Category Politics/Culture

The Socialist Plot to Destroy American Freedom

Let’s start with this: the progressive income tax is “socialist,” pure and simple. It allows the government to take more— far more, barring sleazy or outright illegal accounting practices—from the wealthy than it does the lower classes. That’s the baseline truth, the distilled fact about the matter. One can argue from there about its benefits or folly, but not about the equation itself:

Progressive Income Tax = Socialism.

Ben Carson said as much in a 2015 Republican presidential debate, and it was one of the few things he uttered throughout the campaign that actually made sense. (Although his full statement on the matter did devolve into a simplistic argument against progressive taxation):

“It’s all about America. You know, the people who say, ‘The guy who paid a billion dollars because he had 10, he’s still got $9 billion left? That’s not fair...

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Nancy Pelosi Goes Mano a Mano on the Border Wall

In the runup to the mid-term elections last year, I was among many Democrats who felt a bit queasy about the prospect of Nancy Pelosi returning as Speaker of the House, assuming the Dems took control of the chamber. Fresh start, clean slate, she’d been so demonized by the opposition as the quintessential radical San Francisco liberal—maybe we should start anew with a younger face who wouldn’t be yoked to the past so we could usher in a less encumbered generation of leadership.

All of that was in the air, and I was breathing it in, not in great gulps, but tentatively, as through a straw.

Then I just happened to behold her in a “60 Minutes” interview they may as well have entitled, “Hear Nancy Roar.” 

What a beast, I realized. We’d be crazy to let this fierce woman’s cojones go to waste as just another representative from California.

In her interview, she emphasized, in pointed, don’t-mes...

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Year of Decision on the Trump Presidency

Every day, a fresh revelation, a new indictment, an ever more outrageous, rudderless expression of falsehoods, disdain, and amorality. Nothing is stable, nothing true, whatever was done or said yesterday or an hour ago is inoperative, a passing wisp descending to a graveyard where words go to be drained of all their life-giving blood.

We live in an eternal, impulsive now of rampant, chthonic chaos, of bottomless depravity, of such clear danger to our national identity, our very character as a sovereign, self-examining people, that all else seems to pale in importance.

One summons the angels that still beckon in family, friends, the arts, the comforts of a long walk, a good book or a warming drink on a winter night. But increasingly, those comforts feel if not cold, at least clammy, begetting an intermittent case of vertigo.

One yearns for the normal, for norms that may yet be remembered and reasserted as g...

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The Paul Ryan Bye-Bye Blues

i was handsome and smart
or so the nuns all told me,
eyes of blue with
a winsome smile,
a thinker, a tinkerer
a fine midwestern demeanor

but if all that were true,
what’s up with these
Paul Ryan Bye-Bye Blues?

that ryan boy will go far,
the farm folk all claimed
d.c.’s a brutal place
he’ll know how to tame

a bright light
in a dark time
is what they said,
solid and sober and
steady of hand
the world my oyster
as i bestrode this land.

so much promise and
potential to share,
a prophet of profit
with a kindly stare

but if all that were true,
why am i singing these
Paul Ryan Bye-Bye Blues?

it all turned to crap,
they’re all now saying,
from the left and the right,
nothing but braying

i’m smarmy i’m stuffy
an unprincipled hussy.
as if i’m some snake,
just can’t catch a break,
oh, i got me a bad case of
the Paul Ryan Bye-Bye Blues

how did this happen
to good-hearted paul ryan
who answered the call,
an...

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What Democrats SHOULD Be Saying About That Damn Wall

A couple of recent news items, the first from PBS: “Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, said Democrats will not fund Trump’s ‘immoral, ineffective and expensive wall.’”

And from The Hill: “Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in an interview Sunday knocked President Trump’s proposed border wall, saying that Democrats will not spend money on a ‘fourth century strategy’ as a partial government shutdown stretches into its second day.”

Of those two comments, Democrats should be pounding the table with Merkley’s point, complete with its evocation of a “fourth century” scene involving barbarians clad in beaver pelts storming a walled city, inside of which frightened residents are hurling rocks and sending crude fireballs reigning down upon the alien invaders.

What Democrats should do without, however, is even the faintest suggestion that any type of border security is abou...

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