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Fusion GPS Targets Jim Jordan

Congress is slowly closing in on exposing the media’s shameful role in perpetuating the Trump-Russia collusion myth on the American people. Prominent news organizations are the accomplices—if not coconspirators—in the biggest political scandal in U.S. history. Now, two years later, there is no sign of surrender: A ludicrous article in New York magazine on July 8 suggested Donald Trump has been a Russian intelligence asset for 30 years.

Fully invested in pushing the phony Trump-Russia plotline in a malicious attempt to destroy Trump’s presidency, the media are intensifying this narrative and creating new villains in the process.

Enter Rep. James Jordan (R-Ohio).

The Ohio congressman has been under a relentless media siege since NBC News reported on July 3 that Jordan ignored “sexual abuse” by a team doctor when Jordan was an assistant coach for the wrestling team at The Ohio State University from 1986 to 1994. The article is short on evidence of sexual abuse but quotes a few of Jordan’s former teammates who insisted the congressmen knew of the inappropriate behavior by Dr. Richard Strauss and did nothing about it. In April, the university announced it would investigate allegations against Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005.

The NBC News report offered mostly innuendo from less-than-credible sources: One accuser is an ex-con who did time in prison for mail fraud, drug possession, and stealing from investors; another is a shady business owner with a “long history of litigation and an apparent bone to pick with the Jordan family” who allegedly sent a disturbing picture to the widow of a former OSU wrestler.

But the initial story did provide one telling clue about where the Jordan smear job originated: Perkins Coie, the same law firm that hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016 to produce the infamous “Steele dossier.” Perkins Coie is overseeing OSU’s investigation into Strauss and has “interviewed more than 150 former students and witnesses and is engaged in further investigative efforts.”

Coincidence? Not a chance.

The hit piece did what it was supposed to do: Ignite a firestorm of controversy for the six-term congressman and rumored replacement for departing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Every major news outlet from Fox News to the New York Times to the Washington Post subsequently hammered the story; some Democratic activists demanded that Jordan resign. Comparisons between Jordan and Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican accused of sexually molesting young girls four decades ago, are making the rounds on social media. The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday insisted the unfounded claims will “complicate” Jordan’s future political career.

Anatomy of a Smear

Jordan has denied the allegations. While many of his former teammates, coaches, and current colleagues are defending him (he also has President Trump’s support), Jordan’s woes are far from over.

On Wednesday, he tweeted that CNN was contacting more than 100 of his former staffers and interns “asking for dirt on me. Getting desperate!” (Several smug reporters insisted the dirt-digging was solid journalism on display. A CNBC correspondent sniffed that “calling around and asking people questions is called “reporting.”)

So, why Jim Jordan? Not only is he a longshot candidate to replace Ryan, Jordan is a central player in the escalating battle between the Justice Department and Congress to get to the bottom of the politically-motivated investigation into the Trump presidential campaign. Jordan, a four-time state wrestling champ (he lost only one match in his entire high school career) and lawyer, has an especially combative relationship with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In December 2017, Jordan had a heated exchange with Rosenstein over the Justice Department’s use of the Fusion GPS-produced Steele dossier to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associates.

Jordan is keenly focused on the role of Peter Strzok, the FBI’s former counterintelligence chief and the political whack-a-mole who seems to pop up at every turn of the investigation. Jordan visibly rattled Rosenstein during a congressional hearing on June 28 with a series of questions about Strzok. The congressman asked Rosenstein why he instructed Strzok to refuse to answer several questions about Fusion GPS owner Glenn Simpson during Strzok’s closed-door testimony to Congress. “When I asked Peter Strzok whether he ever communicated with Glenn Simpson, he gave us the answer he gave us dozens of times,” Jordan said. “On advice of FBI counsel, I cannot answer that question.”

Now, thanks to a list released by congressional Democrats this week, we know that Jordan asked Strzok directly about his communications with Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele. Jordan also asked Strzok how long it took the FBI to compile the FISA application to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, which Rosenstein reauthorized.

That was on June 27. One week later, the “Jordan ignored sexual abuse” story dropped.

The reason why, as they say, is that Jordan is over the target and that target is Glenn Simpson. In a Venn diagram of the 2016 Justice Department, the news media, and the Democratic political machine, Simpson sits in the intersection of all three. He hired Steele, he peddled the dossier to his pals in the news media, and he very likely had contact with FBI officials, including Strzok, even though he testified under oath last year that he did not.

And Fusion GPS is still at it. The firm is working with Dan Jones, a former staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to continue pushing the Trump-Russia collusion narrative in the press. According to The Federalist, Jones has raised about $50 million from seven to 10 liberal donors in New York and California to keep Simpson’s scheme alive. (Jones is on a list of 15 Simpson cronies who Rep. Devin Nunes [R-Calif.] wants Congress publicly to depose.) Keeping the dossier-sourced, Trump-Russia plotline legitimate means tearing down anyone who tries to expose its rotting core. That’s why Jordan is now Press Enemy No. 1.

But Simpson may soon find himself tagged with that dubious title. He told Congress last year that he did not have any contact with the FBI. A new email released this week, however, shows Strzok mentioned the Fusion GPS owner in January 2017 and suggested Simpson gave the agency a copy of the dossier, which is why Strzok has refused to answer the question about whether he had contact with Simpson. Simpson also was not truthful when he told Congress that he was not conducting anti-Trump opposition research after the 2016 election.

Unfortunately, while Congress keeps peeling back all the layers to this scandal, innocent people suffer. Trump associates such as Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn and dozens of others have been smeared and even bankrupted by this malicious scheme; Jordan is just the latest victim.

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2016 Election • America • American Conservatism • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • civic culture/friendship • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Elections • Foreign Policy • GOPe • Greatness Agenda • Immigration • Political Parties • Post • The Courts • The Culture • The Left • Trade • Trump White House

NeverTrump Bait and Switch: They Hate the Ideas, Not the Man

Michael Gerson, President George W. Bush’s head speechwriter, paid me the ultimate writer’s compliment last week: he attacked me in print. I count Michael as a friend, as I hope he does me, but in this matter I must follow Aristotle who said of his teacher, Plato, that Plato was dear to him but truth was dearer. There are three truths that Michael and others remain in denial about: Bush-style Republicanism is a minority view within the GOP; it is not the best way to create a durable center-right majority; and Trumpism is not based on “protectionism, nativism and bitter resentment of elites.”

Let’s address the last point first. This is a common view, especially on the Left. But I have been writing about these issues for nine years, and the data I have compiled and discuss in my recent book The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism shows blue-collar white discontent far predates Trump. Emily Ekins of the Cato Institute also clearly demonstrated that Gerson’s assertion is not true.

Her paper, “The Five Types of Trump Voters,” shows that very few of Trump’s voters were motivated by racist concerns or nativism. Many were concerned about immigration, and the president’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration—which Michael has consistently decried as either unconstitutional, racist, or both—was the only single issue that united all four major groups of Trump backers. If Trumpism is beyond the pale, it because his voters’ concerns are beyond the pale—and those people comprise the vast supermajority of all Republican-leaning voters.

Michael surely knows this, which is why he mentions dubious or fringe figures like Joe Arpaio, Don Blankenship, and Corey Stewart as representatives of the deeper appeal of Trump’s dark nature. Of these, one recently finished a poor third in a heavily contested primary, another is running third of three in his primary race, and the other is a Senate nominee in a race devoid of serious Republican involvement. This does not strike me as evidence that the dark interpretation of Trumpism is representative of Republican views.

Tariffs and what he labels “protectionism” is indeed popular among many segments of Republican voters, but one should note that the seeds for this were laid during the Bush Administration. As I have recounted elsewhere, the Bush business cycle was the first we have data for in which median income for non-college-educated Americans declined. Federal data also show that employment rates remained below their Clinton-era record high during the Bush years even after five years of expansion. And the dramatic rise in the number of people on Social Security Disability Insurance began during the Bush years: annual applications exceeded two million for the first time during the 2001-3 recession and remained at historically-high levels for every year during the Bush Administration. Compassionate conservatism did not help working-class, native-born Americans—and its advocates know it.

An authentically compassionate conservatism should place a high priority on getting these Americans, many of whom lost their jobs or middle-class incomes because of the Bush-era immigration and trade policies, back on track. You can’t beat something with nothing, the saying goes. Yet time and time again one fails to hear that “something” from those NeverTrump Republicans who, like Gerson, vociferously oppose Trump’s tariffs. The voters did, however, hear that from Trump. That’s probably why Trump did better than Romney, McCain, and even Bush himself among voters who said the primary quality they look for in a president is that he “cares about people like me”.

These points show why Bush-era conservatism is not the way for the new Republican Party to gain its majority. Voters who are open to voting for Republicans are scared. They are scared about their economic futures. They are scared about the future a religiously orthodox family will face in an America where any expression of Biblical views on marriage might constitute a hate crime. They are scared their children will die in defense of countries who seem to think American leadership excuses them from the obligation to defend themselves. They are scared that they might die in a terrorist act at home with their leaders more concerned about the feelings of foreigners than the lives of Americans.

No Republican leader can build a majority without addressing these fears. Bush-era conservatism pretends these fears don’t exist or characterizes those who have them as beyond the political pale. As any good Texan would say, that dog won’t hunt.

A responsible compassionate conservatism would address these fears with more than pablum and pale pastels from the past. It might call for a federally-funded vocational education program and opioid addiction treatment system that focuses on employment-based rehabilitation. It might make robust defense of religious sentiments and free speech a centerpiece of its cultural agenda. It might follow Ronald Reagan’s example with Japan and place sanctions on China so long as it engages in predatory trade practices and builds its modern military with our money, our ideas, and access to our markets. It might look at how Muslim immigration has destabilized European politics and recognize that a nation fearful at home cannot be resolute abroad. What it cannot do is remain in denial that these concerns are legitimate.

It might also want to recognize that a robust defense of the working-class is also the only way to appeal to America’s growing Hispanic population, as Michael desperately wants the GOP to do. Hispanics are overwhelmingly in working-class jobs and earn below-median incomes. They also believe that more direct government spending is a better way to grow the economy than cutting taxes and spending. Today’s manufacturing worker displaced by automation or competition might be white, but tomorrow’s will likely be Hispanic, black, or Asian. Failing to focus on how government can build ladders for advancement for those who will not graduate from college is not just a failure for today; it is a failure to build the party that can appeal to the growing non-white population that will increasingly influence America.

NeverTrumpers like Michael often make Trump their focus when their real aim is the policy changes he is bringing to the Republican Party. I’ll grant that many of Trump’s statements about immigrants are odious. I too remain unconvinced that he has the skill or the character to be a good president, although I must admit to having some of those fears allayed so far. The question Republicans dismayed by Trump must ask themselves, however, is whether some of the changes he is bringing to GOP orthodoxy are either good or have their roots in legitimate concerns. I think many of them do; many, if not most, NeverTrumpers disagree. That, not Trump, is the real issue in contention, and it is on that point that those who back Trump ought to fight if their support for him is tied at all to any of those considerations.

Michael and other prominent NeverTrump Republicans face a time for choosing. The data clearly show that a return to the Republican Party and conservatism of 2000 is not possible, either within the GOP itself or in the nation at large. If the sentiments that Trump tapped into are unacceptable to them for whatever reason, then they must join forces with their former political opponents, either within the Democratic Party or by creating a new party that takes disaffected Democrats and independents into the fold. Either choice involve compromising on issues NeverTrumpers have said they hold dear, such as abortion, supply-side tax cuts, the Supreme Court, or perhaps even uncompromising support for Israel. I will not begrudge them if they depart on principle, as they are honorable men and women who must act in accord with their beliefs. But they should make that choice with eyes wide open as to what the consequences will be, for them, for their principles, and for the country they so dearly love.

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America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Donald Trump • Greatness Agenda • Post • The Constitution • The Courts • the Presidency • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

Kavanaugh Gets the Call: Get Ready for the Smear

Twelve days ago, Justice Anthony Kennedy stepped down and Monday night the pick to replace him was in. President Trump named D.C. Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, 53, for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The president sought a candidate who would “do what the law requires” and “apply the Constitution as written.”

That is also what Trump supporters are looking for, and why Democrats opposed Trump’s whole list. For Democrats, the Supreme Court is a robed politburo that gives them what they fail to win through the electoral process. Even before the announcement of Kavanaugh, who clerked for Anthony Kennedy, they were turning up the volume to eleven. The battle to confirm Kavanaugh is certain to be fierce, so all age groups, Millennials in particular, might profit from a review of the Democrats’ grand inquisitors of the past.

Ohio Democrat Senator Howard Metzenbaum, a veteran of Communist Party fronts such as the National Lawyers Guild, took the lead against black conservative Clarence Thomas in 1991. Metzenbaum thought he was intellectually superior to the Bush nominee, but Thomas, a Yale man like Kavanaugh, made him look a fool. It was likely Metzenbaum who leaked Anita Hill’s fake story, and the Democrat pushed hard on the sexual harassment allegations.

When black businessman John Doggett testified in favor of Thomas, Metzenbaum charged that Doggett was also guilty of sexual harassment. White liberal Joe Biden also attacked on that front.

“From my standpoint as a black American,” Thomas said, “as far as I’m concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.”

Thomas’ “high-tech lynching” charge enraged West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd, a former Ku Klucker who also voted against Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice. Byrd voted against Thomas and so did Sen. Ted Kennedy, who in 1969 left Mary Jo Kopechne to die at Chappaquiddick. In 1984, Kennedy colluded with KGB boss Yuri Andropov to try and prevent the reelection of Ronald Reagan, who in 1987 nominated Robert Bork to the high court.

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions,” Sen. Ted Kennedy famously charged.

Blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy. America is a better and freer nation than Robert Bork thinks. Yet in the current delicate balance of the Supreme Court, his rigid ideology will tip the scales of justice against the kind of country America is and ought to be.

