Wednesday, May 09, 2018

NRA Cheers Trump's 2A Promises

In 2017, President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to address the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meetings & Exhibits. In Dallas on Friday, Trump made it two years in a row, even after the Parkland school shooting that yielded a wave of calls for gun control efforts ranging from banning certain types of guns and magazines to the repeal of the Second Amendment.

Walking on stage to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” which has become the anthem of Trump rallies, the president was greeted by a wall of applause and rowdy calls of support, characteristic of a college football game or NASCAR race. The Leadership Forum held in Dallas featured its largest crowd to date.

Trump’s remarks were hardly distinguishable from his Washington Township event held just a week earlier in Michigan. So vividly “Trump,” the president played to his crowd with off-the-cuff rhetoric and a few punchlines. Trump spoke effectively about the hypocrisy of demanding we outlaw guns after mass shootings versus the silence after the use of trucks, vans and knives in recent public terror events. Classic Trump.

Furthermore, make no mistake: Trump was standing before some of the most intense voters out there.

An analysis in The New York Times back in October 2017 looked at the 2016 November election results through the lens of gun ownership. Following the Las Vegas mass shooting, the Times noted, “No other demographic characteristic created such a consistent geographic split.” The paper created a red-blue electoral map according to gun ownership voters. In short, if only voters in homes with guns had voted in the last presidential election, Donald Trump would’ve won every state except Vermont. This backs up both Pew Research and Gallup that have demonstrated that gun owners are both more likely to contact an elected official about policy and to vote for someone who shares their position on guns.

So what? Well, you know all those attacks leveled at the NRA after the Parkland shooting, where an armed school resource officer waited outside while 17 victims were murdered by a known-to-be-troubled 19-year-old? The critical placards and harsh talking points were aimed at the NRA, but those who actually own guns and value gun rights were always the intended target. As Democrats would frame it, you either love kids and hate guns or love guns and hate kids. Don’t mistake the real target of Democrats’ hatred — gun owners, not their organization.

The dripping disdain of the celebrity media mobilized to do the Democrats’ bidding was ever present in the coverage of the NRA’s annual convention. The perfect example was in the completely manufactured lie that the NRA banned guns at its own meeting for the purpose of the safety of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Democrats and gun-control advocates pounced on the constructed narrative that students should be equally protected by gun bans in schools with only law enforcement armed for a response.

We suppose they forgot that what they claim to want — a gun-free zone with guns only in the hands of the police — was exactly the situation in Parkland. Other than the actual shooter, the armed school resource officer failed to respond to a man known to most everyone at the school as volatile and even too dangerous to have a backpack on campus.

As Americans have grown to know, fake news outlets lie. They did not report that the layers of systems already in place failed to prevent the Florida school shooting. That includes the politically correct approach to screening troubled individuals, all to keep statistics in a range to get federal funding. Leftmedia outlets completely fabricate a storyline to continue their never-ending badgering of law-abiding gun owners.

While President Trump’s remarks served up red meat to a crowd fed up with the direction America’s been taken by Democrats, the NRA membership is not only a group devoted to voting. Members put their cash on the barrelhead through personal contributions.

The first full month following the Parkland shooting featured a wave of marches, walkouts and regular railings against responsible and lawful gun ownership. And yet the NRA marked a 15-year fundraising high of $2.4 million from March 1 through March 31. All but $500,000 of this total came from donations of $200 or less, reflecting a wave of support to defend the right to bear arms in the face of the steady drumbeat of mass media opposition.

Among the wide-ranging remarks made by the president — he covered everything from the humming economy to the appointment of conservative judges to the Russia collusion investigation — came a line that captured Trump’s endearing trait. As he addressed the drawn-out inquiry by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump declared, “We’re all fighting battles. But I love fighting these battles. It’s really a disgrace what’s happening to our country.”

The NRA crowd is hated by coastal elites for knowing that their God-given rights to worship and speak freely, as well as to own property and the rest, are protected only by the right to bear arms. They love this fight, too. And they love a president who won’t back down when there’s a fight for the average American. “Americans will never surrender,” Trump promised. “We will never give up our freedom. Americans were born free, we live free, and we will die free.”


How Big Government-Backed Bad Science Made Americans Fat

When the U.S. adopted dietary guidelines in 1980, its wrong recommendations made us fatter

“Government made a big mistake with the dietary guidelines,” says Nina Teicholz, author of New York Times bestseller The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet. “Given the track record that they have so far, you can really make a plausible argument that they’ve done more harm than good.”

