Great America

Facebook’s ‘Fact Checkers’ Need To Check Their Privilege

Social media users believe “fact checking” is a tool to censor them and to manipulate the spread of information. They’re right.

There is a significant power differential between Facebook and its users. Instead of merely providing an online platform to share photos, musings, and articles of interest to a circle of friends and followers, Facebook monitors user-generated content and reserves the privilege to remove it, restrict its dissemination, and even block a user’s ability to post or comment for a period of hours, days, or weeks (unaffectionately known as being in “Facebook Jail”). Without warning, Facebook may even disable an account, to deplatform a user.

One way Facebook monitors user content is with faceless third-party “fact-checkers.” Facebook explains—sorta—how they are chosen:

Independent fact-checkers on Facebook have applied to be signatories to the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network Code of Principles. Independent fact-checkers investigate stories in a journalistic process meant to result in establishing the truth or falsity of the story.

Though I haven’t been subjected to “Facebook jail” (yet), a recent post of mine was flagged by Facebook “fact-checkers” as “false information.” My post summarized Tucker Carlson’s September 15 interview of Chinese virologist Li-Meng Yan, and is one of many posts on Yan’s allegations that Facebook has flagged.

I stand by my post, which states facts that are demonstrably 100 percent accurate—even Snopes says so:

1) Li-Meng Yan is a Chinese virologist, whose work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and extensively cited by other researchers.

2) Li-Meng Yan is in hiding for fear of her life.

3) Li-Meng Yan was interviewed by Tucker Carlson.

4) Li-Meng Yan told Tucker Carlson that she will soon publish a paper showing that the COVID-19 virus was manufactured in a Chinese lab.

5) Li-Meng Yan told Tucker Carlson that she can also prove that the virus was deliberately unleashed on the world by the Chinese government.

Quod erat demonstrandum (which is Latin for “Zuck you, Facebook”).

No Transparency, No Accountability

On September 23, President Trump held a roundtable discussion at the White House with Attorney General William Barr and several state attorneys general on protecting consumers from social media abuses. In his remarks, the president noted that “countless Americans are banned, blacklisted, and silenced through arbitrary or malicious enforcement of ever-shifting rules” and that this discussion “is focused on concrete legal steps to protect an open Internet and a free society, including steps to ensure the social media companies cannot deceive their users with hidden efforts to manipulate the spread of information.”

Many social media users believe that “fact-checking” is one of the tools used to censor them, and to manipulate the spread of information—in this case, information related to COVID-19 that does not fit the progressive narrative.

Facebook doesn’t describe the journalistic process that establishes the truth or falsity of a story, or the credentials of the person(s) evaluating stories on public health or other specialized topics. But if I were “curious how Facebook works with independent fact-checking organizations,” I could click a link (which led to still more links, like peeling back the layers of an onion) to learn more. Here’s some of what I learned:

1) Facebook removes content that violates its “Community Standards,” which includes a section on False News:

We want to help people stay informed without stifling productive public discourse. There is also a fine line between false news and satire or opinion. For these reasons, we don’t remove false news from Facebook but instead, significantly reduce its distribution by showing it lower in the News Feed.

I am an experienced, award-winning health/medical writer; completed the pre-med course requirements in college; and have a master’s degree in science and medical journalism from NYU Polytechnic. Unless Facebook’s “fact-checkers” have equivalent credentials, they are not equipped to judge the accuracy of content relating to medical research and public health issues.

2) Facebook uses third-party fact-checkers who are certified through the nonpartisan International Fact-Checking Network in certain countries who rate content as being false, altered, partly false, missing context, satire, or true. These countries are specified on a page that provides information on how to dispute a fact check rating. The third-party “fact-checkers” in the U.S. include: Factcheck.org, PolitiFact, Science Feedback, and Reuters Fact Check.

If Facebook’s “fact-checkers” are unable to distinguish the difference between an objective report of an event (Yan’s interview) and an opinion about that event (analysis of what she said), they should find another line of work.

3) The International Fact-Checking Network is run by the Poynter Institute, a non-profit journalism school and research organization located in St. Petersburg, Florida. Judging by the quality of the “fact check” on my post, the “counselors” heading up the effort seem to have forgotten what just-the-facts reporting looks like.

I learned about real fact-checking at Time  in the waning days of the “Mad Men” era, when the company was Master of the Media Universe. Anyone who’s been in journalism long enough knows how notoriously nit-picky Time  fact-checkers were. Every detail was substantiated. For instance, if a reporter mentioned in an article that an interview subject drinks black coffee in the morning, the fact-checker would zero in on that detail and ask how he (in those days, the reporter was usually a he) knows that. If the reporter said he conducted the interview over breakfast, he would’ve had to submit an itemized restaurant receipt. Unless Facebook’s “fact-checkers” have been trained as rigorously as the legendary Time  fact-checkers, they are not trained well enough.

Is Facebook Routinely Libeling Users?

“Libel” is publication of a written statement that damages the reputation of another party.

Social media platforms have a broad legal exemption from libel law under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and are not liable for user-generated content that is libelous. However, I believe a case can be made—paging Harmeet Dhillon—that when Facebook publishes a rating about the truth or falsity of a post, it is not merely a conduit for content but is creating content as a publisher. Further, Facebook also exercises editorial control as a publisher when it selects content allowed to be published on its platform or removed.

I believe that labeling my post “false information” libels me by demeaning my credibility as a health and medical writer. My profession holds me to an ethical standard of truth and accuracy that Facebook is publicly accusing me of violating. So too, when a medical doctor or scientist posts an expert opinion or an article he or she has authored that is labeled “false information.”

Facebook offers a process by which a user can dispute a rating, which involves sending an email to one of its third-party fact-checkers. If truth is not a defense to libel according to this “fact-checker,” I can always exercise the option of sending a “lawyer letter” demanding Facebook cease and desist labeling my post “false information,” and demand a retraction of their faulty fact check.

During the roundtable discussion at the White House, the attorney general reported that, at the president’s direction, the Department of Justice sent proposed legislation to Congress that reforms Section 230 to “require greater transparency and accountability when platforms remove lawful speech,” and to let users “pursue civil claims against online platforms that engage in bad-faith censorship.”

Congress is consumed with President Trump’s nomination of a new justice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court, so other important matters like pandemic relief for idled workers and censorship relief for social media users will languish for the foreseeable future. But if the proposed legislation is enacted, it may become easier to dispute arbitrary and inconsistently applied “community standards” for user-generated content, and to force a reversal of heavy-handed tactics like politicized fact-checking and shadow banning to censor thought and squelch information that Silicon Valley tech titans don’t think you have a right to know.

Great America

In Preemptive Defense of Future Justice Barrett

Democrats will be desperate to throw everything they can at the Senate’s walls to see what sticks in a mad rush to stop Judge Barrett from ascending to the highest court in the land. Happily, none of it will work, nor should it.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing last week at 87 is a sobering reminder that death is the great equalizer in human affairs. For if even a legal giant like Justice Ginsburg—the “Notorious RBG” as she affectionately was known to her many fans—succumbed to it, then so must we all. We should take this opportunity to pray for the repose of her soul and reflect on how fragile our supposed grip on life really is.

Even so, we cannot let something tragic, even something tragic and mysterious like death, distract us from the important, pressing business facing our nation. President Trump has nominated Ginsburg’s replacement and, as many expected, it is Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, professor at Notre Dame Law School, and Roman Catholic wife and mother of seven (her youngest is special needs and two are adopted from Haiti). Full disclosure: Notre Dame Law is my alma mater, and I took two seminars with her.

In a very tangible sense, she is the anti-RBG, especially on life issues (evidenced most strongly by how she and her husband have built their family). Of course, this will drive the Left and Senate Democrats insane. They likely will try to attack her along four lines, none of which will include, thankfully, a salacious-but-obviously-false, 11th-hour “gang rape” charge of the sort that was perpetrated, shamelessly and shamefully, against then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh (because that sort of thing just doesn’t work on women, let alone an even-keeled mother of seven like Barrett).

The attacks will come on abortion, the Second Amendment, healthcare, and her personal life—though not necessarily in that order (and, of course, the Democrats may shock us all and outdo even their hysterical, tyrannical behavior in l’affaire Kavanaugh; stay tuned).

Abortion

On abortion, Barrett, admittedly, is an easy target if you’re committed to preserving the status quo or expanding abortion access. She is an openly faithful Catholic mother of seven; before knowing anything else about her judicial philosophy, opinions she’s written in abortion-related cases, or her scholarly writings, that fact screams loudly and clearly, “Roe is on the chopping block.”

But even leaving that aside, Roe demands to be overturned because it is, in the words of Judge William H. Pryor of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law”—easily on par with Dred Scott and Plessy. Not even liberals like Ginsburg would defend the sweeping decision on its own terms, and constitutional scholar John Hart Ely (who personally supported abortion) once said of Roe that it “is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”

In her time as a judge, Barrett twice has dealt with the abortion question. In 2018, the 7th Circuit ordered a rehearing en banc (i.e., a full-court rehearing of a case originally heard by a three-judge panel) in a challenge to an Indiana law requiring fetal remains either to be buried or cremated after an abortion. But the 7th Circuit vacated that order and reinstated the original opinion blocking the state from enforcing the law.

Barrett joined a dissent written by her colleague, Judge Frank H. Easterbrook. Easterbrook addressed a separate provision of the law that also had been struck down but was not at issue at that time. That provision would bar abortions based on the fetus’s race, sex, or disability (e.g., Down syndrome). Easterbrook characterized it as an anti-eugenics provision and suggested that there is nothing in the Constitution that would deny a state the ability to pass such anti-eugenics protections.

