What about the workers? 1

The Democratic Party has become the Party of Wall Street billionaires, Hollywood stars, Silicon Valley whizz-kids, and the ruthless Utopians of the Ivory Tower.

Its “progressivism” harks back to the last century. Its concerns are mystical like those of all religions: the earth burning up; the end of days; the humbling of humankind; the profound spiritual need for the Holy Family Clinton and its angels to reign over the whole earth.

Its high priests are richly dressed and housed, driven in stately carriages, flown on the wings of Boeings.

Still, it claims to have a bleeding heart. Ask not for whom it bleeds. Obviously, dull-witted Underdog, it bleeds for thee!

James Pinkerton writes at Breitbart:

The Democrats, once the party of working people, are now a party dominated by environmentalists and multiculturalists. And I can prove it.

As we shall see, when Democrats must choose between … providing jobs for workers, and … favoring politically-correct constituency groups — they choose the PC groups.

Indeed, the old assumptions about the Democrats as the party of labor are nowadays so tangled and conflicted that the unions themselves are divided. Some unions are sticking with their blue-collar heritage, but more are aligning themselves with the new forces of political correctness — and oh, by the way, big money.

The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, running through four states — from western North Dakota to southern Illinois — would create an estimated 4,500 unionized jobs.  That is to say, good jobs at good wages: The median entry-level salary for a pipeline worker in North Dakota is $38,924.

Yet the advancement of what was once called the “labor movement” is no longer a Democratic priority.  The new priorities are heeding the goals of “progressive” groups — in this instance, Native Americans and the greens. Indeed, this new progressive movement is so strong that even many unions are climbing aboard the bandwagon, even if that means breaking labor’s united front. To illustrate this recent rupture, here’s a headline from the The Huffington Post: “Dakota Access Pipeline Exposes Rift In Organized Labor.” Let’s let Huffpo labor reporter Dave Jamieson set the scene:

The nation’s largest federation of labor unions upset some of its own members last week by endorsing the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota. Some labor activists, sympathetic to Native American tribes and environmentalists, called upon the AFL-CIO to retract its support for the controversial project.

In response to the criticism, Sean McGarvey, head of the AFL-CIO’s building-trades unions, fired right back; speaking of pipeline opponents, McGarvey declared that they have …

… once again seen fit to demean and call for the termination of thousands of union construction jobs in the Heartland.  I fear that this has once again hastened a very real split within the labor movement.

Yes, it’s become quite a fracas within the House of Labor: so much for the old slogan, “Solidarity Forever!” We can note that typically, it’s the old-style construction unions — joined, perhaps, by other industrial workers, if not the union leadership — who support construction projects, while the new-style public-employee unions side with the anti-construction activists.

In the meantime, for its part, the Democratic Party has made a choice: It now firmly sides with the new progressives.

To cite just one ‘frinstance, we can examine the July 2016 Democratic national platform, released at the Philadelphia convention. That document includes a full 16 paragraphs on “climate change”, as well as 14 paragraphs on the rights and needs of “indigenous tribal nations”. Here’s one of those paragraphs; as we can readily see, Democrats are striving mightily to synthesize the demands of both groups, green and red:

We are committed to principles of environmental justice in Indian Country and we recognize that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain, and regenerate its vital cycles. We call for a climate change policy that protects tribal resources, protects tribal health, and provides accountability through accessible, culturally appropriate participation and strong enforcement. Our climate change policy will cut carbon emission, address poverty, invest in disadvantaged communities, and improve both air quality and public health. We support the tribal nations efforts to develop wind, solar, and other clean energy jobs.

By contrast, the Democratic platform included a mere two skimpy paragraphs on workers and wages.

Some Democrats are troubled by this shift in priorities, away from New Deal-ish lunch-bucket concerns — because, as a matter of fact, it’s a shift away from the very idea of economic growth. For example, William Galston, a top White House domestic-policy aide to Bill Clinton in the 90s, had this to say about the Democrats’ latest platform:

The draft is truly remarkable — for example, its near-silence on economic growth. . . . Rather, the platform draft’s core narrative is inequality, the injustice that inequality entails, and the need to rectify it through redistribution.

… Perhaps it seems strange that a political party would lose interest in such an obvious political staple as economic growth. And yet if we look more closely, we can see, from the perspective of the new Democrats, that this economic neglect makes a kind of sense: We can note, for example, that the financial heart of the green movement is made up of billionaires; they have all the money they need — and, thanks to their donations, they have a disproportionate voice.

