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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, May 24, 2019

No, Mayor Pete, Erasing Thomas Jefferson is Not The ‘Right Thing To Do’

Pete Buttigieg
by Newt Gingrich: Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick warned us 35 years ago about “the Blame America First” crowd that Pete Buttigieg represents.

Despite the mayor’s effort to seem moderate and appear quiet and nonthreatening, Buttigieg is as radical as anyone else in the Democratic presidential nominating process.

Mayor Buttigieg’s anti-Americanism came out when he said on a radio interview that it was “the right thing to do” to remove former President Thomas Jefferson’s name from Indiana’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. The venerable annual event has long been a leading fundraiser for state Democratic Party organizations. It is ironic that radical Democrats want to erase the name of the founder of their party.

That’s right. In addition to authoring the Declaration of Independence in 1776 – one of Jefferson’s greatest feats of influencing human history – a host of other key documents (and demanding the Bill of Rights to protect citizens from government), Jefferson actually founded the Democratic Party. It is the oldest continuing political organization in America and dates back to 1792.

So, 227 years after Jefferson helped found the Democratic Party, the new radicals believe he isn’t fit to be in their company.

Buttigieg and the hard left-wing want to disassociate from the American founder who wrote the most radical statement of human rights in history. Jefferson rejected the power of kings, which had been the dominant form of government for thousands of years. He asserted that our rights come from God rather than men.

Buttigieg is apparently ashamed of a man who wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” After 243 years, no other phrase has had a greater ability to limit government power – and the Democrats are no longer interested.

Of course, Bernie Sanders finds the Soviet model more attractive. Some Democratic radicals find the systems in Cuba, Venezuela, or China more attractive.

However, I think most Americans understand that if you believe in freedom, you must honor Jefferson, not Karl Marx; George Washington, not Fidel Castro; and Abraham Lincoln, not Xi Jinping.

Buttigieg is a shrewd politician and a savvy operator. He can tell which way the winds are blowing in a Democratic Party. It is increasingly dominated by its activist fringe – which seeks nothing less than a total erasure of America’s history and reinterpretation of our country’s founding values.

The effort to blacklist Jefferson shows that the Left’s campaign against American history is not limited to Confederate war memorials and other low-hanging fruit. The Left’s totalitarian desire to rewrite history extends to the very heart of our heritage and the very essence of the American idea.

Even Washington, the father of the nation himself, has been added to the chopping block as part of the liberal campaign to replace the ideals of America’s founding with the “progressive” values that emerged from 1960s radicalism.

The danger represented by this campaign, with which Buttigieg so casually aligned himself, can scarcely be exaggerated.

The American Republic is the product of a group of visionaries, Jefferson prominent among them, who were willing to challenge the status quo of the 18th century. In the process, they provided a template for governing that continues to serve us well after more than two centuries.

The ideals that Jefferson articulated in the Declaration of Independence have guided and inspired this country throughout its history. To this day, they are still cherished by Americans of all political persuasions — including most Democratic voters.

It’s true that Jefferson was a slave owner, as his detractors are always quick to point out, but it’s equally true that Jefferson’s vision of a society based on individual liberty and natural rights undergirded the philosophical case for abolishing slavery – which came about less than 40 years after his death. This is a legacy worth honoring, but the Democrats would sooner forget about Jefferson’s contributions to our country entirely.

Today’s Democratic Party, unfortunately, has strayed from Jeffersonian ideals in favor of a political philosophy that considers individual rights and freedoms a grave danger to its goal of transforming America into a politically correct society of self-censoring automatons who blindly follow the dictates of an all-powerful federal government.

This may not be exactly what Buttigieg had in mind, but when he embraced the calls to whitewash Jefferson’s name from the Democratic Party’s preeminent fundraising event, he aligned himself with the extremists who believe in the antithesis of America’s founding principles.

By merely giving credence to such ideas, liberals such as Buttigieg are contributing to the unraveling of America’s sense of itself. They threaten to undermine the freedom-loving consensus that has characterized this country since its founding.

Today’s Democrats notoriously want nothing to do with the “deplorables” who won’t go along with their march toward radicalism. That apparently includes Thomas Jefferson. Having already abandoned its traditional voter base, the Democratic Party is now abandoning itself.
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Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. This commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

Tags: Newt Gingrich, commentary, No, Mayor Pete, Erasing Thomas Jefferson, Not The ‘Right Thing To Do’ To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

HHS Rules the Day

by Tony Perkins: It’s been three years since Barack Obama tried to magically change the definition of “sex” without Congress’s input. For President Trump’s team, it’s a mess they’ve been trying to mop up since he won the election. From school bathrooms to insurance plans, this administration has spent the better part of its first term righting the LGBT wrongs of the last administration. And today, Health and Human Services (HHS) turned back the clocks on one of the biggest: gender identity in health care.

“When Congress prohibited ‘sex discrimination,’ it did so according to the plain meaning of the term, and we are making our regulations conform,” said Office of Civil Rights Director Roger Severino. “The American people want vigorous protection of civil rights and faithfulness to the text of the laws passed by their representatives,” said Severino. “The proposed rule would accomplish both goals.”

Under the Obama rule, gender wasn’t based on objective, biological realities. And if you were a doctor, nurse, or clinician who disagreed, you’d have been punished. Like most liberals, the 44th president thought health care providers should be forced to provide things like gender reassignment surgeries – even if it was against their beliefs or harmful to the patient. President Trump wasted no time putting the brakes on his predecessor’s war on conscience. For the purposes of his administration, the Justice Department explained, “sex discrimination” would not include “gender identity.”

Laura Durso, vice president of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, told the Washington Post that HHS’s interpretation of that policy would give hospitals and insurers “a sweeping license to discriminate” – which is ridiculous, FRC’s Mary Beth Waddell points out, since Obama’s rule was under injunction. “So it’s never gone into effect,” she said, “Meaning that it will not change the way anyone has received service.”

In the meantime, Dr. Michelle Cretella, head of the American College of Pediatricians, is relieved. Gender identity, she’s explained, is a very real threat to modern health care – not the other way around. “Transgenders are saying, ‘I think and feel this way, therefore, I am.’ And it’s one thing for us to, as physicians, treat the person with respect and honor their name change, but it would be a complete malpractice to treat them as the opposite sex.”

As she explains, there is nothing any of us can do to change our binary, biologically-determined-at-conception sex. “A man on estrogen is not a woman. He is a man with a male physiology on estrogen, and that’s how a physician must approach him.” The very serious problem, she points out, is that people are so ideologically-driven that they want to ignore the medical research. More than ever, Dr. Cretella says, “Medicine is at the point now where we understand that men and women have -- at a minimum -- 6,500 genetic differences between us. And this impacts every cell of our bodies – our organ systems, how diseases manifest, how we diagnose, and even treat in some cases.”

Treating a person differently based on their feelings isn’t just harmful, she argues, but deadly. In cases like heart disease, certain drugs can endanger women and not men. Even diagnoses present differently in men and women. The symptoms for certain diseases, she explains, can manifest themselves in completely opposite ways. “And these are nuances that medicine is finally studying and bringing to light. And it’s actually ironic that the transgender movement [is] so anti-science.”

