Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bill Maher: “There Are a Lot of Vulgar, Tacky, Racist People in This Country.”

Bill Maher on “basket of deplorables.” Fareed Zakaria GPS. CNN, Oct 14, 2016. Full GPS interview with Maher at YouTube, YouTube.

See also: Inquisitr, Mediaite, Raw Story, The Hill, AlterNet, NewsBusters.

GPS Transcript:

ZAKARIA: I spent some time this week in Los Angeles. And while I was there, I had the opportunity to sit down for a conversation with a man who is unabashedly off the left and also, I think, one of the most astute political observers of our time. Not a columnist, not an academic, but a man who apply his trait as a comedian, Bill Maher. He is, of course, the host of HBO’s “Real Time.” And HBO and CNN are both owned by Time Warner. We met on his “Real Time” set and things got real, well, really quickly.

Bill Maher, a pleasure to have you on.

MAHER: Pleasure to be here.

ZAKARIA: Whatever happens with this election, the big question I think we all are still trying to puzzle is, how Trump, why Trump? What is your explanation as to why Donald Trump erupted onto the political scene the way he did?

MAHER: Well, we have to look at the people who voted for him. I mean, it’s depressing to think that you share the country with so many people who you share nothing with.

You know, Donald Trump is a reflection. And what we learned is that there’s a lot of vulgar, tacky, racist people in this country, more than I thought; I knew there were some. But it’s the proverbial lifting up of a rock and what we found when we lifted it up was the basket of deplorables. And I know they hate that term, but if the basket fits, and it does.

ZAKARIA: There are a lot of people who talk about the economic anxiety, the dislocation, the pain. In your last monologue, you don't buy that.

MAHER: Well, I mean, we found that it was a myth. I mean, the typical Trump voter in the primaries made, I think, $72,000 and not hurting economically like they’ve said they are. No more likely to be hurt by trade or immigration. No more likely to be out of work.

You know, the base problem is that they live in this fact-free bubble. I mean, if you’ve ever seen one of his rallies, it’s just a completely fact-free assessment of this country, the problems facing it and his always constitutionally impossible solutions.

It’s funny the internet was supposed to make us smarter but it just served as a seal for knowledge to get in.

ZAKARIA: The perfect example of that is he keeps citing these on-line non-polls as polls.

MAHER: Right. Yes.

ZAKARIA: It’s like we won all the polls.

MAHER: He said this week that ISIS wasn’t only going to take over their part of the world but take over America. You know, back in the day, if you’re in the John Burke society, you have to go door to door with pamphlets and you have to talk to people or whatever. Now, they’re right in a chat room. You can just spew your nonsense and there’s lots of people who – that’s what they want to hear and they want to believe, and so they do.

So we live in this element where it’s not even a race between ideologies anymore, it’s not Republican and Democrat or conservative and liberal. It’s reality versus alternative reality. This reality of their own choosing. And to make it even worse, they don’t care about lying – lying, bold-faced, caught on tape lying is no longer a deal-breaker at all. They don’t care – they don’t care. They know or they don’t know, it doesn’t matter to them. He’s their guy.

ZAKARIA: How much of Trump’s success is that he comes from this much larger world than the political world, the world of celebrity. I remember reading this thing by Josh Ramo who said if you had said to somebody two years ago, this is one candidate who’s got two presidents in his family, and he’s got an amazing Rolodex, he will raise $50 million in the first month or two and there’s this other guy who’s got 10 million Twitter followers, who’s going to win? And it was the guy with the Twitter followers.

MAHER: Right. Well, celebrity is everything in this country. It’s funny, somebody ought to write a book or maybe somebody already did about the history of fame and celebrity because it sure has changed. I mean, I think, 100 years ago, being mobbed, being famous was considered rather gauche, right?

I mean in Shakespeare’s day, actors were like the lowest form of life. And now being a celebrity is everything. I mean, you see it in kids’ reactions. What do you want to be? It’s usually a model, a rapper, an athlete, a singer, you know. I mean, there’s a lot of talk in this country from people about you can always live your dream, kids. And what is the dream? It’s usually to be a singer, you know, “American Idol.”

Let’s get to the part where I’m an idol. Not a lot of Doctors Without Borders. I mean, some, but there’s way too much emphasis on that. And so, they think as celebrity is the best thing you can be. Certainly not held against Donald Trump by his fans.

ZAKARIA: And there’s no distinction between fame, notoriety and celebrity, it’s all the same, the famous.

MAHER: Yes, fame is the best thing.

ZAKARIA: All right. You have five, six million Twitter followers.


