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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Three Percent

Conservatives are often ridiculed by Democrats and the Left for suggesting that meaningful economic growth and the jobs it inevitably creates are one important element in the cure for many of society's ills. The Dems goto phrase to blunt suggestions that lower taxes, few regulations and a pro-business administration is "trickle down economics." They say this derisively, and trot out left-leaning academic economists to dispute the notion. Yet, common sense and hard historical data indicate that lower taxes do, in fact, lead to economic growth, that economic growth leads to better paying jobs, and that better paying jobs lead to a flow of tax money into the government, providing the feds with the resources to address social and infrastructure problems.

But economic growth is also affected by the tone of national leadership. During the Obama era, the tone of government was notably anti-business. Rather than making it easier for business to thrive, the past administration applied its leftist ideology and put roadblocks in the way—higher taxes, more regulation and in selected cases, outright demonization of "corporations." The result was as obvious as it was tragic—continuous and unrelenting low growth, the worst economic recovery in the nation's history, a labor participation rate that was historically high, the flight of corporate money off-shore, and a continuous growth in dependency (foodstamps, welfare, etc.).

Steven Moore writes:
It seems like just yesterday that President Trump’s detractors were ridiculing the White House forecast that 3 percent economic growth could be attained in the post-Great Recession America. So Trump has reason to smile that during his first full quarter-year in office, gross domestic product (GDP) growth was just revised upward to … 3 percent.

Yes, this is just a preliminary snapshot based only on three months, so I’m not trying to get carried away here. But more good news is that the GDP forecast for the third quarter of 2017 is now estimated at 3.4 percent, as the economy is clearly picking up speed. These 3 percent-plus growth rates are especially impressive given that the economy crawled forward at just 1.6 percent growth in President Obama’s last year in office.
The four constituencies—Democrats, the GOP elite, mainstream media, and denizens of the deep state—are working 24-7-365 to ensure that Donald Trump fails. They will do everything possible to downplay this important economic turnaround. They'll also do everything possible to ensure that tax reduction and reform don't happen. They do this not in the interest of the American people, but to solidify their own flagging power and prestige, hoping that the public will blame it all on Trump. They may very well succeed, but it will be at the expense of the very middle class they keep telling us they care so much about.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The "Illness"

The elites tell us that patience and even-handedness are the only viable approaches to North Korea. Western politicians have tried sanctions, tough talk, calm talk, conciliatory gestures, and huge amounts of "aid." And yet, the NoKos have done nothing except to continue their game—outrageous and bellicose behavior that goes right to the brink, hoping for concessions and additional aid from Westerners who want to avoid war at all cost. North Korean has perfected its game, recognizing that the West doesn't have the stomach for violent confrontation. But as Western leaders kicked the can down the road, this despicable, communist dictatorship has passed from generation to generation, starving it own people while building nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. What to do?

That answer to that question is predicated on the answer to another. Exactly what danger do the NoKos present for the West?

The answer isn't difficult to formulate. Once the NoKos have a stockpile of nuclear weapons and ICBMs, they can and will use them as blackmail. They can threaten to share their apocalyptic technology with Islamic terror groups (including Iran); threaten democracies in their region; precipitate nuclear proliferation in Japan and South Korea, and ultimately, become the catalyst for a nuclear war that could spread to become a worldwide conflict.

The political elites tell use to remain calm. That statecraft will prevail. Yep, is that becuase it's worked so well for the past 30 years?

The editors of the Wall Street Journal comment:
... East Asia would join the Middle East in a new era of nuclear proliferation, with grave risks to world order. This is one reason that acquiescing to a North Korea with nuclear missiles is so dangerous.

Yet this is the line now peddled by former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who says the U.S. must begin “accepting it and trying to cap it or control it.” Having said for eight years that a nuclear North is unacceptable, they now say that President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had better get used to it.
So ... two inveterate liars from the Obama administration tell us that we have to accept the status quo. Yet, their advice sounds oddly reasonable, just as those who in the 1930s told us that German nationalism was something that we had to accept because the alternative was U.S. involvment and war. How did that advise work out for us and the world?

Over 500 years ago, Niccolo Machiavelli said: "... that at the beginning, an illness is often easy to cure but difficult to diagnose; but as time passes, not having been recognized or treated at the outset, it becomes easy to diagnose but difficult to cure.”

In the early 1990s, the NoKo "illness" was difficult to fully diagnose but would have been easy to cure. Their pathetic excuse for a regime could have been destroyed easily. Sure many people would have died, and China (then a much weaker adversary) might have gotten involved, but the "illness" would have been cured. Today. because it was not "treated at the outset, it becomes easy to diagnose but difficult to cure.” So Western leaders remain frozen, because the cure is onerous.

And yet, the "illness" does not abate—it gets more virulent year after year. Sort of like Germany in the 1930s. By the time the West decided to act in that era, the resulting conflict killed 40 to 60 million people.

Although its difficult to contemplate, by the time the West decides to act, the resulting conflict might make that total seem small.

The sad reality of our world is that sometimes war (e.g., violence and death) are inevitable. The question is, do we pay that awful price now, or do we wait, and pay a catastrophic price later?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Houston or Berkeley

The trained hamsters in the media are trying very hard to ignore or minimize (one story and done) the alt-Left violence that is spreading weekly. The latest example comes from (where else?) Berkeley, CA, but it isn't unique or very surprising. Masked groups like antifa are referred to as "demonstrators" while they use clubs and wooden shields to attack people whose message they don't like (those people in Berkeley, by the way, were not overt KKK, neo-Nazis or white supremacists). The police in some uber-progressive cities stand back allow the violence to happen.

Ben Shapiro draws an interesting comparison:
Over the weekend, we saw the best of America: Americans helping Americans in Houston. Race, creed, color — none of it mattered. Americans were in need, and other Americans moved to help them.

Meanwhile, in Berkeley, we saw the worst of America: Americans, garbed in black, helmeted, wearing bandannas over their faces, assaulting peaceful protesters merely there to exercise their free speech rights. We saw the police stand down. We saw assaults in the streets.

So, what’s the difference between Americans in Houston and Americans in Berkeley?

The existential threat.

... To define our existential threat, in other words, we must define ourselves. And right now, we’re breaking down along tribal lines, along class lines. We’re not breaking down along the lines of principles: non-violence in politics; free speech; rights inherent in human individuals free of government. The founding vision has been undermined, and so we search out abroad in favor of new dragons to slay. Meanwhile, the real dragons grow at home, in the form of those who see the founding vision as the problem.
White supremacist groups have always been around. They represent a tiny percentage (estimate at 0.006 percent) of the population. They do NOT represent an existential threat, although they are certainly despicable. The alt-Left has also been around for about a century. For those of us old enough to remember the 1960s, analogous alt-Left groups (e.g., the Weather Underground) claimed that their opposition to "the system" and the Vietnam War justified violence. The media, then at least trying to establish a patina of objectivity, called them out. They were generally condemned by the public at large.

There will always be an alt-Right and an alt-Left. The problem today is that a biased and dishonest media exaggerates the threat of one (the alt-Right) and minimizes or even applauds the violent actions of the other (the alt-Left).* The danger is that the public reacts by thinking that the fascistic actions and violence of the alt-Left are somehow justified or acceptable.

Houston or Berkeley? You decide.


* It appears that this is beginning to change. The likes of CNN and WaPo have begun referring to antifa as "militants" and use the word "violence" when referring to their actions. That's a start.

The reason, I think, may be that antifa could become a real albatross for Democrats in 2018, unless their violent, fascist tactics are universally condemned by Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media. It will be interesting to see whether prominent left-wing Dems (e.g., Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and rising star Kamala Harris) come out and unequivocally condemn antifa and other alt-Left groups. I'm waiting ...

Monday, August 28, 2017


Stephen Moore argues that the best legislation always follows the Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) philosophy. It integrates a few easily understood elements and proposes them as new law. He writes:
One of the most enduring lessons from the ObamaCare [repeal and replace] fiasco is that to win a political battle, it is best to keep the message simple. If there are too many moving parts to a plan, if Americans don’t understand what the politicians are doing, or if there are parts of a bill they don’t like, it probably will go down in flames.
With this in mind, Moore proposes a "tax reform" package that contains three simple elements:
First, cut tax rates for large and small businesses to 15 percent to make America competitive and create jobs. Second, repatriate $2.5 trillion of money held by American companies back to the United States at a 10 percent tax rate. Third, double the standard deduction for every family and individual tax filer.

And that’s it. Hard stop. No border tax. No carbon tax. No surtax on rich people. No end of popular tax deductions. ‎You can’t get the tax base broadened without a single Democratic vote helping you do it, so don’t try to roll this boulder up the hill.
Although the #Resistance will never support this approach because they refuse to give Trump any win, no matter how beneficial to our economy and the middle class, a few Democrat senators who are up for re-election may decide to vote in favor of it. And although the #NeverTrump GOP elites may also balk at a lack of revenue neutrality (as an excuse for opposing Trump), most of them do not want to be primaried when they vote against a tax cut.

