Sept 15, 2021

A president is judged by his words and deeds and Jimmy Carter, scrutinized under the lens of history, will be judged harshly.

Carter's tenure (1977-80) is notable for its sustained incompetence, making him the standard to which no successor wishes to be compared. But he is famous for one chronological deed and two words: Carter is America's oldest living ex-president ever, at age 96; and he delivered a much-ridiculed address in July 1979 bemoaning the country's "crisis of confidence," now known as the "malaise" speech. And he later introduced the concept of "hostage" into the U.S. political and military lexicon.

Carter is infamous for his handling of the 1979-80 Iranian hostage crisis in which a bunch of Islamic radical students - who had participated in Ayatollah Khomeini's overthrow of the pro-American Shah - seized and occupied the U.S. embassy in Tehran for 444 days, refusing to release personnel until the day Carter left office.

Carter also bungled a hostage rescue mission. His presidency featured runaway inflation, spiking gas prices due to Iranian oil shutdowns and mortgage interest rates in the 15-20 percent range.

Of course none of this was his fault, Carter insisted, even though he was into his third year. He blamed it all on THE MALAISE, which is defined by Webster's Dictionary as a "vague awareness of moral or social decline...a feeling of physical discomfort or uneasiness."

That's what was happening - then and now.

Carter intoned that he "felt the pain" of America, but that he was a peanut farmer, not a medical doctor. The country must self-heal and self-cure, he said. It did, and elected Ronald Reagan. Americans don't like to be lectured or blamed for problems created in Washington.

The Biden-Harris administration and Democratic congressional majority have allowed themselves to be pushed into embracing a leftist woke agenda under the pretext that it will cure the "Trump malaise." The pushers are the party's Left/socialist fringe - self-described "progressives" - led by the SQUAD in the House and Bernie Sanders in the Senate. The Squad is few in number, just 7, and were nominated in overwhelmingly Democratic districts with between 2 to 10 percent of the registered voters (RVs). They are adept at manipulating social media, and use the news media to demonize any critics.

With a 220D-212R House and 50-50 Senate they hold the balance of power, as Nancy Pelosi needs their votes to pass the infrastructure and Build Back Better bills. Their benefactor is a group called Justice Democrats, and does recruiting and funding.

The original 5 were elected in 2018: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), known as AOC, Ilhan Omar (MN), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Ayanna Pressley (MA) and Pramila Jayapal (WA) from, respectively, Brooklyn, Minneapolis, Detroit, Boston and Seattle. They were joined in 2020 by Cori Bush (MO) and Jamaal Bowman (NY) from St. Louis and Yonkers/Mt. Vernon. Omar was born in Somalia and Tlaib in Palestine. AOC and Tlaib are members of the Socialist Party of America. There are another 3-4 like-minded fringe Leftists, with more to come in 2022. The top targets are Carolyn Maloney (NY), a 30-year incumbent from Manhattan-Astoria, and Danny Davis (IL) from Chicago's West Side. The Squad recently lost a primary for an open Cleveland seat.

Likewise on the Right: It simply opposes whatever the Left proposes and hopes for a 2024 Trump comeback. The ex-president will be endorsing Trumpsters in a dozen district primaries.

As is obvious, politics is no longer about finding a solution to a specific problem. It's about promoting an agenda, notwithstanding the fact that the solution may create attendant problems. Facts are eclipsed by feelings. Propaganda prevails. America must DO WHAT IS RIGHT - in their opinion - and anybody who disagrees is stupid, racist, sexist etc. Promoting one's ideology is paramount. And that is what the fringe does, like the tail wagging the dog.

The battle is measured by news cycles, and who "wins the week." The operative phrase is D&P, which means degrade and pivot. Some "news" is now propaganda and facts selective. Events are either a crisis or a challenge. For Biden-Harris COVID is a crisis (meaning politically helpful) and the border and Afghanistan a challenge (meaning D&P it and move to the next cycle). For the Right it would be the reverse. For the fringes, every issue can be useful if it remains unsolved.

