Friday, September 23, 2016

Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections, by Fred Lucas

Who should read Fred Lucas’s book, Tainted by Suspicion?  Folks whose knowledge of Aaron Burr comes primarily from a milk commercial, individuals who think Benjamin Harrison was one of the Beatles, and especially moderately informed voters who labor under the illusion that there once was a golden age of political decorum in the United States.  Indeed, even history buffs are likely to discover a plethora of new facts and perspectives by perusing Lucas’s analysis of The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections -- specifically the elections of 1800, 1824, 1876, 1888, 1960, and 2000.

“Historiphobes” should be pleased to know that Lucas, a veteran White House correspondent, doesn’t overwhelm readers with unnecessary facts and generally focuses attention only on relevant details.  Most folks will easily cover one or two elections in a single sitting -- without the twin dangers of drowning in mind-numbing minutiae or being starved with cartoonish oversimplification.

For each contested election Lucas provides a succinct portrait of the primary candidates, issues, and campaigns -- descriptions that belie any notion of a kinder, gentler era of political discourse.  Indeed, on the whole, one could easily conclude that modern campaigns are less vicious than their 19th century predecessors.  In 1876, for example, Democrats chanted “Tilden or blood” when it appeared the supporters of Rutherford B. Hayes were going to string together enough disputed electoral votes to overturn what appeared to be a Tilden victory -- a victory achieved, one must add, with the help of KKK vote suppression in the South.  Fortunately, Tilden was more politic than his most ardent supporters, especially since both he and Hayes (subsequently known as “Rutherfraud”) were ready to end Reconstruction.    

The election of Jefferson in 1800 stands out from the others as it represents the nation’s first transfer of power from one fledgling party to another -- a transfer accomplished peacefully despite palpable distrust of the man Federalist partisans denounced as an atheist with sympathies for a French Revolution that only recently had produced a bloody “Reign of Terror.”  These fears led some members of the House of Representatives to consider Aaron Burr a preferable alternative to Jefferson when both received the same number of electoral votes for President.  Lucas clearly explains the reasons for this Constitutional crisis and points to a little-known player who helped avoid a rupture that would have threatened the existence of the young republic.  In addition, Lucas offers insights into Aaron Burr’s political life that adds a degree of complexity to the simple portrait of Burr as the unprincipled person who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and sought to become Emperor in the Louisiana territory.      

Twenty-four years later, Andrew Jackson, principal founder of the Democratic Party, was willing to wait till 1828 to capture the Presidency that eluded him in a four-way race where he received a plurality, but not a majority, of electoral and popular votes.  Lucas describes the relevant ins-and-outs of the perfectly legal decision by the House of Representatives to award the Presidency to John Quincy Adams.  This decision, however, was denounced as a “corrupt bargain” by Jackson supporters when another contender in the Presidential race, Henry Clay of Kentucky, was named Adams’s Secretary of State.  Old Hickory’s successful 1828 campaign began promptly when he was nominated by the Tennessee state legislature in 1825.  So much for the idea that only modern campaigns seem interminable. 

Older folks are probably familiar with the chicanery that occurred during the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon race.  While Lucas provides a few specific examples of election fraud in Kennedy’s favor, he’s doubtful they changed the ultimate outcome of the election. This is certainly a debatable point since, as Lucas notes, Kennedy carried Illinois by a mere 9,000 votes and Texas by 46,000.  A little-recalled aspect of the 1960 election that Lucas also explores involves the Alabama ballot that was split between five Democrat electors pledged to Kennedy and six unpledged electors who ultimately voted for Virginia Senator Harry Byrd.  Given this split, it’s plausible to argue that over half of the Democratic vote in Alabama wasn’t for Kennedy.  Thus, Nixon, at least according to Congressional Quarterly, actually won the national popular vote by 60,000.  Perhaps the most significant detail in Lucas’s account of the 1960 election is Nixon’s patriotic reason for not contesting the vote.  Such a legal battle amid the Cold War would send the wrong signal to nations about America’s democratic system. 