The Supreme Court later reversed the 7th Circuit’s opinion on the fetal-remains provision but did not weigh in on the part of the decision that struck down the ban on abortions based on race, sex, or disability, leaving Indiana unable to enforce that provision. Justice Clarence Thomas, with his characteristic flair, memorably blasted abortion as rooted in an ugly eugenic history.

Later, in 2019, Barrett indicated she wanted the full 7th Circuit to rehear a challenge to an Indiana law requiring young women to notify their parents before obtaining an abortion after a three-judge panel had ruled it was unconstitutional. Indiana asked the Supreme Court to weigh in, and the justices sent the case back to the lower courts this summer for another look. Also in 2019, Barrett joined an opinion that upheld a Chicago ordinance barring anti-abortion “sidewalk counselors” from approaching women entering an abortion clinic, something she had to do given Supreme Court precedent on the issue.

It seems reasonably clear that Judge Barrett is skeptical of the so-called right to an abortion, but as a lower-court judge, she is bound by the regime of mass slaughter that was enacted by the raw will of the Supreme Court in 1973. The Democrats will attack her for this, but it will be out of panic that their core sacrament, abortion, will soon be, well, aborted—right into the ash heap of history where it belongs.

Second Amendment

In the 2019 case, Kanter v. Barr, the 7th Circuit upheld the mail-fraud conviction of the owner of an orthopedic footwear company and as a result, his right to keep and bear arms was abrogated. He contended that laws prohibiting people convicted of felonies from having guns violate a person’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. The majority rejected that argument, explaining that the government had shown that such laws are related to the government’s important goal of keeping guns away from people convicted of serious crimes.

Judge Barrett dissented (start at p. 27), arguing that at the Founding, legislatures took away the gun rights of people who were believed to be dangerous, not of just anyone who had committed any felony. So, for Barrett, the laws at the heart of Kanter are too broad because they ban nonviolent persons from possessing a firearm without any evidence that they pose a risk. Barrett stressed that the Second Amendment “confers an individual right, intimately connected with the natural right of self-defense and not limited to civic participation.”

It would be incredible to watch Democrats try to paint Judge Barrett as an extremist on guns given the way they—for the past three months—have excused, downplayed, ignored, and even tacitly encouraged violent mobs’ looting businesses, destroying property, and even murdering supporters of the president—all with revolting impunity.

On second thought, the campaign ads would write themselves. Please do it, Kamala!

Healthcare

A common Democratic talking point about this nomination—aside from their irritating bellyaching about how unfair it is that President Trump, exercising his duly conferred constitutional powers, will be nominating someone that the Republican-controlled Senate wants to confirm in an election year (which has happened frequently throughout our nation’s history)—is that Republicans are trying to kill Obamacare through the courts and that RBG’s replacement will be integral to that devious plot.

On this, they will likely have some ammunition. Of Obamacare, then-Professor Barrett wrote, “In NFIB v. Sibelius [2012] Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.” NFIB, recall, was the case in which Roberts miraculously found Obamacare’s individual mandate to be both a tax for some purposes and also not a tax for other purposes (actually, it’s a penalty now!) in order to save the law.

That decision was completely unexpected, and it has been criticized widely. Judge Barrett is not wrong to have observed in a law review article that Roberts tortured a statutory provision to make it say something it didn’t (but also mysteriously did, too) in order to save a landmark law out of a misguided desire to preserve the Supreme Court’s “legitimacy”—but she should be prepared to defend herself nonetheless.

The Republicans will have her back, and she is right on the law regardless.

Personal Life

The fourth and final line of attack will be her personal life. In an era when the politics of personal destruction are the norm, this is an entirely expected, if deeply unwelcome and ugly, avenue for the Democrats to take in opposing Judge Barrett.

Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) stated, while questioning Barrett during her confirmation hearing for the 7th Circuit back in 2017, that “the dogma lives loudly within you.” Other senators, including vice presidential hopeful Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), openly have questioned whether a Catholic nominee could be a judge—apparently completely ignorant of Article VI, clause 3 of the Constitution, which states in no uncertain terms that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Good old-fashioned anti-Catholicism is back en vogue!

She will be slammed for her affiliation with the “People of Praise,” a lay organization of Catholics. To that, I say: yawn. It didn’t stick then, and it’s not going to stick now; different strokes for different folks; etc. The absolute best they’ll be able to do is caricature her as a fanatical religious zealot who wants to impose her twisted “Handmaid’s Tale” vision of the world on everyone else. But they were going to do that, anyway.

Normal, well-adjusted people will see a fair-minded, civil, compassionate, intelligent woman who respects our Constitution and the rule of law it secures—including the twin rights to life and self-defense, which sit at the foundation of our society, not to mention the right of religious freedom: the right—the duty, really—to order your life in relation to God as you see fit, leaving others the freedom to do likewise.

Democrats will be desperate to throw everything they can at the Senate’s walls to see what sticks in a mad rush to stop Judge Barrett from ascending to the highest court in the land. Happily, none of it will work, nor should it.

Great America

An Immigrant’s Love Letter to America

I now look at the American flag and my heart bursts with pride. The story of this country and its founding is a miracle. Not everyone who emigrates here feels the same way.

America, we need to talk.

I was born in paradise, on the beautiful island of Jamaica. I was born a British subject, and Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II was the ultimate head of my church and state. Because I was brought up speaking the Queen’s English, and was a bookish kid to boot, words have always mattered to me. Conflating similar yet different terms may win you cheap rhetorical points, but it really ticks off this grammar nerd.

People who say “immigrant” without specifying legal or illegal aren’t arguing for a distinction without a difference; they’re trying to trick you into believing something that’s just not true.

America was always a glamorous plane ride away from my young life in Kingston. The United States was a land of plenty. It’s where we flew to shop for toys and fabric to make our clothes. To my 11-year-old self, Americans chewed gum and spoke with a funny twang, and pointed out the overhead compartments and emergency exits. I loved imitating them, but never imagined I could become one of them.

One day, my paradise crumbled. Mobs ruled the streets and terrified the adults, and America became the emergency exit for my family. We had to leave so much behind. It was a strange time to parachute into 7th grade at St. Rose of Lima School—where I had to diagram sentences and stop putting the letter “u” in color and honor.

To add to the discomfort of showing up as one of the very few non-Catholic kids in the middle of the school year, and not knowing the Pledge of Allegiance and being terrified the nuns would find out, on my first day of school I raised my hand to ask an innocent question that made sense in English English, but turned out to be rather awkward phrasing in American English: “Excuse me, does anyone have a rubber I can borrow?” (It means “eraser” in British English.) Those synonyms turn out to have distinctly different meanings in and out of the Commonwealth.

Awkward. But I learned.
But this is also why I, and many legal immigrants, have our hackles raised by the facile substitution of “immigrant” to cover both resident and illegal aliens.

The movement that almost broke my country and added to the Jamaican diaspora was Democratic Socialism, which has failed everywhere it’s been tried. It drove us out of paradise. At the end of the day, mob rule is incompatible with idyll. My family landed as Green Card holders (the colloquial term for resident aliens) in the United States of America in 1976—the bicentennial year—and red, white, and blue was everywhere.

Providing a pathway to citizenship to someone whose very first act upon stepping on American soil was to break the law is like setting up a pathway to homeownership for the lovely couple who broke into your house.

America isn’t for everyone. I didn’t fall in love with her right away, Bicentennial fireworks notwithstanding. The freedom to choose your own path is liberating . . . and scary. The responsibility to improve the lives around you is enlightening; and sobering. The right to speak freely is exhilarating, and makes you vulnerable.

Over time, I learned that America always picks herself up, dusts herself off, and reaches out a hand to help the other player off the floor. When tragedy strikes anywhere in the world, Americans open their hearts and their wallets and are at the ready to board a plane to help. 

I now look at the American flag and my heart bursts with pride. The story of this country and its founding is a miracle. And so, at the turn of the century, I became an American citizen. I am no longer a subject. I took an oath “that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

Not everyone who emigrates here feels the same way. Some arrivals are purely transactional in nature—“give me a safe place to stay and I’ll pay taxes and behave but I’m not falling in love with you.” That’s OK. It’s why the law provides for resident aliens to come to the country and participate in her freedoms without taking the ultimate step of becoming citizens.

Which is why people who arrive without bothering to even fill out a form or come through a legal point of entry are doing the wrong thing. Tossing citizenship around like Halloween candy is grossly offensive to those of us who jumped through all the hoops, waited in all the lines, and took all the tests. 

I can understand the impetus to want to help everyone—it’s very American, after all. But providing a pathway to citizenship to someone whose very first act upon stepping on American soil was to break the law is like setting up a pathway to homeownership for the lovely couple who broke into your house. Words matter.

Americans, like no other people in the world, can do and be anything. There’s no caste system here. You can start at the bottom and work your way to the top and vice versa. Even better, you get to choose what is top and bottom for you. You get to spend your treasure and your time however you want. From Figure 8 races and demolition derbies in Jackson Hole, to swimming with dolphins in Key West, you get to do you. I’ve gone from a scared new immigrant who didn’t know that Americans had different words for things like erasers to a college graduate to a corporate event planner to a working actress to a mother of four and a one-time political candidate.

I love America and its miraculous founding, and every day I see people claiming that this country isn’t that great. Clearly, lots of you don’t know how good you have it. Robby Starbuck is a friend and filmmaker who also rejects what he calls “linguistic tricks” and who, as a Cuban American, appreciates and loves this country. He produced a love letter which his talented musician wife, Matriarch, did the music for and our fervent hope is that it reminds us all what this country is really all about. 

There’s only one thing I can’t be as a naturalized American citizen. I can’t be president. But I sure can be a participant. As I eventually learned to say every morning at St. Rose of Lima, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Watch this love letter, and then please participate—peacefully—in the electoral process.

