Interesting gaffe for Bill to make, right up there with his wife’s cheerful assurance that she’s going to throw coal miners out of work:
Victor Davis Hanson says that conservatives who look askance at a Trump candidacy needn’t get their knickers in a twist, because he’s no worse than anyone else in our political class, going all the way back to the 1960s. Hanson had the examples (lots of them) to prove it.
When it comes to sexism and womanizing, Trump is just a more honest version of John Kennedy or Bill Clinton.
Subtle encouragement to violence? Trump doesn’t differ from, unless he’s much milder than, Barack Obama gleefully telling his fans to bring guns to knife fights or to punish their enemies.
Fawning over his own genitals? Hey, Lyndon Johnson got there first (and added actual exhibitionism into the mix).
Flip-flopping on Planned Parenthood’s virtues versus its vices? Well, Trump is still better than Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s open, and un-punished support for race- and class-based eugenics (“Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”)
And really, no one can top Obama when it comes to being openly boastful about his supposed virtues. Obama the Messiah was going to stop the rise of the seas and cool the planet. Meanwhile, Obama the politician knew that he was the best. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
What’s striking about Hanson’s quite long article comparing Trump’s apparent excesses is that, subject to a single exception, all of the people who have been more boastful, more violent, more amoral, more sexualized, and more exhibitionistic than Trump . . . are Democrats. The single exception that Hanson pulls up is Reagan:
Trump supposedly is inciting violence by creating a climate of violence at his rallies. But did he say, or was it Ronald Reagan who said, at a time of widespread unrest, “If it’s to be a bloodbath, let it be now. Appeasement is not the answer”? Reagan called not for a punch or two but for something rather more existential.
(One can view Reagan’s remark as a philosophical expression, but it’s also an acknowledgment of the violence that always lurks behind politics — a violence that America had managed to keep out of the actual presidential election process pretty much since Jackson’s time.)
The prevalence of Democrats on the laundry list of bad acts got me to thinking. Ever since Carter, Republicans have prided themselves on being the classier party. Carter was an uncouth peanut farmer (never mind his Annapolis degree and naval background). Bill Clinton was a good ole boy who, when asked whether he wore boxers or briefs, instead of politely freezing out the question, cheerfully answered it. (For those who don’t remember, the answer was briefs.) Given how déclassé the man from Hope was, it really didn’t come as a surprise that his administration came to be characterized by sexual excesses, graft, and all sorts of other trashy behaviors.
Obama, of course, is in a class (or lack of class) by himself. We’ve come to a point in popular culture where it’s considered to be awesome, not embarrassing, that the first couple do fist bumps; that Obama looks “for whose ass to kick;” that Obama characterizes the leader of the Middle East’s only democracy as a “chickenshit;” that our president blames European leaders for his own leadership vacuum; that the First Lady uses venerable rooms in the White House for workouts; that the first couple routinely invites to the White House pop culture performers who advocate violence against police officers and denigrate women; that the president “slow jams” on talk shows; and that the first couple assumes it’s the job of overburdened taxpayers to fund their lavish vacations and nights out on the town.
For a long time, Republicans could claim that their leaders were more polished and sophisticated — that is, they had about them a decorum that was consistent with leading the world’s most powerful nation. Reagan and the Bushes weren’t routinely dropping trou, speaking about lusting after women, ostentatiously partying on the public’s money, loudly insulting other nation’s leaders, or otherwise behaving like people who have never had contact with dignity or decency.
When Ron Kessler published The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents, Republicans nodded sagely upon learning that, with the exception of the paranoid Richard Nixon (although Pat Nixon was lovely), Democrat presidents and their families were boors to the Secret Service agents who protected them, while Republican families were polite and thoughtful. It wasn’t about money; it was about class — Republicans had it and Democrats didn’t.
But as Andrew Breitbart said, politics is downstream from culture. Beginning in the 1960s, with the Left’s cultural ascendancy, American culture has becoming staggeringly debased, and that downward rush to the gutter has accelerated with every passing year. The retreat from decorum is a Leftist movement. Conservatives were happy with Leave It To Beaver or Father Knows Best. Leftists brought us All In The Family and Maude. It wasn’t conservative churchgoers who promoted Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl And I Liked It.” Conservatives weren’t attending Madonna’s increasingly debauched shows or applauding Miley Cyrus’s fluid sexuality and compulsive exhibitionism. It was the Left that kept pushing the envelope, moving sex and drugs to the center of our cultural life. Had the right controlled culture, we wouldn’t have pot as the most used drug in America, condom vending machines in middle schools, and free gender reassignment surgery for enlisted men and women.
Given the cultural push from the Left, it’s scarcely surprising that the two most recent presidents from the Left — Clinton and Obama — openly reflect that culture. Clinton was all white trash and sexual excess. Obama has avoided the sexual excess, but keeps trying to prove his black ghetto credibility. Clinton and Obama have played, not only to their political base, but to their cultural base.
Of course, once a culture shifts, it shifts. Kevin Williamson stirred up a storm when he said that white Americans — from working class, to lower class, to middle class — are not deserving of too much sympathy. Instead, he says, they are people who have embraced bad lifestyle habits and have refused to relocate to escape permanently broken economic ghettos. The article is behind a paywall, but I’d like to quote from it briefly:
The white middle class may like the idea of Trump as a giant pulsing humanoid middle finger held up in the face of the Cathedral, they may sing hymns to Trump the destroyer and whisper darkly about “globalists” and — odious, stupid term — “the Establishment,” but nobody did this to them. They failed themselves.
If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.
Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.
The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.