Moore's three-step plan will spur economic growth, bring trillions in capital parked overseas back to our shores, and provide the middle class with a much needed tax cut. Of course, progressives will wail that doubling the standard deduction provides the same benefit to "the rich" as it does for the middle class, but that simply demonstrates collective innumeracy. The standard deduction has little if any impact on the taxes paid by "the rich," simply because it represents a very small percentage of their income. But the standard deduction can reduce middle class taxes in a meaningful way, because it represents a far larger percentage of overall income.

The #NeverTrump GOP will wail that the KISS approach will increase the debt, after spending the past decade being passive-aggressive about increasing the debt. There are two ways to decrease debt: (1) stop federal spending—and that will never happen; (2) spur significant growth in GDP, thereby growing the tax base and tax revenues. The second approach actually has a chance of succeeding. We should take it.

But KISS is not what Washington does. The geniuses on Capitol Hill will make things as complex as possible, and in so doing, doom any meaningful attempt at tax reform. Deep down, both #Resistance and #NeverTrump both want it that way.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Identity Politics

As mass hysteria sets in, the reasoning ability of far too many progressives has been warped by unfocused hatred of boogie men that morph in form and substance on a weekly basis. Donald Trump is their primary target—a man accused of every "ism" imaginable, an elected official who is, according to many on the left, a "Russian stooge" and a "white supremacist, a "misogynist" and an "Islamophobe," "insane and unhinged," a "war-monger" and an "incompetent," a "failed president" (already) that is somehow still a danger to them. But Trump is only one boogie man. Anyone who dares to question the progressive narrative is to be condemned with ad hominem attacks. And now, the crazy Left has moved beyond people to objects. They're going after statues of civil war figures who lived 150 years ago. Have they considered how all of this plays for those of us who are not finely attuned to progressive thought?

Peter Berkowitz comments on a book written by Mark Lilla, who he characterizes as "a [liberal] professor of humanities at Columbia University and a regular essayist at the New York Review of Books."
Liberals, [Lilla] argues, must repudiate the politics of identity because it undermines the pursuit of the common good to which American liberalism is properly directed. Identity liberalism divides Americans into groups—women, African-Americans, Latinos, LGBT Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, and on and on. It nourishes a “resentful, disuniting rhetoric of difference” that defines membership in terms of distinctive narratives of victimhood, and confers status in proportion to the magnitude of the oppression one claims to have suffered under the hegemonic sway of white, male structures of power. Propelled by America’s colleges and universities—which, Lilla observes, have replaced political clubs and shop floors as the incubators of liberal political leaders—identity liberalism has abandoned the political mission of bringing fellow citizens together in favor of the evangelical one of extracting professions of faith and punishing heretics, apostates, and infidels.

Disappointingly for an author whose purpose is to rouse fellow liberals to action, Lilla offers no proposal for reforming our colleges and universities, which he blames for indoctrinating students in identity politics dogma. But he does sketch the larger political goal: a “more civic-minded liberalism” that cultivates a shared appreciation of the rights and responsibilities that all America citizens share and which encourages individuals to undertake “the hard and unglamorous task of persuading people very different from themselves to join a common effort.”
Lilla also writes about the effects of identity politics in the classroom:
[Identity politics] turns the encounter into a power relation: the winner of the argument will be whoever has invoked the morally superior identity and expressed the most outrage at being questioned. So classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. This makes perfect sense if you believe that identity determines everything. It means there is no impartial space for dialogue.
But who defines which identity is "morally superior" and by what criteria is that definition established? Those questions sit at the center of all of this. Progressives tell us that they, and they alone, can establish the definition of who or what is "morally superior" and that any alternatives are unacceptable. It's interesting that the Left doesn't seem to realize that tens of millions of people find that position to be intolerant and those same millions do not want an intolerant ideology to guide the future path of our country.

Identity politics is toxic—for our country and also for progressives. An ideology that implicitly encourages division and at the same time suggests that each of the "tribes" it defines are somehow victims of "white privilege" cannot succeed over the long-term. Identity politics resulted in significant election losses throughout the Obama years and culminated with the crushing, upset defeat of a Democratic presidential candidate who should have won easily. It alienates the broad center of our electorate, who is offended by accusations of racism, bigotry, misogyny, blah, blah ... blah.

In their mass hysteria, progressives don't seem to realize that questioning the morality of half the country is not a solid political strategy.


William Voegeli also writes about Lilla book and concludes that identity politics is here to stay:
Rather than gratefully accept this [progressive] enlightenment and path to redemption, ... the unwashed [in this context, the "deplorables"] are likely to demand an identity politics of their own. “As soon as you cast an issue exclusively in terms of identity,” Lilla warns, “you invite your adversary to do the same.” Thus, Donald Trump’s victory and Lilla’s book, which grew out of a New York Times op-ed he wrote the week after the 2016 election. He [Lila] was “sick and tired of noble defeats,” Lilla told interviewers then. Lilla’s article prompted many denunciations, the most venomous coming from a Columbia law professor who compared him, unfavorably, with David Duke.

Such reactions give strong reason to doubt that we will soon see a post- or anti-identity politics emerging the Democratic Party. And yet, an even stronger reason exists. The feasibility of Lilla’s project depends on the plausibility of his analysis. If identity politics is an affliction that happened to liberalism, as he sees it, then it’s realistic to activate Democratic antibodies to reject the pathogen. If, however, identity politics is a condition to which liberalism is inherently susceptible, or even disposed, then identity politics is not the Democrats’ problem but their destiny. Unfortunately for Lilla, the evidence points in this direction.
It's almost as if progressives cannot stand to even consider the possibility that their embrace of identity politics is toxic for them. Suggesting that Lilla, a Columbia University humanities professor and a liberal, is someone akin to David Duke exemplifies the unhinged response to honest and constructive criticism by far too many progressives. As I've written many times in this blog, they're in a hole, and they just keep digging.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Abolitio Memoriae

Over the past few days,  the removal of civil war statues has (predictably) expanded to statues of others who somehow offend delicate progressive sensibilities. Leftist NYC Mayor, Bill Di Blasio, is recommending a "commission" to consider the removal of statues of historical figures such as Ulysses S. Grant and Christopher Columbus. If allowed to continue, this lunacy won't stop there.

Conservative historian Victor Davis Hansen has written a notable essay on abolitio memoriae—the “erasing of memory”. He writes:
After unhinged [Roman] emperors were finally killed off, the sycophantic Senate often proclaimed a damnatio memoriae (a “damnation of memory”). Prior commemoration was wiped away, thereby robbing the posthumous ogre of any legacy and hence any existence for eternity. Powered by more practical matters, there followed a concurrent abolitio memoriae (an “erasing of memory”). Specifically, moralists either destroyed or rounded up and put away all statuary and inscriptions concerning the bad, dead emperor. In the case of particularly striking or expensive artistic pieces, they erased the emperor’s name (abolitio nominis) or his face and some physical characteristics from the artwork.
Hansen then goes about the deconstruction of the current left-wing efforts to recreate abolitio memoriae in the aftermath of Charlotteville, and why those efforts are deeply flawed from a historical, moral, and contemporary perspective.

Hansen raises so many excellent historical points, they are difficult to adequately summarize in a brief post. In essence, he notes that slavery was an evil that cannot and should not be justified, but that any attempt at erasing any physical representation of anyone or anything that was connected to slavery will result in the erasure of much of our past. He writes:
What about the morally ambiguous persecution of sinners such as the current effort in California to damn the memory of Father Junipero Serra and erase his eponymous boulevards, to punish his supposedly illiberal treatment of Native Americans in the early missions some 250 years ago? California Bay Area zealots are careful to target Serra but not Leland Stanford, who left a more detailed record of his own 19th-century anti-non-white prejudices, but whose university brand no progressive student of Stanford would dare to erase, because doing so would endanger his own studied trajectory to the good life. We forget that there are other catalysts than moral outrage that calibrate the targets of abolitio memoriae.
It is those "other catalysts" that we must understand before joining the mob who is in favor of abolitio memoriae. Who, exactly, defines the appropriate target for abolitio memoriae, and are they so morally superior that they can demand that their selected targets be torn down? Is it, as Hansen notes, the province of extremists like Black Lives Matter or antifa?
When Minnesota Black Lives Matter marchers chanted of police, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” was that a call for violence that was not long after realized by a spate of racist murders of policemen in Dallas? Are such advocates of torching police officers morally equipped to adjudicate which Confederate statue must come down?
There were certainly psychopaths among confederate leaders who deserve no commemoration. But there were also better men who fought for the wrong cause 150 years ago and often regretted it later in life. Regardless, it is not the province of left-wing extremists like BLM or antifa to lead any ill-conceived attempt at abolitio memoriae. In many ways, their own intolerance, demonization of others, and violent response to those with other views are analogous to those historical figures who they demand as targets of abolitio memoriae.

