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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The IRS Scandal—Redux

It has been 1055 days since the first news of the weaponization of the Internal Revenue Service against political opponents of Barack Obama. The Obama White House, protected by Congressional Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media, stonewalled every attempt at investigation into the truth. No one went to jail, no one was fired, only a very few "resigned." The entire scandal was swept under the rug.

But law suits continue. James Taranto reports on recent events:
Will federal employees who support President Obama ever be held accountable for hijacking the Internal Revenue Service and using it to assist Obama’s re-election bid? Thanks to a ruling yesterday from the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of appeals, it’s possible the answer is yes.

The Washington Times’s Stephen Dinan sums up the finding: “A federal appeals court spanked the IRS Tuesday, saying it has taken laws designed to protect taxpayers from the government and turned them on their head, using them to try to protect the tax agency from the very tea party groups it targeted.”

The ruling, in a case styled U.S. v. NorCal Tea Party Patriots, was a response to an IRS petition for a writ of mandamus—a command to an inferior court, in this case the Cincinnati-based district court of Judge Susan Dlott—to shut off the plaintiffs’ discovery efforts.

Writing for the unanimous three-judge appellate panel, Judge Raymond Kethledge observes that mandamus is “an extraordinary remedy reserved to correct only the clearest abuses of power by a district court.” The appeals judges not only found no such abuse; they ordered the IRS to comply with Dlott’s orders. The ruling closes by strongly suggesting that the Justice Department lawyers representing the IRS have been acting in bad faith:
The lawyers in the Department of Justice have a long and storied tradition of defending the nation’s interests and enforcing its laws—all of them, not just selective ones—in a manner worthy of the Department’s name. The conduct of the IRS’s attorneys in the district court falls outside that tradition. We expect that the IRS will do better going forward. And we order that the IRS comply with the district court’s discovery orders of April 1 and June 16, 2015—without redactions, and without further delay.

The Colfax, Calif.-based NorCal Tea Party Patriots brought the lawsuit in 2013, after an inspector general’s report revealed the IRS’s improper targeting of groups opposed to Obama. (The case is being heard in Cincinnati because that is the location of the IRS office that did the work of suppression.)
For almost three years the Obama administration has hoped to run out the clock—to stonewall, use legal blocking maneuvers, and otherwise attempt to thwart investigation into a scandal that is far, far more serious than, say, Watergate. They have largely succeeded.

Democrats have suggested that this is all "political," and they're right. The IRS was used to crush political opponents of a Democratic president. It was all "political" in the worst possible way. Once this scandalous behavior was uncovered, lies, obstruction, obfuscation, and delays were used to thwart a legitimate investigation into serious abuse. Incredibly, a senior IRS official took the fifth rather than testifying and was allowed to resign at full pension!

Taranto writes:
In 1972 the IRS itself had more integrity than the White House. As we noted in 2014, then-Commissioner Johnnie Walters ignored an order from White House aide John Dean to target 200 of Nixon’s political enemies. “If I did what you asked, it’d make Watergate look like a Sunday school picnic,” Walters told Dean.

Under Obama, the IRS itself appears to have taken the initiative to target political opponents of the president—and not just powerful enemies, but ordinary Americans seeking to organize lawfully to further their views.
The use of a federal tax agency in this way is something that happens in a banana republic. The Dems should be as concerned as the GOP that a federal agency is being used for partisan politics. Because they are not concerned and because they have worked tirelessly to thwart an investigation, their party does not deserve the presidency in 2016.


As an aside, it turns out that the Obama Justice Department has prosecuted far fewer public officials than the two administrations that preceded his. Kathryn Watson reports:
President Barack Obama’s administration is prosecuting fewer federal officials for public corruption than his two predecessors, but Department of Justice (DOJ) officials aren’t talking about why.

Obama’s administration has pursued 16 percent fewer public corruption charges against federal employees than the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, according to a 2014 DOJ report to Congress on public integrity.

The Obama administration has filed an annual average of 390 such prosecutions, which represents a 16 percent decrease from the Bush and Clinton years.
I suppose one could make the argument that the Obama's government is more honest than its predecessors (hence, fewer prosecutions), but since the size of government has grown dramatically under Obama, that claim strains credulity. Just maybe, this administration simply doesn't care or worries about the "atmospherics" associated with indictments. They've certainly tried very, very hard not to indict anyone at the IRS who targeted innocent taxpayer organizations.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


When Islamic terror occurs, it has a corrosive affect. With the exception of people in the immediate vicinity of an attack, the populace doesn't panic, but feels a pervasive unease. As the frequency of attacks increases (as has happened over the past few years under the feckless leadership of the Obama administration), the public accepts increasing inconvenience and privacy violations foisted on them by a government that is flailing to look like it's doing something.

For example, we stand in long lines at airports that according to the government's own studies fail to find 90+ percent of contraband that might be smuggled on an aircraft. In the name of political correctness, profiling—the most effective form of human screening—is verboten. In its place time and resources are dedicated to body searches of 70-year old grandmothers and 4-year old children. Randomness (in the name of "fairness") is used in place of common sense and effectiveness.

When someone suggests that it might be a good idea to surveil Muslim communities in which there is a strong indication of radicalization, the PC-crowd, along with the trained hamsters in the media that support them, goes into a swoon. They tell us, without a shred of evidence to back up their contention, that such surveillance will further radicalize Muslims and make us less safe.

Let's consider that contention for just a moment and take it a face value. What the PC crowd is really telling us is that the "Muslim community" is so fragile, so close to going over the edge and becoming radicalized, that surveillance of those who might move toward violence or preach hatred would cause "peaceful and moderate Muslims" to become Jihadists. That, of course, is the soft-bigotry of progressive thinking—the PCers imply tht Muslims are just too fragile to recognize that something very bad is happened among their co-religionists, and that maybe, just maybe, surveillance is justified for the protection of their community and the country as a whole.

Those of us who reject the soft bigotry of PC thinking give peaceful and moderate Muslims far more credit, recognizing that if they are peaceful and moderate they will embrace all efforts to rid their religion of the those who spread the cancer of Islamist thought. After all, we embrace long TSA lines without rioting or becoming radicalized, and long TSA lines are overt surveillance, aren't they?


Jason Riley justiposes the escalating series of recent terror attacks with Barack Obama's insistence that his hands-off approach to terror and tedious lectures on the danger of Islamophobia are working. He writes:
Graeme Wood, a terrorism scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, has noted that Islamic State “rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.”

Read Jeffrey Goldberg’s profile of Mr. Obama in the current issue of the Atlantic magazine, and you might come away thinking that the president’s concern for his own legacy plays a not-so-small role in his antiterror thinking. “The message Obama telegraphed in speeches and interviews was clear,” writes Mr. Goldberg. “He would not end up like the second President Bush—a president who became tragically overextended in the Middle East, whose decisions filled the wards of Walter Reed with grievously wounded soldiers, who was helpless to stop the obliteration of his reputation, even when he recalibrated his policies in his second term.”

Mr. Bush prioritized national security, not improving his personal popularity or burnishing his image for posterity. Apparently Mr. Obama sees that as a flaw.
When this administration's approach to combating Islamic terror is considered, it's one flaw after another flaw—all the way down.


Donald Trump has been labeled a racist and a bigot for suggesting that open borders and those who cross them illegally might not be a net positive for America. But if we strip away political correctness, does Trump have a valid point? Victor Davis Hansen doesn't pull any punches when he dissects Europe's current dilemma and draws parallels to the unrelenting call for open borders among progressives in the United States:
In Europe, immigrants are political tools of the Left. The rapid influx of vast numbers of unassimilated, uneducated, poor, and often illegal newcomers may violate every rule of successful immigration policy. Yet the onrush does serve the purposes of the statist, who demagogues for an instantaneous equality of result. Bloc voters, constituents of bigger government, needy recipients of state largesse, and perennial whiners about inequality are all fodder for European multicultural leftists, who always seek arguments for more of themselves.

So unassimilated poor immigrants from the former Third World become easy proof that inequality and unfairness are still here and must be addressed with someone else’s money — as if France has failed because it did not make an immigrant born in Algeria a good French socialist restaurant owner in 20 years.

The same phenomenon is with us in the United States. Without open borders, the Democrats would have had to explain to Americans how and why more taxes, larger government, more subsidies, less personal freedom, racial separatism, ethnic chauvinism, and a smaller military make them more prosperous and secure. Yet importing the poor and the uneducated expands the Democratic constituency. The Democrats logically fear measured, meritocratic, and racially and religiously blind legal immigration of those who want to come to America to seek freedom from statism. If a poor Oaxacan, who crossed into the U.S. three years ago — without education, legality, or knowledge of English — does not have a good car, adequate living space, and federalized health care, then the Koch brothers, Wall Street, Fox News, or the Chamber of Commerce — fill in the blank — is to blame, and legions of progressives are available to be hired out to redress such social injustice.
Europe has run out of options because it waited too long. Those of us who have watched this slow motion train wreck occur over the past decade have warned that European culture will slowly disappear. That's already beginning to happen, and its a clear warning to the United States.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would have us believe that targeted assassinations of ISIS and al Qaeda leaders are an effective approach to limiting the growth and influence of these Islamic terrorist organizations. (Bernie Sanders seems to be uncomfortable discussing Islamic terrorism and offers no meaningful policy prescriptions on the subject at all.) It is true that killing Islamist leaders is something that we should be doing, but it's a tactical activity, not a strategy. Niall Fergusson comments:
The president is so proud of his achievement in authorizing the assassination of Osama bin Laden that he thinks he can decapitate ISIS by the same means. But the point about a network is that you cannot easily decapitate it. It is not a hierarchical structure, with an all-powerful leader at the top.

