Big Media • Free Speech • Great America • Post • Technology

Social Media’s Transition from Novelty to Malignancy

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Once Facebook escaped the cloistered world of mere campus life, it’s all been downhill—unless of course, you are one of those who invested in or went to work for the company early on. The company has endured a year of data breaches; privacy scandals; mismanagement; controversy over whether the company responded responsibly to the posting of a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi; and, finally, the largest fine ever imposed by the Federal Trade Commission, a whopping $5 billion. Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has delivered seemingly endless public mea culpas and pledges to do better.

How did we get here? What made sense as a communications vehicle for a diverse but circumscribed group of people sharing many life experiences on campus and later as a helpful tool for the larger world, has transformed benign to malignant as fast as rapidly improving technology could take it there.

Students moved off the campus into the “real world,” taking Facebook with them. In those early days of social media, many Facebook competitors failed because they had developed neither the necessary campus constituency nor the needed degree of habituation among users, prior to graduation. In any case, as the graduates’ life experiences diverged, the nature of the communications was able to evolve along with them on Facebook.

Unlike on campus, where myriad shared activities were constant, for many the world of work just wasn’t as engrossing or dynamic and offered far less commonality of interests among friends than the world of college. Therefore, the communications rapidly turned to social life and the truly banal, like what a person was cooking for dinner, or the family dog’s Halloween costume.

Two critical, and probably unintentional, implications of this evolution were the slow but steady relinquishing of privacy and the concomitant compulsion to keep the interactive momentum going.

It was during this period that networks of “friends” ballooned, as friend-of-friends and friends-of-friends-of-friends connected. Of course, a social media “friend” was not necessarily somebody you knew at all outside of the online environment, but this phenomenon became accepted, then appreciated, and finally, valued for the sheer weight of numbers. The Follower was born.

Needless to say, this evolution did not escape the notice of advertisers and marketers, who recognized the access and information offered by the networks; in the process, the networks became rich and powerful from monetizing the access and data. Celebrities, who traffic in “fame,” were quick to enlist, and their numbers of followers skyrocketed. Politicians jumped on the bandwagon, albeit more slowly than those in the corporate world; after all, people buy things every day, but vote only once every two years. A new, social media relationship became significant: poster-to-follower. Genuine friendliness had nothing to do with this.

Somewhere during this phase of social media development, a crucial transformation began. Because individuals were revealing increasingly personal experiences and thoughts, and advertisers were simply and transparently hawking their wares, credibility was pretty much taken for granted. (At least to the extent that the advertising of well-known products could be believed.) Welcome to the age of gullibility.

When a “friend” expressed an opinion on just about anything, his or her sincerity, if not rectitude, was taken seriously. The foundation had been laid, and that led to more and more exchanges about politics, current affairs, and other people. Many of the postings were impulsive, because the distance afforded by internet-based exchanges allows them to be more impersonal than face-to-face or telephone conversations, and passions often ran high when there was disagreement.

Gradually, there appeared a kind of vacuum—the absence of ability to judge, or confirm, credibility. Just because it was posted didn’t mean it was true. It could be misguided, false, or part of a hidden agenda. But we weren’t ready for that quite yet.

Politicians, in particular, grew to understand this peculiar characteristic of social media, and in the mid-2000s began to exploit it. By then, the tools existed to micro-segment the now-enormous population of users; and messages could be tailored to these niche groups. Spin had advanced a quantum leap; targeted individuals could be told exactly what they wanted to hear, sometimes even by people they knew. Their gullible and conditioned minds could be penetrated. Obama campaign strategists understood these phenomena and used them to great advantage, as did many who followed.

The most recent and troubling development in social media is the mob mentality. Often the sharing of an opinion elicits a storm of response, and vastly wider distribution, via a person’s now-expanded network of friends and followers. Far from sharing ideas and feelings frankly and spontaneously, many people now assiduously avoid triggers, anything remotely resembling judgments of others, and even witticisms that might offend. In a commentary comparing today’s state of affairs to the Cultural Revolution in China during the Mao Zedong era, Columnist Peggy Noonan lamented:

The air is full of accusation and humiliation. We have seen this spirit most famously on the campuses, where students protest harshly, sometimes violently, views they wish to suppress. Social media is full of swarming political and ideological mobs. In an interesting departure from democratic tradition, they don’t try to win the other side over. They only condemn and attempt to silence.

We now have a kind of Online Stockholm Syndrome. You tread lightly with your social media audience or risk caustic online retribution and even real-world consequences like shunning, loss of a job, having your business boycotted, or worse. Having a big audience is a status symbol, but it can also be a straitjacket—a constraint on speech that veers from orthodoxy.

By promoting confirmation bias—the seeking out of information and sources, reliable or not, that reinforce your own already-held views—social media and the segmentation of cable “news” are major contributors to the much-commented-upon polarization of our society. As New York Times writer Charlie Warzel observed, “The distribution mechanics, rules and terms of service of Facebook’s platform—and the rest of social media—are no match for professional propagandists, trolls, charlatans, political operatives and hostile foreign actors looking to sow division and blur the lines of reality.”

There is another insidious, long-term effect of having people’s lives promiscuously exposed. Not everyone consistently acts with decorum and honesty (to state the obvious), and we fear that increasingly, the long-past indiscretions of public figures will be uncovered and widely reported. Will we arrive at some sort of consensus about a “statute of limitations” on bad behavior, as exists in law even for many serious crimes, or will youthful lapses destroy promising careers? Or will we simply become inured to behavior that is deplorable?

Only time will tell, but in the meantime, to strike a blow for moderation, high standards, and tranquility, maybe we should just delete our social media accounts.

Photo Credit: Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images

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Big Media • Donald Trump • Post • The Left

Menacing Invective Against Trump Creates Dangerous Climate

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Former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden has bragged on two occasions that he would like to beat up President Donald Trump.

In March 2018, Biden huffed, “They asked me would I like to debate this gentleman, and I said no. I said, ‘If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”

Biden’s tough-guy braggadocio was apparently no slip. A year later, he doubled down on his physical threats.

“The idea that I’d be intimidated by Donald Trump? … He’s the bully that I’ve always stood up to. He’s the bully that used to make fun when I was a kid that I stutter, and I’d smack him in the mouth.”

Had former Vice President Dick Cheney ever dared to say something similar of President Obama, what would the media reaction have been?

Recently, Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.), another presidential candidate, took up where Biden left off:

“Trump is a guy who you understand he hurts you, and my testosterone sometimes makes me want to feel like punching him, which would be bad for this elderly, out-of-shape man that he is if I did that. This physically weak specimen.”

One trait of the Democratic field of presidential candidates is always to sound further to the left than any of their primary rivals. Apparently, a similar habit is to see who can most effectively imagine beating up the president. For now, Booker seems to be in first place.

The current candidates are just channeling three years of sick showboating by Hollywood celebrities.

Actor Robert De Niro has repeatedly expressed a desire to physically assault trump. A month before Trump was elected, De Niro said of him, “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Later, De Niro doubled down with a series of “F— Trump” outbursts.

This is especially dangerous in the aftermath of progressive zealot and Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson’s 2017 attempt to assassinate Republican congressmen at a practice for a charity baseball game. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot and nearly killed. Three other people were also shot and wounded.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), just hours after she was sworn in, said a rally that she had promised her young son that “we’re going to impeach the motherf—r.”

Donald Trump is a controversial president, no doubt. He replies to his critics with strong, often inflammatory invective.

Yet the continued litany of threats to physically assault or kill a president is lowering the bar of assassination, and it will haunt the country long after Trump is gone.

On the day Trump was inaugurated, the pop music star Madonna told a large crowd outside the White House that she had thought of blowing it up.

A few months later, comedian Kathy Griffin issued a video where she held up a bloody facsimile of a decapitated Trump head.

Since then, Hollywood and the entertainment industry have been in constant competition to imagine the most gruesome way of killing off Trump—stabbing, blowing up, burning, shooting, suffocating, decapitating or beating.

Celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Snoop Dogg, George Lopez, Moby, Rosie O’Donnell, Mickey Rourke and Larry Wilmore seem to relish the media attention as they discuss or demonstrate what they consider to be creative ways to kill the president.

It is hard to determine whether their tweets and outbursts are designed to restore sagging careers, are heartfelt expressions of pure hatred, or both.

We saw something similar to the current climate of threatened violence during the re-election campaign and second presidential term of George W. Bush.

A few columnists, documentary filmmakers and novelists went well beyond the boilerplate invective of calling Bush a fascist, racist, Nazi and war criminal, and imagined his assassination in a variety of ways.

But we are now well beyond even that rhetorical violence.

Trump and his critics often go at it relentlessly in interviews, in Twitter wars, and on television and radio. No insult seems too petty for Trump to ignore.

Yet progressives like Biden and Booker seem to think that by bragging of wanting to do violence to the president, they will rev up their base and win attention, as if physical violence is justified by Trump’s unorthodox presidency.

Nonetheless, the current climate is becoming scary. Those who brag of wanting to violently attack the president should worry about where their boasts will finally lead if any of the thousands of James Hodgkinsons in America take such threats seriously and act upon them.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

(C) 2019 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

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Big Media • Books & Culture • The Left

A Directory of Politically Incorrect, Algorithmically Stifled Vloggers

Anyone who doesn’t believe the Right is being suppressed systematically by the communications monopolies of Big Tech either is not paying attention, is hopelessly biased, or is thoroughly brainwashed.

The process of suppression takes many forms. It isn’t merely suppression of conservative viewpoints on the major social media platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter), but suppression of the related apps (Apple, Amazon), exclusion from the principal funding sites (Patreon, Kickstarter, GoFundMe), exclusion from the major online payment processors (PayPal, Stripe), and in some cases even access denial by the internet service providers (AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon).

In most cases, suppression has not been total. One of the first to be banished, Alex Jones, still has his “Infowars” website; one of the more recent casualties also survives online as a stand-alone, the relaunched Milo Yiannopoulos’s “Dangerous” website. But in the monopolistic communications infrastructure of social media platforms, apps and funding sites, they don’t exist. If you don’t know where to look for these orphaned websites, you won’t find them.

Suppression of conservative content began in earnest after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, intensified further in the months immediately preceding the 2018 midterms, and further still with the wave of purges that took place this spring. This story has been told again and again, a very recent example would be testimony by Dennis Prager before the U.S. Senate on July 16.

Finding the Vloggers Who Have Been Suppressed
It is impossible to track every conservative who has been suppressed online. For every major figure who is attacked, there are hundreds of minor figures who also have been attacked by the leftist complaint warriors and quietly deboosted, demonetized, shadowbanned, or just plain eliminated.

Here then, is a list of conservative YouTube vloggers who are still active on that platform. If you regularly view one of these channels, you will probably still see them recommended. But otherwise, even if you view similar content, it is unlikely they will appear as “recommended videos,” or if they do appear, fewer of them will appear, and those few will appear less often. Instead you will be referred to mainstream conservative channels, starting with Fox News. This shift began in April 2019, and is specifically aimed at limiting exposure to these independent platforms.

It is important to note that some of the vloggers listed here actually do produce content most conservatives would consider objectionable. It is not possible to vet the entire body of work of every one of the individuals on this list. What is remarkable, however, is how in a fair online universe, some of these vloggers should never have come under attack. The diligent Tim Pool and the impeccable Dennis Prager come to mind.

There are many others for whom there is absolutely no case to be made for their suppression. But so what? What if some of this content is truly offensive and objectionable? Should it be suppressed?

One fledgling attempt to circumvent the biased online monopolies is the video platform BitChute. While the site has risen to an impressive worldwide Alexa ranking of 4,065 (the YouTube monopoly is ranked No. 2), it still has bugs and glitches. But BitChute’s community guidelines explicitly endorse freedom of expression, and at least so far, a commitment to unbiased policing of content. On the question of suppression, BitChute’s website says “The mere fact that an idea is disliked or thought to be incorrect does not justify its censorship.”

Standing on that principle, the ideal online media platform would treat all websites equally, allowing them to rise and fall based on viewer preference, or as the cliché aptly puts it, “in the marketplace of ideas.”

