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

Thursday, January 28, 2021

See Ya

The OnCenter Blog began in November, 2006. Now, after 2,775 blog posts covering the politics of four presidents and their parties, the Congress, the media, academia, the government bureacracy, the domestic andf international scenes, and peppered with other topics of interest, it's time to take a hiatus. 

Thanks for spending the time to visit.

Monday, January 25, 2021


Many Democrats and virtually all of the hard-left seem unsatisfied that Trump is now gone and no longer able to effect national policy. They have now refocused on the 74-plus million people who voted for Trump, the members of his administration, and the alternative media outlets and carriers who still have the temerity to deliver views that oppose the progressive narrative. Some within the media and far too many within the progressive intelligencia (i.e., writers, professors, commentators) have called for some form of "re-education" for those who voted for Donald Trump. This call, combined with its complement, cancel culture, comes perilously close to the mindset that pervades totalitarian regimes like Cuba, North Korea, or Venezuela.

In a long, but worthwhile essay, James Lindsey comments on the "psychopathy and origins of totalitarianism." Over the years I have alluded to the Left's reliance on fantasy beliefs, what Lindsey in his essay calls "pseudo-realities." He defines the term this way:

“Pseudo-realities are, simply put, false constructions of reality. It is hopefully obvious that among the features of pseudo-realities is that they must present a plausible but deliberately wrong understanding of reality. They are cult ‘realities’ in the sense that they are the way that members of cults experience and interpret the world—both social and material—around them. We should immediately recognize that these deliberately incorrect interpretations of reality serve two related functions. First, they are meant to mold the world to accommodate small proportions of people who suffer pathological limitations on their abilities to cope with reality as it is. Second, they are designed to replace all other analyses and motivations with power, which these essentially or functionally psychopathic individuals will contort and deform to their permanent advantage so long as their pseudo-real regime can last.”

Like all things, pseudo-realities have a small element of truth to them. For example, the COVID-19 virus is dangerous (statistically) to a small segment of the population (the very old) and should be aggressively managed to protect that segment. But over the past year, a progressive media (driven by a number of different motivational factors) and progressives themselves have both insisted that COVID-19 justifies near-totalitarian government control that affects the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions. Their position is driven by a COVID-19 pseudo-reality that insists (despite clear scientific evidence to the contrary) that everyone is at risk of death (they are not), that children are in significant danger (they are not), that lockdowns stop the spread of the virus (they do not), and that somehow those who offer alternative strategies are "uncaring." 

Lindsey continues:

Pseudo-realities are always social fictions, which, in light of the above, means political fictions. That is, they are maintained not because they are true, in the sense that they correspond to reality, either material or human, but because a sufficient quantity of people in the society they attack either believe them or refuse to challenge them. This implies that pseudo-realities are linguistic phenomena above all else, and where power-granting linguistic distortions are present, it is likely that they are there to create and prop up some pseudo-reality. This also means that they require power, coercion, manipulation, and eventually force to keep them in place. Thus, they are the natural playground of psychopaths, and they are enabled by cowards and rationalizers. Most importantly, pseudo-realities do not attempt to describe reality as it is but rather as it “should be,” as determined by the relatively small fraction of the population who cannot bear living in reality unless it is bent to enable their own psychopathologies, which will be projected upon their enemies, which means all normal people.

All of this becomes particularly dangerous when those who believe the pseudo-realities gain positions of power that influence policy. A belief in pseudo-realities is a key catalyst for the normalization of hysteria. For example, if you reject virtually all scientific evidence and believe that everyone is in danger of death should they contract COVID-19, it would seem reasonable that trampling individual freedoms, arbitrarily closing businesses, and unilaterally locking down cities would make sense. Your belief in that pseudo-reality would also put a moral patina on your actions—e.g., wearing a mask is a sign of both compliance with the pseudo-reality (that masks are somehow necessary outdoors and an indication of virtue.

The problem for those who believe in pseudo-realities is that large numbers of people do not. Again, Lindsey comments:

Normal people do not accept pseudo-reality and interpret reality more or less accurately, granting the usual biases and limitations of human perspective. Their common heuristic is called common sense, though much more refined forms exist in the uncorrupted sciences. In reality, both of these are handmaidens of power, but in pseudo-realities, this is inverted. In pseudo-reality, common sense is denigrated as bias or some kind of false consciousness, and science is replaced by a scientism that is a tool of power itself. 

And when "normal" people question the policies that are derived from belief in pseudo-realities, they are viciously attacked and when possible, cancelled. The reason for these attacks is that pseudo-realities have trouble standing up to serious examination, and those who espouse them have significant difficulty in refuting substantive criticism of them. So rather than trying, true believers rely on ad hominem attacks.

Lindsay asserts (and I agree) that:

... pseudo-reality demoralizes all who are pressed into engaging with it by the mere fact of being something false that must be treated as true. We should never underestimate how psychologically weakening and damaging it is to be forced to treat as true something that is not true, with the effect strengthening the more obviously false it is.

Possibly, the greatest strength of pseudo-reality is that it has amazing persistence. It is exhausting to experience the cognitive dissonance of listening to others accept pseudo-reality without question or critique. They are true believers, but the core problem for all of us is that what they believe just isn't true.

UPDATE (1-26-2021):

As a consequence of the January 6th debacle at the Capitol, the four constituencies (Dems, media, establishment GOP and deep state) have dictated that no further discussion of the anomalous results of the November election occur and (this is important) that no further actions be taken to reform our election process to make it more secure and trustworthy. They have created one pseudo-reality that suggests that the November, 2020 election was the most secure in our history, that no "widespread" irregularities resulted, and that any claim to the contrary is akin to "sedition" or at the very least, a crazy conspiracy theory.

To bolster this first pseudo-reality, they have used a second, cultivated over four years— that Donald Trump is a racist, a fascist, a Nazi-sympathizer, a white supremacist, etc. Because Trump is coarse, bombastic, aggressive, narcissistic, and rarely thinks of the consequences of his words (which are often poorly chosen), he has made it easy for the second pseudo-reality to take hold. His stupid and thoughtless actions on January 6th were just another nail in the coffin.

With these pseudo-realities as a backdrop, Dennis Prager summarizes the anomalies that did actually occur during this past election, and then writes:

So, then, here is the question: Why would anyone who sincerely believed Trump is a white-supremacist fascist dictator not cheat if he or she could prevent such a person from becoming or remaining president of the United States?

Let me sharpen this question: Isn't someone who could prevent a fascist, white-supremacist, Nazi-defending dictator morally obligated to cheat if he or she could prevent such a person from becoming president?

I certainly would. If I were in a position to cheat in order to prevent a fascist from becoming president, why would I not cheat? 

... I have never said Biden did not win the election. And even if there was considerable fraud, that doesn't mean the election result would have been different.

But there are consequences to beliefs. Unless Democrats knew they were lying for four years when they labelled Trump a fascist, racist, Nazi, dictator, etc., were they not duty-bound to cheat on Biden's behalf? So, then, when you have circumstantial evidence (not proof), combined with opportunity, desire, motive and, most important, no moral argument against cheating and a strong moral argument for cheating, it isn't a "lie," and it isn't a crackpot conspiracy theory, to wonder about the integrity of America's 2020 presidential election.

Prager asks an uncomfortable question. Belief in pseudo-reality does have consequences.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Doing Nothing

Throughout the race for the presidency, the Democrats (and their trained hamsters in the media) were effective in developing a political strategy that 'weaponized' COVID-19. It became a dominant campaign issue, with Joe Biden suggesting that he had "a plan" that was somehow superior to the one that had been executed by the then current administration. His claim worked, and Biden ascended to the presidency.

