Thursday, December 24, 2015

Killing Christmas

For me, growing up in New York City, even as a non-Christian, the best time of year was always the festive, colorful Christmas season. And it wasn't some amorphous commemoration of the winter solstice that lit up and energized the town. December weather in New York does not inspire festivity. What does is Christians celebrating the birth of their savior. Or it did until the joyless dictates of the gods of "political correctness", "diversity", and "inclusion" took over.

The massive store windows along 5th Avenue were once alive this time of year with imaginative Christmas-themed displays. No more, writes the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger. 

For many, December required a pilgrimage to Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Bergdorf Goodman. No matter the weather, people walked the mile from 38th Street to 59th Street and jammed sidewalks to see these stores’ joyful Christmas windows.

Stay home. This year Fifth Avenue in December is about . . . pretty much nothing, or worse.

To be sure, the magnificent Rockefeller Center Christmas tree still stands, and directly across on Fifth Avenue is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, its facade washed and hung with a big green wreath. But walk up or down the famous avenue this week and what you and your children will see is not merely Christmas scrubbed, but what one can only describe as the anti-Christmas.

Forget public Nativity scenes, as court fiat commanded us to do years ago. On Fifth Avenue this year you can’t even find dear old Santa Claus. Or his elves. Christmas past has become Christmas gone.

Henninger concludes with a pointed message to the 5th Avenue merchants --

As for Saks and the other Fifth-Avenue sellouts, I have two words this season. They aren’t Merry Christmas.

Putting an exclamation point on Henninger's lament, the Journal published on the same page the following --

From Cornell University’s “Fire Safety Guidelines For Holiday Displays”:

University members are reminded to be respectful of the religious diversity of our students and colleagues and are encouraged to use an inclusive approach in celebrating the holiday season. Individuals and units demonstrate this inclusive approach by:
• Focusing on the winter season rather than a particular holiday
• Displaying symbols that visually represent holidays of several religions in combination with secular decorations of the season.


Winter Holiday Displays/Decorations that are Consistent with Cornell’s Commitment to Diversity and the University Assembly Guidelines:
• Snowflakes
• Trees (in accordance with Fire Safety Guidelines) decorated with snowflakes and other non-religious symbols

Winter Holiday Displays/Decorations that are Consistent with University Assembly Guidelines But Should be Basis of Dialogue Within Unit or Living Area

• Trees decorated with bows, garland and lights (in accordance with Fire Safety Guidelines)
• Wreaths with bows (in accordance with Fire Safety Guidelines)
• Combination of snowflakes, (in accordance with Fire Safety Guidelines), Santa Claus figure, and dreidel
• Holly

Winter Holiday Displays/Decorations that are NOT Consistent with Either University Assembly Guidelines or the University’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusiveness

• Nativity scene
• Menorah
• Angels
• Mistletoe
• Stars at the top of trees
• Crosses
• Star of David

(I put the absolutely verboten items in bold face).

Some of this stuff is downright mystifying. Bows, garland, lights, wreaths, and holly might be sort of OK but mistletoe and stars on top of trees are definitely not?? What about stars partway down the tree?
By snowflakes, I assume Cornell means images of students in distress after viewing an offensive nativity scene.
No crosses, of course. Unless they're immersed in jars of urine. Then they become eligible for a government subsidy.
Note that there are no warnings to exclude displays celebrating Kwanzaa.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

More Trump

Last week on Fox News Special Report, Donald Trump was shown dissing three of Fox News' star commentators - George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Steve Hayes. Trump said that he absolutely hates Krauthammer, that he doesn't even know who Hayes is and that Will is boring.

As the sardonic Stewart character in The Big Bang Theory might say, "Ouch".

Jonah Goldberg likened Trump's questioning of Ben Carson's character to Carrot Top criticizing the comedy talent of Jerry Seinfeld. The same could be said about Trump's claim that Will is "boring". Ponder that. Donald Trump thinks that George Will is boring. Will has read more books in the last day and a half than Trump has in his entire life. Will speaks and writes of complex issues with elegance and understanding. Trump talks nonsense and can't write.

Consider this short passage of Will's. The triple negative would make Trump's head spin.