ZAKARIA: When we come back, I'm going to ask Bill Maher if he might run for office.


ZAKARIA: And we are back with Bill Maher talking all things Trump and some other things as well. So I was saying, I mean, the power of celebrity is extraordinary. He has this ability to bypass conventional media. He’s got between Facebook and Twitter. He claims 25 million – I haven’t checked it – followers.

I mean, I am serious. You are sort of have, in that same world, yo’'ve got five, six million Twitter followers. Have you ever thought about the fact that you could probably run? You have more name recognition than any politician.

MAHER: I know, but it’s my views. Interesting, I could run more reasonably than I could ten years ago. But my standard answer to that was always I think religion is bad and drugs are good. And that is not a slogan that will probably get you a lot of votes in America. People are rather conservative when they go in the voting booth.

Even liberals. I mean, not necessarily ideologically but they want someone stable. I mean, we will see. If Trump gets elected, this goes out the window. But just being an atheist, I mean, right there, that's like the ultimate deal-breaker. There’s polling on this in America. They will vote for anybody before an atheist. I’m talking about the categories that have never been elected, a Jew, homosexual, vegetarian – they hate vegetarians and they will even vote a vegetarian before an atheist. That’s rock bottom. So, yes and nor would I ever want to.

Oh, my gosh, I mean, to be restricted in the ways you have to be? I have to get up in the morning. Right there is a deal-breaker.

ZAKARIA: What does Trump do, in your view, after his probable defeat?

MAHER: Not good things. I worry about that. I think a lot of people do. Because, first of all, he’s got his knuckle-draggers all riled up about the fact that this is a rigged election. I think I read 65 percent of his followers already believed it is a rigged election and talked about Hillary, putting her in jail.

This is dangerous talk. We saw that woman at the Mike Pence rally this week. I mean, first of all, they live in this, again, alternative reality where country is hanging by a thread and if she is elected, it’s this existential threat to our way of life on earth, it’s just insane. But if you have that mindset and then he loses, what happens? I don’t think he goes away.

You know, this is a Caesar crossing the Rubicon moment; he’s got an army. What’s he going to do with that army? I think he will be – people say he might started his own Fox News-type station, I don’t know. But I don’t think it’s going to be good. I think he’s going to be the Che Guevara of deplorables. I think he’s going to a revolutionary out there and he’s going to be a martyr to this loss, and I hope loss. And I don’t know what they’re prepared to do. They already talk about things like Second Amendment solutions. That phrase becomes a lot more acceptable.

ZAKARIA: Do you think he believes any of this? I mean, he was a Democrat pro-choice, praised the Clintons, smeared Clinton's accusers and now he’s this.

MAHER: I don’t know. I think he always was a racist because he adores his father and that’s baked into the cake with him from way back, the housing stuff. He went after those five who were acquitted of the rape. And even after they were acquitted, he still – I think he’s truly a racist. So he started with that, the Birther stuff. And that’s where they should’ve stopped him, by the way. That was where you stop this maniac but they didn’t.

After that, once he got in front of his rallies, those crowds, I think he let them dictate where he went. He feeds off the love of those people. We know this about him. Putin says he likes him. Putin is a great guy. Someone criticizes him, that’s a horrible person. If he ever got elected, it would just be government by snit, not about ideology, really.

You’re right, he’s all over the map. It doesn’t matter. It’s whether you like him or you don’t. If you praise him, you’re great. If you don’t, you’re awful. So he gets up in the front of those people and he finds out as the campaign went on. I say this and they cheer and they love it.

ZAKARIA: He’s like a salesman. He’s sensing the crowd.

MAHER: Yes, absolutely. Yes, sensing the crowd. So I think that is what has shaped his ideology as far as it goes.

ZAKARIA: You know, one of the things that we’ve all grappled with, which has been very tough is how do you cover this race? And how do you cover Trump, particularly, when, you know, what he says things that are just not true?

So for instance, I even watched him this last debate and Anderson Cooper said to him, do you think you have the discipline to be president? For example, you tweet late at night and you ask us to watch a sex tape, which by the way didn’t exist. And he says, I didn’t. What do you supposed to do with that point when, you know, he did tweeted and how many times do you do that?

MAHER: Well, I think the media, you know, has been going downhill for a long time with notable exceptions. But I think one of their big problems is that they confuse fair and balanced with false equivalency. You know, he’s not the same as Hillary Clinton. I mean, Politico did a study of this of how much they lie. She lies about 28 percent of the time somewhat or fully, which is about pretty good for politicians.

ZAKARIA: It's about the average.

