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OPINION

The Argument For Privatization Can prosperity and “equality” coexist? Herbert London and Alexander G. Markovsky

This is in response of criticism to our article “Economy of Mass Prosperity,” published by the Washington Times in June, which advocates privatization of the nation’s infrastructure.

It is almost a cliché to suggest America is a divided nation. There is a split among many blacks and whites; rich and poor. But the fundamental difference is between those who have learned from history, convinced that socialism is too extreme for the American psyche, and the other that clandestinely believes that socialism, in fact, has already arrived and is making sure that America can no longer live without it.

he socialists declared three primary points:

a. Capitalism is not capable of mass prosperity.

b. Privatizing infrastructure will make every road/bridge/rail crossing in America a never-ending toll booth.

c. Privatization will further contribute to economic inequality.

The argument that capitalism is not capable of mass prosperity is so ludicrous that even the arch-foe of capitalism, Karl Marx, disagreed. And Marx did not just disagree, he wrote in The Communist Manifesto:

“The bourgeoisie [capitalists] has been the first to show what man’s activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, or Gothic cathedrals. The bourgeoisie draws all nations into civilization. It has created enormous cities and thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarcely one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together.”

Since those words were written 150 years ago, free-market capitalism proved to be an endeavor with no end. It has undergone the Second Industrial Revolution and is in the process of a third, the Digital Revolution, which, with the introduction of advanced technologies, computers and the Internet, continues opening up entirely new vistas creating wealth and prosperity for all.

The concern that privatization will make every road/bridge/rail crossing in America a never-ending toll booth ignores the reality. The never-ending toll booth is already here. The infrastructure owners, the state and local governments, have been treating infrastructure as a revenue stream. Being a monopoly, they are in a position to manipulate supply and demand to justify the imperative of constantly raising taxes (property, gasoline and other general local taxes), user fees and tolls, ostensibly for building and maintaining highways while neglecting the assets’ maintenance and repair. The nation’s decaying infrastructure is a direct consequence of the product being sold regardless of quality and costs.

Anyone traveling the New Jersey-Manhattan corridor has experienced the effects of the state monopoly, spending endless hours in traffic and paying exorbitant tolls every few miles.

And there is no greater symbol of government monopolistic power than the Washington Bridge, built in the 1930s with taxpayer money. Its owner, the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, charges $15 for each trip, collecting $1.5 billion annually. In any other circumstance, with this revenue it would be easy to warrant constructing another bridge to relieve transportation congestion.

Sydney M. Williams Thought of the Day “A Culture of Hate”

Something with which we can agree – a nexus of hatred swirls around our nation, with President Trump as its axis. One side blames Mr. Trump; the other, his attackers. It’s unhealthy. “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs,” is a line from Proverbs. Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural and facing the dissolution of the Union and years of war, spoke of the “better angels of our nature,” when he said, “We are not enemies, but friends.” For four years, his words proved too optimistic, as 620,000 American soldiers were slain between the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861 and the surrender at Appomattox in April 1865. Mr. Lincoln did not live to see it, but our “better angels” did prevail.

The Bible teaches that love is more powerful than hatred, and perhaps it is. But hatred is more unifying. In Travels with Charlie, John Steinbeck wrote: “I asked,” ‘anyone know any Russians around here?’ And he went all out and laughed. ‘Course not. That’s why they’re valuable. Nobody can find fault with you if you take out after the Russians.’” Hatred unites us, which is what Steinbeck was positing – societies need someone to hate. In 1960, the Cold War was at its peak; fear of and loathing for Communism helped bring us together. Today, we live disunited, and our hatred has become for one another. It has been that way for a few years, but growing worst. We have lost confidence in and respect for our Western values. We no longer see ourselves as a force for good. What has gone wrong?

Mr. Trump may be the focal point, but he was not the catalyst for today’s self-hatred. That is something more deeply rooted. A compendium of universal values has replaced our Western ones. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, historian Allen Guelzo said that the nation is more split than at any time since the Civil War. Some would argue that the late 1960s and early 1970s were as disruptive. But Professor Guelzo noted that some of today’s differences have long and deep roots. The Whigs (predecessors of Republicans) proposed a society that would be economically diverse, but culturally uniform – precursor to today’s free-market capitalism and nativism; while Democrats preferred economic uniformity, with greater tolerance for cultural and moral diversity – fore-runner of today’s statism and multiculturalism.

