The greatest scandal in American history 8

A multitude of crimes have been committed by people who were entrusted with the high responsibility of leading and protecting the nation.

How will history judge them? Which is to say, how will historians judge them?

One excellent historian, Victor Davis Hanson, is already judging them.

Writing  at American Greatness, he lists the evils done. We compile our list from his, mostly in his words:

A systematic and terrible assault was made on our constitutional freedoms.

A group of smug and mediocre apparatchiks assumed they had the moral right to destroy a presidential candidate and later an elected president.

A series of progressive-government-media driven melodramas was aimed at both injuring the Trump presidency and shielding a virtual coup to destroy an elected president.

The FBI and the Justice Department deliberately misled Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges to spy on an American citizen as a way to monitor others in the Trump campaign.

Samantha Power and Susan Rice requested the unmasking of scores of Americans, and the names of some of them were were illegally leaked to the media with the intent of defaming them.

James Comey’s cronies at the FBI, including the disgraced Peter Strzok and Lisa Pagepost facto announced that the leaked Comey versions of his one-on-one talks with the president of the United States were merely confidential rather than top secret and thus their dissemination to the media was not quite felonious – which is why Comey is not in jail.

Comey’s leaking gambit led to the appointment of his long-time friend, former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Mueller then delighted the media by appointing mostly progressive activist lawyers, some with ties to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, in what then giddy journalists called a “dream team” of “all-stars” who in the fashion of a “hunter-killer” team would abort the Trump presidency by proving Trump was what former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on television called a “Putin asset”.

The Mueller investigation—500 subpoenas, 22 months, $35 million—was one of the great travesties in American investigatory history. It was cooked up by fired, disgraced—and furious—former FBI Director James Comey. By his own admission, Comey conceded that he leaked confidential memos of private conversations he had with the president to create a large enough media and political storm to force the naming of a special prosecutor to investigate “Russian collusion”.

The libel of Russian collusion was absurd from the get-go.

In surreal fashion, the main players, under suspicion for seeding and peddling the fraudulent Steele dossier among the high echelons of the U.S. government and using such smears to cripple Trump—John Brennan, James Clapper, and Andrew McCabe—were hired by liberal CNN and MSNBC as paid analysts to fob off on others the very scandals that they themselves had created.

Eric Clinesmith, another FBI lawyer, altered an email presented as evidence before a FISA court to warp the request to surveil Carter Page. If there is any justice left in this sordid mess, he will end up in jail.

When Adam Schiff’s pernicious role in jump-starting the impeachment is finally fully known, he will likely be revealed as the prime schemer, along with minor Obama officials buried within the Trump National Security Council, dreaming up the entire Ukraine caper of the “whistleblower” (during which caper he and Representative Gerald Nadler and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi behaved in a manner that was childish, peevish, and absurd).  

The hatching of the intricate plots, the systematic abuses against Candidate Trump and then President Trump, Hanson calls skullduggery. Which is what it was and what it continues to be. He says that for four years the skulduggery kept a series of melodramas going which shielded a virtual coup to destroy an elected president.

Hanson’s verdict on the whole long-drawn-out episode of crime, corruption, and treachery:

It is the greatest scandal in American history.

How will  the conspirators – the arrogant civil servants, the dirty cops, the media connivers, the politicians – be judged? Will they ever be made to answer for what they did?  Is there “any justice left in this sordid mess”? 

If they were brought to trial, what would their just punishment be?   

What would be the just punishment for the two people behind it all, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama?

The state of the union 18

President Trump made a terrifically impressive State of the Union speech last night (February 4, 2020).

He listed the many accomplishments of his administration. There was much to applaud – though a white wall of Lefty wymyn sat through most of the speech in passive-aggressive silence, and when he finished, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, furiously, theatrically, like a petulant adolescent, tore the transcript into pieces.

We applaud in particular the President’s unabashed patriotism. Because not only do we recognize the importance of the Nation State as such, we agree with him that (in a world where few countries are free and a majority are more or less hellish) this one, now, is the most admirable on all important counts. We do not disregard its bad spots, nor did the President. In particular he condemned bad government schools, and sanctuary cities where illegal aliens, even criminals, are sheltered from the law by local Democratic authorities.

Here’s what the President said towards the end of his speech. The part we liked best. We quote almost verbatim, only cutting out a few phrases including those that mention “God”:

The American Nation was carved out of the vast frontier by the toughest, strongest, fiercest, and most determined men and women ever to walk the face of the Earth. Our ancestors braved the unknown; tamed the wilderness; settled the Wild West; lifted millions from poverty, disease, and hunger; vanquished tyranny and fascism; ushered the world to new heights of science and medicine; laid down the railroads, dug out canals, raised up the skyscrapers — and, ladies and gentlemen, our ancestors built the most exceptional Republic ever to exist in all of human history. And we are making it greater than ever before!

This is our glorious and magnificent inheritance.

We are Americans. We are the pioneers. We are the pathfinders. We settled the new world, we built the modern world …

America is the place where anything can happen! America is the place where anyone can rise. …

This Nation is our canvas, and this country is our masterpiece. We look at tomorrow and see unlimited frontiers just waiting to be explored. Our brightest discoveries are not yet known. Our most thrilling stories are not yet told. Our grandest journeys are not yet made. The American Age, the American Epic, the American Adventure, has only just begun!

Our spirit is still young; the sun is still rising … and, my fellow Americans, the best is yet to come!

*

From our Facebook page, quoting Fox News:

Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley blasted “partisan troll” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday for tearing up President Trump’s State of the Union speech, calling for her to apologize or step down. “Her conduct tore up more than a speech, but decades of tradition and left any semblance of civility in tatters on the House floor,” Turley wrote on his website. “It was the tradition of the House that a speaker must remain in stone-faced neutrality no matter what comes off that podium. The tradition ended last night with one of the more shameful and inglorious moments of the House in its history.” Pelosi ripped up her copy of Trump’s speech as soon as it concluded on Tuesday night in a remarkable scene that has shocked pundits and lawmakers. Asked about the moment by Fox News afterward, Pelosi said she had destroyed the speech “because it was the courteous thing to do considering the alternatives”. She also said she was “trying to find one page with truth on it but couldn’t”. Turley concluded his column by calling for Pelosi to either apologize or let someone else do her prestigious job. “For those of us who truly love the House as an institution, it was one of the lowest moments to unfold on the floor. If Pelosi does not apologize and agree to honor the principle of neutrality and civility at the State of the Union, she should resign as speaker.”

Posted under United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, February 5, 2020

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Loving prayers, hate speech, and disinformation 1

Nancy Pelosi, Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives and official leader of the campaign to destroy President Trump by impeaching him, furiously denied to a reporter that she hates Donald Trump when he asked her if she did:

“I don’t hate anybody,” responded Pelosi. “I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody, not anybody in the world. Don’t accuse me of hate.”

Being accused of hatred was, in Pelosi’s mind, the same as accusing her of being a bad Catholic.

“As a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me,” she said. “I don’t hate anyone.”

Hatred was not part of her upbringing, she said. “I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love.”

On the contrary, she said, she always prays for the president. “I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time.”

How deeply reassuring for the president. (And the reporter – a rare one to provoke Speaker Pelosi! – must have felt warmly loved too.)

But in Reality, for the last four years, the Democrats, the Left everywhere, and the media have been spewing hatred of Donald Trump non-stop, night and day. They hate him.

It’s not that they merely don’t like what he stands for, what he does or how he does it. They certainly don’t, and they would be against anyone who stood for the same and did the same. But their intense hatred is plainly for the man himself.  

The hatred is totally irrational, and for those of us who much admire and like President Trump, impossible to understand. Is their hatred motivated by envy? Can they not bear it that Donald Trump is a successful businessman, a billionaire, a TV star, and on top of it all, president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world? And he has a very beautiful wife. And successful children. How dare he?

They – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa activists, the professors, the media hacks – hate him with a hatred that drives them to any length in their effort to destroy him. For days, weeks, months, years on end they rage against him in the House and the Senate. They make up absurd lies about him. There is no accusation, however farfetched, however unlikely, however ridiculous, however crazy, however impossible that they have not or will not level against him, over and over again.

Has there ever before been so much hate speech poured out against an elected American leader?  

