Category Archives: Party Politics

America’s Jacobin Moment

This coercive cultural turn threatens to devour what remains of America’s civic comity and push durable social progress on race and politics out of reach.

***

We describe this as a Jacobin moment because it has the fervor and indiscriminate judgment of the revolutionary mind. The guillotine isn’t in use, but the impulse is the same to destroy careers, livelihoods and reputations. The wave of resignations, firings, disavowals and forced apologies at institutions large and small is moving so fast it is difficult to keep track.

This month editors at the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer lost their jobs after staff revolts over an op-ed and headline, respectively. Now the editor of Philadelphia Magazine, Tom McGrath, is resigning after the staff made racial demands. Critics pointed to stories they disliked from 2013 and 2015.

Economists have often been more resistant to ideological orthodoxy than other intellectuals. No longer. University of Chicago economist Harald Uhlig lost his contract with the Chicago Federal Reserve after tweets in which he argued that the Black Lives Matter movement “just torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of #defundthepolice.” Mr. Uhlig said he favored the Democratic Party’s more moderate reform proposals. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, 13 years at the helm, rolled over without a peep.

Economists now want Mr. Uhlig stripped of his editorship of the Journal of Political Economy. New York Times political enforcer Paul Krugman tweeted that Mr. Uhlig is a “privileged white man” and he doubted his “objectivity” to edit the journal. Justin Wolfers of the University of Michigan combed through Mr. Uhlig’s old blog posts and claimed to be outraged that Mr. Uhlig in 2017 criticized left-wing violence.

The purge is being felt across academia. One lecturer was suspended by UCLA’s business school for a blunt email rejecting a student request to make different rules for final exams for black students. Another is facing investigation after reading in class Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” It contains the n-word, so professors may now deny students a classic American document on moral opposition to unjust state power.

At MIT, a chaplain was forced out over an email that condemned George Floyd’s death but also noted his criminal record and said, “Many people have claimed that racism is major problem in police forces. I don’t think we know that.”

The purges have reached into left-wing circles beyond the media. David Shor, an analyst at progressive consultancy Civis Analytics, was pushed out soon after tweeting research from Princeton calling into question the efficacy of riots. The leadership of the Poetry Foundation resigned this month after an open letter denounced the foundation’s statement denouncing systemic racism for being too vague.

In the world of sports, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings cut ties with announcer Grant Napear after he was asked on Twitter his views on Black Lives Matter and replied that “ALL LIVES MATTER…EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!” The coach of Oklahoma State University had to publicly apologize after he was photographed on a fishing trip wearing a shirt bearing the logo of “One America News,” a pro-Trump network.

Entertainment is also being subject to new forms of regulation on artistic expression. HBO announced this month that it is temporarily scrubbing “Gone With the Wind,” the classic Civil War novel-turned-movie, from its video library. Mobs are pulling down statues of Confederate generals, but in San Francisco they also pulled down Junipero Serra, an 18th-century missionary and Catholic saint, and U.S. Presidents are targets (see nearby).

The purges also reach into local schools and governments. A Vermont principal was removed after posting on Facebook “I firmly believe that Black Lives Matter,” but “Just because I don’t walk around with a BLM sign should not mean I am a racist.” The mayor of the northern California town of Healdsburg resigned after doubting police reform was necessary in that community. She was excoriated and told local press that “my intention was to follow through with my term, but basically at what personal price?”

***

Some of the targets of these campaigns may have spoken or acted clumsily, but apologists for cancel culture can find reasons to stigmatize or banish anyone. For some, the destruction of social goods like academic freedom and political pluralism is merely collateral damage if the goal is seen as just. We doubt most Americans agree with this unforgiving and punitive approach to cultural change, but the revolutionaries are now in charge with a vengeance.

They won’t stop by themselves because their campaign is essentially about power and control, and they need new villains. But as they march through liberal institutions, they are also laying waste to liberal values of free speech, democratic debate and cultural tolerance.