One of these noisy green fat cats is San Francisco’s Tom Steyer, who contributed $50 million to Democratic campaigns in 2014 and has been spending heavily ever since. We can further point out: If Steyer chooses to assign a higher value to his eco-conscience than to jobs for ordinary Americans, well, who in his rarified Bay Area social stratum is likely to argue with him?

Admittedly, billionaires are few in number — even in the Democratic Party. Yet at the same time, many other groups of Democratic voters aren’t necessarily concerned about the vagaries of the economy, because they, too, in their own way, are insulated from its ups and downs. That is, they get their check, no matter what.

The most obvious of these groups, of course, are government employees.  … Public-sector workers have an obvious class-interest in voting Democratic, and they know it — lots of Lois Lerners in this group.

Then there are the recipients of government benefits. … Welfare recipients, for example, are overwhelmingly Democratic. And Democratic politicians, of course, know this electoral calculus full well. Indeed, in this era of slow economic growth, nearly 95 million Americans over the age of 16 are not in the labor force; not all of them are receiving a check from the government, but most are. And that has political consequences.

We can take this reality — economic stagnation on the one hand, economic dependence on the other —a  step further: If the Democrats can find the votes they need from the plutocrats and the poor — or near-poor, plus public employees — then they can make a strategic choice: They can ignore the interests of working-class people in the private sector, and they can still win.

So for this cynical reason, the Democrats’ decision to stiff the working stiffs who might have worked on the Dakota pipeline was an easy one.

We can sum up the Democrats’ strategy more concisely: In socioeconomic terms, they will go above the working class, and also below the working class. That is, they will be the party of George Soros and Al Sharpton. So no room, anywhere, for the blue collars. (Of course, if any of those would-be pipeline workers end up on public assistance, well, they’ll have a standing offer to join the Democratic fold.)

We can see this Soros-Sharpton coalition in America’s electoral geography: The Democrats expect to sweep the upper east side of Manhattan, and, at the same time, they expect to sweep the south side of Chicago. Moreover, this high-low pattern appears everywhere: Greenwich and the ghetto, Beverly Hills and the barrio.  

In addition, Democrats can expect to do well in upper-middle class suburban enclaves, as well as college towns. And so if we add all those blocs together, plus the aforementioned public-employee unions, we can see that the Democrats have their coalition …  a 2016 victory coalition.

So now we can see the logic of the Democrats’ policy choices. And we can even add an interesting bit of backstory to the Democrats’ 2016 platform. In June, as a concession to the insurgency of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s campaign agreed to include a contingent of Sanders supporters on the 15-member platform-drafting committee.

Specifically, the Clinton camp accepted the Palestinian-American activist James Zogby, the Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the environmental activist Bill McKibben, the African-American activist Cornel West, and the Native American activist Deborah Parker. …

The unions got a grand total of one name on that 15-member body. … So we can see: Big Labor isn’t so big anymore; it is now reduced to token status within the party.

Given this new correlation of forces, it’s no surprise that top Democrats oppose the Dakota pipeline. …

In this new era of green-first politics, the anti-pipeline forces must win, and the pro-pipeliners must lose. …

For her part, Hillary Clinton certainly knows where she stands: She’s with the new eco- and multicultural Democrats, not the old unionists — who were, after all, mostly “deplorable.” As she said to a cheering campaign crowd earlier this year, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

To be sure, Clinton has a heart — a taxpayer-funded heart. In fact, she has offered to put all those soon-to-be ex-coal workers on the government dole; she has proposed a $30 billion program for them.

Yet whether or not Congress ever approves that $30 billion, it’s a safe bet that if Clinton wins, more fossil-fuel workers will need to find some new way of earning a living. After all, just last year, the Obama administration pledged that the U.S. would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025. And whereas Donald Trump has promised to scrap those growth-flattening CO2 targets, Clinton has promised to maintain them.

Indeed, during Monday night’s debate in New York, she promised to install “half a billion more solar panels” as part of her plan, she said, to create 10 million new jobs.

We can quickly observe that most blue collars don’t seem to trust Clinton with their livelihoods; Trump beats her among non-college-educated men by a whopping 59 points. Yet at the same time, we can add that if Trump leads among blue collars by “only” 59 points, that might not be enough for him to overcome Clinton’s advantage — her huge strength among the Soros-Sharpton coalition.

