Day: December 11, 2017

Time Flies When You're Torching Synagogues


Is it Stand-Next-To-A-Jew-At-Your-Own-Risk Day again already? Gosh, where does the time go? 

Here’s a brief synopsis of recent events:

  • The United States Government officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel;
  • Muslim mobs in Sweden begin (aka resume) firebombing synagogues in Swedish cities.

If this sequence of events seems more like a non sequitur than a genuine “sequence” — which ought to imply recognizable causal relations — then congratulations, you are still rational in the traditional sense.

If this sequence of events seems totally causal and self-explanatory to you, then you have mastered the kind of asymmetrical logic that progressives use to rationalize absolutely any attack on Jews, Americans, conservatives, Christians, or pretty much anyone who is regarded as an obstacle to the ultimate progressive goal of crushing every last remnant of so-called Western civilization, including, ultimately, the traditional form of rationality cited above.

Apart from the obvious similarity of anti-Western intent, this asymmetrical logic is, we must conclude, the specific point of symbiosis between those superficially strange bedfellows, progressivism (aka neo-Marxism) and Islamism.

To punctuate the symbiosis, allow me to cite two particularly pertinent observations from Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born activist against Islam’s repression of women who is almost uniformly ignored or reviled by hardcore feminists, who, being neo-Marxists, would happily sacrifice five hundred million women to the cause of defeating the West.

Wishful thinking about the peaceful tolerance of Islam cannot interpret away this reality: hands are still cut off, women still stoned and enslaved, just as the Prophet Muhammad decided centuries ago.


I found myself thinking that the Quran is not a holy document. It is a historical record, written by humans. It is one version of events, as perceived by the men who wrote it 150 years after the Prophet Muhammad died. And it is a very tribal and Arab version of events. It spreads a culture that is brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women, and harsh in war.

I submit that if you turned these incisive criticisms over and examined them from the reverse angle, you would see that they apply equally well to progressivism itself. A “culture” or intellectual position that is responsible for tens of millions of violent deaths and hundreds of millions of oppressed souls cannot be vindicated or justified with the claim that it is an “anti-war” philosophy which promotes equality and justice. 

Progressives welcome and deliver apologias for Islamists not merely because they see Islam as a useful tool in the fight against Western liberty — though they certainly see that too — but because deep down they share a lot of underlying principles: intolerance of, and a desire to wipe out, dissenters and the noncompliant; brutality toward the individual human being, his family, and his property; bigotry against all religious or other moral views which emphasize the value of individual life, the personal soul, and the quest for earthly freedom; the desire to control humans, repress their natural inclinations, and distort them into slavish shapes useful to the chosen elite; and the harshness of revolutionary radicals in imposing their anti-human will upon the general population, popular agreement or consent be damned.

This fundamental symbiosis, all superficial disagreements and unruliness aside, explains how the formerly free world arrived at its present suicidal condition with regard to Islam. The progressive West has let this beast out of its cage, and is now reaping the rewards. The reaping will continue, more or less unabated, for the foreseeable future. Jerusalem is not the real issue, and never was. It is merely handy rationalization number three hundred and twenty-seven.

The real issues are hatred, irrationalism, and intolerance. These are traits that Islam (but no, of course not every individual Muslim) shares in common with progressivism. These are two religions that aggrandize the collective, denigrate the individual, demand complete submission to illiberal rules and postulates, and impose self-immolation and the rejection of one’s own dignity as basic principles of “social justice.”

One more helpful quote from Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel:

If you are a Muslim girl, you disappear, until there is almost no you inside you. In Islam, becoming an individual is not a necessary development; many people, especially women, never develop a clear individual will. You submit: that is the literal meaning of the word islam: submission. The goal is to become quiet inside, so that you never raise your eyes, not even inside your mind.

“You disappear, until there is almost no you inside you.” Is it any wonder progressivism welcomes this ally in its civilizational assault against freedom?

So if you are not Jewish, but you care about the future of what used to be the free world, be sure to celebrate Stand-Next-To-A-Jew-At-Your-Own-Risk Day today — celebrate like your life depended on it. It does.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.

Is it Stand-Next-To-A-Jew-At-Your-Own-Risk Day again already? Gosh, where does the time go? 

Here’s a brief synopsis of recent events:

  • The United States Government officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel;
  • Muslim mobs in Sweden begin (aka resume) firebombing synagogues in Swedish cities.

If this sequence of events seems more like a non sequitur than a genuine “sequence” — which ought to imply recognizable causal relations — then congratulations, you are still rational in the traditional sense.

If this sequence of events seems totally causal and self-explanatory to you, then you have mastered the kind of asymmetrical logic that progressives use to rationalize absolutely any attack on Jews, Americans, conservatives, Christians, or pretty much anyone who is regarded as an obstacle to the ultimate progressive goal of crushing every last remnant of so-called Western civilization, including, ultimately, the traditional form of rationality cited above.

Apart from the obvious similarity of anti-Western intent, this asymmetrical logic is, we must conclude, the specific point of symbiosis between those superficially strange bedfellows, progressivism (aka neo-Marxism) and Islamism.

To punctuate the symbiosis, allow me to cite two particularly pertinent observations from Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born activist against Islam’s repression of women who is almost uniformly ignored or reviled by hardcore feminists, who, being neo-Marxists, would happily sacrifice five hundred million women to the cause of defeating the West.