The damage that President Reagan will do through this nomination, if it is not rejected by the Senate, could live on far beyond the end of his presidential term. President Reagan is still our President. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate, and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and on the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.

Expect that kind of fare, or worse, in the hearing for Kavanaugh, which could well feature an escalation. Their lead inquisitor will be Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 85, ranking member of the Senate judiciary Committee. Long before Donny Deutsch charged that Trump voters are Nazis the San Francisco Democrat was the loudest voice for the leftist boilerplate that the nation is bristling with Nazis.

Last September, in a confirmation hearing involving Amy Coney Barrett and Joan Larsen, both on President Trump’s original list, Feinstein said the backdrop for the hearing was the “neo-Nazis and white supremacists” in Charlottesville. “These are ideologies that people across the world died in a war fighting to defeat Nazism,” and just in case anybody wondered, “there isn’t any good in Nazism.”

Feinstein went on to tell Amy Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven, including two adopted Haitians, “you are controversial” and that “dogma lives loudly within you.”  

Led by Feinstein, the Democrats will surely deploy the Nazi smear in the confirmation hearing. But don’t expect any arguments on Roe v. Wade. If that 1973 ruling does come up after confirmation, Kavanaugh and the court won’t need any religious arguments.

The late Christopher Hitchens, an atheist, contended that life begins at conception because there is no other place where it can begin. The late Nat Hentoff, not known as a religious conservative, argued that a change of address does not make you a human being. Neither arguments depends on dogma of any kind.

And now abide bigotry, ignorance and slander. All live loudly within Democrats.

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America • civic culture/friendship • Conservatives • Post • The Courts • The Culture • the family

Resisting the Instinctive ‘Conservative’ Impulse on Roe v. Wade

When Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, the logical response would have been a series of reflections about his dominant role in changing the definition of marriage and turning same-sex pairings into a constitutional right. Instead, the first thought among many who follow American politics was Roe v. Wade may finally be overturned.

While public opinion has come a long way since the early 1970s ruling—a majority of voters now favor some kind of restriction on abortion—Roe itself has become part of the cultural landscape. Make no mistake, many people—even self-professed “conservatives”—will find the idea of change discomfiting and discover in themselves a preference for the status quo. “Conservatism” of the kind that amounts to a resistance to change as opposed to an attachment to particular moral principles, would keep Roe v. Wade—a precedent of almost 50 years’ standing—intact.

In order to combat that fear of change in what has become a major cultural investment for some, we should face the issue squarely. What questions do we have to consider? And remember, there will be a flurry of all kinds of chaff thrown into the air to create distraction and confuse the issue.

The World that Brought Us Roe

We can begin with the cultural milieu in which Roe was decided. Roe came to us soon after the birth control pill reached the market. Abortion advocates believed the pill would mean abortions would be rare as unwanted pregnancies also would be rare. It hasn’t worked out that way, however. Abortions have stacked up in the tens of millions.

At the time Justice Harry Blackmun penned the court’s decision in Roe, we knew little about the life of the unborn child. If you will excuse the pun, fetology was in its infancy. What we knew then about the life of the unborn child versus what we know now represents a radical change in scientific knowledge. Bizarrely, we carry on as if all this new information should work to the benefit of wanted children while being irrelevant to the status of unwanted ones.

Remember, too, the court decided Roe in the period before ultrasound and now 3D ultrasound. Today those images are typically the first “photographs” of a child to make it into the baby book.

The cognitive dissonance necessary to sustain our dual practice both of treasuring and simultaneously tolerating the elective destruction of nascent humans is truly incredible.

The Dilemma of Persuasion in a Post-Roe Culture

There are questions we must answer about the unborn child: Is the unborn child human? Is the unborn child a person? When the defenses of Roe are repeated endlessly on social media and on cable television, we must redirect the conversation to those fundamental questions and push for honest answers. If the answers to these questions are yes, then we must find a way to put an end to abortion, no matter how culturally useful we may otherwise find the practice to be. Those exercising rights over others almost always find it beneficial to do so.

We should not continue abortion on the logic that there will be hardship situations. No one would accept an argument in defense of maintaining slavery because slaves will have nowhere to go and won’t be ready for a life of freedom. No one would say you can’t end slavery until we set up a proper set of welfare programs for ex-slaves. You end the slavery. Full stop. Then, you tackle the next set of challenges. But you don’t make the end of slavery depend on solving the subsequent and resulting problems.

Women who have had abortions will not benefit from being blamed and our political culture, generally, will not benefit from blaming them. Besides, our culture has actively proclaimed the validity and even the moral good of the practice for so long that it is difficult to see how those tempted by it resist. Women have relied upon teachers, parents, doctors, and even clergy in choosing to terminate pregnancies. More important, they have been told that abortion is a right sanctioned by the U.S. Constitution. (Few are aware of the tenuous reasoning that supported such an interpretation.)

A post-Roe culture would need to be a culture of responsibility both individually and collectively. It would be well worth the price. Women and men will need to exercise greater care in the choices they make. Communities, families, churches, and yes, governments will need to gear their efforts more strongly toward developing character and personal agency as well as supporting the institutions that operate when our individual decisions go awry.

If you believe in God, you should be concerned about the moral and spiritual weight half a century of mass abortion places on all of us. With the information available to us today, it grows increasingly difficult to broker the lies we have to believe in order to maintain a regime of abortion.

If you don’t believe in God, you might be concerned that even secular posterity will likely see the practice as violent, the unfair abuse of the weak by the powerful, and indicative of a society that viewed people as disposable.

Heaven help us if we allow an inclination to conserve the status quo leads us to squander this second chance to correct an immeasurably costly decision.

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America • American Conservatism • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Conservatives • Post

You’re Not a Member, Robinson, Beat It

Conservatives who’ve tried to make it in academia and other cultural circles have heard this many times: “You don’t really belong here.” It doesn’t matter how bright or perceptive or erudite they are. They don’t have the right pedigree, for instance, a renowned professor as a mentor or an internship at a notable periodical or foundation.

“We don’t know you,” they are told. “Sorry, no admission.”

And so Jonah Goldberg’s response to Emerald Robinson’s commentary on NeverTrumpers has a familiar ring. It sounds the “you’re-not-one-of-us” note many times, a sure sign of Establishment defensiveness. Robinson made several biting criticisms of George Will, Bill Kristol, and others, and every point is open to counterpoint and refutation. I’ve met Robinson, who realizes that opinion pieces are always up for debate. Vigorous retorts are part of the game.

But Goldberg relies too much on the very credentialist hurdles that liberals have raised against conservatives in every institution that they have controlled. Who are you?

Here are the shots, starting with the first sentence.

“There’s always a trade-off in calling attention to trollish, attention-seeking writers”—which is to say, Robinson hasn’t gotten any attention yet, and she really, really craves it.

“Now, before I go on, as much as I enjoy reading the musings of someone I’ve never heard of at a cable-news network I’ve never watched . . .”—Yup, never heard of her, she’s nobody, and her network doesn’t merit a look. This is exactly the kind of remark a liberal journalist would say about a young reporter at The Weekly Standard not long after it was founded.

Noting how Robinson lumps together Ramesh Ponnuru and other figures who, in truth, have significant disagreements, Goldberg doesn’t leave it at that. He adds you can’t make that grouping “if you’re a remotely informed or serious person.” Robinson isn’t just flatly mistaken, then. She isn’t remotely in the field of valid discussion.

And note the phrase that follows Goldberg’s reasonable point that NeverTrumpers haven’t lost their audience as much as Robinson claims they have: “While it’s true that the people who take this woman seriously . . .” Seriousness, again, and this time Robinson doesn’t even deserve to be named, she is merely “this woman.”

Soon, the tone turns to disdain: “Robinson, who is supposed to be some kind of reporter in Washington . . . ” The echo of liberals who have spoken of conservatives in just this way is obvious. How many times have liberals, in effect, placed them in scarequotes, as in “a conservative ‘scholar’”?

Finally, another delegitimizing characterization: “Robinson, like so much of this crowd . . .” Goldberg means people who knock NeverTrumpers or anti-Trump commentators, but let’s recall how many times liberals have answered a lone conservative voice by pegging him as just another hack in an army of right-wing noise machinists.

This is a style of rejoinder the Right should not adopt. We get enough of it from the other side. Jonah Goldberg has enough analytical talent to dismantle faulty assertions without having to punctuate his points with you’re-not-worthy jabs.

The presence of them here indicates establishment insecurities at work, a lack of humor, and an unhealthy dose of self-regard. It encourages objective readers to surmise the opposite of what Golderg wants them to surmise, namely, that Robinson is truly onto something.

Perhaps this attempt to discredit a new critical voice is the outcome of too much success. After all, Goldberg notes, his latest book “debuted at No. 5 on the NYT bestseller list.”

America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Defense of the West • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • Religion and Society • Religion of Peace

Iftar and City Hall: Separation of Mosque and State?

As Muslims observed the month of Ramadan this year, more city halls were full partners in hosting and promoting religious Iftar dinners. This year Philadelphia and Atlanta sponsored a ceremonial dinner to mark the end of Ramadan fasting in their respective city halls. Bloomington, in Minnesota, co-sponsored an Iftar and invited public employees to learn “about Ramadan and the significance of its 27th night and what it means to Muslims.”

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, the annual dinner is called the “Mayor’s Iftar.” Houston Muslims produced a large Iftar event for about 1,700 guests and featured the mayor as keynote speaker. Texas Governor Greg Abbott greeted attendees by video link to recognize the celebration of “peace, respect, and unity.”

In Minnesota, the city of Bloomington’s Human Rights Commission sent the Iftar invitations to civic employees and even suggested that women should conform to Islamic religious dress code rules (this instruction was deleted after complaints were circulated). The city’s human rights division provided an official email address for processing reservations.

Contrary to the perception that these civic-sponsored Iftars are communal dinners and cultural experiences,they were embedded with worshipful practices. Imams offered religious platitudes and exhortations both in Arabic (for benefit of Muslims) and English. The adhan, call to prayer or call to worship, was recited including the words as translated from Arabic: “I bear witness that there is no god except the One God (Allah)” and “I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.”

Obvious legal questions arise when a religious event is government-hosted, government employees are issued official invitations, the event is sited on city property, or when government recommends religious modesty rules. All of these items seem to fly in the face of Supreme Court rulings suggesting government may not endorse a sect or religion and may not participate with a faith group to the point that an observer would perceive that the government was favoring or sponsoring that religion. The generous partnership in these Iftar events certainly looks like the “excessive government entanglement” that courts love to criticize when it is Christian entanglement at issue.

But beyond legal concerns, government officials should pay close attention to connections that hosts or speakers have with Muslim Brotherhood organizations. Houston’s Iftar was co-sponsored by Islamic Relief, a large worldwide charity known for supporting extremism and terrorism. Javaid Siddiqi, the national president of Islamic Circle of North America—an organization that promotes supremacist Islamism—spoke from the podium and was a prominent part of Houston’s program.

But an even better threshold to official participation is to consider one simple question—a question so apparent that any elected official should know its criticality: Are any of America’s great reformist Muslims participating? Have Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, Dr. Qanta Ahmed, Asra Nomani, Raheel Raza, or Tawfik Hamid—all Muslims who have signed a declaration in support of American constitutional rights of conscience and individual liberty—been asked to participate?

When our political leaders endorse Islamist events where the organizers embrace elements of sharia extremism while shunning pro-American Muslims, politicians undermine their own credibility and undercut the very Muslims who most need the imprimatur of official recognition.

President Trump set the example this year when he hosted an Iftar that included a host of dignitaries from Islamic countries but did not invite American Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers.

Islamists have gained full staging rights by leveraging labels of inclusiveness and tolerance to local officials. They are now reaching into the political parties to influence policy positions and potential candidates.

Recently the Minnesota Republican Liberty Caucus held its annual convention at a known radical mosque near Minneapolis, Dar al Farooq. The libertarian Republicans also invited an imam to keynote the event and a representative from the mosque to address “misconceptions about Islam.”

The Republicans enthusiastically applauded the two invited religious propagandists as they strained to credit early Muslim scholarship for the writing of the Declaration of Independence and to explain that sharia shares the same religious character as canon law. The audience provided no challenge to these narratives and there was no rebuttal to correctly assert the Scottish-English Enlightenment philosophers as the source of America’s Judeo-Christian founding principles.

Islamists play a zero sum game. The demands made of schools, libraries, and city halls do not result in greater exposure for all religions. City halls are not also hosting and promoting Jewish Passover Seder dinners. The revisionist pages in school textbooks positively feature Islam and its history to the diminution of Westernism and Christianity. Islamic religious indoctrination in schools does not lead to equal time for the tenets of any other religion. City councils that preside over mosque building permit hearings command local residents to refrain from using words like “Islam” or “Muslim” in an unconstitutional display of viewpoint discrimination. The same city officials are not known for being equally solicitous of Christian or Jewish sensibilities. Many more entries could be made to this list of privileges that Islamists enjoy.

When Islamists come to the public square with the “my way or the highway” agenda, Zuhdi Jasser calls them, “supremacists.” These Islamists are bent on accomplishing symbolic institutional celebration of Islam and an untouchable status for Muslims in minds of Americans. America’s communities and their leaders should start asking some vital questions before naively agreeing to preferential, and potentially unconstitutional, Islamist demands.