Williamson is mad and his language intemperate, but he’s got a point. The culture that used to characterize the giant middle of America — drug-free, married before children, hard-working, willing to move for jobs, tough, self-sufficient, self-reliant, freedom oriented — is gone. Sure, all over America there are pockets of this old ethos remaining, but it’s dying out.
In this regard, keep in mind how often I’ve told you about my “in” into a seriously poor community, thanks to a close friend whose life sees her living amongst the very white people Williamson describes. Subject to one exception — an alcoholic Native American who grew up in the dysfunctional world of a reservation — the people in this community have remarkably similar backgrounds and behaviors.
Their upbringings are white working class. They are all the products of married parents. Some of their childhood homes were more dysfunctional than others, but all still had the patina of the old American ethos.
In addition to the sameness of their upbringings, there’s also a sameness to the choices they’ve now made: They’ve never married or they have revolving door marriages, the women’s children are not being raised by the children’s father(s), alcohol, pot, and harder drugs are a constant without which they wouldn’t consider life worth living, welfare (cash payments, food stamps, church charity, etc) is a perfectly reasonable alternative to the rigors of paid work, and because paid work is low on the scale of desirable things to do, when this community suffered economically during 2008, not a single person moved away to find employment.
In other words, the people in this community, throughout their lives, have made regular, conscious choices to abandon their parents’ and grandparents’ ethos. They have grown up in and embraced a debased culture. For people whose sex lives include drug-fueled orgies, Trump’s allusions to his penis size, Clinton’s jet-setting to Jeffrey Epstein’s sex island, and revelations about LBJ’s flashing are perfectly normal. These refugees from the great American middle don’t bother to distinguish between the private lives of citizens and the public lives of politicians.
The same holds true when it comes to political lies (“everybody lies”), the failure to indict Hillary for appalling crimes (“prosecutors are corrupt and as long as I keep a low profile, I can get away with most crimes and frauds”), and threats of violence (all the men, and some of the women, have had run-ins with the law for fighting). For much of the new American middle, lies, crimes, and violence have become ordinary. We’re not living the Beaver Cleaver life anymore. Our world — the lower middle and working class world — is Mad Max all the way.
And so we end up with Donald Trump. Victory Davis Hanson is absolutely right that he’s no worse than what the Left has given us when it comes to political class. It’s just that old-timers — and I include myself in that group — have these daft, old-fashioned notions that the men and women who represent America to the world should reflect the best of what we are (or were) not the worst. But Leftist culture eventually washes over everything, including those church-going Evangelicals who hold themselves to high moral standards but who have up expecting the same from their political leaders.
Politics is downstream from culture . . . and our culture and our politics have managed to flow downstream into the sewer, together at last.
I don’t know how this happened, but in just three days of collecting articles on my cyber-spindle, I’ve managed to gather together almost thirty solid links I want to share with you. No time for chat, therefore; instead, I’ll plunge straight into my fascinating “world gone mad” edition:
If you only have time to read two things today
This is a meaty round-up. If you don’t have time to pursue all these links, I recommend two articles, both of which say things we already now, but each of which expresses those ideas with such clarity that you must read them:
1. Noemi Emery’s Obama’s Pass From The Press.
2. Kevin Williamson’s Mrs. Clinton is Professor Click.
The danger to America from Obama’s unconstitutional efforts to grab guns
Mike McDaniel didn’t need to hear Obama’s tearful press conference to know what was coming down the pike. Before Obama even opened his mouth, Mike spelled out the benefits of having a civilized and armed society, as well as the constitutional limitations Obama planned to (and did) blow past on his way to gun confiscation.
I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that Obama lied about guns in America
Oh, and just about everything Obama said during the press conference was a lie.
Indeed, the very first lie was about those 30,000 deaths annually, with the implication that these are 30,000 annual gun homicides. There aren’t:
At a Jan. 4 press conference, President Barack Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, exclaimed that “30,000 gun deaths in America” was enough evidence for the administration to push past Congress to establish laws to combat gun violence.
“Thirty thousand gun deaths in America every year. Twenty thousand children under the age of 18 have been killed by a firearm over the last decade. Hundreds of law enforcement officers that have been shot and killed over the last decade. And in the face of all these statistics, what’s Congress done?” Earnest asked.
However, Earnest’s efforts backfired when Emily Miller, a reporter for WTTG and author of the book “Emily Gets Her Gun,” noted that 20,000 of those deaths were due to suicide.
Obama also ignore yet another truth: guns don’t just take lives, they save lives. It’s really beyond me why the NRA and other special interest groups don’t track down every single person who lives today because a gun protected him (or her) and have that person do a commercial: “Hi, my name is ___________. I’m here today because a legal gun saved my life. [Tell story.]” Finish with glowing images of survivor surrounded by happy loved ones. These commercials should flood every type of media: Television, print, and internet.
Was Paul Ryan more Machiavellian than we realized?
Conservatives in America were deeply disappointed when Paul Ryan pushed through a budget that fulfilled every Democrat’s dream. What the heck was he thinking?
What he might have been thinking about was repealing Obamacare. According to Rick Moran, the recent vote to repeal Obamacare was only possible because of the Ryan budget:
The key to this vote was getting a budget bill passed. Once that happened, reconciliation came into play – the first time since Obamacare was passed and Republicans were in the majority. Of course, there aren’t the votes to override the president’s veto, but the path forward for the people to take back control of their health insurance options has been cleared.
The question remains whether, over the long run, the Ryan budget will do more good than harm.
Culture can be a source for good
In America, of late, popular culture hasn’t done much for the public weal. It’s therefore nice to be reminded that something as simple as a song can be a source of profound good — as was the case with a Yiddish song that powered Jewish partisans during WWII, and that has frequently been recorded since then.
