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May 25, 2018

The Great German Meltdown, by Victor Davis Hanson, PhD, [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 1:15 am

The Great German Meltdown
by Victor Davis Hanson
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Every 20 to 50 years in Germany, things start unraveling. Germans feel aggrieved. Ideas and movements gyrate wildly between far left and far right extremes. And the Germans finally find consensus in a sense of victimhood paradoxically expressed as national chauvinism. Germany’s neighbors in 1870, 1914, 1939—and increasingly in the present—usually bear the brunt of this national meltdown.

Germany is supposed to be the economic powerhouse of Europe, its financial leader, and its trusted and responsible political center. Often it plays those roles superbly. But recently, it’s been cracking up—in a way that is hauntingly familiar to its European neighbors. On mass immigration, it is beginning to terrify the nearby nations of Eastern Europe. On Brexit, it bullies the British. On finance, it alienates the southern Europeans. On Russia, it irks the Baltic States and makes the Scandinavians uneasy by doing business with the Russian energy interests. And on all matters American, it increasingly seems incensed.

Certainly, Germany has done some unbelievably strange things in the last ten years. In a fit of fear, after the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdown in 2011, and in a huff about climate change, Berlin more or less abruptly junked traditionally generated electrical power and opted for inefficient and unreliable “green” renewable wind and solar—despite the less than Mediterranean nature of its climate and warnings of the financial downside. The result is that electricity costs have climbed 50 percent in recent years and are among the most expensive in the developed world—and electricity itself is sometimes scarce. In response to shortfalls in power generation, the German energy industry for now is looking at solutions like coal-fired plants, buying nuclear-generated electricity from its neighbors, and cutting deals with Vladimir Putin for natural gas. In other words, Germany spiraled from the one extreme of green idealists to the other of dirty coal, while counting on others to export their electricity into Germany.

Immigration is similar. A bipolar Germany cannot just take in a limited and manageable number of genuine refugees, hope to assimilate them—and then keep quiet about its resulting sense of noblesse oblige. Instead, in a little over a year, Berlin enthusiastically opened its borders and accepted over a million migrants who were mostly unvetted and from the Middle East and North Africa, defending this radical policy with virtue sloganeering about German magnanimity (“we can do this”). Until recently, a mostly homogenous Germany had little experience with diversity, much less with assimilating and integrating mostly impoverished, male, Muslim immigrants. The result of these massive influxes from the Middle East has often been chaos. In an Orwellian sort of good-deed imperialism, Germany hectors its worried, smaller, and far more vulnerable European neighbors to embrace the nearly suicidal German model of open European borders.

Germany has always had a “Jewish Problem.” In the late nineteenth-century, German academics became obsessed with pseudo-research about eugenics and racial purity—which often led to talk of both Aryan purity and crass anti-Semitism that played out in the real world with disastrous results during the Holocaust. After World War II, Germany tried to make amends through introspection, some reparations, and the subsidized sales of military supplies to Israel. Yet Germany seems to once again be embracing anti-Semitism quite aside from its fierce opposition to Israel. Dieter Graumann, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, has warned of the present climate: “These are the worst times since the Nazi era. On the streets, you hear things like ‘the Jews should be gassed,’ ‘the Jews should be burned.’ We haven’t had that in Germany for decades. Anyone saying those slogans isn’t criticizing Israeli politics, it’s just pure hatred against Jews: nothing else.”

In response to the growing hatred, Felix Klein, Germany’s newly appointed special envoy entrusted by the Merkel government with addressing the nation’s growing anti-Semitism—much of it the result of the influx of Muslims—recently shrugged it off, simply pointing out that more and more Jews are leaving Germany: “It is quite understandable that those who are scared for the safety of their children would consider leaving.”

During the recent decade of tension between North and South European Union nations, we saw a similar trend play itself out—a sort of self-righteous veneer plastered over cold, hard power-mongering. Germany knew its continental mercantile system hinged on easy credit to weak EU members on the Mediterranean to buy German imports on credit. When they predictably defaulted on German loans, “shocked” German bankers and pension holders understandably went ballistic. They offered self-righteous lectures on Teutonic thrift and parsimony—but only years after leveraged BMWs and Mercedes had poured into far poorer Athens and Rome.

Militarily, the radical about-faces are the same. Germany has gone from spiked helmets to Weimar pacifism, from the Waffen SS to Potemkin divisions and gossamer air wings. Berlin never quite seems to realize that had it just followed the classical golden mean—strong armed forces under the auspices of Democratic government—it would have neither scared its neighbors nor required 70 years of subsidized postwar defense dependence.

Despite America’s role in the Cold War protecting West Germany and later unifying East and West, Germans now conveniently poll as among the most anti-American people in the EU. And Germany polls the most anti-Trump, which is not surprising given Trump’s harangues about fairer NATO defense spending and trade deficits, both implicit denunciations of Germany’s mercantile trade policies, and virtual disarmament and reliance on the U.S. military.

Some historical context is also necessary. Germans often inexplicably fail to grasp that Americans did not plan on landing in France in either 1917 or 1944—or staying on in Germany until 2018 (there are currently 35,000 U.S. troops still stationed in the country). Much of American foreign policy over the 75 years between 1917 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was predicated on either defending Germany’s neighbors from German aggression, or defending Germany itself from Russian invasion. Trump’s election showed that most Americans probably want those U.S. troops out of Germany (and a lot of other places too) as much as Germans now claim to wish them gone. Good distance may make good NATO friends.

For all of its growing animus toward America, Germany has still not met its promised 2 percent expenditures of GDP on defense according to NATO’s requirements. Yet it still runs up huge trade deficits with the United States ($65 billion a year). Germany also enjoys the world’s largest account surplus at $287 billion—warping international trade as the country discourages imports and calibrates its economy mostly for export. The Euro is, by Berlin’s design, still undervalued, and allows the Germans a commercial competitiveness likely impossible were they still to use the Deutsche Mark.

Amid the crises in the Middle East, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China, most Westerners assumed that Germany, given its size and dynamic economy, would continue to be a model Western leader and a calming force in a historically unstable Europe. Instead, it seems to be entering a dangerous phase when at the zenith of its wealth and power, it nevertheless pouts and blames. Berlin feels snookered by Southern Europeans, ignored by a departing United Kingdom, not given sufficient deference by Eastern Europeans, and resentful of America.

In a perfect world, Germany would address its frustrations through introspection. After all, no one forced Berlin to take in over a million problematic refugees from the Middle East. No one forced it to export goods on easy credit to leveraged buyers who visibly lived far above their means. No one forced it to renege on its NATO defense promises and responsibilities. No one forced it to have a long and catastrophic history with the Jewish people. And no one forces it to expect perpetual U.S. military protection while continually setting record trade surpluses.

Despite the long postwar history of U.S.-German friendship, and despite Germany’s financial and economic power, the country is becoming psychologically isolated, if not unhinged. While Germans broadcast their anti-Americanism, they seem oblivious that Americans may likewise be tiring of German petulance.

If we are entering yet another historical period of dangerous German resentment, the ensuing result will bode ill for everyone involved.

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May 22, 2018

How Democracies End: A Bureaucratic Whimper, by Victor Davis Hanson, PhD [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:17 pm

How Democracies End: A Bureaucratic Whimper
By Victor Davis Hanson| May 21st, 2018
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This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
― T.S. Eliot

One strange trait of the die hard NeverTrump Republicans and progressives is their charge that Donald Trump poses an existential threat to democracy. Trump, as is his wont, says a lot of outrageous and weird things. But it is hard in his 16 months of rule to find any proof that Trump has subverted the rule of law.

Most of the furor is over what we are told what Trump might do, or what Trump has said, or which unsavory character in Europe likes Trump. These could be legitimate worries if they were followed by Trump’s anti-democratic concrete subversions. But so far, we have not seen them. And there has certainly been nothing yet in this administration comparable to the Obama-era efforts to curb civil liberties.

While we understand those on the left refuse to believe that a constitutional “legal scholar” like Obama would even think of allowing the executive branch to go rogue, it is indeed strange that in almost every NeverTrump attack on Trump’s conduct, there is almost no recognition or indeed worry that we have been living through one of the great challenges to constitutional government in our history.

Does anyone remember that the Obama Administration allowed Lois Lerner (“Not a smidgen of corruption”) more or less to weaponize the IRS to help the Obama 2012 reelection effort? Does anyone remember Eric Holder’s surveillance of the Associated Press journalists and Fox News’s James Rosen? Why have conservative constitutionalists focused on what Trump has said rather than the strange treatment accorded to investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson by U.S. intelligence and investigatory agencies? Do we even remember the Benghazi pseudo-video narrative and the strange jailing of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula?

Is there even curiosity about why and how the departing Obama Administration suddenly and vastly expanded the number of agencies that could have access to classified surveillance in its aftermath? Do we remember the more than 20 times Obama warned before reelection that he was not a “king” and, as a constitutional scholar, could not by fiat offer blanket amnesties? Do the authorities in California realize that they are resorting to the extralegal states-rights arguments that South Carolina on the eve of the Civil War and Alabama in the early 1960s used to nullify federal laws?

But stranger still is what we already know of the 2016 election, and the lack of outrage from constitutionalists, who daily warn us of what Trump might do—when we already know what the U.S. government has done in violation of civil rights, constitutional principles, and likely federal laws. So far there is no information that Stephen Bannon ordered taps on reporters, or that Nigel Farage was hired by Trump to find Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton, or that Stephen Miller requested the unmasking of surveilled names associated with the Clinton campaign and then leaked them to the press.

But we do know that U.S. officials, including the head of the FBI and chief deputies in the Justice Department, misled a FISA court to obtain intelligence surveillance on U.S. citizens, by providing information that they knew at the time, but did not disclose to the court, was by their own private admission unverified, compiled by a foreign national whom they had used and fired as an unreliable informant, paid for by the Clinton campaign, and served as the basis for news accounts that were used in circular fashion to verify to the court the dossier’s contents.

We do know that members of the Obama intelligence and national security teams—Susan Rice and Samantha Power among others—requested the names of American citizens surveilled (likely obtained through improperly obtained FISA warrants) to be unmasked. Then someone illegally leaked their names to the press to damage the Trump campaign and his presidential transition.

We do know that FBI Director James Comey, in succession, has admitted that he in singular fashion took notes of a confidential one-on-one meeting with the president, briefed him on the existence of a campaign dossier on him, did not disclose that it was purchased by the Clinton campaign, assured him that he was not the subject of a FBI investigation at a time either he or his subordinates were leaking the opposite to the media, and then, after being fired, leaked those memos (at least one of which was classified) to the media to ensure the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the president, who turned out to be a friend of Comey’s, Robert Mueller. Comey by his own admission has also stated that he calibrated the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton to the likelihood of her election to the presidency. FBI directors in a lawful society are not supposed to do such things.

We do know that the FBI placed some sort of an informant in the camp of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in association with gathering information about data used by a foreign national and a paid operative of the Clinton campaign, Christopher Steele, in his effort to collude with Russians against the campaign efforts of Donald Trump.

We do know that the deputy director of the FBI is currently under investigation for lying to federal investigators, on at least four occasions, about his own conduct in investigating candidate Hillary Clinton—at a time not long after Clinton-related political action committees gave several hundred thousand dollars to the political campaign of his wife.

We do know now that both James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, head of the CIA, knowingly gave false testimony under oath to Congress. Clapper has previously lied about the surveillance of American citizens; he has lied about his knowledge of the Steele dossier, and likely also lied about leaking its contents. Brennan had lied under oath to Congress about the U.S. drone assassination program, lied about CIA surveillance of computers used by U.S. Senate staff, lied about leaking the existence and promulgation of the Steele dossier, and lied yet again to Congress that the dossier was not used to prompt a CIA investigation into so-called collusion.

Again, the government’s two highest intelligence officials did not tell the full truth about their knowledge of the Steele dossier or their own roles in promulgating its contents. In a constitutional republic both such reprehensible officials who betrayed the public trust would be subject to criminal investigations for knowingly lying under oath to Congress and undermining the sinews of constitutional government.

We do know that senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr met with the architects of the Steele dossier and that at the time his wife was working on the Clinton-purchased Fusion/GPS Steele dossier, information not disclosed as required by the law on a federal form.

Mueller’s special investigatory team, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, and the media have not yet found any credible evidence of Trump-Russian collusion. Indeed, it is more likely that the indictments and confessions of some Trump campaign officials and Michael Flynn, on counts having nothing to do with collusion, either will be dropped, retracted, or will not lead to convictions, given much of the information used against them was obtained by misleading a FISA court judge and through improper conduct at the highest level of the FBI.

There is a reason why over a half-dozen top FBI officials either have been fired, reassigned, resigned, or retired. We have not yet seen the inspector general’s full report, but its publication may lead to more departures from both the FBI and the Justice Department, if not to criminal prosecutions.

If the present constitutional crisis really involves high federal officials and former federal officials who were colluding with foreign governments, then we have ample evidence that 1) Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation received large sums of money from Russian-related interests in association with ongoing requests to buy into companies that might control North American uranium stocks; that 2) John Kerry has met clandestinely with members and former members of the Iranian government to craft joint strategies to save the so-called Iran Deal, from which the president of the United States just withdrew; and that 3) Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired a foreign national to use sources from other foreign nationals to help subvert the campaign of her 2016 opponent.

We are all worried, on occasion, by nationalist and anti-democratic movements abroad in former democratic countries. We all sometimes wish Donald Trump would ignore personal spats and curb his tweeting and thus let his considerable accomplishments speak for themselves.

But that said, the current and chief threats to Western constitutional government are not originating from loud right-wing populists in Eastern Europe, or from Trump wailing like Ajax about the rigged deep state.

Rather, the threat to our civil liberties is coming from supposedly sanctimonious and allegedly judicious career FBI, Justice Department, and intelligence agency officials, progressive and self-described idealistic former members of the Obama national security team, and anti-Trump fervent campaign operatives, all of whom felt that they could break the law—including but not limited to illegally monitoring American citizens, and seeking to warp federal courts and even the presidential election because such unsavory and anti-constitutional means were felt necessary and justified to prevent and then subvert the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

It is willful blindness for progressives and NeverTrump Republicans to overlook what has happened only to damn what has not happened. The dangers in America are not from transparent right-wing authoritarians (who are easily spotted in their clumsiness), but from mellifluous self-styled constitutionalists, whose facades and professions of legality mask their rank efforts to use any anti-constitutional means necessary to achieve their supposedly noble egalitarian ends.

This is the way democracies end—not with a loud boisterous bang, but with insidious and self-righteous whimpers.

May 20, 2018

All Hands: Electro-Magnetic Pulse Warning

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 6:09 pm

Your Address

Your three elected federal members of congress

Re: Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP)
I have recently viewed an interview of Peter Pry, Ph.D., regarding the inadequacy of our defense of our electric grid. Among the many revelations from Dr. Pry, is that protecting our electronic infrastructure would cost less than three billion dollars. Another, is that North Korea, Iran, China, and the Russian Federation, are all decades ahead of us, and are capable of completely destroying the United States and Canada.
What are you doing to protect us?
Respectfully,
Your Signature

May 16, 2018

The Nature of Progressive Insensitivity, by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:45 pm

The Nature of Progressive Insensitivity
By Victor Davis Hanson

May 15, 2018 6:30 AM

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pa., July 27, 2016. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
Why do so many famous social-justice crusaders turn out to be racist and sexist?

Former vice president Joe Biden is back in the news yet again. For a second time, he seems surprised that poor residents of the inner city are capable of doing sophisticated jobs:

We don’t think ordinary people can do things like program, code. It’s not rocket science, guys. So, we went and we hired some folks to go into the neighborhoods and pick 58 women, as it turns out, from the hood, for a 17-week program, if my memory serves me correctly, to learn how to code.

In 2014 Biden had said about the same thing about women from the “hood”:

They asked me to come by this program they had at a community college in the inner city in Detroit. And I walked in and — I think it was a 15-week program — and it was a group of women from the neighborhood. Or, from “the hood.”

