Author Topic: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces  (Read 833890 times)

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Baker: The Elite opened the Doors to Chaos
« Reply #2300 on: February 05, 2024, 06:33:20 PM »
The Elites Opened the Doors to Migrants—and Chaos
Bleeding-heart liberalism has taken a dangerous turn toward an ideology that rejects national borders.
By Gerard Baker
Feb. 5, 2024 3:37 pm ET


On the streets of New York, two police officers are beaten by a gang of eight migrant asylum seekers. Five of them are released without bail, one of them literally flipping the finger at the American public as he goes. The other three simply disappear.

On the streets of London, a woman and her two young children are doused with lethal chemicals. The suspect was twice denied asylum in the U.K. but managed to stay and was convicted of a serious sexual assault, then was granted asylum on appeal. The victims are left with life-altering injuries. A member of Parliament from the governing Conservative Party tells a television audience that this is a warning about the consequences of “microaggressions” that women face every day.


In Sweden a gang war between rival groups of migrants is unleashing havoc on the citizens of what was once a global model of social harmony. The European media descend on the country and publish dark warnings about the rise of “far right” anti-immigrant parties.

In Chicago, a “sanctuary city” recently inundated with illegal migrants, and where gang crime (most of it not migrant-related) is rampant, the City Council rouses itself from its indifference to pass a resolution that calls for antagonists to put down their arms—in Gaza.

It is tempting to look at these recent events across two continents and conclude that we in the West aren’t a serious civilization anymore, that our commitment to liberal principles, openness and tolerance have inured us to our peril; that our values are no longer fit for purpose in an open world of existential threats.

The deeper reality is that it isn’t our values that have failed. We are witnessing instead the most powerful indictment of a political and cultural elite whose hegemony is long overdue to meet its nemesis. The demographic reality of an overpopulated and still immiserated global south that is disgorging hundreds of millions of people to the wealthy north is making chaos of the attitudes and decisions of a ruling elite that—by design or accident—seems hell-bent on the West’s self-annihilation.

Perhaps I exaggerate. But the scale of the migration crisis in the west—more than the rise of China, the challenge of new technologies or the climate—seems to me the issue that will increasingly define the politics of our age.

Let’s be clear about migrants and crime. It has been pointed out that there is no evidence of greater criminal activity among illegal migrants than among the general population. There’s limited data on the subject but a 2020 study found that illegal immigrants in Texas are less likely to be arrested for a felony than native-born citizens or legal immigrants.

This makes sense. If you are here illegally you live life in a demimonde defined by evading detection, and therefore might be more likely to be drawn into crime. But it is also true that if you are here illegally you have an especially strong incentive to avoid doing anything that gets you into an encounter with law enforcement.

But the argument spectacularly misses the point. Of course the overwhelming majority of migrants here illegally don’t beat up cops or throw toxic substances at innocent women. But one single crime committed by one perpetrator who is in the country without legal leave is an especially heinous reality. One innocent victim whose life was ended or ruined by someone who should have been prevented from being in the country in the first place is a particularly noxious form of crime that naturally enrages citizens and immigrants who are here lawfully.

It is the blithe response to these shocking episodes of criminality that reveals the dysfunctions of which we are all victims, a response rooted in the idea that the rest of the world has as much right to be in our country as everyone else. This attitude, prevalent on the left, might once have been attributable to a misguided but understandable human empathy—what we used to call bleeding-heart liberalism. It is after all derived from the most fundamental Christian ideal—our obligation to take in and support our disadvantaged fellow humans.

But it seems now, in the post-Christian west, much more of an ideological postnationalism. You don’t have to believe in theories about a “great replacement” to see that the policies in the U.S. and Europe that have unleashed mass immigration in the past few years aren’t born of neglect or incompetence but are a deliberate choice to open their nations to all comers.

Unless we turn back now, the consequences of all this will overwhelm us. Migrant crime will surely get worse, our drug epidemic will widen, our exposure to terrorism will increase. Also in the U.K. this week, a leading Conservative who represents a constituency with a sizable Jewish population announced he was leaving Parliament because he can no longer deal with the death threats he has been facing from Islamists.

If we don’t act in the face of this building demographic wave to seize back control of our borders, the day is coming when we will no longer even be able to affirm the primacy of our values.


Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Tower 22, you are on your own (drone bait)
« Reply #2301 on: February 06, 2024, 09:14:58 AM »


Tower 22, You’re on Your Own
Why did the U.S. leave soldiers defenseless in the middle of Jordan?
By Matthew Hennessey
Feb. 4, 2024 4:22 pm ET


It’s the name of the place that’s left me with an angry and unsettled feeling: Tower 22. Not a base or a camp, not even an outpost. Just a tower in the desert. News reports make it sound like an exposed jumble of sandbags, chicken wire and shipping containers tucked into a triangle of Jordanian bandit country between Syria and Iraq.


