October 15, 2017 – PUERTO RICO

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Megan McArdle writes on problems in Puerto Rico.

“They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street,” Donald Trump told Geraldo Rivera. “We’re going to have to wipe that out. That’s going to have to be — you know, you can say goodbye to that. I don’t know if it’s Goldman Sachs but whoever it is, you can wave goodbye to that.” 

Bond markets didn’t appreciate the verbal wave. The territory’s bonds, already weak from the pounding of Hurricane Maria, fell another 31 percent. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney hastened to say the president didn’t mean what he said. “I wouldn’t take it word for word with that,” he said demurely. Nor should you; as debt expert Cate Long told CNN Money, “Trump does not have the ability to wave a magic wand and wipe out the debt.” 

Yet the fact remains that Puerto Rico is not going to be able to pay all of its debts. Prior to the hurricane, the territory had $73 billion in outstanding debt, and a population of 3.4 million people. That’s approximately $21,500 for every man, woman and child on the island – just about enough to buy each of them a brand new Mini Cooper, provided that they don’t insist on the sport package or the heated seats. 

Puerto Rico couldn’t afford to buy 3.4 million Mini Coopers before; they certainly can’t now that Maria has washed out so many roads. Even before the hurricane, Puerto Rico’s GDP was around $100 billion, meaning that repaying its debt would consume nearly nine months of everything the island earned. And while there will probably be a brief bump in economic activity as disaster relief funds pour in and the destruction is cleared away, over the long term the hurricane represents a huge setback: businesses destroyed, people killed or injured, funds that could be generating economic growth instead diverted to simply replacing what has been lost. 

So whatever President Trump does, or does not do, investors in Puerto Rican bonds are going to have to take a substantial haircut. … 

McArdle has more on the unintended consequences of DC stupidity.

… But you can’t entirely blame the Puerto Rican government for the state of the underlying economy, which is what had plunged the island into a bankruptcy crisis even before the hurricane. For that you have to look to the federal government, which eliminated a tax break that had given companies incentives to locate in Puerto Rico, and then oversaw a financial crisis that sent them into an even deeper spiral. We also made sure that a relatively poor island was forced to adopt the federal minimum wage, which was too high for the local labor market. That has contributed to the 11.5 percent unemployment rate. And Puerto Rico uses the U.S. dollar, leaving it unable to adjust monetary policy to overcome economic stagnation. …

 

 

Instapundit linked to McArdle and provided this thought.

So I’m guessing that if Steve Bannon were still around, he’d be encouraging Trump to do things that would make Puerto Rico so attractive that not only would people want to stay there, but expat Puerto Ricans would want to return, since most of them vote Democrat, and Puerto Rico doesn’t have any electoral votes. Which would be good for Puerto Rico, and also for Trump. In Bannon’s absence, I’m not sure there’s anyone in the White House who thinks that way.

 

 

 

Roger Simon says the island has entered the “great American victim derby.”

Seems like everyone’s a victim in the USA these days, from college “snowflakes” who can’t abide someone with views unlike theirs within miles of their campuses to allegedly assaulted women wearing sexually explicit hats to multi-millionaire football players who are sure there’s something wrong but can’t always remember what it is (other than Donald Trump).  The latest of the many entries in this “Great American Victim Derby” is Puerto Rico — or at least a significant part of the island’s leadership.

Who will win this derby?

It’s anybody’s guess, but the thing about playing the victim game is that even — perhaps especially — when you do win, you’re even more likely to continue to be a victim and play some more.  Victimhood is self-perpetuating — a spiritual, emotional, political, and economic rerun out of the movie “Groundhog Day.” Every year it’s the same thing and nothing changes.  Something bad happens and there you go again, drinking from the trough until you pass out like a fraternity boy being hazed for the thousandth time. 

Why not try something different for a change — like taking responsibility? …

  

 

More from the Economist.

AS THE mayor of Aguadilla, on Puerto Rico’s north-west coast, Carlos Méndez is proud of his town. He likes to take visitors onto the balcony of the town hall and challenge them to spot a scrap of paper in the plaza. There are none; but here, and all around the centre of town, there are no busy people either. The shops and offices are shabby, with little going on in them. The buildings along the beautiful beachfront look run-down. A few men sit in the shade, and have apparently been planted there as long as the tree has.

Puerto Rico has been a United States territory for more than a century, and its people have been citizens since 1917. They do not vote in national elections or pay federal income taxes, but those are not the biggest differences between Puerto Rican residents and their fellow American citizens. The island is distinguished by its poverty and joblessness, which are far worse than in any of the 50 states. The territory’s economy, moreover, has fallen further behind the national one over the past three decades. Bad government—not just locally, but also federally—is largely to blame. Yet most Americans are oblivious to the Caribbean island’s problems.

The place did earn a rare and brief mention in some mainland newspapers earlier this month. Its government had hit a borrowing limit and partly shut down for a couple of weeks, putting 95,000 civil servants out of work. Then leaders in San Juan—the commonwealth’s capital—agreed on a budget deal that let the government borrow more and resume paying people. The drama ended, and life there reverted to its depressing former state. …

 

Not much humor in this so we’ll celebrate Weinstein Week and other things.

 

September 29, 2017 – MORE IGNORANCE

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A couple if our favorites comment on NFL protests and the fake news that spawned them. Roger Simon is first. 

… We now live in such a victim culture that even mega-rich athletes and movie actors claim victimhood. Maybe we should rewrite Sly Stone’s “Everybody Is a Star”  as “Everybody Is a Victim.”

The problem with this of course is that little gets solved by playing the victim. It’s just a dumb show, a bunch of guys refusing to stand for the National Anthem.  Meaningless, except to their egos. This kind of behavior is, in reality, the enemy of action, taking things backwards and giving people an excuse not to do something substantive.  Does anyone seriously expect the current “protest” by the football players to have any result (other than turning fans off football)?  What could it be?  Improvement for poor black communities?

Oh, come on.  If you want to improve poor black communities, round up some money and start a business there.  Be entrepreneurial.  Make something. Build something….

  

 

Heather Mac Donald writes on fake news.

The FBI released its official crime tally for 2016 today, and the data flies in the face of the rhetoric that professional athletes rehearsed in revived Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend.  Nearly 900 additional blacks were killed in 2016 compared with 2015, bringing the black homicide-victim total to 7,881. Those 7,881 “black bodies,” in the parlance of Ta-Nehisi Coates, are 1,305 more than the number of white victims (which in this case includes most Hispanics) for the same period, though blacks are only 13 percent of the nation’s population. The increase in black homicide deaths last year comes on top of a previous 900-victim increase between 2014 and 2015.

