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

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Divisive

During the first two years of his presidency, virtually all Democrats and their legions of trained hamsters in the media told the rest of us that Donald Trump was a treasonous Russian stooge. When that hoax fell apart, they tried to convince us the Trump somehow obstructed an investigation that came to the conclusion that the Democrats' allegations were untrue—a hoax precipitated by a Democrat-sponsored dossier that ironically, was prepared in collaboration with Russian sources. Because the obstruction allegation is now correctly viewed as unmitigated nonsense, the Dems have once against decided to pivot to allegations of "racism and white supremacy," suggesting that Trump is a racist and white supremacist, and in addition is purposely dividing the country along racial lines. I've written about this in an earlier post, but Heather McDonald adds some interesting commentary:
Long before the El Paso massacre, President Trump’s political opponents accused him of sowing “division” with his “racist language.” Mr. Trump “exploits race,” “uses race for his gain,” is engaged in a “racially divisive reprise” of his 2016 campaign, stokes “racial resentments,” and puts “race at the fore,” the New York Times has reported over the past several months.

Yet Mr. Trump rarely uses racial categories in his speech or his tweets. It is the media and Democratic leaders who routinely characterize individuals and groups by race and issue race-based denunciations of large parts of the American polity.

Some examples: “As race dominates the political conversation, 10 white Democratic candidates will take the stage” (the Washington Post); Mr. Trump’s rally audiences are “overwhelmingly white” (multiple sources); your son’s “whiteness is what protects him from not [sic] being shot” by the police ( Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ); white candidates need to be conscious of “white privilege” (South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg ); “white supremacy manifests itself” in the criminal-justice, immigration and health-care systems ( Sen. Cory Booker ); “ Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri” ( Sen. Elizabeth Warren ); whiteness is “the very core” of Mr. Trump’s power, whereas his “predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness” (Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic).

Liberal opinion deems such rhetoric fair comment, even obvious truth, not “racially divisive.” America’s universities deserve credit for this double standard. Identity politics dominate higher education: Administrators, students and faculty obsessively categorize themselves and each other by race. “White privilege,” often coupled with “toxic masculinity,” is the focus of freshmen orientations and an ever-growing array of courses. Any institutional action that affects a “person of color” is “about race.” If a black professor doesn’t get tenure, he’s a victim of discrimination; a white professor is presumed to be unqualified.

That interpretive framework explains asymmetries in how the political and media elites analyze the Trump phenomenon.
As I mentioned in my previous post, race is used as a force field and as a weapon. Truly woke progressives believe that everything is about race and therefore, criticism of a person-of-color for positions or views that have absolutely nothing to do with race are deemed racist. One's race provides the speaker with a 'force field' that is intended to deflect and neuter legitimate criticism. Even better, by hurling accusations of racism against anyone who criticizes a person of color, the Left has a potent weapon to shut down debate and get their way. It's insidious and effective. It's also dangerously divisive, but the Dems are way too concerned about reacquiring power to care.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Crickets

Members of The Squad are all first-term elected Democratic Congresswomen. Dedicated hardcore leftists all, two of their members (Reps. Omar and Talib) are anti-Semites and pro-Palestinian sympathizers (meaning they are rabidly anti-Israel). Other members of the Squad are less overtly anti-Semitic but never heard a tweet by Omar or Talib that they didn't support. The Squad are the darlings of the trained hamsters in the mainstream media who gush over their person-of-color status, their womanhood, their self-described victimhood, and their in-your-face responses to Donald Trump's attacks. In fact, they are often praised for their hipster vibe and their use of twitter as a weapon against the president. Trump tweets, they respond in rapid-fire fashion.

Interesting then, that a recent news story got no response from members of The Squad, rapid fire or otherwise. Tyler O'Neil writes:
Early Monday morning, The Jerusalem Post reported that the PA and Palestine Police had outlawed LGBT activity in the West Bank and threatened to arrest members of the LGBT group Al-Qaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society. Al-Qaws was planning a gathering for members in Nablus at the end of the month. The group only has offices in Israel — in East Jerusalem and in Haifa.

Luay Zreikat, a spokesman for Palestine Police, said LGBT activities are "harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society." He added that Al-Qaws's activities are completely "unrelated to religions and Palestinian traditions and customs, especially in the city of Nablus."

Zreikat went on to accuse "dubious parties" of working to "create discord and harm civic peace in Palestinian society."

Palestine Police will chase those behind Al-Qaws and bring them to trial once arrested, the PA police spokesman warned. He appealed to Palestinians to report any person connected to the group to police.
And here I thought that the palestinian authority was all rainbows and lollipops. That the "beleaguered" palestinians were the ultimate victims of the "oppressor" Israel—a liberal democracy that celebrates its LGBT citizens. And even when the palestinians do not-so-nice stuff like launching rockets at Israeli schools and bombing Israeli Pizza parlors, it's all because they're oh-so "oppressed" and have no choice but to maim and murder.

But exactly how can the palestinians blame their anti-LGBT positions on Israel? And there's the rub.

