Brian Baker: How did we end up here?

By Signal Contributor

Last update: Friday, December 1st, 2017

I found Maria Gutzeit’s Tuesday column, “Watching the world burn,” to be very interesting and well-written. But I think her wish for a society free of partisan politics, though admirable and well-meant, is at its heart, naïve and unrealistic.

The problem, I believe, is that we’re currently engaged in a cultural civil war in this country that’s every bit as profound and fundamental as the one that took place in the 1860s, though, so far, pretty bloodless. Thank God for that at least.

Historically, political rancor and even violence, are nothing new in this country. Elected representatives were known to whack one another on the head with their canes right on the floor of Congress. Burr killed Hamilton in a duel over politics, and, of course, there was the aforementioned Civil War.

World War II was an event that created a rare period of national unity that lasted well into the post-war era of the ’50s and early ’60s, when the world was rebuilding from that war’s destruction. That was the “Leave It To Beaver” era for which so many wax nostalgic – or that they mock mercilessly – depending on their political inclinations.

That era came to an abrupt and dramatic end with the riots at the 1968 Democrat Party convention in Chicago, which underscored the rise of the counter-culture that rejected the ethos of the later-named “Greatest Generation” – their parents’ generation – in favor of a radicalized vision of what American culture should be.

That counter-culture, firmly rooted in the ideology of collectivist socialism, ironically found its home in the Democrat Party it had so violently rioted against. In the subsequent almost half-century it rose to positions of prominence and power within that party.

As a result of the de facto takeover of that party, the counter-culture movement has managed to radically alter its underlying principles to the point that it now reflects much of the agenda of those original radicals who rioted in Chicago.

We see much of its strategy deriving directly from Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” a primer for the counter-culture of the ‘60s and ’70s, which is essentially a blueprint for political disruption and manipulation.

This is evidenced by class warfare pitting the “haves” against the “have-nots,” the demonization of the “one-percenters,” as well as the creation, proliferation and perpetuation of “victim” groups, which then go on to even compete against each other for prioritization, leading to further fragmentation and Balkanization of society and culture.

In such a noxious and confrontational political climate, our national motto, “E Pluribus Unum” – meaning “out of many, one,” a message of unity – has been effectively reversed for all intents and purposes into its mirror-opposite, “out of one, many.”

In her column, Maria writes: “The win will come when we all sit down and acknowledge common goals and work on that without uttering the words “Democrats,” “Republicans” or “politics.” … Imagine if we focused on electing people to improve and implement good policy, rather than ‘win’ for ‘our side.’”

While I think that’s a very nice thought, I also think it’s about as realistic as a kid’s Christmas wish list as he tells it while sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall.

The reality is that “politics” is how we determine public policy in this country, and there’s at least one very sizeable portion of the body politic that seems determined to completely redefine the social and cultural fabric of our society – to destroy it in order to replace it with a system that is completely alien to traditional American ideals and constitutional principles.

In consequence, we see the politicization of almost everything, even sports, which used to be one of the few remaining bastions of political neutrality. Instead, we see the NFL immersed in its “taking a knee” controversy.

We see popular media – TV, movies and even books – showcasing political correctness at the expense of entertainment value. Higher education has become, at many universities, a venue of indoctrination rather than enlightenment.

In this adversarial climate, I believe the wish for reconciliation and cooperation, though well meant, has very little chance of being realized.

Brian Baker is a Saugus resident.

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Brian Baker: How did we end up here?

I found Maria Gutzeit’s Tuesday column, “Watching the world burn,” to be very interesting and well-written. But I think her wish for a society free of partisan politics, though admirable and well-meant, is at its heart, naïve and unrealistic.

The problem, I believe, is that we’re currently engaged in a cultural civil war in this country that’s every bit as profound and fundamental as the one that took place in the 1860s, though, so far, pretty bloodless. Thank God for that at least.

Historically, political rancor and even violence, are nothing new in this country. Elected representatives were known to whack one another on the head with their canes right on the floor of Congress. Burr killed Hamilton in a duel over politics, and, of course, there was the aforementioned Civil War.

World War II was an event that created a rare period of national unity that lasted well into the post-war era of the ’50s and early ’60s, when the world was rebuilding from that war’s destruction. That was the “Leave It To Beaver” era for which so many wax nostalgic – or that they mock mercilessly – depending on their political inclinations.

That era came to an abrupt and dramatic end with the riots at the 1968 Democrat Party convention in Chicago, which underscored the rise of the counter-culture that rejected the ethos of the later-named “Greatest Generation” – their parents’ generation – in favor of a radicalized vision of what American culture should be.