Wishful thinking about the peaceful tolerance of Islam cannot interpret away this reality: hands are still cut off, women still stoned and enslaved, just as the Prophet Muhammad decided centuries ago.


I found myself thinking that the Quran is not a holy document. It is a historical record, written by humans. It is one version of events, as perceived by the men who wrote it 150 years after the Prophet Muhammad died. And it is a very tribal and Arab version of events. It spreads a culture that is brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women, and harsh in war.

I submit that if you turned these incisive criticisms over and examined them from the reverse angle, you would see that they apply equally well to progressivism itself. A “culture” or intellectual position that is responsible for tens of millions of violent deaths and hundreds of millions of oppressed souls cannot be vindicated or justified with the claim that it is an “anti-war” philosophy which promotes equality and justice. 

Progressives welcome and deliver apologias for Islamists not merely because they see Islam as a useful tool in the fight against Western liberty — though they certainly see that too — but because deep down they share a lot of underlying principles: intolerance of, and a desire to wipe out, dissenters and the noncompliant; brutality toward the individual human being, his family, and his property; bigotry against all religious or other moral views which emphasize the value of individual life, the personal soul, and the quest for earthly freedom; the desire to control humans, repress their natural inclinations, and distort them into slavish shapes useful to the chosen elite; and the harshness of revolutionary radicals in imposing their anti-human will upon the general population, popular agreement or consent be damned.

This fundamental symbiosis, all superficial disagreements and unruliness aside, explains how the formerly free world arrived at its present suicidal condition with regard to Islam. The progressive West has let this beast out of its cage, and is now reaping the rewards. The reaping will continue, more or less unabated, for the foreseeable future. Jerusalem is not the real issue, and never was. It is merely handy rationalization number three hundred and twenty-seven.

The real issues are hatred, irrationalism, and intolerance. These are traits that Islam (but no, of course not every individual Muslim) shares in common with progressivism. These are two religions that aggrandize the collective, denigrate the individual, demand complete submission to illiberal rules and postulates, and impose self-immolation and the rejection of one’s own dignity as basic principles of “social justice.”

One more helpful quote from Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel:

If you are a Muslim girl, you disappear, until there is almost no you inside you. In Islam, becoming an individual is not a necessary development; many people, especially women, never develop a clear individual will. You submit: that is the literal meaning of the word islam: submission. The goal is to become quiet inside, so that you never raise your eyes, not even inside your mind.

“You disappear, until there is almost no you inside you.” Is it any wonder progressivism welcomes this ally in its civilizational assault against freedom?

So if you are not Jewish, but you care about the future of what used to be the free world, be sure to celebrate Stand-Next-To-A-Jew-At-Your-Own-Risk Day today — celebrate like your life depended on it. It does.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.



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The Good News and the Bad News


There are lots of important stories in the news every day, but the truly fascinating thing is way that they’re covered and the positive/negative spin that’s assigned to the major political groups.

Economic news is certainly a significant political football. The party out of power generally hates it when things are going well in the economy. If the economy is good, there is a far greater likelihood that people have a job and are providing for their family or themselves. Pocketbook issues are by far the most important to the average voter; everything besides a job is merely a theoretical intellectual indulgence. If you’re paying your rent, buying clothes and food, making car payments, sending the kids to college and perhaps even saving a little for retirement, then all is right with the world. Only when those boxes are checked do people enjoy the luxury of worrying about things like global warming, gay/trans rights, Supreme Court rulings and whether or not we use military force to settle a conflict in some overseas backwater.

Economic activity — whether it’s consumer spending by individuals or investment/capital outlays by major corporations — depends in large part on their perceptions and expectations of current and future economic conditions. If entities have reason to believe that economic conditions are solid and stable (and likely to stay good for the foreseeable future), then they spend and invest with confidence. Retail activity is high. Investment in equipment and systems increases. Home and car buying is strong. Factories are busy. Employment is high. It’s a matter of perception and expectations.

Given the political importance of the economy, it’s little wonder that political combatants have such a strong vested interest in portraying the economy — good or bad — to their electoral benefit. All the participants play their role: the politicians themselves will criticize or praise cherry-picked aspects of the economy to their liking. Their media allies will support or oppose those positions as expected. Christmas sales, in particular, always seem to be caught in the partisan firestorm of media reporting. Strong or weak holiday sales are either trumpeted or ignored by the media depending on the party affiliation of the president.

This brings us to a major aspect of today’s economy and how the media and competing politicians react to it: the stock market.

Competing political interests — which includes the media — will either extol or berate the markets’ performance, depending on how it serves their political purposes. When the markets weaken, the out-of-power party is very quick to point out the loss of wealth in the average person’s retirement account or the potential default on a lifelong city worker’s pension and claim that the party holding office doesn’t care about the “little guy.” When the markets are strong, to the political benefit of the party in power, the opposition tends to either dismiss it as a fluke or, more often, they don’t talk about it at all.

Such is certainly the case now. It’s quite normal and expected that Democratic politicians don’t talk about the stock markets’ excellent performance, since that would redound to the Republicans’ benefit. But the mainstream liberal media are irresponsibly silent on the matter, since the economy — which includes the markets — is a topic that occupies the most important spot in the minds of the average voter. “Irresponsibly” silent, but not “unintentionally” silent. The liberal media’s silence on the stock market is very intentional.  