-- Popularity makes no law invulnerable to invalidation. Americans accept judicial supervision of their democracy - judicial review of popular but possibly unconstitutional statutes - because they know that if the Constitution is truly to constitute the nation, it must trump some majority preferences.

Of course, Trump isn't above spinning heads himself, except that he does it with incoherence instead of erudition --

But we have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ballgame. Frankly, I would have said get out of Syria; get out—if we didn’t have the power of weaponry today. The power is so massive that we can’t just leave areas that 50 years ago or 75 years ago we wouldn’t care. It was hand-to-hand combat.

Hillary Clinton is a target-rich environment. A short list of her vulnerabilities include mishandling government secrets, the Russian "reset", Assad the reformer, jihadist chaos in Libya, a State Department tenure devoid of even a single positive achievement, notorious close associates like Sidney Blumenthal, Cheryl Mills, and Huma Abedin, her slush fund "Foundation", securities fraud, enabling a rapist, her pantsuits being perpetually on fire, and on and on and on.
(For elaboration of some of these, as well as other items, see -

Question - So at what does Donald Trump direct his fire? Answer - Speculating on how she was spending her time in the ladies room during the recent Democratic debate. I suppose this is what Trump considers being not boring.

Trump worshippers nod approvingly at his mindless gibberish and laugh at his sophomoric taunts. Marinated in a culture that admires the likes of Bill Maher, ("Sarah Palin is a c**t"), and David Letterman, ("Palin's daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez"), they confuse crudity with wit; bluster with virtue; incivility with honesty; superficiality with clarity; impulsiveness with wisdom; celebrity with substance. There is no there, there, but Trump will always be on Baba Wawa's list of "most fascinating" people in the universe.

Kevin Williamson's observations regarding the recent dust-up between two like-minded, depraved scoundrels --

The specific lie here is Herself’s claim that Donald Trump’s boobish pronouncements are used in ISIS recruiting videos. This isn’t true. Even Trump, a habitual liar who wouldn’t know the truth if it were printed in gigantic gilt letters across a second-rate hotel tower in Las Vegas, knows that this isn’t true. So: Habitual liar lies habitually about habitual liar, who demands apology. Not the most edifying spectacle in American public life, but what the hell do you expect from an encounter between these two great hemorrhoids on the body politic?

Here’s the thing, though: You can’t tell lies. Even about a lying cretin like Donald Trump. Never mind the question of personal character: Judging a Clinton–Trump conflict on character grounds is like judging the Iran–Iraq war on human-rights grounds — one wants both sides to lose.

Never mind what this says about Herself’s fitness for the presidency: We all know that she is morally, ethically, and intellectually unfit for the job. She’s unfit to manage a Walmart in Muleshoe, Texas. She’s unfit to have a route delivering the Buck County Courier Times. From cattle futures to bimbo eruptions to Internet auteurs inspiring terror attacks in Benghazi, anybody who is paying any attention understands that Herself’s relationship with the truth is a lot like her relationship with the Big Creep: all politics, a marriage of convenience.

Bret Stephens has figured out what the uncompromising Right really wants and is certain to get in 2017 - a president it can go on hating.

Dear fellow conservatives:

Let us now pledge to elect Hillary Clinton as the 45th president of the United States.

Let’s skip the petty dramas of primaries and caucuses, the debate histrionics, the sour spectacle of the convention in Cleveland. Let’s fast-forward past that sinking October feeling when we belatedly realize we’re going to lose—and lose badly.

Let’s move straight to that first Tuesday in November, when we grimly pull the lever for the candidate who has passed all the Conservative Purity Tests (CPTs), meaning we’ve upheld the honor of our politically hopeless cause. Let’s stop pretending we want to be governed by someone we agree with much of the time, when we can have the easy and total satisfaction of a president we can loathe and revile all the time.

Let’s do this because it’s what we want. Maybe secretly, maybe unconsciously, but desperately. We want four—and probably eight—more years of cable-news neuralgia. We want to drive ourselves to work as Mark Levin or Laura Ingraham scratch our ideological itches until they bleed a little. We want the refiner’s fire that is our righteous indignation at a country we claim no longer to recognize—ruled by impostors and overrun by foreigners.

