Elections

Securing the Peace in Israel

The third Israeli general election in a year has produced a clearer advantage for the principal party, but has been ambiguous in the more important issue of which party will lead the government.

The ostensible leader of the opposition, General Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, head of the Blue and White Party—an amalgam of centrist and moderate left parties and groups, roughly continuing in the path of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Ehud Barak of the old Mapai (Labor) Party—has aligned the support of a majority of the Knesset (parliament). But that support is dependent on the adherence of the Arab Joint List, the third-largest party, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismisses in incendiary terms as a terrorist front.

Israel is a complete slate system: the parties nominate up to 120 people (the total number of members of the Knesset) in their order of seniority or merit within each party. There are no constituencies or districts. In theory, every member of the Knesset could live in the same neighborhood or even the same large building. Votes are cast for the party of choice.

Netanyahu’s Likud (formerly led by Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, and with a schism, Ariel Sharon) had just under 30 percent of the vote and so 36 MKs; Gantz and his followers 27 percent and 33 MKs, and the Arab Joint List (three parties combined), got 12.7 percent of the votes and 15 MKs, the orthodox religious Shas received 8 percent of the votes and nine MKs; the remaining four parties to make the threshold of 5 percent required to sit in the Knesset all received between 5 and 6 percent and have six or seven MKs. These include two smaller parties, led by the notable faction-heads Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett.

The Jews’ history of being persecuted required that when they finally regained their homeland, it be governed in a way that made it almost impossible to ignore even small blocs of Jewish opinion. The status of the Arabs, naturally, has been more complicated.

Israel has been much criticized for the unequal treatment of its Arabs, but given that most of them don’t believe in the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, that is not entirely surprising. Moreover, the condition of Israeli Arabs is generally freer and more prosperous than that of neighboring Arab populations, apart from—in straight terms of per capita wealth—the petro-states.

Netanyahu is currently under indictment for corrupt dealings with media owners—not an unusual circumstance in Israel where a prime minister (Ehud Olmert) and a president (Moshe Katsav) were convicted of crimes. He claims the prosecution is political, something for which there is also some precedent in Israel. The Old Testament attribution to God of the opinion expressed to Moses that the Jews are a “stiff-necked people” (also translated as “argumentative” and “obstinate”) is largely vindicated in Israel’s politics. As there is no territorial aspect to parliamentary representation, parties are constantly fusing and splintering and coalitions of four or five parties are required over a constantly-shifting range of ever-evolving policy opinions and perceptions.

The composition of the Israeli population: an in-gathering of Jews from all over Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Ethiopia makes it an unusually polyglot patchwork of groups and interests, and the nature of the system as much as that of the Jewish people assures a constantly seething political culture. Gantz apparently is able to form a government because he is less objectionable to the Arab population than the more intransigent Netanyahu. But Gantz promised in the late campaign that he would not sit in a government with Netanyahu and would not govern by relying on Arab support.

Inevitably, a government of Israel propped up by Arabs would severely divide the country.

It is obvious that Israel’s political system is excessively complex, but it has been one of the most successful countries in the world and has grown from its status at independence in 1948 of a string of scrabble-hard kibbutzniks surrounded by Arab enemies in a poor and unremitting country to its present prosperity—an (off-shore) oil-producing, highly educated state with a European standard of living (93 percent of the per capita income of Canada, a vast treasure house).

In all the world, the only equivalent development story has been South Korea, with China in a special category as the first Great Power to cease to be a Great Power and then regenerate itself to that status after centuries of decline and economic stagnation. Israel’s strategic condition has also benefited from the disintegration of two of its most virulent enemies, Syria and Iraq, immense humanitarian tragedies though there have been in those countries; and from the encroachments of the Arabs’ ancient foes the Iranians and Turks. This last development has caused the principal Arab powers to discard most of their official hostility to Israel—which is a natural ally in any rebuff to Iran, the chief supplier of the anti-Israeli terrorist activities of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Gantz is popular as a distinguished, apparently disinterested retired general, and Netanyahu, having surpassed David Ben Gurion as the longest-serving Israeli prime minister (now 15 years) carries a good deal of baggage. Normally, the voters would conclude that it was, indeed time for a change. Ben Gurion was the chief founder of the country and the undisputed head of the then Ashkenazi majority of Israelis and was the natural leader to elect and retain.

Netanyahu has at times been far down the well in opposition and has achieved and maintained his position preeminently by a mastery of the free enterprise right and as the chief opponent of the previous land-for-peace formula, engaged in even by the fierce Begin, and certainly Rabin, Peres, Barak, and Sharon. In practice, it consisted of Israel ceding land it had won in wars the Arabs had initiated and lost, in exchange for a ceasefire which the Palestine Liberation Organization did not observe for more than a few weeks before it started all over again.

The Palestinians (the PLO and Hamas) overplayed their hand. They did not realize that the sponsorship of the Arab powers would evaporate when the Arab world was challenged by a real adversary (Iran and to some degree Turkey). The Palestinian leaders never wanted peace, because if it was achieved, they would only be the leaders of a tiny, poor, dusty little state carved out of the old Palestine Mandate following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The PLO leader would cease to be the world figure the egregious Yasser Arafat was for 35 years and would have no more prominence than the president of Lebanon or Tunisia.

The Palestinians have fumbled their main chance, and in the next few years, they will have to accept something fairly close to the Trump peace plan. Both Netanyahu and Gantz support that plan and at this critical point, Israel cannot have a government that depends for retention of office on Arab legislators who oppose the entire concept of the Jewish state.

A fourth election in a year is not the answer to the impasse; a grand coalition of Likud and Blue and White is; if Gantz doesn’t feel he can break his promise not to serve with Netanyahu, he should refrain from government but remain as his party’s leader, with Netanyahu as prime minister for one or two more years, then Netanyahu can retire and Gantz can replace him.

Israel needs a strong government to try to bring the pursuit of some sort of substantial and durable peace to a satisfactory conclusion. Alternatively, he could declare that conditions have changed and he can serve with Netanyahu after all, as associate prime minister. In coalition governments, pre-electoral promises are always subject to post-electoral review.

President Trump has effectively discarded the requirement of Israeli-Palestinian agreement and partially replaced it with an element of an imposed peace, as Richard Nixon contemplated prior to the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Israel must be as united as possible to prepare and implement a peace that generally resolves the problem created when the British with the Balfour Declaration of 1917 sold the same real estate to two different parties. For more than a century, a partition between the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs was the only solution, and Israel has grown strong enough, and the Arabs divided enough, that the time to secure the Jewish homeland is almost at hand.

This is no time for sadistic attachment to outworn tactical election promises and factional dogma. History will not wait.

Elections

Me-Too Republicans for Biden, the Boneless Wonder

Apparently the Sanders revolution within the Democratic Party has petered out, at least for the time being.

Sanders has not withdrawn but the most recent round of voting in the Democratic primaries appears to have doomed him and dashed the hopes of his many supporters. That is a godsend for the army of Republican NeverTrumpers who have sworn to vote for any Democrat because of their disdain for Donald Trump. At least they won’t have to vote for an avowed socialist—indeed a long-time champion of Communist dictatorships from the Soviet Union to Cuba and socialist authoritarian states such as Venezuela.

I have many NeverTrumper friends. Most of them are foreign policy and defense experts who reject Trump because of his character flaws and the threat he seems to pose to the business-as-usual foreign policies that these folks prefer.

As Sanders surged, I could sense panic among my NeverTrump Republican friends because voting for anyone but Trump might mean voting for Sanders. So concerned were they that many began to offer advice to the Democrats, a practice that was mocked by liberal commentators far and wide.

So there has been a collective sigh of relief on their part as Joe Biden seems to have beaten back the Sanders threat. He is what they are: a liberal internationalist. But their sense of relief may be premature. On the one hand, the distance between Biden and Sanders is not nearly as great as the NeverTrump Republicans would have us believe. On the other, a Biden candidacy might very well contribute to low Democratic turnout in the general election.

First, Biden’s credentials as a “moderate” Democrat are belied by his actions over the course of the Democratic primaries. When he first entered the Senate in 1973, he appeared to be a John Kennedy style Democrat. Indeed, many of the policy positions he took as a Senator have come back to haunt him. Accordingly, he has moved to the left along with the rest of the Democratic Party. Evidently, only a NeverTrumpr Republican would fall for his faux “moderation.” Winston Churchill’s description of Ramsay MacDonald in 1931 fits Biden to a tee: the “Boneless Wonder.”

Byron York catalogs a few of Biden’s course changes over the past few weeks.

So Biden’s positions on three big issues—immigration, college education and bankruptcy—changed virtually overnight to fit the political requirements of the late stages of the 2020 Democratic primary. And all involved a move to the left. For months, Biden dominated the so-called “centrist” or “moderate” lane of the Democratic race. But now there is no longer a Democratic race. Even as commentators touted his centrism, Biden strategically moved left to consolidate the support he needed for the nomination.

So this is what my Republican NeverTrump friends have signed up for.

Of course, Biden is “moderate” only in the context of today’s Democratic Party. My Republican NeverTrump friends seem to forget how radical many of Obama’s policies were or how radical those of Hillary Clinton would have been. Consider just two examples: Trump has reformed the federal judiciary. Think of what it would look like if Clinton were president. Trump has also made inroads against the administrative state, the unconstitutional fourth branch of the government that violates the principle of the separation of powers.

Perhaps much of the Republican NeverTrump resistance to the president is due to the fact that although they claim to be conservatives, they themselves are denizens of the administrative state. Indeed, a group of former national security “experts” calling themselves the Steady State (as opposed to the “Deep State.” Get it?) has issued a letter endorsing Biden.

Back in 2008, the late Tony Blankley coined the term “Me-too Republicans,” a species that had emerged during the New Deal (and having nothing to do with the current iteration of #MeToo), continued until the election of Ronald Reagan, and has re-emerged recently in the form of the laughably named Lincoln Project. The irony in all of this is that as the Republican NeverTrumpers forge ahead in support of Biden, they may very well contribute to his defeat in a general election.

The fact is that Sanders supporters loathe Biden nearly as much as they despise Trump. They may very well sit out the 2020 election. One wonders if a handful of smug, self-righteous Me-too Republicans can offset the loss of Sanders supporters in a contest against Trump.

Elections

Running In Front, Running Clueless

The exclusives to American Greatness keep coming. Here is the transcript of Joe Biden’s speech in Dayton, Ohio, March 12, 2020.

Joe Biden: Folks, it is great to be here with you! I wish I could tell you what state we are in right now, as in, “it is great to be here with you in the great state of Iowa,” or some such, but I have to be honest with you: I have absolutely no idea where I am or what city this is. In fact, I stopped recognizing the states where I was holding my campaign events weeks ago. But don’t worry about it. I am certainly not worried, so you shouldn’t be either. No joke!

Folks, I am now the front-runner in this race for . . . for . . . ummm . . .  er . . . to become the . . . er . . . for the top job. That means, I am out in front, as opposed to being behind. Being behind really sucked. People were saying all sorts of nasty things about me, that I am clueless, that I am senile, that I am a doddering, shambling, bumbling, mumbling fool, that I lost a step or two . . .  Well, we sure proved them all wrong, didn’t we?

Well, OK, maybe we didn’t prove them wrong about those particular comments, because I can see how some people might misinterpret that vacant look I have in my eyes most of the time, but the important thing is, I’ve got more delegates now. It doesn’t matter if I can finish a paragraph or not, when I give a speech, I now have . . . I can finish the paragraph every time I start . . .  finish . . . I can . . . every paragraph that I start deserves to be . . . paragraph . . . finishing a deserving paragraph . . . er . . .

Let me tell you about delegates. I don’t know how many more of them I’ve got, I have got people keeping track of these things, so I don’t have to bother with small details like that, but you can’t argue with success! What I am trying to say is that more is more. That’s all that matters. I am being serious!

The other guy, Barney Sanders, he is way behind in delegates. And let me tell you about him and his brothers and his other relatives. Those Barney Brothers and Barney Sisters, it’s just a terrible thing, what those Barney siblings are doing. Barney . . . I mean, Bernie, has all those Bernie brothers and sisters doing all those . . . things, all those . . . bad things, and I simply won’t stand for it!

Folks, this is the most important presidential election of our lives! I should know—I’ve been through dozens of them, so I know what I’m talking about. As an O’Biden-Bama Democrat, I will bring my razor-sharp intellect to the White House. No joke!

Am I Running  for Election or Re-Election?

Let’s face it, folks—Trump knows nothing about our traditions of dignity and civility. And that is why we cannot possibly win this election! We cannot get re-elected, and we know it. We can only re-elect Donald Trump! We will engage in a circular firing squad, because we don’t know how to run a positive campaign! Yes! Er . . .  No . . . That’s not what I mean . . . We need to do more negative attacks on Trump! Ahh . . . Wait . . . We need to do positive attacks, not negative attacks, because it is up to all of us to re-elect Donald Trump!

Er . . . I mean . . .  What..? What am I saying? We need to re-elect me! No, no, wait . . . Am I running for election or re-election? We don’t need to re-elect Trump at all! Or do we? No, no, absolutely not!

What I am trying to say, folks, is this: we in the Democratic Party know all about firing squads. And all those Bernie Brothers should face one, and the sooner, the better! Er . . .  I don’t mean, like, a literal firing squad, I mean, they should be shot, but not using real bullets. Er . . . Although . . . What would be the point of shooting them, then? That doesn’t make any sense . . . Why shoot the Bernie Brothers, if you are not gonna use real bullets? I am being serious!

Here’s the deal, folks: if the firing squad uses real bullets, they shouldn’t use high-capacity magazines. And no AR-14s, either. I strongly oppose AR-14s! I also oppose AR-13s, and AR-12s! I oppose all assault weapons, because they can be used to assault people—and I have always opposed all forms of sexual assault.

For the record, everything I’ve ever done with women has always been 100 percent consensual. In fact, as a senator, I passed legislation against . . . legislation that . . . as committee chairman, I strongly supported legislation that . . . made it a crime to assault . . . use an assault weapon to assault . . . weapons with magazines . . . big magazines . . .

Look, folks, I don’t care what they say, if you say you want to have an AR-14 for self-defense, you are full of shit! I can tell some of you in the audience might have one at home—well, I am here to tell you, you don’t need an AR-14. It’s a machine gun, for chrissakes! So hell yes, we’re gonna come for you, and we’re gonna take those damn AR-14’s of yours! No joke!

You over there! Yeah, you! The fat guy. You have one? You do, huh? Well, don’t tell me that, pal, or I’m going to go out and slap you in the face! What, you think I can’t? I can give you an ass-whooping right now! Who’s gonna stop me? You? Hah! You can’t stop me! So don’t be a horse’s ass! What, you think I work for you? Come on, man! I don’t work for you! You really think I work for you? Hah! You are full of shit, aren’t you? You are so full of it, you can’t tell shit from shinola!

A Heartbeat Away from the Presidency

These people . . . I can’t believe them . . .  Why am I even talking to these fat low-class losers? Where the hell is my staff? Why did they put me in this event, with all these working-class idiots?

What? Jill? Would you stop whispering in my ear! What? Can’t you see I’m doing something here! Oh . . . Hold on a sec, folks, gimme a moment while I . . .

Whew . . . that caffeine I had this morning really packs a punch, doesn’t it? I feel more awake now than I’ve felt in years . . . I really should drink more coffee . . .

Folks, I feel the need to remind you that I was vice president to President . . .  I was the vice president when President . . . when . . . he . . . when my boss was president, I was the number two man. I was the numero uno. Er . . .  Just wait a second . . . “Uno” means “one” in some non-English language, right? So I couldn’t have been the numero uno, because President . . . the president, who was president at the time, he was numero uno . . . I must have been the numero duno.

And just like other vice presidents, I was a heartbeat away from the presidency. For example, President O’Clinton had a vice president, whose name I can’t recall. President O’Carter also had one, even though I can’t remember his name either. President O’Roosevelt, I am pretty sure, had a vice president. At least, I think he had one . . .  Yeah, he did, didn’t he? So, folks, what I am trying to tell you is that it is not unusual for a president to have a vice president, although none of them were as smart or as accomplished as I am.

Folks, there is an issue that I will address as soon as I am re-elected to the presidency. I will appoint the first African-American Woman Senator to the Senate. I will also appoint the second African-American Woman Senator to the Senate. In fact, I am not gonna stop there. On day one, I will appoint all 100 Senators, and every single one of them will be an African-American woman, and you can take that promise to the bank! It is about time the Senate got a little diversity going, is what I’m saying.

Discriminating Against Foreign Viruses Is Un-American

And folks, let me tell you another thing: that Trump’s peace plan for Afghanistan is a disaster. I was the O’Biden Administration’s point man on Afghanistan, because President O’Biden, before he was elected, promised to win the war in Afghanistan. And let me tell you, under my leadership . . . er . . . under President O’Biden’s leadership, we came pretty darn close. I argued for an additional 200,000 troops, and if the generals had given me those 200,000 troops in Afghanistan, I would have won the war.

