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

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Boomerang

In politics at any level, there is only one constant—hypocrisy. With the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, we're seeing that norm on display from BOTH parties. Positions that were supposedly entrenched four years ago have now reversed 180 degrees. No one who follows the political scene should be the least bit surprised, but if you examine the reaction of the talking heads who populate the media, you'd think they just fell off a pumpkin truck. They're shocked—shocked!!—that the GOP would want to gain a conservative majority on SCOTUS. And they seem sanguine that the Dems, who decry such coarse political maneuvers, would threaten to pack the courts, abolish the electoral college, and eliminate the filibuster in revenge.

Gerard Baker comments:

Try to imagine the reaction of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and their Hallelujah Chorus in the media if a conservative Supreme Court justice had died weeks before the re-election bid of a Democratic president while that party also controlled the Senate.

See if you can make the statesmanlike words fit the mouths of these stolid custodians of honor, integrity and unswerving principle.

“It is our solemn duty to set aside our ambition to remake the court and patiently await the outcome of the people’s decision,” says Sen. Schumer, demonstrating once again why he has a glowing reputation for devotion to selfless virtue over ambition and political self-interest.

“Though we strongly believe this is a matter of the greatest importance for our nation, for life, liberty and the pursuit of our agenda, it would be wrong to fill this vacancy with just a few months left of this presidency,” says Speaker Pelosi, emerging perfectly coiffed from a locked-down hair salon to denounce hypocrisy and double-standards in politics.

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum,” declaims a tearful Don Lemon on CNN, explaining to his less erudite fellow commentators that justice must be done, rules observed, whatever the lost political advantage.

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the vacancy it has produced on the Supreme Court have produced a now familiar word spray on the importance of norms and the scourge of hypocrisy in the nation’s politics. Yet hypocrisy is itself a political norm with a long pedigree. At least since Brutus plunged his knife into Julius Caesar for the alleged crime of exaggerated ambition, politicians have been asserting one set of rules for their opponents and living by another.

As I noted in yesterday's post, the "new" Democratic party has over the past four years and a few decades that preceded them established a new set of rules for SCOTUS appointees. Those rules essentially say that anything goes, that an opposition party can do whatever it takes, no matter how vicious, to gain an advantage on the court. The GOP is now following the new rules.

And the threats of retaliation? In an era of Trump Derangement and hard-left politics, the Dems have demonstrated that doing "whatever it takes" has become their new norm. Nancy Pelosi threatens to use "all the arrows in her quiver." She better be very certain that none of those arrows is transformed into a boomerang.

UPDATE:

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) recalled the reprehensible treatment of Brett Kavanaugh by the Democrats in the last SCOTUS confirmation hearing and then tweeted:

Being lectured by Democrats about how to handle judicial nominations is like an arsonist advising the Fire Department.

It's worth noting that Lindsey Graham was among the GOP senators who often tried to be collegial and work with the Dems. In interviews over the weekend, he admitted that the Kavanaugh debacle radicalized his thinking on SCOTUS nominations. He now has no reservations about a vote on the new nominee before the election.

Boomerang!


Monday, September 21, 2020

RBG and the New Rules

Ruth Bader Ginsberg (a.k.a. RBG) served the nation well as a Supreme Court justice for more than a generation. To do so, she overcame many gender-based obstacles as she rose to the SCOTUS. Her rulings were always well-reasoned, even if one disagreed with them on ideological grounds. Donald Trump's comments on RGB celebrate her legacy well:

“... our nation mourns the loss of a legal giant, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” Her landmark rulings, fierce commitment to justice, and her courageous battle against cancer inspire all Americans. … She was an inspiration to a tremendous number of people, I say all Americans.

“Justice Ginsburg’s close relationship with a friend of ours, a friend of mine, Justice Scalia, is also a powerful reminder that we can disagree on fundamental issues while treating each other with decency, dignity, and respect. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”

When RBG was nominated to the Court, the politics of our nation were entirely different. The "old" Democratic party, slightly left-of-center, represented no threat to our rights and freedoms. The media, although it leaned left, was a moderating force, calling out excesses whenever either political party got carried away. The deep state did not evidence the partisan slant that we see today. Academia, although always left-leaning, wasn't a hot house for hard-left ideas and at the same time, a repressive entity that literally silenced dissenting voices. Entertainment and the arts were not ruled by political correctness, nor did they self-edit their stories out of fear of cancel culture.

Today, all of that has changed. The "new" Democratic party is hard-left in its view of both domestic and foreign politics. The media has become their Praetorian guard. The deep state  aggressively works to defeat any person or party that even suggests policies that conflict with their aims. Academia is now as much a propaganda tool as it is a learning/research institution. And entertainment (all of the arts and sports) care only about presenting a product that fits the prevailing leftist "woke" narrative.

There was a time when I strongly believed that SCOTUS should be balanced ideologically ... that it should reflect a diversity of opinions and ideologies, and that justices would rule on the law and the constitution. I still believe that. 

But my faith in "balance" has been shaken by the imbalance that we see in the media, the deep state, academia, and arts and entertainment. Those entities consistently deliver an imbalanced left-wing message. And because those entities have enormous influence on public perception, a rogue political party can now suggest policies and pass laws that are antithetical to the collective freedoms (e.g., freedom of speech) that we have enjoyed for hundreds of years. SCOTUS can act to correct that imbalance.

The replacement battle for RBG's seat on the court will be brutal. The new Democratic party—afraid that the SCOTUS can act as a check on their power—has already suggested that the president's clear right to nominate a justice (as Obama did in his final year as president) is somehow wrong. They now want to stand on "principle."  

Yet the new Democratic party forfeited any right to argue about principled stands after their vicious and mendacious treatment of a series of SCOTUS nominees over the past three decades—Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and then, Brett Kavanaugh, in the middle of Donald Trump's first term. They and they alone decided that SCOTUS nominations would be played using new rules—created by the Dems and intended to guarantee a court that they wanted.* The new rules indicated that anything goes—that opposition included extreme parliamentary maneuvers, unsubstantiated claims of judicial bias, and the politics of personal destruction. The Democrats had over those years adopted their new mantra—by any means necessary.

It looks like the GOP is about to use those same new rules, hopefully without the viciousness and mendacity, but the new rules nonetheless.  Funny that all of sudden the Dems don't like the new rules one bit.

FOOTNOTE:

*  For those progressives who argue that the GOP has done exactly the same thing—uhhh ... no. The editors of WSJ provide a little history:

No Democratic nominee has been borked, to use the name that became a verb. Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whose left-wing legal views were obvious upon her nomination, received a respectful GOP hearing and was confirmed 68-31 with nine GOP votes. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed 96-3, Stephen Breyer 87-9, and Elena Kagan 63-37.

In each of the cases noted, the GOP acted like adults, expressing concern over ideological differences, but never trying to destroy the nominee (a la Bork, Thomas or Kavanaugh). In fact, more than just a couple of GOP senators voted for the Dem president's nominee in every case. Can the same be said for Dems?

UPDATE-1:

Miranda Devine provides a few examples of how leaders of the new Democratic party handled the new rules when they are applied to them:

“Let this moment radicalize you,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a social-media video, claiming democracy and the climate were at stake. “I need you to be ready . . . We can and must fight.”

Barack Obama hubristically declared that RBG had left “instructions” on her deathbed that Donald Trump not fill her Supreme Court slot.

Hillary Clinton urged a “fierce” response if he tried.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday refused to rule out impeachment to stop Trump getting his third Supreme Court justice.

“We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now,” she told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos when he suggested impeachment.

If anything, Biden was even more hyperbolic Sunday.