Hansen's essay is important. Read the whole thing.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Venom and Discord

The trained hamsters in the main stream media clutch their collective pearls and defend themselves against Donald Trump's head-on attacks. With pinched faces, the most biased "commentators" tell us that Trump is "unstable" or "unhinged" or possibly "insane" (the meme words of the week). They trot out partisans who echo their comments, and everyone nods and frowns gravely. The now open warfare between the trained hamsters and Trump continues to escalate.

Here's the problem for the media. Trump's diatribes are undoubtedly over the top (what else is new?) but many members of the general public recognize that there is truth at the core of his argument (polls confirm this). Trump's accusations of "fake news" and dishonesty are accurate in the main.

If you were to listen to any of the usual media suspects over the past week, you'd think that the United States is beset by the 0.006 percent* of the population that are actually white supremacists, led by the President of the United States who is himself a sympathizer. You'd think that a deranged neo-Nazi who drove into a crowd of people in Charlottesville is somehow indicative of widespread racism in the broader population. You'd argue that three words ("on both sides") negate an otherwise reasonable condemnation of right-wing extremists and a plea to stop the violence coming from both the right and left. You'd think that tearing down statues that are offensive to some will somehow remedy the underlying causes of violence, poverty, and dependency that are evidenced in many urban areas (Chicago comes to mind).

There is no doubt that Donald Trump has many failings, but he is not "insane," and he certainly is not a "racist" or an "anti-Semite." But it's difficult to convince people who are in the grip of mass hysteria of that reality.

So the beat goes on. The four constituencies continue their efforts to destroy Trump's presidency and with it, a number of worthwhile policies (e.g., health care reform, tax reform, immigration reform, economic reform, trade policy, infrastucture improvement). #Resistance and #NeverTrump offer nothing of substance, nothing that would improve the lives of citizens, nothing that would move our country forward—only venom and discord. It will be interesting to see whether they succeed in their soft coup and what the unintended consequences of their success will be.


*For those who have trouble with percentages, think of it this way. If you were to fill Madison Square Garden with 20,000 people, there would likely be one white supremacist among them—one in 20,000! I think it's fair to state that that single despicable human being would NOT hold any sway over the other 19,999 people in the arena and if he/she spewed white supremacist rhetoric, he/she would be drowned out by the crowd. Of course, the "fake news" media never provides us with an indication of the size of the white supremacist community and the fact that it is an infinitesmally small part of our population. After all, the trained hamsters avoid context if it flies in the face of the prevailing narrative.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


All presidents inherit problems—often significant problems. Donald Trump is no exception. His reversal on the Afghan war and his proposed approach to it may be well-intentioned, but I believe it's doomed to failure or at best, a prescription for a never-ending American presence that accomplishes little.

The 17-year "war" in Afghanistan is, in my view, an intractable problem. The Islamic extremists (i.e., the Taliban) in Afghanistan, coupled with a uniquely tribal culture, difficult geography, a corrupt government, and a powerful Muslim neighbor (Pakistan) makes any attempt at solving the problem almost impossible. Soviet brutality didn't work to defeat the Taliban in the 1980s, our presence after 9/11 was far too sensitive to local participation (often duplicitous) and also failed, and the past administration's passive aggressive approach in the country did little. It's not clear that the strategy proposed by Trump and his military team will work to achieve a "change in conditions" on the ground.

Ralph Peters comments:
We have a magnificent, well-led military, but rare is the general who understands the economic principle of “sunk costs,” that you can’t redeem a bad investment by investing even more. When money is gone, it’s gone. The same applies to lives.

A fundamental problem in Afghanistan is that Americans have been dying for a woefully corrupt succession of governments in Kabul for which young Afghans have been unwilling to die. Our new strategy includes a tougher line on corruption, but the damage has been done. What seemed expedient to ignore turned fatal.

Our self-absorbed counter-insurgency strategy assumes that the people will rally around the government we support. But that didn’t happen in South Vietnam, and it didn’t happen in Afghanistan. In both cases, a flood of American wealth turned petty thieves into crime bosses with cabinet posts, while the national army stumbled along and the common man with an empty purse had faint hope of justice.

In Afghanistan, illiterate farmers in remote valleys see their country far more clearly than we do.

As for justice, the Taliban’s religious courts provide it, free of change. It may not be our kind of justice, but it’s better than brazen theft by local officials backed by Kabul. The Taliban are barbaric, woman-hating pederasts, but they’re the home team for Afghanistan’s Pashtun majority, fighting for religious truth, Sharia justice and the Islamist way.
To be blunt, Afghanistan is a cesspool of Islamist tribes that cannot be trusted as allies. It is a prima facie case of "sunk costs."

Trump's statement that we out of the national building business is laudable. Hiss policy of putting pressure on Pakistan is a good one. His suggestion that we develop closer tied to India is also strategically sound. And it may be that we'll have to keep a small presence in Afghanistan to coordinate pin-point attacks on Islamic terror groups and the Taliban when they are visible. But Afghanistan is a no-win place. Any additional investment of lives and treasure is highly questionable.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Barcelona—"Tolerance and Freedom"

After every vicious Islamic terror attack that kills many and injures more, it's always instructive to read the commentary provided by the left-wing editors of The New York Times. The editors ask  questions like:
Why a promenade in Barcelona and the seaside town of Cambrils? Why now? Were the terrorists compelled to act hastily after a more insidious plot collapsed when a house believed to be their bomb factory in a nearby town exploded prematurely on Wednesday?
These empty questions allow the editors to give the impression that they are thinking deeply about the situation. In reality, it's a way of distracting the reader from uncomfortable, but far more meaningful questions:
  • Has unrestrained Muslim immigration into Europe created a critical mass of young Muslim men (and women) who are prime candidates for Islamists to recruit?
  • Are mosques in Europe breeding grounds for this new generation of 'lone wolf' terrorists and/or small terror cells?
  • Should an Imam who preaches violence or hatred against non-Muslims be charged with a hate crime and imprisioned or deported?
  • Do authorities need to be more aggressive in rounding up and deporting foreign nationals who have been placed on terror watchlists? Do laws have to be changed to enable this to happen?
  • Is it time to put the onus of the local Muslim community and demand that they provide explicit and continuing help in identifying and eradicating the Islamist extremists in their midst?
But those questions (and many others) make the NYT editors uneasy, so they ring their hands and write:
The real questions that remain are about ourselves — how we who live in societies that celebrate tolerance and freedom, and that guarantee civil rights and the rights of minorities, should react to acts whose very purpose is to make us turn against these rights and freedoms.

This is at the heart of the fierce debates over security in Europe and the United States: Should we seek to fortify the places where people gather, losing the very casualness and openness that make promenades like Las Ramblas so popular? Should we arm governments with extraordinary powers to surveil, investigate and block immigrants? Should we accept an element of threat as the price for our freedoms?
Comments like these give the appearance of deep introspection, but they, like the earlier questions, are a feint. The left always suggests that by taking a stronger stand against those who reject our "tolerance and freedom" and act violently to disrupt the "very casualness and openness" of our society, we somehow become like the Islamic terrorists.*

That is abject nonsense. When a vicious Islamic supremacist ideology (it is NOT a religion and deserves no such protections) threatens our very way of life, it must be crushed. If that requires hard decisions and even harder actions, those decisions and actions need to be made—and made quickly.

Instead, most feckless Western leaders take their lead from the NYT. They are frightened that they will be accused of "racism" or "bigotry" or "Islamophobia," so they avoid the hard decisions and actions that are required. As a consequence, they prefer a safe, politically correct approach as their people are murdered during an afternoon strol, or at a rock concert, or celebrating a national holiday at the seashore, or in a subway, or on a bus, or in a shopping mall.

The means and location may vary, but the Muslim perpetrators are always the same. The only thing that's changing is the frequency. The Islamic terrors attacks are occurring more and more often, but Western leaders and the editors of NYT don't seem to care.

*  In recent days the left has expressed its justifiable outrage at the hateful words and actions of the tiny percentage of white supremacists in our midst. They have taken a "strong stand." They have condemned violence and hate. In Boston, 15,000 - 40,000 people marched against the KKK and Neo-Nazis (even though few could be found). The marches were coordinated and organized by leftist groups—most peaceful. Good for them!

It's interesting to note that radical Islam has orders of magnitude more adherents that all white supremacist groups combined. In recent years Islamic supremacists have perpetrated orders of magnitude more violence and murder, have preached hate from religious pulpits, have recruited youth by the thousands, have a significantly more robust web presence, and have advocated the overthrow of almost every politically correct idea held by the left, including "tolerance and freedom." For that matter, is an intolerant and violent Islamic supremacist ideology really any different that a white supremacist ideology? And yet we see no marches sponsored by the Left against radical Islam. Why is that?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Antifa-A Closer Look

When Donald Trump suggested that white supremacists and left wing antifa groups both exhibited violent actions and hateful symbols and rhetoric, progressives in general, Democrats in particular, GOP elites, and the trained hamsters of the media became unhinged. There is no moral equivalency, they exclaimed, and for even suggesting it, Donald trump is a White supremacist, neo nazi stooge!!!