And here we can note, with some perplexity, that the leadership of the industrial unions is still mostly in lockstep with the Democrats. That residual partisan loyalty to the party of FDR might cost their members their jobs now that the Democrats have found policy goals other than mass employment, but hey, perhaps the union bosses themselves can get jobs at Hillary’s Department of Labor.

So if Clinton wins this November, what will happen to the private-sector blue collars, especially those in the traditional energy sector?

Sadly, we already know the answer to that question; the only unresolved matter is how they might react.

The Party of the American princess, the professor, the fashionable the cool the glamorous, the very rich and the very safe is the Party of the party. Of parties in Manhattan, Nob Hill, Santa Monica, Bel Air.

But its heart bleeds for … Oh, you know, blacks and Hispanics and gays and women and Muslims and …

And the workers?

You gotta believe it.

If you don’t … all you can do is vote Trump for President.

The strict sameness of diversity 18

On the political left, fair is foul and foul is fair.

The left likes to use words to mean their opposites. Communist dictatorships like to call themselves “democratic” republics. It’s a cynical tease, because it shows that they know democracy is better than dictatorship.

A cynical lefty euphemism much in use in America is “diversity”. It should mean “variety”, but what it has come to mean in practice is its opposite  – “orthodoxy”: a strict doctrinal uniformity of opinion.

The doctrine has achieved enormous success in the universities, which are no longer open to new ideas, no longer allow free debate, no longer question fixed assumptions. That’s what they once existed for. Now they are temples of political correctness, safes for the secure locking up of leftist doctrine.They want a sterile mix of ethnicities and of as many genders as semantic ingenuity can invent, but not a fertile mix of ideas. They recognize only one set of ideas as correct. To question it is heresy.

Steps towards enforcing this kind of “diversity” in the news media have been proposed by the Obama administration. Charles Krauthammer deplores the move in this video clip:

Here the doctrine of diversity is examined by Victor Davis Hanson:

Diversity has become corporatized on American campuses, with scores of bureaucrats and administrators accentuating different pedigrees and ancestries. That’s odd, because diversity does not mean any more “variety” or “points of difference,” at least as it used to be defined.

Instead, diversity has become … synonymous with orthodoxy and intolerance, especially of political thought.

When campuses sloganeer “celebrate diversity,” that does not mean encouraging all sorts of political views. …

Do colleges routinely invite graduation speakers who are skeptical of man-made global warming, and have reservations about present abortion laws, gay marriage or illegal immigration – if only for the sake of ensuring diverse views?

Nor does diversity mean consistently ensuring that institutions should reflect “what America looks like.” …

Do we really want all institutions to weigh diversity rather than merit so that coveted spots reflect the race and gender percentages of American society? …

Gender disparity is absolutely stunning on American campuses. Women now earn about 61 percent of all associate degrees and 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees. With such disproportionate gender representation, do we need outreach offices on campus to weigh maleness in admissions? Should college presidents investigate whether the campus has become an insidiously hostile place for men? …

If ethnic, rather than class, pedigrees provide an edge, how do we ascertain them in today’s melting-pot culture? Does the one-quarter Latino student, the recent arrival from Jamaica or the fourth-generation Japanese-American deserve special consideration as “diverse”? And if so, over whom? The Punjabi-American? The Arab-American? The gay rich kid? The coal miner’s daughter? Or the generic American who chooses not to broadcast his profile?

Does Diversity Inc. rely on genetic testing, family documents, general appearance, accented names, trilled pronunciation or just personal assurance to pass judgment on who should be advantaged in any measurement of diversity?

In such an illiberal, tribally obsessed and ideologically based value system, it is not hard to see why and how careerists such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and activist Ward Churchill were able to fabricate helpful Native American ancestries.

Diversity came into vogue after affirmative action became unworkable in the 1980s. Given the multiplicity of ethnicities, huge influxes of new immigrants and a growing rate of intermarriage, it became almost impossible to adjudicate historical grievances and dole out legal remedies. So just creating “diversity” – without much worry over how to define it – avoided the contradictions.

But diversity is not only incoherent; it is also ironic. On a campus short of resources, the industry of diversity and related “studies” classes that focus on gender or racial differences and grievances crowd out exactly the sort of disciplines that provide the skills – mastery of languages, literature, science, engineering, business and math – that best prep non-traditional graduates for a shot at well-compensated careers.

