Tuesday, September 03, 2019

The Left's "Phantom Recession"


Newsrooms won't be saved by Bernie Sanders' socialist nostrums

by Jeff Jacoby

WHEN YOUR only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail to be pounded. When you're Bernie Sanders and your only tool is socialism, every problem looks like a capitalist to be bashed.

The septuagenarian senator from Vermont is an unabashed lifelong socialist, whose solutions to most problems involve more government, less freedom, and higher taxes. This week, in a 1,700-word essay published in the Columbia Journalism Review, he proposed a "plan for journalism" involving — can you guess? — more government, less freedom, and higher taxes. The capitalist-bashing begins in the second sentence: "Today's assault on journalism by Wall Street, billionaire businessmen, Silicon Valley, and Donald Trump presents a crisis — and [is] why we must take concrete action."

But Sanders, like Trump, is quick to impugn journalists' motives. And much of the "action" he proposes would interfere with media companies that try to save themselves.

If elected, Sanders says, he would use the power of the federal government to crack down on media mergers that would lead to layoffs, consolidate news outlets under fewer owners, or "adversely affect" women and minorities. He would "reinstate and strengthen" the old cross-ownership rule that blocked TV and radio stations from owning newspapers in the same market. And he would require the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to "more stringently" pursue antitrust litigation against Facebook and Google, whose success has come in part at the expense of traditional media outlets.

Sanders also raises the prospect of taxing online ads and using the revenue to fund "nonprofit civic-minded media" and to "substantially increase" government subsidies for public journalism. That won't do anything for struggling private newspapers and magazines, but it will certainly boost the power of PBS and NPR and their decidedly left-wing worldview.

Nothing in Sanders's plan is fresh or novel. How and whether to rein in Big Tech, to expand racial and gender diversity in the media, to tax advertising and Internet services, to underwrite nonprofit media — all of these have been perennial topics of debate when the agenda turns to the ailments of the news business. In his essay, the senator vowed to impose an "immediate moratorium" on corporate media mergers like the proposed combination of Viacom and CBS. But media consolidation has been a left-wing bugbear forever. "Remember back in 2000 when the merger of AOL and Time Warner spelled the absolute doom of an independent press?" asks Nick Gillespie in Reason magazine. "Better yet, can you even remember AOL or Time magazine, once massive presences in media that are now desiccated ruins of their former selves?"

Sanders acknowledges the ravages that the news industry has undergone in recent decades. "Over the past 15 years, more than 1,400 communities across the country have lost newspapers, which are the outlets local television, radio, and digital news sites rely on for reporting," he writes. "Since 2008, we have seen newsrooms lose 28,000 employees — and in the past year alone, 3,200 people in the media industry have been laid off." But Sanders seems far less interested in the plight of journalists than in exploiting their excruciations to score ideological points.

Like so much of what America's best-known socialist says and writes, his media plan drips with hostility for capitalists and capitalism. He repeatedly decries the lack of "real journalism" in America, and blames it on his standard villains: the "forces of greed that are pillaging our economy," the "corporate conglomerates and hedge fund vultures," the "oligarchic business models," the "billionaires who ... use their media empires to punish their critics and shield themselves from scrutiny." Sanders is particularly hostile to Jeff Bezos, the billionaire who owns the Washington Post. He suggested recently that his criticism of Bezos is the reason the Post "doesn't write particularly good articles about me." At times, his attacks on the integrity of publishers and the motives of reporters have been almost indistinguishable from President Trump's.

Lord knows the news business is in dire straits these days, but socialist nostrums aren't going to stop the cataclysmic changes unleashed by the digital revolution. As someone who has worked in newsrooms for more than three decades, I mourn for the lost era when nearly every home subscribed to a newspaper. I wince with vicarious pain at every newspaper shutdown or round of layoffs. But the media aren't in extremis because they weren't regulated enough. If anything, some daily papers might yet be alive if, for example, the cross-ownership rule hadn't deprived them of a potential lifeline.

Trashing the entrepreneurs and investors who are keeping some of the nation's legacy news organizations alive admirably suits Sanders's anti-capitalist shtick, but it will do nothing to save the business of journalism. "We cannot sit by and allow corporations, billionaires, and demagogues to destroy the Fourth Estate," says Sanders. That's the way he always talks — a one-tool politician with the same scapegoat for everything.



