The clueless would-be rulers

Today’s must-read, by Walter Mead:

This is not what his critics expected. At 49% overall job approval in the latest Gallup poll, and with 60% approval of the way he is handling the coronavirus epidemic, President Trump’s standing with voters has improved even as the country closed down and the stock market underwent a historic meltdown. That may change as this unpredictable crisis develops, but bitter and often justified criticism of Mr. Trump’s decision making in the early months of the pandemic has so far failed to break the bond between the 45th president and his political base.

One reason Mr. Trump’s opponents have had such a hard time damaging his connection with voters is that they still don’t understand why so many Americans want a wrecking-ball presidency. Beyond attributing Mr. Trump’s support to a mix of racism, religious fundamentalism and profound ignorance, the president’s establishment opponents in both parties have yet to grasp the depth and intensity of the populist energy that animates his base and the Bernie Sanders movement. . . .

That a majority of the electorate is this deeply alienated from the establishment can’t be dismissed as bigotry and ignorance. There are solid and serious grounds for doubting the competence and wisdom of America’s self-proclaimed expert class. What is so intelligent and enlightened, populists ask, about a foreign-policy establishment that failed to perceive that U.S. trade policies were promoting the rise of a hostile Communist superpower with the ability to disrupt supplies of essential goods in a national emergency? What competence have the military and political establishments shown in almost two decades of tactical success and strategic impotence in Afghanistan? What came of that intervention in Libya? What was the net result of all the fine talk in the Bush and Obama administrations about building democracy in the Middle East? . . .

On domestic policy, the criticism is equally trenchant and deeply felt. Many voters believe that the U.S. establishment has produced a health-care system that is neither affordable nor universal. Higher education saddles students with increasing debt while leaving many graduates woefully unprepared for good jobs in the real world. The centrist establishment has amassed unprecedented deficits without keeping roads, bridges and pipes in good repair. It has weighed down cities and states with unmanageable levels of pension debt…

Mr. Trump’s supporters are not comparing him with an omniscient leader who always does the right thing, but with the establishment—including the bulk of the mainstream media—that largely backed a policy of engagement with China long after its pitfalls became clear. For Americans who lost their jobs to Chinese competition or who fear the possibility of a new cold war against an economically potent and technologically advanced power, Mr. Trump’s errors pale before those of the bipartisan American foreign-policy consensus…

…the U.S. establishment won’t prosper again until it comes to grip with a central political fact: Populism rises when establishment leadership fails. If conventional U.S. political leaders had been properly doing their jobs, Donald Trump would still be hosting a television show. (emphasis added)

To reinforce the point, Exhibit A, from the just-passed Senate coronavirus relief bill:

Kennedy Center

The legacy media portion of the establishment is no better, in their deranged hatred both for Trump and those in the country who prefer risking him rather than the proven failures of past leadership.  CBS screamed in a headline recently that a man died and his wife was seriously hurt after taking an anti-malarial drug (hydroxycloroquine) Trump and Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have expressed optimism about as a possible treatment for COVID-19.  The problem?  What the Arizona couple actually did was notice their fish tank cleaner contained the chemical, and consumed it as a preventative measure, without consulting any medical expert.  Only two-thirds of the way through the story does it clarify the headline: “The difference between the fish tank cleaning additive that the couple took and the drug used to treat malaria is the way they are formulated.”  In other words, despite the headline, the couple didn’t take the drug.  They drank fish tank cleaner!  A factual headline, though, wouldn’t have been potentially damaging to Trump, which seems to be the primary goal of all mainstream journalism these days, facts and context be damned.

We’re supposed to be practicing social distancing.  But the elites in this country are (and have been for some time) so far out of touch with the common person’s daily experience that it shouldn’t be a surprise the latter has had more than enough of the former.

Make lawlessness consequential again

Many Americans continue to look on in disbelief as States, cities and even judges(!) thumb their nose at Federal immigration law, actively aiding and abetting illegal immigrants in eluding Federal agents.  President Andrew Jackson wasn’t about to put up with nullification when South Carolina used the theory to declare it wouldn’t collect tariffs.  And it appears the current administration is running out of patience with modern nullificationists:

Attorney General William Barr said Monday that the Justice Department will review the policies of sanctuary cities to determine if they’re a breaking federal law that prohibits the “harboring or shielding of aliens in the United States.”

“When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we’re talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape,” Barr said.

“These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally, but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society. The express purpose of these policies is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement have already arrested for crimes,” he added.

At least one Senator is looking to put some teeth into the administration’s pushback:

Senator Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) announced on a conference call Wednesday that she was proposing a bill to block grant funding from the Department of Justice for local law enforcement in states with sanctuary policies that allow illegal immigrants to receive drivers’ licenses…

A similar measure was proposed by Justice Department under then-attorney general Jeff Sessions in 2017 to combat sanctuary policies, but federal judges in Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and New York all subsequently ruled against the Trump administration.

