Category Archives: BAB’s A List

On The Deep State (Damn Straight!), Comey’s Memo To Self & Ongoing Media Cadenza

BAB's A List, Conservatism, Donald Trump, Intelligence, Law, Media, Neoconservatism, Russia, The State

By Dr. Boyd D. Cathey. (Warning to the congenitally dour: humor and Southern idiom and imagery ahead.)

Some pundits and writers on the Left and within the Deep State political and cultural pentagon deny that there is such a thing as the “Deep State.” In recent days I’ve read a couple of Mainstream Media [MSM] columnists who simply dismiss such an idea. “No,” they say with mock seriousness, “what you see—those of us self-erected ‘big shots’ in the political class and the self-perpetuating bureaucracy in Washington, the financial globalists, the Hollywood elites, the educational establishment—we aren’t really a ‘state-within-a state’. You just need to be quiet, go back to your workaday professions, and leave governing, educating your children, and producing your entertainment, to us. It’s above your pay grade.”

Let me translate, “we are your masters and you are the sheep—shut up and don’t ask questions and don’t even think about any real influence in the destiny of this nation.” And even more simply stated: “We are the managerial elite, you are the deplorables.” Seems we have heard that word before….

But only a few minutes watching the hysterical MSM yesterday, in addition to occasioning a severe case of nausea, would have convinced even the most casual and uninterested viewer that the “chattering class” of this nation had literally gone berserk, in ideological and linguistic lock-step—almost as if some hidden “Wizard of Oz,” behind the curtain, had given the punditry a strict talking points memo. The non-existent “Deep State” had once again bared its teeth, and the unmistakable reality of its suffocating presence sank in.

Over on CNN, leftist wing nut Chris Cilizza jumped, like a tick on a freshly-bathed dog, on the purported “news” that back in February, during a private meeting between President Trump and former FBI head James Comey, the president urged Comey to “let the [Michael] Flynn investigation go.” Then, according to—as always—an “unnamed” source who telephoned The News York Times right after that, Comey drafted a “memo to self,” more or less, recounting this his version of what happened. “Obstruction of justice!” Cilizza screamed. “Impeachment moment!” echoed the other programmed automatons in the MSM. “The end of the Trump presidency!” shrieked ABC, MSNBC, CBS, ad nauseum.

“Obstruction of Justice?” First, the White House has pushed back hard on this convenient “after-thought” by Comey. If he thought it were an attempted “obstruction of justice” way back in February, why wasn’t it made public way back then? Why weren’t the appropriate congressional committees notified? Additionally, when the president and Comey met, Flynn had already been cleared by the FBI of any criminal action. Even if President Trump had suggested that Comey try to “move on,” how in any sense, legally or otherwise, can this be considered “obstruction”? That term, legally, implies action to prevent, to hinder, or to subvert an investigation or process. So, even if Comey’s “recollection” has any truth to it—and that is debatable—the only thing that has happened here is that the MSM has had another cardiac moment, another “impeachment moment” day dream.

The mind-numbing programmed MSM and their Democratic allies remind me of disjointed Bloodhounds who race frantically from deceptive scented clue to deceptive scented clue, but without ever catching their prey… because there is nothing there, there. The “Russians did it” template is fake and false, made up out of whole cloth by the Clintonistas after Hillary’s loss. And very likely, as we now know, the theft of over 44,000 Democratic National Committee emails was committed by Seth Rich, a disaffected DNC staffer who had access, who was enraged by the pro-Hillary sandbagging of Bernie Sanders. Of course, just a few days after Rich did that, he wound up murdered. And despite the fact that nothing was taken from him—not his wallet full of cash or his expensive necklace—the DC police department (with orders from up high) and FBI (and the Clinton folks) continue to say it was an attempted robbery and refuse to cooperate in any further investigation.

Just the same old Washington DC, the same old politics. And they want us to think that the “Deep State” doesn’t really exist?
And too many Republicans and so-called “conservatives” either buy into that template, serving as fifth columnists, or, at a minimum, go along to prevent that kind of full-fledged assault on them that is now being inflicted on Donald Trump, his administration, and his agenda.