What was the point of emphasizing “hood” instead of just “neighborhood”?

Maybe the same condescending reason that the impulsive Biden once in 2016, speaking to a black audience, attacked Mitt Romney with the slavery slander:

He is going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, unchain Wall Street. He is going to put y’all back in chains.

Earlier, Biden had scoffed:

In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.

The locus classicus of Biden’s racialist sloppiness, of course, was his famous putdown-praise of 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama:

I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that liberal politicians and celebrities should be the least likely to express such racist condescension, if only out of cynical careerist and political concerns. Progressives see bloc minority, gay, and female support as vital to their project. The entire thrust of progressive charges of “white privilege” and “white supremacy,” usually lodged against less enlightened and less affluent whites, is that the elite are confident they’ve created a partnership of solidarity with minority activists. All deplore the supposed Neanderthal, red-state, and Trump-supporting white middle class.

Few may now remember the post-election rant of Melinda Byerley, an obscure founder of the Silicon Valley company Timeshare CMO. She became a window into the mind of the furious 2016 progressive voter — and infamous for five minutes for her candid, embittered, post-election Facebook posting that soon was enshrined as a credo explaining why miffed coastal elites hated people unlike them:

One thing middle America could do is to realize that no educated person wants to live in a sh**hole with stupid people. Especially violent, racist, and/or misogynistic ones. . . . When corporations think about where to locate call centers, factories, development centers, etc., they also have to deal with the fact that those towns have nothing going for them.

Certainly, those who blast the clingers, deplorables, and irredeemables cannot themselves be racist or sexists or misogynists or homophobes.

By now, the number of MeToo accusers in the post–Harvey Weinstein era is legion. But increasingly, the most prominent of those accused of sundry harassments and, on occasion, assaults are liberal media and celebrity icons such as Tom Brokaw, Garrison Keillor, Matt Lauer, Ryan Lizza, Charlie Rose, and Tavis Smiley. How can that be?

Aside from the charges of treating women poorly are often the additional writs of racism. Some women, for example, have alleged that Weinstein has replied most vehemently to charges from his non-white victims, such as Lupita Nyong’o and Salma Hayek.

Among all the charges of lurid and cruel behavior leveled against social-justice warrior and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the strangest and most disturbing might have been his racial slurring of his Sri Lankan girlfriend, the Harvard-educated activist writer Tanya Selvaratnam. The socially crusading Schneiderman allegedly called her his “brown slave” and told her to refer to him as her “master.”

Joe Biden’s putdown of Barack Obama in 2008 apparently was xeroxed by liberal icon and former senator Harry Reid, who likewise dismissed Obama as a veritable racial chameleon, a “light-skinned African with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

Reid also once addressed an Asian-American audience and sermonized, “I don’t think you’re smarter than anybody else, but you’ve convinced a lot of us you are.” In the question-and-answer follow-up, Reid offered: “One problem that I’ve had today is keeping my Wongs straight.”

Both liberal Dan Rather and Bill Clinton in the past had offered racist putdowns of Obama that no deplorable or irredeemable would have considered: Here is Rather’s, speaking to Chris Matthews in 2010:

The Republicans will make a case and a lot of independents will buy this argument. . . . a version of, “Listen he’s a nice person, he’s very articulate” this is what’s been used against him, “but he couldn’t sell watermelons if it, you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic.”

And here is Bill Clinton, describing Obama in 2010: “A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”

Remember in 2008, in one of her earlier incarnations, a once national-populist Hillary Clinton was running against Obama by galvanizing the so-called white working classes. Often, she was not shy about saying so: “I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” Clinton bragged. As evidence, she cited an Associated Press story that found, in her words, “how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

“There’s a pattern emerging here,” she concluded.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

There is.

Of course, progressive Obama himself has played the racialist card on occasion. In his memoir Dreams from My Father, he described Gerald Kellman, the first boss he had as a community organizer: “Still, there was something about him that made me wary. A little too sure of himself, maybe. And white.” Obama had once positioned his own grandmother as the moral equivalent of the racist and anti-Semitic Jeremiah Wright, his pastor for two decades. He went on to dub her a “typical white person.”

Cable news anchor and anti-Trump activist Joy Reid apparently had posted an entire corpus of homophobic rants in years past. The late Helen Thomas had a history of anti-Semitic slurs. And Ta-Nehisi Coates is never held to account for many of his overt anti-white invectives.

There are various stock explanations for liberal prejudicial outbursts that earn the additional wage of hypocrisy — given progressives’ self-identification as the protectors of minority rights and racial sensitivities.

One, and the most charitable, might be that when one talks about race and gender nonstop, one is more likely to misspeak. Such an interpretation assumes, of course, that these revelations are not windows into one soul, as progressives allege of foul-sounding conservatives.

Was the reprehensible treatment of victimized women felt to be a small price to pay to protect high-profile progressives who were on the front lines of social justice?

Two, do not forget the cynical notion of deterrence. Humans are not necessarily nice people but behave well out of fear of punishments. In such a reductionist view, conservatives assume that one malapropism or sloppy phrase can end a career. Certainly, if a U.S. senator had compiled a record of racially insensitive rhetoric comparable to Joe Biden’s, he would long ago have been ostracized. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is currently being blasted for clinically and quite accurately describing current waves of immigrants from southern Mexico as mostly poorer, less well educated, and for a variety of reasons less able or willing than earlier waves of immigrants to assimilate quickly. Kelly has certainly has not talked pejoratively about anyone’s skin color in the manner of a Biden, Reid, or Obama.

What exempted Harvey Weinstein or Eric Schneiderman from an accounting years ago was likely progressive cost-benefit considerations — or perhaps even more disturbing rationales. Was the reprehensible treatment of victimized women felt to be a small price to pay to protect high-profile progressives who were on the front lines of social justice? And did Weinstein and Schneiderman bake such calculations into their behavior?

Could not a few women be sacrificed on the altar of progressivism to allow far more to be helped? An even darker corollary is that the monsters like Weinstein and abusers like Schneiderman may have felt they deserved to be sexually rewarded for their progressive fides by progressive like-spirited women — much as feminist reporter Nina Burleigh, during the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky imbroglio, said she’d have been happy to sexually service Clinton if meant keeping him out of trouble and thus preserving the feminist agenda.

A cynic would conclude that once deterrence is lost and perpetrators have no fear of career or legal consequences, they feel justified in doing as they please and therefore can double down on their crudity. Al Franken certainly seemed surprised that a pro-feminist such as himself should be held accountable for a randy uninvited grab or two.

One analogy is the case of Obama adviser Ben Rhodes, who, in the context of the Iran deal, scoffed at the “echo chamber” and “know nothing” White House press. The Obama administration realized that it was far less likely to be held accountable by the liberal media if it surveilled Associate Press or Fox News reporters, if it weaponized the IRS, if it jailed as a scapegoat for the Benghazi attacks an obscure video-maker, if it warped the FISA courts, and if it improperly surveilled and unmasked political opponents. And so it did all that and more in the absence of media deterrence.

One of the great ironies of the entire 21st-century obsession with race is the fact that supposedly racist lower-middle-class whites are often more likely than gentry whites to live among non-whites.

There is a third and more controversial exegesis. There is a certain progressive profile that is, in truth, biased or at least tribal. One projects one’s own prejudices onto others in the abstract, as a sort of psychological squaring of one’s own shortcomings — or the failure to live the race and class diversity one preaches.

In the last 30 years, we’ve seen the growth of an entire new class of bicoastal gentrified urban elites who are ostensibly — on matters of race, class, and sex — hyper-progressive. But are they really?

Often their rhetoric is belied by their own behavior, if gauged by where they live, where they put their children in school, and the people with whom they socialize. One of the great ironies of the entire 21st-century obsession with race is the fact that supposedly racist lower-middle-class whites are often more likely than gentry whites to live among non-whites. The diversity they experience is a natural expression of shared work, neighborhoods, school, and class, not an artificial and boutique variant of the university, the media, or entertainment.

Also, when one by act and deed demonstrates more comfortability with one’s own tribe, that de facto apartheid can be hard to turn on and off. In contrast, a white truck driver who lives with Mexican Americans, or a Mexican-American carpenter who lives in a working-class neighborhood of whites, realizes there are consequences to racialist slurs. And they are not confined to Twitter virtue-signaling or Internet mobbing but often are muscular and can be dangerous.

I have found race, class, and gender tensions far greater at Stanford University than in San Joaquin Valley rural communities, where difference is incidental and not so essential to one’s person. Perhaps the reason is that people share a lower middle-class existence, or that muscular work tends to outweigh rhetoric and abstraction. When one works and lives alongside someone of a different appearance, there is no need or time or affluence to create a façade of identity politics.

Finally, there is a final and mostly cynical explanation for the recent spate of progressive intolerance. Those who are by nature or habit intolerant mask their resulting guilt or fear by progressive virtue-signaling and occasional inadvertent revelations of their own moral selves.

Comments

In other words, perhaps liberal Harvey Weinstein and social-justice kingpin Eric Schneiderman really did have more contempt for their non-white targets, just as Harry Reid may feel more comfortable with his own kind. And one way that such progressives square the circle of that reality is with an unimpeachable progressive façade — and just maybe that reality is now becoming widely known.

May 12, 2018

From the May 12, 2018 The Wall Street Journal [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 8:18 pm

Link copied…

Opinion Commentary

Why California Leaves Its Homeless Out in the Sun
Residents don’t like the encampments, but neither do they want shelters built in their backyards.
A homeless encampment made of tents and tarps in the Santa Ana riverbed near Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., Jan. 25.
A homeless encampment made of tents and tarps in the Santa Ana riverbed near Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., Jan. 25. Photo: robyn beck/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
By Allysia Finley
May 11, 2018 6:30 p.m. ET
178 COMMENTS

Anaheim, Calif.

When most people think about the city of Anaheim, Disneyland or the Angels baseball team probably comes to mind. But until recently it was also home to one of California’s fastest-growing housing developments: a homeless encampment.

Along a riverbed not far from Angel Stadium, hundreds of vagrants had pitched tents made out of tarps. The affluent among them set up canopies, the kind that are sold in camping stores. Some even had cots. They stored their belongings in suitcases, bins, strollers and shopping carts. Jugs of water and cans littered the area. Dozens of presumably stolen bicycles were piled on top of each other like abstract art.

The camp was cleared in February after locals complained, but the question is where its residents are supposed to go now. Rising vagrancy in Southern California is creating a Catch-22: People don’t want the homeless living on their streets, but they don’t want homeless shelters in their neighborhoods either.

Last year California’s homeless population jumped 13.7%, compared with 3.6% in New York and 1% nationwide, according to an annual survey by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Most homeless people around the country live in emergency shelters or public transitional housing. But in California they camp outside in public spaces.

About 75% of Los Angeles’s estimated 55,188 homeless are “unsheltered,” the HUD report says, compared with 5% in New York City. That statistic will surprise few Californians, who have watched homeless encampments proliferate in their state’s city centers, transit stations and riverbeds.

What’s causing the surge? For one thing, skyrocketing rents have made it harder for low-income people to find affordable quarters. Because of regulatory restrictions on development, the demand for housing hugely exceeds the supply. The stock of public and rent-controlled housing is especially limited.

Another apparent culprit is Proposition 47, a 2014 ballot initiative that reduced jail sentences for nonviolent crimes, including shoplifting, theft of less than $950, and drug use. Police officers have reported that they no longer arrest thieves and drug users, since offenders now often get released in short order.

People who once would have been locked up, including those with drug addictions and mental-health problems, have been left to the streets. Many steal to feed their habits. Since Proposition 47 passed, property crime has soared in many California cities even while falling nationwide. Between 2014 and 2017, larceny increased by 9% in Anaheim, 22% in Los Angeles and Santa Ana, and 44% in San Francisco.

The Orange County government reported clearing 13,950 needles, 404 tons of trash and 5,279 pounds of hazardous waste from the Anaheim encampment. Some 700 riverbed squatters were given 30-day motel vouchers and referred to public services. When the vouchers expired at the end of March, some were able to find beds at crowded makeshift shelters, such as tents in parking lots. Others dispersed to the streets.

One problem is that the cities taking action may simply push the homeless elsewhere. After many local authorities in Orange County started clearing out encampments, hundreds of people migrated to downtown Santa Ana. As a result, Santa Ana’s homeless population has doubled over the past year to 1,030, according to a government survey.

Many of the vagrants used the public library’s restrooms to relieve themselves—and to shoot up with heroin, often leaving their needles behind. Residents of the predominantly Hispanic city complain about public safety. The Santa Ana city council has threatened legal action to compel other Orange County cities to care for their fair share of the county’s homeless.

In March, the county’s Republican-controlled Board of Supervisors approved a plan to set up homeless shelters in the upscale cities of Irvine, Laguna Niguel and Huntington Beach. But those cities threatened litigation. Thousands of their residents protested, worried not only about drug use and property crime, but that nearby shelters would hurt their property values. The board withdrew that plan.

One county supervisor then suggested using the Fairview Developmental Center, a state-owned facility for the disabled in Costa Mesa, to shelter the homeless. But the Costa Mesa City Council balked.

Judge David Carter, who is adjudicating a federal lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Orange County’s homeless, has directed the county’s 34 cities to negotiate a solution. “This doesn’t have to be a nice thing,” the judge said. “It just has to be humane and dignified.”

But dignified is in the eye of the beholder. Consider the tug of war taking place in liberal Los Angeles. In 2016 voters approved a $1.2 billion local bond issue to build housing for thousands of homeless people. Yet City Council members must give their nod to any new shelter in their district, and even representatives of low-income communities have opposed such projects.

Democratic Councilman Curren Price vetoed a shelter on a site that is now a junkyard in South L.A. The proposed facility would have included a computer lab, community kitchen and rooftop vegetable garden, but Mr. Price’s spokeswoman complained that the plan lacked adequate amenities and was “extremely boxy.”

Californians complain constantly about the state’s housing shortage and homelessness, but these problems are direct results of their policies and politics.

Ms. Finley is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

Appeared in the May 12, 2018, print edition.

Catching Pigs, with thanks from John for sending

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:04 pm

The Story Of Catching Pigs….

The Story Of Catching Pigs….f

A thought to remember:

Karl Marx once said, “Remove one freedom per generation and soon you will have no freedom and no one would have noticed.”

There was a chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange students in the class.

One day while the class was in the lab, the professor noticed one young man, an exchange student, who kept rubbing his back and stretching as if his back hurt.

The professor asked the young man what was the matter.

The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country’s government and install a new communist regime. In the midst of his story, he looked at the professor and asked a strange question.

He asked: “Do you know how to catch wild pigs?”

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said that it was no joke.

“You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground.

The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free food.

When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming.

When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence.

They get used to that and start to eat again.

You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat that free corn again.

You then slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.”

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening in America The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tax exemptions, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare entitlements, medicine, drugs, etc., while we continually lose our freedoms, just a little at a time as the government forces us to participate in many of these programs whether or not we want to.

One should always remember two truths: There is no such thing as a free lunch, and you can never hire someone to provide a service cheaper than you can do it yourself.

If you see that all of this wonderful government “help” is a problem confronting the future of democracy in America, you might want to share this with your friends.

If you think the free ride is essential to your way of life, then you will probably not share this.

BUT, God help us all when the gate slams shut !

“The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are now outnumbered by those that vote for a living.”

May 3, 2018

fyi house for sale in KCMO

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 6:53 pm

House for Sale
7420 NW Belvedere Parkway
Kansas City MO 64152

We’ve been transferred to Denver CO. Please ask everyone whom you know that our home is up for sale.

7420 is located in the Park Hill School District of Platte County MO. 7420 is within walking distance to an elementary school, a middle school, and Park Hill High School; Zona Rosa, The Boardwalk Shops, Barry Road Shops, a Wal-Mart Super Center, Home Depot, and a Lowe’s, as well as several smaller strip malls, are all within a 15 minutes’ drive.