“There is absolutely no rigorous science that has found a trait called ‘gender identity’ in the brain, body, or DNA. Now sex -- I can show you that. It’s in our chromosomes. It’s in the body. It’s in the reproductive organs. Over 99.98 percent of the times, our sexual development is clearly and unambiguously either male or female.” The sex differences, she explains are real and consequential.

If she had one message for America, Dr. Cretella said, it would be this: “Stick with science.” Thank goodness for us, the president has.
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Tony Perkins (@tperkins) is President of the Family Research Council . This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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A Not-So-Distant Mirror - Remembering Reagan in the Age of Trump

Larry Schweikart’s Reagan: The American President
by Bruce Bawer: If I can understand to any extent at all why millions of Americans today harbor an irrational hatred for Donald Trump, it’s because I, too, at one time, bought into the media’s systematic misrepresentations of a first-rate president. In my case, the president was Ronald Reagan, the subject of Larry Schweikart’s magnificent new biography, Reagan: The American President.

Yes, I voted for Reagan in 1980, after having cast my first presidential ballot ever for Gerald Ford in 1976, but I wasn’t giving either of them a thumbs-up so much as I was expressing my abhorrence of Jimmy Carter, whose sanctimony, smugness, and self-satisfaction turned me off from the moment I first got a look at him and whose execrable performance, once he took office, made it urgent to get him out of there after one term and let him get started on his real life’s work – that of being, as Schweikart puts it, the nation’s “Moralist in Chief.”

But, no, I wasn’t a Reagan fan. Why? Simple. I was a naïve kid who read the New York Times front to back every morning, watched the network news religiously, and believed every word spat out by these oracles, having swallowed the Watergate-era myth that journalists were noble, truth-loving souls. I even made my own contribution to the anti-Reagan propaganda, writing an opinion piece for Newsweek in which I, a snot-nosed grad student, sneered at length about his supposed simplemindedness. It would take years before I grasped the extent to which I’d been brainwashed and, in my Newsweek diatribe, had only been regurgitating lies.

Some of Reagan’s biographers, too, have echoed the mendacious line taken by the mainstream media during his political career. The worst of these, Edmund Morris, who was designated by Reagan as his official biographer and given unprecedented access, spent fourteen years on the project only to publish, in 1999, a bizarre volume that mixed fact, willy-nilly, with fiction. Morris excused this irresponsible approach – a total betrayal of their agreement – by saying that Reagan had turned out to be at once weird and boring and, even after all their time together, remained a total mystery to him, thus obliging him to make stuff up. My own impression was that Morris’s exposure to Reagan revealed to him a man who, at once good and great, defied everything that the cultural establishment said about him, and whom Morris, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, dared not write about honestly for fear of being accused by his confrères of hagiography.

As fate would have it, two years after Morris’s worthless tome came Reagan: In His Own Hand, a compendious collection of radio talks written by Reagan during the period between his years in Sacramento and his years in Washington. These scripts, which covered almost every imaginable topic, displayed a thorough grasp of the issues and an impressive writing talent, and blasted to bits the image of him as a lazy dolt. Now, in Schweikart’s biography – the first to be based primarily on the Reagan archives – we finally have a solid life by a professional historian who, gratifyingly, rejects the decades of fraudulent spin and seeks earnestly to capture the real Reagan.

And what to say about the real Reagan, as portrayed in these pages? First of all, he was, as his strongest supporters always recognized, a decent man. His mother instilled in him “an abiding belief in the triumph of good over evil.” When, after college, he began a career as a radio announcer, he sent ten percent of his salary to his older brother, Neil, who was still a student. When Reagan screen tested in 1937 for Warner Brothers, the studio bosses weren’t sure about his acting, but they put him under contract anyway because they were so taken by his “wholesomeness.” When, a couple of months into his presidency, he was shot by John Hinckley, he found, on the way to the hospital, that he couldn’t bring himself to ask God for help “while at the same time I felt hatred for the mixed up young man who shot me,” and so he “prayed for Hinckley’s soul.”

The downside of this goodness was that Reagan, while no fool, was, like Anne Frank, ingenuous enough to believe that most people were essentially good. As Schweikart observes, his sunny view of humanity led to an “idealistic view that the US government was more or less pristine”; while he criticized faceless “bureaucracy” and “big government,” he was reluctant to confront the reality of “human corruption, lust for power, and petty jealousy,” not least in the inside-the-Beltway purlieus that we now, quite rightly, call “the Swamp.” As president, writes Schweikart, “Reagan all too frequently believed the liberals would in the end ‘play fair’ and let their humanity surface. One of the great ironies of Reagan’s presidency was that he had more success appealing to that human quality with the Soviets than he did with his Democrat opponents.” Brilliant point.

Reagan’s interest in politics took off during his Hollywood years, when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild and a member of something called the Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions. Writing in Early Reagan (1986) about these groups, Anne Edwards bought into the left’s romantic myth about the blacklist, maintaining that Reagan was a traitor to his friends because he fought the attempt by CPUSA members – actual Kremlin tools, and bona fide traitors – to take over these organizations. Schweikart, by contrast, provides a frank account of Tinseltown politics at a time when New Deal liberals like Reagan and another gutsy anti-Communist, Olivia de Havilland, were denounced by fellow actors as “fascists” and “capitalist scum.”

When Reagan’s film career waned, he found success in the new medium of television, serving as host of the anthology series General Electric Theater. As part of his deal (the biggest yet for a TV performer) he delivered talks at GE plants, where he revealed and honed a very particular set of skills that, it turned out, outshone his not inconsiderable acting talent – among them an ability to connect naturally with the common man and woman, to convey a genuine interest in their lives and concerns, and to communicate complex social and economic ideas largely by means of easily comprehensible anecdotes and jokes. Far from being a simpleton who, once in the White House, took direction from his cabinet, aides, and speechwriters, Reagan was, by his GE days, fully formed ideologically and very much his own man – one who’d concluded that appeasing the Soviet Union amounted to telling captive peoples to relinquish “hopes of freedom because we’ve decided to get along with your slave masters,” and who, having read the works of von Mises, Hazlitt, Hayek, and Bastiat, understood the vital importance of the free market.

Before long, national political figures got wind of Reagan’s rhetorical prowess. The result was “A Time for Choosing,” a speech he gave in support of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential run. An instant classic, It marked the formal start of a political career during which Reagan, like Goldwater, would, because he preferred constitutional principles to social engineering, be repeatedly branded as a right-wing radical – often by people who were so lacking in a moral compass that they saw no ethical difference between the US and USSR. From the outset, moreover, Reagan’s opponents treated him as a genial boob. Thus Gerald Ford – a genuine mediocrity, party hack, and veteran D.C. drone who is best remembered, by me anyway, for denying in a debate that Poland was a Soviet satellite – at first responded to Reagan’s 1976 primary challenge by saying that he couldn’t take the ex-actor seriously. Sen. Jacob Javits (R-NY) called Reagan “extreme”; the now-forgotten Sen. Charles Percy (R-IL) predicted that a Reagan nomination would result in “crushing defeat.”

