:60 of sanity

America Owes Two Illinoisans A “Thank You”

You’re welcome, America.

That’s not a statement a resident of Illinois gets to make very often with sincerity.

But the nation owes a debt of gratitude to two Illinoisans who advanced the cause of liberty for millions more Americans through their courage to dissent.

Pam Harris and Mark Janus are their names.

Pam is the mother of a young man with developmental disabilities who resisted SEIU’s attempt to force parents of children with disabilities into its union, literally pitting parents against their children.

Pam took her case all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled in her favor in 2014.

That set the table for Mark Janus, a child support specialist for the State of Illinois, who challenged his forced membership in and financing of AFSCME.

Mark took his case all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled in his favor in June.

Without Harris there would’ve been no Janus.

Without Janus, public sector workers in 22 states would still be second-class citizens with respect to their First Amendment rights.

Courage begets courage. 

As I know them both, I can tell you what they would say about the history they’ve made: Don’t worry about remembering our names. Focus instead on emulating our example.


We Don’t Beat Them By Joining Them

If Roseanne gets cancelled so should Samantha Bee!


It’s someone you’ve never heard of who has a show you’ve never seen who said something vile about Ivanka.

Ok. Yeah. Fire what’s her name too.

And if Bob Iger is going to apologize to Valerie Jarrett, when is he going to apologize to President Trump?

Who? For what?

He’s a network executive you’ve never heard of whose opinion you otherwise find irrelevant who employs on-air personalities who have said profane and ignorant things about POTUS without consequence.

Ok. Yeah. Apologize!

Empty outrage is not synonymous with standing up for yourself or putting in the fight for others.

It’s just an uninspired substitute for having standards.

What Valerie Jarrett termed a teaching moment during one of MSNBC’s signature hastily-assembled, bigot-baiting town halls is actually a trap for conservatives.

Jarrett wants you to give in to the Left’s lack of principles by abandoning yours.

Outrage one-upmanship is a two-player game, you see.

Ask yourself: do you think we beat them by joining them?

Or is the move to be who they say they are but are not and, in so doing, give lie to who they say we are and are not?


The Excused

G.K. Chesterton observed that, “Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.”

In DC, what is excused depends on who is committing the evil.

The standard of acceptable personal conduct is inversely proportional to one’s partisan value.

Ted Kennedy was indispensable whereas Al Franken was expendable.

Two different eras, yes. But consider, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg drowned a woman, do you think the Left would demand her resignation and give Trump another SCOTUS nomination?

The use of political capital to quantify character lays bare the hypocrisy of ruling elites but, worse, it results in the steady degradation of the rule of law by raising our tolerance level for the excesses of said ruling class.

Thirty years ago, Gary Hart’s POTUS ambitions were felled by an affair and Douglas Ginsburg’s Supreme Court nomination derailed by a history of marijuana usage. Both would be treated as veritable Quakers by today’s standards.

Senator X or Governor Y is to be exempted from the laws we must follow much less any code of common decency we may conceive. He is too important to this or that movement.

Excusing evils to advance political ends steadily supplants the rule of law with the rule of men and the rule of men with no character at that.


Questions For The Left

I’m an inquisitive sort.

I want to understand the Left but I have questions.

-          When it comes to your concern that law enforcers not be above the law, is that just for beat cops or does it extend to senior level officials at the nation's most powerful law enforcement agency?

I ask because I haven’t heard the date announced for the Andy McCabe protests.

-          Is your concern about instances of alleged excessive use of force by police entirely contingent on the race of the alleged victim?

I ask because I can’t find the GoFundMe page for the family of John Albers in Overland Park, Kansas.

-          When it comes to treating the Constitution like an Asian buffet, are their limits to the application of the sanctuary designation?

I ask because Effingham County, Illinois, voted to make their jurisdiction a sanctuary county for 2nd Amendment rights to protect the rights of their residents to protect themselves.

-          I understand you to be stalwart defenders of a free press now. Could you share your conversion story?

I ask because of your silence when Obama Attorney General Eric Holder surveilled and subpoenaed Fox News reporter James Rosen and when Patrick Fitzgerald imprisoned New York Times reporter Judith Miller in the Scooter Libby case to cite but two examples.

Thank you in advance for helping me distinguish your virtue from your virtue-signaling.


Comey, Cory or Christian?