Someone has to stop this, and first and foremost that means the liberal establishment. The leaders of universities, foundations, museums, the media and corporations need to draw on their remaining moral authority to make the case for a liberal society. There is a risk that anyone who speaks up, however reasonably, will become a mob target. But if one or two lead, perhaps others will follow.

Social comity in a polarized society will not be achieved through coercion and struggle sessions. If liberals won’t stop the Jacobin left, expect a political backlash and social fracture that will make Donald Trump’s Presidency look like a tea party.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/americas-jacobin-moment-11592867349?mod=opinion_lead_pos1

Share

Black Lives Don’t Matter to Black Lives Matter

Make sure you make it down to the Beatles’ song…  mrossol

=====

The Epoch Times. 6/22/2020  by Roger L Simon

In case you missed it, and you could have, considering the endless thumb-sucking regarding just how many came or didn’t to the Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 60 were shot, nine fatally, at last count, over Father’s Day weekend in Chicago.

These included a 13-year-old girl in the Austin neighborhood of the West Side. Two hours earlier, in the same area, someone pulled up alongside a blue Honda in an SUV and fired several rounds at the driver, striking and killing his 3-year old son.

Similar carnage occurred in Chi-town only a couple of weeks earlier, over Memorial Day weekend, when 39 were wounded and 10 died, including a 16-year old boy.

And then, of course, we have Minneapolis, where most of the recent contretemps began, where early on June 21, one died and 11 were wounded in a shooting spree.

All of this was black-on-black violence of the most tragic sort.

Where was Black Lives Matter? Nowhere to be found, since the cops didn’t do any of it. BLM doesn’t seem to care about violence done to blacks if the police aren’t involved, even though black-on-black crime is by many multiples more lethal and more common, resulting in exponentially more black casualties.

BLM’s primary interest appears to be smashing the state, creating revolution with their pals in Antifa in order to take power themselves.

But there is another, perhaps more psychologically potent, reason that BLM doesn’t want to deal with black-on-black violence, other than finding some preposterous way to connect the police when it doesn’t exist.

Protesters Demonstrate In D.C. Against Death Of George Floyd By Police Officer In Minneapolis
A protestor waves a DC flag with “Black Lives Matter” spray painted on it next to a DC National Guard Humvee as protestors march through the streets during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody, in Washington on June 2, 2020. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

To do this they would have to raise a question that could be truly embarrassing and elicit shame: Just why haven’t black people been able to improve their own neighborhoods in such places as Chicago, Minneapolis, Baltimore, St. Louis, and Los Angeles?

Why are they in such a miserable state after all this time? Why are so many people still killing each other? Is it all the white man’s fault?

Well, it some ways, it is, if the white man is Lyndon B. Johnson. Before he initiated, for reasons both idealistic and self-interested, the Great Society in 1964, most black families were intact, some say even more so than white families. Then, along came the welfare system and, over the years, as entitlements became more valuable than work, the black family disintegrated. Their communities fell into increasing disrepair.

The vast majority of black children are now born out of wedlock to single-parent homes, the world stacked against them before they can start.

That’s something BLM should want to do something about if real black lives actually mattered to Black Lives Matter.

Of course, it’s not fun. That’s hard work, improving lives on the ground, encouraging people to get off welfare and get jobs, to start businesses, to stay or get married, to stay away from drugs, alcohol, and gangs.

The leaders of Black Lives Matter are obviously bright people. But they are taking the easy way, allowing their anger and their fear of truth to dictate their lives when they, of all people, have so much to offer.

BLM are the very young people who could be improving black communities, and they’re not. They’re directing their energies to the romantic delusion of revolution, as they tear things down rather than build them up.

Lennon and McCartney put it well in an early, similar era:

“You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out”

Verse three is even more, actually quite eerily, contemporary, as if John and Paul were singing directly to Black Lives Matter and Antifa in the time of the CCP virus:

“You say you’ll change the Constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow”

How right they were.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning author, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, and co-founder of PJ Media. His most recent books are “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (non-fiction) and “The GOAT” (fiction).

