Friday, October 14, 2016

A Nation Divided Against Itself

It’s very difficult to fight a war against Islam when you have mobilized all of your troops to attack Republicans. And it is difficult to fight a war against Islamic terrorism when you believe that the greatest threat to the nation is Republicans.

Democrats, led by Barack Obama, have consistently displayed a marked insouciance when it comes to Islamic terrorism. They have gone into full battle mode when fighting against their true enemies, Republicans.

Fair enough, and I have consistently made the point, Donald Trump is an especially target rich environment. But, one understands that the Democratic Party and its troops in the media would have been doing pretty much the same thing against any Republican. The game is character assassination and the Democrats play it very, very well.

It seems that Republicans are overmatched in this war. Yet, reading Peggy Noonan’s fine column this morning about Clinton corruption, one is struck by the fact that the corrupt activities of the Clintons are complex and difficult to understand. It’s much easier to visualize and to understand a man who puts his hands all over an unwilling woman.

Noonan, this morning explains an especially corrupt Clintonian maneuver:

Readers of these pages know of the Uranium One deal in which a Canadian businessman got Bill Clinton to help him get control of uranium mining fields in Kazakhstan. The businessman soon gave $31 million to the Clinton Foundation, with a pledge of $100 million more. Uranium One acquired significant holdings in the U.S. A Russian company moved to buy it. The deal needed U.S. approval, including from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

While it was under consideration the Clinton Foundation received more money from Uranium One. Bill Clinton got a $500,000 speech fee. Mrs. Clinton approved the deal. The Russian company is now one of the world’s largest uranium producers. Significant amounts of U.S. uranium are, in effect, owned by Russia. This summer a WikiLeaks dump showed the State Department warning that Russia was moving to control the global supply of nuclear fuel. The deal went through anyway, and the foundation flourished.

Since Noonan is a highly skilled wordsmith, she gives you the story clearly and concisely. I will not quote too much more, because your eyes will glaze over. In fact, it’s a lot more difficult to grasp than the story about Donald Trump preying on women or about Mitt Romney torturing the family pet. And yet, the real world consequences to Clintonian corruption are far more damaging… unless your goal is to cleanse souls of sin.

The Clinton election campaign has now become an all-out war on sexism. Similarly, the Obama campaign was an all-out war on racism. We know how that worked out. The Age of Obama has been characterized by increased racial animosity. We suspect that the upcoming Clinton Era will see increased sexual animosity.

The nation elected Barack Obama because it had been tricked into believing that it could solve its problems by atoning for its racist past, thus for its sins. Now it seems ready to elect Hillary Clinton because it is being told that everything will be wonderful once it atones for its sexist sins.

Of course, the Obama Era has not been a time of racial comity. Obama has been a decidedly ineffective president and has happily stoked the fires of racial animus. He welcomed the Black Lives Matter protesters and demagogue Al Sharpton far more warmly and openly than he welcomed the prime minister of Israel. The nation is now rife with anti-Semitism and with calls for more racial healing.

When Colin Kaepernick refused to show his allegiance to the flag, in a gesture that is so unpatriotic that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg felt constrained to denounce it, our president defended Kaepernick. Thus, we have more and more Americans who feel that the gesture is acceptable. Serious social justice warriors are on the warpath against Justice Ginsberg, a woman who had heretofore been one of their great heroes. Thus has patriotism become a thought crime.

Obama was elected despite the fact that he lacked he qualifications for the office of the presidency. He did not bring a wealth of experience to the job. He had not worked his way up the ladder. He was elected because he was African-American, and for precious few other reasons. Had he not been African-American no one would have imagined making him the president. His presidency was the ultimate in affirmative action.

Similarly, if Hillary Clinton were not a woman and were not named Clinton no one would imagine her as the president. The absurd notion that she is the most qualified candidate in history simply exposes the fact that, on the basis of her resume, she is supremely underqualified for the office of the presidency.

Of course, the Republican Party, in its great wisdom, found a candidate who is even less qualified than either Obama or Clinton.

Be that as it may, it is true, as his flunkies insist, that Obama has not been respected by the opposition. The reasons is that no one has believed that he earned his way. If the first black president had been Colin Powell, the problems Obama faced would not exist.

If, as seems increasingly likely, Hillary ascends to the office of the presidency, she too will not inspire respect. Officials who have not assumed office on the basis of their real accomplishments will not be respected. It has nothing to do with race or gender. It’s about the fact that diversity does not trump merit.