Those who died at Tower 22 never had a chance to defend themselves. They were likely sleeping when the drone attack happened, beat tired after a long day’s work in the sun. Perhaps they dreamed of their homes and families in Georgia, where it gets hot, but not as hot as it does in the desert.

President Biden told the world to expect a swift response. “While we are still gathering the facts of this attack, we know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq,” he said in a statement. “We will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing.”

A week ticked by. In a surprise move, Kataib Hezbollah, the militia presumed responsible, pre-emptively surrendered, announcing meekly that it would no longer attack Americans. Pinky promise. In an even more surprising move, the Biden administration then telegraphed its punch, leaking to the press that the U.S. military had identified some targets that it would soon strike.

In the most surprising development, Politico reported Thursday night that U.S. intelligence officials now believe Tehran doesn’t actually exert all that much influence over groups like Kataib Hezbollah and Hamas. As Humphrey Bogart might say, it appears we were misinformed.

Why all the pussyfooting? The Biden administration, like the Obama administration, is a little too willing to let Iranian-funded militias and proxies kill Americans. Only when the home-front chirping grows too loud to ignore does the White House summon the will to retaliate. But before the bombs fall, the mullahs always get a courtesy call: Clear out boys, the Yanks are coming.

U.S. airstrikes over the weekend hit mostly evacuated Iranian and militia positions in eastern Syria and Iraq. It was a fireworks show. The actual Iranians had already scurried to safety. How many millions of dollars’s worth of munitions did we just detonate to get the president out of a tough news cycle?

It would be dispiriting, to say the least, if the Biden administration were willing to sacrifice some number of American soldiers during an election year because a wider war with Iran polls poorly. But the pussyfooting is so habitual that I often wonder if something more sinister is going on. What do the Iranians have on these guys?

In any Western movie, there’s a scene when the hero realizes he’s outnumbered and alone. Nobody’s coming to his rescue. That’s what America’s fighting men and women must be feeling these days. Our Red Sea sailors and Tower 22 soldiers could once have been called sitting ducks. Today we can call them drone bait.

This beef between the U.S. and Iran is now nearly half a century old. It’s time to settle it. If we aren’t going to do that, we should get our people the hell out of the desert. Send them back to their homes and families, where they belong.

Mr. Hennessey is the Journal’s deputy editorial features editor.

Body-by-Guinness

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It Ain’t an Accident
« Reply #2302 on: February 06, 2024, 08:08:06 PM »
VDH lays it out:

Is Biden Malicious, Incompetent, or Conniving?
81 Comments / February 5, 2024
Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

What Excites Biden?

Things are becoming so strange, so surreal, so nihilistic in contemporary America that the chaos can only be deliberate. Chance, incompetence, and accident could not alone explain the series of disasters we now daily witness that are nearly destroying the country.

When the ailing and non-compos-mentis president now speaks, he rarely becomes excited about Iranian or terrorist provocations. Biden seems restrained even at Russia’s outlawry in Ukraine. The atrocities of Hamas now earn only measured objections from Biden. He does not seem too angered by the collapse of the border. Nor do the deaths of 100,000 Americans to imported fentanyl earn a loud trademark Biden scream.

No, what earns his unchecked ire, often expressed in shouts and hysterical tones, are Donald Trump and his supporters. Most recently, out of nowhere, Biden resurrected the old and proven falsehood that Trump had libeled the Normandy dead as losers and suckers. He then compounded that libel by claiming Trump’s supposed dismissal of the heroic dead was a grievous family insult to his own late son, who did not die either in combat or while in uniform but in 2015, tragically, from brain cancer.

During these anti-Trump fits, Biden wakes up and his face tightens up. He begins screaming, in uncharacteristic, animated fashion, anytime he can smear half the nation’s voters as “semi-fascists” and “ultra-MAGA” extremists. In private, he swears that Trump is a “f—ing asshole” and “sick f—k.” If only Biden substituted “cartel” or “Iran” or “Hamas” for “Trump” or “MAGA.” we might see an animate president.

A Borderless Nation

Meanwhile, a mob of illegal aliens recently tried to kick and stomp sprawled New York peace officers into senselessness—felonies that would earn any such violent citizen a decade or more on Rikers Island.

Yet somehow, only a few were arrested. Stranger still, all of them were immediately let go without bail—as if freeing wolves to prey further upon sheep.

Upon release, a few smirked and flipped their middle fingers to bystanders. Apparently, they wished to show Americans that they are violent, crude, unrepentant, and exempt. And thus they tell us that their newfound hosts are fools for letting the likes of themselves in.

And why not, given the attackers bussed with impunity to California—the land of free everything if only one qualifies as illegally residing in the U.S.

These grotesque bullies are part of the eight-million illegal aliens who pranced across the southern border without background checks—all taking Biden up on his 2019 encouragement to “surge” the border with impunity.

Many brandish their cartel affiliations. Some pay for their transit by smuggling cartel fentanyl, which contributes to 100,000 American overdose deaths per year. Others sport lengthy criminal records. All seemed to have been welcomed out of their countries by conniving Latin American governments and mysteriously invited into our country by our derelict president.