You'd think that The Squad, so nimble on Twitter and oh-so active as social justice warriors would be the first to condemn the pali position on LGBT. You'd be wrong.

After all, how can the rainbows and lollipops narrative of oppressed palestinians be maintained if SJWs attack them as the bigoted extremists that they really are. Meanwhile, back at The Squad—crickets.

Diploma Debt

The current crop of Democratic contenders for the presidency are nothing if not good at pandering to their key demographic segments. In the case of people under 40, a key pander-point is what could be called 'diploma debt'—eliminating college debt by shifting the burden to taxpayers. It's very important to emphasize that diploma debt is discretionary debt, entered into willingly by the then-student. It's also worth noting that the debt was incurred as part on an investment in the future—the degree acquired should lead to a career that has a high likelihood of generating the income that would enable the debt to be repaid over time. And if that's not the case, why incur the debt in the first place?

Margot Cleveland notes that Democrats use two strategies to make their argument for diploma debt relief—"shock and sob stories." The Dems tell us that there is over $1.4 trillion in student debt—a shocking statistic. But there is over $4.29 trillion in credit card debt. Should every credit card holder get relief as well? What about auto loans, or mortgages—should they be paid for by taxpayers? And yeah, there are sob stories—marriages postponed, living arrangements altered, and nice things unavailable—sad stories, I suppose, but hardly insurmountable.

Cleveland goes on to ask a few intrusive questions:
There are many ways to counter [the Democrat's] arguments, based on both economics and equity. But it’s hard to counter soundbites with sense, so instead, here are my inquiries for these politicians, the press, and all the students demanding relief from the burdens of their debt:

Tell me your sob stories from age 12 on, not what you can’t do now, but what you couldn’t do then. Tell what you had to do then and through college to avoid what is now, to you, crushing student debt.

What time did you get up to deliver papers in junior high? How many hours a week did you work since 14 to save for college? How many toilets did you scrub? How many high school football games did you miss because you were working? What dream college did you forgo to avoid taking out student loans?

Which 8 a.m. class did you take so you could complete your major’s requirements and still work in the afternoon? Which bus line did you take to get to your job because you didn’t borrow to buy a car? What job did you work full-time while completing your MBA at night?

What did you do to afford college? What didn’t you do because of the cost of college? Were you getting tattoos and traveling your way through college? Were you pledging and partying? Did you go to your top-choice university? Maybe an out-of-state public university with higher tuition rates? Which spring break and study abroad destinations did you visit along the way?

Did you splurge on your fairytale wedding instead of paying down your student loans? What cars did you buy or lease? Where did you live? What electronics did you own? What clothing and other personal expenditures did you have? In short, show me the money and how you spent it!

None of my business? You’re right. Nor is your student debt my business or my problem.
Indeed.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Conspiracy

It was telling in its own way. Within minutes of the breaking news that Jeffrey Epstein committed "suicide" in a New York jail cell, a select group of trained hamsters in the media went to work. Not to investigate, but rather to promote the line that you are a"conspiracy theorist" if you ask obvious questions about his very questionable death, if you intimated the obvious—that Epstein was murdered or allowed to commit suicide because he was a major threat to very important people (mostly, it appears, those people were prominent Democrats). Information about the event is coming out, but there seems to be a media reticence about it all.

Peggy Noonan channels Mike McAlary (1957-98), "tabloid star and journalistic tough guy," when she writes about the trained hamsters and their toe-in-the-water approach to this story:
It’s like every great media organization is tied up in this complicated, soul-crushing, virtue-signalling fearfulness, this vast miasma of progressive political theory and ideology and correctness and “please report to HR”—and it has nothing to do with the mission. The mission is to get the story!

Reporters and editors, they’re not the fabulous old drunks and girl reporter miscreants, they’re like—like normal people! Reporters aren’t supposed to be normal! And they’re very tidy because they’re extremely important! You get the impression they became reporters to affect the discourse. “I’m going into journalism to press for cultural and political justice.” These—these deconstructionist intellectuals! These twinkies with soft hands from Phillips Exeter Andover whatever. These mere political operatives. These people with grievances, who’ve never had anything to grieve because their lives were the red satin lining of a music box.

If I was in charge I’d say, “Thank you for your boundless efforts to secure the greater progress for the polity. But I was wondering if, in your spare moments, you could be troubled to help us cover the biggest scandal of your blanking lifetimes?”

The editors don’t honor old shoe-leather ways. The owner wants you out there branding the brand on cable so the brand is being branded.

And those losers in Washington. Lemme tell you what they’re thinking. They’re thinking New York cares and L.A. cares but nobody else in America cares about this pervert and his fancy friends. They’re thinking it’s August, play it out, let the story sink in the sands of time. Because it’s a story they don’t like. My hunch, they have no real confidence in themselves or the system. They don’t think they themselves are gonna find out if Epstein was killed or committed suicide.
Not every conspiracy theory is just a "theory," sometimes the alleged conspiracy is real. We don't know that yet, and if the power elite along with their trained hamsters have their way, we never will.