No matter how much good he does for the country – and he has done a lot; no matter how competent he is – and he is highly competent; no matter how generous he is – and he is generous, even giving away his salary: they hate him, hate him, hate him. They want him thrown out of office; they want him humiliated; they want him tortured; they want him dead. 

To help them achieve his ruin, to help them advance the great cause of destroying Donald Trump, the media (most of them) lie about him. They spread misinformation, disinformation, scurrilous rumors, obscene tales, filthy smears.   

And at the same time they all – the politicians, the celebrities, the globalists, the socialists, the America-haters, the intersectionalists, the feminists, the environmentalists, the climate alarmists, the Antifa actvists, the professors, the media hacksceaselessly rail against “hate speech and disinformation”.

What they mean by “hate speech” is the expression of any opinion that differs from their own. And by “disinformation” they mean any contradiction, any disproof, any exposure of their lies.

They want “hate speech and disinformation” stopped. Pronto. It’s intolerable to them that people go on saying things they don’t like. It’s too provoking! People .. people … do it, go on and on doing it, in the “social media”. Freely. Saying whatever they like. No regulation. No punishment. Good grief, they behave as if the United States of America were Liberty Hall!

We quote parts of an article by Paul Bradford at American Greatness:

 Joe Biden wants to punish Facebook and Twitter so they will censor more.

Biden endorsed one of the most aggressive proposals against Big Tech last week in an interview with the New York Times. He wants to eliminate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from publisher liabilities.

“Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one,” Biden said. “For [Mark] Zuckerberg [CEO of Facebook] and other platforms.”

“It should be revoked because [Facebook] is not merely an internet company,” Biden said. “It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false, and we should be setting standards not unlike the Europeans are doing relative to privacy. You guys still have editors. I’m sitting with them. Not a joke. There is no editorial impact at all on Facebook. None. None whatsoever. It’s irresponsible. It’s totally irresponsible.”

Biden also won’t rule out criminal penalties for Zuckerberg over alleged collusion with the Russian government.

Biden, it needs to be borne in mind, was vice president when Barack Obama was president and they were colluding with the Russians.

He implied the Facebook executive is selling out American democracy to foreign tyrants for cold hard cash.

Biden, it should also be borne in mind, and through him his brothers and his son and his sister and his son-in-law, corruptly raked in cold hard cash, much of it from foreign tyrants, by the million when he was vice-president. He sold his office.

Biden is particularly upset with the number of ads Trump runs on Facebook.

He sees a terrible risk that if Trump is allowed to do that, he could get himself re-elected! Why can’t Zuckerberg and the other tech giants see what danger they’re running America into?

Nearly every Democratic presidential candidate, both former and current, wants to punish tech companies for allowing “hate speech” and “disinformation” on their platforms.

Three candidates besides Biden want to target Section 230. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to look into Section 230 to make sure “right-wing groups don’t abuse regulation to advance their agenda” and that tech platforms censor hate speech. He doesn’t call for the outright elimination of Section 230 but his meaning is plain enough.

Similarly, Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), a forgotten presidential candidate, wants to revise Section 230 to hold Big Tech accountable for “misinformation and hate speech on their platforms”.

The other candidates also want to pressure Big Tech to censor more, but haven’t specifically mentioned Section 230. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants to break up Facebook and other tech giants as punishment for “profiting off of hate speech and disinformation campaigns”.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg says his administration would investigate and call out platforms that “traffic in hate and encourage or fail to moderate abuse and hate”. Buttigieg wants more aggressive measures to suppress ads that liberals deem to be erroneous.

Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another former presidential candidate, also wants Big Tech punished for alleged hate speech. “We will hold social media platforms responsible for the hate infiltrating their platforms, because they have a responsibility to help fight against this threat to our democracy,” she told the NAACP last year.

No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, that candidate will demand more online censorship. Every major candidate sees what they call “hate speech” as something that should not be protected by the First Amendment. Every single one of them wants to use state power to push Facebook, Twitter and other platforms into only allowing liberal discourse.

In fact, in Reality – the sphere where Leftists do not like to live – conservatives are constantly being censored, suspended, rebuked, and outright banned by the Powers that govern the internet. Every one of those Powers is Left-biased. But some conservative opinion does get published to the world, and how can the Left, and especially those in it who have been raised in a way that fills their hearts with love, be expected to tolerate such a state of affairs?

Retreat from the Enlightenment 8

France is submitting to Islam.

“Voltaire fades before Muhammad, the Enlightenment before Submission.”

 – Giulio Meotti quotes and comments in his article at Gatestone:

“Five years after the killings at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher, France has learned to live with the Islamist threat,” wrote Yves Thréard, deputy editor at the daily newspaper Le Figaro.

Not a month goes by… without a murderous attack with the cry of “Allahu Akbar” taking place on our soil…. But what is the point of fighting the effects of Islamism if we do not tackle the origins of this ideology of death? On that front, however, denial continues to compete with naiveté. Nothing has changed in the last five years. On the contrary.

In the name of diversity, non-discrimination and human rights, France has accepted a number of blows to its culture and history… Islamists are a hot-button issue. They continue the fight which, even without weapons, has all the allure of a war of civilizations. Is the famous “Charlie spirit”, which some people thought was blowing after the January 2015 attacks, just an illusion?

France has been marking the fifth anniversary of the deadly jihadist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which took place on January 7, 2015. Last month, French Senator Nathalie Goulet warned that more attacks were likely. “In France we have a serious problem and we need to do more to prevent extremists from acting. As it stands, there will be more attacks,” Goulet said. There are believed to be 12,000 radical Islamists on France’s terror watch-list, “however only a dozen are thought to be under 24-hour surveillance”.

This week was marked by yet a new string of Islamist terror attacks: police injured a knife-wielding man on a street in the northeastern city of Metz, two days after a suspected Islamist radical in the Paris suburb of Villejuif stabbed a man to death, an act that prosecutors are treating as a terror attack. In both incidents, the assailants shouted “Allahu Akbar.” This type of attack was dubbed “ordinary jihad” in a Le Figaro editorial this week.

On January 7, 2015, the cartoonists and journalists Cabu, Charb, Honoré, Tignous and Wolinski, the psychoanalyst Elsa Cayat, the economist Bernard Maris and the policeman Franck Brinsolaro fell under the bullets of the jihadist brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi. Charlie Hebdo‘s 2020 anniversary issue commemorated the massacre and slammed the “new gurus of monolithic thinking” who are trying to impose politically correct censorship.

The outburst of indignation of the French people, gathered in Paris for a massive demonstration on January 11, 2015, was not enough to awaken the spirit of resistance of the French leaders and elites against Islamism and its collaborators. “The seriousness of the Islamist political fact in France is strongly underestimated,” says the lawyer Thibault de Montbrial, president France’s Center for Internal Security Studies.

In a country that used to stand for freedom of expression, self-censorship is soaring. “For the humorists in France, it’s always easy to make fun of the Pope and the Catholics, it’s always easy to make fun of Jews, it’s always easy to make fun of Protestants,” confesses a long-time Charlie Hebdo columnist, Patrick Pelloux. For Islam, it is not easy. “We feel that this religion is scary. The word Islam is scary, and on that, the terrorists have won.”

While French prisons have become a breeding ground for jihadists, the Islamization of the cities’ suburbs, the banlieues, is proceeding full tilt. The weekly Le Point recently devoted a cover story to the “territories conquered by the Islamists”. In many of these areas, violence rages; 1,500 cars were torched there on New Year’s Eve. In recently published book, “Les territoires conquis de l’islamisme” (“The Territories Conquered by Islamism”), by Bernard Rougier, a professor at the University Sorbonne-Nouvelle and director of the Center for Arab and Oriental Studies, he explains that Islamism is an “hegemonic project”, splintering working-class neighborhoods. These “ecosystems”, he states, work on a “logic of rupture” of the French society, its values and institutions, and are built on mosques, bookstores, sport clubs and halal restaurants. …

“Today,” said the president of the Ministry of Education’s Conseil supérieur des programmes, Souâd Ayada, “the visibility of Islam in France is saturated by the veil and the jihad.”

Souad Ayada is a Muslim, a spécialiste de la spiritualité et de philosophie islamiques, so it’s doubtful that she was complaining. (If those in charge of education in France all think so badly, no wonder the nation is fading away. “Visibility” cannot be”saturated”. Veils cannot saturate anything. Nor can “the jihad”. )

While Islamist preachers and recruiters are out on the streets, seeking out the weak minds that will form the first line of their holy war, political Islam also forms electoral lists in France’s suburbs.