The Death of the Law

There is a continuing pattern here. Sometime around late 2020, Americans woke up in a country they no longer recognized. That summer, tens of thousands of rioters had looted, burned, killed, maimed, and assaulted for four months with veritable impunity. Leftwing mayors and governors dubbed the violence as “largely peaceful” demonstrations or a “summer of love.”

The 2020 legacy of defunding the police and exempting criminals on the basis of their race or ideology is that each week now videos circulate of massive looting, smash-and-grab epidemics, and deadly car-jackings in our major cities. No one cares much about the small business owners who are ruined.

Who laments for the poor who lose their last shopping outlet? Does the Biden administration worry over the terrified employees who are ordered to stand back or the occasional security officer totem instructed to stand down?

Instead, we are to empathize with the thief, the assaulter, the rapist, and the carjacker—at least in the sense that he does not deserve punishment for the mayhem he caused, given we, not he, are supposedly the true guilty parties. A lot of innocent and defenseless people have been assaulted and killed since 2020 as the wage of that toxic theory.

So the subtext of all these violent acts is exemption based on perceived correct race, ideology, or membership in the supposed victim/oppressed binary. The perpetrators are either not arrested, let out the same day as arrested, never charged, or never convicted. And the result is a growing distrust of the law and a cynicism that there is little law anymore, just statutes used against political undesirables.

If, for just one month, the Biden justice department used the same resources and budget it has spent the last three years rounding up bystanders at the January 6 riot and instead prosecuted, convicted, and jailed these big-city violent assailants, then the crime epidemic could be solved.

The Implosion of the University

As a general rule, in 2024, the more “prestigious” our universities, and the more they prided themselves as elite or Ivy-League, the more likely there were racially segregated dorms and graduations, a virtual anti-Semitic hounding of Jewish students, grade inflation, watered-down courses, and pro-Hamas terrorist demonstrations.

For nearly a hundred years, universities told us that the SAT or ACT admittance exam was critical in determining their admissions. It was sold as a way to confirm the potential and preparation necessary to perform at a level demanded by these elite schools. The tests were praised as a meritocratic tool to determine talent by honing grade point averages and allowing opportunity to those without money and contacts. Then suddenly, in 2021, these tests were mostly junked.

That dismissal of standardized tests was a de facto admission that:

1) Universities had been admittedly wrong for a century that standardized admissions tests had any value in determining the degree of student preparation needed to complete a rigorous Ivy League class load.

or 2) in the interest of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the university would now be free to admit students who could not meet their prior unrealistic or unnecessary standards and instead would accommodate new students by suddenly inflating grades, introducing easier classes, or diminishing required course work.

Of course, the university admits to neither of these realities. It compounds the deception and fraud by claiming new generations of students are more competitive and gifted than ever and will leave with degrees that guarantee employers rigorously trained graduates. Time will soon tell.

The End of Deterrence

The same nihilism characterizes our foreign policy.

Our worst enemies could not have planned a more disastrous and humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan than the Biden administration’s August 2021 scamper. We simply, without an afterthought, abandoned billions of dollars of sophisticated weapons to Taliban terrorists.

We left behind a $1 billion new embassy and a remodeled Air Force base. We bragged about taking out terrorists with a “righteous strike” that wiped out an entire friendly Afghan family, while 13 American service personnel were blown up trying to secure a non-securable escape route.

Then followed the mysterious laxity as a Chinese spy balloon lazily traversed the U.S. with impunity. Next was the radical drop-off in military recruitment. If one wished to ensure that the one group that serves—and dies—in combat units at twice its demographics would exit the military en masse, prompting an enlistment crisis, the Pentagon could not have done a better job.

The top brass all but accused its white male recruits of being prone to toxic white supremacy, only to form a task force to root it out—and then discover such rage and hatred never existed in the first place.

It nonetheless drummed out 8,400 veterans for not receiving the mRNA vaccinations, many of whom had naturally acquired immunity and real doubts about the efficacy or safety of the inoculations. And, finally, the Pentagon made it known that prior standards of recruitment, promotion, and evaluation had apparently weakened the military. Therefore, new race- and gender-based criteria would ensure fewer and now unneeded white males in positions of rank and influence.

Abroad, China serially threatens to annex Taiwan. A hungry and perennially restless Vladimir Putin once upon a time thought he was restrained from invading his neighbors by fear of more costs incurred than the likelihood of benefits to be gained. But like an earlier reaction to a weakened U.S. in 2008 and 2014, Putin assumed that the 2022 Biden administration would likely do little if he annexed greater swaths of Ukraine. And so he invaded.

National security advisor Jack Sullivan, on the eve of the October 7 Hamas massacres of Jewish citizens, claimed the Middle East was at last calm. Now it is on the verge of a theater-wide war, once Iran sensed that the Biden team would appease and beg it to behave.

