Formerly known as Sandy the Barmaid, now known as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we have a representative who is positively Trumpian in her grandiosity and ignorance. After she secured all of 15,847 votes to win her Congressional seat, she reportedly said she was going to Washington to be “inaugurated” and to “sign bills”.
Now, incredibly enough, she has decided to weigh in on the morality of child bearing. See below.
“There’s scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult. And it does lead young people to have a legitimate question: is it okay to still have children?”
Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who has reportedly raised $10 million for his presidential bid, is now being portrayed as a mainstream candidate. And he may very well be, at least for the Democratic Presidential nomination. After all, most of his rivals have endorsed his demands for Free college for all, Medicare for all and a national $15 an hour minimum wage. Alexandria Ortega-Cortez has helpfully noted that financing for all this could come by way of the Fed. All they have to do is print the money.
Throughout his political career Sanders has seldom missed a chance to praise, or at least indirectly defend, left wing dictators. That group would include the Castro Brothers, the Kremlin, the Sandinistas and Maduro in Venezuela to name a few. When confronted directly he simply deflects by saying something to the effect that well, yes, the Cuban economy is a shambles, and Cuba is a dictatorship, but look at the swell healthcare they have. Which is equivalent to saying: Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
Bernie Sanders has become mainstream because the Democratic Party has moved so far to the left. On economic issues the party is deep into soak the rich territory. Fiscal policy is simply delusional. The impetus is to simply throw gargantuan sums of money around and then insist that the “rich” will be made to pay. Social policy proposals (e.g.–like reparations) now resemble the famous episode of Seinfeld which celebrated Festivus–the annual airing of grievances. And support for the legal right to abortion up to the moment of birth appears to be the position of the party. Now support for infanticide is supposedly mainstream. At least in the blue states that have, or are in the process of, codifying it–like New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.
At this point the obvious question must be asked. Why is the Democratic Party apparently working so hard to give Donald Trump a second term? Perhaps it is because the Party is moving toward where it always wanted to be. They just don’t feel the need to hide it anymore. Maybe they are right about the politics. But maybe they are about to self-immolate George McGovern style.
Bernie Sanders was lucky to be able to get to the Soviet Union in 1988 and praise all its stunning socialist achievements before the entire system and empire collapsed under the weight of its own spectacular failures. pic.twitter.com/bENmwVKi0g
The hoax perpetrated by Jussie Smollet, an actor in the TV series Empire, provides a window into the widening chasm between reality and the mainstream media. Consider: Smollet claimed he was walking home from a Subway sandwich shop at 2:30 AM. This stroll allegedly took place in Chicago’s on one of its coldest days on record. Smollett went on to allege that two MAGA hat wearing thugs appeared out of the blue and attacked him, threw bleach over him, put a noose around his neck and called him various racial and sexual slurs.
Somehow or otherSmollet managed to escape and made his way home, after which he reported the crime to the Chicago police.
To believe that this actually happened you have to believe that a couple of MAGA hat wearing thugs just so happened to be roaming around Chicago at 2:30 in the morning in the bitter cold, armed with a noose and bleach, on the lookout for a target. And as luck would have it, when they saw Smollet they recognized him and proceeded to attack. Alternatively, the thugs had to have been stalking Smollet, noose and bleach in hand, at which point they chose to attack him in view of street cameras. Anyway you look at it, the story is wildly implausible.
Most of the media fell for it immediately, hook, line and sinker. Why?
Before addressing the why of it, let’s reflect on a salient point made by Jonah Goldberg of National Review online. Goldberg notes that Jews in Nazi Germany did not stage phony hate crimes; neither did American blacks in the Jim Crow South. The reason is (or ought to be) obvious: there were actual crimes directed against them all the time. They didn’t have to be invented. The Final Solution would eventually be launched in Germany, drenched as it was in decades of anti-Semitism that permeated the culture.
In the Jim Crow south of the United States, scores of American blacks were lynched by mobs. Wikipedia reports that, according to the Tuskegee Institute, 4,743 people were lynched between 1882 and 1968 in the United States, including 3,446 African Americans and 1,297 whites. More than 73 percent of lynchings in the post-Civil War period occurred in the Southern states. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, 4,084 African-Americans were lynched between 1877 and 1950 in the South.
Which brings us to the Jussie Smollet episode. There are a couple of reasons for the wall-wall-to-wallcoverage of it. The first is that in 21st Century America,an attack of the sort that Smollet described is exceedingly rare. In the United States,a nation of 330 million people, there were about 1,038 hate crimes reported in 2017. To put that in perspective, there were about 1.28 million violent crimes including 17,000 murders in 2017. Smollett faked it precisely because the chance of a real attack like the one alleged is quite small.