Game show idea: Comey, Cory or Christian.

I’m going to read a series of passages and you tell me which was said or written by former FBI Director Jim Comey, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker or 50 Shades of Grey protagonist Christian Grey.

Let’s begin.

“I want you to know that nothing—nothing—has happened in the last year to change my view.

“Boy, those were the words I needed to hear.

“I know. I know.”

“And The East Coast loves you and by the East Coast, I mean me."


“Do you think gay sex is a perversion?”

“We lie there, panting together, waiting for our breathing to slow. He gently strokes my hair … Boy … I Survived. That wasn’t so bad.”


“He was not going to get a hug without being a whole lot stronger than he looked. He wasn’t.”

“He holds out his hand, and in his palm are two shiny silver balls linked with a thick black thread...”

“As he extended his hand, I made a mental note to check its size. It was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.”

Look out E.L. James. Jim Comey and Cory Booker are coming for you.


I am Mark Robinson

“When are you all going to start standing up for the majority? And here’s who the majority is. I’m the majority…

“…we’re the first ones taxed and the last ones considered and the first ones punished when something like this happens because our rights are the ones being taken away.”

That was part of a beautifully delivered commentary by law-abiding everyman Mark Robinson at a Greensboro, North Carolina, city council meeting.

Robinson’s “I am Spartacus” moment was in response to a debate over whether to cancel a local gun show in the wake of the Parkland school shooting.

“We demonize the police…and we make the criminals into victims and we’re talking about restricting guns?” Robinson continued.

I want to live in Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood.

He laid out the bill of particulars for the people who play the rules only to get fleeced by the Political Ruling Class they finance and ridiculed in the process.

Most importantly, Mark Robinson reminded us that this grand experiment in representative republican government rises or falls based on the civic engagement of the Mark Robinsons in America.

It’s not enough to applaud Mark Robinson. We must emulate him.

I am Mark Robinson.


Scaling Illinois

Living in Illinois, I know something of the ravages of big government Republicanism.

It’s an approach to governance that sends people scurrying for the exits before the bills come due.

Which is why Trump’s decision to fund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood, bump up the subsidies for P-hat-approved art and reward the swamp monsters with increased office allotments was a disastrous one.

Illinois is a model to discontinue not replicate.

In Illinois, the physical exodus from the state has cemented the GOP as the superminority party.

Nationally, the evacuation will be of a partisan nature not a physical one but the result will be the same: Democrat control.

In 2008 and 2012, the nation chose to scale Chicago Democrat governance nationally. It did no better inside the Beltway than it’s done in the Land of Lincoln, an officially-decreed Trump-free zone.

If Trump was looking for a Midwestern model to emulate, he would’ve done better to look to the states he actually won or ask his Vice President.


The Right Question

Guns have no moral agency.

Predators hurt and kill people. Often they use a gun.

Good guys protect people. Often they use a gun.

When a predator kills with a gun he is rightly called a monster.

When a good guy with a gun fails to protect people he is rightly called a coward.

The very nature of the way we discuss an atrocity like the Parkland school shooting conveys our understanding that it’s bad guys and good guys who are responsible for what they do and not the instrumentality they use in their conduct.

So arguing that the response to the deadly success of the shooter and the failure of the deputy sheriff is to reduce the number of good guys and their instrumentality choices does not logically follow from the accepted premise.

And neither does the failure of state agencies locally and federally to exercise the power they currently possess make the case for expanding their power at the expense of our rights.

No amount of emergency planning or algorithmic modeling or government power can replace the variety of human judgment calls that will be thrust upon a free people.

The question then isn’t what’s in my holster, it’s what’s in my head and my heart?


A Tale Of Two Speeches

It was the best of speeches. It was the worst of speeches.

It was a call for intellectual honesty. It was a squawk for craven identity politics.

Sen. Rand Paul properly shamed phony fiscal conservatives who colluded to lift the sequestration spending caps for a two-year budget deal.

Paul was spot on about the spoils-of-war, cut-me-in-or-cut-it-out ethos of the royals in both political parties.

Spending other people’s money is power. Spend more, get more and at the people’s expense in both cases.

The royals get it and then the people get it, good and hard.

Where Paul made a succinct argument for smaller government and political integrity, House Minority Leader Pelosi used her 8-hour filibuster to regale us with apocryphal tales of her grandson who allegedly wishes he could be a DACA recipient from Guatemala.