Never let it be said that Bill and Hillary aren’t liars on an Olympic scale:
Thanks to Scott
America has had corrupt presidents in the past. The ones that spring readily to a mind educated in the San Francisco Public School District are Andrew Johnson, Warren
B. G. Harding, and Richard Nixon. Please feel free to chime in with equally corrupt Democrats.
But I ask you this: Before the Clintons, have we ever before had a former president (that would be Bill) and a wannabe future president (that would, God forbid, Hillary) who have sold our country out to foreign interests? (While Bill didn’t do that in office, it appears that he and Hillary worked together to fund their Clinton Foundation in exchange for giving favors to foreign entities that had interests antithetical to American interests.)
And have we ever before — ever! — had a president who turned his back entirely on stalwart American allies and not only made nice with unrepentant enemies, but actually worked hard to expand those enemies’ arsenals? At least when Chamberlain did what he did, he believed that he was, both militarily and economically, in a weaker position than Hitler. Obama, however, is the stronger party, both militarily and economically, in the negotiations and has still given everything in exchange for nothing.
I’d like to hear your opinions on the questions I ask. What I’m suggesting is that past, present, and wannabe future American presidents have engaged in actual treason as defined in 18 U.S. Code section 2381:
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States. (Emphasis added.)
I’m also thinking that the conduct I’ve described is a first, and I’d be interested if you can think of historic precedents.
The email from my friend said, “With Hillary having released her campaign logo today, Bill was quick to release his”:
For more on Hillary’s absolutely awful logo, check out this Weasel Zippers’ post.
Hillary has let her potential Democrat rivals know that she intends to raise $2.5 billion dollars while campaigning for president. If her campaign logo is an example of how she spends her money, I don’t think her rivals need to worry about her war chest. No matter how much she raises, she’ll presumably spend it very, very badly.
CORRECTION: In a mad moment, I said Hillary was going to raise $3.2 billion. In fact, she’s only planning to raise a measly $2.5 billion. I corrected my post accordingly.
It’s always the same: Over the weekend, because of family demands, I get almost no time at my computer, and my email starts to back up. By Tuesday, between my two email accounts, I have several hundred unread emails. I then do the logical thing: I cravenly avoid my computer. Finally, late on Tuesday or perhaps by Wednesday, my conscience finally catches up with me and I embark on a frenzy of responding to emails, reading articles, and posting.
I’m heading for my frenzy now, although I’m somewhat hamstrung by the various drives I have to make on behalf of young people who cannot drive themselves. By the time you read this post, I’ll have been working on it intermittently for several hours, so I sure hope it’s good.
An obligatory comment about Monica Lewinsky
She still loves Bill; Drudge destroyed her life; and it’s everyone’s fault but her own that her life imploded when her affair with the president went public. Even the world’s smallest violin is too big and noisy to express how little I feel for Monica Lewinsky.
Lewinsky wasn’t 15 when she embarked on an affair with Clinton, in which case the fault would be entirely his. She was 24, by which time she was old enough to have a moral compass that said “You don’t have an affair with a married man,” and also old enough to have figured out that, considering that her partner in adultery was the president of the United States, when/if the fecal matter finally hit the fan, it would be a Cat 5 fecal storm.
It was not Matt Drudge’s fault; it was not the “bullying” media’s fault; it was not Lucianne Goldberg’s fault; it was not even Hillary’s fault, much as I would love to blame her just because I don’t like her: it was Monica’s fault and Bill’s fault, and neither is excused by the bad behavior of the other. Both behaved immorally, both tempted fate, and both got caught.
The only thing that’s really unfair is that Bill didn’t end up as ignominiously as Monica did. Apparently the party that oh-so-valiantly fights for women everywhere (as long as they’re not in politically correct Muslim countries or homes) was happy to kick Monica to the curb, while feting and enriching and even worshiping the man who let her take the fall.
How the New York Times is spinning WMDs
Up until Bush actually invaded Iraq, everyone and his uncle thought that Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Indeed, as the New York Times recently made clear, everyone and his uncle (at least if they worked in the American government) knew that Hussein had WMDs . . . because the US had given them to Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. With this knowledge finally out there, Bush ought to be vindicated and the Democrats ought to be ashamed, except that in the looking glass world of American politics, that’s not what’s happening.
Presumably because of embarrassment about having given these WMDs to Hussein, during the Iraq War the Pentagon kept their discovery a secret, even though revealing them would have vindicated the decision to go to war. Meanwhile, back in the present, following Obama’s pullout from Iraq, leaving it ripe for ISIS, the New York Times is saying that these particular WMDs don’t count, precisely because they were old and American, rather than shiny new and Iraqi. I’m unclear on why they’re less WMD for this reason, but there you have it. (If you see the NYT’s author, C.J. Chivers, on The Colbert Report, he makes this point explicit.)
So, in a swirl of finger-pointing, embarrassment, and misdirection, we once again lose sight of the main point: Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Sure, we gave them to him when he was sort of our ally, but the fear in 2003 was that, when he turned out to be our enemy, he might use our weapons against us — kind of like it’s reasonable to fear now that ISIS will use against us the American weapons that the US military accidentally delivered into its hands (if ISIS reports are accepted as true).
On immigration and amnesty, the only word I can think of is “impeachment”
I don’t need to say anything. Drudge says it all:
Oh, and I guess impeachment is the word I’m thinking of when it comes to Obama’s attempt to evade Congressional scrutiny of his deal with Iran. I certainly can’t think of any decent, upright, moral, pro-America, pro-ally reason for him to do that.
