Biden Against Violence. Sort Of.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden is about to unleash a huge ad buy  decrying violence in general, but not in particular. The reason is obvious.  Polling indicates that he is being hurt in swing states where support for Black Lives Matter has plummeted as a result of months of violence BLM unleashed. Further, despite heroic efforts of the mainstream media to obfuscate the facts,  the violence is largely a left wing affair, aided and abetted by Progressive Mayors. Up until this point the Mayors have refused to enforce laws designed to protect people and property from just the sort of violence that has become a daily occurrence in some American cities. 

Conveniently enough, the Biden campaign, along with its media allies, has pivoted to blaming the violence on Trump and white racists. “Without evidence” as CNN is fond of saying. Well, take a look at the video below of “protesters” below chanting “Death to America” Iranian style and count the MAGA hat wearers among them. It won’t take long because there aren’t any. 

Critics of the Mayors’ response (or lack of it) to the chaos have correctly pointed out that the cities engulfed in violence have been governed overwhelmingly by Democrats for generations. Hilariously enough, the New York Times has rushed into the battle with a front page story saying, well yes, it is true enough that the cities have been run by Democrats but…Mayors, unlike the President, don’t have sufficient power to prevent the violence and in any event Republicans abandoned the cities ages ago. 

Where to begin. 

Let’s start with this. Law enforcement is essentially a local affair. Mayors have the responsibility to direct police priorities. Some actually are directly in charge of police departments. To insure political accountability, most of them appoint the senior management (e.g.— like the Police Commissioner). And as for power, New York City has over 35,000 uniformed officers, making it larger than the standing Armies of most countries. But by and large the Mayors, including New York’s de Blasio, have ordered the police to stand down. In addition plenty of the Mayors have rejected federal law enforcement aid. Nancy Pelosi went so far as to refer to federal law enforcement officers as “storm troopers”. The idea that Mayors in the United States lack sufficient authority or resources to prevent the violence is simply ludicrous on its face. 

Then there is the charge that the problem is that the Republicans have abandoned the nation’s urban areas. Or as the Times notes with a straight face

“…if cities have become synonymous with Democratic politics today, that is true in part because Republicans have largely given up on them. Over the course of decades, Republicans ceased competing seriously for urban voters in presidential elections and representing them in Congress.

“Republican big-city mayors became rare. And along the way, the Republican Party nationally has grown muted on possible solutions to violence, inequality, poverty and segregation in cities.”

It takes a level of duplicity that is simply astounding for the Times to complain that there are few, if any, big city Republican Mayors. The very prospect of an actual Republican Mayor, particularly in New York, is enough to send the paper’s editorial board into periodic convulsions of fear and loathing. True enough the Times endorsed Michael Bloomberg in 2005, a nominal Republican. But the party label was a mere convenience for Mr. Bloomberg, evidenced by the fact that he abandoned the Republican Party after a few years and went on the run for the Democratic Presidential nomination.   

The Times did endorse Republican Rudy Giuliani for a second term, basically because his rival Ruth Messinger displayed breathtaking incompetence; not because they agreed with his policy stances. You have to go all the way back to 1965 to find another Republican Mayoral endorsement. That would be John Vliet Lindsay, who like Bloomberg, eventually abandoned ship and ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Presidential nomination in the 1968 cycle. 

The Times isn’t really interested in Republican policy proposals for cities, unless they have all of a sudden decided they are in favor of, say, school choice. What they really want is for the occasional nominal Republican to run as long as said Republican advances the policy objectives of the Democratic Party. 

Let’s be clear about what is going on here. The Democrats are caught in a vise. The radical left that increasingly controls the party’s agenda is sympathetic to the rioters. But the people who used to be rank and file Democrats, “the deplorables” as Hillary Clinton called them, are so unenlightened that they don’t relish having their houses and businesses burned down in the name of social justice. So Biden is trying to square the circle by decrying violence in general, while pointing at right wing racists, in a delicate effort to assuage all elements of his coalition by carefully avoiding saying anything of substance. 

Will it work? Who knows? It could. It is certainly a cynical enough strategy.

JFB

Truthful Lies

Sometimes lies tell the truth, however inadvertently. 

Ever since May when George Floyd was killed while in police custody there have been waves of protest in America’s cities, often spilling into violence. The violence has not been random and sporadic. It has typically been orchestrated by professional agitators, often by ANTIFA and the more radical members of Black Lives Matter (BLM).  