Who is killing these black victims? Not whites, and not the police, but other blacks. …

… Violent crime has now risen by a significant amount for two consecutive years. The total number of violent crimes rose 4.1 percent in 2016, and estimated homicides rose 8.6 percent. In 2015, violent crime rose by nearly 4 percent and estimated homicides by nearly 11 percent. The last time violence rose two years in a row was 2005–06.  The reason for the current increase is what I have called the Ferguson Effect. Cops are backing off of proactive policing in high-crime minority neighborhoods, and criminals are becoming emboldened. Having been told incessantly by politicians, the media, and Black Lives Matter activists that they are bigoted for getting out of their cars and questioning someone loitering on a known drug corner at 2 AM, many officers are instead just driving by. Such stops are discretionary; cops don’t have to make them. And when political elites demonize the police for just such proactive policing, we shouldn’t be surprised when cops get the message and do less of it. …

… Four studies came out in 2016 alone rebutting the charge that police shootings are racially biased. If there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. That truth has not stopped the ongoing demonization of the police—including, now, by many of the country’s ignorant professional athletes. The toll will be felt, as always, in the inner city, by the thousands of law-abiding people there who desperately want more police protection.

 

 

August 23, 2017 – ERASING MEMORY

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On erasing memory by Victor Davis Hanson.

… In our race to rectify the past in the present, could Ken Burns in 2017 still make his stellar Civil War documentary, with a folksy and drawly Shelby Foote animating the tragedies of the Confederacy’s gifted soldiers sacrificing their all for a bad cause? Should progressives ask Burns to reissue an updated Civil War version in which Foote and southern “contextualizers” are left on the cutting room floor?

How about progressive icon Joan Baez? Should the Sixties folksinger seek forgiveness from us for reviving her career in the early 1970s with the big money-making hit “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”— her version of The Band’s sympathetic ode to the tragedy of a defeated Confederacy, written over a century after the Civil War. (“Back with my wife in Tennessee / When one day she called to me / Said, “Virgil, quick, come see / There goes the Robert E. Lee!”) If a monument is to be wiped away, then surely a popular song must go, too.

Are there gradations of moral ambiguity? Or do Middlebury and Berkeley students or antifa rioters in their infinite wisdom have a monopoly on calibrating virtue and defining it as 100 percent bad or good? …

… When Minnesota Black Lives Matter marchers chanted of police, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” was that a call for violence that was not long after realized by a spate of racist murders of policemen in Dallas? Are such advocates of torching police officers morally equipped to adjudicate which Confederate statue must come down?

And did President Obama swiftly condemn the forces that led the shooter to select his victims for execution? After Major Nidal Malik Hasan murdered 13 fellow soldiers in cold blood, screaming out “Allah Akbar” as he shot, did “both sides” Obama really have to warn America that “we don’t know all the answers yet, and I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts”? And did it take him six years before he discovered the catalysts when finally calling the murders a terrorist attack? Did Obama have to dismiss the Islamist anti-Semitic terrorist slaughter of targeted Jews in a kosher market in Paris with the callous and flippant quip that the murderers had killed “a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris”? Were there demonstrations over that moral equivalence?

And was it inevitable that the anti-Semite, homophobe, and provocateur with past blood on his hands for inciting riot and arson, the Reverend Al Sharpton, would advocate yanking public sponsorship of the Jefferson memorial? He who is with sin now casts the first stone? …

… A final paradox about killing the dead: Two millennia after Roman autocrats’ destruction of statues, and armed with the creepy 20th-century model of Fascists and Communists destroying the past, we, of a supposedly enlightened democracy, cannot even rewrite history by democratic means — local, state, and federal commission recommendations, referenda, or majority votes of elected representatives. More often, as moral cowards, we either rely on the mob or some sort of executive order enforced only in the dead of night.

 

 

 

 

In the race to purge our past of unpleasant history, Al Sharpton passes the baton to John Kass who has an idea.

… But there’s one thing wrong with Sharpton. It’s not that he goes too far. It’s that he doesn’t go far enough.

Because if he and others of the Cultural Revolution were being intellectually honest, they’d demand that along with racist statues, something else would be toppled.

And this, too, represents much of America’s racist history:

The Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party historically is the party of slavery. The Democratic Party is the party of Jim Crow laws. The Democratic Party fought civil rights for a century.

And so by rights — or at least by the standards established by the Cultural Revolutionaries of today’s American left — we should ban the Democratic Party. …

… So, the offensive statues will go, and then perhaps offensive iconography, offensive images, offensive books.

One book comes to mind. Let me quote a passage from it.

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

George Orwell. “1984.”

 

 

 

What print outlet would applaud Antifa’s violence? Why the execrable NY Times of course. John Hinderaker posts.

New York Times reporters Thomas Fuller, Alan Feuer and Serge Kovaleski are responsible for this admiring profile of the far-left Brownshirts called antifa: “‘Antifa’ members are ready to literally fight right-wingers.”

“Members of antifa have shown no qualms about using their fists, sticks* or canisters of pepper spray to meet an array of right-wing antagonists whom they call a fascist threat to U.S. democracy.” … *(Sticks? These are baseball bats. Not sticks. – PCKRHD)

 

 

August 21, 2017 – HYSTERIA FREE

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Here’s a few items not as crazy as what the telly and print media bring us.

 

Craig Pirrong, The Streetwise Professor, puts context to Charlottesville.

… It should not be surprising how the left conducts its march through institutions. It is really rather brilliant in conception and execution, although malign in effect and intent. There is a long term objective–in this case, the transformation of the US. But there is a coherent operational plan that concentrates force on a specific objective, and once that objective is taken, moves on to the next one.

Right now the ostensible target is the legacy of the Confederacy, but once the battle of the Confederate monuments is won, they will move on to the next target, which will inevitably include sooner or later every person in the American political pantheon, and every political, social, and economic institution that reflects the American past and tradition. …

… Trump’s calling out of Antifa as well as Nazis has led supposedly conservative establishment figures like Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Charles Krauthammer to differentiate the indistinguishable, and to defend Antifa because of their opposition to Nazis and racists.

What Romney et al don’t get is who the hard-core left identifies as racists: it’s pretty much everybody who doesn’t agree with them in totality. It includes most whites (which is ironic, given the pastiness of most of the cheekbones and foreheads visible between black hats and masks). I guarantee it includes Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Charles Krauthammer. By vouching for them now, and validating their claim of authority in establishing who is and who is not a racist, Romney et al are putting a target on a lot of people who are by no stretch of the imagination white supremacists or Nazis.

But of course the left has always benefitted from useful idiots. Romney et al are playing that role to perfection. …

… White supremacism and even Nazism are not new to American life, of course. In a way, what is amazing now is how marginalized these things are today. In the 1920s, the KKK was a major political force throughout the US–not just the South. (Indiana was a Klan hotbed.) In February, 1939–almost 6 years after Roosevelt’s inauguration and 6 months before German tanks rolled into Poland–the American Bund (basically the American Nazi Party) held a rally in MadisonSquareGarden attended by an estimated 22,000. Yet Eleanor Roosevelt, an extremely liberal political figure whose husband was savaged by the Bund, defended its right to exist, organize, and speak: she also defended America Firsters, Father Coughlin, and others with whom she disagreed violently on basically every political and social issue.