The house comes with an integrated work shop, two refrigerators, a Bosch dish washer, a Samsung stove, and Samsung clothes washer & dryer, front loaders. There’s a wood burning fireplace in the living room.

The roof was put on last summer. The siding is Hardee Board. We put in a new furnace, water heater, and A/C, through Bob Hamilton, last year. The house water main intake, that’s the one at the meter, is brand new as of April 2018.

The kitchen has been redone down to the studs and GFCI’d. Both bathrooms have been redone by Bathfitters within the last 4 weeks. New blinds are on order and will be delivered within 4 weeks. Upstairs carpets have been replaced with Pergo. New vinyl and carpet have been laid in the downstairs family space, stairs and landing by Weber & Joe’s two weeks ago.

It’s kinda obvious that we were planning to stay here for another 20 years, but the transfer came only a few weeks ago and we had already had work done or entered into a contract to get work done before we knew that we were being transferred.

Flag pole and rose bushes will remain with the property.

If interested, or you know someone, or someone knows someone who is interested, contact Leo Sebus/ Remax at 816.777-5435, http://www.listwithleo.com , or leosebus@remax.net after 9:00 am May 7, 2018.

Thanks for your attention to this and for passing this along to everyone you know, or who may know someone who may be interested.

Bill & Genny

May 1, 2018

If Only Hillary Had Won, by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 6:45 pm

If Only Hillary Had Won . . .
By Victor Davis Hanson

May 1, 2018 6:30 AM

Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters following the 2016 presidential election in Manhattan, November 9, 2016. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Leakers and lawbreakers rewarded with Clinton-administration jobs — and the American public none the wiser about deep-state corruption

There are lots of possible counterfactuals to think about had Hillary Clinton won the presidency as all the experts had predicted.

The U.S. embassy would have stayed in Tel Aviv. “Strategic patience” would likely still govern the North Korea dilemma. Fracking would be curtailed. The — rather than “our” — miners really would be put out of work. Coal certainly would not have been “beautiful.” The economy probably would be slogging along at below 2 percent GDP growth.

China would be delighted, as would Iran. But most important, there would be no collusion narrative — neither one concerning a defeated Donald Trump nor another implicating a victorious Hillary Clinton. In triumph, progressives couldn’t have cared less whether Russians supposedly had tried to help a now irrelevant Trump; and they certainly would have prevented any investigation of the winning Clinton 2016 campaign.

In sum, Hillary’s supposedly sure victory, not fear of breaking the law, prompted most of the current 2016 scandals, and her embittering defeat means they are not being addressed as scandals.

For example, why would FBI director James Comey have been so foolish as to ask for a FISA warrant request without fully informing the judge of the compromising details of the Steele–Fusion GPS dossier? Or why would Attorney General Loretta Lynch have been so reckless as to meet with Bill Clinton in a stealthy jet rendezvous on an Arizona tarmac when her department was concurrently investigating his spouse?

But those are precisely the wrong questions, given the Washington careerist mind. The right one is “Why not?” — in the context of the overwhelming likelihood that Hillary Clinton would not only be elected president but also would follow the well-known Clintonian habit of punishing both enemies and neutrals while rewarding friends, the more obsequious, the better.

Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin thought they were taking zero risks in lying to FBI investigators when they claimed that they had no idea about Clinton’s unlawful private server, even though they had, in fact, discussed the server in emails and used it themselves when sending emails. But why should they have cared, given Trump’s certain looming defeat and the fact that Andrew McCabe was somehow involved or would be involved in running, or rather massaging, the investigation? Their only real danger might have been telling the truth to FBI investigators: that both they and Hillary had known precisely what she was doing. For telling the truth, both Mills and Abedin would soon have faced career-ending payback from a President Clinton.

Both Brennan and James Clapper would have been seen as useful team-player holdovers, given their eagerness to lie under oath and to spread the dirt of the Steele dossier.

A President Hillary Clinton would have appreciated Loretta Lynch’s quasi-legal efforts to ossify the email investigations of Clinton’s unlawful server. Indeed, in the swampiest sense, Lynch took a good gamble that the odds would pay off handsomely for her obeisance, with either a continuance of her tenure as attorney general, or perhaps soon a future Supreme Court nomination.

Why would CIA Director John Brennan leak information about the Steele dossier to the likes of old blabbermouth and conniver Senator Harry Reid, or be involved in unmasking surveilled Americans? Again, why not? He would still be CIA Director Brennan, or so he imagined, and rewarded for his yeoman work in eroding the chances, however small, of a Trump presidency. Both Brennan and James Clapper would have been seen as useful team-player holdovers, given their eagerness to lie under oath and to spread the dirt of the Steele dossier to the intelligence communities and media.

What about Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, the Ohr couple, and all the other FBI and DOJ officials who have now resigned, been reassigned or fired, or are currently in legal jeopardy or under suspicion? At the time of their transgressions, they certainly did not believe they had done anything wrong in lying, conniving, or obstructing. Rather, they were wisely investing their deep-state careers in the sure Clinton victory. Had Clinton been elected, what now seems illegal would have been appreciated as bullet points on a résumé making the case for promotion. Such apparatchiks would have been reminded that Team Clinton players were always rewarded for past — and future — administrative-state service.

Indeed, Page and Strzok texted basically that between March and July 2016, signaling both their certainty that Hillary Clinton would win and their need to make even more certain that the couple was integral in ensuring the inevitable. Illicit love apparently carries with it a bit of melodrama, but nonetheless here is a brief potpourri:

Strzok: God, Hillary should win 100,000,000-0.

Page: This man cannot be president.’

Page: I cannot believe Donald Trump is likely to be an actual, serious candidate for president.

Page: Wow, Donald Trump is an enormous d*uche.

Page: She just has to win now. I’m not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about Trump.

In other words, Clinton would win. But, just in case, she needed a little help from these government fixtures who were more than willing to do what they could: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.” Or, as Strzok summed up on August 15, 2016. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” Dying before 40 was apparently more likely than Trump’s getting elected.

Poor James Comey proved the careerist par excellence, always shape-shifting, usually a day late and a dollar short in calibrating his reinventions to meet the needs of perceived electoral politics. His disastrous 2016 series of press conferences exonerating Clinton, then sort of not exonerating her, then finally re-exonerating her reflected his self-created predicament of wanting soon to preen to President Clinton that he had stopped the email investigation and cleared her — but had adroitly paid lip service to legal niceties so as to enhance even more her viability as one who’d been fully investigated and exonerated. And Comey might well have pulled that contortion off, pointing out to a dubious President Clinton that she was, after all, President Clinton and her emails ancient history.

The hapless Comey recently confessed in his self-incriminating book:

Assuming, as nearly everyone did, that Hillary Clinton would be elected president of the United States in less than two weeks, what would happen to the FBI, the justice department or her own presidency if it later was revealed, after the fact, that she still was the subject of an FBI investigation?

What would happen in other words to FBI Director James Comey if he was independent and autonomous and had a higher loyalty to the law? Or what actually did happen to President Donald J. Trump when he was assured by Comey he was not the subject of an FBI investigation when, in fact, he was subject of that and a lot more?

Comey elaborated:

It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls. But I don’t know.

Here, Comey reminds us that not only was his warping of the law likely to help ensure a Clinton presidency, but it also would have been properly appreciated. Since when do FBI investigators factor in polls when they investigate evidence?

Under a President Clinton, we the American people (as opposed to Vladimir Putin) would have had no idea in 2018 of a Christopher Steele dossier, other than the mysterious residual leaks from it that would have hounded a defeated Donald Trump into ignominious retirement. Indeed, Steele would probably have gone back into deep retirement until the 2020 Clinton reelection campaign and another call from Fusion GPS to reproduce something like its 2016 winning blueprint.

Under a President Clinton, we would still believe that FISA courts are unimpeachable bulwarks of democracy. No one would now know anything about past requests for unmasking and leaking to the press the names of surveilled American citizens.

As for the crew at Fusion GPS, they would probably be a presidentially authorized A-team, winking and nodding to the press about how their opposition research had sunk the loser Trump — the same way that the 2012 Obama reelection team publicly bragged about how they’d successfully mined Facebook data.

Under a President Clinton, we would still believe that FISA courts are unimpeachable bulwarks of democracy. No one would now know anything about past requests for unmasking and leaking to the press the names of surveilled American citizens. Rod Rosenstein or Sally Yates would remind Clinton aides of their key roles in ensuring that FISA court surveillance of Donald Trump accounted for the damaging leaks that had ensured his defeat. Samantha Power would have had no need to request over 250 unmaskings as she played secret agent from her perch as UN ambassador.

The Podesta brothers would still be A-list Washington operators. During a Clinton administration, Devin Nunes, who would likely still be seeking the truth behind the illegality in the 2016 campaign, might have been under FISA-ordered surveillance himself, or would have shared the deep-state fate of the jailed videomaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, or might have become one of the victims of Lois Lerner’s residual henchmen at the IRS.

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Comments

The coffers of the Clinton Foundation certainly would be expanding exponentially. Robert Mueller might have been brought back in now and then for his sober and judicious work in finding no wrongdoing in the Uranium One deal.

And Donald Trump? He would be mocked and ridiculed as he barked at the moon that his wires had been tapped in Trump Tower — as the truth became insanity, and insanity the truth.

April 26, 2018

The Double Standards of the Mueller Investigation, by Victor Davis Hanson, [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 8:05 pm

The Double Standards of the Mueller Investigation
By Victor Davis Hanson

April 26, 2018 6:30 AM

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee, June 8, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The more Mueller searches for hypothetical lawbreaking, the more he ignores the actual lawbreakers.

The country is about to witness an investigatory train wreck.

In one direction, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation train is looking for any conceivable thing that President Donald Trump’s campaign team might have done wrong in 2016.

The oncoming train is slower but also larger. It involves congressional investigations, Department of Justice referrals, and inspector general’s reports — mostly focused on improper or illegal FBI and DOJ behavior during the 2016 election.

Why are the two now about to collide?

By charging former national-security adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI, Mueller emphasized that even the appearance of false testimony is felonious behavior.

If that is so, then the DOJ will probably have to charge former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe with perjury or related offenses. A report from the Office of the Inspector General indicates that McCabe lied at least four times to federal investigators.

Former FBI director James Comey may also have lied to Congress when he testified that he had not written his report on the Hillary Clinton email scandal before interviewing Clinton. Former director of national intelligence James Clapper and former CIA director John Brennan lied under oath to Congress on matters related to surveillance.

Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin probably lied when they told FBI investigators they had no idea that their then-boss, Hillary Clinton, was using an illegal private email server. Both had communicated with Clinton about it.

Mueller is said to be investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by requesting that Comey go easy on Flynn.

If so, then the DOJ will have to look at Comey himself and DOJ officials who obstructed a federal court. On at least four occasions, they were not honest about the deeply flawed Christopher Steele dossier being the source of information used in applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Comey also has said that he predicated the nature of the Clinton email investigation on his assumptions about her chances of winning the presidency — another investigatory abuse.

The Mueller team is reportedly still looking into the possibility of election-cycle collusion with Russia by Trump officials.

That track will require Mueller’s DOJ counterparts to look carefully at the Clinton campaign, which paid opposition researcher Steele, a British subject, for dirt on Trump that was produced through collusion with Russian sources.

Mueller is also said to be investigating whether Trump or his advisers broke laws concerning the release of confidential government information.

If so, the DOJ may have to indict Comey. He confessed to passing along confidential FBI memos to a friend for the expressed purpose of leaking their contents to the press.

High-ranking Obama administration officials may also be subject to indictments, given that they may have requested the “unmasking” of American citizens whose communications were intercepted during the surveillance of foreign parties and then leaked the names of those citizens to the press.

Mueller’s team apparently has assumed that Michael Cohen’s status as Trump’s attorney offers no protections under normal attorney-client privilege protocols.

If that is true, the DOJ will have to investigate why the FBI allowed Clinton aide Cheryl Mills to pose as Clinton’s attorney and thereby be shielded from providing testimony on what she knew about the email scandal involving her “client.”

Investigators have swarmed Cohen’s offices and residence, supposedly in fear that he might destroy pertinent records.

The FBI should probably then reopen the investigation into the Clinton email scandal, given that Clinton destroyed more than 30,000 emails as well as computer hard drives that had been requested by federal investigators.

What is going on?

Mueller has searched far and wide for wrongdoing but so far has found little. Meanwhile, there is plenty of other wrongdoing already found, but no one seems to be looking at it.

Flynn, Cohen, and other Trump aides are considered small enough fry to go after. Clinton, Comey, McCabe, and others seem big enough fry to leave alone.

No one thought Hillary Clinton would blow the election. Top Obama officials at the FBI, DOJ, intelligence agencies, and National Security Council believed in 2015 and 2016 that they could ignore laws with impunity because a protective Clinton administration would soon be in power.

Politics have infected these investigations. Trump was seen as a threat to the status quo, and FBI and DOJ lawbreakers were seen as custodians of it.

The more Mueller searches for hypothetical lawbreaking, the more he is inadvertently underscoring that actual lawbreakers must be subject to the same standard of justice. Ironically, Mueller’s investigation has reminded America that it is past time to call Comey, McCabe, and a host of Obama-era DOJ and FBI officials to account.

For over a year, we have had two standards of legality when there can only be one.

A reckoning is near.

Revolution and Worse to Come, by Victor Davis Hanson [c]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:51 pm

Revolution and Worse to Come
By Victor Davis Hanson

April 24, 2018 6:30 AM

Sign at a protest outside Trump Tower in New York City, February 8, 2018. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
When legal bloodhounds and baying critics fail to take out Trump, what’s next? The Resistance wants Trump’s head — on the chopping block.

On the domestic and foreign fronts, the Trump administration has prompted economic growth and restored U.S. deterrence. Polls show increased consumer confidence, and in some, Trump himself has gained ground. Yet good news is bad news to the Resistance and its strange continued efforts to stop an elected president in a way it failed to do in the 2016 election.

Indeed, the aim of the so-called Resistance to Donald J. Trump is ending Trump’s presidency by any means necessary before the 2020 election. Or, barring that, it seeks to so delegitimize him that he becomes presidentially impotent. It has been only 16 months since Trump took office and, in the spirit of revolutionary fervor, almost everything has been tried to derail him. Now we are entering uncharted territory — at a time when otherwise the country is improving and the legal exposure of Trump’s opponents increases daily.

First came the failed lawsuits after the election alleging voting-machine tampering. Then there was the doomed celebrity effort to convince some state electors not to follow their constitutional duty and to deny Trump the presidency — a gambit that, had it worked, would have wrecked the Constitution. Then came the pathetic congressional boycott of the inauguration and the shrill nationwide protests against the president.

Anti- and Never-Trump op-ed writers have long ago run out of superlatives. Trump is the worst, most, biggest — fill in the blank — in the history of the presidency, in the history of the world, worse even than Mao, Mussolini, Stalin, or Hitler.

Next was the sad effort to introduce articles of impeachment. After that came weird attempts to cite Trump for violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. That puerile con was followed by plans to declare him deranged and mentally unfit so that he could be removed under the 25th Amendment. From time to time, Obama holdovers in the DOJ, National Security Council, and FBI sought to leak information, or they refused to carry out presidential orders.

As the Resistance goes from one ploy to the next, it ignores its string of failed prior efforts, forgetting everything and learning nothing. State nullification is no longer neo-Confederate but an any-means-necessary progressive tool. Suing the government weekly is proof of revolutionary fides, not a waste of California’s taxpayer dollars.

Anti- and Never-Trump op-ed writers have long ago run out of superlatives. Trump is the worst, most, biggest — fill in the blank — in the history of the presidency, in the history of the world, worse even than Mao, Mussolini, Stalin, or Hitler. So if Trump is a Hitler who gassed 6 million or a Stalin who starved 20 million, then logically Trump deserves what exactly?