Up until just recently, Mayors of cities under siege have displayed a remarkable tolerance for the violence, arson and anarchy unleashed in the cities they nominally govern. The political calculus driving this has two prongs. First, the chaos would likely redound to the benefit of Joe Biden thereby making the task of beating demon Trump all that much easier come November.  Second, the Mayors, Progressives all, were (and are) sympathetic to the protesters who are becoming increasingly hard to differentiate from the rioters. 

The whole while, Progressive politicians who kept insisting on the importance of the rule of law, refused to enforce basic laws on the books designed to protect citizens and their property. The truth, made manifest by their behavior, exposed the lie of their devotion to the rule of law. 

Some polls have begun to suggest that the public has had enough. One recent poll, taken shortly after the Republican convention, shows Biden a mere 2 points ahead of Trump, well within the margin of error. In addition, the Trafalger Group (an outlier) who called key races in 2016 and 2018 correctly when others got it wrong, says that Trump is only a half-point behind Biden in Minnesota and slightly ahead in Michigan and Wisconsin. 

In the meantime the mainstream press studiously avoided the violence for months, insisting that there was “nothing to see here” and that the  demonstrations were “mostly peaceful”. Now they have changed the script. It turns out that there is a problem with violence after all, and that it is all the fault of—Donald Trump. Of course, Trump’s narcissistic insistence that everything is all about him, all the time, makes the job that much easier. 

Then there is the matter of the apparent murder of a Trump supporter in Portland, Oregon during another night of “non-violent” protest. The apparent shooter is a man named Michael Forest Reinoehl, a self-identified “anti-fascist”.  Among other things he wrote: 

“I am 100 % ANTIFA all the way! I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! … We do not want violence but we will not run from it either! … Today’s protesters and antifa are my brothers in arms.”

Shooting in Portland

So about those lies that tell the truth. The lie that tells the truth is that the Democratic Party is run by moderates who wish to return to normalcy. That is manifestly not so. If that were actually true they would have taken action long ago to confront the rioters and restore order. Maintaining order is, after all, a local responsibility and the Mayors of America’s large cities are overwhelmingly Democratic. Actions speak louder than words. 

Now that the violence is being directed against them, some of Mayors seem to be having second thoughts—kind of like Robespierre most have had on his trip to the guillotine. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler can not have been happy last night when the rioters set an occupied apartment building on fire, apparently because they thought he lived there. 

The Democratic Party, now in the process of being taken over by Jacobins, has no institutional desire to return to normalcy. That is merely a cover and a transparent one at that. These modern day Jacobins mean to transform America and its liberal institutions in the service of a radically illiberal and utopian left-wing ideology. The Democratic Party has simply become an empty vessel waiting to be filled by Progressives so they can get on with the transformation. The truth is that these radical Progressives are so full of hatred for freedom that they are willing to tolerate, if not celebrate violence so long as it serves a tactical purpose in the quest for power.    

The final truth embedded in the lies may be revealed by the difference between real votes and those cast by ballot. An individual ballot, despite all the hysterical rhetoric, has virtually no practical significance. But voting with your feet has very real significance for the voter / mover.  Moving to a new locale is probably a much better indicator of what someone really thinks. 

By all reports there has been a torrent of wealthy and upper middle class migration out of the major cities and into the suburbs and smaller secondary cities. Undoubtedly some of this has to do with COVID-19 and the widespread adoption of working from home. But at least some is attributable to the unrest and increased incivility of the big cities. That could presage a much larger change than the results of this November’s elections. 

JFB 

Mostly Peaceful Protests

“Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you like the play?”

Spurred by the killing of George Floyd while in police custody, protests against police violence—defined as the unjustified use of force—have erupted across America. These protests are invariably described as “mostly peaceful”. And they are, the way most people at Ford’s Theatre were just there to see the show. 

Then too, there is the matter of Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth. He too represented only a small minority of the theatre goers; but of those, he is the one who mattered most. Because his actions defined the event. 

Riots, attacks on police and violence against people and property have taken place in New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Portland Oregon, Seattle Washington, Minneapolis Minnesota, Los Angeles California, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Salt Lake City Utah and Atlanta Georgia, to name a few. And by and large, the police, following the orders given them by civil authorities, have backed away. In some cases, like Portland Oregon, organized violence has become a nightly affair. 