Trump Supporters Have ALL The Moral High Ground. Don’t Cede One Inch Of It To The Left

Despite the fact that roughly three out of four evangelical Christians support President Donald Trump and most of his policies, the #NeverTrump “right” and the anti-Trump left have somehow managed to fool people into thinking they have at least a solid piece of high ground when it comes to “principles,” “morality” and “values.” I purposefully put those three words in quotes because their mere utterance doesn’t mean the people who pronounce them have an iota of a clue what they really mean. Nevertheless, anti-Trump folks of all political persuations love tossing them around as a way of signaling their “virtue” to the rest of us.

“Muh principles!” bleats the #NeverTrump “Republican,” as if they are some sort of special light shining in a Trumpian-world-gone-mad.

“Muh values!” screeches the open-borders leftist politician, as if letting the entire Third World come to America is the definition of “loving thy neighbor.”

“Muh morality!” shrieks all of them, yet the “New Morality” they espouse has nothing to do with the God of the Bible (its original author) and everything to do with achieving power for the left.

In an age where real virtue is a rarity, yet our leftist would-be rulers love signaling, nay proclaiming theirs from the rooftops, one might be forgiven for being even temporarily fooled by it all. Maybe Nancy Pelosi really IS a good person when she lectures us about border walls being “immoral.” Maybe Saint Pete really does have the hot new take on “values.” Maybe the likes of Joe Walsh, Bill Kristol, George Will, and John Pavlovitz - randomly selected Trump haters all - really DO put the “principles” they supposedly have first, and that’s why they oppose the president at seemingly every turn.

Especially given a leftist-controlled mainstream press all-too-willing to portray the president as a monster and his policies as monstrous, you may be forgiven for thinking all of those things. But the reality, however, is actually the exact opposite of what they would have you believe. In fact, it is Trump’s supporters who truly have every inch of the moral high ground. In fact, it is Trump’s policies that are the very definition of objective principles, morals, and values, even if his presentation at times gives his haters ammunition by seeming to belie that fact.

Consider the three “unalienable rights” the Declaration of Independence acknowledges as having come to humans unconditionally from their Creator - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness:


It’s a pretty good place to start, especially considering we’re dealing with a literal death cult that relishes the notion of killing as many unborn babies as possible. Start there, and any attempts they make to portray themselves as “good people” fall flat, but there’s oh so much more. Consider communism, you know, the ideology whose adherents gleefully murdered over 100 million people over the last century. Ever hear these would-be paragons of morality condemning communism these days? No? Could that be because they want to give it another try but don’t want to be so obvious about it? Could it be because the socialism they espouse is but a mere step away from the totalitarian kind of communism that slays millions in the name of “equality”?

Every time these jackals politicize mass shootings to call for more gun control, remember that they really don’t care about any of the lives such legislation would save, especially considering they know full well the legislation they espouse wouldn’t actually save any lives. In their unquenchable thirst for control, leftists would happily take away the right to defend oneself against rogue criminals or rogue governments. They cry alligator tears at the deaths of gun victims while ignoring those who successfully defend themselves with guns or the unarmed who die from a senseless home invasion.

And then there’s their relentless calls for unlimited immigration from the Third World, ignoring the plight of the American middle and lower classes, despite the fact that Third Worlders would be better served by helping them there instead of bringing them here. It’s all for power, of course, because they know these folks tend to lean left, but they pretend it’s about “morality.”

Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

Whether it’s the liberty to defend yourself, make your own decisions, run your business as you see fit, or even keep most of your own earnings, it’s no secret that leftists want to take it all away (except for certain, leftist-approved “liberties” like “changing” sexes and murdering unborn babies, of course). In other words, the liberty issue is a slam dunk for a belief system that generally believes the fundamental concept of individual liberties. Want to keep a rogue government from running roughshod over and even murdering millions of its own citizens? Allow citizens to own guns. And if you have a problem with this, dear Leftist, what are you afraid of?

The liberty to pursue happiness according to one’s own bent, so long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others, is ingrained in our nation’s founding documents, and yet leftists would take all that away if they could.

Bottom line: Those who refuse to support President Trump based on optics alone are completely missing the big picture. Whether you consider some of his tweets and comments “presidential” or not, the policies Trump espouses and helps to implement through executive orders, signed legislation, and appointing judges result in by far the greatest good for the greatest number of people, full stop.

