Vaping Bernie Sanders

Vaping has become the latest craze. Its popularity has skyrocketed, particularly among young people. Studies show that Americans aged 30 to 64 were four times as likely to vape as those aged 18 to 29, and that group was four times as likely to vape as the oldest Americans over 65. Polls highlight that the younger generations do not believe that vaping is harmful, and its appeal continues to rise despite all of the evidence which shows how terrible the activity is for a person’s physical well-being.

In a very similar vein, Senator Bernie Sanders has wide appeal among younger people than older Americans. Sanders’ loyal base draws mostly on uneducated and low income people. Not surprisingly, the millions of younger, poorer people love Sanders’ formula for redistributing money from wealthier Americans. Unfortunately, these recipients cannot fathom how terrible Sanders’ socialism is for the overall economic health of the United States.

Meanwhile, the federal government has been considering a range of laws to ban or limit vaping, including the marketing of flavors that appeal to younger people. However, the more systemic risk to the nation posed by the exposure to the radical socialist ideas of Bernie Sanders has not garnered such attention. Is it time ban Bernie ads and pull him from the Democratic debates?


Senator Bernie Sanders at J Street conference


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J Street is Only Considered “Pro-Israel” in Progressive Circles

J Street held its annual conference in late October 2019 where it had several Democratic presidential candidates address the left-wing crowd. The loudest applause was, not surprisingly, heard for the most progressive candidates: Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Sen. Bernie Sanders addressing J Street Conference October 28, 2019
It is interesting that J Street bills itself as “pro-Israel” when the crowd at its annual event gave a standing ovation to the most anti-Israel presidential candidate since the founding of the Jewish State. Sanders has accused Israel of war crimes, being racist and wants to divert funds meant for Israel’s security to the Arab people in Gaza who have launched three wars against Israel since 2008. Sanders may be the only Jew among the leaders of the Democratic presidential pack, but he is without question the most critical of the Jewish State.

And it is not a coincidence that Sanders if the most left-wing of the presidential contenders. It is only through the narrow prism of a progressive worldview that J Street and Sanders can be viewed as “pro-Israel.”

For most people, being pro-“fill-in-the-blank” means actively supporting that entity. It may be with words of support and encouragement to that entity. Perhaps its with active lobbying for trade and aid on that entity’s behalf. Speaking about it positively and with enthusiasm to others.

However, for J Street, being “pro-Israel” simply means believing that Israel has a right to exist and should have secure borders. I believe that Costa Rica should exist and have secure borders, but I don’t think that makes me “pro-Costa Rica.” Maybe if I associated with people who hated Costa Rica, I would be considered pro-Costa Rica for an otherwise benign point of view, but not among most of the world.

Which is precisely the J Street dynamic.

Inside the echo chambers of the progressive halls, suggesting that Israel has a right to exist is considered extraordinary and extreme. Vocalizing that it is and should remain the Jewish homeland is considered vulgar. That it has a right to defend itself against terrorism is deemed shocking.

That’s the sad reality among J Street’s peers. Groups like the New Israel Fund actively support organizations which try to dismantle any Jewishness of the Jewish State and fund global tours for people to demonize the Israel Defense Forces. IfNotNow fights to undermine Jewish presence in Jerusalem. Code Pink supports a boycott of Israeli products. Jewish Voice for Peace has supported terrorists who have killed Israelis. And the Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis on the boards of these institutions question whether Israel should exist at all.

The progressive stances on Israel can be seen in the “Women’s March” whose leaders are against “humanizing” Israelis and in BackLivesMatter which has a platform which calls Israel an “apartheid state” and advocates for B.D.S. (boycott, divest and sanctions of Israel). These are appalling statements and opinions.

With such a peer group of progressives, it should not shock people that in that narrow “coastal liberal latte-sipping politically-correct out-of-touch folks” as Barack Obama once said, J Street actually believes that saying the Israel should exist as a secure Jewish State is considered “pro-Israel.” Outside of the far-left extreme, that’s an opinion which is considered neutral – “pareve” as they would say in the Jewish community.

Actually being “pro-Israel” for groups like AIPAC means ensuring bi-partisan support for Israel, keeping trade and military cooperation intact, advocating for U.S. support for Israeli positions at the United Nations. J Street is against all of those ideas.

One could perhaps argue that it is useful for J Street to engage with their co-progressives and get them to upgrade their views on Israel. It is clear that the “Squad” of socialists in congress are not going to listen to AIPAC or the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).

