Wednesday, January 18, 2017

OBAMA PROVES HIS RADICAL ROOTS BY FREEING OSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA


Obama grants clemency to Oscar Lopez Rivera, Puerto Rican terrorist

Chicago Activist To Be Released Early, With Obama Commutation
Autoplay: On | Off
President Obama on Tuesday granted clemency to Oscar Lopez Rivera. He has been in federal prison since 1981 after being convicted of armed robbery, weapons charges, and seditious conspiracy to violently overthrow the U.S. government as a member of the Puerto Rican Marxist separatist group FALN.
The Chicago and New York cells of FALN planted approximately 120 bombs throughout the U.S. from 1974 to 1983, resulting in several dead, dozens injured and property damage. Rivera's apartment had served as the headquarters for his own team's bomb-making efforts.
In the years following his sentencing, some politicians and entertainers called him innocent or the next nearest thing, a political prisoner. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., has lobbied the Obama administration to grant commutation of his sentence. Obama on Tuesday ordered Lopez-Rivera be let go effective May 17.
In 1999, former President Bill Clinton granted clemency to most FALN members. Lopez-Rivera refused the offer for a number of reasons. The Clinton commutation offer did not include his particular codefendants and would still have required him to serve 10 years of a 15-year sentence for an attempted jailbreak.
Former President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and "Hamilton" star Lin-Manuel Miranda have asked Obama to take action. The actor took to Twitter on Tuesday to say he will return to his lead role if Lopez-Rivera should attend after being let out.

Monday, January 16, 2017

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE INAUGURATION

Twas the Night Before Inauguration!

Twas the night before Inauguration, and up in the tower,
The Donald reflected on his newfound power.
The conservative masses had come out in force,
And delivered a victory that would chart a new course.

The snowflakes were shell-shocked with tears in their eyes,
The media lied to them . . . What a surprise.
They had been promised a Hillary win,
But the criminal Clinton took one on the chin.

And though from all corners celebrities flew,
They made no impression, for they hadn’t a clue.
They talked about climate, racism, and such,
And they made up good stories . . . But didn’t know much.

The fake news and ignorance came at a cost,
And they can’t understand all the reasons they lost.
They blame it on Comey and Bernie and Vlad,
But fail to acknowledge the one that was bad.

Yes, Hillary Clinton, in many ways flawed,
Was her own biggest hurdle toward getting the nod.
The campaign exposed her corruptness and greed,
And her speeches were punch-less as ten dollar weed.

So out in the streets there arose such a clatter,
It was Soros-paid protestors and Black Lives Matter.
With cities to pillage and windows to smash,
They knew not the issues, but needed the cash.

Eight years of Obama had given them cause,
To expect a replacement of their Santa Claus.
But soon the protestors will feel the pain,
When the wheels fall off of the old gravy train.

And now all the snowflakes are riddled with fear,
Upset and offended by things that they’ll hear.
The cocoa and crayons will help for a while,
But fact-based opinions will soon cramp their style.

I originally supported, and voted, for Cruz,
In the end, I would vote for whoever they choose.
He wasn’t my first choice, but soon I would cede,
The one they call Trump is the one that we need.

I saw him on TV in front of a crowd,
He spoke about veterans, it made me feel proud.
He spoke about energy, safety, and jobs,
Taking this country back from the Washington snobs.

He was dressed in Armani, all tailored and neat,
And the Brunos he wore made the outfit complete.
For a man of his vintage, he seemed rather fit,
And he looked presidential, I have to admit.

His eyes glowed like embers, his smile was the best,
And his hair was the color of my old hunting vest.
His love for this country was on full display,
And his actions spoke louder than his words could say.

He thanked all his voters, and before he was gone,
Saved thousands of jobs while Obama looked on.
The fate of this country left nothing to chance,
So, he filled out his cabinet weeks in advance.