MAHER: He lies like 80 percent of the time. Like she lies less than most politicians, he lies more than anybody we’ve ever seen. He just says whatever comes into his head. I think it’s the media's job to point that out. I know he’s going to stammer and yell, and he does; I saw it at the last debate. He's like a five-year-old.

I mean, he kept saying to the moderator, she got more time. This is what my sister and I used to do when we were literally toddlers. She could to do anything she wants and I can’t watch any of my shows. The idea that this is somebody who they are seriously considering electing? Even if he loses, that is a depressing thought. But yes, I do think the media has to do a much better job of that.

ZAKARIA: But again, his supporters and all the people on Fox News, they buy this all. They like it.

MAHER: I know but the media has to understand that, again, fair and balanced. They got that in their head, which they think means, well, I say this to this guy and I said exactly in the other guy. But if one person is saying that the earth doesn’t revolve around the sun, you know, the answer is not to give that person equal weight with that. And also – I mean, come on, the media is rooting for a close race. It’s better for them.

I mean, Hillary is way up now but I don’t think that’s what the media wants. And they’re going to take these nothing e-mails that are in the Wikipedia leaks – I mean, the WikiLeaks, and they’re going to find something in there and they’re going to dwell on it, and people out there who don’t know much about anything in politics are going to go, it’s a wash, you know. That’s it.

Well, you know, he did the 8,000 horrific things, but what about the e-mails? You know, the e-mails, big nothing burger. The Clinton Foundation, nothing there. God forbid, they get caught helping people overcome diseases as supposed to Donald Trump’s charity which, you know, was basically a slush fund that benefited one orphan, Donald Trump. And people think all these things are a wash. The media has to take some responsibility for that.

ZAKARIA: All right. When we come back, I’m going to ask Bill Maher whether it is possible to be a comedian with Hillary Clinton as president.


MAHER: Hillary, I love her, but she’s not good at this. I mean, in 2008, she lost to a black man with a Muslim name. Now she’s losing to a 74-year-old Jewish socialist. I mean, Hillary, we’re making this as easy as we can for you, but you’re going to have to help a little.

ZAKARIA: That was Bill Maher on his HBO show “Real Time” talking about Hillary Clinton in February. Have his views changed? Listen in.

So who is Hillary Clinton, really? I mean, one of the this people wonder about is, who is that person behind this what seems like a programmed facade?

MAHER: I don’t find her to be this mystery to people. I mean, she's been out there for this long. Look, she is certainly shell-shocked from 30 years of being attacked. I don’t think there’s anyone who’s ever been more scrutinized, over-scrutinized. I always say she’s like a black driver in a white neighborhood and the police are the Republicans. They keep pulling her over and they keep having to let her go.

So, obviously, she’s guarded. Maybe she’s that way from the beginning, from her upbringing, but she’s – I can’t blame her. And, I mean, we’re starting to read all the e-mails. There’s nothing in there.

You know, they reveal what she is, a government nerd who never stops working. The kind of person who knows details, who believes government can do good, and I just think that’s exactly who she is. She’s someone who wants to roll up her sleeves and make a problem better, like Bill Clinton said at the convention. I don’t think there’s much more to it than that. I don’t see – I certainly don’t see a scary person. She’s a centrist.

The idea in their minds that she’s going to change the country very much is crazy. Bernie has moved her to the left to a degree, that’s good. But she’s not going to rock the boat. And what’s so ironic is that he’s the big businessman. They love him because he’s rich. And of course, if you’re rich, anything you say is brilliant.

But he’s the one that’s going to lose everybody their money. I’ve been saying this for a long time and now I see business people are saying it too. The market will tank before he’s even taken the oath of office because the market is very nervous, hates volatility, they pretend they hated Obama as the stock market went from 6900 to 18,000 but they’ve loved him, really, because he’s calm. He doesn’t rock the boat. He’s steady. And the market loves that. And Donald Trump is just the poster boy for volatility.

ZAKARIA: And if Hillary Clinton is as dull and intense as you say –

MAHER: Yes, it will be tough.

ZAKARIA:  –  how are you going to make the jokes?

MAHER: I mean, we always could make jokes every time there’s a passing of the guard. I remember when Bush left office, all the media called, all the comedians have said, will there ever be anybody as fun – well, of course, you know, the Republicans, first of all, will be who we make fun of mostly, even though they’re not the president as they haven’t been, somebody always steps up.

I mean, if George Bush goes down and a Sarah Palin steps up. And then a Ted Cruz, a John Boehner, I mean, Donald Trump. I mean, these people are the evolutionary chart in reverse. It just always gets worse. And I have no doubt that there are people who will step up for the Republican Party who will make my job easier if I’m here when I’m 110, which I hope to be.