That counter-culture, firmly rooted in the ideology of collectivist socialism, ironically found its home in the Democrat Party it had so violently rioted against. In the subsequent almost half-century it rose to positions of prominence and power within that party.

As a result of the de facto takeover of that party, the counter-culture movement has managed to radically alter its underlying principles to the point that it now reflects much of the agenda of those original radicals who rioted in Chicago.

We see much of its strategy deriving directly from Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” a primer for the counter-culture of the ‘60s and ’70s, which is essentially a blueprint for political disruption and manipulation.

This is evidenced by class warfare pitting the “haves” against the “have-nots,” the demonization of the “one-percenters,” as well as the creation, proliferation and perpetuation of “victim” groups, which then go on to even compete against each other for prioritization, leading to further fragmentation and Balkanization of society and culture.

In such a noxious and confrontational political climate, our national motto, “E Pluribus Unum” – meaning “out of many, one,” a message of unity – has been effectively reversed for all intents and purposes into its mirror-opposite, “out of one, many.”

In her column, Maria writes: “The win will come when we all sit down and acknowledge common goals and work on that without uttering the words “Democrats,” “Republicans” or “politics.” … Imagine if we focused on electing people to improve and implement good policy, rather than ‘win’ for ‘our side.’”

While I think that’s a very nice thought, I also think it’s about as realistic as a kid’s Christmas wish list as he tells it while sitting on Santa’s lap at the mall.

The reality is that “politics” is how we determine public policy in this country, and there’s at least one very sizeable portion of the body politic that seems determined to completely redefine the social and cultural fabric of our society – to destroy it in order to replace it with a system that is completely alien to traditional American ideals and constitutional principles.

In consequence, we see the politicization of almost everything, even sports, which used to be one of the few remaining bastions of political neutrality. Instead, we see the NFL immersed in its “taking a knee” controversy.

We see popular media – TV, movies and even books – showcasing political correctness at the expense of entertainment value. Higher education has become, at many universities, a venue of indoctrination rather than enlightenment.

In this adversarial climate, I believe the wish for reconciliation and cooperation, though well meant, has very little chance of being realized.

Brian Baker is a Saugus resident.

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  • lois eisenberg

    Mueller Time is on a role !!
    Per the Moron there is nothing there!!!
    Flynn is in the bag and Jared is next carrying the bag!!!!
    Again there is nothing there !!!!

  • Bill Reynolds

    Brian Baker! You have nailed it once again. I so enjoy your columns!!

    • Brian Baker

      Hey, Bill, thanks very much, my friend!

  • Gil Mertz

    Outstanding column, Brian. Great point to connect the dots between the riots of 1968 to today’s Democratic Party. It’s even more ironic that the black community has found their home in the same political party that fought to keep them in slavery and fought against their civil rights.

    The socialists from the 60s and their liberal spawn have not only taken over the Democratic Party, but they have also infiltrated and have dominated other areas of major influence such as academia as you pointed out. We saw the fruits of that in their reaction to last year’s election on college campuses which was in the words of their beloved leader, deplorable. We clearly see their influence in the media which is made up of about 90% Democratic voters and donors. Bias much? On network television, EVERY morning show, EVERY evening news anchor, and EVERY late night talk show is hosted by a life-long Democrat. Are there really NO qualified conservatives for ANY of these slots?

    The good news is that America is not buying their dogma which is best illustrated in today’s NFL debacle. When Trump called out the kneelers, liberals and the media went nuts (a short trip for them). They spewed their vitriol of how Trump was so out of touch and that there would be a terrible backlash against him. Once again, they presumed incorrectly that most Americans agreed with them. Obviously, they couldn’t have been more wrong which gives me hope.

    If Republicans can get their act together, they could blow the Democratic Party back to the Dark Ages. They can reverse much of the damage done by Obama’s policies, enforce the law, grow the economy, help resolve our illegal immigration problems, shape a Constitutional Supreme Court for generations, improve our international relations, and truly make America great again. Meanwhile, the Democrats are only left with trying to re-litigate the 2016 election and obsess over Russia.

    • lois eisenberg

      MUELLER TIME, MUELLER TIME, MUELLER TIME !!!!

    • Brian Baker

      Thanks, Gil. I appreciate those kind words.

      I agree about the potential for the GOP…….. IF they can get their act together. That’s a pretty big “if” based on their performance in recent years (or maybe decades, since it’s really since Reagan).

      • Gil Mertz

        Maybe the passage of the tax reform bill with give the GOP some guts to start governing instead of ignoring their base to appease people who hate them and will never vote for them. 2018 could be a blood bath in the Senate for Democrats. There are 33 Senators up for re-election next year and of that number there are 23 Dems and 2 liberal Independents that caucus with the Dems. Many are in red states that Trump carried. The GOP could pick up another six to eight seats. The way the Democrats are sinking, it could even become a veto-proof majority!