May God continue to bless the United States of America.

[i] Rubber, n. Eraser. Item to rub out one’s written mistakes.

Uncategorized

Amy Coney Barrett and Who We Are as a Nation

We salute Trump for appointing a real believer to the high court. The stakes are nothing short of who we are as a people.

So, it’s Amy Coney Barrett. How great is that? Deo Gratias. For secularists and others out there, that means “thanks be to God.” He is the one who makes all things and keeps all things in existence, even you.

Amy believes that. Maybe that is shocking to you. She also believes that the meaning of her life and work is to see the face of God in the Beatific Vision and live with Him forever.

Once upon a time, these were unremarkable beliefs. They were commonly held. Not at all shocking as they are now.

There have been two competing visions of who we are as a people. One argues that we are a Christian nation and that we were founded that way, that Christianity has pride of place among all faiths, and that the roots of our governmental system are found in the Bible. There is another view: we may be a religious people, but our government may only ever be secular, that is, without God or religion.

Professor Stephen D. Smith of the University of San Diego School of Law calls these the “providentialist” and the “secularist” view. He writes, “Providentialists declare that God works in history, that it is important as a people to acknowledge, and that the community should actively instill such beliefs in children as a basis for civic virtue.” Secularists, on the other hand, “insist that acknowledgments of deity (if there is one) ought to be purely private and that government acts improperly if it enters into religion or expresses or endorses religious beliefs. Thus, what one constituency views as imperative, the other regards as forbidden.”

Many others have recognized these two strains in America’s view of itself. Noah Feldman of the Harvard Law school describes one as “values evangelicals” and the other as “legal secularists.” James Davidson Hunter, author of the influential Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America, described the two camps as “orthodox” and “progressive.” The orthodox camp is defined by “the commitment on the part of adherents to an external, definable, and transcendent authority” that tells us “what is good, what is true, how we should live, and who we are.” Hunter argues that the progressives, even the religious ones, place their trust in “personal experience or scientific rationality.” These two views naturally play out in different ways concerning political issues. But even more, they inform the adherent as to who we are as a nation. Are we a religious nation, or are we a secular nation? 

The answer to this question will be expressed in the public statements of our leaders, in the ceremonies we carry out, in the words on our money, our national motto, even and perhaps especially in how and what we teach our children. 

Both of these views find warrant in our history and our founding documents. Therefore from our founding onward, each has been competitive with the other. Since this has been a competition, the “providentialists” will have the upper hand at various times, and at other times the “secularists” will dominate. Professor Smith says the competition has been similar to that between the political parties. Sometimes the Democrats win, at other times the Republicans win, but the federal government has never taken a side. 

Something changed in 1962 when the Supreme Court took a side in the culture wars, and it was not our side. In the school prayer decision, the Supreme Court not only struck down fairly innocuous and entirely voluntary school prayers, it determined that the purpose of government must be secular. I would argue this was the nascent establishment of an official state church, a breach of that wall that was supposed to protect believers from the government. This official church has grown larger and more robust and now imposes its dogmas on our school children.

We salute Trump for appointing a real believer to the high court. We look forward to Amy Coney Barrett writing the majority opinion when Roe is overturned. As high as those stakes are, the stakes are higher still, higher than Roe, higher than Obergefell, higher than Eisenstadt and Griswold. Higher than all these encyclicals of the sexual Left. The stakes are nothing short of who we are as a people. Do we have an established secularist church? Are we a Christian people being suffocated by this church? 

I think the Church of the Secularists knows these stakes, and this is why in the coming weeks, they will attack Amy Coney Barrett with all they have, and that is why we, the Christian people, must defend her just as we would defend ourselves and our own children. Those are the stakes. 

Great America

Barrett Did Not Affirm the Illinois Lockdown Order

What she actually did was to prioritize religious liberty.

Twitter is awash with false claims that Judge Amy Coney Barrett should not be nominated to the Supreme Court because she supported the draconian lockdown orders issued by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. More mendaciously, some are claiming that she supported the Democrat Pritzker in excusing violent rioters from the lockdown requirements through which ordinary law abiding citizens are required to suffer.

This falsehood is magnified because it obscures what Barrett actually did in the case: she affirmed a hard-won exemption for religious worship from the generally odious lockdown.  

The plaintiff in the case, the Illinois Republican Party, challenged only the worship exemption (not the lockdown generally), arguing that it was wrong to exempt only religious services from the lockdown. Why the GOP geniuses didn’t just challenge the constitutionality of subjecting their own political activities to the lockdown is anybody’s guess.

But given the argument the Republicans in fact made, Barrett concluded that religious worship occupies such an elevated status, even as compared to other First Amendment-protected rights, that it was not categorically illegal for Pritzker to limit the exemption to religious services.

Again, the Illinois Republican establishment was not challenging the lockdown order generally (or anything to do with failing to enforce the orders against rioters). Federal judges aren’t supposed to go beyond the issues raised by the parties in order to reach points that they would prefer to rule on. We call judges who engage in that practice by a familiar name: “activists.”

Those who are debating the merits of Judge Barrett’s nomination should at least get the facts straight about the cases she rules in, and what her legal rulings actually say. When you consider that she strongly endorsed a very protective view of religious liberty, Barrett may be exactly the one religious conservatives want on the Supreme Court to stand against waffling from Chief Justice John Roberts.

Great America

Getting the Politics Wrong on Supreme Court Nominees

The nominee on the president’s shortlist who is the easiest to confirm to this particular vacancy is by definition the wrong nominee, and the GOP consultant class knows that.

Several outlets identify 11th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Barbara Lagoa as a leading contender to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. President Trump has described her as “highly thought of . . . I don’t know her but I hear she’s outstanding.”

While her sparse record as a federal judge indicates good legal reasoning and writing skills, why in the world is she being considered for the nation’s highest court? The rest of the president’s statement offers a clue: “I’m getting a lot of phone calls from a lot of people.”

During her 10 months on the federal bench, Judge Lagoa has penned 11 opinions, only three of which are even formally “published,” meaning the other eight have no precedential legal weight in future cases. More than half of her opinions are in routine areas of criminal law, and the others mainly involve questions of state law in cases that happen to be filed in federal court. Her previous 11 months on the Florida Supreme Court yielded only one authored opinion—one confirming that Governor Ron DeSantis had properly invoked his authority under the Florida constitution to suspend the Broward County Sheriff from his duties.

None of her 11th Circuit or Florida Supreme Court opinions deal with any of the legal issues of interest to conservatives: nothing on administrative state questions, no property rights or environmental cases, no First Amendment cases, no federal constitutional issues at all, nothing whatsoever touching on social issues such as abortion or marriage. 

Nothing in her 11th Circuit or Florida Supreme Court work offers any clue of how she would approach any of the questions that make the Supreme Court the ultimate branch of government for conservatives today.

None of this is to say she is a bad judge, and certainly not to impugn her character or her exemplary accomplishments in life. As an attorney reading her opinions, I am confident she would give my clients a fair hearing and a competent decision in the ordinary procedural questions, criminal cases, and contract disputes that occupy most judges’ attention. Her work to date is actually rather bland by comparison to many on President Trump’s Supreme Court short list.

With her name appearing in numerous articles and conversations alongside Amy Coney Barrett as a leading contender, there is nothing in Lagoa’s 11th Circuit or Florida Supreme Court writing to justify her inclusion in those conversations.

Conservatives are eager to have a Supreme Court justice who will transform the court even more than Clarence Thomas did when he was confirmed to succeed Thurgood Marshall three decades ago. We want a justice who is reasonably likely to be a decisive vote in efforts to reign in the administrative state, give a reasonable rather than ideological reading to congressional statutes, and restore the vitality of important safeguards in the Bill of Rights. 

Not least among those rights, there is that little thing about not being deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. It would be generous to even call Lagoa’s federal judicial record on any of these issues “sparse.” There simply isn’t one.

Barrett’s work as a law professor and over the past three years as a federal judge on the 7th Circuit (authoring nearly 80 opinions on a wide range of important topics) gives plenty of reason for confidence that she would fulfill that role without morphing into a Souter or Kennedy, and fair promise that she would emerge as an intellectual leader on the Court in the mold of Justice Scalia, for whom she clerked. 

One need not think badly of Barbara Lagoa to conclude that nominating her would invoke the specter of prior unforced Republican errors such as the addition of David Souter to the court by George H. W. Bush, and his son’s failed effort to nominate his friend and White House counsel Harriet Miers.

So why is a federal judge with no record of distinction on any issue important to conservatives so close to the nomination? As President Trump said, “I’m getting a lot of calls from a lot of people.” Those people, reported to include Florida’s Republican governor and both Republican U.S. senators, want their candidate to get the gig. Because gigs, and not the good of the nation, are what the average politician is about.

Meanwhile, Republican political operatives are out in force proclaiming that Lagoa would be easier to confirm than Barrett, and would win Florida for Trump. I have written previously that the claim Lagoa would help Trump with “winning Florida” lacks any evidence of having been a successful tactic in any other presidential campaign. But the argument that Lagoa will be easier to confirm sounds like a talking point written to sell a bad idea.

The nominee on the president’s shortlist who is the easiest to confirm to this particular vacancy is by definition the wrong nominee, and the GOP consultant class knows that. They are arguing for the president to trade in his one clear opportunity to transform the Supreme Court for a generation, in exchange for gratifying a group of Florida politicians who want to notch one in the usual Washington game of spoils division.

President Trump needs to deliver for conservatives on this opportunity now, and tell the phone callers for Lagoa that this has to be America’s time, not theirs.

Great America

Republicans, Confirm a Supreme Court Justice Immediately

Grow a spine, Republicans; stand with your own voters, and do what needs to be done — as soon as humanly possible.

