Day: September 4, 2018

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States Forget to Save…


The situation is worse in states like Kentucky, where the rainy-day fund and leftover cash covers only about a third of a day of general fund expenditures, according to an analysis of fiscal 2018 estimates. The data are based on estimates from states before the close of the fiscal year and could change, Barb Rosewicz, project director at Pew, said in an email.



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AT – Testing Auto Publish – Ignore and Delete


Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing….. 

Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing….. 

Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing….. 

Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing….. 

Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing….. 

Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing….. 

Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing….. 

Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing…..  Testing….. 



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Ready Investigative Onslaught…



Ready Investigative Onslaught...

(Second column, 11th story, link)


Related stories:
POLL: Dems +14 in midterms…

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Mueller, Comey, and the Deep State Rescue of Sandy Berger


As will become clear, this double injustice not only foreshadowed future injustices, but it also served as a practice run of sorts for the players involved. Several of these players would come center stage once again in the long-running political drama that debuted in 2016.

The Democratic operative on that barely warm seat in 2005 was former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, since deceased. The attorney general at the time, the feckless Alberto Gonzales, had been on the job less than two months when the Berger deal went down.

Gonzales’s deputy attorney general, James Comey, however, had been on the job for more than a year. It was under Comey’s supervision that the DoJ reviewed the case against Berger. It was a doozy.

In the nerviest of his criminal acts, Berger stole highly classified documents and stashed them under a trailer at a construction site during a break. He retrieved the documents at the end of the day and admittedly used scissors to cut them into little pieces before throwing them away. He then lied to investigators about what he had done.

As punishment, Comey and crew recommended a $10,000 fine for Berger and a three-year loss of top-level security clearance. That, incredibly, was it. Oh, yes, as part of the package, the FBI and/or DoJ was to give Berger a lie detector test. Neither agency bothered.

Celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart had to be fuming. Two years earlier, Comey, then U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, prosecuted Stewart for lying to investigators on a minor stock transaction and saw to it that Stewart served five months in prison. Months later, it would be Bush/Cheney advisor Scooter Libby’s turn.

The FBI Director in 2005 was Robert Mueller. His role in the Berger case might have paralleled Comey’s role in the Hillary Clinton email affair, but it did not. Comey served as the public face in both the Berger and the Clinton cases, the former as Deputy AG, the latter as head of the FBI. Comey likes the limelight.

During his eight years in the Clinton White House, Berger had done worse than steal documents. Like Pulp Fiction’s Winston Wolf, his job was to “solve problems.” In April 2002, the former president had a problem to solve. Someone had to review intelligence documents in advance of the various hearings on 9/11. As made clear in a 2007 report by the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform — a primer on deep state treachery — Berger did not welcome the assignment. 

According to the archivists, Berger “indicated some disgust with the burden and responsibility of conducting the document review.” I have a suspicion of what those documents were. Suffice it for now to say they had to contain information damaging to both Clinton and Berger sufficient for Berger to risk his livelihood, his reputation, and his very freedom.

The House report states that Berger made four trips to the National Archives.  The first of his visits was in May 2002, the last in October 2003. He clearly left his mark. “The full extent of Berger’s document removal,” said the House report, “is not known and never can be known.”

The archivists expressed shock that neither the FBI nor the DoJ even questioned Berger about his first two visits when several original documents were there for the taking.

Were it not for Paul Brachfeld, the inspector general of the National Archives, the Berger case might never have surfaced. In January 2004, a month after Comey became deputy AG, Brachfeld met with DoJ attorney Howard Sklamberg. Concerned that Berger had obstructed the 9/11 Commission’s work, Brachfeld wanted assurance that the commission knew of Berger’s crimes.

He did not get it. On March 22, 2004, two days before Berger’s public testimony, senior attorneys John Dion and Bruce Swartz informed Brachfeld the DoJ was not going to notify the commission of the Berger investigation before his appearance.

On Wednesday, March 24, 2004, Berger testified publicly before the commission. The commission members, at least the Republicans, did not know he had been apprehended stealing and destroying the very documents the commission was expected to review. This much was evident in Chairman Thomas Kean’s initial exchange with Berger.

“We are pleased to welcome before the commission a witness who can offer us considerable insight into questions of national policy coordination, Mr. Samuel Berger, who served as President Clinton’s national security advisor,” said the clueless Kean.

While the commission hearings moved on, Brachfeld kept prodding Justice. On April 6, 2004, two weeks after Berger’s appearance before the 9/11 Commission, he called DoJ’s Inspector General Glenn Fine and again expressed his concern that the commissioners remained unaware of Berger’s theft. Fine organized a meeting for April 9.

Brachfeld reported to those gathered, “Berger knowingly removed documents and therefore, may have purposely impeded the 9/11 investigation.” Some of those documents, Brachfeld added, might have been “original.” If those originals had been destroyed, they would have been lost to history. There were no other copies.

Brachfeld made no headway. The commissioners learned nothing about Berger until July 19, 2004, three days before the 9/11 Commission released its final report, too late for any significant amendment.

The commissioners might have forever remained in the dark had there not been a leak from somewhere in the Bush administration. At the time the leak became news in July 2004 — and then just barely — Berger was serving as a campaign adviser to Senator John Kerry.

To counter the news, Berger’s attorney Lanny Breuer introduced a media-friendly narrative in which Bush was the real villain for using the revelation as a campaign ploy. It worked. The New York Times would write off the theft and surrounding noise as “a brief stir” in the campaign season. “His motives in taking the documents remain something of a mystery,” reported the Times. How different history would have been had the Washington Post contented itself with writing, “The motives of the Watergate burglars remain something of a mystery.”

After nearly a year of quiet negotiation, Bush Department of Justice officials announced their stunning plea deal with Berger. They did so strategically. To starve the deal of media attention, the DoJ made the announcement on Friday, April 1, 2005, the day after Terri Schiavo’s highly publicized death.

In September 2005, a federal judge upped the ante on Berger’s theft but not by enough to hurt: a $50,000 fine — chump change for the wealthy attorney — two years of probation, and one hundred hours of community service.

As I watched these events unfold, I presumed the Bush DoJ went soft on Berger to honor some unwritten pact among presidents to protect their predecessors’ national security secrets. That may be part of the calculus, but as has become evident, Republican presidents have little control over their Justice Departments. The Bush White House had even less control than does the Trump White House. The Trump White House at least has Trump.

Republicans presidents struggle against a collective of entrenched careerists, soulless opportunists, and left-wing ideologues — the so-called “deep state.” The ideologues are in it for the power, the careerists for the pensions, and the opportunists for the applause. Working together with their media partners, they follow the path of least resistance, which is almost inevitably to the left. When a Democrat is president, they have his back.

The DoJ attorneys calling the shots in the Berger case — Dion, Swartz, Sklamberg, and Fine — were all holdovers from the Clinton administration. As far as I could tell, Fine, Swartz, and Sklamberg had only contributed to Democratic candidates in federal races and Dion had no record of federal contributions.

As the House report noted, “The Justice Department was unacceptably incurious about Berger’s Archives visits.” Overseeing this incuriosity, and serving as the investigation’s public face, was Deputy AG Comey. If Comey told his good friend Mueller about Berger’s crimes, he did so on the QT. According to the House Report, the DOJ did not notify the FBI, at least not officially, until after Berger pled guilty. Mueller never said boo.

In July 2004, when the Berger story broke, Comey told the media, “As a general matter, we take issues of classified information very seriously. It’s our lifeblood, those secrets.” As Comey proved again in the summer of 2016, if a prominent Democrat is implicated, he and his colleagues do not take these issues seriously at all. If, however, the security issue involves someone who is unconnected or disruptive, prosecutors will turn over every stone just for the spectacle of turning them over.

Scooter Libby learned this the hard way. His undoing started with a news leak about a telegenic, if insignificant, CIA agent named Valerie Plame. The leak had nothing to do with Libby or his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney. No matter. Comey pressured his boss John Ashcroft to recuse himself from an investigation into the leak. Sound familiar? He then named a special counsel who just happened to be the godfather of one of Comey’s children. That sounds familiar too.

The Patrick Fitzgerald appointment took place at roughly the same time the archivists were alerting the DoJ to Berger’s repeated theft of critical documents. The media much preferred the Plame story to the Berger story, and so the opportunists played to the media.

Even before Fitzgerald really got started on the investigation, however, he, Mueller, and Comey learned who the leaker was. The news was not welcome. He was one of their own, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a veteran swamp dweller and an open critic of President Bush.

Still, Fitzgerald had his commission and the uncritical attention of the media. With their full-throated support, he did an unrestrained dumpster dive into the Bush White House not unlike Mueller’s into the Trump White House. All Fitzgerald managed to climb out with was Libby. The media were hoping for hated Bush advisor Karl Rove and maybe even Cheney. They had to make do.

Six months after Berger got his wrist slapped, Fitzgerald indicted Libby for a series of Martha Stewart-style process crimes. Unlike Berger who got no jail time, Libby was hit with thirty months. Under pressure from the right, President Bush commuted his sentence, but Libby had to wait until 2018 to be pardoned, courtesy of President Trump.

As to Armitage, he was never prosecuted for anything. The DOJ accepted his claim the leak was unintentional much the way it would accept Hillary’s “lack of intent” claim years later. The deep state takes care of its own.

In many ways, 2005 was a dress rehearsal for 2016. Mueller and Comey had learned how to play their parts. The media had learned how to play theirs. Indeed, the show would have been another huge hit if only Trump had stuck to the “good Republican” script the way Bush had.

In April 2005, a Republican-led Department of Justice did something quite unusual. After catching a Democratic operative stealing and destroying highly relevant classified documents, the DoJ punished him as though he had stolen the Snickers bars from the office vending machine.

On October 28, 2005, another curious event took place in those same halls of justice: an allegedly Republican special prosecutor indicted a White House advisor of his own party for a series of process crimes unrelated to the original intent of his investigation.

As will become clear, this double injustice not only foreshadowed future injustices, but it also served as a practice run of sorts for the players involved. Several of these players would come center stage once again in the long-running political drama that debuted in 2016.