The Epstein story is rich in the characteristics (sex, wealth, powerful men and women, celebrities, politics, corruption, dark activities, private "orgy" Islands, private jets, among others) that normally result in a long-lasting media frenzy. If instead it fades as the heat of August leads to the cool winds of September, that's a sign that the fix is in.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Illiberal Bigots

No doubt that progressives everywhere, along with their trained hamsters in the media, will be "outraged" that the only liberal democracy in the Middle East barred two noted anti-Semites and proponents of the despicable BDS movement, Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib, from entry to Israel. After all, I'm certain that a visit would have caused them to modify their bigoted, anti-Semitic positions, moderate their overt hatred of Jews, and change their opinion of the tiny country that will never be accepted by the majority of the 100+ million Muslims who live in the Arab crescent. NOT.

From a purely political perspective, this is undoubtedly what Omar and Talib wanted. They are experts at playing the victim and Israel's actions will give them more ammunition to do just that. After all, the social justice warrior crowd has already expressed "concern." But you know what—who cares?
BREAKING: The Associated Press reports that Talib has applied for entry to Gaza on humanitarian grounds to see her 94 year-old grandmother. That request has been granted by Israel, and we'll see whether she turns her visit into a political stunt.
But back to the earlier denial of entry for both Omar and Talib. David Harsanyi comments:
Should Israel have taken the high road and given two enemies of Israel visas for this propaganda visit? Probably. It usually does. Allowing foes to enter the country reflects the strong liberal values that make Israel a special place in Middle East.

However, the idea that impeding two anti-Semites and Hamas apologists from entering Israel is an attack on democracy, or the United States, or that such a move is accelerating the corrosion of the Democratic Party’s support for Israel, is absurd.

Sen. Bernie Sanders contends that Israel is showing “enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress, and to the principles of democracy.”

What principle of democracy states that you have to issue visas for illiberal bigots who actively engage in efforts to harm your citizens? If Republican Steve King were denied an entry visa into Mexico, not a single congressperson would stand up for him, not a single presidential candidate would claim that Mexico had insulted the honor of the United States, not a single Democrat would argue that it reflected poorly on Mexican democracy, and not a single liberal pundit would contend that the Mexican-U.S. relationship was being hurt.

We don’t actually need theoretical examples. How many Democrats were insulted when the speaker of the British House of Commons told the elected president of the United States he was not welcome to address them? Would any sane person claim Britain was stifling debate by doing so?

Would any American be bothered if the State Department denied an entry visa to a foreign elected official who actively worked toward the economic destruction of the United States while being an apologist for al-Qaeda or some other anti-American terrorist group? (Well, maybe a few.)

Not even we believe people are entitled to visit simply because they demand it.
The Democratic party should be ashamed that it has not unequivocally repudiated Omar and Talib. Instead, it tries to spin their bigotry and anti-Semitism into something less noxious.

BTW, Omar and Talib had every opportunity to visit Israel along with a Congressional delegation last week. Instead they wanted a propaganda visit, and Israel refused to comply.

Harsanyi continues:
It needs to be stressed that Tlaib and Omar aren’t mere “critics” of Israel, as the media incessantly claims. Critics of Israel find fault with policies of the nation’s government — which, in Israel’s case, has oscillated from left to right, from hawkish to dovish, for more than 70 years. Critics have been traveling to Israel forever. Critics of Israel serve in the nation’s Parliament and openly and freely take positions against the ruling government.

Tlaib and Omar actively support a movement with the strategic aim of rallying the world to destroy the Jewish state economically. The boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) not only challenges Israel’s right to exist, it relies on age-old antisemitic tropes, conspiracy theories, and blood libels to propel the message. Its most famous champions in the United States are Tlaib and Omar.
After thinking about it, I'm pleased that Israel barred these two Leftists from entry. As elected officials, they are a stain on the Democratic party and an embarrassment to the people who elected them. In the words of Harsanyi, they are hardly the victims they claim to be ad nauseum, rather, they're "illiberal bigots."

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

In a tweet yesterday, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) "disagreed" with Israel's decision to bar Omar and Talib:
We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.
I wonder if AIPAC would have "disagreed" with Israel had it barred a true white supremacist who advocated the destruction of Israel and (via support for Hamas among other terror organizations) the murder of Jews. I think not. The irony is that in their own way, the Democrat Congresswomen want the same thing. Relative to Israel, they are as dangerous as any white supremacist, yet somehow, liberal Jews think they can be reasoned with. They cannot. They are NOT the friend of Israel or the Jews—never have been ... never will be.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Inflamatory Rhetoric

Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media fell all over themselves in the rush to blame Donald Trump's "inflamatory rhetoric" for the mass shooting by a right-wing lunatic in El Paso, TX (they are generally silent on the mass shooting that occurred near-simultaneously in Dayton, OH because that shooter was a Leftist and therefore doesn't easily fit the media narrative du jour). With tightly clutched pearls, they imply that were it not for Trump, the right-wing lunatic would have been all about rainbows and unicorns. They were quick to accuse Trump of supporting white supremacists, and the truly unhinged among them accused all Trump supporters of being white supremacists.

Okay then.