In January 2012 the DJIA was 12,720 and the S&P500 (a broader index of the entire market) was 1315. When Donald Trump took office in January 2017, those figures were 19,827 and 2271 respectively. Today (Dec 4, 2017), they are 24,290 and 2639, an average increase of 92% since January 2012. Granted, no president is totally responsible for the performance of the market or the economy as a whole, but the market does take its cues from the president’s policies and approach. The business community — including the market — loves certainty and low costs of doing business. When an administration throws unpredictable, inexplicable, politically-motivated regulations and higher taxes in the path of companies, those companies hunker down and play things close to the vest, frightened and unsure of what’s coming next. Hiring and capital investment slows to the bare minimum. This administration, in contrast, has earned the confidence of the business community by rolling back punitive regulations and lowering taxes in a common-sense fashion and it shows in the markets’ performance and the GDP’s growth (finally, consistently above 3%, something that eluded the anti-business Obama administration).

The current market is definitely gratifying and reassuring to 46-year-old Joe Average who has a retirement 401k with his employer of 17 years. It’s also a brow-wiping “Whew!” to institutional investors whose job it is to keep millions of dollars’ worth of State and Municipal pension funds stable and solvent. This market performance is flat-out good news to anyone who has any financial involvement at all in the markets — which is virtually everyone who has investments or a retirement plan of any kind.

Yet the major liberal media virtually ignore this aspect of the economy (along with the closely-related aspects of strong job creation and low unemployment), simply and transparently because it benefits the Republicans. When the market pendulum swings the other way — and it will, without question — all of a sudden, the markets’ negative performance under a supposed business expert Republican president will be front and center in their news reporting. Right now, the economy — the most important issue to virtually every voter, without a doubt — is doing well, so Democrats and their allies don’t want to touch it. Better for them to obsess over “collusion” or the First Lady’s heels or trying to blame every shooting in America on Republicans.

It’s a nice racket the liberal media have carved out for themselves: Cover only good news for Democrats and only bad news for Republicans.

There are lots of important stories in the news every day, but the truly fascinating thing is way that they’re covered and the positive/negative spin that’s assigned to the major political groups.

Economic news is certainly a significant political football. The party out of power generally hates it when things are going well in the economy. If the economy is good, there is a far greater likelihood that people have a job and are providing for their family or themselves. Pocketbook issues are by far the most important to the average voter; everything besides a job is merely a theoretical intellectual indulgence. If you’re paying your rent, buying clothes and food, making car payments, sending the kids to college and perhaps even saving a little for retirement, then all is right with the world. Only when those boxes are checked do people enjoy the luxury of worrying about things like global warming, gay/trans rights, Supreme Court rulings and whether or not we use military force to settle a conflict in some overseas backwater.

Economic activity — whether it’s consumer spending by individuals or investment/capital outlays by major corporations — depends in large part on their perceptions and expectations of current and future economic conditions. If entities have reason to believe that economic conditions are solid and stable (and likely to stay good for the foreseeable future), then they spend and invest with confidence. Retail activity is high. Investment in equipment and systems increases. Home and car buying is strong. Factories are busy. Employment is high. It’s a matter of perception and expectations.

Given the political importance of the economy, it’s little wonder that political combatants have such a strong vested interest in portraying the economy — good or bad — to their electoral benefit. All the participants play their role: the politicians themselves will criticize or praise cherry-picked aspects of the economy to their liking. Their media allies will support or oppose those positions as expected. Christmas sales, in particular, always seem to be caught in the partisan firestorm of media reporting. Strong or weak holiday sales are either trumpeted or ignored by the media depending on the party affiliation of the president.

This brings us to a major aspect of today’s economy and how the media and competing politicians react to it: the stock market.

Competing political interests — which includes the media — will either extol or berate the markets’ performance, depending on how it serves their political purposes. When the markets weaken, the out-of-power party is very quick to point out the loss of wealth in the average person’s retirement account or the potential default on a lifelong city worker’s pension and claim that the party holding office doesn’t care about the “little guy.” When the markets are strong, to the political benefit of the party in power, the opposition tends to either dismiss it as a fluke or, more often, they don’t talk about it at all.

Such is certainly the case now. It’s quite normal and expected that Democratic politicians don’t talk about the stock markets’ excellent performance, since that would redound to the Republicans’ benefit. But the mainstream liberal media are irresponsibly silent on the matter, since the economy — which includes the markets — is a topic that occupies the most important spot in the minds of the average voter. “Irresponsibly” silent, but not “unintentionally” silent. The liberal media’s silence on the stock market is very intentional.  

In January 2012 the DJIA was 12,720 and the S&P500 (a broader index of the entire market) was 1315. When Donald Trump took office in January 2017, those figures were 19,827 and 2271 respectively. Today (Dec 4, 2017), they are 24,290 and 2639, an average increase of 92% since January 2012. Granted, no president is totally responsible for the performance of the market or the economy as a whole, but the market does take its cues from the president’s policies and approach. The business community — including the market — loves certainty and low costs of doing business. When an administration throws unpredictable, inexplicable, politically-motivated regulations and higher taxes in the path of companies, those companies hunker down and play things close to the vest, frightened and unsure of what’s coming next. Hiring and capital investment slows to the bare minimum. This administration, in contrast, has earned the confidence of the business community by rolling back punitive regulations and lowering taxes in a common-sense fashion and it shows in the markets’ performance and the GDP’s growth (finally, consistently above 3%, something that eluded the anti-business Obama administration).