Political hell broke loose when America learned, just as the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah was about to commence, that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a decades-long liberal lion of the Supreme Court and erstwhile feminist trailblazer — had succumbed to pancreatic cancer. In a presidential election year already marked by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic unleashed upon the world by a geopolitical archfoe, a once-in-a-lifetime pansocietal conversation about race, and unprecedented political rancor fanning the flames of a grieving nation’s cold civil war, the passing of “RBG” has upended anew the battle lines for November.

Within hours of Ginsburg’s passing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed that a nominee to replace her would receive an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. President Donald Trump soon came out in accord, notwithstanding Democrats’ hysterical howls alleging hypocrisy based on the purported “precedent” of how McConnell and Senate Republicans snubbed President Barack Obama’s own election year Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016, following the passing of conservative titan Justice Antonin Scalia (never mind that McConnell’s strategy was expressly predicated upon the fact that the presidency and Senate were, at the time, controlled by different parties).

Throughout the Trump presidency, Democrats and their “resistance” allies have claimed the mantle of vaunted defenders of political customs and institutional norms — a would-be collective bulwark standing between the dreaded Orange Man and the collapse of America into an authoritarian banana republic. The Washington Post, Beltway insiders’ favorite liberal paper, went so far as to change its tagline to “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” And one can hardly tune in to CNN or MSNBC without hearing ad nauseam about encroaching fascism from Trump and his purported brownshirts.

In reality, something approximating the opposite is true. In the Trump era, Democrats, leftist activists and their media mouthpieces have repeatedly vowed to irrevocably alter the very basis, structure and essence of our American experiment in self-governance. We are told that the Electoral College is a retrograde edifice and a tool of white supremacy. We are informed that the defining structural feature of the U.S. Senate — two seats apiece per state, no matter a state’s size — is a pawn for the tyranny of rural America over urban America, James Madison’s countermajoritarian warning against the insidious threat of “faction,” in “Federalist No. 10” notwithstanding.

More recently, in the aftermath of the McConnell/Trump pledge to fill Ginsburg’s seat, Democrats have taken to issuing the coarsest and most reckless of threats — unleash their antifa-Black Lives Matter arsonist puppets to set aflame America’s urban corridors, “pack” the Supreme Court by adding numerous (liberal-held) seats, admit Puerto Rico and possibly the District of Columbia as new states (holding aside the brazen unconstitutionality of the latter possibility). Democratic leaders seem to have forgotten one of the principal lessons one ought to learn in kindergarten: Threatening a temper tantrum if one does not get what one wants belies any pretense of emotional maturity or basic civil decency.

But it’s actually even worse than that. Going back decades, it is the Democratic Party and their leftist black-robed allies on the bench that are almost exclusively to blame for the sordid state of our judicial politics and our actual judiciary alike. It was Ted Kennedy and his brother-in-arms, Joe Biden himself, who permanently altered the course of judicial nominations when, in 1987, they ruthlessly savaged and personally destroyed Robert Bork, President Ronald Reagan’s eminently qualified nominee for the high court. They upped the ante in 1991, smearing Clarence Thomas with well-orchestrated, highly dubious workplace sexual harassment allegations so outrageous that the jurist — a Black man who grew up in the Jim Crow South — described the outrage as a “high-tech lynching.”

Democrats largely opposed the 2006 confirmation of Samuel Alito, nuked the filibuster for lower-court judicial nominees in 2013, and pulled out every stunt imaginable in the all-out war that was Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle in 2018 — a fight so bitter and acrimonious so as to make the Bork and Thomas precedents look timid by comparison. As Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., recently wrote to committee Democrats: “Compare the treatment of Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh to that of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, and it’s clear that there already is one set of rules for a Republican president and one set of rules for a Democrat president.”

Leftist judges on the bench for a half-century have only further hardened conservatives’ perception that the judicial game is rigged, constitutionalizing a myriad of issues on the most legally farcical of grounds and removing from the ambit of our democracy countless issues about which decent people might disagree, and which ought to be left for the voters to decide. With the narrow exception of gun rights, there is not a single hot-button legal or cultural issues where conservatives, dating back to the Warren Court, have been by and large successful. Originalists and legal conservatives usually try to play by the rules; their leftist, outcome-oriented brethren have no such compunctions.

The Democratic Party deserves to have a conservative replacement for Ginsburg jammed down its throat. And leftist activist judges, the left-leaning legal profession and left-dominated legal academia all deserve the same fate. Grow a spine, Republicans; stand with your own voters, and do what needs to be done — as soon as humanly possible.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Great America

Scenes We’d Like to See . . .

. . . that the establishment media won’t dare touch.

In the 1960s, the Phillip Morris company produced Lark cigarettes and deployed trucks with banners reading “show us your LARK pack.” Mad magazine showed what happened when that truck drove by a cancer clinic. Mad also offered “Scenes We’d Like to See,” a one-page feature lampooning fairy tales and such. The current reality show of politics, often beyond satire, could use that kind of treatment.

Many voters, for example, doubtless would like someone to ask Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris: “Your relationship with Willie Brown has been described in print as ‘poontronage.’ How did you first meet Brown, and what was the basis of the relationship? I mean, you were 30, he was 60, and Brown was not exactly Billy Dee Williams.”  

It’s a fair question of a woman who probably won her 2010 California attorney general race by ballot fraud. She now goes around touting a “Harris Administration,” when she’s running under Joe Biden, a man she savaged in the primaries as a segregationist, and worse.  

For his part, the former vice president could stand some questioning from a real reporter, something like, “Mr. Vice President, in January 2017, why did you request to unmask General Michael Flynn?” Or, “Mr. Vice President, how hard was it to get that Ukrainian prosecutor fired?” Or, “Mr. Vice President, you are on record that the Chinese are ‘not bad folks.’ Have Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party ever done anything with which you disagreed?” 

Consider also Marie Harf who, prior to joining President Obama’s reelection campaign, was a spokeswoman for the Central Intelligence Agency, where she “crafted the CIA’s media strategy on a wide range of sensitive national security and intelligence topics.” Harf also served in the State Department as a senior advisor for strategic communications to John Kerry. Like many from the previous administration, Harf has become a fixture on television. Some journalist might ask her: “Was Alger Hiss innocent?” which is not a trick question. Or, “Do people still become terrorists because they can’t find a job?” 

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is the most ardent evangelist of the Green New Deal. Many economists would like somebody to ask her, “What is a marginal tax rate?” or “Which had the more powerful economy, Castro’s Cuba, or Hong Kong?” Or how about “John Maynard Keynes praised F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. Did you ever read that book and, if so, what do you think of it?” Those are fair questions for someone who wields so much influence over Democratic candidates. 

Former CIA boss John Brennan had a high profile during the Russia and Ukraine hoaxes. By all indications, no reporter asked Brennan, “any regrets for voting for Gus Hall in 1976? After all, the man was a Stalinist.” That’s a scene many in the intel community would surely like to see. 

By all indications, nobody ever asked Barack Obama: “Mr. President, in Dreams from My Father you dedicated 2,000 words to ‘Frank,’ whom you publicly identified as known Communist, Frank Marshall Davis. Why did Frank disappear from the audio version of the book, and failed to appear in anything you wrote after that?” That remains a fair question for someone who was the most powerful person in the world for eight years, and who is taking a high-profile role in the 2020 campaign.

“Mr. President,” someone might ask, “in the 2017 Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, David Garrow said Dreams from My Father was not an autobiography or a memoir. Garrow said it was a novel and you were the novel’s most important ‘composite character.’ What is your view of that judgment? I mean, it questions your whole narrative.” 

A reporter familiar with the deep state might ask: “Mr. President, the texts of the FBI’s Lisa Page and Peter Strzok said the president wanted to know ‘everything we’re doing.’ What was your role in the operations Midyear Exam and Crossfire Hurricane?” 

Those are scenes we’d like to see, but they are unlikely to play out under the establishment media. For a detailed explanation of why, see The Treason of the Intellectuals, by Julian Benda, with a foreword by American Greatness columnist Roger Kimball. 

Maybe Obama and his handlers will get into it in the new 768-page A Promised Land, slated for release on November 17, two weeks after the election. See if Frank makes a comeback, and if the ex-president comments on David Garrow’s 1,460-page opus. The biography escapes mention in Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Ben Rhodes’ The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House, both released in 2018. 

Mad magazine aside, you just can’t make up this stuff.

Great America

Why Are They Capitalizing ‘Black’?

There is no “shared sense of history, identity, and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa.” Only left-wingers believe such nonsense.

A few months ago, I noticed that my published column spelled “black” “Black.” As I had submitted the column with “black” spelled with a lower case “b,” I contacted my editor to find out why what I had written was changed. She responded that the syndicate was following the Associated Press’ rules of style, a common practice in journalism and book writing.

On July 20, 2020, the AP published “Explaining AP style on Black and white,” in which it explained:

AP’s style is now to capitalize Black in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense, conveying an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa. The lowercase black is a color, not a person. AP style will continue to lowercase the term white in racial, ethnic and cultural senses.

The AP explanation is drivel.

There is no “shared sense of history, identity, and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa.”

Only left-wingers believe such nonsense. Not only is there no shared culture or sense of identity that unites blacks outside and inside Africa, but there is also no shared culture among blacks in Africa and none among blacks outside of Africa (“the African diaspora”). The only thing all blacks have in common is geographic origin (but since it is said that we all emanate from Africa, that means little) and color.

Historically, the only identity Africans shared with other Africans was a tribal identity. That is why (black) Hutus could perpetrate the most concentrated mass murder since the Holocaust against (black) Tutsis. That is why black Africans were indispensable to the transatlantic slave trade. Those who rounded up other Africans to sell to Europeans felt no moral obligation, let alone a “shared identity,” with the Africans they sold.