        • Brian Baker

          Yeah, it could be a VERY interesting year.

  • Gil Mertz

    Congratulations Lois. After months of investigation by Mueller’s team and spending millions of taxpayer dollars, they’ve managed to confirm what the Trump administration knew back in February when they fired Flynn for lying. So now Mueller’s star witness is a confessed liar.

    And sorry to burst your bubble, but Flynn’s Russian contacts happened AFTER Trump had already been elected. The collusion was supposed to have happened BEFORE the election, but the media will not clarify this, only that Trump is doomed. Meanwhile, normal Americans who are beyond fed up with hearing about Russian collusion will be celebrating the extra money they’ll be getting thanks to the GOP’s tax reform!

    • lois eisenberg

      Mueller Time by many more !!!!

    • lois eisenberg

      Let’s not forget about Mr. white bread, milk toast Pence !!~!!!

      “Mike Pence is the President’s right hand man, he is a threat to our Democratic value.
      “Here’s what you need to know about Mike Pence:
      “He doesn’t believe in evolution or climate change,”
      “He supports shock conversation ‘therapy’ for LGBT youths,”
      “And he lied about Russia’s influence in our election!”

      • Ron Bischof

        My word, you’re a hilarious piece of work, Ms. Eisenberg!

    • lois eisenberg

      “When President Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in February, White House officials portrayed him as a renegade who had acted independently in his discussions with a Russian official during the presidential transition and then lied to his colleagues about the interactions.”

      “But emails among top transition officials, provided or described to The New York Times, suggest that Mr. Flynn was far from a rogue actor. In fact, the emails, coupled with interviews and court documents filed on Friday, showed that Mr. Flynn was in close touch with other senior members of the Trump transition team both before and after he spoke with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, about American sanctions against Russia.”

      • Ron Bischof

        Brian Ross, the chief investigative correspondent for ABC News, has been suspended for four weeks without pay after incorrectly reporting that Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, would testify that President Trump had directed him to make contact with Russian officials while Mr. Trump was still a candidate, the network announced on Saturday.

        Mr. Trump had in fact directed him to make contact after the election, as president-elect, the network said. ABC initially issued a clarification after Mr. Ross made the statement during a broadcast on Friday, but on Saturday the network called it a “serious error.”

        “We deeply regret and apologize for the serious error we made yesterday,” ABC said in a statement. “The reporting conveyed by Brian Ross during the special report had not been fully vetted through our editorial standards process.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/02/us/brian-ross-suspended-abc.html

        • Gil Mertz

          This lie by Ross caused a serious drop in the stock market and yet, none of the network media reported on this error by Ross.

          And to show just how serious ABC News is about this lie, instead of firing this serial partisan they have given Ross extra time off during the holidays. He doesn’t need the pay. Nice. Reminds me of the punishment given to Lois Lerner for abusing the IRS against those opposed to Obama. She was given a nine-month, tax-payer funded vacation.

    • Brian Richards

      Wait a minute Gil. Are you saying the FBI prosecuted Flynn for the same reason that Trump fired him in the first place?

  • lois eisenberg

    “http://www.politifact.com/personalities/mike-pence/statements/byruling/false/”
    All false statements involving Mike Pence !!!!!
    The liar -in-chief has taught his ilk well about lying !!!!

  • Ron Bischof

    “The reality is that ‘politics’ is how we determine public policy in this country, and there’s at least one very sizable portion of the body politic that seems determined to completely redefine the social and cultural fabric of our society – to destroy it in order to replace it with a system that is completely alien to traditional American ideals and constitutional principles.”

    Precisely! Nicely done on your cogent summary, Brian.

    This is the “fundamental transformation” former President Obama referenced but backed away from when pressed. His record in office backed by the former Democratic majorities in Congress reveal exactly what was intended.

    Voters figured it out and have been booting Democrats from office in state houses, governor’s mansions and now Washington D.C. for over a decade.

    Maria is right that as a community we need to move beyond party identity to focus on local solutions. However, Democrats attempting to coalesce behind simplistic tribal partisan political organizations like Up25 isn’t going to persuade anyone.

    Everybody outside of the Democratic party (the majority, FYI) isn’t going to agree to ceding ever increasing segments of our economy and society to government control.