The media has studiously ignored the violence, preferring to emphasize the current narrative of “systemic racism” and “structural racism” being at fault. It is especially convenient to blame the violence on systemic and structural racism inasmuch as those terms lack definition and thus present a non-falsifiable hypothesis. And it is a politically convenient ploy because it distracts attention from the fact that America’s cities have been run by Democratic machine politics for generations.  

Virtually all the burning cities are run by Progressives, and have been for decades. In addition to the obvious mistrust felt by significant portions of their citizens, those cities are also notable for their failing public school systems and their chronic fiscal ineptitude. 

Taken together, failing public schools; police mismanagement; fiscal ineptitude, and the presence of powerful public sector unions present a picture of routine managerial incompetence. None of which has precluded the re-election of the same incompetents year after year. The obvious question is why. 

Why is it that year after year the people with the most to lose from failing schools, incompetent policing and fiscal incompetence, insist on voting for the same politicians who routinely produce the same failures of governance? 

The simple (and probably correct) answer is twofold. First, the opposition Republican party has not presented a viable alternative and shows little interest in doing so. Second, the party in power, the Democrats have  effectively become a wholly owned subsidiary of powerful special interest groups like public sector unions and environmental groups who dictate policy. 

In response, upper income groups are increasingly abandoning cities to escape from (1) rising crime and disorder and (2) a rising and oppressive tax burden. The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be the catalyst, not the cause. If the trend continues and turns out to be more than fleeting, the results could be dire for the cities. As the truly wealthy head for suburban enclaves, taking the tax base with them, the cities will become islands of poverty surrounded by wealthy suburbs unwilling to finance urban excess. 

The remaining question is whether upscale former urban dwellers will bring their politics with them to the suburbs, or have they finally had enough? And if they have tired of financing failure, will the cities finally reform? Or will Progressives complete the takeover of the Democratic Party  and produce catastrophic failure nationally rather than just locally? 

We may get a hint in November. 

JFB

Propaganda as Thought

In an era where bumper sticker slogans substitute for thought, the master propagandists of the BLM Movement have learned their craft well. Plenty of otherwise sensible people have signed on to the sentiment without understanding what they have actually signed up for. Others have simply been intimidated. Still others just use it for marketing campaigns.

But the BLM Movement, led by radical Marxists, will never be satisfied. The video below provides a useful warning of what this is really all about. And it isn’t about equal opportunity for all.

John Stossel

JFB

We’ve Seen this Movie Before

By now it should be clear to all sentient beings that protests over the killing of George Floyd have been hijacked by left wing radicals. Moreover, they (the radicals) mean to transform America by any means necessary, including the use of violence. The response from the political establishment that runs American cities set ablaze has been stone cold silence. It is then followed by a predictable cave-in to mob violence. What explains this?

It helps to look at history.

In the 1960s, the forerunner to today’s violence, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown proclaimed that “Violence is as American as cherry pie”. He urged his followers to use violence to resist the American government which he characterized as the “Fourth Reich” and urged his followers on with such comments as “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down.” That wasn’t an isolated remark. 

Elected the 5th Chairman of the ironically named Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he also served as Minister of Justice for the Black Panther Party. While Chairman of SNCC he urged followers at a Washington D.C. rally to “carry on guerrilla warfare in all the cities…and make the Viet Cong look like Sunday school teachers.” 

A little earlier Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which later became the Weather Underground, made an appearance. For the Weathermen, violence was necessary to create change. Brian Flanagan, a founding member, said “When you feel you have right on your side, you can do some pretty horrible things.” 

And so the Weathermen set off a wave of violent protests and bombings across America. In 1970 Bernadine Dohrn announced a “declaration of War”. A few days later a bomb manufactured in a Greenwich Village townhouse, intended for an Army base, exploded killing three Weathermen. The explosion set off an FBI manhunt and the Weathermen went underground, hence the change of name to “Weather Underground”. 

Other leaders of the movement included the infamous Chicago 7, the group put on trial for fomenting the riots at the 1968 Democratic convention, helped along by the behavior of the Chicago police. This group included Tom Hayden, a graduate of the University of Michigan. He authored the Port Huron Statement, the founding document of the Weathermen. Later in life he married Jane Fonda and won seats in both the California Assembly and Senate. 