What does a black man raised in the Bronx have in common with a black man raised in Cameroon? The answer is: nothing. They have as little in common as a white man from the Bronx and a black man from Cameroon.

What does a Brazilian black man have in common with a black man from Chicago or a black man from Uganda? Nothing.

Does Senator Kamala Harris, the California daughter of a black and an (Asian) Indian, have more in common with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or with a tribal chief in Togo? Or, for that matter, more in common with white Pelosi or black Candace Owens or black Larry Elder?

The AP decision, adopted by the New York Times and followed by the rest of the media herd, is based on lies. And, like the rest of the left’s race-based lies, it is pure pandering. It is another attempt to depict blacks as inherently different from nonblack human beings. That’s why the AP offered this explanation for why “white” should not be capitalized:

After a review and period of consultation, we found, at this time, less support for capitalizing white. White people generally do not share the same history and culture, or the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color. . . . capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.

The reason the AP offers for not capitalizing “white” is also based on a lie: “White people generally do not share the same history and culture.”

As it happens, white people “generally” share far more history and culture than do blacks. Whites come from Europe, and the vast majority of them have shared the Christian religion and the Bible. There is nothing analogous among the vast majority of blacks. Moreover, even today, in a post-Christian Europe, a Croatian and an Irishman have more in common than a Kenyan and a Congolese, let alone a black man from the Bronx.

As for giving succor to white supremacists if “white” were capitalized, given that white supremacists agree with the New York Times and the rest of the Left that there is something inherently different about blacks, why doesn’t capitalizing “black” also risk “conveying legitimacy” to white supremacist beliefs?

Yes, there is such a thing as African American culture and shared experience. There is such a thing as African Brazilian culture and shared experience. But there is no such thing as a shared black culture.

So, if you want to tell the world how woke you are, how you follow the herd and how little truth matters to you, capitalize “black.” But if you respect blacks, respect the truth, and respect yourself, don’t.

Black is a color, not a culture.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Great America

1776 Trump Is the Best Trump

Trump is the first and may be the last American president to challenge institutional anti-Americanism.

In an odd echo of Patrick Buchanan, the godfather of Trumpism, Joe Biden has called this election “a battle for the soul of the nation.” The path forward for President Trump is again to take up Buchanan’s mantle, as he did so boldly four years ago. The sudden death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has put a sharper edge on the point: this is a culture war that must be won.

In a speech at the National Archives on Constitution Day, President Trump put things in the starkest terms possible: America is facing a leftist insurrection that rejects the American Founding. This movement controls our institutions, and through them, it looks to crush the spirit of America and propagandize our people so they will meekly accept the yoke of leftist tyranny.

The radicals burning American flags want to burn down the principles enshrined in our founding documents, including the bedrock principle of equal justice under law. In order to radically transform America, they must first cause Americans to lose confidence in who we are, where we came from, and what we believe. As I said at Mount Rushmore—which they would love to rip down and rip it down fast, and that’s never going to happen—two months ago, the left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution.

This followed a heartening push by Trump to rid government workplaces of critical race theory, and public classrooms of the New York Times’ 1619 Project. 

Trump’s decisions followed some intrepid reporting by Christopher Rufo, who has been tracking the spread of critical race theory throughout the federal government. Among its teachings are that America is “systemically racist” and that whites are sinful by nature. Concepts like these have taken a powerful hold in American society, and they are at the heart of what is left of our vanishing public “discourse,” one which seems to exist almost exclusively to browbeat Americans for historical crimes in which they personally did not participate and do not now endorse. 

In answer to critical race theory and the “1619 Project,” which posits that America was founded on slavery and that therefore 1776 is not our national birthday, Trump said he would create a “1776 commission” to restore “patriotic education” in classrooms.

This is very courageous of the president. We should take a moment to appreciate what he is doing here: he is the first, and possibly the last, president in our lifetimes to challenge the Left’s anti-American propaganda at the institutional level.

Of course, the same Left that spent months calling Black Lives Matter riots “peaceful protests” called his speech “dark” and “extreme”—the work of a fascist. The Left had the same response to Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech this summer, and for precisely the same reason: Trump is telling the truth about their desire to overthrow the country. They have become partisans of the 1619 narrative, determined to destroy what is left of the republic of 1776. More to the point, Trump is drawing a direct (and correct) connection between the “mostly peaceful” riots and the propaganda he is trying to shut down, which holds that America is nothing more than a racist hierarchy and that police are not people, but inhuman sentries of this system of repression.

We are not allowed to acknowledge these connections. The Left is outraged not because they think Trump is lying, but because they reject his proposition that their plans are optional. 

Americans have no right to resist this revolution, or even to acknowledge the true nature of it, according to the Left. We must accept living in their world, a world where our children will learn to hate their country and, if they are white, to hate themselves because of their race. Why? Because America is racist. QED. 

The country is in the middle of a painful “reckoning,” one “long overdue,” that cannot be stopped. Atonement begins with recognizing that America has sinned. Judging from current events, there is a heavy price to be paid. Even public safety would seem to fall under the bill of reparations.

As they would have it, there can be no peace until the account has been settled. Until then, “everything is on the table.” The Left is threatening more riots over the Supreme Court vacancy, and they are prepared to erase every remaining stumbling block to their power, from the filibuster to the Electoral College.

They have embraced not just the ruthless “cancellation” of dissenters, but political violence for those marked enemies of social justice. Americans have already been told to put up with the destruction of property and lives, with harassment, looting, and vandalism, with assassinations of Trump supporters and near-assassinations of cops, and—to top it off—relentless lying and gaslighting. First they told us that none of this was happening, and then they demanded that we believe Trump and his supporters were to blame.

Joe Biden, having reached the apogee of political thuggery, says the president is “raising the temperature.” The implication seems to be that Trump, and those who want to take America back from the partisans of 1619, should stop resisting. 

If “raising the temperature” means putting up a fight, then by all means, let’s keep going.

Trump’s not perfect, but if America is going to win this culture war, it would be hard to find a better champion in this moment of profound national peril. He’s doing what he was elected to do: defend America from those who would destroy it. And he has already signaled his intention to fill that Supreme Court seat, rather than stand on ceremony while the Left continues to plot the country’s demise.

The Left has done a good job taking over America. Their propaganda has infected our institutions and poisoned the country for decades with virtually no opposition. Perhaps the damage is irreversible. But if America can still be saved, we should be glad to have somebody like Trump in our corner.

Great America

NFL’s Social Justice Experiment Is No Touchdown

There are men and women in this country who find a way to do the right thing, who do not conform, who do not go along when the prevailing opinion doesn’t sit right with them. Instead, they become a voice for the voiceless.

PITTSBURGH — In 2017, when Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva stood near the tunnel to the Pittsburgh locker room with his hand over his heart while “The Star-Spangled Banner” played, the former Army Ranger was the only member of his team to do so.

Apropos of the moment, that game against the Chicago Bears was being played at Soldier Field.

Villanueva, a Bronze Star recipient, said his decision was not an intentional violation of coach Mike Tomlin’s order for every team member to stay in the locker room until the anthem had concluded. It was the result of Villanueva asking the team’s leaders to amend their original plan because of the texts he’d received from wounded veterans asking him to stand for the anthem.

Instead, he stood with star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the team’s other captains at the front of the tunnel. Chaos ensued, and Villanueva found himself standing alone, with his teammates a few yards behind him.

Within 24 hours, several things happened: Tomlin stridently voiced his displeasure; Villanueva held a press conference expressing his embarrassment for becoming the center of attention; his NFL gear briefly outsold that of every player in the league; and he gave fans alienated by national anthem protests in the NFL a reason to keep watching.

Anthem protests began in 2016, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat and later knelt during the anthem, followed by several other players on other teams. It was a significant factor in the 8% plunge in average viewership for a league that had previously been seen nationwide as a great unifier.

That ratings plunge continued the next year, President Donald Trump’s first year in office, when the protests expanded. That time, the plunge was 9.7%.

For generations, the NFL was the glue that gave a guy sitting in his game room in East Palestine, Ohio, a deep connection with a guy in a penthouse in Manhattan because of the passion for their teams. Instead, the league became a social justice organization that was no longer holding them together.

Last week, the Steelers played their first game of the season with a social justice message on their helmets. Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, instead chose to honor a fallen veteran, Alwyn Cashe, who died during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2005.

The rest of the team honored Antwon Rose Jr. on the back of their helmets. Rose, who was black, was shot by a white police officer in June 2018. A jury that included three black jurors found the former suburban Pittsburgh police officer not guilty after deliberating for 3.5 hours.

Many media outlets published headlines along the lines of “Steelers’ Alejandro Villanueva covers name of police shooting victim on helmet with name of military veteran.” What might have been more introspective and meaningful is some version of “Steelers’ Alejandro Villanueva, an Army veteran, honors fellow fallen soldier.”

Maybe the headlines were rampant because so few people have a connection to a member of a military family and don’t understand the significance of what losing anyone on the field of battle means to a veteran. Maybe it’s because less than half of 1% of the public serves in the military.

Villanueva wasn’t choosing not to honor Rose. He was instead drawing attention to another lost black life. If you truly believe that all black lives matter, then Cashe, a black man who died for his country after trying to rescue soldiers from a burning vehicle in Iraq, should be just as important and just as honored.

There are men and women in this country who find a way to do the right thing, who do not conform, who do not go along when the prevailing opinion doesn’t sit right with them. Instead, they become a voice for the voiceless.

In 2016, when Villanueva was asked for his thoughts on Kaepernick’s anthem protests, his response crystallized what many people believe: “I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, providing you $16 million a year … when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for less than $20,000 a year.”