The compartmentalization of people into competing identity groups has eroded the political center and fed the fires of partisanship. Added to the conflagration has been the decline of what James Q. Wilson called a moral sense – the compass that guides us toward ethical norms and civil behavior. It is seen in shrinking church attendance, in the foundering of community groups that Harvard’s Robert Putnam has described. It shows up in the growth of PACs (political action committees), which use tax-advantaged dollars to promote issue-specific causes. We see it in the growth of life-time benefits for public employees, which crowd out public support for eleemosynary institutions that help the poor and disabled. It is abetted by an expanding sense of entitlement and dependency, with a concurrent drop in personal responsibility.

The Left looks upon Mr. Trump as a crude demagogue with autocratic tendencies, deserving of the press he gets. But that argument is fatuous. The Left has long treated their political opponents with supercilious disdain. Ronald Reagan was a dunce, a movie star with no grasp of domestic or international affairs. George W. Bush was stupid, the fortunate son of a distinguished family, a man who had drifted through prep school (Andover) and college (Yale), thanks to his heritage. President Reagan deftly deflected criticism with humor. Mr. Bush, a decent man, ignored the jabs. Donald Trump is different. He fights back. Is he thin-skinned, or is he fed up with the sanctimony and hypocrisy of the media and progressives, in the way they treat conservatives? I suspect the latter. While he targets the chattering classes with his Tweets, his audience is the forgotten men and women of middle America – those the elites from both Parties have ignored for years and whom Hillary Clinton referred to as “deplorable.”

While examples of hate can be seen on both the right and the left, it is in the intolerance of those claiming to be tolerant where hate is most insidious and where it can be most commonly found. Certainly, there are those on the right who oppose same sex marriage, who find insults to Christianity objectionable, and who question the ethics of late-term abortions. But most Americans cluster toward the center. They count on the bounty that government offers in terms of schools, highways, bridges, and aid to the elderly and the sick. They expect that those who cannot care for themselves will be cared for. They respect others, regardless of sex, politics, religion or race, and they expect to be respected in return. They abide by the Golden Rule of treating others as they would like to be treated. They have faith, and they believe in the rule of law. They recognize the impetuousness of youth, but expect college presidents and deans to act as adults. They don’t understand a culture that says a 16-year-old girl can be suspended for saying a prayer in school, but allows her to get an abortion without parental notification. They cannot understand politicians dividing people into identity groups – setting one group of Americans against another.

Those who philosophically disagree with me will say it is my bias, but it seems to me that the most heinous vitriol emanates from the left. They own our popular culture – from movies to music, from publishing to universities. Jacques Barzun, a French-American historian who was awarded medals of freedom by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, once wrote: “Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred.” In our dealings with others, we should be governed not by fears of being politically incorrect, but by want of decency and respect. Many on the Right, including me, felt the policies of Mr. Obama were inimical to the concept of liberty. We argued our case, and we attacked those flaws in his character we saw epitomizing his failings. But, we never treated him the way the Left does Mr. Trump.

The media has long believed that authoritarians comes from the right, not the left. I would argue that extremism can come from either direction. Consider the last century, and the tyrants that arose out of Nazism and Communism? Neither group had any regard for human rights or liberty. Both killed millions of their own people. Their goal was power. Political extremism is not a continuum that stretches left and right. It is circular. Extremists meet on the opposite side of the circle from centrists.

Babel By Richard Fernandez ****

David Gerlenter writing in the Wall Street Journal says something self-evidently true. The Left seems to have won every single culture battle fought.

Although the right reads the left, the left rarely reads the right. Why should it, when the left owns American culture? Nearly every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation. The left wrapped up the culture war two generations ago. Throughout my own adult lifetime, the right has never made one significant move against the liberal culture machine.

The late Andrew Breitbart noticed the same thing. Observing that “politics is downstream from culture” he argued the Left has made us the villains of our own stories.