Now, this Afghan peace deal that Trump made—I have no idea what’s in it, but I don’t like it. I haven’t actually read it, but it doesn’t sound like a victory to me, and Trump never even asked for my opinion, if you can believe that! Here’s the deal: I don’t need to read it in order to be dead set against it—and let me assure you, when I am president, there won’t be any more peace deals with the Germans. Er . . . I mean, with the . . . with the people who . . . with those people . . . those bad people.

What America needs is a victory—and that is why when I was president, we did . . . er . . . I mean, when I was vice president, we were . . . they were . . . we had a plan to win the war, and . . . it was a good plan, a verifiable plan . . . it was . . . I mean, it was a certifiable plan . . . we definitely had a plan . . . we needed just eight more years to win that war. It was just like Vietnam, only better! Er . . .

Folks, there is one issue that I know all of you care about, and that’s the coronavirus. I know all of you have confidence that I would do a much better job than Trump, in dealing with the coronav . . . corona . . . coron . . .  the virus. Trump doesn’t know what he is doing. Why does he call it a Chinese virus? Viruses have no nationality. That coronav . . . coro . . . corona . . . that virus is as American as apple pie. Just because it came from China is no reason to call it a foreign virus—it’s here now, just like many other viruses, trying to make a decent living for its family. In fact, some of my best friends came from China. I am serious!

That coron . . . coronav . . . that virus should not be discriminated against, just because it is of foreign origin—it is completely un-American to discriminate on the basis of origin. In fact, I know China, my family has done a lot of business there while I was vice president, and there is absolutely no reason to remind people that the coronav . . . coron . . . the virus is from China.

We need better border controls, and that’s why I’ve always supported open borders. We need more testing, and that’s why I have no idea how much testing we have done for the corona . . . coronav . . . coro . . .  er . . . the virus. But I know we need to do more. We should stop all incoming flights from affected countries—and that’s why I’ve opposed Trump’s actions to stop the flights from China and Europe from day one. In other words, my plan is the opposite of Trump’s plan. So you can see that I have a totally comprehensive plan to use the coron . . . coronav . . . cor . . . the virus to attack Trump.

Now, folks, Republicans are still trying to attack me and my son because he took that job with a Ukrainian oil and gas company. Let me tell you something: Shame. On. Them!

Nobody has ever proved that there is anything wrong with taking a job with a Ukrainian oil and gas company. Most Americans, if offered a job like that, would surely take it, especially since it paid very well and required Hunter to do absolutely nothing.

Besides, my baby boy had a drug and alcohol addiction at the time, so you can see why he needed the money. All that coke and expensive liquor doesn’t come cheap, you know. And those stripper friends of his don’t dance for free either. Why, I remember, when I was a senator, and me and Teddy Kennedy used to go to . . .  Er . . . Umm . . . Never mind.

Look, folks, a job’s a job, is what I always say. Hunter is a very bright guy, and I am not surprised at all those Ukrainians wanted to hire him. Besides, nobody has proven yet that there was anything illegal about this, at all. Nothing illegal. Nothing. Not a thing.

And this only illustrates the point I always try to make: every child in America deserves to be provided with a quality edu . . . ed . . . educa . . . educ . . .  a thing. Yes. I mean it! A quality environment. An environment where everyone can learn to code.

Thank you, folks!

Elections

Jeepers Veepers!

As Joe Biden emerges the Democrats’ likely nominee, the focus inevitably will shift to who will be his running mate and heir apparent. But why on earth should it be Kamala Harris?

Prior to gaining national notoriety as California’s junior U.S. senator, Kamala Harris was widely considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. She spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 as her state’s attorney general, entering to the tune of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.’”

Just as Barack Obama had been eight years earlier, Harris was being groomed for bigger things beyond her state’s borders. She was featured by McClatchy in a profile of the new Gen Xer politicians along with Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

It was thought that the spotlight would do for her what it did for Obama, transforming her from a local prospect into a major league slugger for the party. In September 2017, only eight months after taking office as a freshman senator, Newsweek asked if she was the favorite to take on Donald Trump in 2020. CNN’s Chris Cillizza dubbed her the frontrunner immediately after the 2018 midterm elections.

At a certain point, however, reality kicked in. Kamala Harris—try as she might—does not have the charismatic cadence Obama had, nor does she have his smooth mannerisms.

Unlike Obama in his 2008 campaign, Harris has never made any overtures toward middle America on any issue. Last May, she declared she would require states and municipalities to obtain federal approval before enacting laws that restrict abortion. She also proposed far-reaching executive orders that would impose mandatory background checks and allow for prosecution of gun manufacturers. These are two areas where Harris, apparently, is claiming as president she would reprise the role that she currently plays as a legislator—something that Obama ended up doing but never bragged about before his election.

Harris also distinguished herself during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings as a sensational grandstander, outdone perhaps only by “I Am Spartacus” Booker.  For example, she grilled the judge over whether he’d had any conversations with a partner at the Kasowitz Benson Torres law firm about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The implication was that Harris had a “reliable source” that such a conversation had occurred. What was unstated, however, is that judges do not typically ask nor need to know with which law firm any given lawyer is affiliated when arguing a case, much less when they have a casual conversation. Kavanaugh would have had to risk perjuring himself if he’d said he hadn’t had the conversation and it later turned out that he had unknowingly.

The upshot? A month after the original exchange went viral on #Resistance Twitter, Kavanaugh answered the question saying he had not spoken with any such person. Almost no one called out Harris for bluffing except for a brief summary in her hometown San Francisco Chronicle.

From Sure Thing to Abandon Ship!

It was only three months after that on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2019 that the Kamala Harris presidential campaign was announced. Despite months of fawning press coverage and cooing interviews with such luminaries as Jimmy Kimmel, her campaign was rocked by problems from the beginning.

Whereas in 2008 Obama distinguished himself as the suave alternative to Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, Harris simply was outshined by her rivals—whether it was Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders and his fanatics, former Vice President Joe Biden with his instant Obama credibility, or Mayor Pete Buttigieg who was accused of outright ripping off Obama’s speaking style.

She was caught lying in an interview with one “Charlamagne tha God” about being a Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur fan in college—years before they were even active. Her big moment came with the first Democratic debate in June when she shamed Biden for his past opposition to federally mandated busing in the 1970s that integrated northern and western urban school districts. In retrospect, no matter how hard it is for his opponents to admit it, then-Senator Biden and many others opposed the policy because forced busing tore neighborhoods and communities apart and led to traumatic violence for children driven across town to schools that were often hostile to their presence.

No matter. In late June and early July after that debate, Harris’s national polling aggregate jumped from 7.5 to 15 percent at the expense of Biden who tumbled from 32 to just over 25 percent.

It seemed like Kamala had the tailwinds in her favor, so why is it that by December she was forced to drop out?

For one thing, a big wave named Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) swept over her decks. Gabbard, who was also profiled in the same 2016 McClatchy story, was aware Kamala Harris had a weak point in her armor: the real Kamala Harris.

Given a brief moment in the July debate, Gabbard slayed her by bringing attention to her record as a prosecutor withholding exculpatory evidence for a death row inmate, imprisoning drug offenders contrary to her own admission to smoking marijuana and other failings. By doing so Gabbard gained very little herself, but torpedoed Harris in the polls near to where she had been.

Even those who disagreed with Gabbard’s critiques of Harris’s performance could not help but notice that she could not respond to any of the Hawaiian congresswoman’s points. Try as she might, Kamala and her swarm of Twitiots known as #KHive could not get back in the saddle. When Michael Bloomberg entered the race in December, she threw her hands up and quit. She blamed money in politics, racists, and sexists for her flame-out. It was a typically tone-deaf tantrum from an awful candidate who had ignored all signs of her own shortcomings.

Put Me In Coach!

Despite her abysmal performance, Kamala Harris is leading the field according to oddsmakers trying to predict who Biden’s running mate will be.

Newsweek has proposed her as a “woman of color” option along with failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams and freshman Representative Val Demings (D-Fla.). She is now ahead of fellow former presidential candidates Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is the only man on the list.

Harris endorsed Biden, the man she once charged with racial insensitivity, on March 8. Biden has already set aside crucial roles in a future administration for fellow primary dropouts Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke. But why would the nominee (or the DNC) give the nod to one of his most bitter detractors during the campaign, after such a bold and charged attack?

The key word to remember for vice presidential candidates is reliability. This is why Mike Pence was chosen over other GOP former candidates in 2016 as Trump’s running mate. It is also why at the time the youthful rival John Edwards was picked in 2004 for John Kerry, and Paul Ryan for Mitt Romney in 2012.

The major difference this year would be that the vice-presidential nominee would be seen as a much more immediate potential successor should Biden win the presidency, and therefore must be reasonably younger. In this respect, Elizabeth Warren is at a disadvantage at age 70. But beyond her youth, Harris has the distinction of having been the product and instrument of the northern California political machine headed by her mentor and former lover Willie Brown.

As San Francisco mayor in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the rakish Brown appointed his mistress to key roles within the city’s various boards and departments. In 2003 he backed her in the city’s district attorney election against rival Terence Hallinan.

As the city’s top prosecutor, Harris allowed pedophile priests to escape justice and became notorious for putting the Brown machine’s friends ahead of the law. This is coming from a woman who reamed former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta for his light prosecution of sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein that happened during her tenure as D.A.

Much of this information is available from Bay Area media, but it has been copiously compiled by investigative journalist Peter Schweizer in his new book Profiles in Corruption. As California attorney general, Harris angered progressives by declining to prosecute former OneWest Bank executive Steven Mnuchin, now the treasury secretary under Trump, for foreclosure violations in 2013.

Time after time, Kamala Harris has come through for the right people when it mattered for her career. Other rival candidates may have shot themselves out of the cannon too fast, like former Obama housing secretary Julián Castro when he boldly accused Biden of having memory issues during a debate in September. A month earlier Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) did the same thing over a supposedly sexist op-ed that Biden had written in 1981. Booker questioned Biden’s mental acuity around the same time as Castro.

If he has any sense in him, however (which is an open question these days), Joe Biden will steer clear of Kamala Harris.

In September it was reported that she was polling at only 8 percent in the Bay Area against fellow Democratic presidential candidates. By November 2019 her national favorability was at -12 percent, far below Mike Pence who is at -7.6 percent. Beyond the polling, such a selection would be a blatant middle finger both to his party’s progressive wing and to any potential swing and undecided voters, as well as an embrace of wanton corruption. She is almost worse than having no running mate at all.

Elections

Deep Pocket Democrats Intend to Buy Congress

It’s important for Americans to realize that the Democratic Party is the party of the rich and the party of the deep state—from the federal bureaucracy down to every union-controlled local agency across every state and city.

Michael Bloomberg made a stunning admission last month during his second appearance in a Democratic presidential primary debate. Speaking in defense of his new identity as a member of the Democratic Party, he said, “All of the new Democrats that came in, put Nancy Pelosi in charge, and gave the Congress the ability to control this president, I b . . . bought . . . I got them.”

Indeed he did. He bought them.

Bloomberg bought congressional seats in 2018, spending an estimated $110 million to help Democrats win. This included $28 million through his super PAC Independence USA, which backed 22 Democratic congressional candidates, 19 of whom won. These efforts promise to be minor compared to what is happening now.

And the scale of his spending in the 2020 political season, especially when matched with the ongoing torrents of cash coming from other Democratic megadonors, dwarfs anything we’ve ever seen in American politics. With an estimated net worth of nearly $60 billion, Bloomberg may be out of the presidential race but he still has money to burn.

Starting in early 2019, in fact, Bloomberg began building what The Atlantic described as “the most powerful political organization in America,” which will

collect data about voters on an unprecedented scale, match those data with consumer data, and then hire a team of engineers to do high-level analyses, looking for new ways to identify potential voters, and new ways to appeal to them. They want to match voter data to consumer information and social-media profiles, and look for new ways to break through. Then they want to build a new “tech stack,” or system for processing and applying the data. The goal, they say internally, is to fundamentally change the core Democratic infrastructure.

This “political machine” is up and running. And regardless of Bloomberg’s personal political fate, it will be used in 2020 to support every Democratic candidate in every contested congressional race in America.

Democratic Megadonors Outnumber GOP Megadonors

When it comes to deep pockets for the Democrats, Bloomberg’s hardly alone. Onstage with Bloomberg was fellow oligarch and failed presidential contender Tom Steyer, who has already spent over $100 million to elect Democrats all over the nation, and he’s likely to spend another $100 million before he’s through.

And then there’s Donald Sussman, James and Deborah Simons, George Soros, Fred Eychaner, Karla Jurvetson, George Marcus, Reid Hoffman, Dustin Moskovitz, and Joshua Bekenstein, who collectively have contributed additional hundreds of millions of dollars to Democrats over the past few years. Expect that to continue.

While the Republicans do have donors with deep pockets, they are consistently outspent by the Democratic megadonors. Worse, many Republican megadonors are willing to destroy Republican congressmen and senators who don’t agree with their globalist agenda. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

This reality, that big donors largely control the political destiny of congressmen and senators in America, exposes the wishful absurdity of a recent article published by Fox News. The story, headlined “Republican Party war chest dwarfs Democrats’ going into 2020 high season,” sounds encouraging until you read the numbers: “According to the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) data released Thursday, covering Jan. 1 through Jan. 31, the Republican National Committee has $76 million cash-on-hand compared with the Democratic National Committee’s $9.9 million.”

This GOP advantage of $66 million sounds great. It’s a lot of money. Until you realize that Steyer is likely to spend at least that much between now and November 3, and Bloomberg could easily spend that much every month between now and November 3. And they’re not the only Democratic super donors.

And then there are the unions.

Saturation Spending Works

To get an idea of how effective political spending can be when you have virtually no constraints on how much you can spend, Bloomberg’s candidacy was instructive.

In states where he competed on Super Tuesday, you couldn’t turn on a television or radio for longer than 10 minutes without seeing or hearing a Bloomberg ad. If his microtargeting machine deemed you worth prospecting online, his ads blanketed your screens. And they’re good ads, tailored to the region, the audience, and wherever possible, the individual.

Expect similar expertly crafted saturation level ads to be run this year by the Democrats in support of every Democratic congressional and senate candidate in every battleground district and state. But they won’t be run by the Democratic party. They’ll be run by independent expenditure campaigns controlled by Bloomberg, Steyer, and public-sector unions.

California, which has been run almost exclusively by public-sector unions for at least 20 years, provides abundant examples of how Democratic candidates are vetted and chosen by these unions, then elected via independent expenditure campaigns over which the candidates have no control.

As a matter of campaign finance law, these candidates cannot even try to influence the campaigns waged on their behalf, or they’ll face disqualification, punitive fines, and possible jail sentences. That’s awfully convenient for the public-sector unions, which control the Democratic Party in California.

From the perspective of national political outcomes, it might be tempting to think that whichever party controls California’s 10,000 local elected positions doesn’t matter that much. If so, that would be a dangerous misconception. California and other deep-blue states, all of them largely controlled by public-sector unions, endure the consequences of Democratic policies across the entire continuum of political jurisdictions. And these consequences are contagious.

Local and state policies are the reason Californians can’t build homes without paying public bureaucracies literally $100,000 or more in permit fees, per home, and encounter years of delays in approval.

Local and state policies are the reason Californians can barely run small businesses, or attend decent public schools, or drive on well-maintained and adequate roads, or afford the necessities of life unless they’re wealthy.

More to the point, this critical mass of political power at the state and local level allows Democrats to consolidate their power, sweep up congressional districts, create a standing army of seasoned professional political operatives, and train the politician farm team from which spring the national politicians that threaten to “fundamentally transform America.” Adam Schiff was once a California state senator. Maxine Waters was a California assemblywoman. And so on.

The Preposterous Overkill of Saturation Political Spending

To observe the local campaign tactics of public sector unions in California, where they collect and spend more than $800 million per year, is an exercise in surrealism.

For just one of the 80 seats in the state assembly, a constituent may expect to receive at least a dozen flyers in the mail. Not the two or three undersized postcards that a Republican candidate might hope to mail. No, from union-endorsed candidates, expect glossy full-sized booklets, or 8 x 10 flyers, or 10 x 12 flyers, and yes, even 11 x 14 flyers—thick, ink drenched and varnished, full-color extravaganzas. How do they even stuff these in the mailbox? How much must each one of them cost?

It doesn’t matter. Public sector unions are the other deep state, with pockets just as deep as the oligarchs, and they’re fighting on the same side.

For Democrats. It doesn’t even matter if the race is for a safe seat. They’ll make certain to saturate the mail and the air with constant messages, making certain their candidate has name recognition. If their Democratic candidate is competing in one of California’s pathetically few remaining battleground districts, they’ll run a campaign so dirty you’ll feel the filth blasting into you with a mere glance at the favored candidate’s latest flyer.