With all this in mind, and based on the admittedly nebulous principle that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, here is a list of the “reactionary right” vloggers as catalogued in a report published in Fall 2018 by the left-of-center organization Data and Society:

The Reactionary Right on YouTube according to Data and Society

James Allsup– 452,936 subscribers, 72 million views

Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad) – 964,511 subscribers, 297 million views

Owen Benjamin– 262,712 subscribers, 51 million views

Taleed Brown (That Guy T) – 96,997 subscribers, 6 million views

John Canales (Mouthy Buddha) – 142,512 subscribers, 10 million views

Mike Cernovich– 77,704 subscribers, 2.6 million views

Lauren Chen (Pseudo Intellectual) – 364,058 subscribers, 34 million views

Mark Collett– 93,694 subscribers, 9 million views

Steven Crowder– 4 million subscribers, 817 million views

Dave Cullen (Computing Forever) – 410,286 subscribers, 97 million views

Marcus Follin (The Golden One) – 95,822 subscribers, 12 million views

Nicholas Fuentes (America First) – 37,731 subscribers, 700,000 million views

Jean-François Gariépy– 47,262 subscribers, 4 million views

Faith J. Goldy– 105,799 subscribers, 6 million views

Timothy Gionet (Baked Alaska) – now totally banned from YouTube

Rebecca Hargraves (Blonde in the Belly of the Beast) – 130,787 subscribers, 7 million views

Sam Harris– 339,111 subscribers, 5 million views

Brooks Heatherly (No Bullshit) – 651,990 subscribers, 136 million views

Jeff Holiday– 105,671 subscribers, 9 million views

Matt Jarbo (Mundane Matt) –  134,698 subscribers, 89 million views

Felix Lace (Black Pigeon Speaks) – 532,341 subscribers, 59 million views

Ezra Levant (Rebel Media) – 1.3 million subscribers, 452 million views

Chris Maldonado (Chris Ray Gun) – 605,475 subscribers, 92 million views

Gavin McInnes– 349,149 subscribers, 41 million views

Mister Metokur– 305,538 subscribers, 53 million views

Stefan Molyneux– 919,197 subscribers, 276 million views

Antonia Okafor– 5,841 subscribers, 0.2 million views

James O’Keefe (Project Veritas) – 311,027 subscribers, 42 million views

Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff (Red Ice TV) – 327,959 subscribers, 46 million views

Jordan Peterson– 2.2 million subscribers, 110 million views

Brittany Pettibone– 125,716 subscribers, 8 million views

Tim Pool– 574,254 subscribers, 98 million views

Colin Robertson (Millennial Woes) – 54,299 subscribers, 5 million views

Joe Rogan– 5.8 million subscribers, 1.4 billion views

Dave Rubin– 1.0 million subscribers, 219 million views

Martin Sellner– 26,040 subscribers, 1.4 million views

Ben Shapiro– 792,908 subscribers, 47 million views

Lauren Southern– 716,792 subscribers, 59 million views

Richard Spencer– 2,454 subscribers, 111,345 views

Ayla Stewart (Wife with a Purpose) – 11,776 subscribers, 652,907 views

Jared Taylor (American Renaissance) – 113,447 subscribers, 12 million views

Annand Virk (Bunty King) – 66,984 subscribers, 0.5 million views

Andy Warski– 245,152 subscribers, 45 million views

Tarl Warwick (Styxhexenhammer666) – 380,464 subscribers, 182 million views

Paul Joseph Watson– 1.7 million subscribers, 400 million views

Blaire White– 520,103 subscribers, 65 million views

Milo Yiannopolous – banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Patreon

Other Members of the Reactionary Right According to Data and Society

James Damore – former Google employee, author of “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber

Larry Elder – Larry Elder Show

Andrew Klavan – The Andrew Klavan Show

Michael Knowles – The Michael Knowles Show

Candace Owens – Candace Owens Show

Dennis Prager – founder of Prager University

Can the Online Conservative Presence Be Effectively Suppressed?
Since the latest assault on internet free speech, many of these YouTube channels have seen their referral visits drop by 50 percent or more. But there remains a fluidity to the conservative presence online that may be impossible to suppress. First because many of these channels are so big that shutting them down would provoke an uproar, as happened this past May when YouTube used out of context remarks made by Carl Benjamin to temporarily delete his account. Benjamin, whose channel is called “Sargon of Akkad,” has nearly 1 million subscribers and has delivered nearly 300 million views.

Other channels are even bigger. The inimitable Paul Joseph Watson has delivered 400 million views on his YouTube channel; Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media has delivered over 450 million views; Joe Rogan’s channel has delivered well over 1 billion views.

Moreover, the traffic trends are dramatic.  Jordan Peterson, whose informed but politically unwelcome candor on gender issues catapulted him to worldwide fame, had just over 90 million views when last reported in April, he’s now delivered over 110 million views.

If the conservative presence online is protected by dozens of too-big-to-squelch pundits with burgeoning audiences, it is also protected by thousands, if not tens of thousands of much smaller content producers who are perpetually researching and posting, producing a torrent of content that can’t possibly be contained. For every Joe Rogan or Paul Joseph Watson, there are a thousand lesser-known but worthy conservative pundits such as Fleccas Talks, Conservative Resurgence, or Blue Collar Logic, diligently posting and building their audiences.

In some ways, the biggest advantage favoring online conservatives is the fact of their suppression. While some “conservative” or alt-Right content may indeed be objectionable, all of it is granted cachet by virtue of it being forbidden. And when so much of what conservatives post online is not only true, but in direct contradiction to what is being routinely spewed forth from the approved mainstream sources of news, it triggers feelings of betrayal in the hearts of fair-minded, truth-seeking liberals. They have their so-called red pill moment. They walk away.

The issue of internet censorship is only one significant fraction of the transformations heralded by digital technology and artificial intelligence. A troubling article in the Summer 2019 issue of American Affairs, “Algorithmic Governance and Political Legitimacy,” explores the ways in which algorithms could become even more faceless arbiters of misguided policies than the faceless bureaucrats of the last century.

The challenges facing society wrought by technology, and the leftist dominated monopolies that currently control technology, reach well beyond free speech. But despite the ongoing AI-enabled crackdown on free speech, the nature of the internet itself may yet defy containment. It may yet fulfill its original promise to deliver irrepressible truth and freedom to the people in America, and everywhere else in the world.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

Big Media • Immigration • Post • The Left

WaPo Smears Immigration Reduction Pioneer In Obit

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John Tanton, a pioneer in immigration reduction activism, died last week. He founded the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Center for Immigration Studies, and other similar groups, as well as pushed legislation that would make English the official language. The Washington Post decided the best way to honor his life would be to smear him.

“John H. Tanton, a Michigan ophthalmologist who was the architect of a national anti-immigration movement that found expression in the policies of the administration of President Trump and who was labeled by watchdog groups as a thinly veiled white nationalist, died July 16 at a nursing center in Petoskey, Mich. He was 85,” read the opening paragraph of the Post’s obituary.

The obituary by Matt Schudel seemed interested only in airing opinions of Tanton from people who hated him. Schudel repeated the Southern Poverty Law Center’s slander that he was the “puppeteer” of the “anti-immigration movement.” The obit also mentioned that Tanton founded SPLC-designated “hate groups,” which include mainstream organizations such as FAIR and CIS.

Schudel quotes a random Republican saying in 1986 that Tanton’s groups “are a bunch of crazies . . . motivated by xenophobia and probably racism.” It quotes Carl Pope, a former head of the Sierra Club, denouncing him: “The whole idea of people trying to hijack an organization to advance their cause was outrageous,” Pope said in 2006. “And I found many of the things he had said since I had known him deplorable and unconscionable.” (In reality, Pope hijacked the Sierra Club and made it fanatically pro-immigration in order to please one megadonor.)

Tanton came to advocate immigration reduction out of conservationist concerns. He worked with the Sierra Club and other groups for many years before he was deemed a practitioner of “wrongthink” and purged. His immigration reductionism never caught on with the leadership of environmental groups.

It wasn’t just the SPLC and aggravated business-first Republicans who were quoted to trash Tanton.

“It’s sad,” Patrick Burns, former FAIR deputy director, told the Detroit News in 2017. “It’s like a dead cat in a well. It poisons a lot of good water. Tanton has been that cat for 30 years.”

No better way to mark a man’s passing than to evoke the image of a decaying feline corpse.

It is true that the SPLC and other groups have lambasted immigration reduction groups just because of Tanton’s comments. The Post notes that Tanton’s advocacy became controversial in the late 1980s after an internal memo was leaked. The memo asked provocative questions about what would happen if Hispanic immigration was left unchecked. Some of the questions asked in the memo included: “Do ethnic enclaves . . . constitute resegregation? As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion? Why don’t non-Hispanic Whites have a group identity, as do Blacks, Jews, Hispanics?”

The Post published some of these questions to imply Tanton was a thinly veiled white nationalist. Most of the memo concerned itself with the economic and cultural effects of mass Hispanic immigration and how America would be able to assimilate these newcomers. The questions were asked in the spirit of anticipating problems, fostering debate, and finding solutions.

Tanton himself disputed claims he was a racist: “I believe in the melting pot. I don’t care what the pigment in your skin is or the slant of your eyes.”

Besides the memo, the SPLC claimed Tanton was a dangerous extremist because of his private correspondence. The left-wing group trawled through thousands of letters and documents in Tanton’s archives at the University of Michigan to find the most damning statements. They found such offensive comments as this: “I have no doubt that individual minority persons can assimilate to the culture necessary to run an advanced society but if through mass migration, the culture of the homeland is transplanted from Latin America to California, then my guess is we will see the same degree of success with governmental and social institutions that we have seen in Latin America.”

This is hardly a radical position. The SPLC’s desire to uphold these views as proof Tanton was an extremist testifies more to their desperation than to his own beliefs.

Some conservatives have also attacked Tanton but from a different angle. They accuse him of being a eugenicist and an abortion supporter, thereby making the immigration groups he founded of also being eugenicists and abortion supporters. It is true that Tanton supported Planned Parenthood when he focused primarily on conservationist efforts. But his own views are not reflected by the immigration reduction groups. For instance, CIS executive director Mark Krikorian is staunchly pro-life.

And if conservatives got in the business of repudiating any person who was ever pro-abortion, they would have to denounce Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Donald Trump.

Tanton’s legacy should be remembered for his courageous advocacy of immigration reduction and making English the official language. Whatever his unorthodox views, the man ensured that there would be pushback when the swamp wanted another amnesty. His groups were instrumental in stopping amnesty in the Bush and Obama years. The SPLC dubbed FAIR a hate group due to its effectiveness in the 2006 amnesty fight. FAIR’s policies influenced Trump and now shape the Republican Party’s immigration platform. Without Tanton and the groups he founded, America would be in far worse shape today. The crazy ideas of the 2020 Democrats would have been implemented a long time ago.

Tanton was a small-town doctor who decided to make this country a better place. Conservatives may not agree with his conservationism and they certainly would disagree with his support of Planned Parenthood, but they have to respect him as the archetypal concerned citizen. America is great because it allows ordinary citizens to impact our political process.

Tanton should be honored for the good he did. The Washington Post only saw fit to compare him to a dead cat. It’s clear the Post thinks the admonition against speaking ill of the dead applies only when the dead have the “correct” politics.

Photo Credit: Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images

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Big Media • Immigration • Post • The Left

WaPo Smears Immigration Reduction Pioneer In Obit

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John Tanton, a pioneer in immigration reduction activism, died last week. He founded the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Center for Immigration Studies, and other similar groups, as well as pushed legislation that would make English the official language. The Washington Post decided the best way to honor his life would be to smear him.

“John H. Tanton, a Michigan ophthalmologist who was the architect of a national anti-immigration movement that found expression in the policies of the administration of President Trump and who was labeled by watchdog groups as a thinly veiled white nationalist, died July 16 at a nursing center in Petoskey, Mich. He was 85,” read the opening paragraph of the Post’s obituary.

The obituary by Matt Schudel seemed interested only in airing opinions of Tanton from people who hated him. Schudel repeated the Southern Poverty Law Center’s slander that he was the “puppeteer” of the “anti-immigration movement.” The obit also mentioned that Tanton founded SPLC-designated “hate groups,” which include mainstream organizations such as FAIR and CIS.

Schudel quotes a random Republican saying in 1986 that Tanton’s groups “are a bunch of crazies . . . motivated by xenophobia and probably racism.” It quotes Carl Pope, a former head of the Sierra Club, denouncing him: “The whole idea of people trying to hijack an organization to advance their cause was outrageous,” Pope said in 2006. “And I found many of the things he had said since I had known him deplorable and unconscionable.” (In reality, Pope hijacked the Sierra Club and made it fanatically pro-immigration in order to please one megadonor.)

Tanton came to advocate immigration reduction out of conservationist concerns. He worked with the Sierra Club and other groups for many years before he was deemed a practitioner of “wrongthink” and purged. His immigration reductionism never caught on with the leadership of environmental groups.

It wasn’t just the SPLC and aggravated business-first Republicans who were quoted to trash Tanton.

“It’s sad,” Patrick Burns, former FAIR deputy director, told the Detroit News in 2017. “It’s like a dead cat in a well. It poisons a lot of good water. Tanton has been that cat for 30 years.”

No better way to mark a man’s passing than to evoke the image of a decaying feline corpse.

It is true that the SPLC and other groups have lambasted immigration reduction groups just because of Tanton’s comments. The Post notes that Tanton’s advocacy became controversial in the late 1980s after an internal memo was leaked. The memo asked provocative questions about what would happen if Hispanic immigration was left unchecked. Some of the questions asked in the memo included: “Do ethnic enclaves . . . constitute resegregation? As Whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they simply go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion? Why don’t non-Hispanic Whites have a group identity, as do Blacks, Jews, Hispanics?”

The Post published some of these questions to imply Tanton was a thinly veiled white nationalist. Most of the memo concerned itself with the economic and cultural effects of mass Hispanic immigration and how America would be able to assimilate these newcomers. The questions were asked in the spirit of anticipating problems, fostering debate, and finding solutions.

Tanton himself disputed claims he was a racist: “I believe in the melting pot. I don’t care what the pigment in your skin is or the slant of your eyes.”

Besides the memo, the SPLC claimed Tanton was a dangerous extremist because of his private correspondence. The left-wing group trawled through thousands of letters and documents in Tanton’s archives at the University of Michigan to find the most damning statements. They found such offensive comments as this: “I have no doubt that individual minority persons can assimilate to the culture necessary to run an advanced society but if through mass migration, the culture of the homeland is transplanted from Latin America to California, then my guess is we will see the same degree of success with governmental and social institutions that we have seen in Latin America.”

This is hardly a radical position. The SPLC’s desire to uphold these views as proof Tanton was an extremist testifies more to their desperation than to his own beliefs.

Some conservatives have also attacked Tanton but from a different angle. They accuse him of being a eugenicist and an abortion supporter, thereby making the immigration groups he founded of also being eugenicists and abortion supporters. It is true that Tanton supported Planned Parenthood when he focused primarily on conservationist efforts. But his own views are not reflected by the immigration reduction groups. For instance, CIS executive director Mark Krikorian is staunchly pro-life.

And if conservatives got in the business of repudiating any person who was ever pro-abortion, they would have to denounce Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Donald Trump.

Tanton’s legacy should be remembered for his courageous advocacy of immigration reduction and making English the official language. Whatever his unorthodox views, the man ensured that there would be pushback when the swamp wanted another amnesty. His groups were instrumental in stopping amnesty in the Bush and Obama years. The SPLC dubbed FAIR a hate group due to its effectiveness in the 2006 amnesty fight. FAIR’s policies influenced Trump and now shape the Republican Party’s immigration platform. Without Tanton and the groups he founded, America would be in far worse shape today. The crazy ideas of the 2020 Democrats would have been implemented a long time ago.