The men he had chosen were of the same mind,
Let’s set the bar high, and not lead from behind.
He picked up his phone as he rose from his seat,
With a flick of his finger, he sent out this tweet;

“Now Mattis!, now Kelly!’ now Sessions! And Pruitt!
On Perry! On Flynn, You’re the ones who can do it.
Start lifting restrictions and building the wall,
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”;

The roar of his audience rose from the stands,
He kissed all their babies and shook all their hands.
He answered their questions and calmed all their fears,
They knew it would be a fantastic four years.
Then he jumped in his limo, and off to his jet,
A fellow that Liberals won’t soon forget.
He sent one more tweet as the evening expired;
“Happy Inauguration to all,
AND OBAMA – YOU’RE FIRED!”

Sutter Buttes Tea Party Patriots

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

CHARLIE EXPOSES FAKE NEWS ON STILTS

New post on The Next Right Step

Fake News on Stilts

by charliej373
clown-broadcaster
By Charlie Johnston
The media and political world today are all atwitter over a report from CNN and Buzzfeed that Donald Trump is a Russian agent - and includes salacious details of perverted sex parties Trump supposedly participated in. The establishment media has practically wet itself with enthusiasm over this lurid tale. The only problem is that the story started falling apart almost immediately.
Supposedly, the "information" came from a foreign intelligence agent. As John Podhoretz skeptically noted in the New York Post today, this bore less resemblance to an actual intelligence agent's report than Dan Rather's forged memo slurring George Bush. The report also listed specific places that Trump and associates had been - information that can be verified. Some of the most salacious stuff does not pass the first hurdle of verification.  The memo states that in late August Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, secretly met with Kremlin officials in the Czech Republic. As National Review's Jim Geraghty notes, there is proof that not only was Cohen not there for that date, his passport never shows a trip to the Czech Republic anytime. And at the time he was supposedly cavorting with Kremlin agents, officials at the University of Southern California confirm he and his son were on a visit to the campus.
The smoking gun, though, is that the memo is identical to a fictional account several members of 4chan, a social media platform, wrote for their own amusement in late October. 4chan allows users to post pictures and any story they want - actual, fictional or fake satire. The authors sent the report to anti-Trump GOP consultant Rick Wilson hoping they could troll him. Wilson, in turn, gave it to the CIA which pounced like a hungry trout on a juicy fly and included it in their official CIA classified report. Zero Hedge's Tyler Durden lays out the full narrative. It is not possible that a couple of guys could have concocted a fictional story several months ago that is identical to the document included in the formal report just issued - unless the fictional account is the basis of that report. (And please spare me any speculation about a million monkeys with a million typewriters).
I used to warn my political clients that our opponents could only wound us, but friends could kill us. I would explain that we reflexively fully vet opponents' statements - but our friends tell us what we want to hear. If we don't fully vet them, too, it can lead to a fatal blunder spouting false information. I was as rigorous in vetting "facts" given by friends as those put out by foes (a characteristic readers of this site undoubtedly recognize). It kept us from running with some juicy stuff - but also protected us from fatal errors. The political and media establishment have shown us very clearly what they want to believe.
When I was a newspaper editor, there was a big story I wanted to break as we screamed into deadline. I had reserved the front page for it. Problem was, my rule on stories on which I did not have ironclad documentary evidence, such as a police report, would not run unless I had three independent and credible sources. Unfortunately, I only had two when we hit deadline. An entirely different backup story I had prepared ran on the front page. It is absurd that my standards on a county newspaper group were more demanding than those of today's national establishment media. It is downright scary that my standards were more demanding than those of the modern CIA.
Both the media and the CIA have utterly beclowned themselves - but we don't have to. There will undoubtedly be more of this sort of thing. The typical reaction of the beclowned media when they epically fail is to double down in hot rage on the very things that caused the failure in the first place. These things must come. The satan is more brilliant than anyone on earth, but he has a major weakness: his restless and eager malice. The satan strikes at any hint of vulnerability without any effort at discernment whether it is real or only perceived vulnerability. He thought he had won with the crucifixion, only to discover a few days later he had only helped facilitate Christ's triumph. He does that sort of thing a lot, if not so dramatically, and never learns from it. Do not let malice and accusation get hold of your heart: it will surely lead you to grief. Vet everything whether it is congenial to you or not - and you will secure your reputation for credibility and probity.
The establishment media used to put ugly slants on stories to deceive the gullible. Now they are the gullible. Let us not count ourselves among their ranks. You may, however, take a little enjoyment as pieces of this story fall away like rotted flesh from a shuffling zombie. I know I will.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