Media depictions of the terrorist network responsible for the Brussels attack typically show around six people. But this, too, misrepresents the problem, because these people were part of a much larger network.

The fact of the matter if that most of people who use the term “network” have no idea what it really means. So let’s begin with the six degrees of separation. You don’t know Khalid el-Bakraoui, one of the Brussels bombers. But you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows him. That is because of the remarkable way that we as a species are socially connected. Each of us is no more than six degrees of separation away from everyone else on the planet. The sociologist Stanley Milgram called this “the small-world problem.”

In some ways, of course, it is not a problem at all. Our ability to connect over long distances is the reason that good ideas spread. The trouble is that networks are just as good at spreading bad ideas as good ones ...

Think of ISIS as the Facebook of Islamic extremism. When it started out in 2004, Facebook was just a bunch of nerdy Harvard undergraduates. Today it has more than 1.5 billion users. When ISIS started out in 2006, it was just a bunch of Iraqi jihadists. Today, according to data from the Pew Research Center, ISIS has a minimum of 63 million supporters — and that is based on opinion polls in just 11 countries.

Only a very small minority of members of the ISIS network need to carry out acts of violence to kill a very large number of people indeed. Naively, the US government talks about “countering violent extremism.” But what makes the network so deadly is precisely the non-violent extremism of the majority of its members. Some preach jihad: they are the hubs around which clusters of support form. Some tweet jihad, with each tweet acting as a link to multiple others nodes. Non-violently, the network grows.
And therein lies the danger of the PC attitude evidenced by almost all Washington elites and most progressives. They suggest the most Muslims are "peace-loving and moderate." They may be right, but the network of Islamist supporters is very, very large (I believe that 63 million is a gross underestimate), meaning that the potential support network for Islamic terrorists is also very, very large. Some network nodes conduct violence that murders innocents, but others are non-violent, offering support, protection, and recruiting that are in their own way equally dangerous.

When Obama or Clinton or Sanders suggests that we allow Syrian refugees to enter the United States without adequate vetting, they are, in fact, aiding in the growth of the Islamist network here in the US. It is an absolute certainly some percentage of the Muslim refugees from Syria will have Islamist sympathies. It is also an absolute certainty that a smaller percentage will be ISIS or al Qaeda plants, entering our country to establish covert terror cells and to convert those within the Muslim network who do have Islamist sympathies to more violent activities.

Ferguson notes that General Stanley McChrystal—an outstanding, no nonsense military leader who was forced to resign by Barack Obama—established an important strategy for combating Muslim terror groups: “It takes a network to defeat a network.”

The network McCrystal envisioned was military. But in my view, an effective anti-terror network would have military, intelligence service, local and national law enforcement, media, and citizen-based nodes—all interconnected with effective communication mechanisms. It would fight and infiltrate not only Islamic terror groups, but also the broader "network" of 63 million sympathizers. It would profile without apology. It would accept the need to eliminate violent terrorists without reservation. It would actively encourage moderate Muslims to become nodes of the network and use them to ferret out sympathizer nodes.

None of this will be easy, and none of it will happen quickly. But if our leaders insist on using an antiquated model of warfare, governed by politically correct policy, we will be guaranteed of only one thing—losing the war.

Monday, March 28, 2016


Many of us have encountered this definition of chutzpa (the yiddish word that suggests outrageous, shameless, and impudent behavior): A young man murders his parents. He is caught and goes to trial. After he is convicted, he asks to address the court, begging for leniency because he is an orphan.

On the world stage today, radical Muslims, whether they belong to ISIS or al Qaeda or Hamas play the role of the young man who murdered his parents. In essence, they and the politically correct cadres that refuse to even name them allow radical Islam to continually play the victim card.

Islamists and their PC protectors argue that it is western "aggression" or "oppression" that have turned otherwise peace-loving Muslims into murderous barbarians. That they are simply fighting back when they place explosives in restaurants or airports, killing hundreds of innocents. They argue that Western bombs kill "innocents" (who have been placed in harm's way by the very actions of Islamic terrorists). So their actions are morally equivalent.

The level of chutzpa in this claim is breathtaking, but it is a staple among those who refuse to see a connection between Islam and the terror perpetrated in its name. Here's a typical example from an op-ed by Arun Kundnani published in The Washington Post:
The incoherence of our response to the Islamic State stems from our Islamophobia. Because we believe religious extremism is the underlying problem, we prop up Arab dictatorships that we think can help us contain this danger. Paradoxically, we support the very regimes that have enabled the Islamic State’s rise, such as the Saudis, the most reactionary influence in the region.

With our airstrikes, we continue the cycle of violence and reinforce the militants’ narrative of a war by the West against Islam. Then, to top it all off, we turn away the refugees, whom we should be empowering to help transform the region. If we want to avoid another 14 years of failure, we need to try something else — and first, we need to radically rethink what we’ve been doing.
Ahhh ... a well-worn Leftist phrase appears—the "cycle of violence." If only we would stop defending ourselves when barbarous acts are committed, if only we let Islamic terrorists act with impunity, if only we paid no attention to murderous bombings in public places or the launch of rockets across borders (think: Israel), if only we didn't look at places like Molenbeek, Belgium with suspicion, if only we didn't question the misogynistic, anti-gay, anti-freedom, anti-infidel tenets of Islam, if only we weren't so "Islamophobic"—all of the problems of Islamic terror would evaporate.

Here's the problem. Arun Kundnani's argument is abject nonsense. Why? Because the so-called Islamist victims in all of this aren't victims at all, they are aggressors who are driven by hatred of the West, hatred of adherents of any other religion, and hatred of members of their own religion who disagree with their extreme interpretation of Islam.They are also thugs who thrive on violence and the power that accrues from the application of violence.

Kundnani continues:
... The lesson of the Islamic State is that war creates terrorism ... After all, the organization was born in the chaos and carnage that followed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Russia and Iran have also played their role, propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime — responsible for far more civilian deaths than the Islamic State — and prolonging the war in Syria that enables the militant group to thrive.
So let me see if I understand this argument. If we stop fighting ISIS, if we allow them to operate with impunity, if we don't offend the Muslim community by looking for radicals in their midst, if we accept the stream of beheadings, drownings, murders, anti-Christian genocide, crucifixions, rape, murder, child slavery, bombings, shootings and other atrocities, then ISIS will ... what exactly? Will they recognize the wisdom of PC thinking and attach "coexist" bumper stickers on their pickups that are currently mounted with .50 caliber machine guns?

At the risk of overstating things—that argument is insane!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

America First

David Sanger and Maggie Haberman present a reasonably detailed assessment of Donald Trump's foreign Policy views in a New York Times article entitled "In Donald Trump’s Worldview, America Comes First, and Everybody Else Pays." Given the NYT's left-wing editorial slant, the article has a critical tinge, but overall, it's a fair assessment of Trump's positions that can best be summarized with a direct quote:
“We will not be ripped off anymore. We’re going to be friendly with everybody, but we’re not going to be taken advantage of by anybody.”
Sanger and Haberman write:
Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, said that if elected, he might halt purchases of oil from Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies unless they commit ground troops to the fight against the Islamic State or “substantially reimburse” the United States for combating the militant group, which threatens their stability.

“If Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection,” Mr. Trump said during a 100-minute interview on foreign policy, spread over two phone calls on Friday, “I don’t think it would be around.”

He also said he would be open to allowing Japan and South Korea to build their own nuclear arsenals rather than depend on the American nuclear umbrella for their protection against North Korea and China. If the United States “keeps on its path, its current path of weakness, they’re going to want to have that anyway, with or without me discussing it,” Mr. Trump said.

And he said he would be willing to withdraw United States forces from both Japan and South Korea if they did not substantially increase their contributions to the costs of housing and feeding those troops. “Not happily, but the answer is yes,” he said.

Mr. Trump also said he would seek to renegotiate many fundamental treaties with American allies, possibly including a 56-year-old security pact with Japan, which he described as one-sided.

In Mr. Trump’s worldview, the United States has become a diluted power, and the main mechanism by which he would re-establish its central role in the world is economic bargaining. He approached almost every current international conflict through the prism of a negotiation ...
Like many Americans, I have grave reservations about Donald Trump, but as time passes, it begins to appear that he is considerably less "extreme" in his foreign policy views than say, Bernie Sanders, who can't seem to get past his obsession with millionaires, billionaires and income inequality/redistribution to enunciate a cohesive foreign policy that is anything less than appeasement.

Trump's views are considerably less ridiculous than Hillary Clinton's pronouncement (with sufficiently grave intonation, of course) that her "years of experience" would allow her to ... what? Create more failed states like Libya, or put into motion the events that spawned ISIS, or negotiate more outstanding "deals" like the debacle the U.S. entered into with Iran?