As for the candidates themselves—they have no say in how these independent expenditure campaigns are run. And afterward, they’ll be owned.

It’s important for Americans to realize that the Democratic party is the party with the deep pockets, and the party of the deep state—from the federal bureaucracy down to every union-controlled local agency across every state and city. Naturally, there are RINOs who are also part of this establishment. But by far, the locus of corporate socialism lies with the Democrats, supported by an ironclad alliance between leftist oligarchs and public-sector unions.

Elections

The Coming American Autumn?

After years of tolerating insurgent radicals and promoting them in their ranks, the Democrats have pumped the brakes hard on the left-wing of their party by uniting to stop Bernie Sanders. It won’t be enough to avoid the violent reaction of his most radical supporters.

Much to my chagrin, a relative of mine in 2017 took her young children to her local Women’s March and proudly proclaimed “This is what democracy looks like!” as legions of feminists and others protested the inauguration of Donald Trump.

After three years of similar protests, special counsel investigations, government shutdowns and impeachment she hasn’t budged from her belief that Trump represents everything wrong with America. This primary season she supported the candidate that she thought best matched up against the president. Unfortunately, that candidate turned out to be former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who dropped out the weekend before her state’s primary.

The consolidation of the Democratic field after the South Carolina primary and the resulting Super Tuesday wave for Joe Biden were rapidly, if reluctantly, accepted as the necessary move by establishment media spooked by the possibility of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders being their candidate. It also has revealed again that the party that claims to be the heir of Thomas Jefferson doesn’t particularly resemble what “democracy looks like.”

Much of the momentum that Biden received in the Palmetto State came by virtue of the late endorsement of Representative James Clyburn, a machine politician with reliable pull among black residents as shown with his efforts in 2016. The carnage of that week, which appears to have wrecked Sanders’ chances of winning the nomination, has led to comical outbursts of anger from his supporters.

The division between the progressive and corporate wings of the Democratic Party cannot be bridged, and the deceptive primary process is likely to lead to a backlash that will not be limited to wearing pussy hats and vagina costumes on the National Mall.

America could see a reboot of an often forgotten era of urban radicalism buried in the 1970s. Time will tell whether it will be as violent. It will depend on whether the believers in armed resistance are willing to make the choice actively to pursue it, but it would not be unprecedented and the social climate is ripe for an encore.

Revolution After Clearing the Rubble

The 1950s are remembered by many as an era of economic prosperity, conservative social mores, and the zenith of the nuclear family as the “baby boom” spiked birth rates after World War II and more children than ever attended U.S. public schools. Eventually, this led to an increase in college enrollments, which had already grown after the war thanks to the G.I. Bill. In 1960, only 45 percent of high school graduates attended college or university. By 1969 that number had risen to 53 percent. For women, the number had grown from 37 percent to 47 percent.

But the world that these youths encountered in academia often clashed with the one in which they grew up  as far left academics had already infiltrated their ranks. Timothy Leary, famous as the pioneer of acid culture, was a psychology professor at Harvard University. Howard Zinn, author of The People’s History of the United States that is the spiritual antecedent of the 1619 Project, started teaching at Boston University in 1964 after he had been fired from all-black Spelman College in Atlanta.

As American troops deployed to Vietnam in 1965, radical politics and counterculture gained steam, especially among those seeking to avoid the rice paddies and river deltas by having a college study exemption. Since the 1960s, the ideological monolith has grown.

A 2018 study by the National Association of Scholars found fields such as communications and anthropology possessing virtually no right-leaning “conservative” viewpoints across the country. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a socialist countercultural political organizing group headed by young leaders like Tom Hayden spread across college campuses even prior to the war as supporters of the Civil Rights Movement and as reformers of the Democratic Party.

But the Democrats were too big and too “diverse” to reform, as they included segregationist Dixiecrats like Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas, privileged eastern elites like the Kennedy clan, union organizers such as Walter Reuther, and corrupt political bosses like Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daly.

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson, a man who had built his career on balancing these competing interests, stood down after performing poorly in the New Hampshire primary against Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn.). The resultant chaotic primary has been cited as a possible antecedent to what we’re seeing in 2020. While Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York represented the progressive wing of the party, the centrists supported Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Following Kennedy’s assassination, Humphrey was selected during the chaotic convention in Chicago while antiwar protesters clashed with police both inside and outside of the International Amphitheatre.

Can You Dig It?

In the wake of ’68 convention disaster, the SDS began to splinter as student activists disagreed on how best to support their goals and indeed on which goals should be promoted. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in April also triggered massive riots across American urban areas and radicalism seeped into black communities through organizations like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Black Panthers. These different spheres of angst would coalesce and fragment as Humphrey lost to Richard Nixon in the general election. Like Donald Trump today, Nixon was always an easy person for the Left to hate as a symbol of their parents’ stodgier cultural norms.

Traditionally, this era of youth activism is remembered for the trendy symbolism of Woodstock. While different in message, this is comparable to the faux radical “craptivism” of modern pop stars like Taylor Swift and Beyonce Knowles, masking the turmoil of the time behind a benign layer of love beads and lava lamps.

SDS splintered into multiple movements, one of which was the Revolutionary Youth Movement. In October 1969, only two months after Woodstock, the RYM convened in Chicago for the Days of Rage, seeking to “bring the war home” and cause a genuine violent uprising against participation in Vietnam. But after only 800 fellow radicals showed up, the chaotic riot devolved into smashing store windows and parked cars. The Days of Rage caused a rupture with the Chicago-area Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who would later be murdered by the police.

The failed uprising created another division in RYM leading to the formation of the revolutionary Weather Underground. Led by bitter SDS organizers like Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, this faction began a string of bombings, robberies and other violent actions that stretched through the 1970s using a network of former classmates, sympathizer lawyers, and even contacts in Cuba and North Vietnam. During its December 1969 “war council,” Dohrn hailed the gory Tate-LaBianca murders committed by acolytes of Charles Manson, saying: “Dig it! First they killed those pigs. Then they ate dinner in the same room with them. Then they even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach! Wild!”

At the same time, West Germany was contending with the Marxist-Leninist Red Army Faction. In 1977, their operatives perpetrated several acts of terror, including the murder of industrialist Hans Martin Schleyer and the hijacking of a Lufthansa flight to Somalia later rescued by German commandos. It would come to be known as the German Autumn thanks to a documentary produced about it by independent filmmakers.

The Weather Underground’s bombing campaign would continue through most of the 1970s. They were joined by other radical terror groups like the Symbionese Liberation Army. Eventually, the Left’s dreams of revolution unraveled due to the decentralized and amoeba-like structure of its leaders. Ayers and Dohrn both left the Weather Underground by 1980. Neither spent a single day in prison due to the disqualification of unconstitutional FBI wiretap evidence.

From #Demexit to Demolition?

While mainstream culture champions their values, the far-Left is frustrated by their lack of actual power in comparison to the affluent liberal establishment that controls corporations like Comcast and Disney. Many of them are graduates of the Occupy Wall Street movement that sought to shut down the system and end an economy that they see as being dedicated to the greed of the few.

In 2016, Bernie Sanders offered an attractive antidote: “democratic socialism.” But what is the difference between this and other types of socialism and what does that mean now that Bernie is basically toast?

As with previous generations of radicals—think of Eugene V. Debs and Vice President Henry Wallace—Sanders’ tendency is to see electoral politics as a way to equalize society without a violent revolution. Similarly, “democratic socialists” have taken power in other countries, such as Salvador Allende in Chile (1971) and Hugo Chávez in Venezuela (1998).

But the theme of democratic socialism remains the same as all of the other types; rather than emphasize the goal of the struggle against wealth and inequality, the struggle comes to supersede its own goals.

While most remember the Russian Revolution of 1917, often unmentioned is the February Revolution of that year that ousted Czar Nikolai II and installed the republican government of Aleksandr Kerensky. This government of the Socialist Revolutionary movement had the cooperation of the Mensheviks, the larger faction of the Social Democratic and Labor Party. Kerensky’s government could not turn around Russia’s fortunes in World War I, leading to the other more famous Bolshevik faction of the SDLP overthrowing him in October 1917. Consequently, almost no one remembers that the Russian Revolution was originally led by “democratic socialists,” and then replaced by the more ruthless Marxist-Leninists or socialists with teeth.

Those despairing of the Democratic nomination process in 2020 delivering a progressive alternative may react as mildly as forming a new third party or coalition to challenge the two-party system.

In 2016, former Sanders staffer Nick Brana did so by creating the Movement for a People’s Party. Perhaps if Sanders himself and his voters had heeded Brana’s advice they wouldn’t be in for so much grief now. As Project Veritas revealed in January, however, some of Bernie’s supporters would be fully willing to trade the ballot box for the Armalite, as the IRA used to say.

When asked what would happen at the Milwaukee convention if the DNC tried to block Sanders yet again, Iowa staffer Kyle Jurek exclaimed, “f–king cities burn!” Jurek expressed to an undercover Project Veritas operative his sympathy for the oppressive gulags of the Soviet Union and admitted to participating in the violent activities of Antifa. He also intimated that the campaign was likely staffed by many other Antifa activists like him.

Still, it is unlikely that the majority of Sanders’s voters will take the route to violent revolution as the Weather Underground did after 1968 and as Jurek predicts today. Many more are likely to try Brana’s peaceful #Demexit strategy. But as with any terror campaign, it would not take a large group of people to cause disruptive and lamentable bloodshed.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: U.S. President Donald Trump is seen through a window in the Oval Office as he addresses the nation on the response to the COVID-19 coronavirus, on March 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Elections

Coronavirus Crisis and Opportunity

President Trump has turned a public health challenge into an invitation for more temperate political discourse that his opponents will continue to scorn at their peril. 

After rattling the country with his implausible bravura and rather embarrassing statements at his press conference last week, where he astounded the scientific community with the depth of his epidemiological knowledge, President Trump is now turning the corner on the coronavirus crisis.

His original performance was a bit like President Obama’s in 2014 when—after having tacitly encouraged the rise of ISIS with his petulant withdrawal from Iraq and having announced that he would intensify targeted bombing and increase training and advisory services to the defeated Iraquis—he declared, “This is American statesmanship at its finest.” It wasn’t. American presidents ought to leave those judgments to historians, in any event.

We need only imagine what the effect would have been if Franklin Roosevelt had concluded his “Great Arsenal of Democracy” Speech (1940), or John F. Kennedy his Cuba Missile Crisis address (1962), or Ronald Reagan his “Evil Empire” (1983) or “Tear Down This Wall” (1987) addresses with such a vigorous self-administered pat on the back. President Trump was addressing a nation naturally worried about a viral epidemic that had already started to penetrate our borders—worry that was being spiked by the hyena-cries of Democratic doomsayers, led as always in such reflections, by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

What was called for was a plan of action, not placatory assurances apparently based on the president’s doubtless sincere belief in his scientific intuition. 

Over the next few days, the White House pulled itself together and the president gave a purposeful address from the Oval Office on Wednesday, only the second of his term. It was clear from watching opposition television coverage and listening to Democratic spokespeople that they are trying to worry the issue to death, frighten the country out of its wits, escalate partisanship, blame it on Trump, and incidentally spare Joe Biden the danger of going more than seven minutes unscripted opposite Bernie Sanders. 

CNN and MSNBC commentators mocked the president’s delivery, but the country will wish to follow him. The Democrats will claim Trump is blaming China and Europe, but almost 80 percent of the reported coronavirus cases in the world are in China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy.

Trump, as he has done before, is turning a vulnerability into a strength and his opponents, who in their febrile animus have no capacity to judge the appropriate level of acerbity in their opposition, have taken the bait and pre-emptively are accusing him of “towering incompetence” in the words of Schumer, (who,  by his endless and mindless carping, has made himself one of the most tedious people in modern American history). 

All the president really has to do is be the head of an administration doing a competent job of dealing with a difficult problem, and the administration has already crossed that threshold. The group assembled under the chairmanship of the vice president is unquestionably qualified and articulate. It is clear that the president was prescient in restricting entry from people coming from China while Schumer and Pelosi and their lackeys were simpering and puling about Trump’s “racism and xenophobia.”    

With the illness ramping up in the world—200 new fatalities in Italy in one day, a revived upward spike in South Korea where it had seemed to be in decline, and is largely associated with one evangelical church, and the health minister of the United Kingdom becoming infected—the president and his administration appear to be managing effectively.

Despite the nasty relations the president has with the Democratic governors of California (Gavin Newsom), New York (Andrew Cuomo), and Washington (Jay Inslee), all three have spoken warmly about Trump’s efforts and their inter-governmental cooperation. 

While the United States has been late getting testing facilities up to the mark, 4 million kits are being added this week and the country will soon have the ability to mass-test if that’s what is required. As of a couple of days ago, there were 116,000 identified cases in the world, 64,000 full recoveries, a little over 4,100 deaths and about 48,000 still convalescing. The proportions of the outbreak and spread justify high public concern and urgent action, but not panic or defeatism.

In the United States, if the one key home for the elderly near Seattle (16 deaths) is excluded, the fatality percentage on a little over 1,100 cases is slightly over 1 percent and the average age of the deceased from this cause is 80. That makes it a little easier to target and protect the most vulnerable people. The ban on air travel from continental Europe that the president announced on Wednesday night is prudent, and a sufficiently radical measure to be indicative of the president’s seriousness.

One positive element of the crisis: The president can state clearly and mobilize opinion on the necessity of repatriating a good deal of commerce, including sophisticated medicine, from China.

The administration seems to have addressed the concern for fair treatment of affected employees, and to be providing reliable information with full daily updates. The objective must be to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible, even if, as Trump said in his thorough eleven-minute summary, it only moderates the illness. We must also insulate as many people as possible without strangling the economy as we work to reduce the mortality rate to the minimum possible. If the measures announced don’t adequately restrict the spread and protect the vulnerable, more drastic methods can be invoked.

What the administration has now produced, after a few days of not entirely elegant improvisation, should address the psychological issues, and yield results in restricting the spread of the virus. It can move in lockstep with the vice president’s blue-ribbon committee of unchallengeable experts. Instead of a reenactment of the memorable book and film Death in Venice, as a disease (cholera in that case) lays low an entire society, we should see improving techniques, effective avoidance practices, and steadily lower infection numbers and better recovery figures.    

The president’s economic proposals seem to require a bit of massaging, but he should be able to cooper something together. This gang of Democrats is none-too-brave in the best of times and they will not want to stand too rigidly in the way of tax relief while the president is trying to mitigate the effects of a public health crisis that originated overseas. Much activity can be transacted without proximity between the parties, including most of education; and work requiring large concentrations of people, such as manufacturing, can be conducted at much-reduced risk. 

The Democrats, as so often these last three years, have completely lost their minds in fanning Trumpophobic hysteria. Speaker Pelosi was only using her customary sense of irrational hyperbole this week in describing the reelection of the president as “the greatest existential crisis facing civilization.” This was the same considered and balanced form of public discourse that motivated her to describe the Trump tax-cut bill as “the greatest disaster in history,” and after the midterm elections to liken Trump to a skunk afflicted by gender uncertainties.

The president has already extracted two positive elements from this crisis: he can state clearly and mobilize opinion on the necessity of repatriating a good deal of commerce, including sophisticated medicine, from China. Those who were bleating about trade wars when he imposed tariffs on China will be silent as he incentivizes American industry to bring a good deal of strategic commerce back to the United States. And he has turned a public health challenge into an invitation for more temperate political discourse that his opponents will continue to scorn at their peril. 

It will be hard to continue to accuse the president of incompetence, especially as America’s competitive performance against the coronavirus is almost certainly going to be better than that of South Korea or the principal continental European powers. There will be nothing remotely reminiscent of George W. Bush’s fiasco over Hurricane Katrina at New Orleans in 2005, where he arrived late, made locker room towel-snapping jokes about being drunk in New Orleans as a student at Mardi Gras, and breezily congratulated his director of emergency assistance for a fine job when, in fact, a disaster of non-preparedness was piled on top of a natural calamity.

As usual, the window-rattling ululations of joy from the Democrats may swiftly lead to embarrassment. Donald Trump is not FDR, Ike, JFK, or even Nixon or Reagan as a figure of reassurance, but he pulled his response to the coronavirus together this week and should come through it in good health, politically and otherwise.          

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 12: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley visits "Fox & Friends" at Fox News Channel Studios on November 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
Elections

Nikki Haley for Veep? No Way!

If the day of Vice President Haley ever arrives, the Trump base should have no illusions about the flatlining vital signs of the America First moment.

Rumor has it President Trump is considering swapping Vice President Mike Pence with former American ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. “This is not a prediction,” said CNN political analyst Paul Begala, “it’s a certainty.” Haley would be a great choice—if Trump intends to utterly abandon the agenda that got him elected.