BUBBLES, BUBBLES, PRETTY BUBBLES



RESOLVED: RID OURSELVES OF BUBBLES:

10 JAN 17
In President Barack Obama’s exit interview on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, he admitted that he did not believe Donald Trump could win the presidency because he was living in “the bubble” of the White House. http://vlt.tc/2oc4   Obama’s admission is an honest and a welcome one. But he has the excuse of occupying the most unique job in the country. For members of the media, political, and public policy spheres who are tasked with knowing and recognizing trends in the country, there is less of an excuse for the utter failure to recognize what was truly going on in 2016.

The acknowledgement of these bubbles, and the importance of breaking out of them, ought to be part of everyone’s resolution on how to approach the Trump era in 2017 and beyond.

In his 2012 book Coming Apart, Charles Murray offered a “bubble quiz”, a test intended to indicate how close or far one is from the typical experience of life for mainstream white Americans. The test is available online, and with the addition of a query about takers’ zip codes, Murray has now amassed an enormous amount of self-reported data which marks the distance between the experiences of those who thought a Trump election was inconceivable and the white middle and working class voters who elected him. According to Murray, of the 100 zip codes with the “thickest bubbles”, New York City represents 34, with Manhattan accounting for 18; San Francisco is second with 29, followed by Boston with 15. http://vlt.tc/2odu   And for those seeking to escape the bubble but can’t afford to fully break from the tenor of those cities, there’s always college towns. http://vlt.tc/2odi

The Trump election is not just explained by Murray’s warnings from the right, but of earlier works such as Chris Hayes’ Twilight of the Elites from the left. The nation’s coastal elite, which produces so much of our political and media class, has surrounded itself with a cultural, economic, and educational bubble which skews perspectives. The bubble allowed some to believe they controlled the arc of history, not that they would be subordinated to it. The shock of Trump’s election offers us an exhibit of an entire current of American life caught in its own eddy – unfamiliar with religious life, gun ownership, or the most ubiquitous vehicle in the nation, the Ford F-150.

Sean Davis. http://vlt.tc/2odt  “For those who might not be aware, trucks are really popular in America and have been for decades. The Ford F-series, for example, has been the most popular line of vehicles in America for 34 years in a row. Ford F-150’s are basically the jeans of vehicles: it’s nearly impossible to find a person in America who either doesn’t own one or doesn’t know someone who owns one. The top three best-selling vehicles in America are not cars, but trucks: the Ford F-series, Chevy Silverado, and Dodge Ram. The top-selling sedan is but a distant fourth. According to a 2014 survey conducted by IHS automotive, trucks were the most popular vehicles in a whopping 34 states. A separate 2015 study found that the F-150 was the most popular used vehicle in 36 states.

“Why is this important? Because research has shown that vehicle preferences and political preferences are linked. According to a 2016 survey of 170,000 vehicle buyers conducted by market research firm Strategic Vision, what you drive can reveal a great deal about which political candidates you prefer.

“The five most popular vehicle models among Republicans, for example, are all trucks, with the ubiquitous Ford F-150 leading the way. Among Democrats, the Subaru Outback is the most popular choice. If you drive a truck, you’re probably a Republican. If you drive a Subaru, you’re probably a Democrat. Donald Trump won every single state in which the Ford F-150 is the most popular vehicle (even Pennsylvania). He won all but four of the states in which the Chevy Silverado is the most popular vehicle, including Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton handily won the states where people prefer Subarus.”

The collective freakout by many journalists when asked by John Ekdahl in the above piece whether they know anyone who drives a truck is an amazing illustration of how thick bubbles can be – just as this report does from yesterday where a Washington Post journalist maintains .22 long rifle ammo is “high powered”. http://vlt.tc/2odd   Yet conservatives should remember that the threat of bubbles is not just confined to the nation’s elite, nor is it a problem only for American liberalism.

Trump represents a marked break from the historical past of Republican presidencies, and he arrives in Washington in a context that is very different from the last Republican president’s arrival in 2001. So as conservatives and the media consider how they ought to respond to Trump and his administration in 2017, they ought to work to avoid the glaring mistakes made in allowing their bubbles to thicken in the past 16 years.