These are, of course, the same kinds of things said about Trump in 2016. But one difference is that the media, dishonest as they were, weren’t quite as bad then as they are now. It’s stunning to learn that after Reagan left Sacramento, Walter Cronkite offered him a twice-weekly five-minute slot on CBS to voice his views; later, under Carter, the same network gave Reagan free airtime to respond to a presidential speech on the Panama Canal, “something,” Schweikart rightly observes, ”that today would be unheard of.” As Schweikart sums it up: “Reagan in 1981 had a monumental edge that Donald Trump would not have in a similar situation thirty-five years later: while the media was overwhelmingly liberal and oppositional, it still played the game by the basic rules of journalism (or, at least, tried to appear to play by such rules).”

As this book counts down the years to Reagan’s presidency, it also gives us glimpses of the administrations he’s living through – of LBJ’s Great Society, which boosted welfare dependency and undermined the black family; of Nixon’s opening to the Kremlin, about which Brezhnev bragged in 1973: “We are achieving with détente what our predecessors have been unable to achieve using the mailed fist”; and of Ford, who, scared of offending Brehnev, refused to meet with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, leading Reagan (who generally eschewed even the mildest profanity) to refer to him as a “goddamned horse’s ass.” Then there’s Carter, who gets a whole chapter to himself – a delicious indictment of “the first president in American history to blame the American people themselves for whatever problems they faced.” Not only did Carter, in his inaugural address, congratulate Americans for shaking off their “inordinate fear of communism” (this, Schweikart points out, “at the very time the Soviet empire was expanding”); his Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, actually bragged to Time that Carter and Brezhnev had “similar dreams and aspirations about the most fundamental issues.” In any event, it was the accumulated social and economic consequences of these predecessors’ policy blunders, capped off by Carter’s utter incompetence and passivity, that delivered the White House to Reagan – a beneficiary, as Schweikart puts it, of the same “populist boil against the ‘Establishment’” that would later lead Trump to victory.

The climax of this book, needless to say, is the account of Reagan’s two terms in office. Schweikart doesn’t ignore Iran Contra, the bombing of the Marines barracks in Beirut, or other dark chapters, but he recognizes that the heart of this story is the fact, that despite his illusions about human goodness, Reagan grasped the evil of Communism and the vital importance of individual liberty and free markets. Unlike such big-name economists as Lester Thurow and Paul Samuelson (the latter of whom pronounced in 1976 that “it is a vulgar mistake to think that most people in Eastern Europe are miserable”), Reagan – who, as president, spent weekends devouring mountains of raw intelligence on the Soviet economy – foresaw the Iron Curtain’s fall. And he know how to hasten that fall: George Shultz, his Secretary of State, would later testify that Reagan, in his dealings with Gorbachev, “combined a negotiator’s instinct and common sense with tough views and staying power”; Helmut Schmidt, the German chancellor, “found in 1981 that Reagan understood arms control perfectly, and better than any of his predecessors.” Yet even Schmidt considered Reagan’s hope of a Soviet collapse unrealistic, while reporter Lou Cannon, who would publish the condescending President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime in 1991, maintained that Reagan was near-delusional to describe the USSR of the 1980s as brutal and in crisis. And pretty much everybody in Washington agree with Reagan adviser David Gergen that it was “outrageous” for Reagan, in a March 8, 1983, speech, to call the USSR an “Evil Empire” (a phrase he famously kept re-inserting into his text after his aides removed it).

But here’s the thing: Soviet officials would later admit he was right: they had been running an evil empire. Know-it-alls in the U.S. thought Reagan’s rhetoric threatened to “destabilize” U.S.-USSR relations (“stability” being, then and now, the Deep State’s top desideratum); but in fact that very rhetoric shook Soviet elites’ self-esteem to the core. Similarly, the U.S. media mocked Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, which they nicknamed Star Wars – but it, too, unsettled the Soviets. So did the decisiveness with which he fired America’s striking air-traffic controllers in 1981 and responded to the 1983 Cuban invasion of Grenada. Schweikart quotes an internal Soviet document which acknowledged that Reagan had “restored Americas belief that it is capable of achieving a lot” and that he was “giving America what it has been yearning for. Optimism. Self-belief. Heroes.” How interesting that the Kremlin had his measure then – and feared and respected him accordingly – whereas many on the American left, even now, continue to dismiss him. For so effectively setting the record straight, and for giving Reagan the credit he deserves for setting aright the American Ship of State, Larry Schweikart deserves our immense gratitude.
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Bruce Bawer writes for FrontPage Mag and is the author of “While Europe Slept,” “Surrender,” "The Victims' Revolution," and "The Alhambra." "Islam," a collection of his essays on Islam, has just been published.

Tags: Bruce Bawer, FrontPage Mag, Larry Schweikart, Ronald Reagan, A Not-So-Distant Mirror, Remembering Reagan, Age of Trump To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Patriot Graves

Arlington National Cemetery.
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Patriot Graves
Monday marks Memorial Day, a national observance first known as Decoration Day. The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868, on the orders of General John Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. Flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Initially meant as a time to remember those who fell during the bloody battles of our brutal Civil War, the holiday's significance has been extended to honor all those who paid the ultimate price for our nation.

As they have done every year since 1948, soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment placed flags at more than 280,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They will remain at Arlington National Cemetery throughout the holiday weekend, making sure that the flags remain upright.

Of all the dangers facing our country, perhaps the greatest is the one that doesn't make many headlines -- our collective national amnesia.

Our history textbooks are sanitized to be politically correct and give our children little sense of the greatness of the nation they live in. The Founders are seldom mentioned unless it is part of a controversy about slavery or some other scandal.

I am often struck by how many American kids have nothing good to say about their own country. Their knowledge of the sacrifices made to establish and preserve their freedom is virtually non-existent. They are the recipients of the greatest freedom and opportunity that any society has ever produced, yet they are unaware of the price that was paid for it.

At my father's table, I learned love of country in a way that only a Marine could teach it. Dad taught me that patriotism wasn't a theory -- it was flesh and blood, real sacrifice and pain.

You are your children's most important teacher. They are listening.

Explain to your children the price that was paid to stop the evil of fascism and the cancer of Soviet communism. Tell them why there was a Berlin Wall, what happened at Okinawa, on the beaches of Normandy, at Ground Zero and over the fields of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Take a moment this weekend to teach your children and grandchildren to love the things we love and to honor the things we honor. Finally, let's remind ourselves that liberty is a gift from God and that each generation has paid in flesh and blood to preserve it.

As General George Patton said: "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
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Gary Bauer (@GaryLBauer)  is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

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Socialism as Substitute Community

... Alienated people are turning to Marx and Ocasio-Cortez
Socialists Sanders & Ocasio-Cortez
by Timothy P. Carney: Modern conveniences, information technology, and a fairly laissez-faire morality and economy, paired with a decent government safety net, make it pretty easy for Americans to get what they need, in most respects. That makes the rising cry for socialism a bit baffling at first.

But there’s a deeper need going unfilled that is driving college students and twenty somethings to their Marx, Engels, Sanders, and Ocasio-Cortez.

And there obviously is something missing in people’s lives.

Suicides hit an all-time high in 2017. Opioid deaths are skyrocketing. Even with employers desperate for workers, 7.1 million prime-working-age men remained out of the labor force as of 2016.

Families are forming less often. Americans are increasingly saying they feel like strangers in their own land.