America • Center for American Greatness • civic culture/friendship • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Greatness Agenda • Post • statesmanship • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture • the family • The Left • The Media • the Presidency • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

Nominating Amy Barrett Would Be Political Genius

The desperation of the Democrats to stop the apparently inexorable rise of a president they so completely discounted and despised, and assumed they could remove or emasculate just by turning up the volume and activity of their media organ monkeys, may drive them to accidental suicide over the latest Supreme Court vacancy. I have no standing at all to intuit whom the president may nominate. But if, as I suspect, it is Judge Amy Barrett, it would be a tactical masterpiece on the level of Napoleon’s conduct of the Battle of Austerlitz or Hannibal at Cannae.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Barrett to the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on October 31, by a 55-43 vote. Three Democrats voted for her and two did not vote. It would not be easy to justify changing their votes now, as she has served unexceptionably. At her confirmation hearings, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee’s aged ranking Democrat, asked Barrett about her religious views, and the nominee responded that no judge should allow personal views, whether based on faith or anything else, to influence the imposition of the law. “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that is a concern,” Feinstein said infamously. This was an outrageous comment; Feinstein doesn’t know anything about the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, and she has no idea what privately motivates Judge Barrett.

The fury and haste of the Democrats once the starting gun went off with the announcement of the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court, expressed their blind panic that their entire protracted regime of encroachments and embellishments on the Constitution—buttressing their centralized and authoritarian notion of administrative juridical governance with pretense to defending the rights of women, affirmative action, and the legislative role of the judiciary generally—was now under mortal assault.

Both sides have followed the legendary practice of Irish footballers of getting their retaliation in first, and in an astonishing permutation of the ambitions of the country’s founders for a non-political judiciary, have launched massive television advertising blitzes to whip up opinion for and against the president’s nominee, whose identity will not be made known before Monday.

Roe Über Alles
The Democrats seem convinced, and are in any case trying to convince the country, that the president is going to assault the authority of Roe v. Wade, the shabbily reasoned decision of 1973 that gave a carte blanche to abortion on the ground of a woman’s right to determine what goes on within her own body. They have amplified this issue, vital though it is, to personing the barricades for the female sex against the president, and defending it against chauvinism, servitude, serfdom, and concubinage.

Knowing the president as we now do, it is hard to believe that he can resist the temptation of giving battle, putting forth Judge Barrett as his candidate as an entirely qualified, recently Senate-approved, woman judge who is on record as resisting personal feelings in the application of the law, and is in all respects a poster-lady for contemporary career women and for devoted wives and mothers, with five natural and two adopted (Haitian) children. She is a distinguished alumna and 16-year law faculty member of Notre Dame University, former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, a member of the Federalist Society, and practicing Roman Catholic. There are signs, as seasoned and balanced news commentator Brit Hume of Fox News remarked this week, that the Democrats are cranking up to portray her, if she is the Supreme Court nominee, as “a kook.”

It is, in Keatsian terms, “a wild surmise,” but I believe the president is luring the Democrats into a trap constructed of their own witless fanaticism, compounded by his long victory streak as he has stretched them out on the rack of elusive, tantalizing, but evanescent semblances of vulnerability.

Muslim migration, white supremacy (Charlottesville), war in Korea, health care, breaks for the rich and ”crumbs” for everyone else, Russian collusion (now reduced to quarterly onslaughts against Paul Manafort for matters that allegedly happened years before he knew Trump, and down-loaded harassment of one of Trump’s many lawyers, Michael Cohen); it’s all piffle. The Democratic media cannon will fire on command: Joe and Mika, the malignant CNN dunciad, the pitiful wailing sirens of the old networks, and of the Times and Post, will all rage and foam and fume at the nominee, whoever it is, but it is the sporadic fire of a defeated army.

I believe the president will nominate Barrett, that the Democrats will take definitive leave of their depleted senses, apostrophize the judge as a Trojan Horse of female submission, that she will clear her hearings with flying colors while the president’s formidable battery of social media and talk show supporters roast the Democrats for attacking an exemplary female achiever and a fine jurist whose only offense is to be a member of the Roman Catholic Church, by far the largest in the country with more than 70 million adherents. Remember, too, the Supreme Court in the final days of its term ruled that crisis pregnancy centers need not advertise the virtues of abortion with Planned Parenthood, and in 2016 said the Little Sisters of the Poor could not be compelled to pay for birth control and sterilization.

Watch Them Crumble
As at Cannae and at Austerlitz, the center of the defending force (Democrats), will crumble and President Trump will sweep the field. The Democratic playbook of endless ear-splitting allegations of serial outrages by the president, will not, finally, bring him down. On this issue, of mobilizing unfounded sexist paranoia against a flawless nominee, thereby insulting tens of millions of American women and U.S. Roman Catholics, before raising the objections of fair-minded non-Catholic men, at least another 20 percent of the population, the Democrats will immolate themselves in an unprecedentedly spectacular launch of their midterm election campaign.

If Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, it will send abortion to the states for individual regulation, not confine reluctantly pregnant Americans to back alleys and butchers. This controversy, if it happens, will also expose the hypocrisy of the Joe Biden-John Kerry school of Catholicism, that in the name of liberality declines to “impose” anything on anyone and redefines the Church of Rome that Christ allegedly asked St. Peter to found, as lapsed Unitarianism leavened by Catholic church-step photo-ops.

With their demand for a rollback of the Trump tax cuts and their affection for open borders, the hydra-headed pygmy army of the once (and future) great Democratic Party will complete the conversion of the blue wave, en route to the electoral shore, to a crimson tide of molten lava. It could be a merciful and early deliverance of the Democrats from rabid Sandersism, the self-destructive fantasy of Democratic Socialism, and spare them a reenacted McGovern electoral suicide.

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America • American Conservatism • Center for American Greatness • civic culture/friendship • First Amendment • Free Speech • Political Parties • Post • The Culture • The Left • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker)

The Heck with Civility—This Is War

At least since the appearance of my book, Rules for Radical Conservatives—originally written under the name and in the voice of my radical leftist character created for National Review, “David Kahane”—I’ve been asked whether I advocate using the same tactics against the Left as they use on us. And my answer is always the same: of course I do.

Treat us with the same contempt with which we treat you.  Or, to put it in language you might actually understand: treat us with same respect we give you, which is none.  

After all, you don’t see us being nice to you, do you? You don’t see us ever reaching across the aisle, extending the olive branch, blah blah blah.  Laurel wreaths are for winners, but olive branches can go pound sand. If a tie, to use the old sports cliché, is like kissing your sister, losing is like… well, don’t make me go there.  Remember that poor schmuck Sully in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1985 movie, Commando?  You know, the part where Arnold quips: “Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last”?  

Like Arnold: we lied.

So calls to maintain “civility” in engaging with people who manufacture fake crises and then feed them to the public via their control of the mainstream media, sucker-punch conservatives on street corners, attack patriotic events with Antifa thugs, and otherwise engage in Brownshirt tactics that would do Ernst Röhm proud, are not only asking the impossible, they’re suicidal. There’s no reasoning with them, no reaching across the aisle, no finding common ground with a large political movement—both increasingly emboldened and increasingly desperate—that wishes to destroy every meaningful aspect of the United States of America. In fact, the Democrats, under their new party chairman, Tom Perez, have become a frankly Socialist party, equally in thrall to an aged Soviet red-diaper baby and a fresh-faced imitation of la Passionara named after a city in Egypt.

So it’s them or us—and I’d much rather it’d be them.

We’ve tried civility, and we know from bitter experience it doesn’t work. There is no pacifying the Left, no accommodating it, no buying it off with a bit of appeasement here and there. They’re not in the political fray to play, they’re in it to win it. They’re not fiddling around the edges of the American experiment, they’re throwing everything critical theory has at us, questioning every institution and founding principle, and finding all of them worthy of destruction. If we react with anything less than a full-throated defense of both Western and American civilization, we’re going to lose.

As I wrote here over the weekend: “Ascribing good motives to our friends across the aisle is a fool’s errand. Like most villains, they think of themselves as the heroes of their own twisted morality play, casting themselves as noble superheroes for truth, silver-surfing the “arc of history” as it bends toward their definition of justice. We, however, see their assault on our history, customs, and traditions as nothing of the sort; to us, they are the vandals who cannot abide something they had little or no hand in creating, and just want to see the world burn.”

Some of the pleas for civility are couched in terms of Christianity. Nothing could be more mistaken—because it plays right into the hands of the Left, which does exactly the same thing. Consider, for example, the famous Alinsky Rule No. 4: “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.” So when I hear that turning the other cheek is the proper response to Leftist provocation, I despair; and when I read a scriptural justification for passivity in the face of a mortal threat . . . I stop reading. Even conscientious objectors become corpsmen.

Frankly, I’ve always admired Peter’s initial reaction to Christ’s arrest in the Garden: he drew his sword and cut off the ear or one of the servants of a high priest. Tha, in fact, was the correct response; Jesus immediately overruled the man who would become the first Pope in order to fulfill his divine destiny, but it’s comforting to know the Apostles weren’t a bunch of whining sissies and prancing girly-men.

Anyway, you fight the battle with the weapons you have, including those of the other side. And it wasn’t us who broke the peace that roughly obtained from World War II to the assassination (by a Communist) of John F. Kennedy. In the latest phase of a long war, the Unholy Left went to battle against America in the summer of 1968 and hasn’t stopped fighting since. They hated Nixon, they hated Reagan, they hated G. W. Bush and now, boy do they hate Donald J. Trump. From the moment it dawned on them on election night that Trump was going to win, they have gone to the mattresses, seeking to undermine the validity of the election and bring down the president of the United States. If you won’t fight to protect your country, what will you fight to do? If the answer is “nothing,” then to heck with you.

This passivity in the face of constant provocation is what our enemies are counting on. They want you cowed, thinking that any pushback is illegitimate. They want you to think that you’re the bad guy in this morality play. That’s why their pet media frames every confrontation as “far-right” groups vs. “anti-fascist” protesters, pushed beyond the limits of their well-known tolerance to take matters into their own violent hands. You are hateful, intolerant, racist and brimming with more phobias than Freud ever dreamed possible. You deserve every bad thing that’s coming to you.

The time for pushback is now. As I like to observe on Twitter: tolerance is not a virtue, diversity is not a goal, and hate is sometimes a very useful, self-protective emotion. Tolerance for the intolerant is suicidal. Diversity has never in history produced a successful country or nation-state, only a body politic at constant war with itself. And Christians are taught to hate—yes, hate—the sin but love the sinner; after all, Christians also believe that redemption is possible for everyone.

In the meantime, while we’re waiting for the Left to see the light, let’s turn the tables and start using their own weapons against them. The very first Rule in my books of Rules is this: “Know Your Enemy, His Intentions, and His Weapons—and Use Them Against Him.”

What are you waiting for? Get cracking.

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America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Declaration of Independence • Greatness Agenda • Post • self-government • statesmanship • The Culture • the family • the Flag • The Left

God Bless America—Right and Wrong

On our nation’s 242nd birthday, national holidays are increasingly an occasion for Americans to disparage patriotism. On social media, fringe and establishment voices on Left and Right spew outright cynicism or, at best, a paltry, half-hearted patriotism of sentiment, disconnected from any firm belief in national principle and purpose.

Disregarding the tired clichés promoted by the small-minded spite of our educational establishment and the irresponsibility of our dissolute elites, the truth is that habitual patriotism is better than intentional value-signaling; and even thoughtless patriotism is better than witless cynicism, as cynicism is not a virtue, but the default mode of decadence.

Apathy and snark about politics and political forms are the hallmarks of the worst tendencies of modernity; a sign of the severe decay of the corpse of western political thought. This current distaste for patriotism—made possible by a bloodless corporate globalism and the disgraceful lack of serious political thought in elite education—leads to much that could be called mere “silliness” if the results were not so harmful. And the hollow mainstream value-signaling of the virtue-less is not any worse than the hopeless dirges of the tiny groups of fringe traditionalists or leftists harboring utopian visions of unicorns and rainbows amidst their anger at “modernity” or “liberalism” or whatever.

These tribes are united in their essential impotence.

Claremont Review of Books editor and Claremont Institute senior fellow Charles Kesler opened the Institute’s annual Publius Fellowship program last week with readings that put these hollow voices in context:

“The crisis of the West consists in the West’s having become uncertain of its purpose,” wrote Leo Strauss in 1963. After leaving his native Germany before the rise of the Nazis, the Jewish professor spent the rest of his life helping American students read the great books and ideas of the western tradition, which American education had already begun to neglect.

Alongside this loss of purpose, as Alexandr Solzhenitsyn,the famed Soviet dissident and Nobel Prize winner, told the 1978 Harvard graduating class, “[t]he Western world has lost its civil courage” and this loss is “particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite.”

Ronald Reagan, in his farewell address, remained deeply concerned that the result was that “parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children” and warned us “of an eradication . . . of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit.”

Our educated class is taught to use a wry aura arising from an  unconsidered and arbitrary moralism as a shield to evade dealing directly with the serious political questions that undergird the swirling currents of opinion. Paradoxically, they use this shield to avoid looking closely or for long periods at what is moral. As they hold to an ethics of simplistic assumptions about pure ideals, which they think are beyond rational or systematic consideration, they simultaneously develop a habit of political thought that simplistically savages the reality in which we actually live. Our collective ignorance and miseducation thus prevent any serious attempt to think about politics, never mind maintain a healthy political regime.

The net effect is to render cheap and easy cynicism a kind of civic virtue. The “news” becomes something best imbibed ironically through satirical comedic performances. But insofar as citizens deliberately cultivate this breezy ironic posture, we remain divorced from reality and unable to deliberate or evaluate deliberation over politics, thus perpetuating the very problem that caused our cynicism in the first place.

Cynicism is a never-ending, self-fulfilling prophecy of civic decay. What the critics of Trump fail to understand is that he is not buoyed primarily by gullible rubes fooled by carnival barking, but by a cynical public who has completely lost faith in the powers that be — by a cynical public that sees him as a visceral response to hollow, ineffective propaganda they increasingly recognize as such. Many do not wish to follow those they perceive as chestless, apolitical, unspirited pseudo-leaders anymore, but would rather follow Trump—in full knowledge of his defects—rather than follow those who mistakenly believe that they cleverly disguise their own defects.

