Belmont Club

Round One

Something is setting the cat among the pigeons. The New York Times reported that a “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account” in connection with the mishandling of classified material.   A reproof from the Clinton campaign caused the New York Times to issue what it called a correction.

In a correction appended to the Times article online, editors acknowledged having “misstated the nature of the referral” related to Clinton’s email use, which the paper had described as “criminal.” Though a Department of Justice official initially told reporters the referral was “criminal” in nature after the Times story was published, the agency reversed course and said it was not. Times editors also wrote that the referral from two inspectors general did not “specifically request an investigation” into Clinton.

By midday, the paper was under withering criticism from progressives online, who accused it of sparking a wave of outrage over ultimately faulty charges. Other nonpartisan sources were suggesting that Republicans on the Select Committee investigating the 2012 attacks on the compound in Benghazi were behind the inaccurate leak.

The Clinton onset included an attack by David Brock of Media Matters on the Times. “Media Matters founder David Brock is once again going after The New York Times for its reporting on Hillary Clinton, and today the Times hit back.”

In other instances earlier this year, Brock called out Times reports on how Clinton used private email as Secretary of State, and even said that the Times shouldn’t “outsource your journalism to Rupert Murdoch‘s publishing house.” Brock today released a public letter to the Times, calling them out for an “extraordinarily troubling pattern… of flawed reporting” when it comes to Clinton. He runs down a list of examples, including the aforementioned, before getting to the flap over their report today on an IG referral over Clinton’s emails. … The Times fired back in a brief statement to Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple:

David Brock is a partisan. It is not surprising that he is unhappy with some of our aggressive coverage of important political figures. We are proud of that coverage and obviously disagree with his opinion.

The troubles are bipartisan. No one could have missed Ted Cruz pointing a finger at Mitch McConnell calling him a low down … purveyor of falsehoods.  Calling a fellow member a liar was formerly unheard of in the gentleman’s club that is the US Senate.  But for Cruz it was either that or accept being tarred by association.

Cruz voted for Obamatrade’s Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) the first go-around in the Senate based on McConnell’s word—and he famously turned against the fast-track trade authority later…. “My staff told that afternoon he’s lying to you,” Cruz said.

That’s what my staff said. We have been around the Senate a long time. He is not telling you the truth. And what I told my staff that afternoon, I said well, I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but I don’t see how when the Majority Leader looks me in the eyes and makes an explicit promise — and by the way, looks in the eyes of every other Republican Senator and says that to every other Republican Senator, I don’t see how I cannot take him at his word when he makes an explicit promise. As a result, I cast my vote in May in support of TPA because I support free trade and I felt I had no choice but to assume that when the Majority Leader spoke to 54 Republican Senators and made an explicit promise that he wasn’t lying to us.

Though it is less well publicized readers may nevertheless be aware that Cruz is involved in another attack on the leadership, this time with regard to Obamacare subsidies paid to the legislators based on what he believes is a fraudulent declaration that Congress is a “small business”.

Democrat against Democrat.  Republican against Republican. Pretty soon it’ll be Marvel vs DC. What’s driving this outbreak of conflict? Is there a highly contagious, rage-inducing virus in the district water supply? Or are we watching formerly stable political coalitions beginning to fall apart? Here’s the case for collapsing coalitions.

David Wiegel at the Washington Post writes that at least insofar as the Democratic Party is concerned, internal politics is becoming a zero-sum game. He quotes Barney Frank’s roundabout way of asserting that the trouble with today’s Dems is there isn’t enough loot left to simultaneously pay off the black Democratic base and white leftist moonbats.

The day before #BlackLivesMatter protesters commandeered Netroots Nation, former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) explained why the left’s 2016 candidates were not appealing to non-white voters. Frank, who considers any challenge to Hillary Clinton to be a divisive waste of money, asked liberals to consider why the supporters of Bernie Sanders seemed to be so white and comfortable. “To some extent, and with respect to my white liberal friends in the white liberal base, these are people for whom politics is a deeply-held ideological passion,” he said. “The groups of people who have the most at stake – African Americans, Hispanics, LGBT – are much for serious for Hillary. They have got to be serious. White liberals get a psychic income for supporting Bernie Sanders, but they won’t suffer much if a Republican becomes president.”

The rich white guys want gay marriage, environmental zoning, immigration, crony capitalism and arugula. Trouble is, if you give these things to the white liberals, it will starve and disgust the black base.  The conflict is illustrated in the a quote cited the Washington Post article.

“We’re going to transform the economics in America so that we create millions of decent-paying jobs,” said Sanders in the clip. “We’re going to make tuition at public colleges free.”

“Jobs and college don’t stop the police from killing me!” said a woman in the crowd, audible in the room but not on official videos of the event. “Jobs and college don’t stop the police from killing me!”

The Big Tent was collection of naturally antipathetic interest groups held together by the prospect of other people’s money.  For years there was enough to pay off the white part of the tent with enough left over to satisfy the black side of things.  Now that the money’s run out they’re fighting for the same slice of pie.  That, by definition, is zero-sum.

One could make an analogous argument about the dynamic in the Republican party. For decades its leadership could talk conservative and vote Democrat. Now it’s time to fish or cut bait. Politicians who could formerly sit on the fence are finding it transformed into a 12 foot slide made of razor blades, otherwise known as Donald Trump, who has now taken to wearing white golf shoes and a matching baseball cap on the campaign trail.

Liberal politics is like a robot that’s  blown a fuse. President Obama illustrated the liberal bipolar disorder by exhorting Kenya to shift to solar power, almost as if his Democrat white half were reflexively talking to his black half.

Milo Yiannopolulos of Breitbart argues that the coming years will see everyone set against everyone else and attributes it to identity politics being carried to is logical conclusion.

Since the 1970s, social psychologists have been aware that emphasising differences between groups leads to mistrust and hostility. In a series of landmark experiments, the psychologist Henri Tajfel found that even wearing different-coloured shirts was enough for groups to begin displaying signs of mistrust.

So guess what happens when you tell everyone that their worth, their ability, their right to speak on certain subjects and – shudder – their “privilege” is based on what they were born with, rather than any choices they’ve made or who they are?

It’s possible that feminists mistrust the likes of O’Malley and Sanders because they’re male. Or gay progressives mistrust them because they’re straight. Or trans activists mistrust them because they’re cis.

This is what the future of progressivism looks like: blacks fighting gays fighting lesbians fighting trans fighting everyone else. It’s the iron law of victimhood-driven identity politics. Someone has to win, and everyone else has to lose.

Everyone will be fighting everybody else for money; to possess what’s left; for the scraps, for the scrapings at the bottom of the barrel.  It’ll be like one of those Black Friday shopping riots where shame and restraint are thrown to the winds; when all is fair, including beating off your rivals with the shoe you intended to buy.

What should the ordinary stiff do in the face of all this? Probably we should take Ken Watanabe’s sage advice in Godzilla. “Let them fight. Let them fight. Let them fight!!”  And in the meantime the ordinary world can carry on curing cancer and developing modes of space travel.  The political class thinks they’re indispensable.  What if nobody missed them?


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