From time to time, I post links to content I find to be especially valuable. Here’s a probing discussion of an important issue. It’s worth your time:
From time to time, I post links to content I find to be especially valuable. Here’s a probing discussion of an important issue. It’s worth your time:
Once upon a time in American history, we had a President whom many accused of being a racist. He took Supreme Court rulings as mere suggestions, he wanted to separate entire groups of people from American Society at large. From the very moment of his Inauguration that scandalized Washington, D.C., he faced rebellion from many parts of the political establishment.
Some other politicians even went so far as to declare that their areas of the country would not abide by laws passed by Congress. They claimed the right to decide which laws, especially those about outcast peoples, would be obeyed and which ignored.
It didn’t work out very well. In fact, it led us into civil war.
“It is the right of a State to interpose, in the last resort, in order to arrest an unconstitutional act of the General Government, within its limits.”
Those are the words of John C. Calhoun, segregationist Senator from South Carolina, in 1832. The ultimate conflict brought about in part by his assertion led to devastation in his state and throughout the states of the Confederacy. His utterance sparked what was called the Nullification Controversy, in which various jurisdictions claimed the ultimate right to negate rulings by the federal government and the Supreme Court.
This is Corporal Ronil Singh, 33 years old, celebrating Christmas with his young wife and child five hours before he was shot and killed on duty while making a traffic stop of a pickup without license plates driven by this man:
This man is known to local police and CNN is reporting that he is in this country illegally. Given the sad state of affairs in California, one has to ask whether the Governor will order state police to assist or obstruct in the apprehension of the alleged killer.
The irony here is that the dead officer was born in Fiji and came to this country with the expressed desire to be a cop. He was a legal immigrant who observed the laws concerning immigration and naturalization. He did things the right way.
The issue is not whether or not the U.S. should allow immigration into our country. Demographics and economics require that we do. The issue is whether or not we are a sovereign nation of laws, or an “open space” where even elected officials feel free to decide whether or not laws are to be obeyed, the same destructive notion behind those who claim open borders or a universal right to migrate to any nation on earth that one pleases.
Are you listening Pope Francis? Maybe tomorrow when you say Mass, you will remember Corporal Ronil Singh and pray for the repose of his soul. And maybe our elected officials will remember that they were elected to enforce our laws, not disregard them, like Senator Calhoun did in 1832.
UPDATE: 12/28 12 p.m. MST:
Police have confirmed that the suspect is now in custody. He is reportedly a member of Surenos, a Mexican gang engaged in murder-for-hire and human smuggling. Surenos hold allegiance to other violent Mexican street gangs and to the “Mexican Mafia”, a group that operates out of California prisons.
In a few short days, the Federal Government may be shut down over the issue of border security and illegal immigration. Lest anyone be deceived, the policy that the current administration is following is almost exactly the same policy that the prior administration followed, though you couldn’t tell this from watching the mainstream media. (There were even more deportations under Obama than there have been under Trump, but that’s another story.) What we really have here is political posturing, plain and simple. Don’t believe me? Watch the following:
Much has been made in recent months about the demise of 1st Amendment rights on American college campuses. Just this week, a Democrat party member of the House of Representatives (from California, of course) fretted that things would be so much easier, more peaceful, more convenient, if he could just circumvent the 1st Amendment.
If only the idea of “safe spaces” could be expanded from the campus to our everyday lives, right? Our lives would be free from having to hear, much less confront ideas and attitudes that differ from ours. Spare that child!
I suppose I could point out that such attitudes make me feel “uncomfortable”, but, you see, I am a white, heterosexual male, so what do I know? I am told that I am part of the problem.
Well, I’m not going to shut up. So there. And I won’t wear ribbons of any color, pussy hats, arm bands, or any of the other empty symbolic gestures that pass for courage these days. I won’t even wear a MAGA hat. Our society long ago abandoned actual civil dialogue in exchange for posters, buttons, bumper stickers, slogans, sound bites, “trending” videos, and Internet memes. These things are so much easier than either listening or actually thinking. We are the unreflected entitlement country now.
I’m going to propose a compromise, just so I can be sure to insult both sides of the political spectrum. Here goes:
From now on, let every Friday be designated as “safe space for free speech day.” Every Friday, every American is encouraged to exercise his/her/whatever 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech. Say what you want, as often as you want, as loud as you want, anywhere you want on Fridays.
The speech police can have their way the other six days of the week. But not on Fridays. On Fridays all Americans will enjoy their Constitutional right to free speech, unfettered. To be politically incorrect, brazen, and free. If someone doesn’t want to hear or see “uncomfortable things”, they are invited to turn off their TV sets and radios, laptops, tablets, and cellphones. Go read a book. Take a walk and contemplate Nature. Meditate on your own life and your own shortcomings. Write, paint, dance, and let others express themselves without interference from “social justice warriors” of the Left or narrow minds on the Right.