But it is horribly incorrect and out-of-bounds for the general public and media to quote J Street as the mainstream pro-Israel forum when it is nothing of the sort. It is merely the fringe “meh-Israel” segment of a radical leftist anti-Zionist ideology which is regrettably beginning to permeate the Democratic party.


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From “You Didn’t Build That” to “You Don’t Own That”

The Democratic Party is continuing to move in an authoritarian manner to strip people of their liberties and properties.

In July 2012, President Obama addressed a crowd in Virginia while he sought a second term in office and saidif you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” The comment irritated his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, who responded that

to say that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motors, that Papa John didn’t build Papa John Pizza … To say something like that, it’s not just foolishness. It’s insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America … And by the way, the president’s logic doesn’t just extend to the entrepreneurs that start a barber shop or a taxi operation or an oil field service business like this and a gas service business like this, it also extends to everybody in America that wants to lift themself [sic] up a little further … The president would say, well you didn’t do that. You couldn’t have gotten to school without the roads that government built for you. You couldn’t have gone to school without teachers. So you didn’t, you are not responsible for that success. … what the President said was both startling and revealing. I find it extraordinary that a philosophy of that nature would be spoken by a president of the United States. It goes to something that I have spoken about from the beginning of the campaign. That this election is, to a great degree, about the soul of America. Do we believe in an America that is great because of government or do we believe in an America that is great because of free people allowed to pursue their dreams and build our future?”

Americans didn’t seem to notice or agree with Romney’s remarks and voted Obama to a second term in office by a margin of 332 to 206.

So, the progressive presidential candidates are at it again.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is extending Obama’s line of reasoning in the hopes that it will be even more popular with Americans. While Obama gave the government and teachers credit for playing a large part in entrepreneurs’ success, Sanders’ socialist philosophy concluded that such a government system which enables entrepreneurs to achieve so much wealth must inherently be corrupt and sinister. Therefore, Sanders wants a complete revolution to destroy America’s capitalistic economy. 

Comrade-in-arms Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who is also running for president doesn’t want to destroy the successful companies as much as she wants to seize them away from management and investors. Warren’s goal is to give 40 percent of a company’s board seats to employees if the company has annual revenue over $1 billion. Additionally, she wants to take 2 percent of people’s wealth over $50 million.

And why not? Obama laid the philosophical groundwork that the rich profit off of the efforts of others as well as the governmental system and economy, so why shouldn’t the employees get a giant say and take in the outcome of a company and the government come to lay claim to its just rewards?


Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren

It is easy to see a future Democratic Socialist presidential candidate following Warren and arguing that labor should get 70% of boards on all companies with revenue over $100 million, and that the government will take 5 percent of all personal wealth over $5 million, then 10% on wealth over $1 million, as that is the nature of a voracious government that eyes success suspiciously.

While Warren will claim that she is more of a capitalist than Sanders to appeal to moderates, it is a nuance without difference. While Sanders wants to destroy capitalism immediately, Warren is simply seeking to establish the mechanisms to kill investment and motivation. Her long-term goal is to let capitalism choke under the weight of government, until such time that the income and wealth gap is flattened to such a level to satisfy the alt-left.

In 2012, Romney repeated the vision of the role of government protecting liberty as conceived by America’s founding fathers in a warning about Obama’s grand government. But today, nobody is sounding the alarms on alt-left politicians laying claim to corporate and wealth takeovers in gestures prevalent in failed socialist societies like Venezuela. Such is a society which stokes populism rather than freedom.


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The Insidious Jihad in America

Yesterday’s post called “Linda Sarsour as Pontius Pilate” got quite a bit of pushback. People wanted to know what was the point of attacking a Muslim woman who wasn’t even elected to office. They asked why there wasn’t an article written about President Trump and other calls of whataboutery.

Linda Sarsour is just one data point about an insidious jihad taking place in the United States.

On April 20, 2019, another Muslim woman – this one, an elected official, Ilhan Omar (D-MN) – posted a feed on her Twitter account that rebuked Christians for not realizing that Jesus was a Palestinian, the same sort of inanity produced by Sarsour on July 6.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) before Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
A few days later on May 9, the most power Democrat in office, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, invited Imam Omar Suleiman to give a prayer before Congress. Suleiman was the original source of Omar’s retweet.