Lucas’s discussion of the 2000 Bush-Gore election provides a detailed but readable summary of the litigation in Florida and concludes that, as in all the other cases, nothing was stolen.  He emphasizes that while the Supreme Court split 5-4 in favor of stopping the Florida recount, it was a 7-2 vote that rejected the hand counts taking place in only four select Democratic counties, with varying standards.  Lucas also notes that Bill Daley, son of the Chicago mayor whose political machine cranked out phantom votes for Kennedy in 1960, was a prominent member of Gore’s legal team.  On the other side, of course, was Florida Governor Jeb Bush, George W’s brother.

A “what if” chapter concludes each election analysis.  What if Gore had been President?  What if Grover Cleveland had won in 1888 instead of Benjamin Harrison? (That election was never formally contested but was included because Cleveland won the popular, but not the electoral, vote.)  Citing various historians and journalists, Lucas illustrates how widespread opinions are on these what-if questions.  He thus adds to Yogi Berra’s observation, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” the fact that it’s also very hard to make predictions about the past.  I feel safe, however, in predicting that anyone who reads Tainted by Suspicion will be wiser for the effort.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already, by Roger L. Simon

Why do few people change their political views “even in the face of literally earthshaking world events” like 9/11?  Roger Simon’s answer to that question is “moral narcissism.”  His book explains the nature and consequences of this malady that was largely spawned by members of the “Least Great Generation,” folks, including the author (1943), born during or shortly before World War Two -- radical-wannabes that include John Lennon (1940), Tom Hayden (1939), Abbie Hoffman (1936), and Gloria Steinem (1934).    

An illustration of moral narcissism not employed by Simon is the Seinfeld character, Elaine -- a woman whose sense of moral worth is derived from opinions that coincide with fashionable progressivism (Greenpeace activism, contempt for pro-lifers, contempt for her boyfriend’s “Jesus fish,” contempt for Christian music radio presets, contempt for women wearing fur coats).  Despite a largely self-centered, shallow, and promiscuous life, Elaine is convinced she’s a “good humanitarian” and proves it by self-consciously complimenting her waitress on “doing a great job.”  

The examples provided by Simon, unfortunately, aren’t fictional and have had disastrous, perhaps fatal, consequences for the nation -- fashionable anti-capitalist Marxism (espoused by thousands of well-compensated professors as well as Pope Francis); a nostalgia for racism that stokes racial hatred by inventing micro-aggressions that supposedly explain and thus excuse black criminality; climate-change ideologues who declare the issue settled (a ridiculously anti-scientific assertion) and who label anyone who dissents from the media-enforced consensus (even MIT’s premier climatologist, Richard Lindzen) a “denier.”   

Radical environmentalism is another arena where moral narcissism flourishes, a movement whose DDT ban, spawned in 1962 by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, led to hundreds of thousands of malaria deaths in Africa.  Then there is the non-judgmental, all-religions-are-equal view of Islam that blames Western imperialism for causing terrorism -- a pat-oneself-on-the-back brand of “tolerance” that ignores or chooses to remain ignorant of Islam’s bloody, expansionist history prior to the era of Western imperialism.

The primary goal of moral narcissism is not “to do” good, but rather “to feel” good about oneself for having “the right opinion”-- i.e. opinions promulgated by those who deem themselves superior by virtue of their “enlightened” views.  These moral mandarins consist primarily of left-wing politicians, leftist academicians, the mainstream media, and almost all the entertainment industry.  Like Seinfeld’s Elaine, it isn’t how one lives one’s life that counts; it’s the political and moral slogans one mouths.  Indeed, the moral stature gained from being politically au currant serves as absolution for what used to count as personal moral failings -- an arena where non-judgmentalism is demanded by political correctness, at least with respect to ideological soulmates.   