No, there’s no reason why we should ever cede one inch of moral high ground to godless leftists, ever.



Top Dem Jerry Nadler Unveils Another Ridiculous Probe Into President Trump

Now that the House Of Representatives has devolved into the old Soviet Politburo under Democrat control, there is yet another investigation into President Trump that will soon be launched.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler is looking to jumpstart the ridiculous argument for impeachment under the obscure Emoluments Clause over Trump’s possible invitation to world leaders to host the G7 at his golf resort in Florida.

Following a successful visit with the leaders of the free world in France last week, the gracious POTUS suggested that the next meeting could take place at Trump National Doral in Miami.

In normal times this would be recognized as diplomacy but for Commissar Nadler it is yet one more avenue to settle decades-old scores with his longtime nemesis from New York.

According to Nadler and his fellow neo-Stalinists on the committee, the invite is “only the latest in a troubling pattern of corruption and self-dealing” which means that Dems will spend the next several months pissing away millions of taxpayer dollars on yet another ridiculous probe.

House Democrats derided the move as “only the latest in a troubling pattern of corruption and self-dealing” by the president.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee slammed President Donald Trump’s push to host the G-7 summit next year at his Doral resort in Miami, deriding the move as “only the latest in a troubling pattern of corruption and self-dealing” by the president and pledging to consider it as part of their impeachment investigation.

Though Trump has not said that the decision is final, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who leads the committee’s panel on the Constitution, said in a statement Wednesday that selecting Doral as the host of the next summit would be a potential violation of both the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments clauses in the Constitution, aimed at barring presidents from taking outside gifts.

“More importantly, the Doral decision reflects perhaps the first publicly known instance in which foreign governments would be required to pay President Trump’s private businesses in order to conduct business with the United States,” the pair said, pledging to schedule a hearing on the issue next month.

Nadler and Cohen said that Trump’s comments this week prove the president’s “personal financial interests are clearly shaping decisions about official U.S. government activities,” concluding that “this is precisely the type of risk that the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses were intended to prevent.”



Tough-Talking Leftist Turns into Sniveling Coward When Steven Crowder Finds Him

Antifa members are just interested in fighting fascism. Don’t you get that? They’re looking to fight the rise of fascism in the United States and that’s it. Period.

Oh, and they’re looking to light conservative pundits they don’t disagree with on fire, that too.

As followers of Steven Crowder will know, he enjoys confronting members of the left who make physical threats against him. The latest is a member of antifa who threatened Crowder during a recent trip to Austin, Texas, where he was filming a “Change My Mind” segment at Google headquarters.

The antifa member — who has a criminal history, which includes throwing tomatoes at President Trump and assaulting police officers — gave away Crowder’s location and posted that he hoped people would “milkshake” him. (“Milkshaking,” in antifa vernacular, doesn’t refer to throwing a Shamrock Shake on someone but instead a mixture of cement and other chemicals that can cause burns.)

Furthermore, the individual said, “I hope someone lights Steven Crowder on fire.”

So, Crowder did what any of us would do. He dressed up as the Heat Miser from the 1974 Christmas special “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and goes to a coffee shop to confront the young man:

At first, the man denies sending the messages on Facebook, calling Crowder a “fascist” and walking in and out of the coffee shop to avoid the pundit. Apparently indecisive, he then walks back in.

Eventually, both are kicked out and Crowder has a walk-and-talk with the antifa member.

Crowder wants to talk the whole thing out. The antifa member doesn’t, but he also torpedoes his denials of egging his supporters on to milkshake Crowder and set him on fire by saying he wishes he had said these exact same things or that Crowder deserves it. This isn’t exactly the most convincing denial.

“How do you not see yourself as a fascist when you encourage acts of violence?” Crowder asks at one point in the video.

The antifa member doesn’t have an answer for this, or what fascism is or, well, pretty much everything.

This isn’t the first “Crowder Confronts” video, for those of you who have followed the kerfuffles of the past. It’s not even the first one involving a member of the left who threatened Crowder with some form of intimidation or physical harm.

In fact, another one happened in Austin when a juice bar barista who threatened to slash Crowder’s tires was confronted:

Both of these instances are object lessons in how members of antifa are vicious in groups and absolute cowards on their own. No matter how you feel about Crowder, these kinds of threats are antithetical to civil political discourse. For right now, it’s mere incivility. When these threats are acted upon, however, they should scare everyone.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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