But if she did that today, she would be savaged. Because the left has gone from being believers in and defenders of civil liberties and individual freedom to their avowed enemies. …

 

 

Harry Stein from City Journal asks “Who’s Next; George Washington?”

… in his exchange with the churlish and ignorant press corps in the aftermath of Charlottesville, Donald Trump got it right when he said: “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” He may not have been the ideal messenger—with his combative style, manic egotism, and casual relationship with facts, he never is—but he laid out a case that for months has cried out to be made, and he did it so clearly that the refusal of the media and the elites of both parties, not just to credit it, but even to acknowledge it, speaks volumes. Though Trump has never quite defined what his notion of making America great again actually means, preserving that which needs no fixing—including the history that is our common legacy—is a key part of it.

Trump also correctly pointed to the role played in the Charlottesville tragedy by the totalitarian Left, the vanguard of the would-be American Cultural Revolution. As a pair of astute commenters on the website Just One Minute observed (for brevity’s sake, I’ve combined their exchange): “These antifa thugs are descendants of the Weather Underground, Symbionese Liberation Army and other Left Wing terrorists. And we’ve reached the point where these communist anarchists are eagerly enabled by a media that become enraged if anyone even suggests they might have played a part in the violence with their piss balloons, mace, 2 x 4s and baseball bats.” (To her credit, at least one New York Times reporter, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, acknowledged antifa’s role in the mayhem on Twitter, noting that “the hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding ‘antifa’ beating white nationalists being led out of the park.”)

Objecting to the tearing down of these monuments does not make one a Nazi, or a racist, or even passingly unreasonable, much as Trump’s adversaries wish it were so. “Who’s next?” is the right question. ..

 

 

 

Scott Adams with calming words for grown-ups on mass hysteria bubbles.

History is full of examples of Mass Hysterias. They happen fairly often. The cool thing about mass hysterias is that you don’t know when you are in one. But sometimes the people who are not experiencing the mass hysteria can recognize when others are experiencing one, if they know what to look for.

I’ll teach you what to look for.

A mass hysteria happens when the public gets a wrong idea about something that has strong emotional content and it triggers cognitive dissonance that is often supported by confirmation bias. In other words, people spontaneously hallucinate a whole new (and usually crazy-sounding) reality and believe they see plenty of evidence for it. The Salem Witch Trials are the best-known example of mass hysteria. The McMartinPre-School case and the Tulip Bulb hysteria are others. The dotcom bubble probably qualifies. We might soon learn that the Russian Collusion story was mass hysteria in hindsight. The curious lack of solid evidence for Russian collusion is a red flag. But we’ll see how that plays out.

The most visible Mass Hysteria of the moment involves the idea that the United States intentionally elected a racist President. If that statement just triggered you, it might mean you are in the Mass Hysteria bubble. …

 

… The tricky part here is that any interpretation of what happened could be confirmation bias. But ask yourself which one of these versions sounds less crazy:

1. A sitting president, who is a branding expert, thought it would be a good idea to go easy on murderous Nazis as a way to improve his popularity.

or…

2. The country elected a racist leader who is winking to the KKK and White Supremacists that they have a free pass to start a race war now.

or…

3. A mentally unstable racist clown with conman skills (mostly just lying) eviscerated the Republican primary field and won the presidency. He keeps doing crazy, impulsive racist stuff. But for some reason, the economy is going well, jobs are looking good, North Korea blinked, ISIS is on the ropes, and the Supreme Court got a qualified judge. It was mostly luck.

or…

4. The guy who didn’t offer to be your moral leader didn’t offer any moral leadership, just law and order, applied equally. His critics cleverly and predictably framed it as being soft on Nazis.

One of those narratives is less crazy-sounding than the others. That doesn’t mean the less-crazy one has to be true. But normal stuff happens far more often than crazy stuff. And critics will frame normal stuff as crazy whenever they get a chance. …

 

 

 

And Rabbi Dov Fischer says “And Yet President Trump, in His Classically Inartful Way, Was Absolutely Right.”

I just did something fascinating. I just watched the President’s entire 14-minute impromptu news conference at Trump Tower on Monday that sparked all the latest barrage of anti-Trump screeds from the left media that will criticize him every day, no matter what he does, augmented by the “Never Trump” Republicans and neo-conservatives who will not rest until they can re-conquer the political party they lost because of three terms of two failed Bush presidencies, followed by the two failed Presidential candidacies of Sen. John McCain and of Gov. Mitt Romney.

Not the reportage about the conference, but the entire 14 minutes unedited, uninterrupted. I found myself agreeing with his every word. I did not find his tone or demeanor “unpresidential” in the least. He sharply and explicitly condemned the Nazis and White Supremacists unequivocally. He also condemned the extreme leftists who premeditatedly came armed with weapons to smash up a demonstration that, rightly or wrongly, had been granted a legal permit. (I personally wish that ACLU liberals were not so proactive in advancing the right of Nazis to get permits to rally at public venues, but the demonstration had a permit. Meanwhile, the Antifa Alt-Left thugs came with flame-throwers, bats, and shields, and they came to fight.) All the while, the police did nothing for much too long. Chaos and violence ensued.

The media get exercised when President Trump does not parrot their scripts, but they never minded that Barack Obama would not call out leftist rioters and violent leftist organizations by name. As inner cities would burn, with innocents watching their life savings go aflame as mobs would burn down their inner-city stores in cities from Baltimore to Ferguson, the Obama Administration avoided planting blame or naming hate groups. When a Jihadist murdered Americans serving our nation faithfully at FortHood, Obama attributed the murders to “workplace violence.” Obama never could articulate the term “Radical Islamist terrorist,” …

 

 

In Humor, Forrest Gump says, “And just like that, they stopped talking about Russia.”

 

 

August 6, 2017 -HYPOCRITES

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John Fund takes a look at GOP hypocrite; John McCain.

… Far from being a modern-day “profile in courage,” McCain’s vote against advancing Obamacare reform represents a complete reversal of the position he won his Senate election with last year. John Merline of Investor’s Business Daily notes that “In the private sector, promising one thing and delivering the other could be referred to as ‘deceptive trade practice.’ For some members of Congress, it’s just another day at the office.”

Like every American, I wish John McCain the best in his battle against a brain tumor. But in what may prove to be one of the most important votes he has cast in his 35 years in Congress, he chose to operate like the standard-issue politicians he likes to rail against.

 

 

 

Next on the hypocrisy list is Algore. Townhall says his home in Nashville uses enough electricity to power 34 homes. 

Hypocrisy, thy name is…Al Gore?

A new, more-than-slightly amusing report from The Daily Caller alleges that the former vice president just might not be practicing what he preaches when it comes to the environment. Namely: his house in Nashville uses 34 times as much electricity than an average house. According to the Daily Caller, the amount of electricity that Gore uses to heat his swimming pool over the course of a year could power six average households. …

 

 

 

Daily Caller posts that Gore got schooled by a real person; a man who has crabbed the Chesapeake Bay 50 years. 