Now we see this rather interesting meme:

But no worries, Joe now promises that there will be 100 million vaccinations in 100 days.

That promise, achievable with good logistics and rapid production of vaccine, is, I suspect, about as good as Biden's empty promises of "a plan" during the campaign.

It's interesting that CA—the Democrats' poster child for blue governance and reference model for its neo-socialist utopia—ranks dead last in the percentage of available vaccine doses that have been administered. But maybe the draconian lockdowns in parts of CA along with school and business closures have reduced the number of COVID-19 deaths to negligible levels. Nope, the catastrophist strategy adopted in most blue states and exemplified by CA has done little to nothing to stop the spread.  

Then again, Joe Biden, after saying he has a plan to "get this virus under control" now admits that "There is nothing we can do ..." Given the Dems' rather pathetic vaccination record in most blue states, along with the economic wreckage they have caused by scientifically unsupported lockdowns, Joe's "doing nothing" might be the best thing for all of us.

Friday, January 22, 2021

"War on Terror"

Forget the 'journohacks' who populate the news and commentary desks in media outlets like the NYT, WaPo, LAT, NPR, Vox, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and the alphabet networks. Liberal author and commentator Glen Greenwald, a man who they have tried to cancel, makes them all look like the biased, dishonest, and incompetent hacks that they are. Although I don't agree with Greenwald on some issues, his commentary is always insightful, unfailingly unbiased, and undeniably accurate. That's why the journohacks hate him and won't give him a legacy media platform.

The reports of armed, right-wing violence on Inauguration Day did not pan out. [1] The media, typically incurious about such things, refused to ask why, or even spend much time noting a peaceful transition on January 20th with few protests and no riots. By they gladly pushed a narrative that set the stage what they hyperbolically called a "war on terror," suggesting the despicable neo-Nazis and KKK groups were ready to invade every city and state (think: the breathless claim that 50 state capitols were under threat). Oddly, the left-wing groups that actually did invade cities and states and literally burned things down were never mentioned as part of the Democrats' new "war." Greenwald writes:

The last two weeks have ushered in a wave of new domestic police powers and rhetoric in the name of fighting “terrorism” that are carbon copies of many of the worst excesses of the first War on Terror that began nearly twenty years ago. This trend shows no sign of receding as we move farther from the January 6 Capitol riot. The opposite is true: it is intensifying.

We have witnessed an orgy of censorship from Silicon Valley monopolies with calls for far more aggressive speech policing, a visibly militarized Washington, D.C. featuring a non-ironically named “Green Zone,” vows from the incoming president and his key allies for a new anti-domestic terrorism bill, and frequent accusations of “sedition,” “treason,” and “terrorism” against members of Congress and citizens. This is all driven by a radical expansion of the meaning of “incitement to violence.” It is accompanied by viral-on-social-media pleas that one work with the FBI to turn in one’s fellow citizens (See Something, Say Something!) and demands for a new system of domestic surveillance.

Underlying all of this are immediate insinuations that anyone questioning any of this must, by virtue of these doubts, harbor sympathy for the Terrorists and their neo-Nazi, white supremacist ideology ...

As usual, Greenwald doesn't pull his punches. If the January 6th Capitol riots—an awful event that lasted less than 8 hours—become the catalyst for a government-sanctioned "war" that lumps all opposing thought into the same pile as repugnant extremist activity, we're looking at a "threat to democracy" that is far greater than even the most repugnant right-wing neo-nazi group or the most violent left-wing "anti-fascist" rioters. Violent extremists on both the right and the left represent a tiny percentage of the body politic. They should not be used as an excuse to suppress thought that questions the preferred narrative. That appears to be what is happening at the moment.


[1] All true, but there is this. Leftist extremists did riot against Biden, but of course, the majority of the media looked the other way.


Glenn Reynolds can't resist a little snarkyness when he writes:

Nothing says, “This was a perfectly normal election, and now it’s time to come together as a united nation,” like having your swearing-in behind 12-foot-high razor wire surrounded by 25,000 troops whose loyalty you doubt. That’s what we witnessed at President Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday: a grim testament to the fundamental insecurity and fragility of the re-ascendant liberal elite.

Democrats no doubt hoped that the optics of this military-heavy presidential installation would convince ordinary Americans that the republic is in peril from the populist ferment that sent Donald Trump to the White House in 2016 and garnered more votes four years later than any GOP ticket, ever. It’s a peril that can only be addressed by, in James Comey’s lovely phrase, “burning down” the Republican Party. 

But the whole aura was less Lincoln and more bananas. As in banana republic. 

In banana republics, it's common for an incoming political party to prosecute and even imprison the outgoing leader. Heh, that's exactly what the Dems are doing and suggesting.

Thursday, January 21, 2021


Joe Biden was sworn in as President yesterday. I wish him and his administration only the best and hope that they take a different and more moderate path they promised, ignoring the leftists within the new Democratic party who want the country to become a socialist utopia.

Biden has a number of inherent advantages going in. The media, giddy as tweens at a boy band concert, are already cheerleading his every move. They will temper criticism (unless it's that his administration isn't woke enough) and protect him from any intimation of scandal. In addition, most of the heavy lifting with regard to COVID-19 has already been done, as had the difficult part of trade negotiations. The economy was remarkably strong before the virus, and although badly shaken, will recover if it isn't "fixed" by Biden. Finally, foreign policy is in a good place. All the Biden administration has to do is NOT screw it all up. We'll see if that happens.

Now, about Inauguration Day itself ... 

In the days following the January 6th debacle at the Capitol, a leaked FBI report warned that armed protests in all fifty state capitols and DC were likely based on unspecified chatter and intelligence sources. Yesterday, reporting from news sources indicates that none of that happened. In fact, these were representative headlines as on the evening on January 20th:

"Few protests, sparse crowds in DC on Inauguration Day; state capitols stay quiet" (USA Today 

"No Large Protests In D.C. As President Biden Is Inaugurated" (NPR) 

"The pro-Trump inauguration protests at state capitols were complete duds" (Vox) 

"Police outnumber protesters as law enforcement continues to guard NC Capitol on inauguration day" (CBS17 News) 

"Inauguration Day protests remain small, peaceful in California despite fears of violence" (LA Times)

"State capitols braced for violent, pro-Trump protests on Inauguration Day, but barely anyone showed up" (Insider)  

" ‘We Have One Demonstrator’: Braced For Chaos, States Report Sparse Inauguration Day Protests" (Forbes)

I'm pleased that there were few, if any, protests, that violence did not occur, and that the predictions of the FBI, the mainstream media, and the breathless warnings of both Democrat and a few GOP politicians did not come to pass. Luckily, the violent protests that occurred during the last presidential Inauguration did not occur this time around.

One plausible explanation is that the heavy police and national guard presence dissuaded people from protesting or rioting. And maybe that's all there was to it.

But it's still reasonable to ask why absolutely nothing happened when it was claimed that "chatter and intelligence" indicated that it would. Was the threat overblown? Was the leak of the FBI report an attempt to reinforce the narrative that the capitol riots were, in fact, a full blown insurrection or coup attempt? Was the massive deployment of national guard troops and police solid security policy, or was it in some part political theater? And why didn't the media investigate the provenance of the FBI report instead of simply reporting it as near certainty? 

If the four constituencies (media, Dems, establishment GOP and deep state operatives) had not tried for four years to manipulate public opinion using leaks and fake news, the questions posed above would not have to be asked. But that's not the world we live in.

I suppose one thing that can be said is that the predictions of violent protests were incorrect—and that's a good thing. 