Okay, then.  There's really no point in debated this delusional accusation. After all, you can't reason someone out of a position they never reasoned themselves into in the first place.

But it might be worthwhile to allow images of the left-wing antifa movement to speak for themselves. Sure, you never saw any of these images on TV or mainstream media sites because they run counter to the prevailing narrative that the left simply wants "love to trump hate, " that every leftist is peaceful, and protests with a heavy heart.

Antifa is a violent group of extremists that espouses violence as a means to curtail speech they don't like. By the way, that violence is NOT limited to white supremacist rhetoric but can and sometimes is applied any speech that troubles them. Here's a group photo of one antifa cell:

Note that all antifa members wear masks (sorta like the KKK) and black uniforms (sorta like the white KKK uniforms), most carry clubs (sorta like weapons, would you say), and all sit behind a red, black and white flag that looks a lot like another hateful symbol from the past:

Hmmm. Could it be that Trump was justified in noting that antifa extremists are considerably more than non-violent protesters and deserve to be called out in the same sentence as the white supremacists. Both represent violence and hate. Both should be condemned.

Nah ... that truth so threatens the narrative that it can't be spoken.  It's far better to smear Trump as a white supremacist.


And about Boston ...

James Freeman reports:
Struggling to find neo-Nazis to condemn in Boston on Saturday, some activists decided to attack the police instead. Or perhaps that was their objective all along. Meanwhile, a new report from Charlottesville offers some support for President Donald Trump’s interpretation of the tragic events of August 12.

Thank goodness that in our nation of 323 million people, neo-Nazis are extremely rare. But this can make the task of confronting them rather challenging. Tens of thousands of protesters descended on Boston Common Saturday in search of white supremacists to condemn at an event called the Boston Free Speech Rally. But it was unclear how many supremacists could be found within the tiny group of free speakers.

The New York Times reports that rally “participants appeared to number only in the dozens.”
It seems as if the only violence that occurred in Boston was perpetrated by antifa demonstrator who clashed with police (update: e.g., see here). Oops ... I forgot the narrative. Throwing bottles of urine at and punching police officers isn't violence, it's peaceful protest.

UPDATE-2 (8/22/17):

Jonah Goldberg raises an interesting point:
Andy McCarthy has a great piece today where he fleshes out how hardcore, violent, leftist radicals are still admired, romanticized and lionized among mainstream American liberals. While, mainstream conservatives are expected – rightly – to denounce the alt-right, the Klan, neo-Nazis, et al., liberals take deep offense at the notion that they have any problem whatsoever to their radical left. And, Andy writes, if you “dare notice the radical Left, you are not an observer of objective fact, you are a neo-Nazi sympathizer. If you dare notice that many of the ‘peaceful protesters’ were swinging batons and spraying chemicals, you need a re-education course in ‘unconscious racism.’”

... The funny thing is that if you actually read or listen to antifa, or virtually any of the radical groups today or in the past – ANSWER, Black Lives Matter, the Weathermen, the Black Panthers et al. – they make it quite clear that they want to be an alternative to mainstream or “corporate” liberalism. Even peaceful radicals of the Bernie Sanders stripe make that clear. They really are an “alt left” in a meaningful sense because to one extent or another they hate the market system, revile free speech and find common cause with anti-American forces here and abroad. The problem is liberals don’t want to acknowledge it. They love the popular front logic. They celebrate the passion and will of everyone from Occupy Wall Street types to Antifa. Remember how hard it was for mainstream liberals to say anything bad about Bill Ayers?

Why is that?
Indeed. Progressives demand that conservatives disavow the violence and hateful actions of white supremacist, and conservatives do disavow them because it's the right thing to do. But liberals/progressives are somehow immune to any demand that they disavow the violence and hateful actions of alt-Left groups. Why is that?

Debbie's Scandal—Revisited

Paul Sperry reports on the ongoing investigation into Imran Awan and his suspicious connections to Congressional Democrats and his apparent mentor, ex-DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz:
Federal authorities are investigating whether sensitive data was stolen from congressional offices by several Pakistani-American tech staffers and sold to Pakistani or Russian intelligence, knowledgeable sources say.

What started out 16 months ago as a scandal involving the alleged theft of computer equipment from Congress has turned into a national-security investigation involving FBI surveillance of the suspects.

Investigators now suspect that sensitive US government data — possibly including classified information — could have been compromised and may have been sold to hostile foreign governments that could use it to blackmail members of Congress or even put their lives at risk.

“This is a massive, massive scandal,” a senior US official familiar with the widening probe told The Post.
Gosh ... a "massive scandal!" The trained hamsters at the NYT, WaPo, CNN love scandals and spend 24-7 on them. It doesn't even matter whether there's any substantive evidence that the scandal is real. Consider for instance, the Russian collusion "scandal"—totally fake news, but the trained hamsters are locked and loaded.

But here we have actual and copious evidence of wrong-doing, a perpetrator (Imran Awan) who has already been arrested and indicted on multiple criminal counts, a Congresswoman who actually did try to obstruct justice by threatening a police chief in public, other Democrats who may have inadvertently allowed government secrets to be stolen, a family of foreign nationals that enriched itself, left the country to flee prosecution, and has ties to Pakistan (yeah, I know, it's not RUSSIA, but still), and potential threads that lead in many fascinating directions. Damn! The media is on this, right?

What!? They're not on it?? No investigative reporting or even mention of the Awan case and its aftermath??

Queue up my shocked face.

UPDATE (8/22/17):

Andrew McCarthy does an outstanding job of examining the Imran Awan's federal indictment and raises a number of very important questions about the case. He also questions whether the federal prosecutor (an Obama holdover) has defined the indictment so narrowly that it will enable Awan to skate (or at least not be compelled to testify via a plea deal) against Wasserman-Schultz or other Dems. Like all scandals involving Democrats, the media yawns and everything is buried. A reasonable question is why the current Trump DoJ doesn't get more heavily involved.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Deep Hole

In the crazy aftermath of the 2016 presidential election and the hysterical and often unhinged reaction to the upset election of Donald Trump, progressives and the party they support are in a hole, and they're digging deeper. The prevailing attitude among progressives is that they lost the presidency and the 1,000+ other local, state and federal elections during the Obama era because they weren't Left enough. This fantasy makes them feel better, but that's all it does.

Why? Because they live in a country in which red overwhelms blue. The following electoral map by counties illustrates that reality:

John Hinderacker comments:
Those who run the Democratic Party spend their time overwhelmingly in Washington, California and New York, and they read the New York Times and the Washington Post. They watch CNN and MSNBC, along with network news. As a result, I am not sure they are fully attuned to how unpopular their party has become in most of America. They may win a tactical victory against President Trump, whose inexperience and personality make him vulnerable. But I suspect that very few voters are responding to the Democrats’ daily assault on the administration by saying, In the next election I am going to change my mind and vote liberal! On the contrary, it may be that the Democrats’ hysterical, unprecedented assault on the president will prove to be a distraction that actually retards their ability to address their party’s long-term decline.
The Democrat's "hysterical, unprecedented assault" on the winner of the 2016 election does one other thing. It convinces millions that the Dems care far more about re-acquiring their power than they do getting things done in their country.

Think about all of this for just a moment.
  • Democrats are champions of big government and the regulatory state.
  • Democrats are now viewed as more concerned about "Islamophobia" than they are about radical Islam and the violence against gays, women, and the general public that it perpetrates.
  • Democrats are now perceived as supporters of those on college campuses who shout down opposing views and work to limit free speech.
  • Democrats suggest that police, and more broadly, society in general are "racist" and use that epithet to end any argument about the responsibility of people of color to take responsibility for their own actions and outcomes.
  • Democrats champion 'sanctuary cities," providing the impression that they care more about criminal illegal immigrants who commit crimes (by not turning them over to federal authorities for deportation) than they do about protecting the American citizens and legal immigrants who are victims of those crimes.
  • Democrats suggest that their apocalyptic view of climate change represents the most important problem we face right now, even as their own estimates indicate that the problem is 50 to 100 years away.
  • Democrats rarely hide their contempt for the "deplorables" who voted against their anointed candidate and do not share their self-defined "American values."
  • Democrats smile with pleasure as they use the offensive and near-racist terms "old white men" or "white privilege" to deride the comments or arguments of Caucasian people.
  • Democrats are closely aligned with a main stream media that is no longer trusted, is blatantly biased in their favor, and polls more poorly than even the Congress.
Just this week, the Democrats, along with the other three #NeverTrump constituencies have branded the new president a "white supremacist," and inadvertently, have given the actual white supremacist scum (that represent by best estimates, about 0.006 percent of the population) far more publicity than they deserve. To right past wrongs, the Dems support the notion that every statue depicting a civil war figure be removed.