The current market is definitely gratifying and reassuring to 46-year-old Joe Average who has a retirement 401k with his employer of 17 years. It’s also a brow-wiping “Whew!” to institutional investors whose job it is to keep millions of dollars’ worth of State and Municipal pension funds stable and solvent. This market performance is flat-out good news to anyone who has any financial involvement at all in the markets — which is virtually everyone who has investments or a retirement plan of any kind.

Yet the major liberal media virtually ignore this aspect of the economy (along with the closely-related aspects of strong job creation and low unemployment), simply and transparently because it benefits the Republicans. When the market pendulum swings the other way — and it will, without question — all of a sudden, the markets’ negative performance under a supposed business expert Republican president will be front and center in their news reporting. Right now, the economy — the most important issue to virtually every voter, without a doubt — is doing well, so Democrats and their allies don’t want to touch it. Better for them to obsess over “collusion” or the First Lady’s heels or trying to blame every shooting in America on Republicans.

It’s a nice racket the liberal media have carved out for themselves: Cover only good news for Democrats and only bad news for Republicans.



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Nixon’s Ouster and the Attempt to Remove Trump


I was a young student journalist in the nation’s capital during the Watergate investigations and impeachment period. Armed with an official D.C. Metropolitan Police press pass, I was able to cover and report on political events in Washington, D.C. like any accredited mainstream journalist – including on occasion the Nixon White House, and the Watergate hearings. With the energy of youth and an insatiable interest in politics and current events, I took full advantage of the access that the pass afforded me.

President Richard Nixon, The White House, June 29, 1972 Photo © Peter Barry Chowka

One similarity of the political climate then and now is that the left and much of the mainstream media began to oppose Richard M. Nixon as soon as he declared his candidacy on February 1, 1968. Same thing when Trump announced his intention to run in June 2015. Opposition to Trump was more vehement and increased exponentially as time went on. I don’t recall any leading celebrities, for example, suggesting during Nixon’s presidency that he should be assassinated or have his head cut off.

Nixon, however, was criticized and caricatured by leading MSM commentators and political cartoonists alike, as he had been since he burst onto the national scene in the early 1950s. “Tricky Dick,” a label slapped on Nixon by his Democrat opponent in the 1950 race for the U.S. Senate in California, was the most commonly used sobriquet. Cartoonists emphasized Nixon’s prominent nose and dark eyebrows to give him a sinister and devious look.

Detail of anti-Nixon cartoon circa 1970

The left, which was well organized, extremely influential, and highly visible in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, hated Nixon and routinely attacked him, especially in the large, frequent anti-Vietnam War demonstrations that took place around the country in the sixties and into the next decade. One of them in Washington, D.C., in October 1971, was titled “Evict Nixon.” The event’s organizers, including Chicago 7 defendant and leftist superstar agitator Rennie Davis, predicted that hundreds of thousands of demonstrators would descend on the nation’s capital and march to the White House to physically “evict Nixon.” The demonstration was a bust when only a few hundred people showed up, their numbers dwarfed by government security forces. In a flashback to that era, demonstrations of various sizes and intensities today continue to target Trump.

Evict Nixon button 1971

Evict Nixon demonstration poster 1971

Similarly, Donald J. Trump has been widely mocked and dismissed – not only by the left and the press, but by many members of his own Republican Party – after he declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. The criticism of Trump has escalated since he was elected and took office, on a scale never seen before in modern times. Although the attacks on Trump are more intense than the ones lobbed at Nixon decades ago, the similarity is that both men have been subjected to frequent and sustained attacks by their enemies. The result has been a cumulative weakening of support for President Trump, evident in his falling approval numbers according to recent public opinion polls.

Anti-Trump Political Cartoon

A major difference then vs. now involves the nature of the political climate and the demographic makeup of the country in the early 1970s compared with today. While the left made a lot of noise 4 ½ decades ago, the country as a whole back then was more homogeneous and center right and far less polarized (except among the youth). It had taken a sharp, temporary left turn in 1964 with the election of Lyndon Baines Johnson to his first full term as president, but that was due to a number of anomalous factors. President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated less than a year before the 1964 election, and by the time the 1964 presidential campaign got underway only months after JFK’s death, the nation was still in shock. Johnson reassured the nervous and unnerved electorate, promising stability and continuity.

The defining line from Johnson’s first address to the Congress and the nation on November 27, 1963, only five days after JFK’s assassination, led to it becoming known as the “Let Us Continue” address. Partisan presidential politics in this milieu came across as unseemly. Meanwhile, the 1964 Democratic National Convention that nominated LBJ resembled a four-day memorial service for the slain president, complete with a spontaneous 22-minute-long emotional ovation for Robert F. Kennedy when he took to the podium on the convention’s closnig night.

From the outset of his accidental presidency, Johnson pretended to be a moderate Democrat when in reality he had transformed himself from a back-slapping, good ol’ boy icon of the conservative South to a big government ultra-liberal statist. In his push for a War on Poverty, Medicare, and civil rights legislation after he was sworn in on January 20, 1965 for his first elected term, Johnson finally started to show his true colors. He thought that by championing civil rights and poverty programs more passionately than his predecessor JFK, he would go down in history as a modern day Abraham Lincoln. Johnson would finish the job that Lincoln started but was never able to complete – raising black Americans up to a level equal to white Americans.