There is a somewhat darker view of the events in Washington, titularly precipitated by the Capitol riots. Roger Simon comments:

... what I caught glimpses of more than anything else was a massive display of guard troops, not quite what you would see marching through Pyongyang to commemorate Dear Leader’s birthday, but enough to make you wonder what kind of state you were in, democratic or autocratic.

The putative excuse was to avoid violence and a repetition of the occurrences of Jan. 6, but a hundred troops or so would have been more than sufficient to have blocked entry to the Capitol that day, had they been so empowered.

For the inauguration we had twenty to twenty-five thousand troops, an army of greater size than Lincoln employed to prevent the invasion of Washington during the Civil War ...

What was the purpose then of all this saber rattling on a day that was supposed to be a celebration of the peaceful transfer of power in a democratic republic other than an ominous show of force, a reminder to the unruly masses that “stability” had returned and you had better accept it?

The counter argument is that the massive show of force was necessary, because ... chatter. But in hindsight (there were few, if any protests and absolutely no rioting), it does all seem a bit much. And all of this initiated by a political party that roundly condemned the use of national guard troops to quell on-going, destructive and violent leftist rioting in cities across the United States this summer.


Michael Yon is a respected author and war correspondent who has reported from places such as Iraq, Syria, Croatia, Afghanistan, Africa and others where violence is common. He reports from Washington, DC on Inauguration Day:

I am a war correspondent. Many years experience across the world. I am American.

Now, troops are everywhere. D.C. is locked down tighter than Beijing or Hong Kong. I got kicked out of Hong Kong last year, and greatly doubt China will let me back into Mainland, or back to Tibet without arrest.

D.C. and this mayor are like something from 1984. Which I decided to read again during pandemic 2020. Read it.

Hmmm. Just imagine the uproar if Trump had put 25,000 troops into Washington, DC during the summer riots of 2020. 

Oh, BTW, Yon has been censored on Twitter, and threatened with "violations" by Facebook. 


Wednesday, January 20, 2021


Today, we make a transition from the chaos that swirled around Donald Trump and the GOP to an as yet unknown atmosphere that will envelope Joe Biden and the Democrats. But some things are certain.

The significant achievements of the Trump administration (and yes, there were significant economic, domestic and foreign policy achievements) will be relegated to a memory hole, soon to be forgotten or co-opted by the incoming Biden administration.

Hysterical claims (by the Democrats and the media) of ongoing "insurrection, sedition, and/or a coup" will fade quickly as relatively few protests of any magnitude have been evidenced at mid-afternoon on Inauguration Day. The nation's Capitol is quiet as are state capitols, making the hysterics look a little foolish, but still allowing their newfound "fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD)" strategy, honed during the months of the virus, to be used yet again to political advantage. 

The denizens of the "swamp" will breath a sigh of relief as business-as-usual returns. Government will grow and become even more intrusive. The authoritarian lessons learned during the COVID period will be translated to other things—more centralized control, more loss of personal freedoms, all enabled by normalizing hysteria.

The notion that opposing views are healthy will transition to ubiquitous cancel culture. Anyone who opposes the preferred Democrat narrative will be considered persona non grata and therefore dismissed from polite company. Self-censorship will inevitably result, as citizens fear for their livelihoods and their freedoms. Ominous calls for "re-education" for those who remain opposed to the preferred narrative will become louder.

The media will transition from aggressor to protector, but its primary purpose—propaganda intended to advance one and only one political narrative—will remain the same. It will ignore any news that will reflect badly on its chosen political party while trying to keep Trump front and center (even as a private citizen) so that the Democrats' political opponents can continue to be demonized.

Actions that made economic life better for the middle class and for minority populations will be replaced by words and then, more words. Those words will encourage broad classes of people to view themselves as victims and further suggest that they become increasingly dependent of government.

Trade policy will return to the status quo pre-Trump, re-instituting a playing field that disadvantages the United States but enriches those members of the swamp who are only too happy to work with our trade competitors. Foreign policy will again return to the feckless approach used during the Obama years.

Life will begin to return to normal, post-Covid, but it won't be the same "normal" that we encountered from 2017 to very early 2020. That normal encompassed significant employment opportunities and wage growth for those who hadn't seen any in a decade or more. Bidens promise of higher taxes, more regulation, and an anti-business stance will all ensure that.

The transition is now here. I just hope that its managers look back on their failures during the time of the virus (e.g., blue state lockdowns, school closures, business chaos) and remember that above all—do no harm.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Normalizing Hysteria

Throughout 2020, catastrophists ruled the day. Their hysterical 'we're all gonna die!!!' warnings about COVID-19 led to government mandated lockdowns, mandatory business closures, and the shuttering of schools. Cities became ghost towns, businesses closed never to reopen, citizens looked on other citizens with suspicion, travel stopped. The catastrophists insisted that those actions would "stop the spread" but that did NOT happen. A recent major study out of Stanford University assesses the efficacy of more restrictive non‐pharmaceutical interventions (mrNPIs) and least restrictive non‐pharmaceutical interventions (lrNPIs):

Implementing any NPIs was associated with significant reductions in case growth in 9 out of 10 study countries, including South Korea and Sweden that implemented only lrNPIs (Spain had a non‐significant effect). After subtracting the epidemic and lrNPI effects, we find no clear, significant beneficial effect of mrNPIs on case growth in any country. In France, e.g., the effect of mrNPIs was +7% (95CI ‐5%‐19%) when compared with Sweden, and +13% (‐12%‐38%) when compared with South Korea (positive means pro‐contagion). The 95% confidence intervals excluded 30% declines in all 16 comparisons and 15% declines in 11/16 comparisons.


While small benefits cannot be excluded, we do not find significant benefits on case growth of more restrictive NPIs. Similar reductions in case growth may be achievable with less restrictive interventions.

Yet for 11 long months, the Democrats and now their incoming president kept telling us that mrNPIs were not only necessary but backed by "science." They implemented draconian restrictions (mostly in blue states) that ruined lives and livelihoods and ironically, did NOT stop the spread of the virus. Even some lrNPIs (e.g., masks everywhere for every reason) have been proven to provide only "small benefits" (i.e., in the 2 - 3 percent range), yet are viewed as a powerful amulet that somehow wards off the virus. They've also become a mechanism for virtue signaling among the Left.

But something else happened. The catastrophist narrative normalized the hysterical reactions that drove near authoritarian rule by some state governors. And that resulted in the selective assessment of reality based on a preferred narrative, and worst of all, the death of common sense. So we closed schools when children are basically immune from serious illness due to the virus and transmit it at very low percentage levels; we shuttered cities and destroyed economies, even when early data indicated those actions would not work, and mostly Democrats demanded isolation, even as the health affects of that demand forced people into their homes where 70+ percent of case transmission has been found to occur.

And sadly, the normalization of catastrophist thinking has now seeped into other areas. The propagandists in the main stream media have learned that a catastrophist patina sells any narrative that they alone deem worthy, so they promote catastrophist thinking, regardless of the truth. Politicians have learned to use the catastrophist narrative as a bludgeon. Government officials have noted the same thing, learning that a catastrophist narrative can encourage citizens to accept an assault on their most fundamental rights—all to avoid a "catastrophe."

Let's spend a moment exploring that.

The events of January 6th were a travesty and should never happen again. Donald Trump has been justifiably disgraced because he set the stage for them. But characterizing those events in catastrophist language—an "insurrection," a "coup," "sedition"—gives those events the power to drive bad decisions, just as catastrophist language regarding COVID-19 drove really, really bad decisions that will haunt us for years. 

