Bookworm Beat 12/4/19 — Trump, Schiff’s Schpy-gate, and more

I’ve got everything here: Schiffty’s Schpy-gate, Kamala Harris, Fascist Leftism, Churchill’s genius, Iran, Trump’s genius, and a perfidious Smithsonian.

Bookworm Beat Obama Brennan double standards insane leftists impeachmentPhew! I promised to have something up by 10:00 my time and, despite 8,762 interruptions (or thereabouts), I’m going to make it. I’ve got so much interesting stuff to share with you:

Kamala Harris drops like a stone. I’ve heard lots of theories about why Kamala is gone. Conservatives point out that she was done in by Tulsi pointing out the obvious, which is that even as the Left hates police, Kamala was locking up criminals — and doing so corruptly too in some cases.

The Left claims that Kamala is out because of racism and sexism — which is really funny because it’s Democrat voters who dumped her.

As far as I’m concerned, though, no one is admitting the real problem, which is that Kamala is as dumb as a rock. You see that in the fact that every time she’s attacked, she has no response. She can attack others, because her handlers, notably Willie Brown, prep her for offensive attacks. But when she’s on the receiving end of anything, that little brain just shuts down.

All I can say is “Thank God she’s gone.”

Schiff’s Schpy-gate. Were you surprised to learn that Adam Schiff obtained phone records for his fellow House member Devin Nunes, as well as for Nunes’ Aide, Rudy Giuliani, who is Trump’s personal attorney, and one-time Hill journalist John Solomon?

I wasn’t surprised at all: There is no difference whatsoever between today’s Democrats and classic fascism. (Not Hitlerian fascism, but classic fascism. There’s a difference, as I will explain.)

Remember that classic fascism is a totalitarian state that has ultimate power over everything. This is different from communism, in which the state has ultimate ownership over everything. The only reason fascism got the bad smell it has now is because Hitler allied it with a lust for world domination and a genocidal hatred for Jews.

When you subtract world domination and genocidal antisemitism from Nazi fascism, you discover that, in all other ways today’s Democrats match Hitler policy for policy: anti-gun; anti-free speech; total control over youth; environmental obsessions; reverence for Gaia; hostility to traditional Christianity; increasingly violent personal attacks against political opponents; a deep respect for Islam’s muscularity; a partnership between government and big business, which each enriching the other; love of nudity; and on and on and on.

Please understand that I’m not saying that today’s Leftists are Nazi fascists . . . yet. I do see them capable of moving in that direction, though. After all, American Leftists dream of one world government, which is a form of world domination, and they’re rapidly embracing toxic anti-Semitism. I would not give these people power, ever.

That’s why I love Trump, warts and all. This is a guy who wants less government and more individual liberty, aligned with strong national security that has no whiff of colonialism about it. So give me Trump: Give me Trump the bombastic. Give me Trump the wheeler-dealer. Give me Trump, the guy who says of Macron “This is why he’s a great politician, because that’s one of the greatest non-answers I’ve ever heard.” As far as I’m concerned, that particular insult is right up there with one of Churchill’s insults. (For example, Churchill said of Clement Attlee “he’s a sheep in sheep’s clothing.)

Speaking of Churchill, I introduced my daughter to the film Darkest Hour, in which Gary Oldman plays Churchill as he became Prime Minister, shortly before the British Army was routed to Dunkirk, and when there was enormous pressure on him to negotiate a settlement with Hitler. Oldman’s portrayal was brilliant, my daughter adored the movie, and I was reminded that one reason Britain survived the war then, and is unlikely to survive a war now, is that the British back then still believed in their own history and culture.

Real socialists are turning on the New York Times. Wolf Howling and I have both written about the New York Times’ misbegotten 1619 project (see here, here, here, here, and here), so I won’t repeat at any length our take that it is an abysmal example of historic ignorance and, to quote Disraeli, “lies, damn lies, and statistics.” What’s fascinating is to read the interview that the World Socialist Web Site (“WSWS”) did with much-published history and Princeton professor James McPherson, who also lambastes the 1619 project. McPherson pulls no punches:

I’d say that, almost from the outset, I was disturbed by what seemed like a very unbalanced, one-sided account, which lacked context and perspective on the complexity of slavery, which was clearly, obviously, not an exclusively American institution, but existed throughout history. And slavery in the United States was only a small part of a larger world process that unfolded over many centuries. And in the United States, too, there was not only slavery but also an antislavery movement. So I thought the account, which emphasized American racism—which is obviously a major part of the history, no question about it—but it focused so narrowly on that part of the story that it left most of the history out.

So I read a few of the essays and skimmed the rest, but didn’t pursue much more about it because it seemed to me that I wasn’t learning very much new. And I was a little bit unhappy with the idea that people who did not have a good knowledge of the subject would be influenced by this and would then have a biased or narrow view.”