Tanton was a small-town doctor who decided to make this country a better place. Conservatives may not agree with his conservationism and they certainly would disagree with his support of Planned Parenthood, but they have to respect him as the archetypal concerned citizen. America is great because it allows ordinary citizens to impact our political process.

Tanton should be honored for the good he did. The Washington Post only saw fit to compare him to a dead cat. It’s clear the Post thinks the admonition against speaking ill of the dead applies only when the dead have the “correct” politics.

Photo Credit: Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images

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Administrative State • Big Media • Deep State • Donald Trump • Political Parties • Post • The Media

The ‘Marlene Effect’: Why Our Reasonable Neighbors Are Blind to the Deep State

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In an essay that I published recently at The American Mind, I argue that we need a conservative revolution to reclaim our constitutional republic. Exposing the deep state is a necessary condition for this revolution. By deep state, I mean a species of corruption exercised by a largely hidden elite almost completely insulated from the oversight of the sovereign people. This elite act in direct violation of the principles of limited and balanced government as well as democratic participation.

While the evidence for this corruption is overwhelming, the soft power of both the deep state and the institutions supporting it is so great that public opinion remains largely immune to evidence, even as those Americans who are “woke” to it, strive to resist. It is here where the most insidious consequences of the deep state begin to come into view.

How do people with reasonable and moderate political views and who possess the typical American generosity of soul refuse to believe something so obvious to so many others? I’ll call this the Marlene effect, after one concrete example of my acquaintance. Marlene has a general faith in the American government and in the public discourse about politics and issues found in legacy media outlets. 

So far as she is concerned, the news she gets every day is fair if not entirely unbiased. Her exposure to Donald Trump through the media, long before the election, sparked in her an aesthetic disgust with him.  He is not (or is not portrayed) as the sort of man she could admire. Because she shared this revulsion with those in her social circle, her views became hardened and, to her, altogether obvious. Every story amplifies her feelings. 

When Donald Trump was elected, this patriot of some 80 years could only be baffled by the results. By logical necessity, she had to assume that her proper disgust at the misogynist president ought to be extended to a great many citizens who have now become alien to her—the “other” who she thinks threatens the values that she associates with the America of her experience and the America of her dreams. 

Marlene has become, unexpectedly and suddenly, aware of a hidden America, a dangerous America, and now she is able to see in all manner of symbols (words, cars, hats, and so many more that suddenly fit her new social and moral map of America) the deplorables who are all around her: driving down the road, standing next to her in the grocery store, or fixing her plumbing. 

Fortunately, the most powerful institutions in America offered Marlene hope. Her most trusted news sources promised Marlene that this stain on America’s reputation, this global embarrassment of a president, would be brought down. The most respected people in her world—the FBI, Justice Department, and perhaps seasoned, wise public servants at other federal agencies—were taking their constitutional and moral duties seriously to remove the president for cause. Marlene sought information daily on the gossip and developments of the Mueller investigation and other efforts, but she did so through the news sources that she trusted. Insofar as she heard about any alternatives to these sources or was subjected to alternative interpretations, she was regularly reassured that they were conspiracy theorists and cranks who are not to be trusted—they were part of the problem, the philistines to be vanquished. 

When disconcerting evidence emerged and the facts lined up against the narrative that she had internalized, her trusted sources supplied her with odd and strained explanations and asserted a bit more loudly that whatever you think you see is not actually there. Only the narrative is true—trust the narrative, not the facts. The guardians of public opinion promise to make the crooked line of evidence straight for you. Marlene is reminded of the self-evident truth beneath the evidence: Trump is bad, the Democrats in Congress and their allies in the trusted government agencies are trying to protect American principles, and the media is there to supply you with a comforting and useful narrative. 

The deepest problem is that Marlene is not capable of challenging this narrative. To do so would be to risk both social alienation and her own sense of place in the world. 

The Marlene effect is particularly strong among educated (especially professional) people over age 50 who have long thought of themselves as moderate, practical, and deeply informed. They care about cultural, social, and aesthetic trends and plug into the most socially acceptable forms of information that keep them connected to the cosmopolitan trends appropriate to their actual or aspirational station. The more geographically distant from the center of cultural and social power, the more powerful the Marlene effect on those needing reliable sources to provide them with the right opinions, tastes, and styles.

The distance between Marlene and the evidence, coupled with the need to have the correct opinion on matters she is incapable of assessing directly, puts her completely at the mercy of the sources of authoritative information and assessment that she has chosen. More than perhaps any other segment of the population, those afflicted by the Marlene effect are most controlled by a public opinion generated by elite institutions rather than by their own experiences (indeed, as we noted before, their experiences are shaped by the opinions with which they are supplied). Like all provincials who aspire to be known for their cosmopolitanism, Marlene cannot question the authority of her sources without exposing her complete dependence on the work of others for her most cherished opinions and values. 

The Marlene effect makes people immune to evidence and dependent on a constructed narrative. The Marlene effect reveals that the most important battle is about who gets to define reality for the citizens of a self-ruling nation.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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Big Media • Democrats • Donald Trump • Immigration • Post

Smoke and Mirrors at the Border

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Recently we had confirmation of what every sensible observer has long known: the media narrative about a Trumpian reign of terror at the border is absolute nonsense.

Statistics from the Border Patrol confirm that the number of deaths of border-crossers in 2017 and 2018 were close to an all-time low. This comes despite intense mainstream media attention paid to each and every border death in recent weeks and months, and especially the deaths of a Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande. The press has been covering these deaths as though they were unprecedented. In reality, many more illegal immigrants died during the Obama years—provoking complete media indifference. Odd, no?

In addition, while the press has focused on internal government documents and eyewitness reports indicating problems in detention facilities caused by overcrowding, it has failed to put these allegations of poor treatment—sometimes blown out of proportion, as when Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called them “concentration camps”—into proper context.

Whenever the border is inundated with migrants, the resources of ICE, Border Patrol, and the Department of Health and Human Services inevitably are stretched thin. Some agency standards are therefore not met. This was true under Obama no less than under Trump. The difference? The failures and missteps of government agencies under Obama were a nonissue for the media. Today, they are treated as a travesty, proof of President Trump’s alleged racism, and a national disgrace—despite the improvements in migrant services that the Trump Administration has achieved.

What changed? The insurgent attitude of the media changed, of course. Now its mission is to topple Trump’s presidency, by any means necessary.

Likewise, the separation of migrant children from their parents or guardians after their apprehension by U.S. authorities received little media attention when it occurred regularly during Obama’s tenure. In addition, the constant and ongoing separation of incarcerated U.S. citizens from their children is of no interest to our corporate leftist press. The occasional and temporary separation of illegal immigrant parents from their children under Trump is, by contrast, treated as a human rights emergency.

In the same vein, the brisk pace of deportations under President Obama elicited little outrage from the media, while deportations under President Trump, which are occurring at a lower rate, are pitched as an all-encompassing, indiscriminate dragnet ensnaring all “immigrants.”

This counterfactual—or, to put it more succinctly, “fake”—reportage, indicating a massive increase in U.S. government-sponsored inhumanity at the border and in immigration enforcement, is paralleled in its sheer disingenuousness by the media’s faulty analysis of “Russiagate.” Despite the lack of evidence to indicate any illegal or nefarious connections between the 2016 Trump campaign, the Trump Administration, and Russia, the press repeated unconfirmed rumors and idle speculation so incessantly that it convinced a significant portion of the American people that their president is, in fact, an agent of a hostile foreign power. A neat trick.

The truth, of course, is that the only thing remarkable about the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia is that there were exceedingly few of them. In fact, the Trump campaign was the least compromised, in terms of foreign connections and entanglements, of any major party presidential campaign in recent memory.

Trump, after all, was an outsider, as were many of his campaign staff. An insider campaign like that of Hillary Clinton, by contrast, of necessity included numerous officials with a long history of Russian, and other foreign, connections. And yet the media never disclosed this important context, so that its false narrative of “Trump-Russia ties” would seem more credible.

At the border, in terms of Russiagate, and with respect to a litany of other domestic and foreign policy issues, the media has chosen to forfeit its credibility and to report the news deceptively—all in an effort to foment support for the impeachment of Donald Trump, or, as a fallback, his decisive defeat in 2020.

One is tempted to say that the gentlemen (and ladies) of the press must be “lying” about Trump and the news in general. Lying, however, requires conscious and intentional falsehoods, whereas the reality, in a depressing number of cases, appears to be that the media believes its own “spin.” That is, reporters and news editors are so profoundly debilitated by Trump Derangement Syndrome that their capacity to distinguish truth from falsities has all but evaporated. They believe every distortion and fabrication about Trump, in other words, for no better reason than because they want to.

Whether the media is “lying” or not, however, is irrelevant in two senses: either way, their reportage is false, and in addition it is worse than useless, because it is doing permanent damage to American democracy and to the image of this country abroad.

The only remedy? The American people must switch off CNN and MSNBC, and cancel their subscriptions to the New York Times and the Washington Post. Only abject commercial failure can kill off these journalistic abominations, which is what they so richly deserve.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

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Big Media • China • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Post

Dear President Trump: Stay the Course on China

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Editor’s note: The Washington Post on July 3 published an open letter to President Trump titled, “China is not an enemy.” Signed by 95 self-described “members of the scholarly, foreign policy, military and business communities”—many of whom have played a role in shaping U.S. policy with China over the past 40 years—the letter criticizes the president’s approach to China as “fundamentally counterproductive” and urges a “balance of competition and cooperation.”

In response, more than 135 foreign policy experts, scholars, writers, ex-military officers, and business people signed an open letter authored by retired U.S. Navy Captain James E. Fanell, the former director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, rebutting the Post letter and urging the president to “stay the course.”

The letter first appeared at the Journal of Political Risk.

Dear President Trump,

Over America’s exceptional history, successive generations have risen to the challenge of protecting and furthering our founding principles, and defeating existential threats to our liberties and those of our allies. Today, our generation is challenged to do the same by a virulent and increasingly dangerous threat to human freedoms—the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through the nation it misrules: the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The Chinese Communists’ stated ambitions are antithetical to America’s strategic interests, and the PRC is increasingly taking actions that imperil the United States and our allies. The past forty years during which America pursued an open policy of “engagement” with the PRC have contributed materially to the incremental erosion of U.S. national security.

This cannot be permitted to continue.

China is not as we wish it to be. In our political system, politics is the norm, and war is the exception. It is explicitly the opposite in the PRC’s worldview. Going forward, we must better understand and deal with this dangerous asymmetry.

We the undersigned, are encouraged by the broad and coherent strategy of robust, alternative policies you have adopted to confront the PRC’s campaign to undermine the national interests of the United States and its allies. We encourage you to stay the course on your path of countering Communist China.

We acknowledge and support your robust National Security Strategy that properly sets forth why the United States must counter the PRC. Opposing the advance of tyranny is fully in keeping with the founding principles of America and our rich heritage of defending freedom and liberty, both at home and, where necessary, abroad.

We note the PRC does not recognize the principles and rules of the existing international order, which under a Pax Americana has enabled the greatest period of peace and global prosperity in mankind’s history. The PRC rejects this order both ideologically and in practice. China’s rulers openly proclaim and insist on a new set of rules to which other nations must conform, such as their efforts to dominate the East and South China Seas and the so-called “Belt and Road Initiative,” with its debt-trap diplomacy, designed to extend such hegemony worldwide. The only persistently defining principle of the CCP is the sustainment and expansion of its power.

Over the past forty years of Sino-American relations, many American foreign policy experts did not accurately assess the PRC’s intentions or attributed the CCP’s reprehensible conduct to the difficulties of governing a country of 1.3 billion people. American policymakers were told time and again by these adherents of the China-engagement school that the PRC would become a “responsible stakeholder” once a sufficient level of economic modernization was achieved. This did not happen and cannot so long as the CCP rules China.

The PRC routinely and systematically suppresses religious freedom and free speech, including the imprisonment of over one million citizens in Xinjiang and the growing suppression of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The PRC also routinely violates its obligations, as it does with the World Trade Organization, freedom of navigation and the protection of coral reefs in the South China Sea. Beijing then demands that its own people and the rest of the world accept their false narratives and justifications, demands aptly termed as “Orwellian nonsense.”

The PRC is not and never has been a peaceful regime. It uses economic and military force—what it calls its “comprehensive national power”—to bully and intimidate others. The PRC threatens to wage war against a free and democratically led Taiwan.

It is expanding its reach around the globe, co-opting our allies and other nations with the promise of economic gain, often with authoritarian capitalism posing as free commerce, corrupt business practices that go-unchecked, state-controlled entities posing as objective academic, scientific or media institutions and trade and development deals that lack reciprocity, transparency and sustainability. The CCP corrupts everything it touches.

This expansionism is not random or ephemeral. It is manifestly the unfolding of the CCP’s grand strategy. The Party’s ambitions have been given many names, most recently the “China Dream,” the “great rejuvenation” of China, or the “Community of Common Destiny.” The “Dream” envisioned by the Communist Party is a nightmare for the Chinese people and the rest of the world.

We firmly support the Chinese people, the vast majority of whom want to live peaceful lives.

But we do not support the Communist government of China, nor its control by the dangerous Xi Jinping clique. We welcome the measures you have taken to confront Xi’s government and selectively to decouple the U.S. economy from China’s insidious efforts to weaken it. No amount of U.S. diplomatic, economic, or military “engagement” will disrupt the CCP’s grand strategy.

If there is any sure guide to diplomatic success, it is that when America leads—other nations follow. If history has taught us anything it is that clarity and commitment of leadership in addressing existential threats, like from the PRC, will be followed by our allies when policy prescriptions such as yours become a reality. The PRC’s immediate strategy is to delay, stall, and otherwise wait out your presidency. Every effort must be made therefore to institutionalize now the policies and capabilities that can rebalance our economic relations with China, strengthen our alliances with like-minded democracies and ultimately to defeat the PRC’s global ambitions to suppress freedom and liberty.