By the way, the COVID decisions led to actions that made things worse, not better. I suspect that political decisions associated with January 6th debacle at the Capitol may also lead to actions that make our politics worse (if that's even possible). At some level, I'm beginning to believe that is the intent.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Lazy and Stupid

An advisor to President Barack Obama once characterized the mainstream media as [paraphrasing] "a bunch of lazy and stupid 27-year olds who know little of the world." He could have also added that the vast majority of main stream media "journalists" are heavily biased (in favor of the Democrats), are more often than not dishonest in the way they report the news, and are incompetent in their ability to conduct thorough investigations of wrong-doing (if they choose to report the wrong-doing at all).

That reality won't change, regardless of the utter contempt that is leveled on the media and the lack of public trust that their "reporting" is accurate and unbiased. Therefore, it's very important to look for indicators that provide us with a better understanding of the media's motives as well as their level on honesty. Here are a few questions to ask when ever you encounter a media report:
  • Was a news story timed to provide advantage to a particular politician or party? 
  • Was an unnamed source(s) used to discredit or criticize a particular politician or party? 
  • Was there an appeal to authority, quoting "experts" who have a specific bias, and have those experts been right or wrong in the past?
  • Are claims by government agencies (usually leaked) being reported without reference to supporting hard facts and the granularity necessary to assess those facts?
  • Was there an appeal to authority, quoting past government officials (e.g., past intelligence directors) who have an institutional bias to protect the deep state and are undoubtedly active players in the Washington swamp?
  • When any media entity makes a "mistake," does the error in reporting always seem to benefit one political party and harm another?
  • Have crucial facts been omitted or buried to ensure that a story promotes a specific narrative?
  • When a politician is quoted, has an important part of his/her statement been omitted, leading to misinterpretation of meaning?
  • Do reporters use loaded language when reporting on conservatives (e.g., "white supremacist" when describing someone who questions the motives of groups like BLM)? 
  • Do reporters use softer language when reporting on left-wing groups (e.g., calling violent-leftist rioters much more benign terms like "activists" or protestors")?
  • Do reporters ask questions that have a stated (and incorrect assumption) built into them (e.g., "What do you say to people who say that your management of the virus has failed?)?
  • Are crucial facts been omitted or relegated to the 27th paragraph?
  • Are statistics presented with enough granularity to allow the reader to understand their importance or have they been characterized in a way that is intended to promote a specific narrative?
  • Is gaslighting initiated when obvious wrong-doing or corruption is uncovered and can't be avoided (e.g., falsely labeling the corruption story about Joe and Hunter Biden "Russian disinformation")?
If you ask those questions about every important mainstream news report or "bombshell" when GOP leaders are in office, you'll begin the question the veracity of the media's reports. BTW, I suspect we'll see a lot fewer "bombshells" that reflect badly on Joe Biden and the Dems, a lot fewer unnamed sources, and lot fewer leaks—not because there aren't any, but because the media chooses to ignore or bury them when the Dems are in power. 

So when the Democrats tell us that there were no election "irregularities" and are backed up by the mainstream media who call any legitimate report of actual irregularities or obvious statistical anomalies a "myth," it's not the least bit surprising that tens of millions of people don't believe them. If, in fact, all of it was a myth, the media could have and should have debunked each claim one-by-one, not with generalities or dismissal, but with hard facts. They chose not to do that. You have to ask, why?

The media has lied regularly and viciously over the past four years,. There's absolutely no reason to believe they're not lying about important stories right now. But as the party in power changes, the lies will also change—from unsupported and dishonest accusations of wrong-doing by the GOP to defensive stories that are intended to refute and bury any opposition to the Dems' policies or actions. 

James Freeman reports on a communication with a reader, who writes:
The Left needs to accept the fact that too many of the things they told us could not possibly be true turned out to be true—right up to calling [Trump] a liar for saying there would be a vaccine. And now they expect normal people, who don’t follow politics 24/7... to simply believe them that everything [the vote] is on the up and up. You know, just like the FISA investigation.

Everyday people are expected to be able to understand that, even though they see a bag of votes discovered here, and an irregularity there, that these are isolated incidents and don’t define the entire system. And journalists look down on these people and their cognitive biases. And then these same journalists see a George Floyd video and are ready to dismantle police departments!
It's one thing to spin debatable opinions or actions, but it's something else entirely to purposely ignore important stories, to omit or distort facts, and to gaslight with vigor to protect the preferred narrative. The mainstream media are propagandists in the truest sense of the term.They cannot and should not be trusted.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Inauguration Day

There will undoubtedly be protests as Joe Biden is sworn in as President of the United States on January 20th. There may also be violence perpetrated by right-wing crazies. It would be far better if none of that happened, but in all likelihood, it will.

Let's imagine that the worst occurs in Washington, D.C.  on Inauguration Day and right-wing riots occur, the police are attacked, people are injured, some violence and destruction happens. As this occurs, thousands of supporters of the outgoing president conduct "mostly peaceful protests," but are overshadowed by the extremist rioters. Imagine that 214 of those rioters are arrested for felony rioting and face charges of up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. 

In our imaginary scenario, CNN reports that "“The indictment accuses the defendants of using a tactic called ‘Black Bloc’ in which people conceal their identities with dark or black clothing and accessories such as scarves, sunglasses, helmets, and masks,”

And then ... imagine that in the months that follow, not a single person who was arrested for rioting during the Inauguration of a new President is tried or convicted or punished in any way. In fact, imagine that the AP reports “[The effort to free the rioters] saw the government facing off against an intensely coordinated grassroots political opposition network that made Washington the focus of a nationwide support campaign offering free lodging for defendants, legal coordination, and other support.” 

How do you think the four constituencies would react? Would there be outrage that violent protesters were not punished? Would the media gloss over the lack of convictions and accountability? Would the people who provided  "free lodging for defendants, legal coordination, and other support, be given a fee pass, or would they be condemned? 

By now, you may have guessed that our imaginary scenario actually happened in 2017; the events described did occur on the day that Donald Trump was sworn in. The quotes attributed to major news organizations are real (CNN, AP), and the end result was no penalties or jail time for anyone involved.

Of course, the rioters in question were from left-wing groups like antifa and BLM and were protesting the election of Donald Trump.

Before you begin saying that this is "whataboutism," it's worth noting that although the media did report the rioting on Inauguration Day in 2017, it was attributed to the danger posed by Trump, suggesting, not so subtly, that the rioters were justified in their concern. and implying that their intentions were pure. 

That shouldn't have happened in 2017 and it's a slam dunk guarantee that it won't happen in 2021. Two sets of standards and two sets of rules. It's the new normal.

Friday, January 15, 2021


More than a few progressives become infuriated when anyone bring up the massive summer riots, orchestrated by left-wing groups such as antifa and BLM in the context of the Capitol riots. They argue that any mention of those riots is a distraction or "whataboutism" and has nothing to do with the right-wing riots that occurred at the Capitol on January 6th. But comparing the reaction of progressives and Democrats to the events of January 6th and then to the more widespread, violent and destructive riots of this past summer is informative. It is not a distraction because it provides an indication of just how selective outrage and condemnation can be.

The summer riots spanned a period of months, not hours, and resulted in massive property damage and violence. They, like the debacle at the Capitol, were planned and coordinated by extremists and driven by anger. The summer riots were often dismissed by Democrat city, state, and federal leaders as nothing to worry about. When summer rioters were arrested, federal agencies investigated half-heartedly, left-leaning prosecutors refused to prosecute, and the rioters were released to riot yet again. There was no massive national manhunt for the perpetrators (as there is now for the Capitol rioters).

When asked about the summer riots, soon-to-be VP, Kamala Harris, refused to condemn the perpetrators and then went so far as to urge her followers, ironically via Twitter, to contribute to a fund to bail-out those who had been arrested for arson, assault and battery, and theft, implying that somehow their rioting was justified by events.