So the Biden administration was eager to end oil sanctions, plead with Iran to reenter the Iran Deal, remove the Houthis from terrorist designations, route billions of dollars to Tehran for hostages, junk the Abrams accords, and restore millions of dollars in please-be-nice bribe money to the Palestinians.

Biden’s abject misreading of human nature has ensured that a thuggish theocracy that slaughters abroad and tortures at home would interpret that reproachment as either naiveté or stupidity. And thus it would respond with contempt and escalating aggression. And so it has.

Somehow, over just three years, the Biden administration did to the Middle East what it did to the southern border: blew it up in the same exact manner of mindlessly undoing any policy that had previously worked with Trump’s finger prints on them.

What Is Going On?

What is the common denominator, what is the rationale behind the anarchy, and what is the reason why a president would so willingly rend the fabric of America?

Why would the government privilege the illegal alien over the law-abiding citizen? The violent pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic foreign-born protestor over the peaceful pro-Israel, U.S. citizen? The smash-and-grabber over the dutiful security guard?

We are nearing a French Revolution, reign-of-terror moment. The law seems to be what a cabal of hardcore leftists who control the Oval Office say it is.

Joe Biden’s administration offers no better confirmation of warnings from Thucydides to Thomas Hobbes that the veneer of civilization is precious, hard-won, quite thin, and beneath it churns innate human savagery and chaos roaring to be released.

So why did Biden unleash the hounds of anti-civilization? Did he despise the supposedly boring middle-class citizen who follows the law, pays all his taxes, and never gets arrested? Does he hate the idea of meritocracy? In Biden’s puppeteers’ dangerous calculus, is all this savagery and chaos a deliberate mechanism to ensure parity? Equity? Inclusion?

So is the deliberate nihilism—economic, social, cultural, social, and political—a way of leveling the field? Making life difficult for the more successful? Making those who cherish the traditions and protocols of America pay?

Is that the plan to take the country to near collapse, and then only at the abyss itself to force revolutionary change—or else?

How else can anyone explain the descent of our city downtowns into dank medieval cesspits, our notion of male and female transformed into the sexual circus right out of Petronius’s Satyricon, our race relations into a mixture of Rwanda and Yugoslavia, and our universities into Soviet-like “People’s Universities of Correct Thought?”

None of this was by accident. It is the dividend of a philosophy that says, “We have to blow up your America before we can reboot it for us.”


https://victorhanson.com/is-biden-malicious-incompetent-or-conniving/

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: America is having the wrong election
« Reply #2303 on: February 10, 2024, 09:21:59 AM »

Contrast this with the Putin interview with Tucker!

=========================================


Opinion | America Is Having the Wrong Election

There’s a lot of ruin in a nation (as Adam Smith once put it). There’s a lot of ruin in Russia. Russia is a real state, with a real military tradition. Its badly treated soldiers perform rather than melting away. Its factories maintain a flow of war supplies. Its recruiters wangle bodies to throw into the ranks.

These unoriginal discoveries about Russia point to a certain outcome for Ukraine if the West is not involved or not sufficiently involved.

It seems worth mentioning that the $25 billion the Biden administration proposes to spend on the southern border plus the $60 billion it seeks to spend on Ukraine amount to just 1.3% of the federal budget. Laughable, except perhaps under today’s circumstances, would be any idea that Washington can’t do both simultaneously, plus the other 98.7% of federal activities.

The U.S. is the world’s top economic performer right now; NATO represents 24 times Russia’s gross domestic product, and that’s before you add Japan and South Korea.

From any clear-eyed view, the pygmy Mr. Putin is trying to bluff the collective West with a one-year Russian military spending increase of $35 billion. That’s a quarter of what Americans spend annually on pet supplies. It’s also an increase Mr. Putin can’t repeat next year, much less year after year into the future.


But listen to what certain voters are saying through their GOP representatives if only because it’s driving events: They won’t trust a government that allows its own border to collapse to pursue its aims in Ukraine, however urgent governing elites think those aims are.

For a historical parallel, Truman didn’t have to “scare the hell out of the country” over Korea, because he’d already scared the hell out of the country, in Sen. Arthur Vandenberg’s phrase, three years earlier over Greece and Turkey. Under way when North Korea, with Russian and Chinese backing, invaded South Korea was the Western military buildup and alliance strengthening that ultimately won the Cold War.

In turn, this allowed Truman-Eisenhower to settle for half a loaf in Korea eventually without sacrificing U.S. credibility (in fact the opposite).

But Joe Biden can’t level with the American people about the stakes. His electoral coalition would abandon him overnight. Even if (in a truly bizarre circumstance) he didn’t have to sell the country on a visibly senescent president being good enough right now, his allies have zero appetite for the necessary change in fiscal or policy priorities and he knows it.

In the tapestry of self-delusion, John Kerry turns out to be the key Biden administration figure. His hand-waving as climate envoy, his Potemkin pretense of bringing China along, helped the administration tie up trillions now and in the future in U.S. climate policy. This money will remain tied up even though China’s predictable noncooperation guarantees that it will have no actual effect on climate.