John Kass notes that if the Dems and their supporters are philosophically consistent, they would move quickly to disband the Democratic party. Why? Because in the 1860s, the Democrats were proponents of slavery; after the civil war, the Democrats opposed the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution (provided citizenship for ex-slaves, equal protection under the law and anti-discrimination protection); during the following decades, it was the Democrats who supported Jim Crow laws; it was the Dems who populated the KKK in its early and most violent years, and in early and mid 20th century it was Democrats who were less than supportive of civil rights (George Wallace and ex-KKK grand dragon, Robert Byrd come to mind). Wait ... what!!

I know, I know ... times have changed and now the Dems tell us they are the champions of all people of color, and it's the evil people in the GOP who are white supremacists. But that shouldn't matter. If the Dems support wiping our public places of any visible remnant of a group of people who supported slavery, it would seem only reasonable that since the Democratic party is a visible remnant of a group of people who supported slavery, it should also be wiped.

And if the antifa thugs along with BLM groups and more moderate progressives find the statues of Robert E. Lee et al offensive, why is it that they don't find the Democratic Party (and their sordid history of 150 years ago) equally offensive?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mass Hysteria

We're living in a chaotic political environment. Otherwise stable individuals are claiming that: (1) the elected president of the United States colluded with the Russians to ensure the defeat of his opponent; (2) that he is also an outright racist and supporter of white supremacist groups; (3) that he is a war monger for taking a tough stand against North Korea—a belligerent adversary; (4) that he is anti-immigrant because he has suggested that our borders be protected and that those who immigrate to the United States from hotbeds of Islamic terror be very carefully vetted before being allowed entry; (5) that he is trying to "kill" millions of Americans by suggesting that failing health care legislation (created by Democrats) requires replacement; (6) that his suggestion that the economic interests of the United States should take priority over the interests of those with whom we trade makes him a xenophobe, and (7) that the 60-plus million people who voted for this president are deplorables of the worst sort.

Scott Adams tries to analyze the cause for all of this:
A mass hysteria happens when the public gets a wrong idea about something that has strong emotional content and it triggers cognitive dissonance that is often supported by confirmation bias. In other words, people spontaneously hallucinate a whole new (and usually crazy-sounding) reality and believe they see plenty of evidence for it. The Salem Witch Trials are the best-known example of mass hysteria. The McMartin Pre-School case and the Tulip Bulb hysteria are others. The dotcom bubble probably qualifies.
More progressive readers of this blog may be 'triggered' by my opening paragraph because they fervently see nothing (and I mean nothing) the least bit concerning about the seven points I raise. These aren't claims, they argue, they're hard, irrefutable truths that anyone with an ounce of decency, common sense, and morality will agree to.

But is it possible that those same progressive readers are suffering from a case of mass hysteria? How would they know? Adams comments:
If you’re in the mass hysteria, recognizing you have all the symptoms of hysteria won’t help you be aware you are in it. That’s not how hallucinations work. Instead, your hallucination will automatically rewrite itself to expel any new data that conflicts with its illusions.
And therein lies the road to chaos. That's why innocent people were executed by hanging during the Salem Witch trials. That's why everyday people were wrongly accused of the most heinous child abuse during the McMartin episode.

But maybe progressives are right in their claims of racism, war mongering, anti-immigrant bias, Islamophobia, accusations of homicide, and xenophobia. And those who suggest that it is mass hysteria are actually the ones suffering from mass hysteria. How on earth can one tell?

First Scott Adams provides some background:
On November 8th of 2016, half the country learned that everything they believed to be both true and obvious turned out to be wrong. The people who thought Trump had no chance of winning were under the impression they were smart people who understood their country, and politics, and how things work in general. When Trump won, they learned they were wrong. They were so very wrong that they reflexively (because this is how all brains work) rewrote the scripts they were seeing in their minds until it all made sense again. The wrong-about-everything crowd decided that the only way their world made sense, with their egos intact, is that either the Russians helped Trump win or there are far more racists in the country than they imagined, and he [Trump] is their king. Those were the seeds of the two mass hysterias we witness today.
He then goes on to suggest the walks-like-a-duck argument. If you compare a past crazy accusation (e.g., the charge that women in Salem were witches) to another crazy accusation (e.g., the evidence free charge that Trump is under the thrall of Vladimir Putin) and you argue that one is indeed crazy but the other is not, you may indeed be a victim of mass hysteria. If something sounds outright crazy (or at the very least highly improbable), but many people are absolutely certain that it's true, there's a problem at hand.

Adams further suggests that if you listen to relatively innocuous comments in a way that allows you to derive the most negative interpretation possible and then given your interpreation, ascribe the most heinous character traits to the person making those comments, you're suffering from confirmation bias at best and more likely mass hysteria. Donald Trump is clumsy with his language and imprecise in his statements. That's a problem. He's even clumsier in his political judgement, and that's also a problem. But when he condemned "all sides" in the Charlottesville riots, he was not proclaiming his allegiance to white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, or any other alt-Right group. He correctly implied that despite the heinous nature of those right-wing groups there were alt-Left groups in Charlottesville (e.g., the so-called antifa) that were also aggressively violent. If millions believe that equates to support for the alt-Right, there may be mass hysteria at work.*

Adams adds still another characteristic that might indicate mass hysteria:
It would be hard to overreact to a Nazi murder, or to racists marching in the streets with torches. That stuff demands a strong reaction. But if a Republican agrees with you that Nazis are the worst, and you threaten to punch that Republican for not agreeing with you exactly the right way, that might be an oversized reaction.
In fact, if every syllable of every statement is parsed for the smallest flaw that could be interpreted in a way that presents the speaker in the worst possible light, and then that flaw is discussed for days and days with emotion rising by the day, there's a clear indication that hysteria, not clear thinking, has come into play.

Sure, Donald Trump has many faults and I suppose it's possible that he is a Russian stooge, a racist, a war monger, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, a murderer (via Obamacare repeal), and a xenophobe all at the same time. It's also possible that the 14 women who were executed in Salem Massachusetts in 1693 were actually witches.

But it's also possible that both instances are examples of mass hysteria. In fact, it's more than possible, it's probable.

*  As an aside, white supremacists who proclaim Nazi allegiance support an historical evil that took the lives of between 40 and 60 million innocent people. Hard-left antifa adherents who proclaim that they are Maoist or Stalinist support a different historical evil that took the lives of at least 20 to 40 million innocents. It would seem reasonable, on the face of it, to condemn both groups, would it not?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Peas in a Pod

It's interesting to note the similarities between the playbook applied by two rouge regimes—the North Koreans and the Palestinians. In fact, the Palestinians and the NoKos are peas in a pod.

Both are violent, both use propaganda to control and subjugate their impoverished populations, both extort money from the West and use it not to help their people, but to enrich their leaders. After performing bellicose acts to gain worldwide attention, both are perfectly willing to enter "negotiations" that a destined to fail because they are not conducted in good faith, but are quite effective in raising further "aid" from feckless Western leaders.

It should come as no surprise then, that the Palestinians were among the few countries that wished the NoKos well after recent UN sanctions were levied on the regime. The Jerusalem Post reports:
Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday congratulated North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on his country’s annual Liberation Day celebration amid increased tensions between Pyongyang and the United States.

In a telegram, the PA president said that the Korean people made “the greatest sacrifices for the sake of its freedom and dignity,” according to Wafa, the official PA news site.
Hmmm. I suppose those "sacrifices" might be starvation of their people, public executions, and other human rights atrocities.

But no matter. Both the Palestinians and the NoKos make the claim that they are perpetual victims, set upon by forces they cannot control and "oppressed" by countries that do not respond well to outright aggression (the the case of the Palestinians) or threats of it (in the case of the NoKos).

"Russian puppet" (I jest, but the charge is so patently ridiculous it's fun to write), Jared Kushner, is in Israel in a vain attempt to restart peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. Roger Simon comments on that and the similarities between the NoKos and the Palestinians mentioned earlier:
... the Palestinians and the Norks do have much in common. They create crises and threaten to blow up the Middle East and/or the world in order to extort as much money as possible from the West, including the ever-generous Uncle Sam, only to knife him in the back and start all over again.

So what are Messrs. Kushner and Greenblatt to do? At minimum, start over, don't repeat the Oslo pattern, and heed the words of H. L. Mencken who famously said, "When they say it's not about the money, it's about the money." And, boy, this is about the money.

Cut it off.

The Palestinians will, of course, scream. They will wail about their poor, suffering people, Gaza, etc. Kushner and Greenblatt should tell them to sell their fancy suits and Mercedes and empty their Swiss bank accounts if they're really so worried about the poor Palestinians. That will shut them up fast.