He drove 40 minutes from his basement to a hall in Philadelphia to read a rabble-rousing speech off a teleprompter.

Like Obama, he demanded the Senate heed RBG’s purported death-bed wish and warned of “action and reaction. Anger and more anger.

“That’s the cycle that Republican Senators will continue to perpetuate if they go down this dangerous path . . . a constitutional crisis that plunges us deeper into the abyss . . . irreversible damage."

Dem's fury over next SCOTUS pick mainly betrays tremendous historical ignorance.

POTUS has the constitutional obligation to choose new justices, and if he has a majority in the Senate, his nominees can be confirmed. And please, spare me comparisons to Merrick Garland. Barack Obama did not have a majority in the Senate, so his nominee was rejected, not through the politics of personal destruction as the Dems have done, but simply by ignoring the nomination.

That's political hardball when its played within months of an election, but the "new rules" indicate that hardball is the way the game is now played.

UPDATE-2:

All national politics is hypocrisy, and we see it in spades as the Ginsburg replacement battle looms. In this case, both sides (the GOP and the Dems) are being hypocritical, but it's really all about political advantage, masked in solemn words about the "constitution" or "precedent" or RBG's "dying wish."

Charles Lipson comments:

All of them [GOP and Democrats] are hypocrites. They have flipped their positions, and their justifications (then and now) are nothing more than cloaks for political advantage. They don’t care about consistency or even logic. They are fighting to win control of the Supreme Court and defeat the other side in November. They will say whatever helps their cause and hope voters forget whatever they said last time.

Roger Simon seconds that opinion with this:

But before I go further, lest I be thought of as a partisan hack, neither side comes off here in anything close to shining armor. For all the hoity-toity talk, Supreme Court nominations and confirmations are fraught with hypocrisy, everyone claiming a high ground that doesn’t exist.

Precedents come and go and are revised again. Leaders say the opposite of what they said a year or two ago.

Meanwhile, The Constitution says nothing about timing—only that presidents nominate the justices and the Senate confirms. Even lame duck presidents have nominated justices on several occasions. It all comes down to power. If you have it, in this game you take it. 

This will not end well.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

"I'm Not Making this Up"

Poor Joe Biden. His factual recall is weak to non-existent, his thinking is muddled, and his presence is ... well ... "impressive" only if you fervently believe that face masks are a required preventive measure when you go to the beach. 

There is growing evidence that even in friendly Q&A sessions (to call them "press conferences" is laughable), Biden must have a teleprompter or cue cards that guide his responses to every question (might be worth knowing if his handlers are given the questions in advance, but the media is disinterested).

This past Thursday, in an "interview" with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Biden made the following comment responding to yet another 'let's-hate-on-Trump' softball question*:

"If the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all people would still be alive. All the people– I'm not making this up. Just look at the data. Look at the data."

So Biden is suggesting that all 195,000+ people who have died with or from COVID-19 would be alive if Trump "had done his job"? If we had an honest media, this ridiculous statement would make Biden a laughingstock. Where are the touted "fact-checkers" that always seem to appear when Trump says anything even remotely controversial? 

So let's deconstruct Biden's idiocy. What EXACTLY could Trump have done to do "his job" and keep "all the people" alive? What magic could he have performed? Maybe he should have followed Biden's advice, not been a "xenophobe," and kept the flights from China coming by welcomed COVID-19 cases into the USA. Nah, I don't think that would have worked. Maybe Trump should have followed the advice (often wrong, but that's a whole different matter) of the nation's public health gurus. Wait ... that's exactly what Trump did. Maybe Trump should have bolstered the capacity of hospitals in big cities or put the nation on wartime footing and produced copious PPE. Heh ... he did that as well. Maybe Trump should  have resisted a lockdown (worth consideration), but I can guarantee that the Democrats would have called him a murderer had he done that against the recommendations of their oracle, Anthony Fauci, MD. Maybe Trump should have tested every person, every day ... no wait, every hour of every day ... but that's logistically impossible, and people still would have died regardless. 

Joe says, "I'm not making it up" (with lots of emotion). He tells us to "look at the data." What data exactly? What scientific studies tell us that a force of nature—a viral pandemic—can be stopped so that "all the people would still be alive" by the actions of a president? What public health organization (e.g., the WHO or the CDC) would back Biden up on his outrageous claim?

Of course, the same people who wear masks at the beach believe Joe and do think that "all the people would still be alive" because Biden tells us he's "not making it up." After all, he has such empathy.

Those of us who are more grounded in reality might argue that Joe is a cognitively disabled old fool who is rambling on about stuff he's no longer able to understand. You might argue that Biden was simply parroting what his handlers wrote for him. But what does that say about his ability to understand the concept of viral transmission and self-edit statements that are patently false? Or is it that Biden and his Democrat handlers believe that any level of dishonesty, no matter how outrageous, is justified during his grasp at power?

UPDATE:

In an orgasm of adoration spawned by Biden's session with Anderson Cooper, someone named Jess McIntosh wrote on op-ed on the CNN site that began:

For a couple of hours Thursday night, America was treated with honesty and compassion by a man who wants to hold its highest office. That could be the entire review right there, how jarring and unusual it was to visualize a president who could clear the extremely low bar of telling the truth and caring about pain. We've had presidents like that before, of course, but after a particularly brutal news week it was starting to feel like that kind of leadership belongs to a different era.

Joe Biden is at his best in this format, easily connecting with audience questioners and frankly answering moderator Anderson Cooper's follow-ups during the CNN town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Biden was prepared and he was angry. It was a tautly restrained outrage as he described the failings of President Donald Trump, and he seemed to hold back tears multiple times as he fielded questions from Americans experiencing overwhelming fear and loss amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

I'll betcha that Jess McIntosh religiously wears her face mask at the beach.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Futile Gestures

There's an old saying in engineering:  Before you can solve a problem, you must understand it. As we watch the nation's top corporations, universities and media attempt to eradicate "systemic racism," we see a classic example of refusing to fully understand and state a problem followed by a panicked attempt to develop "solutions" anyway. The consequence is a massive effort to come up with futile gestures that somehow demonstrate the "wokeness" of those institutions. 

Heather McDonald comments:

The lethal arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May triggered widespread riots and a torrent of contempt for America from virtually every institution in the country. Businesses large and small, the education establishment, and the press rushed to condemn the country’s purportedly endemic racism, implicitly accusing the majority of Americans of destroying “black lives.” Banks and law firms pledged that hiring and promotions would now be even more race-conscious than before. Hundreds of millions of dollars poured forth from corporate coffers into activist groups; the corporate benefactors hoped to dismantle America’s white supremacy, they announced ...

Fealty to “diversity” and denunciations of white privilege have been a unifying theme in academia for decades, of course. What’s different this time is the sheer venom of the denunciations. College presidents and deans competed for the most sweeping indictment of the American polity, rooted in the claim that blacks are everywhere and at all times under threat.

Concern about racial inequity is certainly justified, but the attempted "solutions"  will not be effective because political correctness—now bolstered by a "cancel culture"—will dissuade serious people from even discussing the underlying characteristics of the problem. And then, there's the politics of race, allowing some racial groups to be used as political weapons.

The argument that our nation is "systemically racist" is one that encourages certain racial groups to view themselves as victims. It also encourages at least some white people to view themselves as "privileged" at best and more commonly as "oppressors." It's the language of critical race theory, a dishonest trope that resonates on the Left.