The Steelers’ week one game, one of two Monday Night Football games, saw another huge NFL ratings plunge. Compared with last year’s first Monday Night Football game, viewership dropped a whopping 17%. The league continues its social justice experiment and has seemingly decided to bet on the next generation for its fan base, but it is finding out that that age group does not have the loyalty baby boomer or Gen X football fans once did.

The young people the league is trying to bring in are more fickle. Older fans are tired of politics infecting everything they do: Whether they agree with the sentiments or not, they just want to enjoy a game without being lectured.

What the NFL needs is a lot more people like Villanueva, not for his patriotism but for his willingness to search outside what everyone else thinks he should do.

COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM

Great America

Institutional Critical Race Rot

By now, the critical race rot is institutional; it is the handiwork of progressive—regressive, rather—parents, pedagogues and politicians.

Inciting racial hatred against whites is all in a day’s work at CNN. It devolves into a more festive affair when a celebrity like D. L. Hughley joins the network’s conga-line of cretins.

In a July segment, the comedian and author of Surrender, White People!, regaled those CNN viewers possessed of a masochistic mindset with his comparison of “racism” to COVID-19.

Whitey, belched Hughley—who used to be witty and is now a drag—can be an asymptomatic carrier of racism. Just because you haven’t done anything racist, doesn’t mean you aren’t racist.

Pay no attention to the COVID-race comparison. It’s the Left’s lowbrow idea of an intellectual quip. Be mindful, however, of the “guilty if you do, guilty if you don’t” pop-jurisprudence. Collectively convicting an entire racial group for metaphysical crimes is the cornerstone of critical race theory. 

Flouting Western judicial philosophy, critical race theory says you are a racist without having committed racism, which is like being a murderer, robber, or rapist without having murdered, robbed, or raped. 

How does that jurisprudence strike you? 

It strikes the reasonable, fair-minded member of society as “less than human, less than coherent, less than sane.”

Symbolism Instead of Realism

Deconstructed, racism, as deployed by critical race racists, is purely an ideological affair. It doesn’t survive contact with reality, relying for its validation on a loose relationship with the real world.  

You might say critical race theory is anchored in symbolism and not realism. 

Ditto critical race feminism, a subspecies of critical race theory, the symbolic nature of which I had traced in a 2001 Ottawa Citizen column:

Women’s studies courses and English departments have long been littered with [postmodernism’s] lumpen jargon. There, text is routinely deconstructed and shredded. Subjected to this academic acid, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and T. S. Eliot are whittled down to no more than ruling-class oppressors, their artistry reduced to the bare bones of alleged power relationships in society. All this glumness is due to a theory, no more, and one based on a partial and insular view of history [and reality].

To properly place the oppressiveness of all critical theory in perspective, a young man followed-up that column by writing me with a personalized tale of desperation. He had the misfortune of drawing a skyscraper in art class. His creation was alighted on by his professor-cum-oppressor and right away called out for being a phallic symbol, offensive to womenfolk, meant as a symbolic assertion of his dominance qua male. 

Where is reality in all this white noise? Nowhere. This nonsense exists solely in the heads of demented distaff and their house-broken, white, liberal, male accomplices. 

Symbolism, after all, is not reality. What you see in an ink-blot test is not real. It’s rarely even an approximation of reality. A Rorschach assay amounts to artistic license the tester takes with his subject’s reality. 

The Looter’s Critical Reality

As they are deployed today, the dreaded racism and sexism constructs are anchored in the notion that reality is determined by the allegedly pre-determined power relationships in society.

Whites, in particular white men and the remnant of a civilization their forebears built, invariably are to blame. Blame for what, you ask? That’s easy: for everything

A “fella” is laying waste to a little old lady’s bric-a-brac store in Kenosha, Wisconsin: Blame the melanin-deprived. 

As that would suggest, any black man looting constitutes not a crime with real victims, but, rather, an acting out by the victimized, a reaction to historic “oppression”; a response to The Machine, in accordance with a theory that has been dreamed-up in the rarefied atmosphere of the academy, and now applied outside of it.  

A theory, of course—any theory—is always an abstraction, removed from reality. A good theory cleaves to reality as much as possible, describing and presaging it. A bad theory superimposes a new reality on real events. 

Critical race theory does one worse: It rapes reality and loots it. 

Another concrete case of the critical-race-created tension between theory and reality unfolded on “Seattle Refined,” a KOMO News television show. 

The words “riots and protests,” asserted a local privileged professor, “are social constructs imposed by the power structure” on poor people of color. 

Observe how for his “riots” our pedagogue claims the status of a “social construct,” a mere theory. 

For poverty, by contrast, this African American educator chose the status of reality.

Our teacher earns a fail on reality testing and reason. Both poverty and the George Floyd/Democrat/race riots of 2020, ongoing, are immutable realities. Poverty, black and white, and the race riots are manifestly real. Ontologically, these are irrefutable events and occurrences. 

What a lie, then, and an affront to reality and reason is a theory of racism that opts to deny one incontestable reality—the riots—but admits of another—black (but not white) poverty. 

To opportunistically privilege only a spectrum of reality, as critical race theory does, is (I repeat), “less than human, less than coherent, less than sane.”

In all its impenetrable, piss-poor prose, critical race theorizing is best confined to the turgid minds of our affirmative action-driven universities. Alas, it has percolated from America’s tertiary institutions throughout the state and civil society. By now, the critical race rot is institutional; it is the handiwork of progressive—regressive, rather—parents, pedagogues, and politicians. 

Indeed, the youth rioting on our streets are not outsiders and interlopers; they are us. It is not insignificant that the whiter the city, the worse the riots have been. The protests that have engulfed more than 2,000 American cities have been the worst in “Minneapolis (64 percent white), Seattle (66 percent), Portland (77 percent), and Kenosha, Wisconsin (67 percent).”

With critical race theory, a triumphant Left arbitrarily imposes meaning on the phenomenological world as a function of its will to power. It then bullies those who don’t go along. 

The Right must reject this rot root and branch!

Great America

Waging Lawfare Against the Left

It’s a battlefield where conservatives have to meet force with equal or greater force, lest everything else they fight for, and all their victories, are nullified.

Ian article with a brazenly deceptive title, “Third Party Contenders Not a Factor in 2020,” U.S. News & World Report proceeded to provide evidence that third-party contenders most definitely will be a factor in deciding what is certain to be a very close presidential election in November.

Consider the magazine’s take on these two battleground states. Wisconsin: “a recent New York Times/Siena College poll has Biden with 48% support, Trump with 45%, and Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen with 2% support.” Pennsylvania: “Biden with 48% support, Trump with 45%, and other candidates getting 2% support.”

In the case of Pennsylvania, note the deceptive reference to “other candidates.” What they really mean is Libertarian Jo Jorgensen. Because in a court ruling just handed down in Pennsylvania, based on a technicality, Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins will not be on the ballot. A similar fate befell Hawkins in Wisconsin, where a slim majority on the court denied the Green Party contender a spot on the ballot.

Thanks to legal decisions, in two crucial battleground states where Trump won by less than 1 percent in 2020, there is a Libertarian Party candidate on the ballot willing and able to steal Trump votes, but no Green Party candidate to siphon off socialist voters and Bernie Sanders die-hards. This benefits Biden.

As anyone who can remember the court-adjudicated outcome in Florida back in 2000 will attest, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of legal rulings that can affect a presidential election. And what happened this week in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania courtrooms could be just enough to change the 2020 outcome.

The American Battleground of Lawfare

According to lawfareblog.com, the term “lawfare” originally emerged in the 1950s in contexts “ranging from divorce law to courtroom advocacy to colonialism to airfare for lawyers.” And, at least since 2010 when this term resurfaced, “its most prominent usage today very much concerns national security.” Hoping the still-active lawfare blog will indulge this expansion of the definition, “lawfare” seems an apt word to describe the growing role attorneys and courts have in deciding the future of America. And using the term “lawfare,” which connotes war, gives the ongoing legal conflicts that will determine our future the weight and intensity it deserves.

A good example of how the Left uses lawfare, with no opposing forces to hold them in check, was the relationship between Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency and litigants representing powerful environmentalist nonprofits. In what an R Street Institute report called the “Sue and Settle era,” “the Obama administration’s EPA chose not to defend itself in more than 100 lawsuits brought by special interest advocacy groups and paid out $13 million in attorneys’ fees in such cases.”

While $13 million is insignificant compared to the billions shoveled into environmentalist nonprofits by liberal foundations, the deeper significance of this uncontested lawfare was that, as R Street reports, “sue and settle became one of the primary avenues to formalize major regulations, including the Clean Power Plan’s proposed constraints on carbon emissions as well as recent mercury and air-toxin standards.”

This process isn’t restricted to the EPA, or to purely environmental issues. Leftist activist groups sue a friendly federal bureaucracy, the bureaucracy immediately settles, and then using the court’s consent decree as cover, they co-write transformative new regulations. Whenever there is a Democratic administration—and often enough when there is not, because the bureaucracies remain dominated by progressives—this process of using lawfare to generate new regulations rips its way through every executive agency.

Green Lawfare Across the Nation

For years, Americans living in the Western United States knew that by suppressing both the logging industry and natural wildfires, their forests were becoming dangerously unhealthy. Trees at many times their historic density were stressed and dying, turning literally hundreds of thousands of square miles of forest into tinderboxes. But rural communities could not thin the nearby forests because of environmentalist litigation.

Examples of this go way back, and happened in every state. 

In Arizona, the Phoenix-area newspaper East Valley Tribune in 2003 described the difficulties that common-sense forestry managers were having in a story headlined, “Lawsuits stall forest thinning.” In 2015, well before the devastating round of wildfires in 2018, the Sacramento Bee published an article, “Anti-logging lawsuits hurt fight against forest fires.” 