We shouldn’t be surprised that people are turning to radical solutions, considering how many are finding modern life in America so wanting. Just because most economic indicators are good doesn’t mean this sense of lack is imagined. It turns out there’s a lot more to the good life than shows up in the reports of the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The real reason American socialists are enjoying a moment today is social and cultural poverty. The root cause is something like loneliness. To borrow a term from Marx himself, you could blame alienation.

When I camped out at Occupy Wall Street in 2011, I was most surprised by how little talk there was of bailouts, bank regulations, or really any policy at all. I had come up to New York from Washington, where the nascent Occupy D.C. crowd was complaining about toothless enforcement of the Volcker Rule and the need for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force in our War on Terror.

There were no such hippie wonks in Zuccotti Park. When I asked what their occupation was a protest against, the typical answer was something like “corporate control of government.” Then the conversation went like this:

What do you dislike that corporations are doing with their control of government?

“Buying politicians!”

And what are those bought politicians doing that is bad?

“Silencing the voice of the people.”

Okay, the corporations are in control, the people are silenced, the politicians are bought. They’re all in a smoke-filled room. What policies do they pursue or not pursue that you think harm the country?

“They oppose campaign-finance reform!”

It seemed there was no there there. This was a protest about nothing, I thought.

But it was about something. When I counted the signs at Occupy, the most common themes were disenfranchisement and the erosion of democracy.

They were protesting the “hollowing out of democratic institutions,” as occupier Rob Eletto put it.

“This is a movement for direct democracy rather than corporatocracy,” Sinead Lamel told me during one evening’s “General Assembly.”

Throughout the day, occupiers took in barn-burning leftist speeches, but the General Assembly was something different. It was all logistics and legislating. It was the formation of a sanitation committee and a library committee. It was debating and passing rules about when the drum circle had to go quiet. It was “direct democracy.”

This laborious rule-making was the point of Occupy Wall Street, occupier Julia Shindel told me. Having an actual voice in shaping this little society was “extremely intoxicating.”

The dream of forming a fledgling civilization in a flagstone-covered park in Lower Manhattan drew many of these left-leaning Millennials to the Occupy encampment in 2011. While the crowds at Zuccotti Park gave up the dream a few weeks later, the same spirit (and many of the same faces) resurfaced in 2015 and 2016 as the Bernie Sanders movement.

At the 2016 Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Berniecrats were as likely to talk about disenfranchisement and democratic revitalization as they were to go on about Medicare for All or “free college.” Of course they agreed with Bernie on the policy stuff, but what brought them through the door was the promise that Bernie would give them a voice in politics.

The root cause of both Occupy Wall Street and Bernie 2016 was a prevailing sense of political alienation. Young people felt that they had lost the ability to make a difference in the world, and so they turned to movements that, in addition to peddling a socialist policy agenda, promised political empowerment.

And while both movements placed their hope of reenfranchisement in an impossible dream (believing that, somehow, loud enough protests or restrictive enough campaign-finance regulations would give ordinary people a voice in Washington), the problem they identified was real: Young Americans had lost agency, the ability to make a difference, in modern society.

Man is a political animal. We are meant not only to control our own lives but also to shape the world around us. Traditionally, most of us have flexed our political muscle in and through local, mostly voluntary, institutions such as a town government, a parish council, or a PTA chapter. Community institutions have eroded over the decades, though, leaving people without arenas in which to express their political express their political and social nature and social nature.

Without a local “political” institution in reach, many young people reached for something that promised enfranchisement and political power. In so doing, they landed in the camps of Occupy and Sanders. Once there, they began singing hymns to Medicare for All, free college, and wealth taxes.

The desperate desire for a political voice in the 2010s has led young people to the far left.

Put another way, modern American society, in which community is weaker and people are more alienated, has proven a fertile ground for socialism.

People need other people. The American Right sometimes neglects this basic fact and ends up deifying the individual or the nuclear family.

When Hillary Clinton wrote, “It takes a village to raise a child,” conservatives replied, “It takes a family.” Being pro-family is one thing. Denying that child-rearing is in part a community undertaking is another.

Anyone who has raised children knows how that undertaking requires assistance from people outside the nuclear family — in-laws, teachers, coaches, neighbors, religious leaders, and sometimes the neighborhood cops. What connects parents to these figures are institutions. Without these support structures, raising a family is far more difficult.

In wealthy, highly educated neighborhoods, support structures still exist: private schools, strong public schools with involved parents, country clubs, a higher proportion of stay-at-home moms or mothers working part-time, Boy Scout troops, Little Leagues, and so on. In some tight-knit religious communities, such as the Mormons of Utah, or the Dutch Reformed of western Michigan, families can rely on plenty of church-based institutions.

For most of the working class and the poor, though, these institutions are disappearing. People left isolated and alienated find marriage and child-rearing more difficult. The result is more out-of-wedlock births, fewer marriages, fewer children, more divorce.

The political reaction is a demand for a bigger federal safety net.

For instance, the People’s Policy Project, a socialist think tank, recently released its “Family Fun Pack,” a proposal for a raft of federal programs designed to help poor and working-class people raise families.

The policy paper explains that the capitalist system is not oriented to helping families. “Because income is paid out to the factors of production without any regard for its final family-level distribution,” it states, “families with children wind up in dramatically worse financial circumstances than families without children.”

The paper then calls for 36 weeks of federally funded paid parental leave, federally funded child care, a federal benefit for stay-at-home mothers, federally funded (and even federally operated) pre-K, and plenty more expansions of the state into the lives of parents and kids.

More and more Democratic politicians will presumably endorse these proposals between now and the 2020 primaries, since many have already proposed socialist policies in other issue areas. And these big-government proposals will have a real constituency.

Two of the ideas undergirding these efforts are correct: The market itself doesn’t account for the costs and difficulties of being a parent; and raising a child without help is very difficult, even for married parents with income.

If you read “Family Fun Pack,” you come away asking, “How does anyone manage to raise a family without already being rich?” Then you remember: community. Extended family, neighbors, parishes, shuls, civic associations, dinner clubs, swim clubs, and so on. These institutions help families keep their stuff together, help mothers and fathers stay sane, help new parents navigate the daunting path of parenthood.

The erosion of these little platoons has left people seeking a replacement. Socialism is increasingly perceived to be the answer.

Family is just one area where socialism rushes in to fill the void left by the erosion of community. Experience and social science suggest that community erosion increases the demand for regulation.

That is, laissez-faire never worked if it actually meant “anything goes.” Instead, strong norms, a sense of duty to one’s neighbors, social pressure, and shame have always played a regulatory role.

When communities are weaker, these social “regulations” become toothless. That’s when government regulations come in.

“In a cross section of countries,” four economists wrote in The Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2010, “government regulation is strongly negatively correlated with measures of trust.”

The causality goes both ways, the study suggests. “Distrust creates public demand for regulation, whereas regulation in turn discourages formation of trust.” Put another way, “individuals in low-trust countries want more government intervention even though they know the government is corrupt.”

In western Michigan, I saw the flipside of this dynamic firsthand.

When you think of Michigan, you may think of union workers in Detroit and Flint. But western Michigan traditionally has had far lower rates of unionization, while still being dominated by manufacturing and connected to the auto industry. At a McDonald’s in Holland, Mich., in April, I asked a couple of retirees why that was.