Some Americans have become obsessed with comfort news, which is propaganda that fits their cultural values and beliefs. They don't want to question those notions; they want reassurance.
The Left's agenda is designed to create a dependency on government and hence a perpetual voter base. Karl Marx's 1848 Communist Manifesto laid it out: There are the oppressors and the oppressed, the bourgeoisie (owners of property) and proletariat, who sell labor for wages.

Marx wanted to abolish private property and inheritance, increase taxes to confiscate and redistribute wealth, punish capitalists and grant all power to the State. There would be equity, not equality. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. And the State would have the power to decide who got and did what.

While the Squad appears to have socialist ideas, in some ways they seem to be using the same playbook that too many politicians, including Republicans have been using nowadays.

They manipulate the masses through the media into believing that they're getting a better government. Politicize everything. Be relentless and never, ever compromise. Only politicians compromise. Vilify the opposition. And always look to the long term. Continually undermine, denigrate and destabilize capitalism. Create dissonance and unrest. Never quit plotting and conspiring.

There are 435 congressional districts, each with a rough population of 600-650,000, and each urbanized district having around 400,000 RVs. Election turnouts can be 50-60 percent, and primaries barely half that. But all it takes is a primary win.

NEW YORK/14TH DISTRICT: AOC traveled about the country prior to 2018 and tended bar when back in NYC. Joe Crowley was a 20-year incumbent in the East Bronx/North Queens district, ran the Queens Democratic machine, and in Pelosi's leadership. As a lark AOC challenged him and won 16,898-12,880, a puny turnout of 29,778. Her vote amounted to about 2.2 percent of the 14th's population and about 8.8 percent of its RVs. Such are careers made/ended and superstars born.

NEW YORK/16TH DISTRICT: Eliot Engel was a 32-year incumbent in a once heavily Jewish Yonkers/north Bronx/suburban Westchester district and chair of the Foreign Affairs committee. Bowman, an educator and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member, was endorsed by AOC and Sanders; he beat Engel 49,367-36,149 in the 2020 primary, in a 89,041 turnout. So Bowman got about 7.6 percent of the 16th's population and about 20 percent of the RVs.

MICHIGAN/13TH DISTRICT: Tlaib is a vociferous supporter of Palestine and is in the forefront of BDS, a movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel until it halts new settlements and recognizes Palestine. When Detroit congressman John Conyers died in 2018, the party machine backed Brenda Jones. A state rep, Tlaib also filed. There were 2 primaries, a "special" for the vacancy, which Tlaib lost 27,841-26,941, and for the new term, which Tlaib won 65,238-41,156.

MINNESOTA/5TH DISTRICT: Omar fits well into the ultra-Leftist Minneapolis political culture, where a 2020 summer of rioting became routine following the Floyd murder.

MISSOURI/1ST DISTRICT: Bush is a BLM activist, nurse and pastor. She lost for senator in 2016 and lost 81,426-53,056 for Congress in 2018 against 18-year incumbent Lacy Clay; she beat him 73,274-68,8887. The St. Louis district is very racially polarized. Bush got headlines when she camped out before the Supreme Court to protest the end of the eviction moratorium, saying she "was put on this earth" to "do this job."

NEW YORK/12TH DISTRICT: Maloney, age 76, is a Pelosi crony who represents an East Side /Manhattan district with the highest median income in the nation. She has a serious 2022 primary opponent in Egyptian-born Rana Abdelhamid, a DSA member who gained notoriety for her Hijabis of New York group. Expect an upset here.

Many on the Left are for some or all of the following: Medicare for all, reparations for slavery, open borders, amnesty for all illegals, abolish ICE, end deportation, defund the police, eliminate bail, "restorative" justice and not criminal punishment, BLM, decriminalize drugs and sex infractions, no police qualified immunity, gun control, abortion rights, rent control, eviction moratoriums, affordable housing, shelters for the homeless, the right to vote for anybody in the U.S. with a pulse age 16 or older, student loan forgiveness, free college, halve the U.S. military budget, pack the Supreme Court, end the filibuster and, the Green New Deal, phasing out fossil fuels.

Plus tax the wealthy, spend $6 trillion, and mandate vaccines and masks. How do you like them apples?

Of course, the Right is against all of the above. Welcome to the future.

Whatever happened to meeting down the middle and finding a solution? I'm sure we can find some common ground, no?