One of the most notorious fellow-traveler apologists for the Deep State is neoconservative head honcho and Weekly Standard founder and editor, Bill Kristol. Kristol is one of the fiercest and most intransigent NeverTrumpers, and much like columnist George Will, he continues his ferocious opposition. Most recently Kristol granted an interview to the left wing web site, “Mediaite.” Nothing unusual about that, since the candidacy of Donald Trump has brought dozens of supposedly “conservative” pundits and writers “out of the closet” and revealed what we have known all along: they are, in fact, raving leftists at heart in their basic precepts, and they will do practically anything, work with anybody, even if much further to the left, if they can “get back” at The Donald for his “sin” of challenging their leadership and control of the decadent and dying “Conservative Movement.”

To conclude, I have suggested that we are living now in a hollow, geographical entity officially titled “the United States of America,” but which is definitely NOT united, and where the very concept of “America” has no common acceptance. And the question, then, remains: how is it possible, how can there be a real future for a country where one half wants to literally suppress and obliterate the other half? And, then, those of us scheduled for such suppression—why do we permit so many of our elected representatives to take a dive and go along, and even enable this potentially fatal infection?

Why aren’t millions of us “deplorables” organizing nationally and in each state to challenge the GOP wimp-outs, like Dave Bratt did with Eric Cantor in Virginia? Why aren’t we making our presence known at meetings of leftist congressmen and on campuses? The Deep State—the establishment “swamp”—is in full attack mode. Either we respond, or we disappear as a people, with our traditions, our history, and our faith.

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~ Dr. Boyd D. Cathey is an Unz Review columnist, as well as a Barely a Blog contributor, whose work is easily located on this site under the “BAB’s A List” search category.

Rationale & History Of Rod Rosenstein’s Comey Probe, Sans Revisionism Of ‘Thuggish MSM’

BAB's A List, Communism, Democrats, Donald Trump, Fascism, History, John McCain, Left-Liberalism, Media, The State

By Unz Review columnist Dr. Boyd D. Cathey:

A “fascist coup!”—a “massive cover-up!” —-“the most serious constitutional crisis in our history!” Wow. To hear these primal screams uttered by the Mainstream Media (MSM) and various Democratic leaders, in forcefully pained and apocalyptic tones, you would think that the nation teeters (or, is it “totters”?) on the brink of a coup d’etat, with Abrams tanks and the heavily-armed 82nd Airborne waiting in the suburbs to roll into Washington and seize control of our peaceful democratic republic, in the name of that “new Hitler” autocrat, SS Gruppenfuher Donald von Trump!

Yet the only startling element—although we shouldn’t be at all surprised— in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey was the obvious neo-Stalinism of the leaders of the Democratic Party and their advance Einsatsgruppen in the thuggish coterie called the Mainstream Media [MSM]. Yes, increasingly the Dems and the MSM remind me of the old Communist Party, and not just ideologically, but also in their everyday, turn-on-a-dime, praxis.

Consider: until Stalin and Hitler made their infamous “pact” in 1939 which essentially surrounded Poland with two hungry and powerful military powers, Communist parties worldwide had engaged in a constant campaign of attacks against “fascism” and “Naziism.” In France the Parti Communiste Francaise had supported the Popular Front with other so-called “democratic” and socialist parties. In the United States Communists had involved themselves in various “democratic” front groups and in support of various mainstream political candidates—all in the name of democracy and staunch opposition to “fascism.”

Then, after the sudden signing of the non-aggression pact on August 23, 1939, Communists parties throughout the Commintern—throughout the world—received the sharp directive: no longer attack Hitler and the Nazis. And The Daily Worker newspaper, which had only a few days earlier lambasted Hitler and his country in apocalyptic terms, all of sudden found nice things to say about them, and the PCUSA was told to cease and decease in criticisms.

For weeks, indeed, for months the very same Democrats and their advance units in the MSM now lauding Comey had been attacking him. Just a week ago Hillary Clinton once again blamed him for her loss last November. And Senator Chuck Schumer, on more than one occasion, had indicated that Comey should step down as FBI director for his antics during the 2016 election campaign. Same thing for the MSM. But then, after President Trump fired Comey, just like the old Commie Stalinists of yore, almost the entirety of the MSM/Democratic wing of the Deep State establishment came to his defense: now he was the valiant, brave, professional who was leading a fearless investigation into the supposed “collusion” between the Trump campaign and—shudder, shudder—Vladimir Putin!