Imagine for just a moment the firestorm that would result if any GOP politician even suggested that Capitol rioters should be released, much less suggest that Republicans contribute to a bail fund for them. The only GOP politician to delay condemnation of the Capitol rioters was Donald Trump, and it ruined him within his own party. Every other GOP politician condemned the Capitol riots immediately and unequivocally, and none suggested leniency for the perpetrators. 

But Democrats don't want to consider their rather different reactions in the summer and then on January 6th. That would imply that there's a level of hypocrisy at work. Instead, the Dems indict anyone who brings up the very different treatment of the summer riots with the 'crime' of "whataboutism." William Voegeli comments:

The whataboutism indictments mean that we [referring to the Democrats], who wield this cultural power, can deliver crazy and dangerous pronouncements during one historical circumstance, and then a few months later use that power to decree that the earlier pronouncements are irrelevant to whatever points we’re making today. Cultural power means never having to say you’re sorry and never having to feel you’re constrained. Go ahead: take outrageous positions or issue preposterous formulations today, confident that if they make you or us look bad in the future, we, the culturally powerful, will join together to manufacture a consensus that even alluding to those embarrassments is now impermissible.

In a way, charges of whataboutism are a form of cancel culture. The charges are intended to: (1) silence any discussion that doesn't fit the prevailing narrative; (2) erase the history of past (and often contradictory) positions, and (3) enable selective outrage that can be used to implement politically authoritarian policies.

Yet the Left insists that comparisons are not only irrelevant, but somehow a "distraction." Voegeli writes:

... different cases, though not identical, can be comparable in ways that fairly illuminate some underlying question. If whataboutism entails “raising a supposedly analogous issue in response to a perceived hypocrisy or inconsistency,” then raising plausibly analogous issues in response to a demonstrable hypocrisy or inconsistency does not qualify as whataboutism. Whether issue X is or isn’t analogous to issue Y, whether inconsistency Z is apparent or real, irrelevant, or germane—these disagreements become elements of any fair debate. And because it is legitimate for one side to raise such questions, it is illegitimate for the other side to use facile, tendentious accusations of whataboutism to rule them out of order. The point of that tactic is not to win a debate but stifle it.

But stifling any discussion that doesn't fit the narrative is something that is becoming S.O.P. for the new Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media. They now see that it works. That accusing someone of "whataboutism" keeps them quiet or better, forces them to self-censor. The Left has trouble wining any legitimate debate on any important issue unless it silences its opponents. That exactly what "whataboutism" is all about.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Political Authoritarianism

It's very important to be able to hold two or more thoughts in your head at one time. Far too many Democrats and a few Republicans seem unable to do that. They are consumed (obsessed?) with the destruction of Donald Trump, and now that the debacle at the Capitol (a.k.a. the Capitol riots) has given them a legitimate reason to question Trump's judgement and his leadership, everything over the past week—and I do mean everything—is viewed through the lens of "Trump's coup attempt." 

But there are things that are happening that are ominous and are only peripherally connected to the events of January 6th—although the Left would have you believe that those ominous things are justified by their Captain Ahab-like obsession with Trump. 

There are thousands of biased, dishonest and unprofessional left-leaning journalists. But Glen Greenwald is NOT among them. Greenwald, a progressive, is one of the few who have maintained their professionalism. He has the courage and the sense to note that the social media de-platforming of not only Trump, but a wide array of conservative voices, along with the forced shutdown of a new social media site, Parler, competing with Facebook and Twitter (both social media platforms run by left-leaning tech oligarchs) represents a serious threat to free-speech. Greenwald writes:

Critics of Silicon Valley censorship for years heard the same refrain: tech platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter are private corporations and can host or ban whoever they want. If you don’t like what they are doing, the solution is not to complain or to regulate them. Instead, go create your own social media platform that operates the way you think it should.

The founders of Parler heard that suggestion and tried. In August, 2018, they created a social media platform similar to Twitter but which promised far greater privacy protections, including a refusal to aggregate user data in order to monetize them to advertisers or algorithmically evaluate their interests in order to promote content or products to them. They also promised far greater free speech rights, rejecting the increasingly repressive content policing of Silicon Valley giants.

Over the last year, Parler encountered immense success. Millions of people who objected to increasing repression of speech on the largest platforms or who had themselves been banned signed up for the new social media company.

As Silicon Valley censorship radically escalated over the past several months — banning pre-election reporting by The New York Post about the Biden family, denouncing and deleting multiple posts from the U.S. President and then terminating his access altogether, mass-removal of right-wing accounts — so many people migrated to Parler that it was catapulted to the number one spot on the list of most-downloaded apps on the Apple Play Store, the sole and exclusive means which iPhone users have to download apps. “Overall, the app was the 10th most downloaded social media app in 2020 with 8.1 million new installs,” reported TechCrunch.

It looked as if Parler had proven critics of Silicon Valley monopolistic power wrong. Their success showed that it was possible after all to create a new social media platform to compete with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And they did so by doing exactly what Silicon Valley defenders long insisted should be done: if you don’t like the rules imposed by tech giants, go create your own platform with different rules.

It's worth noting that Twitter and to a lesser extent, Facebook, have relatively no problem with leftist voices that have advocated violence toward Trump or his supporters. Those progressive voices have not been de-platformed, nor have virulent anti-Semites like Louis Farakan or Iranian leader, Ali Khamenei, who advocates "Death to America and fantasizes about the annihilation of Israel." Their Twitter and Facebook accounts remain untouched.

That latter is as it should be. These demagogues should be able to communicate their views (no matter how objectionable) to those willing to follow them, as long as they can be called out, refuted, and labeled as the scum they are. 

But two sets of rules have evolved—one for voices that oppose the progressive/socialist narrative and another for those who advocate that narrative or speak for the "oppressed."

Greenwald continues:

If one were looking for evidence to demonstrate that these tech behemoths are, in fact, monopolies that engage in anti-competitive behavior in violation of antitrust laws, and will obliterate any attempt to compete with them in the marketplace, it would be difficult to imagine anything more compelling than how they just used their unconstrained power to utterly destroy a rising competitor.

The united Silicon Valley attack began on January 8, when Apple emailed Parler and gave them 24 hours to prove they had changed their moderation practices or else face removal from their App Store. The letter claimed: “We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property.” It ended with this warning:

To ensure there is no interruption of the availability of your app on the App Store, please submit an update and the requested moderation improvement plan within 24 hours of the date of this message. If we do not receive an update compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and the requested moderation improvement plan in writing within 24 hours, your app will be removed from the App Store.

The 24-hour letter was an obvious pretext and purely performative. Removal was a fait accompli no matter what Parler did. To begin with, the letter was immediately leaked to Buzzfeed, which published it in full. A Parler executive detailed the company’s unsuccessful attempts to communicate with Apple. “They basically ghosted us,” he told me. The next day, Apple notified Parler of its removal from App Store. “We won’t distribute apps that present dangerous and harmful content,” said the world’s richest company, and thus: “We have now rejected your app for the App Store.”

It is hard to overstate the harm to a platform from being removed from the App Store. Users of iPhones are barred from downloading apps onto their devices from the internet. If an app is not on the App Store, it cannot be used on the iPhone. Even iPhone users who have already downloaded Parler will lose the ability to receive updates, which will shortly render the platform both unmanageable and unsafe.

In October, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law (controlled by Democrats) issued a 425-page report concluding that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google all possess monopoly power and are using that power anti-competitively. 

