the necks of his wife and daughters.

Ford’s charge is serious business. But having them duel it out publicly, for the amusement of jabbering knaves on Twitter and TV whipping up Democratic or Republican tribal outrage, isn’t the best way for a healthy republic to handle things.

Now it’s a freak show. And trashing the reputation of a man who has never, to my knowledge, exhibited even hints of such behavior is the way of our politics.

It is indecent that we accept this status quo.

Long before Kavanaugh was born, at a hearing in Washington on June 9, 1954, Joseph Welch, a lawyer representing the U.S. Army finally confronted Joe McCarthy [a GOP senator who is infamous for his dishonest use of anti-communist innuendo] on national television.

Welch offered a statement that ended McCarthy’s career.

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness,” Welch said. “… You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

It was indecent then. It is indecent now.

It was reckless then. It is reckless now.

Sen. Feinstein, have you no sense of decency?
Nah ... decency disappeared among the Democrats when Clarance Thomas was nominated to SCOTUS, or maybe it was when Donald Trump won the 2016 election. It has never returned. Instead, it has been replaced by a "freak show" that exhibits a level of cruelty and recklessness that is astounding.

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

Daniel Henninger gets to the core of this debacle by looking at broader motives:
Surely someone pointed out [to the Democrats] that based on what was disclosed, this accusation could not be substantiated. To which the Democrats responded: So what? Its political value is that it cannot be disproved. They saw that six weeks before a crucial midterm election, the unresolvable case of Christine Blasey Ford would sit like a stalled hurricane over the entire Republican Party, drowning its candidates in a force they could not stop.

In #MeToo, which began in the predations of Harvey Weinstein, Democrats and progressives finally have found a weapon against which there seems to be no defense. It can be used to exterminate political enemies. If one unprovable accusation doesn’t suffice, why not produce a second, or third? It’s a limitless standard.

The Democrats’ broader strategy is: Delay the vote past the election; win the Senate by convincing suburban women that Republicans are implacably hostile to them; seize power; and—the point of it all—take down the Trump government.

This is the “resistance.” This is what Democrats have become. Resistance is a word and strategy normally found in a revolutionary context, which is precisely the argument made by the left to justify its actions against this presidency since the evening of Nov. 8, 2016. Anything goes. Whatever it takes. Brett Kavanaugh is not much more than a casualty of war.
Yet, every shred of evidence, with the exception of Ford's wholly unsubstantiated allegations, indicates that Brett Kavanaugh is more than "a casualty of war." He is a decent, competent jurist, who has now been irreparably smeared by the Democrats. This is the party that the Dems have become—a cruel and vengeful collection of ideologues who are incapable of winning arguments on their merits but are fully capable of destroying anyone who stands in their way. They have no sense of decency—none at all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Pigtails

BREAKING NEWS from the OnCenter News Team!! Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has been accused of gender-based assault, according to reports swirling around Capitol Hill. Although details are unclear, the anonymous victim tells The Washington Post that Schumer attacked her in a kindergarten playground in 1955 — 63 years ago.

In a nationwide exclusive, the OnCenter News Team has acquired part of the interview transcript:
Interviewer: Can you describe the attack?

Victim: Yes. I was in the playground away from the other children and teachers and Chucky ran up behind me and pulled my pigtails—hard! He did this because I was a woman. But it was a violent attack that traumatized me for decades after. It caused physical pain at the time, in fact, I thought for a moment that he might inadvertently kill me!

Interviewer: Why do you think he did it?

Victim: I think he might’ve liked me.

Interviewer: Did your classmates see the attack? Were you injured?

Victim: No one else saw it, except Chucky's friend, who jumped on us both to end the attack. There was no lasting physical injury, but the trauma of the event has stayed with me year after year, decade after decade. The #MeToo movement has taught me that even after all these years, I must now speak out.

Interviewer: Did you tell your teachers or your parents or anyone at the time?

Victim: No. In fact, my recollection of the entire event is rather hazy but I’m absolutely certain it was Chuckie Schumer, or at least I’m pretty sure it was him.
The Oncenter News Team contacted Schumer's kindergarten friend and asked for comment. He responded with a mixture of unfiltered incredulousness and anger:
Wait, what? You're kidding right? This is nuts. And besides, who the hell would dwell on an event that happened 62 years ago, did no lasting physical harm, and occurred when we were kids. It didn't happen as far as I can remember, but that's way beside the point. F*$&## unbelievable.
When asked to comment on the allegation of gender-based assault leveled against the leader of her party's caucus, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with other Democrat colleagues, seemed circumspect.
Reporter (amid shouting by other media): Is Senator Schumer Guilty?

Warren: Whether these allegations are true or not is irrelevant, we must acknowledge the victim's pain. I do that.

Reporter: But doesn't the truth matter? After all, you're innocent until proven guilty in our country. And besides, this allegation is completely unsubstantiated.

Warren: That's true, but I'm certain that Senator Schumer is innocent of the charges, although I acknowledge the victim's pain.

Reporter: You already said that. Why do you think Schumer is innocent?

Warren: Our investigators have uncovered the name of the victim and have further uncovered details of her political ideology. We have her Facebook profile and her Twitter feed. By the way, she recently deleted key elements of it, obviously trying to hide her political positions.

Another reporter: What have you found?

Warren: Well, there's a picture of the woman, now 67 years old, with a red M.A.G.A. hat! That should tell us all we need to know about her politics. It might be a motivation for her allegation, but I do acknowledge her pain.

The gaggle of reporters collectively gasp.

Warren (continuing): If this allegation is politically motivated in any way, that's deplorable ... no wait, check that, I didn't mean to say 'deplorable.'

Reporter (amid shouting by other media): But you just said, and I quote: "Whether her allegations are true or not is irrelevant ..." How can you now say Schumer is innocent" or that the "allegation is politically motivated."

Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) from Hawaii (interrupting angrily): You're a man and you can't understand the pain of a pigtail attack. Men need to shut up and do the right thing.
As the controversy intensifies there have been calls for an FBI investigation of Schumer's kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade activities, but Democrats are resisting. When asked for comment, an FBI spokesperson shook her head with a wry smile.

For his part, Senator Schumer has vehemently denied the allegations.

"My goodness," said Schumer, "I, of course, acknowledge the victim's pain, but this alleged incident was 62 years ago."

When asked whether an analogous assault with analogous circumstances that occurred 36 years ago would be different, Schumer responded angrily, "Of course, it would!"

When asked why, Schumer walked away.






Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Benefit of the Doubt

The Hill reports:
[An IPSOS/NPR] poll, which was published late last year, found that 79 percent of Americans believe that those who report they are sexual harassment victims should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said that people accused of sexual harassment should be given the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, according to the survey.
That's a reasonable position demonstrating the inherent fairness of the American people. However, the clear implication is that there are no extenuating circumstances that might lead the accuser to misremember key events or facts or in the extreme, manufacture events or facts to achieve some pre-defined objective.

When it comes to the sexual harassment allegation offered by California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford against SCOTUS nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, it is nearly impossible to determine whether she is telling the truth. Sure, she can be given the benefit of the doubt, but in her case, there are more than enough extenuating circumstances to justify significant skepticism.

First, the event in question happened 35 years ago. Even if Ford's intensions are pure and her trauma is real, it is not unreasonable to assume that a detailed memory of that day's events (before, during and after the alleged harassment) may have become hazy and/or unintentionally embellished over three and a half decades. The editors of Wall Street Journal note:
The vagaries of memory are well known, all the more so when they emerge in the cauldron of a therapy session to rescue a marriage. Experts know that human beings can come to believe firmly over the years that something happened when it never did or is based on partial truth. Mistaken identity is also possible.

The Post reports that the therapist’s notes from 2012 say there were four male assailants, but Ms. Ford says that was a mistake. Ms. Ford also can’t recall in whose home the alleged assault took place, how she got there, or how she got home that evening.
It's also worth noting that Ford's inability to remember the location of the alleged assault is odd. If the event were as traumatic as Ford claims, every detail of the location, the time, and the events would likely be etched into her memory. That isn't the case, making it impossible to interview other potential witnesses who were there.