The elites in the salons of New York, Washington and Los Angeles titter when a Neanderthal like Trump suggests that maybe we ought to emphasize "America First." After all, in the worldview of the elites, that's so un-PC, so anti-diverse, so un-Obama like.

And yet, to the ear of tens of millions of Americans (including millions of blue collar Democrats) there's something oddly attractive and refreshing about that simple sentiment—"America First."

For the past 50 years we've allowed the creme de la creme of the elites—the best and brightest—define our foreign policy. And where has it led? Just look at the Middle East, or the Russian incursion in Eastern Europe, or the slow motion Muslim invasion of Europe, or the worldwide Islamic terror attacks, or the Chinese moves in the South China Sea, or the chaos in North Africa or the resurgence of failed socialist doctrine in South America. That's your answer.

Donald Trump may not be the right man for president. He may not even get the GOP nomination, but regardless, a wonderful debate question during the general election might go something like this: "Would you agree with the sentiment that the president MUST put American first, and if so, exactly how would you translate that into specific foreign policy positions?"

Donald Trump provided specific answers in his NYT interview. I suspect that the GOP candidate, whoever that might be, would have answers that might be a bit more nuanced but that would still parallel Trump's. I can only wonder what Hillary or Bernie might say.

Friday, March 25, 2016


It wasn't difficult to predict, as I did a few days ago, that after the immediate shock of still another Islamic terror attack (in Brussels), Western politicians would say what they always say, and do ... nothing meaningful. Peggy Noonan comments:
The usual glib talk of politicians—calls for unity, vows that we will not give in to fear—will produce in the future what they’ve produced in the past: nothing. “The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium,” said the president, vigorously refusing to dodge clichés. “We must unite and be together, regardless of nationality, race or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.” It is not an “existential threat,” he noted, as he does. But if you were at San Bernardino or Fort Hood, the Paris concert hall or the Brussels subway, it would feel pretty existential to you.

There are many books, magazine long-reads and online symposia on the subject of violent Islam. I have written of my admiration for “What ISIS Really Wants” by Graeme Wood, published a year ago in the Atlantic. ISIS supporters have tried hard to make their project knowable and understood, Mr. Wood reported: “We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change . . . and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.” ISIS is essentially “medieval” in its religious nature, and “committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.” They intend to eliminate the infidel and raise up the caliphate—one like the Ottoman empire, which peaked in the 16th century and then began its decline.
A typical example of a Western elite commentary is the tweet I have noted in my last two posts. Here we have Hillary Clinton tweeting: "Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."

I find it absolutely fascinating the Donald Trump's (I'm no fan of Trump, but that's completely irrelevant in this context) comments on immigration ("Build a wall") or Islam ("stop Muslim immigration until we better understand the threat") are characterized as "extreme" or "crazy" or "racist" or "bigoted" by elites in both parties and in the media, while Hillary Clinton's preposterous statement that "Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism" is considered well-meaning and mainstream. It may be true that a majority of Muslims are "peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism," but Clinton didn't qualify her tweet that way. Using the same rules that are applied to Trump, we must consider her tweet verbatim ... and literally ... Her. Tweet. Is. Delusional.

Do we want a president who refuses to even acknowledge the nexus between Islam and terror? Do we want a president who is more interested (as are most Western leaders) in virtue signaling vis-à-vis Islam? Do we want another four or eight years of Barack Obama's brand of leadership on this issue?

The problem is a disconnect between the worldview of elites, like Clinton, and common citizens within most western countries. Again from Noonan:
We must absorb that central fact [that we are at war with radical islam and that it will be a long war], as Ronald Reagan once did with a different threat. Asked by his new national security adviser to state his exact strategic goals vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, Reagan: “We win, they lose.”

That’s where we are now. The “they” is radical Islamic jihadism.

Normal people have seen that a long time, but the leaders of the West—its political class, media powers and opinion shapers—have had a hard time coming to terms. I continue to believe part of the reason is that religion isn’t very important to many of them, so they have trouble taking it seriously as a motivation of others. An ardent Catholic, evangelical Christian or devout Jew would be able to take the religious aspect seriously when discussing ISIS. An essentially agnostic U.S. or European political class is less able. Thus they cast about—if only we give young Islamist men jobs programs or social integration schemes, we can stop this trouble. But jihadists don’t want to be integrated. They want trouble.

Our own president still won’t call radical Islam what it is, thinking apparently that if we name them clearly they’ll only hate us more, and Americans on the ground, being racist ignoramuses, will be incited by candor to attack their peaceful Muslim neighbors.
Because Western leaders are reactive, because they will not to adequately name the threat we all face, because they refuse to confront Islam with the menace that it has spawned and demand that Islam act now in proactive, measurable ways to fight that menace, very bad things will happen. Today, the body count is horrific, but still small. But in the near-term future, we may have a Islamic terror event in which the body count might exceed the one we absorbed on 9/11. When that happens (there is no 'if," given the current feckless leadership of the West), every elite who supports the current reactive strategy will have blood on his or her hands.


Roger Simon has come to the same conclusion about the roll of PC in the West's response to Islamic terror as I have. He writes:
Are progressives going to murder our children with their political correctness?

Brutal as that sounds, that's a serious question we must all be asking ourselves after the terror attacks in Brussels. Everyone knows such events could easily happen here (where our population dwarfs Belgium's and therefore opens us to a far greater catastrophe numerically) and yet our progressive and liberal friends -- even and especially the moral narcissists running for the Democratic presidential nomination -- refuse to name radical Islam as the perpetrator of the attacks.

Let alone Islam itself, the true culprit...

We live in a culture where someone threw a punch at a Donald Trump rally -- not remotely the mayhem at your average British soccer match -- and our media goes into a dither. Then they warn us about Islamophobia -- a junk term, if there ever was one -- in the wake of mass murder in the name of Allah.

Something wrong? Of course. Something is very wrong. Western civilization is on a suicide run and we all get to watch.

Well, I suggest we stop watching and do something about it.
"Doing something about it" is what Western leaders avoid. Again, Simon and I are of like minds:
The time has come for a worldwide crusade to reform Islam completely. That means shaming the Islamic world until they rewrite their books and change their fascistic doctrine to be in concert with modernity. And if they refuse, they must be completely ostracized, their societies shut to the West, our economic system and technology made unavailable to them. (And, yes, that means no more halal dining at Harvard.)

Does that sound racist? Well, fine. I assure it is nowhere near as racist as anything you would find in the Koran. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of seeing innocent people murdered in Allah's name.
Are you?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Too BIg to Criticize

Over the years since 9/11, I have repeatedly warned that the Western idea of holding Islam blameless for Islamist terror groups and the carnage they deliver does an injustice to the hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims, and much more importantly, guarantees that the West's fight against the scourge of Islamic terror will be lost. In yesterday's post, I quoted a recent tweet by Democratic president candidate Hillary Clinton: "Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."

"Nothing whatsoever" — seriously? If Clinton seriously believes this, she is delusional. If she's simply parroting politically correct language, she's even more dishonest than I already believe her to be.

Hillary's defenders on the Left often argue that there's nothing to be gained in confronting Islam—after all, they say, "Muslims represent 1.6 billion people. Do you want to go to war with 1.6 million people?" Of course, the "go to war" meme is a straw man—no responsible person is suggesting a full-scale religious war.

Let's consider a loose analogy. Progressives deride Wall Street and the notion that banks or investment houses are "too big to fail." They (correctly) fume when government bails out a major bank or investment banking firm after that bank or firm does something unsavory. But it appears that progressives do believe that Islam is too big to criticize. As if the 1.6 billion number somehow insulates Islam from criticism and from taking responsibility for the actions of a non-trivial number of its adherents based on the words contained in its holy books. Any criticism of Islam is met with PC outrage following by loaded words like "Islamophobia" or "racism" or "xenophobia." That is nonsense, of course, but it's nonsense that is parroted by the left's trained hamsters in the media, until it becomes conventional wisdom. It's also only fair to state that it's nonsense that is repeated in a dramatically toned down fashion by some leaders of the GOP.

In a surprisingly frank discussion of Islam and it's culpability for Islamic terror, Nabeel Qureshi writes in USA Today (certainly not a right wing publication):
As a young Muslim boy growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, it was impossible for me to look up a hadith unless I traveled to an Islamic library, something I would have never thought to do. For all intents and purposes, if I wanted to know about the traditions of Muhammad, I had to ask imams or elders in my tradition of Islam. That is no longer the case today. Just as radical Islamists may spread their message far and wide online, so, too, the Internet has made the traditions of Muhammad readily available for whoever wishes to look them up, even in English. When everyday Muslims investigate the Quran and hadith for themselves, bypassing centuries of tradition and their imams’ interpretations, they are confronted with the reality of violent jihad in the very foundations of their faith.

The Quran itself reveals a trajectory of jihad reflected in the almost 23 years of Muhammad’s prophetic career. As I demonstrate carefully in my book, Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward, starting with peaceful teachings and proclamations of monotheism, Muhammad's message featured violence with increasing intensity, culminating in surah 9, chronologically the last major chapter of the Quran, and its most expansively violent teaching. Throughout history, Muslim theologians have understood and taught this progression, that the message of the Quran culminates in its ninth chapter.