Even some Republicans got into the act, mostly to question the “timing” of the firing, but, in effect, towing the Soviet—uh, I mean, Democratic Deep State—line. John McCain, the nation’s leading Russophobe politician, chimed in questioning the timing aspect, and he was joined by Senator Richard Burr, expressing similar disquiet. Such a response from the supposed “opposition” was fatuous, indicating that either those GOP solons had not really read through the sequence of events, or somehow gave credence to the completely hollow Deep State narrative that somewhere, somehow, hidden so profoundly in the minutiae of data that it had escaped our intelligence agencies for nine—nine!—months, there was “proof” of collusion.

Yet, this narrative—which not only James Clapper (Director of National Intelligence) and Comey have said repeatedly has no investigative basis whatsoever, and now Senator Dianne Feinstein and even Representative “Impeach the Prez” Waters from California admit has no basis in fact—this narrative re-appears suddenly like the dragon Fafnir of Norse mythology to explain why the president fired Comey. It was, they darkly claim and insinuate, to stop and to forestall the Trump/Russia collusion investigation! Aha! Thus, the timing: it happened just a few days before Comey was to testify before Congress, again, for the umpteenth time! And, of course, we all know that the former FBI director was going to spill the beans this time!

All of this is based on utter rubbish, a narrative that the MSM and Democrat left want to be true, that they work to make true, that they earnestly believe to be true, but, in fact, is completely and totally false. Just like the Communists of 1939, they have turned on a dime. Last week and for months they were demanding that Comey be drawn-and-quartered: “Give us the head of James Comey!” quoth Salome Hillary. Now, you followers of “Big Brother,” just forget what we said for the past nine months!

But the reality—that is, the real reality—is otherwise. The Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was charged just a couple of weeks ago with preparing a report on James Comey’s tenure. Now, Rosenstein is a career Justice Department official, having served for decades, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, including under George Bush and Barack Obama. He was just recently confirmed by the Senate by an overwhelming 94-6 vote, with Chuck Schumer praising his probity of character, integrity, and professionalism. Only after his confirmation was he, quite properly, charged with this investigation. Rosenstein is apolitical, and that was the precise reason the AG Jeff Sessions entrusted him with the duty to examine Comey’s record. And that detailed report, when it was ready, was presented to the president who, then, acted upon it.

Certainly, the White House recognized that its enemies would attempt to make an issue out of this dismissal, but the crass, fly-in-your face hypocrisy and the Soviet-style volte-face response is, to put it mildly, incredibly revolting and blatantly offensive.

Nevertheless, the Deep State cultural Marxists, continuing to exist in their “Russia did it” reality bubble, have gone literally berserk. For them it’s all a part of a new Watergate, an attempted coup, et cetera, et cetera. And, sadly, there are millions of Americans, deformed by decades of higher educational indoctrination, a corrupted bowl of intellectually soured ideological porridge, who will believe this pushed, baseless narrative.

In fact, the only players in any attempted “coup” are those Deep State establishmentarians, the MSM and their epigones in the Democratic Party (and their fifth columnists in the GOP), who are doing their damnedest to weaken, de-legitimize, and destroy this president and his presidency. They are the real culprits here. And just like the Soviets and the Nazis of seventy-eight years ago, they will call white, black, and black, white, should it serve their nefarious political and cultural purposes.

Here, then, I pass on the detailed memo of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. This action was overdue, and it was done legitimately, with due process, and was right.

~ Dr. Boyd D. Cathey

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Rod Rosenstein’s letter recommending Comey is fired

Memorandum for the Attorney General
===============================================================================
May 9, 2017