Johnson’s Republican opponent in 1964, Arizona Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, the leading  conservative voice in the country, was anathema to mainstream Democrats and Republicans and the powerful East Coast Establishment.  Goldwater was demeaned and lied about in 1964, including in MSM stories that were demonstrably fake. With ongoing help from the media, Johnson won the ‘64 election in a landslide. His subsequent mishandling of the Vietnam War during the next three years, however, helped to destroy his presidency.

Having lost two previous elections – for president in 1960 and California governor in 1962 – Richard Nixon in 1968 laid the groundwork for a remarkable comeback after remaking himself as the “New Nixon.” With his cadre of fresh expert advisors, Nixon skillfully used the television medium, which had not been kind to him in his campaign against JFK in 1960, to his advantage. Nixon in 1968 was actually more telegenic than his opponent, the frumpy old school Vice President, Hubert H. Humphrey, who was additionally saddled with the tarnished legacy of the Johnson Administration that he had loyally served and defended.

“New Nixon” campaign poster 1968

After Nixon assumed power in January 1969, the Silent Majority, as his administration termed it – defined as mainstream, traditional center right Americans –emerged as the dominant political force in the country, notwithstanding all the noise and periodic demonstrations and street violence from the left. Proof positive of this fact was Nixon’s landslide victory in November 1972 against his Democrat opponent, the progressive anti-war candidate Sen. George S. McGovern. Nixon ran as a moderate center right incumbent. The result was that McGovern won the popular vote in only one state, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.

Another similarity between then and now involves the role of the media in the unraveling of the Nixon presidency and the attempt to do the same for President Trump. After the bungled Watergate break-in – the attempted bugging of Democratic Party headquarters on June 17, 1972 by Republican operatives – it was a slow but inexorable drip, drip, drip of damaging information until the Nixon regime was eventually taken down. Unlike the totally hostile media climate facing Trump since day one, with every new story positioned as his coup de grâce, the media was initially slow to advance the story of the Watergate scandal. The Washington Post, whose editor, loyal Democrat Ben Bradlee was one of JFK’s best friends, initially spearheaded the coverage and made superstars of its two crusading metro section reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Eventually, the rest of the MSM caught up with the Post’s preoccupation with Watergate, and it was only a matter of time before Nixon’s support was whittled away and he was made ripe for impeachment efforts at the hands of the Democrat opposition, which controlled both houses of the Congress.

Ultimately, Nixon handed his enemies a smoking gun: the secret tapes he had recorded of his interactions in the White House and on the telephone with his aides over a period of years. Nixon was heard in his own voice on the recordings suborning perjury and obstructing justice. It remains to be seen if the ever-escalating myopic concentration of the MSM on Trump and his supposed crimes, with purported obstruction of justice now being run up the flagpole, will bear similar fruit.

After the failure of a year of the “Russia collusion” narrative to produce a viable Nixon-like smoking gun to implicate Trump, his enemies are now proffering several new narratives, currently centering around obstruction of justice involving the POTUS.

President Donald J. Trump

Where this is all going remains to be seen. Where it will wind up cannot be predicted. Anyone among the commentariat who claims that she can predict the ultimate outcome is lying or spinning a political meme. It seems that we are not even to the mid-point of the relentless and growing attempt to remove President Trump from office, one way or the other. The left’s unstinting dedication to the success of this “resistance” scenario (the left today encompasses almost every major element of American society) is similar to the one that took Nixon from a historic electoral victory and high approval ratings in November 1972 to his certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and an ignominious resignation from the presidency less than two years later.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture. Follow Peter on Twitter @pchowka.

President Trump’s enemies are escalating their comparisons of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian collusion to the resignation of President Richard Nixon after Congressional hearings that set the stage for his impeachment 4 ½ decades ago. Are these comparisons valid?

The answer is yes – and no. Notwithstanding the 45 years separating the two presidents, there are some major similarities and some obvious differences, as well.

I was a young student journalist in the nation’s capital during the Watergate investigations and impeachment period. Armed with an official D.C. Metropolitan Police press pass, I was able to cover and report on political events in Washington, D.C. like any accredited mainstream journalist – including on occasion the Nixon White House, and the Watergate hearings. With the energy of youth and an insatiable interest in politics and current events, I took full advantage of the access that the pass afforded me.

President Richard Nixon, The White House, June 29, 1972 Photo © Peter Barry Chowka

One similarity of the political climate then and now is that the left and much of the mainstream media began to oppose Richard M. Nixon as soon as he declared his candidacy on February 1, 1968. Same thing when Trump announced his intention to run in June 2015. Opposition to Trump was more vehement and increased exponentially as time went on. I don’t recall any leading celebrities, for example, suggesting during Nixon’s presidency that he should be assassinated or have his head cut off.

Nixon, however, was criticized and caricatured by leading MSM commentators and political cartoonists alike, as he had been since he burst onto the national scene in the early 1950s. “Tricky Dick,” a label slapped on Nixon by his Democrat opponent in the 1950 race for the U.S. Senate in California, was the most commonly used sobriquet. Cartoonists emphasized Nixon’s prominent nose and dark eyebrows to give him a sinister and devious look.