Did you know that over the past four weeks there have been armed attacks against ICE officers and facilities (not counting a dust-up at a protest last night in Rhode Island). It's not surpising if you didn't know becuase the hamsters have pushed to stories to page 23. In any event, Lunatic leftists decided to target federal officers who were trying to enforce existing laws that have been in place for decades. But why?

Using the same argument that the Left and their trained media hamsters apply to Donald Trump's speech, it would be clear that the ICE attacks should be blamed on Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her extremist sisters in The Squad. After all, here's what AOC tweeted a while back:

Of course we have to believe the idiocy espoused by AOC—after all, she consulted "concentration camp experts." Sometimes you just have to laugh.

The editorial board at Issues and Insights comments:
But Democrats and their handmaidens in the press have been repeating ad nauseam how President Donald Trump was responsible for the El Paso, Texas, shooting because of his immigration rhetoric.

As we noted, the connection to Trump was frivolous. The alleged shooter himself said Trump had nothing to do with his attack, and much of his political views were positively leftist.

In the case of the ICE incidents, however, there’s a much more direct connection between the incendiary rhetoric coming from Democrats and the attacks on these facilities.

After all, if these ICE facilities are indeed concentration camps, then any attempt to stop such atrocities would be noble.

San Antonio Field Office Director Daniel Bible is making that connection. “Political rhetoric and misinformation that various politicians, media outlets and activist groups recklessly disseminate to the American people regarding the ICE mission only serve to further encourage these violent acts.”

Yet those on the left, including in the mainstream press, are trying to pin the blame for these events on Trump. That is, when they’re not ignoring the attacks on ICE altogether.
The double standards, hypocrisy, and dishonesty exhibited by the Dems and their media propaganda arm are not new, but these things do appear to be getting even worse and our social justice warriors try and fail to unseat an elected president.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Fan the Flames

Joe Biden stumbles through the primary season offering us gaff after gaff in a way the has any objective observer questioning his recall and his ability to process information quickly and accurately. Bernie Sanders, despite his emotional appeal for hard-core leftist positions is sinking in the Democrat polls. That leaves Liz Warren and others who are trying hard to 'out-Left' Bernie with shrill language and even crazier policy positions. Those positions are the topic for another day, but what is concerning is a number of Democrat candidates are perfectly willing to promote false information to gain leverage with their base.

Sharyl Attkisson discusses the canard that the 2014 shooting of an African American man in Ferguson, MO was an act of murder by police:
... the shooting happened on Aug. 9, 2014. A Ferguson, Mo., police officer named Darren Wilson shot and killed an 18-year-old unarmed suspect named Michael Brown. Brown was black, Wilson is white. Witnesses claimed that Officer Wilson had shot Brown in cold blood while Brown’s hands were raised in surrender. Though without evidence, those accounts were afforded wide credence in the media. They sparked riots. They ignited a movement called “Hands up, don’t shoot!”

If ever there were a time for responsible journalists to carefully mitigate uncorroborated and inflammatory claims, this was arguably the moment. At the time, pockets of the nation were a racial tinderbox.

The problem is, all of the racially-tinged accusations against Officer Wilson were likely false, according to the final analysis by President Obama’s Department of Justice. The report, issued in 2015, found that Officer Wilson’s accounts were corroborated. He’d acted in self-defense. Brown, the report said, had reached into the police vehicle and grabbed Officer Wilson by the neck. And Brown appeared to be lunging toward Officer Wilson when Officer Wilson shot him in self-defense.

The Obama Justice Department investigators concluded that original witness accounts claiming that Brown’s hands were up when he was shot, and other key claims, were “unreliable” and — in many instances — directly contradicted by the forensic evidence, while Officer Wilson’s story was supported by the forensics. “Hands up, don’t shoot,” the Obama Justice Department found, was contrary to reliable accounts — and likely fabricated.

The findings of this important report got nowhere near the news coverage of the original false claims. There were no apologies to Officer Wilson. His career and life were ruined by the false claims.
Apparently, all of this means nothing to the Democratic contenders for the presidency. Attkisson summarizes:
On Friday and Saturday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio, all running for their party’s nomination for president, tweeted out statements containing disproven claims or false implications about the incident.

Booker tweeted: “5 years ago, Michael Brown was killed by a police officer … I have been thinking all day about Mike and his family, and my prayers are with them … I am also thinking about the everyday citizens who stood against this police violence and racism and were tear gassed for their patriotic acts. Ferguson called to the conscience of our nation and inspired a movement that rightly continues.”

[As if on cue, Gillibrand, Ryan, DeBlasio, O'Rouke, Sanders, and Harris, echoed the same lie.]

And [Elizabeth] Warren tweeted: “5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.”
Every one of those candidates tells us that Donald Trump fans the flames of racial resentment and divides the nation. I have to wonder how their lies about an event investigated by a President and an AG from their own party is anything other than a knowing attempt to fan the flames of racial resentment and divide the nation. Disgusting.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Suicide

Sometimes a suicide is just a suicide, but sometimes, a "suicide" is a convenient way to stage a murder. At this point, ponzi-scheme "financier" and sexual abuser Jeffrey Epstein's "suicide" (predicted long before the actual event by many, including yours truly) must be considered what the government claims it is, but heavy, heavy skepticism is in order. All of the obvious reasons come into play — the fact that Epstein had previous "attempted "suicide" while in custody, the fact that he was a very high profile inmate and special care should have been taken to ensure his safety, and most important, the fact that Epstein had connections to many prominent people with a strong implication that at least some of those people participated in Epstein's disgusting behavior.