FROM: Rod J Rosenstein
Deputy Attorney General

SUBJECT: Restoring public confidence in the FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been regarded as our nation’s premier federal investigative agency. Over the past year, however, the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice. That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.
The current FBI Director is an articulate and persuasive speaker about leadership and the immutable principles of the Department of Justice. He deserves our appreciation for his public service. As you and I have discussed, however, I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.
The director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.
Compounding the error, the Director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation. Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously. The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.
In response to skeptical question at a congressional hearing, the Director defended his remarks by saying that his “goal was to say what is true. What did we do, what did we find, what do we think about it.” But the goal of a federal criminal investigation is not to announce our thoughts at a press conference. The goal is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a federal criminal prosecution, then allow a federal prosecutor who exercises authority delegated by the Attorney General to make a prosecutorial decision, and then – if prosecution is warranted – let the judge and jury determine the facts. We sometimes release information about closed investigations in appropriate ways, but the FBI does not do it sua sponte.
Concerning his letter to the Congress on October 28, 2016, the Director cast his decision as a choice between whether he would “speak” about the FBI’s decision to investigate the newly-discovered email messages or “conceal” it. “Conceal” is a loaded term that misstates the issue. When federal agents and prosecutors quietly open a criminal investigation, we are not concealing anything; we are simply following the longstanding policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information. In that context, silence is not concealment.
My perspective on these issues is shared by former Attorneys General and Deputy Attorneys General from different eras and both political parties. Judge Laurence Silberman, who served as Deputy Attorneys General under President Ford, wrote that “it is not the bureau’s responsibility to opine on whether a matter should be prosecuted.” Silberman believes that the Director’s “Performance was so inappropriate for an FBI director that [he] doubt[s] the bureau will ever completely recover.” Jamie Gorelick, Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, to opine that the Director had “chosen personally to restrike the balance between transparency and fairness, department from the department’s traditions.” They concluded that the Director violated his obligation to “preserve, protect and defend” the traditions of the Department and the FBI.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under President George W Bush, observed the Director “stepped way outside his job in disclosing the recommendation in that fashion” because the FBI director “doesn’t make that decision”. Alberto Gonzales, who also served as Attorneys General under President George W Bush, called the decision “an error in judgement.” Eric Holder, who served as Deputy Attorneys General under President Clinton and Attorneys General under President Obama, said that the Director’s decision “was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and traditions. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season.” Holder concluded that the Director “broke with these fundamental principles” and “negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI”.
Former Deputy Attorneys General Gorelick and Thompson described the unusual event as “read-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation,” that is “antithetical to the interests of justice”.
Donald Ayer, who served as Deputy Attorneys General under President HW Bush, along with former Justice Department officials, was “astonished and perplexed” by the decision to “break[] with longstanding practices followed by officials of both parties during past elections.” Ayer’s letter noted, “Perhaps most troubling… is the precedent set by this departure from the Department’s widely-respected, non-partisan traditions.”
We should reject the departure and return to the traditions.
Although the President has the power to remove an FBI director, the decision should not be taken lightly. I agree with the nearly unanimous opinions of former Department officials. The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.

Ayn Rand, David Cross, And Hypocrisy

BAB's A List, Communism, Hollywood, Left-Liberalism, libertarianism, Objectivism, Socialism

AYN RAND, DAVID CROSS, AND HYPOCRISY
By Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Ph.D.

Ilana Mercer recently made me aware of some off-the-wall [YouTube, sorry, couldn’t resist MJ] comments by stand-up comedian David Cross on Ayn Rand. I’ll just have to chalk up his, uh, misunderstanding to the fact that he’s a comedian, and not somebody who has actually studied Rand’s corpus. On his new Netflix special, he makes the following statement:

Let’s be honest, that’s what makes America weak, is empathy. When we care about those less fortunate than ourselves, that[‘s] what brings us down. . . . Ask Ayn Rand—I believe you can still find her haunting the public housing she died in while on Social Security and Medicare.

Now, it’s not my intention to simply defend Ayn Rand; she did a good job of that when she was alive, and her writings have stood the test of time, whatever one thinks about her position on this or that particular issue. But Cross is just all crossed up. About so many things.

First, let’s clear up one grand myth: Ayn Rand never lived in public housing. I recently queried Rand biographer, Anne Heller, who wrote the 2009 book, Ayn Rand and the World She Made. Heller could provide us with every address Rand ever lived at, and not a single one of them corresponds to a public housing project. But even if Rand lived in the Marlboro Housing Projects in Brooklyn, who cares? More on this, in a moment.

Now, it is true that Rand did collect Social Security and Medicare. Ayn Rand Institute-affiliated writer, Onkar Ghate, addresses the so-called hypocrisy of this fact about Ayn Rand’s life in his essay, “The Myth About Ayn Rand and Social Security.” Ghate reminds us that Rand opposed,

Every “redistribution” scheme of the welfare state. Precisely because Rand views welfare programs like Social Security as legalized plunder, she thinks the only condition under which it is moral to collect Social Security is if one “regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism” (emphasis hers). The seeming contradiction that only the opponent of Social Security has the moral right to collect it dissolves, she argues, once you recognize the crucial difference between the voluntary and the coerced. Social Security is not voluntary. Your participation is forced through payroll taxes, with no choice to opt out even if you think the program harmful to your interests. If you consider such forced “participation” unjust, as Rand does, the harm inflicted on you would only be compounded if your announcement of the program’s injustice precludes you from collecting Social Security.