“A lot of these businesses are started by local people,” explained Gary Gunnich over his breakfast, pointing toward the many small manufacturing plants in the small city. Holland is defined by the Dutch ancestry of its residents and the Reformed churches rooted in Dutch Calvinism. The business owners and their workers typically worshiped together on Sundays, Gunnich and his breakfast companion Bill Stehouwer explained. That obviated the need for unionization, he argued.

“A community like this,” Gunnich said, “you’re not going to screw people over and then survive. It’s gonna get out in a hurry.”

But fewer and fewer Americans live in a community like that today. More and more live in an alienated landscape where it’s more likely that someone will try to “screw people over.” When the choice appears to be between getting screwed and getting socialism, it’s not a hard call.

The less we’re connected to one another via community institutions, and the more isolated we are, the more we grasp for something big to protect us. For young Americans, that’s often the state.
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Timothy P. Carney is the author of Alienated America, is the commentary editor of the Washington Examiner and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. H/T National Review

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Are We on the Ramp to Impeachment Road?

by Patrick Buchanan: If Trump believes, not without reason, that Pelosi’s caucus is out to kill his presidency, should he cooperate with the co-conspirators or use all of the actual and latent powers of his office to repel them?

After a stroke felled Woodrow Wilson during his national tour to save his League of Nations, an old rival, Sen. Albert Fall, went to the White House to tell the president, “I have been praying for you, Sir.”

To which Wilson is said to have replied, “Which way, Senator?”

Historians are in dispute as to whether Wilson actually said it.

But the acid retort came to mind on hearing that Nancy Pelosi, hours after accusing President Donald Trump of “engaging in a cover-up,” a felony, piously volunteered, “I pray for the president of the United States.”

For, by now, the hostile investigations of Trump by Pelosi’s House are becoming too numerous to list.

Subpoenas have been issued to the IRS demanding Trump’s tax returns. New York has enacted a law to gain access to Trump’s state tax returns, to pass them on to the comrades on Capitol Hill. Democrats are not seeking these records for guidance on how to reform the tax code.

House committees want the files of his accountants. Subpoenas have been issued to lending institutions where Trump borrowed, such as Deutsche Bank, going back to the last century.

The Mueller investigation found that neither Trump nor anyone in his campaign colluded with the Russians in 2016. Yet that exoneration is insufficient for the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler. He wants public hearings with present and past White House aides under oath to put on a show trial for a national TV audience.

The euphemism for this swarm attack is “Congressional oversight of the executive.” And Trump is not wrong to see in it a conspiracy to bring down his presidency and impeach and remove him.

And if Trump believes, not without reason, that Pelosi’s caucus is out to kill his presidency, should he cooperate with the co-conspirators or use all of the actual and latent powers of his office to repel them?

These are the alternatives the president faces.

Out in the Rose Garden, Trump declared there would be no further cooperation on a legislative agenda with Democrats until a halt is called to their investigations:

“I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. … But you can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.'”

Where, then, are we headed?

To gridlock first, then almost surely down the impeachment road.

For if Trump continues to defy subpoenas and denounce those who issue them, and Pelosi cannot deliver on the Democrats’ agenda, the louder will be the clamor of the Democratic base to remove Trump. At some point, Pelosi will have to go along or lose control of her rebellious caucus.

Consider Trump’s immigration plan, which was introduced to no great enthusiasm among his supporters.

In April in Las Vegas, after 75,000 asylum seekers had crossed the U.S. border in February and 100,000 in March — an average of a million crossers a year — Trump declared:

“There is an emergency on our southern border. … It’s a colossal surge and it’s overwhelming our immigration system, and we can’t let that happen. … We can’t take you anymore. … Our country is full.”

But if the country is “full,” and we cannot stop the illegal crossings swamping the southern border, how can we take in and hand out green cards to another million legal immigrants every year?

What is the carrying capacity of a country whose debt is larger than its economy and whose social welfare system is overflowing with applicants?

Given the lukewarm reception among Republicans, the refusal of Democrats to back an immigration bill that does not put millions of undocumented migrants on a path to citizenship, and the animosity that has arisen between Trump and Pelosi, the bill seems stillborn.

Pelosi and her leadership in the House, it is said, do not want impeachment. They see it as a dead end. And understandably so.

For if the House holds hearings and fails to impeach, Democrats would be seen as impotent. And if they did impeach the president and the Senate swiftly acquitted him, House Democrats would be seen a having wasted their two years, only to make Trump a political martyr.

Still, as Emerson wrote, things are in the saddle and ride mankind.

The left and its media allies are demanding more subpoenas, and Trump is growing more defiant. And if Pelosi continues to argue that impeachment is not justified now, the anti-Trump sentiment in her party could turn against her.

The left’s ultimatum: Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Impeachment is how a democratic republic does regicide, the dethroning and beheading of a sovereign like England’s Charles I.

For the left, Trump’s fate is decided. The only lingering question is whether proceeding with impeachment now is premature for the progressives’ cause in 2020.
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Patrick Buchanan (@PatrickBuchanan) is currently a blogger, conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior adviser to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.

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Using the Big Lie to Delegitimize Election Results

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: The Big Lie is back in style. Wikipedia tells us that the term was invented by Adolf Hitler to describe what others did -- though he was the biggest liar of all. "The broad masses of a nation," he wrote in "Mein Kampf," "more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie."

No one on the political scene in this country or any democratic nation is a monster comparable to Hitler. But some have resorted to the Big Lie in their attempts to override clear decisions of the people, at the risk of delegitimizing the nation's democracy.

Exhibit A: the claims that Democrats Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum "won" last fall's elections for governor in Georgia and Florida. Actually, both of them lost by a 50-49 percent margin.
Abrams admits this but insists, "so many people were disenfranchised and disengaged ... that I feel comfortable now saying, 'I won.'" Presidential candidate Kamala Harris told the Detroit NAACP, "without voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be the governor of Georgia. Andrew Gillum is the governor of Florida."

This is nonsense. Voter turnout was up 54 percent in Georgia and 38 percent in Florida from 2014 levels, and the "voter suppression" people complained about was standard procedures, required by a 1994 federal law.

The suggestion that this amounts to the kind of voter suppression blacks experienced before the 1965 Voting Rights Act -- suppression by unfair laws, threats of violence and murder -- is preposterous. Perhaps Abrams hopes to convince the many blacks moving to Georgia that it's run by white segregationists. But she and those who echo her charges are saying that America is moving backward on basic civil rights. That's a Big Lie, one that stokes racial mistrust and hatred.

Exhibit B: the claims that Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign colluded with the Russians. Perhaps there was reason to believe this two or three years ago, from candidate Trump's refusals to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin, from his proposed Moscow hotel. Weird!

But the absurdity of much in the Steele dossier, and the fact that it was paid for by the Clinton campaign, should have sent up warning flags. The argument that a few Russian bot Facebook ads could have swung the election was obviously flimsy.

Even so, it was a rude shock to MSNBC and CNN viewers when Attorney General William Barr accurately reported that special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of Trump collusion with Russia and reached no conclusion that he had obstructed justice.

Two months later, Democrats are still itching to impeach Trump on some pretext, and many want to rake over the cold coals once more to somehow get a flame going. But it's apparent now that the collusion charges were a Big Lie, promoted by top Obama administration officials, who either deliberately or recklessly broke the rule that intelligence and law enforcement agencies ordinarily shouldn't interfere in elections.