Though generally correct in his assessment, Stephens neglects to mention the paramount purity test that the Levin-Ingraham-Coulter-Hannity (and disappointingly) Steyn conservative wing insists upon - that of opposition to immigration reform. After all, Donald Trump is hardly a paragon of conservative purity. But his fairy tale proposal to deport all eleven million or so illegals electrifies the nativists. And that renders his other positions irrelevant. Immigration is the be-all and end-all issue for these people. As Ann Coulter tweeted -- I don't care if @realDonaldTrump wants to perform abortions in White House after this immigration policy paper.

Stephens does make a brief reference to the matter of immigration --

Abraham Lincoln once said “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” What. Ever. Now the party of Lincoln has as its front-runner an insult machine whose political business is to tell Mexicans, Muslims, physically impaired journalists, astute Jewish negotiators and others who cross his sullen gaze that he has no use for them or their political correctness.

And while we’re building a wall around our party, let’s also take the opportunity to throw out a few impostors in our midst. Like that hack, George Will. Or John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Jeb Bush and every other Republican In Name Only. Or Marco Rubio, who didn’t chicken out on immigration reform quite as quickly or convincingly as Ted Cruz did. Or the Republican “Establishment” and “elite”—like the editorial board of this newspaper—who want to flood the country with cheap foreign labor so they can enrich their Wall Street pals.

The irony is that after Trump loses the general election, Madame Presidenta will open up the floodgates and Mexico will become a de facto 51st state.

Added 12/24 -- Speaking of George Will and Donald Trump...The former psychoanalyzes the latter and is spot on with his diagnosis - a severe case of low self esteem.

If you look beyond Donald Trump’s comprehensive unpleasantness — is there a disagreeable human trait he does not have? — you might see this: He is a fundamentally sad figure. His compulsive boasting is evidence of insecurity. His unassuageable neediness suggests an aching hunger for others’ approval to ratify his self-admiration. His incessant announcements of his self-esteem indicate that he is not self-persuaded. Now, panting with a puppy’s insatiable eagerness to be petted, Trump has reveled in the approval of Vladimir Putin, murderer and war criminal.

Will then takes a historical look at the three national elections in which the Republican Party's conservative identity was at stake - 1912, 1964, and 2016. (Strange how this happens every 52 years). The GOP's current challenge is to muster enough resilience and common sense to reject Trump and with him, the threat to its existence.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Mollie Hemmingway calls out the press for its complete lack of interest in reporting on Obama's myriad failures. If Bush were president...

Remember how much crap we gave President Bush for his “heckuva job, Brownie” comments in the aftermath of Katrina? Well, heckuva job everyone responsible for vetting new Americans. You couldn’t be doing better. A++ work.

But back to Obama. He issued a veto threat after claiming we couldn’t do any better at screening people. Turns out we’re asking them to volunteer information about how bad they are and respecting the “privacy” of their public comments calling for violent jihad. And yet, the media undoubtedly spent 200 times more time talking about whatever a certain floppy-haired presidential candidate muttered than this. Seriously, we saw the media make fun of Trump’s claim that he’d screen Muslim visitors by simply asking them whether they were Muslim. And rightly so, because that’s a plan that makes no sense. It’s also exactly what we were doing to screen out threats — asking people to tell us whether they were one — but the breathless and concerned coverage about the policies of an actual administration currently in power seems notably lacking.

...During the Bush administration, newscasts ended with solemn music and a scroll of the names of men and women who had died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Newspapers ran sections listing the dead. Yet for some reason, the media coverage of the cost of such wars has been eerily quiet, even though 75 percent of the soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been killed during Obama’s time in office.

...We’re at war in Afghanistan, at war in Iraq, we've helped destabilize Libya and Syria, we've seen the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, we have no ability to vet visitors and entrants to the country or otherwise protect our borders, and we have no coherent strategy for dealing with ISIS. We have a president who actually claims that climate deals are a good way to fight ISIS, and a press that treats this as a reasonable claim to make.
Must be nice to be a Democratic president.

And San Bernadino was Obama's fault --

Hemmingway writes about the Obama administration's failure to properly vet the San Bernadino terrorists. This is due to a clear DHS policy to ignore social media commentary of individuals seeking visas to enter the U.S. as the indispensable Andrew McCarthy points out.