A few words about ISIS’s latest video
The latest ISIS-released video gets me back to a point I’ve made before about ISIS. This particular video shows a father leading the charge when it comes to stoning his daughter to death for dishonoring the family through alleged adultery. Other than those specifics, though, it’s pure ISIS: Men torturing and murdering women, children, teenagers, and other men.
What makes ISIS different from all other torturers in the modern era is that other bad actors tried to hide their barbarism from the world at large (although they rubbed their own people’s nose in it to make sure the people stayed at heel).
The Soviet Union hid its terrors in the Kremlin basement and in Siberian gulags. When Westerners came to town, the Soviets showed their shiny happy face. The same holds true today when visitors go to Cuba or North Korea: they get taken on the rounds of all the polished, “successful” looking communities, while the government hides the fear, poverty, and despair that underpins its regime. (Think too of the Potemkin walls China put up around ghettos in Beijing for the Olympics.) The Nazis, even though they used fear to control people within their territory, were secretive about their most foul plans. The most grotesque emanations of their foul ideology took place Gestapo headquarters in occupied territory or in concentration camps.
But not ISIS. The videos we see of beheadings and stonings and crucifixions aren’t copies smuggled out of occupied territory by resistance groups trying to make the world aware that ISIS is a truly terrible entity. Instead, ISIS proudly circulates these videos to the four corners of the earth.
The word “proud” is important. ISIS doesn’t distribute these snuff films merely to strike fear in the hearts of weak Westerners. It does so because, just as we promote the products of our factories, singers, dancers, intellectuals, painters, and architects because our own sensibility says that these products reflect well on us, ISIS believes that it is showing its best face when it crucifies teenagers, beheads babies, or makes a party out of a father stoning his own daughter to death.
To ISIS, snuff films are the good stuff that they have to offer: “You can go to New York, and all that you’ll see are some big buildings, shows, art work, and a tall green woman on an island. But if you come to Iraq, you’ll get to kill people in the most brutal way possible. ISIS: It’s the Islamic vacation paradise!”
In 2001, Holiday Inn accurately predicted the US response to Ebola:
Mark Steyn was prescient too….
While we’re talking about successful tea-leaf reading, Ed Driscoll says that Mark Steyn accurately, yet satirically, predicted Monica Lewinsky’s retrospective about her moment of infamy.
The Lewinsky essay appears in Steyn’s new book, The [Un]Documented Mark Steyn, a collection of his essays. At $29.95, the autographed hardback isn’t cheap but, if you buy it, you’ll not only get a great book with Steyn’s signature, but you’ll also help fund his continued litigation against unrivaled fraudster, Michael Mann (of the false hockey stick climate change canard).
I have to admit that I’ll be waiting for the Kindle version. Because of the arthritis in my wrists, I no longer want big, heavy books. They’re just too hard to hold. And because of my vision, which is about 20/2000 along with age-related far-sightedness, I like the way Kindle allows me to make my text nice and big. I console myself that, when I buy the Kindle version (assuming there is one) some part of that purchase price will still make it into Steyn’s pocket.
The LGBTQ mafia goes after Robert Oscar Lopez
If the name Robert Oscar Lopez is familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve read his articles over at American Thinker. Lopez, a bisexual English professor who was raised by two moms, opted for traditional marriage. Indeed, he and his wife just had their second child. Unfortunately for Lopez, he’s a man of conscience and, with the societal elevation of same-sex couples who adopt, special order, or use egg or sperm donated babies, he’s bravely asserted that same-sex parenting shouldn’t be encouraged. According to Lopez, same-sex homes are not like other homes and it’s unfair to bring a child into that environment. As a result, he’s become one of the most reviled men in America, insofar as the LGBTQ lobby is targeting him in the most vicious and inciteful terms imaginable.
As between bad foster care and a loving same-sex couple, I think it’s a no-brainer. But there’s a lot weirdness about same-sex couples who sort of create their own babies. I know a lesbian couple that had a gay friend inseminate the more feminine half of the couple. The resulting baby was a boy. The moms are good women and very attentive parents, except that the woman who bore him hates men so much that she cannot stand to have her own son touch her. Meanwhile the other partner also hates men with ferocity, so she’s remarkably cool about the kid. What kind of a home life is that?
When I read the news, I know that biological mixed sex parents can be pretty horrible too. Nevertheless, history and data tell us that the worst situation happens to the step child or, in our non-marrying age, the child living with a boyfriend who hasn’t even married his mother. Adults in a household with a non-biological child seem to yield to some atavistic imperative to stomp out this vulnerable creature that doesn’t have their genetic lineage. I can’t imagine that doesn’t hold true for same-sex couples too.
And a little child shall lead them
If I were a political candidate, I wouldn’t necessarily listen to a 20-year-old college student giving me advice about employment policies, nuclear negotiations, or executive management. I would definitely listen to that same college student, though, for advice about how to communicate with the youth of his generation. And finally, Republican politicians seem to be figuring out that, when it comes to political messaging, it is indeed a little child who shall lead them.
An Ebola timeline
One of the first things I do when I write a legal brief is create a timeline. Seeing how events relate to each other in time can be quite edifying, and it can expose unexpected strengths and weaknesses in ones case. Sharyl Attkisson has performed this useful task for Ebola, putting together a nice neat timeline showing America’s relationship to the virus since July of this year.
I can’t figure out if John Wick is just a garden variety thriller, a trashy blood-fest, or something else. And doesn’t it really matter when it has Keanu? I actually probably won’t see it because I never see movies (Mr. Bookworm frowns on the expense and I’m loath to send money to Hollywood anyway), but a Keanu movie is always tempting….