Second, it appears that Ford is ideologically opposed to Brett Kavanaugh's judicial philosophy and may have reason to help derail his nomination to SCOTUS. She deleted her social media history before her name became public. Maybe that was for privacy, or possibly it was to eliminate claims that she is hyper-partisan. We'll never know.

Third, this is not a he-said/she-said case. Another person in attendance said the alleged incident never happened and other women who knew Kavanaugh contemporaneously said the allegation does not conform to their knowledge of him or his actions at that time.

Fourth, there is no known physical or documented evidence to support Ford's allegation—it is unsubstantiated. Her therapist's notes are not a secondary source, only Ford's earlier commentary on the same alleged incident. They do not represent meaningful corroboration.

And fifth, regardless of the conventional #MeToo wisdom that tells us that all women are always to be believed, there is a small, but non-trivial percentage of harassment allegations that have been provably false.

What might sway an objective observer to conclude that the allegations are true? First, if other provable cases of harassment by Kavanaugh had been found, the credence of Ford's claim would grow. It's worth remembering that Kavanaugh underwent detailed investigation by the FBI six times in his career and no such harassment cases were uncovered, nor were any allegations made.

Second, had the allegation been made without the overlay of a SCOTUS nomination process, it might be more believable. Why didn't Ford come forward when Kavanaugh was first appointed to the federal bench or in 2012 when she revealed the incident to her therapist? After all, Judge Kavanaugh's decisions at the Appeals Court level of the judiciary affected many women. Yet, Ford was silent.

Third, if Ford was politically agnostic (she is not), her allegation's might be given more weight. It's worth asking who benefits from the destruction of Kavanaugh's reputation and whether the accuser is of like mind with those who benefit. In this case, it appears that Ford is an activist Democrat.

Again from the WSJ:
The timing and details of how Ms. Ford came forward, and how her name was coaxed into public view, should also raise red flags about the partisan motives at play. The Post says Ms. Ford contacted the paper via a tip line in July but wanted to remain anonymous. She then brought her story to a Democratic official while still hoping to stay anonymous.

Yet she also then retained a lawyer, Debra Katz, who has a history of Democratic activism and spoke in public defense of Bill Clinton against the accusations by Paula Jones. Ms. Katz urged Ms. Ford to take a polygraph test. The Post says she passed the polygraph, though a polygraph merely shows that she believes the story she is telling.

The more relevant question is why go to such lengths if Ms. Ford really wanted her name to stay a secret? Even this weekend she could have chosen to remain anonymous. These are the actions of someone who was prepared to go public from the beginning if she had to.

None of this says that her allegations are false—we'll probably never know. But there is certainly reason to be very skeptical about their validity, and also reason to give just as much benefit of the doubt to the accused, particularly with the set of extenuating circumstances that come into play in this instance.

UPDATE-1:
------------

After writing about the "collateral damage" that Ford's accusations level on Kavanaugh's family, his daughters and the many woman he coached and mentored, Roger Simon doesn't pull any punches when he writes:
But arguendo everything [Ford] says is true or at least true-ish, is what the young Kavanaugh did anything much different from a million fraternity boys at a million parties? Probably not, although it is reprehensible. But has Kavanaugh since then lived an exemplary life regarding his relationships with women? Evidently. In fact he has mentored them and helped them advance on numerous occasions. Sixty-five women who knew him stepped forward almost instantly to defend him. How many of us could say that? Is he likely to be biased against women as a Supreme Court justice? Nonsense.

Is there a single person of any political persuasion who would vouch for everything he or she did in high school?

Nevertheless, we live in a time of consummate selfishness and evil. Almost nothing is done with clean hands or pure motivation. Few, if anyone, think about others -- in this case even about their very young and impressionable sisters. Christine Blasey Ford is a poster woman for the worst, most narcissistic end of the #MeToo movement.

UPDATE: Grabien is reporting that her students despised Ford and urged others to avoid her. They called her "unfiltered" and "vengeful" on ratemyprofessor.com. This meshes with the vengeance she may have been getting for Kavanaugh's mother adjudicating the trial of Ford's parents.
I'm sure there will be sanctimonious protestations that Christine Blasey Ford has been "victimized" as her life is dissected, following her accusations. Yet, she chose to initiate this ugly episode 35 years after the alleged event occurred.


UPDATE-2:
------------

In a shout out to an awful event that happened over 300 years ago, Lance Morrow discusses the hysteria (called “spectral evidence") that surrounded the Salem witch trials and the strange tricks of memory that had decent people testifying that they saw a woman accused of witch craft turn into a black cat.
Three hundred twenty-six years later, an anonymous woman—a spectral and possibly nonexistent woman, for all that one knew when the story emerged—accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her 36 years ago, when he was a high-school student. It seemed as if the American constitutional process might be drawn back to the neighborhood of Salem, Mass. According to this phantom testimony, 17-year-old Brett held the girl down, pawed her and tried to force himself upon her, and held his hand over her mouth when she screamed, until a second prep-school devil piled on top, they all tumbled to the floor, and the girl managed to slip away. The boys were “stumbling drunk,” according to the account.

You were supposed to feel the sudden wind-shear of hypocrisy. The nominee was a seeming paragon—perfect father and husband and coach of his daughters’ basketball teams. He is a Roman Catholic with an Irish name, but now the script became as gleefully Calvinist as a Hawthorne tale. What imp of hell had possessed the Kavanaugh boy? The Protestant tale seemed to obtain subliminal verification against the background of Catholic sex-abuse scandals.

Thus the constitutional process takes on an aspect of the 21st-century medieval.
I can only wonder how modern day Democrats would have judged the spectral evidence presented in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.

UPDATE-3:
----------------

This entire Democrat-generated Ford v. Kavanaugh episode is so despicable, so vicious, it deserves three updates. But, but, but, argue progressives ... Merrick Garland.

Uh ... no. The GOP held the Senate at the end of the Obama era and had a constitutional right to block hearings on Garland. The Dems didn't like it but the solution was to win back the senate or have their candidate, Hillary Clinton win or both. Neither happened.

The GOP never vilified Garland, never accused him a sexual harassment and never ginned up last minute unsubstantiated accusations that tarnished his character and reputation. That was left for the Democrats to do this past week.

Richard Epstein writes:
[Christine Blasey Ford ] putting the information exclusively in the hands of key Democrats thus invited the wholly corrupt strategy that has now unfolded. First, the Democrats would try to discredit Kavanaugh by engaging in a set of procedural antics and obnoxious substantive questions during the hearing, without mentioning this letter. When that strategy abjectly failed, they knew they had to go to Plan B, which was to release the letter and the allegation days before the confirmation vote. A perfect sandbag, for the Democrats knew full well that there was no time to respond to them, without causing an enormous delay in the confirmation hearings. Their hope was, and is, to create a huge media circus that would take weeks if not months to sort out. Shipwreck this nomination. Make it impossible for the current Senate to pass on any subsequent nominee before January. Then take control of the Senate and create a stalemate that could run on until the next presidential election.

And for what? Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, maintained a stony silence on these allegations for more than 35 years. At no point did she raise them in connection with the Senate confirmation hearings before Kavanaugh was confirmed in 2006. Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegations. Late last week, Mark Judge, his alleged accomplice, denounced the allegations as “absolutely nuts.” No other woman has ever made any allegation of this sort against Kavanaugh. and 65 women have written an explicit letter in his defense. Kavanaugh is right not to respond beyond his categorical denial, knowing full well that further comment would only draw him further into a vortex on which credibility determinations would be unending. And the Senate is right to continue with the confirmation vote. The institutional damage to the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the nation has already been enormous. What is left now is only the sorry task of damage containment. What sane judge would like to be the next Supreme Court nominee?
The Dems don't care—it's the politics of personal destruction all the way down. Sad.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Kavanaugh—Part 4

The Democrats tried it with Anita Hill and failed, but not before sullying the reputation of Clarence Thomas and dragging the nation through a vicious episode of the politics of personal destruction. Now, the Dems are trying it again, this time dredging up an unsubstantiated allegation of a teenage "assault" 35 years ago involving Brett Kavanaugh. An assault that he unequivocally denies.