Americans Are Tired of Being Pawns

Habituated to think that serious political thought is mere condemnation or deconstruction amidst a world of propaganda, we are unaware that this habit of thinking undermines and ultimately eviscerates our own political desires and aims, rendering us pawns in the game — leaving us at the mercy of forces, the existence of which we may be completely unaware. Yet, increasingly, at the end of television’s reign, amidst yet another era of new modes of media, we are all too aware that such forces are trying to manufacture our consent. And, like good Americans, we have begun to rebel.

This is not the kind of “unthinking patriotism” at which our elites are so ready to sneer. That sort of thing is rarer today than our pseudo-educated snobs believe, and, at least, it has the benefit of being a kind of necessary and normal sort of defect.

The intelligentsia loves to think that the many are simple idiots who adopt a “my country right or wrong” mentality even as the commoners generally understand political life in a much more realistic manner. Jimi Hendrix’s “Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock, for instance, is a serious work of political philosophy, providing a better definition of politics and patriotism—for good and ill—than much modern political science. Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” is another great case in point. The intelligentsia loves to point out that such works are pure protest, and misunderstood by the poor, benighted, and common people who listen to them with some kind of patriotic feeling. These rubes just don’t get it, they jeer.

The idea that the people who actually had to fight in wars like Vietnam or who daily have interactions with worthless public schools and the bureaucrats who administer them believe in a simple “my country right or wrong” mentality is asinine on its face. They know more of what is “wrong” in the country than the elites who welcome self-criticism only when they think they are above it.

Poll after poll shows most Americans have little faith in their leaders and national institutions, and this faith has declined over time during the post-World War II era. The idea that those who are most affected by the decisions of their leaders every day—those who must live with those results—are simply sanguine ‘Merica lovers is absurd.

In fact, the common understanding you hear in both pieces of music is a bittersweet and nuanced one. You hear the whole of politics—good and evil together—set within the underlying realization that one can’t escape political life and ought not to try. It is a patriotism that understands we live in a painfully imperfect world and nation and yet it is ours, and we love it as we do our family, and it is sometimes painful, sometimes noble, sometimes ugly, but always serious and our love remains.

Love Looks Beyond the Warts

What the common man understands looking up from the ground floor of the regime is that you often can’t do much about the bad decisions of your leaders, especially after they happen, and you have to learn to live with them. But that’s life, which is naturally communal, or political.

Even more significantly, what the common man understands is that what makes the intellectuals possible is a politics that the intellectuals often do not understand—a community that sticks together and protects its own and deals with its many imperfections the best it can precisely because it loves its own. That this love—which is necessary, normal, praiseworthy and good—is often the source of pain when things, inevitably, go awry.

One ought to fight against bearing the weight of injustice, yes, but bearing this weight is also part of political life—and all of human life, really. The political community and its corresponding sentiments of this basic, communal sort are necessary and the ground upon which our increasingly apolitical (even if politically active) intellectual stands, and not only when it comes to tangible, material necessities.

It’s rarely “my country right or wrong” but rather an understanding, however inchoate, that “my country” allows for the basic ground of my existence and even to some extent moral judgment itself. Communal life is rife with imperfection, but it’s all we’ve got. This is why more people than you might think intuitively understand what Gilbert and Sullivan meant by the “idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone/all centuries but this/and every country but their own.”

Charles Kesler puts it this way:

Courage never demands that one be perfect or morally pure, and [Trump] isn’t, so this virtue fit his rhetorical needs and strength. America does not have to be perfect for him to defend her wholeheartedly against her enemies. He does not have to be perfect to seek or to assert the privilege of defending her. Warts and all. It’s necessary only to love her.

Citizens and Intellectuals

The problem with “America First” taken literally without historical baggage is not that it is morally repugnant but that it is redundant. Like saying “Family First.” Far from being immoral, such sentiments are in some sense the basis of morality itself. It is true that we are called to love others: as we love ourselves. You can only love others to the extent you love yourself.

When the masses are asses, their problematic sentiment isn’t normally “my country right or wrong” but “what can we get away with” or “how can I avoid discomfort?” Then again, it’s the same problem for the experts.  Like all humans, they like to act as if they are simply humble lovers of the common good—mere retired investors living on a pension in Florida.

But if the masses are asses, the intellectuals are sophists. Any of the sophists, one gets the sense, would have taken up the offer of his friends and escaped from Athens if the city unjustly sentenced him to death. The city-state, he might say, was clearly decaying as a political form and good riddance to it and all its injustice. My country right, but not wrong.

Socrates, of course, did not do so. He let his country unjustly sentence him to death and willingly accepted the punishment. My country right or . . . wrong? But then again, thankfully for us, he was no intellectual.

We hear more calls from intellectuals for a change to the Constitution and witness a sad lack of confidence in—along with a lack of understanding of—our form of government. Those actively thinking about alternative options, however, should consider: the only way to re-form is through the existing form.

Perhaps we should be thankful that much of the idiocy on display during patriotic holidays is simply ignorance of the past and the positing of fantastical alternatives. You can’t blame them for what they do not know  and have never been taught to consider. It is easier to paint politics in black and white, and speak of intrinsically evil and intrinsically good regimes. It is easier to write it all off and throw it all out due to the growing cancers rather than perform difficult surgeries, especially when you don’t have the right tools or training.

Does anyone? Hell if I know. But we all must do what we can regardless. Sadly, the institutions that ought to provide us those willing to try and lead us forward have failed us. This is why the Publius Fellowship exists. It shouldn’t have to.

Neither should the American people constantly have to defend their own patriotism against arrogant friendly fire.

Don’t give in to the wry arrogance accompanying education and wealth that disdains patriotism. After all, it was your country which gave you that wealth and education. Don’t give in to the quiet whispers or the tortured qualifications that eat away at any real acknowledgment of the genuine good of this stunning land—qualifications based on abstract or romantic and childish assumptions about other times and places. If you want as bad or worse, look closer at history.

If you want better, look closely at our principles (start by reading the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech) and consider how we can better live up to them. If you love this country and your fellow citizens, persuade others, and thank the universe for the opportunity afforded you by your birth or your circumstance: a regime that still yet allows for the possibility that the force of persuasion rather than the force of arms can guide our communal human life.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • feminists • Post • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture • The Left • the Presidency • The Resistance (Snicker)

The Apostasy and Heresy of ‘Roeism’

In the 5th Century A.D., a heresy in the Christian Church called Pelagianism took form. Essentially, it taught that man was not burdened by original sin and could attain forgiveness and lead the life he chose with no assistance or grace from God. In other words, man fully controlled his own destiny in all facets of his life; there was no real need for a higher power or calling or redemptive grace. Man controlled everything in his midst.

That heresy was put down in the Christian Church by St. Augustine, but in many ways, it continues to this day in our own society. The advent of technological and medical wonders combined with the modernists’ emphasis on the autonomy of the self, men and women as never before think they are fully in control of all facets of society, to the point that many now believe we can not only determine when life begins and when it ends, but who lives and who dies. And this “faith in man” has been bolstered by what what might be called “ Roeism.”

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a woman, or for that matter, a physician or politician or bureaucrat, could determine when a life begins and ends, our society set down a path that today’s culture now fully and willingly travels, if not embraces.

And the results of this journey are all around us. Unborn infants who can feel pain and are literally weeks from birth are killed in the womb in the most brutal manners possible—by medical acts even the Nazis or Stalinist Russians would not fully adopt in the mid-20th century. Young people and mentally unbalanced individuals heartlessly kill innocents for no other reason than a desire to do so. Homeless men are beaten to death or set on fire by teenagers who did not grow up believing in the dignity of every human life. Young girls are sold and bought into sexual slavery because of a society committed to the autonomy of the individual and the pursuit of pleasure and comfort, even if it dehumanizes another person.

It cannot be mere coincidence that this is the society that has taken hold since our nation’s highest court ruled in Roe v. Wade in 1973 that a woman could kill her unborn child and that the child had no rights in the matter. And we do not talk about the roots of this ruling: an organization now called Planned Parenthood, founded by a woman many consider the “patron saint of feminism” and who advocated the forced sterilization of African-Americans, Irish and Italian-American Catholics, as well as coerced abortions to limit their population. It was Margaret Sanger’s views on coercive eugenics that informed Adolf Hitler’s own eugenics programs: an ugly truth, but truth nonetheless. Yet this organization receives hundreds of millions of federal and state tax dollars to perpetuate its goals with the imprimatur of our nation’s highest court.

When people wonder why so many in America seek the overturning of Roe, it is for all these reasons. It is a policy and ruling based on one of humanity’s greatest shames, more in line with the Dred Scott decision than with a truly enlightened and civilized people. It was a legal challenge based on a philosophy of hate and evil by an organization that today is protected by men and women who either have no sense or knowledge of history or who actually believe that the slaughter of tens of millions of our fellow man is simply no big deal.

And yet is a big deal because it has defined us as a society and a culture.

You can believe if you want to that Roe was decided in favor of the pro-abortion side simply because the court felt concern for women “trapped” in an unwanted pregnancy. But thoughtful and moral people will ask more questions. They will ask about the baby. They will ask about humanity. They will ask about the dignity of all people, and now, with the proof of technology backing profilers’ claims, they will ask about the role of reason and science in determining this important issue. They will also ask what truly motivates those who seek to protect the abortion industry, now a powerful and well-financed interest in America.

Our society now has little respect for human life because we foolishly believe that we are the masters of our life and our fate and need not answer for our actions.

But our society is answering for our actions: we sowed the winds of a culture of death and now we are reaping the whirlwind.

We saw it in the shootings in Annapolis last week, and we saw it in Florida earlier this year. We see it when states pass “right to die” laws with no protections for the mentally or physically infirm, yet won’t pass “right to use” laws that would allow terminally ill patients access to experimental health care procedures or drugs. We see it in the manner in which we choose not to address homelessness, or poor educational systems, or our immigration system.  

In short, we live in a society of our own making in which we no longer respect the fundamental, God-given dignity of every human being, of every immortal soul. And until we do—and we won’t until we acknowledge our human failing and frailties—our society will remain the raw, open wound we experience daily.

Overturning Roe will not solve our society’s problems because it will not resolve the inherent tension between conflicting belief systems, one which claims we are products of chance, the other which holds we are the ultimate end of an intelligent Creator and are imbued, therefore, with eternal souls. In fact, it is almost certain that even the promise Roe being overturned will divide our culture even more than it is divided now.  

But consider this: those of us who support extending the opportunity for happiness and peace to the unborn are not doing so to limit or hinder the same for women or their husbands or partners. We do so to right a terrible wrong: the empowerment of an idea and its chief organizational enabler that are grounded in the most hateful and despicable philosophy and acts humanity has ever imposed on itself. We do so to renew again a culture of respect and dignity for every human life, not just the single life we so misguidedly believe we own and control through the power of our own birth.

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Administrative State • America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Democrats • Donald Trump • Post • Republicans • self-government • separation of powers • The Leviathian State • The Resistance (Snicker)

The Overlords Have Arrived

Ten years ago, in the runup to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, candidate Barack Obama let slip his opinion of America’s working class voters: “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

His opponent, Hillary Clinton waxed into melodramatic indignation. “I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small-town America,” she said. “His remarks are elitist and out of touch.”

But as Democrat presidential nominee in 2016, Clinton had not only come around to Obama’s point of view, she dutifully proclaimed it with a statement that may have helped sink her candidacy: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.”

The architect of Obamacare, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, showed the sheer contempt the progressive elites have for the American people in his remarks on the admittedly intentionally deceptive campaign he ran to impose the Obamacare fiasco. He explained with pride the Obama Administration’s campaign of massive deceit of: “The lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” and that “the stupidity of the American voter ... was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

Looking back as the sand castles of Obama’s “legacy” of temporary executive orders crumble in the face of the torrent of the pen, phone, and legislation of workaholic Donald Trump, Obama had second thoughts: “Maybe we pushed too far,” Obama said. “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early.”

It’s a good question. And America is in the process of answering it. Will the elites win in the end, or did their arrogance and contempt for the American electorate begin the slow process of ending their infestation of “the commanding heights” of powerful institutions of government, the nonprofits, academia and the media?

Futurist Arthur C. Clarke’s most highly praised novel, published in 1953, was called Childhood’s End. Clarke was one of the first to posit a future in which the extraterrestrial aliens finally showed up. His alien “Overlords” were all-powerful, but appeared wise and compassionate and determined to help those on Earth unite with some peaceful multiglobal universal order they claimed would benefit all.

The Overlords carefully remained out of earthly affairs, except to stop conflicts and offer cures to diseases and valuable technology that created an age of global prosperity. Most humans forgot about them and went on with their lives. The Overlords only communicated through the Secretary General of the United Nations and stated they would not deal directly with the human race for another 50 years.

But as time passed, the creativity, vigor, and intelligence of the human race was radically diminished. Children increasingly appeared to be transforming into another species entirely. And it became clear the Overlords served some Universal Overmind that had found the human race and its world extraneous to its higher purpose. They were doomed.

If we look what is happening to the young in America today, we can see something similar. Journalist Salena Zito recently took her class of young transitioning aliens from Harvard to boldly go where no classmates had gone before—on a trip to parts of the “red” United States that were as foreign to them as Outer Mongolia. What were they learning at Harvard? “They admitted they had been fed a steady diet of stereotypes about small towns and their folk: ‘backwards,’ ‘no longer useful,’ ‘un- or under-educated,’ ‘angry and filled with a trace of bigotry’ were all phrases that came up,” she wrote in the New York Post.

