Category Archives: History

Maxine Waters

Impeachment is whatever Congress says it is.

Well, pretty much, yeah. This isn’t right, though:

“Bill Clinton got impeached because he lied,” Waters declared. “Here you have a president who I can tell you and guarantee you is in collusion with the Russians, to undermine our democracy. Here you have a president who has obstructed justice, and here you have a president that lies every day.”

…Unless Trump can be accused of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,” he cannot be impeached.

While Waters claimed Clinton was impeached for “lying,” he was actually impeached for perjury — lying under oath.

Actually, he was impeached for multiple counts of obstruction of justice, including not just perjury, but suborning perjury from others via bribes and physical threats to a woman’s family, for the purpose of preventing someone he’d sexually harassed from getting a fair trial.

Trump’s Art Of The Deal

Thoughts from Jonah Goldberg, with which I completely agree:

I am coming around to the position that the vast bulk of punditry in defense of Donald Trump is little different from hepatoscopy, chiromancy, tasseography, and other “sciences” that imbue essentially random phenomena with deep and prophetic significance (this is not to say that orbistry, the practice of explaining everything weird in this crazy world, is not 100 percent correct).

Let’s just look at the past week. On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to “immediately terminate” the DACA program if elected. In June, he flipped and said it would stay in place. Going into this week, the White House signaled that it would get rid of the program. On Tuesday, Trump’s attorney general came out and declared that the program was unconstitutional. And, in a move I praised, Trump said that he would give the task of dealing with the issue to Congress. But, after watching negative TV coverage and bristling at Barack Obama’s criticism, Trump flopped. In a tweet, Trump suggested he wants Congress to legalize the program, not get rid of it. And if Congress failed, he might have to “revisit” the issue, implying that Trump might use the same unconstitutional measures Obama used.

Now, in fairness to Trump, he’s always been torn on the issue, and rightly so. Deporting the “Dreamers” is a terrible idea. But the position of most immigration hawks has always been that we should trade some form of amnesty in exchange for serious border-security measures and/or implementation of E-verify or similar steps.

So, let’s consider instead the other big news this week. President Trump threw Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and the House Freedom Caucus under the bus to cut a deal with “Chuck and Nancy” on a short-term extension of the debt ceiling. Wait, scratch that. He didn’t “cut a deal” with the Democrats, he simply took their first offer in exchange for . . . nothing. He took a “deal” to get Harvey relief passed despite the fact that Harvey relief would have passed anyway. This was not The Art of the Deal. It was — to borrow a phrase from Seth Mandel — The Art of the Kneel.

Trump kicked the can to December, when his leverage will be weaker, apparently in a glandular act of spite against McConnell and Ryan. John Boehner was hounded out of office by tea-party types for even considering cutting far better debt-ceiling deals with Barack Obama. In both of these cases, the response from legions of Trumpers was rapturous approval of his genius and/or his willingness to punish McConnell and Ryan.

It’s almost as though his vaunted ability to do deals is highly overrated.

Also, read on for a devastating critique of Rachel Maddow’s misleading history of the Wilson administration.

An Open Letter

to (racist) Ta-Nehisi Coates:

“The problem with the police,” you write, “is not that they are fascists pigs, but that our country is ruled by majoritarian pigs. And so to challenge the police is to challenge the American people who send them into the ghettos armed with the same self-generated fears that compelled people who think they are white to flee the cities and into the Dream.” There, you’ve said it. You’ve indicted the majority of the American people on serious charges—and many of them (not all) in their guilt and shame will grant you a moral pass. Some will feign outrage, but most, like aristocrats who reversed roles with the plebeians at the European Dionysian bacchanals, will assume a mask of contrition, look to some hoped-for redemptive moment in the higher registers of their innocent conscience, and move on. Your accusations have made for interesting dinner talk among the cognoscenti and literati in liberal bourgeois enclaves, where some believe moral masochism and symbolic self-flagellation are signs of virtue.

You touch on your flirtation with some special black racial essentialism in your book, and it is both affecting and sympathetic: “My working theory then held all black people as kings in exile, a nation of original men severed from our original names and our majestic Nubian culture. Surely this was the message I took from gazing out in the [Howard] Yard. Had any people, anywhere, ever been as sprawling and beautiful as us?” Unfortunately, there is nothing special about the black body. There is nothing special about any racially distinct physical body per se. Black skin does not convey nobility. Neither does white skin, or yellow skin. Your body is not special until it conjoins itself to a mind and adapts nature to its needs and desires and rational aspirations, its self-actualization and manifested agency. Any human body that fails to achieve a self-cultivated moral character and inscrutable human will is merely an ecological social ballast: ignoble, exploitable, a heap of unintelligible flesh on this earth.