Consumption of meat, butter, eggs and cheese were once encouraged as part of a healthy diet. Then in the 1950s, a Minnesota doctor named Ancel Keys put forth his diet-heart hypothesis, claiming that saturated fats raise cholesterol levels and cause heart attacks.

Keys produced landmark studies of the relationship between diet and heart disease that transformed nutrition science. He became a powerful figure in the science community. Contemporaries who publicly questioned the validity of his findings risked losing their research funding or becoming pariahs. When the U.S. adopted dietary guidelines in 1980, Keys’ recommendations became enshrined in national food policy.

“We have made our policy based upon this weak kind of science called epidemiology which shows association, but not causation,” Teicholz explains. “We have the situation where we just cannot reverse out of these policies that were originally based on really weak science.”

Keys’ flawed research is one reason Americans have been getting fatter and unhealthier for decades. Despite major advances in treatment, heart disease is still the leading cause of death for men and women.

“The really dominant view is that the dietary guidelines are good … and the reason America is fat and sick is that America has failed to follow them,” Teicholz says. “That’s when you start looking at the data. … By every food category you can find, we have faithfully, dutifully followed the guidelines.”

Today the science behind Keys’ dietary findings is once again being challenged. Teicholz has launched the Nutrition Coalition, which aims to inform food policy with rigorous science.

“Our goal is educate people about how the dietary guidelines have not been successful … and to bring this alternative policy viewpoint to policy makers,” says Teicholz. “More and more experts are willing to talk out about the science, and I think that will support change.”


Marx at 200: Classical Marxism vs. Cultural Marxism

May 5, marks the bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth, a cause for literal celebration in certain quarters of the academy

It’s often charged among the political Right that America is going communist, or at least socialist, or toward some form of Marxism. My concern is less classical Marxism than cultural Marxism, a strain of communist thought that even most of those engaging in it aren’t consciously aware of. If you Google “cultural Marxism,” the first thing that pops up is a Wikipedia definition dismissing it as a “conspiracy theory which sees the Frankfurt School as part of an ongoing movement to take over and destroy Western culture.”

A conspiracy theory? Well, that merely affirms the point. The vast majority of those advancing cultural Marxism aren’t even aware they’re doing so. Tell them and they’ll either blankly stare or mockingly laugh at you as a conspiracy monger.

In truth, cultural Marxism not only exists but exists as a dominant form of Marxism in America and much of the West today.

Classical Marxism, by contrast, continues to dwindle.

Just this week I caught a rare admission that slipped from the lips of the current chairman of Communist Party USA, John Bachtell. He said that CPUSA has a mere 5,000 members.

Yes, only 5,000. You could find more members of Unicorn Party USA.

Even more pathetic is that CPUSA has been pounding its chest lately claiming a “surge” in membership under the siege of President Donald J. Trump. Really? Some surge.

Of course, CPUSA never had big numbers. At its heyday in the 1930s, it probably never had more than 100,000 members. That’s why communists have always sought out dupes among the broader liberal Left. It’s why Marxist ringleaders like Angela Davis show up at the Women’s March not quoting Lenin but stumping for same-sex marriage and condemning “climate change.” Davis didn’t dare openly agitate for the KGB at the March; she agitated for LGBT.

The communist movement has always needed liberals as props to enlist at rallies. Rarely could CPUSA ever have filled Central Park with its own members. Bachtell’s cohorts today might not fill a sandbox at a Manhattan playground.

The reason for that is good news: The original ambition of an economic/class-based revolution has failed in America. And so, instead, today’s Marxists — including those in CPUSA, once the home of classical Marxism — have gone cultural.

It’s a form of Marxism so radical in its redefinition of human nature that Marx himself would blush and find it bewildering. As I write, the lead article at CPUSA’s website is titled “The Capitalist Culture of Male Supremacy and Misogyny” — a piece breathtaking in its cultural radicalism. And it personifies the communist movement’s thrust today.

Frankfurt School of Freudian-Marxism

So, what is this cultural Marxism, and how did it emerge?

It began not on May 5, 1818, with Marx’s birth but over 100 years later with the birth of what came to be known as the Frankfurt School.

These 1920s and 1930s German Marxists were Freudian-Marxists. For them, orthodox/classical Marxism was too limiting, too narrow, too controlled by the Soviet Comintern that strong-armed national communist parties. This rigidity prevented these more freewheeling neo-Marxists from initiating the cultural transformation they craved, including revolutionary changes in marriage, sexuality, and family. These Frankfurt-based theorists were left-wing intellectuals who looked to the universities as the home base from which their ideas could be launched. They spurned the church and looked to Marx and Freud as the gods they believed would not fail. Rather than organize the workers and factories, the peasants and the fields and the farms, they would organize the students and the academy, the artists and the media and the film industry.