Stay the course!

James E. Fanell

Captain, USN (Ret)

Former Director of Intelligence & Information Operations U.S. Pacific Fleet

List of U.S. Signatures (Alphabetically as of July 18, 2019)

Willard Anderson

Clarence Anthony
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Rod Azama
Director, The Chancellor Group

Bob Baker
Former US Army Intelligence Analyst

Tim Beard
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)

Michael Bender
Commander, USN (Ret)

Kenneth Benway
Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)
U.S. Army Special Forces

Paul Berkowitz
Former Staff Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

Joseph Bosco
Retired, Department of Defense

E. Bostwick Jr.
Senior Intelligence Officer, GS-15 (Ret) USPACOM

Christopher Brassard
President, Ten Eyck Group

Robert Brodsky
Captain, USN (Ret)

Nick Buck
Captain, USN (Ret)

Naushard Cader
Board Member/Director
Center for War and Peace Studies

Roger Canfield
Author americong.com and VVFH.org

Kevin Carrico
Senior Lecturer
Monash University

Dennis Carroll

Gordon Chang
Writer

Edward Connelly, Ph.D.
Chinese, Australian National University
Independent Translator

David Connelly III
Captain, USN (Ret)

Henry F. Cooper
Ambassador, former Chief Defense & Space Negotiator with the Soviet Union, SDI Director

Anders Corr, Ph.D.
Publisher, Journal of Political Risk

Demetrius Cox
Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret)
U.S. Pacific Fleet Veteran Intelligence Officer

Michael Craven

Iara Celeste Diaz
Painter

Kenneth deGraffenreid
Former Special Assistant to the President, Senior Director of Intelligence Programs, Ronald Reagan National Security Council

Donny DeLeon
Filipino American Human Rights Alliance

Chuck DeVore
Lieutenant Colonel, USAR (Ret)
California State Assemblyman, 2004-2010; Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1986-1988

Markham Dossett
Commander, USNR (ret)

June Teufel-Dreyer
Professor of Political Science University of Miami

Ian Easton
Research Fellow, Project 2049 Institute

Robert D. Eldridge
President, The Eldridge Think Tank

Richard Fisher

Nels Frye

Art Furtney
Major, USMC, (Ret)

Frank J. Gaffney
Vice Chairman, Committee on the Present Danger: China

Samantha Gay

Kerry K. Gershaneck
Professor & Senior Research Associate, Thammasat University Faculty of Law (CPG)

Bill Gertz
Author of Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China’s Drive for Global Supremacy

Paul Giarra
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret)

Jose Gonzalez

Chadwick Gore
Former Staff Director House Foreign Affairs Europe, Eurasia, Emerging Threats subcommittee

James Grundvig
Freelance Investigative Journalist

Ilango Gurusamy
Owner, Freedom on Wheels LLC and Propellant Software

Lianchao Han
Vice-President Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Heath Hansen
Specialist, USA (Ret)
Veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan

William Hawkins
President Hamilton Center for National Strategy

Donald Henry
Captain, USN, (Ret)

William C. Horn
Captain, USN (Ret)

Bradley Johnson
President Americans for Intelligence Reform

Frank Kelly
Captain, USN (Ret)

James D. Kelly
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)
President Center for International Exchange-US (NPO)

Miles Killoch

Roy Kirvan, Ph.D.
U.S. Intelligence Community (Ret)

Ted Kresge
Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)
Former Vice Commander U.S. Pacific Air Forces

Emil Levine
Captain, USNR (Ret)

Steve Lewandowski

Claire Lopez
VP for Research & Analysis
Center for Security Policy

Ben Lowsen
China Strategist U.S. Air Force / Sawdey Solution Services, LLC

Holly Lynch
Democrat Candidate for NY’s 10th Congressional District

Tim Lyon
Captain, USN (Ret)

Victor Mair
Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Rod Martin
Founder & CEO The Martin Organization, Inc.

Tidal W. McCoy
Former Acting Secretary of the U.S. Air Force

Thomas G. McInerney
Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)
Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force

Randy McSmith
Master Chief Petty Officer, USN (Ret)

John Mengel
Captain, USN (Ret)

Paul Midler
Author of What’s Wrong with China

John Mills
Colonel, USAR (Ret)
Director (Ret) Cybersecurity Policy, Strategy, and International Affairs

James Mishina
Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)

Wayne Morris
Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Steven Mosher
President, Population Research Institute

Denis Muller
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Merle Mulvaney
Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret)
Member, Red Star Rising

Charles “Chuck” Nash
Captain USN (Ret)

Jim Newman
Captain, USN (Ret)
JHU/APL

Grant Newsham
Colonel, USMCR (retired)
Visiting Scholar, National Chengchi University, Taiwan

Roscoe Nicholson II
International Consultant

Peter O’Brien
Captain, USN (Ret)

Edward O’Dowd
Ph.D. and Colonel, USA (Ret)

Kyle Olbert
Director of Operations, East Turkistan National Awakening Movement

Don Oliphant
President, DWO Enterprises

Robert Oster
Private Investor

Rebeca Page
Publisher
SD Metro Magazine

Robert Page
Chairman/CEO, REP Publishing, Inc.

Russ Penniman
Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)
Former Reserve Deputy Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet

Lawrence Peter
Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret)

Peter Pry
Doctor and Director, EMP Task Force

Robert Rector

Eric Reddig
U.S. Navy Veteran

J.R. Reddig
Captain, USN (Ret)

Louis Riggio

Eric Rohrbach

Robert Rohrer

Gerard Roncolato
Captain, USN (Ret.)

Warren Henry Rothman

Robert Rubel
Captain, USN (Ret)

Mark Safranski
Publisher, zenpundit.com

Junko Sakamoto
Consultant

Michael Schauf
Captain USN (Ret)
Military Intelligence

Stuart Schippereit
Commander, USN (Ret)
Former naval intelligence analyst

Paul Schmehl
VVFH

Suzanne Scholte
President, Defense Forum Foundation
Carl Schuster

Captain, USN (Ret)
Adjunct Faculty, Hawaii Pacific University

Dan Seesholtz
Captain, USN (Ret)
Lawrence Sellin

Colonel, USAR (Ret)
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran

William Sharp
Former Host, Asia in Review

Stephen Sherman
Director, RADIX Foundation

Scott Shipman
Owner, B.B. Hoss, Inc.

Joseph Smith
President (Ret), Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals

Fred Smith
Captain, USN (Ret)
Lecturer, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Peter Smith
Captain, USN (Ret)
Consultant

Pete Speer
Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret)
Member, Red Star Rising

William A. Stanton
Former Director of the American Institute in Taiwan

Guy Stitt
CEO AMI International

Duane Stober
Captain, USNR (Ret)
Former Reserve Intelligence Coordinator Area One

Mark Stokes
Executive Director, Project 2049 Institute

Fred Stratton
Commander, USN (Ret)

Gary Stubblefield
Commander, USN (Ret)

John Tate
Commander, USN (Ret)

Bradley Thayer
Professor, University of Texas San Antonio

Mark Tiernan
Captain, USNR (Ret)

John J. Tkacik
Director, Future Asia Project International Assessment and Strategy Center

Don Tse
Lead researcher, SinoInsider

Paul Valleley
Major General, USA (Ret)
Chairman Stand Up America

John E. Vinson
Captain, USN (Ret)

Thomas Wade

Arthur Waldron
Lauder Professor of International Relations
University of Pennsylvania

Yana Way
Educator, Way Tutoring

Toshi Yoshihara
Ph.D., Author Red Star Over the Pacific

James Zumwalt
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret)

Jennifer Zeng
Author of Witnessing History: One Woman’s Fight for Freedom and Falun Gong

Foreign Signatures (As of July 18, 2019)

Terence Russell
Senior Scholar University of Manitoba
Canada

Doris Liu
Independent documentary journalist
Canada

Jianli Yang
Founder & President Citizen Power Initiatives for China
China

Elena Bernini
CEO Oxford Omnia International
Italy

Satoshi Nishihata
Washington Bureau Chief The Liberty, Happy Science USA
Japan

Larry Ong
Senior analyst, SinoInsider
Singapore

Chu-cheng Ming
Senior researcher SinoInsider
Taiwan

Photo Credit: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

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Big Media • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Free Speech • Identity Politics • Political Parties • Post • The Left

Of Tweets and Hysterics

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Last weekend’s demented political theatrics have me enraged. I am livid this time not because leftists are calling for open borders or disarming law-abiding citizens. No, as has often happened over the past four years, I am furious more because of statements made by people who claim to be on my side. 

Sunday morning President Trump tweeted. He basically reworded the legendary 1960s-era bumper sticker: “America, Love it or Leave it.” Then a whole lot of people who claim to love America lost their teeny tiny minds. 

I am not speaking of The Bulwark “conservatives”—the people “conserving conservatism” by endorsing socialists. No, this hysteria enveloped even normally sane commentators and politicians. Conservatives who claim to support President Trump joined The Bulwark gang on their fainting couches and borrowed their pearls for clutching. “Well, I never!”

 All this drama was inspired because of statements that strike us normal Republicans not succumbing to the poisonous odors Beltway emanating from the atmosphere—you know, those of us out here in voter land—as simple, common sense. Not only was there nothing wrong with President Trump’s tweets, they were a brilliant tactical attack.

With a series of tweets that named no names, President Trump forced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to own her radical wing. In very few words on a Sunday morning, Trump made an anti-Semite the face of the Democratic Party. Pelosi had two choices. She could stand up for the outright anti-American, anti-Semitic, spiteful squad, or she would be seen as agreeing with the dreaded Donald J. Trump. 

President Trump sprang a trap on Pelosi and was rewarded by the weaklings on his own side wailing like babies with wet diapers.

It astounds me that suddenly Nancy Pelosi is being portrayed as the moderate, and voice of reason in the Democratic party. Pelosi rose to power representing the radical San Francisco Left, hence the nickname “San Fran Nan.” Her election to House Minority Leader was seen as the Democrats moving as far left as possible. Once in power, she made it her life’s work to rid the party of the so-called Blue Dog Democrats. She sacrificed the party’s moderates to ram Obamacare through Congress. Yes for a time that cost her the Speaker’s gavel. But Pelosi plays the long game and plays it well.

Just last year, Democrats running for Congress ran ads insisting they would be nothing like Pelosi. The American people for no earthly reason bought their pretense of moderation. Once the Democrats had their majority back, that pretense went out the window 

Then, completely out of the blue, Pelosi found herself in conflict with freshmen members of Congress. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her testy trio moved the Overton Window so far to the left that “San Fran Nan” is now supposedly a moderate. This, too, is only more of Pelosi’s long game. 

In reality, Pelosi has done nothing as the party’s radical base has grown ever more vocal. Ocasio-Cortez’s cry of racism suddenly makes Pelosi, who is as conniving as any Borgia, look like a poor old lady being called names by a mean girl Millennial. It’s been a brilliant plan. Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar make the rest of the Democrats look evenhanded. Meanwhile, the rest of the Democrats pay no price for their own party’s growing anti-Americanism.

President Trump saw through the Democrat’s kabuki theater. The president brilliantly figured out a way to tie Ocasio-Cortez and Omar to Pelosi’s tail. No more standing above the fray and pretending to be in control as the Democrats controlled us. Pelosi would have to condemn President Trump and therefore embrace the commie quad. President Trump has turned on the kitchen light and the America-hating cockroaches are scurrying. But so are those with weak stomachs who are supposed to be on America’s side.

No, the president was not wrong to tell Omar (without mentioning her by name) to go back to where she came from. He is only wrong for not deporting her for her violations of immigration law. Neither is it wrong to tell Rashida Tilab and Ocasio-Cortez to return to their parent’s points of origin if the United States is so very much to their disliking. No, the president is most certainly not wrong to tell people to love this country or get out. 

This is where a lot of conventional conservative commentators lose the thread. People often say that President Trump is playing 3D chess while everyone else is playing checkers. It is far more vicious than that. For decades, the Democrats have been playing the “Hunger Games”—no rules, no mercy. They have hit below the belt and gouged out eyes. Democrats have done whatever it takes to win. Meanwhile, Republicans and the conservative movement have kindly and gently requested if maybe just this one time perhaps the Democrats could obey the law. 

So now we are $22 trillion in debt, and states are bankrupting florists and bakers because they won’t involuntarily offer their moral support to notions they can’t in good conscience abide. That’s where the party of Emily Post has gotten us.

Here, at last, we have a president who is willing to fight the Democrats at their own game, eye gouge to eye gouge, face kick to face kick. It’s not pretty. But it is far better than letting the ignorant Ocasio-Cortez turn Pelosi Borgia into the voice of moderation.

And to all the alleged conservatives still hysterical about President Trump’s successful strategy: if you won’t fight for this country, at least get the hell out of the way of the man who does. 

Photo credit: TKTKT

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Big Media • Democrats • Identity Politics • Post • The Left • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker)

Welcome to the Democrats’ ‘Truman Show’

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Last week’s congressional immigration and border security hearing was a microcosmic embodiment of the “The Truman Show” world of the Democratic Party.

Remember that 1998 film, when Jim Carrey was actually a good actor? When his character, Truman Burbank, discovers that his entire life had been scripted for television from birth, he forgoes his life of comfortable fantasy for the uncomfortable world of freedom; the other side of the door Burbank walks through is frightening, but worth it. 

U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who spoke (well, grandstanded is more like it) at the hearing, are the opposite of the Burbank character at the movie’s conclusion. They have spent the entirety of their brief political careers as Manchurian candidates and Manchurian congresswomen. They haven’t shunned their existences as political actresses who inhabit fantastical worlds of fake tears and faux outrage, which were on full display at the hearing; rather, they have lovingly embraced it. 

