Both sides do it, say television’s talking heads.

In this era of radioactive polarization, it’s become a mantra among pundits that Republicans and Democrats are equally responsible for the atmosphere of political violence that hovers over America.

Never has a sausage factory produced a finer grade of baloney.

While many violent incidents have broken out since Donald J. Trump was elected in November, both parties aren’t instigators. Conservatives didn’t smash the windows, torch the police cars, terrorize campus speaker or beat demonstrators. Democrats — especially those from Bernie Sanders’ socialist branch of the party — can lay claim to those feats.

Conservatives were berated for highly publicized hate crimes against Muslims and other “protected classes” after the election, but most of the incidents turned out to be hoaxes. Naturally, reports that the hate crimes were fake got only a fraction of the attention the original accounts received.

Fortunately, conservative websites and talk radio hosts aren’t afraid to spread the truth about the leftists’ role in the political violence. Unfortunately, most Americans still get their news from the mainstream media, which point fingers at both sides when violence occurs (if they mention it at all). Even some Fox News commentators evoke the false equivalency.

Of course, this is not to say all Republicans and conservatives are angels. The party has its share of thieves, thugs, philanderers and con artists — but it generally punishes them when their crimes become known. Democrats, however, usually unite to protect offenders unless their sins are so awful the public can’t stomach them, as in Anthony Weiner’s case.

In a fascinating interview published in the July 1 edition of the Wall Street Journal, historian Allen Guelzo told James Taranto — the former force behind the WSJ’s Best of the Web online feature — the two parties have basic principles that they have mostly followed since the 1850s. (www.wsj.com/articles/divided-america-standsthen-and-now-1498851654)

Guelzo, director of the Civil War Era Studies program at Gettysburg College, said one longstanding difference between the parties is “Democrats love passion, Republicans love reason.” In other words, one party appeals to voters’ hearts, the other to their heads.

Another distinction he notes is the Democrats’ “political center” is “local,” while the Republicans’ is “national.”

Taranto writes, “(Guelzo’s) argument is that Republicans think of themselves as Americans first, whereas today Democratic localism takes the form of subnational identity politics.”

Ah, yes, identity politics — a hotpoint so ablaze in today’s society that it makes the sun seem frigid. So many people — women, racial minorities, gays, the transgendered, Muslims — simultaneously demand public acclaim and special status as victims of American bigotry. It’s gotten to the point where members of some special groups are getting scorched for implied disrespect to other groups.

There are plenty of cases that underline the difference between how Democrats and Republicans approach wrongdoing, but my favorite is the 1983 congressional page sex scandal involving Reps. Dan Crane and Gerry Studds.

Both were middle-aged men who had sex with 17-year-old congressional pages, and both were censured by the House of Representatives for misconduct. Their cases weren’t exactly the same, though: Crane’s affair was with a girl, while Studds’ was with a boy at a time when homosexual relations were a crime in many jurisdictions.

But what happened later was enlightening. Crane was defeated in his 1984 GOP primary and left politics, while Studds was not only returned to office but also went on to win re-election to five more terms. There could hardly be a bigger contrast between the Republican and Democrat voter base.

Sure, lots of people gripe that there’s no difference between the two parties and say America is ruled by Republicrats or Democans. And they’re partially right — compromise is usually the key for a democratic republic to function, so they often work against their constituents’ wishes.

Still, core differences remain, and they matter deeply. Which is why partisan battles are so bitter and why electoral outcomes — as Trump is proving — are so important.

***

May you enjoy a safe and happy Fourth of July!

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Now that the Confederate era monuments have come down in New Orleans, one would expect the crime rate to drop as well, at least that is the case if you subscribe to the Mitch Landrieu theory of crime control.

But of course that is not the case and residents and sick and tired of it.  Last week surveillance cameras caught an attack on video of two Boston tourists in the French Quarter. The attack was brutal and hard to watch, but it serves to show us that it’s not just in the neighborhoods where we expect there to be crime that this happens. New Orleans is a city that is supported in large part by tourism and when tourists go there they go to the French Quarter.  If you’re not safe there…

What is the mayor of the city doing about this rampant lawlessness in the city?  Not a whole lot.  He’s giving speeches in south Florida at the Conference of Mayors where he declared

“So let’s be honest. In these moments of uncertain, chaotic and sometimes frustrating times, the families we represent cannot look to Washington for answers,” Landrieu said. “In this political climate, we as mayors must fight to occupy the radical center, where idealism meets reality and where we put people over politics.”