It turns out (Tafsheen) Malik was an active user of social media. Government investigators made this discovery only after the San Bernardino massacre. Malik’s actual posts were not published in the initial media reports (leaving us to wonder just how inflammatory they must be). But sources close to the investigation acknowledge that she championed jihad and condemned the United States.

It is not enough to say that these signs of the Islamist mindset were missed by security and intelligence agencies. Our government chose to miss them.

As a matter of policy, the Department of Homeland Security — the bureaucratic behemoth created after 9/11 to enhance protection of our country — avoids looking at, much less scrutinizing, the publicly available social-media commentary of aliens who seek visas to enter the United States, including from Islamic countries that are jihadist strongholds.

You read that correctly.

Now that the story of shocking recklessness is out, the administration is scrambling for cover. The policy, officials stammer, was not really written down and was, in any event more like a loose guideline than a real rule.

That is simply false. The guidance was mandatory, and it even ignited a furious intramural clash at DHS. In the end, Secretary Jeh Johnson personally refused to countermand the guidance, siding with DHS’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (the radicalism of which is on a par with the Justice Department’s infamous Civil Rights Division) over Homeland Security agents who were worried about, you know, security.

...But let’s put all of the Obama administration’s panicked excuse-making aside. The fact of the matter is that Tashfeen Malik was issued a visa not because of an insane “secret” visa policy, but because of the Obama administration’s criminally irresponsible but quite public national “security” strategy — “Countering Violent Extremism.”

I wrote about CVE when the new strategy was rolled out during Obama’s first term. In essence, CVE holds that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, or even with Islamist ideology that reviles the United States. 

...In sum, Obama’s CVE strategy expressly instructs our investigators to consider only violent or criminal conduct. They are told to ignore radical ideology, particularly if it has the veneer of “religious expression.” They are directed to turn a deaf ear to anti-Americanism and the desire to impose sharia, which just happens to be the principal objective of all violent jihadists and of the Obama administration’s oft-time consultants, the Muslim Brotherhood.

...The mulish determination not to “know thine enemy” is the intentional design of the Obama strategy. What happened in the case of Tashfeen Malik was not a glitch. It was foreseeable and inevitable. And now, 14 innocent people are dead.

Barack Obama "won" the Washington Post's "worst year in Washington" award for 2014. Jim Geraghty explains that the president was even worse in 2015.

A review of a Federal Reserve chief's memoirs. Boring right? Not when the reviewer is Kevin Williamson. (Spoiler alert - He doesn't like the book).

Ben Bernanke’s new book is a must-read, which is to say it will be read only by those of us who must, of whom there are more than a few, which is the only possible explanation for our friends at Norton’s having had the chutzpah to hang a $35 price tag on it.

It is called The Courage to Act, and it follows Scott Walker’s Unintimidated and Robert Gates’s Duty in the unseemly tradition of self-important (and important) men writing books more or less titled Me and My Virtue. Ulysses S. Grant killed more men than cancer and saved the Republic from internal treachery while on a 40-year whiskey bender, and he called his personal memoirs “The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant.” That was a work of art. The text of Mr. Bernanke’s memoir consists of 579 pages of score-settling and occasionally insipid self-justification featuring sentences such as “The OTS, AIG’s nominal regulator, showed little concern about the riskiness or opacity of AIG FP.” It is dreadful stuff, and you really should not read it unless you are somehow obliged to or are being paid.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The GOP's Case Of The DTs

What was, just a few months earlier, a golden opportunity to elect a Republican president in 2016 has become, depressingly, a seemingly lost opportunity. The Democrats were...are putting up a deeply flawed, old (both age- and idea-wise), and eminently beatable opponent. The Republicans had...have, a vast array of young, smart, articulate, successful (politically and otherwise), attractive, and (importantly) conservative potential candidates. Unimportant as it is, the GOP group is also ethnically and gender diverse, providing an inducement to potential voters who are foolishly swayed by those trivialities.