The Democratic operative on that barely warm seat in 2005 was former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, since deceased. The attorney general at the time, the feckless Alberto Gonzales, had been on the job less than two months when the Berger deal went down.

Gonzales’s deputy attorney general, James Comey, however, had been on the job for more than a year. It was under Comey’s supervision that the DoJ reviewed the case against Berger. It was a doozy.

In the nerviest of his criminal acts, Berger stole highly classified documents and stashed them under a trailer at a construction site during a break. He retrieved the documents at the end of the day and admittedly used scissors to cut them into little pieces before throwing them away. He then lied to investigators about what he had done.

As punishment, Comey and crew recommended a $10,000 fine for Berger and a three-year loss of top-level security clearance. That, incredibly, was it. Oh, yes, as part of the package, the FBI and/or DoJ was to give Berger a lie detector test. Neither agency bothered.

Celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart had to be fuming. Two years earlier, Comey, then U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, prosecuted Stewart for lying to investigators on a minor stock transaction and saw to it that Stewart served five months in prison. Months later, it would be Bush/Cheney advisor Scooter Libby’s turn.

The FBI Director in 2005 was Robert Mueller. His role in the Berger case might have paralleled Comey’s role in the Hillary Clinton email affair, but it did not. Comey served as the public face in both the Berger and the Clinton cases, the former as Deputy AG, the latter as head of the FBI. Comey likes the limelight.

During his eight years in the Clinton White House, Berger had done worse than steal documents. Like Pulp Fiction’s Winston Wolf, his job was to “solve problems.” In April 2002, the former president had a problem to solve. Someone had to review intelligence documents in advance of the various hearings on 9/11. As made clear in a 2007 report by the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform — a primer on deep state treachery — Berger did not welcome the assignment. 

According to the archivists, Berger “indicated some disgust with the burden and responsibility of conducting the document review.” I have a suspicion of what those documents were. Suffice it for now to say they had to contain information damaging to both Clinton and Berger sufficient for Berger to risk his livelihood, his reputation, and his very freedom.

The House report states that Berger made four trips to the National Archives.  The first of his visits was in May 2002, the last in October 2003. He clearly left his mark. “The full extent of Berger’s document removal,” said the House report, “is not known and never can be known.”

The archivists expressed shock that neither the FBI nor the DoJ even questioned Berger about his first two visits when several original documents were there for the taking.

Were it not for Paul Brachfeld, the inspector general of the National Archives, the Berger case might never have surfaced. In January 2004, a month after Comey became deputy AG, Brachfeld met with DoJ attorney Howard Sklamberg. Concerned that Berger had obstructed the 9/11 Commission’s work, Brachfeld wanted assurance that the commission knew of Berger’s crimes.

He did not get it. On March 22, 2004, two days before Berger’s public testimony, senior attorneys John Dion and Bruce Swartz informed Brachfeld the DoJ was not going to notify the commission of the Berger investigation before his appearance.

On Wednesday, March 24, 2004, Berger testified publicly before the commission. The commission members, at least the Republicans, did not know he had been apprehended stealing and destroying the very documents the commission was expected to review. This much was evident in Chairman Thomas Kean’s initial exchange with Berger.

“We are pleased to welcome before the commission a witness who can offer us considerable insight into questions of national policy coordination, Mr. Samuel Berger, who served as President Clinton’s national security advisor,” said the clueless Kean.

While the commission hearings moved on, Brachfeld kept prodding Justice. On April 6, 2004, two weeks after Berger’s appearance before the 9/11 Commission, he called DoJ’s Inspector General Glenn Fine and again expressed his concern that the commissioners remained unaware of Berger’s theft. Fine organized a meeting for April 9.

Brachfeld reported to those gathered, “Berger knowingly removed documents and therefore, may have purposely impeded the 9/11 investigation.” Some of those documents, Brachfeld added, might have been “original.” If those originals had been destroyed, they would have been lost to history. There were no other copies.

Brachfeld made no headway. The commissioners learned nothing about Berger until July 19, 2004, three days before the 9/11 Commission released its final report, too late for any significant amendment.

The commissioners might have forever remained in the dark had there not been a leak from somewhere in the Bush administration. At the time the leak became news in July 2004 — and then just barely — Berger was serving as a campaign adviser to Senator John Kerry.

To counter the news, Berger’s attorney Lanny Breuer introduced a media-friendly narrative in which Bush was the real villain for using the revelation as a campaign ploy. It worked. The New York Times would write off the theft and surrounding noise as “a brief stir” in the campaign season. “His motives in taking the documents remain something of a mystery,” reported the Times. How different history would have been had the Washington Post contented itself with writing, “The motives of the Watergate burglars remain something of a mystery.”

After nearly a year of quiet negotiation, Bush Department of Justice officials announced their stunning plea deal with Berger. They did so strategically. To starve the deal of media attention, the DoJ made the announcement on Friday, April 1, 2005, the day after Terri Schiavo’s highly publicized death.

In September 2005, a federal judge upped the ante on Berger’s theft but not by enough to hurt: a $50,000 fine — chump change for the wealthy attorney — two years of probation, and one hundred hours of community service.

As I watched these events unfold, I presumed the Bush DoJ went soft on Berger to honor some unwritten pact among presidents to protect their predecessors’ national security secrets. That may be part of the calculus, but as has become evident, Republican presidents have little control over their Justice Departments. The Bush White House had even less control than does the Trump White House. The Trump White House at least has Trump.

Republicans presidents struggle against a collective of entrenched careerists, soulless opportunists, and left-wing ideologues — the so-called “deep state.” The ideologues are in it for the power, the careerists for the pensions, and the opportunists for the applause. Working together with their media partners, they follow the path of least resistance, which is almost inevitably to the left. When a Democrat is president, they have his back.

The DoJ attorneys calling the shots in the Berger case — Dion, Swartz, Sklamberg, and Fine — were all holdovers from the Clinton administration. As far as I could tell, Fine, Swartz, and Sklamberg had only contributed to Democratic candidates in federal races and Dion had no record of federal contributions.

As the House report noted, “The Justice Department was unacceptably incurious about Berger’s Archives visits.” Overseeing this incuriosity, and serving as the investigation’s public face, was Deputy AG Comey. If Comey told his good friend Mueller about Berger’s crimes, he did so on the QT. According to the House Report, the DOJ did not notify the FBI, at least not officially, until after Berger pled guilty. Mueller never said boo.

In July 2004, when the Berger story broke, Comey told the media, “As a general matter, we take issues of classified information very seriously. It’s our lifeblood, those secrets.” As Comey proved again in the summer of 2016, if a prominent Democrat is implicated, he and his colleagues do not take these issues seriously at all. If, however, the security issue involves someone who is unconnected or disruptive, prosecutors will turn over every stone just for the spectacle of turning them over.

Scooter Libby learned this the hard way. His undoing started with a news leak about a telegenic, if insignificant, CIA agent named Valerie Plame. The leak had nothing to do with Libby or his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney. No matter. Comey pressured his boss John Ashcroft to recuse himself from an investigation into the leak. Sound familiar? He then named a special counsel who just happened to be the godfather of one of Comey’s children. That sounds familiar too.

The Patrick Fitzgerald appointment took place at roughly the same time the archivists were alerting the DoJ to Berger’s repeated theft of critical documents. The media much preferred the Plame story to the Berger story, and so the opportunists played to the media.

Even before Fitzgerald really got started on the investigation, however, he, Mueller, and Comey learned who the leaker was. The news was not welcome. He was one of their own, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a veteran swamp dweller and an open critic of President Bush.

Still, Fitzgerald had his commission and the uncritical attention of the media. With their full-throated support, he did an unrestrained dumpster dive into the Bush White House not unlike Mueller’s into the Trump White House. All Fitzgerald managed to climb out with was Libby. The media were hoping for hated Bush advisor Karl Rove and maybe even Cheney. They had to make do.

Six months after Berger got his wrist slapped, Fitzgerald indicted Libby for a series of Martha Stewart-style process crimes. Unlike Berger who got no jail time, Libby was hit with thirty months. Under pressure from the right, President Bush commuted his sentence, but Libby had to wait until 2018 to be pardoned, courtesy of President Trump.

As to Armitage, he was never prosecuted for anything. The DOJ accepted his claim the leak was unintentional much the way it would accept Hillary’s “lack of intent” claim years later. The deep state takes care of its own.

In many ways, 2005 was a dress rehearsal for 2016. Mueller and Comey had learned how to play their parts. The media had learned how to play theirs. Indeed, the show would have been another huge hit if only Trump had stuck to the “good Republican” script the way Bush had.



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Will the Media Turn Against Pope Francis?


The huge sex scandal engulfing Pope Francis and the Catholic Church creates a dilemma for American news media. On the one hand, sex sells, and the Catholic Church has been an object of criticism by generations of the secular leftists that dominate journalism. On the other hand, Pope Francis is generally adored by the world’s media for his perceived liberality on sex and other issues, and the particulars of the scandal involve one of the favorite causes of the cultural left: normalizing homosexual behavior.

Since the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report regarding sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, the Catholic world has been in turmoil. That turmoil only intensified – exponentially — when retired Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò released what amounted to an affidavit accusing senior Catholic hierarchs of knowingly covering up and even enabling the abuse. Viganò placed special focus on the retired Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, DC, Theodore McCarrick, a prelate of vast influence in the American church, a reputed “kingmaker,” a one-man fund raising juggernaut, close adviser to Pope Francis, and a mentor to such progressive luminaries as cardinals Wuerl, Cupich, and Tobin — all among Francis’s anointed. As if that weren’t enough, Viganò called on Francis himself to resign for his knowing complicity in the coverup of McCarrick’s crimes.

Viganò’s release of his testimony was timed to coincide for maximum effect with Francis’s controversial trip to Dublin — already a public relations disaster due to lack of attendance. That disaster was compounded when Francis issued his non-denial statement in response to press questions about the Viganò testimony: “I will not say a single word …” followed by a tacit appeal to the press to basically ignore it all.

Ordinarily that type of stonewalling by a high-profile public figure would be met with a storm of protest and accusation in the media. Just such a storm did in fact ensue, but mainly in the world of Catholic blogging and tweeting. The mainstream media, on the other hand, seemed strangely (or maybe not) indifferent.