In reaction to Suleiman addressing Congress, Rep Lee Zeldin (R-NY) rebuked Pelosi for inviting such a divisive person to address the august body, stating.

“Totally unacceptable that had Omar Suleiman give the opening prayer yesterday in the House. He compares Israel to the Nazis & calls them terrorists, supports Muslim Brotherhood, incites violence calling for a Palestinian antifada & the end of zionism, etc. Bad call”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) went into high gear with accusations of “Islamophobia,” rather than address the issue that a national platform was given to a virulent basher of a strong American ally. As described in cnsnews.com:

“Ekram Haque, acting executive director of CAIR’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter, accused “anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian groups” of having “launched a smear campaign against yet another person of color and American Muslim leader in the hope of maligning and marginalizing our communities.”

A brilliant continuation of lies whereby the anti-Zionists deflected the charge with charges of Islamophobia.

The CNS news site continued that Suleiman has 1.35 million followers on Facebook and 282,000 followers on Twitter where he posted comments like these:

  • Facebook post, May 15, 2018: “Apartheid Israel, with American funding and cover, continues to terrorize with impunity.”
  • Facebook post, 10 August 2015: “Want to know what its [sic] like to live under Nazis? Look no further than how the Palestinians are treated daily by apartheid Israel. Sickening.”
  • Twitter post, 30 October 2014: A third intifada is near insha’Allah.”
  • Facebook post, 3 August 2014: “How symbolic: 2 books buried in the rubble of a destroyed home in Gaza: One about Moses and the other about Muhammad (peace be upon them both). The Zionists are the enemies of God, His Messengers, sincere followers of all religions, and humanity as a whole.”
  • Twitter post, 24 July 2014: “God willing on this blessed night as the 3rd Intifada begins, the beginning of the end of Zionism is here. May Allah help us overcome this monster, protect the innocent of the world, and accept the murdered as martyrs. ameen.”

Suleiman/Omar/Pelosi are far cries from an innocuous and impotent “social activist” making silly remarks about Jesus being a Palestinian. This is a man calling for the destruction of Israel who is parroted by a congresswomen and speaking before Congress.

Sarsour herself has many other friends at the top of the Democratic Party that are furthering the demonization of Jews and the Jewish State.

Linda Sarsour and Cornel West, right, listen as Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks in a roundtable discussion April 16, 2016, at the First Unitarian Congregational Society in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (Mary Altaffer / AP)

Sarsour has developed a very close relationship with one of the leading Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders proudly posted her endorsement of his 2020 presidential run on his website. He clearly believes that her voice carries weight and will win him votes. (It should be noted that Sanders also posted the support of another loud anti-semite, former British MP George Galloway as well as Cornel West and James Zogby.)

Another 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand loudly and proudly complemented Sarsour for her role in the Women’s March stating: “It was an honor to write about them.” In addition to Israel-hater Sarsour, the other women Gillibrand wrote about were people like Tamika Mallory who is proud of her relationship with noted anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. (Gillibrand has company in another Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Cory Booker who also stands with Farrakhan).

Sarsour is also close to current Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a fellow Israel-basher (who happens to be Muslim) who was the Vice Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The two back each other all the way.

In short, Sarsour is not some low-level un-influential community organizer. She has a loud platform and ears of the leaders of the Democratic party.

These pages have focused on far-left wing anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist elected officials including “The Democratic Party is Tacking to the Far Left-Wing Anti-Semitic Fringe,Black Lives Matter Joins the anti-Israel “Progressives” Fighting Zionism,An Open Letter to Non-Anti-Semitic Sanders Supporters and “Farrakhan’s Democrats” among others.

This problem is systemic and growing.

The “progressive” intersectionality movement is merging the radical Muslim jihadist sect like Sarsour/ Omar/ Ellison with the far-left Democratic leadership like Sanders, Booker and Gillbrand as well as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris who both excused Ilhan’s Omar’s anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist comments. Rather than criticize the essence of the hateful American jihadists comments, the Democratic leadership is opting to condemn the targets of the smear attacks (including pro-Israel Republicans, religious Christians and and Jews) as racists. Appreciating the results, the jihadists do it again, further binding the alt-left to its cause, as the Democratic leadership seems unwilling or unable to pull itself out of the tailspin.

The insidious jihad is just getting started, and will roll over the Democratic Party should it elect a member of the far-left as its presidential nominee.