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/black-lives-dont-matter-to-black-lives-matter_3397428.html?ref=brief_Opinions&__sta=vhg.hhksexuhqqhbbv|UJJ&__stm_medium=email&__stm_source=smartech

Share

WHO SHOULD BAIL OUT NY?

WSJ 5/18/20220

Democrats want a $915 billion budget bailout for states and cities, and the leading lobbyist is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. His main public antagonist on the subject is Florida Senator and former Governor Rick Scott. Both men were first elected Governor in 2010, so let’s do the math to consider which state has managed its economy and finances better over the last decade.

In 2010 New York’s population of 19.378 million was larger than Florida’s 18.8 million. By mid-2019 Florida had grown to 21.48 million, according to the Census Bureau, while New York had barely increased to 19.453 million. Yet Mr. Cuomo recently signed a budget for fiscal 2021 of $177 billion that is even bigger than last year’s, papering over what was a $6 billion deficit before the coronavirus. Florida’s budget for fiscal 2021, not yet signed by new Governor Ron DeSantis, is expected to be about $93 billion.

Democrats in Albany are claiming to be victims of events that are out of their control. But they have increased spending by $43 billion since 2010—about $570,000 for each additional person. Florida’s budget has increased by $28 billion while its population has grown 2.7 million— a $10,400 increase per new resident.
***

New York has a top state-and-local tax rate of 12.7%, while Florida has no income tax. Yet New York has a growing budget deficit, while Mr. Scott inherited a large deficit but built a surplus and paid down state debt. The difference is spending.

New York’s spending on worker retirement benefits has nearly doubled since 2010 and is six times greater than Florida’s. Its debt-service payments have also doubled. Albany’s biggest cost driver is Medicaid, which gobbles up 40% of the state budget—twice as much as education. Florida spends about the same on schools as on Medicaid.

Blame New York’s cocktail of generous benefits, loose eligibility standards and waste. New York spends about twice as much per Medicaid beneficiary and six times more on nursing homes as Florida though its elderly population is 20% smaller. Many New York nursing homes and hospitals are organized by unions, which use their political clout to drive generous pay and benefits.

Mr. Cuomo in 2014 expanded Medicaid as part of ObamaCare to able-bodied individuals earning up to 133% of the poverty line. Florida didn’t. While the federal government initially picked up 100% of the ObamaCare expansion tab, New York is now on the hook for 10%, which contributed to this year’s $4 billion Medicaid shortfall.

New York spends about $76 billion a year on Medicaid—three times more than Florida. Swelling Medicaid costs have squeezed spending on transportation, causing Empire State trains and roads to fall into disrepair. Florida has found money to pave potholes and increased transportation spending 10 times more than New York between 2010 and 2019.  Mr. Cuomo pleads poverty by claiming New York is a “donor” state to the federal government. But federal dollars account for about 35.9% of New York’s spending compared to 32.8% of Florida’s, according to the Tax Foundation. New Yorkers pay more in federal taxes than what Albany gets back because the progressive federal tax code hits high earners the hardest and New York still has many high earners. The “donors” are individuals, and the money isn’t Mr. Cuomo’s.

In any case, many high earners are moving to lower-tax states. New York lost $9.6 billion in adjusted gross income to other states in 2018 while Florida gained $16 billion. Workers are following jobs, and vice versa.
The rate of private job growth in Florida has been about 60% higher than in New York from January 2010 to January 2020. Finance jobs expanded by 25% in Florida compared to 9.7% in New York. By our calculations, New York would generate $10 billion more annually in tax revenue if its personal income had grown at the rate of Florida’s over the last decade.
New York’s future has been discounted before, but the coronavirus may be its most serious economic challenge. Many service businesses are learning they don’t need as many workers in the office and can save money by downsizing. Morgan Stanley has said it intends to reduce office space in New York City, and Twitter has told employees they can work remotely as long as they want. Many restaurants were struggling before the coronavirus due to New York’s high minimum wage, taxes, rents and suffocating regulation. Some may now close permanently.
***

Mr. Cuomo no doubt realizes all this, which is why last week he cited a repeal of the $10,000 limit on the state-and-local tax deduction as his top request from Congress to keep more high earners from leaving. He also wants $61 billion in budget relief, which the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon notes would cover projected deficits for four years assuming spending increases by 4% annually.