Sympathy for Fidel Castro boosts one’s moral standing since Castro supposedly believes in a utopian socialist state where folks contribute according to their abilities and receive according to their needs.  Never mind that the dictator lives “a lifestyle, including yachts and private islands, that would be the envy of George Soros, while his citizens suffer in penury under constant surveillance, the specter of imprisonment looming.”  Identifying with various victim groups and spouting politically correct mantras likewise “allows Hillary Clinton to go from undergraduate Alinskyite to Chappaqua plutocrat with a net worth in the tens of millions without missing a beat.”  The destructive consequences of leftist policies for minorities aren’t what matter.  What matters is that Hillary and the current narcissist-in-chief feel morally superior to Rubes in flyover country.

Just when you think Simon is becoming tiresome (as he does when repeating polling statistics about gay marriage) he provides a critical insight in chapter 24 that should have been placed near the book’s beginning: “Moral narcissism . . . is a way of explaining away evil, blaming all ills on social causes and therefore pushing back the necessity of examining the human soul or one’s own, of not seeing the possible darkness within . . . moral narcissism obscures reality and therefore threatens democracy. That not everything is perfectible, that there is evil in the world, and that evil is likely to remain forever.” In short, self-scrutiny is replaced with verbal orthodoxies promulgated by an American nomenklatura eager to secure moral status, financial perquisites, and a stream of personal indulgences by endlessly repeating politically correct slogans that are overwhelmingly destructive when applied to the real world -- slogans that promise financial and personal retribution for “bigoted” dissenters.

One major mistake in Simon’s analysis is his wrongheaded O’Reillyish attempt to appear “fair and balanced” by briefly pointing to moral narcissism on the right -- as if opposition to gay marriage or to abortion on demand were in the same league as vacuous shibboleths like refusing to acknowledge radical Islamic terrorism.  Far from being rewarded for the former views, believers are ostracized and punished by the dominant P.C. culture.  Moreover, no serious Christian or Jew would use these moral views to evade self-scrutiny.  Simon’s brief foray into narcissistic equivalence has the effect of putting serious, self-sacrificial morality in the same category as a self-deluding political ruse that rejects any morality existing outside the self -- as if principled abolitionists would be biased “moral narcissists” not much different from slaveholders who mouthed the slogan “popular sovereignty.”

This same confusion infects Simon’s final chapter, which presents his self-proclaimed “bias” as a neocon-libertarian, someone who favors intervention abroad and libertarian lassitude at home. The latter part of that equation does, indeed, represent a degree of “moral narcissism” on the author’s part, allowing him a small measure of expiation from colleagues in the fields of literature and entertainment for the grievous sin of rejecting, for the most part, the self-inflating worldview they embrace with a frantic death grip.


Despite these lapses, Simon’s book is well worth the time taken to understand the head-snapping moral contradictions that permeate the worlds of George Soros (chapter 21!), Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama.         

Deception: The Making of the YouTube Video Hillary and Obama Blamed for Benghazi, by Kenneth Timmerman

This book by Ken Timmerman contains several blockbuster claims that match Wag the Dog deception in their audacity -- claims backed with evidence ranging from extremely solid to highly plausible.  In the former category is the assertion that neither the Cairo riots on September 11, 2012, nor the Benghazi attacks that began later that night were inspired by the infamous YouTube video produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the shady Coptic Egyptian living in Southern California.   

By now informed observers concede the latter point, but most are unaware of the evidence demonstrating that the earlier Cairo riot had long been focused on demanding release of the Blind Sheikh.  As Timmerman puts it, the one-minute, thirty second “Arabic language trailer, which virtually nobody had actually seen, was only tacked on at the last minute to attract additional bodies to a demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that had long been in the works.  It did not drive the crowds, or the organizers.  It was simply an afterthought.”  Indeed, on September 10, in an interview with the Blind Sheikh’s son and the brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, CNN reporter Nic Robertson explained, “This is the protest calling for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman” -- an interview that all but disappeared from CNN’s website after the media eagerly adopted Obama and Clinton’s YouTube spin on both Cairo and Benghazi. 