This abnegation of personal responsibility assumes its logical end in your failure to grant black people responsibility for their own lives in the phenomenon of black-on-black crime. You tell your son: “Black-on-black crime is jargon, violence to language . . . . To yell black-on-black crime is to shoot a man and then shame him for bleeding.” Why? You give no reasons. In truth, black-on-black crime is a pathology that has to be reckoned with. Your own experiences with the police and with violence tell a more complicated story than you’d like. You write about your friend Prince Jones. He was shot and killed by a police officer who claimed that your late friend had tried to run him over with his Jeep. This police officer was black. You write of a schoolyard boy who first apprised you of your place in the world by revealing a gun at his waist. In brandishing his weapon, you write, “he let it be known how easily I could be selected.” You write eerily of his haunting presence in your life—the boy in whose small eyes you saw “a surging rage that could, in an instant, erase my body.” He, too, was black. Throughout your letter to your son, black people are mostly treated as mindless automatons who can’t seem to help themselves—and you apply this idea of helplessness to violence. You quote your own father who justified beating you by announcing, “Either I can beat him, or the police.” That’s all there is to it?

In your world, black-on-black crime is causally reducible to the machinations of the orchestrators of a system apparently designed to rule the neurons and synapses of the black brain. Have you told your son that he is twice as likely to be murdered by another black man than by a white police officer? Perhaps not, because it would not make any difference. The gang members and black individuals who kill others, including blacks, are certified moral icons who deserve dispensation because, in your reasoning, they are powerless before the street crime of history that brought the ghettos into existence.

As they do with the Arabs, the Left deprives everyone, other than white people, of moral agency.

White Nationalists Versus SJWs

They’re not fighting over ideological differences, they’re fighting because they have so much in common. Much like the Nazis and the Communists.

I’m always amused when the most race-obsessed people in the world accuse normal people of being racists.

[Sunday-morning update]

The thread seems to have drifted into discussion of Joe Arpaio. He was a sadistic scumbag, but the people of Maricopa County re-elected him multiple times. There are many Joe Arpaios and terrible county jails in this country. The only reason Arpaio was prosecuted by the Obama Department of (In)Justice was because he refused to knuckle under to their insistence that Arizona not enforce federal immigration laws.

[Wednesday-afternoon update]

Don’t call these people (or anyone, really) “anti-fascist”:

We may not take today’s anarcho-communists as seriously as we did back when they had the power, the weapons, and the infrastructure to murder tens of millions of people. But their goals are no different. As they put it, they don’t want a “U.S.A. at all.” The country they want to occupy the center of North America has no First Amendment, no freedom of expression, and people with opposing views (of any views, not just Nazis) are beaten, imprisoned or murdered for intellectual dissent. They may run the gamut from anarchism to revolutionary socialism in their views, but they have far more in common with fascists than they do with the people they seek to attract with the sweet-sounding “anti-fascist” label.

Davies notes that the propaganda value of “anti-fascism” in the West reached its apex when Francisco Franco won the Spanish Civil War, with help from the fascist governments of Italy and Germany. It then fell out of favor when Stalin aligned with Hitler in hopes of devouring half of eastern Europe. Before the Germans turned against them, the Soviets seized half of Poland, annexed the Baltic States, and invaded Finland in the 1939-1940 Winter War, casting its democratic government at the time as a fascist enemy (of course).

So always with these little would-be tyrants. When you use the label “antifa” or “anti-fascist,” you are helping and enabling a resurgence of terrorist liars in the exact same tradition, who are indistinguishable from neo-Nazis except in the specific motivations for and targets of their authoritarian impulses and irrational violence.

Yup.

[Bumped]

[Update a couple minutes later]

Yes, “antifa” is the moral equivalent of neo-Nazis.

Yes, as noted above, going back to Stalin.

“Pick A Side”

Yes, definitely pick a side, but Antifa and fascism are the same side:

Partisans of “pick a side” insist that every mention of violence by both right-wing and left-wing thugs is an exercise in “whataboutism.” That is, an attempt to deflect from one’s own sins by invoking the misdeeds of the opposition. In the case of Donald Trump’s hemming and hawing over Charlottesville, that’s likely true. Asked to comment on a terrorist act by a neo-Nazi at a rally of racists and neo-Nazis who have vocally lent the sitting president their support, an invocation of “many sides” sounds an awful lot like whataboutism intended to shift blame from his friends.

But for those of us already calling out the violent bigots flaunting Nazi imagery, it’s not whataboutism to point out that an alleged alternative isn’t actually an alternative at all—it’s just another version of the same thing. As New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg tweeted from Charlottesville, “The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding ‘antifa’ beating white nationalists being led out of the park.” She later, understandably, changed “hate-filled” to “violent,” since actions are clearer and more important than motivations. And CNN’s Jake Tapper commented that “At least two journalists in Charlottesville were assaulted by people protesting the Klan/Nazi/alt-right rally.”

But is it fair to compare the violent far left in our streets to the violent far right opposing them? The left-wing antifa activists claim to be opposing the powers-that-be.

It’s certainly true that the violent right generally supports President Trump. Given that support, his hesitancy about criticizing even the most extreme Nazi imagery and lethal violence (he did call out “racist violence” two days later, then walked it back) creates the impression that, if he isn’t explicitly sympathetic to the marching morons at Charlottesville, he at least enjoys basking in the scented glow of tiki torches. If we’re balancing dangers on the great scale of suckage, that connection to the White House would seem to make the fascist right the more immediate threat.

But that doesn’t mean we have to pick a competing brand of ideological awfulness as a viable alternative to fascism. The thugs on the left have already proved themselves to be violent and intolerant. There’s no reason to favor one illiberal force over another when our country has a long history based on much different, and much better, political principles.

Yup.