And here Jonah Goldberg writes on the same subject:

Cancel the philosophy courses, people. Oh, and we’re going to be shuttering the political science, religion and pre-law departments too. We’ll keep some of the English and history folks on for a while longer, but they should probably keep their resumes handy.

Because, you see, they are of no use anymore. We have the answers to the big questions, so why keep pretending there’s anything left to discuss?

At least that’s where Erin Ching, a student at Swarthmore College, seems to be coming down. Her school invited a famous [or infamous – ed] left-wing Princeton professor, Cornel West, and a famous right-wing Princeton professor, Robert George, to have a debate. The two men are friends, and by all accounts they had an utterly civil exchange of ideas. But that only made the whole thing even more outrageous.

“What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion,” Ching told the Daily Gazette, the school’s newspaper. “I don’t think we should be tolerating [George’s] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society.”

Swarthmore must be so proud.

Over at Harvard, another young lady has similar views. Harvard Crimson editorial writer Sandra Y.L. Korn recently called for getting rid of academic freedom in favor of something called “academic justice”. 

“If our university community opposes racism, sexism and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of ‘academic freedom’?” Korn asks.

Helpfully, she answers her own question: “When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.”

One could easily dismiss these students as part of that long and glorious American tradition of smart young people saying stupid things. As Oscar Wilde remarked, “In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.”

But we all know that this nonsense didn’t spring ex nihilo from their imaginations … These ideas are taught.

Indeed, we are now up to our knees in this Orwellian bilge. Diversity means conformity. …

To want “diversity” – the writer sums up – means to listen only to “people who agree with me”  and that means people who are left wing.

[For] the sages of Swarthmore and Harvard …  if the conversation heads in a direction where [they] smell “oppression” – as defined solely by the left – then it must not be “put up with”. 

Diversity demands that diversity of opinion not be tolerated anymore.

Gate-crashing into history 0

Who or what now holds the office of President of the United States of America?

The answer to the question is itself a question mark.

David Solway asks the question and his answers are questions. Here is part of what he writes:

Who is this guy? And what does so enigmatic a figure augur for the United States and, indeed, for the future of us all? No matter what hypothesis or conviction one espouses concerning his definitive DNA, it seems fair to say that a shadow of the clandestine — or if one prefers, the inscrutable — envelops this president.

Even Obama’s most avid supporters, if they are honest, must allow that, compared to his POTUS predecessors, unambiguously little is known about his antecedents or, for example, the salient facts of his academic career — many of his records are still under seal, his college and university transcripts have not been released and, broadly speaking, his significant documentation is rather flimsy. There is not much of a paper trail here; for that matter, there is scarcely a Hansel-and-Gretel bread crumb trail. How such a man could be elected to the presidency … remains a riddle for the sphinx. …

In any event, there can be no doubt that the dossier is scanty and that this is a truly amazing deficiency. We simply do not have a clear portrait or a crisply factual biography of the president. But what we do know about his close affiliates — America-and-Jew bashing Reverend Jeremiah Wright, former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi, hysterical and racially divisive Cornel West, unrepentant Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers, unscrupulous entrepreneur Tony Rezko — is profoundly unsettling. … [T]he asymmetric relation between what we know and what we don’t know must distress any rational person curious about so influential an actor on the current political scene.

That Louis Farrakhan, like millions of others, feels that Obama was “selected” for our times should give us further pause. On the contrary, it may not be out of place to suggest that we are now afflicted with the worst possible president at the worst possible time, with Iran darting toward the nuclear finish line, the Palestinians as intransigent as ever, the Russians moving back into the Caucasus region, negotiating with Venezuela and solidifying ties with Iran, Syria and Turkey, terrorism … on the rise and U.S. citizens increasingly at the mercy of the jihadists, China holding massive quantities of American Treasury notes, Obama considering ruinous cap-and-trade legislation at a time when the AGW consensus is collapsing, the American debt estimated to hit 100% of GDP in 2011 and its unfunded entitlement liabilities totaling over $US 100 trillion, leading to the prospect of monetary collapse. None of these critical issues have been substantially addressed by the president, except insofar as his actions in some cases, lack of action in others, have only exacerbated them. The collateral fact that we really have no valid and comprehensive notion of who exactly is leading us at this crucial historical juncture boggles the mind.

Yes, this riddle of a man, this living quandary named Barack Hussein Obama is so unlikely a president of the United States, it’s as if he has gate-crashed into history.