In Deception, Timmerman provides an Afterword that focuses on the Iranian Quds Force commanders who were actually behind the well-organized and long-planned Benghazi raid.  Anyone desiring more details on that attack, however, should consult Timmerman’s previous work, Dark Forces: The Truth About Benghazi (2014).  Even when it became obvious (after the Presidential election) that the White House YouTube explanation was  deceptive, little information was provided about the terrorists actually involved -- and none was disseminated about the central role played by an Iranian regime the Administration was eager to portray as a reasonable treaty partner.      

Perhaps the most damning assertion in Deception is the claim, backed by substantial evidence, that the Obama Administration intentionally promoted the YouTube video so that, in the aftermath of Benghazi, it actually became a cause celebre in the Muslim world.  Obviously the “promotion” of the video was accomplished via denunciation, but the $70,000 spent for air time on seven Pakistani television channels “only served to further inflame Muslims and to spark more violent protests: 83 in all, by the time it died down a month later.” Journalists facilitated this audacious project by gullibly repeating the blame-the-video narrative that was “pre-cooked and spoon-fed” to them “by anonymous sources at the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.”     

The shadowy internet vehicle for widespread dissemination of the video was NewsPoliticsNow, whose NPN3 channel not only removed the video after it went viral but also went off the air and “erased all trace of its existence -- at least to ordinary users.”  NewsPoliticsNow appears to be related to a company called Stanley, Inc. which, according to its website “provides services to the U.S. federal, civilian, defense and intelligence agencies.”  Stanley, Inc., in turn, has as its corporate parent, CGI, the group that “won the initial $678 million contract to build the Obamacare website” and whose Senior Vice-President, Toni Townes-Whitley has “long-standing ties to First Lady Michelle Obama.”  Moreover, other top Stanley and CGI execs “are big Democrat party donors” and CGI Federal president, Donna A. Ryan “enjoyed high-level access to top Obama administration officials.” 

In short, Timmerman provides readers with numerous indicators that the Obama administration helped the video go viral while creating the impression that they had “absolutely nothing to do with it.”  The immediate goal of this deception was to deflect responsibility from the administration for the disaster in Benghazi, but another benefit was to create public pressure for what became (via Nakoula’s dubious imprisonment) backdoor enforcement of blasphemy laws in the U.S.  After all, Secretary Clinton not only promised grieving relatives that the maker of the video would be punished, she also “embraced news laws banning blasphemy as Secretary of State and instructed the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to vote in favor of them, reversing years of U.S. opposition.”  UN Resolution 16/18, which includes serious restrictions on free speech, was apparently being utilized by DOJ official, Tom Perez, when, instead of assuring Congressman Trent Franks that the Department of Justice would “never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against a religion” instead responded by criticizing “hate speech” and “racist speech” -- a detour consistent with Perez’s past support for the idea that criticism of Islam constitutes racial discrimination.


Unfortunately, the preceding topics constitute less than half of Timmerman’s book.  The rest of the work is largely devoted to the legal and personal woes of Cindy Lee Garcia, the actress who, unwittingly, portrayed the mother of the young pre-pubescent girl (Aisha) given to Muhammad as one of his many brides.  While Cindy’s story merits inclusion on a summary basis (especially in light of Google’s unusual unwillingness to remove the offensive video promptly and that corporate giant’s close White House ties) many readers will be distracted by the space devoted to Cindy’s thoughts and travails.  Yes, Google and probably the White House were putting Cindy through a legal and personal hell, but at the same time dozens of folks were being killed abroad because of the Administration’s strategy of deception.  Meanwhile, the American public was being bamboozled in the midst of a Presidential election.  Finally, the video-maker wound up in prison for several months, for what was, de facto if not de jure, a blasphemy charge.  Anyone wishing to focus primarily on the major issues outlined in the review above might want to employ other Timmerman materials -- or read this book selectively.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Ty Cobb Libel

I'm wondering whether the lefties at ESPN will care about the historical libel perpetrated against Ty Cobb by a series of journalists--beginning with a lying drunk, Al Stump, and continued by a series of lazy and complicit journalist-historians who don't bother to check facts that are available for anyone who cares to consult them. Those unvarnished facts are summarized in the linked Imprimus article by an actual non-lazy historian--Charles Leerhsen.

 http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/who-was-ty-cobb-the-history-we-know-thats-wrong/
http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/who-was-ty-cobb-the-history-we-know-thats-wrong/

Sunday, April 03, 2016

The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson

What kind of criticism would prompt a major publisher to withdraw from circulation a New York Times best seller by a recognized scholar?  One would think the objections would have to be weighty and the critics unquestioned experts in the particular field.  In the case of The Jefferson Lies one would be mistaken to make those assumptions.