And even now, after the 2020 wildfires that are already worse than ever, in August the New Mexico Forestry Industry Association, in a press release, claimed that ongoing lawsuits are “killing many of the small businesses that are critical for protecting our water and forest ecosystems from catastrophic wildfire.”

In California, a hotbed of green lawfare, it wasn’t just active litigation that prevented forest thinning, but a web of regulations that in part were the result of previous litigation and consent decrees. 

For example, after fires obliterated the town of Paradise in 2018, residents of nearby Berry Creek tried to get permission to thin overgrown forests along evacuation routes. Local officials complained “the environmental reviews were too cumbersome and too time-consuming for a nonprofit to tackle. They required archaeological studies, landowner permission slips, bird surveys and more—making the process arduous to the point of inaction.”

Berry Creek is now a pile of ashes, and 15 people are dead. They couldn’t get out. If over the past few decades, lawfare were waged by the Right as aggressively as it has been waged by the Left, the outcome may have been different.

How Lawfare Affects Crime and Punishment

By now most everyone involved in politics is aware that George Soros not only has been bankrolling radical organizations with uplifting names, or pouring money into marquee political contests, but he is also picking off district attorney elections. 

Until recently mostly under the radar, Soros, along with other wealthy liberals, has spent millions over several years to get criminal-friendly district attorneys elected. A recent Los Angeles Times article provides comprehensive details and surprising balance regarding how Soros money has transformed criminal justice in major cities across the nation.

When Soros shovels money into district attorney races, he is engaging in yet another form of lawfare. District attorneys have perhaps unwarranted power and discretion. As it stands today they can choose to ignore serious crimes. Cities where Soros money played a critical role in successful campaigns for district attorney include Philadelphia, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Phoenix. Cities currently facing an election with a Soros-backed candidate include Los Angeles, San Diego, and elsewhere.

America’s cities are in embarrassing, tragic decline wherever progressive politicians have taken power. But lawfare—in the form of litigation but also in the form of prosecutors who are leftist radicals—affects as much if not more policy than elected officials. Which brings us to the judges.

Activist Judges Are Lawfare Incarnate

While the term “activist judge” jokingly can refer to any judge with whose rulings you disagree, the philosophy of judicial activism poses a serious challenge to defenders of the Constitution, and proponents of judicial activism are almost always leftists. 

When considering some of the astonishing rulings coming from activist judges—such as the Ninth Circuit ruling in 2006 that homeless vagrants cannot be detained unless they can be offered free housing—it is easy to see why activist judges are yet another front on the battlefield of lawfare.

While many blue state courts are hopelessly in the grip of activist judges, the battle for control of the federal court system remains in furious conflict. According to the Pew Research Center, as of July, of the active federal judges, Trump, the Bushes, and Reagan appointees account for 392, while Obama, Clinton, and Carter appointees account for 400. 

What about the critical circuit courts of appeals?

The chart below shows the makeup of the circuit courts based on whether or not the judges were appointed by a Democrat or a Republican president. The GOP advantage is much higher among senior circuit judges, 76 to 31. This makes the outcome of the 2020 presidential election even more consequential, because although senior circuit judges still rule on cases, as soon as a judge elects to transition to senior status, a vacancy is opened up on that circuit. As can be seen, the vast majority of vacancies in the next four years are likely to be opened up by departing judges who were appointed by Republicans.

The most significant variable affecting the role of judges in America’s political fate, of course, is the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg may not result in Trump successfully naming her replacement, since several Republican senators in close races may decide it is politically impossible for them to vote to confirm a new justice so close to the election. But even if Trump does appoint one more justice before the end of his first term, a Biden victory still could overturn the balance of power on the court. 

If Biden gets elected, the Democrats in Congress have declared their intention to expand the U.S. Supreme Court, and the circuit courts, to create new vacancies that would allow them to acquire an instant majority. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that would prevent them from doing so.

In all areas of lawfare—aggressive litigation in all sectors of society including shaping election outcomes, “sue and settle” collusion with government bureaucracies, and activist prosecutors and judges—the American Left and their billionaire backers are willing to bend the rules and spend whatever it takes to achieve their ends.

Lawfare, defined here as legal warfare to set public policy, often beyond further recourse, is a battlefield where conservatives have to meet force with equal or greater force, lest everything else they fight for, and all their victories, are nullified.

Great America

A Modest Proposal for Imposing Republican Will on the Court

It’s time Republicans started acting like winners. Acknowledge that the court is now a legislature and act accordingly.

The Supreme Court is the most powerful legislative body in America. It is an entirely partisan institution. Let’s stop pretending otherwise. 

 With that in mind, President Trump and the Senate Republicans immediately should nominate and appoint the youngest, most conservative public figure they can find. I recommend Madison Cawthorn, the 25-year-old House candidate running for North Carolina’s 11th District. 

Unlike the currently sitting eight justices, Cawthorn is not a graduate either of Yale or Harvard Law. In fact, he doesn’t have any law degree at all. 

Even better! 

The Supreme Court no longer is a meaningful judicial institution requiring special expertise. The court doesn’t interpret law, it makes it. The people’s representatives in Congress never voted to make gay marriage legal nationwide or to allow abortion on demand. That was left to the nine aged oligarchs on the court. America, in a number of crucial ways, is a kritarchy—a regime governed by judges. 

The Republicans have 53 votes in the Senate. The principle of majority rule means they have the right, from the American people themselves, to implement their will. They should use that power to ram through their preferred nominee. 

They shouldn’t hold hearings, ask for Democrats’ input, or muse about “qualifications.” First thing Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should hold an up or down vote. They should swear Cawthorn in by the afternoon. 

Do not stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Like the Roman emperor Caligula appointing his horse as senator, the whole point of this exercise is to delegitimize our decrepit institutions. Conservatives still wringing their hands about “decency,” “norms,” and “the rule of law” simply do not understand the world in front of their eyes. 

You want to talk about rule of law? Virtually every state in America has been under medical martial law for six months. 

Norms? Neil Gorsuch didn’t bat at an eye at finding transgender rights in the Constitution. 

Decency? Democrats used an evidence-free rape accusation to try to sink Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. 

This is about power. This is about winning. America has been in a constitutional crisis for years, if not decades. Maybe it’s time for Republicans to make it explicit. 

Of course, if Republicans had spines none of this would be necessary. Article III, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution states that the Supreme Court only has “appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact,” under “such Exceptions” and “Regulations as the Congress shall make.” In other words, the Supreme Court is not the final arbiter on the Constitution. The three branches of government are coequal in their charge to interpret the Constitution in their respective spheres.

But Congress alone has the special power to remove certain topics from the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction entirely. If Congress doesn’t want the Supreme Court to rule on abortion or gun rights, it could make it happen tomorrow.  

The current Republican establishment ignores the powers they have, and simply shrugs their shoulders at the court’s rulings. This is a sign of weakness. It is so much easier for elected representatives to sit back in D.C., collect a sweet paycheck from K Street after leaving office, and look the other way. 

Their abdication has consequences. Over the past 50 years, the American Left has used the judiciary and administrative state to impose their will without ever pretending to consult the people. And that street doesn’t run both ways, either. The Supreme Court is only allowed to act as a super-legislature so long as it embraces liberal policies. 

If a 5-4 decision came down not simply undoing Roe v. Wade, but banning abortion nationwide using the 14th Amendment, there is a snowball’s chance in Hell the Left would accept the results. Leftists would cry “state’s rights,” refuse to allow executive agents to enforce the ruling, and then use their corporate muscle to undo the decision.

The Left would let this country burn before it would allow conservatives to do to them what they’ve spent the last five decades doing to us.

Enough is enough. Americans need a say in their own government. That starts with this nomination. The Republican Party has a chance to show some fight and to impose its will. Do it. Speculating about precedent for the opposing party in the future is the talk of losers. Conservatives should act as if they will always remain in power. They should act like liberals.

Therefore, the Republican Party should immediately flex its political muscle and ensure the appointment of its president’s nominee. It’s time Republicans started acting like winners. 

Great America

Rage for the Machine

The Left has co-opted the anger of the disaffected. The Right needs to figure out who its friends are, play to win, and devote its energies to community-wide organizing that goes beyond electoral politics.

One of the remarkable features of our age is the incredible degree of consensus among the institutions of power. Far from checks and balances or a proliferation of “little platoons,” the Left has forged a phalanx. While it seems that our country currently is undergoing a lot of conflict, what is taking place is largely a mopping-up operation. 

Many Republicans, all Democrats, government agencies, corporations, universities, and the media all agree with the Left-liberal consensus on a wide variety of subjects. They broadly endorse the culturally leftist, pro-corporate, and interventionist foreign policy expressed during the Obama Administration’s second term. 

Donald Trump was an unexpected monkey wrench in their plans. He is an outsider expressing neither the palatable views of the pro-business GOP, nor the globalist views of the neoliberal establishment. Thus, the government that  Trump ostensibly runs resists him actively or passively at every turn. In this, it is joined by big business, the media, and pretty much every other established institution.

They all believe in the same myths: that cops are racist, that America is evil, that masks are magic, that the traditional family is oppressive, that nationalism is outmoded, and that America only began to be worth anything starting in the 1960s when the old America began to become undone. 

The 1960s counterculture is now just the culture. The rebels took over the institutions. What looks like “resistance” in the streets is just the activity of shock troops defending the status quo. There is little daylight between the black-clad, blue-haired Antifa terrorists, and the well-educated and wealthy leaders of the Google HR department. 

Unlike the band, they rage for the machine

The Disorganized Right

While many people are unhappy with this state of affairs, the Right lacks organization, funding, and philosophical clarity. Middle America went from being in the saddle to being a hated, declining cohort, broken by a huge demographic wave and an economy largely indifferent to their strenuous efforts to find security. 