Exhibit C: Hop down to Australia, where, contrary to polls and universal expectations, the center-right Liberal-National government last weekend beat the center-left Labor Party. Voters' rejection of Labour's carbon tax to address climate change and its higher taxes on high earners and retirees particularly rankled the nation's cosmopolitan commentators.
The Big Lie here is that modest-income voters -- "trade workers, barmaids, cleaners and labourers," in Australian Quillette editor Claire Lehmann's description -- are voting irrationally, against their own short-term economic interest. Wasn't Labor promising to funnel rich people's money to them?

We hear the same condescending analyses from coastal critics of Rust Belt Trump voters and metropolitan London critics of British Brexit voters. How dare they not follow the guidance of their sophisticated superiors? They must be stupid or vicious, idiots or bigots.

The obvious reply is that these voters, like their critics who vote for politicians who promise to raise their taxes, value some things more than marginal short-term economic gain. They will cheerfully forgo short-term gains and prefer policies they believe are better in the long term for them and their country.

And they have some reason to discount the sophisticates' expertise and suspect their motives. The Bank of England predicted Brexit would wreck the economy. Instead, Britain's growing faster than continental Europe. The New York Times' Paul Krugman predicted the stock market would fall "forever" after Donald Trump won. Has he checked his 401(K) lately?

From Atlanta to Adelaide, from the Steele dossier to the Brexit opponents, the Big Lie is being deployed in the service of people seeking to delegitimize the results of elections. But as one observer said, refusing to "respect the results" of an election is "threatening our democracy." That was Hillary Clinton, tweeting on Oct. 21, 2016.
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Michael Barone is a Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel  and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics Shared by Rasmussen Reports.

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Obstruction . . .

. . . President Trump would like to work with Pelosi and the Democrats on our badly needed infrastructure, but they would rather resist and play politics than do the peoples business.

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco

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John Hickenlooper Rolls Out Gun Control Wish list 7

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
by Whitney Tipton: Former Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a 2020 hopeful, released a list of proposed gun measures Tuesday, including national gun licenses with safety training requirements.

Hickenlooper published his plan, which includes initiatives proposed by fellow 2020 Democratic candidates, such as federal gun licensing, bans on AR-style weapons, magazine capacity limits, universal background checks and “red flag” gun confiscation.

“The number of deaths per year from firearms in our nation has surged to 39,773, the highest figure in the 50 years that this data has been collected,” Hickenlooper wrote in his statement.

“Gun violence in our nation is a public health epidemic that requires an urgent and comprehensive set of national strategies.”
His proposal distinguishes itself by raising the minimum gun purchasing age to 21, and includes mental health services for school children in order to identify potential threats.

Hickenlooper was governor of Colorado from 2011 to 2019, during which time he signed various gun control measures into law, including universal background checks and “high capacity” magazine bans, according to Colorado Public Radio.

One of nearly two dozen other Democrats who have announced White House bids, Hickenlooper is considered a moderate Democrat. He announced his candidacy March 4.
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Whitney Tipton (@whit_dc) is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Divorce

by Kerby Anderson, Contributing Author: A few months ago, an article in Business Insider proclaimed, “Divorce isn’t a failure, therapists say. In fact, it could mean the marriage was a success.” I didn’t pay much attention to it since you can find secular counselors and therapists who will say just about anything. But recently John Stonestreet did a Breakpoint commentary on the article and used it to illustrate some important points about the biblical words for love.

Instead, I would like to look at the premise of the article. Does a divorce really mean that your marriage was a success? I don’t think couples that have been through a divorce would say that. I doubt their children would say that. One of the chapters of my book, Christian Ethics in Plain Language, documents what psychologists have discovered about the emotional and economic damage of divorce on children and even later in adult children of divorce.

Years ago, Diane Medved wrote a book with the arresting title, The Case Against Divorce. The book begins with an admission. “I have to start with a confession: This isn’t the book I set out to write. I planned to write something consistent with my previous professional experience helping people with decision making . . . To my utter befuddlement, the extensive research I conducted for this book brought me to one inescapable and irrefutable conclusion: I had been wrong.”

The therapists cited believe that marriage can help you grow, and sometimes you change so much that you conclude your marriage isn’t helping you anymore. If you go into marriage expecting it to help you grow, and you’re not growing, then divorce is the next step. If, however, you go into marriage with a biblical view of two becoming one flesh, then getting a divorce is not a sign of success.
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Kerby Anderson (@kerbyanderson) is a radio talk show host heard on numerous stations via the Point of View Network (@PointofViewRTS) and is endorsed by Dr. Bill Smith, Editor, ARRA News Service.

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The Milkshake of Human Unkindness

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: “The biggest topic in British political circles on Monday . . . was milkshakes,” writes Mike Ford in The New Republic, “or, rather, one milkshake in particular. . . .”

Milkshake, you ask?

Yes. Milkshake.

The shake in question “was lobbed by a bystander in Newcastle at Nigel Farage, a Brexit Party candidate in the European Parliament elections later this week.” And Mr. Ford goes on to note that infamous Internet figures Tommy Robinson and Carl “Sargon of Akkad” Benjamin (the latter inaccurately dubbed “alt-right”) have received multiple hits of thrown cold, frothy confections.

It is “a thing.” A meme — a replicable operation.

Burger King has even encouraged the fad, if in a bizarrely mercenary way.

“Throwing a milkshake at someone is rude at worst,” Ford asserts. “It may also qualify as assault in some jurisdictions, especially in the United States.” That second sentence contradicts the first. It is assault “at worst.”

Ford’s op-ed, entitled “Why Milkshaking Works,” has a tagline: “The far right fears nothing more than public humiliation.”

Really? Look, no one wants the inconvenience of these stupid attacks, but it is the unhingedness of the left that shines through, here — a threatening, punching, shouting-down, spilling-upon movement that I suspect mainly grows the ranks of the anti-left.*

The New Republic has long been a progressive rag: the “new” in the title referred to the magazine’s support for progressivism.

Fitting, then, to see it cheer on, this week, the idiotic, unkind extremism of current progressive culture.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

* Of course, to some on the left all non-leftists are “far right.” This is called the phenomenon of “the left pole.”
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Paul Jacob (@Common_Sense_PJ ) is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacob is a contributing author on the ARRA News Service.

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If You Believe Pelosi and Schumer, I Want to Sell You a Bridge

David Limbaugh
by David Limbaugh: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s praying for the president. Well, so am I, the difference being that I really am, whereas she’s cynically pretending to, to show her mock concern over his mental state.

Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the rest of the congressional Democratic cabal have treated President Trump abominably, and it’s getting old. Do they assume Americans have endless patience for their ongoing investigation charade?

Consider the latest brouhaha between Trump and the Democratic leaders. They were scheduled to meet at the White House on a $2 trillion infrastructure plan when Pelosi decided to poison the punch bowl. Ahead of the meeting, Pelosi and five investigative committee leaders spoke with other Democrats who had called for an impeachment inquiry. Afterward, she made an unsolicited public statement.

“We do believe it’s important to follow the facts,” she told reporters. “We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States, and we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.”

And she feigns outrage that Trump cut the meeting short?