French President Emmanuel Macron opposed banning these political groups.

“France is a budding Islamic republic,” noted the Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal. In those “territories”, he said, live many of the terrorists who attack France, from the Kouachi brothers of Charlie Hebdo to the jihadists who murdered [and tortured – ed] scores of people at the Bataclan Theater.

Islamists have, in addition, recruited dozens of French soldiers and ex-servicemen who have converted to Islam. Many have come from commando units with expertise in handling weapons and explosives.

France is turning into a “society of vigilance” in its fight against the “Hydra” of Islamist militancy, as Macron said. …

He said that? But will do nothing to stop the influx of Muslims whose holy duty it is to wage jihad? Or even ban known “political groups”? “Vigilance” may not be quite enough.

Last October, an Islamist struck in one of France’s most secure buildings: the monumental Paris Police headquarters near Notre Dame cathedral, where he murdered four of his colleagues. … “It is hard to believe that the police on which we rely to protect us and which is supposed to be our last rampart against terrorism, can itself be the victim of terrorism, with throats slit in the holy of holies of the Police Prefecture.” 

In the wake of the attack, seven police officers, “suspected of radicalization”, had their guns confiscated.

And without their guns they can do no harm? Their brother jihadists in London could teach them how to use knives and mechetes to inflict death and injury. But come to think of it, they know how. They used knives in the Bataclan Theater. “The French Parliamentary report contains details of how victims’ bodies had been mutilated, such as by eye-gouging, disemboweling, castration, and beheading,” Wikipedia reports.

“I have the impression that our immune defenses have collapsed and that Islamism is winning,” says the French writer Pascal Bruckner.

There’s an observant citizen!

He is quoted further:

[Islam’s] main demands have been met: nobody dares to publish caricatures of Mohammed anymore. Self-censorship prevails…. Hate is directed against those who resist obscuring information rather than against those who obscure it. Not to mention the psychiatrization of terrorism, in order better to exonerate Islam. If we had been told in the early 2000s that in 2020, around 20 French cartoonists and intellectuals would be under police protection, no one would have believed it. The threshold of servitude has increased.

“Sunk” is what he means: the threshold has been lowered, made easier to get over. To enter into servitude. The easy choice for the French now is to submit to Islam.

Five years after the terrorist murders at Charlie Hebdo, free speech is less free [read “gone” – ed] in France. “No one today would publish the cartoons of Muhammad,” said Philippe Val, the former editor of Charlie Hebdo, recently.

“For the past five years, I’ve been going to the police station every month or so to file a complaint about death threats, not insults, death threats,” says Marika Bret, a journalist at Charlie Hebdo today.

In Paris, five years after the murders at Charlie Hebdo, there was a big march to protest not terrorism, but “Islamophobia”.

“Voltaire fades before Muhammad, and the Enlightenment before the Submission,” wrote the author Éric Zemmour.

In 2017 … a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, was tortured and murdered in her Paris apartment by her neighbor, Kobili Traoré, who was yelling “Allahu Akbar”.  A court of appeals recently ruled that Traoré, because he had smoked cannabis, was “not criminally responsible” for his actions.

And so he was acquitted.

Which means that anti-Semitism, even when it results in murder, is licensed in France.

Actually, anti-Semitism is a grand old French tradition. But now it is not merely tolerated and quietly practiced in the land of “liberty, equality and fraternity”, it is an aim, a cause, a duty. Because it was commanded – and an example of the mass murder of Jews set – by Muhammad himself.

France has capitulated to Islam. The EU has capitulated to Islam. In all the countries of western Europe, the peoples are condemning themselves to live in fear. In subjection. And in  sorrow. For in Islam there is no laughter, and no singing and dancing. And no wine, mon frère, no wine. No beer, mein Bruder, no beer.

Standing almost alone in the Western World against this retreat from the Enlightenment is America. At least for as long as Donald Trump is president.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the FAIREST of us all? 5

The defeat suffered by the far-left Labour Party in a recent general election in Britain was so decisive, it forces left-wing parties on both sides of the Atlantic to reconsider their policies, and encourages conservatives to hope it is symptomatic of a decline and fall of the Left everywhere.

When we were in the grip of that wild hope, an article in Areo by Helen Pluckrose and James A. Lindsay titled The Left is Having an Identity Crisis drew our close attention.

The title is ironic, intentionally or not, because the Left has been primarily concerned with “identity” ever since Karl Marx drew rigid lines between the classes of the Western world. Your identity in the Marxian view was defined by your class. You were either bourgeois which was bad because you supported the status quo, or you were proletarian which was good because you were destined to make violent revolution. (In his personal life Marx was a social snob, always putting his wife’s aristocratic name and title on his visiting card.) When the proletariats of Europe disappointed the Left after the Second World War, becoming well-off, indistinguishable in their outlook from the bourgeoisie and plainly uninterested in making revolution, a New Left arose with a revised ethic of identity. Henceforth it was the Lumpenproletariat, a vagabond underclass that Marx had despised, that must play the revolutionary role. Their class, the “unemployed and unemployable” (as Herbert Marcuse wrote) was augmented by les misérables of the Third World (Frantz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth”) and others who were powerless and exploited by the bourgeois patriarchy; notably women and the sexually deviant, and even (sotto voce why not?) felons. These “sections” of society would unite under the red banner of socialist revolution, which no longer had to be violent. Instead the Left would advance to power by taking control over the institutions of the Western democracies – or where that proved impossible, by discrediting them. The author of the plan, Antonio Gramsci, described it as “the long march through the institutions”.The sections, united in purpose throughout the world, would get the levers of power in their hands and then change our world that has evolved over millennia, our world of many nation-states, of European and male supremacy, of capitalism and private ownership and unequal wealth, into One World of material equality and moral beauty.

In this drama, your identity according to the categories of the New Left is what matters about you. You are black, female, homosexual, or in the nostalgia of the theorists a worker, so you are expected to take part in, or at least assist, the long march. You are expected to be on the Left.

And now the Left itself is having a crisis of identity? What is it about its Leftness that is troubling it?

Pluckrose and Lindsay, who declare themselves to be liberal and not socialist or “identitarian”, reflect on what is happening in and to the Left in Britain and America, and set about defining, diagnosing, and prescribing a cure for the problem:

The Left is in crisis. We no longer present a cohesive movement, and we no longer form coherent political parties. We are a fractured and ill-defined mess, our goals are diffuse and scattered, and we are hemorrhaging supporters from what should be our base—the working class, liberals, and racial and sexual minorities. It is not clear that left-wing parties and movements are currently listening to that base or have its best interests at heart.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent British election, which was disastrous for the left. Labour lost key seats, including in areas that have voted left for close to a century, and experienced its worst drubbing in four decades. An outright majority was won by surely the least credible Tory Prime Minister in living memory.

That’s Boris Johnson they’re talking about. A man who was born to be Prime Minister of England, very possibly a good one. He has sworn to take Britain out of the European Union which is  a corrupt and undemocratic political darling of the Left, so of course the Left abominates him. To persons on the Left, he is almost as bad as our great President Trump.

It seems uncomfortably likely that this disaster is soon to be mirrored in the US by the re-election of Donald Trump for a second term, despite the fact that the American public has had four years—beginning with his 2015 campaign—to notice how manifestly unfit he is to be the leader of the western world. The pressing questions at the moment are, what’s going on? and what, if anything, can we do to stop it?

They do some quite credible analysis of what’s going wrong on their side:

Let’s start with what isn’t going to work. It simply will not do to blame these electoral results on the idea that the majority of the population is ignorant, hateful, or unaware of their own best interests. This is the attitude—made popular throughout the educated left by a growing commitment to elitism and critical theories—that got us into this mess in the first place. This attitude is particularly worrying because it leads leftist activists to double down on exactly those things that are killing the left.

If left-leaning parties around the world hope to have any future electoral success, they need to ditch both elitism and identity-based theory and develop some self-awareness. They need to start listening to the people they are supposed to represent so that they can understand what people actually want from a left-wing party. Only in this way can the left heal its fractures and form a strong and principled movement, with political parties that the general public can trust and respect.