Of course in the #MeToo era, we are supposed to believe the victim without critical evaluation, no matter that the victim is allegedly a left-wing, anti-Trump activist who never reported the now 35-year old incident until 2012 and then, never named Kavanaugh in discussions with her therapist at that time.

Cleverly, her current letter just happened to use the phrase "I thought he might inadvertently kill me," the perfect pull quote for the trained hamsters in the CNN/MSNBC crowd. But if in fact, the drunken teenage "attack" was as serious as alleged, it's rather odd that it was never reported to any adult, to the police, to the victim's friends ... to no one. It's also odd that there was no physical evidence of the attack that might have been noticed by parents or friends, after all, the attack was allegedly so severe that the victim feared for her life.

Of course, the #MeToo era demands that every allegation be fully investigated immediately. But if that were the case, how come Senator Diane Feinstein (a staunch defender of women's rights) silently held the allegation for over two months, doing nothing, and waited until the 11th hour to make it public? It's also rather interesting that the accuser demanded anonymity, something that I thought defenders of woman's rights would respect. Nah, she was outed within 48 hours of the allegation going public in order to give the unsubstantiated allegation the weight of a human identity.

The #MeToo movement suggests that a man's denial is not to be trusted, but how are we to interpret the fact that 65 female high school classmates of Brett Kavanaugh have responded to the allegation by telling us that he was an upstanding student and person who treated women with respect. Are we to believe the single victim who alleges assault without any evidence to prove it happened or the 65 women who tell us Kavanaugh's character and demeanor belie that allegation.

No matter that six different FBI investigations never uncovered the alleged incident. No matter that 65 female classmates of Brett Kavanaugh vouch for him. No matter that the victim's background and politics clearly indicate potential bias against Kavanaugh's conservative judicial temperment or that the timing of the allegation is so, so convenient. Nah, the Senate will now come to a full stop as the episode is fully investigated in what Clarance Thomas rightly described as a high tech lynching. Or maybe, just maybe, the GOP majority on the committee will have the guts to see this for what it is—a ploy to game the system and a cynical attempt to use sympathy for #MeToo to derail Kavanaugh's nomination.

This entire episode stinks to high heaven. It's an obvious delaying tactic designed to destroy Kavanaugh's reputation, provide a political cover for Dems who might vote for him for political expediency before the mid-terms, and possibly derail his nomination after the mid-terms. It's vicious and despicable. It's also what the Dems have done before and are now doing again.

UPDATE:
---------------
David Harsanyi dissects the Democrats' vicious strategy well when he writes:
There is no possible outcome in which Democrats will concede Kavanaugh’s innocence, or even concede that we can’t really know what transpired on that night 36 years ago. Republicans can accede to as many hearings as Democrats demand, and it won’t alter any of the liberal rhetoric or perceptions of partisans. Republicans could put Kavanaugh’s classmates under oath and have them deny that anything inappropriate or criminal occurred that night, and it wouldn’t matter. Nor does it matter if 65 women come forward and attest to Kavanaugh’s sterling character — in fact, for Democrats, it’s merely confirmation that the judge is covering something up. It doesn’t matter that, as far as we now know, there’s no pattern of bad behavior from Kavanaugh into adulthood (unlike say, Roy Moore or Bill Clinton).

What we do know is that there will be no genuine due process in the Senate circus. Kavanaugh, who’s said he’s willing to speak to the judiciary committee, will never get a fair hearing. This is by design. Whether Ford’s accusation is true or not, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein surely orchestrated the leak and subsequent release of Ford’s letter, not merely to sink Kavanaugh and create the impression that he was hiding something, but also to ensure that Republicans will be delayed moving forward with any nomination until after the midterms. Even now, leading Democrats on the judiciary committee are arguing that any hearings featuring Ford should be delayed.

There’s no other explanation for the timing of the letter. The senator claims the allegations are “extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character.” Yet, according to reports, Democrats were in possession of Ford’s letter for months and sat on it. Feinstein personally met with Kavanaugh and didn’t bring up this “extremely serious” charge of sexual assault. Why not? She could have asked him about the allegations while keeping the accuser’s name confidential. Democrats submitted over a thousand questions to Kavanaugh on the record, and not one of them were about whether he had ever engaged in any “extremely serious” behavior. Feinstein also had Kavanaugh sitting in front of her, under oath, during public Senate hearings, and never asked him about the letter.

It’s worth remembering that these Democrat tactics aren’t only meant to sink this nomination — should they end up forcing Kavanaugh to withdraw — but also to damage the credibility of any Supreme Court featuring Trump-nominated (or, let’s be honest, Republican-nominated) justices. Democrats have been dishonestly challenging the “legitimacy” of the court throughout these hearings. The simple fact is that they don’t want to abide by any authority that treats the Constitution seriously, because it’s often the only thing standing in the way of their coercive policies.
For just a moment, consider what would have happened if during the Senate hearings on SCOTUS nominee Sonya Sotomayor a letter appeared within days of her confirmation vote with unsubstantiated evidence that she uttered a racist slur against a African American man. Or during the confirmation hearings for SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan, she was accused of having an unsubstantiated sexual encounter with an underage male intern years ago. The trained hamsters in the media would fly into a rage. The "victim" would be vilified and the matter would be dismissed post haste. But here's the thing. The GOP has never done this to a SCOTUS nominee, regardless of their ideology. It has never stooped to this level of vicious and despicable character assassination. That simple reality tells us more about Democrats and Republicans than any policy paper possibly could.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

In-The-Small

Sometimes it's important to look at things in-the-small to learn important lessons about things in-the-large.

The Democrats desperately want to take over Congress in order to resist Donald Trump. In fact, that seems to be their entire raison d'être. The Dems seem unable to tell us exactly what they'd do to improve the economy (it's booming), improve the plight of the middle class (it's improving by the month), reduce unemployment (it's already at its lowest levels in decades), fix healthcare (it's hobbled by the remnants of Obamacare, a program they continue to champion), improve the lives of minorities (black and hispanics have seen the best economic and jobs picture in half a century), reduce hot spots around the world (their guy, nincompoop, John Kerry, is working hard to submarine any progress in controlling Iran). But none of that seems to matter, in fact, their message is simple—hate on Trump.

But back to things in the small. Michael Barone writes about the great city of Chicago and the recent announcement that a mega-political operator, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has decided not to run for re-election:
Chicago is one of the great creations of mankind: a frontier post in 1833 that was one of the world’s great cities just 60 years later, showing off in the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 its new lakefront parks, its new electric light systems, its sanitary canal channeling wastewater away from Lake Michigan, its pioneering skyscrapers and enormous stockyards and factories.

Now the economic foundations of the metropolis are being drained and undermined to provide the generous pensions of long-retired public employees, many of them now in income-tax-free Florida, while public schools are closed, services reduced, police patrols pulled back.

That looks like a future of decline for Chicago, and maybe for America, too. Democrats have shown zero interest in reducing the entitlements of retirees, not since President Bill Clinton broke off negotiations with House Speaker Newt Gingrich amid the impeachment crisis of 1998. Ditto Donald Trump, and no Republican seems to be raising the issue, as President George W. Bush did in 2005.

It’s not a good sign — like a cold wind coming off Lake Michigan — that even as shrewd and well-connected a politician as Rahm Emanuel doesn’t see a viable way forward.
Chicago has had a Democratic mayor and city council for 64 of 68 years! Therefore, the city represents an excellent laboratory for the effectiveness of long-term Democratic governance in-the-small. By any viable measure—including the city budget, taxes, pension obligations, education, public safety, net outflow of taxpaying residents—Chicago is in trouble—big trouble.

Barone provides a recent history:
[Democratic Mayor Rahm] Emanuel inherited a city whose electorate was divided roughly equally between blacks on the South and West sides, Hispanics on the West and Northwest sides and gentry liberals running ever farther inland from the lakefront. It had a great economic heritage and enjoyed robust growth in the 1990s.