And that’s just McPherson’s opening point. He has much more to say on the shoddy scholarship behind the project:

Q. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the lead writer and leader of the 1619 Project, includes a statement in her essay—and I would say that this is the thesis of the project—that “anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.”

Yes, I saw that too. It does not make very much sense to me. I suppose she’s using DNA metaphorically. She argues that racism is the central theme of American history. It is certainly part of the history. But again, I think it lacks context, lacks perspective on the entire course of slavery and how slavery began and how slavery in the United States was hardly unique. And racial convictions, or “anti-other” convictions, have been central to many societies.

But the idea that racism is a permanent condition, well that’s just not true. And it also doesn’t account for the countervailing tendencies in American history as well. Because opposition to slavery, and opposition to racism, has also been an important theme in American history.

Q. Could you speak on this a little bit more? Because elsewhere in her essay, Hannah-Jones writes that “black Americans have fought back alone” to make America a democracy.

A. From the Quakers in the 18th century, on through the abolitionists in the antebellum, to the radical Republicans in the Civil War and Reconstruction, to the NAACP which was an interracial organization founded in 1909, down through the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, there have been a lot of whites who have fought against slavery and racial discrimination, and against racism. Almost from the beginning of American history that’s been true. And that’s what’s missing from this perspective.

Q. Could you speak specifically on what motivated Union soldiers in the Civil War? I know you’ve written on this question.

A. Attitudes in the Union Army ranged from extreme racism to a kind of radical idealism and anti-slavery. I think that any one statement about “the soldiers” in the Union Army would not make any sense. I read the letters and diaries of well over 1,000 of them, and their attitudes on this question ranged all the way from a racist, pro-slavery position to a kind of radical egalitarian perspective. I tried to quantify these things, but it’s hard to make a generalization about two-and-a-half million soldiers.

You really have to read the whole thing. When the New York Times is too woke for the WSWS, you know that it’s truly jumped the shark. What saddens me is that the Leftists in my old world, before I left California, know less than the WSWS and have fallen for the whole thing, hook, line, and sinker.

While the media obsesses about Trump and racism, there’s real news happening in the world. Most fascinating to me is what’s going on in Iran. To its credit, the New York Times did do a big article about the fact that “Iran is convulsed by worst unrest in 40 years,” but it’s not making a front page story out of all this, nor are other media outlets. This should be a huge story, though, easily swamping Schiff-gate. For 40 years, Iran has been the chief sponsor of Islamic terrorism around the world and the chief destabilizer of the Middle East.

Significantly, what is happening is not a coincidence. There’s a cause behind it and the New York Times acknowledges it:

The latest outbursts not only revealed staggering levels of frustration with Iran’s leaders, but also underscored the serious economic and political challenges facing them, from the Trump administration’s onerous sanctions on the country to the growing resentment toward Iran by neighbors in an increasingly unstable Middle East.

The gas price increase, which was announced as most Iranians had gone to bed, came as Iran is struggling to fill a yawning budget gap. The Trump administration sanctions, most notably their tight restrictions on exports of Iran’s oil, are a big reason for the shortfall. The sanctions are meant to pressure Iran into renegotiating the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers, which President Trump abandoned, calling it too weak.

When I read things such as that, I have to laugh at those who claim that Trump has been useless in terms of his overseas policies, especially because he won’t listen to geniuses such as Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill. These are the same types of geniuses who advocated sending pallets of cash to Iran and who were completely on board with Obama abandoning his promises to send weapons to Ukraine when Russia invaded the Crimea.

All of which gets me to a point I’ve made before, but believe needs to be made again and again: Experts are frequently wrong. They know their stuff, but that doesn’t mean that the stuff they know is fundamentally correct. Just think about the fact that everything we knew about food and health beginning in the 1960s or so is wrong, whether it’s eggs, fat, cholesterol, ulcers, etc.

Americans elected Trump to break modern paradigms that were not working. Indeed, not only were many of these paradigms not working, they were counter-productive. At FEE, there’s a great article about The Cobra Effect, aka the law of unintended consequences.

The name “The Cobra Effect” comes from the fact that in Colonial India, Delhi was deluged with cobras. The government therefore authorized a bounty for cobra corpses. People responded by breeding cobras. When authorities realized that the city was cobra free, but people were still bringing in bodies for bounties, the authorities ended the bounty program. The cobra breeders, rather than killing their cobras, released them into the wild, creating a bigger problem than before.

The same thing happened in Mexico City in the late 1980s when the government banned 20% of cars per day from driving during peak pollution periods. Deprived of their cars, people resorted to taxis . . . which produced significantly greater pollution.

American policies before Trump incentivized bad behavior: we poured money into the hands of corrupt governments across the world, enticed illegal immigrants with more and more programs, threw money at North Korea every time it rattled its cage, and, in Obama’s case, actually thought that giving Iran everything it wanted would make it like us, instead of making it despise us more than ever as a craven and morally corrupt nation. Trump is reversing all that, bless his heart.