Al Gore was challenged on climate science Tuesday night when the mayor of Tangier Island, a community threatened by coastal erosion, told the environmentalist film producer he hadn’t seen the sea level change since he began his first career as a commercial crabber in 1970.

Gore was taking questions from the audience at a CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper when the fisherman and TangierIsland mayor James Eskridge refuted Gore’s assertion that rising sea levels were endangering coastal communities.

“I’m a commercial crabber and I’ve been working the Chesapeake Bay for 50+ years. I have a crab house business out on the water and the water level is the same as it was when the place was built in 1970,” Eskridge said. “I’m not a scientist, but I am a keen observer and if sea level rises are occurring, why am I not seeing signs of it?” …

 

 

 

Rather than calling him a hypocrite, we’ll stipulate Stuart Rothenberg, of WaPo and CNN is a CONTEMPTIBLE. Independent Women’s Forum posts on his tweets after Trumps visit to West Virginia. 

President Trump isn’t the only one  who says too much on twitter.

Stuart Rothenberg, a Washington insider who writes for the Washington Post and runs The Rothenberg Political Report, has just revealed what he thinks of the people of West Virginia, who gave a warm welcome to President Trump last night, in a vicious tweet:

“Lots of people in West Virginia can’t support themselves or speak English.” 

The elite has an itch and they can’t stop scratching.

The itch is disdain for Americans who live outside a few enclaves of People Like Them and whom they believe to be, as a one trailblazer in disdain once put it, deplorable. …

 

 

 

Mr Rothenberg is not only contemptible, he’s also arrogantly stupid. Here’s a look at what he wrote in WaPo less than a month before last November’s election.

The trajectory of the 2016 presidential race — which will result in a Hillary Clinton victory — remains largely unchanged from May, when Donald Trump and Clinton were in the process of wrapping up their nominations. 

But what has changed recently is Clinton’s likely winning margin. For many weeks, even months, I have believed that Clinton would defeat Trump by three to six points. If anything, that range now looks a bit low, with the Democratic nominee apparently headed for a more convincing victory, quite possibly in the four-to-eight-point range. … 

… No, Trump’s supporters have not turned on him. But he trails badly with only a few weeks to go until Nov. 8, and he must broaden his appeal to have any chance of winning. That is now impossible. … 

… In one of my last columns for Roll Call, on May 10, I wrote that: 

Given the makeup of the likely electorate, state voting patterns, the images of the candidates, the deeply fractured GOP and the early survey data, Clinton starts off with a decisive advantage in the contest. A blowout is possible. 

Three months later, on Aug. 9, I reiterated that Trump was so poorly positioned for the fall campaign that he “needs a miracle to win.” …

 

In April 2009 Rothenberg mocked the chances for the GOP to grab congress in 2010.

… Cheerleading has its place, including on a high school or college basketball court. But not when it comes to political analysis.

Over the past couple of weeks, at least three Republicans — House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and campaign consultant Tony Marsh — have raised the possibility of the GOP winning back the House of Representatives next year.

That idea is lunacy and ought to be put to rest immediately.

None of the three actually predicted that Republicans would gain the 40 seats that they need for a majority, but all three held out hope that that’s possible. It isn’t. … 

It wasn’t 40 seats won by the GOP, it was 63! It was the largest win in almost 100 years. Makes it obvious Rothenberg belongs at CNN with other ignorant people.

 

 

 

For another CONTEMPTIBLE, Instapundit offers a professor at TrinityCollege. 

Four days after James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on a group of Republican congressmen at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, Trinity Professor Johnny Eric Williams sided with anonymous blogger “Son of Baldwin,” who proposed that black emergency personnel should let wounded white people die rather than lend assistance. Baldwin posted his opinions under the hashtag, #LetThemFuckingDie.

Professor Williams linked Son of Baldwin’s statement, adopted the hashtag as his own, and posted some additional denunciations of white Americans for “their destructive mythology of whiteness and their white supremacy system.” Referring to all “self-identified ‘whites,’” he wrote, “The time is now to confront these inhuman assholes and end this now.”

Prof. Williams, I know you think you want a race war. But you really don’t. And I think it’s fine for Trinity not to punish faculty for “extramural utterences,” except that I don’t really believe they’d apply that policy to a white professor who thought white EMTs should let black people die. Instead, I feel fairly confident they’d weasel around it somehow.

Cost of attending Trinity College: $68,940 per year. A lot to pay for a “platform from which people can shout their disordered fury.”

July 30, 2017 – THUNDERING IGNORANCE

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The almost terminal stupidity in contemporary American culture is the sub-topic of four items today. The first from Washington Examiner posts on reviews of the movie Dunkirk.

… At USA Today, Brian Truitt laments “the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of color.” This, Truitt explains, “may rub some the wrong way.” … 

…  The Washington Free Beacon’s Alex Griswold beat me to it, explaining why Truitt’s review is so silly. But let me add one point. What measure of honor would there be to inject “actors of color” into a historical event in which no persons of color served? It would be like making the civil rights movie, Selma, but hiring all white actors to play the parts that black demonstrators played in real life. 

In a similarly silly take, at Slate.com, Dana Stevens suggests the British Army at Dunkirk was the “last bulwark against Nazi invasion of the British mainland.” 

No, this is just wrong. Even if the British Army had been captured, there were two further bulwarks against invasion. First, the British Royal Air Force (RAF). As history records, the RAF was crucial in holding off swarms of German bombers that aimed to destroy the British will to resist and means of doing so. Unless and until the RAF was defeated, the Nazis would have not been able to protect ground forces on the landing grounds and approaches to London. (Incidentally, Hitler’s idiocy in diverting German bombers away from RAF airfields and towards British cities helped the RAF win the day.) 

Second, the Royal Navy. …

 

 

 

 

Walter Williams attempts to deal with left propaganda that tries to portray slavery as an American institution.

… Large numbers of Christians were enslaved during the Ottoman wars in Europe.

White slaves were common in Europe from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages. It was only after the year 1600 that Europeans joined with Arabs and Africans and started the Atlantic slave trade.

As David P. Forsythe wrote in his book, “The Globalist,” “The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom.”

While slavery constitutes one of the grossest encroachments on human liberty, it is by no means unique or restricted to the Western world or United States, as many liberal academics would have us believe. Much of their indoctrination of our young people, at all levels of education, paints our nation’s founders as racist adherents to slavery, but the story is not so simple. …

 

… The most unique aspect of slavery in the Western world was the moral outrage against it, which began to emerge in the 18th century and led to massive elimination efforts. It was Britain’s military sea power that put an end to the slave trade. And our country fought a costly war that brought an end to slavery. Unfortunately, these facts about slavery are not in the lessons taught in our schools and colleges. Instead, there is gross misrepresentation and suggestion that slavery was a uniquely American practice.

 

 

 

 

A Johns Hopkins instructor told a joke and the university decided there would be hell to pay.