Detail of anti-Nixon cartoon circa 1970

The left, which was well organized, extremely influential, and highly visible in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, hated Nixon and routinely attacked him, especially in the large, frequent anti-Vietnam War demonstrations that took place around the country in the sixties and into the next decade. One of them in Washington, D.C., in October 1971, was titled “Evict Nixon.” The event’s organizers, including Chicago 7 defendant and leftist superstar agitator Rennie Davis, predicted that hundreds of thousands of demonstrators would descend on the nation’s capital and march to the White House to physically “evict Nixon.” The demonstration was a bust when only a few hundred people showed up, their numbers dwarfed by government security forces. In a flashback to that era, demonstrations of various sizes and intensities today continue to target Trump.

Evict Nixon button 1971

Evict Nixon demonstration poster 1971

Similarly, Donald J. Trump has been widely mocked and dismissed – not only by the left and the press, but by many members of his own Republican Party – after he declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. The criticism of Trump has escalated since he was elected and took office, on a scale never seen before in modern times. Although the attacks on Trump are more intense than the ones lobbed at Nixon decades ago, the similarity is that both men have been subjected to frequent and sustained attacks by their enemies. The result has been a cumulative weakening of support for President Trump, evident in his falling approval numbers according to recent public opinion polls.

Anti-Trump Political Cartoon

A major difference then vs. now involves the nature of the political climate and the demographic makeup of the country in the early 1970s compared with today. While the left made a lot of noise 4 ½ decades ago, the country as a whole back then was more homogeneous and center right and far less polarized (except among the youth). It had taken a sharp, temporary left turn in 1964 with the election of Lyndon Baines Johnson to his first full term as president, but that was due to a number of anomalous factors. President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated less than a year before the 1964 election, and by the time the 1964 presidential campaign got underway only months after JFK’s death, the nation was still in shock. Johnson reassured the nervous and unnerved electorate, promising stability and continuity.

The defining line from Johnson’s first address to the Congress and the nation on November 27, 1963, only five days after JFK’s assassination, led to it becoming known as the “Let Us Continue” address. Partisan presidential politics in this milieu came across as unseemly. Meanwhile, the 1964 Democratic National Convention that nominated LBJ resembled a four-day memorial service for the slain president, complete with a spontaneous 22-minute-long emotional ovation for Robert F. Kennedy when he took to the podium on the convention’s closnig night.

From the outset of his accidental presidency, Johnson pretended to be a moderate Democrat when in reality he had transformed himself from a back-slapping, good ol’ boy icon of the conservative South to a big government ultra-liberal statist. In his push for a War on Poverty, Medicare, and civil rights legislation after he was sworn in on January 20, 1965 for his first elected term, Johnson finally started to show his true colors. He thought that by championing civil rights and poverty programs more passionately than his predecessor JFK, he would go down in history as a modern day Abraham Lincoln. Johnson would finish the job that Lincoln started but was never able to complete – raising black Americans up to a level equal to white Americans.

Johnson’s Republican opponent in 1964, Arizona Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, the leading  conservative voice in the country, was anathema to mainstream Democrats and Republicans and the powerful East Coast Establishment.  Goldwater was demeaned and lied about in 1964, including in MSM stories that were demonstrably fake. With ongoing help from the media, Johnson won the ‘64 election in a landslide. His subsequent mishandling of the Vietnam War during the next three years, however, helped to destroy his presidency.

Having lost two previous elections – for president in 1960 and California governor in 1962 – Richard Nixon in 1968 laid the groundwork for a remarkable comeback after remaking himself as the “New Nixon.” With his cadre of fresh expert advisors, Nixon skillfully used the television medium, which had not been kind to him in his campaign against JFK in 1960, to his advantage. Nixon in 1968 was actually more telegenic than his opponent, the frumpy old school Vice President, Hubert H. Humphrey, who was additionally saddled with the tarnished legacy of the Johnson Administration that he had loyally served and defended.

“New Nixon” campaign poster 1968

After Nixon assumed power in January 1969, the Silent Majority, as his administration termed it – defined as mainstream, traditional center right Americans –emerged as the dominant political force in the country, notwithstanding all the noise and periodic demonstrations and street violence from the left. Proof positive of this fact was Nixon’s landslide victory in November 1972 against his Democrat opponent, the progressive anti-war candidate Sen. George S. McGovern. Nixon ran as a moderate center right incumbent. The result was that McGovern won the popular vote in only one state, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.

Another similarity between then and now involves the role of the media in the unraveling of the Nixon presidency and the attempt to do the same for President Trump. After the bungled Watergate break-in – the attempted bugging of Democratic Party headquarters on June 17, 1972 by Republican operatives – it was a slow but inexorable drip, drip, drip of damaging information until the Nixon regime was eventually taken down. Unlike the totally hostile media climate facing Trump since day one, with every new story positioned as his coup de grâce, the media was initially slow to advance the story of the Watergate scandal. The Washington Post, whose editor, loyal Democrat Ben Bradlee was one of JFK’s best friends, initially spearheaded the coverage and made superstars of its two crusading metro section reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Eventually, the rest of the MSM caught up with the Post’s preoccupation with Watergate, and it was only a matter of time before Nixon’s support was whittled away and he was made ripe for impeachment efforts at the hands of the Democrat opposition, which controlled both houses of the Congress.

Ultimately, Nixon handed his enemies a smoking gun: the secret tapes he had recorded of his interactions in the White House and on the telephone with his aides over a period of years. Nixon was heard in his own voice on the recordings suborning perjury and obstructing justice. It remains to be seen if the ever-escalating myopic concentration of the MSM on Trump and his supposed crimes, with purported obstruction of justice now being run up the flagpole, will bear similar fruit.