The rot at the Smithsonian. I’ve written before about the Leftist tilt at the Smithsonian. I first wrote a post on the subject at my original blog, back in 2004 or 2005. I revisited the subject in 2016, when I wrote

the museum was horribly politically correct, something that transcended the whole Enola Gay kerfuffle of a few years before. Whenever it could, the museum pointed out that white America was bad. The temporary exhibits were all dedicated to showing America being horrible to one minority or another.

Only Europhiles could believe that America was and is uniquely bad. Oh, and when I said “Europhiles,” I naturally meant “stupid and ill-informed Europhiles.” And really don’t get me started on the horrible racism that permeates Latin America, Africa, Asia, and, especially, the Middle East.

The Smithsonian has only gotten worse. Now that the new African-American branch is opened, conservatives have noticed a startling omission from its panoply of distinguished African-Americans: Clarence Thomas.”

Many of you may also remember the Smithsonian’s determination to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Enola Gay’s flight by savaging America for dropping an atomic bomb on Japan. The controversy started in the early 1980s, when Leftist revisionism had taken over in academia: The new line was that Truman dropped the bomb, flattening Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not to end the war, but to show off America’s atomic prowess to Stalin.

In fact, we now know with certainty thanks to recently released documents that Truman dropped the bombs for the reasons stated: The best military analyses were that America would definitely defeat Japan, but that it would require that American troops invade the Japanese mainland. There, they would find a completely mobilized population, with every man, woman, and child fighting to the last breath. The estimate was that up to 100,000 American troops would die. Faced with a choice between ending the war immediately, with no more American deaths, and ending the war a year later with 100,000 American deaths – and, moreover, having the same number of Japanese civilian deaths in either circumstance – made dropping the bomb a no-brainer. But that wasn’t the line the Smithsonian took.

It turns out that the Smithsonian is up to the same old tricks. Over at PJ Media, there’s a great post about Julian Raven, a British artist and naturalized American citizen, who is taking the Smithsonian to the Supreme Court for refusing to apply its own criteria to determining whether the artist’s portrait of Trump should be in the presidential display. The portrait celebrates Trump, showing him looking steely (and cross-) eyed, with an American flag, an eagle, and the words “unafraid and unashamed.”

It turns out that, when a new president enters office, the National Portrait Gallery, which is under the Smithsonian’s aegis, showcases political art about the president. You may remember that this was where Shepard Fairey’s Soviet-styled portrait of Obama, with the word “Hope” in large letters, was displayed.

Because Raven’s portrait had gotten great applause in conservative circles, he applied to have it accepted at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the post-inaugural display. To his surprise, when he reached out to the Smithsonian to check on the status of his application, Raven got a direct phone call from Kim Sajet, the National Portrait Gallery’s director.

Sajet first tried saying the portrait was too big, only to have Raven note that the National Portrait Gallery had placed even bigger Obama pictures in its exhibit. She next argued that the portrait failed because it wasn’t taken from life – that is, Trump hadn’t sat for the portrait. Of course, as Raven pointed out, Fairey’s “Hope” portrait not only wasn’t from life, he got sued for violating the photographer’s copyright.

Faced with cold, hard facts, Raven alleges that Sajet went for the truth: The portrait, she said, was “too pro-Trump” and “too political.” When Raven again referenced that pro-Obama political Fairey portrait, Sajet countered that Fairey’s was “an iconic image” – although that’s a meaningless subjective statement.

Meaningless subjective statements are not the Smithsonian’s ostensible standard for selecting pictures for any exhibit. Instead, the art should be analyzed for how it reflects historic value of an event.

Sajet wrapped the call up with personal insults: “The painting is no good. I am the director of the National Portrait Gallery. Your application will go no further. You can appeal my decision all you want.” To add insult to injury, Sajet proudly tweeted out pictures over the National Portrait Gallery’s Twitter page of her marching to oppose Trump’s inauguration.

Deeply offended by Sajet’s blatant partisanship and her refusal to abide by her institution’s rules, Raven sued. The U. S. District Judge concluded that Raven did not have a cause of action, but nevertheless said that Sajet’s conduct was “odious” and that her words were “a professional insult . . . partisan and undeserved, against Mr. Raven and his work.”

Undeterred, Raven has taken the matter to the Supreme Court. Significantly, he’s not suing to force his painting to be displayed. Instead, he’s suing to force a government agency to abide by its own stated due process rules. The suit should be interesting, especially because the Smithsonian seems to occupy a weird middle ground between being a full government entity and being . . . something else. The Supreme Court might be interested – and the Smithsonian might get a good lesson in being the People’s Attic, not the Leftist Committee Room.