McDonald is fearless when she asks the verboten questions that are absolutely necessary to answer if we are to develop meaningful solutions to the racial problems we face as a society:

What if the racism explanation for ongoing disparities is wrong, however? What if racial economic and incarceration gaps cannot close without addressing personal responsibility and family culture—without a sea change in the attitudes that many inner-city black children bring with them to school regarding studying, paying attention in class, and respecting teachers, for example? What if the breakdown of the family is producing children with too little capacity to control their impulses and defer gratification? 

It is much easier not to ask these questions, because if they are asked, the actual solutions that would be implied are daunting. Among the Left, it's far more palatable to virtue signal (with layers of "diversity training" and heartfelt TV commercials that say all the right stuff) and create "solutions" that are nothing more than futile gestures to solve a problem that is very complex.

ADDENDUM:

In an in-depth look at the origins of the 1960s riots that roiled America and today's rioting across many U.S. cities,  Katherine Gorka (read the whole thing) provides significant evidence that the perpetrators of rioting in both eras were organized leftist organizations. In both cases, these organizations took advantage of racial incidents (usually involving the police) to foment unrest and then violence. In both cases, the leftists were primarily white, college-educated radicals who used racism as a catalyst for their dream of revolution. 

In the 1960s, the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) along with their militant arm, The Weather Underground, and the Black Panthers and related groups were hard-left. They were trained to transform protests into riots, had written manuals that guided their adherents, and cared little that their rioting hurt, not helped, the black community. 

Today, groups like antifa and BLM are hard left and committed to revolution using a marxist ideology. Some of their senior leaders have connections back to the 60s groups. They are professional agitators and would-be revolutionaries. They, like their brethren of 60 years ago, care little for the black community, except to use it as an excuse for revolution.

Gorka writes:

Not only are there strong parallels between the riots of 2020 and the riots of the 1960s, but there is a direct link between the organizers. As Gonzalez points out, one of the three BLM founders, Patrice Cullors, spent a decade working as a radical organizer in the Labor/Community Strategy Center, which was established and run by Eric Mann, a former member of the Weather Underground.

They bombed the State Department, the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, the California attorney general’s office, and a New York City police station.

The Weather Underground was formed in 1969 as a militant wing of the Students for a Democratic Society. They sought “the destruction of U.S. imperialism and [to] form a classless communist world.” In seeking those ends, they bombed the State Department, the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, the California attorney general’s office, and a New York City police station.

Andrew McCarthy recently documented ties between the BLM Global Network and the Weather Underground. Kyle Shideler has also exposed the ideological roots of BLM’s obsession with white privilege, which can be traced directly to the terrorists of the Weather Underground.

As the United States now finally embarks on a serious effort to uncover whether, as Rand Paul charges, the current rioting is planned and organized, they would do well to rediscover the ground-breaking work of [Eugene] Methvin. He exposed the very real injustices faced by black Americans, but he also exposed the way those injustices were exploited by those who had been seduced by the lies of Marxist utopia.

Through painstaking research, Methven was able to uncover exactly how those radical organizers turned despair and frustration into violence. We can also now see, with the benefit of hindsight, that the social demolition of the revolutionaries only hurt those it aspired to help.

But for the leftists, that's just collateral damage in their effort to foment a revolution that will lead to their fantasy of a socialist utopia. In the 1960s, Democrats rightly condemned the actions of the hard-left almost without reservation. Today, the new Democrats, their presidential candidate and their trained hamsters in the media do everything possible to avoid naming the revolutionaries, describing their actual intent, and uncovering the source of their funding.*

In a very real way, the new Democrats are the silent allies of this generation's version of The Weather Underground and the Black Panthers. 

Voters will decide whether their alliance is good or bad for the country.

FOOTNOTE:

*  It appears that internal polling conducted by the Dems has indicated that they are on the wrong side of this issue. Dem leaders are now "condemning" rioting in strong terms, but still refuse to say "antifa" or "BLM" and insist that the riots are equality distributed among adherents to the Left and the Right—an outright lie. Unfortunately for them, they're about 4 months too late. 


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Toward Peace

Israel and the majority of Arab States in the Middle East (ME) have been in a perpetual state of conflict for over 70 years. Throughout that time, the Arabs have refused to recognize Israel's right to exist and have encouraged leftist boycotts of the region's only liberal democracy. It's a big deal when even one Arab state agrees to a cessation of hostility, and the media rightly praised Jimmy Carter (in the 1970s) and Bill Clinton (in the 1990s) when that happened with Egypt and Jordan. 

After a quarter century of failure by both Dem and GOP administrations, it would seem that when another president gets two Arab nations to agree on peace with Israel, it would be an equally big deal. The peace agreement between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, brokered by Donald Trump and his foreign policy Team of 10s, is a big deal. Unless of course, you're the mainstream media that is consumed with Trump Derangement Syndrome. 

Because the media is generally dishonest, biased, and unprofessional, they have decided to go dark on any news associated with this historic deal. Outlets like the NYT or WaPo grudgingly give it a mention, snarking that Trump stumbled into it. CNN emphasized Nancy Pelosi's idiotic statement that a peace deal in the Middle East is a "distraction." After the signing ceremony, the CNN talking heads beclowned themselves by combining TDS idiocy with catastrophist hysteria, commenting that they were concerned about the ceremony because the principals and attendees weren't wearing masks or socially distanced. Ya gotta laugh.

And then there's the deep state, whom Trump has made to look like fools for their arrogant claim that he wouldn't accomplish anything of substance in the ME.

A prime example of a deep state marionette is John Kerry, Barack Obama's Secretary of State and facilitator of Obama's capitulation to Iran. Kerry, a card carrying member of Obama's foreign policy Team of 2s, suggested that the ME would "explode" if Donald Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post reported at the time:

WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas offered similar warnings to the incoming Trump administration over the weekend: Moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would ignite a violent uprising that no one would be able to control.

In an interview with CBS, Kerry – preparing to leave the State Department after engaging in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict intensely for four years – said the violent movement would extend beyond the West Bank.

“You’d have an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region,” Kerry warned.

“The Arab world has enormous interest in the Haram al-Sharif, as it is called, the Temple Mount, the Dome [of the Rock], and it is a holy site for the Arab world.”

Aides to President-elect Donald Trump say he is interested in moving quickly to relocate America’s embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s seat of government and its declared “eternal and undivided” capital. The Palestinians insist that east Jerusalem, or al-Quds, would have to be the capital of a sovereign state of Palestine under any two-state solution to the decades-old conflict.

Trump did exactly what he promised and moved the embassy. Three years later, we did have an "explosion"—of peace!

John Kerry has two characteristics that are exemplified by 2s who rise to national prominence—they are predictably pompous and undeniably stupid. They are also consistently wrong about things that matter.

You'd think that an honest media would revisit all of this in light of Trump's recent accomplishments and admit that their elite deep state friends, along with virtually every Democrat, were wrong about the president's efforts in the ME. Think again.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Threat

In a way, it appears that the new, leftist Democratic party is like a person who is drowning. They will grasp at any straw to explain away the simple fact that their ideas do not resonate with the "Normals" who occupy those states that are not blue. The United States constitution requires that every state has a say in our national governance. The genius of this approach is to eliminate the tyranny of the majority where a few populous blue states can dictate national policy to the rest of us. Hence the need, albeit often frustrating, for the filibuster rule in the Senate (a rule, BTW, that is used often by the current Dem minority) or the electoral college which gives every state an equal say in the election. Because the Dems prefer power over our constitution, they are currently advocating the abolishment of both the filibuster (but only if they take the Senate) and the electoral college.