Surah 9 is a command to disavow all treaties with polytheists and to subjugate Jews and Christians (9.29) so that Islam may “prevail over all religions” (9.33). It is fair to wonder whether any non-Muslims in the world are immune from being attacked, subdued or assimilated under this command. Muslims must fight, according to this final chapter of the Quran, and if they do not, then their faith is called into question and they are counted among the hypocrites (9.44-45). If they do fight, they are promised one of two rewards, either spoils of war or heaven through martyrdom. Allah has made a bargain with the mujahid who obeys: Kill or be killed in battle, and paradise awaits (9.111).

Muslim thought leaders agree that the Quran promotes such violence. Maajid Nawaz, co-founder of the Quilliam Foundation in the United Kingdom, has said, “We Muslims must admit there are challenging Koranic passages that require reinterpretation today. ... Only by rejecting vacuous literalism are we able to condemn, in principle, ISIS-style slavery, beheading, lashing, amputation; other medieval practices forever (all of which are in the Quran). … Reformers either win, and get religion-neutral politics, or lose, and get ISIL-style theocracy.” In other words, Muslims must depart from the literal reading of the Quran in order to create a jihad-free Islamic world.

This is not at all to say that most Muslims are violent. The vast majority of Muslims do not live their lives based on chapter 9 of the Quran or on the books of jihad in the hadith. My point is not to question the faith of such Muslims nor to imply that radical Muslims are the true Muslims. Rather, I simply want to make clear that while ISIL may lure youth through a variety of methods, it radicalizes them primarily by urging them to follow the literal teachings of the Quran and the hadith, interpreted consistently and in light of the violent trajectory of early Islam. As long as the Islamic world focuses on its foundational texts, we will continue to see violent jihadi movements.
Progressives and the Left would have us believe that none of this matters, that's it's all of the things (e.g., poverty, poor education, joblessness, gang violence and lack of societal integration) I noted in yesterday's post and nothing more. Like most beliefs espoused by the Left, that's a dangerous fantasy.

For the West to prevail against terror, Islam's adherents (all 1.6 billion of them) must take responsibility for their religion and the ideology it espouses. Islam MUST reject Surah 9 as an anachronistic view, it MUST reject violence and condemn any Muslim who practices it as an apostate, it MUST reform. But before that can happen all 1.6 billion Muslims must be called out by Western leaders and Western societies so that they have no misunderstanding of our position. Their religion must change and they, not us, must be the agents of that change. If the 1.6 billion refuse to act, refuse to change, that tells us much more than any tweet by Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Why is That?

Most of us have heard of the South Bronx (New York) or Compton (Los Angeles) or Liberty City (Miami) or Towson (Baltimore). These are but a few of the failed neighborhoods or districts in major cities where poverty, poor education, joblessness, and gang violence have destroyed much of the fabric of civil society. Many residents of these neighborhoods look at the police with sullen stares and do little to help them combat or investigate crime. Despite massive federal, state and local programs that have pumped hundreds of millions into these areas, their problems persist.

But have you heard of Molenbeek (Brussels) or Ca n’Anglada (Barcelona) or Marxloh and Neukölln (Germany) or Seine-Saint-Denis and Clichy-sous-Bois (France)? These are predominantly immigrant Muslim neighborhoods and districts where poverty, poor education, joblessness, and gang violence are endemic. Like their counterparts in North American cities, many residents of these neighborhoods look at the police with sullen stares and do little to help them combat or investigate crime. Worse, some of these European neighborhoods are "no-go" zones (despite protestations to the contrary by local politicians), where police no longer enter, and the prevailing law is Sharia.

Mike Gonzalez reports:
Though it’s too early to tell about the attack at Brussels on Tuesday, March 22, the Molenbeek neighborhood incubated the Paris attack. Ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud came from there. Several of the other terrorists, including Salah Abdeslam, had ties to the neighborhood, where Muslims make up more than half of the population and youth unemployment is high.

Molenbeek is hardly alone. Ca n’Anglada in Barcelona has also been identified as the origin of several ISIS fighters. Amin Iharchain, a 31-year-old Moroccan resident, told the newspaper El Pais that:
“radicalism has overwhelmed this quarter; neither the local Iman nor any of the 29 Muslim associations that registered will say anything. It’s not just here in Ca n’Anglada, but also in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Badalona … It is unemployment, poverty, the feeling of inferiority, all tied to a radical message.”
... Many of the refugees now coming into Europe as a result of the chaos in Mesopotamia will settle in neighborhoods such as these, where they can be radicalized. Already they contain radical networks that can be used by ISIS or other sponsors of terrorism.
Earlier last week, before the arrest, Heritage Foundation Vice President James Jay Carafano wrote presciently, “ISIS organizers are simply plugging into standing extremist communities. These networks are popping up all over the world … by far the most concerning networks right now are in Western Europe.”
The primary difference between a Molenbeek and a Liberty City isn't poverty or joblessness or even despair. It's not "feelings of inferiority." It's not the availability (or lack) of government money and programs that are supposed to help integrate the neighborhood's residents into the mainstream. Those characteristics are common to both, yet one becomes a breeding ground for terror while the other does not.

Why is that?


Barack Obama stated the obvious today when he announced at a news conference that "ISIS does not represent an existential threat" to the United States. He's right -- it doesn't.

But he's wrong when he narrows the focus to ISIS, just one of hundreds of radical Islamic groups that threaten Western security, Western commerce, Western economies, and the peace of mind of hundreds of millions of citizens in the West.

The problems within the Molenbeeks around the world have little to do with ISIS but everything to do with radical Islam and its influence on Muslims. Leaders like Obama obfuscate when they try to turn the focus away from Islam; they insult the intelligence of the populace when they tweet (as Hillary Clinton did a few months ago): "Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."

Clinton's tweet represents delusional thinking, but it's right in line with the thinking of other Western leaders. If that kind of thinking continues, the threat of Islamic terror will grow and eventually, it may very well become an existential threat, not because of the power of Islamic terrorists, but because of the rank stupidity of Western leaders who are driven by political correctness instead of common sense.


Sohrab Ahmari writes:
Islamist terror struck at the heart of the European Union on Tuesday. Islamic State jihadists staged a triple-bombing in the Belgian capital—two at the Brussels airport and a third at a metro station downtown—that killed at least 30 people combined. It was the latest reminder that Islamic terrorism is now a permanent and ubiquitous hazard to life in every city, on every continent.

In coming days European authorities will level reproaches about the missed warning signs, security lapses and the larger failure to integrate Belgian Muslims. Commissions will be formed. Sympathetic memes will proliferate on social media. Je suis Belge.

This routine has become numbingly familiar. And these habitual responses, while understandable, defer a reckoning with a larger truth: Not a single day now goes by without an Islamist suicide bombing, rocket attack, shooting spree, kidnapping or stabbing somewhere in the world.
He goes on to recount the last 10 calender days of vicious Islamic terror attacks in North Africa, in Israel, ending with yesterdays Brussels attack.
This "larger truth" is what really matters, but our Western leaders prefer the myopic view that "missed warning signs, security lapses and the larger failure to integrate" disffected Muslims are to blame. Why is that?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


This morning the United States woke up to news of still another murderous Islamic terror attack in Europe—this time Brussels. The scope of the event is still unfolding, but there's a tragically predictable 'dog bites man' quality to it all. In fact, the murder of innocents after shouts of "allahu akbar" has become just another horrific news story.

I'll admit that I haven't done a detailed analysis, but it seems that Islamic terror attacks in Western nations are happening with increasing frequency and that the carnage seems to be getting worse. The authorities respond in predictable ways, shutting down airports, subways, even entire cities, disrupting economic activity, telling citizens to 'shelter in place,' promising to round up potential suspects, showing an armed presence across the country, and of course, warning the populace against any act that might be deemed "islamophobia." There is, you have to admit, a certain deja vu quality to it all.

But every one of these moves is reactive. The terror event occurs and then the government goes into overdrive. But a reactive response cannot possibly keep innocent citizens of any western country safe.

Certainly, intelligence services around the globe (although hamstrung by a new and appropriate concern for individual privacy) are doing what they can to uncover terror plots and round up Muslims who are doing the plotting. But wait, it's simply not politically correct to use the last phrase: "Muslims who are doing the plotting."  Just because the terror perpetrators are Muslims who have infiltrated western countries, who are often helped, hidden and shielded by other Muslims, and who are instigated by any of a number of Islamist (Muslim) groups, and who are often encouraged in their actions at radical mosques, we have to be sensitive to Islamophobia, don't we?

As Islamic attacks escalate (and they surely will), as more people die (as they surely will), as unease and fear begin to grip the populace of many countries, there will be a demand for governments to become proactive in their actions against Islamic terror in their homelands and outside their borders.

The problem is that this generation of Western leaders doesn't have the will or the desire to become proactive. They'll hold hushed news conferences after a terror event, telling us they're doing all they can, but are they?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Social Justice

There's a broad-based meme that pervades the thinking of many on the left—"social justice." Although a bit nebulous as a two-word phrase (even though it sounds really good when stated with emotion), it can generally be defined in the following way:
  • people of color are beset by white people who because of their "privilege" are inherently racist; therefore, when a decision between people of color and whites must be made (on virtually any subject) it should always skew toward people of color.
  • males are inherently misogynistic, and it is always the woman who must be believed when any accusation of male dominance is made (in pay, in position, or in sexual encounters); this is particularly true when any accusation of sexual abuse is made by a woman—the man is guilty until proven innocent and when proven innocent, he is still suspect.
  • the "rich" are rapacious and keep the poor from any meaningful accomplishment; it is the "rich's" fault that income inequality exists, and it is income inequality that is the source of all societal problems.
  • educated people have an unfair advantage over uneducated people and that advantage allows them to dominate the uneducated in job quality, earnings, and accomplishment; this advantage is unfair and must be remedied by ... (here the details begin to blur just a bit)
In 2006, the nation experienced the perfect social justice storm when members the Duke University lacrosse team were accused of rape by an African American stripper who was hired for a party.