When George W. Bush arrived in Washington, he did so as someone explicitly branded as a conservative. This led many in the conservative movement, including far too many think tanks and activist groups, to essentially become house organs of the Bush White House. Ultimately many of those entities came to regret this close relationship, leading as it did to an inability to criticize policy decisions they weren’t sure about.

Today, much of Bush’s domestic policy agenda is viewed by conservatives as a failure. No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and a host of economic policy decisions in Bush’s second term were anathema to limited government conservatives. His decisions regarding foreign policy are openly denigrated by members of his own party, none moreso than the president-elect. This dissatisfaction planted seeds that ultimately flowered in the 2006 election and aided the rise of the Tea Party and Trump himself.

When Barack Obama arrived in Washington, many in the media welcomed him with optimism as a historic figure focused on progressive change. But their overwhelmingly favorable treatment of him ultimately turned Americans who disagreed with Obama’s policies away from traditional media sources they came to distrust. They came to view much of the media as fundamentally unfair and out of touch with their concerns.

This thickened bubbles on both sides. Trump’s rise was contingent on wide swaths of the country completely tuning out so-called mainstream media sources, while all too many outlets did a poor job covering 2016. Much of the media failed to anticipate the potential Trump represented as a disruptive populist force, understand why his supporters trusted him, or offer honest reporting on the underlying trends that made his rise possible.

Engaging in a sycophantic way with any politician in the short term is tempting. It offers the lure of access and the promise of influence. But ultimately it can lead to misreading the environment, giving too much of an ear to the politician’s circle, and confining your audience to partisans.

This problem was significant under Obama, and could potentially be worse under Trump, who arrives in a very different media environment than his predecessors. There are now entire media entities with tens of millions of monthly readers that did not exist, indeed could not exist, even a decade ago. The temptation among some insurgent right-of-center media properties will be to embrace Trump fully, providing readers with a churn of daily content dedicated to supporting him and his agenda. Already we are seeing the impact in some corners – it is highly unlikely that Sean Hannity would be welcoming the likes of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange on his program absent Trump’s rise.

This is understandable. There is a natural inclination for ideological media figures to get overly excited about candidates. It is easy to be influenced by the adoration of a politician’s fans or be swept along by the panic of his detractors. But being guided by core beliefs becomes all the more important in such a moment, lest a bubble mentality set in where a politician can do no right or no wrong.

Perhaps the biggest question moving forward for the nation is whether our bubbles can be made thinner – which is really a sloppier way of saying whether we can learn to treat each other with respect, breaking down the cultural barriers that prevent us from seeing the world through eyes not just our own. Particularly in a time of political realignment, bubbles allow us to become more tribal, more distant from commonly shared experience, and view the opposite side of politics not as opponents, but as enemies. We cannot address problems we refuse to acknowledge even exist.

As the Trump era begins, media entities and conservatives alike should resolve to avoid bubbles – the former in order to cover this White House fairly, and the latter to respond to its policies in ways consistent with American conservatism’s philosophy of laissez faire economics and individual rights. This starts with taking a hard view of our prior assumptions about our neighbors. G.K. Chesterton wrote that “What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism.” In 2017, let us resolve to look to the beam in our own eyes before citing the mote in the eyes of our fellow Americans.