Some are my finds, most are from Caped Crusader, and some are from Sadie:
In one of his weirdly counter-productive defenses of Hillary, Bill said that there was nothing wrong with her — except that it took her six months to recover from her head injury after her fall. That’s a serious recovery time. Even when my mom fell and gave herself a brain bleed, once she had surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain, she recovered in much less time than six months.
People are carping at Rove for putting this issue out there, and I concede that he did it inartfully, but the public should be apprised of the status of Hillary’s brain in the event she runs. Much as the media may pretend that it’s still 1960, when they successfully covered up Kennedy’s serious illness and drug use, the internet gives the people a voice on important subjects such as a potential president’s physical and mental health.
All of my local Dem friends trust Jerry Brown, so I’m sure that they’re all good with him saying that, insofar as the new Bay Bridge span apparently has a serious design flaw, no one should worry. Maybe we shouldn’t, or maybe he’s just rearranging the deck chairs….
I’m not so sanguine about bridges in our earthquake rich territory. When I’m on them, I invariably drive too fast so that I can get off them as quickly as possible. I also have two of these in my car, in the unlikely event that I survive the moment (God forbid!) when my car plunges into the Bay.
Despite the fact that Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann sued Mark Steyn for daring to question his intelligence and veracity, Steyn has not been cowed. He’s not only counterclaimed, he also continues to challenge Mann’s “climate change” data, using the ever-increasing number of stories about failed predictions, hidden data, and McCarthyism. He’s at it again, in a wonderful post that touches upon the latest McCarthy-ite moment that proves that “climate science” isn’t a science at all but is, instead, a faith.
Incidentally, while you’re visiting Steyn’s site, if you have some change rattling around in your pocket, please consider donating to his legal defense fund. He’s fighting the good fight, but even the staunchest warrior needs cash.
I like Alex Trebek (that’s what thirty years of watching Jeopardy will do to you), so I was very pleased to see that he’s come out in favor of the Redskins keeping their name. His common sense, though, isn’t why I’m linking to this particular article. Instead, please note that, just as Voldemort’s name must go unspoken, so too has the Redskins’ name been stricken from the lexicon. That’s how you end up with incomprehensible sentences such as this one, quoting Trebek (who was making sense when he voiced it): ““They weren’t called the [WFT] because we thought [WFT] were terrible.”
Huh? WTF is a WFT? It turns out that an WFT the one and only “Washington Football Team,” formerly known as the “Redskins.” I preferred “the artist formerly known as ‘Prince.'” It had more of a ring to it.
We live in ridiculous times.
Andrew McCarthy is never better than when he’s writing what is essentially a prosecutor’s opening brief. And so it is with this article he wrote about the IRS scandal, a scandal that grows with every document produced. I, of course, will remind you all again that I said early on that the IRS scandal was the worst scandal ever in American history and I stick to that — especially as it’s becoming increasingly clear that this exercise in banana republic governance had its genesis in D.C., and quite high up in D.C. (as in “close to the President”).
The Left is starting to realize that both the IRS and the Benghazi scandals hit way to close to the President for anyone’s comfort (well, the comfort of anyone on the Left). That’s why the Financial Times announced today that the worst scandal for the President is the VA scandal (you know, the one where VA hospitals have been killing veterans by ignoring them to death). The VA scandal is heinous and disgusting. It stands as a savage indictment of both socialized medicine (which it is) and the American bureaucracy . . . but it doesn’t go up to the White House. Claiming that it’s the worst scandal for Obama is a red herring.
If you think I’m wrong about that interpretation, just consider the first paragraph in the FT article, which expressly warns people away from the genuinely serious stuff (emphasis mine):
Amid contrived outrage over Benghazi and the improving fortunes of its healthcare reform, the Obama administration could be facing a genuine scandal about its treatment of military veterans that has the potential to attract broad political condemnation of its competence.
That’s not journalism. That’s crisis management for the White House.
My husband brought the movie Philomena home from the library yesterday. I was going to write a scathing review, but I see that Kyle Smith got there before I did.
Even if every word of Philomena was the God’s honest truth (which apparently is not the case), it still is a nasty movie. The thing about movies such as this is that all nuns get tarred with the same brush. Think about it: If you see a movie about a woman who is a bad mother, or a bus driver who is rude, or a doctor who commits malpractice, you don’t immediately indict all mothers, bus drivers, or doctors. But a movie about bad nuns somehow creates the belief that all nuns are bad.
While I may be Jewish, I have a deep respect for nuns. During WWII, Belgian nuns sheltered my Jewish grandmother at great risk to themselves. Moreover, when my mother was in the Japanese concentration camp, the Dutch nuns she was imprisoned with were gracious to all, including the Jewish prisoners. My mom still speaks fondly about their cheerfulness and helpfulness no matter how bad the circumstances were.
And finally, would the Atlantic have Photoshopped a picture of a watermelon into an article about Thurgood Marshall? I don’t think so. But they were willing to do this. Hey, isn’t that microaggression?
Kevin D. Williamson says that the IRS scandal is the worst scandal ever in American politics, since it fundamentally undermines our form of government. I’m inclined to agree with him and would even go so far as to wonder whether he’s been reading my blog.
And while I’m on the subject of destroying our form of government, Barack Obama is again investigating whether the power to issue executive orders is actually the power to re-write entirely federal legislation to suit his own political purposes. The administration claims it’s contemplating this exercise of power because the current program is controversial — but it’s only controversial because there are a lot of people who want to grant de facto amnesty to illegal immigrants. Here’s the deal in America as it once was: if you didn’t like the law, you changed it through the legislative process. Only in banana republics do you let the Dear Leader ignore the law and do it his way.