What an unprovoked slap in the face — and right before she was to meet with Trump! If I were getting ready to negotiate a contract for a client, would it be wise for me to publicly trash the opposing attorney in advance of the meeting? How would that work out for my client?

Democrats and the liberal media ceaselessly complain about Trump’s demeanor and manners, yet they treat him like a twice-removed criminal stepchild. Why don’t more people talk about their ill-mannered behavior and incivility? Or are they entitled to a pass for any level of abuse toward Trump because they have so consummately dehumanized him among their base? It’s to the point where Trump haters consider rudeness toward him a badge of honor.

The Democrats are a one-note samba. They have no positive agenda — nothing constructive in their arsenal. They have staked their entire political fortune on destroying, discrediting and removing Trump, and, having failed at every turn, they are in denial. They will not give up the ghost.

They had an entire cadre of deep-state Obama administration FBI and DOJ officials on a mission to frame Trump as a treasonous rogue who conspired with Russia to steal the election from the unelectable Hillary Clinton. Their abject failure to bring home the bacon didn’t deter them one bit, for they kept the conspiracy alive into the Trump presidency, even manufacturing a factual scenario that gave them colorable grounds to call for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate.

This anointed special counsel enlisted some 20 left-leaning investigators, cloaked with carte blanche authority and a virtually unlimited budget, to bring down — er, fairly and objectively investigate — the president. They pulled no punches. They engaged in no half measures.

When this august group also failed to bring home the bacon, the monomaniacal Democrats still would not give up the ghost. Ever since they took control of the House, they’ve been engaged in an investigatory orgy against Trump. With their media co-conspirators, they are continuing their farcical witch hunt, dishonestly interpreting Robert Mueller’s flat-out negative finding on collusion and his ill-conceived rope-a-dope on “obstruction” to mean that Trump actually engaged in obstruction.

Everyone knows they are keeping these investigations alive to kill Trump’s presidency by a thousand cuts. If they truly have abandoned the impeachment fantasy, it is only because they have nothing, and they know it would backfire in 2020. Sadly for them, most Americans are surely not muddled enough to believe that President Trump or his confidantes obstructed an investigation into something of which he knew he was innocent.

Pelosi said she was ready to give Trump a once-a-century win on his infrastructure plan. But Schumer said that Trump came prepared to quickly end the meeting, implying he wasn’t sincere about working on the plan. “He is looking for every excuse. … Now that he was forced to actually say how he would pay for it, he had to run away.”

This doesn’t pass the laugh test. Pelosi and Schumer know better. Trump campaigned on a grandiose infrastructure plan. Please Google it. It is Schumer, Pelosi and their fellow Democrats who will never give Trump a victory on anything, let alone a once-a-century win. Even if Trump were to give them everything they wanted, they would not sign off on it, because their sole agenda — still, after they’ve struck out every step of the way — is to destroy Trump. It’s a fool’s errand.
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David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "Jesus is Risen: Paul and the Early Church." Follow him on Twitter& @davidlimbaugh and his website at davidlimbaugh.com.

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Deathwatch

by Daniel Greenfield: This is not an article. But once upon a time this was a blog where I would post my unformed personal thoughts. The thoughts eventually became articles. The articles were picked up and reprinted. But this one time, Sultan Knish will return to what it once was in a simpler time.

This is self-indulgent and personal.

Feel free to skip it.

Our lives are defined by numbers. Our deaths are defined by them too.

Somewhere out of sight, in the world or in our bodies, a clock ticks insistently away. Most of the time we are fortunate enough to be deaf to the relentless clockwork march of time.

Until we begin to hear. And are unable to stop.

There are many clocks in the hospital room where she lies dying beneath a plastic blanket inflated and deflated by one of a dozen machines in the room.

There is an old fashioned clock ticking inaudibly on the wall, there are digital clocks and timers embedded in everything. And there is the insistent count of heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen. The numbers keep going down.

The beeping is constant. One alarm, for the heart rate or the oxygen or the IV follows another. The alarms are a count. The numbers they measure are ultimately the only numbers that matter. They are the numbers of life.

I had often heard the term deathwatch, but standing on the plastic pine floor while the nurses come and go, I understand it. I am waiting for a death that I have been told is inevitable. I am waiting and dreading it all at once.

The Rabbi has come and gone. He has said his prayers and words of comfort. And I have said them with him. All the prayers in the end form one greater prayer. A fervent hope that our lives are defined by more than these numbers.

All our prayers are above all else a prayer for the existence of a G-d Whose being transcends the minutiae of material arithmetic. Whatever else we pray for, it is for a father that will never leave us and for a meaning more meaningful than our science tells us is all that there is.

We pray not merely for life but for a meaningful life. We pray not only in hope, but for hope.

We pray that there be something more on the other end of the deathwatch.

We pray that our prayers not be in vain.

Every now and then, I look from the numbers to the prayers, and back again, measuring the material life and the immaterial one, the digital prophecies of science, and the higher truth that I seek beyond the whitewashed walls, the tan blinds cutting off a view of the roof, and the endless ticking of the clocks and counts, the soft sighing of the machines trying to keep my mother comfortable and alive.

And failing at both.

Occasionally medical personnel come and go, donning purple gloves and yellow gowns, and then out again. I and she are both spectators in this play. We are amateurs at death and dying while they are the professionals. When we are gone, they will still be here, divining numbers and playing the odds.

They know secrets, not only of numbers, but of sounds and sights, and revelations of fragility and hope that the rest of us choose not to know.

But then the time comes when we poor amateurs must mount the stage and learn them anyway, when we must stumble through our paces without the benefits of schooling or script, performing poorly in our new parts.

Sometimes they ask me if I have medical training. I have. The studying of it has been more painful and expensive than theirs.

The deathwatch is a graduation. And on graduation, I will do my best to forget all that I have learned here.

After a stormy afternoon, a beam of sunlight slants through the lower half of the window.

The deathwatch has moved into the later hours of the afternoon. Perhaps it will continue on into night. I don't know and I don't want to know.

Deathwatches are always with us.

Those of us who don't fear for our loved ones, fear for our country or our way of life.

There are always things that we love and we fear losing. It is when we become aware of the very possibility of loss, as children or as adults, that we enter the outer rings of the deathwatch.

My current career began with a deathwatch of 9/11. In the ash and rubble, and the poisonous betrayals of the aftermath, the idea that we could lose our country became as real as when I first helped my mother into a wheelchair more years ago than I care to count.

I have not entered into that final deathwatch, the alarms of the end, for my country.

And I hope that I never do.

But to love something, real or ideal, or a mixture of both, is to know that it can die.

Everything we love dies. Except, perhaps our love, and the love of the Creator for his flawed creations caught between the numbers of their reason, and seeking a love and a hope that lies beyond this pale room, the fading houses stretching out in every direction, this world and all the endless worlds and stars beyond.

Hashem Hu HaElohim

The Lord is G-d, is what I will say when the deathwatch ends, and then, like Abraham and Jacob, and all my ancestors who have come before, and passed through that hope and home beyond the stars, I will seek out a place in the holy land of my ancestors to lay my dead to rest.
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Daniel Greenfield (@Sultanknish) is a fellow blogger and also a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an investigative journalist and writer focusing on radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

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The Left’s Battle Against ‘Inequality’

Larry Elder
by Larry Elder: In his book “Discrimination and Disparities,” economist Thomas Sowell notes that a disproportionate percentage of first-born siblings become National Merit scholars compared to siblings born later, presumably because the first-born starts life with no sibling competition for parental attention. This, says Sowell, illustrates the absurdities of expecting equal results when equal results do not even occur within the same family among siblings raised under the same roof with the same parents.