Activists on the left—what some might call social justice warriors (SJWs)—sprang into action, condemning the team before any evidence was gathered, firing the team's coach when he defended his players' innocence, suspending the entire team, and expelling the three players accused of this horrific act. The team and the players were immediately tried and convicted in the left-leaning media and an opportunist DA moved quickly to indict and attempt to convict them.

There was only one problem. The charges were 100% false. It was only after nine months of hell that the accused were exonerated. The coach never got his job back, the university never truly apologized, and the social just warriors—not a peep.

In an outstanding documentary film, Fantastic Lies, currently being shown on ESPN 30 for 30, the film's director, Marina Zenovich, demolishes the claims of accuser and eviscerates the SJWs who were quick to accuse and convict based on a set of "fantastic lies."

Mary Katherine Ham does an excellent job of summarizing (read the whole thing) the key elements of the case and the documentary and then writes:
To this day, most of the Duke faculty and leadership who prejudged the lacrosse players remain in their positions and have never apologized. Media figures who apologized or retracted are few and far between. Instead, most coverage offered grudging reporting on the dismissal of charges.

Ten years later, despite a recent lesson in humility with the Rolling Stone UVA rape story, some of that grudging tone remains, as in Slate’s write-up on the documentary: “[I]t’s a bizarre experience to watch a documentary that expects the viewer to root for a bunch of accused rapists.”
That's the power of the social justice meme. Even when SJWs are presented with irrefutable evidence that their accusations are wrong, they refuse to relent. Ideology trumps reality in their world view.

But it's worse than that. The Duke lacrosse case is not a one-off. There are literally dozens of instances where SJWs have wrongly accused members of a "privileged" class of wrong doing (think: the Tawana Brawley case in the late 1980s or the UVA rape case in 2012). It appears that SJWs are blinded by an ideological meme and repeat the same mistakes over and over again. The fact that it can destroy innocent lives is irrelevant, as long as the meme is preserved.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Writing in the Washington Post, Marc Thiessen comments on the ever-continuing condemnation of Donald Trump due to the "violence" that has occurred at a few of his rallies. Like Theissen, I am no fan of Trump and believe that his stump rhetoric is shallow, often ill-considered, and divisive.

But something much bigger is going on, and it has little to do with Trump. Thiessen comments:
What we are witnessing is the latest example of the American left’s totalitarian instinct to shut down speech that it finds abhorrent. Trump is not the only speaker to be driven off a college campus in recent years. In 2013, student protesters forced Ben Carson to cancel his planned commencement speech at Johns Hopkins University. In 2014, student activists forced Brandeis University to cancel a commencement-day speech by author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Also in 2014, protesters forced former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice to cancel her commencement speech at Rutgers University, declaring that “war criminals shouldn’t be honored” by the school.

What do these speakers all have in common? They are a) black and b) conservative. If the Trump protests were about race, then why are left-wing activists equally insistent on stopping black speakers with views they don’t like? Rice didn’t call for a Muslim ban, but she is just as unacceptable to the radical left as Trump.
As I mentioned in my post yesterday, "violence" can take many forms—not all physical. Far-left "activists" do "violence" to one of the most important rights we all have—free speech. And by the way, those who argue that the leftists are exercising their right to free speech are dangerously naive or incurably stupid. Shouting down a speaker whose views differ from one's own, creating chaos inside a venue that hosts that speaker, verbally intimidating attendees by moving into their personal space with the sole intent to provoke violence, and then whining about the rare physical response to these actions when it does occur is S.O.P. for the hard left. It works only because those who rightly condemn Trump for inflammatory rhetoric remain largely silent when leftists do things that are at least as provocative.

What is even worse, is that driven by their anti-Trump mindset, members of the GOP establishment piled on, without also adequately commenting on the "violence" perpetrated by the totalitarian left. In my view, the "violence" perpetrated by leftists in an attempt to silence a candidate is the big story, not some ill-considered Trump comment made on the stump.

One can only wonder how the media would react if a right-wing group shut down a Bernie Sanders rally. That hasn't happened, but the left-wing group BLM did just that and because BLM is left-wing, there was little commentary of the underlying "violence" they perpetrated on Bernie. Thiessen comments:
... Unlike Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — who let Black Lives Matter protesters take away his microphone — Trump does not back down when people try to stop him from speaking. His supporters see a man who stands up for himself and believe he won’t let the United States get pushed around either.
No group—right or left—should be allowed to "push around" a public speaker without condemnation from everyone who values free-speech. There has been plenty of condemnation of Trump, but the leftist groups that are working hard to silence him and intimidate his supporters are doing so with relative impunity. They, like Trump, are bullies, and they need to be called out.

Monday, March 14, 2016


There are many kinds of "violence." The most obvious is the punch you in the face kind—it leaves bruises and psychological trauma, but unless it becomes extreme, the bruises heal and the psychological trauma is soon forgotten. It can be incited in many different ways—the perpetrator can have anger management issues; the perpetrator can be encouraged to attack by someone else, or the perpetrator can himself (or herself) feel threatened or otherwise assaulted (verbally, physically or psychologically).

It what has to be one of the most egregious and dishonest displays of moral preening and hypocrisy in the last few months, media sources and elites on the both the left and the right were quick to blame Donald Trump for violence after coordinated left-wing groups (, BLM, and others) disrupted a Trump rally in Chicago in a blatant attempt to silence Trump. Their approach was far from "peaceful," and their intent wasn't to debate or stand in silent protest, it was to stifle Trump's right to speak. That's a form of "violence" that is SOP for the left-wing over the past 60 years—whether the topic was Vietnam in the 60s or Trump in the last few weeks. It's also a form of "violence" that has more severe and longer term affects on the country and the constitution.

The NY Post comments:
Blaming Donald Trump even in part for the violence that has broken out at his rallies is nonsense. This is the same left-wing agitation that has plagued the nation for decades now, a rage that fixes on one target of opportunity after another.

In the ’90s, the same kind of radicals besieged meetings of the World Trade Organization — with blood on the streets of Seattle in 1999. New York City got a taste of it at the 2004 Republican
convention; most of Boston was shut down to prevent the same at that year’s Democratic convention.

America saw it in the lawlessness and riots of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The folks in Ferguson, Mo., blamed outside agitators for turning their legitimate protests into riots that devastated the city.

Yes, Trump has been brusque with protesters at his events — but if he were inciting violence in any real way, you’d see Trumpites disrupting other candidates’ gatherings.

Instead, Americans trying to leave Friday’s Trump rally in Chicago — the one canceled over fears of violence — had to wade through angry mobs outside.

Again, all the violence comes from lefties going to someone else’s event to make trouble — and, as in Chicago, celebrating with chants of “We won” and “We stopped Trump” when they managed to get the event canceled.

As one Reddit poster, a self-described legal immigrant of color who saw the Chicago madness firsthand, put it: “I saw a quiet, but excited crowd of Donald Trump supporters get thrown out of Chicago.

“Worst of all, I saw the First Amendment trampled, spit on, and discarded like trash.”
It's interesting that there is no "violence" at Bernie Sander's rallies, no right-wing mobs shouting down his crypto-communist prescriptions, no agitation. Why is that? Might it be that the right-wing is more tolerant of opposing opinions?

It's also interesting that the moral preeners demand that Trump apologize for "inciting" to violence. Why is it that the same moral preeners don't ask Sanders or Hillary to disavow the actions of, BLM and others? Might it be that the moral preeners are quite happy with some forms of "violence" if that "violence" achieves a goal they desire?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Camile and Donald and Me

It's extremely rare when I quote pieces published in Salon, a far-left publication and website that often publishes unhinged articles that demonize virtually anyone and everything that conflicts with its hyper-politically correct narrative. But Camille Paglia is worth quoting. A regular contributor to Salon, she brings a hard-nosed, common-sense feminist perspective to a variety of topics. She has no trouble attacking conventional progressive and conservative wisdom and calls out the abject idiocy that emanates from both the left and the right.

Like Paglia, I had and have considerable reservations about Donald Trump. Yet deep down, there is something refreshing about the way he blows-up politically correct wisdom on the left and dismisses some of the tenuous and deeply held ideologies of the right. As much as I don't like his style; as much as I continue to believe that he does not have a deep grasp of the issues; as much as his shoot-from-the-hip approach could be problematic, his neo-centrist approach is worth another look. Trump upsets political and media elitists (on both the left and the right), and they're working very hard to demonize him.