In 2012 David Barton’s popular analysis of Thomas Jefferson was pulled by its publisher, Thomas Nelson, based on what appears to have been an academic putsch designed to protect the now-popular view of the third president as a secular deist and hypocritical, slave-holding philanderer.  This uprising was led by a motley intellectual crew who, for the most part, had little or no expertise in the subject matter at issue.

The re-release of The Jefferson Lies by WND Books begins with an extended preface in which the author discusses the largely picayune objections raised against his original work -- primarily by a psychology professor from Grove City College, Warren Throckmorton.  These somewhat arcane refutations should have been placed at the end of the work -- allowing Barton’s clear and convincing evidence to speak first for itself.  That evidence primarily concerns “lies” about Jefferson’s relationship with his slave, Sally Hemings, “lies” about Jefferson’s supposed hypocrisy vis-à-vis slavery, “lies” about the ex-president’s position concerning the separation of church and state, and “lies” related to Jefferson’s religious beliefs.   

Barton’s most startling revelation concerns the brazenly dishonest claim that DNA evidence had proved Jefferson fathered one of Sally Hemings’ children.  This blockbuster story in Nature magazine (November 5, 1998) was splashed with gusto all over the national media.  The retraction of this “proof” came eight weeks later -- with all the impact of an obscure page 16 correction.  Equally significant was the political end to which the initial DNA lie was employed, coming as it did in the midst of the Clinton-Lewinsky impeachment imbroglio.  To cap it all off, that headline story in Nature was written by a Clinton supporter, historian Joseph Ellis, who, as it turns out, was as much a liar as the President he supported.  Barton provides an amusing list of Ellis fabrications that extend from the sublime (serving on General Westmoreland’s staff during the Vietnam War) to the ridiculous (scoring the winning touchdown in the last football game his senior year in high school). 

In point of fact, as Barton makes clear, the DNA evidence actually excludes Jefferson as the father of Hemings’ son, Thomas, the child typically said to be Jefferson’s.  Moreover, the other Hemings child that could possibly have been Jefferson’s, Eston, was most likely sired by Jefferson’s younger brother, Randolph, and not by the sixty-five-year-old former President.  Indeed, Eston was a Randolph family name and the child’s conception coincided with a possibly extended visit by Jefferson’s brother to Monticello.  Moreover, Randolph, unlike Thomas, often fraternized with slaves, a fact noted in the memoir of Isaac Jefferson, a Monticello slave who observed that Randolph “used to come out among black people, play the fiddle and dance half the night.”      

Ask anyone nowadays if DNA evidence has proven Jefferson was the father of one or more of Sally Hemings’ children, and chances are the answer, if any, will be “yes.”  Thus, as with Oliver Stone’s rewrite of JFK’s assassination, the mainstream media, corrupt academicians, and a sensation-seeking pop-culture have again conspired to manipulate history for their own ends.

The Jefferson Lies also marshals an abundance of evidence from letters, laws, and public declarations to show that Jefferson was certainly not a deist as that term is now understood.  Nor did he possess any view of the “separation between Church and State” that mirrors the modern transmogrification of those words by the courts.  Indeed, Jefferson himself regularly attended church services that were held in the Capitol building and approved various laws that involved missionary work among Indian tribes.  What Jefferson clearly opposed were established churches supported directly by state governments like Virginia and Massachusetts.  Indeed, it was the infringement of their religious liberty by the state of Connecticut that the Danbury Baptists most feared -- the group to whom Jefferson penned the letter containing the now-infamous “separation” phrase.