The book industry is doing its part. Mythographer Michael Wolff’s hearsay Fire and Fury suggested that Trump was a dangerous child despised as much by his friends as by his enemies. As FBI director, James Comey leaked confidential memos, lied to Congress, misled a FISA court, admitted that he based his handling of the Clinton-email investigation on the assumption she’d win the presidency, misinformed the president about the status of his investigation. And the now-former director book-tours the country slamming Trump hourly on the assumption that he would certainly not be former, if only his prior obsequious efforts to appease Trump had saved his job. Comey is building perjury cases against himself daily with each new disclosure that belie past sworn testimonies, but that is apparently less scary to him than simply ignoring Trump.

Robert Mueller and his “dream team” were long ago supposed to have discovered proof of Trump’s collusion with Russia. A year later, they have found nothing much to do with this mandate. Then the alternative scent was obstruction of justice. Then the chase took another detour to follow some sort of fraud or racketeering. Now the FBI is reduced to raiding Trump’s lawyer in an effort to root out the real story on Stormy Daniels. One wonders what might have happened had Michael Cohen panicked and destroyed 30,000 emails before Mueller seized his computers. No matter, Mueller’s legal army presses on, even as it leaves its own wounded on the battlefield, as resignations, reassignments, and retirements for improper conduct decimate the Obama-era FBI and DOJ hierarchies.

Trump has left the intelligence community unhinged. John Brennan (“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. . . . America will triumph over you”) and James Clapper (who called Trump a veritable traitor working for Putin) have both admitted to lying under oath to Congress in the past, and with their present invective, they have discredited the very notion of a Washington intelligence elite. At some point, Mueller’s zealotry will remind federal attorneys that equality under the law demands indictments of those with far greater legal exposure, regardless of the exalted status of Comey, Andrew McCabe, and — in the matter of lying under oath, leaking classified materials, and destroying evidence — John Brennan, James Clapper and Hillary Clinton.

In addition, a media, found to be more than 90 percent negative in its coverage of the Trump administration, sought to delegitimize the president. Journalists declare that disinterested reporting is impossible in the age of Trump — and therefore believe that Stormy Daniels or James Comey’s Dudley Do-Right’s memos are a pathway to accomplish what they are beginning to concede Robert Mueller cannot.

Everything from the NFL to late-night comedy shows have become Trump-hating venues. Almost every sort of smear from scatology to homophobia has been voiced by celebrities to turn Trump into a president deserving such abuse — and worse. Late-night television host Steven Colbert was reduced to incoherent and repellant venom: “You talk like a sign-language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c*** holster.” Actor Robert De Niro has become deranged and dreams of pounding on Trump’s face. But then so does former vice president Joe Biden, who on two occasions boasted that Trump is the sort of guy that a younger he-man Biden used to take outside the gym to give a whippin’ to.

Each cycle of hysteria demands another, as the race to the bottom has descended into which celebrity or politician can discover the most provocative — or crude — Trump expletive. “S***” and “f***” are now the ordinary vocabulary of angry Democratic politicos and officeholders. Are we reaching a point in the so-far-failed Resistance where little is left except abject violence in the manner of the Roman or French Revolution? The problem for Trump’s pop-culture foes is not whether to imagine or advocate killing the president. That’s a given. They just need to agree on the means of doing so: decapitation (Kathy Griffin), incineration (David Crosby), stabbing (the Shakespeare in the Park troupe), shooting (Snoop Dogg), explosives (Madonna), old-fashioned, Lincoln-style assassination (Johnny Depp), death by elevator (Kamala Harris), hanging (a CSU professor), or simple generic assassination (a Missouri state legislator).

The Resistance and rabid anti-Trumpers have lost confidence in the constitutional framework of elections, and they’ve flouted the tradition by which the opposition allows the in-power party to present its case to the court of public opinion.

Now the Democratic party — whose presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, hired Christopher Steele to find dirt on Trump with the aid of Russian sources to warp the 2016 election — is suing President Trump, alleging collusion with the Russians. If Clinton were called as a witness, what would she say under cross-examination — that she did not hire Steele, that he never purchased Russian dirt, or that there was no collusion effort to enlist foreign nationals such as British subject Christopher Steele and Russian propagandists to warp an American election?

Insidiously and incrementally, we are in the process of normalizing violence against the elected president of the United States. If all this fails to delegitimize Trump, fails to destroy his health, or fails to lead to a 2018 midterm Democratic sweep and subsequent impeachment, expect even greater threats of violence. The Resistance and rabid anti-Trumpers have lost confidence in the constitutional framework of elections, and they’ve flouted the tradition by which the opposition allows the in-power party to present its case to the court of public opinion.

Instead, like the French revolutionaries’ Committee on Public Safety, the unhinged anti-Trumpists assume that they have lost public opinion, given their venom and crudity, and are growing desperate as every legal and paralegal means of removing Trump is nearing exhaustion. Robert Mueller is the last chance, a sort of Watergate or Abu Ghraib that could gin up enough furor to drive down Trump’s poll favorability to the twenties and thereby reduce his person to a demonic force deserving of whatever it gets.

After the prior era of hysteria, between 2005 and 2008, when books and docudramas staged the imagined assassination of George W. Bush, and celebrities like Michael Moore and activists such as Cindy Sheehan reduced Bush to the status of a war criminal, the Left in 2009 demanded a return to normal political discourse and comportment, with the election of Barack Obama. A newly contrite and apologetic America was abruptly worth believing in again. In 2009, the CIA and FBI suddenly were reinvented as hallowed agents of change.

Bush careerists, including Clapper and Brennan, were now damning the very counterterrorism practices that they once helped put in place, while offering Obama-like politically correct sermons on the benign nature of Islamism. Surveillance and jailing were appropriate punishments for suspected Obama apostates (ask James Rosen or Nkoula Basseley Nakoula). The IRS was weaponized for use against Obama’s ideological opponents. Suggestions that the president was unfit or worse became near treasonous. Unity was the new patriotism. The assumption was that Obama had ushered in a half-century of progressive norms, not that he so alienated the country that he birthed Donald Trump.

Comments

The danger to the country this time around is that the Left has so destroyed the old protocols of the opposition party that it will be hard to resurrect them when progressives return to power.

We are entering revolutionary times. The law is no longer equally applied. The media are the ministry of truth. The Democratic party is a revolutionary force. And it is all getting scary.

[See if you can find Chittum’s “Civil War II” ’cause he gives a more detailed look at the projected revolution than Doc. Hanson.]

April 18, 2018

Colluders on the Loose, by Victor Davis Hanson, PhD [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 5:21 pm

Colluders on the Loose
By Victor Davis Hanson

April 17, 2018 6:30 AM

FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, January 10, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Comey, McCabe, Clapper, Brennan, Lynch, Andrew Weissmann, Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Harry Reid, Samantha Power, Clinton attorney Jeannie Rhee . . .

If collusion is the twin of conspiracy, then there are lots of colluders running around Washington.

Robert Mueller was tasked to find evidence of Trump and Russia collusion that might have warped the 2016 campaign and thrown the election to Trump. After a year, his investigation has found no concrete evidence of collusion. So it has often turned to other purported Trump misadventures. Ironically, collusion of all sorts — illegal, barely legal, and simply unethical — has been the sea that Washington fish always swim in.

Christopher Steele, hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign through a series of firewall intermediaries, probably paid Russian sources for gossip and smears. If there is a crime of collusion, then Clinton-campaign contractors should be under investigation for seeking Russian help to find dirt on Trump, to spread smears around throughout the DOJ, FBI, and CIA, and to make sure that the dirt was leaked to the press in the final weeks of the campaign — for the sole “insurance” purposes of losing Trump the election.

Some sort of collusion likely occurred when the Obama DOJ and FBI sought FISA-court requests to surveille Carter Page and, indirectly, possibly many other members of the Trump campaign. On repeated occasions, they all made sure the FISA-court judges were not apprised that the Steele dossier, the chief basis for these requests, was paid for by the Clinton campaign, that the dossier was not verified by the FBI, that the dossier was the source of media stories that in circular fashion were used to convince the FISA judges to grant the surveillance requests, and that the FBI had severed relations with Steele on the basis of his unreliability. Such a collusion of silence was similar to James Comey’s admission that he apprised President Trump of every iota of lurid sexual gossip about him — except that his source was a dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton and written by a campaign operative hired to find dirt on Trump and who had been working with Comey’s FBI to get FISA approval to spy on Trump’s own aides.

Apparently, a number of government officials must have been in cahoots to get all their stories and agendas straight ahead of time. They certainly agreed on talking points to keep embarrassing facts from FISA judges, and they did so on a number of occasions. Does that behavior fall under the definition of some sort of colluding obstruction?

Who set up the ruse in which an FBI director types up confidential notes of a meeting with the president and passes them to a friend to ensure a firewall conduit to the press, to publish as a “leak” from an “unidentified source” to damage the reputation of the president? All that would require a degree of collusion to leak a classified FBI document that is so sensitive that House Intelligence Committee members with security clearances cannot see what the media and a personal friend of Comey’s already have.

James Comey himself was quite a colluder. Somehow, he managed to mislead Congress by assuring them that he had not written his assessment of Hillary Clinton before he interviewed her and supposedly had not been the source of or approved leaks to the media. He has contradicted what both Loretta Lynch and Andrew McCabe have said. He has deliberately misled a FISA court by withholding information from it, vital to any evaluation of the veracity of his writ. He probably lied when he was messaging the media that Trump was under investigation while simultaneously assuring Trump in person that he was not. He has admitted that he warped an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server because he assumed she’d win the presidency — an admission of politicized interference into a criminal investigation, if not a blatant confession that the FBI in felonious fashion was manipulating investigatory evidence to affect the outcome of a U.S. election. For Comey to escape legal exposure from all that required some sort of colluding help in high places.

Former attorney general Loretta Lynch seems to have been involved in all sorts of collusion. Given that there are more than 5,000 airports in the United States, two jets — one carrying the attorney general, the other the ex-president and spouse of a presidential candidate of the same shared party currently under investigation by Attorney General Lynch — do not just accidentally bump into each other on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport. There was no more chance of that than of investing $1,000 in cattle futures and reaping a $100,000 profit ten months later. And after elevating the FBI director from investigator to prosecutor with the final say on whether to prosecute Hillary Clinton, why was the supposedly quasi-recused Lynch then quibbling over the vocabulary of Comey’s report on Clinton?

Imagine the following possible ethical collusion. What if both ABC News and CBS News were now running mostly favorable news accounts about Donald Trump’s administration, rather than the media’s 90 percent (on average) negative coverage. And imagine that one of Donald Trump’s chief advisers and a deputy national-security adviser was the brother of the current CBS News president, while the sister of the ABC News president was another one of Trump’s top national- security and energy advisers.

What would the media say of such apparent incestuousness that involved two-thirds of the networks’ nightly newscasts? Yet that was precisely the case of the Rhodes and the Sherwood siblings during the Obama administration.

Speaking of journalistic ethics, what would the media make of a conservative JournoList that shared strategies among top reporters about how to deal with Trump critics, or a conservative WikiLeaks trove, in which journalists communicated frequently with the Trump campaign and ran their stories by it for pre-published “fact checking”? Would the media dub that unethical collusion?

How exactly did the media get wind of the scurrilous Steele dossier in the closing days of the U.S. campaign? And who exactly knew of its contents — James Comey and his FBI hierarchy, CIA director John Brennan, Senator Harry Reid, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — and who in government colluded with the media to disseminate such unproven data with the expressed intent of warping an ongoing U.S. election?

If one wished to dream up a colluding investigatory team, one could have done no better than Robert Mueller’s special-counsel investigators and other top DOJ and FBI officials.

The public for much of 2016 was not told that the chief investigator of the Clinton email scandal, Andrew McCabe, since cited for serial untruthfulness, was the spouse of a political candidate who had earlier received nearly $700,000 (40 percent of all money raised for her campaign) from Clinton-related campaign-funding committees.

Why didn’t Mueller simply tell the public when and why Lisa Page and Peter Strzok left his investigation team?

Former Trump-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, had also been represented by attorneys from the legal firm WilmerHale, Mueller’s old firm, which supplied a number of counselors to the Mueller team. At least seven of Mueller’s team were known to have contributed money to the Democratic party or Hillary Clinton or both.

Andrew Weissmann, yet another former partner at WilmerHale and a Mueller investigator, had emailed applause to Obama DOJ holdover Sally Yates when she had tried to block the immigration moratorium issued by her then boss, President Trump. Like others on Mueller’s team, Weissmann was a donor to Democratic causes and an admitted Hillary Clinton partisan. And Sally Yates co-signed one of the FISA-court requests to surveille Trump campaign associates, and she also did not disclose to the court the full provenance of the Steele dossier.

Another Obama holdover, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G. Ohr, met with the architects of the Fusion GPS dossier. Ohr apparently did not disclose that meeting to his superiors. His wife, a Russia expert, had been hired by Fusion GPS to help find damaging information about Donald Trump. Ohr deliberately — and probably unlawfully — hid that fact on a federal disclosure form. Who thought up that trick?

How much collusion was necessary to coordinate destroying 30,000 emails, smashing hard drives, and finding the proper Washington counsel to ensure that the now-quite-incestuous FBI never charged the perpetrators with a federal crime?

Another Washington couple, Shailagh Murray and Neil King Jr., were involved, respectively, in the Obama administration and the Fusion GPS opposition-research firm. Murray was an Obama-administration policy adviser who had once been deputy chief of staff and communications director for Vice President Joe Biden. She is married to Neil King Jr., who, like the wife of Bruce Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS. Why were there so many Obama appointees with some sort of ties to Fusion GPS?

In the small world of Washington legal and political circles, Mueller investigator Aaron Zebley was Mueller’s chief of staff while Mueller was FBI director, and he was yet another former partner at WilmerHale. Zebley had recently represented Justin Cooper. Cooper, remember, testified that he had set up Hillary Clinton’s private server and then used a hammer to destroy some of her mobile devices, leaving the FBI unable to acquire them during its investigation. Clinton’s email server — the domain clintonemail.com — was registered to Cooper himself while Clinton was secretary of state. How much collusion was necessary to coordinate destroying 30,000 emails, smashing hard drives, and finding the proper Washington counsel to ensure that the now-quite-incestuous FBI never charged the perpetrators with a federal crime?

Why, after the election, did Samantha Power request surveillance of Trump campaign aides, and why was she allowed to have their names unmasked, and how did those names get leaked to the press?

Another member of Mueller’s special-counsel team, Jeannie Rhee, was also a WilmerHale alumna. She was another significant donor to the Clinton-campaign effort. And she was another Mueller attorney who had represented someone deeply involved in a recent Clinton scandal. She had recently represented not only the Clinton Foundation but also Obama deputy national-security adviser Ben Rhodes during the investigation of the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack and Clinton’s role in creating the conditions for that attack and then covering it up after the fact. Was Rhee representing the Clinton Foundation while some of her present associates at the DOJ and FBI were once supposedly investigating it? What were the best criteria to get on the Mueller team? To have worked in his law firm, to have donated to the Clinton campaign, or to have represented a Clinton concern under investigation?

Why, after the election, did Samantha Power request surveillance of Trump campaign aides, and why was she allowed to have their names unmasked, and how did those names get leaked to the press? Does an outgoing ambassador to the United Nations usually concern herself with the intelligence agencies’ surveillance of a past presidential campaign? Would she have made those requests if Trump had lost? Who organized the various requests to view FISA-ordered surveillance, and who complied with the unmasking requests? Did all that require some degree of collusion?

After the defeat of Hillary Clinton, Obama holdover Evelyn Farkas, a former assistant deputy secretary of defense, spilled the collusion beans on MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

I was urging my former colleagues and — and frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed — aimed at telling the Hill people, “Get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration.” Because, I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior people who left. So, it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy that the Trump folks, the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So, I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia. So, then I had talked to some of my former colleagues, and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.

What exactly does she mean by “if they found out how we know what we knew about their, the staff”? Ms. Farkas, exactly what, how, and when did you folks find out or “know” about the Trump staff?

Who told Farkas to get her “former colleagues” to help thwart the incoming president?