In the past, Catholic sex scandals involving the clergy have been widely characterized as pedophilia. Knowledge that this characterization was, in fact, inaccurate, that the problem was overwhelmingly one of homosexual priests preying upon adolescents and young men, had been carefully kept in the background. With this fresh outbreak of scandal, however, the Catholic blogosphere, fueled by Viganò’s testimony regarding McCarrick’s abuse of seminarians, quickly galvanized around the accusation of a powerful “lavender mafia” of homosexual prelates dominating the post Vatican II Church.

The Catholic blog Rorate Coeli has published a handy review of the known situation by the eminent Italian historian of Vatican II, Roberto de Mattei:

The homosexualization of the  Church started to spread in the 1970s and 1980s, as the meticulously documented  book by Father Enrique Rueda reveals: The Homosexual Network: Private Lives and Public Policy, published in 1982.

In order to understand the situation at that time, it is essential to read the study dedicated to Homosexuality and the Priesthood. The Gordian Knot – of Catholics? by Professor Andrzej Kobyliński of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.* Kobyliński cites a book entitled The Changing Face of the Priesthood: A reflection on the Priest’s Crisis of Soul, (2000) by Donald Cozzens, Rector of the Cleveland Seminary in Ohio, wherein the author states that at the beginning of the 21st century the priesthood became a “profession”, exercised predominantly by homosexuals and we can even talk about  “a heterosexual exodus from the priesthood.” (snip)  

 

In 2004 The John Jay Report appeared, a document prepared at the request of the American Episcopal Conference, in which all the cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons, from 1950 to 2002, were analyzed. This document of almost 300 pages is of extraordinary informative value – writes Kobyliński.  The John Jay Report  “demonstrated the link between homosexuality and sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. According to the report of 2004, in the overwhelming majority of cases of sexual abuse it is not about pedophilia, but ephebophilia, that is, a degeneration that consists not only of sexual attraction towards children, but towards adolescent boys, at the age of puberty. The John Jay Report demonstrated that about 90% of the priests condemned for sexual abuse with minors are homosexual priests.” [emphasis added]

The McCarrick scandal is therefore not the last act in a crisis that goes way, way back. Yet, in the “Letter of the Pope to the People of God,” and throughout his trip in Ireland, Pope Francis has not once denounced this moral disorder. The Pope maintains that the main problem in sexual abuse by the clergy is not homosexuality but clericalism.

Francis’s ambivalent stance toward established Catholic teaching, dating back to Paul’s letters to the early churches, has been well documented from the beginning of his papacy, starting with his famous “Who am I to judge?” Not as well-known outside the Catholic blogosphere has been his relentless advancement of prelates who are not only favorable toward the acceptance of homosexuality but who are notorious for living a “gay” lifestyle themselves. I can hardly do better than link to this account of the episode in which Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia commissioned a homoerotic mural for his cathedral church which featured “Jesus carrying nets to heaven filled with naked and semi-nude homosexuals, transsexuals, prostitutes, and drug dealers, jumbled together in erotic interactions.” Paglia himself was included in the mural, embracing a naked man, and the image of Christ was modeled on a local male hairdresser. Paglia now heads the Pontifical Academy for Life, and Francis also appointed Paglia as president of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family — after purging the institute of its orthodox members.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that mainstream media outlets were initially loath to attack the “gay friendly” Francis. Indeed, the mainstream media was inclined to dismiss Viganò’s testimony in favor of damage control narratives that were floated by proxies for Francis.

But this may be a crisis that is too good to waste.

The long term goal of the Left is simply to destroy any moral authority the Catholic Church may still have in the broader conservative society — Catholic or not. To induce a sense of hopelessness among conservatives.

The Church is still the Church. Popes come and go. The goal for the progressive media will be to try to separate cultural Catholics from the influence of Catholic doctrine by discrediting the entire hierarchy — not just “conservatives”.

The current crisis offers an opening for progressives that may well override any other concerns. I think the more liberals consider their options the more confident they’ll become that attacking the American bishops and even the Francis papacy can be done without empowering conservatives or endangering the homosexual agenda — and they’ll push ahead. To bring down a pope — could it possibly get any better than that for progressives?

For all its warts the Church is one of the few truly significant social institutions that interposes between the State and the individual. Removing such “intermediary institutions” — so that each individual in his individuality is confronted with the full power of the State — is what totalitarianism is all about. One needn’t accept the Church’s claims to see where danger lies. We see the increasingly open totalitarianism of the Left everywhere today.

The Church — or at least its hierarchs — has brought this crisis upon itself, but it’s a crisis that in its broader dimension will draw in all conservatives. We will need to be aware that while malevolent forces have been at work within the Church, other malevolent forces will be seeking to take advantage of this crisis for goals that are inimical to our freedoms.

Image by Timothy Bishop

The huge sex scandal engulfing Pope Francis and the Catholic Church creates a dilemma for American news media. On the one hand, sex sells, and the Catholic Church has been an object of criticism by generations of the secular leftists that dominate journalism. On the other hand, Pope Francis is generally adored by the world’s media for his perceived liberality on sex and other issues, and the particulars of the scandal involve one of the favorite causes of the cultural left: normalizing homosexual behavior.

Since the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report regarding sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, the Catholic world has been in turmoil. That turmoil only intensified – exponentially — when retired Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò released what amounted to an affidavit accusing senior Catholic hierarchs of knowingly covering up and even enabling the abuse. Viganò placed special focus on the retired Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, DC, Theodore McCarrick, a prelate of vast influence in the American church, a reputed “kingmaker,” a one-man fund raising juggernaut, close adviser to Pope Francis, and a mentor to such progressive luminaries as cardinals Wuerl, Cupich, and Tobin — all among Francis’s anointed. As if that weren’t enough, Viganò called on Francis himself to resign for his knowing complicity in the coverup of McCarrick’s crimes.

Viganò’s release of his testimony was timed to coincide for maximum effect with Francis’s controversial trip to Dublin — already a public relations disaster due to lack of attendance. That disaster was compounded when Francis issued his non-denial statement in response to press questions about the Viganò testimony: “I will not say a single word …” followed by a tacit appeal to the press to basically ignore it all.

Ordinarily that type of stonewalling by a high-profile public figure would be met with a storm of protest and accusation in the media. Just such a storm did in fact ensue, but mainly in the world of Catholic blogging and tweeting. The mainstream media, on the other hand, seemed strangely (or maybe not) indifferent.

In the past, Catholic sex scandals involving the clergy have been widely characterized as pedophilia. Knowledge that this characterization was, in fact, inaccurate, that the problem was overwhelmingly one of homosexual priests preying upon adolescents and young men, had been carefully kept in the background. With this fresh outbreak of scandal, however, the Catholic blogosphere, fueled by Viganò’s testimony regarding McCarrick’s abuse of seminarians, quickly galvanized around the accusation of a powerful “lavender mafia” of homosexual prelates dominating the post Vatican II Church.

The Catholic blog Rorate Coeli has published a handy review of the known situation by the eminent Italian historian of Vatican II, Roberto de Mattei:

The homosexualization of the  Church started to spread in the 1970s and 1980s, as the meticulously documented  book by Father Enrique Rueda reveals: The Homosexual Network: Private Lives and Public Policy, published in 1982.

In order to understand the situation at that time, it is essential to read the study dedicated to Homosexuality and the Priesthood. The Gordian Knot – of Catholics? by Professor Andrzej Kobyliński of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.* Kobyliński cites a book entitled The Changing Face of the Priesthood: A reflection on the Priest’s Crisis of Soul, (2000) by Donald Cozzens, Rector of the Cleveland Seminary in Ohio, wherein the author states that at the beginning of the 21st century the priesthood became a “profession”, exercised predominantly by homosexuals and we can even talk about  “a heterosexual exodus from the priesthood.” (snip)  

 

In 2004 The John Jay Report appeared, a document prepared at the request of the American Episcopal Conference, in which all the cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons, from 1950 to 2002, were analyzed. This document of almost 300 pages is of extraordinary informative value – writes Kobyliński.  The John Jay Report  “demonstrated the link between homosexuality and sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. According to the report of 2004, in the overwhelming majority of cases of sexual abuse it is not about pedophilia, but ephebophilia, that is, a degeneration that consists not only of sexual attraction towards children, but towards adolescent boys, at the age of puberty. The John Jay Report demonstrated that about 90% of the priests condemned for sexual abuse with minors are homosexual priests.” [emphasis added]

The McCarrick scandal is therefore not the last act in a crisis that goes way, way back. Yet, in the “Letter of the Pope to the People of God,” and throughout his trip in Ireland, Pope Francis has not once denounced this moral disorder. The Pope maintains that the main problem in sexual abuse by the clergy is not homosexuality but clericalism.

Francis’s ambivalent stance toward established Catholic teaching, dating back to Paul’s letters to the early churches, has been well documented from the beginning of his papacy, starting with his famous “Who am I to judge?” Not as well-known outside the Catholic blogosphere has been his relentless advancement of prelates who are not only favorable toward the acceptance of homosexuality but who are notorious for living a “gay” lifestyle themselves. I can hardly do better than link to this account of the episode in which Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia commissioned a homoerotic mural for his cathedral church which featured “Jesus carrying nets to heaven filled with naked and semi-nude homosexuals, transsexuals, prostitutes, and drug dealers, jumbled together in erotic interactions.” Paglia himself was included in the mural, embracing a naked man, and the image of Christ was modeled on a local male hairdresser. Paglia now heads the Pontifical Academy for Life, and Francis also appointed Paglia as president of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family — after purging the institute of its orthodox members.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that mainstream media outlets were initially loath to attack the “gay friendly” Francis. Indeed, the mainstream media was inclined to dismiss Viganò’s testimony in favor of damage control narratives that were floated by proxies for Francis.

But this may be a crisis that is too good to waste.

The long term goal of the Left is simply to destroy any moral authority the Catholic Church may still have in the broader conservative society — Catholic or not. To induce a sense of hopelessness among conservatives.