There was a time that many of us would have taken government claims that Epstein offed himself at face value. Yeah, maybe there was a screw-up at the detention facility, but it was an innocent screw-up—incompetence, not malevolence. There is nothing else to see—move on.

But after observing the machinations of the deep state over the past few years, observing how the vast majority of the main stream media pick and chooses its investigations, its curiosity, it's stories, and its outrage, depending on who is involved and what political party must be protected, it is certainly within the realm of possibility that those who were threatened by Epstein's potential testimony may have concluded that they could act with impunity, that outrage over his "suicide" would be short-lived and then, like so many other scandals we've seen over the past decade, it would be buried and disappear down the memory hole.

Just over 24 hours after the event, the usual trained hamsters in the media are already suggesting that any implication that Epstein was murdered or through purposeful neglect was allowed to kill himself is part of a broad "conspiracy theory." The strategy is common, 'controversialize' those who ask legitimate questions, discouraging others from asking related question and giving the media a reason to avoid looking for the answers. Fascinating how the trained hamsters dismiss such an obvious possibility without spending the time or energy to investigate.

For example, just this morning, NBC's leading Democratic apologist and propagandist, Chuck Todd, was "outraged" that Donald Trump would join "the conspiracy theorists" and suggest that there was more to Epstein's suicide, that it might have had something to do with his connection to Bill Clinton. Are Trump's comments tacky? Yeah, but not outside the realm of possibility. Todd's focus was not the "suicide" itself or who may have benefitted as a consequence of Epstein's death. He conspicuously changed the subject to make it about Donald Trump. Early obfuscation, anyone?

It's very likely that we'll never know what actually happened. And that's the whole idea. House of Cards all the way down.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Cultural Revolution

As the Left's near-hysterical commentary on the recent mass shooting in El Paso builds toward a crescendo (somehow, Dayton is less important), we are to believe that it's all Donald Trump's fault and that his followers are complicit in the death of 22 innocent people. The trained hamsters in the main stream media echo and amplify all of this, suggesting that Trump's rhetoric is to blame—after all, he's a "white supremacist" who just happened to escape opprobrium until he defeated the Democrats in the 2016 election.

David P. Goldman tries to get past the Left's festival of blame and examine the root causes of these heinous events:
Mass shootings are a special form of suicide. The shooter never expects to survive. But the shooter combines self-hatred with group hatred. Hate becomes so melded with the shooter's identity that he determines to take as many people as he can with him. They are of the same order as the pilot who crashed a Germanwings airliner into the Alps in 2015.

Emil Durkheim's 1897 diagnosis of "anomic suicide" describes the Columbine perpetrators as well as the 2016 San Bernardino attack by Muslim fanatics, the "right-wing" shooter in El Paso and the "left-wing" shooter in Dayton. They are individuals cut off from society, destabilized by change and despairing of their own place in the world. Such monsters always have been among us. But now we are cultivating such monsters by destroying the ties that bind us to each other, to our past and to our future.
In order to replace the existing culture with the Left's utopian vision for what they believe we MUST become, they indulge in dark fantasy. They allege that the current leadership of the existing culture is a vile and reprehensible white supremacist, they argue. His followers are just as bad—they are "deplorable," using their "white privilege" to "victimize" all others. Therefore, the existing culture must be replaced by something better — oh ... that just happens to be the culture/ideology they embrace.

But Goldman examines this dark fantasy and sees it a bit differently:
The ruling liberal dogma tells us that the past was an unrelieved pageant of oppression against people of color, women, and other victims. We [the present day Left] are the first "woke" generation, and everything that preceded us is to be abominated.
I honestly do believe that many on the Left do, in fact, think the fantasy is real. That dark and malevolent forces aren't limited to fringe extremists, but instead are embodied by existing political leaders, and in the extreme, almost half of the adult population. That despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, "hate" is what America is all about. This fever swamp of emotion is disconnected from evidence or logic or common sense. It is sad and dangerous at the same time. The dark fantasy is an attempt to depict our governance, our laws, and our culture as being irreparably broken. And that demands a response—a "cultural revolution" in which the Left leads.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Meta-Strategy

The meta-strategy is as insidious as it is brilliant. Accuse someone of being something vile, something that is repugnant to all decent people. If that someone is a politician, then that politician's entire party along with everyone who continues to support that someone is by extension a sympathizer with and supporter of the vile and repugnant thing.

But someone else will step up and say, "Wait a minute, the accusations are hysterical, factually inaccurate, and despicable in and of themselves." The accusations are vile because they further divide an already divided country. They increase the political temperature, rather than trying to reduce it."