In short, the Jefferson that emerges from the evidence presented by Barton is of a man who provided financial support for the publication of bibles, embraced a non-denominational piety, had numerous friends (and numerous enemies) among the clergy, clearly expressed the idea that God acts in history (often using the term ‘providence’ that was commonly employed even by evangelical Christians), and honestly desired to free his slaves but was unable to do so because of the numerous Virginia laws that made emancipation, for Jefferson, a financial impossibility.  That Jefferson expressed uncertainty about the de facto, rather than the de jure, equality of the races is hardly surprising given his historical circumstances.  But this historical “given” is regularly ignored by folks who delight in disparaging America’s past in order to enlarge their already exaggerated self-esteem.      

The most disappointing chapter in Barton’s work concerns the “lie” that Jefferson was an atheist and anti-Christian.  What is off-putting here is not Barton’s general argument but his regular insertion of judgments about various Christian groups’ orthodoxy -- judgments that obviously correspond with the author’s preference for traditional Trinitarian Christianity.  These unnecessary observations about “unfortunate” religious movements lend a parochial odor to an otherwise scholarly work.

So who should read The Jefferson Lies?  Anyone who thinks that Thomas Jefferson and William Jefferson Clinton have a lot in common, anyone who thinks Thomas Jefferson supported the modern notion of “separation of church and state,” anyone who thinks Jefferson was a hypocritical racist, and anyone who thinks academia and the publishing world aren’t partisan cesspools. 


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Islam: Facts or Dreams by Andrew McCarthy in Imprimus

Two poignant paragraphs from the full article linked below:

http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/islam-facts-or-dreams/3/

Sharia rejects freedom of speech as much as freedom of religion. It rejects the idea of equal rights between men and women as much as between Muslim and non-Muslim. It brooks no separation between spiritual life and civil society. It is a comprehensive framework for human life, dictating matters of government, economy, and combat, along with personal behavior such as contact between the sexes and personal hygiene. Sharia aims to rule both believers and non-believers, and it affirmatively sanctions jihad in order to do so.
Even if this is not the only construction of Islam, it is absurd to claim—as President Obama did during his recent visit to a mosque in Baltimore—that it is not a mainstream interpretation. In fact, it is the mainstream interpretation in many parts of the world. Last year, Americans were horrified by the beheadings of three Western journalists by ISIS. American and European politicians could not get to microphones fast enough to insist that these decapitations had nothing to do with Islam. Yet within the same time frame, the government of Saudi Arabia beheaded eight people for various violations of sharia—the law that governs Saudi Arabia.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi – Not a “Non-political” Movie

Since the film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi premiered last week, I must have heard the term “non-political” used a dozen or more times to describe the movie.  If by “non-political” one means that the film doesn’t mention Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton by name, then the description is accurate.  But if “non-political” means having no political implications, the word is wildly inaccurate. 

13 Hours is, according to the most reliable witnesses of the events that occurred in Benghazi on September 11 and September 12 of 2012, a gut-wrenching exposé of the lies and criminal neglect perpetrated by the aforementioned President and Secretary of State.  Those most reliable witnesses are the five surviving warriors whose accounts of this long night are detailed in the book 13 Hours in Benghazi upon which this cinematic presentation is based.  It was their heroic efforts that doubtless saved the dozens of individuals in the CIA annex that was about a mile from the diplomatic compound where Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith were murdered.  Indeed, even those two deaths might have been avoided had the annex security group been cleared immediately by their bureaucratic superior to join the fight at the ambassador’s compound.

One lie exploded by 13 Hours is the politically-expedient deception that the Benghazi attack was caused by a demonstration that got out of hand--a demonstration inspired by an Internet video.  The attack on the Benghazi consulate and later on the CIA annex was clearly an organized assault that employed an array of heavy weapons including machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, GPS-guided mortars, and artillery mounted on gun trucks.  Indeed, a couple of the fighters in the film even joked with each other between attacks when they heard that some media had linked the violence to a “demonstration.”  It was as if these warriors were all too aware of how reality is regularly distorted for political purposes. 