When I was growing up in South Central Los Angeles, one of my closest friends was “Paul.” We met in the second grade and attended the same elementary school, middle school and high school. Not only did we take many of the same courses with the same teachers, our houses were identical.

When I first invited Paul to my home, about a half-mile from his, he was astonished. “Whoever built your house,” he said, “built mine, too.” He was right. When I visited his house, I found that the only difference was that my house had one tiny additional window that his did not. Same schools. Same teacher. Same neighborhood. Same house design.

Paul was a gifted athlete. Name the sport, he excelled. He was a starting pitcher for the baseball team, the starting shooting guard for the basketball team and the starting quarterback for the football team. He picked up a tennis racquet, hit balls against a backboard for a few weeks and then made the tennis team.

His parents were divorced, making Paul one of the few kids in the neighborhood at that time to come from what my parents called a “broken home.” Paul saw his dad infrequently. He rarely spoke about him. When he did, it was not positive.

Paul had a problem with anger. For the smallest offense, he could tell someone off, friend or foe, sometimes even his basketball coach. One time, after Paul came late to practice again, his basketball coach threatened to bench him the following game. Paul barked back, “Either I play or we lose.” He played. They won.

When the coaches from major colleges came to see Paul play basketball, his best sport, they were impressed. But then they asked the high school coach about Paul’s character, whether he was “coachable.” Paul’s coach, concerned about maintaining his reputation with college coaches, told the truth. Paul, he said, was a “coach killer.” Bye-bye, Notre Dame. Bye-bye, Duke. Bye-bye, UCLA.

Paul ended up going to a small local college, not known for basketball. Did he double down, get better in hopes of transferring to a powerhouse basketball school? Hardly. Paul sulked, blamed racism and spent his first year of college playing basketball halfheartedly — that is, when he wasn’t smoking dope and opining on “the oppression of the black man in America.”

I went off to college in the East. When I returned during the summer, I visited Paul, who by then had changed his name to “Jamal” to distance himself from the “slave” religion of Christianity. When I informed him that Arab slavers took more blacks out of Africa and transported them to the Middle East and to South America than Europeans slavers took out of Africa and transported to North America, he told me to stop reading “the white man’s history.” He insisted “racism” had wrecked his basketball career, a career he argued that, but for the racism he encountered, was destined for the NBA. “Paul,” I said, “you and I lived in the same neighborhood, in houses designed by the same builder, went to the same schools, took the same classes, had the same teachers. Why didn’t ‘racism’ stop me?”

When I was in law school in Michigan, I visited my aunt who lived in a suburb of Detroit. During one visit, a friend of hers stopped by. He was a black man, about 40 years old. He sat near my aunt and me as we discussed my law school classes. Suddenly, the man began to cry. I could not imagine what I’d said that could’ve caused such a reaction. “Sorry,” I said, “did I say something to offend you?” He gathered himself. “No,” he said. “I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer. But I got sidetracked with ‘jackassery,’ hung around with a bunch of knuckleheads and just wasted my time.”

It doesn’t have to be like this. My father always told my brothers and me the following: “Hard work wins.” “You get out of life what you put into it.” “You cannot control the outcome, but you are 100% in control of the effort.” And “before you complain about what somebody did to you, go to the nearest mirror and say to yourself, ‘What could I have done to change the outcome?'”

And finally, my dad said: “No matter how good you are, bad things will happen. How you respond to those bad things will tell your mother and me whether or not we raised a man.”
--------------
Larry Elder (@larryelder) is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host, an American lawyer, writer and radio and television personality who is also known as the "Sage From South Central." To find out more about Larry Elder. Visit his website at LarryElder.com for list of other articles.

Tags: Larry Elder, commentary, Thomas Sowell, Left’s Battle, Against Inequality To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Trump, Barr Fight Back Against Judicial Tyranny Of Nationwide Injunctions

Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco
by Richard McCarty: We are facing a constitutional crisis. Through the use of nationwide injunctions, a group of liberal federal district judges are fighting to maintain Obama era policies until President Donald Trump leaves office.

And now, President Donald Trump is fighting back as his administration seeks a case to be brought in federal court against the practice.

These judges’ actions are an attack on our system of government undermining the value of voting and the public’s trust in the impartiality of the judicial branch. These injunctions must be halted, either by the Supreme Court or by legislation.

Nationwide injunctions, which are also called universal or national injunctions, are issued by federal district judges and prohibit the federal government from enforcing laws or policies against anyone, not just the plaintiffs in the case.

There have now been 37 nationwide injunctions issued against the Trump Administration, which is significantly more than were issued in the entire 20th century. In contrast, there were only two nationwide injunctions during the first two years of the Obama Administration; and there were no nationwide injunctions issued during the first 175 years of our Republic.

Recently, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr gave a speech attacking nationwide injunctions, saying that the bar for getting one from a district judge is too low: “When Congress passes a statute or the President implements a policy that is challenged in multiple courts, the Government has to run the table — we must win every case. The challengers, however, must find only one district judge — out of an available 600 — willing to enter a nationwide injunction. One judge can, in effect, cancel the policy with the stroke of the pen.”

And this is bad for democracy, Barr said, “Nationwide injunctions undermine the democratic process, depart from history and tradition, violate constitutional principles, and impede sound judicial administration, all at the cost of public confidence in our institutions and particularly in our courts as apolitical decision-makers dispassionately applying objective law.”

Barr is not the first prominent conservative to take aim at these injunctions. Barr’s predecessor, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has also denounced the injunctions. Sessions stated, “Increasingly, we are seeing individual federal district judges go beyond the parties before the court to give injunctions or orders that block the entire federal government from enforcing a law or policy throughout the country…. This trend must stop. We have a government to run. The Constitution does not grant to a single district judge the power to veto executive branch actions with respect to parties not before the court. Nor does it provide the judiciary with authority to conduct oversight of or review policy of the executive branch. These abuses of judicial power are contrary to law…”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has indicated his skepticism of the legitimacy of the injunctions. Thomas wrote, “These [universal] injunctions are beginning to take a toll on the federal court system—preventing legal questions from percolating through the federal courts, encouraging forum shopping, and making every case a national emergency for the courts and for the Executive Branch. I am skeptical that district courts have the authority to enter universal injunctions… They appear to be inconsistent with longstanding limits on … the power of Article III courts.”

Elections must have consequences. Members of Congress and Presidents are elected to set and implement federal laws and policies; and unelected, unaccountable lower court judges must not be allowed to obstruct the policies of the elected branches of the government indefinitely. The Supreme Court will soon weigh in on nationwide injunctions and make it clear to district court judges that they have no authority to issue these injunctions.

If the Court fails to do so, then it will fall to Congress to enact legislation to end these acts of judicial tyranny once and for all.
------------------
Richard McCarty is the Director of Research at Americans for Limited Government Foundation.

Tags: Richard McCarty, Americans for Limited Government, Trump, Barr, Fight Back Against Judicial Tyranny. Nationwide Injunctions To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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