When that statement is made, the person who makes it is invariably accused of being whatever vile and repugnant thing the accusers' have mentioned. There is no counter-argument, only vicious epithets, now hurled at the politician and anyone who questions the motives and morality of his or her accusers. When that happens, good people begin to self-censor, to remain silent when vicious accusations are made. After all, who wants to be called something vile and repugnant. And that is the overriding goal of the meta strategy—to silence any opposition so that a preferred narrative will prevail and consequently, attain political power.

That's the strategy that's being applied by the Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media—accuse an elected president of the United States of being a white supremacist. After all, they hate his position on illegal immigration; they despise his attacks on the anti-American, anti-Israel statements made by members of The Squad and other Dems; they are revolted by the man's combative style; they are incensed that he has nominated SCOTUS justices, and they recoil from the harsh reality that he beat their nominee in the 2016 election. So they call him a "white supremacist" and complement that with the implication that he is responsible for the mass casualty attacks over the past few weeks. Whether it's Beto, Biden, or Booker, the suggestion that one individual is somehow responsible for the actions of mentally unbalanced right-wing extremists has become S.O.P. for at least some prominent Democrats.

Okay, then. If that's the strategy, let's pursue it and see where it leads.

The mass shooter in Dayton seems to be getting less attention than the shooters in CA and TX. Law enforcement has noted (rather cryptically) that he pursued "violent ideologies." The trained hamsters in the main stream media seem generally uninterested in investigating those ideologies further, and the Dems are generally silent on the Dayton attack.

Andy Ngo comments:
[The Dayton shooter] had long expressed support for antifa accounts, causes and individuals. That would be the loose network of militant leftist activists who physically attack anyone to the right of Mao in the name of “anti-fascism.” In particular, [the Dayton shooter] promoted extreme hatred of American border enforcement.

“Kill every fascist,” the shooter declared in 2018 on twitter, echoing a rallying cry of antifa ideologues. Over the next year, his tweets became increasingly violent. “Nazis deserve death and nothing else,” he tweeted last October. [The Dayton shooter] frequently flung the label “Nazi” at those with whom he disagreed online.

By December, he reached out on Twitter to the Socialist Rifle ­Association, an antifa gun group, to comment about bump stocks, and the SRA responded to him. (A bump stock is an attachment for semiautomatic rifles that allow them to fire much faster.)

In the months leading to his rampage, [the Dayton shooter] expressed a longing for climactic confrontation. In ­response to an essay by Intercept writer Mehdi Hassan titled, “Yes, Let’s Defeat or Impeach Trump—but What If He Doesn’t Leave the White House?” the shooter wrote: “Arm, train, prepare.”

By June he tweeted: “I want socialism, and I’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round understanding.” Last week, he promoted posts that demonized Sens. Ted Cruz and Bill Cassidy’s resolution against antifa extremism.
If the GOP were to use the same meta-strategy discussed earlier in this post, they'd try to tie the Dayton shooter's left-wing ranting along with his violent affinity to antifa to the Dems, who generally avoid any criticism of the group. To their credit, the GOP hasn't done that, although a few right -leaning commentators have noted the irony.

Violent extremism—whether extreme right-wing or extreme left-wing—is an evil that every American should condemn—without finger-pointing or efforts to gain political advantage. An explicit strategy that assesses blame for the insane actions of fringe extremists is amoral. It taps tragedy for political gain, and that's simply not right.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Mass Shootings

There have been two mass shooting with 29 people dead and many more injured in the past 48 hours. Mass shootings can occur only if an unstable and alienated murderer has gained access to guns and ammunition that allow carnage to occur in a matter of seconds. There must be serious and effective controls on these weapons and serious and effective controls that limit the ability of mentally unbalanced people from gaining access to any firearm.

Mass shooting are almost always perpetrated by a mentally unstable male who is driven by hatred and/or anger. The shooter is often (but not always) a subscriber to either an alt-Right or alt-Left ideology. Some mechanism to desensitize the shooter to the act of killing large numbers of people indiscriminately is often present. In almost every case, the shooter telegraphs his intent (albeit cryptically) and in most cases, family members or acquaintances recognize signs that the shooter is becoming increasingly unhinged. All of this creates a multi-parametric problem—one that cannot be solved by the usual mantras posed by either the Right or the Left.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal comment:
The problem is identifying those with mental illness who are a threat, and then allowing society to intervene to prevent violence. Overwhelming evidence suggests that the de-institutionalization of the seriously mentally ill has had tragic results. Libertarians and mental-health advocates who resist such intervention need to do some soul-searching.

The same goes for those in the gun lobby who claim that denying access to guns from those with a history of mental illness violates individual rights. So-called red-flag laws that let police or family members petition a court to remove firearms from someone who may be a threat might not have stopped the El Paso killer. But the evidence in the states is that the laws have prevented suicides and may prevent other mass shootings. Gun rights need to be protected, but the Second Amendment is not a suicide pact.
On a pragmatic level, we need to get more serious about limiting access to firearms among those who have mental health problems. The problem, of course, is identifying those individuals in real time so that a firearm purchase can be stopped. The technology to accomplish this does exist, but it is opposed, as the editors of WSJ note, by privacy advocates, gun rights advocates, and advocates for the mentally ill. As with all things, it takes political will to overcome these objections and craft an approach that has some possibility of addressing this horrific problem effectively.