The Church is still the Church. Popes come and go. The goal for the progressive media will be to try to separate cultural Catholics from the influence of Catholic doctrine by discrediting the entire hierarchy — not just “conservatives”.

The current crisis offers an opening for progressives that may well override any other concerns. I think the more liberals consider their options the more confident they’ll become that attacking the American bishops and even the Francis papacy can be done without empowering conservatives or endangering the homosexual agenda — and they’ll push ahead. To bring down a pope — could it possibly get any better than that for progressives?

For all its warts the Church is one of the few truly significant social institutions that interposes between the State and the individual. Removing such “intermediary institutions” — so that each individual in his individuality is confronted with the full power of the State — is what totalitarianism is all about. One needn’t accept the Church’s claims to see where danger lies. We see the increasingly open totalitarianism of the Left everywhere today.

The Church — or at least its hierarchs — has brought this crisis upon itself, but it’s a crisis that in its broader dimension will draw in all conservatives. We will need to be aware that while malevolent forces have been at work within the Church, other malevolent forces will be seeking to take advantage of this crisis for goals that are inimical to our freedoms.

Image by Timothy Bishop



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Patriotism vs. Nationalism: Both Are Fake Tribalism


I was to the local Safeway on the Saturday morning of the Labor Day weekend, and I noticed a number of red, white, and blue “patriotic bouquets” in the floral department.  But what would it mean if instead Safeway had advertised the bouquets as “national holiday bouquets”?

I got to read a couple of articles over the last week that purported to tell me the difference between “patriotism” and “nationalism.”  The difference is clear.  Patriotism good; nationalism bad.  But what really is the difference?  Neither Jonah Goldberg nor Ralph Benko was able to tell me, except to note that the late John McCain was a patriot while Donald Trump is a nationalist.

After a couple of days of deep thinking, I think I can say what the difference is.  Patriotism is when the ruling class keeps tribal feeling in reserve, to crank it up only when it is necessary to send a generation of young men onto the killing fields against an enemy.  Nationalism is when the ruling class loses control of the narrative to some yahoo like Trump.

Okay.  Now let’s get down to the science.  All humans are tribal; we like our own kind best.  Tribes were invented by the hunter-gatherer band of the kindred to mobilize all the men to defend their “patch of land” alongside their brothers against the enemy.

But ever since the dawn of agriculture, humans have lived in communities that extend beyond the limits of blood relationships.  What to do?  How to motivate young men to defend the homeland against the enemy?  Answer: fake tribalism.  “The priests” advertise the notion that God has selected the pharaoh to rule over us and guide us, or that the Twelve Tribes of Israel are really one tribe, God’s Chosen People.  And what are “races” or “ethnicities” but more fake tribes?

Also, “the priests” have been a major part of the movement down the centuries to discourage cousin marriage, and that thins out the blood relationships in real tribes.

All politics, ever since, has needed a cunning way to create a fake – or more politely, abstract – notion of the blood brotherhood of the tribe.  And it has needed an enemy.  Often enough, the fake tribe has been the peasants ruled by a king.  And the king’s enemies were our enemies.

Enter the rising bourgeoisie.  We middle-class deplorables decided that the divine right of kings was for the birds; we wanted in on the political action, and that meant revising the fake kingly tribalism in favor of a new fake tribe of middle-class people getting and spending in a sacred homeland and a history to be defended against a world of enemies.

Now you see what Ronald Reagan’s last speech to Americans about the city on the hill is all about:

And how stands the city on this winter night?  More prosperous, more secure and happier than it was eight years ago[.] … And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the Pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

This sort of thing gives me chills on my spine, as it is supposed to.

Now, our lefty friends also play at this game, only their fake tribe is Anything But Nation.  Look at all the fake tribes they have created over the last 150 years.  First there was the fake tribe of the workers: workers of the world, unite.  Now we have the fake tribe of the feminists: the future is female.  And the tribe of the former African slaves: black is beautiful.  And the LGBT tribe: we’re here, we’re queer.  And death to the racist, sexist homophobes of the world!

But notice something about lefty tribalism.  It is not about defending the homeland, which is what tribalism was invented to do.  It is about setting people in the homeland against each other, so the lefty ruling class can divide and conquer.  There is an enemy, but the enemy is us.

Our globalist friends are just as tribal as the rest of us.  They have this notion of a fake global tribe, united to defend the planetary homeland against…climate change!

Gosh, what geniuses they are!

I know!  Let’s look at Google Ngram for nationalism, patriotism, and populism:

Well, well: Who knew?  But what does it mean?  I’d say it means that after sending a generation of young men to their deaths in World War I, our ruling class kinda soured on high-class patriotism and so left the stage empty for low-class nationalists like Hitler and Mussolini.

But I tell you, if our ruling class should ever decide they need a generation of young men to go out and defend the homeland, all of a sudden, nationalism and patriotism will become the best things since sliced bread.

Christopher Chantrill (@chrischantrill) runs the go-to site on U.S. government finances, usgovernmentspending.com.  Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

I was to the local Safeway on the Saturday morning of the Labor Day weekend, and I noticed a number of red, white, and blue “patriotic bouquets” in the floral department.  But what would it mean if instead Safeway had advertised the bouquets as “national holiday bouquets”?

I got to read a couple of articles over the last week that purported to tell me the difference between “patriotism” and “nationalism.”  The difference is clear.  Patriotism good; nationalism bad.  But what really is the difference?  Neither Jonah Goldberg nor Ralph Benko was able to tell me, except to note that the late John McCain was a patriot while Donald Trump is a nationalist.

After a couple of days of deep thinking, I think I can say what the difference is.  Patriotism is when the ruling class keeps tribal feeling in reserve, to crank it up only when it is necessary to send a generation of young men onto the killing fields against an enemy.  Nationalism is when the ruling class loses control of the narrative to some yahoo like Trump.

Okay.  Now let’s get down to the science.  All humans are tribal; we like our own kind best.  Tribes were invented by the hunter-gatherer band of the kindred to mobilize all the men to defend their “patch of land” alongside their brothers against the enemy.

But ever since the dawn of agriculture, humans have lived in communities that extend beyond the limits of blood relationships.  What to do?  How to motivate young men to defend the homeland against the enemy?  Answer: fake tribalism.  “The priests” advertise the notion that God has selected the pharaoh to rule over us and guide us, or that the Twelve Tribes of Israel are really one tribe, God’s Chosen People.  And what are “races” or “ethnicities” but more fake tribes?

Also, “the priests” have been a major part of the movement down the centuries to discourage cousin marriage, and that thins out the blood relationships in real tribes.

All politics, ever since, has needed a cunning way to create a fake – or more politely, abstract – notion of the blood brotherhood of the tribe.  And it has needed an enemy.  Often enough, the fake tribe has been the peasants ruled by a king.  And the king’s enemies were our enemies.

Enter the rising bourgeoisie.  We middle-class deplorables decided that the divine right of kings was for the birds; we wanted in on the political action, and that meant revising the fake kingly tribalism in favor of a new fake tribe of middle-class people getting and spending in a sacred homeland and a history to be defended against a world of enemies.

Now you see what Ronald Reagan’s last speech to Americans about the city on the hill is all about:

And how stands the city on this winter night?  More prosperous, more secure and happier than it was eight years ago[.] … And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the Pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

This sort of thing gives me chills on my spine, as it is supposed to.

Now, our lefty friends also play at this game, only their fake tribe is Anything But Nation.  Look at all the fake tribes they have created over the last 150 years.  First there was the fake tribe of the workers: workers of the world, unite.  Now we have the fake tribe of the feminists: the future is female.  And the tribe of the former African slaves: black is beautiful.  And the LGBT tribe: we’re here, we’re queer.  And death to the racist, sexist homophobes of the world!

But notice something about lefty tribalism.  It is not about defending the homeland, which is what tribalism was invented to do.  It is about setting people in the homeland against each other, so the lefty ruling class can divide and conquer.  There is an enemy, but the enemy is us.

Our globalist friends are just as tribal as the rest of us.  They have this notion of a fake global tribe, united to defend the planetary homeland against…climate change!

Gosh, what geniuses they are!

I know!  Let’s look at Google Ngram for nationalism, patriotism, and populism:

Well, well: Who knew?  But what does it mean?  I’d say it means that after sending a generation of young men to their deaths in World War I, our ruling class kinda soured on high-class patriotism and so left the stage empty for low-class nationalists like Hitler and Mussolini.

But I tell you, if our ruling class should ever decide they need a generation of young men to go out and defend the homeland, all of a sudden, nationalism and patriotism will become the best things since sliced bread.

Christopher Chantrill (@chrischantrill) runs the go-to site on U.S. government finances, usgovernmentspending.com.  Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.



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Authoritarian Liberalism: 'Going High,' Going Wrong


“Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view,” the American conservative, William F. Buckley, quipped in Up from Liberalism (1959).  Here he seems to have struck at the heart of a central difficulty afflicting liberals: their tolerant and virtuous self-image tends them to an intolerance of anyone who disagrees.  This is becoming increasingly evident globally, as many liberals cling harder to the power they fear may be slipping from their grasp.

A significant number of Americans were riled during the former administration by the uneasy sense that they were being talked down to by their president and his circle.  “When they go low, we go high,” said by the former first lady, unwittingly expressed this moral and intellectual presumption.  It was an instance of a general stance that has propelled the liberal elite away from the populace, turning them from being representatives of the people to a law unto themselves.  Not specific to the U.S., this pattern can be seen across the West. 

Broad though the observation might be, there appears to have been a shift in the West’s political culture in the past two decades.  Although Trump, Brexit, and the “populist” surge across continental Europe buck the trend, we are nonetheless still stuck in what U.K. Blairite Peter Mandelson called a “post-democratic age.”  Where there was once the separation of powers and a politically neutral bureaucracy, there is now a politicized liberal “Deep State,” or “the swamp.”  Respect for the outcome of the democratic process, freedom of expression, and the rule of law has been replaced by campaigns to undermine them all.  As far as the fourth estate goes, fact-based independent journalism has disintegrated, and we are now served up mainstream “fake news” propaganda.

These anti-democratic tendencies, evident in Obama, Trudeau, Merkel, Blair, Cameron, May, the E.U., et al., are arguably a logical, if warped, outcome of liberalism, rather than a deviation from it.  But if liberalism is the doctrine of an open society, how did it go wrong? 