ZAKARIA: Bill Maher, pleasure to have you on, as always.

MAHER: Pleasure to be here as always. Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Thank you so much.

Monday, September 26, 2016

What If Muslim Immigrants Don’t Want to Be “Like Us”? By Leon Hadar.

A Muslim couple sitting in a private screening room and wearing 3-D goggles. Auckland, New Zealand. Wikimedia/Jorge Royan.

What If Muslim Immigrants Don’t Want to Be “Like Us”? By Leon Hadar. The National Interest, September 25, 2016.


Muslim immigrants to the West are becoming less assimilated, not more.

When they discuss immigration policy, especially when it applies to the influx of hundreds of thousands of Muslims to the West, pundits don’t necessarily exhibit a liberal bias, or for that matter, a left-leaning view of the world. How would John Locke, Adam Smith or Karl Marx respond to the current debate? My guess is as good as yours.

In fact, when they welcome immigrants, legal and illegal, from the Middle East and elsewhere, and blast the immigration restrictionists as bigots and racists, most Western policy intellectuals display what would commonly be described as the Whig interpretation of history.

According to Whig history, our societies have been moving in an almost linear fashion towards more advanced forms of enlightenment and liberty. Values like secularism, religious freedom, individual rights, women’s rights and free markets, representing the progressive future, were bound to overcome the reactionary forces of the past, represented by religious oppression, absolute monarchism, coercive government and backward-looking tradition, with liberal democracy being the culmination of this forward-looking process.

This view of the world derived in part from the ideas of the Reformation, which was seen as a central progressive force challenging the reactionary Catholic Church. So it was perhaps not surprising that while some of the leaders of the much-derided anti-immigration movement in nineteenth-century America known as the “Know-Nothings” were actually opposed to slavery, and supported extending more rights to women, they were also opposed to the immigration of Catholics into the country, believing that the followers of the pope and his illiberal traditions could end up halting the march towards progress.

The notion of a progressive or a liberal calling for restricting immigration would today sound mind-bending, if not a contradiction in terms. After all, notwithstanding the warnings from the Know-Nothings, the history of Catholic and, for that matter, Jewish immigration into the United States followed the Whig interpretation.

In fact, as political scientist Samuel Huntington put it, members of both religious groups as well as those of other non-Protestant branches followed the route of “Anglicizing” their religious practices and traditions and integrating themselves into the more secular and liberal environment of the country. They embraced what Huntington called the “American Creed,” which he regarded as the unique creation of a dissenting Protestant culture, with its commitment to individualism, equality and the rights to freedom of religion and opinion.

So from that perspective, the assimilation of these immigrants into American society could be integrated into a narrative of progress. They may have not been “like us” in terms of their view of the world when they had arrived into this country, which was why the Know-Nothings campaigned against them.

But then history proved that those who were opposed to the immigration of Catholics and Jews were wrong, playing the role of reactionaries in our forward-looking narrative. Today’s leading liberal pundits assign the role of villains to opponents of Muslim immigration, who are depicted as the modern-day Know-Nothings.

This Whig interpretation of history would recall how the children and grandchildren of Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Italy or Poland, and those of eastern European Jews, abandoned their parents’ and grandparents’ archaic religious traditions and sense of religious particularism and ethnic tribalism. They have, indeed, become very much “like us,” and in some cases, more committed to the progressive American creed than members of old Protestant families from New England.

So why should we assume that Muslim immigrants from the Middle East and South Asia wouldn’t play the same role in the sequel to that movie? Presumably the same economic, social and cultural pressures that eventually helped Anglicize the Catholics and the Jews in this country would do magic for today’s Muslim immigrants. And those who don’t share that expectations are part of the reactionary past: angry old white men who cannot come to terms with the changing demographics of the country.

But these upbeat expectations assume that many things that may be wrong, including scientific and economic progress, and other forces of modernization like industrialization and urbanization, are so powerful that they force one to leave the traditions of the past behind to embrace liberal and secular forms of identity.

We are told to remember that the granddaughters of the families who emigrated from highly stratified, patriarchal and religiously oppressive Italy’s south now wear a bikini when they go to the beach. As do the granddaughters of the ultra-Orthodox Jews who immigrated to America from the shtetl in eastern Europe. Why shouldn’t that happen to the granddaughters of the Muslim immigrants from Egypt?