And if they threaten violence, which assuredly they will, rattling on about a third -- or is it fifth -- Intifada, just shrug. The IDF exists for a reason. What these people need is some "tough love," and if the "love" aspect is difficult with these folks, which it admittedly could be, keep the "tough." That's the important part.
Of course, the elites in Washington will tut tut, arguing that "tough" is hardly a way to win friends and influence people in the Middle East or on the Korean Peninsula. After all, those same elites, seasoned diplomats all, have tried anything-but-tough for decades and decades and have failed to achieve meaningful results. So of course, it seems perfectly reasonable to continue that demonstrably failed strategy. Or is it?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The DNC Hack - Part II

It would be impossible to argue that Salon is anything but a Left-wing publication and website, and yet, like their compatriots at The Nation, they have had the courage to question the DNC "hack" story. In a follow-up article, entitled "What if the DNC Russian “hack” was really a leak after all? A new report raises questions Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media would rather ignore", Danielle Ryan writes:
Last week the respected left-liberal magazine The Nation published an explosive article that details in great depth the findings of a new report — authored in large part by former U.S. intelligence officers — which claims to present forensic evidence that the Democratic National Committee was not hacked by the Russians in July 2016. Instead, the report alleges, the DNC suffered an insider leak, conducted in the Eastern time zone of the United States by someone with physical access to a DNC computer.

This report also claims there is no apparent evidence that the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 — supposedly based in Romania — hacked the DNC on behalf of the Russian government. There is also no evidence, the report’s authors say, that Guccifer handed documents over to WikiLeaks. Instead, the report says that the evidence and timeline of events suggests that Guccifer may have been conjured up in an attempt to deflect from the embarrassing information about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign that was released just before the Democratic National Convention. The investigators found that some of the “Guccifer” files had been deliberately altered by copying and pasting the text into a “Russianified” word-processing document with Russian-language settings.

If all this is true, these findings would constitute a massive embarrassment for not only the DNC itself but the media, which has breathlessly pushed the Russian hacking narrative for an entire year, almost without question but with little solid evidence to back it up.

You could easily be forgiven for not having heard about this latest development — because, perhaps to avoid potential embarrassment, the media has completely ignored it. Instead, to this point only a few right-wing sites have seen fit to publish follow-ups.
Excuse me for for being cynical, but in the 24-7 news cycle, you'd think that outlets like CNN or WaPo, the NYT and the alphabet networks would spend a little time looking into this. After all, they've elevated the Russian collusion fantasy to the major story of 2017, so it would seem reasonable to conclude ... Nah ... not gonna happen.

Ryan comments:
Instead of subjecting the various accounts of what happened last summer to rigorous scrutiny, the media instantly accepted the narrative promoted by the Clinton campaign and U.S. intelligence agencies. It has continued to do so ever since. Now, as new information comes to light, the media has largely acted as if it did not exist.

For the media and mainstream liberals to dismiss the information presented in Lawrence’s article as lacking in evidence would be breathtakingly ironic, given how little evidence they required to build a narrative to suit themselves and absolve Clinton of any responsibility for losing the election.
The fact that two prominent Left-wing media sources are questioning the prevailing DNC-hack narrative is something to note. Is it possible that this represents the first cracks in the wall of disinformation and lies that has been erected over the past year? Maybe ... but don't hold your breath.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


The editors of The Wall Street Journal identify the underlying issue that precipitated that hate crime that occurred in Charlottesville, VA. They write:
... The politics of white supremacy was a poison on the right for many decades, but the civil-rights movement rose to overcome it, and it finally did so in the mid-1960s with Martin Luther King Jr. ’s language of equal opportunity and color-blind justice.

That principle has since been abandoned, however, in favor of a new identity politics that again seeks to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, gender and even religion. “Diversity” is now the all-purpose justification for these divisions, and the irony is that America is more diverse and tolerant than ever.

The problem is that the identity obsessives want to boil down everything in American life to these categories. In practice this means allocating political power, contracts, jobs and now even salaries in the private economy based on the politics of skin color or gender rather than merit or performance. Down this road lies crude political tribalism, and James Damore’s recent Google dissent is best understood as a cri de coeur that we should aspire to something better. Yet he lost his job merely for raising the issue.

A politics fixated on indelible differences will inevitably lead to resentments that extremists can exploit in ugly ways on the right and left. The extremists were on the right in Charlottesville, but there have been examples on the left in Berkeley, Oakland and numerous college campuses. When Democratic politicians can’t even say “all lives matter” without being denounced as bigots, American politics has a problem.
As the party has mover further and further left, the Democrats have chosen to define themselves as champions of identity politics. They thrive on exploiting the notion that one group is the victim of another; that some narrowly-defined "privilege" causes some to suffer while others thrive; that solutions to "inequality" are not based on hard work, education, and merit, but instead on big government programs, set-asides, and quotas, either explicit or implicit; that anyone who questions the religion of "diversity" is a heretic and should be treated accordingly, and that division is a workable political strategy.

The identity politics of white supremacists is the distorted mirror image of the one described in the preceding paragraph. Neo-Nazi and KKK groups have a warped worldview that is based on their own perceived victimization. They scapegoat others who they believe have been accorded privilege that degrades their lives and that they are now unequal. To be sure, it is a delusional position, but it provides troubling echoes of the memes offered by antifa groups on the Left..

Richard Fernandez puts it rather eloquently when he writes:
The riots and death in Charlottesville are the physical manifestation of the idea of separateness. If the thought is the father of the deed, the children of hate, the offspring of "by any means necessary" and the scions of superiority so long in gestation, are finally being born. Donald Trump's plea for calm and his exhortation to remember "we are all Americans first" may find scant resonance among those for whom hyphens come first of all. The war of the hyphens has broken out, and for its combatants there is only one thought: how do I get back at the enemy hyphen? The long sought-after goal of diversity has been attained and it is not what many imagined.
The identity politics of white supremacists is delivered in the shadows by ugly fringe hate groups whose actual numbers are small. The Democrats' identity politics message is different and far less ominous, but it is delivered every day, often with much fanfare and pride by their anointed leaders and their trained hamsters in the media. Undoubtedly, the tone and focus coming from each group is not the same, but in many ways, the intent is — divide.

The irony is that identity politics on both the Right and the Left has been aggressively rejected by a majority of the American people. They correctly recognize that the politics of division will take us all on a journey toward hatred, totalitarianism, and decline.

In watching the nonstop media coverage of all of this (much of it bordering on outright hysteria), it occurs to me that Donald Trump, once again, demonstrates a political naivete that is remarkable and arguably, dangerous. Rather than moving quickly to condemn the right-wing hate groups, he waffled and provided an unnecessary opening that his enemies on both the Left and the Right exploited. But far more important, his continuing participation in this controversy provides a media victory for the alt-Right. They're getting the  notariety they crave.

The public should become aware of these alt-Right scum and understand that their ideology is reprehensible.. But it might be nice if the same media that correctly castigates the alt-Right did the same job with the same intensity on the alt-Left scum (e.g., Antifa) that also trades in violence and hate.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Team of 9s

The usual elites on both the Left and the Right keep telling us that there are no good options when North Korea is to be considered and/or confronted. They imply that the only viable strategy is to continue their failed approach, kicking the can down the road and hoping against hope that something will change for the better. Unfortunately, "Hope is not a strategy."

During the Obama administration, I derisively called his foreign policy people the Team of 2s. Led first by Hillary Clinton and then by (nincompoop) John Kerry, they did nothing right and many things wrong. Collectively, they damaged our position in the world, creating instability and chaos in many regions by applying a combination of very bad decisions and feckless "strategic patience."

For all of the derisive comments leveled at Donald Trump by the political and academic elites, he has assembled a foreign policy "Team of 9s." Rex Tillerson at State and 'Maddog' Mattis at DoD, along with Nikky Haley at the UN and an excellent supporting cast have actually begun doing some things right. To quote Tillerson, "the era of strategic patience is over."

Today, the primary foreign policy focus is North Korea. But our actions there are a harbinger of how we'll address the growing threat of a nuclear Iran. Barack Obama's "Iran Deal" was nothing more than kicking the can down the road (while transferring billions to the world's dominant sponsor of Islamic terror), a pathetically bad deal for the US and the Middle East region. It was what you'd expect from a Team of 2s.

But back to North Korea. Austin Bay provides an optimistic, but coherent view of Trump's efforts to reign in the NoKos:
The acronym for the four elements of geo-strategic power is DIME: “Diplomatic,” “Information,” “Military” and “Economic” power. Coordinating these elements creates a synergistic force whose sum is greater than its parts ...

Unfortunately, coordinating the elements of power is very difficult. The U.S. government’s civilian agencies don’t play well together—protecting their budgets and their political turf in the Washington swamp is their first priority. So in the field the military does it all ad hoc. Company, field grade and general officers become diplomats in helmets. Combat engineers are developmental aid experts.

Yet the Trump administration is using all elements of power in a coordinated effort to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

Start with the D for Diplomacy. The U.S. has forged a solid alliance committed to Korean denuclearization. The U.S., Japan, South Korea and Australia are the principle front line nations, but western European nations and key members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) add economic and political weight. India is in the background. China is the man in middle, and it knows India is in the background ... U.S. diplomats have also succeeded in getting the UN to impose harsh economic and political sanctions on North Korea.

I for Information began in earnest with Tillerson’s declaration that the era of strategic patience with the Kim regime is over. Trump’s threats of fury and fire mock Kim Jong-un. Yes, Trump outraged the pearl-clutchers in the American foreign policy establishment. American presidents aren’t supposed to talk like that!