But despite Zito’s efforts, 62 percent of Harvard’s class of 2018 is moving to the Blue State Littoral Progressive Paradise: New York, Massachusetts, California and D.C., another almost 10 percent overseas. That’s almost 75 percent. Forty years ago Harvard grad John LeBoutillier published a controversial book named, Harvard Hates America. As Harvard and other elite schools have transitioned from educational institutions to Progressive reeducation centers, there is nothing controversial about LeBoutillier’s concept today.

Today, Americans are trying to separate their consideration of an investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election from what increasingly looks like the wreckage of a failed coup against the election and office of the current president. And the signs of a confrontation across barricades between Americans and their self-appointed Overlords is revealed daily in the transcripts and testimony of the participants in congressional hearings and inquiries.

When Peter Strzok finally gave his long-awaited closed door congressional testimony, he was accompanied by three FBI lawyers to make certain he answered none of the questions the Department of Justice wished to consider “sensitive and classified,” whatever Congress might think. This turned out to be the majority of the important questions he was asked.

A day later in his own testimony, a smirking Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, representing what might be most appropriately called the Department of Obstruction of Justice, huffily protested the indignities of congressional oversight. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and other congressional interrogators had reminded Rosenstein that not only had requested documents not been produced, key documents had also contained evasive omissions and redactions, no matter how many pages had been sent over. “Why are you keeping information from Congress?” Jordan asked.

But Rosenstein was taking responsibility for nothing.  “I am the deputy attorney general of the United States. OK? I’m not the person doing the redacting.”

“You’re the boss,” admonished Jordan.

“He works for you, doesn’t work for us,” Jordan reminded Rosenstein, who had claimed no responsibility for Strzok’s evasions under Justice Department counsel, either.

“One-hundred-and-fifteen-thousand people work for me,” Rosenstein replied, making abundantly clear that while his Justice Department mob may not be helping Congress to its satisfaction in reviewing critical documents in question, it was doing so very much to his.

Overlords like Rosenstein feel perfectly comfortable waiting out the momentary passions of congressional sheep who are unwilling to use their power. Their goal is excruciating delay to prevent any external understanding that might be dangerous to the power of the institutions they control. They thwart any attempt to impose constitutional controls on the agencies they choose to see, against all law and precedent, as “independent.” After all, the “arc of history” bends towards the “fundamental transformation” of America. And the architect of that transformation, Barack Obama, was also the architect of the clearing of Hillary and the surveillance and hounding of Trump and his campaign by the Department of Justice, FBI and the Intelligence Community. President Trump may call it a “witch hunt,” but it is still underway, almost two years into his administration, with the outcome undecided.

To progressives, a “restoration” of the authentic rule by the Overlords is tantalizingly close. And they are as intent as Bonapartists or Jacobites on that restoration—by any means possible. The only election they regard as legitimate is one with an outcome they can accept. As the corpse-faced chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Thomas Perez, just reminded everyone in introducing Obama at a Beverly Hills fundraiser, “Let’s give it up for the real president of the United States.”

2016 Election • America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Conservatives • Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Donald Trump • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • Republicans • The Culture • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

If We’re Nazis, Expect More Violence

Because of the ever-descending moral and intellectual state of the mainstream news media, there has been no outcry against the leftists who call President Donald Trump and all Americans who support him Nazis. Indeed, members of the media now regularly do so.

Without that outcry, this labeling will only increase; and this steadily increasing drumbeat of hysteria is likely to lead to one result: violence against conservatives.

It is not plausible to foresee any other outcome of left-wing normalization of the terms “Nazi” and “white supremacist.”

The American Left has put itself in a moral quandary: Either it doesn’t mean it when it calls the president and his supporters Nazis, in which the case it is merely guilty of cheapening—and, as I explained in my previous column, actually denying—the Holocaust, or it does mean it, in which case morality demands it take violent action against Trump supporters.

For at least a decade, I have been saying that America is fighting a second civil war. But I have always added that unlike the first Civil War, this one—thank God—is nonviolent.

It’s getting harder and harder to assume it will stay that way.

A Senate intern shouts an obscenity at the president of the United States in the halls of Congress and the U.S. senator for whom she works does not fire her.

Left-wing mobs yell and chant “No justice, no sleep” in front of the homes of administration officials.

A Democratic Congresswoman, Maxine Waters, foments such action. “Let’s make sure,” she tells Democratic mobs, “we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

The Democratic Party labels political opposition to the president “Resistance,” the term used to describe the opposition to the Nazis during World War II.

All these are only the beginning. Few violent movements begin with violence. And when the Left sees that these tactics do not undo the last presidential election, some morally consistent leftists could quite possibly take the obvious next step and start targeting Republicans—as the shooter of Republican Rep. Steve Scalise and four others did.

As one liberal writer, Peter Beinart of the Atlantic, asked nearly a year ago, “If you believe the president of the United States is leading a racist, fascist movement that threatens the rights, if not the lives, of vulnerable minorities, how far are you willing to go to stop it?”

When conservatives—even one as critical of the president as Ben Shapiro—need the protection of bodyguards and police officers in riot gear when speaking on an American college campus, it is clear where we are headed. You can get an idea by watching what students did to biology professor Dr. Bret Weinstein, perhaps the only decent faculty member at Evergreen State University, because he refused to cooperate when left-wing students demanded that all whites leave the university campus for a day. Some months later, Weinstein was told by the left-wing university administration it “could no longer guarantee his safety.” Weinstein then left Evergreen State for good.

In March 2017, Charles Murray’s scheduled speech at Middlebury College was preempted by a violent left-wing mob, resulting in police escorting him off the campus. In the process, his interviewer, professor Allison Stanger, was injured by enraged leftist thugs, and she later ended up in a neck brace.

The New York Times recently reported that left-wing intellectuals regret the historic liberal defense of free speech. There is no question that if the left were to have its way, many, if not most, conservative opinions would be legally banned and those expressing them arrested.

I pray violence does not erupt in America. But if, God forbid, it does, let’s be clear it was the left that started it, just as surely as the South’s firing at Fort Sumter started the first Civil War.

Photo credit:  Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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America • Americanism • California • civic culture/friendship • Cultural Marxism • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Identity Politics • Immigration • Political Parties • Post • Progressivism • race • The Culture

The Democratic Party Is Killing Itself

What does America’s political climate bode for us in the next 25-50 years? What if I told you the Democratic Party will fracture into multiple parties and the Republican Party will grow stronger? And what if I said changing demographics and the normalization of identity politics would be the reason?

The Democratic Party has redoubled its embrace of identity politics. Whether it be Mexican-American, African-American, Chinese-American, Muslim-American or any of the two-dozen hyphenated American groups out there, these ethno-religious-cultural groups have by and large used the Democratic Party to further their group interests. Why wouldn’t they? Human beings are tribal creatures and more often than not flock to those who act like them, speak like them, pray like them, and, yes, look like them.     

As America’s non-Hispanic White population shrinks due to the influx of non-European immigration and low white birth rates, cultural enclaves have begun to form all over the nation. Starting in the late 1960s and accelerating over the past decade, the Democratic Party has  abandoned its traditional base of working-class white voters to embrace minority immigrant groups. Although this has boded well for them in places like California, it won’t last.

Growing Republican Support

Working-class white voters feel abandoned by the Democratic Party. The party went from a platform of being center-left economically and socially/culturally conservative to a platform that is far to the left economically and socially/culturally degenerate. Consider how the South went from blue to red in the 1990s, as Southern Evangelicals embraced the Republican Party platform.  

Something similar is happening in the Rust Belt. Compare Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the 2008 and 2012 elections with the outcome in 2016. All three “blue wall” states voted for Trump, shocking the nation. But was it really so astounding? Those states have been electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate (Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson), the House (nine out of 15 seats in Michigan, five out of eight seats in Wisconsin, and 10 out of 18 seats in Pennsylvania are Republican), state legislatures (Republican majorities in all three states) and to their governor’s offices (Michigan’s Rick Snyder and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker).

The red shift didn’t occur because people suddenly became Koch brothers-loving investors who want to grow their portfolio and bring in cheap foreign labor. It’s because the Republican Party is changing to reflect the interests of the white working class in these states. This solidified after Trump’s election in 2016. And why not? As the Democrats’ political rhetoric and policy proposals have become more explicitly anti-white and socialistic, naturally white voters will look for a political home elsewhere.

Abandoning the Democrats

Looking at the past two decades of presidential elections, the white share of the popular vote has decreased for Democratic candidates (with the exception of Barack Obama’s 2008 bid). Bill Clinton won 49 percent of the white vote on 1996, Al Gore won 43 percent in 2000, John Kerry won 41 percent in 2004, Barack Obama won 43 percent in 2008 and 39 percent in 2012, while Hillary Clinton won 39 percent in 2016.

Increasingly so, more whites are realizing that the economically center-left and socially/culturally conservative party of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy no longer exists. The old Democratic Party was a pro-labor, pro-union party. Today, the Democratic Party is the party of open borders, multiculturalism, and environmentalism—positions that reduce wages, divide communities, and undermine economic prosperity. The traditional base of white working-class Democrats either cannot relate to or are opposed to these policies and as a result have been leaving the Democratic Party in droves.

The Democrats have cynically embraced Hispanics, blacks, Asians, Muslims, the LGBT community, feminism and many other groups in an attempt to divide and conquer the electorate—even though most of these groups have conflicting interests. That in and of itself will be the downfall of the Democratic Party.

What About  the Black Community?

The other major demographic group left sidelined by Democrats’ suicidal embrace of identity politics is black Americans. Blacks shifted en masse to the Democrats—once a party committed to segregation and Jim Crow—after the 1964 Civil Rights Act (despite the fact that more Republicans than Democrats ultimately voted for the bill). But black votes are becoming less relevant to Democratic victory as the Hispanic population has expanded. When Democrats champion the rights of illegal aliens and encourage the importation of cheap labor, who suffers the most? Blacks.

Fact is, the desire for more Democratic votes through mass immigration and free healthcare for foreign nationals have made blacks (12.7 percent of the nation’s population) less significant to Democrats’ electoral fortunes.  Don’t think the black community hasn’t noticed the problem with illegal immigration. A Harvard-Harris poll earlier this year found 85 percent of black Americans wanted a reduction in immigration levels to 1 million or fewer. Sooner or later, blacks will leave the Democrats. Whether they join with the GOP or form a party based on racial identity is an open question. Both could very well happen.

It’s worth noting how a handful of influential African-Americans lately have come out in support of what might be best described as “conservative values” in general and President Trump in particular.  Kanye West springs immediately to mind. So do Dennis Rodman, Mike Tyson, Diamond and Silk, Candice Owens, and Ben Carson. In fact, since Kanye West’s embrace of Trump, support for the president among black men has doubled.

What’s more, President Trump has been wooing the black community by making a number of pardons as well as meeting publicly with the presidents of historically black colleges. As a result of their alienation from the Democratic Party, some within the black community might attempt to revive some version of the Black Panther Party to represent black interests, while others following the celebrities’ lead will find a new home in the Republican Party.

Development of Minority Interest Parties

But why stop with a black nationalist party? As many of minority constituencies grow in size (thanks in part to the archaic immigration system and high birth rates among Hispanics), they’ll demand special favors within the Democratic coalition, too. And eventually those interests will come into conflict over irreconcilable cultural differences. When that happens, the Democrats could be likely fracture into ethno-religious-cultural interest parties.

It’s already happened in Europe and in certain Asian countries with diverse ethnic populations.  The Denk Party in the Netherlands, for example, is an expressly Turkish minority party (with direct ties to the Turkish government).

The Malaysian Chinese Association and the Malaysian Indian Congress represent Chinese and Indian communities in Malaysia.

What do the establishment of these ethno-religious-cultural parties tell us about these nations? It tells us there are sizable chunks of the population that have divided loyalties: to the nation in which they reside and to the nation of their ancestors. As immigrant groups grow in size in the United States (particularly the Chinese, Indian, and Mexican populations) the Democratic Party will begin to collapse. The party’s attempt to be a catch-all big tent progressive coalition will be its downfall.

In its arrogance, the Democratic Party’s leadership has failed to see that promoting a “diverse” and “multicultural” society to people who don’t believe in multiculturalism or diversity is utterly suicidal. Chinese, Arabs, Indians and Mexicans are deeply conservative identitarian groups that as a whole have no interest in compromising their cultures, traditions, or ways of life. Throwing them all together and expecting a kumbaya moment is foolish and betrays a profound misunderstanding of these cultures. It is quite ironic how the Democratic Party, in all of its arrogance changed its platform in an attempt to gain more power only to have it be their undoing.

America • Americanism • California • civic culture/friendship • Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Political Parties • Post • The Left

California’s Oligarchs and Agitators

If one were to distill the essence of California’s Democratic party into a one-page document, it would be hard to beat a recent mail piece showing the SEIU’s candidate endorsements for California’s top jobs. According to its  website, the Service Employees International Union Local 1000 (SEIU) “is a united front of 96,000 working people employed by the State of California, making Local 1000 the largest public sector union in California and one of the largest in the country.”

Occupying the entire upper-right segment of the obverse side of this mailer is a portrait photo of gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom—a beatific smile revealing perfect teeth, coiffed hair swept back in an elegant pompadour, eyes shining with courage, equanimity, love. Gavin Newsom, the visionary leader, who will lead California into an even more enlightened future. And joining Newsom, the woke white puppet of the Getty oligarchy, arrayed in a row of eight portraits beneath his beneficent gaze, are his hardscrabble minions, the SEIU’s preferred candidates for California’s other state offices.

Gavin Newsom and his SEIU endorsed dream team of running mates

Unlike their debonair white male overlord, these candidates were born woke, and virtuous by virtue of their genetics. Five Latino males, two Asian females, and a Black male constitute Gavin Newsom’s electoral coterie. And with that prerequisite established, only one additional virtue is required to please the SEIU: a commitment to hard-Left identity politics. And this dream team doesn’t disappoint.