Rand felt the same way about any number of government programs, including government scholarships, and such. In reality, Rand got a free education at the University of Petrograd in the Soviet Union, a newly-minted communist state; next to that, collecting Social Security is “a mere bag of shells,” as Ralph Kramden would put it. But, you see, that’s the whole issue, isn’t it? Rand was born in the Soviet Union, and even that state wasn’t “pure communism,” as Marx envisioned it; for Marx, communism could only arise out of an advanced stage of capitalism, which, in his quasi-utopian imagination, would solve the problem of scarcity. The point is that there is not a single country on earth or in any historical period that has ever fit the description of a pure “-ism”; to this extent, Rand was completely correct to characterize her moral vision of “capitalism” as an “unknown ideal.”

But there is a second point that is lost on critics who accuse Rand of hypocrisy; there is not a single person on earth who isn’t born into a specific historical context, a particular place and time. At any period in history, we live in a world that provides us with a continuum of sorts, enabling us to navigate among the “mixed” elements of the world’s “mixed” economies, that is, those economies that have various mixtures of markets and state regimentation. But as that world becomes more interconnected, the destructiveness of the most powerful politico-economic institutions and processes extend in ripple effects across the globe. And as F. A. Hayek never tired of saying, the more political power comes to dominate the world economies, the more political power becomes the only power worth having… one of the reasons “why the worst get on top.” What Hayek meant, of course, is that in such a system, those who are most adept at using political power (the power of coercion) for their own benefit tend to rise to the top, leaving the vast majority of us struggling to make a buck. The “road to serfdom” is a long one, but serfdom is among us; it comes in the form of confiscatory taxation and expropriation to sustain an interventionist welfare state at home and a warfare state abroad.

I have always believed that context is king. And given the context in which we live, everyone of us has to do things we don’t like to do. Even anarchists, those who by definition believe that the state itself lacks moral legitimacy, can’t avoid walking down taxpayer-funded, government-subsidized sidewalks or travel on taxpayer-funded government-subsidized roads and interstate highways, or taxpayer-funded government-subsidized railroads, or controlled airways.

Then there’s the issue of money. You know, whether of the paper, coin, or plastic variety. There are many on both the libertarian “right” and the new “left” who have argued that the historical genesis of the Federal Reserve System was a way of consolidating the power of banks, allowing banks (and their capital-intensive clients) to benefit from the inflationary expansion of the money supply. This has also had the added effect of paying for the growth of the bureaucratic welfare state to control the poor and the warfare state to expand state and class expropriation of resources across the globe. And it has led to an endless cycle of boom and bust. And yet, there isn’t a person in the United States of whatever political persuasion who cannot avoid using money printed or coined by the Fed. Even among those on the left, so-called “limousine liberals” (a pejorative phrase used to describe people of the “left-liberal” persuasion who are hypocrites by definition) or those who advocate “democratic socialism” of the Sanders type, or those who advocate outright communism, own private property and buy their goods and services with money from other private property owners. It seems that there is not a single person on earth of any political persuasion who isn’t a hypocrite, according to the “logic” of David Cross.

Ever the dialectician, I believe that given the context, the only way of attempting even partial restitution from a government that regulates everything from the boardroom to the bedroom is to milk the inner contradictions of the system.

But some individuals can’t get restitution, because they were victims of another form of government coercion: the military draft. Ayn Rand believed that the draft was involuntary servitude, the ultimate violation of individual rights, based on the premise that the government owned your life and could do with it anything it pleased, including molding its draftees into killing machines, and sending them off to fight in undeclared illegitimate wars like those in Korea and Vietnam (both of which Rand opposed). What possible restitution is available to those who were murdered in those wars, or even to those who survived them, but who were irreparably damaged, physically and/or psychologically, by their horrific experiences on the killing fields?

The draft is no longer with us, and David Cross should be thanking that good ol’ hypocrite Ayn Rand for the influence she had on the ending of that institution. Such people as Hank Holzer, Joan Kennedy Taylor, and Martin Anderson were among those who mounted the kind of intellectual and legal challenge to conscription that ultimately persuaded then President Richard M. Nixon to end the military draft.