Another dubious proposition that becomes hard to swallow is the official assertion that no help was available for the dozens of Americans under attack.  13 hours undermines this notion by periodically posting times on the screen during the seemingly interminable period from the first attack around 9:40 p.m. till around sunrise the next day when the final assault took place.  The movie doesn’t say why military aid wasn’t sent immediately, but it does vividly portray, in the person of the bureaucratic head of the CIA annex, a mentality that put professional standing above all other considerations.  It doesn’t take much imagination to extend that same self-centered perspective to the AWOL President of the United States who clearly wished to downplay a terrorist attack on 9/11 during his reelection campaign--a campaign in which Al Qaeda was repeatedly said to be “decimated” and “on the run.”

The clear focus of the movie is on the bravery of the six protagonists who fended off large groups of well-armed attackers in the face of bureaucratic resistance and political incompetence.  When aid finally arrived, hours were lost at the Benghazi airport thanks to uncooperative Libyan officials.  Then more precious time was wasted trying to locate the annex that was only a short distance from the torched diplomatic compound.  The film also emphasizes how utterly inadequate security was in Benghazi, noting that no other Western country maintained a diplomatic presence in this highly unstable city where numerous terrorist attacks had already taken place.  In short, the U.S. government’s desire to project an image of cooperation, trust, and stability clearly outweighed its concern for the safety of individuals stationed there.

Though the film doesn’t discuss the memorial for the four slain Americans at Andrews Air Force Base, any politically sentient individual will remember the efforts by President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to blame an Internet video, not an organized terrorist attack, for this tragedy--a misdirection campaign that went on for weeks and eventually resulted in the imprisonment of a hapless video maker.  The events portrayed in the film, however, not only make this claim totally implausible, they also make all but certain the assertions by Sean Smith’s mother, Tyrone Woods’ father, and Glen Doherty’s sister that Hillary Clinton repeated this audacious cover story to them at the memorial service.  After all, as far as the Secretary of State was concerned, what difference at that point would the true cause of the victims’ deaths make to their relatives?  Better to blame a shady foreigner in Southern California than to risk adverse political fallout.  Moreover, we now know, thanks to Hillary’s private email server, that shortly after the Benghazi terrorist attacks she acknowledged the truth about the assaults to her daughter, Libya’s president, and Egypt’s prime minister.


13 Hours clearly portrays the neglect and effective abandonment of dozens of Americans in Benghazi during a prolonged series of terrorist attacks.  In doing so it exposes the mendacity of the Obama-Clinton Internet video explanation of events that three relatives of the deceased insist the Secretary of State repeated to them at the memorial service.  If this highly plausible representation of what actually took place in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, has no political ramifications, then the truth, for all electoral purposes, no longer matters in America. 

P.S. I wrote this article before a very similar piece by Dan Henninger came out in the WSJ on Jan. 21.       

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me About Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party, by Dinesh D’Souza

A liberal who’s been mugged, it’s said, becomes a conservative. But what does a conservative become when he’s mugged by a corrupt, politically-driven justice system? Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book, Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me About Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party answers that question. D’Souza now views the Progressive movement as a criminal enterprise designed to pull off the biggest heist in world history—effective control of the enormous wealth created by America’s entrepreneurs. This bounty, the author argues, was made possible by the country’s embrace of a capitalist system that rewards industry and customer-centered innovation and discourages the hitherto ubiquitous ethic of theft. Democrats, however, through a reversal of traditional American values, seek to acquire power by vilifying wealth-creators and rewarding “victims” with trickle-down shares of the national loot—all while portraying themselves as righteous advocates of social justice.  