But wait a minute. Why do things seem to be happening in reverse in the case of many young Muslim immigrants in Europe and the United States? Their grandmothers, growing up in the 1950s in, say, Alexandria, actually looked “like us,” wearing the latest European fashion and a spiffy swimsuit on the beach. It’s their granddaughters who are now wearing veils, the hijab and the burkini to make sure that they don’t look “like us.”

That many Muslim immigrants resist playing the role assigned to them in the forward-looking narrative may be explained, in part, by the backward turn taken by many Muslim societies where, as in the case of Turkey, the Whiggish interpretation has been turned on its head. As forces of modernization like industrialization and urbanization have accelerated, these societies have actually started shredding what remained of the secular and liberal values that were embraced by many during much of the twentieth century.

Hence the contrast between the dramatic transformation of Western societies during the age of globalization and postmodernism, where the debate has moved to a point where same-sex marriage is now the law of the land in several countries, and the trend towards more oppressive religious standards, intolerance and tribalism in the Muslim world.

So while the liberal West has been opening its doors to Muslim immigration, shrinking Christian communities in the Middle East are being decimated and its members, facing a radical Islamic assault, are forced to leave countries where their ancestors had resided before the Arab invasion.

Liberals who adhere to the Whig interpretation of history face a dilemma. They cannot accept the idea that many Muslims living in the West, not unlike members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel and the United States, don’t want to be “like us,” and if anything detest the liberal and secular values that prevail in the United States and Europe.

Yet hanging to their liberal fantasy, policymakers and pundits accuse “Islamophobes” of wrecking progress and resist considering the inevitable: as these Muslim communities grow and expand, expect not only an end to same-sex marriage. Muslim citizens would then challenge other core principles of the Enlightenment, accusing bikini-wearing women of violating the changing standards of the community.

And as multiculturalism becomes a form of secular religion in the West, many liberals also try to deal with their cognitive dissonance by insisting on the preservation, if not the celebration, of regressive Muslim traditions, like the hijab. Liberal intellectuals, who spend much of their time denigrating evangelical Christians and warning of their plans to challenge the rights of women and gays, become apoplectic if someone dares to criticize Muslim traditions. Islamophobia!

Demonstrating the challenges liberals have in trying to keep their progressive narrative intact, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a self-styled feminist and a leading global promoter of multiculturalism, appeared recently at a gender-segregated event in a mosque, singing the praise of Islam on the main floor where only men were permitted, while women were watching Trudeau from the balcony.

“Right now we have these political leaders — ironically, politically liberal leaders — who are just putting blinders on their eyes about their values,” Asra Nomani, a liberal Muslim, told Canada’s National Post. “That’s the big differential for liberals, they fancy themselves as honouring the women’s body and yet the segregation by its very definition hyper-sexualizes women’s bodies. That’s the great irony.”

Perhaps not such an irony. As liberals like Trudeau discover that Muslim immigrants are not ready to become “like us,” they conclude that they are left with only one choice: to become more like them.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

President Obama’s Remarks at the Dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Remarks by the President at the Dedication of the National Museum of African American History and Culture., September 24, 2016. Video.


What we can see of this building – the towering glass, the artistry of the metalwork – is surely a sight to behold.  But beyond the majesty of the building, what makes this occasion so special is the larger story it contains.  Below us, this building reaches down 70 feet, its roots spreading far wider and deeper than any tree on this Mall.  And on its lowest level, after you walk past remnants of a slave ship, after you reflect on the immortal declaration that “all men are created equal,” you can see a block of stone.  On top of this stone sits a historical marker, weathered by the ages.  That marker reads:  “General Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay spoke from this slave block…during the year 1830.”

I want you to think about this.  Consider what this artifact tells us about history, about how it’s told, and about what can be cast aside.  On a stone where day after day, for years, men and women were torn from their spouse or their child, shackled and bound, and bought and sold, and bid like cattle; on a stone worn down by the tragedy of over a thousand bare feet – for a long time, the only thing we considered important, the singular thing we once chose to commemorate as “history” with a plaque were the unmemorable speeches of two powerful men.

And that block I think explains why this museum is so necessary.  Because that same object, reframed, put in context, tells us so much more.  As Americans, we rightfully passed on the tales of the giants who built this country; who led armies into battle and waged seminal debates in the halls of Congress and the corridors of power.  But too often, we ignored or forgot the stories of millions upon millions of others, who built this nation just as surely, whose humble eloquence, whose calloused hands, whose steady drive helped to create cities, erect industries, build the arsenals of democracy.