Except they do. Take Harry Truman for example.

The theater of threat is a key element in North Korea’s intimidation and extortion routine. Trump’s fiery threat pushed Kim Jong-un off center stage. Now Trump has the rhetorical threat initiative, not the fat kid.

Trump also has a track record for following through on a threat. In April, he punished Syrian President Bashir al-Assad for using chemical weapons. Trump isn’t seeking a legacy like Bill Clinton; he isn’t bogged down in Iraq like George Bush; and he isn’t a faculty lounge poseur like Barack Obama touting red lines then failing to back words with deeds. Trump has demonstrated that he will act. That’s important information from the bad cop ...

M for Military: The U.S. and its allies have massive and modern forces. They are full spectrum forces employing everything from the bayonet to ballistic missiles, anti-ballistic missiles and cyber weapons. South Korea’s ground forces are highly-trained and well led. Japan has quietly developed offensive strike capabilities. The allies have deployed a missile defense “thin shield” that is capable of shooting down a volley of North Korean IRBMs. Trump would use the entire arsenal if he had to, and China knows this.

E is for Economic, meaning sanctions and financial restrictions. However, the most pertinent policy tool can be summarized in a tweet. Recall that Trump indicated China would have a better trade deal if it helped curb North Korea.

How is the Trump team managing to pull it off? Here’s my guess: Trump and Tillerson aren’t from the D.C. swamp. Mattis was a combat soldier who also served as a diplomat with a helmet.
If the Trump Team of 9s can pull this off without war (and that remains a big if) it will be a foreign policy achievement that eclipses those of many past presidencies. Of course, the Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media won't acknowledge it, and the #Nevertrump GOP will downplay it, but it will be a significant achievement nonetheless.

Whether you like him or not, on the foreign policy front Trump has done what good managers do. He has hired excellent people who can execute his vision. It's an impressive team. We'll see if they can pull it off.

A small but very important symbolic victory was reported this morning. The Wall Street Journal notes:
SEOUL—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has decided not to launch a threatened missile attack on Guam, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Tuesday, but warned that he could change his mind “if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions.”
Gee, maybe tough talk punctuated by behind-the-scenes sticks (and carrots) might actually be a viable strategy. Maybe Trump isn't quite as unhinged as the elites allege? Maybe strength trumps weakness every time? Maybe putting pressure on a bully is the right way to proceed? Maybe putting actual pressure on China (including the threat of trade sanctions) is a viable approach? Maybe a strong leader who projects that strength is better than a feckless leader who prefers kicking the can?

Yeah. Maybe.

Trump should keep the pressure on the Puppet Kingdom. They blinked. We didn't.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hate and Bigotry

Generalizations are always tricky, but it is fair to state that skinheads, white supremacists, and neo-nazis are low intelligence, low-achievement scum. They're angry at their lot in society and need scapegoats to blame. Blacks, Jews, gays and other immigrant groups have been their primary target. They trade in hate, bigotry, and racism. They are despicable, and are rightly shunned and roundly criticized by the vast majority of the population. When they commit crimes, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and where appropriate indicted under RICO and terror statutes and other relevant legislation.

The events in Charlottesville, VA underline all of this.

But skinheads, white supremacists and neo-nazis are not alone in their hatred of "the other." They are not alone in their extreme and often hateful language, nor are they alone in perpetrating violence against those that become the focus of their hatred. A few groups come to mind immediately. Islamists espouse hatred toward Jews, gay people, members of virtually every other religion and even their own co-religionists who do not believe exactly as they do. They are not averse to extreme violence. So-called "antifa" (ironically, self-termed anti-facist) groups want to shut down any semblance of free speech, are often anti-Semitic, frequently conduct violent demonstrations in which cars are burned, property is damaged, and often, police are injured or even killed. Black Lives Matter protesters express outright hatred of police and white people and have acted out violently. In fact, a BLM activist murdered five cops in Dallas. My point is NOT to create a moral equivalence among these hate groups, but rather to note that there is plenty of hate and bigotry to go around.

The Left and their trained hamsters in the media are using the tragic events in Charlottesville to continue their long standing canard that Donald Trump has sympathies for white supremacists. Trump correctly condemned hate and bigotry on all sides immediately after the events at Charlottesville, but apparently, that was not enough. Looking for even the tiniest opening, the Left and #Nevertrump Republicans demanded that he be more explicit, calling out neo-Nazi and white-supremacist groups by name (he has since, done exactly that). He could have, and probably should have, been more explicit earlier, but Trump is Trump and his intent was to call out every hate group, not just the hate group du jour. 

But to infer from his comments that he has neo-Nazi sympathies is a major league stretch.

Let's use an example. When crazies on the right accused Barack Obama of being a closet Muslim, progressives and their trained hamsters in the media got the vapors. Even though progressives emphasize that Islam is the 'religion of peace' and warn us all against Islamophobia, they reacted to the 'Obama-is-a Muslim' canard as if the world was coming to an end. They suggested that anyone who made that charge was a racist, a bigot, and an Islamopobe to boot. Hmmm.

It's fascinating to note that progressives and their trained hamsters in the media have no such reservations about suggesting that this president has sympathies with or is a white supremacist. They have no worries about hurling reprehensible accusations that have no foundation in fact, except in their through-the-looking-glass world view. Donald Trump may be many things, but he is no more a white supremacist or a neo-Nazi than Barack Obama was a Jihadist manchurian candidate.

Progressives can't have it both ways (although they often do). They cannot and should not make crazy claims about a president they despise, yet condemn crazy claims about a president they adored.

There is plenty of hypocrisy to go around in our current contentious political climate, but that reality is not an excuse for alleging that the sitting president is somehow closet KKK sympathizer.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


If you're a serious student of the evolution and growth of Islamic terrorism and the West's weak attempts to combat it while assiduously avoiding placing the onus on Islam to solve its own internal ideological war, you've heard of Sebastian Gorka. Gorka thinks more clearly that most about Islamist thought and immigration and its threat to the West. He is currently an advisor to the President.

Gorka avoids the fantasy that Islam is somehow blameless as Islamic terrorism grows, and for that heresy, progressives have labeled him as a "Islamophobe" and a "right wing bigot," among other tired epithets. After all, if you question politically correct orthodoxy, you are a primary target for the politics of personal destruction.

He has also been the target of a smear campaign orchestrated by the likes of Media Matters on the left (see Sharyl Attkisson's, The Smeara profoundly important book). A Left-wing smear campaign reinforces the epithets noted in a mendacious attempt to remove Gorka from the administration. All of its lies have been proven false, but that never stops the smear machine from trying and trying again. Recently, Rolling Stone, a publication quite friendly to the leftist smear machine, published yet another dishonest article (probably written for them by smear meisters, see Attkisson's book) that David Goldman thoroughly dissects. Goldman writes:
Most of the Rolling Stone article is made up of quotes from left-wing academics who attack Dr. Gorka out of a mix of professional jealousy and ideological enmity. The Establishment thinks he is being beastly to the jihadists. Typical is this spitball: "Paul Pillar, a former national intelligence officer for the Middle East, says Gorka is too dangerous to be allowed to remain in the White House: 'Gorka represents an intolerance that offends American values and is likely to gain the United States more enemies than friends.'" That is what one would expect from the "Have-you-hugged-a-Hamasnik?" types.

I've had the privilege to speak with Dr. Gorka on several occasions, and can report that has enormous range and breadth as a strategic thinker, with a deep political culture that comes from a British education, his Central European background, and an American outlook. He is a unique and irreplaceable contributor to American national security planning, and we are fortunate to have his service.
Attkisson would tell us that it is more than likely that all of those "quotes" were collected by the likes of an opposition research firm like Media Matters or some other left-wing smear meister, handed to a lazy, yet compliant "reporter/writer" at Rolling Stone, and then published as original content. It's actually garbage masquerading as journalism, but whatever ...

Goldman does an excellent job of debunking the specific smear, but it's Attkkison's in-depth investigative journalism that has unmasked the smear meisters and their media accomplices. It allows us to recognize a smear immediately and reject it as dishonest and manipulative.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The DNC "Hack"

Earlier this summer, many observers of the political scene (including your truly) noted (with appropriate qualifiers) that the Seth Rich murder and the Imran Awan IT scandal had dark undertones that could potentially be traced to the supposed DNC "Russian hack." If that were true, the entire Russian collusion story falls apart. Of course, as the Rich and Awan stories emerged, the Democratic Smear Machine labeling any suggestion of scandal as "insane" and the stuff of "conspiracy theory." They 'controversialized' the people who reported the story and suddenly, people who claimed to have information began to recant their testimony. Even got into the act, labeling the allegations "false" even though there was little evidence to support that claim.

Now, a shockingly in-depth report, entitled, "A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack," appearing in The Nation, a generally left-wing magazine and website, argues that "Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system."