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#NeverGillibrand #NeverSanders #NeverHarris #NeverDeBlasio

US elections have become affairs seemingly as much about who people will NOT vote for as much as who they actually do endorse.

In that spirit, with a crowded field of Democrats vying to become the next US president, let’s toss out the clearly unacceptable candidates, those who will tear this country apart – the extremists.

Both Republicans and Democrats have them, and the current nature of the primary season is unfortunately to cater to the radical base of the party. But it is a recipe for disaster and a continuation of the fracturing the great United States.

Three of the Democratic candidates for president are among the most extremist liberal fringe of the senate, as compiled by GovTracks, an independent monitoring group which tracks the voting records of all members of Congress.

Look at the five most extreme liberal voters in the US Senate for 2018:

Rank Score Senator

#95 0.09 Sen. Edward “Ed” Markey [D-MA]
#96 0.05 Sen. Kamala Harris [D-CA]
#97 0.03 Sen. Jeff Merkley [D-OR]
#98 0.01 Sen. Bernard “Bernie” Sanders [I-VT]
#99 0.00 Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY]

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Three of the most extremist members of the US Senate are running for president. Voting for such people to the highest office is akin to trying to initiate a civil war in the country between the blue states and the red states, between the rural and the urban, between the religious and the secular.

Similarly, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is a far left-wing fringe politician and should be shunned on the national stage.

When Barack Obama was leaving the political stage, he warned his fellow Democrats not to let themselves be “characterized as coastal liberal latte-sipping politically-correct out-of-touch folks.Well they’re not be characterized as such – they are the very epitome of the alt-left.

If Americans actually want to heal the divide, it is time to encourage the moderate voices from both parties to take leadership roles in the national debates, not the lunatic fringe embodied by Gillibrand and Sanders.


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This July 4, I am Leaving the Democratic Party that Left Me Long Ago

I have been increasingly unhappy with the far-left direction of the Democratic Party for several years. Its horrible handling of international affairs under Obama, its refusal to actively combat antisemitism in preference to “Islamophobia,” the welcome mat for Senator Bernie Sanders and Cornel West, the refusal of party members to actively rebuke racist Louis Farrakhan are just some of the reasons.

I held off leaving the party when it elected Tom Perez as head of the Democratic National Committee instead of alt-left wing Congressman Keith Ellison who was supported by liberal stalwarts including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer and Sanders. I thought the party had dodged a bullet.

But that was just wishful thinking. The Democratic Party has been hijacked and it doesn’t look like it will be returning.

On July 3, 2018, the current Chair of the DNC, Tom Perez praised Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who had recently won a primary. He described this self-described Democrat-Socialist in the mold of Bernie Sanders as “the future of our party.

It is a future of extremism of which I want no part.

Libertarians / Conservative Democrats like me have been vanishing from the Democratic Party for a decade. From 2000 through 2009, The percentage of Conservative Democrats was relatively stable, going from 23% to 22%, while the Liberal wing grew from 28% to 32%. While a minority of the party, I still felt that I had a voice and a place, as the moderates still had the largest slice at over 40%.

That disappeared since the Obama inauguration.

As shown in the graph above from the Pew Research Center, Liberals account for 48% of the party as of 2017, while the Conservative branch has shrunk to just 15%. The DNC Chair and 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have taken notice and are endorsing far-left candidates and positions. It is time for moderates and conservative Democrats to go.

To celebrate this great country’s Independence Day, I will change my party affiliation which I have had for several decades. If you live in New York, you can use this form to join me. If you live in another state, look up your Board of Elections to find the form.

Roughly 44% of U.S. adults identify as Democrats. While I used to be part of that group, I no longer recognize the party that has been seized by the alt-left that now more closely resembles the Green Party and Working Families Party then the Democratic Party of 20 years ago.

Please join me in saying goodbye.


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Politicians React to Vile and Vulgar Palestinian Hatred

People in the western world are proud of their freedom of speech. In the United States, people on both the right and left point out the importance of the First Amendment of the Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petitition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Yet, the government has taken steps to curtail some vile forms of speech, such as calls for violence. For example, several states have enacted more severe penalties if crimes are based on racism, religion or sexual orientation.

Whether there is really an exemption for hate speech (as opposed to motivation for a crime) is a matter of debate. What is not a matter of debate, is how civil society should respond to vile speech.