In a number of recent articles in left-leaning media, there is an implied threat associated with this November's election. Here's an example from the left-leaning The Atlantic:

This is the era of expecting the worst while hoping for the merely tolerable. Some might say that the worst is already happening—economic disaster and 190,000 dead from a pandemic—while the president and his surrogates insist, in a feat of self-delusion, that the “best is yet to come.” As someone who has argued against catastrophism—I don’t believe Donald Trump is a fascist or a dictator in the making, and I don’t believe America is a failed state—I find myself truly worried about only one scenario: that Trump will win reelection and Democrats and others on the left will be unwilling, even unable, to accept the result.

A loss by Joe Biden under these circumstances is the worst case not because Trump will destroy America (he can’t), but because it is the outcome most likely to undermine faith in democracy, resulting in more of the social unrest and street battles that cities including Portland, Oregon, and Seattle have seen in recent months. For this reason, strictly law-and-order Republicans who have responded in dismay to scenes of rioting and looting have an interest in Biden winning—even if they could never bring themselves to vote for him.

So ... a win by Donald Trump will "undermine faith in democracy." And as a consequence leftist violence will escalate, and therefore, you better hope Biden wins. Talk about extortion ... vote Dem, or antifa and BLM (quietly cheered on by the Dem elites) will burn your cities and suburbs, threaten your lives, and continue with their "no justice, no peace" leftist 'revolution.'

Imagine for just a moment if a respected conservative media outlet, say The Federalist, published an article that implicitly threatened that the KKK would burn down blue enclaves, say San Francisco, CA or Newton, MA, if Trump loses. The mainstream media would become hysterical and demand that every GOP politician disavow that threat and condemn the KKK outright. Why isn't the media doing the same for the dozens of articles that are similar in substance and tone to The Atlantic's piece quoted here? Why aren't they demanding that Dem politicians condemn antifa and BLM by name? You know the reason ... and so do I.

UPDATE - 1:

Because of the huge population of two blue states—NY and CA—the Dems mantra is that only the popular vote matters. Forget the constitution. Anything that advantages the Dems is good, and our existing constitutional approach is bad.

I think it's worth mentioning that the difference between the overall popular vote for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016 (as if it matters ... It. Does. Not.) was about 2 percent. It's not as if an overwhelming majority of the American people preferred HRC ... They. Did. Not. But according to the Dems, our current constitution is now invalidated and the electoral college should be abolished. The vote of 30 states (a clear majority of 60% - 40%) who preferred Trump should be invalidated and replaced by a slim majority of people (51% - 49%) that preferred Clinton. 

Nathaniel Blake gets it exactly right when he writes:

The framers of our Constitution rightly feared mob rule, and the Electoral College was designed to preclude it in the selection of our presidents. That Democrats are threatening mob violence over the Electoral College shows that it is working as intended by that keeping power away from the mob and forcing candidates to appeal to voters of various regions and factions.

In truth, Democrats’ complaints are less about principled constitutional theory and more about political opportunism. They were quite pleased with the Electoral College back when they thought they had a “blue wall” that would favor them forever in states like Pennsylvania.

The following visual reminder gives you a feel for what happened:

And yet, the Dems disregard the rules and the law, and to this day, refuse to accept the result, threatening to do it all over again in 2020.

I honestly believe that at some level the new Democrats think they can frighten people into voting for a cognitively challenged candidate backed by a party that for four years has refused to accept the results of the last election. 

That isn't going to work. The American people will decide "that keeping power away from the mob" is a very good idea. Pushback is coming.

UPDATE - 2:

I've always believed that the majority of Democrats, even today, are intelligent, well-meaning people who want what is best for the country. The problem is that their "old" Democratic party has been transformed into the "new" Democratic party. A loud leftist minority runs the new Dem party. They are far more interested in power and "transformation" than they are in doing what is best for the United States.

Among the many political commentators who are shills for the new Democratic party is NYT columnist, Michelle Goldberg. Like many out-of-touch leftists, Goldberg seems unaware that defending anarchist and/or Marxist groups like antifa and BLM does NOT help Biden or the Dems win elections.

After ranting about the police killing of a violent antifa member who had previously killed a Trump supporter (in cold blood) during a riot, she writes:

Inasmuch as antifa is conflated with street-fighting, vandalizing anarchists, it does not garner much mainstream sympathy. This popular understanding of antifa isn’t quite correct; some people associated with the movement mainly focus on researching and exposing members of the far right. (I once met a middle-aged woman, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, who described herself as “antifa C.I.A.” for the volunteer work she did tracking right-wing extremists for an antifa-aligned organization called the One People’s Project.) Still, there’s obviously overlap between antifa and violent and destructive elements on the far left.

You can't make this stuff up. Goldberg tries to somehow justify or soften antifa by telling us that "the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors" is an active member.

Gosh ... as the son of a holocaust survivor I can only say ... WTF??? 

Is Goldberg too stupid not see the parallels between the tactics employed by antifa fanatics and the actions of brown shirts during Kristallnacht? Is she too ideological to understand that when antifa and BLM members terrorize innocent citizens, they are using the early tactics of the people who perpetrated the Holocaust? Is she too dense to recognize that someone who helps a violent group attain its goals (think: "antifa CIA") is culpable when those goals are achieved?

Nah ... people like Michelle Goldberg aren't good at recognizing irony. She'll keep up her idiocy, but you know what, her unhinged rants will do more to elect Donald Trump than any 10 of his campaign workers. Nice work, Michelle.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Fires

As we all observe the catastrophic forest fires that rampage through CA, it appears that the media and virtually every Democratic politician prefer the Climate Change narrative—if only we could stop climate change the fires would abate. And since draconian changes to our transportation, economy, and way of life are required to "stop climate change," we need to implement those changes RIGHT NOW!

There's one question that is never asked of the Dems who push that narrative. Stated simply ... How long would it take to implement these changes, and how long before these changes have an impact on climate, even if we do make them immediately. More importantly, what should we do to prevent catastrophic forest fires RIGHT NOW! 

It is not an overstatement to suggest that these fires are catastrophic—for the environment, for property, and for human lives. Air quality in the Western states is currently the worst in the world.


A response that results in improvements next year—not in 2030 or 2040—is required. And that response has nothing to do with climate change. Longer term ... maybe, but in the moment, over the next 1, 2 or 5 years, more pragmatic and targeted actions are required.

And that leads us to a topic that the Dems and their trained hamsters in the media try to avoid—forest management. For decades, environmentalists in CA have used 'lawfare' to block the management of state and federal forests. Short-term, effective methods for fire control—clearing undergrowth, performing controlled burns, conducting targeted logging in dense forests, cutting fire breaks, and the like. The hard-left CA state legislature has resisted spending money on forest management, and liberal state courts have sided time and again with environmental advocates that care more about protecting owls than reducing the massive amounts of pollutants that are released during catastrophic fires (see chart above).

A meaningful response to catastrophic forest fires is really a question of fantasy vs. reality. The Dems' fantasy is that somehow we can magically implement policies that will change climate and in so doing, eliminate forest fires. There is absolutely no evidence that climate change policies would eliminate drought or reduce temperature to the extent needed to eliminate catastrophic fires. And even if it could, it would take decades to see meaningful results.

The reality is that the only proven effective measure for controlling forest fires is well-planned, well-funded forest management. These measures could be implemented at the end of this fire season and would show meaningful results immediately.

Which approach do you think the Dems and their trained hamsters in the media are pushing?

Tic Tac Toe

In the clearest indication yet that his foreign policy would duplicate the disastrous approach used by Barack Obama's Team of 2s, Joe Biden writes an opinion piece (well, we all know Joe didn't write anything, but the CNN op-ed does come out under his name) in which he states:

By any objective measure, Trump's "maximum pressure" has been a boon to the regime in Iran and a bust for America's interests.