Throw off your shackles, speak up without fear. And listen. Nobody seems to want to do that any more. And don’t worry that something you say or write will destroy your career. After all, you said it on Free Speech Friday.
Who knows? Hollywood might even be able to find someone willing to host the Oscars, as long as they hold it on a Friday night.
The objectivity of the news media can be determined not only by what they cover and how they cover it, but also by what they choose to ignore. To wit:
On a a day when Chinese authorities announced they had successfully produced “gene edited” babies, it’s reassuring to know that some things never change. To wit: the tendency of politicians to believe they can rewrite history. Make no mistake, this is a bi-artisan conceit. It happens on both sides of the aisle. Looking for a good laugh some days? Try reading presidential memoirs or political memoirs in general, usually a morass of self-deception and self-serving conceit.
The most recent instance of this practice comes to us from former President Barack Obama. Speaking to a crowd just prior to the recent election, he laid claim to the economic boom that followed on the heels of his stepping down from the presidency.
Claiming responsibility for the currently surging economy, Obama told the crowd at a rally in September, “Remember where this recovery started.” But facts are stubborn things.
Given that he took office in 2009 and inherited an economic mess from the outgoing Bush Administration, the best that can be said of Obama’s economic policies is that they didn’t make matters measurably worse. But “recovery”? An odd term to apply to the slowest rebound from a recession in our history, the only 8-year stretch of American economic history where the GDP failed to reach 3% growth.
I won’t go into all the numbers, but if you’d like to check them out, read this article from the Wall Street Journal of November 26, 2018: CLICK HERE
By any measure or yardstick, the economy did not turn around until Obama’s successor began cutting taxes, slashing regulations, and encouraging energy production.
The fundamental difference, as I see it, is that the Obama economic paradigm centered around the redistribution of wealth while the Trump policy is to generate more wealth for Americans of all economic levels, ethnic groups, and political persuasions.
One irony is that, while talking about narrowing the economic gap between rich and poor, the gap widened even faster during the Obama Presidency. And while Trump is seen by many (and most of the media) as a servant of the wealthy, the unemployment rate among Hispanic and Black Americans has never been lower than today, and more Americans have jobs than ever before. Over Trump’s first 21 months in office (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) job growth has averaged 75,000 per month. Over Obama’s final 21 months in office, the number of job openings increased an average of 900 per month. For every job Obama’s policies created, Trump has created 80.
Other statistics show the same pattern. The current boom did not begin until the new policies of the Trump Administration began and unleashed the pent-up powers of the capitalist American economic engine.
As a defender of freedom of speech, I stand by President Obama’s right to say whatever he wants. But facts are facts, and in this case, it’s just another politician attempting to put lipstick on a pig.
As the American Revolution was breaking out, Benjamin Franklin said “We must all hang together or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
I was going to write a blog entry on the forces pulling America apart. I was going to write an article saying that Donald Trump, love him or loathe him, is not the problem, but rather the result of the problem America is facing (if anyone could stop shouting long enough to consider this).
Then someone beat me to it. That someone is Matt Welch, a fellow Libertarian who writes for Reason Magazine:
Let’s be clear: I am not asking you to feel sorry for Kat Timpf.
Yes, the 30-year-old television commentator and National Review writer was chased out of a Brooklyn bar a few weeks ago by a shouty woman enraged that Timpf works for Fox News Channel. Must have been unpleasant, especially considering it wasn’t her first time being physically confronted by angry strangers.
But you know what else is unpleasant? Being separated from your toddler at the U.S.-Mexico border. Watching your entire community burn to the ground. Living a life less luxe than a New York gal about town whose birthday parties make Page Six.
So let’s not talk about Kat, let’s talk about you. You who pivoted before I did to the whataboutism in the paragraph above. You who were already irritated at reading yet again about a non-Democrat being inconvenienced in public. You who are saying to yourself, “Fox News is toxic. It’s poisoning my dad’s brain. All collaborators are fair game to be shunned.”
Here’s the question for you: Do you think this ends well? Because it doesn’t.
As it happens, Timpf is one of very few Trump-skeptical libertarians working at 1211 Avenue of the Americas. When we were both on the libertarian-leaning “Kennedy” program on Fox Business recently, she said stuff like, “Oh, I’m personally not scared of the [immigrant] caravan. I think that Trump’s done an excellent job of making people scared.” Hound her from the building, and that’s one less non-#MAGA commentator on dad’s TV.
Not that Timpf’s views actually matter to her antagonists. “None of these people have even been able to tell me what exactly I have said or done myself that they had a problem with,” she told the Hill. The problem, one darkly suspects, is that she looks the part of Fox News villain — blond, pretty, false eyelashes that she refuses to take off when carousing in Brooklyn’s massive bloc of precincts that voted over 90% for Hillary Clinton.