Another reason for the wall-to-wall coverage is that the episode played into the prejudices of the media. It is an article of faith among the good and great that, with the possible exception of the residents of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the American people are basically a bunch of bigoted yahoos. The deplorables, as Hillary Clinton put it, who cling to their religion (Obama), who live in flyover country. Jussie Smollet’s hoax played right into that mindset, so the major media outlets had a story that seemed to confirm their worldview of a racist, homophobic, oppressive America.
Except in the end it didn’t. Like the case of the Covington Catholic kids, the alleged victim was actually the aggressor.Similarly, the media breathlessly reported every preposterous charge against Bret Kavanaugh but declined to mention how his accuser’s story kept changing. And somehow or other the #Me Too movement, and Democratic politicians seem to have caught laryngitis when it comes to discussing Justin Fairfax, Virginia’s Lt. Governor who is credibly accused by two different women of sexual assault. Not to put too fine a point on media credulousness, of all people, Al Sharpton, publicist of the Tawana Brawley hoax has weighed in on the Jussie Smollett case. Now of course he is furiously backtracking.
There will inevitably be some idiot in a MAGA hat that fakes his own assault only to blame it on some newscaster or liberal politician. Asininity is not the province of any one side. Perhaps eventually the mainstream press will start acting like professionals for a change and treat these stories with the skepticism they deserve.But I’m not holding my breath.
“Woe to the statesman whose reasons for entering a war do not appear so plausible at its end as at its beginning.” Otto von Bismark
They Shall Not Die Old. Directed by Peter Jackson
In directing the documentary film They Shall Not Grow Old, Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame has produced a cinematic tour-de-force. Made at the request of the British Imperial War Museum, Jackson used some 100 hours of the Museum’s contemporaneous documentary footage shot on site along with 600 hours of interviews with British soldiers who lived, fought and died in the trenches of World War I.
The story is not told through an analysis of command decisions; nor does it romanticize war through stories of heroic feats and indomitable courage. It tells the story through the eyes of the British soldiers who lived, fought and died in the trenches.
It is a compelling way to tell a powerful story. It puts the viewer right in the trenches with the soldiers. You can see the fear mixed with boredom. You see the soldiers performing mundane tasks amid constant shelling. You watch them create coping mechanisms to deal with the stress, like making tea with the boiling water produced by the cooling systems of their machine guns, all the while knowing they could be killed at any instant.
When the call to war came in 1914, scores of young British men came from farms and factories to enlist to fight in the Great War. They didn’t question the war or its aims; they took up arms because they thoughtit was their duty. Their nation called; there was a job to be done and they were going to do it.
Many of the enlistees were just boys—16 to 18 years old—who were too young to enlist. But they lied (and were encouraged to lie) about their age so as to be eligible. They were the cannon fodder who, when ordered to do so, went over the top only to be slaughtered by murderous German machine gun fire.Before it was over, about 1 million soldiers from Britain and its empire would be killed.
And that was just Britain and its Empire. Russia suffered about 1.7 million military deaths. Estimates of military deaths of Allied powers range from 5 million to 6.5 million in total. Similarly, The Central Powers led by Germany lost between 3.5 and 4.5 million. Between them the combatants suffered military deaths somewhere between 8.5 and 11 million men. Estimates for the total number of civilian and military casualties that include disease and other factors run as high as 40 million people.
World War I was among the greatest of all catastrophes in human history and 100 years later there is still no definitive answer as to its cause. Moreover the slaughter didn’t end with the Armistice of November 11, 1918; it was merely put on hold until it was relaunched as World War II with Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Sixty million perished in World War II, most of them civilians, the overwhelming majority of whom were killed by the Germans and Russians.
World War I did more than usher in World War II. It was also the end of an era. Progressives recognized the power of the war model for reorganizing society around the aims of a central government. And so began the militarization of the West and the organization—or reorganization—of Western society with government at its center. Checks and balances were out; the imperial and ever growing U.S. Presidency was in, and governance byexperts in the bureaucracy would become the norm.
The result has been profound—-and mostly unrecognized. In large part because the population of the United States is being transformed from a self-reliant one into a subservient one, dependent on government largesse.
And so now, 100 years after the end of World War I, after the creation of countless agencies, programs and commissions, public administration in the United States would be unrecognizable to the Founders. The government of the United States has become an unaccountable behemoth. It spends trillions of dollars a year, mostly on income transfers, while running trillion dollar deficits without a thought for how to pay it off.