Yes, theatrics are inherent in politics; the political thespians, however, have wooed and wowed America’s useful idiots with Streepian smoothness. 

Every nanosecond of Burbank’s life was predetermined by Christof, the creator of “The Truman Show”; the taxpayer-funded activist actresses’ Christofs are the non-profits MoveOn and Justice Democrats, a political action committee formed in 2017 by Breadline Bernie Sanders alums and Cenk Uygur, one of the creators of “The Young Turks,” who was a Republican, before he was an independent, before he was a Democrat. 

Are Capitol Hill Republicans actually aware that Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, and Tlaib are taxpayer-funded activist actresses? If not, why not? If so, why not say so?

All the World’s a Stage
From crying-on-demand, to teeth cleanings, to haircuts, to sniffing hair, to cracking open coldies, to jerk chicken marinade in the kitchen and to men kissing their husbands, Democrats have created for their voters a world where truth and reality are indefinitely suspended, supplanted by fairy tales; this is manifested in their anti-American policy proposals. 

All the world’s a stage, and the men and women mere players; irrespective of influence and propaganda, adults are responsible for their own actions and decisions. But the Democrat delusions of grandeur pervasive throughout the republic—buttressed by lies, conspiracy theories and myths that the DMIC (Democrat Media Industrial Complex) rarely challenge—are dangerous and deadly. 

Men are women. Hillary Clinton “won” the 2016 presidential election. Inequality is the new equality. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. On and on. Democrats live in a politically manufactured world akin to Truman Burbank’s “reality” TV world.

Are Democrats incapable of recognizing truth when they see it? I’ve long said that Democrats don’t actually believe the bull dung they peddle, whether it be “fundamental transformation,” “democratic socialism” or “it takes a village.” What if I’m mistaken, however? The only people who frighten me more than those who spout but don’t believe the crap coming out of their mouths are the ones who do believe it.

Inequality Is the New Equality
When it comes to Democrats, there are myriad “Truman Show” examples to choose from, day in and day out. With all due respect, if any of you reading this can’t name one instantaneously, then you’re not paying attention. The Equality Act, passed two months ago by every Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives and eight Tessio Republicans, is particularly telling. (Inspired by Sal Tessio from “The Godfather,” who intentionally betrays the Corleone family, a Tessio Republican is one who intentionally betrays America First principles of nationalism, constitutional liberties, free markets, and common sense.) 

Democrats pushed the Equality Act through because their world is one where males who decide they’re females should be able to compete in women’s sports. Democrats sell this stranger-than-science-fiction narrative because it’s what they believe their voters want to buy. The bill isn’t going to become law, thank God, because it will fail in the Senate.  

It’s not just that Democrats destroy everything they touch, it’s that their supposed Midas touch never turns anything to gold. Does any Democrat in Congress, or any of their voters, realize that? 

The “party of science” couldn’t be more anti-science. The “party of women” couldn’t be any more misogynistic (and misandrist, for that matter). The “party of the youth” couldn’t be any more anti-child, as evidenced by its fetish for 40-week abortions, as well as their zealous political exploitation-engineering of the youth in our schools, culture, and media. 

Democrats spit in the faces of Naomi Fraley, who inspired the World War II-era poster girl “Rosie the Riveter,” women’s suffrage heroines Ida B. Wells and Susan B. Anthony, and every woman who demanded—and achieved—true equality. Wham bam thank you, ma’am! Or is it “sir”? With Democrats, it can be confusing. 

Democrats have set women’s equality back a century. Are there any prominent Democrats in the country willing to stand up against their party’s apparatus? If you want true diversity and equality, strive for excellence—not pseudo-science. “Transgender” men don’t need red carpets rolled out for them to compete against the weaker biological sex; they need an intervention that prevents them from becoming the next statistic in the rising transgender suicide body count.  

Democrats are actually the exact opposite of what they proclaim to be about; it’s why they constantly employ the first rule of propaganda: to accuse your opposition of that which you yourself are guilty. This illogic is the norm, not the exception, in the “Truman Show” habitat Democrats inhabit. 

Democrats view governing as a vanity project. The AOCs, Omars, and Tlaibs (among many others) are traitorous burdens to our country and serve zero legislative purpose. They seek not to govern, or achieve, or represent—they seek to take our money and take our freedoms, and invoke ideologies shaped and influenced by the worst ideologies in Man’s history. Look how pathetic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Representative Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) are. Pelosi, 79, can barely get through a press conference. Nadler, 71, fainted a few months ago. I’m not an ageist, and I wish no ill will toward either, but rather than retire and spend time with the grandkids, they will spend their twilight years propagating Russian collusion/obstruction of justice/cover-up/whatever’s next-lies that they know are lies.

To bridge our divide, the Democrats must be conquered; perhaps then, there can be political peace. Truman Burbank overcame the false hope and tyranny of a life of fantasy and make-believe. It needs to end badly at the polls for the Democrats. We on the America First nationalist side seek calm, and to have our rights, our families, and our businesses left alone. Continue challenging us, though, and I promise we will fight back 10 times, 100 times, 1,000 times more fiercely than anything they want to toss at us from fantasyland.  

In the end, Truman defeated the world of la-la land. Conquer, or be conquered. 

Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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Big Media • Post • race

CNN Tries, Fails to Get GOP Women to Denounce Trump’s ‘Racist’ Tweets

CNN tried but failed to get a focus group of Republican women to denounce President Trump’s recent tweets slamming four far-left congresswomen (known as “the Squad”) as racist.

As everyone on the planet is now surely aware, Trump blasted the women — without naming names — on Twitter Sunday, suggesting that “they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Many in the media have conveniently forgotten to mention his next line: “Then come back and show us how it’s done.” Trump’s tweets were understood to be targeting Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).  All of the women except for Omar were born in the United States.

Broadcasting from Dallas, Texas, CNN’s Randi Kay put forth her best effort Tuesday night, but was unable to get anyone on the panel to agree that Trump is a racist.

“It seems as though there is nothing that Donald Trump can do to shake these eight Republican women,” Kaye declared at the start of the segment. “And even in this most recent controversy, they feel that these congresswomen are racist — and Donald Trump still has their full support.”

All eight women raised their hands when Kaye asked who thought Trump’s tweets were not racist.

“They hate America,” panelist Dena Miller said. “If it’s so bad, there’s a lot of places they can go.”

Kaye seemed taken aback when another panelist said, “I’m a brown-skinned woman, I am a legal immigrant, I agree with him.”

“You don’t think that’s racist?” Kaye asked.

No, not at all,” the woman replied.

Another woman suggested that it is the Squad’s far-left ideology that makes them seem un-American to conservatives — not their skin color: “It’s a demonstration of how their ideology spills over, even though they’re American now — so to speak — they’re not acting American,” she explained.

One of the GOP voters said the left-wing congresswomen were “inciting hatred and division — and that’s not what our country is about.”

“Don’t you think that’s what the president is doing with his racist comments?” Kaye pressed.

“But he didn’t say anything about color,” the woman replied. Another panelist chimed in, saying “the president is not racist” and that he loves all people “across the board.”

The CNN host then read the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of “racism,” apparently under the mistaken impression that it buttressed her argument.

“A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race,” she said, quoting Merriam-Webster.

Of course, nothing the Trump said in his tweets — or has ever said — suggests that he believes in the superiority of any particular race.

Kaye asked the panelists: “Based on that definition, do you not think that what the president has been saying …”

The women jumped in to disagree before Kaye could finish her question.

“He dated a black woman for two years, two of his wives are immigrants,” said Gina O’Briant. “He is not a xenophobic racist.”

“The first black billionaire is endorsing Trump. How can you call him racist?” another woman asked.

She was referring to media mogul Robert Johnson, who said in a recent video that the Democrat party has moved too far to the left and gave Trump an A+ on the economy.

“I give the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large number of Americans,” Johnson said on CNBC, last week. Overall, if you look at the U.S. economy, if you look at the number of people who are no longer looking for jobs but are now seeing the opportunity for job growth, you’ve got to give the president an A+ for that.”

Perhaps because of this, the president has enjoyed historic approval ratings among black voters.

Kaye pointed out that the congresswomen claim they ran for office “because they explicitly love this country,” seeming to take them at their word.

But the Republican panelists were skeptical.

“So they say,” one woman said.

“You’re saying they hate this country?” Kaye asked.

“Yes,” another woman replied.

“Do you think it’s just a coincidence that these four congresswomen that the president is going after, none of them are white?” Kaye asked.

“Yes,” several of the women replied in unison.

Dena Miller, one of the Republicans on the panel, asked why none of four congresswomen were white.

“Why are they not racist?” she asked. “How come they haven’t befriended one of their white, female, congresswoman colleagues?”

“Because they won’t,” one of the Republicans said. “That’s a good point,” another added.

“Because they don’t like white people,” Miller concluded. “They’re racist.”

(Photo by Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Post • The Left

The White Supremacist Bogeyman

They are everywhere.

I am talking, of course, about white supremacists. The news media, Democrats, and NeverTrump Republicans would have us believe the country is under siege by a sinister cabal of Americans who want to return to the days of Jim Crow, or better yet, the era of slavery. Since the election of Donald Trump, white supremacists, we are warned, occupy the White House and control the Republican Party.

The signs are everywhere.

A MAGA hat is the new white hood. A common hand signal for “OK” actually is a way to send a message of solidarity to other white supremacists. So is drinking a glass of milk. Or owning a dog. Or selling an athletic shoe embossed with an American flag designed by Betsy Ross.

Public schools can now access a “toolkit” with lots of advice about how to combat the “rise” in white nationalism. (It is important to note that the terms “alt-right,” “white nationalist,” and “Nazi” are interchangeable with white supremacist.) Last March, Facebook announced “a ban on praise, support, and representation of white nationalism and white separatism” and will offer its own kind of virtual intervention by “connecting people who search for terms associated with white supremacy to resources focused on helping people leave behind hate groups.”

White supremacists have an entire cable channel—Fox News—populated by white supremacists such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham who use coded language and dog whistles and whatnot to provoke their fellow klansmen. Don’t believe me? Well, certainly you will believe Representative Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), brother of Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, who flatly called Ingraham a “white supremacist” on Twitter last week after she compared the conditions at a migrant detention center to U.S. military facilities.

You can’t escape them. 

These fanatics have been spotted at the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Restaurant owners are urged to banish them from their eateries while other Americans bravely confront these wannabe George Wallaces at barbecue joints in the nation’s capital. Trump-supporting knitters are censored on a popular website because, according to Ravelry, any “support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.”

If you’re naïve enough to think that white supremacy is only for white people, think again. Black people who support Trump also are white-supremacists-by-association: “Anyone who interviews Candace Owens on their platforms, is an anti-Black racist,” tweeted Tariq Nasheed about the black conservative activist. “The ONLY reason for anyone to interview her, is to give her a platform to regurgitate anti-Black rhetoric for white supremacist society . . .”

White supremacy is the new Russian collusion, an imaginary threat intended to align Republicans, especially Trump supporters, with the bad guys.

Even Trump-hating “conservatives” are suspected skinheads: New York Times columnist and NeverTrumper Bret Stephens was outed as a white supremacist last month after criticizing Democrats’ near-singular focus on the plight of migrants illegally crossing the southern border.

Since Inauguration Day, the New York Times has posted 770 articles about the menace posed by rampant white supremacy. Before the Fourth of July holiday, CNN aired an hour-long documentary hosted by Fareed Zakaria called, “State of Hate: The Explosion of White Supremacy.” And it’s not just Leftist news outlets giving us the scaries about white supremacists—National Review also warned their readers about the “surge” in white supremacy while claiming that “Trump’s words have emboldened white supremacists.”

Democratic presidential candidates are offering varying degrees of condemnation against white supremacists/nationalists/Trump voters, promising stringent measures to combat the scourge if elected in 2020. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) equates white supremacists with other terrorist groups such as ISIS; most candidates, including Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) want social media companies to ban “hate speech” by white supremacists and Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) suggests the platforms should be held legally liable for making a “profit” off hate.

Of course, this level of mass hysteria is unfounded. Aside from a handful of fringe groups and a few terrible events such as the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue last year, there is no evidence that anything close to a “surge” or an “explosion” in white supremacy is engulfing the country. Data collected by the FBI on hate crimes are vague at best; there is no specific category for “white supremacy.” Reporting by local law enforcement agencies is voluntary and the FBI admits that it’s “sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a crime resulted from the offender’s bias.” It’s all evidence-by-anecdote.

So, why the manufactured panic? White supremacy is the new Russian collusion, an imaginary threat intended to align Republicans, especially Trump supporters, with the bad guys. David Duke and Richard Spencer are the 2020 version of Vladimir Putin. If you support Trump in 2020, you, by extension, support the Klan. (This must be news to the voters in the 206 counties who voted twice to put a black man and his black family in the White House but voted for Trump in 2016.)

Want a border wall at the southern border? White supremacist! Want unlawful asylum seekers from Central America returned home? Nazi! Want tighter trade deals and a retreat from endless war? White nationalist! Object to wealthy athletes disrespecting the flag or the national anthem? Alt-right! Think a citizenship question on the census questionnaire is a legitimate inquiry? Nativist!

This is a cynical ploy to peel away Republicans voters who are uneasy or nervous about being labeled “hateful” in 2020—those voters who would find it socially awkward to be associated with “them.”

Further, the paranoia about the threat posed by white supremacists obfuscates the real danger: An unhinged Left prone to violence. After all, it isn’t white supremacists who are running people out of restaurants and attacking journalists in the streets. It isn’t white supremacists attempting to assassinate congressmen on a baseball field or dousing people with concrete-filled milkshakes or chasing them down in public. It isn’t white supremacists who are taking to the opinion pages of the Times to encourage the harassment and even imprisonment of government workers enforcing policies they oppose. No, all of that is coming from the Left.

And it’s not happening in some random chat room on the dark web—it’s being amplified in the nation’s elite newspapers, popular political websites, and on cable news channels.