It has been downhill since. Chicago and Illinois have been hobbled by metastasizing pension obligations, frozen in place by state courts [judges appointed by a Democratic legislature] and [Democratic] state House speaker Michael Madigan. Taxes have been rising: Shoppers on North Michigan Avenue pay the nation’s highest taxes.

Chicagoans have been voting with their feet. Metro Chicago has by far the highest percentage of domestic out-migration of any major metropolitan area, and net outflow this decade is 5 percent of its 2010 population. In particular, blacks have been leaving metro Chicago for Atlanta and other points south.

Emanuel’s electoral base has been lakefront liberals plus a plurality of whichever minority group hasn’t produced his main opponent. That was blacks in 2015, but his standing with black voters has been hurt by his concealment during electoral season of the videotape of a police shooting of a young black man.

At the same time, Emanuel acquiesced in Obama administration oversight of the city’s police department. And police officers’ retreat from proactive policing has led to enormous increases in shootings and homicides.
A tax and spend economic model dovetailed with concessions to public sector unions is the mother's milk of Democratic policy in-the-small and also in-the-large. It has crippled blue cities (like Chicago) and blue states (like Connecticut) forcing economic decline and in some cases, conditions that force significant out-migration.

And yet, the Dems tell us that the policies that have failed in-the-small will somehow work in-the-large at a federal level. The entire presidency of Barack Obama demonstrated that claim to be false, but it's trotted out every two years. To help people believe their demonstrably false claims, Democrats always mix in a heaping cup of emotion—hate Trump, abolish racist, MeToo, and now Democratic Socialism.

If none of it works in-the-small, why on earth would anyone believe it would work in-the-large. But that's what the Dems are selling, and in these turbulent times emotion may very well trump comment sense, past history, and critical thinking.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Dangerous

With furrowed brows, serious expressions and a somber tone, establishment elites from both the Democrat and Republican parties and a fair number of private sector corporate leaders (think: Google, Amazon, etc.) continually tell us that Donald Trump's attacks on the media are "dangerous" or a "threat to our democracy." Why exactly?

Should we, as citizens of the United States, be asked to accept media reports without examination or criticism? Should we be blind to the obvious and increasingly vicious bias exhibited by the vast majority of main stream media outlets against this president and his party? Should we accept faux investigative journalism that picks and chooses the stories to write and the scandals to uncover based on the damage they will do to a preferred political party? Should we accept reporting in which major mitigating facts are omitted altogether or buried in the 27th paragraph? Should we accept editorializing in the guise of reporting?

The answer to all of these question is "no," and a media that expects a "yes" answer is both corrupt and dangerous. It deserves harsh criticism, even from the President of the United States.

Over the past year, there has been irrefutable evidence of a major conspiracy involving the past Democrat administration, the DNC, the FBI, the DoJ, and elements of our intelligence agencies against one candidate for president in 2016. The evidence includes written documents, emails, a money trail, text messages, IG reports, and Congressional testimony that all point to serious wrong-doing. And the media—you know, the same one that claims to be "ethical and professional"—has ignored or downplayed the story and refuses to investigate it vigorously, while at the same time telling us it's "threatened" by the harsh words of the president.

The media isn't threatened by anything but its own bias, dishonesty, sensationalism, and incompetence. It isn't endangered by anything except the public's sinking trust precipitated by it's own lack of accuracy and evenhandedness.

As they say, "The truth hurts." And in the case of Trump's often harsh critique of the "fake news" media, the pain may be more than the media can bear.

UPDATE-1:
---------------

As a classic and somewhat comical example of blatant media bias, the New York Times (headline complete with a picture of Haley subsequently edited to remove Haley's name and likeness) yesterday reported that $52,701 was spent "customized and mechanized curtains for the picture windows in Haley’s New York City residence"—all paid for by U.S. taxpayers. The clear impression was that the cost-cutting Trump administration spent money on decorating while reducing employment at the state department. Only one problem—the expenditure was proposed and approved by the Obama administration. The NYT issued a correction, implying it was all a mistake.

No ... it was sloppy journalism driven by a biased narrative designed to make both Haley and her boss, Donald Trump, look bad. Narrative driven reporting leads to "mistakes" like this one. It's unprofessional and deserves the criticism it gets.

UPDATE-2:
---------------

Writing about two "fake news" media plays over last week—the innuendo-laced and evidence-free story about "sexual abuse" levied against SCOTUS nominee, Bret Kavanaugh and the ridiculous and erroneous claim that the Trump administration approved a large expenditure for Nikki Haley's curtains—Steven Kruiser comments:
Much has been made in the Trump era about conservatives' enmity towards the MSM. In the media's telling of the story they are simply objective innocent bystanders who are dutifully chronicling history while the big, mean, Most Powerful Man on Earth gins up a mob that hates them.

It's pure rubbish.

President Trump didn't manufacture conservative distrust and dislike of the media out of whole cloth as they would have us believe. Paraphrasing the words of the previous president: they built that. Their relentless and often unhinged partisan advocacy isn't remotely akin to journalism. They can call themselves whatever they want but if it acts like a partisan hack, talks like a partisan hack, and writes like a partisan hack...well, you know.

They actively engage in partisan-driven attempts to ruin careers, reputations, and even families when they're on a roll. As I recently wrote, the same media who were lauding John McCain at his funeral once reported on a nonexistent extramarital affair in an effort to derail his presidential bid. They did this while sitting on verifiable evidence that Democrat John Edwards was not only cheating on his sick wife, but had fathered a child as a result of the affair.

President Trump just happens to be the first Republican president with the guts to admit publicly that this group masquerading as truth-to-power torch bearers for freedom are thoroughly corrupt.
And the media doesn't like that accusation one little bit.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Kavanaugh—Part 3

Way back in 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court to replace a retiring Justice Thurgood Marshall. Thomas was a conservative, and Democrats told us that Roe v. Wade would be nullified, that our democracy was in jeopardy, that ... you know the litany of hysterical claims. Thomas, who is African American did not pass the ideology test, was viewed as inauthentically black, according to Democrats. In what Thomas himself properly characterized as "a high-tech lynching," the Dems trotted out Anita Hill, who made tawdry claims about Thomas from years past. The Dems' performance was despicable, and their viciousness wasn't questioned or investigated by their trained hamsters in the media. They did not succeed.

Just yesterday, it appears the Dems have dusted off their old playbook. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The Senate Judiciary Committee is aiming to vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination next week, so get ready for the late hits and last-ditch smears. The latest came Thursday when ranking committee Democrat Dianne Feinstein announced that she has “information” . . .

Of course she does. Some Democrat was bound to have something. Mr. Kavanaugh had come through his confirmation hearing last week without a dent, and Democrats had made themselves look bad by editing his quotes and spreading innuendo unrelated to his judicial views. Meanwhile, the political left is demanding that Democrats do something, anything, to stop the highly qualified jurist from joining the High Court.

Enter DiFi. “I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Ms. Feinstein said in a statement. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”
The Dems have serious trouble winning rational, substantive debates on the issues, so they rely on innuendo, personal attacks, and character destruction. It is as predictable as it is repugnant. It also smacks of a desperation.

They will not succeed.

POSTSCRIPT:
-----------------

I fully understand that national politics isn't beanbag, but dredging up an anonymous allegation that is 40 years old (!!), that dovetails perfectly with the current MeToo hysteria, and that sullies the reputation of a well-respected jurist, is beyond the pale should make every Democrat feel uneasy. Shame!

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

This from Scott McKay describes the situation nicely:
If this is all they have on Brett Kavanaugh, it’s time for the Democrats to admit they’re beaten on this nomination.

What an embarrassment to a major political party that 11th-hour surprises involving behavior as a high school student that was never brought to the attention of the police, and for which the statute of limitations would certainly have run even in the event a crime was committed, are where we are.