One can look at the Frankfurt School’s cultural Marxism not as a replacement for classical Marxism but as the accelerator pedal that was missing from the wheezing, stalling vehicle. The cultural Marxist agrees with the classical Marxist that history passes through a series of stages on the way to the final Marxist utopia, through slavery and capitalism and socialism and ultimately to the classless society. But the cultural Marxist recognizes that communists will not get there by economics alone. In essence, cultural Marxists shrewdly realized that the classical Marxists would utterly fail to take down the West with an economic revolution; capitalism would always blow away communism, and the masses would choose capitalism. Cultural Marxists understand that the revolution requires a cultural war over an economic war. Whereas the West — certainly America — is not vulnerable to a revolt of the downtrodden trade-union masses, it is eminently vulnerable when it comes to, say, sex or pornography. While a revolution for wealth redistribution would be unappealing to most citizens of the West, a sexual revolution would be irresistible. Put the bourgeoisie in front of a hypnotic movie screen, and it would be putty in your hands.

The key figures of the Frankfurt School included Georg Lukacs, Herbert Marcuse, Wilhelm Reich — who literally wrote the book and coined the term The Sexual Revolution — Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, and others. The formal school began in 1923 as the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt in Germany. Among its driving forces from within Moscow was Willi Munzenberg, the so-called Red millionaire. “We must organize the intellectuals,” exhorted Munzenberg.

And so they would. And how did they slide into America?

The threat of Hitler’s Germany drove the Frankfurt School out of Europe and into the welcoming arms of America’s left-wing academics. Most to all of the leading practitioners of the Frankfurt School were Jews who needed a safe haven from Hitler’s madness. So they and their institute came to New York City, specifically to the campus of Columbia University, already a hotbed of communist thought.

Pleading the case for them at Columbia was John Dewey, founding father of American public education and communist sympathizer. (Dewey described himself as a small “c” communist, objecting only to “official Communism, spelt with a capital letter.”) Thus, their primary area of operation would be the educational system — the schools, the universities, and particularly the teachers’ colleges. It was no coincidence that Columbia housed the nation’s top teachers’ college — a creation of John Dewey.

From there, the cultural Marxists spread their ideas to campuses nationwide. Their extremist notions would sweep up the ‘60s New Left, to which the likes of Herbert Marcuse became an ideological guru to the radicals who today are tenured at our universities.


How Russia Lost WWII

Seventy-three years ago, in May of 1945 hardly anyone outside of the Jewish diaspora heard of the small town on the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean called Tel-Aviv. While its population of two hundred thousand or so was not insignificant for the region, it was a provincial backwater in the British Empire, with its inhabitants traumatized by the recently revealed and utterly incredible dimensions of the Holocaust of their own people, the European Jewry.

In Moscow, on June 24th, 1945, three year before Israel’s declaration of independence, tens of thousands of German prisoners of war were paraded in the Red Square. Passing by the ten foot high pile of Nazi standards flung at the feet of Lenin’s Mausoleum on their way to years of captivity many never to return, they were spat on by Russian bystanders. The Russians were furious, and rightly so; it is impossible to overestimate the carnage and the cruelty, the wanton torture and murder, the wholesale destruction of priceless cultural assets that the German invaders have wrought upon their homeland. But they were also proud; proud of the unambiguous defeat they have handed to the Germans and their many European collaborators.

Proud of the enormous sacrifices they have made in gaining that glorious victory. Proud of finishing the war with the Red Army firmly in control of vast territories that were once part of the Russian Empire and others that weren’t. Yes, they were sucker punched exactly four years earlier, but now they were in control of what used to be Prussia and of Poland and of Hungary and of Romania. The Red Army was feared across the better part of the globe from the Kuril Islands that were freshly ripped away from Japan to the Brandenburg Gate in Hitler’s erstwhile capital, Berlin.

The Russian Army was on that day the biggest and best equipped land-based fighting force that the world has ever seen. In those heady days, before Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed that America was not exactly to be trifled with, nothing seemed out of reach for the victorious Russians; they ruled the world.

Today, the people who witnessed those days are nearly all dead and their descendants can only wonder what could have gone so horribly wrong. No longer is the Russian army in Poland or Hungary or Romania, let alone anywhere on German soil with the exception of the tiny Russian enclave in Konigsberg (Kaliningrad), bursting as it is with ballistic missiles.

But forget about those foreign lands; how about territories that were integral parts of Russia for centuries? How about Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia? Face saving acronyms like CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), or new half-baked ideas of Eurasian free market zones, don’t fool anyone.