Kevin de León, backed by Tom Steyer and now running for U.S. Senate against long-time incumbent Democratic Dianne Feinstein—frequently refers to “President Trump’s racist-driven deportation policies.” But open borders is only part of the leftist agenda, and de León’s campaign website makes very clear that he is all in, supporting free public education, converting the entire nation to using “only renewable energy by 2045,” and, of course, a single-payer health care system. It does not appear that de León has the slightest idea how we will pay for all this.

What de León advocates is more or less representative of what all these hard-left candidates advocate, with various differences in the details.

Lt. Governor candidate Ed Hernandez, for example, calls for increasing California’s education budget by “$3,600 more per student,” which, if applied to California’s 6.2 million K-12 students, would cost another $22.4 billion per year. And where will that money come from?

Alex Padilla, running for reelection as California’s secretary of state, naturally joins the leftist chorus on the big issues while offering specific policies intended to increase turnout of everyone likely to vote Democrat. As documented on his campaign website, Padilla has seen to it that Californians are “automatically registered to vote when they apply for or renew their driver’s license,” he’s “launched online pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds,” and implemented “vote by mail, ten days of in-person early voting, and the flexibility of voting at any vote center in the county.” And naturally, Padilla has “consistently pushed back on Trump’s baseless allegations of massive voter fraud,” since using public sector union nonpolitical funds to pay for thousands of operatives to knock on doors and collect vote by mail ballots isn’t technically fraudulent, is it?

These candidates offer no surprises. California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra, running for reelection, has said “Trump was showing himself to be a racist in every respect.” That sort of passion informs what appears to be Becerra’s primary activity, suing the Trump Administration. Through May 2018 Becerra has filed 35 lawsuits against various federal agencies, attacking everything from the EPA’s attempts to standardize fuel economy standards, to the supposedly outrageous plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census form, to, of course, protecting “sanctuary cities.”

When it comes to leftist radicals, perhaps Democratic Assemblyman Ricardo Lara—now running for insurance commissioner, presents the best credentials. In late 2016, when incoming President Trump proposed to deport criminal aliens, Lara stood on the floor of the state legislature and threatened to “fight in the streets” to preserve “the work we have done.”

With the possible exception of Fiona Ma, running for state treasurer, who briefly worked for a public accounting firm, none of these candidates have a background in business. They have spent their entire careers either working in the public sector or working for activist nonprofits. This makes them perfectly suited for the oligarchs and powerful labor activists that constitute their base.

The irony of what these candidates will do—and most of them are expected to win—is lost on the voters to whom they  appeal. Many of these candidates have inspiring family stories. Most of them come from recent immigrant families, and all of them have done well in their lives and their careers. But they experienced this success because they lived in California before the policies were enacted that are now stifling the aspirations of newcomers and residents alike. And the hard Left policies they would advance will make life in the Golden State harder still, unless you’re a destitute immigrant or a well-connected left-wing oligarch.

It’s relatively easy to see why oligarchs support California’s leftist regime. They like restrictive policies that create artificial scarcity because that increases the value of their preexisting assets, especially real estate. They like crippling regulatory burdens on businesses because that makes it much harder for their emerging competitors to survive. The barons of Silicon Valley love the mandated sensors and embedded chips and internet enabled appliances—all to “save the planet”—because they make billions manufacturing these components. And, needless to say, they want millions of immigrants, desperate for work, readily available to clean their toilets and trim the hedges at their private schools.

It’s more difficult to understand why the SEIU, or any activist organization that purportedly fights for the average worker, would support such policies. Why would a labor union, for example, support open borders? Don’t they understand that if you continue to import low-skilled workers, wages will remain low? But maybe these labor organizations don’t want things to improve for California’s low income communities. Maybe the worse things get, the more members they’ll recruit, the more resentment they’ll exploit, the more agitators will join their army. Maybe this is just about power.

Evidence to support such a cynical assessment of big labor’s true agenda isn’t hard to find. One telling example was SEIU 1000’s successful effort earlier this month to force the California Healthcare Facility in Stockton to hire government workers—SEIU members—and terminate their contracted staff of private-sector workers. The heartless essence of this story is in the details: janitorial workers were trained and placed by PRIDE Industries, an organization that employs people with mental and physical disabilities. Now they’re out of a job that, by all accounts, they were doing well. But SEIU 1000 has more members, more dues, and more power. Apparently for them, that’s more important.

If Gavin Newsom and his gang of eight, all endorsed by the SEIU, win in November, it will be a victory for the oligarchs and the activists. But it will not be a victory for hard-working Californians. Maybe someday California’s voters will learn.

Photo credit:  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Administrative State • America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Greatness Agenda • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post

Zero Tolerance Is Dead at the Border

President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border is effectively dead unless Congress intervenes.

Top officials at the Department of Homeland Security confirmed last week they will pivot back to the Obama-era policy of “catch and release,” where illegal border crossers are arrested, and then released into the United States to await trial.

How did the pendulum swing so quickly from zero tolerance to baseline efforts at enforcement? In attempting fully to apply the law to illegal crossers, the Trump Administration ran smack into two of the thorniest challenges that plague immigration enforcement across the country: resources and complicating legal issues.

The federal government simply does not have enough beds to incarcerate so many illegal aliens, which has averaged 39,322 people a day this fiscal year. DHS confirms it has three “family residential centers” with room for about 3,000 adults and children, which are nearly full. Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have reportedly asked the Pentagon to provide overflow housing on military bases, reminiscent of a similar Obama Administration request in 2014.

Moreover, due to a long running legal settlement, the federal government is restricted in how long it may detain migrant children. If families are to be kept together, as Trump’s latest executive order dictates, current law says families cannot be held together longer than 20 days.

All of this has placed unsustainable pressure on limited resources. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the press corps on Tuesday, “We’re going to run out of space, we’re going to run out of resources to keep people together.”

As a result, border patrol agents simply have stopped referring adult immigrants who cross the southern border illegally for criminal prosecution. Kevin McAleenan, the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), directed his staff to halt referrals because Trump has barred the separation of families. Prosecutions for illegal border crossers cannot occur unless Border Patrol agents refer cases for that purpose.

U.S. attorneys across the border are suspending prosecutions of misdemeanor and felony illegal entry cases involving people apprehended with children. As was the case for a group of 17 migrants in McAllen, Texas, prosecutors are simply dropping charges.

The head of the National Border Patrol Council summed up the problem frankly:

We’re going to have to release [families] under what’s called the catch-and-release program. It’s impossible to not separate the family unless the catch-and-release policy takes hold again. If we can’t hold the children more than 20 days, therefore we can’t hold the parents more than 20 days. It takes about six to nine months to see a deportation proceeding from the beginning to the end.

“No One Is Afraid of the Law”

The problems with returning to a catch-and-release policy (or, as border  agents derisively call it, “catch and run”) are obvious. During the 2016 campaign, President Trump ran against most of them. Most obviously, catch-and-release results in even more illegal immigration. In testimony before the Senate, one border patrol agent described the policy this way:

If you are an unaccompanied minor, we will not only release you, but will escort you to your final destination. If you are a family unit, we will release you. If you claim credible fear, we will release you. If you are a single male and we do not physically see you cross the border and you claim that you have been in this country since 2014, we will release you. Do you have to offer any proof that you have been here the last two years—absolutely not. We will take your word for it.

Illegal immigrants who are apprehended are given a “notice to appear” in court months later. Many do not. A report by a former federal immigration judge found that of the 2.5 million aliens released from detention into the country over the past 20 years, an average of 46,000 failed to appear in court each year. A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found 38 percent of aliens apprehended by the Border Patrol in 2014 and 2015 were likely still living in the United States as of May 2016.

It goes without saying that such policies only increase illegal crossings. As the president of the National Border Patrol Council put it in testimony before the House of Representatives, “individuals entering the U.S. illegally know they will be released if apprehended. The result is no one is afraid of the law.”

Trump is Taking the Heat for Congressional Failure

In attempting full enforcement of U.S. law at the border, the Trump Administration has ended up back at square one, running full force into a brick wall of Congress’ making. The law restricting child detention to no more than 20 days effectively means families cannot be held during the length of their prosecution. Likewise, even if the law was changed, the executive agencies lack the resources to house sufficiently the thousands of illegal crossers.

Both of these issues are squarely within congressional purview. Trump can’t change the law. Only Congress can. Likewise, even with plenty of money in other accounts, the Anti-Deficiency Act prevents executive agencies from spending more than what Congress designates on particular activities. And, as Sanders confirmed earlier this week, the agencies are getting very close to running out of money.

Yet, Congress continues to pluck at Nero’s fiddle, deliberately ignoring that Rome is in flames. On Thursday, both houses adjourned for a week of recess—the House doing so after considering a failed amnesty vote for 2 million illegal immigrants.

What’s more, Senate Democrats have ignored or outright blocked proposals to provide resources and legal clarity at the border. As Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor the other day, Democrats would rather “keep the focus on Trump” than actually solve any problems.

Indeed, the Democrats’ proposed “solution” is laughable. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), along with every Democrat senator, has signed onto the Keep Families Together Act, a bill drafted so sloppily that it doesn’t even distinguish between migrant children at the border and U.S. citizen children already in the country.

On this issue Democrats have painted themselves into a corner and Republicans would be wise to take advantage of it. Recent polling suggests that while voters are unhappy with family separation, nearly half agree the whole family should be returned to their home country. Only 19 percent support the “catch-and-release” policies the Democrats are pushing, while 46 percent support Trump’s zero-tolerance policy of arresting and prosecuting anyone who crosses the border illegally.

Rather than contorting themselves to support amnesty, Republicans would do well to act quickly to provide the legal clarity and the resources so desperately needed at the border. Voters don’t support catch-and-release regardless of whose policy it is, Obama’s or Trump’s.

If the Republican congressional majorities force the administration into a catch-and-release posture by failing to do their jobs, the consequences will be severe. Not just for the president, but for congressional majorities as well.

Photo credit:  Spencer Platt/Getty Images

America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Donald Trump • Greatness Agenda • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • The Culture

Crying Babies Used by Crybabies

With all rational and pseudo-rational arguments exhausted and Republican support for President Trump pegged around 90 percent in most polls, the Democrats are left to reduce their opposition to one simple (and simplistic) idea: Donald Trump is despicable because he makes babies cry.

How did we reach this point in our national discourse? It is remarkable, given how fond liberals are of reminding us of their superior intelligence and unfailing devotion to “logic.” Both points are belied by what we have seen in recent weeks.

One could argue, when the great machine of leftism can only continue to function by lubricating itself with children’s tears, this is a sure sign that the movement has become truly desperate. Maybe so. Yet the recent fixation with (misleading and even staged) images of miserable kids at the U.S.-Mexico border is arguably just a further elaboration of a long-dominant theme in leftist politics: the cult of the victim.

Surely, liberals opine, suffering asylum-seekers deserve our sympathy, and maybe even some kind of restitution. (You can see why trial lawyers lean left!) Since, moreover, leftists invariably think in terms of groups, for them the primacy of victimhood means they should have a monopoly on deciding which groups are most deserving of compassion, indulgence, and gratification in the hierarchy of suffering and oppression.

Now, if one buys into this spurious logic, needless to say it becomes extremely important for each group to make its claims to victimhood as loudly and as emotively as possible. And so we find ourselves witnessing, to our universal consternation, a nightly parade of crying babies in our “news” broadcasts. Nothing could make greater sense, from a leftist perspective.

Some Crybabies are Better than Others
But why illegal immigrants? Surely the Left could find a group better suited to victim/hero status than a mass of people united by no common bond except their failure to adhere to U.S. immigration laws.

Not necessarily!

Illegal immigrants have long appealed to the Left as an aggrieved minority. The fact that they are potential voters doesn’t hurt their cause, of course, but it is their robust victimhood and downtrodden position that really earns the liberal’s respect. Nonetheless, the Left’s current position‚—that no illegal immigrant parent should ever be separated from his or her child, when U.S. servicemen, as well as Americans charged with crimes, are accorded no such accommodation—is an extraordinary logical leap.

But, here again, logic has nothing to do with it. This is an emotional appeal, driven by a  drumbeat repetition of images (and even audio clips) with the message that Trump’s policy at the border is different, and obscenely wrong, because it produces the palpable effect of sobbing children. People who choose to make children sad, moreover, are monsters. Thus, Trump is the worst of the worst and the lowest of the low. The evidence of bawling toddlers only confirms what leftists already know to be true.

The natural rejoinder to this strange species of sentimentality is this: lots of things make children cry, and lots of children are crying, both in this country and in others. Why, then, does the suffering only of the children who can credibly be called victims of Trumpism merit our attention and remedial action?

Legitimate Claims to Public Sympathy
As “Angel Moms” demonstrated on June 22 in an event hosted by President Trump, a strong case could be made that illegal immigrants can just as easily be the cause of misery, both for children and adults.

Angel Moms are U.S. mothers who have lost children to illegal alien criminals. Surely they, who have been permanently separated from their kids (at least in this life), have an even greater claim to public sympathy than those temporarily detained at the border, don’t they? No, indeed, as the mainstream media sees it, because crimes committed by illegal immigrants are a non-issue. Why? To mention them makes advocates of “undocumented immigrants” sad and angry, and we can’t have that.

Some tears, it seems, are more worthy than others.

To assert that Trump’s border policies cause more tears than, say, Obama’s, is speculative at best, and unverifiable, since the media never showed the slightest interest in Obama’s enforcement record anyway. The broader implication of the Left’s politics of despair is, however, that conservatism, Republicanism, and nationalism all yield an aggregate quantity of crying children (and adults) far greater than that produced by liberalism, political correctness, and socialism.

In fact, though, there is not a shred of evidence to support this generalization. We have ample reason to think the opposite might be true.