And so this national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are.  It helps us better understand the lives, yes, of the President, but also the slave; the industrialist, but also the porter; the keeper of the status quo, but also of the activist seeking to overthrow that status quo; the teacher or the cook, alongside the statesman.  And by knowing this other story, we better understand ourselves and each other. It binds us together.  It reaffirms that all of us are America – that African-American history is not somehow separate from our larger American story, its not the underside of the American story, it is central to the American story.  That our glory derives not just from our most obvious triumphs, but how we’ve wrested triumph from tragedy, and how we’ve been able to remake ourselves, again and again and again, in accordance with our highest ideals.

I, too, am America.

Monday, September 12, 2016

New Trump TV Ad Responds to “Basket of Deplorables” Comment by Hillary Clinton.

New Trump TV ad responds to “Basket of Deplorables” comment by Hillary Clinton. Video. Cosmic, September 12, 2016. YouTube.

Donald Trump’s Response to Hillary Clinton’s “Basket of Deplorables” Remark.

Donald Trump Speech to the National Guard Association in Baltimore, Maryland. Video. Donald Trump Speeches and Events, September 12, 2016. YouTube. Transcript.

Commentary at: Real Clear Politics, New York Times, Rush Limbaugh

Transcript excerpt:

I am running to be a President for all Americans – and I’ve been especially humbled to have the support of so many of our men and women in uniform.

All across this country, I’ve met so many incredible members of both our military and law enforcement community. There’s nothing I’ve enjoyed more than the time I’ve spent with our service members, police officers, and also our firefighters and paramedics.

They embody the goodness and decency of our country.

I was thus deeply shocked and alarmed this Friday to hear my opponent attack, slander, smear and demean these wonderful, amazing people who are supporting our campaign.

Our support comes from every part of America, and every walk of life. We have the support of cops and soldiers, carpenters and welders, the young and the old, and millions of working class families who just want a better future.

These were the people Hillary Clinton so viciously demonized. These were among the countless Americans that Hillary Clinton called deplorable, irredeemable and un-American. She called these patriotic men and women every vile name in the book – she called them racist, sexist, xenophobic, and Islamaphobic.

She called them a “basket of deplorables” in both a speech and an interview. She divides people into baskets as though they were objects, not human beings.

Hillary Clinton made these comments at one of her high-dollar fundraisers in Wall Street.

She and her wealthy donors all had a good laugh. They were laughing at the very people who pave the roads she drives on, paint the buildings she speaks in, and keep the lights on in her auditorium.

Hillary Clinton is an insider, supported by powerful insiders, attacking Americans who have no political power.

Hillary Clinton spoke with hatred and derision for the people who make this country run.

She spoke with contempt for the people who thanklessly follow the rules, pay their taxes, and scratch out a living for their families.

While Hillary Clinton lives a sequestered life behind gates and walls and guards, she mocks and demeans hardworking Americans who only want their own families to enjoy a fraction of the security enjoyed by our politicians.

After months of hiding from the press, Hillary Clinton has revealed her true thoughts.

She revealed herself to be a person who looks down on the proud citizens of our country as subjects for her to rule over.

Her comments displayed the same sense of arrogance and entitlement that led her to violate federal law as Secretary of State, hide and delete her emails, put classified information in the reach of our enemies, lie to Congress, and sell government favors and access through her Foundation.

It's the same attitude that explains why Hillary Clinton refuses to take accountability for the deadly disasters she helped to create in Iraq, in Syria and in Libya.

To this day, she still won’t take accountability for her role in unleashing ISIS across the Middle East – or for putting Iran on the path to a nuclear weapon.

Hillary Clinton believes she is above the law, that she is above accountability, and that she is above each and every one of you.

Our campaign is about giving voice to the voiceless. It’s about representing the forgotten men and women of this country.

I’m here to represent everyone, but especially those who are struggling against injustice and unfairness.

I am running so that the powerful can no longer beat up on the powerless. I’m running to take on the special interests, the big donors, and the corrupt political insiders.

I am running to be your voice.

Hillary Clinton is a voice for Wall Street, for hedge fund managers, for the top tenth of the one percent. Just look at the people funding Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and paying for her speeches, and you’ll know who she represents.

The disdain that Hillary Clinton expressed towards millions of decent Americans disqualifies her from public service.

You cannot run for President if you have such contempt in your heart for the American voter. You can’t lead this nation if you have such a low opinion of its citizens.

Hillary Clinton still hasn’t apologized to those she slandered. In fact, she hasn’t backed down at all – she’s doubled-down on her campaign of conspiracy and contempt.

If Hillary Clinton will not retract her comments in full, then I don’t see how she can credibly campaign.