In philosophy, for an argument to work, it must tick two boxes.  The argument should be “logically valid” – have no contradictions – and have premises that are true.  It is with the latter that liberal theory tends to fall short.  Despite the elegant structure of its arguments, its claims often do not square with reality.  For instance, the idea that pluralism in society leads easily to tolerance is challenged by Thomas Sowell’s observation that “if you look at societies that are ‘diverse,’ they have all they can do to avoid mutual bloodshed.”  Such realities are denied with defensive emotionalism by many liberals in an attempt to preserve their worldview.

Part of the problem with liberalism may be that it begins with lofty ideals and abstractions: “shoulds,” which are then imposed on the world and people.  Working from idea to reality, from “high” to “low,” in this way, is perhaps liberalism’s “original sin” – what the father of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke, ridiculed in Vindication of Natural Society (1756) as being lost in the “fairy land of philosophy.”  For liberalism to survive as an ideology, reality must be made to fit the concept, people need to “get with the program,” and the doctrine must be preserved against all evidence to the contrary.  

For instance, the popular rhetoric surrounding mass-immigration can often draw on liberalism’s assertion of human ethical equality.  But chanting, “No human is illegal” becomes little more than a hollow virtue signal when open borders facilitate the free movement of criminals and terrorists.  As President Trump has boldly asserted by championing “angel families,” liberals do not always hold the moral high ground they like to claim – their ideals can yield tragic consequences.  With Angela Merkel’s open-door response to the 2015 migration crisis, Europe has likewise seen an attempt to “go high” crash.  Cologne’s New Year’s Eve sexual assaults and the endlessly heightened terror threat are but two grim consequences.

It is perhaps too painful for many liberals to look at the manifold catastrophes brought about by their naïveté.  It is too painful to have the comfortable fantasy of how they wish the world to be disrupted by evidence to the contrary.  Being honest about the impact of the extralegal mass immigration and enforced “diversity” they have promoted would involve a terrible realization: that they have facilitated rape, murder, terrorism and child abuse and have perhaps permanently damaged Western societies – ironically, the societies that produced their liberalism.  Therefore, to preserve emotional equilibrium, the fantasy of their world of “shoulds” must be preserved and harsh realities denied.  Why else, then, the demands for “safe space”?  The road thus opens to authoritarian liberalism. 

Imposition is inherently authoritarian, no matter how good the intentions might seem, and in pushing their agenda, many liberals have become intolerant of laws, due process, and democracy itself.  Trump has been obstructed by “resistance,” particularly from the bureaucratic state, Brexit risks being “reversed,” and populist objections to mass-immigration and oligarchy are typically smeared as “far-right.”  Furthermore, when the unintended negative consequences of good intentions arise, liberals can be intolerant of both whistleblowers and victims, as has been the case in the U.K.’s ongoing grooming scandal.  In this, underage victims of systematic sexual abuse have been blamed by authorities unwilling to prosecute perpetrators from ethnic minorities – children have been sacrificed on the altar of multiculturalism.  In a similar vein, liberals can be indifferent to, or contemptuous of, the needs of society as a whole – individual rights come first, no matter how niche, as in Obama’s insistence on transgender bathrooms.  Tried and tested tradition, such as the vital tradition of accepting legitimate election results, is junked because it might stand in the way of the “arc of history” being bent toward liberal hegemony.  It is hard to accept different points of view or outcomes when one’s self-image is a paragon of virtue and tolerance – but this is narcissism, and its effects are malignant.

The English political philosopher Michael Oakeshott wrote in the essay “On Being Conservative” (1956) that government “as the conservative in this matter understands it, does not begin with a vision of another, different and better world.”  He saw such utopian ideologies as a corruption of the mind and fundamentally oppressive, not least because they insist on a common purpose for all and collective Orwellian “goodthink” – what we nowadays call “political correctness.”  Oakeshott argued that government should instead act like an umpire in a cricket match.  An umpire is not actively involved in the game he adjudicates; likewise, a government should aim to restrict itself to enforcing general rules of procedure.  The wisdom of this aspiration for limited government is the understanding that, as he notes, “it is beyond human experience to suppose that those who rule are endowed with a superior wisdom” to those who are ruled. 

The authoritarian tendency lurking in liberalism has now become obvious and is but one aspect of a multifaceted decline in the postwar liberal order.  In contrast to its ideological, “top-down” approach, Trump’s handling of the economy and domestic and foreign policy is from the “bottom up” in its pragmatism: for Trump, what seems to count is what works.  His personal quirks jar many, but he is a businessman and a real estate developer who likes to build things and see results.

Trump is not a polished, professional politician, and his earthy ways cohere with the side of conservatism that sees human nature as flawed, life as a series of trade-offs, and heady intellectuals as potentially dangerous fools.  The 45th has brought America back down to Earth, which, despite its imperfections, is not such a bad place after all, given the alternative.  It is, anyhow, the best place to start from if you want to build something on a solid foundation.

“Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view,” the American conservative, William F. Buckley, quipped in Up from Liberalism (1959).  Here he seems to have struck at the heart of a central difficulty afflicting liberals: their tolerant and virtuous self-image tends them to an intolerance of anyone who disagrees.  This is becoming increasingly evident globally, as many liberals cling harder to the power they fear may be slipping from their grasp.

A significant number of Americans were riled during the former administration by the uneasy sense that they were being talked down to by their president and his circle.  “When they go low, we go high,” said by the former first lady, unwittingly expressed this moral and intellectual presumption.  It was an instance of a general stance that has propelled the liberal elite away from the populace, turning them from being representatives of the people to a law unto themselves.  Not specific to the U.S., this pattern can be seen across the West. 

Broad though the observation might be, there appears to have been a shift in the West’s political culture in the past two decades.  Although Trump, Brexit, and the “populist” surge across continental Europe buck the trend, we are nonetheless still stuck in what U.K. Blairite Peter Mandelson called a “post-democratic age.”  Where there was once the separation of powers and a politically neutral bureaucracy, there is now a politicized liberal “Deep State,” or “the swamp.”  Respect for the outcome of the democratic process, freedom of expression, and the rule of law has been replaced by campaigns to undermine them all.  As far as the fourth estate goes, fact-based independent journalism has disintegrated, and we are now served up mainstream “fake news” propaganda.

These anti-democratic tendencies, evident in Obama, Trudeau, Merkel, Blair, Cameron, May, the E.U., et al., are arguably a logical, if warped, outcome of liberalism, rather than a deviation from it.  But if liberalism is the doctrine of an open society, how did it go wrong? 

In philosophy, for an argument to work, it must tick two boxes.  The argument should be “logically valid” – have no contradictions – and have premises that are true.  It is with the latter that liberal theory tends to fall short.  Despite the elegant structure of its arguments, its claims often do not square with reality.  For instance, the idea that pluralism in society leads easily to tolerance is challenged by Thomas Sowell’s observation that “if you look at societies that are ‘diverse,’ they have all they can do to avoid mutual bloodshed.”  Such realities are denied with defensive emotionalism by many liberals in an attempt to preserve their worldview.

Part of the problem with liberalism may be that it begins with lofty ideals and abstractions: “shoulds,” which are then imposed on the world and people.  Working from idea to reality, from “high” to “low,” in this way, is perhaps liberalism’s “original sin” – what the father of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke, ridiculed in Vindication of Natural Society (1756) as being lost in the “fairy land of philosophy.”  For liberalism to survive as an ideology, reality must be made to fit the concept, people need to “get with the program,” and the doctrine must be preserved against all evidence to the contrary.  

For instance, the popular rhetoric surrounding mass-immigration can often draw on liberalism’s assertion of human ethical equality.  But chanting, “No human is illegal” becomes little more than a hollow virtue signal when open borders facilitate the free movement of criminals and terrorists.  As President Trump has boldly asserted by championing “angel families,” liberals do not always hold the moral high ground they like to claim – their ideals can yield tragic consequences.  With Angela Merkel’s open-door response to the 2015 migration crisis, Europe has likewise seen an attempt to “go high” crash.  Cologne’s New Year’s Eve sexual assaults and the endlessly heightened terror threat are but two grim consequences.

It is perhaps too painful for many liberals to look at the manifold catastrophes brought about by their naïveté.  It is too painful to have the comfortable fantasy of how they wish the world to be disrupted by evidence to the contrary.  Being honest about the impact of the extralegal mass immigration and enforced “diversity” they have promoted would involve a terrible realization: that they have facilitated rape, murder, terrorism and child abuse and have perhaps permanently damaged Western societies – ironically, the societies that produced their liberalism.  Therefore, to preserve emotional equilibrium, the fantasy of their world of “shoulds” must be preserved and harsh realities denied.  Why else, then, the demands for “safe space”?  The road thus opens to authoritarian liberalism. 

Imposition is inherently authoritarian, no matter how good the intentions might seem, and in pushing their agenda, many liberals have become intolerant of laws, due process, and democracy itself.  Trump has been obstructed by “resistance,” particularly from the bureaucratic state, Brexit risks being “reversed,” and populist objections to mass-immigration and oligarchy are typically smeared as “far-right.”  Furthermore, when the unintended negative consequences of good intentions arise, liberals can be intolerant of both whistleblowers and victims, as has been the case in the U.K.’s ongoing grooming scandal.  In this, underage victims of systematic sexual abuse have been blamed by authorities unwilling to prosecute perpetrators from ethnic minorities – children have been sacrificed on the altar of multiculturalism.  In a similar vein, liberals can be indifferent to, or contemptuous of, the needs of society as a whole – individual rights come first, no matter how niche, as in Obama’s insistence on transgender bathrooms.  Tried and tested tradition, such as the vital tradition of accepting legitimate election results, is junked because it might stand in the way of the “arc of history” being bent toward liberal hegemony.  It is hard to accept different points of view or outcomes when one’s self-image is a paragon of virtue and tolerance – but this is narcissism, and its effects are malignant.