We need a national data base that will help identify mentally unstable people, we need universal background checks for all gun purchases tied directly into the national database, we need red flag laws in every state, we need to close gun show loop holes, we need even better surveillance of alt-Right and alt-Left websites and dark web locations, so that their denizens are identified and tracked, we need to take a hard look at first person video games (surely a mechanism that desensitizes at least some of these murders), and we do need to tone down the divisive rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum.

Sadly, I suspect none of that will happen. And even if some or all of this does happen, I'm under no illusions that these ideas would be easy to implement or that there would not be unintended side effects. I'm also fully aware that privacy rights would suffer, but our increasingly digital, interconnected world, privacy is going the way of the Dodo bird. Finally, none of this would stop the underground sale of guns to criminals by criminals.

Given the current toxic political atmosphere, each party will do what they do best—play politics, rather than attempt to solve real-world problems.

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

Many younger readers may not know the derivation of the phrase, "going postal." It refers to a number of incidents at the USPS in the 1990s in which postal workers killed or maimed their co-workers in fits of anger. As a consequence of that violence, a bi-partisan, blue-ribbon commission proposed solutions in The Califano Report. Laurence Jarvik discusses the report and what it means to today's mass violence:
The US Postal Service set up an "Employee Assistance Program" after publication of the report, to deal with disturbed and possibly dangerous postal workers before they snapped, which proved quite successful.

By treating postal violence as a mental health problem, the USPS successfully controlled it.

The Califano Report is a good example of Washington actually working in a bipartisan manner to solve a serious problem with practical solutions.

A similar bipartisan and objectively scientific approach to mass shootings would probably work today, if permitted to realistically address the causes of massacres.

That no such study has been commissioned indicates that some politicians sadly seek to exploit violent tragedies for political advantage, rather than solve the problem ...

Psychiatrists realize that many [mentally-ill] patients simply cannot respond voluntarily to medication or psychotherapy. For them, there is no alternative but coerced treatment or institutionalization in order to protect them from themselves and society from their propensity towards violence.

In addition, extreme political causes have historically attracted the mentally disturbed. Doestoevsky described the phenomenon of nihilist "mad bombers" in his novel, The Possessed (also known as The Devils).

It is truly madness to pretend such massacres are not obviously acts of the mentally ill.

Who really believes a sane person could target innocent schoolchildren, churchgoers, nightclubbers, or Wal-Mart shoppers for mass-murder?

Not me.
Or me.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Circle Dancing

"Neo" is a blogger whose bio indicates that she was a lifelong liberal Democrat who slowly and painfully (according to her) walked away. In a recent post she comments on "circle dancing"—the idea that all political ideologies tend to force people to hold hands and circle a central ideological construct, dancing around and around a set of core beliefs. Both progressives and conservatives do the dance, but the core of the progressive circle has a near galactic pull. After all, nearly everything that those outside the circle hear, see, and experience are part of the progressive narrative. That narrative is enforced by the media, by academics, at universities, in secondary and primary schools, by movies and television, in print, and by the arts. All of it pulls you toward the center of the progressive circle, and the pull is very hard to escape.

Writing about this, Neo draws on the words of another author:
... I will now repeat a passage that I’ve quoted before in several previous posts. For me, it never gets old. It’s from the Czech author Milan Kundera’s novel The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, which he wrote in the late 1970s:
Circle dancing is magic. It speaks to us through the millennia from the depths of human memory. Madame Raphael had cut the picture out of the magazine and would stare at it and dream. She too longed to dance in a ring. All her life she had looked for a group of people she could hold hands with and dance with in a ring. First she looked for them in the Methodist Church (her father was a religious fanatic), then in the Communist Party, then among the Trotskyites, then in the anti-abortion movement (A child has a right to life!), then in the pro-abortion movement (A woman has a right to her body!); she looked for them among the Marxists, the psychoanalysts, and the structuralists; she looked for them in Lenin, Zen Buddhism, Mao Tse-tung, yogis, the nouveau roman, Brechtian theater, the theater of panic; and finally she hoped she could at least become one with her students, which meant she always forced them to think and say exactly what she thought and said, and together they formed a single body and a single soul, a single ring and a single dance.
Don’t underestimate how profoundly difficult it can be to step outside the circle.
Those of us who refuse to dance around the progressive circle recognize that we can be drawn into another circle, but one that has a profoundly weaker pull and far fewer reinforcement mechanisms. In a way, that makes us more, not less, flexible in our world view.

What worries us about the progressive circle we refuse to join is best described by Milan Kundera when he writes about his protagonist: "... she always forced them to think and say exactly what she thought and said, and together they formed a single body and a single soul, a single ring and a single dance."

When progressives experience the "magic" of circle dancing they ultimately get to a place where they do exactly what Madame Raphael did—they want to force the rest of us to talk and think exactly like them and become "a single body and a single soul."

No thanks.