And yet, Rand’s taxes were certainly used to pay for the machinery of conscription and for the machinery of war; does this make her a hypocrite too, or should she have just refused to pay taxes and gone to prison? Yeah, that would have been productive. Perhaps she could have authored more works of fiction or nonfiction anthologies, chock-full of essays on epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, politics, economics, and culture from Rikers Island. Yeah, then Cross would have been correct: Rand surely would have been living in the worst public housing imaginable.

Thanks for giving me a chuckle, Mr. Cross.

Postscript I: I was just made aware of a very detailed essay on the subject of “Ayn Rand, Social Security and the Truth,” at the Facebook page of The Moorfield Storey Institute.

Postscript #2: Thanks to Ilana Mercer, who alerted me to Cross’s “comedy,” and for reprinting this post on her own “Barely a Blog.” We’re obviously compadres; a “Notablog” and a “Barely a Blog” are close enough to be cousins. [Soulmates, for sure.—ILANA)

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Dr. Chris Matthew Sciabarra was born in Brooklyn, New York, 1960. He is the author of the Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy that began with Marx, Hayek, and Utopia, continued with Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, and culminates with Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism. He is the founding coeditor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. He is also the author of two monographs: Ayn Rand: Her Life and Thought and Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation. Sciabarra earned all three college degrees from New York University. He graduated in June 1981, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, with a B.A. in History (with honors), Politics, and Economics. His major undergraduate fields were American History, Economics (Austrian Economics/Political Economy), and Politics (Political Theory).
He earned his M.A. in Politics (with a concentration in political theory) in 1983. In June 1988, he earned his Ph.D. with distinction in political philosophy, theory, and methodology. He passed his qualifying examinations and oral defense in both his major and minor areas (American Politics; Comparative Politics) with distinction in Spring 1984. His dissertation, defended with distinction in Spring 1988, directed by Bertell Ollman, was entitled, “Toward a Radical Critique of Utopianism: Dialectics and Dualism in the works of Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and Karl Marx.”

UPDATE III: Is Justin Trudeau a Trauma Victim? (Left-Liberal Discourse)

Addiction, BAB's A List, Canada, Drug War, Education, Etiquette, Left-Liberalism, Pop-Psychology, Pseudoscience, Psychiatry

Justin Trudeau is no genius, but he seems to limp along despite what some would consider a traumatic childhood. This Barely a Blog exclusive features Stanton Peele, America’s leading, liberal addiction counterculturist, and fellow crusader against the Drug War.

Is Justin Trudeau a Trauma Victim?
By Stanton Peele

Justin Trudeau seems to be a highly successful survivor of what might be considered a traumatic childhood.

I am often cited for my opposition to famed Vancouver addiction doctor Gabor Maté’s trauma theory of addiction—that all addiction can be traced back to childhood trauma, and vice versa. Maté believes such trauma causes permanent brain damage. I find Gabor’s theory reductive, pessimistic, and fatalistic. Most people, after all, outgrow their childhood traumas, as they do their addictions. (I have argued with Gabor about all of this.)

This debate was brought to mind for me by Justin Trudeau’s election as Canada’s prime minister. Mr. Trudeau, after all, didn’t have a happy childhood. We know this because his mother has written about their fractured family life. Margaret Trudeau, herself the daughter of a Vancouver MP, was depicted as a flower-child. She met Pierre Trudeau when she was 18 and he was the Minister of Defense. She married the much older Mr. Trudeau when she was 22 after Pierre became PM.

Her married experience was deeply unhappy. Despite remaining married for 13 years and having three children together, the couple were habitually at odds; they separated after a half-dozen years of marriage and Margret pursued for a time a jet-set lifestyle. Margaret was often at loose ends both during the marriage and afterwards, as she has described in several memoirs, and was hospitalized for “mental illness.”

There are perhaps three theories for Margaret’s psychological problems: that mental disorders have nothing to do with people’s life experience or personality but are simply inbred, that she was always flighty and unstable. Or, finally, that being in a high-profile marriage with a stern, controlling man thirty years her senior was the worst possible situation for someone with Margaret’s disposition. Or maybe it was all three.

“From the day I became Mrs. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a glass panel was gently lowered into place around me, like a patient in a mental hospital who is no longer considered able to make decisions and who cannot be exposed to a harsh light.”

Not very good to hear, or to experience, coming from your mother.

But Justin seems to have weathered this all rather well. In fact, he seems to be the beneficiary of both his parents’ distinctive assets. In the first place, you need to be intelligent and ambitious to become prime minister of a major nation. [Presumably, Stanton, what you say would apply, by logical extension, to George Bush and other dynastic rulers? Justin Trudeau is a rich boy like Jeb Bush, born to privilege, including easy access to the office of PM—ILANA.]