The policies of left-wing parties need to come from the people—not represent revolutionary ideologies most do not share or appreciate having imposed upon them for their own good. The public will not stand for this—nor should they. It is absolutely right to reject the social engineering projects of theorists, activists, and the privileged elite who, like self-appointed philosopher kings, want to order society according to their ideological vision of how things should be rather than how they are or realistically could be.

People who reject the ideologues’ vision are not all racist, sexist, and xenophobic bigots or radical capitalist absolutists. Liberals and working people, who form an overlapping majority, generally have strong opinions on what will make their lives better and society fairer, and they are increasingly deciding that right-wing parties are closer to providing this. Barely electable as those might be, that’s still miles better than being totally unelectable. This is a point our left-wing parties seem utterly unable to grasp—as our elections keep demonstrating. This calls for humility and introspection from the left, rather than doubling down and denigrating the masses for their wrongthink.

Ah, yes. It seems that whenever the workers are given a chance to express their political preference, they choose wicked but rewarding capitalist conservatism over morally beautiful but materially deficient socialism.

But Pluckrose and Lindsay, and probably all Leftists, assume that “most people” really want a left-wing government. One that is not too radical.

So Left-wing parties must strive to keep themselves from becoming too radical. But it’s not easy for them:

Left-wing parties and movements generally have a harder job maintaining consistency and cohesion than conservative ones because of their progressive nature. Progress requires change, moving with the times, and finding new directions. It requires fighting for certain advances and then, when these are achieved, fighting for new ones. Conservatives generally have an easier time with continuity because they seek to conserve aspects of society that they see as good, as well as upholding consistent principles, rooted in consistent moral intuitions of individual responsibility, respect for tradition and authority, cultural cohesion, and family. While differences do exist within conservatism—especially between libertarian fiscal conservatives and religious and/or social conservatives—there are natural limits as to how much principles can change and evolve when they are firmly rooted in the drive to conserve.

Progressives, on the other hand, are always trying to move forward and address new injustices and inequalities. The drive to progress necessarily manifests in many different directions at the same time and these can even contradict each other. One good example of this is the vitriolic conflict between the radical feminists, whose rejection of gender is rooted in an adaptation of Marxist class struggle, and the self-ID trans activists, whose conception of gender is rooted in postmodern queer theory. These groups are both decidedly left-wing and yet they do not agree.

Another such conflict came to light when Goldsmith University’s Feminist Society endorsed the Islamic Society’s protests against communist feminist, Maryam Namazie, due to her criticism of Islamism. For progressives to make progress, their competing aims therefore need to be balanced within a consistent ethical framework—a liberal framework—that can prevent the left from repeatedly fracturing because of incompatible aims and conceptions of the world.

… [There is a] current deadlock between the three main elements of the left [which are]: the radical (or socialist), identitarian (“Social Justice”), and liberal left. She argues that the  liberal left must strongly champion liberalism, as an overarching principle by which the valid concerns of the other strands of the left can be judged. Neither socialism nor identity politics can win back the voters who have gone over to the right because most people support regulated capitalism and universal principles of fairness and reciprocity, regardless of identity. This is perfectly compatible with profound concern about the disadvantages people face because of their class, race, sex, or sexuality.

The socialists—who prioritise the material realities of economic and class issues—and the identitarians—with their myopic and obsessive focus on race, gender, and sexuality as social constructs perpetuated in language—cannot easily cooperate with each other, without a broader framework that is neither socialist nor identitarian. The left needs to focus on both economic and identity issues. … [R]ight now most people want a combination of center-left economics and center-right stability. We can achieve this by restoring liberalism to the heart of left-wing politics and rejecting the lure of illiberal alternatives.

Liberalism, in its essence, seeks incremental reform to address social injustices, and it does so on the level of the individual and the universal. That is, liberalism seeks to produce a society in which every individual has access, in principle, to everything society has to offer, regardless of economic background, race, gender or sexuality. Liberalism is not (as its socialist and Social Justice critics claim) a belief that society has already achieved that aim and a corresponding denial of any continuing disadvantages caused by economic inequalities or prejudice.

On the contrary, by insisting on the rights of the individual and universal principles of non-discrimination we can oppose the barriers impeding any social group. This is the approach taken by the Civil Rights Movement, liberal feminism, and gay pride—with great success. … Critics of liberalism are right to warn us that focusing only on the individual and the universal can lead us to overlook issues disadvantaging specific groups. But we can address these criticisms most effectively by appealing to a broader liberal framework, not by attempting to overthrow it.

We have moved into a new stage of history. The battles the left fought over the past half-century have largely been won. We cannot go back to focusing on miners’ rights and trade unions, or on securing equal pay for women, outlawing racial discrimination, or legalizing homosexuality: we have won those wars. In fact, much of the right supports these advances now too.

So far, not much to make us feel irresistibly compelled to argue.

But next they explain what liberalism means to them:

We have new battles to fight. These include combating climate change, securing our place on the world stage and within the global economy, and fostering a cohesive multiculturalism, free from moral relativism and enforced conformity. The left now finds itself pulled in many directions at once. This is the source of its profound identity crisis.

The intractability of the problem facing the left was made abundantly clear by the recent UK election. Constituencies such as Grimsby and Blyth voted Conservative after decades of being staunchly Labour. As Aditya Chakrabortty points out, this is largely due to changes in working class political identity:

While the party bigwigs threw their weight about, the mines and the manufacturers, the steel and the shipbuilding were snuffed out. With them went the culture of Labourism: the bolshy union stewards, the self-organised societies, most of the local newspapers. Practically any institution that might incubate a working-class provincial political identity was bulldozed.

Workers have other concerns now, and it seems they did not feel that Labour was addressing them. In areas that were long-term Labour strongholds—and which have now turned Tory—a majority of working people also voted Leave in the Brexit referendum. This points to a deep and fundamental rift that cannot easily be ignored—and some of the responses to this division highlight many of the same issues that triggered working-class support for Leave in the first place.

[Jeremy] Corbyn’s Labour Party was torn between honoring the wishes of the many working people who wanted to leave the European Union and those of its liberal and cosmopolitan supporters, who strongly supported Remain. After dithering on the issue for a couple of years, Labour finally compromised by calling for a second referendum, a solution that, by calling Mulligan on the results of the first Brexit referendum, seems not to have mollified its working class base in the least. Since then, a YouGov survey found that Labour voters were more likely to think the next Labour leader needed to be more centrist and that the general population overwhelmingly did not care for identity politics, at least in the realm of gender.

The Economist has described Labour as out of touch with the working class, particularly in the north. …

While the issue of Brexit is far more complicated than a simple left-right divide, it highlights a profound disconnect between the old, class-conscious left and the new identity-conscious (read: identity-obsessed) left. By attempting to satisfy both of them at the same time, Labour is tearing itself apart. We can also see this in the anti-Semitism that now plagues the party, which is a consequence of attempting to come to terms with postcolonial guilt by acknowledging Britain’s role in the current tensions across the Muslim world. As a result, Labour often supports conservative Muslims over liberal ones, and condones—or actively endorses—the sexism, homophobia, and antisemitism that comes along with that position, leaving British Jews in a very vulnerable position. These deep inconsistencies have led many centrist and liberal voters in the UK to believe that the Tories better represent their interests than can Labour.

These political challenges are not confined to the UK. In the US, the Democratic Party is flailing, as it attempts to satisfy both its economic and identitarian wings, in the run-up to the 2020 elections. While the majority of the left and center—and a significant part of the right—hope that a reasonable, electable presidential candidate will emerge from within the Democratic Party, they’re forced to stare wild-eyed as the vast majority of the current and past hopefuls catalogue their pronouns in their Twitter bios and declare that “the future is female” and “the future is intersectional”.

Meanwhile, the activist base—the only ones interested in these displays—write articles fixated on the identity politics surrounding these candidates. Joe Biden is just one more old, white man who needs to step aside (even though he has tremendous support among black Americans, as does that other old white man, Bernie Sanders, who is polling in second place). If you don’t support Elizabeth Warren, even as she panders endlessly to the far-left fringe, it’s because you’ve bought into systemic misogyny (or condone Trump’s allegedly racist mockery of her as “Pocahontas”). Pete Buttigieg, who would be America’s first openly gay president if he were elected, isn’t gay enough. He may be married to a man but, we’re told, he isn’t really gay because he’s straight-passing and not a queer activist. …

Note of possible relevance: Pete Buttigieg’s father, Joseph Buttigieg, translated into English the works of no less a Communist Superhero than Antonio Gramsci himself.