But in the aftermath of the debacle at the Capitol, all of that concern seems to have been jettisoned in the effort to utterly destroy Trump. As long as voices who have and will oppose the narrative of the new Democratic party are the only ones that are silenced—no problem. Again from Greenwald:

... the dominant strain of American liberalism is not economic socialism but political authoritarianism. Liberals now want to use the force of corporate power to silence those with different ideologies. They are eager for tech monopolies not just to ban accounts they dislike but to remove entire platforms from the internet. They want to imprison people they believe helped their party lose elections, such as Julian Assange, even if it means creating precedents to criminalize journalism.

World leaders have vocally condemned the power Silicon Valley has amassed to police political discourse, and were particularly indignant over the banning of the U.S. President. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, various French ministers, and especially Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador all denounced the banning of Trump and other acts of censorship by tech monopolies on the ground that they were anointing themselves “a world media power.”

... Even the ACLU — which has rapidly transformed from a civil liberties organization into a liberal activist group since Trump’s election — found the assertion of Silicon Valley’s power to destroy Parler deeply alarming. One of that organization’s most stalwart defenders of civil liberties, lawyer Ben Wizner, told The New York Times that the destruction of Parler was more “troubling” than the deletion of posts or whole accounts: “I think we should recognize the importance of neutrality when we’re talking about the infrastructure of the internet.”

Yet American liberals swoon for this authoritarianism ...

So much of this liberal support for the attempted destruction of Parler is based in utter ignorance about that platform, and about basic principles of free speech ...

Greenwald goes on to note that Parler is no more a stronghold of white supremacist thought than Twitter is a place where anti-white, anti-Semitic thugs like Louis Farakan rein. The difference is that Parler doesn't censor or de-platform views it disagrees with.

As the new Democratic party ascends to power in less than a week, our country's dominant concern shouldn't be the fever dream that a disgraced, 74-year old Donald Trump will rise from the ashes to become a 2024 political force. Rather it should be the gnawing concern that hiding behind the mask of "unity" and "moderation" worn by Joe Biden is "political authoritarianism." The censorship that has occurred over the past few months has demonstrated just how powerful that authoritarianism can be and provides a frightening preview of what it can become under the new Democratic party.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Moby Dick

The Democrats can't seem to let go of Donald J. Trump. Today, they intend to impeach him for a second time. "Incitement" as we'll see later in this post, didn't happen in any criminal sense, but Trump did instigate the debacle at the Capitol. If he had a year left in his term of office, impeachment might be something to consider, but he now has 7 days left.

The debacle at the Capitol has discredited him, his own party is distancing itself from him, many of his defenders have abandoned him, his social media megaphone has been disconnected, and his term of office is all but over. You'd think that the Dems and their trained hamsters in the media would celebrate his fall and subsequent departure and move on.

But Donald Trump is Moby Dick to the Left's Captain Ahab. In Herman Melville's classic novel,  the Captain was obsessed with killing the great white whale—at any cost. Like Ahab, the Dems are willing to risk even more extreme political division (counter to the claims made by Joe Biden that "unity" is his goal). They are obsessed with the whale and are cheered on by their supporters and assisted by their hamsters in the media as they spend the opening days of Biden's ascension to the presidency in an effort to destroy and humiliate the outgoing president.

Jonathan Turley is "an American attorney, legal scholar, writer, commentator, and legal analyst in broadcast and print journalism. He is a professor at the George Washington University Law School, and has testified in United States Congressional proceedings about constitutional and statutory issues." (Wikipedia) He is hardly a member of any seditionist group—a label that is now leveled at anyone who questions whether Trump actually did "incite" the mob that invaded the Capitol. Turley writes:

Democrats are seeking to remove Trump on the basis of his remarks to supporters before the rioting at the Capitol. Like others, I condemned those remarks as he gave them, calling them reckless and wrong. I also opposed the challenges to electoral votes in Congress. But his address does not meet the definition for incitement under the criminal code. It would be viewed as protected speech by the Supreme Court.

When I testified in the impeachment hearings of Trump and Bill Clinton, I noted that an article of impeachment does not have to be based on any clear crime but that Congress has looked to the criminal code to weigh impeachment offenses. For this controversy now, any such comparison would dispel claims of criminal incitement. Despite broad and justified condemnation of his words, Trump never actually called for violence or riots. But he urged his supporters to march on the Capitol to raise their opposition to the certification of electoral votes and to back the recent challenges made by a few members of Congress. Trump told the crowd “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices be heard.”

... There was no call for lawless action by Trump. Instead, there was a call for a protest at the Capitol. Moreover, violence was not imminent, as the vast majority of the tens of thousands of protesters were not violent before the march, and most did not riot inside the Capitol. Like many violent protests in the last four years, criminal conduct was carried out by a smaller group of instigators. Capitol Police knew of the march but declined an offer from the National Guard since they did not view violence as likely.

Trump undoubtedly did exhibit recklessness and very bad judgment when the events of the debacle at the Capitol are viewed in hindsight. That would be enough to label him a demagogue and to question his fitness for another four years in the White House. But Trump won't be in the White House after January 20th. 

The Dems claim that impeachment is necessary to ensure that Trump is not allowed to run in 2024. They have no worry in that regard. Trump, through his own bad judgment and thoughtless language, has destroyed his own reputation and turned many of his supporters against him. Media will not provide him with the means to communicate in any modern context. His voice will be silenced. His own party would never endorse his candidacy. Only in the fever swamps of leftist thought is there any threat of another Trump presidency.

Impeachment will accomplish one thing. In the fever swamps of hard-right thinking, it will provide yet another grievance that will remain unresolved. Given the current state of political affairs, why incite (that word again) when it simply isn't necessary.  Trump is over. There's just no need to chase the whale.

There's a quote from Moby Dick that seems relevant here:

“There is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of man.”

Trump may very well be a white whale—a once in a century political phenomenon that was part "beast" and part ... you fill in the rest. His opponents' reaction to him over four long years before the debacle at the Capitol may have been part prescience at what would come in his last weeks in office. But any objective assessment would also have to consider the possibility that it was part madness.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

51 Pieces

Virtually everyone agrees that senior citizens are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Current data puts mortality for those over 80 who get the virus at about 5 - 6 percent, meaning there's a 94% probability of surviving the illness, but that's still cause for concern. It's also a key driver for getting seniors vaccinated ASAP.

In my state of FL, vaccinations of seniors have begun, and tens of thousands of appointment s have already been arranged with more coming on a daily basis. On-line signups require a name, an email address (so an appointment can be arranged) a telephone number, age, and an address. But FL is a red state governed by a competent governor who is not a catastrophist. He has the wisdom to allow local control, as hundreds of websites, organized and administered by local hospitals and county governments have been set up to handle appointments. I went on-line and got mine yesterday.

In NY, few senior vaccinations have occurred. It's been reported that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration requires a multistep verification process for sign-ups, requiring answers to a lengthy questionnaire with as many as 51 entries. In additional, the senior must upload an image of his or her insurance card. That requirement will be daunting for many 65-plus year olds, who may struggle with translating a physical card into a digital image and then uploading the same. 

Even worse, Cuomo has instituted a statewide set of requirements that dictate who can get the vaccination and when, assigning penalties to any provide who violates them. They have been rescinded after public outcry. The New York Times reports:

Across New York State, medical providers in recent weeks had the same story: They had been forced to throw out precious vaccine doses because of difficulties finding patients who matched precisely with the state’s strict vaccination guidelines — and the steep penalties they would face had they made a mistake.

On Saturday, state health officials responded to the outcry over discarded vaccines by again abruptly loosening guidelines as coronavirus cases continued to rise.

NY is a blue state. Big government bureaucracy, centralized control, and red tape rule. People just might want to take a step back and ask whether the approach adopted by NY for a simple shot might well be a harbinger of the approach taken for all medical care under blue governance at a federal level. After all, government run health care is cheap, efficient, and fair, except when it isn't.