Yet Justin wears these traits well. He doesn’t seem to think of himself as above everyone else (an attitude his father often conveyed). He, as observers have noted, meets and mingles with everybody and considers every citizen and resident of Canada a person on par with himself. This openness and absence of inflated self-importance would seem to come from his mother.

Margaret Trudeau has weathered her own storms, as she wrote in her most recent memoir, published in 2015, The Time of My Life: Choosing a Vibrant, Joyful Future. I know everyone, Canadian or otherwise, has good feelings about this resolution for Mrs. Trudeau. It seems that people are often able to find their own successful level given the opportunity and support to do so.

Meanwhile, Justin’s becoming PM must be quite a source of pride and achievement for her. The two remain extremely close: a picture of an adoring mother and her newly elected son gazing lovingly at one another affirm this impression. (Pierre died ten years ago.)

For his part, Justin does not present himself as an injured victim, the unhappy product of an unhappy marriage. He seems to have born these stresses, thrust on him as a child through absolutely no desire or effort of his own, without resentment. True, he didn’t immediately rise to the top of society, first working as a bouncer, a boxer, a Santa-shopper, and a snowboard instructor before entering politics. [So would you and yours bounce around the world in a zen-like state if you had the family fortune to fall back on—ILANA.]

On the other hand, becoming Canada’s Prime Minister at age 43 (his father was elected at age 48) doesn’t exactly put him in the slow lane, either. Justin has never given the impression that he feels like an abandoned child, or the son of broken marriage or a traumatic childhood. He seems to recognize and appreciate, rather, that he had a privileged upbringing involving parents with disparate, but distinctive, gifts.

It’s all a matter of outlook, isn’t it?

In particular, Justin didn’t become a drug addict. Rather, unlike the scion of another famous political family who opposes pot legalization due to his own drug problems, Patrick Kennedy, Justin favors marijuana legalization. This attitude too seems to have come from his mother. Margaret was once charged with possession of marijuana for having a package of weed delivered to her home. “I took to marijuana like a duck took to water,” she said.

I don’t think she smokes now.

***
Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D., is the author (with Ilse Thompson) of Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict. His Life Process Program is available online. His book Addiction-Proof Your Child is a model for the emerging area of harm reduction in addiction prevention. Stanton has been innovating in the addiction field since writing Love and Addiction with Archie Brodsky, He has been a pioneer in noting addiction across substances and activities, in creating harm reduction therapy, and in the nondisease understanding of addiction, as well as in formulating practical, life-management approaches to treatment and self-help. He has published 12 books, and has won career awards from the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies and Drug Policy Alliance. His website is www.peele.net

UPDATE I: Response to Facebook comments:

We libertarians apply the same set of principles without bias to the political class. Justin Trudeau is manifestly moronic, as is “W” (Jeb is not nearly as dumb as “W” and Justin). All are entitled brats. So what if Justin’s mom and dad fought. Let them all decamp to Africa to experience real suffering. Stanton Peele is, however, hardcore in Diseasing of America: How We Allowed Recovery Zealots and the Treatment Industry to Convince Us We Are Out of Control. A very rigorous book.

UPDATE II: Unable, or unprepared, to courteously address my readers, as to the uneven standards implied in a column submitted by himself to Barely a Blog, Stanton Peele writes:

Liana – Can you remove the piece from your website? It was a bad match, I fear.

The snootiness.

My reply:

The name is ILANA.

And no—not after the time spent inputting, adding links (as you, Stanton, did not provide HTML code) and editing text.

One would think you’d be more appreciative of the feature and the generous mention and promotion of your seminal book, Diseasing.

Unseemly behavior.

ILANA Mercer
Author, Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa
Columnist, WND’s longest-standing, paleolibertarian weekly column,
Contributor, The Unz Review, America’s smartest webzine & UK’s Libertarian Alliance,
Fellow, Jerusalem Institute for market Studies (JIMS)
www.ilanamercer.com

UPDATE III (11/1): Jack Kerwick uses precision-guided words and phrases—a “scandalous degree of unprofessionalism and hyper-emotionality,” “academic conformity,” “abuse of power”—to describe the anti-intellectual atmosphere during his Ph.D “sentence” at Temple University, dominated by left-liberals who won’t brook dissent (like the encounter above).