This leaves left-wing parties in a quandary. They need to move with the times but are currently unsure where those times are going.

“The times”, aka History, is seen by theLeft as an agent with a purposeful will. It – not human thought and action – shapes events. Human beings are the tools of History – though its ultimate purpose is their perfection. A Marxian thesis which still lingers with the Left.

Marx believed his envisioned revolution was inevitable – though also in need of action by the “revolutionary class”.

A contemporary Labour MP, Jess Phillips, believes the working class needs a Labour government, even if it is not revolutionary. She writes in the Guardian:

The truth is, there are corners of our party that have become too intolerant of challenge and debate. The truth is, there is a clique who don’t care if our appeal has narrowed, as long as they have control of the institutions and ideas of the party.

We’ve all got to discover the courage to ask the difficult questions about the future of our party and the future of the working-class communities who need a Labour government. Because the alternative is that the working-class voters who, in despair, lent the Tories their votes on Thursday, never take them back.

It is time for the left to acknowledge this wake-up call. If the election of Donald Trump in the US and the catastrophic collapse of Labour in the UK haven’t made it obvious that we have a problem, it is unclear what will. The left cannot continue to try to impose a set of ideological values held by only a tiny minority of the left-leaning public and then blame that public for not electing a left-wing government. While trying to find its footing in today’s society and address the injustices and concerns of most of its natural base, the left has fallen into the trap of listening to noisy ideologues rather than average liberal and leftist working people. How much more evidence do we need that this does not work? When will we start listening to what people overwhelmingly want—a society that meets their material needs and feels fair and ethical? When will the left commit to being liberal again?

We ask: for what do “working class communities need a Labour government”? If the (somewhat) right-wing governments elected in the United States and Britain meet their material needs – and in the US at present the Trump administration is amply doing so – and if that seems “fair and ethical” to the voters, what can a reformed right-shifted left-wing government do for them? Can such a government, with redistributionist welfare policies designed by “noisy ideologues” to achieve fairness as an ethical ideal, meet material needs more amply?  No. That’s the whole point. Planned economies do not work. Equality of wealth, equality of power, equality of talent, equality of achievement, all that is meant by “social justice”, will never be brought about by History, nor can it be made to happen by ideologues, whether noisily by revolution or silently by their gaining control of the institutions of democracies.

The Left is failing because Leftism as such, whether “liberal” in the contemporary sense (“combating climate change, securing our place on the world stage and within the global economy, and fostering a cohesive multiculturalism … meeting material needs and feeling fair and ethical”), or uncompromisingly socialist, or defiantly “identitarian”, cannot succeed.

The law, by treating all sane adults equally, may sometimes be “fair”; but nature will not be, nor History, nor any political party.

How it is 1

First, a few dogmatic assertions:

The Democratic Party is nothing but a menace and a nuisance.

Adam Schiff is the most loathsome and despicable politician in America.

Donald Trump is one of the greatest presidents in US history.

All of which is so obvious, we see no need for a crumb of supporting evidence.

But now, to encourage an admirable spirit of brazen triumphalism in the nation, we quote a survey of just one week (Sunday October 27 to Friday November 1, 2019) of President Trump’s achievements.

Kimberly Guilfoyle writes at Townhall:

Last week was one for the record books, not just for President Donald J. Trump, but for the entire country, which witnessed major economic, domestic policy, and national security accomplishments packed into a single calendar week. Now, with 365 days until election day 2020, these are the kind of weeks that will be remembered by voters as they consider their choices — and that’s bad news for Democrats up and down the ballot.

The week started in the morning of Sunday, October 27th, as President Trump took to the podium in the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room to announce that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed in an American-led military operation in northwest Syria. Al-Baghdadi was not just any bad guy — he was rivaled only by Osama bin Laden. He was a mass murdering serial rapist who enslaved millions of innocent people in ISIS-controlled territories that once included parts of 20 countries on two different continents.

The president’s decision to deliver justice through swift and deadly force has made the world a better, safer place.

Oddly though, some in the media seemed disoriented by the news, grasping for a way to spin the death in a way that doesn’t look like a foreign policy success for President Trump. The failing Washington Post went so far as to title their obituary, “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48.” As Donald Trump Jr. recently put it, that’s like an obituary of cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer reading, “Dahmer, connoisseur of exotic and locally-sourced meats, dies at 34.

However, even more disappointing then the media twisting themselves in knots to avoid saying anything that might be interpreted as praise for President Trump was the deafening silence from Democrats. They were seemingly unable to acknowledge that the Commander-in-Chief — even in this just one specific instance — made the world safer.

However, undeterred by his constant and incessant detractors, the president went immediately from celebrating a major national security victory on Sunday to visiting Chicago on Monday to honor law enforcement at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Through the coordinated efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement, America has reversed the tide of violent crime that spiked from 2014 to 2016 under former President Obama. The violent crime rate has fallen in each of the last two years, resulting in 50,000 fewer robberies and 286,000 fewer burglaries.

And while the president was in Chicago Monday, the stock market was hitting record highs. Although Democrats — and the typical cast of media talking heads — continue to predict impending economic turmoil, the market is once again outperforming expectations at historic levels. The S&P 500 hit a new record high four times this week, while the Nasdaq reached a new record high for the first time since July.

On Tuesday, the president’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons delivered a new report detailing the success the administration has had in combating the scourge of human and sex trafficking. Convictions of human traffickers have doubled, and the number of defendants charged has increased by 75 percent. This is one of the most underreported issues plaguing America today, but President Trump has committed substantial resources to addressing it, which is having a meaningful and immediate impact in communities around America.

On Wednesday, President Trump’s administration took an important step to help Americans suffering from substance abuse by launching FindTreatment.gov, a website that will enable visitors to access a database tailored to addressing their specific needs and treatments. Addiction can affect anyone, so it’s important to have a platform that supports everyone.

And while the week ended on another high note Friday, with a major jobs report showing the unemployment rate hovering near the lowest level since 1969, a new record-low for black unemployment, and 128,000 new jobs, the Democrats used Thursday to advance their singular political objective: impeachment.

Although two Democrats joined with Republicans to oppose Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s next step in the impeachment sham — an encouraging bi-partisan move — the Democrat majority …

Led by loathsome despicable Adam Schiff  …

… was still able to pass the resolution establishing Pelosi’s rigged rules. While the vote has little actual effect on anything — other than being another embarrassing spectacle out of a power-hungry party — it highlighted the stark contrast between the agendas of each party.

In an almost tiring week of winning for America, the Democrats had to sully our enjoyment of America’s greatness with a meaningless, partisan charade on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The talking heads in the media may fixate on polls, fundraising numbers, and the empty promises of politicians, but voters are looking for results. And while it may not be every week that President Trump orders an operation that successfully eliminates one of the most dangerous terrorist masterminds in world history, the rest of his accomplishments in this last week were exactly what we’ve come to expect from President Donald J. Trump.

Yesterday ( November 4, 2019), Donald Trump, addressing a typically vast and passionately enthusiastic crowd at a rally in Lexington, Kentucky, repeated exultantly what Fox News political commentator Lou Dobbs said of him – …

… that I was the greatest president since Ronald Reagan. Then he said, “No, no. Trump is an even better president than Ronald Reagan. And now he’s got me down as the greatest president in the history of our country, including George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.”

Lou Dobbs was exulting in his own foresight when he said it. He had made this prediction in 2016:

I will not pretend objectivity in this at all, I think that Donald Trump is going to be one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had.

And that is how it is.

Posted under United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, November 5, 2019

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The ways of two presidents 15

President Putin made this very short speech to the Duma:

In Russia, live like Russians.  Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, it should speak Russian, and should respect all Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law, and wish to live the life of Muslims, then we now clearly advise them to go and live in those places where that’s the state law. 

Russia does not need Muslim minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell ‘discrimination’!

We will not tolerate disrespect of our Russian culture.

We had better learn from the suicides of so-called democracies – America, England, France, Germany, and Holland – if we are to survive as a nation.

The Muslims are taking over those countries, but they will not take over Russia!

Our Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture or the primitive ways of Sharia Law and Muslims.

When this honorable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have in mind the Russian national interest first, observing that the Muslim minorities are not Russian.

The Duma gave him a standing ovation.

A well-informed, Trump-supporting, Republican-voting conservative who sent us the speech, commented:

It is a sad day when a Communist leader makes more sense than so many of our elected officials in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate.