Comments

Was Farkas part of a larger last-minute Obama-administration collusion meant to ensure that improperly gathered and unmasked intelligence was as widely disseminated as possible in the holdover government? Why did the Obama administration wait until the very last days of its more than 2,900 days in power to vastly expand the National Security Agency’s ability to share information with 16 other intelligence agencies? Like Farkas’s effort, was that collusion meant to ensure that anything that turned up on Trump would be widely shared and thus widely leaked?

In sum, Washington lives by and for collusion. Always has. Until now, it was apparently just a creed, not a crime.

April 10, 2018

The Ideology of Illegal Immigration, by Victor Davis Hanson, PhD, [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 8:07 pm

The Ideology of Illegal Immigration
By Victor Davis Hanson

April 10, 2018 6:30 AM

Signs at an immigration reform rally in Chicago, March 27, 2014. (Jim Young/Reuters)
Gang members next door and dead dogs dumped in your yard? Don’t complain, or you’ll be called racist.

Illegal immigration has become so deeply embedded for so long within contemporary power politics, demography, and cultural change, so charged with accusations of racism, nativism, and xenophobia, that we have forgotten its intrinsic contradictions.

We saw a glimpse of reality with the recent “caravan” of Central Americans. With a strong wink and nod from their Mexican hosts, the travelers assumed an intrinsic right to march northward into the United States. Had they done so, they would have confirmed the impression, advanced during the last administration, that the border is porous and that a sovereign United States and its citizenry have scant legal right to secure it.

How did we get to such a point of absurdity?

The ideology of illegal immigration rests on certain illogical assumptions that must not be questioned. Immigration exactly is one-way. But why exactly do we simply accept that without inquiry? What is it about a free-market, constitutional, transparent, and law-abiding America that draws in millions desperate to abandon their homes in otherwise naturally rich landscapes in Mexico and Central America?

In the absence of intellectual honesty about the need for political and economic reform in Latin America, mythologies can abound. Millions are desperate to enter a country antithetical to the protocols of their own. They are even more desperate to stay here — even as many mask that paradox by expressing ethnic and cultural chauvinism, along with anger at their hosts. Witness the signs, flags, and symbols of many open-borders, anti-immigration-enforcement rallies. Apparently, nations that create conditions that drive out their own can be the objects of romance, but only at a safe distance.

The ethos of the Mexican government has become surreal. Its racist and imperial classes welcome the flight of 10 percent of its indigenous population. It assumes that the United States cannot, must not, adopt immigration laws similar to its own. Driving out one’s own people apparently vents social tensions in lieu of reform, and the government is thereby exempted from accountability for its utter failures. About $30 billion arrive in return as remittances, many of these transferences subsidized by American social services and entitlements.

To hide the asymmetry, Mexico becomes accusatory, playing the same role that China does with trade. The aggressive party is always the victimized. Mexico constantly warns us that an anti-American, left-wing presidential candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, may soon be elected.

No other country in the world — certainly not Mexico or China — would allow its open borders to become as politically weaponized as America’s.

But what exactly would the feisty Obrador do in anger: Punish the U.S. by closing the southern border, unilaterally quit NAFTA, accommodate the repatriation of 12 million of its citizens, build a wall of his own, forbid the emigration of the impoverished of Oaxaca, expel U.S. companies and investments, cut off the reception of billions of dollars in American remittances, drive out U.S. citizens, or demand the extradition of its own citizens now in American jails and prisons? And what would be the U.S. reaction to such “punitive” measures?

Promises, promises?

The illegal-immigration project will ultimately fail because although its politics are transparent, its practice is incoherent, and chaos is therefore its only possible end. With the exception of an ailing European Union, no other country in the world — certainly not Mexico or China — would allow its open borders to become as politically weaponized as America’s. Yet no other nation is so faulted as illiberal as is the uniquely liberal United States. The result is a growing American exasperation. Ingratitude and hypocrisy stir human passions like few others traits.

The entire vocabulary of illegal immigration has become Orwellian. Once descriptive nouns and adjectives such as “alien” and “illegal” have melted into “undocumented” and “immigrant” and then into just “migrant,” ostensibly to mask the reality of both legal status and the fact that migrants go in one direction — and there is an existential difference between immigrants and emigrants.

Illegal immigration is defended as a gift to the United States, as if without millions of illegal arrivals, America would ossify. But aside from the fact that the labor participation rate of America is about 62 percent of the available work force, and millions have given up on seeking jobs, when the proponents of illegal immigration south of the border are asked politely to withdraw their supposed beneficence and generosity, they react with furor and slander rather than with gratitude and relief.

Once someone makes a decision to enter a country illegally — his first decision as an incoming alien — and thus breaks a U.S. law with impunity, then most subsequent decisions are naturally shaped by the idea of exemption. Zealots argue that entering the U.S. illegally is merely a civil infraction. But the IRS in 2017 identified some 1.2 million identity-theft cases, in which illegal aliens had employed illegitimate or inconsistent social-security numbers to file tax returns — and implicitly thereby cause innumerable problems for the U.S. tax system.

So much of the discussion of illegal immigration is predicated not just on fantasy, but on Soviet-style censorship, and not just of speech, but of our very thoughts.

Any U.S. citizen who did that would be charged with a career-ending felony. And identity theft — the great unspoken twin of illegal immigration — is not just a minor infraction, as I can attest from having my name and checking-account number stolen by an illegal alien. False checks, identical in color and style to my own, were then printed up by him with his name and phony address on them, albeit using my banking router number at the bottom; he then cashed the checks at a compliant rural store, using a false identity, stamped on the back in the form of a fraudulent driver’s license and bank credit card. Multiply that reality thousands of times over per month — but never dare to suggest that such a crime is connected with illegal immigration or even constitutes much of a crime.

So much of the discussion of illegal immigration is predicated not just on fantasy, but on Soviet-style censorship, and not just of speech, but of our very thoughts. Taboo are suggestions that illegal immigration could be a prime reason that California now has the highest basket of income, sales, and gas taxes in the nation; the highest number of welfare recipients (one of three in the United States), with a fifth of the state living below the poverty level; and now a fourth of all hospital admittances found to be suffering from diabetes or prediabetes; or that national rankings of infrastructure quality place the state nearly last in the country.

Talk of race has approached something like Lewis Carol’s Through the Looking Glass, in which everything is upside down. “La Raza” — until recently the nomenclature of the nation’s largest Hispanic advocacy organization — has supposedly nothing to do with race, while others who would never have an odious desire to use its odious English equivalent, “The Race,” are deemed racists for their objections to La Raza terminology.

Residency is deliberately conflated with citizenship, as if the two are legally and morally equivalent. But again, nowhere else in the world is this true, and certainly not in Mexico. I have lived abroad for over two years. As a guest in Athens, I followed Greek politics closely. I paid steep Greek sales taxes and assorted fees and tariffs as a legal resident alien. But at no time did I imagine that taxes or my physical presence as a lawful guest on Greek soil allowed me to interfere with the politics of my host, much less to issue demands on Athens, or to give me de facto the same legal rights as Greek citizens. As a legal alien, I surely did not think I could vote. I knew better than to tell Greeks that their country was not to my taste. And I knew fellow aliens who overstayed visas, worked without permits, and did not register as foreign residents. At least before the days of the latest incarnations of the European Union, the resulting fines were stiff, and expulsions were uncontested.

Illegal immigration is embedded not within racial and political ecumenicalism but within an exclusionary ethnic and political matrix. There would be no lectures about principle and logic from a Jorge Ramos or Vicente Fox were a million a year from China or Africa entering the southwestern United States illegally — except as likely voices of opposition to such unlawful and asymmetrical influxes in their own countries’ neighborhoods. In our upside-down world, calls for diverse, legal, meritocratic, and measured immigration are considered xenophobic, precisely because they would be racially blind and not predicated on current racial and ethnic chauvinism.

Without illegal immigration at current levels, the powers of assimilation, integration, and intermarriage would turn most immigrants into Americans within two to three generations, as in the past. That fact apparently frightens ethnic chauvinists, who disguise the advantages they gain from identity politics by smearing those who wish to at least make race and ethnicity incidental and not essential to our characters. If Univision eventually went the way of 19th-century German-language daily periodicals, what would a Jorge Ramos do?

For those who live at the nexus of illegal immigration, life is lived quite differently than in the past, from the trivial to the existential. A few examples suffice. Last night I was awakened by automatic gunfire on the road at 2 a.m.; the shots came from a long-ago-sold farmhouse of one who was a friend and neighbor for 50 years, but whose house is now rented out to gang members, many from Mexico. No worry, within an hour, the shrieks of resumed cockfighting returned as usual.

Do PETA members object to illegal immigration? We play a sort of rescue-dog roulette. Dogs are tossed and dumped on the side of road, without licenses, vaccinations, unneutered and unspayed, and often injured. After we reach our limit of adoptions — six presently — we try to vaccinate, neuter, license, and heal additional strays that wander in off the road, put shiny collars with tags on their necks, and let them feed and roam near our fenced yard. Then a welcomed reverse but invisible process can sometimes follow: theft. Dogs formerly dumped are now recycled, as it were, snatched stealthily by new owners who steal back mysteriously “improved” pets rather than throw out a dog.

In rural California, the law as it once was is now often inoperative, if not sometimes nonexistent. Utility and common practice substitute. In my neighborhood, I assume that zoning and building-codes statutes apply only to those who are citizens and have the means to pay for permits and possible fines. Everyone else does what he pleases, assuming either that it would be illiberal to fine the Other or not cost-effective in a bankrupt state.
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Caught at the Border

Illegal immigration and environmentalism war with each other. But the former usually is exempted from any green audit. No one much cares, certainly not law enforcement or the state and federal environmental agencies, that roadsides outside Central Valley towns are littered with abandoned appliances, furniture, tires — and toxic and wet garbage. I suppose if it became a county issue, the complainers would first be called whiners and then nativists. So silence reigns. In a pre-civilization manner, the law-abiding of all races and classes quietly pick up the garbage in their environs each week.

When I find a dumped rotten canine carcass with a rope still around its skeletonized neck or a tossed disemboweled chicken, I surely must not privilege my own culture and think that dog- or cockfighting is barbaric.

Behind the official silence is apparently the apologia that poverty prevents proper disposal, or that illegal arrivals still naturally follow protocols found south of the border, or that the citizen hosts are a bit too anal retentive and judgmental in harping about mere moldy mattresses or old televisions set in their alleyways or orchards.

Again, the logic of illegal immigration is that the guilty host must accommodate the uninvited but more virtuous guest, not vice versa. When I find a dumped rotten canine carcass with a rope still around its skeletonized neck or a tossed disemboweled chicken, I surely must not privilege my own culture and think that dog- or cockfighting is barbaric. Perhaps the pile of used hypodermic needles dumped by my barn were left by accident? Today I pick up sacks of wet garbage with the owner’s name and address on several bills: Does one redeliver back to the dumper, and if so, armed or not? Or does one find it not cost-effective to do so? (Do not suggest “call the authorities” — that is a complete waste of time.) These are the small, mostly trite decisions that a person at the nexus of illegal immigration makes every day.

When a foreign gang member drives in, without English fluency, looking for the house of a drug seller, or asking about a neighbor’s trailer of prostitution, I don’t impose my values on him, but offer a polite, “No lo se.” Live and let live as it were — given the alternative of possibly facing criminal exposure by calling authorities and thereby by aiding and abetting ICE.

Most assume that if hit by an illegal-alien driver (with a license or not), the latter, if unhurt, flees the scene of the accident. Only a naïf would think that registration or insurance would ever be found on the abandoned vehicle. When someone scrapes my car in the parking lot, the driver, if caught, sometimes wants a quick cash transaction to avoid calling the police.

When Jerry Brown or Nancy Pelosi lectures the state on its illiberality, or on the immigration sins of Donald Trump, or the advantages of nullification and a sanctuary state, we assume that these are just the penultimate chest poundings and virtue signals of rich septuagenarians about to go into apartheid retirements in Napa or Grass Valley.

In that context, all of their legacies above make perfect sense.

April 3, 2018

The New Last Refuge of Scoundrels, by Victor Davis Hanson, PhD [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 8:28 pm

The New Last Refuge of Scoundrels
By Victor Davis Hanson

April 3, 2018 6:30 AM

California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (CBS This Morning/YouTube)
If you’re PC, it’s apparently okay to use homophobic slurs and sexually assault your employees.

‘Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

Samuel Johnson famously used that line in an attack on William Pitt for supposedly advancing his agenda under warped pretenses. During the McCarthy era and the 1960s anti-war movement against Vietnam, when leftists were called unpatriotic, they offered Johnson’s line as a riposte, quoting it ad nauseam, not as a serious counter-argument but as an accusation that the conservative establishment was smearing them.

When Harvey Weinstein was caught coercing female subordinates, assaulting actresses, and offering quid pro quo perks for quickie sex, he thought, in medieval fashion, that he could preserve his fortune and power by making politically correct offsets. Weinstein pompously announced that despite the charges of sexual assault, he should be given a pass because he was buying politically correct indulgences:

I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention. I hope Wayne LaPierre will enjoy his retirement party. I’m going to do it at the same place I had my Bar Mitzvah. I’m making a movie about our President, perhaps we can make it a joint retirement party.

Weinstein crammed a lot of firewalls into his apologia: His crimes were merely a matter of “anger” management. He was religiously devout. The ironic upside of assaulting women was that now he could be turned loose to devote his “full attention” to battling NRA. And he now would have time to use his cinematic talents to trash Trump. Why would liberal women hound someone promising a twofer destruction of the NRA and Trump?

Late-night host Steven Colbert tried a similar me con. He used obscene and homophobic imagery to smear Trump, in words that would have gotten a conservative fired: “In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.” The Left did not care that he had smeared the president of the United States, but Colbert potentially had committed a mortal sin in suggesting that a homosexual act was tawdry or embarrassing.

Colbert was forced to apologize: “So, at the end of that monologue, I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don’t regret that. I believe he can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight.” In sum, Colbert too ended up seeking the politically correct refuge: The supposedly crazy Trump had the nuclear codes and Colbert did not, so the viewer should understand that the progressive Colbert was simply doing a necessary job when he used an obscene reference to belittle Trump for the sake of us all.

Of the many recent non-apologies, some of the strangest have come from California assemblywoman Christina Garcia; they serve as a window into the state’s present descent into absurdity. Garcia had been the legislature’s face of the #MeToo movement. “Speak up, speak loud, and know there is a community of people who will support you,” she had said. She had insisted that legislators accused of sexual harassment should take an immediate leave of absence and that accusers, even if anonymous, should be believed before an investigation was complete:

No one should have to wait for an investigative article to know the truth about the kind of environment they work in. I’m working with @SEIU1000 on a bill to create a centralized mechanism to track sexual harassment complaints in state government.

But recently at least four male legislative aides and lobbyists have come forward to complain that she has talked graphically in front of her subordinates and also groped and propositioned them. They also alleged that she routinely using homophobic slurs and drank to the point of intoxication. How did a supposed victim of groping (“Two weeks into me being an Assemblywoman, I got groped, and then I was told by a senior member not to say anything”) become an accused groper herself (“And I spun to turn around . . . and as I turned, she tried to reach for my crotch and she did”)?

And how did Garcia escape the charge of rank hypocrisy? Not by asking the SEIU to ostracize such a miscreant.

One, as in the case of most of the men she wants condemned, Garcia denies the sexual misdeeds. In Animal Farm fashion, some are more equal than others: All accusers need not be believed when they lodge sexual-harassment charges against superiors such as herself.

Two, she denies she drinks too much. But she does confess that she most certainly drinks a lot: “There’s a culture of drinking in the Capitol and I’ve definitely participated in that. But I don’t think that makes you an alcoholic.”

Faced with accusations that she keeps a keg of beer ready in her assembly office, Garcia suggests that everyone does it. It is also “gross” to suggest that an office keg means much — as if it is perfectly normal for a public servant to keep kegs of cold beer in the office:

“Do I have beer in my fridge and so I’m am alcoholic?” Yes, I have beer in my fridge. Yes. At some point, I’ve had a keg at my office. A lot of us do. It’s part of the culture of socializing after the way business gets done. . . .But because you have alcohol or you are in the possession of alcohol doesn’t make you an alcoholic. I think that’s a really gross generalization.