The other big Democratic coalition investment has been identity politics, good for sowing division that benefits the sowers, utterly inimical to rallying the country to meet a national security challenge.

You can expect Mr. Biden to double down on these coalition investments when he gives his State of the Union next month, never mind history screaming that preventing the next war needs to be the urgent focus.

Donald Trump is no better. Asked about Taiwan recently, he instantly changed the subject to the Taiwanese “stealing” our chip industry. NATO? The alliance is still ripping us off and always will be because that’s what his voters want to hear. (Even the most ardent Trump admirers might balk at him as a war leader.)

These are can-kicking answers by can-kicking politicians, understandably because both know nothing good comes to them from bringing voters the truth. Twice in the last century it cost the U.S. and the world dearly when the U.S. couldn’t get its act together to supply an ounce of deterrence when it was needed. Here we are again.

If the U.S. can’t find the focus and perseverance to steer the Ukraine war to an acceptable outcome, try figuring out how a future showdown over Taiwan ends.

China blockades and attacks the island. The U.S. tries to block China’s oil and grain imports.

The Chinese sink a couple of our ships. We sink a couple of theirs.

They bomb our bases on Guam or Okinawa. We bomb theirs on the mainland.

It’s not a war about Taiwan anymore. Both sides are fingering their nuclear weapons. It’s also a war neither side should want, but a paranoid and demonstrably obtuse authoritarian regime avoiding a disastrous miscalculation is a crummy variable to bet on. A sad and visible corollary right now is that the U.S., with all its allied strength and potential, hasn’t deterred much lately.

Body-by-Guinness

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Nothing but Selective Prosecution to Political Ends
« Reply #2304 on: February 10, 2024, 05:32:57 PM »
This is the best, concise, ardently argued piece on the topic of Trump’s selective prosecution:

[Steven Calabresi] Donald Trump is the Victim of Selective Prosecution

The Volokh Conspiracy / by Steven Calabresi / February 10, 2024 at 08:35AM

[Trump is the victim of political witch hunts by Democrats suffering from Trump derangement syndrome]

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that "A selective prosecution claim is not a defense on the merits to the criminal charge itself, but an independent assertion that the prosecutor has brought the charge for reasons forbidden by the Constitution."  United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456 (1996). The defendant must prove that "the *** prosecution policy 'had a discriminatory effect and that it was motivated by a discriminatory purpose.'" Tyler v. Boles, 368 U.S. 448 (1962).

Among the discriminatory purposes, which are barred by the selective prosecution doctrine are discrimination involving the Equal Protection Clause and on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, or political alignment.  I think Donald Trump is absolutely right on the merits in the four criminal cases which have been brought against him and in the New York State civil fraud case. But, I also think that all five of these legal actions against Trump are nothing less than a political witch hunt that is motivated by political ambition in the two cases brought respectively by New York State Attorney General Letitia James and by District Attorney Alvin Bragg.  Trump's First Amendment rights are being stripped away by discriminatory legal actions brought against him because of his political views in flagrant violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause.

The New York civil case in which Trump is at risk of being fined $370 million for fraud and being barred from ever doing business in New York State again is a victimless crime.  No bank or lender complained that Trump had defrauded them, and the Democratic State Attorney General's accusations that Trump inflated the value of his assets to get favorable loans is standard practice in the New York real estate market.  The banks that loaned Trump the money he borrowed discounted the value of Trump's assets from what he claimed, just as they do with every other real estate mogul in the New York real estate market.  Letitia James brought this civil action because New York State Democrats suffer from Trump derangement syndrome, and James wants to win some future New York Democratic primary.  In doing so, James is violating Trump's First Amendment rights and his rights under the Equal Protection clause.  James should have to show that some other New York businessman has been prosecuted for hundreds of millions of dollars and threatened with a ban on doing business in New York for conduct like Trump's.  She cannot do that because the politically charged Trump lawsuit she has brought against Trump is one of a kind.

Alvin Bragg's indictment of Trump for paying hush money to Stormy Daniels and not reporting it as a campaign expenditure is also a case of selective prosecution.  John Edwards, the Vice Presidential running mate along with John Kerry in 2004, had used more than $1 million in campaign money to hide his very own illegitimate affair.  Edwards case led to the U.S. Justice Department adopting guideline against brining charges about the use of campaign funds to cover up sexual affairs.  If John Edwards gets off, then Donald Trump should too. This is another case of selective prosecution based on Trump's political views to go after him so Alvin Bragg can win a Democratic primary in New York for some higher elective office.