I know it’s hard to believe, but Putin has become a true national leader in the way no West European can begin to approach. Imagine Angela Merkel or Francois Macron or Theresa May or even Boris Johnson in that role. Ha! Ridiculous! Trump also fails the test, but mostly because of the pathological hatred of the leftist scum. However, Trump contributed to that thanks to his compulsive Twitters and off-the-cuff remarks. He would do much better to just shut up and let the democrats annihilate one another.

To which we replied:

We cannot agree with you about the president’s tweets. The media do not report him accurately or fairly so he uses tweeting to communicate directly with the electorate –  and a very successful tactic it has proved to be. Each approving reader feels he is being addressed personally. As each listener at his rallies feels too. At those rallies, how they love him for it! They scream their delight. We enjoy every minute of it. He makes us laugh – with him – within five seconds. So do his tweets. He must not stop. He will not stop. He will be re-elected, probably with a landslide.

And our correspondent answered:

I must repeat that Trump does himself no favors with his compulsive Tweeting or Twittering; whatever the damn thing is called.

You are correct that die-hard Trump fans love it. But they are barely 40% of the population. My best guess is that another 30% of the population are Trump haters: Liberals, Socialists, Communists, psycho-leftists, Antifa thugs, et al. and they will never vote for Trump no matter what. The middle 30% are up for grabs, and some of them are alienated by Trump’s style. Generally, they like him on issues like the economy, immigration, anti-Iran, quasi-anti-China (especially its compulsively greedy trade policies), and others, but they think he is not very presidential. If Trump can win 25 out of the 30 percent in the middle, he will be re-elected in a landslide approaching 65%. Even if it turns out to be only 60% that also qualifies as a landslide. However, he cannot afford to lose the vast majority of those in the middle, and this is especially important in winning a GOP majority in the House, to get rid of the likes of Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff, the four-creep “squad”, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and the rest of the psycho-left, “progressive” wing of the democratic party. You are no doubt correct that he cannot stop; he will not stop. It’s who he is. I hope you are correct that the vast majority of the country loves it, but I have my doubts.

We invite our readers’ comments.

Posted under Russia, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, August 19, 2019

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The battle for Brexit 29

As two fatal political diseases, Socialism and Islam, spread steadily through our Western civilization, two events signaled that liberty and prosperity might survive: one was Brexit – the majority vote in Britain to withdraw from the European Union – and the other was the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States.

Both President Trump and Brexit are under relentless attack.

Yesterday an anonymous British civil servant published a warning to the British people.

It is titled:

Don’t be fooled: this Brexit deal creates a triple lock to shackle the UK to Brussels forever.

It makes it clear as day that the “deal” is a conspiracy between Prime Minister Theresa May and the Leftist Cabal that runs the corrupt EU to frustrate the will of the British people and sabotage Brexit.

We quote from the warning:

EU officials (ably abetted by their British allies) have produced a devilishly clever draft treaty which, if passed, would end Brexit and get Britain ready to board the express train to a United States of Europe. The political takeover of the UK represented by the Withdrawal Agreement is an audacious attempt to reverse a damning popular vote of discontent with the European Project and provide fresh impetus for the federal superstate that is the EU’s raison d’être.

The EU’s triple lock guarantee is so constructed that never again will Brussels be troubled by an explosion of democracy in the United Kingdom. Parliament has one last chance to escape total eclipse – and it is now, by rejecting the Withdrawal Agreement in its entirety.

The first lock: the transition period
The first lock is the transition period, which lasts until at least 2021. We must hand over an estimated £39 billion for nothing, be bound by EU law and take orders from an unelected Joint Committee operating under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Will the EU27 agree an equitable free trade agreement before the end of 2020? Unlikely, since all the goodies they want in the “future partnership” are set out in the Northern Ireland backstop, which kicks in automatically on 1st January 2021 unless superseded by a “partnership” agreement. Full ratification by all Member States is required before any such agreement can come into force. Achieving this in time to avoid entering the backstop would be nothing short of miraculous, even if the EU agrees to extend the transition period for one or two years. So it is more pay with no say and a likely doubling of the Brexit bill to £80 billion, to be paid with no reference to British MPs.

The second lock: the backstop
The backstop is intended to be inescapable. It prepares Britain for the final destination set out in the political declaration, as a permanent satellite state of the EU. By which time, of course, it is doubtless hoped that we will be so fed up with our vassalage that we decide to rejoin the EU as a full member – with greatly increased budget contributions and a whole swathe of new EU law to obey. The United States of Europe will have taken shape during our “wilderness years” using our money (“Britgeld” seems to be an appropriate term), but without our political input. No taxation without representation? What a joke.

Not only does the backstop carve out Northern Ireland as an EU province and set a border in the Irish Sea, it creates a partial “customs union” that requires us to implement EU trade tariffs and policy with no decision-making powers. Under highly restrictive “non-regression clauses”, the UK also agrees to implement all EU environmental, competition, state aid and tax harmonisation laws, with the unelected Joint Committee and the ECJ once again able to punish us for any perceived backsliding. British farmers will be locked into a subsidy regime well below support received by EU27 farmers, who nevertheless retain tariff-free access to the UK. British agriculture would be decimated. It means we could not support British businesses, give ourselves a competitive edge in new technologies where we excel, strike independent trade deals or diverge in key policy areas such as goods regulations and tax. Free EU access to UK fisheries is set down as a marker for negotiation in the future “deal”.

The third lock: the “future partnership”
Anyone expecting the EU27 to give up the immense advantages they gain under the backstop is delusional. Retaining tariff-free access to the UK market and effective control of UK trade and competition policy must be nirvana for them. To ensure they reap the full benefit, there is the third and final lock in the Withdrawal Agreement. Unless we agree to a “future partnership” as set out in the political declaration, the backstop will endure in perpetuity.

The Political Declaration replicates all the onerous “non-regression” clauses of the backstop and requires even more surrender of sovereignty via participation in and funding of the EU’s aerospace and defence programmes, free access to UK waters for EU fishermen, a full customs union and common trade policy, free movement by the backdoor under “mobility” clauses, EU control of UK agriculture via the state aid rules and in general full adherence to the acquis communautaire in all policy areas.

The good news is that a real break away from the EU can happen without an agreement – and will.

“Withdrawal Agreement” is an Orwellian misnomer, of course. This agreement keeps Britain in chains.

Voters may believe we need it in order to leave the EU. We do not. They could be fooled by the Prime Minister’s repeated claims that there might be “no Brexit” unless it is passed – when of course Brexit will happen by default without it under the terms of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. Voters might also be forgiven for believing that the Withdrawal Agreement settles our future trade relationship with the EU. Not in the slightest. Future trade talks remain just that – in the future – while May’s “deal” keeps the UK legally shackled to a moribund EU economy which it must attempt to revive with vast sums of British taxpayers’ money for an indeterminate number of years.

President Trump opposes Theresa May’s sell-out of Brexit and wants a trade deal with an independent Britain.

And – an add-on item to enjoy – he recently downgraded the EU and demoted its ambassador by declaring it to be an international organization and not a nation-state.

Posted under Britain, Europe, Islam, jihad, Leftism, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 11, 2019

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“Pericles, Alexander, Augustus, Charlemagne, Churchill, Reagan, Thatcher” – Trump? 14

That a serious and excellent historian should even be considering whether President Trump will qualify to stand among the greatest of the great leaders of history, is a tribute to him that could most satisfactorily rile the Democrats if they were to hear of it.

Victor Davis Hanson is the historian who reflects on President Trump’s ambition for America and how leaders who had similar aims in the past succeeded and failed.

He writes at American Greatness to answer his own question, ”Does ‘make X great again’ ever happen in history?”

The short answer: Sometimes.

Here’s one example. By 527 A.D., the Eastern Roman Empire at Constantinople seemed fated to collapse like the West had a near century prior. The Persian Sassanids were gobbling up Byzantine lands in the east. Almost all of old Rome west of Greece had already been lost.

A growing and unsustainable administrative state exercised near control of Constantinople. Christianity was splintering into irrelevant factionalism. The law was a selective mess.

Justinian was certainly an unlikely emperor: an outsider of peasant stock from the northern frontier, an Eastern Latin rather than Greek speaker (and likely the last native Latin-speaking emperor), who would marry an infamous but shrewd courtesan, Theodora.