The English political philosopher Michael Oakeshott wrote in the essay “On Being Conservative” (1956) that government “as the conservative in this matter understands it, does not begin with a vision of another, different and better world.”  He saw such utopian ideologies as a corruption of the mind and fundamentally oppressive, not least because they insist on a common purpose for all and collective Orwellian “goodthink” – what we nowadays call “political correctness.”  Oakeshott argued that government should instead act like an umpire in a cricket match.  An umpire is not actively involved in the game he adjudicates; likewise, a government should aim to restrict itself to enforcing general rules of procedure.  The wisdom of this aspiration for limited government is the understanding that, as he notes, “it is beyond human experience to suppose that those who rule are endowed with a superior wisdom” to those who are ruled. 

The authoritarian tendency lurking in liberalism has now become obvious and is but one aspect of a multifaceted decline in the postwar liberal order.  In contrast to its ideological, “top-down” approach, Trump’s handling of the economy and domestic and foreign policy is from the “bottom up” in its pragmatism: for Trump, what seems to count is what works.  His personal quirks jar many, but he is a businessman and a real estate developer who likes to build things and see results.

Trump is not a polished, professional politician, and his earthy ways cohere with the side of conservatism that sees human nature as flawed, life as a series of trade-offs, and heady intellectuals as potentially dangerous fools.  The 45th has brought America back down to Earth, which, despite its imperfections, is not such a bad place after all, given the alternative.  It is, anyhow, the best place to start from if you want to build something on a solid foundation.



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The Germans Will Never Learn


German foreign minister Heiko Maas of the German Social Democratic Party believes that Europe must unite to form a “counterweight” to the United States when it “crosses the line” in its dealings with Germany.  Maas believes that Germany and France should forge a stronger bond in order to diminish American freedom of action – whether it be in imposing sanctions on Iran (which would harm European business interests) or in forcibly renegotiating longstanding (bad) deals with Europe (specifically, Germany) on trade and mutual defense.

But the idea that Germany, France, or any other European country could strengthen the fraying unity within the European Union – in order to “balance” against the United States, no less – is an absurdity that only a European liberal like Maas could countenance.  Europe is not a united entity, and it will never act as a counterweight to the United States (at least not by itself).  This is especially true of the European Union.

Such sentiments are hardly new.  Throughout the 1990s, various German leaders expressed similar attitudes on the need to distance their country (and Europe) from the United States since the Cold War was over.  Infamously, former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder of the Social Democratic Party led the charge against the United States in the run-up to the Iraq War of 2003.  He was joined in that feckless crusade (to stop another hapless campaign – George W. Bush’s war of choice in Iraq itself) by French President Jacques Chirac and, naturally, Russian president Vladimir Putin.

E.U.-topia

Since the 1990s, German elites – particularly those on the left – have called for a multipolar world order in which the United States is but one of many powerful actors alongside the European Union.  Postmodern German leaders deluded themselves into believing that the E.U. could be anything other than a paean to Europe’s traditional love of big government.  But, as years of European politics in the post-Cold War era have shown, the E.U. is a paper tiger on its way out.

Don’t take my word for it.  Just read the words of George Soros, the doyen of European integration, who argued earlier this year that the E.U. is experiencing an “existential crisis.”  Soros went on to predict that unless drastic actions were taken (which, given the nature of the divisions within Europe, such actions will not be taken), the European project would soon collapse.  In today’s world, where there are challenges to the E.U.’s legitimacy both from within Europe and from without, the European response to these threats has been haphazard.  In Soros’s own words, the E.U. morphed away from what it was meant to be – a voluntary coalition of equal partners – and into a “relationship between creditors and debtors” that is “neither voluntary nor equal.”

As I said, such a union cannot act as a counterweight to the United States.

Never Forget: Germany Needs the U.S.

With nationalism and populism on the rise in much of Europe today, and with the E.U. apparently unable to break its corrosive structure, Heiko Maas’s plan for Germany to strengthen the E.U. is laughable.  I suspect that even Heiko Maas and his fellow left-leaning German elites know this to be true.  After all, Maas’s ode to European integration is couched in the rhetoric of nationalism.

As Maas writes:

“Europe United” means this: We act with sovereignty at those points where nation-states alone cannot muster the level of power a united Europe can. We are not circling the wagons and keeping the rest of the world out. We are not demanding allegiance. Europe is building on the rule of law, respect for the weaker, and our experiences that show that international cooperation is not a zero-sum game.

Further, Maas’s calls for a closer alliance between the economically dynamic Germany with the militarily powerful France (by continental standards, at least) implies that even Maas recognizes the limits of relying on a “Europe United.”  This gets us back to the Russo-Franco-German strategic triangle that has been building since the dark days of the Iraq War of 2003.  Such an alliance is historically feasible; however, as history has proven, this precise alliance will not last for very long.  It cannot.  Despite their agreement on such things as the need for a multipolar world or their close trade over energy, there are broader cultural and political disagreements that will – over time – destroy whatever alliance may exist among Moscow, Berlin, and Paris.

For her part, outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel of the right-of-center Christian Democratic Party, has all but shot down Maas’s article.  But, given the fact that Maas was likely writing on behalf of a larger swathe of German of elites who are tired of what they view as American priggishness over issues such as trade and mutual defense – as well as Germany’s need to do business with neighboring Russia or Iran – Maas’s view will likely hold out.

Let Maas’s new world order of multipolarity and balance ring out.  It’d save America much money and many lives, being able to hand off some responsibilities to capable allies.  Unfortunately, though, the Germans are kidding themselves if they believe they’ll be able to achieve this in Europe – not without a great power backing their play (and that great power is not France).  They will be forced to choose between the United States and Russia.  I suspect that Berlin will ultimately end up in the United States’ camp.

History is returning to Europe.  And history is doomed to repeat itself…something that the Germans are incapable of learning.  The U.S. must continue protecting its own interests, always reminding Berlin that we stand ready to receive them as friends…so long as they pay their fair share.

Brandon J. Weichert is a geopolitical analyst who manages The Weichert Report: World News Done Right and is a contributor at The American Spectator, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness.  His writings on national security and Congress have appeared at Real Clear PoliticsSpace News, and HotAir.com.  He has been featured on CBS News.comthe BBC, and the Christian Science Monitor.  Brandon is a former congressional staffer who holds an M.A. in statecraft and national security affairs from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. and is currently working on his doctorate in international relations.

German foreign minister Heiko Maas of the German Social Democratic Party believes that Europe must unite to form a “counterweight” to the United States when it “crosses the line” in its dealings with Germany.  Maas believes that Germany and France should forge a stronger bond in order to diminish American freedom of action – whether it be in imposing sanctions on Iran (which would harm European business interests) or in forcibly renegotiating longstanding (bad) deals with Europe (specifically, Germany) on trade and mutual defense.

But the idea that Germany, France, or any other European country could strengthen the fraying unity within the European Union – in order to “balance” against the United States, no less – is an absurdity that only a European liberal like Maas could countenance.  Europe is not a united entity, and it will never act as a counterweight to the United States (at least not by itself).  This is especially true of the European Union.

Such sentiments are hardly new.  Throughout the 1990s, various German leaders expressed similar attitudes on the need to distance their country (and Europe) from the United States since the Cold War was over.  Infamously, former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder of the Social Democratic Party led the charge against the United States in the run-up to the Iraq War of 2003.  He was joined in that feckless crusade (to stop another hapless campaign – George W. Bush’s war of choice in Iraq itself) by French President Jacques Chirac and, naturally, Russian president Vladimir Putin.

E.U.-topia

Since the 1990s, German elites – particularly those on the left – have called for a multipolar world order in which the United States is but one of many powerful actors alongside the European Union.  Postmodern German leaders deluded themselves into believing that the E.U. could be anything other than a paean to Europe’s traditional love of big government.  But, as years of European politics in the post-Cold War era have shown, the E.U. is a paper tiger on its way out.

Don’t take my word for it.  Just read the words of George Soros, the doyen of European integration, who argued earlier this year that the E.U. is experiencing an “existential crisis.”  Soros went on to predict that unless drastic actions were taken (which, given the nature of the divisions within Europe, such actions will not be taken), the European project would soon collapse.  In today’s world, where there are challenges to the E.U.’s legitimacy both from within Europe and from without, the European response to these threats has been haphazard.  In Soros’s own words, the E.U. morphed away from what it was meant to be – a voluntary coalition of equal partners – and into a “relationship between creditors and debtors” that is “neither voluntary nor equal.”

As I said, such a union cannot act as a counterweight to the United States.

Never Forget: Germany Needs the U.S.

With nationalism and populism on the rise in much of Europe today, and with the E.U. apparently unable to break its corrosive structure, Heiko Maas’s plan for Germany to strengthen the E.U. is laughable.  I suspect that even Heiko Maas and his fellow left-leaning German elites know this to be true.  After all, Maas’s ode to European integration is couched in the rhetoric of nationalism.

As Maas writes:

“Europe United” means this: We act with sovereignty at those points where nation-states alone cannot muster the level of power a united Europe can. We are not circling the wagons and keeping the rest of the world out. We are not demanding allegiance. Europe is building on the rule of law, respect for the weaker, and our experiences that show that international cooperation is not a zero-sum game.

Further, Maas’s calls for a closer alliance between the economically dynamic Germany with the militarily powerful France (by continental standards, at least) implies that even Maas recognizes the limits of relying on a “Europe United.”  This gets us back to the Russo-Franco-German strategic triangle that has been building since the dark days of the Iraq War of 2003.  Such an alliance is historically feasible; however, as history has proven, this precise alliance will not last for very long.  It cannot.  Despite their agreement on such things as the need for a multipolar world or their close trade over energy, there are broader cultural and political disagreements that will – over time – destroy whatever alliance may exist among Moscow, Berlin, and Paris.

For her part, outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel of the right-of-center Christian Democratic Party, has all but shot down Maas’s article.  But, given the fact that Maas was likely writing on behalf of a larger swathe of German of elites who are tired of what they view as American priggishness over issues such as trade and mutual defense – as well as Germany’s need to do business with neighboring Russia or Iran – Maas’s view will likely hold out.