Even if common core works perfectly in some pristine education program on an Ivy League campus, it’s a disaster in real life. H
Here’s a squirrely idea from me: One of the things that totalitarian governments do is separate children from the parents, either physically or emotionally. (Remember that Hitler’s Youth would turn in their own parents for infractions.) To the extent that common core makes it impossible for parents to help elementary school aged children with what used to be basic math problems, you have to wonder if a goal, or a pleasant by-product, of the Common Core program is that it makes children see their parents as stupid, unhelpful, and unreliable.
Hillary lies again, this time about Iran. You’d think Hillary would eventually wise up to the fact that, in an internet age, it takes minutes, not years, to expose blatant lies. Of course, she’s counting on the media to shelter her. That’s naive too. In 2008, the media dropped her in a New York minute when Barack came along last time around. It even seems as if Bill’s dropping her, and Keith Koffler amusingly ponders why that’s so.
Career overseas civil servants should also think about dumping Hillary. The DiploMad explains that she (and her whole State Department) broke the special bond between America and her employees overseas.
More and more people are catching on to the fact that the Left is entirely adolescent in its approach to itself and to world governance. Matthew Continetti applies that adolescent theory to the New York Times, which is caught up in a firestorm made up of allegations that it fired Jill Abrahamson, its first female executive because she complained about wage discrimination. (And isn’t that irony lovely from a paper that carries the Democrats’ water on the wage discrimination campaign issue?)
Everything you need to know about life in Obama’s America: The same Pentagon that is actively or passively responsible for the VA program that intentionally killed veterans through neglect is working hard to get a sex change operation for convicted traitor Bradley Manning.
Meanwhile, the insanity on America’s college campuses continues. This time, a college is dropping “hump day,” because the camel theme (complete with a camel petting zoo) is seen as disrespectful to Arab culture.
And finally, a look into the ugly heart of ProgressiveLand:
The National Enquirer led off this story with the news that Hillary will finally admit she’s lesbian. I found more interesting the fact that she might be exposing the Obama White House’s secrets, everything from alcoholism and martial woes, to Valerie Jarrett’s tight control. Here’s the post I did at Mr. Conservative about the National Enquirer’s scoop:
For those of you who always thought that Hillary was lying about everything, you’re about to be proven right. Moreover, the news is going to come from a very unexpected source: Hillary herself.
The National Enquirer, which has stuck very close to honest reporting since getting burned in a long-ago libel suit, reports that Hillary has decided to stop the lies and tell the truth in an upcoming memoir. Simon & Schuster will pay her $25 million for writing the book, which she hopes will inoculate her 2016 presidential run against any future ugly revelations.
According to the National Enquirer’s source, a person who is allegedly one of Hillary’s close friends, “By writing this tell-all, Hillary will settle old scores and get revenge on her enemies.” Those enemies apparently include Barack and Michelle Obama, since pre-publication rumors have it that Hillary will report about Barack’s drinking problem and the Obamas’ serious marital problems. Hillary also plans to attack Valeria Jarrett, who is Obama’s right-hand woman and the person many believe is the real power in the White House.
Hillary also intends to admit what many have known for years, but which her friends and ex-lovers have never confirmed: she’s bisexual and has had lesbian affairs. The National Enquirier smugly notes that the memoir will confirm one of its past reports that a veterinarian who came to the White House to treat Socks, the White House cat, caught Hillary in a steamy (and adulterous) embrace with another woman.
It will be interesting to see whether Hillary addresses the rumors that one of her lovers is Huma Abedin. Abedin is an interesting character, since she is Hillary’s closest confidant and aid; is married to Anthony Weiner, the Democrat politician who sent naked pictures of himself to women; and comes from a family tied closely to the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to a source the National Enquirier identifies as a “family insider,” Hillary’s admission that she is a lesbian isn’t a sign that she repents her life of lies. Instead, it’s part of her cold-blooded political calculation:
“Bill and Hillary are the consummate politicians, and they realize the LGBT community is a huge voting bloc,” said a family insider.
“They want lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people behind Hillary in the 2016 campaign. So Hillary’s going to come clean for the votes. She’ll admit that she’s bisexual and has had lesbian relationships.”
Hillary will also admit that, when she suddenly vanished from the scene last December amidst State Department assurances that nothing bad was the matter, these assurances were yet another Clinton lie. In fact, after a fall, she was discovered to have a blood clot between her brain and her right ear, which was putting pressure on her brain. In the lead-up to the diagnosis, Hillary thought she had brain cancer, just as Teddy Kennedy did, and began saying good-bye to friends and families.
Hillary lying to a House investigative committee:
For those who still care about Monica Lewinsky, whose sexual shenanigans with Bill almost lost Bill and Hillary the White House, Hillary will finally talk about her version of those events. According to Hillary’s view of things, Monica got word to Hillary that Bill was in love with Monica and wanted to start a family with him (and that she was even planning on getting pregnant without Bill’s consent). Hillary’s response to this news was to throw up in a White House bathroom.
The book isn’t just about the personal. As part of her attack on the Obamas, Hillary will detail her battles with Valerie Jarrett, “Obama’s brain,” to get a green light on attacking Osama bin Laden. Hillary also plans to detail the fight she had with the White House over Osama’s bloodied, bullet-ridden corpse. Hillary claims that she wanted it returned to the U.S. as proof that he was dead. Obama instead opted for a secret burial at sea (and Hillary promises to reveal the real location) so as not to inflame Muslim sensibilities.