There is a reason the rabidly anti-Trump Bill Kristol floated Haley as primary challenger to Trump in 2020; warhawks of a feather flock together. 

Pitting Haley against Trump would mean certain political suicide for her, but seeding her in the White House would, in a Machiavellian twist, boost her profile and afford her countless opportunities to subvert the America First agenda. From immigration to foreign policy, Haley has been no friend to MAGA.

While speaking officially on behalf of the GOP in response to President Obama’s State of the Union in January 2016, Haley had her own “basket of deplorables” moment. She claimed Trump’s supporters had been seduced by “the siren call of the angriest voices”—that is, that they had no legitimate grievances and were merely swayed by Trump’s supposedly baseless hate-mongering because they themselves are hateful. 

Though she did not name him then, she made it clear later: “Yes, Mr. Trump has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk.” Rush Limbaugh went further. “She also means the conservative base,” he said, “and don’t believe anything other than that.”

Limbaugh had described himself as a fan of Haley’s but said he saw her real face in that speech. “It’s the first time in my life I can remember the response to the state of the union not going after the president but rather going off on the front-runner of, in this case, her own party,” Limbaugh said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. And it is quite telling to note where in the drive-by media and in the conservative media today she’s being hailed.” 

Weak on Illegal Immigration

The Washington Post praised Haley as the “GOP’s Obama” for her “diverse” background, for posturing as a sort of bipartisan healer-figure, and for her rebuke of then-candidate Trump and his America First agenda. The Christian Science Monitor wondered if a Romney-Haley ticket wasn’t an establishment match made in heaven.  

Trump would do well to remember his own rebuke of Haley in response to her shot across the bow: “She’s very weak on illegal immigration and she certainly has no trouble asking me for campaign contributions because over the years she’s asked me for a hell of a lot of money in campaign contributions.” 

Indeed, Haley is at odds with Stephen Miller on immigration, the last man in the White House who is true to the America First immigration mandate.

When Miller brought together senior officials in 2018 to discuss a plan to reduce the number of refugees admitted to the United States, Haley was deliberately excluded, presumably for her previous opposition to drastic reductions of refugee resettlement numbers. A spokesperson said Miller’s discussion was conducted “in consultation with all appropriate government agencies.” Likely as a result of her views on immigration, then, Haley was kept out of the discussion. 

To the extent that her absence makes Miller’s job easier, her presence as Vice President Haley would make it exponentially more difficult. No doubt she would steer the administration away from meaningful America First immigration policy, as she endeavored to do with foreign policy as ambassador to the U.N.

More Regime Change

Though President Trump ran on the promise that no more American blood and treasure would be spilled over the Middle East, Haley has different ideas.

On April 9, 2017, “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson asked then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson whether regime change in Syria was on the table for the Trump Administration. “Our priority in Syria, John, really hasn’t changed,” said Tillerson. “I think the president has—been quite clear. First and foremost, we must defeat ISIS.” Haley took a very different view.

She told CNN host Jake Tapper that “regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.” 

CNN’s Chris Cillizza noted the divergent opinions and offered a remarkably lucid take. “It’s two factions within the foreign policy wing of the Trump White House trying to convince the president of the rightness of their positions on Syria via public channels,” he wrote. Fortunately for America, Haley’s faction lost—but our odds go way down if Trump makes her his running mate.

At a time when Trump was prudently attempting to pour the oil of conciliation over troubled waters with Russia, Haley remained antagonistic. Moscow, she said at a GOP retreat in February 2018, “is not, will not, be our friend.” That statement surely flowed as music to the ears of neoconservative warmongers, but it fell flat when Trump had a congenial meeting with Russian President Putin in Helsinki a few months later.

Capitulation on the Culture Wars

But Haley’s role in the culture war most reveals her compromised character.

Recall that she came out against a bill that would have required people to use public restrooms corresponding to their biological sex. “Then-Gov. Nikki Haley said the ban could cripple the economy,” reports The Post and Courier. Haley is functionally progressive, insofar as she offers little or no resistance and goes with grain, but is prudent enough to have platitudes about market economics on hand as an excuse—“it’s not me, it’s the economy.” Trump ran explicitly against the idea that markets come before the American people and their culture.

There are, moreover, some things you can’t put a price on, like a backbone—the lack of which Haley especially demonstrated on the Confederate flag.

After a gunman murdered nine people at a church in South Carolina, Haley somehow tied the controversy over the Confederate flag to the shooting and thus indirectly associated all of its defenders with the killer. Regardless of her assertions that this was not her intention, Haley dismissed everyone willing to defend that flag as someone on the “wrong side of history” when she virtue signaled. 

Haley had always been “woke.” She simply needed the right moment to show us just how woke. “I think the more important part is it should have never been there,” she told CNN’s Don Lemon in 2015, after the Confederate flag had been removed from the South Carolina statehouse grounds.

“Haley had previously been a supporter of the flag as a symbol of Southern heritage honoring residents’ ancestors,” wrote journalist Eugene Scott. But she changed her mind. “The biggest reason I asked for that flag to come down was I couldn’t look my children in the face and justify it staying there,” she said. But Haley showed here that she is flexible. As the winds of change blew in with Trump, so her story changed with the times.

“My position on the Confederate flag has been constant,” she wrote in a 2019 op-ed for the Washington Post. “Our country’s culture has changed.” Not that “it never should have been there,” or “I couldn’t look my children in the face.” No, now that Trump has shown that fighting for unpopular causes can be a winning political formula, Haley’s story is that she only brought down the rebel standard to keep the outrage mob from getting out of hand. Notice also her constant tugging at heartstrings, invoking her children and, more often, her background as a minority and the child of immigrants.

Haley has all the hallmarks of someone who operates with political expediency as a rule. Appeals to emotion, comic displays of faux strength, radically different stances on the same issue depending on the times. But there remains a remarkable consistency and cunning through it all.

She has maneuvered herself into a good light with the president and his supporters, despite remaining ideologically opposed to the America First agenda. Haley has gone from being the GOP’s Obama—the quintessential anti-Trump Republican—to a favorite of Trump supporters and now a potential replacement for Mike Pence. If the day of Vice President Haley ever arrives, Trump’s base should have no illusions about the flatlining vital signs of the America First moment.

UNITED STATES - MARCH 12: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wipes her nose during her weekly news conference in Washington on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Elections

Instead of Bracing for Coronavirus, Democrats Focused on Impeachment

Now all of us are paying the price for the Democrats’ shortsighted and destructive campaign against the president.

On January 15, House Democrats delivered two articles of impeachment to the United States Senate. Democrats knew the Republican-controlled Senate would not have enough votes to convict President Trump. But that didn’t deter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from wasting government time, resources, and attention for months in a doomed effort to remove Donald Trump from the White House. 

Six days later, on January 21, the first known case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19, or the Wuhan virus) was reported in the United States.

While the Left and NeverTrump Right predictably gather steam to condemn Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, congressional Democrats have escaped any accountability for ignoring the early stages of the outbreak. And, with no sense of irony, the very journalists and pundits who cheered impeachment are the same folks now blasting the president for “not doing enough” to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Let’s back up for a moment: Since before Donald Trump took the oath of office, the Left and NeverTrump Right have been on a destructive crusade to crush his presidency. It is unlike anything in recent political history—no tactic has been considered too beyond-the-pale or in violation of sacred limits. The Russian collusion farce and ensuing special counsel investigation into an imaginary crime monopolized the White House’s attention for more than two years. When that failed, House Democrats and their administrative toadies in government concocted the Ukrainegate scandal that began the month after Robert Mueller’s disastrous testimony on Capitol Hill. 

As the impeachment inquiry got underway in late 2019, the coronavirus was devastating parts of China. Even though his White House was under siege, President Trump took action: On January 29, the president announced the formation of a special task force and declared coronavirus a “public health emergency.” A few days later, on January 31, Trump halted travel from China, a move largely viewed as a pivotal step to minimize the disease’s spread here. 

Democrats, including several presidential candidates, accused the president of “fearmongering” and xenophobia. Joe Biden opposed the travel ban. “This is a virus that happened to pop up in China. But the virus doesn’t discriminate between Asian versus non-Asian,” Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) dimly told Politico. “In our response, we can’t create prejudices and harbor anxieties toward one population.”

On the same day that Trump announced the travel stop and mandatory quarantine of Americans coming back from afflicted regions, Democrats, rather than address the legitimate threat to the nation, instead pushed to extend their impeachment charade by demanding more witness testimony.

Complaints But No Solutions

Democrats remained mostly silent on the coronavirus menace throughout February. 

One sparsely-attended hearing held by the House Foreign Relations Committee on February 5–the day Trump was acquitted—offered little in the way of solutions or a plan to combat the various exigencies related to the illness. One witness was Ron Klain, a partisan Trump-hater and Obama’s so-called Ebola czar who by January 30 had already written a lengthy screed warning Americans that the president’s “war on government has decimated crucial functions” and agencies would not be prepared to fight coronavirus.

Post-impeachment, Democrats continued to pour more rage and derision on the president as the disease took hold in other countries. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ignored the risk for most of the month as she gloated about her successful impeachment effort. During her weekly presser the first week of February, Pelosi didn’t even mention coronavirus, choosing instead to explain why she tore up Donald Trump’s state of the union address on national television while snubbing American heroes. And rather than call an emergency session as the threat escalated, Pelosi’s House adjourned on February 13 and didn’t return to business until February 25.

In fact, Pelosi’s first public comment on February 24 about the Wuhan virus wasn’t until a month after the first U.S. case was reported. 

“Americans need a coordinated, fully-funded, whole-of-government response to keep them and their loved ones safe,” Pelosi said, as if she were a bystander and not one of the most powerful politicians in the country. “The president’s request for coronavirus response funding is long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency.” 

Her first tweet on the matter also posted that day—weeks after Trump started taking action.

But Pelosi wasn’t the only Democratic leader asleep at the switch during a critical period of global escalation. During a February 26 meeting of the House Appropriations subcommittee on labor, health and human services, and education, coronavirus came up briefly with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. (The budget hearing then veered into unaccompanied minors at the border and gun violence.)

The House Homeland Security Committee held its first hearing on coronavirus just last week.

Partisan Games

While Americans became more alarmed this month about a possible pandemic, Pelosi, of course, played partisan games. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) accused the speaker of delaying a vote on additional coronavirus funding to use it in campaign ads against Republican lawmakers. 

The House passed, and President Trump signed, a bill to provide $8.3 billion to help state and local governments defray extra costs to fight the predicted epidemic.

Even now, as the stock market crashes, sporting events are canceled, business owners panic, and college campuses empty out, perhaps for the rest of the academic year, House Democrats are dragging their feet on an emergency aid package to help Americans affected by the crisis. 

Pelosi waited until late Wednesday to announce a relief package—hastily drafted in just the past few days—laden with unrelated and divisive progressive goodies such as permanent paid sick leave and changes to Medicaid. House Republicans have voiced their objections to the plan.

But the House is again scheduled to adjourn until at least March 23. Pelosi pushed back on delaying the break to iron out any differences with the White House or her GOP counterparts. “I’m not sticking around because [House Republicans] won’t agree to language,” Pelosi told a reporter during a press briefing on Thursday morning. “Save it for another day.”

The administration, as is the case in any unexpected calamity, deserves some scrutiny for how aspects of the coronavirus threat have been managed, such as the preparation and distribution of test kits. But there is no excusing the absence of leadership by Democrats on Capitol Hill who not only ignored the unfolding debacle but stood in the way of quick action.

The Democrats’ destructive impeachment crusade must factor into any fair examination of how the government addressed the coronavirus outbreak in its nascent stages. Had lawmakers paid more attention to a legitimate national threat and had the president not been encumbered by the Democrats’ months-long impeachment distraction, the preparation and remedies might look very different right now. 

Impeachment didn’t just impact Donald Trump. Now all of us are paying the price for the Democrats’ selfish and destructive campaign against the president. He alone should not beat the burden of scrutiny—Democrats wanted power and they abused it on impeachment at the expense of the greater good.

 

Elections

With Joe Biden’s Comeback, the Establishment Comes Out of Hiding

In just a few short days, what was shaping up to be a sad and pathetic end to Biden’s career turned into a richly ironic triumph. The joke’s on us.

Joe Biden’s Super Tuesday comeback is something to be both relished and feared. It is an outrageous, grimly comical turn of events: a 77-year old man who refers to the Declaration of Independence as “the thing” and who seemed to be confused about his own last name is now a leading contender for the White House.

As funny as it may be on the surface, there is something dark and sad about Biden’s rise. The Democratic Party establishment knows Biden is unfit for office. They don’t care. With Biden, the political machinery that usually operates in hiding, in the shadows, has come out into the light, in aviator sunglasses and a sunny grin. The powers-that-be are declaring, openly, that their right to rule will not be reined in by anything, least of all the perception that they are incompetent and out of touch.

Thanks to decades of failed and corrupt leadership, many Americans are developing a creeping and cynical feeling that they don’t have a voice, that voting is like choosing from a carefully crafted menu of options with the same mediocre results. President Biden would prove them right. He would eliminate the mystique that once allowed them to believe our political system is one worth respecting and complete the decline into decadence that characterizes American managerial democracy, which is now at such a late stage of decay it no longer matters if a presidential nominee can tell his wife and sister apart.

Biden’s comeback proves that many things which people thought mattered in the great American clown show of presidential politics actually don’t.

The standards are through the floor: Biden has no policies, no core philosophy, and no special qualities to recommend him other than a perception of “electability” that is driven almost entirely by a sycophantic news media.

A vote for Joe Biden is a vote to remove Trump from office, not to elect Joe Biden. He would be the first president who upon election everyone, most of all his supporters, knows would not be calling the actual shots.

Sanders supporters have now learned a harsh lesson: power, not ideology, is what matters most. Indeed, Biden’s surge has less to do with his so-called “moderate” politics—nothing about the Democratic party is “moderate” anymore—than the fact that Biden can be more easily compromised and controlled than a True Believer like Bernie. That’s the view from the halls of power, at least. There has been a convergence between party elites and primary voters, who chose Biden for similarly un-ideological reasons: they care most about removing Trump from office, and they think Biden is the candidate best positioned to do that. Sanders supporters, reeling from the rebuke of black voters, have now fallen into a familiar revolutionary pattern: blaming an uninformed lumpenproletariat for choosing the “wrong” candidate.

The black and Boomer coalition that chose Biden is just not ideologically driven the way Sanders’ young, liberal supporters are. Notwithstanding the elitism of the Sanders camp, they have a point: not that Biden’s coalition made the “wrong” choice, but that democracy is vulnerable to corruption by powerful interests, in this case the interests almost universally backing Joe Biden.

There was obvious political coordination in Biden’s miraculous “comeback.” Mighty powers came into alignment. Having won the endorsements of former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Biden went into Super Tuesday with an uncrowded field and the sanction of the mainstream media and party elites. The confusion that had troubled primary voters magically dissipated overnight.

It’s not unreasonable to wonder if many, in some sense, were swindled: many of Biden’s voters were late deciders. They were certainly cheated of decent alternatives. Democrats have had four years to find their candidate. Getting rid of Trump is all they’ve been talking about. This is the best that they could do?

Biden also was the beneficiary of a dumbing down of standards and the gamification of presidential politics by the elites. The media, by turning presidential politics into a ridiculous game show, created an environment in which an obviously senile, 77-year-old man could thrive merely because of his association with a beloved figure. Since there are no longer any standards for the presidency, the favor of the media and a scintilla of competence, in this case Biden’s link with Barack Obama, can be game changers.

Super Tuesday itself was the culmination of a tawdry spectacle controlled closely by the corporate media and the DNC. It had only the trappings of democracy. There were “debates” with arbitrary qualifications that shut out some candidates for having the wrong politics, while accommodating other, more powerful players. While lacking in substance, there was plenty of melodrama and meaningless speculation about which candidate was “winning” a media-driven horse race.

The logical outcome of this dumbing down is the scenario now taking shape: Voters accepting propaganda about a candidate with obvious signs of dementia, his “competent” leadership, and other such establishmentarian clichés—it’s about results, not revolution! Another possibility is that primary voters, rather than being duped, are cynically accepting that the myth of technocratic competence is just that—a myth—that the president is only a figurehead for more powerful forces, and that there’s nothing, in short order, that anyone can do about it.

Would Biden “govern” any differently than Pete Buttigieg or Amy Klobuchar? Of course not. His presidency would complete decades of America’s transformation into an oligarchical, managerial state.

For sociopathic strivers like Buttigieg, it would be the career opportunity of a lifetime. To Biden’s handlers, America is like a giant tech corporation, and voters are the pliable consumers—impressionable morons who can be won over with cheap slogans. The neoliberal style pioneered by Obama—the president as America’s hip, Silicon Valley-approved CEO—would find a dark echo in the Biden of 2020. The goofy “Uncle Joe” of Obama’s presidency is gone.