To call that assertion laughably mendacious is to be kind. It is a combination of gaslighting and idiocy, rolled into something that is supposed to convince readers that Joe has a handle on Iran and the Middle East (ME). This, from an ex-Vice President whose administration:

  • helped create two failed states (Syria and Libya) in the ME, 
  • was responsible for the rise of ISIS in the ME, 
  • did almost nothing to extract us from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 
  • provided the world's largest sponsor or terror, Iran, with billions in cash in exchange for empty promises, 
  • alienated Arab countries by making nicey-nice with Iran, 
  • blatantly lied about the cause of a terror attack in Benghazi, Libya that cost the life of four Americans including a U.S. Ambassador,
  • demonized and tried to weaken our only democratic ally in the ME—Israel, 
  • cozied up to terror organizations Hamas and Hezballah,
  • did nothing to foster peace throughout the region. 
... and that's the short list of failures in the region. 

Virtually every assertion in Biden's screed can be easily refuted, but it's foolish to waste the time. His supporters will nod their heads in agreement because they think Dems are the smartest kids in the room. The rest of us us will smile, tell Joe to take a deep breath, and return to the challenges of tic-tac-toe, the only game of strategy he might still be capable of stalemating.

Despite the media's purposeful blackout on administration accomplishments in the ME, Biden's handlers and the Dems are afraid that Donald Trump's historic peace deal between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, along with his destruction of ISIS, along with his unequivocal support of Israel, along with peace talks now ongoing in Afghanistan, along with his hardcore stance against the Mullahs will penetrate the public consciousness. 

Like almost everything that the Democrats have done over the past 12 years, it all words and no accomplishments. Progressives like it that way because words are easy and accomplishments are messy and hard.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Fantasy and Projection

Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media are good at a few things—among them fantasy thinking and projection. The prevailing Democrat fantasy is that Donald Trump will not accept the results of the 2020 election and will not leave office if he loses in November. In the fever swamps of progressive thinking, a "dictatorship" will take over the United States. Whether the Dems realize it or not, they are projecting their own dark thinking onto Trump.

Jonathan Tobin comments:

... there is a problem with [the Democrat's'] fulminations about the evil orange man installing the ­authoritarian regime liberals have been warning us about ever since he started running for president.

To wit: It’s all pure projection on their part.

For all of their frightening predictions of what Trump might do if he loses, the one thing we ­already know is that it is the Democrats who will, as Hillary Clinton advised Biden, never concede defeat. Though some of Trump’s trolling of the media and the left is interpreted as ­betraying his plans to overturn the results, Democrats have ­already shown us outright how they react to losing.

This time, Democrats won’t be relying on conspiracy theories or politicized investigations. Instead, they are counting on a strategy ­intended to scare Americans into voting for Biden — even if they have misgivings about handing over the government over to a confused figurehead and his radical supporters.

Democrats determined to treat November's election as illegitimate — unless they win.

That's not conjecture on Tobin's part. Top Democrats are actively involved in battlefield preparation, suggesting that a win by Trump could not possibly be legitimate and that it must be resisted. It doesn't matter whether it's the Russians, beleaguered mail carriers, or outer space aliens, Trump is "tampering" with the elections by suggesting that mail in ballots are rife with problems, including fraud.  So along with a non-stop flow of smears, hoaxes, fake news, and hysteria, not to mention obvious attempts to facilitate voter fraud, the Dems have all but stated that they will not concede.

But it gets worse. Behind all of their histrionics is an implied threat. Tobin explains:

After a summer of (ahem) “mostly peaceful” Black Lives Matter protests that unleashed violence and looting in American cities, most recently in Rochester, is there a shred of doubt in anyone’s mind that the same combination of elite liberals, criminal thugs and antifa Marxists would be deployed to burn and destroy the moment it appears that Trump might be winning?

Behind all that high-minded talk from pompous columnists about virtuous patriots stopping Trump from cheating is a brazen threat. They’re saying in effect: The same forces that have wrecked havoc in the name of a false charge that America is an irredeemably racist nation may well inflict even worse damage in order to ensure that Trump’s re-election is thwarted.

That’s the subtext of the talk from Biden supporters about democracy. Their ace in the hole isn’t an accurate count of the votes but the certainty that America’s cities will burn ­unless the electorate bows to their demands.

...  in what is likely to be a close election in a deeply ­divided country — immersed in a culture war about a largely false charge of racism — the real threat to the process isn’t a presidential spoilsport. It’s a Democratic Party that is fully prepared to unleash ruin on the nation if it loses again.

As I have stated many times in this space, the Dems, much to their discredit, have decided to grasp power by whatever means necessary. If that means the threat of civil unrest, so be it.

There's only one problem. Americans, outside blue enclaves where most of the recent mob violence has occurred, don't respond well the blatant threats. Pushback is coming.

UPDATE:

The Dems' trained hamsters in the main stream media become hyper-agitated when there are reports that "the Russians" are attempting to sway our elections using a variety of disinformation campaigns. It fits perfectly into the Russian collusion hoax, so it plays big in the ongoing narrative. But when China or Iran uses disinformation to sway the election in favor of Joe Biden—not so much.

Adam Credo reports:

Iran is behind an ongoing series of hack attacks and online disinformation campaigns meant to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election and boost Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

The Islamic Republic is betting on Biden's campaign, according to regional experts and U.S. officials tracking the country's efforts to sway the presidential contest. Tehran has engaged in cyber espionage operations targeting President Donald Trump's campaign since late 2019, cyber experts say. It also has joined adversarial regimes such as Russia and China in waging online disinformation campaigns on social media as part of a larger effort to polarize voters and sow discord across America.

Iran's efforts include amplifying anti-Trump voices in its state-controlled news outlets and creating false online personas to elevate similar material. Both Facebook and Twitter have moved in recent months to remove a litany of false accounts that they say were controlled mainly by Iran, Russia, and China. These countries have promoted disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic and critiques of Trump's response. The sophistication of these attacks has ranged from advanced stealth efforts to infiltrate the campaign and elected officials to more amateurish campaigns promoting propaganda via a slew of false social media accounts.

Joe Biden (well, Joe is clueless, but his handlers) should be proud that his buddies among the Mullahs are giving him a hand. After all, he and Barack Obama paid big-time (billions of dollars) for the help.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Accidentally

Joe Biden's handlers (sadly, Joe Biden is cognitively disabled and is incapable of coming to any complex decisions on his own) tell us that Biden continues to support Barack Obama's disastrous "Iran Deal" and would lift Trump-imposed sanctions on Iran so that the Dems can continue the fantasy that all Iran wants is peace. As the iran deal unfolded in 2015, I expressed my displeasure numerous times (e.g., here). Here's Victor Davis Hansen's take in 2018:

The deal, after all, was a monstrosity born out of desperation for an Obama signature legacy. Or was it a product of an ahistorical, naïve, and therapeutic view of human nature — assuming that even theocrats and thugs view generosity as outreach to be reciprocated in kind rather than as abject proof of weakness to be exploited to the fullest? Or worse still, the deal was the manifestation of an unhinged view of the Middle East. For Obama, a revolutionary Shiite and Persian Iran was justified in seeking parity in the Middle East and attempting to carve out a legitimate sphere of influence. The ascendance of such an Iranian crescent, at least in the view of the Obama administration, would “check” the influence of both democratic Israel and the so-called more moderate authoritarian Sunni regimes in the Gulf and Egypt and Jordan. To believe in such a yarn, Obama would have to have believed either in some sort of dramatic and looming Iranian revolution to overthrow the mullahs, or an absurd theocratic enlightenment, or that whatever Iran did would not be as pernicious as what its enemies in the Middle East were doing. No matter: For all practical purposes, the U.S. after 2015 was a de facto partner of the Iranian regime and quite astonishingly assumed that the American-hating, anti-Semitic regime “could be a very successful regional power.”