For the past six years, I have taught an undergraduate course on international economics at JohnsHopkinsUniversity. Most of my students thought it was a very good course. So I was shocked when, on December 6, 2016, I was met at the door of my classroom by Johns Hopkins security personnel and barred from entering.

The next day, I received a letter from my dean suspending me from my teaching duties—just three classes before the end of the semester.

What had I done to cause such a reaction by the administration? I had told a joke when discussing off-shoring, the practice of firms shifting work abroad, often in search of lower wages. Here it is:

‘An American loses his job due to his work being off-shored. He is very depressed and calls a mental health hot line. He gets a call center in Pakistan where the call center employee asks, “What seems to be the problem?” The American responds that he has lost his job due to the work being sent overseas and states, “I am really depressed and actually suicidal.” The call center employee says, “Great. Can you drive a truck?” ‘

The lecture on off-shoring took place several weeks earlier. The stated reason for my suspension was that three students (out of 68) complained that my joke had created a “hostile learning environment” in the class. That’s a charge most college administrators now take with the utmost seriousness. …

 

 

 

The old saw, “They don’t make them like they used to” is right, because usually things are made better. Unless, of course, the idiots in government get involved. American Lens with a post on what went wrong with gas cans. If you’re driving through an old neighborhood and see a garage sale, a good piece of advice is stop and see if they have old gas cans. Because they don’t make them like they used to. 

… Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice. …

… The whole trend began in (wait for it) California. Regulations began in 2000, with the idea of preventing spillage. The notion spread and was picked up by the EPA, which is always looking for new and innovative ways to spread as much human misery as possible.

An ominous regulatory announcement from the EPA came in 2007: “Starting with containers manufactured in 2009… it is expected that the new cans will be built with a simple and inexpensive permeation barrier and new spouts that close automatically.”

The government never said “no vents.” It abolished them de facto with new standards that every state had to adopt by 2009. So for the last three years, you have not been able to buy gas cans that work properly. They are not permitted to have a separate vent. The top has to close automatically. There are other silly things now, too, but the biggest problem is that they do not do well what cans are supposed to do. …

 

July 18, 2017 – FRACKING

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The left likes victims. That’s why they dislike Israel so much because Israel refuses to be a victim. Domestically the left wants us to be weak and is happy to be at the mercy of the world’s oil producers. Victor Davis Hanson writes on what we owe to the fracking industry because it keeps us from being victims.  

… “Peak oil” — the theory that the world had already extracted more crude oil than was still left in the ground — was America’s supposed bleak fate. Ten years ago, rising gas prices, spiraling trade deficits, and ongoing war in the oil-rich Middle East only underscored America’s precarious dependence on foreign sources of oil. …

… In 2012, when gas prices were hitting $4 a gallon in some areas, President Obama admonished the country that we “can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” That was a putdown of former Alaska governor and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s refrain “Drill, baby, drill.”

Obama barred new oil and gas permits on federal lands. Steven Chu, who would become secretary of energy in the Obama administration, had earlier mused that gas prices might ideally rise to European levels (about $10 a gallon), thereby forcing Americans to turn to expensive subsidized alternative green fuels. …

… Fracking has given America virtual energy independence, freeing it from the leverage of unstable and often hostile Middle East regimes. The result is less need to interfere in the chronic squabbling in the oil-rich but unstable Persian Gulf.

Fracking has reduced oil prices and radically weakened America’s rivals and enemies. Desperate oil exporters like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela are short about half the oil income that they enjoyed ten years ago.

The late Hugo Chávez’s oil-fed socialist utopia in Venezuela is bankrupt.

What so far constrains Russian president Vladimir Putin is as much a shortage of petrodollars as fear of NATO. …

 

 

 

IBD Editors celebrate our energy boom. It’s great to have a president who wants our country to be strong and self-reliant.

Last week President Trump announced plans to make the U.S. not just energy independent, but a global energy powerhouse. Too bad everyone was hyperfocused on his tweets. … 

… Administration critics, naturally, are determined to downplay this announcement by saying — as both Reuters and CNBC put it, using exactly the same words — that Trump had simply “re-branded efforts … set in motion during the previous presidential administration.”

But the truth is that the difference between Trump and President Obama on energy could hardly be more stark.

While Obama mouthed the words “all of the above” when describing his own energy policy, his administration did everything it could to thwart all sources of energy except unreliable and heavily subsidized wind and solar.

Obama canceled the Keystone XL pipeline; put vast tracts of land and offshore areas off-limits to oil and gas development; denied a permit for a liquefied natural gas export terminal in Oregon; endlessly pushed for huge tax hikes on energy companies; called oil the “energy of the past”; and tried to kill coal with his “Clean Power Plan.” Nuclear power was at a standstill. Even hydropower production dropped 7% on his watch.

It is true that oil and natural gas production took off while Obama was in the White House, but this was despite Obama’s best efforts, not because of them, since those production gains were on private lands. …

 

 

 

More bad news for petro states like Russia and Venezuela. American Interest posts on a major find in the Gulf of Mexico.

An international consortium of oil companies has struck oil in shallow waters off the coast of Mexico in what could be one of the five largest discoveries in the past five years, and among the top fifteen in the last two decades. The find could be good for 1.4 to 2 billion barrels of light crude. …

… This is a big win for Mexico, which two years ago decided to allow private companies to participate in energy projects. If this find turns out to be as significant as early indicators seem to have it, expect even more international companies to get interested.

It’s also yet another reminder of just how off the “peak oil” prognosticators have been. This is a substantive find of easy to process light crude in shallow waters; no fracking or next-gen technological requirements will be necessary to exploit it. Greens may not love it, but the age of oil appears to not quite yet be over.

 

 

 

“Useful Idiots” was the term Lenin used to describe Westerners who were willing to overlook his thuggery and their loyalty to their countries for the idea of a “greater” good. Lincoln Stephens quickly comes to mind. He visited the Soviet Union in 1919 and famously said, “I have seen the future, and it works.” Stephens was not a 22 year-old know nothing. He was 53 years old in 1919 and had been a journalist since 1898. All of this is proof the media has been screwed up for a long long time and fake news is nothing new. Then there’s the NY Times guy in Moscow, Walter Duranty, who lied about the existence of the Ukrainian Famine in the early 1930′s. The Times was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. And to its everlasting shame, the Times still touts that award. Another of the West’s ”useful idiots” was the playwright and journalist George Bernard Shaw. He met Stalin in 1931 and said Stalin was ”a Georgian gentleman with no malice in him.” This for the man who was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions.

 

Daily Signal tells how the Russians are helping finance and colluding with this generation’s version of useful idiots – those who want to stop fracking. As always, the left liberals want our country to be weak.

Forget about allegations of Russian interference in U.S. presidential elections for a moment, or even “collusion” between Russian officials and Trump campaign operatives.

The real action is in the European and U.S. energy markets, according to a letter from two Texas congressmen to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that details what they call “a covert anti-fracking campaign” with “little or no paper trail.”