The truth is that in the west and in the south erstwhile Soviet republics, now independent states, are trying to figure out how quickly they can join the West without incurring an uncomfortable degree of Moscow’s wrath.

In the East, in the vast Siberian taiga (boreal forest), China rules the day. Chinese companies are clearcutting virgin forests, Chinese companies rip out of the ground valuable resources. Chinese are masters and the Slavs are, well, slaves.

In the early 1990’s, with the collapse of the USSR, vast lines formed at the doors of the Dutch consulate in Moscow representing Israel’s interests since Russia cut diplomatic ties with Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War. All of a sudden, Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, you name it, were discovering that at some point they had Jewish roots.

“It’s true that our last name is Zakharov, but grandma’s maiden name was Eisenberg and I remember her lighting Shabbat candles before the War”, they would tell Jewish Agency officials. And the officials wielded their life-saving official stamps and admitted these newly self-discovered Jews under the Law of Return to the ancient and newly reconstituted Jewish homeland: Israel.

Over a million of them came to Israel over a short period of only a few years, and they have made a big positive difference for the Jewish State. Russian is now quasi-officially the third official language in Israel and one can get by knowing no other language. Israel is also one of the very few Western destinations that Russians can travel to without a visa, a document that is often exceedingly hard to obtain.

So the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the generation that looked with hate, disgust, condescension, and maybe even a degree of human compassion at the starving, defeated hordes of Westerners paraded in front of them on their way to (in many cases) slowly dying of starvation and disease never to see their beloved Deutschland again, have to beg for visas to visit, however briefly that land that their ancestors sacrificed so much to defeat.

Those that can afford it fly to Tel-Aviv, now a sprawling metropolis of over a million, a city that is on most (good) top-ten lists in the world. A city of gleaming beaches, of peak high and popular culture, and yes, the best food scene in the world. But most can’t afford to even set foot inside an airport, let alone travel to Tel-Aviv, which of course is on the top-ten most expensive cities list. No, 40% of Russian citizens survive on less than ten dollars a day, truly a marker of a third-world country.

There can be no doubt that among all the major participants in WWII both in the European and the Pacific theatres, now, seventy-three years later, Russia is by far the least developed, the least prosperous, and the most likely to occupy top positions on all the wrong lists. Drug and alcohol abuse, infant mortality, expected lifespan for women and especially men, GDP per capita, income per capita, you name it, Russia is at or near the bottom of all major countries.

Forget about the US, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan. Even those WWII combatants that were back then entirely marginal like Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, and above all China have left Russia in the dust.

This week, Russia will spend millions of dollars to put up yet another WWII victory parade in the Red Square. Tanks will rumble and jets will fly overhead. Nuclear-capable ballistic missiles will slowly crawl past the same old mausoleum with the same old corpse inside.

But what about the people watching? Some are clinging to old glory. Many are beginning to see the absurdity of celebrating in superpower style victory over countries that are now vastly more prosperous than their own. Russia is a poor country that does not even have the technological and business expertise to exploit its own natural resources, letting foreign powers do it instead, akin to the literal banana republics of early 20th century Central America.

Russia has roughly half the population it had a hundred years ago and in many metrics such as consumer goods production has yet to reach pre-revolutionary levels or levels that were achieved by Stalin’s GULAG slave labor in the 1930’s. In all ways that count, Russia is the sole loser of the Second World War.

So what happened? Why were the hopes and aspirations of those attending the first WWII victory parade so cruelly dashed against the rocks of history? The answer is not hard to come by; all it takes is to ask those Russians who lived through post-war Soviet history and did not belong to the communist or technocratic elites.

In the USSR, there was simply no reason for anyone to work hard. It was not possible to make more money, to open a business, to invest for profit. If any disposable income materialized (a rare event indeed), there was nothing to buy, certainly nothing of any quality. The best way to live was to engage in tufta (pretend work) and whenever possible steal from your employer, the government. After all, the government shafted you, so why not shaft it back? As long as extra effort does not produce extra rewards, why bother? No dream, no aspiration, no amount of well-justified national pride can survive a system that rewards mediocrity and minimal effort.

A life or barely clinging to the communist safety net of minimal (but guaranteed!) nutrition and healthcare is hardly a life worth living. It is a life that brings out the worst in people; it makes them lazy, stupid, belligerent.

This week the world “celebrates” the centennial of the birth of a converted Jew who became the visionary of the hell of low expectations better known as communism. The New York Times sent him an ardent birthday card beyond the grave. “Marx was right!”, the Paper of Record noted.

The tale of two cities, Tel-Aviv and Moscow, shows that they couldn’t possibly be more wrong.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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