He opened the Essence festival which gave him yet another opportunity to advocate for the removal of the monuments:

The mayor restated his position that though the Civil War was a brief period in the city’s history, the monuments had lingered as symbols for too long and had no place on a contemporary New Orleans public thoroughfares. He called the former situation “absurd.” He put a finer point of the subject when he described the proximity of the now-removed Robert E. Lee statue to the Convention Center.  “Just think about it for a moment,” he said, “having the Confederate monuments stand less than 300 yards from where the Essence Festival meets, that juxtaposition seems like it just doesn’t work.”

While Landrieu is positioning himself for a national bid of some sort when his term ends later this year, the city is in the grips of a terrible crime wave which is certain to affect tourism. This has nothing to do with monuments of course, but more with the fact that Landrieu has refused to pay police officers a decent wage and implemented a two year hiring freeze on police officers which dropped numbers by 400 officers, a 40-year low.

As of this writing, there have been 96 murders (many more shootings, muggings, robberies, rapes, etc.) in 2017 as compared with a total of 175 in 2016.  The numbers are higher each month this year than in comparable months for 2016.

Residents are sick of it.

James Hartman, writing for The Hayride blog, says

The French Quarter is safer, right?  It’s the tourist area so it has extra protection. It has extra taxes to pay for State Police protection, because while Landrieu told NOPD he couldn’t pay them more or hire more of them, he simply added a tax to hire state officials – an inexplicable paradox.  It’s the area that has barricades to prevent Nice- and London-style attacks on innocents.  We’re supposed to be safe there, right?

No.  We’re supposed to be safe everywhere.

Realistically, of course, that’s not possible.  Crime happens, and it happens everywhere.  What should not be happening, however, is that a city is so overrun with lawlessness that people are beaten nearly to death in the streets, that literally hundreds of people are shot – fatally or injuriously—or that children catch stray bullets while thugs roam free.  What shouldn’t happen is that the leader of a relatively major city gives speeches 1,000 miles away in which he says that statues are “virtual murders,” that the Paris Accords are the responsibility of America’s cities now, that Russians interfered with the presidential election (and, therefore, with his appointment to a Cabinet post).

As Landrieu positions himself on the national stage in the coming months we need to know the kind of leader he is. Under his tenure a once beautiful, thriving, unique city is somewhat diminished. It will take more than Mitch Landrieu to kill New Orleans, but he certainly has done her no favors.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

You might have missed these two stories in all the Trump Tweet stuff but you might want to remind yourself what we’re fighting against before you jump off the wagon.

Cause:

Seattle’s minimum-wage law is boosting wages for a range of low-paid workers, but the law is causing those workers as a group to lose hours, and it’s also costing jobs, according to the latest study on the measure passed by the City Council in 2014.

The report, by members of the University of Washington team studying the law’s impacts for the city of Seattle, is being published Monday as a working paper by a nonprofit think tank, the National Bureau of Economic Research.

That law raises Seattle’s minimum wage gradually until it reaches $15 for all by 2021.

Well in the face of that bad news Seattle decided that there could be only one effect

When a University of Washington study came out this week showing Seattle’s minimum wage has cost 5,000 jobs and is hurting low income workers, city leaders attacked the messenger –- a team of respected economists at Washington’s premiere public university.

The researchers, led by Jacob Vigdor, were hired by the city in 2014 to study the effects of Seattle’s $15 wage experiment. The contract called for five years of research. City officials stopped funding the UW team when they didn’t like the results.

“The moment we saw it was based on flawed methodology and was going to be unreliable, the Vigdor study no longer speaks for City Hall,” said Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant. 

So they’ve decided to fund a new study, meet the boss professor Michael Reich:

Reich is currently co-chair of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Before earning his PhD in economics from Harvard, Reich was a founding member of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE), a group seeking a “human-centered radical alternative to capitalism,” according to its website.

Reich has authored several studies on the effects of raising the minimum wage. They all concluded that increasing the minimum wage only helps low-skilled workers.

And I’m sure that Professor Reich will dutifully produces numbers that the leftists in Seattle will find acceptable but will not actually change the reality on the ground…

…unexpectedly.

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