And so the most degrading presidential primary in American history is winding down with an anti-climatic deus ex machina. The Democratic Party establishment powers-that-be are tying up this door stopper with a twist, and the revolution that just days ago had liberal news anchors panicking from the comfort of their sinecures has been called off for now.

It’s too bad. Watching the animal fear that Sanders had provoked from the elites, it was possible for conservatives, however briefly, to be excited that a socialist was succeeding. But all of that now feels premature. In just a few short days, what was shaping up to be a sad and pathetic end to Biden’s career turned into a richly ironic triumph. The joke’s on us.

Elections

No Thanks: Biden Promises ‘Return to Normal’

President Trump, for all his flaws, has exposed the arrogance, ignorance, and failures of Washington’s ruling class. That’s why they’re desperate to oust him, even if it means replacing Trump with a man way past his prime who’s exhibiting more alarming behavior each day. There’s nothing “normal” about it.

If he wins the White House in November, Joe Biden is pledging a “return to normal.” And apparently Team Biden thinks that catchy slogan sounds like a promise instead of a threat.

Since announcing his candidacy last spring, Biden and his boosters have touted the former vice president’s ability to roll back the clock to the period of political appeasement that was interrupted by the unwelcome rule of Donald Trump. Biden, who has roamed the halls of power in Washington, D.C. for nearly five decades, claims only he can restore the nation’s capital to the comfort zone it had formerly been for him and his cronies, a place where mean tweets and spontaneous firings and “irregular channels” don’t frustrate the Beltway’s business-as-usual brotherhood.

“Joe Biden wants to take America back to a time before Trump,” cooed a headline in a lengthy puff piece on Biden in the July 2019 issue of the New York Times magazine. “For voters unnerved by Trump’s conduct in office but not necessarily seeking radical change, he offers vast experience, conciliatory instincts and an empathy rooted in personal anguish.”

Now, Biden’s view of what constitutes “normal” might be a tad out of whack after 47 years in national politics. After all, the Democratic front runner remains gobsmacked as to why anyone would question the propriety of his son’s profitable international business dealings while Biden worked in the West Wing.

And Biden’s recent interactions with “normal” Americans have veered from creepy to dangerously aggressive. At a campaign appearance in Michigan on Tuesday, Biden berated an autoworker, pointed in his face, and said he wanted to “go outside” with the man.

A Third Obama Term

But Team Biden, cocksure about their candidate’s totally-organic-and-not-manufactured Super Tuesday romp, is leaking names of possible members of a Biden cabinet.

Axios reported that several Obama/Biden alumni are being considered for top posts. Biden’s former rival, Pete Buttigieg, is rumored as a potential U.N. ambassador or trade representative to boost his foreign affairs cred before his next run for office. This totally-not-a-quid-pro-quo is in exchange for Mayor Pete’s unexpected exit from the race just 36 hours before Super Tuesday and his quick endorsement of Biden right before polls opened that day. Biden also has made similar offers to failed foes Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke, who recently backed Biden.

“Biden advisers describe a Return to Normal plan—a reversal of President Trump’s unorthodox, improvisational style. Biden wants known, trusted people around him—many from the Obama years,” wrote Jim VandenHei and Mike Allen on Monday. “Biden, a throw-back institutionalist, relishes an emphasis on governing, norms and restoring alliances. That includes respect for experts, and for the art and science of governing.”

The list, however, includes some of Obama’s most notorious henchmen, including National Security Advisor Susan Rice; Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates (the signer of the first FISA application on Carter Page); communications advisor Anita Dunn; and Secretary of State John Kerry. Mike Bloomberg and Jamie Dimon, the chairman of JP Morgan Chase, could be offered top financial appointments.

Biden also is considering his options for vice president, a critical decision given his age and legitimate doubts about his cognitive fitness. He’ll have to appease the left-wing base of the party, including Bernie Sanders backers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). And he will almost certainly need to pick a female running mate. Possible candidates include Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). Stacey Abrams, who lost her run for governor of Georgia but claims she was robbed of the win, is also on Biden’s shortlist because she “electrifies crowds,” according to Axios.

Biden is earning the endorsement of some of Trump’s biggest enemies: James Comey, the disgraced former head of the FBI, and former CIA Director John Brennan have signaled their support for the former vice president. (Biden’s campaign, in the ultimate smackdown, rejected Comey’s support.)

A Return to the Status Quo Ante

So what, exactly, would a “return to normal” look like under President Biden? How would a mix of grudge-carrying Obama loyalists and untested socialist newcomers govern since it’s unlikely Biden actually will be in charge?

This is a shortlist of what Biden and company promise to revive:

A time when the news media fawned over a Democratic president, covered up his conspicuous corruption, and instead blamed any malfeasance on the underhanded machinations of his Republican foes.

A time when the permanent Beltway “expert” aristocracy, now exposed as hostile if not subversive to the broader interests of mainstream America, ran the show.

A time when it was not only acceptable but heroic for the president publicly to condemn the rulings of a federal court—including the highest court in the land—without demands for apologies.

A time when the plight of “kids in cages” was ignored.

A time when the political punditry class of the Left and Right wasn’t “exhausted” from doing their jobs, i.e., keeping close tabs on the White House, challenging the truthfulness of statements made by the occupant of the Oval Office, and questioning the travel expenses, furniture costs, condo rental agreements, Christian faith, or marital well-being of various presidential aides.

A time when phone calls between the president and world leaders remained classified information and, God forbid, were never exploited for political gain.

A time when daily press briefings were cordial affairs—devoid of sexist grandstanding and frequent outbursts by ostensibly objective journalists—with plenty of jocularity between the president’s spokesman and swooning members of the White House press corps.

A time when the Justice Department, State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, Director of National Intelligence, and a secret spy court operated clandestinely to execute a political hit job with nary a raised eyebrow from the media or a member of Congress.

A time when a British operative could act as both an FBI source and a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch while planting negative stories in the media weeks before a national election and no one considered it meddling or “interference.”

A time when a scandal-plagued president and his administration could claim they were “scandal-free” and the brainwashed news media regurgitated that provable falsehood as fact.

You get my drift.

When Biden-supporting Democrats and NeverTrumpers praise the idea that Uncle Joe will usher in an era of normalcy, they mean for them, not for you. After all, the Obama years weren’t exactly halcyon days for millions of working-class Americans or other Americans who actually believe in America’s founding principles.

Trump, for all his flaws, has exposed the arrogance, ignorance, and failures of Washington’s ruling class. That’s why they’re desperate to oust him, even if it means replacing Trump with a man way past his prime who’s exhibiting more alarming behavior each day. There’s nothing “normal” about it.

Elections

An Ideal Deep State Figurehead

Far from being concerned about Joe Biden’s creeping senility, the deep state may be rallying for the former vice president precisely because he will be weak, easily manipulated, and no threat to their agenda and habitual overreach.

While Joe Biden recently has become the Democratic establishment’s answer to the Bernie Sanders insurgency, his declining cognitive ability is hard to ignore. Garbled speech, nonsequiturs, confusion, and the appearance of an actor forgetting his lines characterize most of his unscripted remarks, whether in public venues or on the debate stage.

This evident cognitive decline is something that a great many Americans will recognize, due to their experience with aging relatives. While Biden was never terribly bright, even a few years ago he appeared significantly more energetic, lucid, and articulate.

At 77, he clearly is not as capable as he once was.

Artificial Momentum

Biden’s declining abilities had at least something to do with his poor showing in the early Democratic primaries. He lost the first few, coming in an embarrassing fourth place in Iowa. Until Super Tuesday, the non-Sanders candidates appeared to be replaying the scenario of the Republican primary of 2016. Several ideologically similar figures with varying degrees of political skill were dividing the vote among the party’s establishment and permitting an outsider to win through the old stratagem of “divide and conquer.”

Then, in an audacious display of Machiavellian discipline, two of the most popular remaining candidates—Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg—bowed out on the eve of Super Tuesday. How exactly this happened remains a mystery. But soon endorsements from key figures in the Obama Administration came rolling in.

After disappointing Super Tuesday results, Michael Bloomberg and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have also dropped out, with the former endorsing Biden. While Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) remains the race, she has been sidelined by the Democratic leadership, who have changed the debate rules to exclude this powerful and fresh voice from consideration.

Remaining are Biden and Sanders, representing ideologically opposite poles within the Democratic Party, with particularly strong differences on economics and foreign policy, as well as a palpable difference in tone.

Biden’s recent surge is curious. He has the same demerits that previously kept him in the rear of the pack. He won South Carolina, due primarily to its large percentage of black voters, but there is no realistic chance he or any Democrat would win there in November.

As the failed impeachment showed, Biden is knee-deep in corruption. And, as before, he lacks energy and strength as a campaigner, and is burdened by peculiar personal weaknesses, such as a penchant for invading the personal space of children and insulting voters. How did this strange guy become the consensus choice of the Democratic Party pooh-bahs?

The most obvious answer is that they think he can beat Trump. After all, he has had a lot of experience, once-upon-a-time was known for appealing to blue-collar voters, and, while not an excitement candidate or novelty, he is a known quantity.

But there is something more.

Biden Is a Friend to People in Power

Biden is a party man. When the party changed, he went with it, standing up for gay marriage, transgenderism, and other faddish items that excite the Democrat base. At the same time, he has fought for globalization, banking interests, and a neoliberal foreign policy, including his once-popular support for the Iraq War.

In other words, he has that peculiar mix of views that is culturally progressive while being at peace with finance capitalism and American liberal hegemony. It is the same basic worldview of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. This point of view finds eager assistance from the various organs of the deep state.

By contrast, Trumps’ unconventional views and expressed desire to “drain the swamp” have resulted in a constant battle with the permanent bureaucracy and its sycophantic allies in the press. This includes not only the usual institutional friction, but conspiracies against him by the most powerful instruments of national power: the FBI, the CIA, and the courts. From these came the insertion of spies and informants into his presidential campaign, an attempted impeachment, and resistance to the exercise of well-established presidential powers through nationwide injunctions.

It is fitting that America’s policy in Ukraine became the pretext with which his enemies tried to remove him from office. America’s policy there has been little explained and barely noticed by most Americans, but it has much to do with our ongoing friction with Russia, was the brainchild of the CIA’s John Brennan, was once the portfolio of Joe Biden, and it exemplifies all of the worst instincts of American foreign policy’s mandarin class.

How the Deep State Controls Elected Officials

Returning to Biden’s apparent mental decline, what if his lack of energy and apparent confusion are not faults, but virtues, at least for one cohort of supporters? After all, a dull and declining president is even more easily manipulated than the average president. By limiting information, boxing in decisions, or slow-walking items of disagreement, all presidents have had to deal with institutional resistance.

In Kosovo, Bill Clinton grumbled as the army dragged its feet on deploying its ground forces. In Iraq, George W. Bush was not persuaded by WMD intelligence, but he backed down when CIA Director George Tenet replied, “It’s a slam dunk.” And Ronald Reagan famously avoided the full weight of blame for the Iran-Contra affair, because it was widely understood that he was increasingly disengaged and reliant on advisors in his second term and likely unaware of what the CIA was doing behind his back.

But Obama also exemplifies the modern, compliant, and figure-head presidency, particularly with regard to the national security state. While Obama appeared in control and presented the image of a thoughtful and deliberate leader, this was only because he did very little to upset the status quo. While he was mocked for “leading from behind” on foreign policy, this also describes his approach to the presidency as a whole.

He outsourced key decisions, such as the details of Obamacare, or the conduct of the war in Afghanistan. And he spent his political capital either on programs that empowered government bureaucrats or did not threaten them, such as his use of the bully pulpit to express solidarity with his alienated black and minority supporters.

Consider the fawning profile of President Obama from the New Yorker in 2012:

Each night, an Obama aide hands the President a binder of documents to review. After his wife goes to bed, at around ten, Obama works in his study, the Treaty Room, on the second floor of the White House residence. President Bush preferred oral briefings; Obama likes his advice in writing. He marks up the decision memos and briefing materials with notes and questions in his neat cursive handwriting . . . If the document is a decision memo, its author usually includes options for Obama to check at the end.

It should be obvious how this method empowers the people drafting the memos along with their limited menu of options. There is a well-known cognitive bias of picking the middle choice when presented between two apparent extremes. This supposedly thoughtful approach actually ends up outsourcing the most important decisions to others.

Obama apparently is proud of his record as a compliant teacher’s pet, who did not burden his handlers with Trump’s insouciant skepticism and questioning. His suave, pseudointellectual style was the attractive public face for the faceless deep state and its functionaries.

In spite of campaigning on ending the Iraq War and “not doing stupid shit” on foreign policy, Obama ended up going along with his advisors’ recommendations for conflict with Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. These were all examples of the dubious but aggressive neoliberal foreign policy peddled by the deep state’s key figures and institutions.

If Biden were to become president, he would be even more pliable than Obama. In addition to generally endorsing the status quo and the rights of the government workers to influence policy, he is low energy, incoherent, and, one must imagine, subjectively aware of his increasing weaknesses. As such, he will find it easier to rubber stamp and endorse what is put before him in order to preserve appearances and avoid internal criticism.

The Power Behind the Throne

A President Biden would be like the child-kings of Europe, whose decisions were made by regents and other advisors—the “power behind the throne.”

While Biden’s declining mental acuity will hurt him during the campaign and likely cause him to look terrible in any debates, he has promised that things will “return to normal” if he is somehow elected.

In other words, he appeals to the establishment because he promises a restoration of the extensive powers and immunity from oversight that characterized the Obama-era FBI, CIA, and national security apparatus, along with the rest of the federal government’s overreaching bureaucracy. As with Obama, a figurehead President Biden’s chief function will be to ratify what the left-leaning government officials want to do without the distraction of executive oversight.

Far from being concerned about his creeping senility, the deep state may be rallying for Biden precisely because he will be weak, easily manipulated, and no threat to their agenda and habitual overreach.

Elections

The Greatest Fear Is Fear Itself

President Trump is the first serious businessman to be president and undoubtedly is a talented executive. He still has an opportunity to turn this to account politically, by approaching the crisis with no regard to politics, other than to lead the country through this challenge.

The combination of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus and the upheavals in the world oil market has shaken public confidence and created a susceptibility to panic, to which, as usual, investors were the first to succumb.

In the United States, the antics of the Democratic politicians and media grasping at straws more desperately than ever to try to prevent the long-unthinkable reelection of the president, have exacerbated the problem. So, unfortunately, has the president’s effort to minimize the problem, an impossible task given the uncertain extent of the danger and the fear-mongering of the president’s enemies.

In the United States, as the chief of state and head of government are the same person. There is no one else to stabilize opinion and get the country focused on measures to address and resolve the problems, notwithstanding the commendable and apparently well-organized efforts of Vice President Mike Pence and his collaborators. Because it is such a contentious political atmosphere, where the president’s election was so tenaciously contested, and his own personality is at times bombastically counterproductive, he is not the optimal source of the sort of placatory and reassuring crisis address that came more naturally to some of his predecessors.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural and his subsequent fireside chats generally win the gold star for carrying the country with him out of the Great Depression. But President Truman’s leadership of opinion to combat Soviet aggression in Europe and Korea, though less mellifluous than Roosevelt’s addresses, was effective.

Dwight Eisenhower, with the prestige of his office supplemented by his stature as a victorious World War II theater commander, always enjoyed almost universal support on matters of national security. John F. Kennedy was very effective and much-admired in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Lyndon Johnson rallied the country well over civil rights but lost most of his political capital in Vietnam. Richard Nixon extricated the United States from Vietnam very skilfully and triangulated great power relations with China and the Soviet Union with consummate effectiveness, but his administration unraveled over the absurd and inexplicably bungled Watergate affair.

Ronald Reagan, a formidably persuasive and uplifting orator (his opponents tried to downgrade him to a “good communicator”), rallied the country to the initiatives that ended the Cold War satisfactorily. There has not been a great deal of inspiration from the White House since; the Bushes were not overly articulate, and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are very fluent, but not great phrase-makers and didn’t deal with such challenging crises as most of the presidents between Roosevelt and Reagan.

Rooseveltian confidence from Trump will be lampooned by the anti-Trump media and the Democratic leadership, who have tried feverishly to convict him of criminal offenses he didn’t commit (and weren’t crimes anyway). Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) last week attempted physical intimidation of Supreme Court justices over abortion, shaking his fist at the Supreme Court building, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been gratuitously insulting to the president many times—comparing him, among other unflattering reflections, to a skunk with emasculated manhood.

President Trump is correct that it is pointless to try to engage with them until after the election, when it will be determined who retains their positions. I suggest that the president consider a plan of more precise action to address the coronavirus crisis and share it with the former presidents, Bush, Clinton, and Obama, and President Carter (if his health permits), and leave it to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to see if anything can be done on a bipartisan basis in the Congress. They have at least agreed on funding, albeit with the usual bickering and backbiting, which is not the tenor public discourse requires at this time.