It amazes me that federal judges would hamstring the federal government’s constitutional duties to regulate immigration.  As a country, we have made it far too easy to be an illegal alien.  In addition to States granting drivers licenses (based on what documentation?), we publish our official documents and election materials in multiple languages, at a not insignificant cost.  And while there’s occasionally a publicized raid on a company knowingly employing illegal immigrants, the penalties are usually less than the profit margin the companies make by hiring them, often at less than minimum wage (since they can’t file a complaint).  How about yanking the business license of such organizations?

People talk about “bringing illegals out of the shadows,” and “reducing the stigma of illegal entry.”  No!  Human beings respond to incentives and disincentives.  Right now the incentive to come to this country illegally is huge.  For all the administration says it has stopped “catch and release,” the reality is that millions of border violators have been turned loose with no way to hold them accountable for their court date as long as they stay out of sight.  And there are too many officials in State and city governments eager to help them do just that.

Are we a sovereign nation of laws, or one big doormat upon which anyone may tread at will?

Vote fraud? There’s an app for that

The Democrats start the 2020 presidential campaign with a debacle in Iowa:

As hour after hour slid by on Monday night, it started to become clear to anyone paying attention that something was wrong with the Iowa Democratic Party’s counting of the results in the first caucus of the 2020 Democratic presidential race. Something was very wrong.

That there is no winner — or even a single tabulated result — reported by the party early Tuesday morning (or even a time to expect that result) speaks to the depth of the issue in what is the one major job of officials in every election: counting the votes.

As Iowa Democratic Party officials scrambled to explain what had gone wrong — “inconsistencies” in the tally — they were careful to note, in the words of a party spokeswoman, “this is not a hack or an intrusion.”

Then what’s the problem?  Given the shenanigans the Democratic National Committee played in shoving Bernie aside for Her Hillariness in 2016, and the surprise announcement over the weekend that final commercial polling data wouldn’t be published, is it really that much of a stretch to think something underhanded may be going on here?  The party is very clearly in fear Bernie may win the nomination — not necessarily because of policy differences, but because unlike most of them, he’s open about his desire to take America down the road of socialism.  For all they call themselves “democrats,” that party’s leadership clearly believes they know better than the average American.  What’s the saying?  “The voters decide nothing.  Those who count the votes decide everything.”

“It would be natural for people to doubt the fairness of the process,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in an emailed statement. “And these are the people who want to run our entire health care system?” (emphasis added)

A fair observation, that.

Doctor Who?

Not long ago, Vox Day wrote a book called “SJWs Always Double Down,” detailing the fact that rather than admit being wrong, the typical Social Justice Warrior will just push harder in their desired direction in an effort to steamroll opposition.  Unfortunately, the British TV series “Doctor Who” seems to be providing a picture-perfect example of this in action:

2018: Controversially casts Jodie Whitaker as the first female incarnation of the Doctor in the half-century history of the show

2018 – 2019: Ratings for the show drop dramatically

2020: Casts Jo Martin as the first *black* female incarnation of the Doctor…

My family enjoyed the show’s “modern” run episodes until it started going downhill in the Capaldi era, about 2014.  There were always secondary characters and subtexts I could have lived without (Captain Jack being exhibit A).  But when the producers decided to gender-swap the long-running “Master” character into “Missy,” I had a strong feeling it was a trial balloon to prep viewers for doing the same with the Master’s long-time nemesis, the titular Doctor himself.  We’ve not watched a single episode since Capaldi left, although I’ve kept up with some of the reviews, which only confirmed my decision.  From the furor on fan forums, we’re far from the only ones to have jumped Tardis.  The younger crowd, having been thoroughly indoctrinated, reflexively dismisses critics of these changes as badthinkers.

The destruction of various franchises by “rebooting” them with characters who are now the opposite sex, or some LGBTQXYZABC specimen is increasingly pernicious.  It demonstrates yet again how evil is parasitical.  It doesn’t create – it only consumes, degrades and destroys.  Fortunately, there are still those who seek to create, preserve and enjoy the Good, the True and the Beautiful.

They will stop at nothing

NBC floats the idea of declaring any reelection of Trump invalid on grounds those who support him are ‘racists:’

If the Trump era has taught us anything, it’s that large numbers of white people in the United States are motivated are motivated at least in part by racism in the voting booth…

Rather than excuse racist voters or try to figure out how to live with their choices, [Terry Smith, a visiting professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law] argues that racist voting is not just immoral, but illegal. The government, Smith says, has the ability, and the responsibility, to address it.

Naturally, two of the proposed remedies are old standbys: eliminate ID requirements to vote, making vote fraud easier, and turn the Senate into another House of Representatives:

Because the majority of white voters in the South vote Republican, and because they outnumber black voters, there isn’t a single Democratic senator from the Deep South other than Doug Jones in Alabama, who may well lose his seat in 2020. Smith argues that we could remedy these disparate, racially motivated outcomes by creating Senate districts. Presumably, that would make it at least possible for black voters to elect a senator who would support their interests.