The Daily Signal obtained a copy of the June 29 letter to Mnuchin from Reps. Lamar Smith and Randy Weber, both Republicans who chair energy-related House panels. (See the full letter below.)

Smith and Weber quote sources saying the Russian government has been colluding with environmental groups to circulate “disinformation” and “propaganda” aimed at undermining hydraulic fracturing. Commonly called fracking, the process makes it possible to access natural gas deposits.

The sources include a former secretary-general of NATO, …

… In their letter to the treasury secretary, Smith and Weber also say the Russians have been able to advance their strategy without “a paper trail.”

They pass along reports that Russia apparently funnels the money through a Bermuda-based “shell company” known as Klein Ltd.

Tens of millions of dollars are moved from Russia through Klein “in the form of anonymous donations” to a U.S.-based nonprofit called the Sea Change Foundation.

The money, the congressmen write, then is moved in the form of grants to U.S. environmental organizations. …

 

 

For a reminder of the bullet we dodged last November, we have this quote from a May 2016 Fortune Magazine

… The front-runner for the Democratic party nomination (H. Clinton) used a debate in Flint, Michigan on Sunday night to oppose fracking anywhere local communities were against it, wherever it polluted air or water, and whenever companies refused to disclose what chemicals they use in the process.

“By the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place,” she said. …

July 15, 2017 – JANE SANDERS II

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June 23rd Pickings covered the troubles of Jane Sanders growing out of her seven year stewardship of the now bankrupt Burlington College. Under her direction, the college improvidently, and perhaps fraudulently, borrowed ten million dollars to purchase land for a new campus. Our first look was a single article from Politico. Now, WaPo investigative reporters have much more. We will have more items, but it is worth noting the first two pieces on her travails have appeared in friendly publications.

A federal investigation of a land deal led by Jane Sanders, the wife and political adviser of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has accelerated in recent months — with prosecutors hauling off more than a dozen boxes of records from the Vermont college she once ran and calling a state official to testify before a grand jury, according to interviews and documents. 

Half a dozen people said in interviews in recent days that they had been contacted by the FBI or federal prosecutors, and former college trustees told The Washington Post that attorneys representing Jane Sanders had interviewed them to learn what potential witnesses might tell the government.

The investigation centers on the 2010 land purchase that relocated BurlingtonCollege to a new campus on more than 32 acres along Lake Champlain. While lining up a $6.7 million loan and additional financing, Jane Sanders told college trustees and lenders that the college had commitments for millions of dollars in donations that could be used to repay the loan, according to former trustees and state officials. 

Trustees said they later discovered that many of the donors had not agreed to the amounts or the timing of the donations listed on documents Jane Sanders provided to a state bonding agency and a bank. That led to her resignation in 2011 amid complaints from some trustees that she had provided inaccurate information, former college officials said. 

The land deal, the officials said, became a financial albatross for the 160-student school, contributing to its closure last year. …

 

 

A report in Fox News says the probe into Sanders’s wife was started by opposition research in the Clinton campaign. Then again, perhaps those rascally Russians did it.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ claims that an ongoing FBI probe of his wife is based on partisan politics don’t square with the fact that it began under President Obama and appears to closely track Democratic opposition research revealed in the hacked emails of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney in Vermont are investigating Jane O’Meara Sanders for her role in a failed 2010, $10 million college land deal that she orchestrated during her seven-year stint as president of BurlingtonCollege in Vermont.

According to a series of 2015 emails to and from Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, leaked to and published on Wikileaks, the Clinton team wrote an extensive political opposition memo entitled “Sanders Top Hits-Thematics.” The memo details Mrs. Sanders’ role in the college’s financial failure, and parallels the ongoing FBI investigation, now before a grand jury, into the scandal.  Other email correspondence shows the Clinton team believed scandals surrounding the college and Jane Sanders provided an opportunity to knock the Vermont senator’s reputation and chances to win the Democratic primary election.

“I think our first question is how are we going to defeat Sanders. … he’s not who he says he is — gun votes, DSCC money, Jane. …

… Sen. Sanders has alleged that (the GOP’s) Toensing was motivated to file the complaint because of his ties to Trump. But Toensing told Fox News that is simply wrong. He didn’t take on the role of Vermont state chairman for the Trump campaign until the summer of 2016, well after the federal grand jury investigation of Mrs. Sanders began.

“This investigation was started under President Obama’s Justice Department,” Toensing said. “The senator’s claims are a common, but lame diversion for politicians faced with a grand jury investigation. He should focus on answering the allegations, which are solidly based on analysis of facts from documents obtained through public records requests and evidence gathered by investigative reporters.” …

 

 

 

Turns out failed BurlingtonCollege paid $500,000 to the for-profit woodworking school of Bernie’s daughter. Investment Watchdog has the story.

… Last year, Politico described BurlingtonCollege as catering to “nontraditional students, such as veterans and adults. It grew from its original 14 students to about 200 in recent years, finding appeal with its small student-to-faculty ratio and degrees in unusual fields including woodworking.” Yet, when Jane Sanders first arrived at BurlingtonCollege in 2004 no degree program in woodworking existed. It isn’t until 2009 that public tax records show BurlingtonCollege paying VermontWoodworkingSchool $56,474 for materials, charges and lease of bench space based on student enrollment reflecting what appears to be the beginning of the College’s woodworking program. The college was forced to report this expenditure as it related to a relationship between an interested party (Jane Sander’s daughter, Carina Driscoll) and BurlingtonCollege. Over the next four years, funds to VT Woodworking School increased considerably from this original amount to $133,134 in 2010; $138,571 in 2011; and, $182,741 in 2012 (the last year program expenses are reported in the tax filings).

 

 

 

Another leftist with feet of clay, Elizabeth Warren, is up for election next year. Milo Yiannopoulos Blog tells us about the real Indian who will challenge the fake one.

… “I think only a real Indian can defeat a fake Indian. I sent her a DNA test kit for her birthday, and I was very sad that she returned it. I tweeted it out, and it went viral all over the internet,” Ayyadurai said, referencing Warren’s dubious claim that she has Native American ancestry.

“The issue of a real Indian and a fake Indian — there is a truth there because there is a woman who actually checked off the box that she is Native American. This foretells a person who is basically a self-serving elitist, is willing to cut in line as she needs, is willing to promote policies, for example, illegal immigration, so others can cut in line. I came in as a legal immigrant. My dad came first. We had to wait about a year. So it’s essentially disrespect for the law and disrespect for the country.

 

Not many cartoons for Jane Sanders yet, BUT there’s lots for Liz Warren.

July 9, 2017 – NATIONAL REVIEW

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Targeted by the unabomber in 1993, Yale professor David Gelernter can truly be said to be engaged in the culture wars. In Friday’s WSJ he takes conservative intellectuals to task for their disdain for Trump and their unwillingness to take on his execrable predecessor.