The president has not succeeded in easing concerns by downplaying the danger, and marching about clinics in a partisan hat like a bulldozer driver is effective in many challenges, but this one has to be dealt with  by amassing a pan-political coalition. Former presidents are the most credible group to assist and surely they would be willing to do so. The response to the virus must be pitched on a nonpartisan, national interest basis. Schumer, Pelosi, and most of the snarling media would be obliged to take such an approach seriously.

It won’t do just to say it’s only the flu, everything is under control, and 99 percent of us will survive. In addition to the recent strenuous efforts to get the ability to test for the virus more widely deployed and accelerating much faster than new cases are identified, some arrangements should be assembled for elderly people; even if it involves using specially sanitized paramilitary vehicles to provide special transport for their urgent needs, and to work with local health and social service organizations to provide for special home delivery of groceries.

Any plausible and serious program to help shelter the most vulnerable segment of the population would go a long way to allaying fears. Most people can live with the somewhat increased possibility of a nasty flu, we’ve all been through something close to that before, but losing parents or grandparents needlessly is a prospect that scares and angers millions of people. The president’s enemies are whipping up this fear and they must be countered with a believable plan to shame them into stopping their terror campaign.

The fate of the cruise liners being held offshore faintly resembles the tragic voyage of the liner St. Louis in 1939, carrying Jewish fugitives from Germany and barred from port after port, and it must be stopped. Bring them promptly into port, screen everyone, and act efficiently and sensibly. This ghastly series of nightmare cruises makes the whole world appear helpless, cowardly, and callous and incites public unease.

To be effective and believable, a policy of containment by the United States will require that every person entering the country be screened. This obviously will require some time but personnel should be recruited now, probably from among the armed forces, and the necessary apparatus distributed to them as a maximum priority. The country should learn every day that the percentage of arriving people being tested and quarantined where necessary is increasing sharply. The president was correct in acting early to deny entry to people coming from afflicted areas.

We can’t believe Chinese or Iranian reports of the state of the virus in those countries, and Iran has a less developed public health system. But we can learn from Italy and South Korea, advanced societies and friendly states. There should be provisional arrangements in place for conducting school and university activities online, and drastic steps to sanitize continually in all branches of public transit and transport, especially aircraft.

There is no need for this in the United States now, but the country should know that if the incidence of the virus goes past a certain threshold, whole areas will be sealed, as is being done in Italy, where the army, special police, and railway security are supervising all rail traffic out of approximately one-quarter of the country.

South Korea is more instructive: it is closer to the Chinese source of the illness, and has reported a decline in incidence in the last few days, and a lower fatality rate—less than 1 percent—than any other seriously afflicted country. This presumably means they are giving special protection to the elderly. The key is to be proactive, move quickly, as America has always done in a crisis: clear, unhistrionic, nonpolitical leadership.

President Trump is the first serious businessman to be president and undoubtedly is a talented executive. He still has an opportunity to turn this to account politically, by approaching it with no regard to politics, other than to lead the country through this challenge. The nation has come through many worse trials; this one is only complicated by its unknown extent and the venomous political climate.

FOLEY SQUARE, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2017/02/17: NYC lawyers, law students, and legal workers of all kinds gathered at Foley Square in New York, in coordination with the nationwide General Strike. This demonstration is one of many being planned across the country so the legal community can express our solidarity with the growing movements against the new regime and its white supremacist agenda.
Elections

Antifa’s Most Important Enabler: Its Legal Arm

It’s unlikely the black-masked leftist group would have been able to do so much damage around the country if not for the aid of the National Lawyers Guild.

Antifa violence will feature prominently in the lead-up to this year’s election. The left-wing movement’s numbers skyrocketed following President Trump’s 2016 victory and campaign staffers for Bernie Sanders have already predicted serious street violence should Trump win again. 

Same goes for a Sanders primary loss. As another staffer recently predicted, this year’s Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee will be rife with attacks on police; enough, apparently, to make the infamous 1968 convention in Chicago “look like a f—ing Girl Scout f—ing cookout.” 

With the weight of the Democrat machine now transparently behind former Vice President Joe Biden (who was the only 2020 candidate, outside of Andrew Yang, to condemn Antifa’s vicious beating of Andy Ngo last year), a “rigged” Sanders primary defeat and resulting far-left violence should be even more likely.  

Busy alongside Antifa this year will be the movement’s unofficial legal arm: the National Lawyers Guild.

Although much lower profile than their enablers within the establishment media and among the more extreme elements of the Democratic Party, the National Lawyers Guild is actually far more important when it comes to keeping Antifa’s program of extreme political violence going.  

Made up of thousands of hard-left lawyers spread out in over 150 chapters across the country (not including over 100 student chapters), and funded by giant philanthropists like the Ford Foundation and George Soros, the NLG explicitly and openly coordinates legal action and public relations in support of the Antifa movement. As one chapter states online, the guild’s member-lawyers “understand that legal support is critical in the planning and aftermath of any action,” and “can usually mobilize NLG volunteer lawyers to handle initial court appearances, and . . . often continue to defend activists pro bono.”  

Their chapters’ contact details and telephone helplines appear across Antifa websites and social media, while NLG attorneys advertise their services on Antifa podcasts and blogs, such as “It’s Going Down,” the biggest of either in the United States. Unsurprisingly then, in 2018, when mass arrests accompanied Antifa’s armed mob-attack on a “No to Marxism” rally in Berkeley, police reported that 21 activists had called NLG for help, most of whom admitted to being Antifa. 

In spite of the movement’s over-the-top brazenness and ultraviolent tactics (see their 15-on-one attack against an unarmed journalist), just two violent Antifa attackers have actually received prison time. Much of this lack of accountability can and should be directly pinned on NLG: Antifa’s most important enablers.

Antifa With Law Degrees

NLG makes open justifications for its broad and deep support for Antifa on its website and through the media. In the process, they usually recite, practically verbatim, Antifa’s frantic slogans and frenzied talking points showing how indistinguishable the two are in terms of ideology and temperament.

For instance, in a 2017 op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, top guild officials explain how the group’s lawyers counsel Antifa members to protect Americans from “fascists and white supremacists seek[ing] to take power in the streets and halls of government.” The American people, readers are told, “cannot depend on the government to meaningfully intervene and prevent the rise of fascism.” That is “up to us,” they write. 

Police apparently cannot be depended on to curb these supposed “take over” threats. They apparently have “sympathy toward the ideas being espoused at alt-right rallies” and cannot be considered an “effective solution.”  

Due to the government and law enforcement’s supposed connivance with “fascists” and “white supremacists,” nonwhites in particular, we’re told, are in need of NLG and Antifa’s help.

“People of color,” the guild lawyers contend, are “in vulnerable legal positions” and apparently “cannot participate in confrontations [with fascism] for their own safety.” The essentially all-white Antifa movement, therefore, lets people of color “benefit from the risks taken by those with more privilege.” Andy Ngo has also pointed out the movement’s overwhelming whiteness (in addition to its overrepresentation of LGBT-identifiers).

NLG’s History of Enabling Extremism 

Older readers of American Greatness likely will be familiar with NLG and its tactics. According to Discover the Networks, in the 1940s and ’50s, the group and its members defended figures such as Alger Hiss, Judith Socolov, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, as well as members of the Communist Hollywood 10. For these and other efforts, the House of Un-American Activities Committee labeled NLG the “legal bulwark of the Communist Party.”

By the 1970s, like most Communist groups, NLG moved into racial politics, representing ethno-terror groups including the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement (whose members attempted to kill Harry Truman, among others).

As former senior guild lawyer William Kunstler put it in an interview, “Whether it’s the American Indian Movement, or the Black Liberation Army, or H. Rap Brown . . . I’m really interested only in spending my talents and any assets I have to keep the revolutionaries functioning.”

Also in the 1970s, NLG represented groups most closely resembling today’s Antifa: the white middle-class hard-left Students for a Democratic Society and its ultra-violent spin-off, the Weather Underground. 

 NLG’s Moral Support for Antifa Terror

NLG’s online literature shows it is stridently committed to Antifa’s program. This apparently includes Antifa’s use of violent terror tactics.

As NLG states, “[t]aking militant and confrontational direct action . . . are a crucial part of the fight against fascism.” The group praises Antifa for “ensur[ing] that the virulent white nationalism sweeping the country is met with militant resistance” and for “directly confront[ing] fascism by shutting down far-right demonstrations.”

Elsewhere, they explicitly state that “while many abhor tactics that involve violence, historical evidence shows that direct action has contributed to shutting down fascist movements before they gain too much power or influence.” 

This is highly alarming considering the source. These are trained, legal professionals who are supposed to understand and respect the Bill of Rights, the democratic process, and the rule of law (rather than the rule of force). Many of them, now or in future, could be judges, government lawyers, and lawmakers (Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, for example, is an NLG member); people with considerable authority and influence on Americans’ lives.  

Legal Support for Antifa 

Following Antifa-related protests and events around the country, one finds NLG attorneys popping up everywhere. On top of general anti-Trump protesters, NLG members have represented Antifa figures such as the bike-lock-bashing professor, Eric Clanton; the near-dozen-strong group that shut down an ICE office in Oregon; Jeremy Ibarra, who was part of an Antifa mob that attacked a Portland free-speech rally (Ibarra refused a plea deal offered by prosecutors at NLG’s urging on the ground that fighting fascism is not a crime.”); and Michael Williams, who, along with Berkeley schoolteacher, Yvette Felarca, was charged with felony assault and rioting at a demonstration in California. 

They also sue police regularly, which, in combination with its direct representation of Antifa, they explicitly state has facilitated Antifa violence. According to its newsletter, NLG has been able to influence the way police in Portland handle protests, stating that when mainstream conservative group Patriot Prayer held a rally in 2018, police surprisingly were “fairly hands-off” and “deploy[ed] significantly fewer crowd control weapons than the previous year.”

“This approach,” they write, “also enabled more left-right skirmishes to occur,” as well as “numerous clashes result[ing] in the bloodiest showdown” yet. (emphasis mine).

PORTLAND, OR - JUNE 29: Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA, members write the phone number of the National Lawyers Guild in case they get injured during a Portland demonstration between the right and left on June 29, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. Several groups from the left and right clashed after competing demonstrations at Pioneer Square, Chapman Square, and Waterfront Park spilled into the streets. According to police, medics treated eight people and three people were arrested during the demonstrations.

Moriah Ratner/Getty Images

NLG also helped organize as well as defend the Washington, D.C. inauguration protesters of 2017. Leading up to the inauguration, Washington, D.C.’s Antifa branch (the one which protested outside Tucker Carlson’s house after posting his address online) placed on its Facebook page a message to members stating if “arrested while protesting in DC, the NLG is there to support,” along with a NLG contact form that read: “Arrested resisting oppression, racism, fascism, or white supremacy? From jail, call: (202) 660-1422 (write this number on your arm).” Ibarra had NLG’s Portland number on his arm when he was arrested.

Although the city suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage (with over 200 protesters being arrested), injuries were strangely minor. One Antifa member present, Thomas J. Massey, told the Washington Post, he thought “there should have been more violence” and that, next time, he hoped Antifa would be “more successful” and that he’d “get to punch a Nazi.” 

The following year, Massey got his wish (of sorts) when he and 10 other Antifa members jumped two Hispanic Marines in Philadelphia they apparently mistook for “Proud Boys” (Gavin McInnes’s former organization). Numerous charges were laid following the attack, including “ethnic intimidation (Pennsylvania’s version of a hate crime) due to racial slurs reportedly being used during the incident. 

Charged along with Massey was NLG organizer Joseph Alcoff, a leader of D.C. Antifa who reportedly has posted on Twitter “the left wins nothing w/ nonviolence” and “#DearRichPeople die in a fire.” Interestingly, Alcoff’s mother is a university professor who reportedly makes around $200,000 a year.

Apart from direct representation, NLG also offers a range of other services to Antifa. 

When Portland police arrested more than 100 Antifa members and general anti-Trump protesters following nearly a full week of post-inauguration riots (costing taxpayers over $1 million in damages), the guild hosted a local meeting to field questions and offer advice to arrestees.

NLG also organizes know your rights” trainings for anti-Trump protesters and manages a phone line for those inquiring about protest activity, including how to avoid arrest and understanding local anti-masking ordinances.

In fact, the group lobbies regularly against anti-masking laws at the state and federal level—laws that are intended to make violent offenders accountable for their actions and which were originally put in place decades ago to stop Ku Klux Klan terrorism. Over a dozen states have such laws, which are enforced inconsistently. When they are, however, as was shown last year when Berkeley police decided to enforce its local anti-masking law during Antifa’s attempt to shut down a speech by Ann Coulter, they can be highly effective in deterring violent activity.

NLG also leads a so-called “legal observer” campaign where hundreds of volunteers monitor police at Antifa protests in order to ensure ‘participants’ rights are not infringed upon’ and to provide pro bono counsel to those arrested. Some NLG observers, however, have been accused of turning a blind eye when conservatives’ rights at such events (like the right not to be assaulted) have been violated.

NLG is not like the ACLU, which at least pretends to be concerned about legal principles (rather the race or political beliefs of their client). For instance, unlike the ACLU, NLG explicitly states it will not provide counsel to groups that “promote hate speech.” How NLG defines extremism, however, seems to be race-based, as evidenced by its initiative to push the FBI to overturn its “race identity extremist” designation for blacks only.

There are limits to speech freedoms, NLG contends, and the group “will not be swayed by the argument [against Antifa’s tactics] that hateful, dangerous speech should be tolerated at any cost.” To argue otherwise, or to “recast Antifa as a violent, leftist suppression of speech is a dangerous effort eerily reminiscent of the left-baiting that accompanied the Nazi rise to power.”

Other Antifa Legal Defenders

NLG isn’t the only legal enabler of Antifa terror; the guild just happens to be the biggest and most effective one.

The Los Angeles-based By Any Means Necessary, for instance, also regularly defends Antifa members on a pro bono or low-cost basis. In 2018, BAMN managed to defend successfully five Antifa members who, rather astoundingly, were found not guilty by a Berkeley jury even after police witnessed them punch and kick a 50-year man at a 2018 “March4Trump” rally. After the beating, Antifa then leafletted over 100 pamphlets around homes in the victim’s neighborhood titled, “Safety Alert: Fascist Living in Your Neighborhood.”

Elsewhere, “Big Law” firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher provided pro bono representation to a protester accused of felony rioting at the 2017 inauguration protest, while groups including the ACLU, Disrupt20, the Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee and the D.C. Legal Posse, have provided a range of services to arrested participants—like NLG, the ACLU also lobbies against laws prohibiting mask-wearing, calling it a “civil rights issue.” They also sue regularly police over supposedly harsh treatment of Antifa and anti-Trump protesters.

The provision of free legal representation and other kinds of legal aid to Antifa is a significant form of material support. It also provides the movement with a big boost in morale when carrying out its extreme program of terror and violence. Knowing one has a legal support base at the ready will increase the confidence of those already committed to violence and likely push those into violent law-breaking who would otherwise be deterred.

This raises the question of whether Antifa would have been able to cause the amount of damage it has around the country if not for the aid of the National Lawyers Guild?

Just as worrying perhaps are NLG lawyers themselves. It’s a serious concern to the nation that there are so many trained legal professionals exercising their influence within and without the system who reject the democratic and rule-of-law principles that have long underpinned it.

In the 1927 Supreme Court case of Whitney v. California, one of the most celebrated defenses of free speech and assembly ever authored by the high court, Justice Louis Brandeis (who was joined by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes) wrote that America’s Founders “believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth [and they believed] that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile.”

A few years later, in the landmark opinion of Terminiello v. Chicago, Justice William O. Douglas wrote that a “function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute” and that speech “may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.”

NLG’s Soros and Ford Foundation funders, as well as the media outlets that platform them, should be pressured to disavow Antifa and the terror tactics they employ against the American people—tactics that absolutely suppress free speech, the right to free assembly and, ultimately, the spread of political truth. 

Elections

Chris Matthews and His Tingle Tangle

The downfall of the “Hardball” host is a cautionary tale about what happens to the insufficiently “woke” on today’s Left.

Chris Matthews is now an ex-TV host. Apparently brought low by his inappropriate comments about female associates on-air and off, he forever will be remembered as the fellow whose leg tingled when he gazed upon President Barack Obama during MSNBC’s coverage of the Democratic presidential primaries in 2008.

Obama, Matthews once proclaimed, was “perfect” and had “done everything right.” On another occasion, he admitted he couldn’t resist Obama’s “Julia Roberts” smile. He swooned over former-President Bill Clinton, too. His admiration verged on idolatry when he compared Clinton’s appearance at the funeral of Coretta Scott King to “Jesus in the temple.” He wasn’t as big a fan of Hillary Clinton.