Renne Davis, who graduated from Oberlin College, was an early activist in the SDS. He was an organizer of MOBE, The National Mobilization Committee to end the War in Vietnam. His father had served as chief of staff of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Harry S Truman. Later in life Renee Davis became a business consultant advising Fortune 500 companies on business strategy.

Jerry Rubin, along with Abbie Hoffman, founded the Yippie Party. Rubin studied at Oberlin College before graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in history. He attended the University of California, Berkeley in 1964, but quickly dropped out to pursue social activism. That included a trip to Havana to learn about the Cuban revolution. 

Meanwhile his fellow founder of the Yippies, Abbie Hoffman, studied at Brandies University where he became a student of Marxist theorist Herbert Marcuse. 

The influence of Herbert Marcuse, father of the New Left, can not be over emphasized. Marcuse worked as a professor at Columbia, Harvard and Brandeis Universities. It was at Brandies that he wrote his most influential work “One Dimensional Man”. Marcuse believed that “all questions of material existence have been solved, moral commands and prohibitions are no longer relevant”. The realization of man’s erotic nature was what was needed to truly liberate humanity. 

Liberating humanity, according to Marcuse, would require intolerance for heretical beliefs. Below I quote from Marcuse’s A Repressive Tolerance,1965.  

“Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements that promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or that oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.”

Sound familiar? It ought to because it is the animating idea behind today’s cancel culture. 

Which brings us to Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the real agenda the organization is pushing, which has precious little to do with civil rights. Because they have no use for civil rights for anybody. They are self described Marxists; individual rights are not part of their vocabulary.  Anyone who doubts this has only to view this 2 minute clip (below) in which Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors declares “We actually do have an ideological frame…we are trained Marxists.” 

Patrisse Cullo — Co-Founder of BLM

And if that is not good enough, go visit the BLM Website where they proclaim their goal to transform Western society into a socialist Utopia through revolution. Here is specifically what they say:

“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).”

So let us not be naive about this.  BLM is just one of many radical left wing Marxist groups who attack traditional Western institutions in an attempt to undermine the freedoms of a liberal society we take for granted. They, along with their brothers in arms, intend to stamp out those institutions that stand in their way; institutions like the traditional nuclear family, private property, the rule of law and the sovereignty of the individual.  

Like the Weather Underground before them, they are at war with human nature and Western society. There should be no doubt about this. All you have to do is listen to them. It is the same old story; we have been here before, it is merely a reboot of 1968. 

So why have progressives remained quiet in the face of this onslaught? After all, it is the progressive establishment that runs the major cities in America—the ones that have been torched. It is oh-so-progressive Seattle that stands by watching helplessly as a section of town is taken over by radicals in an armed insurrection.  It is progressive Minneapolis that has a police department so lawless that the city council decided to defund it and turn it over to someone else. It is progressive New York mayor Bill de Blasio who announced that he was going to reduce the NYC police budget by $1 Billion—presumably to improve the quality of policing. The list goes on. 

Why is it that in city after city minority citizens distrust police departments that report to progressive politicians? How is it that those same progressive politicians are silent when violent Marxist radicals hijack citizen demonstrations when those citizens peacefully and correctly demand that their rights be respected? 

The best word for it is cowardice. 

It was Aristotle who said the most important virtue is courage—because without courage the other virtues fade away. And so it is today. Progressives refuse to stand up for what they claim to believe about the rule of law, citizens’ rights and the liberal institutions that have protected what used to be known as the American way of life. 

It is progressives that have been responsible for the management and oversight of city police departments and school systems for the last 50 years or so. And they have failed miserably. Rather than admit error and implement the reforms so desperately needed, they choose instead to appease the mob. They do this because they are captured by special interest groups (like public sector unions) and are more interested in virtue-signaling than doing the hard work of governing responsibly. 

And so what we are left with is an incoherent political philosophy (progressivism) that lies at the root of the problem; a political class that would rather deal in sanctimony than govern, and affluent citizens who increasingly wall themselves off from the consequences of their votes. 

In the meantime poor and minority citizens are distrustful of police, a sure sign of a governance failure—at the very least. Meanwhile poor and minority citizens do not have access to quality schools that would enable them to better their lives and compete on a level playing field. That opportunity is denied by progressives who refuse to allow school competition either through vouchers or charter schools. 

So by all means, Progressives should keep on playing #Resistance. Virtue signaling is so fun and easy when somebody else pays the price. 

JFB