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THE SHUTDOWN AND THE RACE AGAINST TIME

the-wall-is-comingAs the shutdown heads into its fourth week, the nation is getting used to the radical idea that we can actually do without the fleets of bureaucrats who, in the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence, have been "sent hither to harass our people and eat out their substance."

For decades, as the federal leviathan has grown ever larger, and poked its voracious snout into all manners of unconstitutional fodder, the people of the United States have largely sat idly by, hoping to catch some of the droppings from the creature's maw in the belief that it will not eat them too as it forages merrily along.

Still, life has gone on otherwise pretty much as before -- and the longer the shutdown continues, the more easily the way we were can be forgotten.

So the longer Donald Trump wrangles with his two superannuated cartoon antagonists, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the stronger the president's position becomes.

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CAN AMERICA’S UNIVERSITIES BE SAVED?

schizophrenic-americaAmerica is schizophrenic about its major universities and, to a lesser extent, its undergraduate colleges.

On the one hand, higher education’s professional schools in medicine and business, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs in math, science, and engineering, are the world’s best. America dominates the lists of the top universities compiled in global surveys conducted from the United Kingdom to Japan.

On the other hand, the liberal arts and social sciences of America’s universities are expensive engines of propaganda and intolerance.

Few believe any more that current liberal-arts programs have prepared graduates to write persuasively and elegantly, to read critically and to think inductively while drawing on a wide body of literary, linguistic, historical, artistic, and philosophical knowledge.

By and large, the bachelor’s degree, even in a liberal-arts major, no longer certifies that a graduate will be able to read, reason, compute, or draw on a body of knowledge far more effectively than those without an undergraduate degree.

The decline of the university has been an ongoing tragedy since the 1960s, but the erosion has accelerated because of ideological bias and its twin, incompetence. Here are five major recent and additional catalysts.

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GENOCIDE, SLAVERY, IMMIGRATION, AND UNEDUCATED LIBERALS

tired-americansMy New Year’s wish for 2019 is for more of my fellow Americans and others to learn some basic history and try to get a grip on reality.

Such as someone who writes for The New York Times under the name of Michelle Alexander, who wrote a column published December 21, “None of Us Deserve Citizenship

One of her choice sentences: “But for slavery, genocide, and colonization, we would not be the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world — in fact, our nation would not even exist.” Hmm.

Both North and South America were colonized by European countries that practiced slavery, and the United States was not the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery.  That would be Brazil in 1888.

Ms. Alexander fails to explain to us why the United States became the wealthiest country, when the “genocide” she blames occurred mostly before the English colonization (that is, prior to the mid-1600s) and that slavery was common all through the Americas until the mid-1800s, not long before or after the United States abolished it.

She fails because she failed to get a decent education.

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HALF-FULL REPORT 01/04/19

Welcome to the Macbeth HFR.  You just watched Sean Connery as Macbeth in the famous soliloquy of Act V Scene V, reciting what is now the theme song of the Pelosi Democrats sworn in to the 116th Congress yesterday (1/03).

Theirs is indeed, “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Here’s the Pelosicrats’ theme song entire, as composed by William Shakespeare:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury Signifying nothing.

Hold on to these words as you see the Dems strut and fret their hour upon the stage of Capitol Hill.  Their lives are but walking shadows lit by a brief candle, from whom we will hear no more soon enough.

Here we go for 2019.

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OUR EXHAUSTED AMERICAN MEDIOCRACY

acheive-mediocrityThe unlikely 2016 election of Donald Trump—the first president without either prior political or military office—was a repudiation of the American “aristocracy.”

By “rule of the best” ( the Greek aristokratia), I mean the ancien régime was no longer understood to suggest wealth and birth (alone), but instead envisioned itself as a supposed national meritocracy of those with proper degrees, and long service in the top hierarchies of government, media, blue-chip law firms, Wall Street, high tech, and academia.

The 2016 election and refutation of the ruling class did not signal that those without such educations and qualifications were de facto better suited to direct the country. Instead, the lesson was that the past record of governance and the current stature of our assumed best and brightest certainly did not justify their reputations or authority, much less their outsized self-regard.

In short, instead of being a meritocracy, they amount to a mediocracy, neither great nor awful, but mostly mediocre.  Let us count the ways they are and how Donald Trump is their repudiation.

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AMERICAN CIVIC LIFE MAKES A COMEBACK

american-civic-lifePittsburgh—It’s just before 7 p.m. on a frigid December night, and already the Allegheny Elks Lodge No. 339 on the city’s North Side is filling up quickly—both the long bar and the tables in the adjacent hall.

There’s a woman collecting for a 50-50 raffle. (You may as well give in; she won’t take no for an answer.) Elks volunteers young and old are manning the bar and the kitchen, where the special tonight is a gourmet grilled cheese (black forest honey ham, Gouda cheese, and bacon).

Upstairs a six-lane sparkling white and red art deco bowling alley straight out of the 1920s is filled with young people from a local league. The floor above that is where lodge meetings are held; it is a beautiful ballroom also straight out of the Roaring ’20s.

The beer is cheap and cold. The food is cheap and tasty. Soon the entire building is packed to the rafters, people lining the walls in the hall and the bar. It’s as if Frank Capra made a movie in this century.

Civic life like this has been dying for decades, accelerated by the isolating effects of gaming and smartphones, and the anti-social components of social media. Today, the sense of community, security and civic duty that fraternal organizations can cultivate is returning.

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A CURSE OF DEMOCRATS

the-curseHow as Americans do we explain the intransigence of the Left when it comes to national security?  'Tis a mystery.

These people, these Democrats in Congress, are among the most privileged persons on the planet.  They have enjoyed, more than most, the blessings bequeathed by the Founders, the authors of the Constitution.  Yet they are determined, like Obama, to transform us into something this nation was never meant to be: a land without borders.

While all of them are on record supporting a border wall in the past, now that Donald Trump is president, they all oppose it with every fiber of their being.  They know that it will work, and they cannot abide Trump having a win.  These people – Schumer, Pelosi, Gutiérrez, etc. – are truly venal.

It should be obvious to every American by now that our “progressive” regressive Left does not have the best interest of Americans at heart.  Quite the opposite.  They have become a Curse blighting our beloved country.

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PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED THE DEMOCRATS

trump-derangement-syndromeWashington has long been a stranger to principle other than the principle of self advancement.

Yet, something new seems to be emerging across the country. Politicians have long felt the need to disguise raw political agendas in the pretense of principle. That pretense has disappeared.

In this Age of Rage, voters seem to have no patience, let alone need, for leaders speaking of abstract principles. They want immediate unequivocal action in supporting or opposing President Trump.

For Democrats, that all-consuming purpose has led to the abandonment of core unifying values, including many that first drew me to the Democrat Party. While they would vehemently deny it, Trump is remaking the party in his inverse image. This past month shows how far that transformation has gone.

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ROMNEY THE RINO FLAKES OUT

rino-romney-attacksJust as the Republican Party is purging itself of hackneyed lawmakers, bitter neoconservative commentators, and insatiable interventionists, along comes Mitt Romney to remind us of what we definitely are not missing.

In a late New Year’s Day sermon published in the Washington Post, the incoming senator expressed his disappointment in the president and, by extension, in all of us. It was filled with the sort of juvenile platitudes that at one time mollified Republican voters, but now either amuse or enrage them.

The reaction on the Right to Romney’s missive was fast and furious. His niece, head of the Republican National Committee, sided with Trump, while the President again teased the man he once teased with the prospect of a cabinet position, tweeting yesterday morning:

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