The criminal federal classified document case brought in Florida by Jack Smith is yet another travesty of unequal justice based on party affiliation in violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause.  For years, Barack Obama knew that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, had an insecure personal computer at her home, which she was illegally using to store and exchange highly classified top secret information.  Neither Obama nor his Attorney General Loretta Lynch chose to prosecute Clinton for these violations of the criminal law.  Most recently, President Joe Biden was excused from prosecution for violations of the law concerning classified documents stored in one's house.  Donald Trump, however, does get prosecuted for mishandling classified documents.  This is a blatant double standard for Republicans and Democrats on the handling of classified information.  Again, Trump is being selectively prosecuted in violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause.

The January 6th, 2021 indictments of Donald Trump are also blatantly unfair.  To begin with, Jack Smith is an unconstitutionally appointed Special Counsel for reasons I point out in my law review article with Gary Lawson: Why Robert Mueller's Appointment Was Unlawful? 95 Notre Dame University Law Review 87 (2019).  All Trump did on January 6, 2021 was to give his followers a fiery speech and urge them to "fight like hell." Trump never urged his followers to disrupt the counting of the Electoral votes from each state.  Trump had a First Amendment right to give the speech he gave at the Ellipse, and he is again the victim of a selective prosecution in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

As for the Georgia case, Fani Willis is angling to win a future Democratic primary by going after Donald Trump over a phone call in which Trump exercised his First Amendment rights to ask if more Trump votes could be found in Georgia.  This is again selective prosecution of Trump by a Democratic prosecutor in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

In my 34 years as a law professor, I have repeatedly seen the rules in legal academia bent dramatically to favor liberals over conservatives.  I thus identify with what Trump is going through in terms of selective prosecution.  Trump's First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause rights are being flagrantly violated, and the U.S. Supreme Court should put an end to this charade now.

The post Donald Trump is the Victim of Selective Prosecution appeared first on Reason.com.

https://reason.com/volokh/2024/02/10/donald-trump-is-the-victim-of-selective-prosecution/

Crafty_Dog

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Body-by-Guinness

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Progressive Barbarism Ascends
« Reply #2306 on: February 20, 2024, 01:20:11 PM »
This piece does a fine job of illuminating the various self-contradictions of today's "progressive" movement:

The rise of barbaric progressivism
Antisemitism, racial hierarchy, violence, and an alliance with radical Islam have seized the commanding heights of the movement.

BENJAMIN KERSTEIN
DEC 18, 2023

Shortly before he died in the late 1930s, Sigmund Freud, by then a refugee from Nazism, wrote, “We live in very remarkable times. We find with astonishment that progress has concluded an alliance with barbarism.” He was referring to the rise of fascism and communism, and their combination of the most modern forms of science, technology, economic theory, and even aesthetics with the most horrific and savage forms of violence and sadism.

Freud was a man of the Enlightenment—perhaps the last man of the Enlightenment—and equated modernity with progress and civilization. Thus, to witness the degradation of modernity as it comingled with the kind of animalistic brutality that he saw as belonging to earlier and less enlightened stages of human history was shocking to him, as it was to many.

His obsession with this problem dated back to the carnage of World War I, in which the most “civilized” part of the world had turned itself into a technological charnel house that consumed millions of lives seemingly without reason. In the face of this, Freud eventually reached very dark conclusions about human nature and the nature of human civilization. He concluded that because civilizational progress required greater and greater repression of the most basic human drives, people are more and more repressed and unhappy the more they progress and the more civilized they become. Eventually, this repression cannot hold, and the savage energies built up beneath centuries of sublimation explode in periodic eruptions of horrendous violence and destruction. Progress, in other words, leads inexorably toward barbarism.

Today, the most fervent believers in the power of progress in the United States are the members and supporters of the eponymous progressive movement. It is a bit difficult to fully define this movement, as it is easily confused with other movements of the left like socialism, communism, and even anarchism. It is possible, however, to say that its view of progress is the polar opposite of Freud’s. By and large, it holds that 1) Humanity can be made better and even perfected. 2) The history of humanity is the history of inexorable progress toward that perfection. 3) It is the duty of the individual and society to be on “the right side” of that history—that is, on the side of progress. 4)  Humanity’s ultimate state of perfection will take the form of a blessed society in which suffering, poverty, and oppression have been overcome. 5) Anything that opposes or retards progress is a form of metaphysical evil.

All of these sound like fairly “civilized” goals. Moreover, the movement itself has always been one of the elite upper-middle class and its intelligentsia, meaning that, by all rights, progressives ought to be the most “civilized” people in the world. Yet large factions of today’s progressive movement are showing clear signs that Freud was quite correct in his diagnosis of progress and its discontents.

While today’s progressivism maintains its façade of upper-middle class rectitude, it barely conceals a quasi-totalitarian mentality that puts down any dissent or opposition without much compunction. At the same time, many progressives have engaged in considerable violence and allied themselves with forces that are not only violent themselves, but categorically reject the values and mores that progressives themselves claim to hold sacred. Many progressives have gone so far as to adopt ideologies they claim to oppose passionately, such as racial hierarchy and antisemitism. The cost to the moral integrity of the movement has been immense, and there are no signs that the descent is slowing, let alone reversing itself.