And for Dianne Feinstein to be trafficking in this, after surviving — thanks to the atrocious refusal of the legacy media to report it — a major scandal involving her employment of an aide who was a Chinese spy as a staffer for some 20 years is nothing short of shameful. One would think Feinstein would lie low after the disclosure of such careless and incompetent mismanagement of her office — but we already know that Democrats don’t take their responsibilities seriously where information is concerned. We know that thanks to the Hillary Clinton email scandal, we know it after the House Pakistani IT fiasco, we know it from the OMB hack, the DNC email leak, and countless other examples where corruption, incompetence, and disrespect for the law, our state secrets, and the American people have surfaced.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fear

Bob Woodward's best selling book, Fear, tells us about all of the horrible, terrible, frightening, startling, ominous, unstable, ineffective, backbiting, dysfunctional, out-of-control, ... things that are the Trump presidency. The trained hamsters in the main stream media have given Woodward tens of millions of dollars in free publicity, all in an effort to promote a book that reinforces a narrative that they themselves have promoted for almost two years. There's also the small matter of the upcoming election and the trained hamsters desire to once again insert themselves (via Fear) into the blue wave they fully expect to be coming. It might work.

Nevermind that Woodward uses unnamed anonymous sources throughout; never mind that White House principals named in Woodward's book have flat-out denied saying what Woodward says they said and doing what Woodward says they did ... and most important, never mind that a dysfunctional crew that Woodward describes could never (in a million years) accomplish what this administration has accomplished. In fact, if Woodward is accurate and "the White House is suffering from a nervous breakdown," maybe all White Houses going forward should suffer similar breakdowns. After all, consider these comments from the editors of the Wall Street Journal:
Remember those warnings of an economic implosion if Donald Trump was elected President? Well, instead, the economy has broken out of the 2% growth doldrums from 2009-2016, and Barack Obama is suddenly elbowing his way back into the public debate to claim credit. Yet the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report on U.S. income released Wednesday underscores how the Obama policies of redistribution retarded growth for so many years.

Real median household incomes ticked up 1.8% to $61,372 between 2016 and 2017 while the poverty rate dropped 0.4 percentage points to 12.3%, according to the Census Bureau. Income gains were strongest among Hispanic households (3.7%). The poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics fell to 21.2% and 18.3%, respectively, the lowest since at least 1972.

Incomes increased across the distribution range with the share of people earning less than $15,000 declining 0.3 percentage points to 10.7%, the lowest level since 2007. The proportion of households earning more than $150,000 increased by 0.7 percentage points to 14.7%.

Surging investment earnings have driven up incomes at higher incomes. But at lower levels the income growth appears due to more people working more. While the number of people with employment earnings rose 1.7 million last year, the number working full-time and year-round grew 2.4 million. This lifted nearly one million people out of poverty in 2017.
As AlGore might say—an inconvenient truth.

The crazy, unstable trumpsters have done more for the US economy in two years than the last four president have done in 30. But it doesn't stop there. Those same crazy, unstable, ineffective and otherwise incompetent trumpsters have begun to repair the foreign policy wreckage created by the last administration, are negotiating international trade imbalances that have plagued our country for years, and have made a stronger attempt to moderate the behavior of bad actors than anything accomplished by the past three presidents.

But all of that requires a steady and detailed examination of the facts, an examination of the numbers and a clear study of real-world accomplishments and failures. That not what Fear does. It feeds the emotional turmoil of a political party and its supporters who lost an election they knew they would win and then needed to invent reasons why they were beaten. They also badly need to demonize the winner. Fear reinforces their hysteria.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Op-ed, Revisited

Like most things that are promoted by #Resistance and their allies in the main stream media, the hysteria associated with the New York Times anonymous op-ed has already begun to wain. But not before the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd has used it as yet another reason for the overthrow of Donald Trump as president. In a noteworthy (and angry) commentary, historian Victor Davis Hansen writes:
The [op-ed] writer’s chief complaint is that Trump “is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision.” Flesh that out. That would imply something along the lines that Trump ignores advice from New York Times op-ed writers and instead thrashes about and cancels the Iran deal. Or he dangerously and rashly gets out of the Paris Climate Accord. Or he stupidly insists that the U.S. embassy be moved to Jerusalem in helter-skelter fashion. Or he insanely demands massive deregulation, tax cuts, and new oil exploration without following any overarching principles in achieving 4 percent quarterly GDP growth or a record high stock market. Worst of all, madman Trump screams, yells, and ends the sacred idea that after 70 years the Palestinians are still refugees.

Certainly, there are principles behind such Trump moves, but they are not always those of the Washington establishment, whose agendas the writer reflects. Trump’s initiatives are often long overdue moves that would never have happened in either a “sober and judicious” Democratic or Republican administration, however much they might have been polled and discussed.

Trump has mostly one principle: he was elected to pursue a conservative populist agenda without too much worry what the Washington establishment said or did, whose record on the economic front since 2008 and in foreign policy was not especially stellar. In that sense, he is far more principled in carrying out his promises than many past presidents whose stump speeches on taxes, illegal immigration, trade, educational reform and a host of other issues were either never reified or flat out broken ...

Anonymous huffs: “In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the ‘enemy of the people,’ President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.” Again, Trump has said repeatedly he would prefer no tariffs if trade was just reciprocal. On trade issues, he has made progress with the EU and Mexico and likely soon Canada and China, all of whom enjoy trade surpluses which Trump throughout his campaign claimed were harmful to the United States and would diminish under his presidency.

As for as Trump’s loud anti-media tweets, worry not about what he now says, but when he [like the Obama administration] orders his attorney general to start monitoring on the sly the communications of Associated Press reporters or the private emails of a Fox correspondent, or when his Justice Department and FBI hierarchy deludes a FISA court in order to spy on American citizens.

As far as “anti-democratic” and a Russian-appeasing Trump, he has not yet claimed [as George W. Bush did] that Putin was trustworthy and genuine based on a soul-gazing stare into his eyes. Nor has he been caught on a hot mic [as Barack Obama was] promising to give up U.S. missile defense programs in Eastern Europe, if Vladimir would just give him “space” during his reelection bid. Trump has said silly things about Putin, but so far his actual record is certainly not of the [Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama] reset sort that greenlighted Russian entrance into the Middle East, Ukraine, and Crimea.

Somehow it’s “news” that a senior, unnamed official claims all the bad stuff that we don’t know happened, or actually never quite happened, was due to Trump alone. And, of course, all the good stuff that we do know happened was only because of noble, smart, patriotic, and visionary officials like the writer and his friends ...

The recent op-ed is yet another episode in an endless resistance cartoon, another pathetic effort of self-important grandees to undo by fiat what the voters did by voting in 2016.
Yep. That about covers it.

If the Washington elites in the Democrat and Republican parties, along with their deep state allies and their media flunkies, had accomplished great things on either the domestic or foreign policy fronts over the past two decades, they might be worth listening to. But they haven't. In fact, it can be argued that Donald Trump has accomplished more in two years than they have in 20.

In this era there are far too many people who value words and style over accomplishment and results. Far too many politicians and activists tell us they care, tell us they'll improve the plight of the downtrodden, tell us that their way is the road to a better tomorrow. There's only one problem—they never seem to put one foot in front of the other and achieve actual results that actually benefit the people that profess to care about (you know, more jobs, better pay, a safer neighborhood), that improve the plight of our citizens (like reducing the number of them who depend on food stamps), or lead to a better tomorrow. That's left for the gruff people who actually do stuff, not talk about doing stuff.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Treason

In his typical hyperbolic manner, Donald Trump obliquely referred to the now infamous anonymous op-ed in the New York Times as "treason." It's hardly that, although the op-ed certainly is a self-indulgent, hubristic attempt at moral preening that will thrill the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd but few others.

Frank Miele comments:
The word treason has been thrown around recently to describe the attempts to undermine the presidency of Donald Trump, and though treason as a crime has a very narrow definition in the United States, it also has a broader meaning that is certainly appropriate to describe the betrayal of the president and the Constitution by various powerful people and institutions.

In some ways, we are living through a new and more intense version of “The Treason of the Intellectuals,” described by French author Julien Benda in his book of that name in 1928. “Our age,” he wrote, “is the age of the intellectual organization of political hatreds.” Anyone who watched the Senate Judiciary Committee’s disgraceful hearing on the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court knows that we are still living in such an age, only more so.