Linda Sarsour

One of the leaders of the “Women’s March” in Washington D.C. in January 2017 was a Palestinian – American Muslim woman named Linda Sarsour. In addition to hateful comments she made about Israel, she offered the following about a woman who suffered from genital mutilation as a young Muslim woman.

Sarsour’s callousness extended beyond uttering threats against private citizens, to specifically assaulting Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s area of sensitivity and pain: her vagina, which had been attacked because she grew up in Muslim society where such mutilation was condoned. The Sarsour comment went beyond poor taste; it was vile, vulgar and disgusting. It deserved repudiation from every decent human being.

At least one hoped.

New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand praised Sarsour in an article in Time magazine, saying “The images of Jan. 21, 2017, show a diverse, dynamic America—striving for equality for all. The moment and movement mattered so profoundly because it was intersectional and deeply personal. These women are the suffragists of our time.”  The Jewish community was appalled that Senator Gillibrand would stand behind Sarsour who constantly vilified Israel. Gillibrand issued no retraction.

Democratic National Committee vice chair Michael Blake came out full force defending Sarsour: “If you keep coming after @lsarsour, we’re going to respond directly, consistently, with all heart and soul. Fall back!

Other supporters of Sarsour included Senator Bernie Sanders and another DNC Vice chair, Keith Ellison.

Put aside Sarsour’s embrace of convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh for a moment, whom she invited to the Woman’s March stage. Even if the Democratic politicians despised Israel, how could they support a woman who is so vulgar and despicable to deliberately mock a woman who suffered genital mutilation?

Mahmoud Abbas

Linda Sarsour was not the only Palestinian Arab to use disgusting language to maliciously attack those with whom she disagrees.

Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, does not simply fight against Israel. He vilifies the Jewish State in the most hurtful and outrageous manner: by belittling the Holocaust.

The Jewish people in Europe were one of the few people in the world to suffer a genocide over the past hundred years. The German Nazis sought to ethnically cleanse the Jews for Europe and rounded them up for torture and execution wherever they came to power. It was one of the darkest periods of mankind.

Abbas, who wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial, chooses to constantly attack the victim. Abbas accused those same Jews that were the victims of a genocide, as committing a “genocide” against Arabs in Israel (even though the growth of the number of Arabs in Israel exceeds the rate of growth of Arabs anywhere in the world.) Abbas accuses the actual victims of ethnic cleansing, of committing “ethnic cleansing” of Arabs, even though everywhere that Israel established its state, it offered citizenship to every Arab that wanted it.

So when Abbas came to visit US President Donald Trump in May 2017, it was hard to hear Trump welcome the hateful Abbas as though he were a national leader. However, it was also heartening to see that Trump deleted his Twitter post that said it was “an honor” to meet Abbas.

Hamas

The world had become accustomed to bestowing honor on hateful entities for many years. The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, with its vile anti-Semitic charter which calls on Arabs to kill Jews and destroy Israel, was a favorite of the last United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. He encouraged Hamas to join the Palestinian Authority and stated loudly that he stood with them after their war with Israel.

Recep Erdogan

The Muslim Turkish leader Recep Erdogan is also fond of berating the Jewish victims of Nazi atrocities by using those same hurtful terms. Erdogan accused Israel of “Hitler-like Facism” and “genocide.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was nonplussed, and let Turkey host the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, where he thanked “His Excellency the President, the Government and people of Turkey for their hospitality, and for their role at the forefront of humanitarian action.

Nice praise for the leader that has suppressed freedoms broadly in his country and insulted victims around the world.


On May 8, 2017, Republican Senator John McCain wrote an op-ed in the New York Times “Why We Must Support Human Rights.” He argued that it is not enough to navigate the “realism” of a world of despots and ignore their vile human rights abuses and attacks on victims.

“I consider myself a realist. I have certainly seen my share of the world as it really is and not how I wish it would be. What I’ve learned is that it is foolish to view realism and idealism as incompatible.”

Every person – including politicians that are forced to engage with horrible local and national leaders – must call out the ugliness. Their comments should be repudiated. And most obviously, not given praise as Gillibrand and the heads of the Democratic National Committee have done. As McCain wrote:

“Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in. It could cost our reputation in history as the nation distinct from all others in our achievements, our identity and our enduring influence on mankind. Our values are central to all three.

Taylor Swift knows that “haters gonna hate.” Politicians must avoid broad praise of the haters, or at a minimum, denounce their specific disgusting comments.