Yet in some 38 years of sometimes brutal rule, Justinian through the leadership of his brilliant generals, Belisarius and Narses, stabilized the eastern borders. He reclaimed for eastern Rome North Africa, Sicily, much of Italy, and some of Spain, often through small, well-organized armies and prudent alliances. He reformed the bureaucracy, systematized Roman law (Codex Justinianus), and built the magnificent Christian cathedral of Hagia Sophia — the largest church in the world for a thousand years.

Justinian might have done even far more had not a devastating three-year epidemic of bubonic plague spiked and wiped out a quarter of the empire’s population. The millions of losses created a permanent manpower shortage that left the Byzantines vulnerable to relentless Gothic enemies in Western Europe — and ultimately, a century and a half later, the conquests of new Islamic armies in the Middle East and North Africa.

Because from the get-go, Islam has been a religion of war, as it is now. 

The outsider Justinian’s agendas were those of many past reformers and restorers: apply the law equally and rationally, control government finances, restore the value of the currency, unite and inspire the population with iconic buildings and new infrastructure, reform and enhance religious practice [hmm], and offer predictable and steady rule.

History is replete with leaders who wish to perpetuate the status quo and to manage supposed permanent decline, but less frequently witnesses a few successful “great again” reformers of various stripes and agendas, both elected and the more ruthless (e.g., Pericles, Alexander, Augustus, Constantine, Charlemagne, Elizabeth, Catherine the Great, Joseph II, Lincoln, Churchill).

In our own time, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are the most notable restorers. Both came into power at a time when the English-speaking West was considered near spent.

A much talked about “crisis of confidence” and “malaise” had led to general British and American depression about the costs of containing global communism. No one seemed to know what to do about the economy — given stubborn stagflation, low growth, high unemployment and inflation, and a rising “misery” index.

Oil shortages and rising prices were proof of “peak” oil in a dependent West — and permanent reliance on corrupt Middle-East petrodollar kingdoms. Radical Islam and Middle East terrorism were on the rise. 

They were the same thing.

But then so were ascendant “Tiger” economies in Asia that seemed in perpetuity would make cars, steel and just plain stuff better and cheaper than in Detroit or Manchester.

The cultural residue of the Sixties made any call for reformation and renewal seem quaint and hokey.

The late Sixties of the last century being when the New Left began its “long march through the institutions”; which succeeded in the twenty-first century in the almost total takeover of education in the West, and culminated in the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States. These were the Cold War victories of communism.

The United States would no doubt follow Britain’s postwar trajectory.

Downwards.

Declinism — supposedly due to moral nihilism, debt, spiritual emptiness, permanent energy shortages, Cold War militarism, laziness, statism, corruption — was thematic in think tanks and current in-the-know books. …

By “spiritual emptiness” was meant a desertion from the Christian churches. Of course, we see that as one good trend among all those undeniable evils.

After the end of the roaring 1960s and late 1970s, both Thatcher and Reagan were written off as near kooks, advocating strong defense, renewed nationalism, optimism, traditionalism, limited government, lower taxes, smaller government, and free-market deregulation — as pathways to a new muscular Britain and renewed superpower United States.

The results of their revolutions were the collapse of global communism …

That is to say, the collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire in Eastern Europe. As pointed out above, the ideology of communism was not defeated but steadily on its way to its greatest triumphs. But much was restored through the political victories of Reagan and Thatcher. Much was made greater.

…  the eventual restoration of Anglo-American international finance, recalibrated American entrepreneurism, and energy renaissances. Certainly the United States today in terms of technology, defense, agriculture, fossil fuel production, and higher education towers over its competitors in ways that would have seemed impossible in the 1970s.

Higher education? Well yes, in the sciences and technology. In innovation. Despite the ever more arrogant imposition of Leftist orthodoxy in the academies.

The idea of a Trump economic restoration in 2015-2016 seemed equally absurd. Larry Summers had assured us that annualized 3 percent GDP growth was the stuff of “fantasies.” He predicted instead a recession at 18 months of the Trump term, while Paul Krugman insisted on a market collapse in early 2017 with dubious chances of recovery.

We could never “drill our way out” of an energy crisis—so Obama had insisted and wrote off the very idea of a manufacturing rebound as some myth requiring a “magic wand”. Massive illegal immigration was a permanent fact of life, as was the new demography and identity politics. We were apparently to live with the Iran Deal and though not spoken, an eventual nuclear Iran. Nuclear missiles pointed at the West Coast from North Korea required “strategic patience.”

“Lead from behind” …

Surely the most absurd of Obama’s many absurd formulations!

… diplomacy relied on an international consensus of the sort illustrated by the Paris Accord and permanent refugee status of the Palestinians — as well as avoidance of disruptive moves likes leveraging NATO partners to meet their promised contributions, moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, considering taboo tariffs to trim China’s huge surpluses and its assumption that its ascendance to global hegemony was a matter of when, not if.

Trump had lots of assets and advantages in seeking to restore U.S. power and prosperity. American research universities dominate global education. American frackers had produced more natural gas and oil than ever thought possible. Agriculture had never been more productive, and the United States had unused leverage and economic clout to recalibrate trade deals and alliances in a more symmetrical fashion.

The dilemma of Trump’s restoration was similar to that of many radical reformers: being an abject outsider meant he was beholden to few insiders and was largely immune from stifling and ossifying establishment groupthink. Yet his pariah status also ensured little inside help, lots of status quo deep state venom, and a learning curve required to rein in the chariot of a huge and dangerous bureaucracy.

No one knows how this latest historical effort to make great again a perceived ailing state will play out. On the plus side, Trump has sought to restore traditional jurisprudence through impressive judicial nominations. He has praised rather than lectured business and helped to free the animal spirits of capitalism. Trump cut rather than raised taxes, deregulated rather than stymied entrepreneurialism, and expanded energy leasing on federal lands and green-lighted pipeline construction.  His current foreign policy team of Bolton, Mattis, and Pompeo is impressive and seeks to restore U.S. deterrence that will bring far more stability to the world than mushy lead from behind subordination. A possible Chinese agreement to cut their trade surpluses and play by international trading rules, and a North Korean guarantee of denuclearization would be the most significant foreign policy developments since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Where has Trump’s MAGA agenda stalled?

And why? Who stalled it?

Answer: The Republican Party:

A Republican majority House and Senate squandered a rare chance for radical change between 2017-2018 by failing to repeal and reform Obamacare, failing to build a border wall, failing to pass an immigration law that would secure the border and ensure only meritocratic, legal, diverse and measured immigration, and failing to stop out of control spending and debt by addressing unsustainable entitlements.

Both both President Trump and the Republican Party failed to foresee how low the Democrats would sink:

Trump and the Republican Party also have underestimated the effects of radical changes and protocols in voting laws, such as voter harvesting in California that has made Election Day totals largely irrelevant. Trump has neither chipped away at the 90-percent negative coverage of the media nor yet made it irrelevant. …

Inept Justice Department decisions led to the venomous Mueller investigation that ignored real wrongdoing as it chased a Trump collusion unicorn. In some sense, if Trump’s election as the first president without either political or military experience was unprecedented, equally unparalleled was a 90 percent hostile media, coup-like attempts to abort a presidency through absurd resorts to the Logan Act, Emoluments Clause, the 25th Amendment, lawsuits, impeachment writs, and non-stop celebrity talk of assassination, and death and destruction to the Trump family. Almost any other man Trump’s age would long ago have collapsed under the stress and venom.

The future of Trump’s solid two years of achievement is uncertain. The more his economic policies and foreign affairs bring results, the more the hatred of him grows, both inside and outside his own party.

So Trump’s three signature long-term agendas hang in the balance — checking China’s often ruthless rise to global commercial and eventual military supremacy, growing an economy that includes preeminent American manufacturing, energy production, and industrial output, and ending the idea of a bicoastal elite adjudicating politics and culture for a supposedly backward and declining traditional interior.

No one knows quite how to fathom Trump’s paradox. His extraordinary powers of resilience and retaliation stave off the constant assaults from progressives and the media, and such defiance inspires a red-state America. Yet so far Trump’s caustic retorts also stymie winning over enough swing and minority voters to achieve a 51 percent ruling majority to ensure his ideas of restored greatness.

Is that so? His tweets are his undoing? Yet they are instant communications with his constituency. His loyal followers like them. And their votes put him in the White House.