Marxism killed 100 million people in the 20th century. That, presumably, engendered a fair amount of despondency among their loved ones. On a lesser scale, the job losses and economic and social dislocation fostered by the waves of illegal immigration and one-sided trade deals beloved by liberals have also, one assumes, caused more than a few Americans—including children—to bemoan their fates. And yet, for some strange reason, the raw negative emotions produced by left-wing fiascos aren’t newsworthy. C’est la vie.

What About the Cheering Children?
To argue the same point from another perspective: How many Americans, including children, have been cheered by Donald Trump’s election and its innumerable positive ramifications? How many children on the Korean Peninsula, and beyond, may sleep more soundly, may shed fewer tears, because of Trump’s decision to pursue denuclearization and a rapprochement with Kim Jong-un? How many children, adolescents, and young adults have been heartened to see job prospects improve, both for them and for their parents, because of a booming economy?

How many children walk to school or play in neighborhood parks with a greater sense of safety and well-being, because the Trump Administration is vigorously deporting MS-13 thugs, instead of making excuses for them and shielding them from immigration authorities, as liberal “sanctuary” mayors and governors do every day? And how many children may, if Trump gets to appoint even one more Supreme Court justice, experience the joys of life itself, because they were saved from abortion-on-demand?

It is not hard, as we see here, to argue that it is liberals and the Democratic Party who are the true enemies of children, and the more reliable instigators of their tears. In truth, though, these are still the arguments of sentimentalists and hucksters. They carry little weight, rationally speaking, because they are overwhelmingly based on anecdotes and emotional manipulation, not hard evidence and a balanced consideration of positives and negatives. They are, in other words, the arguments of children, and those who think like them, not mature adults.

Which party, then, is the true champion of happiness, and which is the architect of torment and grief? That is a question best left to philosophers and theologians, not pundits and reporters. They may be experts at exploiting human emotions—including grief—but when it comes to identifying the true sources of joy and fulfillment, and of gloom and agony, they are at best only as insightful as all the rest of us mere mortals. Let us hope in the future they will stick to reporting the facts and keep their preaching to themselves.

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De-Magnetizing the Border with an Iron Will and a Silver Tongue

After weeks of snarling, teeth gnashing, and Nazi death camp analogies by the media and punditocracy, President Trump ordered family separation of illegal crossers at the border to end.

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) summed up the conundrum facing policymakers:

We want to make sure that the families are not divided, and yet we do have to secure the border . . . [Detaining families together] is an option, and if somebody has a better one, we’d like to look at it.

So what to do?

There are two principle short-term policy options in a post-family separation settlement. Either detain and prosecute all comers but hold together as family units or release crossers in the United States, with a notice to appear in court later.

Each has practical hurdles and requires a political consensus to execute but the latter, as discussed below, will only worsen the problem in the long term, effectively super-charging the border magnet, even it is an easier lift in the short term.

To Detain or Not to Detain . . . ?

Although Trump’s executive order explicitly did not end the “zero tolerance” prosecution policy, the influx of border crossing Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) and family units has overwhelmed DHS’s ability to accommodate unified families in detention. In the latest twist, the Administration says it lacks the resources to hold the parents and children, anyway.

If the trend of the last few months hold, over 40,000 people will be apprehended at the border in June including 9,500 individuals family units and 6,500 UACs.

Since the feds only have about 3,300 beds for detaining families, the overflow of apprehended illegal crossers has to be handled somehow. With over 420 family unit individuals crossing daily, Trump is now turning to the military to provide tens of thousands of beds and accommodation for detained crossers.

But with only 334 immigration judges equipped and trained to handle the case load, wait times for adjudication of the detained immigrants’ cases now exceeds 40 days.

The story is similar for UACs with over 76,000 cases pending as of April 1 and growing massively since then.

So, the turnover rate in government provided beds is slow, the caseloads are huge, and the judges overworked with no end in sight. With strained resources, the entire immigration system is at a breaking point.

If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free?

Even Obama’s own DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson publicly rejected the release-first approach over the weekend, “We can’t have catch and release and in my three years we deported, or repatriated or returned over a million people.”

Contrary to the wishes of the media and commentariat, the American people don’t want consequence-free policies. Only 21 percent of CBS poll respondents want a return to “catch and release” of illegal entries, whereby the entire family is released in the United States and expected to show up to court. Forty-eight percent want immediate family reunification via deportation. A YouGov poll confirmed the sentiment, with only 19 percent preferring to “Release the families and have them report back for an immigration hearing at a later date” while a whopping 64 percent wanted some form of detention for the parents.

Critics point out there is a working model for “alternatives to detention” or ATD.

In fact, that policy—to provide notice to appear, release on bond, or some type of monitoring—has been held up as an effective alternative to universal detention by a series of immigrant rights defenders from CATO to the ACLU.  

Except of course, these claims are disingenuous and convenient because the hard Left decries  as inhumane any plan to use ankle monitoring to track and eventually deport failed asylum claimants and inadmissible aliens.

They don’t really want any illegal migrants or false asylum seekers removed at all.

And aside from detention, there’s no certainty that a border crosser will appear at court. According to immigration judge Mark Metcalf’s analysis, more than 50 percent of aliens released or never detained eventually fail to appear at their court hearings and are ordered removed. The official figure, which Metcalf argues is artificially undercounting failures to appear, now averages about 40 percent of aliens absconding from FY2014 to FY2016.

Asylum Roulette

At the same time, the number of asylum claims is skyrocketing from Central America’s “Northern Triangle” countries (Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras)—rising 892 percent since 2012. In FY2017, nearly 80,000 Central Americans claimed asylum at the border yet less than 5 percent of their claims are ever granted.

The incomplete available data for FY2018 is even more telling, in the first 6 months of the fiscal year over 60,000 defensive asylum claims (the type of claim filed by border crossers to avoid expedited removal proceedings) have been filed through March.

Not So Innocent

But most migrants are not actually seeking asylum, as one alien admitted to the New York Times on June 17th:

Elsa Johana Ortiz Enriquez packed up what little she had in Guatemala and traveled across Mexico with her 8-year-old son, Anthony. In a group, they rafted across the Rio Grande into Texas. From there they intended to join her boyfriend, Edgar, who had found a construction job in the United States. [Bold mine]

And some are callously risking the lives and welfare of their children to game the U.S. immigration system:

This is the reason I brought a minor with me,” said Guillermo T., 57, a construction worker who recently arrived in Arizona. Facing unemployment at home in Guatemala, he decided to head north; he had been told that bringing his 16-year-old daughter would assure passage. He asked that only his first named be used to avoid consequences with his immigration case. “She was my passport,” he said of his daughter.

And the American public has taken notice of the cynical use of children by their illegal alien parents. Fifty-four percent of public blames the border crossing parents for the crisis compared to 35 percent Trump and/or the government, according to Rasmussen.  

While there’s no need to diminish legitimate need for a functional asylum process for the deserving, in fact, bad economics is the real driver of Central American migration, as many aliens admit freely:

Iván Buezo said he is determined to make it back to the U.S. after recently being detained in Houston and deported. Days after being flown back to Honduras, the 17-year-old was waiting for a bus, ready for another attempt at migrating to the U.S., where he wants to find a job. In Honduras, he said he can earn just $5 a day working on a farm. “You can’t make any money here,” he said. “I want to go to work, to have a better future.”

According to a 2012 Gallup survey, between 15 and 20 percent of those Central American countries would move to the United States if given the opportunity. That’s roughly 5 to 7 million individuals who want to come here.

Make no mistake, these migrants aren’t nincompoops: they are actively engaged in finding the best way to enter the United States without consequences and have been doing so for a while.

As the Wall Street Journal reported in 2016:

The controversial tactic temporarily lifts the threat of deportation from undocumented immigrants. The asylum claims also enable applicants to obtain work permits and driver’s licenses while their cases crawl through the adjudication process…Government data that would capture the recent surge in such applications isn’t yet available. But an American Immigration Lawyers Association advisory last month outlining “ethical considerations” relevant to such applications said, “the practice has become widespread.” The strategy is hotly debated in the legal community, with some attorneys saying that applicants with bona fide claims are disadvantaged by a backlog exacerbated by those whose cases lack merit…Asylum applicants are entitled to file for a work permit if their application has been pending for 150 days. Given the current backlog in the immigration system, it can take three or four years for that first interview to take place, which ensures the issuance of work permits. “The backlog is created by these lawyers literally flooding the asylum office with cases that lack merit,” said Charles Kuck, an Atlanta attorney. “It’s an abuse of the law.”

So, under the previous framework, by uttering the word asylum, claimants got to work and drive and blend in to society as their case winds it way through courts—which can take years.

In addition to getting all the benefits of a life in the United States without waiting in line, they are disadvantaging legitimate claimants by clogging the courts with baseless, selfish claims.

More than a year after the dust settled on the last Central American migrant surge in 2014, some interesting facts came to light:

According to Border Patrol interviews conducted during this past summer, many illegal immigrants told authorities they believed the U.S. was allowing families to stay, speaking of “permisos” to remain in the country. An internal Border Patrol report concerning the situation was obtained by Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee and first reported by the Associated Press in October… The Border Patrol found that 68% of the illegal immigrants interviewed believed either that the U.S. was offering some form of asylum or amnesty. Federal agents found that 64% of the individuals interviewed believed that the U.S. was granting work permits to those who arrived as a family. Part of the challenge is a recent change to U.S. immigration policy that makes it more difficult to detain families arriving with children. A federal judge ruled this year that immigration officials must quickly release families with children from detention centers, saying that such an action violates a 1997 settlement not to hold children. The federal government has appealed that decision and is asking for an expedited hearing. “Thing that’s driving it is that when children and family units arrive, generally they are permitted to stay while they’re in removal proceedings, said Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute’s U.S. Immigration Policy Program. “That process typically takes a year or two—or longer.” Mr. Rosenblum said migrant families are being freed and told to appear in federal court. “That looks a lot like a ‘permiso’ to them,” he said.

Thus, despite claims of violence and other horrendous situations driving the migrant surge, it is now clear that the magnet was the subtle signals from Obama that amnesty or leniency, especially for families and children, was the order of the day.

If we return to ‘catch and release’ even if only for families and children, the magnet’s pull will only get stronger by backing down. It will eventually force another 1986-style mass amnesty of everyone who managed to abscond or simply tie up the courts long enough to avoid being permanently repatriated.

Playing the Long Game

With public support behind some form of detention, Trump has some political capital to spend to solve this crisis. But he needs a strategy, not just in the immediate future, but for the long run.

Like during the Cold War, the US must revive its information services to stem the flow of migrants and mean what it says about it.

In the battle to secure the border, actions speak louder than words but sending a resounding message is the first step.

If the Administration can continue to detain and prosecute illegal crossings and hold the mostly false asylum claimants until deportation, it must publicize the consequences directly to the people next in line on the migrant caravans.

Via a Radio Free Europe-style broadcast and information dissemination across all media, the federal government must get the message out that border crossing is not permitted, there is no amnesty, and importantly, how dangerous and foolhardy such a crossing is. The drug smugglers and cartels, the careless and dangerous coyotes, the soaring temperatures and hostile conditions make the journey a perilous one before it achieves 100 percent futility upon capture in the United States.

The next step is harder. Trump, the Congress, and the American people must stick to their guns or they will only precipitate another crisis.

As Margaret Thatcher admonished George H.W. Bush, “This is no time to go wobbly.”

To de-magnetize the border, we have to have an iron will and silver tongue.

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Faster Feiler, Faster!

The Feiler Faster Thesis posits that the pace of social change is accelerated by the increasing rapidity of the technology used by journalists to report the news, which whets the public’s appetite for more and even faster news, thus in effect creating even more news. By turns vicious and virtuous, it’s a cycle of news-and-response that keeps current events churning and temporarily sating the public’s appetite for the new—until something even newer comes along. It’s like the mad chariot race in Ben-Hur, with the only certainty being that at least one side is going to be destroyed in the delirium.

In the pre-2016 past, the engine was the Kardashians and their ilk, celebrities famous for being famous for reasons that either no one could remember or had something to with (given the mainstreaming of pornography) a sex tape. Not that any of it really mattered; journalism having long ago gotten into the gossip business, “news” was defined as anything the public wanted to know about, and so the race to the, er, bottom was on.

Today, the embodiment of this phenomenon is not the generously proportioned Kim K. but the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, in whose person the nation’s obsession with both the trivial (Stormy Daniels) and the crucial (peace with North Korea and the coming downfall of the Iranian mullahs) combine in one unique individual equally at home in both aspects of our public (and formerly private) lives. Seizing control of the principal Feilerian engine, Twitter, Trump has jacked up the pace of change to warp speed, and we are all now just along for the ride.

Consider the events of the past couple of days alone: major victories in the Supreme Court, including the upholding of his “Muslim ban,” and, in Janus v. AFSCME, what may prove to be a death blow to the Democrats’ stranglehold on the public-employee unions and their milking of them as electoral cash cows. On top of that, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his sudden retirement, leaving a vacancy on the Court that Trump announced he would fill immediately with a proven conservative in the mold of Neil Gorsuch.

The Left, which has been driven to madness by Trump’s victory and his subsequent relentless drive to overturn what’s left of the Obama “legacy” and restore something of the status quo ante of the country he (and we) knew and loved growing up, has now gone completely bonkers (pungent examples at the link.) As I wrote on Twitter yesterday: “This must be what the Platonic Form of schadenfreude feels like.” It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

All three of these events are of crucial importance in the rolling back of the Frankfurt School’s cultural-demolition project of “Critical Theory,” the eradication of Obamaism from our laws and its reduction to a footnote in the history books, the counter-offensive against the Long March Through the Institutions, and most of all in the restoration of traditional American values, including patriotism, self-defense, cultural confidence, and the old “don’t tread on me” spirit. No wonder the Left is losing it—in both senses.