Our lives — indeed, our very species — has storytelling wound into our DNA. … Popular culture is delivered to us in the form of story via books, TV, film, music, video games, and new media. …

Thus we come to politics … the vast majority of those with the power of content creation are Liberals. … Liberals control story. …What is some of that messaging? Think about movies and TV. Corporations are evil — using unwitting poor Africans for pharmaceutical testing (Constant Gardener) or dumping toxic chemicals into nature (Erin Brockovich, A Civil Action) or responsible for the end of mankind (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). American soldiers are bloodthirsty lawbreaking maniacs (Any military film). The CIA conducts illegal, secret operations that have nothing to do with protecting America. Radical Muslim terrorists are never villains. Trial lawyers are crusading do-gooders. David Letterman and Saturday Night Live ridicule the Right 95% of the time. Jon Stewart pretends to be centrist, but in fact jumps all over the Right far more often than the Left.

Liberal political candidates are the embodiments of those Liberal tenets. The goal is to associate them in voter minds via the vehicle of popular culture.

Even before Breitbart’s warning there was Orwell who understood that the Left’s ultimate ability was to uproot the past and plant their chosen seed for the future. His famous dictum “he who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past” is an unsurpassed indictment of groupthink totalitarianism. There seemed no doubt they would succeed. Within its bubble the Left’s control of culture is so absolute they can watch 1984 without realizing it’s about them.

Yet the real mystery — one which even Orwell himself did not anticipate — is why, despite having won every culture battle, the Left has lost the war. Look around you. Every single country which adopted socialism as an economic system went bankrupt. The Soviet Union collapsed. Now the Western Gramscian project is self-immolating in the fires of its own absurdity. The current political crisis is the collective shudder of mortality passing through “every university, newspaper, TV network, Hollywood studio, publisher, education school and museum in the nation”. The left may have “wrapped up the culture war two generations ago” but it is rotting inside the wrapping.

The search is on for the regicide.

The only thing one can be sure of is that the Republican Party didn’t cause it; nor did their tame and feeble publications. In fact not even publications like Breitbart, valiant though their efforts were, can claim credit. Trump couldn’t have done it either, since the proud tower that Gerlenter describes would have been impervious to the mere touch of the orange-hued real estate mogul without some other factor in play.

Yet most of us know who did it, though we hesitate to name the obvious suspect. The Left even in its downfall has stilled our tongues. The word comes to the edge of our lips before we choke it back, fearful even now of the ridicule and abuse we will get should we blurt it. That word is God. God killed the Left. Of course one could legitimately use some other term. “Reality”, “consequences”, the “laws of nature”, “economics”, even “truth” will do. Through some process of increasing entropy, failed memory management or unanticipated side effects the status quo — the one dominated by the Left — is collapsing. CONTINUE AT SITE

EDWARD CLINE: THE FRAUD OF FAITH

“The main question here should be: Given Islam’s 14 00 year, rapacious, murderous rampage among Muslims themselves (the Sunnis vs. the Shi’ites and various Islamic sub-groups) and against the West, why would anyone want to save it as a “great” faith? Given Islam’s sociopathic and nihilist nature, how can it be called “great”?

Recently, a leading, pro-Brexit, and articulate critic of the European Union confessed that he has “faith”: Faith in what? In the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful Deity. To judge by the encounters I’ve had with Christians (I do not have many discussions with Jews or Muslims on the subject of God), faith for people is a form of unquestionable certitude – almost synonymous with certainty – as an emotional means of knowing the truth about God etc. thanks to their unexamined feelings. Too likely their faith in the existence or condition of something not in the real world undercuts their profession of being reality-oriented. “I know that capitalism works and sets men free and that Britain can only become stronger if it leaves the EU.” How does he know that? Is his epistemology and metaphysics poisoned by faith? The mental compartmentalization of his faith and the real, of the provable or demonstratable of the real versus the unprovable, makes his fealty to reality untenable.

The position of most people is: “What else is there but faith in the Almighty, in miracles, in God’s goodness, and the sublime imperative handed down by God to treat all men as brothers? God created the universe, and everything. Sure, reason has its place in man’s existence but it must keep to its place – we’re not saying that doing the Hokey Pokey will start a car’s engine, in lieu of simply turning the ignition key – however , that is the limit of reason, logic, and of what we call cause and effect. Reason and reality are not substitutes for faith,” they aver with fervor. “The evidence of the senses and reason should not be the paramount measures of authentic knowledge.” So, they say; if the emotion is real and strong enough, so must be the object of that emotion.