Can you imagine how prideful Pelosi will be the first time her grandson dons a P-hat or uses the girls’ bathroom?

The two speeches nicely underscored the choices before us.

A nation of laws or men?

Paying our own way or freeloading on future generations?

Embracing the neo-Jim-Crow Left or fighting off the cultural Jacobins?

As Dickens wrote about the conditions predating the Reign of Terror, “…we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”


Team Trump Is Team Russia

The Left is so accomplished at sensationalizing and rewriting history because they so doggedly sensationalize and rewrite the present.

The Nunes memo is one of the better case studies in recent memory.

We have sanctimonious gasbag Jim Comey complaining about “weasels and liars” (translation: House Republicans) for fulfilling their oversight responsibilities of the FBI, reminding us that there aren’t a lot of schools or streets named after Joe McCarthy.

That’s something Comey will have in common with McCarthy.

We have John Heilemann, one of MSNBC’s Russian collusion bots, suggesting that Paul Ryan is a Russian agent.

Because Paul Ryan agrees that the Nunes memo should be released, you see, that puts Ryan on Team Nunes which puts him on Team Trump which puts him on Team Russia which puts John Heilemann in a 1959 Richard Condon novel because he is living in a fictional world.

We have a DC press corps from a bygone era presently being fêted on the silver screen for unearthing government secrets while their descendants decry the notion of being handed a tidy summary of the same.

We have Beltway big government guerrillas who will say and do or not say and not do whatever is required to achieve their singular end: the end of Trump.


Trump Trickbags Dems On DACA

Whether you think Trump’s public policy posturing is asymmetrical or just simply erratic, his proposal on DACA summarily pronounced DOA by congressional Dems improved the GOP’s electoral chances in November—bigly.

Here’s how:

First, by seeing a path to citizenship for 800,000 DACA recipients and raising the Democrats 1 million more, Trump took Schumer’s and Pelosi’s mascots away from them.

If you’re offered the prospect of a path to citizenship, are you willing to pass on your chance to pursue the Left’s open borders fantasy?

Schumer may not have experienced his last sleepless night in Brooklyn.

Second, by providing a path even for those who were eligible but did not seek the DACA designation, Trump out-flanked the Democrats on the issues of fairness, good faith and empathy.

It’s a bend but don’t break that will leave some Trump supporters muttering under their breath but it’s not a betrayal.

Third, Trump positioned himself with 70%+ of Americans on the immigration issues punch list: normalizing DACA designees, building the wall, prioritizing based on skills, and punishing sanctuary cities and states.

Trump has put congressional Democrats in God’s little acre.

If they cut a deal, Trump is the pragmatic, reasonable businessman who got a decent, bipartisan deal done.

If they don’t cut a deal, Trump is the pragmatic, reasonable businessman foiled by inflexible Democrats whom he met more than halfway.

The art of this deal is Trump painted Democrats into a corner. 


Of Course Oprah Could Win

A 75-year-old gropey and dopey plagiarist could win but Oprah couldn’t?

A 76-year-old Trotskyite from Vermont with a wife under federal investigation for bank fraud could win but Oprah couldn’t?

Viewed against Biden’s shovel-ready ribbon-cuttings and Bernie’s renamed post offices, Oprah is clearly the most qualified candidate.

To doubt Oprah’s viability is to be oblivious to the era of puerile YouTube celebutantes ushered in by their helicopter parent-friends.

As our electoral politics careens towards part reality show, part awards gala, Oprah could do to Democrat Presidential aspirants in 2020 what Trump did to Republicans in 2016: turn them into seat-fillers.

Half the nation proved they care only about what a President says and how he says it. They didn’t like Obama’s policies but they liked his pseudo-sophistication and Al Green impersonation. They don’t like Trump’s coarse rhetoric but they like his policies and Alec Baldwin’s impersonation.

Such an electorate is a target-rich environment for a professional sentimentalist like Oprah.

The false good of sentimentality from the false gods of celebrity is what the people want.

As Oprah protégé Dr. Phil might say, “When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences.”

Eli Manning’s Example

One day you’re the 2-time Super Bowl champion, 2-time Super Bowl MVP with the second-longest starting streak in NFL history. And the next day you’re on the bench.

That’s life. But how many of us would handle it with the humility of Eli Manning?