Fortunately, Obama's "monstrosity" inadvertently pushed the Arab states in Israel's direction, and Donald Trump used it to his advantage. The peace deal involving Israel, the UAE and Bahrain is an historic, geopolitical triumph for Donald Trump, although you'd never know it happened if you relied on the main stream media for information. 

Biden, whose muddled thinking is a daily occurrence, said the following (as related by Breitbart):

“I think Trump is going to accidentally do something positive here, in terms of this issue of … other Arab states” making peace and establishing normal relations with Israel, Biden told a fundraiser hosted by the far-left J Street organization, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

As Breitbart News noted Friday, Biden’s main argument was reportedly that Trump had “put Israel in danger,” despite the peace agreements, because he had withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, and the Iranian regime was enriching uranium.

Funny how Biden never thought that Barack Obama "“put Israel in danger” by providing Iran with billions is cold cash and trusting their murderous regime to be peaceful. Nah, if you listen to the Dems' trained media hamsters, Obama-Biden were "friends of Israel" and their withdrawal of support, their demonization of the small democracy, and their covert support of terrorist organization Hamas were just ... well ... exactly what were they?

The new hard-left democratic party is anti-Israel, and since Joe Biden is incapable of thinking for himself, his administration, driven by nameless, faceless leftist handlers, would become more anti-Israel that even Obama's. And that wouldn't happen "accidentally."


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Wiped Clean

Where Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) when you need him? Schiff, a congenital liar and man who suffers from Stage 4 Trump Derangement Syndrome, was the leader of a group of Democrats who insisted, INSISTED, that Donald Trump "obstructed justice" during the Mueller investigation of the Russian Collusion hoax. In fact, the Dems decided to use "obstruction" as the basis of their evidence-free impeachment (just as the government's focus should have been on a growing pandemic). As it is with most claims that come from the modern-day Democrats, their claims of obstruction were something else—projection.

When Robert Mueller staffed his investigative team, it was populated almost exclusively by lawyers who were Democrats, who contributed to HRC, and were otherwise left-leaning. But even they, much to the chagrin of the Dems, couldn't find a shred of evidence that connected Trump to Russian collusion. That leads to some interesting questions.

What were they doing for those two years, given that they knew Trump as innocent within a few months of the start of the investigation? Who were they talking to? Was there outside political influence on the Mueller team? What plans were they making to destroy Trump's presidency by other means?

We'll never know. Matt Margolis explains:

Several dozen phones belonging to members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia collusion investigation team were wiped out for various reasons before the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General was able to review the devices. Congressional Republicans are looking to find out if there was a “widespread intentional effort” to conceal information from the inspector general and suggested that the apparent coordinated effort could amount to “anticipatory obstruction of justice.”

“The calls come after newly released records from the Justice Department showed that at least several dozen phones belonging to members of Mueller’s team were wiped of information because of forgotten passcodes, irreparable screen damage, loss of the device, intentional deletion or other reasons,” reported Brooke Singman at Fox News. “All before the Justice Department inspector general’s office could review the devices.”

It's inconceivable that a dozen professionals all wiped their phones by mistake or due to damage. One person—maybe. Two—possible. But over a dozen? But then again, the Mueller lawyers had Hillary Clinton as a role model. She deleted over 30,000 emails from her private server before the start of an investigation, and suffered no consequences whatsoever. 

Imagine for just a moment that Adam Schiff learned that members of the Trump administration had wiped their phones prior to a IG review of their work. All hell would break loose. The Dems's trained hamsters in the media would produce "bombshell" story after bombshell story. But since it was the Dem lawyers on Mueller's team who did the wiping—crickets.

This is yet another example that reinforces the notion that whenever the Dems make wild and wholly unsubstantiated claims concerning Trump—it's projection.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Hitting a Nerve

In an age of women's empowerment, where bold, courageous women are lionized throughout our society, this woman's story would be the stuff of a feature film or an Emmy award-winning series on HBO. It's the story of a young, Muslim Somali girl, raised in poverty, who escaped when she was promised as a child to an older man, became one of thousands of immigrants who fled to Europe, got a university education, rose to a position of influence in the Dutch parliament, got death threats because she spoke truth to power, and was forced to flee to North America where she again became a voice of reason and intelligence.

You'd think Hollywood producers would be breaking down her door. You'd think she'd be a regular guest and/or commentator on NPR or any of the Alphabet networks.  You'd think women's groups would laud her in  the same way they elevate pampered lightweights like Greta Thornberg, Ayssa Milano, or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Nope. This bold, courageous woman of color with an uplifting story has the wrong politics—she isn't "woke" to the leftist narrative, so she's persona non grata. She's Ayann Hirsi Ali.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Hirsi Ali begins by discussing the dark world that Islamists want for us all. A world of absolutism, where free speech is stifled, and opposition is met by condemnation and violence. Where the prevailing 'religion' trumps common sense, economic clarity and individual freedom. Then she pivots:

It never occurred to me that free speech would come under threat in my newly adopted country. Even when I first encountered what has come to be known as “cancel culture”—in 2014 I was invited to receive an honorary degree at Brandeis University and then ungraciously disinvited—I didn’t fret too much. I was inclined to dismiss the alliance of campus leftists and Islamists as a lunatic fringe.

But the power of the illiberal elements in the American left has grown, not just on campus but in the media and many corporations. They have inculcated in a generation of students an ideology that has much more in common with the intolerant doctrines of a religious cult than with the secular political thought I studied at Holland’s Leiden University.

She goes on to discuss the manner in which Western intelligensia made the usual excuses for Islam's violent offspring in the years immediately after 9/11. Poverty, lack of education, lack of democracy—what Hirsi Ali called "materialist explanations." But in reality, the problems with Islam are structural or as the Left likes to say—"systemic."

But there's more to all of this. Hirsi Ali argues that the Left and Islamists are different in many ways but in a sense, kindred spirits:

Nineteen years on, we see a similar dynamic, only this time it is within our borders. Naive observers explain this summer’s protests in terms of African-Americans’ material disadvantages. These are real, as are the (worse) socio-economic problems of the Arab world. But they aren’t the main driver of the protests, which appear to be led mainly by well-off white people.

Their ideology goes by many names: cancel culture, social justice, critical race theory, intersectionality. For simplicity, I call it all Wokeism.

I am not about to equate Wokeism and Islamism. Islamism is a militant strain of an ancient faith. Its adherents have a coherent sense of what God wants them to achieve on earth to earn rewards in the afterlife. Wokeism is in many ways a Marxist creed; it offers no hereafter. Wokeism divides society into myriad identities, whereas Islamists’ segmentation is simpler: believers and unbelievers, men and women.

There are many other differences. But consider the resemblances. The adherents of each constantly pursue ideological purity, certain of their own rectitude. Neither Islamists nor the Woke will engage in debate; both prefer indoctrination of the submissive and damnation of those who resist.

The two ideologies have distinctive rituals: Islamists shout “Allahu Akbar” and “Death to America”; the Woke chant “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe.” Islamists pray to Mecca; the Woke take the knee. Both like burning the American flag.

Both believe that those who refuse conversion may be harassed, or worse. Both take offense at every opportunity and seek not just apologies but concessions. Islamism inveighs against “blasphemy”; Wokeism wants to outlaw “hate speech.” Islamists use the word “Islamophobia” to silence critics; the Woke do the same with “racism.”