---

Sunday, January 8, 2017

BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, OUR MUSLIM PRESIDENT, ONE OF THE WORST PRESIDENTS IN OUR HISTORY

Jeff Jacoby

Pundicity

Barack Obama's legacy of failure

by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
January 8, 2017
AS HE PREPARES to move out of the White House, Barack Obama is understandably focused on his legacy and reputation. The president will deliver a farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday; he told his supporters in an e-mailthat the speech would "celebrate the ways you've changed this country for the better these past eight years," and previewed his closing argument in a series of tweets hailing "the remarkable progress" for which he hopes to be remembered.
Certainly Obama has his admirers. For years he has enjoyed doting coverage in the mainstream media. Those press ovations will continue, if a spate of new or forthcoming booksby journalists is any indication. Moreover, Obama is going out with better-than-average approval ratingsfor a departing president. So his push to depict his presidency as years of "remarkable progress" is likely to resonate with his true believers.
But there are considerably fewer of those true believers than there used to be. Most Americans long ago got over their crush on Obama, as they repeatedly demonstrated at the polls.
In 2010, two years after electing him president, voters trounced Obama's party, handing Democrats the biggest midterm losses in 72 years. Obama was reelected in 2012, but by nearly 4 million fewer votes than in his first election, making him the only president ever to win a second term with shrunken margins in both the popular and electoral vote. Two years later, with Obama imploring voters, "[My] policies are on the ballot — every single one of them," Democrats were clobbered again. And in 2016, as he campaigned hard for Hillary Clinton, Obama was increasingly adamant that his legacy was at stake. "I'm not on this ballot," he told campaign rallies in a frequent refrain, "but everything we've done these last eight years is on the ballot." The voters heard him out, and once more turned him down.
As a political leader, Obama has been a disaster for his party. Since his inauguration in 2009, roughly 1,100 elected Democrats nationwide have been ousted by Republicans. Democrats lost their majorities in the US House and Senate. They now hold just 18 of the 50 governorships, and only 31 of the nation's 99 state legislative chambers. After eight years under Obama, the GOP is stronger than at any time since the 1920s, and the outgoing president's party is in tatters.
When Obama touts the way he "changed this country for the better these past eight years," the wreckage of the Democratic Party — to say nothing of the election of Donald Trump — presumably isn't what he has in mind. Yet the Democrats' repudiation can't be divorced from the president and policies he embraced. Obama urged Americans to cast their vote as a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on his legacy. That's what they did.
In almost every respect, Obama leaves behind a trail of failure and disappointment. Consider just some of his works:
The economy. Obama took office during a painful recession and (with Congress's help) made it even worse. Historically, the deeper a recession, the more robust the recovery that follows, but the economy's rebound under Obama was the worst in seven decades. Annual GDP growth since the recession ended has averaged a feeble 2.1 percent, by far the puniest economic performance of any president since World War II. Obama spent more public funds on "stimulus" than all previous stimulus programs combined, with wretched, counterproductive results. On his watch, millions of additional Americans fell below the poverty line. The number of food stamp recipients soared. The national debt doubled to an incredible $20 trillion. According to the Pew Research Center, the share of young adults (18- to 34-year-olds) living in their parents' homes is the highest it has been since the Great Depression — particularly young men, whose employment and earning levels are far lower than they were a generation ago.
In 2008, when Obama was first elected president, 63 percent of Americans considered themselves middle class. Seven years later, only 51 percent still felt the same way. Obama argues energetically that his economic policies have delivered prosperity and employment. Countless Americans disagree — including many who aren't Republican. "Millions and millions and millions and millions of people look at that pretty picture of America he painted," said Bill Clinton after Obama extolled the recovery in his last State of the Union speech, "and they cannot find themselves in it to save their lives."
The president's endlessly-repeated vow that Obamacare would not force anyone to give up a health plan they liked was PolitiFact's 2013 "Lie of the Year."
Health care. The Affordable Care Act should never have been enacted. Survey after survey confirmed that it lacked majority support, and only through hard-knuckled, party-line maneuvering was the wrenching health-care overhaul rammed through Congress. But Obama was certain the measure would win public support, because of three promises he made over and over: that the law would extend health insurance to the 47 million uninsured, that it would significantly reduce health-insurance costs, and that Americans who had health plans or doctors they liked could keep them.