An unexamined, spontaneous emotional appraisal is a dangerous thing. If one feels that something is true or right, then it must be true or right. What often stuns me is to meet someone who is otherwise completely rational and reality-oriented and then to hear him admit, in passing or unintentionally, that he believes in a Deity, or in a lucky rabbit’s foot. Faith in the reality of the non-existent and unprovable, to say nothing of the acceptance as “divine” handwork of the contradictory a (such as the destructive handiwork of earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions), becomes a substitute for knowledge.

Emotions are not causeless, rootless, or inexplicable. Love is not blind. Nor is hate. Even indifference to an artwork, a person, or thing, as a pre-conceptual appraisal, has an emotional base. An emotion is partly a physiological response to one’s values, or to non-values, to likes or dislikes, to attractions or fear. It is closely linked to the excitation of the nervous system, in various states and strengths, depending on the appraisal of the value seen and responded to; but it is a value one is responding to. It just does not well up within one, causelessly; the cause must be discovered and examined because it always has one. Rational introspection is a key to “knowing” whether or not one’s appraisal of a person or thing is correct or anchored in reality.

The Democrats’ Soviet Insane Asylum for Trump The Left’s faithful devotion to socialist-style “psychiatric” disposal of political dissidents. Jamie Glazov

The former Soviet Union possessed many imaginative mechanisms to deal with the problem of enemies of the people who obstructed the path to socialist utopia — now known as “social justice.” One of those mechanisms was the practice of confining individuals who were thinking the wrong thoughts to insane asylums. Indeed, if you caused any trouble for the commissars, a good inoculation of neuroleptics (powerful drugs used to “quiet” the symptoms of schizophrenia), forcibly administered through a tube in the nose, could do wonders in bringing your politically incorrect behavior to a halt.

Dissidents such as Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Pyotr Grigorenko, Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Esenin-Volpin and Joseph Brodsky were all among the brave freedom-fighters who bore the brunt of the Soviet practice of institutionalizing dissidents in mental hospitals and force-feeding them mind-shattering drugs. Gorbanevskaya was committed to a psychiatric hospital for attending the 1968 Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Grigorenko suffered the same fate for criticizing the Khrushchev regime. Bukovsky was confined to a psychiatric hospital for “anti-Soviet agitation.” Brodksy was sent to mental hospitals for not writing the right kind of poetry; his treatments involved “tranquilizing” injections, sleep deprivation and forced freezing baths. Esenin-Volpin was institutionalized in the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital for his anti-Soviet thoughts.

Today’s progressive Democrats are also faithfully journeying on an uplifting odyssey. Horrified by Trump’s opposition to Obama’s “fundamental transformations,” they have found their own neuroleptics in the form of the 25th Amendment and a bill seeking to impeach the president for being mentally unsound. Indeed, Trump has to be mentally deranged and unfit for office, because what other reason could possibly explain his frightening disagreement with the Left’s un-American creed of identity politics — race and gender uber alles? What other factor could possibly be at play in his embrace of individual freedom and responsibility — and in his rejection of group privileges and racial/gender hierarchies that, as David Horowitz has noted, can only be manifested after America’s Constitution is null and void?

Confronted by Trump’s shocking blasphemy against their anointed plan, several Democrats, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), have now signed onto a bill that seeks to remove Trump by invoking 25th Amendment powers. The bill cites section 4 of the amendment, created in 1967 after JFK’s assassination, that allows for an independent body to remove the president based on the determination that he has been mentally or physically incapacitated to carry out his duties. Raskin’s initiative would activate a probe into whether Trump has been too far “incapacitated” to continue as president.

This effort is, actually, even sicker than the Soviet practice, since the amendment does not refer to psychiatric problems, but to actual incapacitation through assassination or stroke.

Raskin claims he is concerned that “something is seriously wrong” with Trump, citing a “sustained pattern of behavior” and several “errant and seemingly deranged tweets,” which he believes are damaging to U.S. interests. But to anyone who hasn’t drunk the progressive Kool-Aid, it is obvious that Trump’s sustained pattern of behavior is not damaging U.S. interests. Instead, it is unhinging his political enemies and damaging the progressive assault on America’s social contract. Trump’s tweets do not warn, for example, that the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam (an Obama meme) or that you can keep your doctor if you like him. They are singing the praises of America and calling out a corrupt media for its brazen lies and political partisanship.