    • Brian Baker

      Thanks, Ron. Much appreciated.
      I agree on the local Dem/socialists’ “aspirations”. But even at the “local” level I’m not convinced there are “non-partisan solutions”.
      Take the school boards, for example. There are HUGE divisions on matters of curriculum and “social justice”, and those “party” labels do help clarify, at least to some extent, where candidates stand on those matters. That “non-partisan” smokescreen is one of the reasons a local candidate (was it Christie Smith?), who had been on the school board before running for a higher office (state assembly? Man, my memory sucks!) was able to hide her extreme leftist views until she blew her cover just before the election and decided to “go low”, trying to smear her opponent at the end.
      But before that, she’d been able to serve for quite a period on the school board, no doubt trying to implement her leftist policies as much as possible.

      • Brian Baker

        Yeah, I just checked the archives, and it was Christy Smith running against Dante Acosta.

        She’s outed now!

        • Ron Bischof

          “The contentious, prolonged and mud-marred 2016 election year is likely to be most remembered for its surprise ending to the presidential race. But it will also be remembered for the new lows reached in many negative campaigns.

          We at The Signal are pleased to note the most negative campaigns in the Santa Clarita Valley failed to propel their candidates into office on their barrages of name-calling, fact-twisting, false negative associations and other deceptive tactics – including outright lies and implications of wrongdoing.

          That mud-slinging was vomited onto our television screens, into our mailboxes and otherwise forced upon us by those unprincipled enough to stoop to such practices – or those supported by parties that would do so.

          The two most desperate campaigns were those of Bryan Caforio, a Democrat seeking to unseat Congressman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, and Christy Smith, a school board member vying for outgoing Assemblyman Scott Wilk’s 38th District seat against Dante Acosta, a Santa Clarita City Councilman. Both Caforio and Smith lost.

          It’s encouraging to note that most local campaigns were clean ones; those who came out on top Tuesday were mostly those who shunned the practices of the Caforio and Smith camps.”

          https://signalscv.com/2016/11/view-congrats-clean-campaign-winners/

          • Brian Baker

            There it is.

            It think that “non-partisan” idea ranks right up there with unicorn hunting, frankly.

  • Gil Mertz

    Lois: “…the emails, coupled with interviews and court documents filed on Friday,
    showed that Mr. Flynn was in close touch with other senior members of
    the Trump transition team both before and after he spoke with the
    Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, about American sanctions against
    Russia.”

    So what??? Past presidents have also spoken to foreign leaders during their transition after they’ve been elected. St. Obama did it, too. The only thing Flynn did wrong or illegal was to lie to the FBI. Who did he think he was, Hillary Clinton?

    • lois eisenberg

      Poor man making every excuse to show that the Moron is innocent!!!
      DREAM ON !!!

    • Brian Richards

      Isn’t Obama overseas right now talking to foreign leaders? Is he not a private citizen and in clear violation of the Logan Act?

      • Ron Bischof

        It’s akin to having a conversation with a parrot, Brian.

        • Gil Mertz

          On behalf of all the parrots of the world, I’m deeply offended.

        • Brian Richards

          Is that like playing chess with a pigeon? 🙂

          • Ron Bischof

            Similar, yes.

            That metaphor applies most accurately to Participation Award “claiming victory” post evisceration.

      • Gil Mertz

        I’m sure the network news media will be reporting on this inconsistency.

  • lois eisenberg

    “As Mueller probe deepens, Trump says he didn’t ask Comey to stop investigating Flynn”
    My money is on Comey and Mueller !!!

  • lois eisenberg

    “Trump admits to knowing that Flynn, his onetime national security advisor, had already lied to the FBI at the time he pushed FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn. (The overture to Comey came the day after Trump fired Flynn.) Pushing your Justice Department to stifle an investigation of a known felon sounds a lot like obstruction of justice.”

  • lois eisenberg

    “The expanding federal investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election is shining new light on the central role played by one member of President Trump’s inner circle — his son-in-law and top advisor Jared Kushner — in reaching out to Moscow.”

    “The latest disclosure — that even before Trump took office Kushner directed campaign foreign policy advisor Michael Flynn to try to persuade Russia to quash a United Nations resolution — is one example of numerous Kushner contacts with Moscow and meetings with Russian intermediaries now under scrutiny by investigators for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. “

  • lois eisenberg

    “The ugly context of the Flynn plea is also the direct work of President Trump himself. It is doubtful that there would have been any special counsel investigation had Trump not fired former FBI Director James Comey when he did. Moreover, the investigation has been fueled by Trump’s ill-considered and inappropriate statement to Comey that “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” The pressure on Comey resulted in his creating the now famous memos sitting in Robert Mueller’s office.” ” LOCK THE LIAR UP FOR JEOPARDIZING AND SELLING AMERICA DOWN THE RIVER !!!