… I’d love for him (Trump) to be a more eloquent, elegant speaker. But if I had to choose between deeds and delivery, it wouldn’t be hard. Many conservative intellectuals insist that Mr. Trump’s wrong policies are what they dislike. So what if he has restarted the large pipeline projects, scrapped many statist regulations, appointed a fine cabinet and a first-rate Supreme Court justice, asked NATO countries to pay what they owe, re-established solid relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia, signaled an inclination to use troops in Afghanistan to win and not merely cover our retreat, led us out of the Paris climate accord, plans to increase military spending (granted, not enough), is trying to get rid of ObamaCare to the extent possible, proposed to lower taxes significantly and revamp immigration policy and enforcement? What has he done lately?

Conservative thinkers should recall that they helped create President Trump. They never blasted President Obama as he deserved. Mr. Obama’s policies punished the economy and made the country and its international standing worse year by year; his patronizing arrogance drove people crazy. He was the perfect embodiment of a one-term president. The tea-party outbreak of 2009-10 made it clear where he was headed. History will record that the press saved him. Naturally the mainstream press loved him, but too many conservative commentators never felt equal to taking him on. They had every reason to point out repeatedly that Mr. Obama was the worst president since Jimmy Carter, surrounded by a left-wing cabinet and advisers, hostile to Israel, crazed regarding Iran, and even less competent to deal with the issues than Mr. Carter was—which is saying plenty. 

But they didn’t say plenty. They didn’t say much at all. The rank and file noticed and got mad. …

 

Conservative intellectuals think that if Trump were asked about the conservative canon, he would ask why anyone is interested in obsolete artillery; missing entirely the point of the collection of thought containing the intellectual basis for the idea of free markets. The magazine National Review has been the center of effort of the conservative “Never Trump” movement. And there has been little change in their negativity since the election. Reagan quoted de Tocqueville and Frederick Hayek so thinkers on the right warmed to him. But there is little chance that will happen with Trump. Consequently writers from National Review have been scarce in our pages for the last year. This post aims to begin to correct that. John Fund, an old friend and Pickings reader has written a good piece on London’s towering inferno.

I was in London last week and woke up to horrifying pictures of the inferno that engulfed the GrenfellTower public housing project in London. They were among the most unsettling images I’ve seen since I watched the WorldTradeCenter collapse from my office building just across the street on 9/11. …

… GrenfellTower was owned by the local council, which in turn had turned over management to the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Company, a not-for-profit that is managed by a board of directors consisting of eight elected tenants, four council members, and three independent members.

“Social housing” in Britain — what we call public housing in the U.S. — has turned into areas of deprivation and neglect. Although many tenants have bought their units under plans initiated by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, many current tenants are poor, recent immigrants without the wherewithal to buy their units.

It was the council that made the key decisions about the controversial retrofit of the building. …

  

 

Notable in his absence from the “never Trumpers” at National Review was Victor Davis Hanson. His essay on the never ending ironies of the Trump presidency is worth a read.

The Left was mostly untroubled for eight years about the often unconstitutional abuses of Barack Obama — given that they saw their shared noble aims as justifying almost any means necessary to achieve them.

There was the not uncommon Rice-Gruber-Rhodes-Holder sort of deception (on Benghazi, on the conduct of Bowe Bergdahl, on the Affordable Care Act, the Iran deal, on Fast and Furious, etc.) — a required tactic because so much of the Obama agenda was antithetical to the wishes and preferences of the American electorate and thus had to be disguised and camouflaged to become enacted. …

… So along came the next Republican president, empowered by Obama’s exemptions to do almost anything he wished, albeit without the thin exculpatory veneer of Ivy League pretension, multicultural indemnity, and studied smoothness.

In biblical “there is a season” fashion, for every sermon about not building your business, making too much money, or profiting at the wrong time, there was a Trump retort to profit as never before.

For every too-frequent gala golf outing of a metrosexual Obama decked out in spiffy attire, there is a plumper Trump swinging away, oblivious to the angry pack of reporters that Obama once so carefully courted.

For every rapper with an ankle bracelet that went off in the White House, there is now a White House photo-op with Ted Nugent. …

… Even the most die-hard Never Trump conservative has had to make some adjustments.

Despite assurances that Trump would not get the nomination, he did.

Despite assurances that he could never be elected, he was.

Despite prognostications that Trump was a liberal wolf hiding in conservative fleece, Trump’s appointments, his executive orders, his legislation pending before the Congress, his abrupt withdrawal from the Paris global-warming accords, his fierce support for vouchers, his pro-life advocacy, and his immigration normality were so far orthodoxly conservative. …

 

 

David Harsanyi asks, “What If Donald Trump Doesn’t Sink the Republican Party?”

What if Republican voters who don’t particularly like President Donald Trump are also able to compartmentalize their votes? What if they dislike Democrats more than they do the president? What if, rather than being punished for Trump’s unpopularity, local candidates are rewarded for their moderation? This would be a disaster for Democrats. And Tuesday’s runoff election in Georgia’s Sixth District shows that it might be possible.

Now, had Jon Ossoff come out ahead of Karen Handel, the coverage would have painted this as a game-changing moment: a referendum on conservatism itself, a harbinger of a coming liberal wave, and a rejection of Trump’s disastrous presidency. It would have illustrated that Democrats had figured out how to flip those suburban and affluent Republicans who aren’t crazy about the president.

Perhaps some of that will still play out during the midterms, because one race (or even four) doesn’t tell us everything we need to know. Every district is unique. Still, there are definitely ominous signs for Democrats. …

  

 

For sheer fun, you can’t beat Kevin Williamson on the Clintons – “Big Creep, Mrs. Creep, and Little Creep.”

… Chelsea Clinton, most recently lionized on the cover of Variety, is a 37-year-old multi-millionaire who has never uttered an interesting word about any subject at any time during the course of her life. Judging from the evidence of her public statements, she has never had an original thought — it isn’t clear that she has had a thought at all. In tribute to her parents, she was given a series of lucrative sinecures, producing a smattering of sophomoric videos for NBC at a salary of $600,000 a year. She later went more formally into the family business, leaving her fake job at NBC for a fake job in her parents’ fake charity. She gave interviews about how she just couldn’t get interested in money and bought a $10 million Manhattan apartment that stretches for the better part of a city block.

And, since her mother’s most recent foray into ignominious defeat, she has been inescapable: magazine covers, fawning interviews, talk of running her in New York’s 17th congressional district. The Democrats are doing their best to make Chelsea happen.

And, who knows, it might work. It would be tempting to write her off as a know-nothing rich kid who has made a living off her family connections while operating one of the world’s most truly asinine Twitter accounts, but . . . well, you know.

But, for Pete’s sake, stop it. Have a little self-respect, Democrats. Build Bill Clinton a statue or . . . whatever. Send him your daughters like a bunch of bone-in-the-nose primitives paying tribute to the tribal chieftain. But stop trying to inflict this empty-headed, grasping, sanctimonious, risible, simpering, saccharine little twerp on American public life.