Increasingly, Americans do not tolerate people who do not stay in identifiable political and even geographical lanes. There is probably no more hated politician right now than the temperamentally centrist lame-duck Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Acres of pixels are expended most every time a perceived center-right type is hired by a reliably left-leaning news outlet — Kevin Williamson at the Atlantic, Bari Weiss at the New York Times, Hugh Hewitt at MSNBC.
These are successful public figures, so again, shed no tears. Think instead, in this Thanksgiving season, about your family, which probably includes members of the opposing tribe. According to a Survey Monkey poll before the midterm election, 61% of Democrats think the phrase “racist/sexist/bigoted” applies generally to the Republican Party, while 54% of Republicans think the Democratic Party is “spiteful.” More than one in five members of each bloc think the other can be rightly described as “evil.”
This is not a good place to be, America.
We are careening dangerously from a high-trust to a low-trust society. We trust one another less, we trust governmentand other mediating institutions less. This trend, which like many of our pathologies predates and arguably helped give rise to the Trump presidency, has ominous consequences.
High-trust societies have lower transaction costs, lower crime rates and less corruption. People are nicer and better behaved when they’re reasonably confident that the local grocer won’t steal their credit card information and the IRS won’t audit them based on their politics.
Low-trust countries are clannish, unable to develop the civil institutions of a free society, and those in power tend to use government authority like a club to punish political enemies. The resulting disorder builds demand for strongmen, for more centralized state power. None of this is good.
When President Trump accuses Democrats, without evidence, of “electoral corruption” in the Arizona Senate race (even as the local Republican candidate handles her loss with dignity), he is behaving like a caudillo from a low-trust country. When Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) says Republicans “can’t win elections fairly; they win elections by redistricting and reapportionment and voter suppression,” he too is contributing to the very dysfunction he claims to resist .
It’s damnably difficult to break out of this cycle, at least politically: As trust declines between the two main parties, untrustworthy behavior spikes. There are villains among us in politics, though thankfully some — such as the odious voter-fraud fabulist Kris Kobach in Kansas — get fired by voters.
But we can start closer to home with the recognition that our friends and family aren’t evil just because some of them have different ideologies or political affiliations. In a country of pluralities and coalitions and minority rights instead of heavy-handed majoritarian rule, we are cursed — and also blessed — to live with one another. We might as well learn how to peaceably share a drink.
This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.
If music is a universal language, I think of the Blues is its basic vocabulary. Nothing touches me as deeply on a personal and emotional level, not even Beethoven. Here’s a sampling for you of seven numbers that represent the past and hopefully the future of the Blues:
There’s seven Blues songs for you. There are seven million more worth listening to, What are you waiting for? Happy Thanksgiving!
This is the first in a series of blog tributes to great American artists. I start with Frank Sinatra, who for seven decades was a fixture on our popular music scene. Sinatra was appreciative of the songwriters, lyricists, arrangers, conductors, and musicians who made his work possible, and spent much of his life popularizing what he called “The Great American Songbook.” Here are seven of his finest performances:
That’s it for now. My next arts tribute will be seven blues songs everyone should know. Next week, perhaps. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
If you had told me during my youth that I would live to see the dissolution of the Soviet Empire and that it would all happen without war, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet it happened from 1989-1991.
Now, if you told me that I might also live to see the crumbling of America and that its decline would be self-inflicted, I would nod in solemn agreement.
You don’t have to be a political junkie to sense that things have gone all wrong. People choose whether or not to speak to each other based on their respective political beliefs. They chose restaurants, products and TV stations based not on any objective measure of quality or value, but on the perceived political bent of those who own the enterprises themselves. This is idiotic as well as destructive, and not just on the surface.
Earlier this month, we held a mid-term election that cost billions, settled nothing, and unsettled millions of American citizens. But why look for answers to this mess, when it is so much easier to merely point the finger of blame at others?
Let me try something downright dangerous these days: try to find an explanation for why things are such a mess and then suggest at least a partial corrective.
Why doesn’t the U.S. government work any more? Why has Washington, D.C. (drained or un-drained) become a swamp?
Both major parties are not so much competing visions of America as they are competing agglomerations of moneyed special interest coalitions, vying with one another over who gets to control all that money and exercise all that power.
What if we limited government to its truly legitimate role (the way it was designed to function by our nation’s Founders)? Here are four suggestions:
I’m sure there are some who would dismiss all I have said as simplistic and idealistic. But simplification of an overly-complex system and a return to the ideals behind its founding is better, IMO, than continuing down our current path. We have to start somewhere, maybe by listening to one another, and to ideas that challenge the ones we currently have. Perhaps a new political party is the place to start. (More in my next installment on this theme.)