Hillary’s plan is that this book, by telling all her dirty little secrets in advance, will clear the way for a 2016 presidential run since none of her opponents will have any dirt to spill on her. The mere fact that she feels compelled to write this book indicates that the Obamas have already gathered this information and, moreover, that they would have used it if Hillary had looked set to sweep the Democrat primaries in 2008. Releasing dirt on his Democrat opponents as a way to clear the field is, after all, vintage Obama.
Party partisans will no doubt applaud Hillary for her bravery in “coming out” (not that it’s very brave if everyone you care about thinks it’s a wonderful thing to do). It will be more interesting to see how ordinary Americans feel when they discover that the woman seeking the White House has lied to them every step of the way for decades.
When it comes to the IRS’s ongoing, repressive behavior against conservative groups, you’re likely to hear different verdicts: The hard Left says, of course, that this is a molehill that the Republicans are scandalously trying to turn into a scandal. (The New York Times perfectly exemplifies this line of thinking.) Others on the Left admit incompetence, but refuse to assign moral blame. Conservatives are willing to assign moral blame but think that no one really cares.
I believe that everyone should care because what we’re seeing now is a new type of scandal in American history, and the biggest crime a sitting administration has ever committed against the American people. I wrote about it at Mr. Conservative, although the headline there focuses on the IRS’s probing into people’s prayers. (Thinking about that, its worth remembering that Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled in an age when church and state were one, refused to “make windows into men’s souls.” The IRS is not so doctrinally picky.)
Anyway, here’s the post I wrote for Mr. Conservative:
There’s been a lot of debate swirling amongst the pundits lately. Is the Watergate cover-up worse than the Benghazi cover-up or vice versa? Is the only scandal that matters the Justice Department’s decision to tap Associated Press phones, because that’s the only one that the media will care about? What did Obama know and when did he know it?
Ignore all that. The absolute worst scandal that’s emerged lately, and the worst administration scandal in American history is the IRS scandal. Why? Because you, the People, became the targets of a comprehensive federal government effort to stifle dissent, one made using the government’s overwhelming and disproportionate policing and taxing powers.
All of the other scandals, going back to Andrew Johnson’s post-Civil War scandals, Warren G. Harding’s 1920s Teapot Dome scandal, Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra, and Clinton’s Oval Office sexcapades have actually been narrowly focused acts of cronyism, garden-variety political chicanery, or personal failings. It’s been insider stuff.
The IRS scandal, by contrast, is a direct attack on the American people. Right now, Progressives throughout America are pretending that this scandal doesn’t matter: “Obama wasn’t involved.” “Tea Partiers had it coming because they’re all corrupt.” “Obama would have won the election anyway.” “It was just a coincidence that the only groups that had their applications scrutinized, sometimes for years, were politically conservative. It means nothing that, when one group changed its name to sound Progressive, its application was approved in only three weeks.” “This is just a bureaucratic snafu.” “It’s a few rogue agents in Ohio.”
Those who offer these excuses are either morally flawed themselves or delusional idiots. Pastor Martin Niemoller, who once supported the Nazi party, finally and famously figured things out after World War II:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
Once a government gets the bit between its teeth and starts targeting special interest groups, that is the end of freedom, not just for those first groups targeted, but for everyone.
Okay, that was the throat-clearing. Now it’s time to add the latest chapter in the long list of examples showing that the IRS engaged in a politically motivated witch-hunt against people who don’t toe the Progressive/Democrat party line:
The Thomas More Society (a Catholic organization) says that an IRS office in California ordered a group called “Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, Texas” to detail the meaning and content of the prayers they offered. That was not an isolated event. IRS agents demanded the same information from “Coalition of Life of Iowa,” which was required to explain what went on at the group’s prayer meetings.
When Rep. Aaron Schock (R., Ill.) asked outgoing IRS commissioner Steven Miller whether these were appropriate questions, Miller didn’t even have the courage to say “no.” Instead, he said meaninglessly that “It pains me to say I can’t speak to that one either.”
Here’s thumbnail sketch of just a few of the other politically-motivated attacks the IRS has made against American citizens. We can expect many more revelations to come:
1. The IRS official who over saw the agency’s effort to stifle political dissent is now in charge of enforcing ObamaCare, which will account for up to one-sixth of the American economy.
3. The IRS (which will police ObamaCare) stole 10 million medical records, including the records for all California judges.
4. The IRS blocked applications for or otherwise harassed almost 500 conservative non-profit groups – and there’s every reason to believe that this number will continue to rise.
6. The IRS has been mining Facebook for private data about people who dissent from Obama’s party line.
7. The IRS tried to force a conservative non-profit education group to turn over the names of students (mostly minors) who benefited from its services.
As for those who say that the whole IRS affair becomes irrelevant if no one can prove that Obama is not directly involved, that’s completely wrong. Of course, if the president was involved, it shows that he is the most corrupt, tyrannical leader in American history, and that every branch of the executive division in our government has been tainted and must be cleaned out. And as far as Obama is concerned, if he wasn’t involved, he is a man too incompetent and weak to hold the job of national chief executive.
But think about what it means if Obama wasn’t involved, and the IRS, an agency that has the power to destroy every person in America, did all of this on its own initiative. What we’re seeing in that case is the fall-out of a complete Leftist takeover of American institutions. We will have become a tyranny by bureaucracy (in no small part due to the fact that federal agencies are heavily unionized, and always with a Leftist slant), with the entire federal government irredeemably corrupt.
Here’s one last thought for you about an American president who, wittingly or unwittingly, presided over the single worst scandal in American history:
On May 5, at Ohio State University (the same state in which the IRS scandal was headquartered), Obama gave a speech that was viewed then as yet another in the endless list of examples showing Obama painting his political opponents as loony paranoids:
Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.