The Democrats have no realistic agenda to earn back the working-class voters they’ve abandoned over the past decade, particularly in the Midwest. Name-calling is easier than problem-solving. That’s why some presidential candidates are trolling for support south of the border instead of in South Philly.

Correlating Trump supporters with white supremacists will enable social media companies to banish them from their platforms during campaign season; the faux connection will give cover to angry leftists who harass or attack Trump supporters in public under the guise of combating white supremacy. It’s a fake crisis but one with serious consequences for the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, Trump’s economy roars along, yielding unprecedented job opportunities for minorities. The black unemployment rate dropped from 7.7 percent in January 2017 to 6.2 percent in May 2019; wages are rising for lower-paid workers. Trump’s job approval rating among blacks is still low—only 18 percent in the latest poll—but the president has a 39 president approval rating among Hispanics. His campaign team plans to actively court minority voters in 2020.

Worst white supremacist ever.

America • Big Media • Post • The Left

Antifa: Terrorists of the Bourgeoisie

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The savage assault on journalist Anti Ngo by leftists in Portland, Oregon, has brought renewed attention to the barbaric Antifa organization.

Ngo, a journalist for center-left online magazine Quillette, was beaten by a mob and sent to the emergency room with a brain bleed while filming demonstrators from the group. He is the victim of a criminal, terrorist act. The only normal, appropriate response is to wish him a speedy recovery—and to demand the swift arrest and prosecution of his attackers.

Here is the danger that journalists like CNN’s Jim Acosta constantly warn about from the comfort of their sinecures. But instead of blaming Antifa, the media responded to an actual assault on a journalist with equivocation and muted indifference. Reporters latched onto a “concrete milkshake” rumor to downplay the fact that Ngo was assaulted. Outside of a few token denunciations, the media ignored the attack, joining the ghoulish scolds who blamed Ngo, the victim, for “provoking” Antifa.

Why this response? Journalists know that Ngo is not one of them, which is to say they are safe. They are “real journalists,” liberal activists who evangelize their “truth” behind a mask of neutrality.

Many on the Right have noticed, with alarm, that the media turns a blind eye to leftist violence, and this is no mistake. Antifa are the untamed, unhygienic foot soldiers of the bourgeoisie. It’s an unfortunate position for so-called Marxists to be in, but it’s true: Antifa does the dirty work that’s too low for even the professional smear artists behind Covington Catholic, Russiagate, and the slander against Brett Kavanaugh.

Instead of calling Antifa “fascists,” which they are not, it would probably upset them more to call them what they really are: communists and anarchists pretending to be dissidents, while enjoying the protection of those in power. They’re rebels without a cause, with all of the adolescent angst that title implies.

Antifa members are plainly terrorists, and their violence is no joke, yet their activism is superfluous, narcissistic roleplay. Antifa justifies violence by appealing to an urgent threat of “bigots” having a platform, as if Big Tech corporations were not already taking care of that for them. Their “revolt” is happening from the top-down, not the bottom up.

The most prestigious papers and universities, the most powerful corporations, share in common with these malcontents a liberal monoculture that has hollowed out and colonized American culture. Their most relevant political ideas—open borders, kooky gender theory—have already been co-opted by the mainstream. Marxism, on the other hand, is an academic philosophy with virtually no relevance to the political world anymore.

Historically, Marxists railed against the bourgeois. Today’s “revolutionaries” are the bourgeois. What could be more horrifying, more injurious to a Marxist’s self-esteem—to be on the same side as Nike?

Leftist revolt is, these days, a contradiction in terms. But a veneer of dissidence is politically necessary for their project. A dominant Left takes up the mantle of the underdog to justify chasing conservatives out of the public square.

Antifa shares with their journalist sympathizers a romantic, misplaced sense that they are persecuted rebels. It must pain Antifa and their cheerleaders in Brooklyn to know that their ideas have been absorbed into mass culture. Having the same viewpoints as Fortune 500 companies and Stephen Colbert isn’t so punk, is it? It’s obviously not edgy or cool, but a desire to role-play as turn-of-the-century labor agitators persists.

The Left therefore has a dilemma: how to be transgressive, when the opportunities for transgression have been taken away? Answer: invent an imaginary, omnipresent threat of Nazis in need of being punched.

This is where the revolutionary make-pretend of Antifa and persecutory delusions of elite journalists solemnly intoning “Democracy dies in darkness” converge: leftism is culturally dominant, but the Left can’t give up the label of the dissident to the very people they are forcing their ideology upon. So the Left convinces itself, and tries to convince everyone else, that there is an ascendant “fascist” threat. Violent public tantrums are rationalized as the necessary pushback.

But these fancies of persecution are all backwards. Even the fringiest leftism is boring, milquetoast, and safe. Despite Trump’s attacks on the “free press,” journalists—at least liberal journalists, anyway—incur no risk when they tattle on Catholic high school boys from the heights of power for “smirking” at a Native American, or print libels about the president of the United States with impunity, or publish op-eds about how toxic the West is.

For journalists in the era of Trump, Trump’s attacks on their largely unchecked power to influence public opinion is imagined as an assault on democracy. But journalists have worked to stifle democracy, not merely by discrediting an election but by forcing their unpopular ideas on a population that has rejected their elite ideology.

Journalists have a grandiose tendency to style themselves martyrs for democracy, but really they are paladins of the powerful, agents of the illiberal liberalism that Americans voted to reject in 2016. Trump’s election was a true bottom-up rebellion at the ballot box against this oppressive monoculture. Their vote was for common sense over political correctness, national identity over open borders.

Despite Trump’s rise to power, the Left remains firmly in control of the culture. So they invent an imaginary rampant bigotry and romanticize the danger faced by the brave journalists and activists “fighting for democracy” to justify the indefinite advance—by violence, if necessary—of progressivism. What “fighting for democracy” actually means, it turns out, is fighting for leftism at any cost, whether by encouraging violence against dissenters or preaching about the pressing need for Portland, Maine, to accept Third World refugees.

On some level, it must bother the next generation of progressive activists-in-training at elite universities to recognize that they enjoy vastly more privilege than the downwardly mobile whites they castigate as the spawn of Satan. That projection soothes the conscience, keeps the obvious contradiction out of mind: America’s most privileged people are constantly reminding everyone else, especially those on the decline, of privilege they don’t have.

While Antifa’s “revolution” is a complete joke, the movement’s methods are not, and the mainstream Left is still wise enough to maintain a careful distance with token criticism of its violence. But Antifa offers something too useful to be rejected for the bougie progressives who occupy the halls of power. They are a threat, a warning, for those Americans who refuse to bow down before Progress and History.

The media will go to any length to defend the fringe left against even the most moderate conservative. Andy Ngo is hardly right-wing: Quillette prides itself on being a bastion of classical liberal centrism. But liberal centrism, failing to be progressive, is an aberration that the Left hates like a true believer hates a heretic.

More and more conservatives are alarmed by a growing tendency on the left to tolerate worse and worse violence against them. “Milkshaking” is fast giving way to blaming the victims of mob beatings—because they’re on the wrong side. In tolerating Ngo’s attack, the liberal establishment has sent an ominous message: the future of the United States has no room for conservatives or their “bigoted” notions, and conservatives who do not surrender now should expect the worst.

One can only speculate about what motivates individual members of Antifa to wake up every morning, but quite a few of them seem to be mentally ill, maladjusted dropouts. To hazard a guess, activism for Antifa members is a kind of public therapy, an excuse to be terrible people and unleash violent resentments on a scapegoat for their personal problems.

They have a desire to terrorize and inflict harm, but there is nothing for them to fight for that has not already received the sanction of those in power. This is, admittedly, a frustrating situation for people who are desperate to be a part of history, but whose role has already been usurped by Silicon Valley, the FBI, Yale, and CNN.

Such people make for perfect attack drones, and the bourgeois is only too glad for their help.

Photo Credit: Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images

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Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Post • The Left

The Left’s Political Hit Squads Prep for 2020

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Lots of people are very angry with Bret Stephens.

But the outrage isn’t coming from the Trump supporters whom Stephens, one of the New York Times’ token “conservative” columnists, routinely maligns. The NeverTrump pundit is under heavy fire from the Left for a frank—and fair—assessment of how “ordinary” Americans view the extreme positions staked out by nearly every Democratic presidential candidate during last week’s primary debates.

In his June 28 column, “A Wretched Start for the Democrats,” Stephens blasts Democrats for making “too many Americans feel like strangers in their own country. A party that puts more of its faith, and invests most of its efforts, in them instead of us.”

Stephens questions the mainstream appeal of a party platform that promises free healthcare for illegal immigrants; the elimination of private insurance coverage; student loan forgiveness; and universal child care. But one passage in particular earned him the most scorn: “They speak Spanish. We don’t. They are not U.S. citizens or legal residents. We are. They broke the rules to get into this country. We didn’t. They pay few or no taxes. We already pay most of those taxes.”

Now, only to the ears of your average Times subscriber or disciple of the Left is that some kind of heresy, or dog whistle to tiki torch-bearing white supremacists. For the rest of us, it’s obvious that Stephens is referring to the Democratic Party’s almost singular focus on the welfare of illegal immigrants—both currently residing in the United States and now attempting to cross the southern border in record numbers—while ignoring the woes of millions of American citizens.

But Stephens’ analysis unleashed fury from the Left. Democratic strategist Peter Daou accused Stephens of xenophobia. “This @BretStephensNYT column is nothing less than Trumpian white nationalism masquerading as a NYT think piece,” Dao tweeted on Saturday. “It’s repugnant and wrong at every level.”

Author Reza Aslan, who in January encouraged violence against a high school student attending the March for Life, dogged Stephens on Twitter for hours, mocking the writer for “[jumping] out of the white nationalist closet.” Amee Vanderpool, a contributor to Playboy and the BBC, claimed Stephens “isn’t trying to camouflage that he truly belongs in the Alt-Right Nationalism section that has taken over the Republican Party.” Others demanded that the Times should fire Stephens for his “racist” remarks.

(Side note: I’ve been critical of Stephens’ pandering to the Left. Shortly after the piece posted, Stephens again groveled for acceptance, reminding Democrats of his contempt for Trump. The comeuppance for NeverTrump commentators in 2020, as the Left turns on them, will be delicious to watch.)

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, the Left is running drills to see how quickly and effectively their political hit squads can be deployed against Trump, his administration, and his Republican supporters. A few other exercises—the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process, the MAGA hat-wearing Covington Catholic students—have been rolled out, but those spectacles will pale in comparison to what’s in store for Republicans next year.

No cabinet official, administration employee, Trump family member, GOP candidate or regular Trump voter will be spared. We’ve already seen high-profile Trump associates harassed in public, chased out of restaurants, and vengefully pursued by a team of Trump-hating prosecutors in the special counsel’s office and by Democrats on Capitol Hill. A Bernie Sanders supporter in 2017 attempted to assassinate several Republican congressmen and nearly succeeded in killing one of them.

In just the past week, the Left’s pre-election tactics have been on full display.

A waitress spat in the face of Eric Trump at a swanky Chicago speakeasy and conservative writer Andy Ngo was assaulted by Antifa thugs in Portland. A Google executive privately admitted that the company is looking at ways to prevent Trump from winning reelection next year; Twitter announced plans to add a warning to any tweet by a political figure that the platform deemed as “abusive,” a move presumably aimed at President Trump. Naturally, the free speech paladins in the corporate leftist media are cheering the policy.

This all is a warm-up for 2020. Anyone who strays outside or dares to challenge the Left’s dogma will be punished harshly. Even the most tepid critic of the Democrats’ de facto open borders policy will be branded a racist and a white nationalist; anyone tasked with enforcing U.S. immigration laws will be criminalized.

On June 29, the Times published a sickening column to encourage immigration lawyers and reporters to reveal the names of federal agents responsible for managing the rising influx of migrant children at the border.

Kate Cronin-Furman, a professor of “human rights” at University College London, compared the living conditions of Central American migrants at U.S. holding facilities to historical mass atrocities in Cambodia and Rwanda, and, of course, the Holocaust. She argued that the agents should be harassed at church and at their homes, as well as subjected to international tribunals.

“The individuals running detention centers are arguably directly responsible for torture, which could trigger a number of consequences at the international level,” Cronin-Furman proposed. “Activists should partner with human rights organizations to bring these abuses before international bodies like the United Nations Human Rights Council.”

Of course this narrative also is being fueled by Democratic House members, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) who accused Custom and Border Patrol agents of “systemic cruelty” and treating detainees like “animals” after visiting a Texas facility on Monday.

Even a place of dining won’t be safe for Trump Republicans. The owner of the Red Hen who famously kicked former press secretary Sarah Sanders and her family out of her restaurant last year is encouraging more of that kind of bad behavior, essentially promoting discrimination based on a person’s political views.

Citing “new rules,” Stephanie Wilkinson warned that Republicans are not welcome at her eatery, nor should they be welcomed at any restaurant. “[If] you’re an unsavory individual—of whatever persuasion or affiliation—we have no legal or moral obligation to do business with you,” Wilkinson wrote in the Washington Post on June 28. “If you’re directly complicit in spreading hate or perpetuating suffering, maybe you should consider dining at home.”

The idea that Trump could win reelection next year is unacceptable to the Left and NeverTrump Right. They will employ any tactic to stop him, including the targeted harassment of anyone in his personal orbit or of any American who dares to support him. Physical violence will be encouraged by those who claim the mantle of civility and the silencing of conservative opinion will be cheered by those who claim to support free speech. It’s already a dangerous time—it’s clear that election season will be even more perilous for those on the Right.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Big Media • Democrats • Elections • Post • Progressivism • The Media

Beto Has Flash, Lots of Trust Fund Cash, and Little Else

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Why was Robert O’Rourke—”The Beto,” as I like to call him—even on Wednesday night’s “debate” stage in Miami? How was it a debate when everyone there—including the moderators!—peddles almost identical anti-American and anti-nationalist policies? 