Funnily enough, promoting people on the basis of blood has always characterized aristocracies. It is a primary reason why aristocratic governance has lost out to democratic governments.

So, Obama ran and keeps running against racist Republicans. Hillary is running against sexist Republicans. For reasons that make no sense the nation has been tricked into believing that if it expunges all vestiges of racist and sexist—to say nothing of Islamophobic and homophobic—thoughts and feelings, we will all ride off into the sunset together.

As long as we measure the presence of such sins against absurdly unrealistic standards—like a proportionate number of blacks and whites and Asians and Jews in graduating classes of America’s great universities, or like an equal number of men and women in all occupations and in all childcare and homemaking functions—there will never be an end to this culture war.

As the Bible says, Mark, 3:25:

And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

26 comments:

Trigger Warning said...

Well, it's not just Republicans. Don't forget the War on Weather. There's talk now of using the Defense budget to fight carbon.

https://youtu.be/TMRrOGElajs

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

"The game is character assassination and the Democrats play it very, very well."

Well, if you don't have any defined standards of character and behavior you (and your allies) have to live up to yourself, you can use your opposition's standards against them without any worry whatsoever. It's a great game... you get to play critic all the time, while not opening yourself for any criticism.

And that's why all this outrage is phony, disingenuous and manufactured.

I still cannot believe that we have a candidate who is a very serious national security risk and engaged in corruption with foreign actors, and we're worried about her opponent saying p****. It's absurd. Here's what her attorneys had to say yesterday:

"Secretary Clinton states that she does not recall being advised, cautioned, or warned, she does not recall that was ever suggested to her, and she does not recall participating in any communication, conversation, or meeting in which it was discussed that her use of a clintonemail.com e-mail account to conduct official State Department business conflicted with or violated federal recordkeeping laws."

She said she didn't recall 20 different times. Yesterday.

All this stuff that is coming out of Wikileaks could've been used for blackmail against the Clintons. One could say they have no shame, but they certainly are secretive. Makes you wonder what all the secrecy is all about. In her case, it's one salient thing: SHE'S A LIAR. She has to keep that a secret, even though it's not. One cannot believe anything she says.

Sam L. said...

Let us not forget the media's Democrats With Bylines colluding with the Dems with every ounce of their strength.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

"Of course, the Republican Party, in its great wisdom, found a candidate who is even less qualified than either Obama or Clinton."

This is a canard that perpetuates an insular, protected professional political class as the answer to all our problems. I guess Jeb! or Kasich would've been a better choice? They would've been savaged by the Democrat machine and been on the defensive the whole election. The Democrats are professional character assassins. They're not interested in "moderate" Republicans. They hate all Republicans.

Most people have no idea how complex a large business is and how it operates, and what is required of a chief executive. It's a lot harder than being a community organizer, law professor and one-term Senator; or a one-term Senator lawyer wife of President Clinton. Neither of these candidates has/had true, single-point-of-accountability responsibility like that of an executive, whether a corporate executive or in government. I'm sorry, a get-her-out-of-the-way State Department position does not count in my mind, never mind that she has no accomplishments to speak of in the position.

So, what does it take to be a successful business executive? CEO job description from TotalJobs.com:
- Controls the direction of the company
- Decides budgets for all departments
- Targets and initiates business partnerships with other companies
- Drives the culture of the business
- Oversees employment and ensures there are enough staff (and the right people)
- Manages senior managers
- Generates new business and gives approval of new projects
- Responsible for day-to-day decisions
- Identifies risks and ensures appropriate strategies are in place
- Ensures the correct practices are being met
- Attends board meetings and other presentations
- Drives profitability of the business

Anything you see there that is NOT transferable? Certainly more transferable skills than that of a community organizer or serial nepotist.

Also, Trump chose a business that builds tangible assets and manages the service of them: serving real people. You cannot perpetuate a successful service business for decades without taking care of people and being interested in their needs so as to maintain their loyalty. It's real work, investing in real assets, not some urban socialist agitprop or a phony global initiative for one family's aggrandizement.

Donald Trump is qualified to be POTUS. Look at Romney... he was, on paper, probably the most qualified in recent memory, and the Democrats smeared him and turned him into a dog-abusing plutocrat. This is what they do every single election. Somehow our nation survived without perpetual parasite career politicians for most of our history. I don't understand what is so "complex" about the Federal government beyond the demands of a multi-dimensional, multi-business unit corporate entity.