For decades, the elites have controlled political discourse and public policy—and they've made a hot mess of just about everything. When they tell us, for example, that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, their weak grasp on reality is obvious. When they proclaim that open borders are a good thing, the non-elites begin the question their judgement and their sanity. When they suggest that income inequality can be solved by higher taxes, coercive minimum wage laws, and bigger government, their ability to think clearly comes into question. And when other elites suggest that government should be less intrusive, yet demand that government become deeply involved in reproductive and/or marriage rights, their consistency comes into question. And when they all talk the talk, but don't walk the walk, their hypocrisy becomes very obvious.

In a weird way, Donald Trump is a member of the elites, but he is also their worst nightmare. Millions are coalescing around his anti-PC, blunt talk, aggressive style—no nuance there!

Paglia was on the record as opposing a Trump run for president. But when asked by a reader whether her attitude toward the man had changed given his successes over the past 3 months, she writes:
... Trump’s fearless candor and brash energy feel like a great gust of fresh air, sweeping the tedious clichés and constant guilt-tripping of political correctness out to sea. Unlike Hillary Clinton, whose every word and policy statement on the campaign trail are spoon-fed to her by a giant paid staff and army of shadowy advisors, Trump is his own man, with a steely “damn the torpedoes” attitude. He has a swaggering retro machismo that will give hives to the Steinem cabal. He lives large, with the urban flash and bling of a Frank Sinatra. But Trump is a workaholic who doesn’t drink and who has an interesting penchant for sophisticated, strong-willed European women. As for a debasement of the presidency by Trump’s slanging matches about penis size, that sorry process was initiated by a Democrat, Bill Clinton, who chatted about his underwear on TV, let Hollywood pals jump up and down on the bed in the Lincoln Bedroom, and played lewd cigar games with an intern in the White House offices.

Primary voters nationwide are clearly responding to Trump’s brand of classic can-do American moxie. There has been a sense of weary paralysis in our increasingly Byzantine and monstrously wasteful government bureaucracies. Putting a bottom-line businessman with executive experience into the White House has probably been long overdue. If Mitt Romney had boldly talked business more (and chosen a woman VP), he would have won the last election. Although the rampant Hitler and Mussolini analogies to Trump are wildly exaggerated–he has no organized fascist brigades at his beck and call—there is reason for worry about his impatient authoritarian tendencies. We have had more than enough of Obama’s constitutionally questionable executive orders. It remains to be seen whether Trump’s mastery of a hyper-personalized art of the deal will work in the sluggish, murky, incestuously intertwined power realms of Washington.

From my perspective as a fervent supporter of the ruggedly honest and principled Bernie Sanders, Trump with his pragmatic real-life record is a far more palatable national figure than Ted Cruz, whose unctuous, vainglorious professions of Christian piety don’t pass the smell test. Trump is a blunt, no-crap mensch, while Cruz is a ham actor, doling out fake compassion like chopped liver. Cruz’s lugubrious, weirdly womanish face, with its prim, tight smile and mawkishly appealing puppy-dog eyebrows, is like a waxen mask, always on the verge of melting. This guy doesn’t know who the hell he is—and the White House is no place for him and us to find out.
Trump may yet be vanquished by one of his opponents. The elites may yet succeed in toppling him. But at the moment, I'm in just about the same place as Camille Paglia (except for her support of Bernie:).

Wednesday, March 09, 2016


With every passing week and every set of primaries, it becomes increasingly likely that Donald Trump just might capture the GOP nomination for president. Despite 'assassination' attempts by many prominent GOP functionaries, hit pieces in some of the media, and comparisons to Hitler and Mussolini by some unhinged Democrats, Trump continues to collect primary wins.

I am no fan of Donald Trump. I do, however, believe he has identified a number of key issues that have been swept under the rug by a combination of political correctness and political inertia. But his poor grasp of details, his inability to enunciate realistic policies, coupled with his shoot from the hip style, and his megalomaniacal self-absorption, make him a poor choice for president.

I think there are a number of GOP contenders (John Kasich or even Marco Rubio come to mind) who might be more suitable. But all of that is meaningless if Trump gets the nomination. At that point, the question becomes, is Trump a better choice than a dishonest, corrupt politician who is currently under FBI investigation for national security violations or a crypto-communist who is obsessed with class warfare and income redistribution? It's a difficult question to answer until you consider the Obama years.

Let me explain.

During his ruinous presidency, Barack Obama was allowed by his own party to champion flawed legislation, establish poor economic policy, and make catastrophically bad foreign policy decisions. Like the Stepford Wives, the Democrats marched in lockstep and followed their president blindly. They did nothing to reign him in, even when many in the party had grave reservations about his work (think: the Iran "deal"). One could argue, I suppose, that the Dems have swung so far left that they truly did agree with everything Obama did. If that's the case, the Democrat party is considerably more monolithic in their thinking than the fractious GOP.

The implication is that no matter how corrupt or dishonest a Clinton presidency or how hard core socialist a Sanders presidency might be, the Dems would be the Stepford Wives—following their candidate blindly wherever he or she wanted to go. The nation would suffer grievously, but the Dems would march on.

Now consider a Trump presidency. Party leaders have already publicly expressed their outright concern about Trump. People like Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell or John McCain or Lindsey Graham or any of dozens of other party bigwigs, along with major business people and donors would actively and aggressively resist Trump if he, for example, tried to start a trade war or attempted to deport 11 million people. If he tried to do any of this by executive edict (as Obama has repeatedly done) his own party would resist with legislation, public pressure, and even impeachment.

That is a fundamental difference between the political parties. The Dems would blindly follow their president. The GOP has clearly indicated by its recent actions that they would resist presidential crazy stuff in a heartbeat. It would act as a necessary control on a Trump presidency, allowing the man to identify key national issues that have the support of many Americans, but at the same time reigning him in if he attempted to over-react or do stupid stuff.

Bottom-line: It's increasingly likely we'll be left with two sub-optimal choices—(1) a continuation of the ruinous Obama years or (2) the election of a wild card leader. I'm convinced that if the first choice occurs, the Stepford wives Dems will continue to allow very bad policy decisions and the country will continue on its downward path. I'm also convinced that if second choice occurs, the the GOP itself will act as a necessary brake that just might turn the wild card into an effective president.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Economic Indices

Assuming that Hillary Clinton is not indicted on multiple felony counts for her national security violations, her path to the Democratic nomination is assured. But socialist Bernie Sanders will not go away, and it's very likely that his extreme class warfare rhetoric with have a significant influence on the Democrat platform and on Clinton's stated policies and positions.

The Democrat's trained hamsters in the media will collectively support Clinton's contention that "income inequality" is a major national threat and look uncritically at her (Bernie's?) redistributionist schemes to eliminate inequality. What they won't do is look at a history that clearly indicates that income inequality increases far more when Democrats control the presidency than when the GOP controls the White House. After all, that conflicts with the narrative and that simply won't do.

There are three economic indices used by the Census Bureau to assess income distribution in the United States. Lawrence Lindsey describes them as follows: "the Gini index, the mean logarithmic deviation of income (mean log deviation for short), and the Theil index—each of which represents inequality levels on a scale of 0 to 1 (zero signifies perfect equality and 1 indicates perfect inequality)." He goes on the write:
By all three measures, inequality rose more under Bill Clinton than under Ronald Reagan. And it wasn’t even close. While the inequality increase as measured by the Gini index was only slightly more during Clinton’s two terms, the Theil index and mean log deviation increased two and three times as much, respectively.

Barack Obama’s administration follows this pattern, despite the complaints he and his supporters have made about his predecessor. The mean log deviation increased 37% more under Mr. Obama than under President George W. Bush, although when this statistic was released, Mr. Obama had only six years as president compared with Mr. Bush’s eight. The Gini index rose more than three times as much under Mr. Obama than under Mr. Bush. The Theil index increased sharply during the Obama administration, while it fell slightly under Bush 43.
But why is this?

Lindsey provides an answer:
... consider their policies. Both Democratic presidents presided over bubble economies fueled by easy monetary policy. There is no better way to make the rich richer than to run policies that push up the price of financial assets. Cheap money is a boon to those who have access to it. Interest rates were also too low under Bush 43, but that bubble was in housing, and the effects were therefore more evenly distributed than under Mr. Clinton’s stock-market bubble or Mr. Obama’s credit bubble.

Money matters, but so do other policies, such as the long, historic sweep of the expanding welfare state. In 1968, government transfer payments totaled $53 billion or roughly 7% of personal income. By 2014, these had climbed to $2.5 trillion—about 17% of personal income. Despite the redistribution of a sixth of all income, inequality measured by all three of the Census Bureau’s indexes is far higher today than in 1968.

Transfer payments under Mr. Obama increased by $560 billion. By contrast private-sector wages and salaries grew by $1.1 trillion. So for every $2 in extra wages, about $1 was paid out in extra transfer payments—lowering the relative reward to work. Forty-five million people received food stamps in mid-2015, an increase of 46% since the end of 2008. Similarly, 71.6 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, an increase of 13.3 million since October 2013.
Unfortunately, the media's hamsters appear not to have the intellectual capacity to process these numbers and even if they do, don't have the inclination to report facts and data that run counter to the Dem narrative.