In 2008, he declared “the reason [Hillary Clinton is] a U.S. senator, the reason she’s a candidate for president, the reason she may be a frontrunner is her husband messed around.” Outrage from the National Organization for Women and Hillary’s acolytes compelled him to apologize, but those offended remained on a slow simmer over this and his other snarky comments about Hillary. He once compared her to Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and called her “witchy.”

Oh, Matthews doesn’t like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), either.

Following the February 5 Democratic presidential candidate debate, Matthews suggested that Sanders might have supported Fidel Castro and said if “the Reds had won the Cold War there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have been one of the ones getting executed. And certain other people would be there cheering . . . So, I have a problem with people who take the other side.”

After Sanders won the Nevada caucuses, Matthews compared the victory to the World War II fall of France to Nazi Germany. He apologized for that one, too, but it was clear he was reflecting an antipathy felt by establishment Democrats.

Matthews, however, has been reliable as an attack dog for that party with a long list of anti-conservative insults without need for any public apologies.

At President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Matthews said the president’s speech had a “Hitlerian background” and implied that Trump was similar to Mussolini. He joked that the Italian dictator executed his son-in-law so Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, should be “a little careful.”

Matthews said Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had “a troll-like quality,” that he “operates below the level of human life,” reminded him of Joe McCarthy, and was “negative and menacing.” He declared that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich “looks like a car bomber. He’s got that crazy Mephistophelian grin . . . He looks like he loves torturing.”

He referred to Rush Limbaugh as “phone sex for the traveling salesman. Think about it.” On the same day, on another show, he compared Limbaugh to a villain who was killed in a James Bond film. “In the end,” he said, “they jam a CO2 pellet into his head, and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp . . . we’ll be there to watch.” He then added a personal taunt: “Are you watching, Rush?”

Still, all this tilling in the Garden of Liberal Hate wasn’t enough to save Matthews in the Age of #MeToo when he was accused of making unwelcome observations about the attractiveness of women he encountered at work.

Modern sensibilities don’t welcome this. Just ask whoever runs the human resources department at your job, school, etc. They’ve got pamphlets if you have any questions. For a quick look at Matthew’s creepiness, “The Daily Show” put together a few on-air examples in a video entitled “Lookin’ Good! with Chris Matthews.” It’s available on YouTube.

Women—and men—generally enjoy compliments in an appropriate setting where there isn’t a power imbalance. An elder male host of a banner news show, pocketing a much bigger paycheck and able to make or break lesser employees, asking a junior, lesser-paid female reporter to lean into the camera so he and his audience can admire her pretty face, really isn’t OK. “The Daily Show” video opens with such an incident.

Defenders of Matthews contend that he was just admiring female beauty. He respects women, they insist, but his treatment of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin belies this. While Matthews routinely attacks the character of those he dislikes, his disrespect for Palin involved cringe-inducing admiration for her physical appearance and smug contempt. In his mind, it seems “nice-looking woman” plus “conservative political views” must equal “dumb bimbo.” It’s liberal misogyny.

Matthews described Palin’s appearance as: “Primordial. When she walks and moves, there‘s something electric about it . . . she’s constantly in motion. She looks, obviously, very attractive.”

He didn’t like anything else about her. Palin, he said, “doesn’t give a rat’s butt what the facts are . . . she’s almost squirrelly.” While late-night comics mocked Palin with the phony “I can see Russia from my house” phrase and exaggerated her accent, Matthews bluntly labeled her an illiterate imbecile.

During MSNBC’s election night coverage on November 2, 2010, Matthews asked Senator Mark Begich (D-Ark.),

If she were on “Jeopardy” right now and the topic was [sic] national government, American government generally defined, would she look like an imbecile, or would she look OK? Does she know anything? . . . Have you ever been an eyewitness to her actually reading something? Have you seen her—no, I’m dead serious about this. Have you ever seen her reading words on a piece of paper? A newspaper, magazine, anything? Have you ever seen her read something?

Matthews so loved his “Jeopardy” crack that he repeated it in variations on at least three other televised appearances.

In 2012, Matthews himself was a contestant on Jeopardy. He finished dead last, winning just $2,300. Among his mistakes was giving “What is Istanbul?” as the response in the category “6-Letter World Capitals” to the answer, “St. Basil’s Cathedral is there.” The correct response was “Moscow.” It makes one wonder if counting letters is a problem for Democrats, as also evidenced with Biden’s three-letter word: “J-O-B-S!”

In the “Jeopardy” category “Law and Order,” when presented with the answer “In 1986, the Supreme Court ruled that the ‘hostile environment’ type of this can be sex discrimination,” Matthew erroneously responded, “What is a hostile workplace?” The correct response was “What is sexual harassment?”

Maybe Matthews should have ruminated over that after the show.

Some see sinister forces involved in Matthews’ downfall. Kyle Smith opined in the New York Post that after Matthews gave rough treatment to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, their supporters engineered his destruction using transgressions that would have been forgiven if committed by a liberal in better standing with the new, more radical Democratic Party.

As that party moves further toward radicalism, will other stalwarts be discarded? If they’re lucky, it won’t be with the ignominy Matthews is experiencing.

Elections

What I Saw at Biden’s Kansas City Rally

Don’t write off Joe. After watching the former vice president’s speech over the weekend, it’s clear he will run a close contest against President Trump.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign set its rally Saturday at the summit of the liberty memorial in the heart of Kansas City. The access road to the nation’s World War I museum passes through a rectangular park that stretches nearly a quarter-mile. The line of people hoping to attend ran the length of the road.

An intern struggled to mount the teleprompter glass in the face of stiff winds. A mostly white crowd began to pack in around the stage as members of the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers managed security. It seemed women outnumbered men by about 20 percent. The attendees spanned all ages, but the 50 to 70 demographic appeared to be heavily represented. The venue was too small to accommodate the crowd. Perhaps 500 people found a spot close enough to view the candidate directly.

I talked to some of the lucky ones who made it in to get a sense of things. One attendee told me she believed the Republicans were destroying our institutions and that “Joe” would repair the damage. I asked what institutions she meant. She said the Supreme Court and the Senate. In all, I spoke to more than half a dozen attendees. Their answers were remarkably similar.

For instance, I asked each one what agenda items a new President Biden should prioritize in his first 100 days. None had a clear answer.

A few mentioned healthcare and womens’ rights, (which I took to mean abortion rights). One mentioned America’s standing throughout the world and our relationship with our allies. But these issues were not what motivated them to come to see “Joe.”

For these attendees, it wasn’t about issues. They had an affection for Joe that contrasted with their contempt for the current president. Almost all of them mentioned the word, “decency,” in their answer. I heard that same word, “decent” or “decency” no fewer than six times in talking to these supporters. They felt Joe sincerely wanted to help. “Joe genuinely cares about people,” one said. Most referred to the former vice president by his first name. “Joe is one of us,” one said.

I asked each whether there were any concerns about family members getting rich while trading on Biden’s name and influence. The question was met with eye rolls and dismissiveness. “Everyone has family,” one told me. Another said, “There’s never going to be a perfect candidate. It’s getting exhausting listening to all of the flaws each candidate has.” Others retorted with examples of President Trump’s flaws.

I asked whether they had any concerns about Vice President Biden’s mental acuity. The answer was unanimous: No. Joe makes gaffes. That’s just Joe. One mentioned the former vice president mixing up his wife for his sister and chuckled sympathetically. Two retorted with examples of flubs made by President Trump. All told me that they would have voted for any Democratic candidate just to get rid of Trump.

A Strong Start Before the Stumbles

Biden started the speech strong by comparing his recent comeback during Super Tuesday to the Kansas City Chiefs who came from behind to win the Super Bowl. He then he began telling the story of how his first days as a U.S. senator were marred by the death of his wife in a car accident. He wanted to make the point that it was a Missourian who talked him into seeing it through.

But three hecklers started screaming at him from just a few rows away. (You can watch the video here.) Biden stopped his story to try to reason with them. Their protest had to do with getting evicted and the availability of low-income housing. Biden promised that he would end evictions in his presidency and offered to meet with them after his speech. But the hecklers just continued to disrupt the speech until police officers led them away.

The exchange with the protesters consumed almost a third of the entire time Biden spoke. He mishandled the hecklers, allowing them too much of his precious time. But in so doing, he also revealed a sincere desire to persuade and convince the unreachable.

The crowd stayed with Biden, chanting “Joe! Joe! Joe!” to drown out the protesters. Biden stumbled through the rest of the story without really bringing it home. He then seemed to recover by returning to the South Carolina and Super Tuesday victories. He bragged about drawing higher turnouts in Virginia, Texas, and North Carolina. He then swiped at his rival Bernie Sanders by challenging the crowd, “If you want a nominee who is a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat,” to join him.

Biden then made a typical Biden gaffe by stumbling over whether he was running for election or re-election. He fumbled a story about an Irish poem leading to a confusing line in which he exalted his goal to “make history rhyme with justice.” He then accused the president of “ripping off the band-aid” and said “they’ve seen how ugly the other side is. They are ready to unite the country. They’re ready to move. This is the United States of America.” The crowd puzzled over who “they” were supposed to be and whether they should be cheering or booing.

Biden Voters Forgive His Flaws

Afterward, I found an attendee for a debriefing. She enjoyed the speech but expressed disappointment that it was so short. Biden spoke for barely 15 minutes. She told me that the same thing happened in the St. Louis speech he gave before coming to Kansas City.

The speech exhibited many of Biden’s strengths and weaknesses. His followers will not be moved by more Ukraine dirt or videos of his gaffes. They’ve already factored that in and they’re willing to forgive these flaws because they believe he’s a kind and decent man at his core. For a scandal to have an effect, it would have to cast doubt on those impressions.

But the speech also showed vulnerabilities. While it was a good speech, I nevertheless saw signs of dullness and confusion. He was genuinely flummoxed by the protestors. While he started strong, by the end, he had some trouble staying on message. Biden’s policy messages remain vague, which allows him to lead a coalition of contradictory priorities. This, not his gaffes or corruption, is his Achilles’ heel.

Biden should be taken seriously. In many ways, it is he, not Bernie Sanders, who has become the Democrats’ Trump. It’s easy to make either man the butt of a joke. It’s easy to create video montages of silly gaffes for both. Biden followers, like Trump followers, have already factored in many of the criticisms their opponents are counting on to act as vulnerabilities. After watching this speech, I’m convinced that Biden will run a close contest against President Trump.

Elections

Joe Biden: I Am As Sharp As A Tack! Sharper, Even!

Joe Biden: Folks, I am proud to be here in the great state of  . . . the state of . . . the . . . what I am saying is, I am proud to  . . . er . . . here’s the deal: it’s the state that’s next to that other state, but this one begins with an “M” . . .  er . . . Let me just begin by saying that here, in the great state of . . . er . . . in this state, which is definitely a great state, I am glad you all came to see me! No joke!

Ever since Super Thursday, my campaign has literally been on a roll. Just when everybody was ready to leave me for dead, I proved them all wrong! I am no more dead than that Chinese guy I met in Paris in 2015, Deng Xiaoping, when I negotiated the Paris Climate Treaty with him. He was as alive as anybody, even more so than me, if I remember correctly, and I always remember everything correctly, because I have perfect memory. In fact, my memory is so good, I even remember things that never happened in the first place, and you have my word as Biden on that!

Sure enough, I met Mr. Deng in Paris, and we had a really nice dinner, and we talked about my grandkids and his grandkids. And then, during the negotiations, Mr. Deng offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse. So here’s the deal, he said: after 2060, China promises to try to make an effort to possibly reduce their emissions, and in exchange, beginning today, America will not oppose China’s plans to dominate Asia. Since I couldn’t refuse such a deal, I didn’t, and me and Mr. Deng shook on it.

So there is your proof, folks—I am as alive today as Mr. Deng! I am serious!

And folks, I’ve been around a long time and I know more than most people. I even know things nobody else knows. Even I don’t know half the things that I know. And I can get things done. That’s why I’m running to be your Senator. No joke!

So I’d like to thank my sister, Dr. Jill Biden, for all the help with the campaign so far. Jill has been terrific. Every time I need something, like my pills, or directions to the little boys’ room, or the phone number for my gerontologist, she is always there for me. So when I decided to run for the U.S. Senate last April, she was definitely there. At least, I remember her being there . . .  Jill, honey, were you there? You were. Good. What’s that? You’re not my sister? What are you talking about? Are you sure? Oh, right. Of course, I meant, you were my wife. Are my wife. Right. So who is my sister? Do I even have a sister? Valerie? Who is Valerie? Oh, right. Valerie. Got it. Is she here now? Standing right next to you, you say? Oh, good, I see her.

My Brain Has Been Through A Lot

Here’s the deal, folks: a lot of the people who criticize me, especially Republicans, just don’t have good brains. No brains, period. None. Have you ever seen Nikki Haley’s brain? That woman is just an idiot. Let me count the ways in which she is an idiot. One, she didn’t expand Medicaid when she could have, as governor of South Carolina. Two, she . . .  she . . . she didn’t . . . she didn’t do that other thing to help the people of her state. Which is why I say that she has no brain. No joke!

Now, my brain has been through a lot. In fact, no presidential candidate in this race has a brain that has been through as much as mine. My brain has been through two major surgeries, and, miraculously, it’s still functioning! I remember just before my last brain surgery, the doctors told me that I probably wouldn’t make it, or if I did make it, I’d probably be a vegetable—that’s how serious it was. But whaddaya know!

It turned out all they had to do was remove some unnecessary portions of my brain, and I was fine! You can see that right here and now! In fact, my post-Super Thursday resolution is, that whenever I start a sentence, I am going to . . .  going to . . . What I am saying is, that from now on, every time—and I mean, literally, every time I start saying a sentence, I will definitely . . . for sure, I will . . . Here’s what I am going to do, this is a promise, and you can take it to the bank: every time I begin a sentence, I will . . .  finish it! Yes!

So folks, a lot of people on the campaign trail ask me . . .  They ask me if the thing is . . . that thing . . . What I am trying to say is, many Americans, real Americans, Americans of all three genders, just like you and me, many of those Americans ask me if I . . .  I’ve been asked by many Americans about . . . People, real people, are hurting, and that’s why they ask me all sorts of questions. And the one question they always ask me is . . . there are people who want to know the answer . . .  the question they always ask is about education! I am serious!

Folks, I know a lot about education, because after I was Barack’s vice president, I became a teacher for a few years. As a teacher, I taught students. Those students, they were taught by me, and they learned many things from me. I didn’t do it for money, I should point out, I only did it for the love of teaching, because look at all those minority students who can’t read because their parents can’t read or write themselves. And that’s just unacceptable! No joke!

In point of fact, the University of Pennsylvania only paid me $800,000 for teaching there, and I remember that I taught . . .  I taught . . . the thing . . . that thing that I taught, I did it when I came to the University that one time, to explain to students about . . .  the thing. No, it must have been that other thing . . . What I explained to somebody there is that education is very important, it is key, in fact, to a successful economy, and that is why we must have education of every kind—higher, lower, whatever. I am being serious!

Education is vital, if we are going to beat China. No, wait, we don’t need to beat China, we already beat China. Didn’t we? Right. We did. I mean we did it in the past. But we can do it again in the future, if we need to, and that is why we need education. And that’s why the University of Pennsylvania paid me $800,000, to contribute to educating Americans on the need to beat China. So this would be the second time we beat China. But only if we need to, and I don’t really think we need to.

You Know . . . The Thing

Folks, when I was in law school, I came across the text of the Declaration of Independence. It was so moving, so inspiring, that I memorized it. To this day, I can recite it by heart. It says, we hold these truths to be apparent, that all women and all men are created equal, and that  . . . they are equal, because . . . Title XVII says so, and . . . also, these men and women, and any transgendered persons, that they are endowed by their . . . their . . . you know, their . . . thing . . . that thing that is . . . well, the thing . . . the endowing thing, they are endowed by it with certain unalienable rights, and those rights are . . .  they are given rights, like an endowment, because they need rights in order to vote . . . I remember there are three of them. I definitely remember that. Those rights . . . the three rights that the . . . great thing endowed them with, they are Life and the Pursuit of Happiness. No, wait! That’s only two . . . I know there is a third one . . . Or is Pursuit and Happiness two separate rights? I can’t remember . . .

Folks, let me talk instead about an issue where I just appointed Beto O’Rourke to be my right-hand man. And that issue is gun violence. Gun violence is the single most important issue facing America today, except for climate change and transgender rights, which are also important, if not more so. I am being serious!

But think about it, folks: 150 million people have been killed by guns in America since 2007, and that’s not even counting the people who were killed using knives and forks! Think about that! 150 million! 150 million Americans, dead, all because gun manufacturers are exempt from liability. This is 100 times more Americans than were killed in all the wars! Including Vietnam! No joke!

Because of guns, we have carnage on our streets, and I want to tell you, if I’m elected, and if you have a gun, I’m coming for you! And gun manufacturers, I’m going to take you on and I’m going  . . . going . . . I’m going to do what I need to do, and . . . Er . . . You can run, but you can’t hide! I will find you! What’s that? They are not hiding, you say? They are advertising? Well, let me tell you, when I am president, there will be no more advertising showing guns in a positive light! Only in a negative light! Right.