Manning was given the option to continue to start and play a few series to keep his streak alive but declined saying “that’s not the right way to play.”

In doing so, he essentially said that if coach thinks starting someone else at QB gives the team the best chance to win then we should do that. Manning’s personal streak isn’t bigger than the team.

“It’s hard…but hang in there and figure it out,” said Manning, his chin quivering.

How Manning responded to being benched, with understandable disappointment but not defiant entitlement, is why he is a leader of men and a 2-time Super Bowl Champion, twice defeating the team of his generation for the Lombardi Trophy.

A few days later Sports Illustrated conferred the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to a Castro-loving spoiled brat. 

The NFL’s positive, teachable moments are few and fleeting.

Lionizing Colin Kaepernick is an example of our time.

Eli Manning’s example is timeless.

Most professional athletes are not role models. But some are.


Bannon’s War

"They’re not going to help you unless they’re put on notice that they’re going to be held accountable if they do not support the President of the United States.”

Those are the words of chief Trump streetfighter Steve Bannon on “60 Minutes” in response to Charlie Rose’s protestation that he is attacking the very GOP leadership whose support the President needs.

Whether or not you agree with all of the component parts of the Trump/Bannon policy agenda—and I do not—Bannon is correct about the mechanics of moving the flag in politics.

As Milton Friedman observed, politics is the art of getting the wrong people to do the right thing. That requires the application of pressure.

A policy agenda is moved mainly by aligning interests not making friends.

And the number one interest of virtually every office-holder is to hold their office.

What the big government press corps in DC describes as “in-fighting” is better understood as an accountability mechanism: you either keep the promises you made or you won’t be in a position to make them anymore.

Members of Congress are not our betters. They are our temporary representatives. All are replaceable. Many are interchangeable.

A political party that has intraparty channels to maintain discipline is a governing party. One that does not will be a minority party until they do. Take it from someone who lives in Illinois.


How Fascism Happens

Fascism requires the entirety of civil society to be folded into the state.

The government, the arts, technology, and business become one.

Therefore, intellectuals, artists and captains of industry must be on board.

It is not the “banality of evil,” as Hannah Arendt argued.

It was not the passivity of the hoi polloi but rather the intellectual activism of elites like Hans FK Gunther that gave rise to the Third Reich.

So the outrageous attempt recently by CNN to tar Trump voters with the fictional "banality of evil" argument is properly understood as a desperate misdirection play by Antifa sympathizers.

Not even liberal intellectuals who believe in Brandeis’ “more speech, not enforced silence” formulation for a free society like Columbia’s Mark Lilla or Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz are given quarter.

So think about the ideology and conduct of those in America who dominate academia, the arts, Fortune 500 C-suites and social media channels.

Are they Trump supporters or dissent silencers?

Are they advocates for individual liberties or group benefits?

Martin Niemollers or Martin Heideggers?

Peruse a public school curriculum, take a spin around a college campus, review Google’s definition of diversity, visit the Castro-loving Colin Kaepernick exhibit at the Smithsonian African-American History Museum, and then tell me where the threat of rolling up all of civil society into a fascist state really lies.


The State Vs. Charlie Gard

Charlie Gard’s parents are thinking about their son and trying to save his life.

The British government is thinking about its centrally-planned health care system and trying to save its dominion over the lives of its countrymen.

And that’s the story of government from time immemorial.

The state is forever seeking to intervene between parents and children because family is a bulwark against its power.

A spokesman for the London hospital that seeks to put Charlie Gard to death said they don’t want “a world where only parents speak and decide for children.”

You see, they speak for your child.

The commissars at the Orwellian-acronymed National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will tell you when it’s time for him to die with dignity. And there’s nothing nice about the way they shall impose their will.

The State vs. Charlie Gard is a reminder to Americans about the nature of government-run health care, yes.

More importantly, it is a lesson about the nature of government generally.

The state and the Gard family are adversaries not allies.

Government is a synonym for force not compassion.

This is what George Washington meant when he described government as “a dangerous servant, and a fearful master.”

Consider this when politicians offer to improve your life with government in either role.

Consider Charlie Gard’s life.


Celebrate America’s 241st By Observing Thomas Sowell’s 87th

On the occasion of America’s 241st birthday, take a moment to celebrate economist Thomas Sowell’s 87th which comes just a few days earlier.