    • Ron Bischof

      Oh really? What was sold, Ms. Eisenberg? And who was the buyer? Any statutes you can direct us to for examination?

      Obsessed doesn’t begin to describe your cut and paste ranting from the fever swamps you inhabit. 🙄

      • Gil Mertz

        Let’s try an experiment, Ron. You keep asking Lois and I’ll ask the same questions to the fire hydrant in front of my house. Let’s see which of us get’s an intelligent answer first.

        • Ron Bischof

          Ha! 😄

          • lois eisenberg

            Did Gil tell you the color of his fire hydrant ?
            It makes a very big difference about the color when asking
            the fire hydrant questions !!!!
            Please keep me informed about the color it is very important !!!!

          • Brian Richards

            My fire hydrant is laughing at all the dupes who fell for ABC’s fake news.

        • lois eisenberg

          I have a fire hydrant in front of my house which is yellow !!
          What color is yours ??

          • Ron Bischof

            Excellent!

            Please provide this yellow hydrant your Disqus account credentials.

            We’ll know you’ve completed this task when the quality of your posts improves.

      • lois eisenberg

        My CUT AND PASTES ARE NOT FAKE NEWS!!!
        Here is something from the fever swamps that Trump muddied over his reasons for firing Flynn!!
        First of all he can’t keep his stories straight !! A liar never can !!
        The liar-in-chief “penchant for the off-cuff observations could have serious implications for his own legal standing
        in the Mueller investigation”
        “At a crucial juncture in special counsel Mueller’s WIDE-RANGING Russian investigation, the baby- in chief
        embarked on a risky gambit on Sunday, going on record to directly dispute his former FBI chief’s sworn
        contention that the Moron-in-chief had sought to derail an investigation into fired national security advisor
        Michael Flynn ”
        “Comey kept contemporaneous notes of the encounter in which the evil mad man asked if he could ease off on Flynn”
        These notes are on Mueller’s desk !!!
        Flynn’s guilty plea takes the inquiry inside the MUDDIED SWAMP White House!!
        Comey not like the baby-in-chief has been tweeting famous quotations about TRUTH AND JUSTICE ,
        which the liar knows nothing about !!!!!
        More cut and paste rantings are forthcoming!!!!

        • Ron Bischof

          Non-responsive to my queries, Ms. Eisenberg.

          Do you have someone nearby that can assist you?

          • lois eisenberg

            Yes you are doing a good job to keep my cut and pastes forthcoming !!!
            Just thought I would included this cut and paste to keep you busy !!

            “Time to put an end to Big Tobacco’s lies,” and the- liar-chiefs lies !!!!

          • Ron Bischof

            I’d never allow you to debase my brand in that manner.

            Can you move your keyboard closer to the fire hydrant, Ms. Eisenberg?

          • lois eisenberg

            Which one the yellow or red one !!!
            “Can you move your keyboard closer to the fire hydrant”
            I just did and this is what I came up with !!!
            The yellow fire hydrant is much more informative than the red one !!!

            “Trump’s lawyer: the president can’t obstruct justice.” 13 legal experts: yes, he can.”
            “Dowd’s argument is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and it would lead us down a path to despotism.”
            The 13 legal experts are listed below:
            * Asha Rungappa Yale Law School
            * Renato Mariotti Federal Prosecutor 2007-2016
            *Jens David Ohlin Law professor Cornell University
            * Peter Shane Law Professor Ohio State University
            * Lisa Kern Griffin Law Professor Duke University
            * Andy Wright Law Professor Savannah Law School
            * Bob Bauwer Law Professor New York University
            *Jimmy Gurule Law Professor Nortre Dame
            * Ric Simmons Law Professor Ohio State University
            * Miriam Baer Law Professor Brooklyn Law School
            * Victoria Nourse Law Professor Georgetown University
            * Jed Shugerman Law Professor Fordham University
            * Jessica Levinson Law Professor Loyola

            NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW !!!!!

          • Ron Bischof

            Alternate on days ending in “y”.

          • Brian Richards

            The irony of Lois mastering cut and paste but not the use of the period amuses me.

      • lois eisenberg

        ANOTHER CUT AND PASTE AS PROMISED!!
        “Expect the ‘strongest and longest’ Santa Ana winds of the season this week in L.A. area”

        These winds won’t compare to the MORON’S blowing in the wind TWEETS !!

    • Brian Baker

      ” LOCK THE LIAR UP FOR JEOPARDIZING AND SELLING AMERICA DOWN THE RIVER !!!”

      I agree. Cankles Clinton would look great in a prison-orange jumpsuit.