Let’s be clear. These were not offhand comments from Hillary Clinton. These were not stray remarks in an interview, or an accidental choice of words. These were lengthy, planned, and prepared remarks – it was perhaps the most explicit attack on the American voter ever spoken by a major-party presidential nominee.

Clinton was using a very deliberate page from the Democratic Playbook – smearing someone with one of those names in order to scare them out of voting for change. She just took it to a whole new level by applying it to tens of millions of people.

She used these vile words in order to bully and intimidate honest citizens out of seeking government reform.

People who want their immigration laws enforced, and their borders secured, are not racists. They are patriotic Americans of all backgrounds who want their jobs and families protected.

People who warn about Radical Islamic Terrorism are not Islamophobes. They are decent American citizens who want to uphold our tolerant values and keep our country safe.

People who support the police, and who want crime reduced, are not prejudiced. They are concerned and loving citizens whose hearts break every time an innocent child is lost to preventable violence.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t have to worry about Sanctuary Cities, or jobs moving overseas. She’s protected from her own policies.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The War on Terrorism Won’t Be Won on the Battlefield. By Fareed Zakaria.

The war on terrorism won’t be won on the battlefield. By Fareed Zakaria. Washington Post, September 8, 2016.


On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was driving on the Long Island Expressway, heading out to a friend’s house to spend a few weeks working on a book. An hour into my drive, I switched from music to news and listened with horror to reports that two large passenger planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. I turned around instantly, realizing that my sabbatical was over. So was America’s.

It’s difficult now to recall the mood of the 1990s. The Cold War had ended, overwhelmingly on American terms. A world that had been divided into two camps, politically and economically, was now one. Dozens of countries from Latin America to Africa to Asia that were once staunchly socialist were moving toward capitalism and democracy, embracing a global order they once decried as unjust and imperial.

America in the 1990s was consumed by talk of economics and technology. The information revolution was just taking off. I try to explain to my children that only two decades ago, much of the world that seems indispensable today — the Internet, cellphones — did not exist for most people. In the early 1990s, AOL and Netscape gave everyday Americans the chance to browse the Internet. Until then, the revolutionary technology that had broken down government censorship and opened access to information in the communist bloc was — the fax machine. Explaining its effects, the strategist Albert Wohlstetter had written an essay for the Wall Street Journal titled “The Fax Will Make You Free.”

What few of us recognized at the time was that one part of the world was not being reshaped by these winds of change — the Middle East. As communism crumbled, Latin American juntas yielded, apartheid cracked and Asian strongmen gave way to elected leaders, the Middle East remained stagnant. Almost every regime in the region, from Libya to Egypt to Syria, was run by the same authoritarian system that had been in place for decades. The rulers were mostly secular, autocratic and deeply repressive. They had maintained political control but produced economic despair and social paralysis. For a young man in the Middle East — and there was a surfeit of young men — the world was moving forward everywhere except at home.

Into this void entered political Islam. There had always been preachers and thinkers who believed that Islam was not just a religion but a complete system of politics, economics and law. As the Arab world’s secular dictatorships produced misery, more and more people listened to ideologues who had a simple slogan — Islam is the answer — by which they meant a radical, literalist Islam. The seductiveness of that slogan is really at the heart of the problem we still face today. It is what drives some young, alienated Muslim men (and even a few women) not just to kill but — far more difficult to understand — to die.

Where do things stand now? Since that day in September 2001, the United States has waged two major wars, embarked on dozens of smaller military missions, built a vast bureaucracy of homeland security and established rules and processes all meant to protect the United States and its allies from the dangers of Islamist terrorism.

Some of these actions have protected the United States and its allies. But the striking change that has taken place across the Middle East is that stability has been replaced by instability. The United States’ intervention in Iraq might have been the spark, but the kindling had been piling up high. The Arab Spring, for example, was the result of powerful demographic, economic and social pressures pushing up against regimes that had lost the ability to respond or adapt. Growing sectarianism — Shiite vs. Sunni, Arab vs. Kurd — had reshaped the politics of countries such as Iraq and Syria. When the repressive ruler was toppled — Hussein, Saleh, Gaddafi — the entire political order unraveled and the nation (a recent creation in the Arab world) itself fell apart.

The challenge in defeating the Islamic State is not really about vanquishing it on the battlefield. The United States has won battles like that for 15 years in Afghanistan and Iraq only to discover that once U.S. forces leave, the Taliban or the Islamic State or some other radical group returns. The way to have these groups stay defeated is to help Muslim countries find some form of politics that addresses the basic aspirations of their people — all their people. The goal is simple to express: to stop waves of disaffected young men from falling into despair at their conditions, surfing the Web and finding within it the same old slogan — Islam is the answer. When those young men stop clicking on that link, that is when the war on terrorism will be won.