The New Left’s Fake Patriotism You can’t hate America and be a patriot. Daniel Greenfield

If anyone doubts that patriotism really is the last refuge of a scoundrel, a recent CNN article boasts that liberals are reclaiming patriotism. After going through their musty attics, tossing aside copies of Howard Zinn’s revisionist Marxist history of America and all the “U.S. Out of Everywhere” buttons, they found their patriotism, moth-eaten, covered in dust and a little worse for the wear. But otherwise intact.

That’s right, progressives are patriotic again. Again refers to the brief period between the end of the Hitler-Stalin pact when the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union necessitated a sudden outburst of pro-war sentiment and the beginning of the Cold War when the Communists became the enemy again.

When the left acts as if WW2 was the only good war, it’s because it was the only war that didn’t force them to choose between their sympathies for Communism and their United States citizenship.

Every time they did have to make that choice, history records their duplicity and sordid treason.

The new left-wing patriotism doesn’t consist of actually loving this country. Or discarding their conviction that America is the worst thing that ever happened to this continent and this planet.

Instead, conveniently, the new patriotism consists of hating President Trump.

When Hillary’s people decided to shift the blame for losing the election from their unlikable candidate, their incompetent campaign operation and the good sense of the voters to a vast Russian conspiracy, the left became patriotic. And by “patriotic”, they mean blaming the results of an election on Russia.

It’s not that the left actually hates Russia. Before Hillary decided to blame the Russians for her own unlikability, she was mugging for the camera with one of Putin’s henchmen and wielding a misspelled Reset Button.

Why a reset button?

Back then the born-again patriots of the left had accused President Bush of alienating Russia (and the rest of the world) with his cowboy diplomacy. Obama and his team of sensitive diplomats would replace cowboy diplomacy with cowardly diplomacy. That was why Hillary’s people pried a swimming pool button out of a pool so she could show off the new “Reset” with Russia. It was why Obama sold out traditional allies to appease Putin. It was why he was caught on a hot mic telling another of Putin’s people that he would have more flexibility to appease him after the election.

All this has been forgotten in a rush of revisionist patriotism. Traitors now masquerade as patriots. Last year’s appeasers now stick out their chests and act as if they’re Ronald Reagan, not Jimmy Carter.

Don’t expect it to last. If you doubt that, Al Gore once attacked Bush for being soft on Saddam.

As tensions with Russia grow over Syria, the born-again patriots will be reborn as appeasers. The next Democrat will run for the White House promising to restore our relationship with Russia. And he’ll blame President Trump for ruining our previously congenial relations with cowboy diplomacy.

History will once again be rewritten. Russia was always our friend. Lefties were always advocates of diplomatic relations and opponents of wars. But we will have always been at war with Eastasia.

Peter Smith Secularism and Societal Suicide

The Secular Party is unlikely to be a major player in upcoming elections, representing the monocular obsession of a cranky minority fixated on erasing the influence of religion in public life. Small it may be, but also useful as a reminder of the need to be very careful when making a wish.

Into my hands last week came a press release from the Secular Party of Australia. I hadn’t heard of them before, but that is by the way. The release was prompted by publication of 2016 census data showing a decline in religiosity. Grist for the Secular Party’s mill, indeed it was. For the moment, I want to leave aside the misconceived triumphalism evident in the release. I will come back to it. When I do, the old adage, ‘be careful what you wish for’ underscores my cautionary pointer to the Secular Party.

We are told that the “party intends to build support over the coming years to be ready at the next elections in 2018/19 as a viable alternative to the major parties.” According party president John Perkins, the Secular Party stands for the separation of church from state. He goes on:

Because the Liberal and Labor parties are restricted by their fear of religious voter backlash they are both hamstrung in dealing with straightforward solutions wanted by the majority of ordinary Australians…We can make marriage equality real. We can introduce assisted suicide under conditions which have proved successful in enlightened counties. We can eliminate funding to all religious schools. As champions of human rights, we want women, minorities and the LGBTI community to be free of discrimination and the dictates of archaic superstition.

I am secular. Christ was secular. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. I believe in a separation of church from state; that parliament has the sole role in making laws. Yet I doubt I would find a happy home as a conservative Christian in the Secular Party. Clearly, the Party has a progressive social agenda. Its membership, I would guess, is comprised mainly or wholly of atheists, as distinct from secularists. That’s fine, but why not call themselves something like the Socially Progressive Atheist Party? That way no one would be misled.