For now, Trump’s fate may be in the hands of others—as it was in 2016 when what put him over the top was wide scale repugnance at the thought of a corrupt President Clinton and all that her victory would entail. The final take-over of the Democratic Party by progressive extremists might well empower Trump to reelection.

Yet it is a scary idea that the fate of making America great again might hinge on the nihilism of the Democratic Party.

Not if the Democratic Party is defeated in 2020.

It is quite possible, it is even likely, that Donald Trump will be one of the great restorers of history whose achievements endure.

Patriotism versus Nationalism? 4

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, declares himself to be a patriot.

But not a nationalist.

“Patriotism,” he says, “is the opposite of nationalism.”

To his mind, patriotism is good, nationalism is bad.

He emphatically expresses his own patriotism, saying at various times:

Long live the Republic, long live France.

France is back.

France is a strong, wealthy country.

Our language, history, and civilization shine out across every continent.

I bring the spirit of French conquest.

He believes that France has reason to be proud – but not the French.

Not those who incarnate “the spirit of French conquest”.

For the French to be proud of being French would be nationalism. And nationalism is bad for two reasons:

First, because not just the indigenous French live in France.

Second, because France is only one of the 28 countries in the European Union.

If you are a citizen of one of those countries, you can like the country you live in, you can be proud of it. That makes you a patriot. Good. But you may not like it better than the other 27 countries. If you do, you are a nationalist. Bad.

Macron declares:

We are a continent of refugees, and if you say we can’t integrate refugees, that’s not consistent with our values, even if borders cannot be wide open. 

I want to be the president of all the people of France, for the patriots facing the threat of nationalism.

My responsibility will be to unite all the women and men ready to take on the tremendous challenges which are waiting for us, and to act.

He wants to unite them because very many of them – indigenous French citizens of France – still want France to be their country, not a country of refugees. They do not want the millions of (mainly Muslim) immigrants from the weak, poor Third World coming to live among them not to become French, but to benefit from the freedom and wealth  – which the French have attained through long centuries with their blood, sweat and tears – while keeping their own languages and customs, and even their own law. 

Those whose patriotism nationalism is expressed like that – the conservatives, the political Right – are Macron’s bad people.

The Left calls them “bigots”, “xenophobes”, “Islamophobes”, “Nazis”.

Macron calls himself a man of the Left, though not a socialist:

I am not a socialist.

I am from the Left, but I am happy to work with people from the Right.

Provided that the Right will accept the sharing of their country with multitudes of foreigners.

Macron saw his task as getting the nationalists to accept those multitudes. He called it “reforming” France.

We have no choice but to reform this country. I am not just a liberal movement. I come from the progressive Left. I am trying to refresh and counter the system.

To “refresh and counter”. A contradiction, yes.  Macron’s politics are bundles of contradictions.

On further thought, he was not sure that “reform” is the right word for what he believes he has to do. To “reform” France would be too local a project. Too … nationalistic. The French, all of them, have not only to accept that they must share their country with hostile foreigners – and be generous to them, and adapt their own ways to the foreigners’ because the foreigners are not interested in adapting to the ways of the French – they must fundamentally change from being French to being Europeans.

But wait! Even that is too self-serving, too vain and arrogant – still tainted with the stain of a kind of nationalism. As France is not better than the other 27 countries of the European Union, so Europe is not better than the rest of the world. (With one exception, which we’ll come to.)

It would not be enough merely to reform France into a different kind of country, changed from a nation-state into a constituent state of a United Europe. Not enough because France  needs to be much more changed, to have its Frenchness so eradicated that it will be transformed into just one geographical area named “France” among hundreds of other geographical areas in a United World.  

Macron announced:

I am for a progressive world. I do not propose to reform France; I propose to transform it at its deepest level.

That is “globalism”. It is the goal of the “progressives” – the Left – everywhere.

The Left has always understood that for their dream of a communist utopia to work, human nature must be fundamentally changed. Changed “at its deepest level”.

In fact, of course, Europe is not “a continent of refugees”. At least not until very recently. Now Macron and his fellow European Union leaders are trying to make it so by importing multitudes from Asia and Africa. Until that began to happen, the countries of Europe were largely homogeneous.

The country whose population is a mixture, is the United States of America. The American nation is the one that does not define itself in terms of origin and descent, or by subjection to king or chieftain, or by adherence to a particular religion. It is a nation of many peoples bound into one by a Constitution. It’s existence is the greatest political achievement of humankind. Those Americans who are aware of this have great cause to be proud of their country. Cause to be patriots. To be nationalists. Their nationalism is not a narrow arrogance. It is an achievement. And its present leader, President Donald Trump, is a proud patriot, a self-declared nationalist who puts the interests of his own country first, who wants it to be a great force and example for promoting freedom in the world. A country tolerant of all religions. With all its citizens equal before the law.

And it is this country, this leader, this patriotism, this nationalism that Emmanuel Macron and his fellow European globalists despise!

Within America, the Left, the “progressives” do not like their country the way it is. They are  trying, furiously and violently, to change it. Insurrectionist organizations, many of them financed by the multibillionaire George Soros, are fighting by all means, including treasonous conspiracy inside the agencies of the state, to unseat the president, align the country with globalist Europe. Also to abolish borders and admit as many immigrants from the poor, weak Third World as desire to come and benefit from the freedom and wealth of the US, while keeping their own languages and customs, and even their own law. 

George Soros collaborated with the Nazis in his youth, when his native Hungary was under occupation by the German Third Reich. He is a Jew who helped the Nazis kill Hungarian Jews. He calls one or a group of his organizations the Open Society Foundations. His “open society” ideal is a socialist – which is to say a closed – society. When Karl Popper praised the “open society” he meant a conservative, capitalist, free enterprise society within the nation-state. So George Soros, whether ingenuously out of misunderstanding, or disingenuously and ironically, is misusing the label by sticking it on the collectivist system he works treacherously in many countries to instate.

Opposition to this Nazi-assisting, communist sympathizing, promoter of civil chaos is deplored by President Macron. He has not only embraced the Soros idea of an open society (“I am for an open society,” he states plainly), he also accuses those who denounce Soros of “anti-Semitism”. (Which recalls the classic example of “chutzpah”: the murderer of father and mother pleading for mercy at his trial on the grounds that he’s an orphan.)

When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Emmanuel Macron courted him. The first state banquet given by the Trump administration was in his honor. On television news one could watch the slight figure of Macron scampering about to claim a place beside the dominating figure of Trump when photographs of NATO or European or world leaders were being taken.

But he reformed his fascination. As President Trump is a self-declared nationalist who likes the nation-state and insists on firm borders, Macron came to perceive him as the enemy. The enemy of globalism.

Breitbart reports:

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced nationalism during an Armistice Day centennial observance in Paris on Sunday.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: Nationalism is treason,” Macron said …

Macron spoke in front of world leaders including President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“If we think our interests may only come first and we don’t care for others, it is a treason of our values, a betrayal of all moral values,” he said. “We must remember this.”

Macron said that the moral values of France helped them fight for the future of their country.

He praised the world leaders that formed the first League of Nations, after World War I.

“They imagined the first international corporation, the dismantling of empires, and redefined borders, and dreamed at the time of a union, a political union of Europe,” Macron said.

The League of Nations! A horrible organization, brainchild of President Woodrow Wilson although his own country, the United States, never joined it. It was the precursor to the even more horrible United Nations. But Macron likes international bodies. He believes they keep peace between nations. The League, for all its imagining, did not keep peace between nations. World War Two broke out despite its being there. And the United Nations has not succeeded in keeping peace anywhere. It is a hopelessly corrupt organization. As is also the European Union. 

Oh, but for all his fondness for internationl bodies, for a United States of Europe, for open borders, Macron does not wish to be called a globalist.    

In an interview with CNN, Macron continued his condemnation of nationalism but was hesitant to claim the “globalist” label.

He doesn’t find it easy to say why. Perhaps because a lot of untransformed French voters understand that the Great Political Argument is now between Globalists and Nationalists and are on the side of the Nationalists.

“I would say I’m a patriot,” he said, but added: “I’m not a believer in a sort of globalism without any differentiation. I think it doesn’t — it’s very inconsistent, and it’s extremely — it makes our people very nervous. But I’m not a nationalist, which is very different for me from being a patriot.”

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