We're $20T in debt... I hardly think it's disqualifying to replace a politician with a businessman for once.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

And I say all this with deep respect, Stuart. You're writing has been en fuego lately. Keep it up. I appreciate you being out there!

Anonymous said...

Never mind the networks active campaigning for Hillary

Disney/ABC: Spike of "The Path to 9/11" -- never been shown again, no DVD
NBC: Not showing Lisa Myers interview of Juanita Broaddrick
LA Times: Not releasing the Khalidi video with Obama they've been sitting on since 2008
NY Times: Hillary gets an editorial veto in the newsroom
Boston Globe: Helps Hillary identify best places for her rallies

sestamibi said...

Sometime in the next four years a man in his 30s with a promising career who gets fired from a mid-level position on the whim of a cunt will cut her open, as he has nothing to lose, and will at least get an open (if not a fair) trial in which he is at least presumed innocent.

Over the next four years there will be a steep dropoff in military enlistments among young white men who correctly perceive that this country no longer offers them anything for which they should risk their lives. We will hear talk about reviving the draft, but not, of course, for women.

Anonymous said...

News today: University of Florida students are worried about being offended by Halloween costumes
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/10/14/university-florida-offers-counseling-for-students-troubled-by-halloween-costumes.html

When I went to college as an Xer, being offended by something was your problem.

What is going on with our young people? These are voting age adults

A nation divided with spoilt kids who can't even do division

Stuart Schneiderman said...

In re... IAC-- if Trump's business skill and acumen transfers so easily to the political arena, he can prove us wrong by running a competent campaign.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Touche. I agree. Completely.

My point is that I don't think business experience is disqualifying.

There is time for Trump to get things together and close this thing.

Trigger Warning said...

WADR, Schneiderman, running a slick, "competent" campaign and serving as President are two quite distinct skill sets. Unless, of course, every Presidential matter is tuned to political benefit and re-election optics. Like the Presidency we have now, for instance.

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: Of course, the Republican Party, in its great wisdom, found a candidate who is even less qualified than either Obama or Clinton.

This might be the understatement of the century. At least Mitt Romney was a governor, and of a democratic state and proved that he was capable of working with others.

Stuart: As the Bible says, Mark, 3:25: And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

Just out of curiosity, would anyone like to bet whether we'll have 9 people on the Supreme Court by say election day 2018?

If the republicans (by senate majority or filibuster) can avoid an open vote for Obama's nominee for 10 months, what's another 2 years? I'll give it a 67% chance, but no higher. There's no limit to rationalization why you can't cooperate when you've demonized the other side to win an election.

Does anyone imagine another candidate for president will act like Al Gore in 2000 and withdraw his candidacy for president when he could have fought on in the courts for months? Donald Trump can lose the election by 20 points and still claim the election was rigged, and 38% of the population will believe him.

Maybe politics is just civilized war. Everyone excuses bad behavior on their side by the opposition's bad behavior, and things keep escalating until.... one party implodes?

We think we know which party is imploding, but truthfully we don't know. Democrats seem only good at electing presidents these day, and Republicans seem good at majorities every where else in Congress and state governments. So the Republicans are still only 1 office away and a weak 2018 turnout from complete domination, perhaps even a filibuster proof Senate for the Republicans after the 2018 election?

But as Noonan shows, the winner in political war is moneyed interests, and corporate power to protect their own interest. They fund both sides, as Donald Trump admits, and somehow only a theoretical billionaire can save us from the billionaires?

Here's my saddest quote from Noonan, the innocence and idealism of youth is gone.
---
Here I would like to say a word for the spectacular illusions under which American voters once were able to operate. You used to be able to like your guy—to admire your candidate and imagine unknown virtues he no doubt possessed that would be revealed in time, in books. Those illusions were beautiful. They gave clean energy to the engine of our politics.

You can’t have illusions anymore. That souring, which is based on knowledge and observation as opposed to mere cynicism, is painful to witness and bear.

The other day a conservative intellectual declared to her fellow writers and thinkers: “I’m for the venal idiot who won’t mechanize government against all I hold dear.” That’s some bumper sticker, isn’t it? And who has illusions about Mrs. Clinton? No one.
---

Or the older motto "Vote For the Crook. It's Important."

It's strange or not so strange to consider is that whether Clinton or Trump wins, either of them may end up impeached for some corruption or unconstitutional power grab that their own party has to reject them for their survival.