Let Maas’s new world order of multipolarity and balance ring out.  It’d save America much money and many lives, being able to hand off some responsibilities to capable allies.  Unfortunately, though, the Germans are kidding themselves if they believe they’ll be able to achieve this in Europe – not without a great power backing their play (and that great power is not France).  They will be forced to choose between the United States and Russia.  I suspect that Berlin will ultimately end up in the United States’ camp.

History is returning to Europe.  And history is doomed to repeat itself…something that the Germans are incapable of learning.  The U.S. must continue protecting its own interests, always reminding Berlin that we stand ready to receive them as friends…so long as they pay their fair share.

Brandon J. Weichert is a geopolitical analyst who manages The Weichert Report: World News Done Right and is a contributor at The American Spectator, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness.  His writings on national security and Congress have appeared at Real Clear PoliticsSpace News, and HotAir.com.  He has been featured on CBS News.comthe BBC, and the Christian Science Monitor.  Brandon is a former congressional staffer who holds an M.A. in statecraft and national security affairs from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. and is currently working on his doctorate in international relations.



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Meghan McCain Gives Anti-military Dems a Free Pass


Obama’s disdain for the military and those who served in it is documented and legendary and he engaged in it to the point of pettiness, as demonstrated when he interrupted a military wedding in Hawaii so he could play some golf:

It certainly didn’t help his image when two Army captains, Captains Natalie Heimel and Edward Mallue Jr. ,  were told hours before their wedding that they had to move it so Obama could play through on the golf course they had selected as the nuptial site…


The president’s 15% approval rating among active-duty military isn’t due merely to the bad optics of such incidents. It’s the result of a defunded and dispirited military led by a disinterested commander in chief who, on Nov. 20, 2009, when Obama flew to Osan Air Base in South Korea to speak to American troops, were told, “You guys make a pretty good photo-op.”…


The military has watched a failed foreign policy in which a precipitate pullout from Iraq saw town after town that had been liberated at great expense in blood and treasure, starting in Fallujah, fall to jihadis and an Islamic State whose rise Obama was warned about but ignored. Many feel with some justification that their sacrifice was for naught, ignored by a president obsessed with keeping a campaign promise to withdraw from a land where so many lost their lives and limbs.


They watched as Obama traded five top Taliban leaders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, whom many considered a deserter for abandoning his post and wandering off to find himself and the Taliban in the hills of Afghanistan. They also saw Obama let a Marine with post-traumatic stress syndrome, Andrew Tahmooressi, rot in a Mexican jail for the crime of missing his exit on his way to San Diego.


We have a smaller army than any time since before World War II and the smallest navy since 1917. Part of this drawdown has even included some 2,600 battlefield pink slips for captains and others who are serving or have served in Afghanistan.

Obama threw away the blood and treasure and sacrifice of American heroes like John McCain, American heroes he viewed as photo-ops for political purposes. Like Andrew Tahmooressi, Obama had no trouble leaving Marine Sergeant Amir Hekmati behind to languish in an Iranian prison:

A Marine veteran has been held captive in Iran since August 2011, when he was taken prisoner while visiting family and charged with spying. Does President Obama hear his plea for unconditional freedom?


With the exception of deserters like Bowe Bergdahl, those who put on a uniform and serve their country seem like afterthoughts to this administration, if they’re thought of at all.


Just ask Andrew Tahmooressi, the Marine sergeant allowed to languish 214 days in a Mexican jail for the crime of missing a highway exit. Or now, Amir Hekmati of Flagstaff, Ariz., a Marine vet who sits in an Iranian jail, having made the mistake of trying to visit his Iranian family. 


Hekmati has been locked up in Iran’s Evin Prison since he returned to his ancestral home 3-1/2 years ago to visit family. His parents left Iran when the mullahs took power in 1979. He did not think he would later be a victim of Iranian belligerence and American indifference, accused of being a CIA spy. He was first sentenced to death, but that sentence was overturned, and in a retrial he got 10 years in prison.


Unlike Bergdahl in Afghanistan, Amir served with genuine honor and distinction in Iraq, where Shiite militia groups were supplied with weapons and trained in their use by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. These weapons included sophisticated improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, designed to exploit vulnerabilities in U.S. military vehicles and increase American casualties.

Obama prefers deserters like Bowe Bergdahl to heroes like John McCain, trading terrorist Taliban leaders who slaughter Americans for traitors, welcoming and consoling Bergdahl’s parents at the White House while he ignored Bergdahl’s desertion in the heat of battle in Afghanistan

That Bergdahl was a deserter and a traitor should never have been in doubt, yet it was, partially due to President Obama sending National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who spread the Benghazi video lies on the Sunday talk show circuit, to appear on the June 1, 2014 broadcast of ABC’s “This Week” to tell two more lies, that Bergdahl was a good soldier and that trading five top Taliban commanders would not endanger U.S. security. As Breitbart reported:

Regarding the desertion allegations, she said Bergdahl, “served the United States with honor and distinction. And we’ll have the opportunity eventually to learn what has transpired in the past years.”


Rice also said that “assurances relating to the movement, the activities, the monitoring of those detainees [released in exchange for Bergdahl] give us confidence that they cannot and, in all likelihood, will not pose a significant risk to the United States. And that it is in our national interests that this transfer had been made.”

In fact, the Taliban trade of the terrorist equivalent of four-star generals jeopardized U.S. security and was done to exploit Bergdahl’s captivity to help Obama to get the worst of the worst out of Guantanamo to facilitate his campaign pledge of closing the facility. That Bergdahl was a deserter should never have been in doubt, judging by the universal condemnation of those who served with him. Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) noted that fact and editorialized that Obama feared a court-martial because it could lead to him being charged with providing material assistance to a terrorist enemy:

 Every one of the men who served with Bergdahl or tried to find him and who have spoken out publicly has said he was clearly a deserter.


Indeed, the uncontestable fact is that Bergdahl walked away from his post in a time of war, leaving his weapon and gear behind. He was not out for a walk to relieve stress or clear his head.


“Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him,” former Sgt. Matt Vierkant told CNN. At least six soldiers died in operations looking for Bergdahl.


Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano has said that Obama dreads a court-martial for desertion, which is what the report might recommend, because questions regarding a trade providing material assistance to a terrorist group could be asked.


“We have a federal statute which makes it a felony to provide material assistance to any terrorist organization,” Napolitano said. “It could be money, maps, professional services, any asset whatsoever, (including) human assets.”

John McCain served with honor and distinction. Bowe Bergdahl did not. Meghan McCain had no unkind invective subtly directed towards President Obama, who loathed everything John McCain stood for in and out of the military. One remembers the dismissive tone Obama took towards McCain during the health care summit:

“People are angry,” McCain said. “We promised them change in Washington, and what we got was a process that you and I both said we would change.”


He called on Democrats to “go back to the beginning” and “remove all the special deals for the special interests and the favored few,” adding that he favors a system in which “geography does not dictate what kind of health care.”


A visibly annoyed Mr. Obama immediately responded, saying “we can spend the remainder of the time with our respective talking points going back and forth. We were supposed to be talking about insurance.”


“We’re not campaigning anymore,” he told McCain. “The election’s over.”

So much for a common interest and working with McCain to solve America’s problems. John McCain, as Meghan McCain noted, was proud of America. President Obama, upon election, immediately embarked on an apology tour and a vociferous campaign denouncing the very American exceptionalism John McCain believed in.

Meghan McCain also trashed Trump in front of Michelle Obama, who once famously noted during her husband’s 2008 campaign her disdain for America and its history:

Speaking in Milwaukee, Wis., on Monday, she said, “People in this country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics and… for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”


Greeted with rousing applause after making the comment in Milwaukee, Obama delivered an amended version of the speech later that day in Madison, Wis.


“For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country… not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change,” she said. “I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment.”

There in front of Meghan McCain was former Secretary of State John Kerry, who has opposed military preparedness and slandered the American forces in Vietnam as rapists and pillagers in congressional testimony:

Kerry, of course, first appeared on the national stage in 1971 when he testified, fresh from his swift-boat service in Vietnam, that U.S. troops had routinely “raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan…”


In 2005, he made our troops sound like terrorists when he accused them of “going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night (and) terrorizing kids, children, (and) women,” and “breaking historical and religious customs.”


In 1985, as a freshman senator, he called for a four-year, $200 billion defense cut, including cancellation of 27 weapons systems, weapons and money that enabled us to win the Cold War, fight Desert Storm and finally liberate Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Then there is William Jefferson Clinton, whose wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton of Benghazi infamy, loathed the military. Slick Willie, unlike John McCain, avoided Vietnam service, preferring to go off to Oxford in England where he could bash America in bearded comfort. As journalist Roger Simon wrote in 1992:

The last time Bill Clinton was completely candid about the Vietnam draft was 23 years ago.


That’s when Clinton wrote a letter to an ROTC colonel thanking him for “saving me from the draft.”


Life was simple for Bill Clinton back then. He knew what he wanted and he knew how to get there: He wanted to avoid going to Vietnam. And he went to Oxford (though not Canada) to do so.


Now, life is not so simple for Clinton. He still knows what he wants: He wants to be president. But how to get there?


Sanitizing certain forgiveable but embarrassing parts of his past seems to be the quickest route.


And so in this campaign year, you have to have a road map to follow Clinton’s twists and turns on how he escaped the draft after he graduated from college.


Clinton began by stating that his avoiding the draft was “a fluke.”


But that was hardly the whole truth. Nor was it the whole truth when Clinton told reporters recently that he did not know of his uncle’s efforts to get him a Naval reserve assignment to keep him from being drafted.


According to The Los Angeles Times, the uncle’s efforts delayed Clinton’s pre-induction draft physical for almost 11 months, twice as long as normal.


Clinton applied to an Arkansas ROTC program, which he never ended up joining, and went off to Oxford, which kept him out of the draft for an extra two years.


At Oxford, Clinton wrote that letter of thanks to the ROTC colonel and said he was not willing to become a draft resister “for one reason: To maintain my political viability within the system. For years I have worked to prepare myself for a political life.”