But Obamacare has been a fiasco. At least 27 million Americans are still without health insurance, and many of those who are newly insured have simply been added to the Medicaid rolls. Far from reducing costs, Obamacare sent premiums and deductiblesskyrocketing. Insurance companies, having suffered billions of dollars in losses on the Obamacare exchanges, have pulled out from many of them, leaving consumers in much of the country with few or no options. And the administration, it transpired, knew all along that millions of Americans would lose their medical plans once the law took effect. The deception was so egregious that in December 2013, PolitiFact dubbed "If you like your health plan, you can keep it" as its "Lie of the Year."
Foreign policy. The 44th president came to office vowing not to repeat the foreign-policy mistakes of his predecessor. His own were exponentially worse.
In his rush to pull US troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, he created a power vacuum into which terror networks expanded and the Taliban revived. Islamic State's jihadist savagery not only plunged a stabilized Iraq back into shuddering violence, but also inspired scores of lethal terrorist attacks in the West. For months, Obama and his lieutenants insisted that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad could be induced to "reform," and pointedly refused to intervene as an uprising against him metastasized into genocidal slaughter. At last Obama vowed to take action if Assad crossed a "red line" by deploying chemical weapons — but when those weapons were used, Obama blinked. The death toll in Syria climbed into the hundreds of thousands, triggering a flood of refugees greater than any the world had seen since the 1940s.
Determined to conciliate America's adversaries, the president indulged dictatorial regimes in Iran, Russia, and Cuba. They in turn exploited his passivity with multiple treacheries — seizing Crimea and destroying Aleppo (Russia), abducting American hostages for ransom and illicitly testing long-range missiles (Iran), and cracking down mercilessly on democratic dissidents (Cuba). Meanwhile, American friends and allies — Israel, Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic — Obama undermined or betrayed.
Syria's dictator slaughtered innocent civilians with chemical weapons, crossing a "red line" that President Obama warned he would not tolerate. But he did tolerate it, with devastating results.
For eight years the nation has been led by a president intent on lowering America's global profile, not projecting military power, and "leading from behind." The consequences have been stark: a Middle East awash in blood and bombs, US troops re-embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan, aggressive dictators ascendant, human rights and democracy in retreat, rivers of refugees destabilizing nations across three continents, the rise of neo-fascism in Europe, and the erosion of US credibility to its lowest level since the Carter years.
National unity. As a candidate for president, Obama promised to soothe America's bitter and divisive politics, and to replace Red State/Blue State animosity with cooperation and bipartisanship. But the healer-in-chief millions of Americans voted for never showed up.
According to Gallup, Obama became the most polarizing president in modern history. Like all presidents, he faced partisan opposition, but Obama worsened things by regularly taking the low road and disparaging his critics' motives. In his own words, his political strategy was one of ruthless escalation: "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." During his 2012 reelection campaign, Politico reported that "Obama and his top campaign aides have engaged far more frequently in character attacks and personal insults than the Romney campaign." And when a Republican-led Congress wouldn't enact legislation he sought, Obama turned to his "pen and phone" strategy of governing by diktat that polarized politics even more.
To his credit, Obama acknowledges that he didn't live up to his promise to reduce the angry rancor of Washington politics. Had he made an effort to do so, perhaps the campaign to succeed him would not have been so mean. And perhaps 60 percent of voters would not feel that their country, after two terms of Obama's administration, is "on the wrong track."
Obama's accession in 2008 as the nation's first elected black president was an achievement that even Republicans and conservatives could cheer. It marked a moment of hope and transformation; it genuinely did change America for the better.
It was also the high point of Obama's presidency. What followed, alas, was eight long years of disenchantment and incompetence. Our world today is more dangerous, our country more divided, our national mood more toxic. In a few days, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. Behold the legacy of the 44th.
(Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe).
-- ## --