The policy question is why taxpayers in Florida and other well-managed states should pay higher taxes to rescue an Albany political class that refuses to restrain its tax-and-spend governance. Public unions soak up an ever-larger share of tax dollars, but Albany refuses to change. Mr. Scott is right.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Share

The Vindication of Michael Flynn

“If they [bad political, partisan actors] can do it to an honorable Army general, they can do it to you.”  I applaud this result, but my paranoia remains.  There remains much house cleaning yet to be done in the FBI and Justice Department.   mrossol

====

WSJ  –  5/12/2020

The Justice Department dropped its case against Michael Flynn on Thursday, “with prejudice,” in a legal filing that should echo far beyond this tragedy of justice delayed. The latest evidence further undermines the credibility of James Comey’s FBI, special counsel Robert Mueller, and the entire “Russia collusion” investigation.

The retired Army general had initially pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI on Jan. 24, 2017, when two agents interviewed him at the White House shortly after he took over as Donald Trump’s national security adviser. But he later reversed his plea as new information emerged that the FBI may have tried to entrap him.

The documents filed on Thursday in federal court vindicate the general’s reversal. Justice said the FBI’s interview of Mr. Flynn was “untethered to, and unjustified by, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Flynn,” and that the interview was not “conducted with a legitimate investigative basis.”

We recommend the filing for readers who think this couldn’t happen in America. The filing recounts how the FBI had concluded in late 2016 that there was no evidence that Mr. Flynn had colluded with Russia. But the FBI kept the investigation open after it received a transcript of Mr. Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Mr. Comey and his loyalists then set up Mr. Flynn in an interview despite having no legal basis. The documents show that Mr. Comey told his deputies not to inform the White House general counsel of the visit and not to tell the White House about his conversation with the ambassador. They also show that Mr. Comey worked around senior Justice officials, including Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who thought the White House should be informed. As he did with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Hillary Clinton’s emails, Mr. Comey acted as if he was a law unto himself.

At the time the agents admitted they did not think Mr. Flynn was lying to them. But as the Justice filing notes, without a legitimate investigative purpose, whether Mr. Flynn was lying was immaterial. He should never have been prosecuted.

Yet Mr. Mueller, who knew all this soon after becoming special counsel, pursued Mr. Flynn, threatening him and his son with ruin until he got the guilty plea. The prosecutor on the case, Brandon Van Grack, was part of Mr. Mueller’s team and consistently denied there was relevant material the government had not turned over to the defense.

But surely the lack of a legal predicate for the interview was exculpatory. Mr. Van Grack told the court Thursday he is withdrawing from the case, but an investigation is warranted to see if he lied to the court. Mr. Mueller’s reputation also stands self-besmirched, and the entire Russia collusion probe looks even more illegitimate and political.

All of this came to light after Attorney General Bill Barr assigned another U.S. Attorney, Jeffrey Jensen, to look at the Flynn case anew. The partisan press will portray this as a political decision done to please Mr. Trump. But Mr. Jensen is a long-time veteran of Justice and the FBI. He is not someone who would seek to damage those institutions for political purposes.

Mr. Jensen put it this way in a statement Thursday: “Through the course of my review of General Flynn’s case, I concluded the proper and just course was to dismiss the case. I briefed Attorney General Barr on my findings, advised him on these conclusions and he agreed.”

Messrs. Jensen and Barr deserve credit for a brave decision that will not be popular with some prosecutors and certainly not with the Democratic media. But as the filing notes, the cause of justice is paramount, even after a guilty plea has been made, if the evidence demands a reversal.

There is still much we don’t know, and many Russia-related documents we still do not have, and we hope Mr. Barr will continue to make them public as he cleans up after one of the most shameful episodes in FBI and Justice Department history. For now, at least Michael Flynn can get his life and reputation back.

Source: The Vindication of Michael Flynn – WSJ

Share