The progressives’ turn to violence first appeared in the one institution over which progressivism exercises near-absolute rule—academia. Recent years have seen the emergence of a kind of progressive dictatorship of the professoriate, a totalitarian regime that denies its subjects the right not only to believe but even to hear ideas that might cast doubt on progressivism’s rectitude. For some time, this was accomplished by administrative corruption and quiet censorship. Today, however, it is largely accomplished by mob violence. The professoriate’s shock troops shout down and assault speakers; disrupt events; attack opposing activists; engage in intimidation, harassment, and psychological abuse; and aggressively “deplatform” anyone with whom they disagree. Thus, while freedom of thought and speech are not outright forbidden in the academy, they have become impossible to exercise, much as Islamic religious laws against depictions of Muhammad have been imposed on Western societies through the threat of terrorism.

This culture of progressive violence emerged in full during the events surrounding the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police. While the Black Lives Matter protests that followed were often peaceful, a very large number were not, and left-wing groups like Antifa played a large role in the looting, burning, vandalism, property damage, and general anarchy that devasted several urban centers and led to a massive spike in crime as police withdrew for fear of further public execration. Along with this, and not only in the US, a campaign of iconoclasm took place that saw statues pulled down and monuments destroyed and defaced, including a statue of Winston Churchill and the Cenotaph in London. Even statues of decidedly non-racist figures like Theodore Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant were allowed to be pulled down for fear of further mayhem. Many progressives who did not themselves participate in these brutal campaigns of intimidation and violence either excused or supported them.

Particularly disturbing is that a large number of progressives—perhaps a majority—have adopted two of the most egregious ideologies they purport to oppose: antisemitism and racism. It has often been said that all totalitarian ideologies eventually end in the Elders of Zion, and the examples of Hitler and Stalin appear to bear this out. Indeed, as it has become more totalitarian, progressivism has also become more antisemitic. It tends to couch this antisemitism in the language of anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel, but its rhetoric is so vitriolic and hateful, its violence against Jews and Zionists so intense, and its support for the most horrendous antisemitic atrocities so open and palpable, that no other conclusions can be drawn.

Progressive antisemitism is both a very old and a very new form of antisemitism. Its basis is as ancient as the Elders of Zion: The belief that the Jews are a corrupt, evil, and omnipotent plutocracy. But progressivism has recast this in the language of its own ideology, claiming that, in the form of Israel, the Jews victimize not only Palestinians but also people of color, the LGBT community, and other fetishized groups. Jews are seen as the ultimate manifestation and beneficiaries of “white privilege”—an amorphous and situational term at best—and this “privilege” must be smashed for justice to prevail. In effect, the Jews are cast as the enemies of progress itself. Thus, they are a metaphysical evil that must be scythed by the arc of history.

This antisemitism is intimately connected to the issue of race. It is, in fact, difficult to overstate the extent to which progressivism is now defined by racial politics and the idea of racial hierarchy. In effect, progressivism sees the world as a pyramid with Jews and “white people” at the top, and everyone else in a descending progression downward, with people of color and Palestinians at the bottom. Unlike in the past, however, today’s progressivism no longer wants to do away with this hierarchy, it simply wants to reverse it. It adopts the admonition of the Gospel of Matthew that “the last shall be first, and the first last.”

While perhaps admirable at first glance, the problem with this is obvious: Even if the last becomes first and vice versa, there is still a first and a last. That is, the ostensibly unjust hierarchy remains, it has simply been turned on its head. There is still oppressor and oppressed, superior and inferior, destroyer and destroyed. Nothing has been solved, nothing has been improved, and no one has been liberated. Nothing, in other words, has progressed.

Even more disturbing, perhaps, is a prevailing belief among progressives that was perhaps most succinctly put in a reported statement by a New York Times staffer: “I just feel like racism is in everything.” It is safe to say that this is the hegemonic view among progressives today, and the implications are extremely disturbing. While such comparisons are usually facile and by definition inaccurate, it is not an exaggeration to say that this is Nazism. That is, the basis and foundation of Nazism was that racism is in everything. It viewed race as the sole active metaphysical force in existence, permeating every aspect of human and indeed animal life, and racism as the only means of understanding and harnessing it. That many of today’s progressives now more or less agree both explains a great deal and bodes very ill for the future of the movement and the American society it seeks to radically change.

All of these pathologies seem to have coalesced around what critics call the “Red-Green Alliance,” a term that refers to a political axis composed of progressives and Islamic radicals. This seemingly bizarre phenomenon, which the philosopher John Gray calls “Islamo-Leninism,” has been developing for a long time, but it emerged in full during the ugly mob events that followed the October 7, 2023 massacre committed in southern Israel by the terrorist group Hamas. In a well-coordinated and well-funded attempt to prevent Israeli retaliation, celebrate the massacre, and express solidarity with the genocidal organization, thousands took to the streets of major cities in the US and Europe shouting antisemitic slogans and calling for Israel’s destruction. These mobs were composed almost entirely of progressive activists and radical Muslims. The same was true of those who harassed, intimidated, and physically attacked Jewish students in the streets and on college campuses. Anyone wearing recognizably Jewish clothing and symbols, or was simply known to be Jewish, became a target. In one case, a Muslim academic beat a Jewish man to death with a megaphone. The wave of racism and violence so shocked the American Jewish community that a protest march held in Washington, DC drew 300,000 people.