Monday, March 07, 2016


In a post last week, I commented on the despicable BDS movement, a collection of unhinged leftists in the U.S. and Europe who do the bidding of palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas. Abraham Miller provides us with a commentary on a related issue:
In a poignant scene from the movie, A Time to Kill, the defense lawyer, played by Matthew McConaughey, describes in gruesome detail the brutal physical and sexual assault on a black child and then asks the jurors to close their eyes and imagine that child as white. Perhaps, it is time to apply such reverse imagery to the Palestinian-Israeli situation. Instead of Jewish children running to bomb shelters in Sderot, where the sculpted dragon in the playground is itself a bomb shelter, think of them as your children. Instead of Jewish victims of knife attacks in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, think of them as your children, your family, your friends, and your neighbors. And then, perhaps your perception of the horror of the situation will be closer to reality.

Better yet, how would the world react if it were Jews running around with knives, incited by their political and religious leaders to kill and maim innocent Palestinians? Instead of imams preaching death to the Jews, imagine rabbinic sermons calling for the killing of Muslims — all Muslims.

Imagine Israeli television using children to teach other children to kill Muslims. If that were the case, there would be international outrage of seismic proportions, emergency meetings of the United Nations, wholesale condemnation of everything Jewish, and a call for a UN force to patrol the streets of Jerusalem.

If planes hijacked by Jews had crashed into the World Trade Center, I would be writing this from behind barbed wire. Everything Jewish would fall under intense suspicion. Old blood libels would be resurrected and new ones fabricated. Elected officials would not be parsing something called “radical Judaism” as is now done with Islam. No administration — certainly not this one — would be redacting documents to avoid “Judaism” and “terrorism” appearing in the same paragraph, unlike the words “Islam” and “terrorism.”
There are, of course, different sets of rules for Israel as a country and Islam as an ideology. For Israel, the slightest misstep associated with defending themselves from brutal terror attacks is labeled a "war crime." The left-leaning main stream media follows the lead of an anti-Israel Obama administration and labels the construction of apartment building as a major provocation, even though the buildings are being built on Israeli land, The left labels lands won back in a war initiated by the losing party to be "occupied," conveniently forgetting that Jews lived on those "occupied" lands for millennia.

It seems that the left will do just about anything to protect Muslims from criticism, regardless of how gruesome the actions of radical Islamists or how egregious their cultural assault on otherwise protected groups (e.g., women, gay people, those of other religions). Launching rockets against civilian population centers in Israel or stabbing Jews on the street are simply labeled actions "born out of frustration," rather than barbaric acts that would be unacceptable if they came from any other group or people.

Currently, the Obama State Department flat out refuses to label the Muslim extermination of Christians throughout the Middle East a 'genocide.' Their refusal has become so egregious that the Knights of Columbus is running national TV ads demanding action. Attempts to label terrorist mass murder as "workplace violence" are common under Obama. When a pregnant mother of three was stabbed to death by a palestinian in Israel, the story got little play in the US.

Why is it, I wonder, that Muslims are a protected group? Why is it that in the wake of a terror attack by Muslims, the first reaction of leftist politicians is to warn against anti-Muslim reprisals, over and over again. This both insulting and unnecessary because there have been no widespread anti-Muslim attacks in the United States, even after 9/11 or the more recent San Bernadino attacks.

It would be nice to "imagine" world leaders who demand that Islam act to eradicate al Qaeda, ISIS and every other Islamist group in its midst; where anti-Semitic literature is removed from mosques and madrassas; where Christians are allowed to live in peace in lands they have inhabited for over a thousand years; where a reformation within Islam becomes a global movement. Too bad none of that will happen as long as the "world" doesn't hold Islam accountable for the actions of a non-trivial percentage of its adherents.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Slam Dunk

Peggy Noonan contends, correctly, I think, that the GOP is in the process of fracturing. The party elite have performed poorly for years, have allowed a Democrat president to outflank them at virtually every turn (to the clear detriment of the United States) and create an imperial presidency in which constitutional protections have been jettisoned and replaced with executive edicts that the GOP base abhors. The party elite were reactive rather than proactive. When Barack Obama demonized them in a manner that is both unpresidential and unprecedented, they didn't hit back in ways that are open to the Congress and would have helped control a corrupt, hyperpartisan president. The GOP base became angry.

In 2012, the GOP candidate was a good decent man who had every qualification to replace Barack Obama—a president who had (in just 4 years) failed in everything he attempted. Because Mitt Romney was a good, decent man, he didn't fight back with enough intensity when the Democrats effectively vilified him—after all, it wouldn't be civil, would it? He lost badly. The GOP base's anger grew.

Today, the result is Donald Trump, a man who, like Obama, is unqualified for the office he seeks with a temperament, like Obama, that is vindictive and shallow.

And here were are. Noonan writes:
[My] column has been pretty devoted the past nine months to everything that gave rise to this moment, to Mr. Trump. His supporters disrespect the system—fair enough, it’s earned disrespect. They see Washington dysfunction and want to break through it—fair enough. In a world of thugs, they say, he will be our thug. Politics is a freak show? He’s our freak. They know they’re lowering standards by giving the top political job in America to a man who never held office. But they feel Washington lowered all standards first. They hate political correctness—there is no one in the country the past quarter-century who has not been embarrassed or humiliated for using the wrong word or concept or having the wrong thought—and see his rudeness as proof he hates PC too.

“He can think outside the box.” Can he ever.

He is a one-man wrecking crew of all political comportment, and a carrier of that virus. Yet his appeal is not only his outrageousness.

He is a divider of the Republican Party and yet an enlarger of the tent. His candidacy is contributing to record turnouts in primary after primary, and surely bringing in Democrats and independents. But it should concern his supporters that his brain appears to be a grab bag of impulses, and although he has many views and opinions he doesn’t seem to know anything about public policy or the way the White House or the government actually works.

He is unpredictable, which his supporters see as an advantage. But in a harrowing, hair-trigger world it matters that the leaders of other nations be able to calculate with some reasonable certainty what another leader would do under a given set of circumstances.
The tragedy of this is that there are no good outcomes (barring a miracle ending in which a GOP moderate rises out of a brokered convention and gains the support of the entire party). Heh, there are no miracles in politics.

The GOP will likely give this election to the Democrats—a party that has veered so far left that it embraces the corruption, the vindictiveness, the bad decisions and horrific outcomes, the poor economy, the lack of jobs, the crushing national debt, the growing dependency that have been hallmarks of the Obama years. Hillary Clinton, the Democrat candidate if she's not indicted on felony charges, promises to continue the Obama legacy. Wow! That's. Just. Great.

When a 6'10" NBA player breaks away and moves in for a slam dunk—and misses—the crowd gasps. After all, it's an unmissable shot, until it isn't. Because Obama is a failed president, because the country and the world is a mess on his watch, because partisan politics or worse pervades almost everything he does, a 2016 win for the GOP was a slam dunk. Until it wasn't.


After I wrote this post, I ran across this from the conservative Investors Business Daily. They argue that Donald Trump just might give Hillary Clinton fits:
... Trump’s unpredictability makes him a lot harder to beat. But that’s hardly the only edge that the GOP front-runner has:

* Enthusiasm gap: Thanks to Trump, turnout has been stronger for Republicans in every single primary race, up double digits across the board. Trump has far more votes than Romney did at this point in 2012 — a whopping 200,000 more in Virginia and 60,000 more even in Massachusetts, Romney’s home state.

* Crossover appeal: Exit polls from open primaries show that Trump is also attracting record numbers of independents and even Reagan Democrats, which could capture swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

* The black vote: Trump threatens for the first time to peel a sizable share of black voters from Democrats. Polls show that he garners as much as 25% of African-Americans — five times the GOP average.

* Electoral College: Trump’s home states of New York and Florida, both blue states, may also be in play, along with their massive electoral votes. A Siena College poll of Long Island voters last week found Trump narrowly beating Clinton, 41% to 38%. Even deep-blue Massachusetts is vulnerable — more than 20,000 Bay State Democrats have fled the party, with thousands doing so to join the Republican ranks amid the Trump surge.

* Media mastery: Trump would burn through Hillary’s most reliable firewall: the mainstream media. He’s already taken a politically incorrect blowtorch to the pro-Democrat media filter.

* Greed is good: Trump won’t hide from his wealth like Romney. He’ll actually brag about it, vowing to help make every American rich and neutralizing what’s been the Democrats’ most effective weapon against tax-cutting Republicans in the past: class warfare.

* Offense: Unlike Bernie Sanders, Trump vows to hammer Hillary over her email and foreign influence-peddling scandals every day of the campaign.

* Defense: Hillary will think twice about playing the sexist card against Trump. “She called me sexist, and I hit her with the husband, and that’s the last time I ever heard the word sexist,” he noted Thursday, referring to the Lewinsky scandal and Bill Clinton’s womanizing. “They had a rough weekend.”
The real, problem though, is that the country just might have a 108 "rough weekends" regardless of whether The Donald (should he get the nomination) or Hillary (should she avoid an indictment) is elected. Pathetic.

Thursday, March 03, 2016


The BDS Movement—you know, the collection of unhinged leftists (a.k.a. useful idiots) who would prefer the misogynist, homophobic, corrupt, paranoid, dishonest, anti-democratic, hyper-violent, anti-Semitic, anti-Western leadership of the "palestinians" to the democratically elected, liberal democracy called Israel—has accomplished what unhinged leftists often accomplish—misery for the people they purport to champion. Abraham Rabinovich reports:
Jerusalem—The last of 500 West Bank Palestinians who had been employed by the beverage firm SodaStream were let go on Monday as a result of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions [BDS] movement targeting Israeli economic activity in the West Bank.