Benda wrote at the beginning of the age of mass communication, and yet he already saw that “political passions have attained a universality never before known. … Thanks to the progress of communication and, still more, to the group spirit, it is clear that the holders of the same political hatred now form a compact impassioned mass, every individual of which feels himself in touch with the infinite number of others, whereas a century ago such people were comparatively out of touch with each other and hated in a ‘scattered’ way.”

The internet has accelerated these changes in ways that Benda could never have imagined, but he did state that these “coherences” of passion “will tend to develop still further, for the will to group is one of the most profound characteristics of the modern world.”

It seems that we are now living out Benda’s worst nightmare — an age of manipulation of the masses by those who think they know better — whether you call them the “deep state,” the “opposition party,” “the national elite,” “the entrenched bureaucracy,” or just “the establishment.”
I have noted in previous posts that at least part of the fury exhibited by the media and directed at Trump and his supporters is due to the simple reality that the media no longer has the influence on public opinion it once did. What infuriates the media is their inability to destroy Trump with the clear implication that their influence has waned. After all, the tsunami of negative news offered up by the media has resulting in polling data that indicates a rise in Trump's standing among the general public—exactly the opposite of what has been intended.

The media is no longer trusted as it once was. And it certainly doesn't present the intellectual or analytical fire power it once had. The media has become a partisan extension of the Democratic party, not the objective arbiter of national events and policy.

Miele, the retiring managing editor of The Daily Interlake in Montana, a media source that is about as far removed from the New York Times as geography, culture, and editorial position allow. He concludes with this comment:
... let me conclude by saying that “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the News Media.” To paraphrase the Times’ anonymous op-ed, I believe my “first duty is to this country” and that the news media “continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.” I am not loyal to the news industry but to the truth. Anonymous sources, biased reporting and smirking superiority in the newsroom should be decried by everyone who works in this business. We can only get to the truth by putting aside our personal beliefs and telling stories fairly and without an agenda of our own.

The news media should not be “the opposition party” to Republican presidents; rather, it should be the umpire that fairly calls balls and strikes. Is that too much to ask?
In today's world, I must sadly conclude the answer is 'yes.'

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Liberal Imperialism

In a long and fascinating article on liberalism, Yoram Hazony writes:
Much like the pharaohs and the Babylonian kings, the Roman emperors and the Roman Catholic Church until well into the modern period, as well as the Marxists of the last century, liberals, too, have their grand theory about how they are going to bring peace and economic prosperity to the world by pulling down all the borders and uniting mankind under their own universal rule. Infatuated with the clarity and intellectual rigor of this vision, they disdain the laborious process of consulting with the multitude of nations they believe should embrace their view of what is right. And like other imperialists, they are quick to express disgust, contempt, and anger when their vision of peace and prosperity meets with opposition from those who they are sure would benefit immensely by simply submitting.
Hazony calls this attitude "liberal imperialism," but also admits that it is not monolithic. He notes that conservatives have also espoused imperialistic views about the role of the West on the world stage. But his focus is the growing emphasis on "transnationalism"—the idea that a global order should supersede the designs of any individual nation. He uses Brexit as an example of push-back against transnationalism and describes the liberal reaction to it:
The calumnies and denunciation heaped upon the English public and its elected leadership in the wake of Britain’s determination to seek independence from the European Union are an unmistakable warning to the West as a whole. From the point of view of the liberal construction, the unification of Europe is not one legitimate political option among others. It is the only legitimate opinion to which a decent person can subscribe. The moral legitimacy of Britain’s vote for independence was thus the unrelenting theme of political and media figures decrying the vote: It was alleged that only the aged supported exiting the European Union, thereby disenfranchising the young; or that only the uneducated had supported it, thereby diluting the say of those who really do know better; or that voters had meant only to cast a protest vote and not actually leave Europe; and so forth. These angry pronouncements were then followed by the demand that the British public’s preference be repealed — by a second referendum, or by act of Parliament, or by closed-door bargaining with the Europeans. Anything, so long as the one legitimate opinion should prevail.

The alarm and trepidation with which European and American elites responded to the prospect of an independent Britain revealed something that had long been obscured from view. That simple truth is that the emerging liberal construction is incapable of respecting, much less celebrating, the deviation of nations seeking to assert a right to their own unique laws, traditions, and policies. Any such dissent is held to be vulgar and ignorant, if not evidence of a fascistic mindset.
In the United States, liberal imperialism is in evidence throughout academia. Speakers who argue against the liberal construction on any number of topics are not debated, but are vilified with ad hominem attacks, shouted down or disinvited thereby precluded from speaking at all. Hundreds of instances of this behavior have occurred over the past decade accelerating during the presidency of Donald Trump. Are liberal ideas so sacrosanct that they cannot be debated vigorously? Are academic liberals (meaning the vast majority of all professors and students in academia) so fragile that they need a "safe space" when they hear something with which they disagree? Hazony writes:
One of the most striking features of public life in contemporary America and Europe is the way that the Western nations are now afflicted by public-shaming campaigns and heresy hunts whose purpose is to stigmatize and render illegitimate one or another person or group of people, opinion or policy, that is perceived as having the ability to mount any kind of meaningful resistance to liberal doctrine. Much of what has been written about these campaigns has concentrated on the deterioration of free discourse in the universities, where official and unofficial censorship of the professorate’s opinions — including their views about Islam, homosexuality, immigration, and a host of other subjects — has become commonplace. But the universities are hardly the principal locus of rage against the views now deemed inappropriate. Much of the public sphere is now regularly visited by campaigns of vilification that were until recently associated with the universities. Indeed, as the scope of legitimate disagreement is progressively reduced, and the penalties for dissent grow more and more onerous, the Western democracies are becoming one big university campus.
The fragility of the liberal mindset often causes some conservatives to self-edit their writing, their comments, and their interactions on public policy. If they do not, they risk "public-shaming campaigns and heresy hunts whose purpose is to stigmatize and render illegitimate."

It's an effective strategy, no doubt, having become the backbone of political correctness. One of the tactics of liberal imperialists is to shut down information flow from their adversaries. That's why FOXNEWS is hated by progressives, why Facebook and Twitter have been known to censor conservative voices, and why Donald Trump is continually vilified, regardless of the distinct benefits his policies have provided to the very people that liberal imperialists profess to care about.

Imperialism was bad when neocons suggested it in the 1990s and early 2000s. A utopian vision of democracy in places that are neither ready for it nor capable of sustaining it was the stuff of delusion. Imperialism is equally bad as liberals have suggested it in the first few decades of the 21st century. A utopian vision that espouses a "grand theory about how they are going to bring peace and economic prosperity to the world by pulling down all the borders and uniting mankind under their own universal rule" is a fantasy that is anti-historical and anti-cultural. It is also the stuff of delusion.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Very Odd

I have, over the years, worked with dozens of major companies and additional dozens of mid-size firms. I've gotten an inside look at major strategic initiatives, project level team activities, and the individual efforts of everyone from low level engineers and managers to senior executives. Whenever I encountered a chaotic and/or toxic work environment—and they do exist—a few things were almost guaranteed to happen. First, little accomplishment occurred. People pin-balled from action to action but nothing of substance got done. The organization was ineffective, it's accomplishments were minimal, it was, for all intents and purposes, a dead man walking.

During my years as a consultant, I have also encountered more than a few 'difficult' bosses—men and woman who were hyper-opinionated, who were very hard on their direct reports, who were demanding and often obstinate, who changed direction and strategy on a whim, and who were not particularly liked by their employees. Some of those bosses presided over chaotic and/or toxic work environments, but others guided effective organizations. How to tell the difference? RESULTS! If an organization achieves its stated goals and objectives and produces a product or service that benefits its customers, it's very unlikely that the work environment is chaotic or toxic. It might be frenetic, it might have a 'difficult' boss, but the end result is positive.

The current political narrative promulgated ad nauseam by the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd (e.g., Carl Bernstein in his new book or the NYT op-ed piece along with the trained hamsters in the media) is that the Trump White House is chaotic and toxic. That Trump is unstable, quixotic, and incompetent, and that his staff are in open revolt. But how can that be, given the tangible, irrefutable results (everything from a booming economy, to rising wages for the middle class, to a foreign policy turnaround) that the White House has achieved? How can a chaotic/toxic work environment achieve outstanding results when experience indicates it can't be done?