Way back Bill Clinton said "It's the economy, Stupid", and there was a truth there, but if economic growth is over, if globalization is reaching its limits, if expanding debt is long longer attractive substitute for real growth, and a growing middle class, Bill's "New Democrat" or neoliberal game is OVER, and the rich will soon be demonized by the right and the left, as the divided house falls into chaos.

Trigger Warning said...

"Way back Bill Clinton said "It's the economy, Stupid", and there was a truth there..."

I believe he said that right before the NASDAQ collapsed, the banking regulations were modified to demand more lending to subprime borrowers, and the recession hit in Q1 of 2001.

Yes, illusions are important.

Ares Olympus said...

TW, alas, your timing is a bit off. Apparently the phrase goes back to 1992:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_the_economy,_stupid

But you're right about unintended consequences. We've created a shortcut economy that has learned how to put all the benefits in the present and all the costs in the future.

At least that fact helps me judge Trump a fake when he says he'll fix everything, if we just trust him. This Titanic won't be fixed, or at least not like he claims.

Although looking at the panic of 2000 people on a sinking unsinkable ship without enough lifeboats does describe our future predicament.

You have to accept that authoritarianism is in our future, and necessary at times when the mobs are running the streets. And, left or right, we still generally agree on women and children first, so many men must be expendable, especially the young crazy ones with guns and bright ideas about storming park buildings or police stations.

So Trump is preparing the mobs on the right at least.

Trigger Warning said...

Alas, Ares, your sense of history is a bit foreshortened. Nevertheless, if you were aware of the facts (as opposed to the illusion), the facts are:

As the Clinton administration’s top housing official in the mid-1990s, Mr. Cisneros loosened mortgage restrictions so first-time buyers could qualify for loans they could never get before.
--- NYT

Ares Olympus said...

TW, it looks like you think I'm defending Clinton or something?

I see your quote is from here, OCT. 18, 2008 article.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/19/business/19cisneros.html

And I agree every step we've done to lower borrowing standards, the more vulnerable we are to any small economic corrections turning into a full recession.

Now we can no longer afford any economic downturn without leading to a chain reaction of bankruptsies and loan defaults. Its insane, and anyone with a retirement fund of any sort is helping to prop up bubble prices.

I've long argued the only safe investment is to pay down your own debt first. I think it should be a law that makes it illegal to invest in any pension or 401k as long as you're deducting mortgage interest from your taxes. Everything we do says someone else is a better investment than one's self.

And now we live in a world where people with means can buy homes outright by cash, and people without means can't qualify for the low interest rates still available.

So the debt market seems almost completely saturated, and just in time for the next economic recession where people will cash out their bottomed 401k to keep paying on underwater mortgages.

I wonder how Trump's wealth will do in the next downturn? And probably he's safe as long as he can afford to not sell anything during the bottom, and he says he's underleveraged, so he might do better than most billionaires.

Sam L. said...

"Way back Bill Clinton said "It's the economy, Stupid", and there was a truth there, but if economic growth is over, if globalization is reaching its limits, if expanding debt is long longer attractive substitute for real growth, and a growing middle class, Bill's "New Democrat" or neoliberal game is OVER, and the rich will soon be demonized by the right and the left, as the divided house falls into chaos." We have passed the EIGHTH Annual Tour of The Summer Of Recovery. I keep seeing stories mentioning some kind of recovery, but I've not seen any physical signs thereof. Obama didn't do Recovery, and Hillary says she'll do what Obama did, or something like it. There IS no joy in Mudville. Might be with Trump. Could be.

Bizzy Brain said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stuart Schneiderman said...

TW makes an important point above... Bill Clinton is considered to be a good president, an effective steward of the economy, someone who protected us against terrorism. Yet, we do better to see his as an "apres nous, le deluge" presidency... and hold him responsible for the immediate economic aftermath of his presidency. And why not think through the way in which his administration, by putting up a wall between the FBI and the CIA prevented us from tracking the planning for the 9/11 attack.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Maybe today's mantra for Trump is "It's the corruption, stupid."

Dennis said...

Not even considering the fact that Clinton responding by sending a Cruise missile to blow up a tent proved to Bin Laden we were a "weak horse." Clinton's fecklessness, as well as Obama's, set in action most of the existential threats we face.
If you ever get the chance read Bill Clinton's speeches vice listening to them. I am not to sure how we got to the point where words became more important that action. Maybe it is because the "media' is all about words and the fact that many of them go between government and the media? They essentially become democrats with a byline.
The NYTimes and Tampa Bay Times, to list a couple, would be far more accurate if they changed their name to the NY and TB Democrat.