I looked at four of their policies: on Economics, Immigration, Education, and the Environment. They are a mixture of barely okay to bad. But that is my view. You’d have to read them. I will give you just a flavour.

On economics, they attribute our history of increasing prosperity to the “humanist phenomenon” of technical progress and commercial innovation, which they want to support. That’s fine as far as it goes but they rule out exploitative capitalism, monopoly power or religion as having played any role. In fact, however, economic progress is built on an exploitative pursuit of monopoly profits. Why else would people put their capital at risk?

Moreover, for capitalism to flourish in the first place a supportive culture is required which protects property rights, which rewards merit, which disdains nepotism and cronyism, which engenders trust, and which values individual worth. That is why capitalism flourished in Christian nations and floundered elsewhere.

Culture is almost everything. Humanism? Give me a break. The Party believes that the key to eliminating world poverty is international cooperation and goodwill which would be helped by promoting secular values. Venezuela and Cuba have secular values. The only way bring nations out of poverty is to encourage them to adopt values throughout their societies which, at their core, are Christian values.

It is no surprise that the Party’s agenda more or less mirrors Tim Flannery’s when it comes to the environment. Global warming is recognised as a “dire threat to global civilisation.” So they advocate an international coal export tax and the use of all forms of low-carbon energy. Mind you, they include nuclear to deal themselves partially into the rational world, as against the Greens. How Australia manages to stay competitive in this brave new energy world is not addressed, so far as I can see.

The Conservative ‘Resistance’ Is Futile The right has never made one significant move against the liberal culture machine. By David Gelernter

Democrats, in their role as opponents of President Trump, have taken to calling themselves “the resistance.” But I was startled a few days ago when a thoughtful, much-admired conservative commentator used the same term on TV—casually, as if “the resistance” was just the obvious term. Everyone is saying it. It’s no accident that the left runs American culture. The right is too obsessed with mere mechanics—poll numbers and vote counts—to look up.

“Resistance” is unacceptable in referring to the Trump opposition because, obviously, it suggests the Resistance—against the Nazis in occupied France. Many young people are too ignorant to recognize the term, but that hardly matters. The press uses it constantly. So when a young innocent finally does encounter the genuine French Resistance, he will think, “Aha, just like the resistance to Trump!” And that’s all the left wants: a mild but continuous cultural breeze murmuring in every American ear that opposing Trump is noble and glorious. Vive la Résistance!

This abuse of “the resistance” happens everywhere. Many Republicans hate Mr. Trump and love to denounce him—which lets them show their integrity and, sometimes, a less-praiseworthy attribute too.

Many intellectuals think Mr. Trump is vulgar. That includes conservatives. They think he’s a peasant and talks like one. Every time he opens his mouth, all they hear is a small-time Queens operator who struck it big but has never had a proper education, and embarrasses the country wherever he goes, whatever he says. It never dawns on them that the president can’t stand them any more than they can stand him. Yet they expect him to treat them with respectful courtesy if he ever runs into them—as he should, and on the whole does. Conceivably they should treat him the same way.

Conservatives regret the collapse of authority, dignity and a certain due formality in the way Americans treat each other. They are right to complain when any president diminishes his office. Mr. Trump ought to think more seriously about what he owes the great men among his predecessors, and the office itself. But it’s not clear that commentators make things any better when they treat the president himself like a third-rate clown.

I’d love for him to be a more eloquent, elegant speaker. But if I had to choose between deeds and delivery, it wouldn’t be hard. Many conservative intellectuals insist that Mr. Trump’s wrong policies are what they dislike. So what if he has restarted the large pipeline projects, scrapped many statist regulations, appointed a fine cabinet and a first-rate Supreme Court justice, asked NATO countries to pay what they owe, re-established solid relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia, signaled an inclination to use troops in Afghanistan to win and not merely cover our retreat, led us out of the Paris climate accord, plans to increase military spending (granted, not enough), is trying to get rid of ObamaCare to the extent possible, proposed to lower taxes significantly and revamp immigration policy and enforcement? What has he done lately?