Reading those same words now, it’s clear that, like the rattlesnake’s warning, Obama was previewing the reality of a Leftist government’s total control over the people who have naively consigned themselves to its care.
My brain hasn’t yet synthesized all the fascinating data out there, including the wrenching stories of Sandy’s devastation. For the time being, I’ll just pass interesting links on to you. Please feel free to do the same.
The former Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet has written a white-hot article excoriating Obama and his administration, based upon what we know to date about events in Benghazi. Because the White House is withholding information, and because the lap dog media is refusing to seek information (or even to talk about Benghazi), I have no problem with convicting Obama et al on the information currently available. If that crew wants a full and fair trial in the court of public opinion, it had better start releasing reliable information.
There’s a fascinating story in my local paper today about a grocery store chain called Mi Pueblo. It was founded as a Mom-and-Pop store by a pair of illegal immigrants. It’s now a large, legal chain serving the Hispanic community throughout California. It’s also a law-abiding chain, in that it uses e-verify to make sure that it’s employees aren’t illegal immigrants. Here’s the interesting part: by abiding with federal law, the store has incurred the wrath, not only of the illegal immigration ground, but of SEIU. Yup, the unions are furious that as store refuses to employ illegals. Think about that: unions used to fight illegals, because they were seen as taking jobs away from legal American workers. Now, unions see the effort to stop illegal immigrants from working as a nefarious plot to weaken the unions. Legal American workers — those who are native-born or have green cards — should think long and hard about what the unions what to do for them. At the moment, it looks to me as if the unions aren’t out to protect workers, they’re out to protect unions.
Victor Davis Hanson nails the fantasy-based “reality” that keeps affluent Californian’s voting for Democrats. I live surrounded by this mentality:
Did California’s redistributive elite really believe that they could all but shut down new gas and oil production, strangle the timber industry, idle irrigated farmland, divert water to the delta smelt, have 37 million people use a highway system designed for 15 million, allow millions of illegal aliens to enter the state without audit, extend free medical programs to 8 million of the most recent 11 million added to the population, up taxes to among the highest in the nation, and host one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients — and not have the present chaos?
The California schools — flooded with students whose first language is not English, staffed by unionized teachers not subject to the consequences of subpar teaching, and plagued with politicized curricula that do not emphasize math, science, and reading and writing comprehension — scarcely rate above those in Mississippi and Alabama. Did liberals, who wanted unions, a new curriculum, and open borders, believe it was good for the state to have a future generation — that will build our power plants, fly our airliners, teach our children, and take out our tumors — that is at the near-bottom in national test scores?
Do Bay Area greens really believe that they that will have sufficient water if they blow up the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir? Did Barack Obama think that the Keystone pipeline or new gas and oil leases in the Gulf were superfluous, or that we do not need oil to make gasoline, wheat to make flour, or to cut timber to produce wood?
Did liberals (and their hand-in-glove employer supporters who wished for cheap labor) think that letting in millions from Central Mexico, most without legality, English, or a high school education (and in some sense at the expense of thousands waiting in line for legal admission with capital, advanced degrees, and technological expertise), was not problematic and that soaring costs in law enforcement, the criminal justice system, the schools, and the health care industries were irrelevant?
Reagan famously said “Trust, but verify.” In an internet age, one has to say “verify before you trust anything.” Case in point? A Halloween costume a young Boston Democrat put together to mock Tea Partiers. It features her grimacing, while holding a misspelled birther sign. Well, it went viral on the internet, not as a spoof, but as a “genuine” picture of a deranged young Alabama Tea Partier. The young woman involved (who did not intend to prank anyone), has learned a valuable lesson about her own political party. Maybe in a few years, she’ll be a true Tea Partier — and a nicer person for it too.
Jonah Goldberg scolds the mainstream media for its incredible lack of curiosity about Benghazi. Goldberg doesn’t see a conspiracy. He sees liberal group-think that is so all-encompassing that the media people think candidate George Bush’s alleged conduct in 1974 is more important than President Barack Obama’s conduct in September 2012.
While Jonah Goldberg is willing to damn the media with faint praise (stupid, not evil), Thomas Sowell is not so kind about the administration. He thinks that, when it comes to Benghazi, there’s a giant con going on. I think he’s right. (Is it redundant to say that one thinks that Thomas Sowell has made an intelligent, accurate argument? Doesn’t the name Sowell already encompass that description?)
Keith Koffler does a great job summing up the way in which Obama has demeaned the presidency. We thought the Clinton presidency already did that but, looking back, that’s not quite accurate, Clinton demeaned himself with a variety of scandals, but he managed to stay presidential when he was in the business of politics (rather than the business of shtupping the help). Obama, however, has demeaned the presidency itself, by using sex, obscenities, and insults within the context of politics.
Of course, when it comes to demeaning the office of the presidency, Obama is getting a lot of help. Witness this obscenity-laden video that purports to show members of the “Greatest Generation” engaging in vulgar trash-talk against Romney. Those elderly people who honor dignity should be offended by this, even if they’re Democrats.
This is a lovely article that uses a faux debate to draw a devastating contrast between Barack Obama and Winston Churchill.
And here is another devastating contrast: the vast cultural divide between Lena Dunham, who coos that voting for Obama is like losing ones virginity, and Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, who fought to the death to save others. Sadly, their Commander in Chief came from the Dunham side of the cultural divide, and left them to die alone in a Libyan hellhole. (Incidentally, Tyrone Woods left behind an infant son. If you would like to donate to a fund for that little boy, Power Line recommends this legitimate organization. It’s an easy way to donate. I was able to use PayPal, so I put some of the money you guys have so generously sent me towards Baby Boy Woods’ education.)
Cross-posted at Brutally Honest