When asked whether it was also true that Garcia routinely used slurs like “homo” or “faggot”, she explains again that 1) everyone curses, 2) she uses “f***” and “sh**” often, and 3) she uses “homo,” but not “faggot,” and 4) context matters:

Have I at some point used the word “homo”? Yeah, I’ve used that word “homo.” I don’t know that I’ve used it in derogatory context. I think you need to think about the context in which it was used. But anything can be taken out of context clearly here in this situation.

Garcia pleads that she says such things in her own state-subsidized “safe spaces”: “But even then, it’s pretty limited, but these are in places where you think you’re in a safe space and you could speak your mind and be vocal.” Safe spaces are no longer refuges but platforms from which to launch slurs and profanities with impunity?

She cannot be guilty of homophobia, sexual harassment, or drinking binges, because, you see, she is everywoman, a progressive, a Latina, and a woman of her ‘community.’

Then Garcia gets to the main point: she cannot be guilty of homophobia, sexual harassment, or drinking binges, because, you see, she is everywoman, a progressive, a Latina, and a woman of her “community”:

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m an angel. Was I using those as derogatory terms? No. It’s almost like I would say I’m a brown person sometimes. Am I perfect? I think all of us at some point have biases, but I try to be open and accepting of all communities including the LGBT community and I think you could look at my voting record, look at the advocacy I’ve been doing well before I was elected in conjunction not just with the LGBT community, but with communities that have been marginalized.

If you express support for the “LGBT” community and the “marginalized,” then using “homo” is apparently correct?

Not one, not two, not three, but four men have come forward with charges ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault. No matter; they are trying to shut up Garcia, an authentic voice of the oppressed:

I think this is about shutting me up. Making sure that my advocacy stops. Making sure that I don’t ensure that my community has a voice. And it’s not just shutting me up, or shutting people like me up. Whether it’s on the #MeToo movement, whether it’s on environmental justice or whatever injustices that are out there, I have been very vocal. I’m not afraid to take on fights.

Who is behind silencing the crusading assemblywoman Garcia, innocent of homophobic slurs, sexual harassment, and drinking in her office? Nebulous forces who run evil businesses:

Communities that have been treated like wastelands for all my life. For the first time we’re going to start to identify those hotspots and start to change that situation. I started to bring attention to the chromium 6 issue and how that poisons us on a regular basis. What does that mean? That means that some of these businesses may be in danger. Why can’t I have some good green jobs like the rest of the communities that are out there? Why do I have to settle for shit?

In sum, Garcia has no drinking problem but has a keg in her office. She downplays her use of potty language and, to prove it, uses “sh**” in her interview. She does not slur gays but routinely uses “homo”(and denies reports of saying “faggot.”) In matters of sexual harassment and assault, she rails about the need to believe female accusers and demands that her colleagues so accused step down until cleared; but she does not believe her own four accusers and is, of course, going back to work before she’s cleared.

Again, why should we believe Garcia’s internally contradictory assertions? Because she is a social-justice warrior who does all these things as a “voice” for her “community” — and so is naturally being punished for her “advocacy”:

And this is about making sure I don’t have any more advocacy. That I don’t have any more voice. And it sends a message to people that I have mentored. I spend a lot of time trying to create advocates in the community. That’s my legacy. To make sure they’re told ‘if you rise up and you speak up this is going to happen you. So, sit down and don’t say anything.

Harvey Weinstein assumed that fighting the NRA and Trump would compensate for assaulting and harassing women. Steven Colbert thought that he could use gross homophobic slurs and avoid criticism because he was doing so to attack a despised Trump who holds the nation’s nuclear codes. Christina Garcia believes that as a Latina representative of her “community,” she is exempt from the very charges she often levels against others, and she assumes that using profanity, drinking in her office, and slurring gays are the exemptions given to one who is an “advocate.”
7

Political correctness is now the new last refuge of a scoundrel.

March 28, 2018

Gun Control Comment, from Butch [nc]

I usually don’t comment on blogs but today I did.

I’ve read a lot of reasons why people arm themselves. I’ll tell you why I’m armed. It’s easy to be anti gun when you have never seen evil. Most people in this country never see pure evil unless they live and survive in some of our urban areas. Even there we find some sense of humanity. Me, it was at the tender age of 18 that I first encountered pure evil. Once you see it; smell it’s rancid breath, smell the blood of its victims, their urine, feces, and burnt flesh your brain will be tattooed with the image for life. For 26.5 years thereafter I hunted it enforcing foreign policy. Spent a couple of years in law enforcement thereafter. Fortunately I never encountered the degree of evil I’ve seen beyond our shores.

I was resolved to never let my loved ones bear a glint much less experience the depths that evil takes some people. One thing I did learn from that experience is that we are all capable of evil. You see, the slayer of evil usually becomes evil to eradicate the vermin from the planet. Hopefully he does not loose his soul in the process.

After 7 decades I still train and keep proficient in the use of arms because I never know when evil will call. I don’t fear much but I fear my family’s exposure to man’s inhumanity. As a man it is my responsibility to keep my family safe not the government. I signed on to this task when I became a father and husband. I will do what ever is necessary to keep them safe. I would rather live out my remaining years in peace. I view anyone who would prevent me from this task by disarming me evil. I am resolved to slay all dragons at my door. I beg you to please leave me alone because if you don’t you will see evil up close and personal.

I would rather be hiking!
Butch

March 27, 2018

Where are the Left’s Modern Muckrakers? by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 10:21 pm

Where Are the Left’s Modern Muckrakers?
March 27, 2018 2:09 pm / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was an epic fight of so-called muckrakers — journalists and novelists such as Frank Norris, Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, and Ida Tarbell, along with trust-busting politicians like Teddy Roosevelt — against rail, steel, and oil monopolies. Whatever one thought of their sensationalism and often hard-left socialist agendas, they at least brought public attention to price fixing, product liabilities, monopolies, and the buying of politicians.

No such progressive zealotry exists today in Silicon Valley and its affiliated tech spin-offs. And the result is a Roman gladiatorial spectacle with no laws in the arena.
In the last two elections, Facebook has sold its user data to Democratic and, apparently more controversially, Republican campaign affiliates. Google, Twitter, and Facebook have often been accused of censoring users’ expression according to their own political tastes. Civil libertarians have accused social-media and Internet giants of violating rights of privacy, by monitoring the shopping, travel, eating, and entertainment habits of their customers to the extent that they know where and when Americans travel or communicate with one another.

Apple, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook are the world’s five largest companies in terms of stock value. Together they have market capitalization of about 3 trillion dollars, about the net worth of the entire country of Switzerland.

Until the rise of high-tech companies in the 1980s, there were, for better or worse, certain understood rules that governed the behavior of large corporations. Services deemed essential for the public — power, sewage, water, railroad, radio, and television — were deemed public utilities and regulated by the state.

Anti-trust laws prohibited corporations from stifling competition: Price cutting and fixing, dumping, and vertically integrating to ensure monopolies were all illegal. The government broke up large “trusts.”

The public looked askance at the power of mega-corporations and their ability to sway public opinion through the monopolistic purchases of media and advertising and their ability to liquidate smaller rival companies. Product liability laws, if often punitively and unfairly, held corporations accountable even for the misuse of their products: Smokers sued the tobacco companies when they suffered from lung cancer and emphysema. Baby cribs that had hard edges were liable for infant injury.

Yet today’s Silicon Valley and related high-tech companies are largely exempt from such traditional regulations. Facebook and Google run veritable monopolies. Facebook alone controls an estimated 40 percent of the world’s social-media market. It has more than 2 billion monthly users. Google controls about 90 percent of the world’s search-engine market. Apple earns $230 billion in annual revenue and is nearing a market value of $900 billion. Microsoft controls about 85 percent of the word-processing personal and business markets. Amazon alone was responsible for about 45 percent of all online sales of any sort last year. It has huge contracts with the Pentagon and owns the Washington Post. When competitors to Big Tech arise, they are offered billions of dollars, cashed out, and absorbed. Facebook has bought more than 50 rival companies. It acquired former competitor WhatsApp, the world’s leader in messaging platforms, for a staggering $19 billion. Alphabet/Google has bought more than 200 companies, YouTube among them.

The point of these surreal statistics about wealth, influence, and power is not to suggest that they prove abuse. Rather, they point to temptation. By itself, Facebook, which the government does not regard as a public utility, can adjudicate tasteful — or proper political — expression. Google alone determines each day what sort of imaging — much of it ideologically driven — billions of Internet users will see on screens. Disagree with Facebook, YouTube, or Google, and you will learn that it’s hard to find commensurate alternative services. If a particular historical video does not meet Silicon Valley’s correct narratives, YouTube will stifle it through “restrictive mode filtering,” as it has with many offered by Prager University, a conservative nonprofit.

Each year there are about 330,000 injuries caused by drivers texting — all of them in a sense preventable. One out of every four automobile accidents in American is said to result from texting while driving. Indeed, texting is six times more likely to cause a car accident than driving while intoxicated. Yet there are few consumer activist groups demanding products that cannot be misused by drivers, much less safety devices that automatically shut down texting when the user is moving at automobile speed.

None of these tech giants are held to the same oversight that monitors rail, drug, oil, or power companies.

Why is that?

The companies provide cool 21st-century products. People are mostly happy with the way they word-process, search, email, post, and buy online — at least until they butt up against the power of these monopolies and find their social-media accounts arbitrarily frozen, their private habits and data sold to other companies and operatives, their Internet use constantly interrupted by ads and messaging, or their providers using their patronage to massage the larger culture and law.

Unprecedented capital and revenue matter — both the fear of governments’ losing it and the hope of acquiring it. Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, is the world’s richest person, worth $112 billion. Bill Gates of Microsoft is second, at $90 billion, Mark Zuckerberg ($71 billion) is fifth. Civilization has never seen such Croesus-like concentration of personal wealth, and we are dumfounded by it.

In inflation-adjusted dollars, our tech masters of the universe dwarf the 19th-century so-called robber-baron fortunes of the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Fords, and Mellons that once prompted a cultural revolution of muckraking and trust-busting. Such huge amounts of capital, coupled with monopolies over the way much of the world communicates, gives just a handful of people never-before-seen political power.

The elections of entire nations, the tax policy of states, and the zoning laws of municipalities are in some degree affected by the decisions that a few make. The fear of losing tax income, or the desire of gaining huge tax revenue, holds elected officials hostage to the decision-making of such huge conglomerates.

Nationalism also explains why Big Tech is mostly unregulated. Why would Americans wish to hamstring some of the world’s largest companies when they ensure that American culture and practice saturate the cyber world?

Even more significantly, high-tech companies have managed to thread the needle between the two political parties. Democrats, the traditional trust-busters and hyper regulators, appreciate the progressive politics and West Coast culture of corporations such as Facebook and Amazon. Why would they regulate entities that are a cash cow for the Democratic party and that push progressive agendas insidiously through daily Internet use? The worst-kept secret of the modern age is that big corporations are mostly run by leftists and are far more politically correct than independent small-business owners who lack the clout to enact social change by fiat.

On the other hand, Republicans and conservatives are wedded to free-market economics and are ideologically averse to intruding into the marketplace — even when they are often at odds with high-tech monopolies and sometimes targeted by them.

The owners and operators of Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft certainly don’t look like the Jay Goulds and John D. Rockefellers of the past. Instead they wear shades, T-shirts, jeans and Dockers, sneakers and flip-flops as if they were regular guys and gals. When a hipster worth $70 billion looks no different from someone worth $50, how can he really exercise global power? Did anyone believe that the CEO of the now nearly defunct Theranos — cool thirtysomething Elizabeth Holmes, outfitted in Steve Jobs–lookalike black turtle necks — was a multibillion-dollar fraud of the first order, whose cool assurance led to the destruction of investors and sometimes lethal harm to individual patients?

We are in a brave new world of mobile communication, computers, the Internet, and social media without guidance from the past about whether these international and global mega-companies qualify as public utilities, monopolies, trusts — or quasi-independent and autonomous states that make their own laws and have no loyalties other than to themselves and their genre.

What is needed is some sort of bipartisan national commission that might dispassionately and in disinterested fashion offer guidelines to legislators about how to make sure that these companies do not abuse their enormous powers of surveillance and data acquisition, vast wealth, and monopolistic control of how we write, think, shop, and communicate — while ensuring that they can continue to offer the public what are now its daily necessities.

For now, things are going to get far worse before they get better. Big Tech has all the political, cultural, and commercial cards, and plays them with a reassuring hipster grin.

March 25, 2018

Christian Genocide video & article, by Joseph John Capt USN, FBI [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:27 pm

Joseph R. John
To jrj@combatveteransforcongress.org
Today at 2:38 AM

Why The Genocide of Christians Has Escalated Worldwide (Retransmitted in Entirety)

By Capt Joseph R. John, March 25, 2018: Op Ed # 384

If you click on the below listed link to watch the video, it reveals that over the last 7 years, the Genocide of Christians in the Middle East, and the violent attacks on Christians in Europe have dramatically escalated. The landscape in Europe has significantly changed over the last 8 years, because millions of Muslim Refugees, that have been flooding into Europe, refuse to assimilate; instead they’ve formed heavily populated Muslim enclaves that law enforcement officers avoid entering, because they are aggressively opposed.

If immigrants entering the United States, refuse to assimilate, and oppose the US Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic, the “Unity of Purpose” Americans worked to maintain, for 242 years, that further supported “Freedom of Speech”, “Freedom of Religion”, and the “Liberty of The Individual”, will not survive.

Anti-American Leftists, Socialists, Marxists, Communists, Progressives, the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR, Radical Islamic Terrorists, George Soros, Russians, Iranians, and the Chinese have collectively tried to break down, America’s “Unity of Purpose”, ”Freedom of Speech”, “Freedom of Religion”, and the “Liberty of The Individual”. The above referenced groups, are executing their anti-Americanism policies by:

Opposing America’s Free Enterprise System, that created the most successful economic engine in the history of mankind, by negotiating inequitable trade agreements with inept representatives of the US Government.
Engaging the US Armed Forces on the field of combat, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and worldwide by Radical Islamic Terrorist, in their attempt to defeat Judeo/Christian policies and practices.
Perpetrating violent demonstration in the streets, and on university campuses, exposing their opposition to the “Rule of Law”, “Freedom of Speech”, “Liberty of The Individual”, and the US Constitution.

The sinister forces, listed above, continue to try to undercut the Republic’s “Unity of Purpose”. Their supporters continue to enter the United States thru the wide open southern border, and thru the corrupt UN Refugee Program, that has excluded Middle East Christians for 8 years. Over 900,000 Middle East and African Muslim Refugees, were resettlement in 187 cities throughout the US over the 8 years of the Obama administration.

The FBI has investigated over 2000 terrorist plots, in all 50 states. Since 9/11, the FBI has gained convictions in 549 Radical Islamic Terrorist plots on US soil; 402 of those terrorist defendants were foreign born immigrants or refugees. Former Director of the FBI, James Comey, said fifteen percent (15%) of the 2000 terrorist cases under investigation(or roughly 300), can be attributed to 900,000+ refugees, referred to above.

The Federal Government must severely restrict the entry of Middle East Muslim Refugees on the terms they were allowed to enter the US, for the 8 years of the Obama administration, during that period the FBI was prevented from interviewing the refugees to determine if they had terrorist ties.

The United States is the only country in the world that accepts one million legal immigrants each year. The Department of Homeland Security must follow US Immigration Laws, and Congress must finally fund a program to seal the wide open southern border.