The firm had relocated its main plant from the West Bank industrial zone of Mishor Adumim last year to the Negev, inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders, after it became the target of a BDS campaign organized by pro-Palestinian groups in Europe and the United States. The campaign also targeted actress Scarlett Johansson, who was publicizing the company. The plant owners argued at the time that BDS was in effect harming the interests of Palestinians by depriving 500 Palestinian workers of their jobs in the West Bank, an area where jobs are difficult to find.

At the time of the October move, the management received permission from Israeli authorities for 74 experienced Palestinian employees to commute to the new plant inside Israel until the end of February. That deadline was today.

SodaStream, which produces a pressurized cylinder to create carbonated drinks, employed 1,300 workers at its West Bank plant. Of these, 350 were Israeli Jews, 450 Israeli Arabs and 500 West Bank Palestinians. The Israeli media reported that pay and benefits were identical for all in comparable jobs.

Palestinian workers leaving the plant in Israel for the last time today were emotional. “We were one family,” Anas Abdul Wadad Ghayth, 25, told Agence France-Presse, as he boarded a bus for the West Bank. “I am sad because I am leaving friends I have worked with for a long time.”
I'm sure that in the fevered minds of BDS adherents, this is viewed as a "victory." After all, delusional thinking is a hallmark of BDS. I can't help but wondering if Anas Abdul Wadad Ghayth would agree that his loss of livelihood is a "victory."

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


Assuming the Hillary Clinton is not indicted for national security violations or that emails indicating influence peddling via the Clinton Global Initiative are not found on her server's wiped disk drive, it looks, after the Super Tuesday primary results, like she will be the Democratic party's nominee for president. The fact that Clinton is corrupt (consider her CGI dealings over the past two decades) and a liar (consider that she stated unequivocally that her private email server contained no top secret emails when in fact it contained well over 1,800 of them), it's surprising that the Dems are backing her, but then again, dishonesty and corruption have become the norm in the White House over the past 7 years.

But what about accomplishments? Clinton does have chutzpa, suggesting that her time as Secretary of State gives her impeccable foreign policy credentials. But even her cheerleaders at The New York Times have begun to question her judgment and accomplishments in that realm. Reporters Shane Scott and Jo Becker write:
Two days before, Mrs. Clinton had taken a triumphal tour of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and for weeks top aides had been circulating a “ticktock” that described her starring role in the events that had led to this moment. The timeline, her top policy aide, Jake Sullivan, wrote, demonstrated Mrs. Clinton’s “leadership/ownership/stewardship of this country’s Libya policy from start to finish.” The memo’s language put her at the center of everything: “HRC announces … HRC directs … HRC travels … HRC engages,” it read.

It was a brag sheet for a cabinet member eyeing a presidential race, and the Clinton team’s eagerness to claim credit for her prompted eye-rolling at the White House and the Pentagon. Some joked that to hear her aides tell it, she had practically called in the airstrikes herself.

But there were plenty of signs that the triumph would be short-lived, that the vacuum left by Colonel Qaddafi’s death invited violence and division.

In fact, on the same August day that Mr. Sullivan had compiled his laudatory memo, the State Department’s top Middle East hand, Jeffrey D. Feltman, had sent a lengthy email with an utterly different tone about what he had seen on his own visit to Libya.

The country’s interim leaders seemed shockingly disengaged, he wrote. Mahmoud Jibril, the acting prime minister, who had helped persuade Mrs. Clinton to back the opposition, was commuting from Qatar, making only “cameo” appearances. A leading rebel general had been assassinated, underscoring the hazard of “revenge killings.” Islamists were moving aggressively to seize power, and members of the anti-Qaddafi coalition, notably Qatar, were financing them.
Libya has subsequently devolved in chaos. It is now a failed state in which al Qaeda and ISIS find safe haven. Try as they might, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton can't find a way to blame George W. Bush or the GOP for the debacle they created.

In a remarkable moment of candor, the NYT reporters connect the dots:
And Mrs. Clinton would be mostly a bystander as the country dissolved into chaos, leading to a civil war that would destabilize the region, fueling the refugee crisis in Europe and allowing the Islamic State to establish a Libyan haven that the United States is now desperately trying to contain.
So ... the Dems offer the people of the United States a politician who is corrupt, who is a serial liar, and whose incompetent leadership of the State Department destabilized an entire region of the world. What a resume'!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016


The results of the Super Tuesday primaries are still not in, but polls indicate another big win for Donald Trump. As regular readers of this blog know, I am not a big fan of Trump, believing him to be a bully, a blowhard, and somewhat less than one question deep on any policy matter that might be importance to the future of the country. But it's increasingly likely that Trump will become the GOP nominee, and the operative question is "Why?"

In her recent Wall Street Journal column, Peggy Noonan provides what has to be one of the best explanations to date of the Trump phenomenon in the United States and the unraveling of the political elite in Europe. She writes:
There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let’s stick with the protected.

They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them—in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union—literally have their own security details.

Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.
It is the last sentence that is the most salient. The protected (what I have called the 'elites' in media, politics, and entertainment) tell the unprotected (the rest of us) what the laws are, how we are supposed to view the world, and how we are supposed to interpret national and world events. In effect, how to think.Yet the protected live by different rules that insulate them from the pronouncements they make concerning the rest of us. A trivial example—the protected created Obamacare and forced tens of millions into a flawed, expensive medical insurance system. Yet the protected don't participate. Perfect!

And if the unprotected balk at the coercion from the protected, heck, if we even think differently—if we view big government as intrusive, or gun ownership as a right, or open borders as a national disgrace, or political correctness as a delusional view of the real world, or radical Muslims as an ever-present threat—we are accused of illiberal attitudes, violent tendencies, xenophobia, racism, or Islamophobia. We know that those accusations are abject nonsense, but the propaganda-like repetitiveness of them, coupled with the official or unofficial negative consequences imposed by the protected (boycotts, sanctions, shaming, or overt government action) on those who think differently has begun to grate.

When someone declares that the protected are hypocrites who don't have to live with the consequences of their fantasies when those fantasies are actualized as policy, that someone becomes the champion of the unprotected. From Richard Fernandez of the Belmont Club:
The inmates of the castle [the protected] are beginning to understand that the strange lighted dots in the distance represent men with torches and pitchforks on the move. The old deference to authority [by the unprotected] has weakened suddenly and catastrophically.
I'm not sure this is a good thing—but decades of political mismanagement and corruption along with blatant bias on the part of a media that shields the protected from serious inquiry (particularly when the protected as Democrats) has taken its toll. The result is the rise of demagogues like Donald Trump or Marie Le Pen. The unprotected have finally found a voice—for better of worse.


Angelo Codevilla (read the whole thing) defines a possible (some would say probable) end-result of a Donald Trump presidency. Trump will be supported by the unprotected initially, but his presidency would be designed to screw them over in the end. By the way, a Clinton presidency would do exactly the same thing, but with a little less bravado.

Codevilla writes:
Like Obama, Trump is not about persuading anybody. Both are about firing up their supporters to impose their will on their opponents while insulting them. Throughout history, this style of politics has been the indispensable ingredient for wrecking republics, the “final cause” that transforms free citizens into the subjects of emperors.

This style of politics has grown, along with a ruling class that rejects the notion that no person may rule another without that person’s consent. As I have shown at length elsewhere, America is now ruled by a uniformly educated class of persons that occupies the commanding heights of bureaucracy, of the judiciary, education, the media, and of large corporations, and that wields political power through the Democratic Party. Its control of access to prestige, power, privilege, and wealth exerts a gravitational pull that has made the Republican Party’s elites into its satellites.

This class’s fatal feature is its belief that ordinary Americans are a lesser intellectual and social breed. Its increasing self-absorption, its growing contempt for whoever won’t bow to it, its dependence for votes on sectors of society whose grievances it stokes, have led it to break the most basic rule of republican life: deeming its opposition illegitimate. The ruling class insists on driving down the throats of its opponents the agendas of each its constituencies and on injuring persons who stand in the way. This has spawned a Newtonian reaction, a hunger, among what may be called the “country class” for returning the favor with interest.
The key to understanding the arrogance of the power elite is to examine their abject failure in virtually every realm that is broadly defined as "government." Think about it -- is government more efficient, less corrupt, less beholden to special interests or more effective that it was, say, 50 years ago? Is it less intrusive in its dealings with citizens, more willing to encourage individuality and initiative, less likely to promote the notion of victimization, and more likely to discourage division? The answer in every case is "NO."  Given that, it can be argued that in many ways, the elites have made things worse, much worse.

UPDATE (3/2/16):
Moral preening by the Democrats has begun as Donald Trump looks ever more likely to become the GOP nominee. A CNN political commentator named Sally Cohen stated that Democratic voter turnout in November will be up, thereby "stopping us from becoming Nazi Germany." This delusional statement tells us far more about the fevered thinking of left-leaning Dems that it does about Donald Trump.

I am no fan of the Donald, but suggesting that he is a harbinger of a return to a genocidal regime that murdered 40 million people is ... well, INSANE!

Then again, there are no bounds on the Left, allowing them to get a pass regardless of how crazy their pronouncements are (think: Bernie Sanders). And it's only beginning.