And you know what the worst part is? The worst part about those gun manufacturers is how they try to sell you 100 rounds in a single bullet! Imagine that! Who on Earth would need 100 rounds in one bullet? I have no idea. I don’t even know what a round is . . .  And then, to add insult to injury, they put 30, 40, 50 clips into a weapon! Can you imagine that? I don’t know what any of this really means, but I am glad Beto knows—he is my czar for all the gun questions now, I’ve appointed him my czar. What’s a “czar,” by the way? Does anybody know? Oh. OK.

And That Is Why I am a Candidate for the United States Senate

So folks, this campaign is all about the working men and women of America. And the other working genders, I don’t mean to limit myself to just two genders, we all know there are many other genders—at least three that we know of, and almost certainly many more. But regardless, my own family is proof that if you work hard enough, you can succeed in anything. I am living proof of that, and as your future Senator, I promise you that together, we can . . .  we can . . . you and I can . . . both of us . . . we can all come together and make it happen, because this is what makes our country special.

I come from a thousand generations of Pennsylvania coal miners. As the first Biden to go to college . . .  er . . . except for the other Bidens who went to college before me, I . . . there were a thousand generations of Bidens . . .  what I am trying to say is that we Bidens have been mining coal in Pennsylvania and Delaware our entire lives, and the lives of a thousand generations of Bidens before that.

And that is why I’m now a candidate for the United States Senate. Look me over, if you like what you see, send a small donation to me, maybe $5, or $20. Or more, if you can afford it—and I know you can afford it. If not, vote for the other Biden. No joke!

Folks, I am very grateful for all the support from the black community. I have supported civil rights my entire life. I marched for civil rights in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. I remember doing that very well, even if no one else does. In fact, I remember a dog biting me when I was marching there. That dog remembers biting me, too—I recently met that dog, and the dog said it was real sorry. And also I remember how the white police used fire hoses on me. I am being serious!

But that wasn’t the first time that I stood shoulder to shoulder with the black community. I was there in Little Rock, in 1957, when schools were being desegregated. I remember helping that little black girl attend school, and I knew even then that they would surely arrest me for that.

In fact, they did arrest me—although they waited for about 40 years until I got to South Africa to visit Nelson Mandela. So the minute I got to South Africa, they arrested me. They told me the second we all got off the plane that the rest of the Congressional delegation had to go to the left, where the buffet was set up for them, but I had to go to the right, because they had a special meal prepared for me.

So I said, absolutely not, I am not eating that meal, because all I see there is overcooked beef and hardly any vegetables, and the dessert was very unappetizing and flabby-looking. I told them I would much rather eat with the rest of the Congressional delegation, and the South Africans eventually agreed, and took me to the buffet. So that’s how I was arrested there, when visiting Nelson Mandela, which was a really formative experience for me, and that’s the God’s honest truth.

Thank you, folks!

 

UNITED STATES - MARCH 4: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks at an abortion rights rally during a demonstration outside the Supreme Court in Washington on March 4, 2020, as the Court hears oral arguments regarding a Louisiana law about abortion access on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.
Elections

The Humanity of a Fetus and the Inhumanity of Our Abortion Politics

When politicians like Chuck Schumer descend so low as to issue veiled threats of violence against sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices, it’s time for everyone to speak out, not just pro-life advocates.

Wading into the abortion debate is a perilous undertaking, but Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) recent incendiary remarks cannot be ignored. “From Louisiana, to Missouri, to Texas—Republican legislatures are waging war on women—all women. And they’re taking away fundamental rights,” Schumer said last week at a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. “I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Leaders of the Democratic party, like Schumer, are engaging in what might be the most despicable form of pandering imaginable. To appease a militant fringe of nihilistic, self-absorbed “pro-choice” fanatics, they are willing to legalize murder. And as Schumer demonstrates, now they are even willing to threaten anyone who may object.

Most people can agree there is a difference between consuming a morning-after pill and performing a late-term abortion. The former, however hideous it may be from a religious and moral perspective, is clearly more humane than the latter, which by any objective standard is the violent killing of a human being.

New York, a bastion of Democratic Party power and Schumer’s home state, recently passed a law permitting “late-term abortions.” Specifically, the law permits abortions after 24 weeks if there is “an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”

Let’s not speculate as to how subjective the assessment of “fetal viability” or “patient’s life or health” may be. That’s fodder for endless debate. But what about a perfectly normal fetus that’s 24 weeks old? What sort of a human being is that? It’s certainly more than a lump of barely differentiated cells that can be terminated in the first few days after conception. So what is it? To answer that, the following story is enlightening.

The Rescuing Hug

In 1995, two twins, Kyrie and Brielle Jackson, were premature infants. Born after only 24 weeks in the womb, both girls had health problems and were placed in separate incubators. One of them, Brielle, went into critical condition, and in desperation, against hospital protocol, nurse Gayle Kasparian moved the stronger twin into the same incubator with her dying sister.

And then something miraculous happened.

The stronger twin, Kyrie, put her arm around Brielle, and quickly Brielle’s temperature returned to normal, and her heart rate stabilized. These two girls are now healthy young women leading normal lives.

Chuck Schumer, and every other pandering Democrat, is invited to imagine what was going on in the mind of that human being, only 24 weeks after conception. Here was this little person, physically struggling to stay alive, missing the companion who had been by her side for her entire limited existence. She was alone, unable to understand why, and she was dying. And then her twin was returned to her side, and her world regained some of the comfort to which she’d grown accustomed. She got stronger. She lived.

This is not a story of a bundle of nonviable cells. This is the story of a person. This is the person that Chuck Schumer and every other extremist “pro-choice” advocate have decided it’s OK to kill for no reason apart from being unwanted by the mother.

Even if you support Roe v. Wade, it did not understand itself as giving anyone the right to murder. What the decision hinged upon, right or wrong, was the “viability” of the fetus. And “viability” is now on a collision course with technology.

In 2014, Courtney Stensrud gave birth to an infant girl in Texas after only 21 weeks of pregnancy. That baby is now a healthy 5-year-old, with no mental or health disabilities.

Everyone knows that extremely premature infants can suffer extreme health challenges and that many of them don’t survive long after being born. That’s not the point. What matters is that a 24-week-old fetus is a human being, with thoughts and feelings, capable of feeling a sense of identity, capable of giving and receiving companionship.

Argue all you like over where to draw the line of “viability.” But don’t pretend that aborting a normal 24-week-old fetus isn’t murder.

The Stunning Hypocrisy

One of the reasons Democrats are willing to defend killing babies in the womb is that if these babies are born, they may end up leading problematic lives, trapped in poverty, raised by unwilling parents, facing a life of discrimination, ineligible for the entitlements or privileges that our society is unwilling or unable to afford. Yet these same Democrats insist that Americans open the borders to flood the cities with economic refugees from all over the world.

The only way to explain this paradox is to understand the common motivation, which is crass political calculation and opportunism. In the case of being “pro-choice,” Democrats want to defend laws that place few if any restrictions on abortion because that helps them tag Republicans as waging a “war on women,” as if to recognize the humanity of a fetus somehow equates to misogyny.

In the case of immigration, Democrats call for open borders because that helps them tag Republicans as “racists” and “xenophobes,” as if it constitutes unforgivable bigotry to recognize reality: America can’t possibly absorb the billion or so people who would come here from elsewhere.

If the press and the social media monopolies weren’t overwhelmingly partisan in favor of Democrats, the extremists who think aborting a 24-week-old fetus is a “human right” would be exposed for their cold-blooded inhumanity. Have a look at these videos published by the Campaign for Life Coalition. Then go try to find them on YouTube.

When politicians like Chuck Schumer descend so low as to issue veiled threats of violence against sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices, it’s time for everyone to speak out, not just pro-life advocates. Those of us who recognize the humanity of the fetus may still be able to acknowledge that, in some respects at least, there is a legal case to be made by pro-choice advocates. But we reserve our empathy for those who choose life.

Chuck Schumer is encouraged to avoid making those of us who have stayed out of the abortion debate have to pick one extreme or the other. Because if and when that happens, it will be Schumer, and every other phony political hack who panders to the pro-choice extremists, who reaps the whirlwind.

Elections

Common Sense vs. Corruption (Again)

Trump is once again likely to be running against a Democrat who is the very embodiment of political corruption, even the most outstanding current example we have of American political corruption, aside from the Clintons of course.

The candidates who most excited the punditocracy have quit the race. Over at National Review, Jim Geraghty observes that “Elizabeth Warren departs the race without finishing above third place in a single state. Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand quit well before the voting.”

These media candidates, of course, were also the most amusing candidates. But the circus has left town; things just got serious. The race for the party’s nomination is now down to a Marxist hardliner who has always eschewed party membership and Joe Biden, the party hack who is the pick of the Democratic Party’s powers-that-be. Interesting.

As of today, those in the know tell us that Biden is going to come out on top.

And that means 2020 will be, in essence, a re-run of 2016.

Back in July of last year, I asked: “Is Common Sense Making a Comeback?” In that piece, I noted that Trump had run as “a common-sense conservative.” My question was: Did America, by electing Trump, take a step in the direction of returning to common sense in American political life?

That raises the question of the meaning of the 2016 election. Was the election decided by the vote for common sense conservatism or by the vote against the brazen corruption of the Clintons? If the election was decided by voters recoiling from the nauseating corruption of the Clintons, then the true test of common sense may await us in 2020.

For a replay of common sense versus political corruption, the Democrats would probably need to nominate former Vice President Joe Biden. At this point, it seems that only Biden’s political corruption approaches the corruption of the Clintons, though, as with the Clintons, the media could be counted on to conduct a cover-up and distraction campaign to protect him.

In 2016, Trump ran against someone who should have been headed to the Big House instead of running for the White House. You or I already would have been in the Big House if we had committed a tiny fraction of the rule-breaking Hillary Clinton has racked up. But in America today, members of the deep state get a pass when they break the rules; you and me, not so much.

The Democrats should have been forced to find another candidate to run against Trump in 2016 because their candidate should have been in jail. A candidate, even a Democrat, running for the Oval Office from federal prison is an innovation in American politics that America is probably not yet ready to experience.

Unfortunately for those of us drawn to the idea of a contest between common sense and the nonsense offered by the strange new Democrat Party, so unlike the party of JFK or even of Walter Mondale, it now appears a contest between common sense and its opposite is not in the offing for 2020. As in 2016, Trump is once again likely to be running against a Democrat who is the very embodiment of political corruption, even the most outstanding current example we have of American political corruption, aside from the Clintons of course. Once again, the Democratic propaganda directorate—a.k.a., the mainstream media—will do whatever it takes to shield the voters from the truth about Biden’s corruption and about Biden’s infirmity, just as they did for Hillary.

And once again, Trump’s victory would leave the same question left by the results in 2016: did the voters choose common sense over nonsense or did they simply recoil from Biden’s manifest corruption?

Still, two victories in a row by a self-declared common-sense conservative would be interesting. It would raise the possibility that common sense is making a comeback in America. We’ll see.

Elections

Putin Endorses the Democratic Party Establishment

As in 2016, one of the Russian president’s chief goals is to sow discord in the American electorate and discredit the 2020 election’s legitimacy. In this, he has plenty of help.

In the days before the tolerant Left wanted Republicans and populists re-educated and/or eradicated, a moderate Democratic friend of mine who held a deep-blue district was engaged in a hotly contested primary against a far-Left opponent. Empathizing, I said, “I know there’s nothing I can do, but . . . ”

“There is,” she smiled. “Endorse my opponent.”

The political immoral of the story? Sometimes politicians publicly support candidates to help make sure they lose. For example, the worst thing President Trump could do to a “progressive” candidate would be to endorse him in his primary.

Apparently, such tried-and-less-than-true political tactics are lost upon many in America’s intelligence community and their cohorts in the collusion media. But then again, real-world experience isn’t the forte of elitists.

How else to explain why the stolid leftist dolts are at it again?

Though the Left jumped the gun, it fully intends to relaunch its deceitful sequel, Russiagate 2020. Also, one was advised to “ponder who is this sequel’s actual author and why . . .”

And there’s no time like now.

This time, not only will they suggest Russia is (still) colluding with President Trump to steal an American election, the Ivan the Terrible wannabe, Vladimir Putin, and his Kremlin cronies will boost the presidential candidacy of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders. Ever the penny-pinching despot, Putin will want to increase the odds Russia “wins” the impending U.S. election by killing two birds and our democracy with one election interfering stone.

We will be assured by the same past and present intelligence community Obama loyalists, collusion media, and Russian collusion ambulance chasers like neo-McCarthyite Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) who spawned the 2016 Russiagate lie, that this is Putin’s intent.

Of course, these are the same folk who missed the 2012 video wherein President Obama asked then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev (and Vladimir Putin) to forebear their actions and, ergo, interfere in America’s election to help him—Obama—get reelected.

While Winston Churchill observed that Russia is “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” for our far smarter intelligence community (just ask ’em) Putin’s Russia is easier to read than a “Coexist” bumper sticker.

How else to explain an intelligence assessment speculating who the frequently shirtless poseur, Vlad the Bad, will want to install as president of the United States? (“Assessment” being the intelligence community’s fancy word for “guess.”)

Since most of us haven’t attended an elite foreign policy diploma mill and there majored in social climbing, ass-kissing, and appeasement, we’re left to rely upon common sense.

Though the same charlatans who credit President Barack Obama for our booming economy—you know, people like Barack Obama—also claim his administration was “tougher” on Russia than Trump’s has been, there is one person above all others who knows this is bunk. Hint: he’s an ex-KGB Lt. Colonel.

From the reneging on missile defense in Eastern Europe and the Russian “reset” to Uranium One and refusing lethal aid to Ukraine (and larding some pockets, as well?), the Democratic establishment has been a boon to Putin. His pining for the good old days of being a Soviet socialist superpower, also includes pining for the more recent days when the Democratic Party establishment gave him everything he wanted—often in return for simply biding his time (see the aforementioned Obama election interference).

So what will Putin do?

Knowing he’s hated in America and well aware he is being used as political cudgel by the Democrat establishment to hammer and sickle their opponents, Putin wants people to believe he’s supporting Trump and Sanders.

This is why the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia views Trump as a “dealmaker” they can “work with” is accurate. It is not because it is what Putin truly believes; it is what Putin wants the American intelligence community—and, ultimately, the American electorate—to believe. It is the first chapter in Putin, himself, scripting the Russiagate sequel, one history that instructs will be spread far and wide gratis by the American Left in and out of government.

Knowing his “endorsement” is poison, Putin’s next step is to let it be known through covert and overt means that he is supporting Trump, whose reelection would continue to be a disaster for Russian interests.

Similarly, Putin will also let it be known he favors Sanders as the Democratic nominee; and, unwittingly, some on the Right will join in with some of the establishment Left to spread the fake news. Yes, Sanders is a socialist with whom Putin could expect favorable treatment. But Putin isn’t one to fellow travel down a dead end. Like the Democratic establishment, Putin knows Sanders will lose to Trump—which, again, is the last outcome Putin wants.

As in 2016, one of Putin’s chief goals is to sow discord in the American electorate and discredit the 2020 election’s legitimacy. In this, he has plenty of help—witting or not—from the collusion media, the Democrat establishment, and the conspiracy theory-addled lefties riven by Trump Derangement Syndrome and its symptomatic cognitive dissonance.

Still, isn’t it odd how Putin’s “endorsed” candidates just happen to be the two biggest threats to the Democratic Party establishment?

Isn’t it odd how these “assessments” just happen to come from the bowels of the administrative state still filled with Obama and Democratic establishment holdovers?

Isn’t it odd how there’s gaming in Casablanca?

In 2005, around the time President George W. Bush looked into Putin’s eyes and saw his soul (the nature of which remains unknown), I warned of a revanchist, re-Stalinizing Russia under the thumb of this would-be vozhd. One of the critical points remains: to underestimate Putin’s deviousness would be disastrous for U.S. interests.

Putin served Mother Russia and the KGB in East Germany—where they sent some of their most adroit operatives. To ascribe to Putin cartoonish motives and clownish tactics that are so easily uncovered constitutes, at best, naïve misfeasance on the part of our intelligence community (and their spoon-fed pals in the collusion media).

If ascribing such motives to Putin is spawned by political bias, it constitutes dangerous malfeasance that impacts and impairs our nation’s strategic interests; and, knowingly or not, selfishly abets Putin’s goal of sowing a corrosive discord among the American people—namely, the Democratic establishment and collusion media.

And it’s why, in advancing Russian aims through means unfair and foul, the real screenwriter of Russia-gate 2020, former KGB Lt. Col. Vladimir Putin, will continue to covertly abet and endorse the Democratic Party establishment.