The “Muslim ban” decision was to be expected, but the fact that it was 5-4 is disgraceful. The U.S. Code Section 1182 makes it clear that the president has plenary authority in matters of immigration, but the sappers on the Left sued and sued again to challenge Trump’s authority on the grounds that Trump had shown bias by singling out a religion—and found some stooge federal judges to agree with them on no legal grounds whatsoever. Justice Sotomayor’s thoroughly dishonest dissent was typical of leftist thinking:

The United States of America is a Nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our Founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment. The Court’s decision today fails to safeguard that fundamental principle. It leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” because the policy now masquerades behind a façade of national-security concerns. But this repackaging does little to cleanse Presidential Proclamation No. 9645 of the appearance of discrimination that the President’s words have created. Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.

To which the proper response is: so what? Islam is not a faith native to these shores, and aside from launching attacks on Americans with distressing regularity, its adherents have no historical standing in the American project. To bolster her case, Sotomayor quoted from Trump’s campaign tweets. By casting the clear language of the law as an Establishment Clause case, the Left—which is usually so militantly atheist—tried its usual moral jiu-jitsu against us . . . and failed.

The Janus case will hit the Democrats right where the party of plutocrats lives—in the wallet; since President Kennedy unwisely permitted government employees to unionize, the Democrats have become, unsurprisingly, the party of government. By overturning a previous ruling, the court settled the issue of whether non-members of the union could be forced to pay “agency fees” into union coffers—which in turn fuel and fund Democrat candidates across the country. The unions argued that even nonmembers benefited from the “collective bargaining” rackets that government employees entered into with other government employees, with the taxpayer on the hook for their mutual generosity, but the court found that the plaintiff, Mark Janus, had his First Amendment rights violated and that forcing him to pay the fees was in effect political coercion.

This has set off a five-alarm fire on the Left, which sees its precious social-engineering decisions now in real danger of being overturned (as Dred Scott and Plessy were before them) and the issues being punted back to the states to decide, as they should have been all along. Because the dirty little secret of the anti-democratic Democrats is that they like oligarchical rule or, even better, rule by kings.

Kennedy’s retirement leaves the way clear to seat another conservative justice just in time for the November congressional elections. One of the salient issues in the past presidential election was control of the court, which was since the death of Antonin Scalia, precariously balanced between the four liberal justices and four conservative justices, with the whimsical Kennedy often in effect a one-man legal dictator on matters of public policy. Now the man who unconscionably saved the misbegotten Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, and gave us national gay marriage in Obergefell three years ago, will hang up his black robes at the end of July.

This has set off a five-alarm fire on the Left, which sees its precious social-engineering decisions now in real danger of being overturned (as Dred Scott and Plessy were before them) and the issues being punted back to the states to decide, as they should have been all along. Because the dirty little secret of the anti-democratic Democrats is that they like oligarchical rule or, even better, rule by kings. As long as Tony Kennedy gave them abortion and gay marriage, they could almost live with his decisions in Citizens United (upholding the First Amendment) and Bush v. Gore. Almost.

Now they’re going to have to live without him, cursing Mitch McConnell for never bringing Merrick Garland’s nomination to the floor and bemoaning how close they came to a solid majority on the court without having to worry about which side of the bed Kennedy woke up on. The next GOP justice is unlikely to “grow in office” the way Kennedy did, and others had before him. Now, the Democrats are looking at a generation or more in the rule-by-fiat wilderness, especially when Kennedy is replaced by a conservative as reliable as Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch.

If and when one of the four liberals is the next to retire or die (Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85), the Feiler Faster quadriga will get a hell of a lot faster, with Trump laughing all the way to the finish line and wondering which enemies to drag behind his mighty steeds next.

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Liberalism and the Abnormal Trump

The enduring triumph of liberalism was not the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, open borders, or even Obergefell v. Hodges. Something more fundamental happened long ago that made those changes possible. Liberalism began when a space was carved out in society wherein people of different beliefs and backgrounds could go about their business without tensions arising.

They might loath one another’s religion, abhor their politics, and find their respective mores and customs odd or distasteful, but in the public square they kept their judgments in check as long as others minded their manners and didn’t push their differences too hard. At home and in church, in the government and in what counted as media at the time, differences and partisanship could have full expression. But on the streets and in the parks, in shops and restaurants, liberalism demanded that citizens lower their tribal instincts and mingle without open antipathy.

The incident with Sarah Sanders at the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia is one event in a long series of erosions of this liberal compact. The boundary between someone’s political work and private activity no longer holds, not with Trump personnel. They’re not even safe at home.

The liberalism that used to protect public officials has given way to the Leftist premise that everything is political. Leftists don’t believe in any such boundary. To them, the private sphere isn’t an apolitical realm. It’s a bourgeois creation, a middle-class redoubt that seeks to disguise its politics. (See Friedrich Engels’ 1884 book The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State.) To maintain it and preserve a space in society in which political judgments are withheld is itself a form of political suppression. To begin your breakfast at a hotel in Arlington and spot a well-known conservative at the next table and not make your voice heard is, to someone of progressive social conscience, a crime in itself. It’s not personal to him; it’s political. In letting such people live their private lives without having to answer for their deeds, we allow the wrongs to continue.

Protest never sleeps! Trumpists don’t deserve a time out. To hold your tongue just because of some abstract liberal notion of civil society strikes a leftist as capitulation.

Liberals know where this leads, but they can’t stop it. Liberals have always feared the Left more than the Right—their oft-expressed warnings of conservative tyranny (remember the angst about “theocons” in W’s first term?) are intended to assure those on the Left of their compatibility, not to identify a real threat. Their own pale convictions are no match for an impassioned social change-agent.

Besides, the last thing they want to do is appear to defend anyone and anything associated with Trump. As Adam Gopnik said in a commentary on the Red Hen incident in The New Yorker, after noting the dangers of letting politics get so personal that the very presence of people on the other side disturbs us: “On the other hand, the Trump Administration is not a normal Presidential Administration.”

The choice of diction is telling. Gopnik doesn’t call the administration evil, corrupt, or incompetent. He calls it abnormal. That requires a different response than the usual democratic one of criticism, investigation, and campaigning, all conducted through proper channels. Abnormality suspends the ordinary rules of engagement. When you encounter a sociopath in your daily rounds, you don’t handle him with rational persuasion or firm entreaty. He hasn’t accepted the compact of civility, and so we must fend him off and shut him out.

He won’t respect you if you don’t. As Gopnik goes on to say, Trump despises those precise “normal decencies” that regulate civil deportment in social affairs. Trump favors “the natural order of domination and submission,” he writes. “It’s why Trump admires dictators.”

Reading Gopnik’s sentences, a visitor to America with no knowledge of current events would assume that Trump’s forces have hounded dissident figures in public places. Yes, it is Trump himself who has abrogated the civility that assures individuals that they may dine in peace. I haven’t heard of any liberal politicians, officials, celebrities, or journalists chased out of neutral public spots, but nevertheless, Trump is the source of expulsion and threat. He and his administration are “intolerable,” Gopnik concludes as if he were a solemn judge tendering wisdom to the populace,” and “public shaming and shunning of those who take part in it seems just.”

We should see this article as just the latest take on the “RESIST” exhortation, but note well that Gopnik and other liberals don’t seem to understand its implications. A friend of mind, a finance guy, had a clear-sighted response when I recounted one “resist” episode last year (I believe it was the talk about using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office) and said, “I don’t think they’ll ever accept the results of the election.”

He replied, “Then it’s war.”

He didn’t mean it aggressively, and he didn’t look forward to the fight. He merely drew the obvious inference. When you refuse to abide by the outcome of an election (and no evidence of fraud is in hand, as is currently the case), you don’t oppose only the figure sitting in the Oval Office. You deny the will of all the people who voted for him, too.

The hard Left understands this; they’re ready for battle. But to liberals who sympathize with people who expel and harass White House personnel, those 60 million plus Americans who pulled the lever for Trump in 2016 don’t even exist. They’re invisible. They have no political value. That’s why liberal mouthpieces can label the Trump team “not normal.” If they took into account all the people in the country who backed him, if they remembered that Trump’s approval ratings haven’t been much different than those of presidents in the recent past, they’d have to acknowledge that Trump embodies elements commonly held by roughly half of the voting population. He wouldn’t be abnormal, then, only oppositional.

But if so, this would bring the liberal compact back into play and reinforce the demand that Democrats curb their outrage and indignation. Only if Trump falls off the political chart are the protests and insults warranted. Yes, Trump must be abnormal, he must be, or else liberals must admit that they’ve abandoned their liberalism. The fact that when they judge Trump abnormal they tell all his supporters that they, too, are screwy seems to escape them.

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Trumping Freedom of Association

The owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave because the proprietor and her staff did not want to serve someone who works for President Trump. That is an unpleasant thing to be sure, but there is a large silver lining to it. It offers a rare and substantial ground on which we should all stand together: the freedom of association. Rather than focusing on the growing animosity that divides us, perhaps we should seize this opportunity to agree.

Opportunity for Political Agreement

The opportunity for discussion arises from the obvious juxtaposition of the Sanders case and the thoroughly litigated incident involving a gay couple in Colorado and the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop. When news broke of Sanders’ ejection, people on the Left just couldn’t help but sneer. “See! This is what you get when you say the Christian baker can deny service to gays!”

What an opportunity!

Let’s set aside the question of right and wrong and focus simply on the legal question. (The two get confused all the time anyway.) For anyone concerned about whether a Christian business owner may legally act in accordance with his conscience, you now have  a perfect example of an objection from the other side. If acknowledging that the owner of the Red Hen had the legal right to ask Sanders and her party to leave, then let’s also agree that the baker has the legal right to decline to make a cake for a gay couple. Foiled dinner plans are a small price to pay for the political agreement that people should have a legal right to conduct their business as they choose.

Political agreement is, after all, what this is all about.

If we do not agree, then why would we associate with one another? While this case does not provide an example of citizens agreeing or associating, it does provide us a key element of what can keep us together: a better understanding of why freedom of association is both a fundamental right and indispensable to the common good.

If we can agree that government should stay out of both cases, and that freedom of association should prevail even if we dislike the reasons behind it, that’s a big deal. It would be a big step toward understanding liberty as a foundational element of our union.

The Freedom of Association

The freedom of association isn’t straightforward any more, especially after the civil rights movement. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be. It is fairly simple, really; each of us has the right to associate with whomever we please, according to the edicts of our conscience. If we can set aside past questions of prudence in the civil rights movement, we can look at freedom of association as the foundational element that it is.

In the widely praised book The Political Theory of the American Founding, Tom West explains that the centrality of the freedom of association, or as he calls it, liberty.

Liberty means being left alone, not coerced by others. Being born free, all may do as they please, without interference from other people, subject only . . . to the laws of nature. Liberty in daily life therefore means that people are free to organize their affairs as they see fit . . . The right was so “self-evident” to everyone [in the founding era] that it was rarely mentioned. No one ever questioned it. On the few occasions when it was made explicit, it was typically in connection with religion . . . But this freedom was not limited to religious associations. Liberty includes the right of any self-selected group to “converse together,” to assemble, and to “govern itself according to its own voluntary rules” for any noninjurous purpose.

As I understand it, the freedom of association may not be as inviolable as the freedom of conscience, but it is so closely related that it should be nearly so. Without a clear understanding that we get to choose the people with whom we associate, it is hard to understand any freedom at all (any freedom of consequences anyway).

The freedom of association also includes the freedom not to associate with someone. Add property into the mix, and that means you have the freedom to ask—or even to demand—someone leave your property. This is true for bakers and restaurant owners, and we should embrace the opportunity to discuss it. We should all agree that neither being denied dinner nor a custom wedding cake is a real injury to anyone. Just as the owner of the Red Hen can stand on freedom of association, so, too, can the Christian baker.

Liberty Based On Equality

Agreeing that freedom of association protects the baker and the restaurant owner may be a good first step toward a shared understanding of the common good, but understanding its origin can truly unite us.

West treats this causation carefully in his book. Simply put, freedom of association emerges from human equality properly understood, and that is the thing that binds us together.

Though equality is no longer a straightforward proposition, it ought to be. It is one of the most obvious things on earth. If you put a tall, skinny, dark-skinned woman; a short, fat, fair-skinned man; and a pig in a room, even a child will immediately know that two of them are human and one is a pig. This “is the work of intuition that every rational creature performs instantly and without error,” writes Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn, who presents the case very well. Lots of “education” and training might help some people deny it for a time, but they cannot keep it up for long. Even Southern slaveholders, who worked so hard to justify their sin by dehumanizing their slaves, ultimately could not deny the slave’s humanity. As Lincoln pointed out, their own laws betrayed them. We are all different, but we are all human. And in that, we are equal.

Lincoln described how the principle of equality is more important than a common history or race. It is the “moral principle,” he said, that binds us to each other even though some of us are immigrants (the irony is not lost on me given the cause of our current predicament). “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” is the foundation of both the freedom of association and the unity of our nation.

Focus on Our Better Angels

The Red Hen incident provides an opportunity to focus on what unites us. I understand the sentiment that is more and more common—the “you won’t like the new rules” warning. The vitriol against President Trump and increasingly anyone who voted for him is so staggering at times that it would be hard for any man not to look forward to a bit of revenge. Even the moderate men of Power Line have begun signing onto it a bit. And I am not blind to the fact that the Left cares little about consistency and entirely about control. But as Ryan Williams from the Claremont Institute discussed recently, “the cold civil war must not become hot.” We should take any opportunity we can to turn the discussion, if only among ourselves, toward unity.

Lincoln put it better:

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Agreeing that we each have the right to associate with whomever our consciences permit might be a good place to start. Perhaps we can look back through this agreement to build a common understanding of what it means to be created equal. If so, we might be able to stay one nation under God.

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