Answer: because The Beto is a creation of the Democrat Media Industrial Complex (DMIC). He is a kind of political Chia Pet: water him, nurture, cultivate, and voila, you have a liberal “icon.” Watch the vintage Chia Pet commercial, and insert The Beto’s name in the narration. Cha-cha-cha-chia! The-the-the-Beto!

The last person to make so much something out of so much nothing was God. 

Let’s review the events that got The Beto to the “debate” stage this week, in no particular order.  

The day after he announced his candidacy for 2020, The Beto appeared on “CBS This Morning.” Host Gayle King asked predictable peanut butter and fluff questions about Russian collusion—President Trump “tried” to collude with Russia, The Beto insisted—and whether he’s at a diversity disadvantage due to his Caucasian-colored XY chromosomes at birth. He doesn’t think he is, thank God!

Now, imagine if King had asked something like the following: 

  • “Beto, you’ve never won a competitive race; why do you believe the majority of people in the majority of states will want your political and policy proposals?” 
  • “Why do you believe a corn farmer in Nebraska, or a coal miner in Ohio, or Texans, who rejected your policies in November, would vote for you?” (In fairness to King, she touched upon the Lone Star State question, but a follow-up was warranted.) 
  • “You said El Paso, where you served as city councilman and congressman, represents the best of America. Would you consider a Congressional district whose voters have elected only Democrats for the last 19,000 consecutive days to be diverse?”
  • “How did you make your money? How about we investigate all your finances, just to ensure that you’re not a puppet of Vladimir Putin?”

Media Collusion
We’ll never get those questions, apparently. After Joe Hagan, in his Vanity Fair profile of The Beto in March, got done praising Beto for turning his bitter-tasting tap water into a syrah—fruity, with a slight hint of dryness—he penned the following: “Whether onstage or on Facebook Live or in person, O’Rourke has a preternatural ease.”

Preternatural ease? Barf meets LOL. Whiskey tango foxtrot does that even mean? He also touted his bipartisanship to Hagan, which is what all Democrat politicians do when campaigning, but I know that bipartisanship is the gateway drug to tyranny. 

I wonder if Hagan still believes his balderdash after The Beto’s bilingual fail in his first presidential “debate.” 

The organic, free-trade cherry on top, however, was the revelation that Reuters reporter Joseph Menn made a deal with The Beto during his campaign to unseat Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to withhold his involvement in a hacking group called the Cult of the Dead Cow. Reuters has since revealed the cover-up. 

As a former journalist, I had to make decisions all the time about whether a particular fact was pertinent to the story. Was The Beto’s hacktivism a “newsworthy” fact? That is, perhaps, a subjective question; what’s not subjective, however, is that a subject’s background is never off the record—only statements are. Had Menn omitted that fact due to a belief that it was irrelevant, he could have been at least forgiven somewhat. What should alarm everyone, though, is that Menn colluded with the candidate to protect his wannabe RFK image—as any good publicist would. 

The Making of a Democrat “Icon”
If there had been a DMIC 2018 midterms also-ran MVP trophy, The Beto undoubtedly would have been the recipient; the DMIC keeps telling us how impressive his loss was. 

But who is this guy, really? 

Here’s the skinny on Robert Francis O’Rourke: he’s an affluent, privileged white Democrat male with a $9 million net worth, who sells the usual Marxist gobbledygook about “income inequality,” “inequity” and “walls don’t save lives,” even though he had a tall, thick fence protecting him a few months ago during his Beto-palooza rally, where he spoke Spanish—foreshadowing the “highlight” of his debate performance this week. 

O’Rourke married into a family with an estimated net worth of $500 million. In short, his political career was made possible through the riches of his wife, much like John Kerry, John McCain, and so many others before him. (Yet the Trump kids are maligned as benefitting from nepotism.)

The “White Obama”
Where have we seen this before? A young, “charismatic” peddler of fundamental transformation who comes out of nowhere, to be the hero Gotham needs, but doesn’t deserve—especially among the youth? The Beto has been heralded as the “white Obama,” an assessment with which the half-white President Obama concurred.

The Beto inserted himself into the mix because he believes his candidacy is sexy to America’s young voters. Remember: those most susceptible to the Marxism of class warfare, led by billionaires, are other affluent whites who overwhelmingly vote Democrat, as well as young people. His agitprop sells, and should not be underestimated even if his candidacy is foundering at the moment. 

Millennials are the largest generation in America’s electorate, and, any day now, will surpass the Baby Boomer generation as the largest potential voting bloc; at this time, they must be categorized as “potential” because Millennial turnout has historically been low, although it’s trending upward. 

Add Generation Z (or whatever they end up being called) into the Millennial mix, and the soon-to-be largest voting bloc in U.S. history will be young adults and 30-somethings who have been socially engineered into loving Communism, “free stuff,” hugging terrorists, “no human is illegal,” judicial activism, open borders, erosion of guaranteed constitutional rights and aborting babies on the day of delivery—only the finer things in life. 

The chickens of decades of leftist social engineering of our youth, in public education, colleges and universities, and mass media, are now coming home to roost.

The Beto, like most of the Democrat species, has nothing of substance to say. I wonder if the rest of the declared 2020 Leninist Democrats have been green with envy over the fawning media coverage he’s thus far received. Baby, The Beto was born to run! Here’s hoping his destiny is another loss. 

Photo credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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Big Media • Democrats • Elections • Post • The Media

Where Were the Fact Checkers?

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The first two Democratic “debates” were both flawed and MSNBC and NBC did a poor job managing them. But the amazing thing about the two-night show was the complete lack of fact checking by the “moderators.” 

It went without challenge that the economy is worse today than under Obama, for example. That’s a bald-faced lie. In fact if every lie spouted by the candidates had been challenged the debates would still be going on. 

Healthcare, the economy, and civil rights were portrayed by the candidates in ways that evoked only a fictional version of reality. Democrats alleged President Trump passed a tax cut only for the hated 1 percent, when in fact it benefited the vast majority of Americans. Following the law and denying entry to illegal aliens was accepted as an evil to be eradicated. Heck, we’re are all just citizens of the world, right?  

It shouldn’t be a surprise when major networks follow the Left’s narrative of the day with a religious zeal. After all, when reporting “news” we know that they are careful to omit actual facts when they conflict with the version of reality they would prefer to see. The lowest levels of Hispanic and black unemployment in decades?  Well that doesn’t square with their idea that President Trump is a racist, does it?

The real problem isn’t just that Democrats are out of touch with reality and with the majority of Americans; it is, rather, that the media is so political that they genuinely seem unaware of reality. 

No wonder polls are so skewed. President Trump stopped a reprisal attack on Iran because of his concern about civilian casualties. Very few credited him with restraint while the rest challenged his mental fitness to be president.

How can we engage in political discourse with people so out of touch with reality? When supposedly serious people are tossing around comparisons of border security measures to concentration camps? 

The lies go on and on and the “free” press needs to be held accountable. It’s true we need a media to keep our nation free, but when the media only serves one side as it has been doing for decades, it becomes detached and almost deranged. The good a free and independent media does for a nation is being denied to the American people because our corporate leftist media is now populated by people who see opposition political discourse as “hate speech.”  

Tech Giants, moreover, seem united to suppress conservative content and promote socialist thought. Jimmy Carter, arguably the worst president ever, now claims Donald Trump wasn’t actually elected. It all goes back to 2016, when Hillary lost and Democrats had to invent the Russian collusion narrative to explain what happened. Reality depends on what “is” is, I suppose. 

One would hope that low ratings might bring network news back to actual reality, but so far they only seem to be digging in. I would hope that there might be a few sane and honest voices in media, even if they are left of center, willing to speak up and insist upon factual and fair reporting. But I will not be holding my breath waiting for that to happen. 

In the meantime, Republicans would do well to consider: Do they really want to subject themselves to the insult of being fact-checked by people such as these?

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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America • Big Media • Foreign Policy • Middle East • Post

Propaganda War vs. Saudi-Israeli Peace Accord

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The saying used to go, “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.” Americans eligible for membership in AARP will recall the line as a clever dig at the breathless reporting of not-so-“breaking” news during the first season of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” way back in 1975.

In our own times, NBC and other mainstream media outlets consider it “breaking news” to pronounce day in and day out since October that Jamal Khashoggi is still dead.

Alas, the incessant reporting of Khashoggi’s demise is not a running gag nor any sort of laughing matter. The man was assassinated in a grisly fashion.

Still, there is something funny—according to that word’s secondary definition, “difficult to explain or understand; strange or odd”—about the persistent breathless bulletins that restate the fact that Khashoggi, a wealthy and influential Saudi Arabian operative, was assassinated eight months ago on orders from his own government. These repetitions of the story are always coupled with denunciations of President Trump for maintaining a close relationship with the Saudi government.

This week NBC published a news item with intense fanfare and the headline: “Khashoggi murder: U.N. report finds Saudi crown prince could be liable.”

It’s a sensational headline, but the United Nations report itself was a giant “nothing-falafel.”

According to NBC, the U.N. special investigation on extrajudicial killings stated: “No conclusion is made as to guilt. The only conclusion made is that there is credible evidence meriting further investigation.”

A U.N. special commission recommends creation of another U.N. special commission: Stop the presses!

U.S. taxpayers should remember that we foot the bill for the largest portion of U.N. expenses.

Not an Independent Journalist
The ceaseless propaganda campaign concerning Khashoggi is founded on a big lie. Khashoggi is constantly described as a “journalist.” He was a talented communicator and a charming human being; I know this first-hand because, a few years ago when I lived in the Middle East, I had occasion to meet him and to have a lengthy conversation with him. But it should be well known he was never an independent journalist in Saudi Arabia, because there is no independent journalism in that country.

Khashoggi had a long career as a Saudi government propagandist and as an operative of the Saudi secret intelligence agency. About a year before his assassination, Khashoggi had fallen out of favor with the new rulers in Saudi Arabia. He left his country and began writing occasional columns for the Washington Post, highly critical of his former employers. After Khashoggi’s assassination, the Post itself acknowledged it had learned that Khashoggi had been writing his columns not independently but as an agent for Saudi Arabia’s wealthy Arab Gulf rival, Qatar, whose regime supports the radical anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood.

Khashoggi, in short, was a turncoat. He was killed by his own government, and heads of governments are responsible for such deeds. All assassinations are ugly and gruesome. Why should Khashoggi’s assassination—and only Khashoggi’s assassination—call for a total reversal of U.S. diplomatic, economic and security relations in the Middle East?

Necessary Alliances With Nasty People
The world is a violent place, and extrajudicial killings, while always ghastly, are now commonplace as tactics in national self-defense.

In the “global war on terror” the United States frequently commits extrajudicial killings, also known as assassinations or murders, in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and elsewhere. Our government sometimes announces these “targeted killings” as something for which Americans ought to be proud and grateful, as indeed we probably should be in most instances. Sometimes U.S. forces carry out extrajudicial killings of “enemy combatants” who happen to be U.S. citizens. This is grim business, but the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump all have called upon us to applaud these assassinations.

U.S. allies that are democratic and regarded as civilized—for example, Israel, the United Kingdom, and France—have no compunction about committing “targeted killings” in the struggle against ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups.

Saudi Arabia is not a democracy, nor is it a model of civil liberties and respect for what Westerners properly recognize as universal human rights. But Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally of the United States and the West, and it is not by any means the only ally or vital trading partner of the West to have an authoritarian government.

China does not face Saudi Arabia’s vulnerabilities. China does not have to defend itself against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iran as Saudi Arabia does. It has no reasons of national self-defense upon which to justify extrajudicial killings. Nevertheless, China goes about largely uncriticized as it carries out a virtual bloodbath of extrajudicial killings of its own citizens.

Meanwhile, the West’s profound investment and trading relationship with China continues. The United Nations and the Western media are not clamoring for China’s president to be indicted or deposed. The mainstream media, Wall Street, and all the rest of the establishment consider it beneficial for peace and stability, and rightly so, when President Trump talks with and finds points of agreement with the president of China notwithstanding the nefarious nature of the Chinese government.

Sabotaging Progress
The Khashoggi-is-still-dead propaganda campaign won’t bring Khashoggi back to life. It won’t cause the royal family of Saudi Arabia to change rulers nor will it change the Saudi government’s behavior internally or externally. What is the propaganda effort accomplishing? It is driving a wedge between Saudi Arabia and the West at a moment when Saudi Arabia draws ever closer to making a game-changing move towards peace with Israel.

Rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel has been in the works for quite some time. President Trump’s diplomatic efforts to broker Arab-Israeli peace have reached a critical stage with a conference on establishing a basis of economic support for Israeli-Palestinian peace scheduled to take place on Tuesday in Bahrain with prominent roles for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Who would like to sabotage the progress of Saudi-Israeli accord and cooperation? Iran, with its Shia Muslim theocracy, certainly is one such party. Others who want to thwart Arab-Israeli peace include revolutionary Sunni Muslim movements including ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood enjoyed the sympathy of Jamal Khashoggi, and it receives support today from Qatar and Turkey, as those states maneuver for advantage in the balance of Middle Eastern power.

When Jeane Kirkpatrick was Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations, she harshly criticized the organization for its “selective indignation” against the United States, Israel, and other U.S. allies.

Almost four decades after Reagan and Kirkpatrick, the U.N. and the left-wing media are still dead set in their old habits of hypocrisy and dalliance with anti-Western radicalism.

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AFP/Getty Images

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America • Big Media • Conservatives • Post • Technology

To Hell With the Naysayers—Hawley Is Right About Big Tech

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David French and his fellow peacetime conservatives are at it again, wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth as U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) takes a run at curtailing the immense power of Big Tech.

As French channels Neville Chamberlain, the fact is that unless the tech companies are forcefully confronted, now, in the immediate, our self-governing republic will be over in less than a generation and we will be ruled by a tech oligarchy.