The sight of radical feminists marching side by side with those to whom patriarchy is a sacrament, LGBT people standing shoulder to shoulder with those who would gladly murder them in another context, socialists expressing solidarity with advocates of genocidal theocracy, and alleged human rights activists embracing supporters of religious apartheid and terrorism was incomprehensible to many, but it was not unprecedented. In the 1960s, for example, the radical left strongly supported Algeria’s terrorist FLN, which was influenced by political Islam to a far greater degree than many then and now have been prepared to acknowledge. In the 1979 Iranian revolution, leftists of all stripes helped Islamic radicals overthrow the Shah, only to have the theocrats slaughter them as soon as they had the power to do so. After 9/11, leftist sympathy for Osama bin Laden was not universal, but it was considerable and sparked a notable backlash. Today, progressives stand with, work with, and actively defend Islamic radicals in almost all aspects of life, especially political activism and most of all in anti-Israel incitement and violence.

The progressive movement’s total corruption of its own creed in the name of this alliance has not been a dignified spectacle, but it is not as incomprehensible as it seems. One of its causes is progressivism’s increasing antisemitism, which naturally leads it to align with fellow antisemites. Statistics have consistently shown that the Muslim nations are the most antisemitic in the world. Moreover, some 60% of Muslim Americans supported the October 7 massacre to some degree, meaning that they are, at the very least, fairly comfortable with the mass murder of Jewish people. That progressive antisemites find themselves in sympathy with radical Islam is natural under such circumstances.

Progressives share more with radical Islam than hatred of Jews, however. For example, both movements have an essentially messianic worldview. Islam has its final day of judgment and the progressives their blessed society. The two groups are also obsessed with the same alleged evils, such as imperialism, American foreign policy, and Western civilization in general. The alliance further plays to progressives’ obsession with race, as they have convinced themselves that all Muslims are “people of color” (they aren’t) and therefore oppressed by “white people” (they aren’t). Despite the Muslim world’s considerable trade in black African slaves, which continues to this day in various forms, progressives have decided that radical Islam is simply pursuing the shared task of overturning the global racial hierarchy and defeating “white supremacism.” That the Islamic radicals seek to replace it with Muslim supremacism does not perturb the progressives, as they likely consider it just revenge for centuries of depredation.

Most important of all, however, is that most of today’s progressives and all radical Muslims are against freedom. In the case of radical Islam, this is obvious, as they make no pretense of valuing freedom, and the movements and regimes they have built are, without exception, brutally oppressive, violent, terroristic, and totalitarian. In the case of progressives, the issue is less clear-cut, as they publicly proclaim that they value freedom, particularly for oppressed groups. But if we examine progressive actions rather than rhetoric, a different picture emerges.

It is notable, for example, that the institutions ruled by American progressives, particularly academia, are by and large the least free institutions in American society. They place a great deal of value on ideological conformity and almost none on fundamental liberties like free speech and assembly. Basic legal rights do not exist in the academic disciplinary system. Those who wish to avoid being fired or expelled for alleged transgressions must often submit to humiliating Maoist-style reeducation and struggle sessions during which they are forced to confess and repent their sins in a wretched public spectacle. As a result, progressive rule suffocates independent thought and silences criticism, thus destroying two of freedom’s greatest benefits. Similar circumstances prevail in those areas of corporate culture, the arts, the media, and even sports that are dominated or ruled by progressives.

Taken together, the above seems to indicate the emergence of a kind of barbaric progressivism. A progressivism that, while it advocates progress in certain areas, is also quite comfortable with supporting some of the most barbaric ideas imaginable, such as antisemitism, totalitarianism, religious fanaticism, theocracy, patriarchy, racism, anti-democratic politics, terrorism, rule by a designated minority, suppression of heretical ideas, and opposition to human freedom itself.

The question, then, is what Americans who have no desire to live under this kind of progressivism should do. Certainly, there are political and legal measures that could be taken, but the most important form of resistance must come from within the movement itself. Many good people in the progressive movement sincerely believe in its principles and do not want to see it collapse into barbarism. They need not exit the movement. Instead, they should stay and fight for a better progressivism, one that is at least vaguely worthy of the name. There are signs that this difficult and unhappy resistance is already underway. Whether or not it can succeed confronts the rest of us with one of the more ominous questions of our present moment.

https://benjaminkerstein.substack.com/p/the-rise-of-barbaric-progressivism

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
« Reply #2307 on: February 20, 2024, 02:44:25 PM »
A quality read.