Virtually every facet of American life is regulated, mostly indirectly, through agency generated rules and regulations, to a degree that is an affront to the U.S. Constitution. Traditional sources of authority are under government attack along with basic liberties that we used to take for granted. Civil Society is increasingly co-opted by the central government.
Live and let live has been tossed aside in favor of strict conformity and shaming that would make William White’s Organization Man of the 1950s recoil. The increasingly bitter polarization of American politics is clearly the result of the rejection of subsidiarity in favor of a relentless drive to centralization and social engineering that represent the beating heart of the progressive project.
Yet despite its obvious failure to make good on its promises, the Progressive onslaught continues. We now are faced with demands for a raft of pipe dreams including “free” college, Medicare for all—when we can’t pay for the one we have—and a Green New Deal fantasy that promises to achieve net-zero emissions in 10 years. The utopians as ever, are undeterred by past failure.
The Great War, both directly and indirectly, caused the suffering and death of hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century. It unleashed wave after wave of utopian dreams that ended, as always, in misery. The Western democracies succeeded in spite of, not because of, the utopians.
We are again confronted with militant utopians who know what is best for us and intend to show us whether we like it or not. At the same time the distribution of power around the globe seems to be drifting away from Western liberalism. Fraying western alliances and western cultural irresolution, combined with the challenges posed by the emergence of powerful authoritarian states makes the world a tinderbox not unlike 1914.
It is impossible to see the young innocent faces of the soldiers in “They Shall Not Die Old” without thinking about how we got here, and how we can avoid the traps that produced the catastrophes of the 20th century. They Shall Not Die Old is not a film meant to be about politics. But its relentless focus on the foot soldiers who bore the cost of their leaders’ folly should give us pause. Especially when considering radical proposals being tossed around with such striking insouciance by followers who have convinced themselves they are actually leaders.
Two women have come forward to accuse Virginia’s African-American Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax, of sexual assault. This, while the white Governor and Attorney General are embroiled in controversy over wearing blackface over 3 decades ago. To boot, the Governor first admitted posing in a racist photo and then denied it.
All three men, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and the Attorney General are Democrats. They are all resisting calls by fellow Democrats for their resignations. The Governor’s credibility now hovers around zero. He nevertheless retains 47% support for staying office according to recent polling.
For its part, the New York Times reports that the accusations of sexual assault have presented Democrats with an excruciating choice. If Mr. Fairfax, like his white counterparts, refuses to step down, Democrats will be faced with deciding whether or not to impeach him. Either way, according to the Times, Democrats risk angering one of two crucial constituencies presumed to be at loggerheads over this: women and African-Americans.
According to the Times, if Democrats refuse to impeach Mr. Fairfax they risk angering women; on the other hand if they impeach Fairfax but allow the Governor and Attorney General to remain in office, they risk angering African-American voters.
Karen Bass (D-CA) head of the Congressional Black Caucus says that the Democratic Party would lack credibility if it followed a double standard. She says that both the Governor and the Lt. Governor should step down. Meanwhile, Representative A. Donald McEachin (D-VA) said “We’ve worked hard on the Democratic brand for so many years and now we have to deal with this.”
These comments speak to the collectivist mind-set. Does Karen Bass really believe that an accusation of posing in a racist photo should be treated the same as an accusation of committing a sexual assault? Similarly, does Representative McEachin seriously think the salient issue here is branding?Perhaps instead these people ought to think about justice and due process before hopping on the bandwagon.
We could start by adding some perspective here. Lt. Governor Fairfax, who insists he is innocent, is accused of committing a heinous crime. Governor Northam, first confessed to, and then denied appearing in a blatantly racist photo 35 years ago. It is safe to say that Northam, then 24 years old, acted like an idiot. It is not reasonable to infer he is a violent felon.
The accusation against the Lt. Governor is far more serious. He is accused, twice, of having committed a violent crime. He is entitled to the presumption of innocence even though he has already been tried and convicted by the Democratic National Committee. And while Fairfax may very well be guilty of two horrific assaults, he is entitled to due process and a thorough investigation of the facts.
An impeachment proceeding against Fairfax would be the proper way to begin. And if it turns out that the evidence is strong enough to support a criminal charge, he should be prosecuted. In any case he should not be forced to resign beforehand in what would be tantamount to a confession of guilt. Nor should he be given a slap on the wrist if he agrees to resign in order to spare the Democrats some embarrassment. Neither of those solutions has anything to do with justice. Justice demands truth.
It should also be noted that these cases represent an institutional failure of some importance. It is clear that the press did not sufficiently investigate the backgrounds of these candidates. Nor did either of the political parties do their homework on their own or opposition candidates.