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The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

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Regime Reactions to Israel’s “Apartheid” and “Genocide”

New York Times Confusion on Free Speech

A Flower in Terra Barbarus

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Is the Left-Wing Coming Back to Zionism?

The years from 2010 to 2016 were an abysmal abandonment of the left-wing in the United States from supporting the Jewish State. Their criticisms of Israel in public and private were not only demonizing of Israel, but of Jews generally.

Consider how left-wing politicians argued that Jewish schools should be denied police protection, arguing that Jewish schools had anti-gay curricula.  Consider how the Democratic party ripped up their pro-Israel platform in 2012 and then had their party head lead a walkout on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The far-left darling, Senator Bernie Sanders was the most anti-Israel presidential candidate in the running who drafted Israel-basher Cornel West to be part of the new Democratic mainstream.

Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx
1/29/16
Dr. Cornel West and Bernie Sanders are seen at a Bernie Sanders Rally in Davenport, Iowa.

Fortunately, there are signs that the tide may be turning.

On April 28, 2017, all 100 US Senators sent a letter to the new UN Secretary General to stop the anti-Israel bias at the United Nations. The letter was co-authored by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and signed by every Democratic senator.

One week before the US senators wrote their letter to the UNSG, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in a case related to using public funds for safety mats in playgrounds of religious schools. Even liberal judges like Elana Kagan and Stephen Breyer could not understand how the public could withhold safety and security from religious schools.

These are refreshing changes in liberal positions from just last year.

Whether the changes are stemming from the Democrats’ loss of the presidency or the nadir of the Obama administration permitting UNSC Resolution 2334 to pass, one can only hope that the Democratic party continues to move away from the left-wing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic fringe.


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A Country Divided

Politicians have a long history of throwing mud at each other. However, over the past ten years, our elected officials have turned from attacking each other, to attacking sectors of Americans. It has divided our nation.

When Barack Obama ran for office, he took aim at the top 1% of wage earners in the country. He blamed “fat cat” bankers for making too much money and further blamed them for pushing the country into financial ruin (“you guys caused the problem,“) conveniently ignoring the government failings for pushing banks to lend to credit-challenged people to buy homes. Obama continued to attack wealthy Americans as people that did not pay their “fair share” of taxes. His attacks appealed to the masses – the 99% of Americans – that would be the beneficiaries of his wealth redistribution. He bought votes by dividing a slice of Americans.

Obama’s class warfare was enhanced by far-left wing politicians like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Sanders claimed that “the business model of Wall Street is fraud,” attacking the entire financial sector, not just some “fat cats.” Warren wouldn’t even allow a banker, Antonio Weiss, to leave his position at an investment bank to help fix the economy of Puerto Rico which was in crisis, because she viewed him as part of the evil Wall Street, even though Weiss had nothing to do with the financial meltdown.

The radical socialists in Congress were no longer satisfied only picking the pockets of “fat cats,” they wanted them either in jail or unemployed.

What these left-wing politicians failed to appreciate, was that there were professions more reviled by Americans than bankers. Specifically, politicians and the news media.

According to polls – both by Pew and Gallup – politicians were ranked as the least trust-worthy group by Americans. The October 2016 Pew poll ranked the military, scientists, school principals, religious leaders, the news media, business leaders and then elected leaders in order of highest to lowest in regards to confidence. A total of 73% of Americans had little or no confidence in their elected officials.

The December 2016 Gallup poll had similar results, with people in the medical profession scoring as the most honest and ethical, with the least trust-worthy professions being state senators, business executives, stock brokers, HMO managers, Senators, advertising people, insurance salespeople, car salespeople and members of Congress. A total of 59% and 50% of Americans had either low or very low views of members of Congress and Senators, respectively. That compared to 30% for bankers and 41% for journalists.

Donald Trump understood this. He rode Americans distaste for their elected officials, and became the first non-public official in the White House.

Rather than attack bankers, Trump has taken aim at the media, another industry that is not trusted by Americans. He called out “fake news” which the public has long believed. One of his advisors sited “alternative facts” in an interview with the press in an ongoing debate with the media.

trump-fake-news

Donald Trump in first news conference as President-elect labeled CNN as “fake news”
January 11, 2017
The press, which has long enjoyed crafting a narrative to fit the political agenda of their editorial boards, are appalled.  Already under threat from changes in technology that is making their work uneconomic, they are attacking every move being made by Trump, in sharp contrast to the gentle treatment of Obama for eight years.