Islamists despise Jews; the Woke say they just hate Israel, but the anti-Semitism is pervasive. The two share a fondness for iconoclasm: statues, beware.

Both ideologies aim to tear down the existing system and replace it with utopias that always turn out to be hellish anarchies: Islamic State in Raqqa, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle. Both are collectivist: Group identity trumps the individual. Both tolerate—and often glorify—violence carried out by zealots.

Hirsi Ali's words speak truth to the growing power of the Left whose adherents in entertainment, academia, the media, and the corporate world will react with outrage (their operative state) when presented with her analogy. Maybe they're outraged because Ayann Hirsi Ali has hit a nerve.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Modern Day Morons

In July, I posted a comment on socialist Bernie Sanders' on-going attack on Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, Space X, and other business entities that actually make things, employ tens of thousands, and otherwise provide a significant benefit for our country. Unlike Sanders, a do-nothing politician who has accomplished little of real substance in his political career, Musk is a "maker." Sanders on the other hand, is a "taker" who lives by a redistributionist credo that would make Karl Marx applaud.

Now, it looks like another leftist, this time Robert Reich, has decided to pile on. The following twitter exchange is classic:


Sanders and Reich promote an ideology that has destroyed economies and countries (think: Venezuela). They refuse to acknowledge the repeated historical failures of that ideology, and demonize those who prove that free markets work to benefit everyone, including the "workers" who they profess to care so, so much about. It's reasonable to call them "modern day morons."

Sturgis

You have to give Team Apocalypse credit for their dogged attempt to sew fear, uncertainty, and doubt throughout the populace. The Team is populated almost exclusively by progressives, Democrat politicians, select public health "experts," and of course, a dishonest and willfully ignorant media. 

Virus-related hospitalizations and deaths are dropping like a stone and the public is tiring of the Team's ridiculous emphasis on "cases"—you know, positive tests for COVID-19 that are: (1) notoriously inaccurate, (2) tend to over-test, indicating that a person has the virus when in fact, they have dead remnants of the virus, and (3) the majority of these "cases" have zero symptoms—the person wouldn't even know they had the virus. Oh yeah, the evidence that an asymptomatic person can pass on a virulent strain of COVID-19 is sketchy, at best. Finally, the team is worried about mass pushback on ridiculous mask mandates that require masks in the outside air—an idiotic requirement that has NO basis in science and has been pushed by none other than Joe Biden.

But Team Apocalypse slogs onward in their attempt to keep the country locked down, keep schools closed, and defeat Donald Trump as a bonus for all of the upheaval. No matter that lives and livelihoods have been ruined, businesses have been destroyed, and children have been traumatized.

I know, I know, I've said all of this many times during the past 5 months, but it bears repeating. The Team is relentless, and their idiocy and dishonesty continues even as they are repeatedly proven wrong by real scientific and public health data.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal provide yet another example, writing:

Holy Hell’s Angels. Last month’s motorcycle rally among the deplorables in Sturgis, South Dakota, contributed to 266,796 Covid-19 cases and $12.2 billion in public-health costs—or so claims a new study widely flogged by the media. Here is another example of how flawed statistical models can generate grossly exaggerated projections.

The annual 10-day rally with live performances, races and bike shows drew 460,000 Americans from around the country to the small town of Sturgis (population: 7,000). South Dakota is among the few states that never imposed a shelter-in-place order or face-mask mandate. It has also let restaurants and bars operate without restrictions.

Many in the media and various health sages warned that the motorcycle rally represented a “worst case scenario” for a “super-spreading” event. It would be surprising if the rally didn’t lead to at least some new Covid cases. But it’s impossible to know how many because there’s no data on how many attendees or their close contacts later tested positive.

Never fear, the modelers as always are here. San Diego State University’s Center for Health Economics & Policy Studies sought to quantify the rally’s Covid impact in South Dakota and nationwide by analyzing the (anonymous) cell-phone data of attendees. They then compared case trends in counties with high, moderate and low numbers of attendees.

They found that cases increased by 3.6 to 3.9 per 1,000 in South Dakota in the three weeks after the rally, translating to between 3,185 and 3,441 more cases statewide. To put this number in perspective, New York state has recorded as many cases in the last week even with its stringent public-health rules.

It's worth mentioning that public health modelers have been notoriously inaccurate throughout the COVID-19 debacle—off in their projections by orders of magnitude. It's also rather suspicious that these egregious prediction errors always seem to fall on the catastrophist side of the ledger—a statistical anomaly that suggests there's something else at play here.

Yet, the Team (and its media flunkies) promote their projections as if they were handed down on the mount—without scientific evaluation or a healthy dose of deserved cynicism.

The WSJ dissects the results of the "study:"

Where the study jumps off the rails is linking all of the relative increase in virus cases in counties with attendees compared to those without rally participants. The modelers multiplied the percent increase in cases for counties with attendees by their pre-rally cumulative cases to get a total of 263,708 additional cases—266,796 including South Dakota’s increase.

But many “high inflow” counties like Los Angeles, Maricopa (Arizona), Clark (Nevada) and El Paso were experiencing flare-ups before the rally. These counties may have shared other characteristics like higher population density that contributed to their increases. There could be other “endogenous” variables—for instance, counties with more people who attended the motorcycle rally may also have had populations less observant of social distancing.

The study’s authors nonetheless assign each of these 266,796 Covid cases a public-health cost of $46,000—ergo $12.2 billion—though the vast majority of all virus cases are [asymptomatic,] mild or moderate. Talk about a case study in statistical overreach—and double standards.

Of course, low information citizens only saw the original headlines, so the Team yet again accomplished its goal—keep fear high and the country locked down.

---------

P.S. Odd that there haven't been any public heath "studies" and published papers and resultant media coverage of the findings on the impact of 100-plus days of protests and riots involving thousands of people on the streets of major U.S. cities. Odd ... indeed.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Cardi B

Glitterati within the entertainment industry—actors, singers, musicians, sports stars, among others—have decided to inject themselves into political commentary. Of course they have every right to do just that, but it might be a good idea for each of them to: (1) try very hard to educate themselves on the issues they pontificate about, (2) understand the politics of the Democrats they invariably support, and (3) try really, really hard to make cogent arguments on the issues rather than using their immense media platform to hurl ad hominem attacks at those who disagree with their ideology.

There are two memes that are now found in social media. Both have relevance:

DEAR SINGERS AND ACTORS:

We spend our hard earned money to hear your music and watch you pretend to be real-life characters in movies and on TV.

Your job is to entertain us—to take us away from reality. Your personal opinion means nothing to us.

Your are significant and influential only in your own mind and in the opinion of your elitist peers.

Your are a marionette to us.

SING. ACT. SHUTUP.

Harsh? Yes. But there is truth to this rant.

Another meme is worth considering:

Something to ponder... The United States has become a place where entertainers and professional athletes have been mistaken for people of importance. 

  • I've needed a doctor. 
  • I've needed a teacher. 
  • I need farmers every day. 
  • I've needed an auto mechanic, a plumber, a house painter, and a lot of other everyday people. 
But I have never—not even once—needed a pro athlete or media personality or a Hollywood entertainer.
I bring these memes up because there has been a very visible war of words between the rapper, Cardi B (a strong supporter of Democrats and Joe Biden), and conservative  political commentator Candice Owens. In the language of social media, Cardi B got "dragged" by Owens for the rapper's mindless support of Biden and his party.

Cardi B, like all successful entertainers, is full of herself, believing that success in the music business automatically makes her an influencer in the political arena. The fact that she is ignorant of the issues, overly simplistic in her interpretation of what she thinks are facts, and unable to string together a coherent argument to support her position (much like Biden, but for different reasons) make her an easy target.