It's also rather amusing to note that the many Democrats suggest that supplying one piece of physical identification for voter ID is somehow too hard for certain groups. Yet, they were perfectly willing to have at-risk seniors supply 51 pieces of digital information to get a shot.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Two Sets

Although she lives in Israel, Caroline Glick is an astute observer of the American scene. She writes about the debacle of the Capitol this way:

It was hard to watch the scenes of President Donald Trump supporters storming the Capitol on Wednesday as the joint session of Congress was convened to debate and ratify President Elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory. Suddenly, the home of America’s representative government was threatened not by Islamic terrorists or China or Russia, but by the people the lawmakers represent – Americans. And the Americans in question had just attended a rally where President Trump told them Biden stole the election and the procedure going on the joint session was illegitimate.

As I noted in my reaction to the debacle, Trump is done. He exercised massively bad judgment and invoked dangerous, tone-deaf language that incited his followers at their Washington rally. I'm certain he was advised not to promote the gathering or speak at the rally and disregarded that advice. He sowed a whirlwind.

But there's more to this than Trump's demise. The reaction of the four constituencies (the democrats, the media, the GOP establishment, and the deep state) who have worked tirelessly for the past four years to destroy Trump's presidency is masked jubilation. In their view, the awful events of last week justify their dishonest and in some cases, criminal attempts to "resist," not with reasoned opposition, but with proven lies (e.g., "Russian collusion"). In addition, the media has decided that the rioters who invaded the Capitol are worthy of investigation and discussion. The trained hamsters are combing through the background of the most extreme elements that invaded the Capitol building while emphasizing the "heroic" attempts by police officers who fought back. That's understandable and appropriate.

But it is truly ironic that the "insurrection" (to borrow a phrase from Joe Biden) that we saw in American cities this summer—the violence, the destruction, the thievery, and the deaths, along with the less than friendly treatment of the law enforcement people who tried to stop it, got far different treatment by the media. There were no in-depth investigations of antifa or BLM, the perpetrators of the summer riots. There were no investigative profiles of the leaders of those groups (as there have been in the case of last week's riots). In fact, the media purposely looked the other way, suggesting that it all was "mostly peaceful."

It's this imbalance in the treatment of violent and criminal acts that is troubling. Glick continues:

Contrary to the wizened intonations of “experts” on TV, the last time the Capitol was besieged wasn’t during the War of 1812, when the British burned the Capitol and the White House. It was two years ago. A mob far larger than the one that stormed the building Wednesday took over the Hart Senate Office Building during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing to intimidate lawmakers into voting down his nomination.

As BLM and Antifa rioters burned a swathe across the country, even as police officers and civilians were killed and wounded, Democrat politicians on the local, state and national levels supported them. While distancing himself from the violence, Biden supported them. In a television interview in late August, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris egged on the shock troops and embraced them.

Speaking to Stephen Colbert, Harris said of the rioters, “Everyone beware. They’re not gonna stop before election day in November, and they’re not gonna stop after election day…They’re not gonna let up and they should not.”

The media, including social media giants Facebook, Twitter and YouTube backed the rioters. Their hashtags were trending and their violence whitewashed even as people were killed and wounded and their mayhem inflicted $2 billion in damages on the U.S. economy already battered by the coronavirus. The brunt of the financial burden was shouldered by small business owners. 

Sadly, there's no surprise in any of this. We have become a country where different standards and rules apply depending on political affiliation.

What rioters did in Washington last week was wrong and criminal. They are being arrested and will be prosecuted. What rioters did in multiple U.S. cities this past summer was wrong and criminal. Some were arrested, most were released, and relatively few were prosecuted. The media preferred not to look. Two sets of standards, two set of rules. It not a good thing for the country.  

Thursday, January 07, 2021

A Fork

Narcissistic. Bombastic. Undignified. Braggart. Verbally unclear. Uncouth. Exaggerator who borders on liar. Many of us disregarded all of those nasty and obvious personality traits because Donald Trump threatened a Washington swamp that needed threatening. And despite an onslaught of hate and false accusations, he managed a Teams of 8s and 9s that actually accomplished many good things throughout his administration.

But Donald Trump jumped the shark yesterday. And as a consequence, all of his many achievements — things that actually improved the lives of many Americans, lead to more equitable trade, and established foreign policy wins that made the world a better place—are for naught. 

Trump will be remembered for the storming of the US Capitol by a mob, encouraged by his ill-chosen rhetoric and inappropriate combativeness. An exhausted nation—frightened by the virus, pummeled by unrelenting political combat over the last four years, disgusted by media double standards that are so obvious they’re breathtaking, and sick of gaslighting that insisted that wrong is right and lies are truth—wants it over, and Trump gone.

After the travesty on Capitol Hill yesterday, they’re not wrong.

Mob violence is reprehensible whether it comes from pro-Trump supporters or antifa and BLM protesters. They ALL deserve full-throated condemnation.

There's no point in making comparisons of mob violence or noting the rather different ways the summer riots and yesterday's capitol assault were covered and discussed. It's all beside the point.

Trump brought on yesterday's assault by inciting a mob. Stick a fork in him, he's done.


Steven Kruiser comments on the Capitol riots:

Let me be clear about this up front: I in no way condone what went on. Riots are riots. I’m not some mainstream media hack who prevaricates when writing about civil unrest in order to cover for people I might think are on the right side of things. Once you go full mob rule, I don’t care who you voted for [or what your ideology is], you’re an idiot and you’re on the wrong side.

In fact, I am sick to death of people and their stupid feelings. If you can’t express your displeasure without breaking a window you’re not fit to be out in public ... Grow up.

The first thing I noticed while scanning the news was that virtually every conservative commenting on the situation was condemning the violence. Immediately. That stood in stark contrast to high-ranking Democrats and their flying monkeys in the mainstream media spending all last summer telling us that things were peaceful while we were staring at burning buildings.

He's right, but the damage has been done—to Trump and to the people who supported him. The Capitol riots give the Left and their trained hamsters in the media a good excuse to justify all of their unrelenting and dishonest attacks on this president over the past four years. The riots give them a good excuse to justify their condescending hatred of the "deplorables." And the Capitol mob has no one to blame but itself.


Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Modern Communists

Unless a recount changes the result in GA, it looks like the Democrats have control over the House, the Senate and the presidency. They now have free rein to make good on their threats to pack the Supreme Court, add PR and DC as states thereby packing the Senate, raise taxes on the "rich," abolish the electoral college, and of course, provide plenty of "free" stuff for their favored constituencies. Their media (and it is their media) will protect them from scandal every step of the way as Joe Biden is elevated to the presidency. I hesitate to use the words "elected" or "won" because of the gnawing questions that continue to swirl around far too many voting irregularities that will never be properly reconciled or investigated. Regardless, Joe will be president on January 20th. 

Those of us who were opposed to all of this will accept the Dem's ascension to power and move forward. We will wonder about the new Democrat president's cognitive deficits (which are real and growing more obvious by the month), observe his administration's actions, criticize his missteps, and point out his scandals, but we won't call him names that have no basis in reality. We'll watch as both the House and the Senate enact legislation that will cripple economic growth, make more and more people dependent of big government, and strangle us all with regulations that provide little benefit but maximum control.

Biden now has the unenviable job of managing the new Democratic party. I use the adjective new to indicate that far too many influencers within the new Democratic party have veered hard left and are now energized by their ascension to power. The party's aging leaders will try (or not) to maintain some semblance of moderation or centrism, but the socialist wing is taking over. With the explicit assistance of the trained hamsters of the  mainstream media, along with quiet supporters throughout social media, the new Democrats are positioned to transform our way of life—and not in a good way.