It would be nice to have politicians debate issues rather than resort to personal attacks. Unfortunately, that has never been proven effective in political campaigns.

But politicians have moved passed throwing mud at a single opponent to attacking the American people they are meant to serve.

Obama decided to splinter off only a small number of Americans – the “fat cats.” He made fun of Americans that “cling to guns or religion,” but he didn’t vilify them as bringing down the country. We are past that now.

Hillary Clinton said that she was proud that Republicans hated her, and then described half of America as “deplorables.” Warren and Sanders have continued the attack broad swaths of America.

For his part, Trump narrowed his attacks on those that were unpopular in America. When Americans said that they were more scared of terrorism than mass shootings, he attacked radical Islamic terrorism and went light on gun control. When Americans showed their hatred for politicians and the news media, he berated them to their faces, to the cheers of many.

It is ugly. It is popular. It is the voice of protestors and people angry with the state of our world.

It is us.

Our leaders contributed to our division. Do we rely on them to fix it?

We are all media pundits in a world of social media. We celebrate and castigate politicians with whom we agree and disagree. But we are also doing so with friends and colleagues.

That splinter that Obama opened with the top 1% has opened a chasm in our country and our relationships.


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If You Want to Take Money out of Politics, Liberal Leaders Suggest Voting for Trump

There are many Americans who are single issue voters.

Some people are focused on national defense. For others, it’s the economy.  Some focus on abortion.

In the 2016 presidential election cycle, many liberals zeroed in on the role of money in politics.

Senator Bernie Sanders sought the presidency as a Socialist-Democrat. His platform was very focused on getting “big money” out of influencing the policies of the government.  His platform stated in “Getting Big Money Out of Politics and Restoring Democracy”:

In the year 2016, with a political campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by billionaires and special interests, I fear very much that, in fact, government of the people, by the people, and for the people is beginning to perish in the United States of America.

We cannot allow that to happen.”

Sanders called on all Americans to rally around the message of weeding out the corruption that accompanies money in politics.

“Let’s be honest and acknowledge what we are talking about. We are talking about a rapid movement in this country toward a political system in which a handful of very wealthy people and special interests will determine who gets elected or who does not get elected. That is not what this country is supposed to be about. That was not Abraham Lincoln’s vision of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people….

The need for real campaign finance reform is not a progressive issue. It is not a conservative issue. It is an American issue. It is an issue that should concern all Americans, regardless of their political point of view, who wish to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world, a government that represents all of the people and not a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests.”

Sanders directed his attacks against Hillary Clinton, who raised significant money for personal profit, as well as for her presidential campaign, from Wall Street.

Another Democratic nominee for president focused on money in politics was Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig. Lessig ran his entire campaign on that single issue: to reduce corporate political contributions in government.  In September 2015, in announcing his candidacy, Lessig could not be more clear about his thoughts about money in politics:

America’s government has been bought. But not by us. Not by the American people. America’s government has been bought by the cronies and special interests. America’s government has been bought not by those who care about America, but by those who want to use our government to get rich.”

Lessig said that America had become a “banana republic democracy,” because of the role of money in elections.

And he noted that Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of that problem.

lessig
Lawrence Lessig discussing money in politics in New York City, May 2015
(photo: First.One.Through)

When Lessig dropped out of the presidential race, he was asked to reflect on which candidate could solve the corrupting issue of money in politics.  He was unambiguous: Donald Trump.

 “As much as it’s impossibly difficult for me to imagine a Donald Trump presidency…. I do kind of think that the highest probability of fundamental reform is if Donald Trump is president,”

Is it any wonder that so many Sanders supporters are not backing Clinton? As Lessig said:

“You could love everything that Bernie is saying, but unless you change the political system and end this core corruption, nothing that he’s talking about is even credible,”

In other words, if you want to stop government bribery, the core of the issue is to stop it at the governmental level.  Trump played a part of system, not because he was so anxious to give away money to politicians, but because the politicians kept demanding it.  For leading liberals, the critical issue is to stop the disease that is Hillary Clinton’s graft machine.  And who would better do it than one of the people that was forced into paying in?

Hillary Clinton’s issue is not Republicans not liking her.  It is Liberals and Democrats who see her as the essence of a corrupt political machine.


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