That question provides a problem for the prevailing TDS narrative. How can such a bad place (the Trump White House) accomplish such good things, particularly after the vaunted Obama White House—a place we are told that was run like a well-oiled machine, managed by a super-brilliant and likable boss, populated by dedicated, happy people who stayed on message and never disagreed with their boss—accomplished so little. It's a conundrum, isn't it?

But critical thinking isn't the strong suit of the TDS crowd, nor is it something that gets in the way of the prevailing TDS narrative. So the TDSers celebrate when an anonymous White House insider confirms their narrative, suggesting that the resistance is responsible for the Trump administrations accomplishment, not Trump himself. Maybe that's the case, but it is rather odd that every accomplishment (and there are many) seems to correspond to the goals and objectives Donald Trump outlined throughout his campaign and during his first two years as president. Very odd. It's also rather odd that the claimed chaotic and toxic work environment could accomplish anything of substance, yet it has—over and over again.

Sure, the boss is 'difficult,' but despite the attempts by the four constituencies to ram their narrative down the throats of the American people—over and over and over again, actual results seem to indicate that the difficult boss, his direct reports and their people are accomplishing things that provide direct benefit to the same American people. Very odd, indeed.

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

CNN reports:
(CNN) Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, seizing on an explosive op-ed from an anonymous administration official, said Thursday that it's time to use constitutional powers [specifically the 25th Amendment] to remove President Donald Trump office if top officials don't think he can do the job.
Which top officials would those be? The ones who remain anonymous? Or maybe in Warren's unhinged worldview, we should allow Amarosa, or Carl Berstein, or an NYT op-ed to guide our political actions. Warren is convinced that we should negate a democratically-held election, remove a sitting president by alleging that he is mentally unfit, and throw the nation into (what's the word the the op-ed used ... oh, that would be "chaos") because ... Trump! I'm sure in her own mind and those of the TDS crowd, Warren is being brave, speaking truth to power.

Nah, she's exhibiting all the characteristics of an unstable, unthinking, and irresponsible politician who continually panders to the TDS crowd and simultaneously thinks she can lead. She's a joke.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Op-ed

There is one thing that voters, elites inside Washington and in corporate America, and the four constituencies can agree upon—Donald Trump is not a conventional president. When he was elected, voters knew he was a philander, a crass and mercurial man, quick to anger and prone to attack his critics directly and sometimes viciously, that he was not a member of the elite club of Washington insiders and that he certainly was not a denizen of the Washington swamp.

An unprecedented Tsunami of negative media, books, interviews, rumors, leaks and the like have been used over and over again to bring Trump down—to make the on-going soft coup a reality. Yet the #Resistance (a name so pompous and self-aggrandizing it's laughable) has so far failed.

Now, the New York Times, the core mouthpiece of the #Resistance has published an op-ed written by an anonymous member of the #Resistance who tells us that there is a Resistance cell embedded deep within the White House and that they are working to protect the country from Donald Trump. It's the stuff of movies, and a wet dream for progressives who I suspect picture themselves as "resistance fighters" in the World War II mold, all the while drinking lattes at their local coffee shop.

If you are to believe the anonymous op-ed writer (that in itself is a travesty, op-eds should be attributable, but nevermind), the hidden resistance is the reason for the long, long list of Trump administration achievements. What incredible Chutzpa.

After all, upon his election Trump changed his position and wanted to raise taxes to further cripple the economy—it was only the cabal of intrepid resistance fighters who stopped him from doing it. Trump wanted to double the number of ineffective and burdensome regulations—it was only our brave resistance fighters, working secretly from the White House basement who convinced him that regulatory reform would help the country. Donald Trump wanted to embrace the Mullahs of Iran and extend an irresponsible and ineffective "deal" with them—only to be thwarted by the daring resistance fighters who thought Barack Obama was wrong to do the deal. It was Trump who wanted more people on food stamps but was somehow convinced to go the other way by the courageous resistance group. It was Trump who didn't care about minority employment—only to be overruled by a plucky collection of resistance members, secretly working for the American people. I could go on, but ...

Let's consider all of this critically for just a moment. If, as authors as varied as Carl Bernstein and Amarosa claim (not to mention the anonymous op-ed writer), the White House is in chaos, how could the Trump administration achieve as much success as it has in two short years—a booming economy, the best employment numbers for minorities in history, trade reform, regulatory reform, tax reform, middle class jobs, more manufacturing jobs, the highest level of 'right-track, wrong track' polling in decades ... the list is long and growing. Yet the running narrative by the four constituencies is that none of it is Trump's doing—that he's just lucky. Like most things that come out of the Left, that position runs counter to reality.

But back to the NYT op-ed writer. Trump supporter, Steve Cortes, is not kind to him/her:
... this coward hides behind the veil of secrecy. Assuming the Times is telling the truth – a big assumption – when it states this person indeed holds a senior position of public trust in the Trump administration and believes this president actually endangers our republic, then the author is honor-bound to follow the esteemed tradition of Thomas More. He should immediately resign and publicly explicate his reasons. Instead, he acts as a sniveling sneak who should never be given the once-august platform of the New York Times editorial pages ...

... the Times editorial board need not quibble with such basic facts [the Trump administrations's long list of achievements], nor even pretend to believe in the kind of fearless storytelling that once defined its dominance. Instead, the vague musings of a nameless and disgruntled insider will work just fine, provided that the target is Donald J. Trump. What happened to honest liberal journalists, the Nat Hentoffs of days gone by, who believed in open inquiry, intellectual rigor, and philosophical tolerance?

Instead, the mainstream media of today have devolved into an amalgam of “Resistance” advocates masquerading as journalists, pursuing an anti-Trump agenda at every turn, no matter the relevance or accuracy.
Of course, the Times is the media champion of the resistance, so they're perfectly willing to publish the op-ed. One can only wonder whether they would have done the same if a disgruntled anonymous member of the previous Democrat administration wrote something similar. That op-ed would have wound up in the proverbial waste basket.

The trained hamsters of the media will now spend weeks talking about this, hoping it will bring Trump down. It won't.

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

In thinking about ththis weeks events for half a second, the timing of all of this is rather interesting. Carl Bernstein comes out with an anonymously sourced book telling use that Donald Trump is crazy and his administration is mired in chaos, and coincidently, the NYT publishes an anonymous op-ed claiming the same thing, but adding that the #resistance is here to save the day.

Steve Hilton comments:
If you’ve been living your life rather than following the latest circus in Washington, you may have missed the fact that the Swamp’s chief scribe has a new book coming out. Or maybe you're unaware that some anonymous, arrogant Trump administration staffer who no one voted for has written in The New York Times about how he or she feels entitled to overrule a president elected by the American people according to the Constitution.

It turns out Bob Woodward doesn’t have a flattering view of President Trump. It also turns out that there really is a deep state conspiracy to thwart President Trump's agenda, organized by his own administration's appointees. Stop the presses! I think we knew that already.

What's more illuminating than Woodward’s gossipy, exploitative book or the pompous, self-important preening of a presidential aide is the D.C. media and political establishment's obsession with covering its own pathetic palace intrigue.

It certainly reminds us of the very worst of Washington – the focus on style over substance, the personal over policy. But it’s even more serious than that. Political appointees (or civil service bureaucrats, for that matter) who actually take pride in subverting the democratic will of the people exemplify the frightening authoritarianism we face at the hands of an entrenched ruling class determined to cling to power regardless of who wins actual elections.

It is a ruling class, moreover, entirely funded by taxpayers for whom it shows constant and complete contempt.

What this week reveals is that the Washington elites have gone mad.
That's why it's called Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Kavanaugh—Part 2

Over the years, I've used a quote often attributed to Jonathan Swift when considering unhinged political arguments. It seems particularly appropriate after two days of hearings on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court. Here we have Democrat members of the Senate Judiciary Committee implying that Kavanaugh is a misogynist, a racist, and an otherwise really, really bad guy. They have no evidence to support any of these despicable slurs and even less evidence of any of it gleaned from his legal opinions, which by all accounts including those of the left-leaning ABA, have been stellar.