Sarah Chamberlain has written a scathing commentary in which she refers to the hard-left influencers within the new Democratic party (e.g., Bernie Sanders, the members of the "Squad") as "modern communists." She writes:

Modern communists do not usually call themselves such. They do not talk about workers rising up and seizing the Means of Production.

Instead, modern communists adopt a rhetorical stance where they assume that all people and all property are ALREADY COLLECTIVIZED, then calmly discuss what WE should do:

  • What WE should ALLOW people to own.
  • What WE should ALLOW people to do.
  • What WE should ALLOW people to say.
  • How WE should ALLOW people to use their property.
  • How WE should ALLOW people to conduct their businesses,
  • … and WHO should be ALLOWED,
  • … and WHERE.
  • How WE should ALLOW people to raise their children. Who should be GIVEN which roles within society.

- etc.

The issue under discussion is always something sympathetic, something most decent people would like to see fixed: Intergenerational poverty, police brutality, environmental degradation, bigotry, violence.

But the solutions modern communists put forward are rarely passive, and they are never liberating. If a problem can be solved by individual action, voluntary charity, by the free market, or by the passage of time, that is never seen as good enough. In fact, nothing that fails to increase the power and control of governments or certain institutions (or to grow the people’s dependence on them) is ever regarded as a solution at all.

There are ominous signs that the "modern communists" are winning. By controlling speech, they control ideas. By cancelling those who object, they cause others who might object to self-censor. 

As an example, let's consider their actions over the past 11 months of COVID. At least some of the Democrat governors (Newsom, Whitmer, Cuomo, come to mind) have insisted on near-dictatorial (not to mention nonsensical, anti-scientific, and catastrophist) control of their states. They argue that only they can dictate the terms that ALLOW: 

  • what people can do (e.g., mandatory mask mandates); 
  • what people can say (e.g., social media censoring anyone who suggests that catastrophist hype is nothing more than propaganda); 
  • how people can use their property (e.g., closing restaurants and arresting/fining those who push back); 
  • how owners can conduct their businesses (e.g., you're non-essential—close down); 
  • who should be allowed to go where (e.g., stay out of parks, off beaches, no gatherings of more than n people, except of course, for gatherings the "modern communists" approve of). 

The state knows all, the state knows best, the state will have all the solutions—bow down to the established "experts," even as they demonstrate they are often wrong and consistently ineffective.

Chamberlain continues:

In order for modern communists to have the latitude to execute their plans, they need every citizen to be as weak and dependent as possible. They especially need the middle tiers of management, professions, and bureaucracy to be filled with minimally competent placeholders who owe their position to political and institutional favor. These sorts of people, since they are only able to achieve their present position through the system, are more pliable to coercion and less likely to see freedom in any aspect of life as promising or beneficial.

Add victimization to the mix and you have a toxic, yet effective brew. 

And anyone who refuses to drink is branded as uncaring or insensitive or stupid or patriarchal or deplorable or worse. None of that is true, but modern communists don't really care about truth. They control the message.  Their truth is pushed by their media flunkies, by academia, by the entertainment industry, and by the state as the truth. It isn't ... not even close.

Chamberlain concludes by noting that many of us see the rising tide of "modern communism," we sense that bad things are on the horizon if it is left unopposed, but we are fat and happy. We, like the Cubans and the Venezuelans in our own hemisphere and within just a few generations, believe/hope that it can't happen here. 

But it can.

She writes:

Most people who have not committed to the cause of freedom are not conscious supporters of modern communism. Some hold out the futile hope that things will all go back to normal, others have convinced themselves that what is happening is inevitable and cannot be opposed. Both are dead wrong. As open struggle against collectivism, communism, authoritarianism, and globalism rises, both of these positions will weaken, and support for freedom will grow.

If you have the courage to act where I do not, here is what I WILL do:

  • If you speak out against them, I will listen. 
  • If you act against them, I will not stand in your way. 
  • If they portray you as uncool, cringey, old-fashioned, unintelligent, or low-class, I will not laugh at you or think less of you. 
  • If they call you a racist, sexist, xenophobe, homophobe, Nazi, granny killer, etc., I will not believe them, nor will I care. 
  • If they call you a terrorist or an extremist, I will not assume that you are in the wrong. 
  • When they ask me questions, I will lie, forget, or evade as I am able. 
  • When they tell me their version of history, I will smile and nod and know they are liars. 
  • If they dispossess you, I will share what I can. 
  • If they martyr you, my children will learn your name as that of a hero. 
  • If you have the courage to be shameless in opposing them, you will be honored in my house.

I, and tens of millions of others, will do the same. 

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

The Tranquility Initiative

During his four years in office, Donald Trump achieved a number of significant foreign policy successes, including important trade deals, the first real Arab-Israeli peace initiative in  generations, and the first time ever that the USA had put limits on China's attempt to dominate the Far East. Of course the media gaslighted the public, telling us that Trump's policies were chaotic and that there were no achievements. They lied, but that's par for the course.

The previous administration led by Barack Obama is notable in comparison. Trump's list of foreign policy achievements is exceeded only by Obama's list of foreign policy failures. At the top of that list of failures was Obama's capitulation to Iran, his vaunted "Iran Deal." At the time, I was less than enthusiastic about the deal.

Wisely, Trump backed out of the "deal," but now that Joe Biden and the Democrats are returning to power, it looks like Biden's emerging foreign policy Team of 2s wants to put the "deal" back into place.

The editors of The Wall Street Journal comment:

President Trump’s maximum-pressure sanctions campaign against Iran will continue until his final day in office—and so will Tehran’s escalating violations of the 2015 nuclear deal. While the facts on the ground change, Joe Biden’s policy hasn’t.

Iran is now enriching uranium to 20% purity, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Monday. This is below the 90% needed for a bomb but a big leap above the accord’s 3.67% limit ...

The regime also said Monday that it had detained a vessel from South Korea, which is in a dispute with Tehran over frozen bank accounts. Last month Mr. Trump blamed Iran-backed militias for the largest attack on Baghdad’s Green Zone since 2010. Iran was also likely behind a series of cyber attacks against dozens of Israeli firms at the end of 2020.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone: Tehran has been a regional menace for 40 years. Mr. Trump’s newly acquired sanctions leverage could eventually forge a better deal, but it was always unlikely in his first term. Watching Iran break out from the deal so easily is a reminder of how sweet the 2015 accord’s terms are for Tehran, which bet on waiting out Mr. Trump for a Democrat.

Mr. Biden has said the U.S. will comply with the agreement again as soon as Iran does ...

It looks increasingly likely that Biden's term in office will be Obama 3.0, with a tinge of hard-left influence that Obama could resist because of his star power. Since the Democrat's trained hamsters in the media laughably characterized Obama's Iran Deal as an "achievement," the Dem's feel compelling to double down on stupid.

The WSJ editors continue:

Simply rejoining the deal means giving up significant leverage for nothing. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said last month that the sanctions campaign had done $250 billion in damage. The U.S. would have to accept irreversible benefits to Iran, like the knowledge and data its scientists gained while violating the deal.

Iran is escalating its nuclear enrichment to put pressure on the new U.S. Administration to rush back into the 2015 deal. It sees the same Obama negotiators moving into Biden jobs, and figures it can outfox them again. But if the U.S. keeps Mr. Trump’s sanctions, and persuades Europe to join them, the pressure will be back on Tehran to make concessions.

If Biden were smart, he'd rename Trump's approach to something that sounds acceptably woke, say, "The Tranquility Initiative," and keep all of its elements in place. 

Biden isn't smart.