Conservative thinkers should recall that they helped create President Trump. They never blasted President Obama as he deserved. Mr. Obama’s policies punished the economy and made the country and its international standing worse year by year; his patronizing arrogance drove people crazy. He was the perfect embodiment of a one-term president. The tea-party outbreak of 2009-10 made it clear where he was headed. History will record that the press saved him. Naturally the mainstream press loved him, but too many conservative commentators never felt equal to taking him on. They had every reason to point out repeatedly that Mr. Obama was the worst president since Jimmy Carter, surrounded by a left-wing cabinet and advisers, hostile to Israel, crazed regarding Iran, and even less competent to deal with the issues than Mr. Carter was—which is saying plenty. CONTINUE AT SITE

JUNE 2017- THE MONTH THAT WAS…SYDNEY WILLIAMS

With June behind us, so is the first half of 2017, a year that seems to have just begun, yet which has brought so much news.

Mainstream media has assumed a Potemkin village-like stance – twisting news to corroborate a prescribed narrative. James Comey’s testimony before the Senate (see my TOTD “The Dystopian World of James Comey,” June 19, 2017) began as an investigation into alleged Russian interference in last year’s election, but then had to adjust, as Comey suggested that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch needed scrutinizing for persuading him to refer to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server as a “matter.” Muddying the waters further, it was disclosed that then President Obama tried to put a lid on probing Russian interference last fall, when it seemed probable that Mrs. Clinton would win the Presidency. In Georgia’s sixth district, Republican Karen Handel overcame a $30 million spending campaign by Democrat Jon Ossoff to keep Tom Price’s seat in Republican hands. DNC Chair Tom Perez blamed the loss on gerrymandering, while mainstream media took succor from the fact that Democrats narrowed the size of the loss; though they skipped over the inconvenient fact that Congressional wins in Georgia and South Carolina were by wider margins than that achieved by the President in November.

The Senate healthcare bill was released by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but a full vote in the Senate was delayed until after the July 4th recess. Unilateralism, as we saw in the previous Administration, encourages partisanship. In 2009, with 60 Democrat Senators, it took 18 months to pass the Affordable Care Act, and it was passed without a single Republican vote. The insufferable Nancy Pelosi, then House Speaker, said we would have to pass the bill to see what was in it. The American people would like the Party’s to work together, but the media knows that bad news (partisanship and bickering) sells better than good news (reconciliation and concessions). In the meantime, the Affordable Care Act is in trouble. An article in the June 9th The New York Times reported that by next year no insurance companies would be operating in 45 counties in the U.S., and that 1,388 counties will only have one plan. For left-leaning Democrats, the only option to a failing ObamaCare is a single-payer system – socialized medicine. For right-leaning Republicans, the only answer is repeal, and replace later. Neither is good. The best would be for the two Party’s to find a bipartisan path – seek common ground, fix what needs to be fixed, eliminate what’s wrong, work on tort reform and allow insurance companies to compete across state borders. But that is not what Party leaders want, nor is it what the media prefers.

Inflexible Progressivism: The Rise of a New Dogma

By Herbert London President, London Center for Policy Research

As a young man coming from a left-wing pedigree, I embraced a liberal agenda which included most notably, a belief in Israel as a bastion of socialism and democracy. In the 1950’s a good progressive was a good Zionist.

Oh, how the world has changed. Now a progressive has moved 180 degrees to anti-Zionist position. As one wag put it, the Left is now the congenial home of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. One of the leaders of the progressive left recently said, “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.”

Linda Sarsour, the leader of the Woman’s March in Washington and a commencement speaker at the City University of New York clearly embodies the new spirit on the Left. She has praised Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, once anathema to liberals. She has honored Embrased Rasmesh Odeh, a terrorist murderer. She has spoken in favor of Sharia finance.

What is truly remarkable, and to some degree ideologically shattering, is that the New York Times wrote a fawning profile about this woman who challenges all liberal principles. She had the audacity to say that “the vagina of Ayaan Hirsi Ali should be taken away,” the same Ayaan who has worked so hard to promote women’s rights throughout the Muslim world. Yet the ADL defends Sarsour.

For the Left, Zionism has promoted Islamophobia – a false critique from the standpoint of Islamists. As a consequence, anti-Semitism is rendered a virtue, as a way to discourage negative sentiment about Islam. Yet even when the evidence of anti-Semitism is incontrovertible, the Left contends anti-Semitism is a figment of an hysterical, oversensitive imagination. For the most part, Jews are being systematically written out of the progressive agenda, even though they were responsible for that agenda in the first place. But why quibble.