Copyright by Capt Joseph R. John. All Rights Reserved. The material can only posted on another Web site or distributed on the Internet by giving full credit to the author. It may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without the permission from the author

Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62

Capt USNR(Ret)/Former FBI

Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress PAC

2307 Fenton Parkway, Suite 107-184

San Diego, CA 92108

http://www.CombatVeteransForCongress.org

https://www.facebook.com/combatveteransforcongress?ref=hl

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
-Isaiah 6:8

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Rosalin Schiller
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:05 PM
To: Rosalin Schiller
Subject: New Center Video with Robert Spencer – Persecution of Christians

This is a link to a very important video of our March 21 Speaker, Robert Spencer.

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/269616/robert-spencer-video-why-muslim-persecution-frontpagemagcom

This video (link above) of Robert Spencer is on the topic of Muslim Persecution of Christians. It coincides with a just released pamphlet by Robert. It is critically important that we bring more attention to this issue. We will be sending this video to activists, the media and to public officials across America. Thank you for all of your support!

Michael Finch

David Horowitz Freedom Center

March 23, 2018

Camouflaged Elites, by Victor Davis Hanson [c]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 7:18 pm

Camouflaged Elites
March 23, 2018 11:05 am / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

Even in the mostly egalitarian city-states of relatively poor classical Greece, the wealthy were readily identifiable. A man of privilege was easy to spot by his remarkable possession of a horse, the fine quality of his tunic, or by his mastery of Greek syntax and vocabulary.

An anonymous and irascible Athenian author—dubbed “The Old Oligarch” by the nineteenth-century British classicist Gilbert Murray—wrote a bitter diatribe known as “The Constitution of the Athenians.” The harangue, composed in the late fifth century B.C., blasted the liberal politics and culture of Athens. The grouchy elitist complained that poor people in Athens don’t get out of the way of rich people. He was angry that only in radically democratic imperial Athens was it hard to calibrate a man by his mere appearance: “You would often hit an Athenian citizen by mistake on the assumption that he was a slave. For the people there are no better dressed than the slaves and metics, nor are they any more handsome.”

The Old Oligarch’s essay reveals an ancient truth about privilege and status. Throughout history, the elite in most of the Western world were easy to distinguish. Visible class distinctions characterized ancient Rome, Renaissance Florence, the Paris of the nineteenth century, and the major cities of twentieth century America.

A variety of recent social trends and revolutionary economic breakthroughs have blurred the line separating the elite from the masses.

First, the cultural revolution of the 1960s made it cool for everyone to dress sloppily and to talk with slang and profanity. Levis, T-shirts, and sneakers became the hip American uniform, a way of superficially equalizing the unequal. Contrived informality radiated the veneer of class solidarity. Multimillionaires like Bruce Springsteen and Bono appear indistinguishable from welders on the street.

The locus classicus is perhaps Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg, who wears T-shirts, jeans, and flip flops to work. His reported wealth of $71 billion makes him the world’s fifth-richest man. The median net worth of Americans is about $45,000. Zuckerberg is worth more than the collective wealth of about 1.5 million Americans—or about all the household wealth in Philadelphia put together. And yet, he looks perfectly ordinary. When I walk the Stanford campus—where many of the world’s wealthiest send their children—the son of a Silicon Valley billionaire looks no different from a machinist’s daughter on full support from Akron.

Second, technology has done its part to dilute superficial class distinctions. The nineteenth-century gap between a rich man in his fine carriage—with footman and driver—and someone walking three miles to work has disappeared. The driving experience between a $20,000 Kia bought on credit with $1,000 down and a $80,0000 Mercedes paid in cash is mostly reduced to the superficial logo on the hood and trunk. An alien from Mars could not easily distinguish, at least by sight, between the two cars. Even after a ten-minute ride, an alien might be puzzled: What exactly did that extra $60,000 buy?

For a hundred dollars, a man can go into Wal-Mart, buy Chinese-made slacks, a dress shirt, tie, and shoes, and look basically like a Wall Street investor with an ostensibly similar $10,000 imported Italian wardrobe. Brand names, and not always quality, are what we pay for.

Third, the classes often live their lives in close quarters to one another. Walk a Manhattan sidewalk, and try to guess who has a credit line of $10 million and who has one of zero. Take a transcontinental business class flight—who paid $5,000 for it and who saved up his frequent flyer miles for a year to travel in style? The guy in the jogging outfit and the girl in a business suit have no real clue of where the other falls in the social hierarchy.

Such integration appears to be a good thing, and often is an American specialty. Over the last three decades, technological breakthroughs have rendered old Marxist theories of endless class struggle somewhat stale. Consider how smartphones give someone on public assistance infinitely more access to global knowledge and entertainment than did the million-dollar mainframe of a few decades ago. Consider that even the poorest in public housing have hot water and a refrigerator—and that their water is just as hot and their fridges just as cool as the water and fridges in a fancy Upper West Side apartment building. The vast majority of Americans take for granted access to clean water, electronics, cheap food and clothing, and shelter. For most of human history, securing such goods was the major challenge of being alive. That’s no longer the case.

Yet the irony of this new camouflaged status is that appearances are conflated with reality. Mark Zuckerberg may look like an average American, but that does not mean he has the same interests or lives a similar sort of life as ordinary citizens. The concerns of an ostensible everyman with $71 billion could not possibly be the same as those of the rest of us. It may be that their casual clothes, cool phraseology, and radical politics serve as penance for exercising power that was once considered inordinate and dangerous.

Which raises an interesting point: People like Zuckerberg are actually far more powerful than their looks suggest. The robber barons of the nineteenth century are disparaged today for their greed and power. But Amazon, Facebook and Google operate virtual monopolies, the influence of which exceeds the oil, rail, steel, and banking trusts of the Gilded Age. The chief difference is that companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Apple are worth more in inflation-adjusted dollars than were Standard Oil or U.S. Steel, and their global reach now affects 6 billion people, not a continent of 60 million. Yet because their leaders wear the costume of the ordinary man, they seek an informality to help exempt them from old-style trust-busting and product liability suits from which their Gilded Age predecessors—with their top hats and gold-tipped canes—were not immune.

Why do we take seriously the take-a-knee protests of NFL players? Most are multimillionaires and live rarified lifestyles. In a politically correct age of disproportional impact and proportional representation, coveted and lucrative careers in professional sports are not subject, as most professions, to diversity mandates. The NFL is 70% African-American; no one suggests that race should trump merit or that players are the billionaire owners’ indentured serfs. But the fact that many multimillionaire players are tattooed, don cool jewelry, and wear their hair long gives the impression that they are somehow just ordinary guys exploited by the powers-that-be.

The effort to render elites and their sense of entitlement invisible to the public means that the phrase “limousine liberals” should be replaced with “Uber liberals.”

Take the case of Nancy Pelosi. She goes by her first name among constituents to stress her bond to common men and women, and yet her net worth is $100 million and she owns a palatial Napa villa. Though she acts ordinary in some ways, she is insulated from the ramifications of her own ideology, which harms the very people she purportedly models herself after. When she dismisses tax cuts and bonuses for the middle class as “crumbs,” are we to assume she is not an out-of-touch elite? Or does “Nancy’s” virtue-signaling politics of redistribution camouflage her own privilege and agenda?

One reason billionaire Donald Trump won the Electoral College was that he was transparent. He did not fake a southern drawl or an inner-city patois in the manner of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Unlike Mitt Romney, he exaggerated rather than apologized for his wealth. His loud clothes, garish jet, and American boosterism were in your face, and allowed Americans to draw their own conclusions—and, in contrast, made vastly rich progressive activists like Tom Steyer and Al Gore seem disingenuous.

Visible class distinctions of the past were a result of pride in achievement and old-fashioned snobbery. But their practical effect was to warn that the interests and agendas of the elite were not always the same as those of the public. Today’s billionaire hipsters blur these ancient distinctions. But just because a Master of the Universe looks like us does not mean that his dogged pursuit of tax exemptions, offshoring and outsourcing, and vertically integrated monopolies is in our interest.

[Also, consider how those hippies of the 60’s cheated and took advantage of all of those federal education and welfare programs. Once they started working and getting taxed, all of a sudden, they didn’t make enough money to send their kids to college, or they had their kids file taxes as an independent adult in order to qualify for student loans, student jobs, and housing subsidies. Or how people like Elizabeth Warren magically became a minority. Think how those programs were started and how these people forced themselves into them.]

March 22, 2018

12 Questions to Ask, by Victor Davis Hanson, [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 6:25 pm

Scandal Questions Never Asked, Much Less Answered
March 22, 2018 9:15 am / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Sometimes the hysteria of crowds causes them to overlook the obvious. Here is a series of 12 questions that do not seem to trouble anyone, but the answers to these should expose why so many of the people today alleging scandals should themselves be considered scandalous.

1) Had Hillary Clinton won the election, would we now even know of a Fusion GPS dossier? Would assorted miscreants such as Andrew McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Lisa Page, Glenn Simpson, Christopher Steele, or Peter Strzok now be under a cloud of suspicion? Or would they instead have been quietly lionized by a President Clinton grateful for noble services in the shadows rendered during the campaign?

2) If Clinton had won, would we now know of any Russian-supplied smears against Donald Trump? Would a FISA judge now be complaining that he was misled in a warrant request? Would likely Attorney General Loretta Lynch be reassigning Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr for his consultations with Fusion GPS operatives? Or would Russian operatives alone be likely, at an opportune moment, to threaten to leak to the media that they had given salacious material to Clinton operatives to ensure her election, and thus they were to be owed for their supposed help in ensuring a Clinton victory? Would anyone be now listening to a losing candidate Donald Trump making wild charges that he had been smeared in the closing days of his campaign by leaks of a Clinton cabal that drew on Russian help?

3) Are any Russian related interests currently still donating millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation? Why is Bill Clinton not being asked to speak by various groups—including those with Russian-ties—for $500,000 and above per talk? Is he now less persuasive than he was between 2009 and 2015?

4) Why did Andrew McCabe believe that two Democratic political action funds, one controlled by Clinton “best friend” Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, donated a total of $675,288 to his wife’s campaign for a rather obscure state senate post? What percentage of Jill McCabe’s actual campaign budget did the $675,288 comprise? And why after her defeat would Andrew McCabe still not recuse himself from directing FBI inquiries into allegations of (likely next president and past generous benefactor) Hillary Clinton’s prior improper use of an email server while Secretary of State? Does quid pro quo refer really more often to simultaneous benefactions or rather sequential ones?

5) What is the qualification for lying or giving false information to FBI investigators, and did the information supplied to the FBI by Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin concerning their knowledge of the use of Hillary Clinton’s private server qualify? Did Christopher’s Steele’s false pledges not to leak any information shared with the FBI to news sources qualify—at least at the level by which the FBI charged Michael Flynn for allegedly lying to their own investigators? Did Andrew McCabe qualify when he told his FBI superiors that he had not been a background source for news stories? What is the FBI’s own internal criminal bar of lying to or providing false information to Congress or government agencies or courts or leaking classified information? Did James Comey qualify when he testified that he had himself never given background interviews (a.k.a., anonymous leaks) to news organizations nor known other FBI agents to do so, or when he testified to Congress that he certainly did not draw up a memorandum exonerating Hillary Clinton from criminal indictment before he interviewed her or when he deliberately leaked several memoranda, possibly classified, taken from confidential conversations with the president?

6) What would have happened had the FISA court justices been apprised by the FBI and the Justice Department that the submitted Steele dossier was a) paid for by Hillary Clinton, b) impossible to verify by the FBI, and 3) the sole source for news stories that were being used in circular fashion to corroborate the dossier’s veracity?

7) Why did Bruce Ohr not disclose to his superiors that he had met with the compiler of the anti-Trump dossier, Christopher Steele, as well as Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, who had hired Steele? Why did not Ohr disclose on government-mandated ethics forms that his spouse, Nellie, had worked for Fusion GPS on the anti-Trump dossier during the election? What are the criminal and civil penalties for deliberately misleading auditors, if any? Why has Ohr not been put on notice by authorities that he violated such statutes and could face charges?

8) Why is Christopher Steele not under indictment and facing extradition as a foreign agent for a) interfering in a U.S. election, b) colluding with Russian interests to obtain information deemed damaging to a U.S. presidential candidate, c) lying to the FBI about his own disclosures of FBI sensitive material related to the dossier to news organizations? Did Steele’s collusion efforts and interference in a U.S. campaign differ much from, or exceed, the attempts of Russians currently indicted by Robert Mueller?

9) Why did Mueller, at the beginning of his special counsel investigation—to ensure against even the appearance of partisanship or conflicts of interests—not insist of potential hires: a) that they had notdonated to either 2016 political campaign, b) that they had not represented past clients who were involved either with the Clinton or Trump organizations or were even tangentially involved with ongoing scandals concerning either Clinton or Trump, c) that were not from his own law firm WilmerHale, which was currently representing, or had in the past, individuals who may well be caught up in future special counsel investigations?

10) Why did Samantha Power, in a non-intelligence affiliated job as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, request classified surveillance of American citizens and others to be sent to her office with the names unmasked, eventually at a rate, on average, of one request per day in 2016? And why and how could she testify that some of those daily requests for unmaskings made in her name were not in fact made by her? If not, then by whom and for what purpose and why with such frequency? And why did the requests continue after the 2016 election and during the transition?

11) Why were the major figures—James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, and Peter Strzok—who have in the past investigated, or are currently investigating or overseeing investigations of collusion charges against Donald Trump, all previously involved with investigations of Hillary Clinton? Have they exercised the same methods in the Trump collusion investigation that they used in the past in which Clinton was exonerated?

12) Which members of the Obama administration were aware of, or gave orders to, members of the Obama Justice Department and the FBI to use the Steele dossier to obtain FISA court orders to surveille American citizens? And who had access to transcripts of such surveillance, and why were the names of particular American surveilled then unmasked and how were they later disclosed to the media?

My War With Russian Trolls, by Paul Gregory [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 6:22 pm

My War With Russian Trolls
March 22, 2018 9:18 am / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson

Please read a new essay by my Hoover colleague, Paul Gregory.

Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine has two overarching goals.

First, the Russian people must believe the Kremlin version of domestic and world events. In this regard, the agents of Russian “information technology” have succeeded. Polls show that Russians believe that Russia is a super power in a hostile world; that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine; that Crimea voluntarily joined Russia; and that a Ukrainian fighter shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Second, Kremlin propaganda must discredit Western democracy as dysfunctional and inferior to Russia’s managed “democracy.” Kremlin propaganda has largely failed in this regard. Russians consider their government corrupt, remote from the people, interested in preserving power rather than performing its duties, and lying about the true state of affairs. Nevertheless, Putin’s approval ratings remain high in the absence of rivals, who have fled the country, been indicted, or murdered.

Putin, in fact, bases his legitimacy on high approval ratings. To counter the Russian people’s sense that they have no say in how they are governed, Kremlin propagandists must sell the story that Western democracies have it worse. Downtrodden Americans, they say, face poverty, hunger, racial and ethnic discrimination, unemployment, and they are governed by corrupt, inept, greedy, dysfunctional, and feuding politicians who sell out to the highest bidder on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley.

This brings us to how the ballyhooed Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election has given Putin a gift that keeps on giving—a paralyzed federal government, incapable of compromise, in which a significant portion of the governing class questions the legitimacy of a new president.

Russia routinely meddles in the politics of other countries. Despite denials, the Kremlin contributes to pro-Russian political parties throughout the world, gathers compromising information, hacks into email accounts, offers lucrative contracts to foreign businesses, and circulates false news. Given this history, U.S. authorities should not have been surprised by Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.

To date, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted thirteen Russian “internet trolls,” who sowed discord on social media by posting inflammatory, distorted, slanted, and false information promoting the Russian narrative of a deeply divided electorate and a discredited American electoral system. Mueller’s indictment identifies the Internet Research Agency (IRA) of St. Petersburg as the nerve center of Russia’s trolling operations. Although putatively owned by a private Russian oligarch close to Putin, there is little doubt that the IRA is a mouthpiece of the Kremlin. The existence and activities of the IRA have been known since 2014. It employs hundreds of hackers and writers divided into geographical sections. It is not the sole source of Russian trolling, but it is the most important.