French and his types sputter that this is outrageous, that government shouldn’t be involved in curtailing the harmful behavior of private companies. First, we would do well to remember that roughly 20 years ago, Washington, D.C. created this problem by carving out the Section 230 exemption for neutral platforms online. Only a fool would think that the tech companies are neutral platforms today. They have, by their own distinct decisions, become publishers and telecommunications companies: if you are making publishing decisions, if you are deploying broadband, if you are creating and streaming live content, you are a publisher or a telecommunications company, and sometimes both.

As these companies have changed of their own volition, Washington, D.C. has continued to live under the happy fiction that they are still nothing more than neutral platforms. What do policymakers not understand? Why are they so blind? Perhaps re-election campaign money, perhaps organizations like National Review being bought off by tech company donations—who can really say? There are all sorts of reasons why we’re in defiance of common sense, but it doesn’t remove the fact that we are.

Ask yourselves why these companies get to play by one set of rules while publishers and telecommunications companies are forced to play by others? They are in fact the same, though now the tech companies dwarf many of their fellow publishers and telecommunications companies yet still get to play by rules that favor them. This is in defiance of free-market principles: government isn’t supposed to pick winners and losers. It is supposed to create a fair playing field for everyone to compete according to the same rules and regulations so that the consumer benefits. Instead, we see it creating rigged games that allow monopolies to develop.

But this is also about what the internet actually is and who gets to decide what speech or content resides on the internet. Would Google, Facebook, and Amazon exist if there were no internet? Of course not—and I hesitate even to broach the question because it’s an absurd one. They didn’t create the internet; they are in effect, squatters having built on a foundation they did not build and do not own.

In many ways, you could argue no one really owns the internet. It is a public square, a public arena, much like the Agora and Forum of ancient times, only in digital form. So why do squatters on property not their own get to dictate anything on any level on that property? These companies were given a great deal of freedom to grow, to innovate products, and—while the Justice Department’s antitrust division pulled a Rip Van Winkle—become monopolies. To put it mildly, mistakes were made. Those mistakes need to be corrected.

If we do not correct our mistakes, our great rights of speech and assembly, offline and online, are in danger. Someone is going to be the final defender of our natural rights as codified in the Constitution. Do we want un-elected global monopolistic corporations—entities that may or may not consider themselves American companies, ruling you by algorithms? Do we want them limiting the flow of information in the online public arena, manipulating it to benefit themselves and their view of the world? Or do we want duly elected leaders of a constitutional republic defending our rights?

In a constitutional republic, all power flows from the people to their various elected officials, not to corporations or private companies. And when monopolies develop, in order to reset to a free-market dynamic, monopolies must be broken up so that competition can benefit the consumer once more.

Despite the naysayers, Hawley is on the right path. May more Republicans and Democrats join him in this effort because this is about the future of our republic and ensuring that we will have our freedom and natural rights a generation from now.

These are dangerous times—we are far more on a razor’s edge than most people think because of where these tech companies are going, not only with the control of the flow of information but also with their work in general artificial intelligence and automation. We should recognize them for the dangers that they’ve become and fight for our rights. I want a constitutional republic with my natural rights guaranteed, not only for myself and my children but even for dangerously naïve people like French. Even he deserves always to have every right to express his foolish ideas detached from reality.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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2016 Election • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Another Media-Fueled Collusion Narrative Falls Apart

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It’s a familiar pattern in the Trump era: A partisan figure tasked with thwarting the president—say, Special Counsel Robert Mueller or former FBI Director James Comey—is portrayed as a fair-minded arbiter of truth and justice, a vanguard of our highest democratic institutions, bravely taking on the Bad Orange Man. Such figures are cast as heroes impervious to political bias. Every move they make, we are told, is for our own good. We are not to question their unimpeachable integrity, their stellar reputation or their motives.

Such was the case with Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous dossier that served as the raison d’etre for the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

In order to legitimize the dossier’s dubious claims, the media characterized Steele as an objective player in the nascent Russian collusion plotline, a former British intelligence officer leveraging his long-time Kremlin connections to root out a corrupt scheme between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to steal an American election. His work was a profile in courage, we were told; he was a highly-regarded compatriot in America’s fight to make sure our new president was not in fact a covert Russian stooge.

But now that Steele faces questioning by a federal prosecutor assigned to investigate the corrupt origins of the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign, it’s obvious that the early hype about Steele was just one more example of the media’s complicity in the Russian collusion coup.

Steele’s dossier, often glorified in the media as “raw intelligence,” is a collection of vague, anonymous, inaccurate and unproven allegations, yet it captured the attention of the most powerful people in the world both before and after the election. The dossier was the critical piece of “evidence” cited in a warrant presented to a secret court as justification to spy on a Trump campaign aide. Steele and his longtime associate, Fusion GPS owner Glenn Simpson, circulated the dossier amongst their journo-pals in the D.C. media claque beginning in the summer of 2016.

Pre-election articles in Yahoo News and Mother Jones suggesting chicanery between Team Trump and the Kremlin relied heavily on accusations contained in the dossier, as well as Steele’s probity. (David Corn, who wrote the October 31, 2016 Mother Jones article, referred to Steele, without naming him, as “a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the U.S. government.”)

James Comey selected the most outlandish claim in Steele’s dossier about alleged dalliances with Russian prostitutes to warn Trump just days before the inauguration that the Kremlin might be in a position to blackmail the new president. A summary of the dossier was attached to an official report compiled by Obama’s intelligence chiefs, including former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, that concluded the Russians interfered in the election in order to help elect Donald Trump.

Then, on January 10, 2017, BuzzFeed posted the dossier in its entirety and the media’s swoon over Christopher Steele began.

“It came from a former British MI6 intelligence agent who was hired by a political opposition research firm…who was doing work for both Republican and Democratic candidates opposed to Trump,” legendary reporter Carl Bernstein told CNN’s Jake Tapper during an explosive segment that aired that same day. “They in turn hired this MI6 former investigator. He then came up with additional information from his Russian sources. He then took it to an FBI colleague he had known in his undercover work for years.”

Tapper went on to assure his viewers that Steele, whose name they did not reveal, and his sources had been “vetted” by the FBI and that Steele was considered to be a “credible” purveyor of information.

After Trump dismissed the spurious allegations as fake news, the media shifted into overdrive in early 2017 to defend Steele. The Wall Street Journal, Glenn Simpson’s former employer, publicly identified Steele for the first time as a “former British intelligence officer who is now a director of a private security-and-investigations firm.” Steele’s business partner told the Journal that their firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, had “no political ax to grind.”

The New York Times described Steele as someone “known in British intelligence circles for his knowledge of the intricate web of Kremlin-tied companies and associates that control Russia,” and assured readers in a follow-up article that “by all accounts, Steele has an excellent reputation with American and British intelligence colleagues and had done work for the FBI.” Business Insider outlined an “avalanche of support for Steele’s credentials [reported] in the British press.”

In a lengthy puff piece in Vanity Fair in March 2017, the same month Comey publicly confirmed that the Trump campaign had been under FBI investigation for eight months, Howard Blum portrayed Steele as a reluctant hero, an honorable man just trying to save the world from the evils of Donald Trump.

“Steele’s credentials were the real thing and, apparently, impressive enough to scare the hell out of James Clapper . . . James Comey, [and] John Brennan, the CIA director,” Blum wrote. “How else can one explain their collective decision to pass on the still-unverified dossier to the president and the president-elect?”

LOL.

But as Congress zeroed in on the political origins of the dossier, the media-constructed facade around Steele began to disintegrate. In October 2017, the Washington Post finally confirmed what Republican lawmakers—and most journalists—already knew: Steele wasn’t just a former British spy but a hired political gun, paid partially by none other than Trump’s campaign rival, Hillary Clinton. Testimony by Glenn Simpson would later reveal that Steele was paid around $180,000 to dig up Russia-related dirt on Trump.

Even after that damning detail was revealed, news reports continued to identify Steele as a “former British intelligence officer” rather than “paid Democratic operative.” (He left MI6 in 2009 to start his London-based consulting business.)

After Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), then-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, issued his memo in February 2018 detailing how the dossier was cited as evidence in an application presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court without disclosing its political benefactors, the media still ran cover for Steele. (The memo also disclosed that Steele had been fired by the FBI for lying about his contacts with the press.) “Christopher Steele is a hero and Americans owe him their thanks,” insisted Washington Post editor Christian Caryl, presumably with a straight face.

But as Steele began to face real scrutiny, including a criminal referral for lying to the FBI and defamation lawsuits, the narrative quickly shifted from hero to victim. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer lamented how Steele—the “ex-spy [who] tried to warn the world about Trump’s ties to Russia”—was being unfairly targeted by Trump, Putin, Nunes, and the Fox News cabal. “They’re trying to take down the whole intelligence community!” Mayer reported Steele telling his friends. “And they’re using me as the battering ram to do it.’”

It’s clear now that Steele is not a victim, despite the media’s whitewash. Congressional testimony by former Justice Department official Bruce Ohr exposed his decade-long relationship with Steele; Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked with Steele as a contractor for Fusion GPS on Trump opposition research.

Newly-released emails further reveal that Steele had ties to Obama’s State Department. And while Steele was working for Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, he also was representing Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch tied to Putin and sanctioned by the U.S. government. Steele also was a paid FBI informant in 2016. Quite a shady network.

Now the author of the most infamous opposition research file in American political history is the target of a federal investigation into FBI misconduct in 2016. A full accounting of his role will prove that the Clinton campaign, not the Trump campaign, colluded with the Russians through Steele to interfere in the election. Steele also could be in legal trouble for lobbying the U.S. government on behalf of a foreign entity (Deripaska) without disclosing his relationship. Other charges could involve perjury and presenting false evidence to law enforcement.

And the media will once again be guilty of its own kind of perjury: Misleading the American public about a key perpetrator of the collusion hoax, all in the service of their crusade to get Donald Trump.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

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Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Post • Silicon Valley • Technology

A Sovereign People Need Data Sovereignty—Now

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It’s time the American people woke up and understood what the big tech companies, many of which are now publishers and telecommunications companies masquerading as neutral platforms, are doing with their personal data.

Respecting individual privacy is the most common concern you find in the media and elsewhere. But privacy is only part of the challenge before us—and a relatively small part at that. By feeding companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook untold amounts of personally identifiable data, Americans—specifically American workers—are helping sow the seeds of their own demise.

Many people don’t take the time to consider what happens to their data when they give it away. Where does it go? With whom is it being shared? How is it being used to accelerate the growth of new technologies, including artificial intelligence and automation?

The data being given freely to these tech companies and the amount of personally identifiable data being collected put the National Security Agency’s efforts to shame. Like it or not, all of this data isn’t being used simply to inform algorithms that help you make better movie selections or put funny cat videos into your Facebook feed or remind you that you’re about to run out of toilet paper.

All of that information is feeding projects such as Google Brain and Facebook’s artificial intelligence research and development. These are grand efforts by very large, private companies that have vast and untold implications for public policy. Yet these same companies are not being very transparent about their work.

They are, in reality, playing with fire that they can barely control—such as building robots that invent languages understandable only to themselves, as happened at Facebook two years ago. Facebook was able to shut the program down, but what happens in the future if the kill switch fails? What then?

Are we really so arrogant as human beings to think we can unleash general artificial intelligence and still be in control a generation or two from now? Would it even take that long?

Our elected representatives appear to be asleep at the switch on both general AI and automation. Ford Motor Co. recently announced it would be cutting 7,000 jobs, or roughly 10 percent of its entire workforce. Those jobs will be replaced by automation and Ford reportedly will increase its profits by $600 million annually. But to what end? And where does it stop?

If you think corporations are interested in merely cutting 10 percent of the workforce to increase profits, just wait until it’s feasible to cut 90 percent of the workforce. What are the implications for American society then?

Imagine a country in which one-third of Americans are put out of work because of automation—it may not be far off.  What about 40 or 50 percent of workers? And why—because corporations, many of which are foreign-owned or based offshore, want to increase their profits?

To be clear, I am all for smart people making money. But in this scenario, corporations make greater profits and the American people are stuck with the tab. What happens when the tax base dries up and there’s a significant decrease in tax revenue so that something like a universal basic income is impossible?

It’s past time for our elected representatives to step up and insert themselves into this conversation in a real way and address this issue of the tech companies and artificial intelligence and automation.

First, it begins with protecting the individual’s right to his or her own data. The individual’s personal data is sovereign to the individual and individuals have the explicit right to control that data.

As John Locke and James Madison wrote with respect to property rights, property is not just physical objects or even land. Property is about all of our unique qualities as human beings, from our rights to intellectual content to personal data. Locke believed the first object and priority of government “created by the consent of the governed is to protect the right to property.” So we need to view data sovereignty as a natural right for every individual human being and that all humans own their data—not the party that collects it.

Part of the solution involves shifting the burden of individual informed consent from “opting out” to “opting in,” and doing so with transparent, clear, and plain language provisions, not several dozen pages of dense legalese presented in six-point type. Then individuals must “opt-in” to all technology, software, and platforms that ask for and use personal data, including personal information, imagery, location data, financial data, consumer data—everything.

At any point, an individual should have the right to be forgotten—the right to have their data removed and permanently deleted, including all derivative works from any platform.

For reasons good and bad (mostly bad), we’ve abandoned common sense when it comes to tech companies. We’ve allowed them to masquerade as something they are not while abusing personal and private data to pursue ends that many of us believe are not beneficial to the American people.

Our leaders need to come to grips with the rapid changes underway. AI, automation, personal data, illegal immigration, and social welfare systems are all interconnected. In the near future, when artificial intelligence leads to mass automation, accelerated by personal data, while we’re accepting small cities’ worth of low-skilled and unskilled workers, while more American workers are jobless, our social welfare systems will come to rely more and more on draconian taxes. We’ll essentially be working for the state, all thanks to the feckless leadership of the major political parties.

So we must ask ourselves what kind of future we want for ourselves and for our children. Because those decisions are being made right now and will impact each and every one of us.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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