Friday, August 02, 2019

"Crazies"

Now that the second round of Democrat "debates" is over, more than a few Dems are shaking their heads. Michael Moore, a hard-left documentarian, suggests that only Michelle Obama can save the party, given the lackluster collection of candidates. But many others observe the Democrat field and shake their heads at the hard-left direction of their party.

Conservative writer Kim Strassel does a little categorization:
The debates have highlighted important policy distinctions. But in the context of this overall leftward shift, they are rightly measured on a sliding scale from “lefty” to “absolutely nuts.” And it’s only the presence of the real radicals that allows commentators to get away with suggesting any of these policies are remotely “centrist” or “moderate.”

The crazies want to tax everyone and everything—financial transactions, carbon, bank liabilities, sales, wealth, income, families. Mr. Sanders has outright said he will raise taxes on the middle class, while Ms. Warren has all but admitted as much. The ordinary lefties merely want to raise taxes on capital, estates, businesses, payrolls and higher incomes.

The crazies would take over or kill entire sectors of the economy. Some Medicare for All proponents would immediately outlaw private insurance; others would do it over time. Fossil-fuel jobs would be abolished, while disfavored corporate executives would face “jail.” The lefties would merely regulate the hell out of the economy, dictating what types of health plans, financial products, energy, and drugs we can have, and at what price.

The crazies would pack the Supreme Court (Ms. Warren), prosecute Mr. Trump (Kamala Harris) and spend billions on slavery reparations (Marianne Williamson). The lefties would merely require two years of mandatory national service (John Delaney), ban union and nonprofit political speech (Michael Bennet) and impose sweeping new gun control (John Hickenlooper).

The Democratic Party seems to be banking that voters dislike Mr. Trump so much that they’ll accept any alternative. That’s an enormously risky bet.
The long-time party of big intrusive government (B.I.G.) is now emphasizing that the size of government matters, and the bigger the better—the more intrusive, the more effective (or so they think).

Strassel rightly notes the broad impact of Dem policy positions. But she doesn't mention the suffocating emphasis on political correctness. A once acceptable mechanism for making the broader public more tolerant has now morphed under the Dems' social justice warriors into dangerous thought control. Innocuous speech that "triggers" the SJWs is forbidden. The word "racist" is used so frequently it has lost its meaning. Opposing viewpoints are considered "hate speech." It's 1984 on steroids.

And then there's the viciousness, exemplified, but not isolated to the Kavanaugh hearings. If a person doesn't agree with your ideology, its perfectly okay to destroy them—to ruin their life and sully their family in the process. If a man you truly don't like is elected president, it's perfectly okay to create a hoax in a pathetic attempt to remove him from office and then perpetrate the hoax with lies for his entire time in office. And if a person of color, or a woman, or a gay person doesn't toe the Dem ideological line, they're not "authentic" and shouldn't be heard.

That's the Dems throughout 2016 - 2019. It will continue to be the Dems in 2020. People are noticing.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Cities

The Democrats' trained hamsters in the main stream media have tried hard to avoid the real story in the "Baltimore" controversy, focusing obsessively on Trump's "racism" and assiduously avoiding the underlying message of the controversy. Daniel Henninger describes it this way:
After [Rev. Martin Luther] King’s assassination in 1968, horrific inner-city riots broke out in New York, Washington, Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Trenton, N.J. For much of the U.S. population born since then, those events have about as much immediacy as a World War II documentary.

Still, political control of virtually all these cities has remained in the hands of the Democratic Party. Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and St. Louis have had nothing but Democratic mayors since then ...

That suits the keepers of America’s sterile status quo in its most rundown neighborhoods just fine. Urban Democrats are now in a destructive co-dependent relationship with public-sector unions. Inner-city residents have become an afterthought.

Walking past a public-housing complex in lower Manhattan recently, I noticed the date on the cornerstone: 1963. That is about when these projects were erected all over the U.S. They, like so much urban infrastructure, are falling apart through neglect because city budgets are consumed by labor costs.

Public schools in every city mentioned in this column are failing to educate black American children adequately because the teachers unions won’t permit reform.

According to recent FBI data, the most violent cities in the U.S. include—still—St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Oakland, Calif.

A 16-year-old gangbanger in Chicago today was born in 2002 or 2003, after 9/11. Stories like his, passing from innocence to ruin before reaching adulthood, have repeated themselves every 20 years in all these Democratic-controlled cities. If that’s not racism caused by political failure, the word has no meaning. Yet the press, or part of it, has been consumed the past week with Trump vs. Cummings and such irrelevant stories as “Cummings has long frustrated the president.”
Odd, isn't it, that the CNN moderators in this week's Democratic Debates didn't focus on America's inner cities with a question like this:

Cities across the United States like Baltimore have had Democratic mayors for decades—in Baltimore's case, over 5 decades, have had a Democratic city councils, have gotten hundreds of millions of of federal dollars dedicated to improve the lot of it citizens, and yet continue to struggle mightily. Is this situation a failure of Democratic leadership at the city, state and federal level, and should the citizens of these cities look elsewhere for solutions.

Nah ... a question like that won't do. It conflicts with the narrative.