Those American politicians and pundits, like Congressman Jerry Nagler and columnist Thomas Friedman, who label Russian intervention an act of warfare on par with Pearl Harbor or 9/11must attribute supernatural powers to Putin’s trolls. After all, the Mueller investigation revealed that Russia spent no more than a few million dollars on its election-meddling versus the over two billion dollars spent by the presidential candidates alone. The IRA’s St. Petersburg America desk constituted some 90 persons. Their social media posts accounted for an infinitesimal portion of social media political traffic and much of this came after the election.

Despite such evidence, Gerald F. Seib, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, declares himself “frightened” by Russia’s “sophisticated and sustained effort to use technology, social media manipulation, and traditional covert measures to disrupt America’s political system.”

But a closer look at such trolls reveals a different picture. Over the past five years, Russian trolls have regularly attacked my articles at Forbes.com. Given the number of attacks and their organized nature, I suspect most came directly from the IRA. The Kremlin clearly has not liked my posts on Russian domestic politics, the country’s faltering petro-economy, political assassinations, and foreign military intervention. What I encountered in the comments section of my pieces was an army of scripted trolls engaging in primitive invective and heavy doses of ad hominem blasts. These amateurs did not seem up to the monumental task for which they are now credited—of changing the course of American political history.

My trolls used the same clandestine social media techniques as those identified by Mueller in his indictments. They posted through leased servers with moving IP addresses. They assumed Anglo-Saxon (Jeff, RussM, Dave, John), exotic (Sadr Ewr, Er Ren), and computer generated (Hweits, Aij) monikers. Those with Anglo-Saxon names asserted they were Americans, even ex-Marines. They used provably false identities: One “Stanley Ford,” identifying himself as a graduate student at Stanford, expressed his dismay at my “shallow” Stanford economics seminar. But there is no such graduate student at Stanford and I had given no such seminar.

Other trolls, such as “Andrey,” wrote sometimes incomprehensible English: “Dear PAUL, can we badly know English language, but only one thing I want to say, YOU understand—Fack You.” (Russians have no English “u” sound in their alphabet.) Such “Andreys” were subsequently replaced by experienced trolls, such as “Jeff” and “RussM,” with an occasional guest rant by “Aij,” whose favorite topic was “filthy Jewish bankers.” My most prolific troll, “Jeff,” posted at times almost fifty comments per column. One troll appeared in person to pester me at a panel discussion in the Bay area. One volunteered that I am a fictional person. Another offered to drop by my office for a personal chat. For obvious reasons, I did not accept.

Troll “John’s” tirade is a classic ad hominem smear: “Gregory’s inane, badly written propaganda articles never had one original thought, just parroting what he could grab on the Internet. Gregory is a pitiful Nazi moron.”

My trolls made heavy use of moral equivalence. Did the U.S. not attack Iraq and did its police not gun down black teenagers in Missouri? Yes, Russia may be aiding the rebels in Syria and Ukraine, but are not American troops and CIA operatives swarming all over Ukraine? Yes, the shooting down of MH17 was a tragedy, but did not the United States down an Iranian passenger jet in 1988?

The “denying the obvious” technique is illustrated by three videos circulated by Russian trolls on the Internet and Russian TV. Each featured a wounded man lying in an east Ukrainian hospital bed. In one video, he claimed to be a heroic surgeon. In the second, he was a disillusioned neo-fascist financier. In the third video, the bandaged man declared himself an innocent bystander. The problem, I pointed out, was that each video featured the same Russian actor but in different roles. Unfazed, my trolls “saw no contradictions” until one of Russia’s main TV channels (NTV) declared that the versatile actor was mentally ill. When it comes to Ukraine, the official IRA line has been that the Russian tanks, radar, missile launchers, and the like were purchased at used weapon shops by the “patriots” fighting the neo-Nazis and extremists sent from Kiev. When I pointed out the inanity of this proposition, one troll’s unedited response read: “everything he (Gregory) says at the beginning is nothing BUT LIES! russia did not give the east ANYTHING.”

In a botched false-flag operation, trolls claimed that “Ukrainian” extremists fled in panic after firing on a separatist checkpoint, conveniently leaving behind a vast cache of Nazi regalia (plus “snipers’ diapers”). The video of the Nazi cache, however, is dated to the day before the alleged attack, according to the camera time code. My expose of the snipers’ diapers incident brought forth reinforcement from new trolls, who wanted to debate time zones and now to impute the time of day from the length of shadows.

My clashes with IRA trolls over Ukraine can seem at times comical, but they are dead serious. The trolls are pushing a strictly coordinated narrative both to the Russian people and to foreign audiences that Ukraine is an illegitimate state and that the United States and NATO are the aggressors.

Indeed, that Western democracies, American democracy especially, are rotten, corrupt, and hapless is a cornerstone of the Kremlin narrative. As the Mueller indictment concludes: The stated goal of the Russian operation was “spreading distrust towards candidates and the political system in general.” The Russian trolls, according to the Mueller indictment, used a number of techniques to achieve this end. They encouraged fringe candidates. They tried to ally with disaffected religious, ethnic, and nationalist groups. They discredited the candidate they thought most likely to win. Once the winner was known, they immediately moved to discredit him.

As noted above, the Russian people are largely on board with the IRA’s narrative. Why? The average Russian family gets its news from the major state networks, which offer topflight entertainment before and after news of the day. Russia’s trolls stand ready to swat down any unfavorable social media. Alternative messages have little hope of penetrating the Russian heartland.

Although the trolls are succeeding at home, Russian propaganda has had little effect on foreign audiences. Public opinion worldwide shows a negative opinion of Russia and Putin, according to Pew Research. But if Russian trolls cannot sway Western public opinion, how could they have influenced the outcome of the biggest game of all—a U.S. presidential election? The dozen ill-informed operatives indicted by Mueller held poorly attended rallies, had to be educated about red and blue states, and spent their limited funds in uncontested states. It would be almost crazy to believe that such Russian intervention could have made a difference.

Why, then, do so many Americans believe that Russia was instrumental in throwing the election to Donald Trump? It may be that some of the President’s opponents actually believe this narrative. But there’s another explanation, too: Russian intervention provides opportunistic politicians and pundits a useful excuse for paralyzing the incoming government of a gutter-fighter President from a show business and construction background with no political experience. In their view, such a person should not be allowed to govern. Hence the paralysis, dysfunction, and chaos of American democracy—long claimed by Russian propagandists—is on its way to becoming reality. What a windfall for Putin and his oligarchs.

March 21, 2018

The Confederate Mind, by Victor Davis Hanson [c]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:14 pm

The Confederate Mind
March 20, 2018 1:10 pm / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Progressives such as Elizabeth Warren resurrect the race-based thinking of the antebellum South: ‘One drop’ and you’re a bona fide minority.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has doubled down on her insistence that she is Native American.

THE NEW ONE-DROP FIXATION

In her past incarnations, she probably used that yarn in hopes of helping her win a law professorship at Harvard, which touted her as the law school’s first indigenous-American professor (and others apparently referenced her as Harvard Law’s “first woman of color”). She has refused to back down (and also refused to take a DNA test), even after Native American genealogists disputed her claim.

But what if indeed the pink and blond Warren were found to have 1/32nd or even 1/16th Native American “blood”? Why would that artifact magically make her “Indian,” much less a victim of something or someone, or at least outfitted with a minority cachet?

Does she have an idea of the absurdity of current progressive race obsessions and their creepy pedigrees? In wartime Western Europe, one of the justifications for making Jews wear yellow stars was that it was otherwise impossible to determine whether they were Jews at all, which of course made the entire Nazi edifice of supposed overt racial inferiority a nightmarish joke.

The Fascist and anti-Semitic French novelist Lucien Rebatet explained why the stars were needed for hard-to-identify Jewish citizens: “The yellow star rectifies this strange situation in which one human group that is radically opposed to the people of white blood, and which for eternity is unassimilable to this blood, cannot be identified at first glance.”

What is the moral of this sad reversion to the failed racist systems of the past? Warren is harkening back to the old South’s “one drop rule” of “invisible blackness.” Supposedly any proof of sub-Saharan ancestry, even one drop of “black blood,” made one black and therefore subject to second-class citizenship.

Films such as Pinky (1949) and Band of Angels (1957) dealt with the bizarre notion in a racist society of “passing” as white — people supposedly suspected of having black ancestry who nonetheless passed as white. Warren and other whites such as Ward Churchill, Rachel Dolezal, and Shaun King — who have all tried to enhance their careers by claiming minority status — apparently understood the implications of the new progressive racial obsessions and made the necessary pedigree adjustments. They apparently reasoned that in a world where everything is a supposed “construct,” race could be as well.

In the racist South, some minorities sought to pass to claim white status; in racialist 21st-century America, some whites seek to pass to claim minority status. The common denominator in both cases is the contemporary society’s racial fixations — and the absurdity of needing to claim a particular racial status to gain advantages.

But there is one difference between Cambridge, Mass., in 2018 and Richmond, Va., in 1861. We of the present have had almost 160 years of hindsight to transcend race, and we should understand, especially from the history of the Civil War and World War II, the terrible wages of race-based chauvinism. In a state like California, where 40 million check all sorts of ethnic boxes to identify by race (for many, unapparent from their appearance or language), and where no one group is a majority, progressive racial umpires are trumping their prior Confederate genealogists many times over.

THE NEW DIXICRAT CHAUVINISM

Progressives, in fact, seem to like the protocols of the old Confederacy in lots of ways. Southern antebellum chauvinists once claimed that the culture south of the Mason-Dixon line was innately superior to the grubby, industrial wasteland of the north. A two-class system of masters and slaves allowed an elite the leisure and capital to pursue culture without the rat-race competition of a striving middle class. So blinkered was southern arrogance that its pre-war youth insisted that southern manhood, with its innate moral superiority, could defeat a much larger, richer, and more industrial North — a myth dispelled early on at Shiloh.

Now the new cultural divide is not North vs. South, but the blue-state coasts versus the red-state interior. The map has changed, but the new mindset of the chauvinist, mutatis mutandis, is eerily the same. In blue-state doctrine, a sinking middle class in the interior deserves to fail. But an upscale hip and cool professional elite is properly thriving on the East and West Coasts as never before — itself often supported by legions of poorly paid and mostly minority gardeners, housekeepers, and nannies who free up their supposed betters to pursue higher things without tending to the drudgery of diapers, cooking, and mowing.

Pyramidal California has some of the wealthiest people in the world living within the coastal corridor of Hollywood, Malibu, Stanford, Silicon Valley, and San Francisco — even as one-fifth of the population lives below the poverty line, along with a third of the nation’s welfare recipients and half its homeless population.

No matter. Recently Hillary Clinton, in John C. Calhoun fashion, doubled down on her earlier condemnation of the “deplorables” and “irredeemables” by tying them to the red-state interior’s purportedly inferior cultural landscape:

If you look at the map of the United States, there is all that red in the middle, places where Trump won. I win the coasts. I win Illinois, Minnesota, places like that. What that map doesn’t show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s Gross Domestic product. I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.

Hillary was channeling the rants of northern California entrepreneur Melinda Byerley, an obscure founder of the Silicon Valley company Timeshare CMO. After the Trump victory, she became infamous for 15 minutes for her candid, embittered tweet that soon was enshrined as a credo of why coastal elites hated those unlike them. “One thing middle America could do is to realize that no educated person wants to live in a sh**hole with stupid people. Especially violent, racist, and/or misogynistic ones.” Speaking of “middle America,” Byerley wrote:

When corporations think about where to locate call centers, factories, development centers, etc., they also have to deal with the fact that those towns have nothing going for them. No infrastructure, just a few bars and a terrible school system.

Like the old Southern typecasting of Northern brutishness, Byerley’s stereotypes were delusional. The infrastructure of Menlo Park and Palo Alto — roads especially — is substandard. California’s roads and freeways rank almost dead last in many comparative surveys of state infrastructure. Silicon Valley’s private academies are rapidly expanding to serve a high-tech elite that refuses to put their children in the area’s increasingly diverse but challenged public schools. High-crime areas of Redwood City and East Palo Alto are within biking distance of Apple, Facebook, and Google headquarters.

At ground zero of Silicon Valley are SUVs and recreation vehicles jammed overnight along the streets, serving as de facto homes for third-tier workers who cannot afford apartment rents. San Francisco’s sidewalks are littered with feces and needles in a way that Salt Lake City’s are not. Compare apartment dwellers in gentrified San Francisco to the legions living on sidewalks and in tent cities, and there seems about as much disequilibrium as there was in Atlanta or Charleston circa 1860.

THE NEW ‘SECESH’

Progressives are not just trumpeting regional and cultural chauvinism in the manner of the old plantation South. They also echo the antebellum talk of secession and boast about state nullification of federal law — again, based on the premise that a superior coastal culture should not be dragged down by the rest of the morally inferior United States.

California has announced that it is no longer entirely subject to federal law enforcement, much as South Carolina proclaimed before the Civil War. As an attorney and advocate, California has hired former attorney general Eric Holder, who is no longer the steward of federal law. Holder is eager to defend the state’s various nullification efforts. California has become an entire “sanctuary state,” where the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents supposedly have no jurisdiction over illegal aliens currently held in state and local jails.

Governor Jerry Brown, in 1850s southern evangelical style, has justified defiance of the U.S. government by evoking God to impugn President Trump’s religiosity: “I don’t think — President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God, which leads one to more humility.” Indeed, Brown has toured abroad as a quasi commander in chief, urging foreign leaders to deal with California as though it were essentially an autonomous, sovereign country. Who knows, maybe Brown can cut trade deals that circumvent U.S. laws in the way that the cotton-exporting South once believed that foreign nations would favor its eventual autonomy.

Instead of the antebellum arrogance of “King Cotton,” think “King Tech,” as our new plantation class assumes that the world needs their search engines and mobile devices more than they need the rest of the U.S.

The Confederate parallels are often eerily racist as well. The onetime so-called Calexit leader Shankar Singam, in a television appearance, promoted the secession of California from the union. He celebrated the mostly white flight of the middle class from California. Their welcomed departure would make room, he suggested, for an improved wave of immigrants. Singam boasted that, in fact, the United States “should be grateful for us”:

If everyone in the middle class is leaving, that’s actually a good thing. We need these spots opened up for the new wave of immigrants to come up. It’s what we do.

Singam’s idea of California is ultimately, like the South’s, race-based.

Minnesota is one a few blue states that cluster around the Great Lakes and claim an affinity with coastal culture. In 2015, its governor, Mark Dayton, in the fashion of southern governors in 1861 who wanted Yankee critics gone, dared the unsophisticated to leave his state if they did not meet his moral (and apparent intelligence standards):

If you are that intolerant, if you are that much of a racist or a bigot, then find another state. Find a state where the minority population is 1 percent or whatever.

Then Dayton zeroed in with contempt for the white working class: “Our economy cannot expand based on white, B+, Minnesota-born citizens. We don’t have enough.”

By what yardstick does Dayton classify racial categories from F to A? And what exactly does Dayton think “B+” people should do?

Progressives — who in the past championed everything from eugenics to race-based abortion — would scoff at comparisons between Confederate racism and their own claims of racial affirmation. But history does not split such hairs and makes no exception for the supposed liberal fides of Elizabeth Warren or Hillary Clinton. A century from now, our successors are likely to be as bewildered by the classifications of affirmative action and designated safe spaces as we are by segregation and “separate but equal” schools. A century after the Civil War, in reaction to the legacy of the Confederacy, progressives fought for integration; a century and a half after the Civil War, progressives are channeling the one-drop rule and advocating race-based dorms, safe spaces, and race-themed houses.

Once a region, a state, or a group of people becomes racially obsessed and prefers the culture of two rather than three classes, they turn absurd. Soon they stop listening to reason and fall into predictable mythologies of cultural superiority, regional chauvinism, and ultimately secession as proof of their moral supremacy.

What follows next never ends well.

[For “never ends well,” refer to Thomas Chittum’s

    Civil War II

. That is, if you can find a copy. Last time I looked, a used copy cost $200. It may have come down on Amazon, but I got my copy early on.]

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