The latter complements the former.

Born in the Jim Crow South in 1930, Sowell’s family was without electricity or hot running water. No one in his family had gone beyond the sixth grade in school.

Sowell graduated magnum cum laude from Harvard and earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.

He then spent the last half century as one of the most prolific and persuasive economists in advance of free minds and free markets in American history.

Make some time away from the grill this holiday to peruse Sowell’s Conflict of Visions primer on competing schools of political thought if you haven’t.

Other than Milton Friedman, no American economist has better harnessed his intellect to make economics accessible to the everyman.

An example of Sowell’s succinct summaries, “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

In his farewell column at the end of 2016 Sowell wrote, “We cannot return to the past…but let us hope we can learn something from the past to make for a better present and future.”

The more who learn from Sowell’s life’s work, the better the present and the future will be for America.


The Unsalvageables

President Trump’s victory produced a plethora of Leftist think pieces plotting their escape from their coastal bubbles so they are never so blindsided again.

After a six month probationary period, can we finally dismiss as disingenuous their intellectual curiosity?

During that time, the Left has written more Russian fiction than Boris Pasternak.

The budding totalitarians on college campuses have attacked professors, shouted down the Education Secretary, and argued that white men do not enjoy First Amendment rights.

In Chicago, a group of “nasty women” hosted an art exhibit/fundraiser for Planned Parenthood featuring an anti-Trump painting stained with vaginal blood from the artist.

In Phoenix, the city used taxpayer dollars to help finance a billboard depicting Trump as a money-grubbing Nazi.

Storied MIT linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, whose rhetoric is virtually indistinguishable from that of Maxine Waters, claimed recently that the Republican Party is the greatest threat to mankind’s survival in the history of the world.

I don’t see much common ground to be forged here and, frankly, I’m not terribly interested in indulging lunacy.

I’ll continue to consume the literate Left’s content for comparison/contrast purposes. But I’m not going to let their mania consume even a moment of my consideration.

If I’m a deplorable then they are the unsalvageables.

I say we let them stay squirreled away in their bubbles and we pop them again in November 2018.


Treating The Police Like The Bad Guys Emboldens The Bad Guys

What a culture celebrates it begets.

An internal FBI report obtained by Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner finds the DC press corps/Dem politician combine’s neutral to laudatory review of Black Lives Matter rioters makes us less safe by making police less safe.

The FBI reviewed 50 murders of police officers in 2016 and found in 14 of the cases the offender simply wanted to kill police.

“The assailants inspired by social and/or political reasons believed that attacking police officers was their way to ‘get justice’,” the report concluded.

The former mayor of Baltimore created a safe space for rioters in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death. That has left her successor crying to the FBI for help in combating Baltimore’s 20-year high murder rate.

Chicago Mayor Tiny Dancer scapegoated the police locally and brought Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch to town to tell the nation they were all racists. After more murders in Chicago last year than in New York City and LA combined, Chicago saw a 45% increase in murders in April as compared to April of last year. April featured the additional embarrassment of the Chicago Police Superintendent's police SUV being ransacked while it was parked outside of his home.

When you treat police like the bad guys, you embolden the bad guys.


David Dao: Greatest American Hero For Bedwetters

In the pantheon of civil disobedience, we have Tank Man in Tiananmen Square, Rosa Parks on a bus in Montgomery and Dr. David Dao on a United Airlines flight screeching like a teenage girl after security took him up on his taunting.

Inclusion of Dao’s name with the other two would be a joke if people weren’t actually doing it.

In his best Matlockian dialect, Dao’s oleaginous personal injury attorney Tom Demetrio canonized Dao as the patron saint of airline passengers declaring, “he’s the guy to stand up for passengers going forward.”

We’re finally free of commercial airline totalitarianism thanks to a half-lucid quack who, unlike the three other passengers who peacefully deplaned, didn’t think random selection applied to him.

Of course United could have handled the matter better and, yes, seat arrangements should’ve been figured at the gate.  But this necessitates congressional hearings?

The only thing more absurd than that is Dao contending his United experience was more harrowing than escaping Vietnam in 1975 before the fall of Saigon.

And the only thing more absurd than that is listening to Lionel Hutz Demetrio moralize about corporate America.

In a better America, this whole incident would be received by the public like a Jerky Boys prank call.

In bedwetting America, David Dao is a hero.