Translation: we’re not getting the outcomes we want, so let’s make it easier to commit vote fraud, and change the constitutional form of Congress so things might go our way.  I’ve said it before: the Left will delegitimize any institution they cannot control.  More importantly: who gets to determine if voters are casting “racist votes?”  Had Obama lost in either 2008 or 2012, would the learned Terry Smith say that outcome alone was proof of racist motivation (policy differences be damned), and invalidate the election?

This line of thought is very much in the mold of leftist revolutionaries who seek to have the public vote until they get it “right” — after which usually no more voting is allowed.  Ever. Make no mistake: the Left will not accept a Trump reelection, by any margin, however large.  Plan accordingly – November is not far away.

Follow the money

Trump’s election in 2016 set off waves of anger in the political class.  But then, anger is usually the reaction when one’s investments crater:

clinton-foundation-chart-e1578959485298

This kind of organized pay-to-play barely veiled bribery has got to be abolished.

Straining credulity to infinity and beyond

There’s been plenty of memery online about Jeffrey Epstein.  It’s so easy even I can do it:

AP Explains Iran Revolutionary Guard

While all this has done a good job of keeping the story of Epstein alive, it’s really not all that funny when you look closely as his alleged “suicide,” as the CBS program “60 Minutes” did Sunday.  Attorney General William Barr himself said there were “serious irregularities” involved in the case.  There are just too many “monumental failures at all levels,” in the words of former Federal prison warden interviewed by CBS.  As the saying goes, once is chance, twice is coincidence, but three times is enemy action.  So exactly how many ‘failures’ were there in this so-called suicide?

1. After what was reported as an earlier attempt, Epstein was placed on suicide watch… for only a week.

2. Epstein claimed the first incident was actually an attack by his cellmate, a former police officer jailed for a murder believed to be related to drugs and Mexican organized crime. The cellmate’s lawyer obviously denies the accusation.

3. After release from suicide watch, Epstein was returned to a cell and required to have a cellmate. The night before his death, though, his cellmate was released, and no new one was assigned.  Epstein’s lawyers say during their visit the day before his death, their client was “upbeat” and looking forward to an upcoming bail hearing.

4. The night of his death, two guards required to check on him every 30 minutes failed to do so for over 10 hours, and are now facing charges of falsifying logs to conceal the fact (revealed by video) they were web surfing or sleeping instead.

5. Regarding video, however, in response to requests from the lawyer for the inmate Epstein said attacked him, the Feds have now given differing explanations for why footage from the day of the first incident isn’t available. The latest story is that they preserved video from the wrong cell.

6. The camera that should have captured footage of Epstein’s cell door and of the other cells in the block the night of his death was “corrupted,” and no footage exists.

7. Though there are photos from Epstein’s cell showing nooses and other items after his death, there are no photos of his dead body inside the cell, even though such an incident requires preservation of evidence as a crime scene.  Instead, Epstein’s body was taken to an emergency room before any photography occurred.  Did the 6-foot Epstein hang himself by a sheet attached to his bed frame a mere four feet off the floor?  Nobody’s saying, and there’s no photos to explain how he pulled off his own demise in a facility allegedly designed to minimize the chances of such.

8. The forensic pathologist hired by Epstein’s family says the noose sketched in the autopsy report doesn’t match the wounds on Epstein’s neck, which appear more consistent with strangulation by a wire.  The wound was also on the middle of the neck, rather than just below the jawline, as would be expected in a hanging, and says he has never seen the three fractures present in Epstein’s neck in a case of suicidal hanging.  The pathologist acknowledges the public might believe he is biased by working for the family.  But he also says he’s hesitant to make a final judgment until all the evidence is in.

9. The government declines to give the pathologist video and additional forensic reporting, citing the ongoing criminal case against the two guards. ((Convenient, no??))

Given the high-profile nature of the Epstein case, the fact his jet was dubbed the “Lolita Express,” and his known connections to many famous and powerful people, it’s simply inconceivable that his incarceration was just bedeviled by all-around shoddy administration.  Two guards are on trial, but the warden was ‘reassigned.’  Why not fired outright?  What about the psychologist who cleared Epstein off suicide watch?

The day Epstein’s death was reported, I was at a relative’s house.  I was immediately infuriated, saying “they got to him.”  I’ve never even entertained the idea it was a suicide.  Evil is only too willing to hide behind perceptions of incompetence.  It’s said the devil cannot abide being mocked, but he’s happy for you to think he’s an impotent fool — the better to help you drop your guard.  The most aggravating thing about this is the lack of public outcry and demand for accountability.  Sure, Ricky Gervais may have slapped Hollywood with Epstein’s name at the Golden Globe Awards.  But like all the memes online, this is simply acknowledging the public’s not buying the official line this time.

How do we get from joking to justice?