More than anything, this episode rips away the mask hiding the Marxian doctrines of oppression and collective guilt that pervade what passes for progressive thought. Justin Fairfax is presumed to be guilty because he is a man. His accusers are presumed to be telling the truth because they are women. African-Americans are presumed to side with Fairfax because he is African-American. Women, especially white women, are presumed to side with Fairfax’s accusers because they are women. It is the status of the victim rather than evidence that is determinative. It is the triumph of intersectionality over justice, which is to say, mob rule.
Nowhere is there a hint that individual people are capable of sifting through the facts and making a judgement about an individual case. Nor is there even a suggestion that people can or ought to distinguish between committing a violent crime and posing for a racist photograph. All that matters to the progressive elite is the politics of power and protecting the “brand”. Justice, fair play and due process do not count.
Remember that next time you hear the speech about the importance of the rule of law.
Ralph Northam was elected governor of Virginia in 2017. During the campaign Northam routinely denounced his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, accusing him of being a racist. Now an incendiary photo of two men has surfaced from Northam’s medical school yearbook. In the now infamous photo one man is in KKK garb, the other is in blackface. At first Northam said he was one of the two men pictured; now on second thought, he says he is not in the photo.
The Governor is obviously concocting a story designed to save his hide in the face of a mob of social justice warriors and Republican opportunists. Does anybody seriously believe that the photo just so happened to surface now? That it hasn’t been sitting in a pile of oppo research waiting for an opportune time? Regardless, the Governor’s credibility is, shall we say, a bit suspect.
Pretty much the entire Virginia Democratic establishment as well as the declared candidates for the Democratic 2020 Presidential nomination have called upon Northam to resign his office, with some taking pains to say that they don’t believe that Northam is a racist. But they want him to resign anyway. Obviously this is simply a political calculation; it has nothing to do with conviction.
Speaking of racism, somehow or other the high priests of Progressivism seem to have caught laryngitis when it comes to addressing vicious left wing anti-semitism. It is put on routine display by Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Llhan Abdullah Omar (D-MN). Then there is the only slightly more subtle anti-semitism of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Keith Ellison, now Minnesota’s Attorney General. And of course, hanging out with Louis Farrakhan is just fine. Not to mention Jeremy Corbyn.
In fairness it should be noted that Cortez’s (AOC for groupies) displays of unintelligibility on the matter of Israel, anti-semitism and the BDS movement may not be thinly veiled anti-semitism. It may instead be attributable to profound ignorance, a common phenomenon among socialists.
Back to the Governor and the infamous photo, taken when he was all of 24 years old. Let’s face it—it’s pretty ugly. Actually it is fair to say the behavior it represents is reprehensible. Having said that, let us remember that Northam was elected Governor of Virginia in November of 2017. And the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia provides a mechanism for removing the Governor and Executive Officers from their posts. It’s called impeachment. On the other hand there is no constitutional provision for removal from office by Twitter rage.
There is a reason why we elect politicians at particular times for specific terms, with enumerated powers. We don’t elect Kings. We have institutionalized a separation of powers among the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. These mechanisms are designed to limit and dilute the powers of office holders so as to enshrine the rule of law. And protect us from mob rule.
What is particularly fascinating about this episode is that it lays bare the moral bankruptcy of the 100 year old progressive movement, both with respect to racism and the protection of individual rights. It isn’t as if Northam is the only exemplar of this. Just today, Brent Staples of the editorial board of the New York Times has a long article showing how the suffragettes read women of color out of the movement. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has on more than one occasion opined that protecting abortion rights is important for restricting births of those who were (and I am paraphrasing) “not the right kind of people”. See this article.
Planned Parenthood had its beginnings as a way for Margaret Sanger to pursue her interest in promoting eugenics under cover of family planning. Woodrow Wilson was arguably the most racist President the United States has ever had, with the possible exception of Andrew Jackson. Justice Hugo Black was a member of the KKK for a while. So was Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV). Historically speaking in the first half of the 20th century, the Klan and Southern Democrats were allied.
And now, (almost) lost in the uproar over the photo is Northam’s support for an abortion rights bill in the Virginia legislature that would permit the killing of infants in utero up until the moment of birth. It would also allow a mother, in consultation with a few doctors, to decide to leave a newborn to die. You heard that right. The proposed bill (mercifully tabled) would make infanticide legal. And the governor supported it. And he explicitly confirmed that it would allow abortion up until the moment of birth as well as the passive killing of newborns. See this article.
Not a single Progressive on the national scene has had anything bad to say about that—or for that matter, a similar bill that just passed the New York State Legislature and cheered on by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
But they are pretty upset about a 35 year old photo of a 24 year old acting like an idiot.
Think about that the next time a Progressive politician claims the moral high ground.