After the failure of a year of the “Russia collusion” narrative to produce a viable Nixon-like smoking gun to implicate Trump, his enemies are now proffering several new narratives, currently centering around obstruction of justice involving the POTUS.

President Donald J. Trump

Where this is all going remains to be seen. Where it will wind up cannot be predicted. Anyone among the commentariat who claims that she can predict the ultimate outcome is lying or spinning a political meme. It seems that we are not even to the mid-point of the relentless and growing attempt to remove President Trump from office, one way or the other. The left’s unstinting dedication to the success of this “resistance” scenario (the left today encompasses almost every major element of American society) is similar to the one that took Nixon from a historic electoral victory and high approval ratings in November 1972 to his certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and an ignominious resignation from the presidency less than two years later.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture. Follow Peter on Twitter @pchowka.



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The Time Has Come: Higher Ed-a-geddon


Last summer, my essay for Dissident Prof prompted a challenge from Julie Ponzi, who suggested I write a brief essay with proposals of what to change about academia.  I waited several months, and now I have my proposals.  I mentioned most of these in Wackos Thugs & Perverts: Clintonian Decadence in Academia, which I published with MassResistance in February 2017.  They are also in earlier writings such as Colorful Conservative.

My plan involves a sixfold apocalypse.  Yes, apocalypse.

The best starting point is total depravity.  Higher education as we know it is indefensible.  It presumes a false model of human development.  People between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two cannot be trusted moving to a campus away from their parents, protected from any real consequences for stupid decisions, and taught random concepts by a professoriate anesthetized by the tenure system.

In reality, these four years of human development should be spent in conditions closer to basic combat training: they need physical regimentation.  Swift punishments must impress upon them the costs of behaving foolishly.  Their sexuality needs to be heavily circumscribed.  Between eighteen and twenty-two, women need to be closely protected from rape.  Men need guidance to transform themselves from impulsive sex maniacs into responsible providers and decent fathers.

The wasteful use of young adulthood for 40% of the American adult population is catastrophic.  Overpriced tuitions force a large chunk of family savings into an inefficient economic sector (“higher education”), meaning that their money cannot go into productive industries.  Youths are not being trained for citizenship.  Instead of courting, marrying, and starting families in their prime, they accustom themselves to promiscuity, irresponsible thrills, and single lives burdened with debt.  They have late – and few – children, whom they are ill equipped to raise.

In certain contexts, it is wise to burn the edges of a dry forest rather than let a wildfire rage at a time and in a manner out of our control.  I suggest the following concrete steps, via congressional action.

Cut all federal financial favors to colleges that do not adhere to a strict, revised standard for higher education and its obligation to the public good.  By “favors,” we mean direct subsidies plus tax exemptions and deductions (such as on endowments, gifts, and waivers), as well as any backing of student loans at rates below market interest.  These remaining favors would all hinge upon their suitability to “the public good.”  Accreditation for new programs must be streamlined.  They must favor all of society rather than one institution, one individual, or one class of people.  Here would be the conditions:

1. An associate’s degree or certificate precedes a bachelor’s degree.  In other words, nobody can enroll in a liberal arts program without first doing one to two years learning a practical trade.  By “trade” we mean plumbing, bookkeeping, culinary arts, sewing, computer repair, etc.  I count church ministries in this, which would cover seminaries.

2. No non-religious post-secondary institution should have any department or program that excludes a political perspective.  There should not be feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, or sustainability studies.  Title IX went haywire because gender studies faculty acted as investigators and faculty simultaneously – an example of how an entire campus is damaged by the existence of these departments.  Such material should be taught within generally accepted disciplines like English, biology, political science, etc.

3. Congress needs to earmark funds for a unit under the Department of Justice devoted to an academic version of RICO (the Racketeering, Influencing & Corrupt Organizations Act).  An institution claiming to be for the public good should not strive to influence an election – especially with the potential to profit financially from the favors of the elected officials.  For instance, the dean who took many adverse actions against me was part of the Clinton Global Initiative.  This is a serious conflict of interest and should be investigated.

4. Congress needs to earmark funds for a unit under the Department of Labor to review schools that receive federal favors.  The peer review, publishing, retention, and promotion system within higher education is arguably the worst of any industry.  Schools that receive federal favors should not violate basic transparency and fairness standards.

5. No schools that receive federal funding should have tenure.  Tenure does not protect academic freedom.  Tenured faculty know they will be parked in the same institution for decades and are by far the people least willing to jeopardize collegial relationships in order to take a stand.  The tenure system can exist only on the backs of adjunct labor, whose conditions are atrocious.  Tenured faculty waste resources teaching few students and spending too much time on “research.”  Their “service” refers to busywork on committees nobody needs.  Nobody should be a professor if he cannot carry out research and teach a normal load of four classes per semester.  So colleges choose: eliminate tenure or lose funds.

6. Colleges that charge expensive tuitions should be deprived of federal favors.  They should be taxed at the rates we apply to any rich corporation.  Many schools simultaneously charge high tuitions, have huge endowments, and then get large grants, all the while maintaining a tiny rank of tenured faculty and loading up their classrooms with adjuncts.  This has to stop.  It hurts learning and scholarship. There must be a massive trimming of school budgets.  Personally, I contend that there should be no dormitories, student associations, duplicative student services, investigative offices, compliance officers, cultural programs, or anything that adds to tuition or fees.  Colleges should be buildings where people come to take classes and study, then go back to their communities where they continue their emotional development with the help of their families, churches, jobs, and neighborhood friends.