It’s stupid enough out there.

  

 

Rich Lowry writes on the Dem blindspot on culture.

How much do Democrats really want to defeat Donald Trump?

It’s worth asking in the wake of the latest Democratic failure to notch an electoral victory for the resistance, this time in the Georgia special election.

There’s no doubt that Democrats want to watch TV programs that excoriate the president. They want to give money to candidates opposing him. They want to fantasize about frog-marching him straight from his impeachment proceedings to the nearest federal penitentiary. But do they want to do the one thing that would make it easier to win tough races in marginal areas, namely moderate on the cultural issues? Not so much.

In retrospect, Jon Ossoff’s loss in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District was overdetermined. Youthful to a fault, he didn’t live in the district and had no record of public service. Yet it didn’t help that he was an orthodox liberal who conceded nothing on cultural issues, even though he was running in a Republican district in the South.

In this, Ossoff merely reflected his party’s attitude. Stopping Trump is imperative, so long as it doesn’t require the party rethinking its uncompromising stance on abortion, guns or immigration.

 

 

June 27, 2017 – CORRUPT MEDIA

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The corruption of the media is today’s subject. We start with the latest issue of Hillsdale College’s Imprimis which is taken from a speech given by Michael Goodwin at a Hillsdale Leadership Function in Atlanta. Mr. Godwin calls the corruption the demise of journalistic standards. He’s more polite than Pickerhead.

… It’s not exactly breaking news that most journalists lean left. I used to do that myself. I grew up at The New York Times, so I’m familiar with the species. For most of the media, bias grew out of the social revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. Fueled by the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, the media jumped on the anti-authority bandwagon writ large. The deal was sealed with Watergate, when journalism was viewed as more trusted than government—and far more exciting and glamorous. Think Robert Redford in All the President’s Men. Ever since, young people became journalists because they wanted to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, find a Deep Throat, and bring down a president. Of course, most of them only wanted to bring down a Republican president. That’s because liberalism is baked into the journalism cake.

During the years I spent teaching at the Columbia University School of Journalism, I often found myself telling my students that the job of the reporter was “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I’m not even sure where I first heard that line, but it still captures the way most journalists think about what they do. Translate the first part of that compassionate-sounding idea into the daily decisions about what makes news, and it is easy to fall into the habit of thinking that every person afflicted by something is entitled to help. Or, as liberals like to say, “Government is what we do together.” From there, it’s a short drive to the conclusion that every problem has a government solution.

The rest of that journalistic ethos—“afflict the comfortable”—leads to the knee-jerk support of endless taxation. Somebody has to pay for that government intervention the media loves to demand. In the same vein, and for the same reason, the average reporter will support every conceivable regulation as a way to equalize conditions for the poor. He will also give sympathetic coverage to groups like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.

I knew all of this about the media mindset going into the 2016 presidential campaign. But I was still shocked at what happened. This was not naïve liberalism run amok. This was a whole new approach to politics. No one in modern times had seen anything like it. …

… As we know now, most of the media totally missed Trump’s appeal to millions upon millions of Americans. The prejudice against him blinded those news organizations to what was happening in the country. Even more incredibly, I believe the bias and hostility directed at Trump backfired. The feeling that the election was, in part, a referendum on the media, gave some voters an extra incentive to vote for Trump. A vote for him was a vote against the media and against Washington. Not incidentally, Trump used that sentiment to his advantage, often revving up his crowds with attacks on reporters. He still does.

If I haven’t made it clear, let me do so now. The behavior of much of the media, but especially The New York Times, was a disgrace. I don’t believe it ever will recover the public trust it squandered.

The Times’ previous reputation for having the highest standards was legitimate. Those standards were developed over decades to force reporters and editors to be fair and to gain public trust. The commitment to fairness made The New York Times the flagship of American journalism. But standards are like laws in the sense that they are designed to guide your behavior in good times and in bad. Consistent adherence to them was the source of the Times’ credibility. And eliminating them has made the paper less than ordinary. Its only standards now are double standards. …

… Incredible advances in technology are also on the side of free speech. The explosion of choices makes it almost impossible to silence all dissent and gain a monopoly, though certainly Facebook and Google are trying.

As for the necessity of preserving capitalism, look around the world. Nations without economic liberty usually have little or no dissent. That’s not a coincidence. In this, I’m reminded of an enduring image from the Occupy Wall Street movement. That movement was a pestilence, egged on by President Obama and others who view other people’s wealth as a crime against the common good. This attitude was on vivid display as the protesters held up their iPhones to demand the end of capitalism. As I wrote at the time, did they believe Steve Jobs made each and every Apple product one at a time in his garage? Did they not have a clue about how capital markets make life better for more people than any other system known to man? They had no clue. And neither do many government officials, who think they can kill the golden goose and still get golden eggs. …

 

 

 

As luck would have it, a great example of media bias was on the blog The Other McCain. And since last week’s Georgia election is the gift that keeps on giving, this post grows out of that night’s CNN’s coverage.

Tuesday night, I monitored election results from Georgia’s 6th District special election on my phone (via AoSHQ Decision Desk) while finishing up a day mowing lawns for my son’s contracting business. We were leaning on the truck and enjoying cold beverages while Jim chatted with his business partner when the Decision Desk called it for Republican Karen Handel — a sweet moment. Democrats had poured an estimated $30 million into “Pajamaboy Carpetbagger” Jon Osoff’s doomed campaign and came away with another “L,” their fourth consecutive special-election defeat since Trump’s election.

Democrats’ hope of returning to power by riding a wave of anti-Trump “backlash” has been exposed as a delusion based on denial. Along with their media allies, Democrats simply refuse to accept the reality that American voters have rejected them. Democrats are the ex-boyfriend who refuses to move on, and voters are the girl getting stalked on Facebook by an obsessed loser who can’t take a hint. It’s creepy.

The now iconic image of the CNN crew at 9:43 pm ET Tuesday is a perfect distillation of a problem we can call the Establishment Media Bubble.

Those pictured were CNN’s political director David Chalian, CNN’s chief political analyst Gloria Berger, CNN’s executive director of Political Programming/Sr. Political Analyst Mark Preston, and Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash.

The pretense of journalistic objectivity, which is the Establishment Media’s stock in trade, has become so transparently implausible that no intelligent viewer could be deceived by it. Beyond that, and perhaps more importantly, the media’s pretense of political expertise was even more brutally exposed as a fraud — a hoax as bogus as “Haven Monahan.” …

 

… CNN, like every other Establishment Media organization, actively discriminates against Republicans in its hiring decisions. Mark Preston’s network is a sort of political cult that only employs True Believers. The organization’s journalistic standards are subordinated to its political mission, which is to persuade viewers to vote Democrat. Period. …

 

… Mark Preston is not an omniscient political genius. He is not really that much smarter than the average Democrat, or else he wouldn’t have been sitting there Tuesday night on the CNN set looking like a guy who just got home from Vegas and has to tell his wife how much money he lost. …