Owens took her apart in a devastating critique.

In the opinion of many who have followed this—"Cardi B got schooled."



Sunday, September 06, 2020

Questions for Joe

The Democrats have developed an effective (some might say, brilliant) strategy for a presidential candidate who is cognitively disabled and at the same has a long record of comments and votes that run counter to their own party's current hard-left positions on everything from police reform to crime to corruption to China to Israel. To put it simply—the Dems have decided to keep their candidate hidden and to limit his ability to respond extemporaneously to any question of substance. 

The strategy is brilliant because it is enabled by a media that is blatantly biased (in favor of the Dems) and therefore is happy NOT to ask hard questions, to probe the Dem candidate's positions, to explore how he would expand the size and intrusiveness of government, to provide free stuff to the Dems' favored constituencies, to solve the "systemic racism" problem they enunciate but never fully define, to respond more effectively to COVID-19, and otherwise conduct both domestic and foreign policy.

With three months of leftists participating in "mostly peaceful protests" (a.k.a. riots) and a complete lack of condemnation of those riots (until forced to do so last week), the media refuses to admit that Biden is dropping like a rock in many polls and continues to insist he'll win in November. 

But at some point, Biden's strategy will begin to become a liability. And that's when he'll be forced to answer questions extemporaneously—the only sure indicator of any politician's positions and philosophy. 

As an aside, it's pretty clear that Joe Biden is NOT writing the tweets that are attributed to him. At the same time, it's abundantly clear that Donald Trump is writing his own tweets. Both situations are in their own way problematic.

Given that, here are a few questions that might be posed to Biden, if we had a professional, ethical, truthful, unbiased media (we do not). It would be interesting to hear him answer them extemporaneously, without a teleprompter, an earpiece, or cue cards:
  • Will you pledge to raise federal income tax rates? If so, how much? 
  • Will you pledge to make college free for all Americans? How will you pay for this?
  • Will you forgive college debt? How will you handle responsible people who did the right thing and have already repaid their debt?
  • Will you pledge to dismantle private health insurance and let the government control all healthcare? Will you eliminate employer paid health insurance?
  • Are you in favor of the Green New Deal?
  • Do you believe in open borders? If not, how would you secure our borders?
  • Will your administration be pro-business. Give us a few examples of how you'll achieve that.
  • Are you against fracking? if so, how will that affect our country's newfound energy independence?
  • In a January, 2017 meeting in the oval office while you were still VP, did you suggest, as contemporaneous notes indicate, that Gen. Michael Flynn be indicted using the Logan Act. Was this before or after then FBI director James Comey said that Flynn's call with the Russian ambassador "appeared legit"?
    • Follow-up-1: You said you had little to do with any investigation of Flynn. Did you or did you not attend that meeting?
    • Follow-up-2: John Kerry met with Iran's leadership after he left the Obama administration. Do you believe he should be indicted under the Logan Act and if not, how is Kerry's face-to-face meeting different than Flynn's telephone call?
  • Would you call for indictments and imprisonment if you discovered that members of the Trump Administration had government agencies spy on your campaign? 
  • If after you won the election, you found out that senior members of the Trump administration lied to the courts and investigated your appointees for senior positions, would you call for indictments of the perpetrators?
  • Are you in favor of "reparations" for African Americans? If yes, please explain your answer along with an explanation of the logistics of accomplishing reparations.
  • Will you categorically condemn the actions of the the "mostly peaceful protesters" who became rioters and looted, committed arson and were sometimes violent?
    • Follow-up-1:  Are you in favor of removing historical statues of anyone who was somehow connected to slavery?
    • Follow-up-2: Do you believe that Antifa is an organized group that wants to foment revolution?
    • Follow-up-3: Do you believe that the Black Lives Matter Group is marxist in its philosophy. If not, how do you explain that its leadership has stated this?
  • You have repeatedly called Donald Trump a "racist" and hold him responsible for the racial animus related to police misconduct that exists today. Yet your party, the Democrats, has been in charge of most major cities and their police departments for decades. Please explain why it's unfair to hold Democrats even more responsible for the police departments they managed for many decades.
    • Are you in favor of defunding the police?
    • Do you believe that the police are targeting black people purposely and systematically?
    • Are police departments in major cities "systemically racist?" If not, please tell us which parts of the country are "systemically racist" and give us a few examples.
  • You stated that any African American who supported or voted for Donald Trump "ain't really black." Please explain what you meant by that statement in light of the fact that before COVID-19 more black people were employed and had higher wages than at any time in history. Is that not a reason that a black person might support Trump?
  • You have repeatedly alleged that Donald Trump has handled the COVID-19 crisis poorly. How would you have handled the COVID-19 response differently that Donald Trump? Would you have stopped travel to China earlier, and if so, why did many members of your party criticize Trump for the travel ban when he established it. What other things, specifically, would you have done that Trump didn't do?
  • Do you categorically reject and condemn the anti-Zionist and arguably anti-Semitic statements of Democrats like Linda Sarsour, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Talib, Keith Ellison, and many others?
  • Has Donald Trump adequately supported Israel during his term, and what would you do differently?
  • Will you unequivocally commit to keeping the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem?
  • Are you in favor, like Trump, of withdrawing all ground forces from Afghanistan. How would your approach differ from Trump's?
  • Do you continue to believe that Trump colluded with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016? If so, did Robert Mueller lie to the Congress and the American public when he reported that there was no evidence of collusion?
  • Do you trust Iran? If so, would you re-establish the "Iran Deal" established by Barack Obama? If not, why didn't you publicly question the Iran Deal when it was established while you were VP?
  • Why is it that an Obama State Department official overseeing Ukraine policy testified that he voiced concern to your office about your son's position at Burisma and was turned away by your staff? Were you informed by your staff of those concerns?
    • Follow-up: Please explain why as VP, you insisted that an investigation conducted by a Ukrainian prosecutor be stopped, threatening the withdrawal of aid if it went forward?
  • While you were Vice President, your son was given $1.5 billion for an investment he managed by the Chinese government. He profited handsomely from management fees. Did you in any way influence that transaction since he traveled with you to China just before the money was invested? If not, why is it, do you think, that the Chjnese entrusted $1.5 billion to someone who has little investment experience instead of a major finacial house like Goldman-Sacks? 
No problem, you say? At least some of these issues and questions will be addressed in the presidential debates. Ummm ... not so fast. 

The Dems and their trained hamsters in the media are doing battlefield prep in hopes of convincing the public that there's no need for presidential debates. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, titled, "It's Time to Rethink the Presidential Debates," the author, who for now at least accepts the notion of debates, is concerned about the format and number because COVID-19. 

Other flaks for the Dems have suggested doing away with them entirely. After all, there is no good outcome for Biden if he is forced to answer questions extemporaneously—none. The past few months indicate that he will make serious factual errors, will have trouble crafting coherent replies, and may possibly fabricate events or outcomes simply because he is cognitively challenged.

Press conferences? You gotta be kidding. Biden (well, actually his handlers) will avoid any uncontrolled contact with the media, claiming COVID-19, I suppose. And when they do happen, Beckett Adams characterizes them this way:
... calling it a “press briefing” may be too generous. It [the latest press briefing] was more like a meet-and-greet between a pop star and members of his or her official fan club.
Joe and his handlers love his hideout in the basement. In many ways, the Dems could be running a store mannequin and achieve the same result—except the mannequin would have fewer "gaffs."

Now that we're living in Wonderland, a place where coherent thinking is ... well, ... rare, it may be that some of us want a president who can't think straight, talk straight, or be straight with the American people. 

The Cheshire Cat smiles.