John McCain would languish in a Hanoi prison. Bill Clinton would ponder his political viability from the comfort of an Oxford dorm. Donald Trump’s campaign venom towards John McCain in the heat of a political campaign cannot be excused. But at least President Trump is rebuilding the military John McCain loved, something the likes of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, John Kerry and others and other Democrats would not have done. Their words and actions indict them and Meghan McCain’s pretending these are honorable men to single out Trump is not okay.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

The anger of Meghan McCain at the tone deaf and disrespectful remark during the 2016 campaign made by candidate Donald Trump regarding her war hero and patriot father Sen. John McCain that Trump preferred dead heroes was justified.

The politicization of the funeral was not, particularly when her remarks were spoken in front of those who have openly loathed the military and denigrated it and who did not and do not, unlike President Trump, share John McCain’s vision of the American military as the guardian of American and global freedom. John McCain’s military, gutted by the lip-biting Barack Hussein Obama, is being rebuilt by the president Meghan McCain castigated.

Obama’s disdain for the military and those who served in it is documented and legendary and he engaged in it to the point of pettiness, as demonstrated when he interrupted a military wedding in Hawaii so he could play some golf:

It certainly didn’t help his image when two Army captains, Captains Natalie Heimel and Edward Mallue Jr. ,  were told hours before their wedding that they had to move it so Obama could play through on the golf course they had selected as the nuptial site…


The president’s 15% approval rating among active-duty military isn’t due merely to the bad optics of such incidents. It’s the result of a defunded and dispirited military led by a disinterested commander in chief who, on Nov. 20, 2009, when Obama flew to Osan Air Base in South Korea to speak to American troops, were told, “You guys make a pretty good photo-op.”…


The military has watched a failed foreign policy in which a precipitate pullout from Iraq saw town after town that had been liberated at great expense in blood and treasure, starting in Fallujah, fall to jihadis and an Islamic State whose rise Obama was warned about but ignored. Many feel with some justification that their sacrifice was for naught, ignored by a president obsessed with keeping a campaign promise to withdraw from a land where so many lost their lives and limbs.


They watched as Obama traded five top Taliban leaders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, whom many considered a deserter for abandoning his post and wandering off to find himself and the Taliban in the hills of Afghanistan. They also saw Obama let a Marine with post-traumatic stress syndrome, Andrew Tahmooressi, rot in a Mexican jail for the crime of missing his exit on his way to San Diego.


We have a smaller army than any time since before World War II and the smallest navy since 1917. Part of this drawdown has even included some 2,600 battlefield pink slips for captains and others who are serving or have served in Afghanistan.

Obama threw away the blood and treasure and sacrifice of American heroes like John McCain, American heroes he viewed as photo-ops for political purposes. Like Andrew Tahmooressi, Obama had no trouble leaving Marine Sergeant Amir Hekmati behind to languish in an Iranian prison:

A Marine veteran has been held captive in Iran since August 2011, when he was taken prisoner while visiting family and charged with spying. Does President Obama hear his plea for unconditional freedom?


With the exception of deserters like Bowe Bergdahl, those who put on a uniform and serve their country seem like afterthoughts to this administration, if they’re thought of at all.


Just ask Andrew Tahmooressi, the Marine sergeant allowed to languish 214 days in a Mexican jail for the crime of missing a highway exit. Or now, Amir Hekmati of Flagstaff, Ariz., a Marine vet who sits in an Iranian jail, having made the mistake of trying to visit his Iranian family. 


Hekmati has been locked up in Iran’s Evin Prison since he returned to his ancestral home 3-1/2 years ago to visit family. His parents left Iran when the mullahs took power in 1979. He did not think he would later be a victim of Iranian belligerence and American indifference, accused of being a CIA spy. He was first sentenced to death, but that sentence was overturned, and in a retrial he got 10 years in prison.


Unlike Bergdahl in Afghanistan, Amir served with genuine honor and distinction in Iraq, where Shiite militia groups were supplied with weapons and trained in their use by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. These weapons included sophisticated improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, designed to exploit vulnerabilities in U.S. military vehicles and increase American casualties.

Obama prefers deserters like Bowe Bergdahl to heroes like John McCain, trading terrorist Taliban leaders who slaughter Americans for traitors, welcoming and consoling Bergdahl’s parents at the White House while he ignored Bergdahl’s desertion in the heat of battle in Afghanistan

That Bergdahl was a deserter and a traitor should never have been in doubt, yet it was, partially due to President Obama sending National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who spread the Benghazi video lies on the Sunday talk show circuit, to appear on the June 1, 2014 broadcast of ABC’s “This Week” to tell two more lies, that Bergdahl was a good soldier and that trading five top Taliban commanders would not endanger U.S. security. As Breitbart reported:

Regarding the desertion allegations, she said Bergdahl, “served the United States with honor and distinction. And we’ll have the opportunity eventually to learn what has transpired in the past years.”


Rice also said that “assurances relating to the movement, the activities, the monitoring of those detainees [released in exchange for Bergdahl] give us confidence that they cannot and, in all likelihood, will not pose a significant risk to the United States. And that it is in our national interests that this transfer had been made.”

In fact, the Taliban trade of the terrorist equivalent of four-star generals jeopardized U.S. security and was done to exploit Bergdahl’s captivity to help Obama to get the worst of the worst out of Guantanamo to facilitate his campaign pledge of closing the facility. That Bergdahl was a deserter should never have been in doubt, judging by the universal condemnation of those who served with him. Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) noted that fact and editorialized that Obama feared a court-martial because it could lead to him being charged with providing material assistance to a terrorist enemy:

 Every one of the men who served with Bergdahl or tried to find him and who have spoken out publicly has said he was clearly a deserter.


Indeed, the uncontestable fact is that Bergdahl walked away from his post in a time of war, leaving his weapon and gear behind. He was not out for a walk to relieve stress or clear his head.


“Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him,” former Sgt. Matt Vierkant told CNN. At least six soldiers died in operations looking for Bergdahl.


Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano has said that Obama dreads a court-martial for desertion, which is what the report might recommend, because questions regarding a trade providing material assistance to a terrorist group could be asked.


“We have a federal statute which makes it a felony to provide material assistance to any terrorist organization,” Napolitano said. “It could be money, maps, professional services, any asset whatsoever, (including) human assets.”

John McCain served with honor and distinction. Bowe Bergdahl did not. Meghan McCain had no unkind invective subtly directed towards President Obama, who loathed everything John McCain stood for in and out of the military. One remembers the dismissive tone Obama took towards McCain during the health care summit:

“People are angry,” McCain said. “We promised them change in Washington, and what we got was a process that you and I both said we would change.”


He called on Democrats to “go back to the beginning” and “remove all the special deals for the special interests and the favored few,” adding that he favors a system in which “geography does not dictate what kind of health care.”


A visibly annoyed Mr. Obama immediately responded, saying “we can spend the remainder of the time with our respective talking points going back and forth. We were supposed to be talking about insurance.”


“We’re not campaigning anymore,” he told McCain. “The election’s over.”

So much for a common interest and working with McCain to solve America’s problems. John McCain, as Meghan McCain noted, was proud of America. President Obama, upon election, immediately embarked on an apology tour and a vociferous campaign denouncing the very American exceptionalism John McCain believed in.

Meghan McCain also trashed Trump in front of Michelle Obama, who once famously noted during her husband’s 2008 campaign her disdain for America and its history:

Speaking in Milwaukee, Wis., on Monday, she said, “People in this country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics and… for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”


Greeted with rousing applause after making the comment in Milwaukee, Obama delivered an amended version of the speech later that day in Madison, Wis.


“For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country… not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change,” she said. “I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment.”

There in front of Meghan McCain was former Secretary of State John Kerry, who has opposed military preparedness and slandered the American forces in Vietnam as rapists and pillagers in congressional testimony:

Kerry, of course, first appeared on the national stage in 1971 when he testified, fresh from his swift-boat service in Vietnam, that U.S. troops had routinely “raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan…”


In 2005, he made our troops sound like terrorists when he accused them of “going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night (and) terrorizing kids, children, (and) women,” and “breaking historical and religious customs.”


In 1985, as a freshman senator, he called for a four-year, $200 billion defense cut, including cancellation of 27 weapons systems, weapons and money that enabled us to win the Cold War, fight Desert Storm and finally liberate Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Then there is William Jefferson Clinton, whose wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton of Benghazi infamy, loathed the military. Slick Willie, unlike John McCain, avoided Vietnam service, preferring to go off to Oxford in England where he could bash America in bearded comfort. As journalist Roger Simon wrote in 1992:

The last time Bill Clinton was completely candid about the Vietnam draft was 23 years ago.


That’s when Clinton wrote a letter to an ROTC colonel thanking him for “saving me from the draft.”


Life was simple for Bill Clinton back then. He knew what he wanted and he knew how to get there: He wanted to avoid going to Vietnam. And he went to Oxford (though not Canada) to do so.


Now, life is not so simple for Clinton. He still knows what he wants: He wants to be president. But how to get there?


Sanitizing certain forgiveable but embarrassing parts of his past seems to be the quickest route.


And so in this campaign year, you have to have a road map to follow Clinton’s twists and turns on how he escaped the draft after he graduated from college.


Clinton began by stating that his avoiding the draft was “a fluke.”


But that was hardly the whole truth. Nor was it the whole truth when Clinton told reporters recently that he did not know of his uncle’s efforts to get him a Naval reserve assignment to keep him from being drafted.


According to The Los Angeles Times, the uncle’s efforts delayed Clinton’s pre-induction draft physical for almost 11 months, twice as long as normal.


Clinton applied to an Arkansas ROTC program, which he never ended up joining, and went off to Oxford, which kept him out of the draft for an extra two years.


At Oxford, Clinton wrote that letter of thanks to the ROTC colonel and said he was not willing to become a draft resister “for one reason: To maintain my political viability within the system. For years I have worked to prepare myself for a political life.”

John McCain would languish in a Hanoi prison. Bill Clinton would ponder his political viability from the comfort of an Oxford dorm. Donald Trump’s campaign venom towards John McCain in the heat of a political campaign cannot be excused. But at least President Trump is rebuilding the military John McCain loved, something the likes of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, John Kerry and others and other Democrats would not have done. Their words and actions indict them and Meghan McCain’s pretending these are honorable men to single out Trump is not okay.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               



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