D’Souza’s book begins by discussing aspects of his prosecution for illegally contributing $20,000 to a friend running for a Senate seat in New York State. Of his case Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz commented, “What you did is very commonly done in politics, and on a much bigger scale.  Have no doubt about it, they are targeting you for your views.” Dershowitz’s opinion coincided with D’Souza’s ownd—namely, that his politics and especially the negative portrait of Obama in his 2016 documentary had ticked off the protagonist-in-chief himself. Clinton-appointed judge Richard Berman, however, denied D’Souza access to papers that could prove selective prosecution, arguing in Alice in Wonderland fashion that only evidence of selective prosecution could justify access to papers that would provide such evidence. 

Thanks in part to his lawyer, liberal Democrat Ben Brafman, D’Souza was able to avoid the prosecution’s desired prison stint of ten to sixteen months—an outrageous punishment since, in the defendant’s words, “no person who had done what I did had even been prosecuted, let alone sentenced.” Instead, D’Souza’s sentence consisted of 8 months of overnight confinement in a halfway house, community service, psychological counseling, a $30,000 fine, and five years probation. By contrast, consider Democrat fundraiser Sant Singh Chatwal, who clearly tried to buy influence, instructed a government witness to lie under oath, and made “more than $180,000 in straw donations to several Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton.” For these far more egregious offenses “Chatwal received a fine, community service, and three years probation.  No prison time, no confinement.”

During his eight months of overnight confinement with “more than a hundred rapists, armed robbers, drug smugglers, and murderers,” D’Souza began to see prisoners and a flawed justice system in a different light. He also began to understand “the psychology of crookedness”—a “system of larceny, corruption, and terror” that’s “been adopted and perfected by modern progressivism and the Democratic Party.” 

Instead of accusing Progressives of ignorance or naiveté, as most conservatives do, D’Souza focuses on corrupt motives that can be boiled down, a la Nietzsche, to envy and the will to power. The con-man pitch in this case is the cultivation of envy, justifying theft by accusing wealth-creators of unfairly exploiting workers or consumers and making themselves (i.e. Democrats) the arbiters of redistribution. In this regard, D’Souza explores the connection between mafia-friendly con-man, Saul Alinsky, who died living the Goodfellas dream life in Carmel, California, and his two most famous pupils, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The author also investigates the emotional tie between the President and his father—a consummate con-artist and polygamist. Instead of focusing on “anti-colonialism,” as in prior paternal analyses, D’Souza now emphasizes outright criminality and skillful lying, traits that connect the failed elder Obama to his wildly successful offspring who, in true Chicago style, perpetrates his cons inside the system. (E.g. If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it.)

To carry out their grand political heist, Democrats must marshal the emotions and votes of an army of envious underlings--stoking resentment among minorities, women, the poor, immigrants, gays, and other potential victim groups. In addition, this gigantic con requires intellectual support supplied in spades by academics like John Rawls who employ their philosophical sleight-of-hand to plausibly transfer money and goods from their creators to others—all for the greater good and, of course, via the state. Cultural indoctrination in the unfair-society pitch of progressive politicians is accomplished by inundating Americans with television programs, news stories, and Hollywood films that feature crooked businessmen, victimized minorities, oppressed workers, heartless millionaires, and hypocritical ministers. These professional propagandists promulgate their ideas out of envy, seeing themselves as members of the rightful ruling class based on their superior intellects and abilities. This same exalted self-image applies to educators who chafe over not being recognized and rewarded by their society any better than the average plumber. 

D’Souza ends his book with suggestions for exposing and defeating the progressive con—a task that requires courage, confrontation, and inroads into the near monopoly progressives enjoy in academics, journalism, and the entertainment industry. Stealing America is also filled with raw conversations between D’Souza and fellow inmates—exchanges that provide significant insight into the world these criminals and their hapless government overseers inhabit.

At the very least D’Souza’s experience with the legal system provides one excellent example of the overlap between the “psychology of crookedness” and the motives and methods of progressive politics. His poignant analyses of the Clintons, the two Obamas, and Saul Alinsky, however, provide considerably more fodder for an audacious thesis.        

Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me About Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party, by Dinesh D’Souza, Broadside Books, HarperCollins Publishers, November, 2015 (336 pages, $29.99, Hardback)