Friday, December 30, 2016

IDEOLOGY MORE THAN PRAGMATISM DRIVES DEMOCRATS




The “Good News” of an Ideological Party

Note: We’re in the last few days of the year and there’s still time to donate to the work of The Catholic Thing. All you need to do is to click on the Donate button and choose one of the many easy ways to make your entirely tax-deductible contribution. Do it today. – Robert Royal
A distinction can be made between two kinds of political parties: pragmatic parties and ideological parties.
For most of its history the Democratic Party was a pragmatic party, not an ideological party. It was not interested in making a certain philosophy of life prevail in society. That’s what ideological parties do – for instance, the Communist Party in the old Soviet Union or the Nazi Party in Germany. They wish to transform society and culture so that a certain worldview prevails, a certain quasi-religion.
Pragmatic parties, by contrast, wish to distribute patronage to their friends, the patronage of jobs, contracts, tax breaks, and welfare benefits. They care little or nothing about ideology. To be sure, you will find ideologues and ideological elements in even the most pragmatic of pragmatic parties, just as you will find pragmatic elements in even the most ideological of ideological parties. But these ideological elements are minor elements in a pragmatic party, not major elements.
As noted, the Democratic Party throughout most of its history has been a pragmatic party; as have been its great rivals, the Republican Party and the earlier Whig Party.
But that is no longer true, and it grows less true with every passing year. The Democratic Party, I contend, is increasingly an ideological party, perhaps even predominantly an ideological party; and if it not yet predominantly ideological, it soon will be unless its current “progressive” trends are interrupted. In this regard, it resembles the Communist Party and Nazi Party.
Now I would not like to be misunderstood here. I am not suggesting that Democrats are like Nazis and Communists. Generally speaking, Democrats, even very ideological Democrats, are nice people. They are polite; they are often kind, sometimes very kind; they wouldn’t hurt a flea (notwithstanding the fact that they would cheerfully have unborn babies killed). But they are ideologues; or at least they are led by ideologues, and the rank and file follow these ideological leaders.
The great majority of Democrats, I concede, are not ideologues; it is not their intention to transform America’s traditional culture and replace it with a “new and improved” culture. But the Democratic Party is being led today by leftist ideologues who wish to do precisely that. These ideologues are the “brains” of the party, while everybody else provides the party’s “muscle.”
demtroika
What do these intellectual leaders of the party believe? What is the new and improved culture they wish to persuade the American people to adopt? What is the “good news” they preach?
(1) They preach a metaphysics: There is no God, at least no God like the God of the Bible; no Supreme Being who created the universe and governs it. And if they sometimes say that they are agnostics, not atheists, their agnosticism is virtually identical with atheism; the two differ in name only.
(2) They preach a theory of knowledge: There is no knowledge other than sense-based knowledge, the kind of empirical knowledge upon which natural science is based. (They pride themselves on their respect for science even though very few of them are actual scientists or philosophers or historians of science.) Thus there is no such thing as Divine Revelation. And there is no such thing as trans-empirical intuitive knowledge – for example, intuitive knowledge of the existence of God, of the immortality of the soul, of the fundamental laws of morality.
(3) They preach a theory of morality, a morality of maximum personal liberty. We should be free to do as we like, and we should tolerate a like freedom in others. Of course certain practical limits must be placed on this freedom if we are to avoid a war of all against all: we should not be free to inflict direct and tangible harm on non-consenting others.
(4) Sexual freedom: While there are many other kinds of freedom, sexual freedom is, so to speak, the keystone of the arch. If sexual intolerance is permitted, many other kinds of intolerance will follow.
(5) Anti-Christianity: The most influential opponent of the above beliefs and values is Christianity, more especially old-fashioned Catholic and Protestant Christianity. Therefore old-fashioned Christianity must be marginalized, must be driven into a social corner where it can do little or no harm.
(6) Omnicompetent government. There is no problem, not even the problem of controlling the terrestrial climate for the next 10,000 years, that cannot be solved, at least in the long run, by the action of the U.S. federal government. Do we have problems of poverty or crime or education or health or drug addiction or global warming? There must be solution that Washington can find for it – a law, an agency, a spending program, a global treaty, etc.
With regard to ideology, Democrats can be divided into three concentric circles. The innermost circle is made up of the leftist ideologues I’ve been talking about; they are the ones who manufacture “progressive” ideas and distribute them at the wholesale level.
The next circle, a larger circle, is made up of semi-ideologues; they are consumers and retail distributors of these ideas.
The outermost circle, the largest circle of all, is made up of non-ideologues. If they accept, or at least don’t oppose, “progressive” ideas, this is not from love of these ideas but from party loyalty. In this outermost circle can be found many blacks, Latinos, labor union members, and family heritage Democrats.
The Democratic Party isn’t the only crucial place where anti-Christian ideologues and semi-ideologues have won control. They have also won control in the entertainment industry, in the news media, and in our leading colleges and universities (including law schools).
A relatively small number of smart and well-organized fanatics can re-shape a culture. It’s happened many times in the past, and it’s now happening right under our noses.
support-tct-christmas-banner-shorter
David Carlin

David Carlin

David Carlin is professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.