And so who works his way to the top of the GOP field? Donald Effing Trump, that's who - a blustering, obnoxious, ignorant, thoughtless, old fool (older than Hillary) who proudly brandishes his well-deserved reputation as a crony capitalist and who embodies every Republican caricature the Democrats can pull out of their nether parts. To top it off, he's not conservative! As Guy Benson points out, (Townhall column linked below), Trump proclaims solidly left-wing positions on health care, the Iran nuclear deal and raced based affirmative action, to name just a few. As an advocate for frequent and robust government involvement in people's lives, he would fit quite comfortably in the field competing for the Democratic nomination.

In a recent Gallup poll, 36 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats said they would support Trump as a third party candidate. That's impressive support from the jackass party, but even so, it understates his potential. Make Trump a primary challenger to Clinton instead of a GOP candidate and those numbers could conceivably reverse. A (D) instead of an (R) following Trump's name would make all the difference.

This past week, Barack Obama offered a pathetic defense of his failed anti-terror policy and Hillary Clinton shamefully, disgracefully lied about telling the grieving parents of the victims of the Benghazi tragedy - a tragedy of her making - that she blamed the planned terrorist attack on an obscure video. In other words, she lied about her lie.

And the big news was - Donald Trump's bigoted and hilariously unworkable "plan" (see Krauthammer below) to prohibit all Muslims from entering the country.

That Trump is unqualified for the presidency is almost beside the point. (Our current president is similarly far out of his depth). The most frustrating thing is, in the general election, Trump is unelectable. (Benson runs the numbers below). Supporters of Trump are as blind to this fact as they are to his intellectual and moral failings. 

My personal dream ticket is Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin (in either order). Aside from the excellent leadership it would provide, such a team would drive the left absolutely, irretrievably, bonkers. What fun that would be! But I would never support such a ticket because - It. Could. Never. Win.

Un-conservative and un-electable. Trump violates the Buckley Rule at both ends.

Trump devotees are delusional if they envision their guy taking the oath of office January, 2017. If Trump manages to secure the GOP nomination or if he runs as a third party candidate, the person solemnly swearing will be HRC. (We'll find out if she can do it straightfaced). This will probably happen even if Trump isn't on the ballot because of the damage he has inflicted on the Republican brand. And the Trump crowd is hallucinating if it claims there would be no difference between a Clinton presidency, or one administered by, say, Marco Rubio.

There is one last hope. The Obama Justice Department will eschew politics, do the right thing, and indict the presumptive Democratic nominee for criminally negligent handling of classified, non-classified, and top secret material; for criminally negligent endangerment of national security; for multiple counts of perjury; for obstruction of justice; and for dozens of other prosecutable crimes.
Yep, all that's needed is a principled display of integrity and independence from Attorney General Lynch. Or as Kevin Williamson might say, "Look! A unicorn!"

Summing it all up -- Aaaarrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!

Links to some good recent commentary on Trump --

Quin Hillyer --

Charles Krauthammer --

Guy Benson --

Mona Charen --

Added 12/12 - Jonah Goldberg's G-File today includes an analysis of pernicious populism and the noxious celebrity cult of Donald Trump. He also has some amusing metaphor-laced thoughts about dealing with ISIS. Sprinkled liberally (in a good sense) with Goldbergisms, the column is, as usual, entertaining and enlightening. And it's long. More to savor.

When populism is yoked to a cult of personality, the mob defines success as success for their leader, principle be damned.


Added 12/14 -- Kevin Williamson warns the left that their enthusiastic support for Obama's repeated flouting of the law will come back to haunt them in the form of a

President Cruz, President Rubio, President Fiorina . . . 

Or, angels and ministers of grace defend us, President Trump. Last week, the civically illiterate reality-television grotesque declared before a meeting of a policemen’s union that one of his first acts in office would be to issue an executive order mandating capital punishment for anybody convicted of murdering a police officer. Never mind that the president has no such power and that Trump doesn’t seem to understand the difference between state and federal law; we have so quickly accustomed ourselves to believing that anything that sounds good to us is right and proper (“constitutional” in 2015 anno Domini means “I like it”) that no one other than a few persnickety constitutionalists (that suspicious foreigner Charles C. W. Cooke leaps to mind) even bothered to note how nuts Trump’s promise is. In this, as in many things, Trump resembles Barack Obama and the Clinton mob, who have been, it bears remembering, his traditional political allies.

Saturday, December 5, 2015