Even more stunning, most of the Democrat members of the Judiciary committee have stated that they will vote against any Trump nominee, including Kavanaugh. Yet they demand hundreds of thousands of pages of meaningless documents from long before Kavanaugh was a judge. It's reasonable to ask why they need those documents, given that they already have decided to vote "No" on the judge. But since the Dems are always pure of hear, it couldn't be an obstructionist strategy, could it?

It would be easy by refute the claims of people like Kamala Harris or Richard Blumenthal, but why? Harris and Bluminthal, Booker and Feinstein huff and they puff, but Judge Kavanaugh is very likely to be confirmed. To quote Barack Obama—"elections have consequences" and one of those consequences is who gets to place justices on the federal bench.

But back to that Swiftean quote. Goes like this:
You can't reason someone out of a position they never reasoned themselves into in the first place.
Increasingly, the unhinged behavior of far too many Democrats, exemplified by their atrocious temper tantrum during the first day of the committee hearings, indicates that reason has been jettisoned and replaced by a derangement syndrome that is so intense that it seems to pervade their every waking moment.

They tell us this is all about principle, about "protecting Roe v. Wade or women's health or minorities or the middle class or immigrants or the rule of law or ... "our Democracy itself!"

In reality, it's none of those things, although I do think they've convinced themselves it is. It's about the simple reality (that even they can't escape), given that it was President Donald Trump, rather than President Hillary Clinton whose nominee sits before the Judiciary committee.

The Dems can't get past the simple reality that in 2016, despite the complete backing of a sitting Democrat administration, a clear effort by that administration's DoJ, the FBI and even the IRS to derail the opposition candidate, despite the enthusiastic support of 90 percent of the mainstream media, despite polls that predicted a slam dunk win, despite a campaign budget that was twice a big, despite the vaunted "blue wall," the Dems and their candidate lost to a real estate mogul and reality TV star who was a political neophyte. They can't get past the notion that their message of big government, dependency, victimization, and identity politics was rejected by the electorate. So like petulant children who didn't get the toy they want, they lash out—over and over again. This week the target of their tantrum is Brett Kavanaugh.

That's what these Judiciary committee hearings are all about, even if the Democrats themselves don't want to admit it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Kavanaugh-Part 1

No one should really be surprised that the Democrats and their supporters threw a collective temper tantrum at the start of the hearings to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Gosh, it was only two days ago that Senate heavyweights among the Democrats were praising the late John McCain to the heavens—telling us all how important "bipartisanship" was. Heh.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal comment on the Dems' strategy for the Kavanaugh hearing:
Democrats are out to tarnish the nominee even if they fail to defeat him, and the main goal is to drive voters to the polls to elect a Democratic Congress in November.

Toward that end, you will hear that the 53-year-old judge will join four other conservatives on the High Court eager to eviscerate the rights of Americans. You will hear they want to require back-alley abortions, deny contraception to women, end gay marriage, strip voting rights from minorities, empower corporations to crush workers, and remove constitutional checks and balances on Donald Trump so he can reign supreme.

Have we missed anything?
The Dem's collective histrionics over every other conservative justice nominated over the past 40 years, negates their current hysteria. Their claims that abortion and a long laundry list of rights would be under threat might be called into question because not one of the justices who was confirmed voted to overturn Roe v. Wade or for that matter, negate longstanding rights of all citizens. But crying wolf is what the Dems do when they have no other critique of a highly qualified judge, so they go hysterical. It's pathetic, actually.

And the procedural complaint that not enough documents have been turned over to the Dems? The editors of the WSJ write:
By the way, readers can ignore the Democratic protests about the GOP failure to produce more documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s tenure in George W. Bush’s White House counsel’s office. The Trump Administration decided to withhold some 101,000 document pages entirely under executive privilege and allow Senators and their staff to view 147,000 or so in a secure room on Capitol Hill.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar said Sunday that this is “not normal.” She must be running for President, because the process is similar to how the Obama White House handled documents related to Elena Kagan. We’re told no Democratic Senators had bothered to look at the documents by Monday. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley also said he’d support Senator Klobuchar’s request to make some of those documents public if she wishes. She has not done so—which suggests how little of political consequence is in those pages.
The intent of course, is to delay, delay, and delay again in the hope that somehow, the nominee will not become a justice.

Finally, it's worth noting that both liberal justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, appointed during the a Democratic administration were confirmed with bipartisan votes. Their questioning by GOP senators was hard, but respectful, and no one claimed that Democracy was in jeopardy. But that's an adults vs. children thing. Adults may show concern, may even get angry, and will certainly develop rational strategies to get their way. But it's only children who throw tantrums, use make-believe boogiemen to frighten other children, and otherwise act petulantly.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Postscript

In a beautifully written postscript on the John McCain funeral, Tim Alberta writes:
It was a sendoff befitting a titan of the republic: the flag-draped coffin, the bagpipes, the angelic chorus, the stained-glass windows and gothic pillared arches encasing a sanctuary of some 3,000 notables bidding a final farewell. But the Saturday morning service for John McCain at Washington National Cathedral also felt like a memorial for Washington herself—a capital city that under President Donald Trump no longer seems capable, as the late senator was, of balancing fights with friendships, of divorcing disagreement from disrespect, of recognizing the basic difference between opponents and enemies.

With organ notes echoing throughout the cavernous complex before the ceremony, they mingled and shook hands and scanned the room for More Important People as they might at any black-tie affair. Former presidents and vice presidents elicited camera clicks. Senators compared notes with ambassadors. Military officials and government wise men and media personalities craned their necks ... The only thing missing from this meeting of official Washington was the chief executive of official Washington.

That the president was not invited speaks most evidently to his tormented relationship with McCain, whom Trump infamously mocked for being captured while flying a combat mission in Vietnam. More fundamentally, however, it reflects Trump’s tormented relationship with a town that purports to revere the very virtues he is accused of lacking: courage, prudence, service, conviction, wisdom, humility, forgiveness, honor—and above all, a patriotism that transcends tribalism.

The president cannot be held solely responsible for the fractured nature of modern American politics. McCain’s idyllic Washington—one defined by ferocious battles waged with a mutual goodwill—has long been on life support. For much of Bill Clinton’s presidency, and accelerating through the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the electorate and its representatives were hardened by a combination of class warfare, zero-sum legislating and cultural polarization that invited Trump’s ascent. Having pulled the plug—and smothered the better angels of our nature with a pillow for good measure—the president finds himself at once disinvited from a singular Washington gathering and yet dominating its consciousness.

Indeed, on Saturday, the elephant in the room was the president not in the room.

Though his name was never mentioned, many of the speakers invoked Trump with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
"Official Washington" is a collection of elite Democrats, Republicans, media types, and deep-state denizens who have for generations played by a specific set of rules. Those rules were designed to keep their power intact and at the same time, allow for the passage of laws and regulations that sometimes provides benefit to the common person, but always provide benefit to Official Washington and its cronies.

Official Washington doesn't like being called a "swamp." They like it even less when average voters hear those word and nod their heads. And it really doesn't like it when those same voters get angry and allow a crass loudmouth to crash Official Washington's party and throw away their rulebook.

John McCain was a war hero who exhibited great bravery and fortitude and then translated that into public service. But he was also a card carrying member of Official Washington. It is in some way kind of sad that far too many eulogies about McCain were used instead as "subtle as a sledgehammer" rebukes of Donald Trump. You would have thought the day would be about McCain.

But official Washington is under attack, and the tip of the spear is Donald Trump. So Official Washington has allowed its mask to slip. Behind a veneer of "courage, prudence, service, conviction, wisdom, humility, forgiveness, honor—and above all, a patriotism that transcends tribalism", we get a quick glimpse of cowardice, recklessness, self-serving words and actions, stupidity, hubris, vengeance, viciousness, and tribalism without regard to the damage it might do to our country.