Sam L. said...

" Maybe it is because the "media' is all about words and the fact that many of them go between government and the media? They essentially become democrats with a byline.
The NYTimes and Tampa Bay Times, to list a couple, would be far more accurate if they changed their name to the NY and TB Democrat."

Dennis, they did it willingly, though it may be partly due to college indoctrination. It's not just the print media, but the mass of TV/cable/satellite news, too.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Dennis @October 15, 2016 at 7:01 AM:

"I am not to sure how we got to the point where words became more important that action."

It's because the smart set believe that all life, all politics, is "narrative." It's the new propaganda, that life is whatever one says it is. You can't build a society or nation off of a narrative no one believes.

And to Sam's point, they learn it in college, at the Leftist seminaries they've become.

Watch what happens to FoxNews and the Wall Street Journal in the next 4-8 years. They're already in transition.

"It's the narrative, stupid."

Ares Olympus said...

Today I listened to rather monumental speech by Trump in Florida.

It's hard to go wrong with a crowd when you can start by lines like these:
---
There is nothing the political establishment will not do. No lie they won't tell, to hold their prestige and power at your expense, and that's what's been happening. The Washington establishment and the financial and media corporations that fund it, exist for only one reason, to protect and enrich itself. The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election. As an example, just one single trade deal they'd like to pass involves trillions of dollars controlled by many countries, corporations, and lobbyists.
---
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBdftTAPvVc Full: Donald Trump Speech 10/13/16: West Palm Beach, Florida

And its such a heroic story, the entire establishment, united against one man, and it can only be that man is dangerous to them, and capable of making things right for all his followers, and punish all those who have kept his followers down through greed, corruption and incompetence.

From a narrative like that, any attacks against Trump are attacks against his followers, and any attacks against his followers, like calling some of them deplorable, is an attack against Trump.

So the funny thing about calling us "A nation divided against itself", is that we may presume Status quo is the uniter, and desparate to be as expansive as possible, but has failed, and a now a desparate minority is willing to separate itself from the whole, and demand their leader alone can fix everything, if only everyone else would get out of the way.

And we know if Trump is elected, Trump will make sure his political enemies go to prison, as he promised in the second debate.

It really seems like Trump is some sort of Jekyll and Hyde character. He has one side that wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his days kissing beautiful women and have them love him for it. Then he has another side that needs those who have wronged him to pay for their transgressions.

And since those two fantasies of "being loved" and "revenge" exist in all of us, he can inspire his followers to match their vision with his - our innoncence and persecution, and their corruption and greed. At an emotional bipolar argument it seems completely credible.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I must say that one person who is a casualty of this Trump stuff, in terms of my esteem for him, is Jonah Goldberg. Not sure what planet he is on, as he seems to have gone quite wayward on this. He took to Twitter going after Bill McGurn's column in today's WSJ, and Goldberg's reasoning is like a broken record.

Yes, we're divided, based on our visions of America. But we are also divided in the painfully principled people who can't seem to understand what politics is about. I thought Goldberg was sharper than this. He may be a brilliant polemicist, but when unable to politically maneuver with the matter at hand, he could go the way of Tom Paine: principled, and alone.

I never expected much from Bill Kristol, who I've always thought a snotty prig with little interesting to add to the exchanges I've seen him in. I thought Goldberg was different, and very funny at the same time. I'm not sure who's ass he's trying to kiss, but the brown nose is not becoming.

And I miss Michael Kelly, the great American journalist killed as an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003, aged 46. Goldberg, at 47, has much to learn. I really enjoyed Bret Stephens' memorializing piece on Kelly back in 2013:
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324020504578396392391388604

Journalists like Michael Kelly are desperately needed today. Oh how I wish he were here skewer the morally magnificent among us, the phonies who vacation at Aspen, drive a Mercedes SUV, shop at Trader Joes, while voting for the expansion of food stamps, supporting sophisticated nihilism like abortion-on-demand, and saying teachers are (universally) the most pure-hearted in the world, especially all unionized public school teachers. In so doing, they proclaim their own self-congratulation without having a whit of understanding of morality or ethics, lest they be forced to examine their own avarice and intellectual bankruptcy. Alas. Godspeed, Michael Kelly.