Could these six ideas ever come to pass?  Yes!  They will come to pass, but in one of two ways.  Either we carry out the bloodletting under careful, clean conditions or else, when academia crashes, wow, will it crash.

Last summer, my essay for Dissident Prof prompted a challenge from Julie Ponzi, who suggested I write a brief essay with proposals of what to change about academia.  I waited several months, and now I have my proposals.  I mentioned most of these in Wackos Thugs & Perverts: Clintonian Decadence in Academia, which I published with MassResistance in February 2017.  They are also in earlier writings such as Colorful Conservative.

My plan involves a sixfold apocalypse.  Yes, apocalypse.

The best starting point is total depravity.  Higher education as we know it is indefensible.  It presumes a false model of human development.  People between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two cannot be trusted moving to a campus away from their parents, protected from any real consequences for stupid decisions, and taught random concepts by a professoriate anesthetized by the tenure system.

In reality, these four years of human development should be spent in conditions closer to basic combat training: they need physical regimentation.  Swift punishments must impress upon them the costs of behaving foolishly.  Their sexuality needs to be heavily circumscribed.  Between eighteen and twenty-two, women need to be closely protected from rape.  Men need guidance to transform themselves from impulsive sex maniacs into responsible providers and decent fathers.

The wasteful use of young adulthood for 40% of the American adult population is catastrophic.  Overpriced tuitions force a large chunk of family savings into an inefficient economic sector (“higher education”), meaning that their money cannot go into productive industries.  Youths are not being trained for citizenship.  Instead of courting, marrying, and starting families in their prime, they accustom themselves to promiscuity, irresponsible thrills, and single lives burdened with debt.  They have late – and few – children, whom they are ill equipped to raise.

In certain contexts, it is wise to burn the edges of a dry forest rather than let a wildfire rage at a time and in a manner out of our control.  I suggest the following concrete steps, via congressional action.

Cut all federal financial favors to colleges that do not adhere to a strict, revised standard for higher education and its obligation to the public good.  By “favors,” we mean direct subsidies plus tax exemptions and deductions (such as on endowments, gifts, and waivers), as well as any backing of student loans at rates below market interest.  These remaining favors would all hinge upon their suitability to “the public good.”  Accreditation for new programs must be streamlined.  They must favor all of society rather than one institution, one individual, or one class of people.  Here would be the conditions:

1. An associate’s degree or certificate precedes a bachelor’s degree.  In other words, nobody can enroll in a liberal arts program without first doing one to two years learning a practical trade.  By “trade” we mean plumbing, bookkeeping, culinary arts, sewing, computer repair, etc.  I count church ministries in this, which would cover seminaries.

2. No non-religious post-secondary institution should have any department or program that excludes a political perspective.  There should not be feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, or sustainability studies.  Title IX went haywire because gender studies faculty acted as investigators and faculty simultaneously – an example of how an entire campus is damaged by the existence of these departments.  Such material should be taught within generally accepted disciplines like English, biology, political science, etc.

3. Congress needs to earmark funds for a unit under the Department of Justice devoted to an academic version of RICO (the Racketeering, Influencing & Corrupt Organizations Act).  An institution claiming to be for the public good should not strive to influence an election – especially with the potential to profit financially from the favors of the elected officials.  For instance, the dean who took many adverse actions against me was part of the Clinton Global Initiative.  This is a serious conflict of interest and should be investigated.

4. Congress needs to earmark funds for a unit under the Department of Labor to review schools that receive federal favors.  The peer review, publishing, retention, and promotion system within higher education is arguably the worst of any industry.  Schools that receive federal favors should not violate basic transparency and fairness standards.

5. No schools that receive federal funding should have tenure.  Tenure does not protect academic freedom.  Tenured faculty know they will be parked in the same institution for decades and are by far the people least willing to jeopardize collegial relationships in order to take a stand.  The tenure system can exist only on the backs of adjunct labor, whose conditions are atrocious.  Tenured faculty waste resources teaching few students and spending too much time on “research.”  Their “service” refers to busywork on committees nobody needs.  Nobody should be a professor if he cannot carry out research and teach a normal load of four classes per semester.  So colleges choose: eliminate tenure or lose funds.

6. Colleges that charge expensive tuitions should be deprived of federal favors.  They should be taxed at the rates we apply to any rich corporation.  Many schools simultaneously charge high tuitions, have huge endowments, and then get large grants, all the while maintaining a tiny rank of tenured faculty and loading up their classrooms with adjuncts.  This has to stop.  It hurts learning and scholarship. There must be a massive trimming of school budgets.  Personally, I contend that there should be no dormitories, student associations, duplicative student services, investigative offices, compliance officers, cultural programs, or anything that adds to tuition or fees.  Colleges should be buildings where people come to take classes and study, then go back to their communities where they continue their emotional development with the help of their families, churches, jobs, and neighborhood friends.

Could these six ideas ever come to pass?  Yes!  They will come to pass, but in one of two ways.  Either we carry out the bloodletting under careful, clean conditions or else, when academia crashes, wow, will it crash.



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