The Palestinians Were Osama bin Laden’s Most Ardent Fans. By Petra Marquardt-Bigman.

The Palestinians were Osama bin Laden’s most ardent fans. By Petra Marquardt-Bigman. The Times of Israel, September 11, 2016.

Obama & Palestine: The Last Chance. By Nathan Thrall. New York Review of Books, September 10, 2016.


It is a fitting coincidence that just in time for this 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, The New York Review of Books (NYRB) has published an article by Middle East analyst Nathan Thrall urging President Obama to use his remaining time in office to pass a United Nations Security Council resolution that would define binding parameters for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Like most Middle East analysts, Thrall is apparently not interested in the longstanding and well-documented Palestinian support for terrorism, even though the pervasiveness of this support has arguably serious implications for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Thrall wants President Obama “to salvage his legacy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” asserting right at the outset that “Barack Obama entered the White House more deeply informed about and sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than any incoming president before him.” He notes Obama’s friendship with the historian Rashid Khalidi and his acquaintance with Edward Said – whom he describes as “the most famous and eloquent Palestinian critic of the Oslo accords;” Thrall then goes on to recall that Obama “had offered words of encouragement to Ali Abunimah, the Palestinian activist, writer, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, and leading advocate of a one-state solution.” What Thrall prefers not to mention is the fact that Abunimah is also an ardent Hamas supporter and has only disdain for Obama. As Abunimah cockily declared in a tweet some three years ago, referencing all of Obama’s Palestinian “friends” mentioned by Thrall: “Back when this photo of me, Obama, Rashid Khalidi and Edward Said was taken, even I didn’t expect him [i.e. Obama] to be THIS bad.”

While I have no way of knowing how “deeply informed” Obama is about the “Palestinian cause,” I do know for sure that anyone who gets their information from the likes of Khalidi, Said and Abunimah will simply be brainwashed with seething hatred for Israel. But this could actually pass as being “deeply informed” about the “Palestinian cause.”

When Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the US 15 years ago, Israelis had already been living for a year with the constant threat of Palestinian terror attacks, which had intensified since September 2000 in the wake of Israel’s offer of a Palestinian state at the Camp David negotiations in July 2000. Over the course of the following decade, it turned out that Palestinians were not only enthusiastic supporters of terrorism against Israelis, but also against Americans – even though the US has not only repeatedly tried to push for negotiations that would result in a Palestinian state, but has also provided millions of dollars in bilateral annual aid to the Palestinians and is the largest single-state donor to UNRWA, i.e. the UN agency that works exclusively for the roughly 5 million Palestinians who claim inherited refugee status.

Yet, as documented in surveys by the respected Pew Research Center, Palestinians have always been the most ardent admirers of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. In 2003, a stunning 72 percent of Palestinians were willing to go on record expressing “a lot” or “some confidence” that bin Laden would “do the right thing regarding world affairs.”

Palestinian “confidence” in bin Laden eroded only slowly: by 2009, 52 percent of Palestinians still trusted the Al-Qaeda leader to “do the right thing regarding world affairs;” and by 2011, when he was killed by US Special Forces in his hide-out in Pakistan, fully a third of Palestinians continued to hold bin Laden in high regard. Indeed, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh condemned bin Laden’s assassination and deplored “the killing of an Arab holy warrior.” Even in 2014, 25 percent of Palestinians still expressed a “favorable” opinion of Al-Qaeda. This means statistically that just two years ago, one out of every four Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza had a “favorable” opinion of Al-Qaeda. Similarly, among Muslim populations surveyed by Pew, Palestinians have always been the group most supportive of suicide bombings “against civilian targets in order to defend Islam from its enemies.” These kinds of views are also reflected in the hate-filled sermons that are delivered fairly regularly at the Al-Aqsa mosque, including rants that anticipate Islam’s conquest of Europe and America.

One would expect a professional Middle East analyst like Thrall to be familiar with these depressing numbers. But perhaps he thinks that the Middle East would be a better place if there was a state for people who, in the wake of 9/11, would have loved to elect bin Laden as their trusted leader and who remain highly supportive of killing civilians “in order to defend Islam from its enemies.”

Personally, I would be overjoyed if someone came up with a solution that would enable Israel to disentangle itself as thoroughly as possible from the Palestinian quagmire, but it is precisely Palestinian extremism that makes this so desirable and impossible at the same time.