The author of the piece, Patrick Lawrence, reviews the media frenzy to tie the leaks to Donald Trump and the Russians and then writes:
All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

There, are, our course, explanations of the embarrassing DNC email release that are considerably more plausible than a Russian "hack." Put simply, a low level staffer (possibly a Bernie Sanders supporter disenchanted with the DNC's pro-Hillary stance) copied the emails onto a thumb drive and transmitted them to the leakers. That is the essence of the Seth Rich scandal, and might also have something to do with Imran Awan. It's only fair to note that there is no hard evidence to support those suppositions, but then again, there is absolutely no hard evidence (except the unsubstantiated statements of selected government intelligence officials who have a history of bending the truth) that the Russian government was involved in the DNC hack.

Lawrence goes on to write:
Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:
There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.

Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.
This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. Before proceeding into this material, several points bear noting.
Lawrence continues:
... there are many other allegations implicating Russians in the 2016 political process. The work I will now report upon does not purport to prove or disprove any of them. Who delivered documents to WikiLeaks? Who was responsible for the “phishing” operation penetrating John Podesta’s e-mail in March 2016? We do not know the answers to such questions. It is entirely possible, indeed, that the answers we deserve and must demand could turn out to be multiple: One thing happened in one case, another thing in another. The new work done on the mid-June and July 5 events bears upon all else in only one respect. We are now on notice: Given that we now stand face to face with very considerable cases of duplicity, it is imperative that all official accounts of these many events be subject to rigorously skeptical questioning. Do we even know that John Podesta’s e-mail was in fact “phished”? What evidence of this has been produced? Such rock-bottom questions as these must now be posed in all other cases.
Unless and until special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators answer these and many other pertinent questions about the events surrounding this and other leaks that supposedly crippled Hillary Clinton's campaign, their conclusions will be suspect.

Lawrences report is extremely detailed, citing little known intelligence analysts and sources. That doesn't make it suspect, but it does work directly into the hands of the Democratic Smear Machine, allowing them to claim conspiracy hysteria. A compliant media (The Nation excepted in this case) has done nothing to investigate these claims further.

Spend the time to read the entire report and then ask yourself—has this entire episode been a disinformation campaign conducted to smear Trump and deflect from Clinton's loss and DNC incompetence and bias? Worse, it is a true conspiracy involving elements of the intelligence community? Even worse still, will it be further smothered by the Mueller investigation?

The Nation and Patrick Lawrence should be commended for this work. To understand its impact, follow the response to it. If there are crickets, that's an important sign. If the author undergoes personal attacks on his credibility, that's still another. And if none of these issues is addressed as part of Mueller's probe, that ices it. Then the system is, as Donald Trump so famously noted, "rigged."


Mollie Hemingway discusses another story of biased and dishonest media coverage that has re-emerged over the past week—the meeting between Obama's AG, Loretta Lynch, and Bill Clinton, while his wife was being actively investigated during the 2016 campaign. She outlines how the trained hamsters in the mainstream media approach any hint of a scandal when Democrats are involved and compares it to their approach to the current Trump White House. But more important than the outright hint of corruption in the Lynch case, is her take on the meta-game that a dishonest and biased media plays. It's absolutely applicable to the emerging DNC hack scandal noted in the main body of this post. Here is Hemingway's take:
... the media’s problem is that everyone outside of the resistance — whether that’s the actual activists, the NeverTrump Republicans, or the media themselves — can see the unfairness in the media coverage of President Trump relative to the media coverage of President Obama and other Democrats. There is the flood-the-zone, histrionic-headline, up-the-ante, worst-construction approach versus the put-to-rest, boring-headline, wait-days-before-being-forced-to-cover, best-construction approach. People aren’t stupid. They can very clearly see the game that’s being played here.[emphasis mine]
But here's the thing: the fake news reported by once respected media sources has now jumped the shark. Their bias is so palpable, I honestly think it helps Donald Trump by making him the victim. When he criticizes "the failing NYT" as a fake news source, few, other than the #Resistance, would disagree. After all, a vote for Trump is a poke in the eye for "the failing NYT" and its many other Fake News bretheren. The media is either too blinded by ideological fervor or too stupid to understand that simple reality.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Of North Korea and Tigers' Tails

North Korea's brutal dictator, Kim Jong-un, literally starves his people as he lords over one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet. This same Kim Jong-un threatens the United States and its allies with extreme violence, including a threat to use ICBMs to deliver nuclear weapons to American cities.

It's ironic that the same elites who have been responsible for "negotiating" with North Korean over the past four or five decades are now wringing their hands as the current president changes the tone of the conversation. It's fair to note that these same elites were responsible for kicking the can down the road from president to president as they watched the NoKos get stronger and more threatening. It's also fair to note that other regimes (Iran comes to mind) have watched this farce and learned from it, waiting for the day when they're free to threaten their region with nukes.

Donald Trump responded to Kim Jong-un's escalating threats with a threat of his own—any action on the part of North Korea that harms the United States or its allies would be met with "fire and fury." Predictably, the four #NeverTrump constituencies got the vapors at such an aggressive response, worrying that it was ... uh ... unpresidential and impetuous. Although different words could have, and probably should have, been chosen (Trump is, after all, imprecise in his language and largely hyperbolic in this comments), the President's tone was pitch perfect.

The United States has been threatened repeatedly by a pissant dictator, who, because of repeated failures by past presidents, can now hold hostage the South Koreans in Seoul, along with Japan and other neighboring countries. And the four #NeverTrump constituencies want what exactly—more talks, more "tough sanctions," and more time for Kim Jong-un to become an even greater threat, moving from a dangerous pissant to something larger and more ominous. To its credit, the Trump administration has gotten unanimous approval for more UN sanctions. That's fine, but I think something more must be done.

Although it's appropriate to talk about "fire and fury," that tone must be followed by a terse discussion of the kind of response that will occur if the NoKos attack anyone or anything of value to the United States. They must understand that our response will not be "proportional" but rather, it will be massively disproportional.

For far too long, Western leaders have adopted the meme that an attack against the West should be met in kind—proportionately. But proportional response provides our adversaries with a significant advantage. They can attack, and as long as they conclude that they can absorb a proportional response—they achieve a propaganda victory. The proportional response is followed by overblown claims of civilian casualties and "crimes against humanity". With the help of a left-leaning media, the original aggressor is magically transformed into a victim. Better yet, the aggressor survives to fight another day.

If on the other hand, a small attack is met with a massive response, the pain suffered by the aggressor will be significant and possibly, terminal. Sure, they'll still wail about civilian casualties and "crimes against humanity," and a left-leaning media will still transform the aggressor into a victim. But one important thing changes—the aggressor's regime, its military infrastucture, and its people suffer "fire and fury." And that changes the entire dynamic of assymetric warfare.

There's a reason that you don't repeatedly pull the tail of a tiger. The tiger's response will most assuredly not be proportional. In fact, with one swipe of her claws she just might cut your throat and make you dead.

UPDATE (8-10-2017):

Kicking the NoKo can down the road is what diplomatic elites have done for decades. Recently, we learned of intelligence estimates that indicate that North Korea has miniaturized nuke technology, potentially allowing them to deliver nukes using their ICBMs. But what's far worse is that it now appears that the Obama administration knew about this in 2013, but chose to do nothing. Debra Heine reports:
You can chalk this up as another example of President Obama employing his signature strategy for dealing with sticky national security issues: Ignore, discredit or downplay. If the foreign policy crisis was too big to ignore, he would was give a speech -- and kick the can down the road for another president to deal with.

In 2013, Obama not only downplayed the Defense Intelligence Agency's intelligence report about Korea's mini nukes -- He attempted to discredit it. The White House media echo-chamber was -- as always -- happy to go along with the ruse.

Via Fred Fleitz, senior vice president for policy and programs with the Center for Security Policy at Fox News:

Tuesday's bombshell Washington Post story that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has determined North Korea is capable of constructing miniaturized nuclear weapons that could be used as warheads for missiles – possibly ICBMs – left out a crucial fact: DIA actually concluded this in 2013. The Post also failed to mention that the Obama administration tried to downplay and discredit this report at the time.

During an April 11, 2013, House Armed Services Committee hearing, Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., inadvertently revealed several unclassified sentences from a DIA report that said DIA had determined with “moderate confidence” that North Korea has the capability to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be launched with a ballistic missile.

The Director of National Intelligence and Obama officials subsequently tried to dismiss Lamborn’s disclosure by claiming the DIA assessment was an outlier that did not reflect the views of the rest of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

All 16 remaining intel agencies, I'm sure.

The media could easily have turned this leak into a major front page story -- like it is today -- but after the Obama White house signaled to the echo chamber that the president didn't want to deal with it -- the story went away.
Of course it did. The same media that spends weeks scurrying around trying to gin up "evidence" of Russian collusion was curiously silent when their masters in the Obama White House gave them a stern look. After all, this wasn't a meeting with a meaningless Russian lawyer. This was only a potential nuclear threat against the United States of America. Let's keep things in perspective ... puleeze.