For many years, conservative energy has been channeled into a Republican Party that conducted, at best, a fighting retreat. In the meantime, the private sector, institutions of culture like universities and public schools, the courts, social media, and now financial institutions have become more uniformly hostile to middle America and its interests. 

One of the shocking things the Left has managed to accomplish in this hyperpartisan age is to enlist the radicals to support an interventionist, neoliberal foreign policy. The far Left that emerged in the 1960s was defined by its opposition to what it called “U.S. imperialism.” George W. Bush faced constant protests about the war in Iraq. This movement turned out to be short-lived and nakedly partisan. It mostly fell apart during the Obama years. 

With the Russian collusion mythology, elements within the FBI and the CIA—presumably at the heart of the establishment—were able to get every left-wing activist to sound like the second coming of Joe McCarthy, worried about Russians hiding underneath their bed. 

Similarly, the pro-free speech views of most Americans have been eclipsed by the introduction of foreign concepts like “hate speech.” It turns out the support for free-speech was abandoned once the radicals gained control of big business, social media, and the instruments of state. 

Censoring and harrying one’s opponents through doxxing is now a celebrated pastime of the far Left. It is done without an ounce of regret or charity. That so many Americans are so economically vulnerable to having their private views exposed never seems to bother a group ostensibly concerned about inequality and economic insecurity.

There is a lesson in all of this for those on the Right. 

Rules for (Right-Wing) Radicals

First, the old alliances may no longer be useful. Politics, after all, is about assembling a coalition. Parties and movements are supposed to unite on objects of common interest. The front lines are always changing. No one is supporting the Nicaraguan Contras or worried about bimetallism anymore. As circumstances change, there has been increasing drift between the institutions of the Right—the Republican Party, think tanks, and the politicians—and their voters. 

When conservatives are defending corporate America, they’re not defending people making cars in Michigan or building homes in Atlanta. They’re defending behemoth monopolies that create chokepoints for information, which increasingly is manipulated for economic gain and partisan advantage

A more worker-focused conservatism that ditches the libertarian dogma of the Reagan and Gingrich years would be worthwhile. This is the secret to the Trump victory; he forged a coalition based on where the voters already are. 

The Right needs to figure out who its friends are, play to win, and devote its energies to community-wide organizing that goes beyond electoral politics.

The economically Right, culturally Left consensus of Conservatism, Inc. represents a vanishingly small group of real voters. The patriotic middle class, the working poor, small business owners, churchgoers, farmers, gun owners, and hated denizens of “flyover country” are the core of any actual right-wing renaissance. 

Second, the concern for procedural principles and indifference to outcomes has had the results one might expect: principled defeat. 

You could always count on conservatives making martyrs of themselves and scoring a goal for “high principle.” But a unilateral commitment to principle is like adhering to the law of war against enemies who do not: it only weakens one’s team. 

The law of war, like principles of political restraint, only works if there is reciprocal restraint by the other side. The only real enforcement mechanism is retaliation, which either leads to renewed, bilateral observance of the same set of rules or new parity in a rougher game. Winning the game is not a secondary matter, as the last five decades attest. Principle without power is merely a list of words on paper.

Third, an excessive concern for electoral politics has resulted in a neglect of culture. 

Whether Trump wins or loses, things probably won’t change much. Most of life occurs outside the political realm, and much of politics is not controlled by elections. To the extent middle America faces political obstacles, the laws and regulators are working in concert with employers, schools, and other gatekeepers. Even if the merely political harassment were removed, the hive-like operation of the rest of the progressive instruments of power would remain. 

Before and after Trump, there are still things you can’t say. Families are still going to be weakened by debt, divorce laws, and a constant drumbeat of hedonistic propaganda. Your local mall will still be on the brink of becoming a “no go” zone because of crime. Privacy is everywhere compromised. Draconian local authorities have converted a manageable public health problem into outright murder of the private-sector economy.

In short, the putative champion of the nationalist right, Donald Trump, has only limited power. His efforts to do good frequently have been parried by his enemies within the government. Even if he were completely effective, he only has, at most, one more term. Waiting in the wings are the courts, the Congress, new Americans, and the brainwashed graduates of our schools. These all stand in solidarity with billionaire donors and trillion-dollar corporations to wreck what is left of traditional America. 

Finally, the right needs to adjust its strategy and efforts based on the stakes. Many seem to believe these various phenomena are just a temporary disruption that will be over soon. For them, we will eventually return to a harmonious, bipartisan system. The chaos afoot won’t stop because it’s a hydra-headed and leaderless revolution. What began as a narrowly focused anti-Vietnam movement is now a thorough-going anti-American crusade.

The recent riots, in addition to galvanizing what’s left of middle America, are telling insofar as those in power, for so long, were totally unperturbed by them. They were recast as “mostly peaceful” protests and a shining example of righteous activism.

The forces of Black Lives Matter and Antifa were the “bad cop” to corporate America’s “good cop.” They demanded genuflection to the same gods. Like the Chinese Cultural Revolution’s Red Guard or the “street toughs” used in other totalitarian regimes, these unofficial paramilitaries were simply providing an additional argument in favor of changes that the elite already wanted. 

“We have to give them something or they’ll do even worse” is the basic message. Thus, billionaires, the FBI, U.S. senators, and CNN find themselves on the same side as ex-convict agitators and other dropouts. 

Physical and economic insecurity is not a bug but a feature of the new order; it makes everyone more dependent on conforming to the system, Soviet-style. Instead of true wealth and independence, individual life increasingly is like an app or an ebook: virtual, rented, able to be revoked if fashions change or one becomes persona non grata. 

Thus, the Right must work locally to create organizations devoted to economic and physical security to deal with the wide-ranging threats deployed against normal life. This will have to proceed very carefully and thoughtfully to avoid nihilist agitators. It should likely capitalize on existing structures: churches, neighborhoods, and circles of family and friends.  

The Bottom Line

In short, the Right needs to figure out who its friends are, play to win, and devote its energies to community-wide organizing that goes beyond electoral politics. It must take stock of the current situation, including the ubiquitous violence and threatened violence by those on the Left. An effective right-wing politics must include tools for mutual support, education, and security. It should look less like yesterday’s Republican Party and more like Poland’s 1980s Solidarity movement, as the threat we face bears a strong resemblance.  

This is the playbook that brought the Left to power, and it is also the playbook that brought Eastern European dissidents to power. This is the only way we will be able to weather the next, high-conflict phase of the social, economic, and political revolution wrought by the progressive Left.

Great America

The Dangers of Cancel Culture

Where will this hysteria end?

In the days leading up to the American War for Independence, a newly elected Patrick Henry stood before the Virginia assembly and boldly denounced the tyranny of King George III. Even though the loyalists in the room shouted at him and hurled vicious insults, Henry pressed on, explaining: 

Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven.

Even in 1765 when Henry gave that speech, a kind of cancel culture sought to silence those who stood up for truth and reason. In America today, however, this natural tendency to silence the opposition has only worsened. 

A generation of youth robbed of historical truth about their country, given the paltry state of school curricula, has produced an intellectually ignorant cancel culture that is raging and radicalizing them. The absurdity has even reached innocent children’s cartoons such as “Paw Patrol,” which, we’re told, must be canceled merely because one of the characters is a police dog—and we can’t let our children see that! 

Peoples’ lives, jobs, and careers must be sacrificed upon the altars of political correctness because of thoughtless jokes told years ago. And heaven forbid someone comes out in support of President Donald Trump—that’s dangerous behavior and hate speech in and of itself that must be censored, boycotted, and banned! The very sight of our nation’s flag, a symbol of freedom that has been a beacon of hope to the world, triggers and offends those ignorant of what it truly represents. 

But what is the result of all this hysteria? Where will it end? 

Only in further deepening the already historical division that is tearing our country apart. 

If they cancel everything that does not conform to the exacting and ever-changing standards of leftism, then people will only be allowed to shop at pre-approved stores, eat pre-approved foods, and watch pre-approved programming. And where is the liberty in that? That’s not America, the land of the free.

The threat cancel culture poses is not some theoretical one, or a subject only for thought experiments. It has historical precedent. It has shown the kind of destruction it is capable of throughout history—think only of the Nazis canceling anything Jewish. 

In my own experience as a Force Recon Marine and Defense Department contractor with eight deployments to Afghanistan, I saw Taliban rule begin with a cancel culture in an attempt to erase a history they did not like. 

In 2001, Taliban extremist Mohammad Omar issued an edict calling for the cancellation of all non-Islamic statues and relics. In the ensuing destruction which swept Afghanistan, a pair of massive statues of Buddha carved into the mountains nearly 2,000 years ago were targeted by the Taliban with rocket launches and dynamite. In a moment of ironic honesty, the Taliban’s minister of information and culture celebrated, “it is easier to destroy than build.”

Today the empty crevices where the 100-foot statues used to stand serve as a stark reminder of the destruction and emptiness that follows a culture prone to cancel the things it deplores. 

Even in America, we are witnessing the rise of a political movement clamoring for the cancellation of the past and the destruction of monuments. Marxist agitators have torn down statues of black abolitionist Frederick Douglass and decapitated ones of Jesus Christ. 

All the while Democratic politicians have been complicit at best and accomplices at worst—failing to condemn the violent riots and excessive destruction. Joe Biden calls for defunding the police who might enforce order, while Kamala Harris compares Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the Ku Klux Klan. They would cancel the whole of what supports our civilization due to the past sins of a few. By its own standards, the Democratic Party, the party of slavery and the KKK, should be canceled and renamed. Where does it end? 

The truth is, only a small, but vocal portion of the population is agitating to cancel America. In six weeks, we will have a choice—a choice between Joe Biden, who has joined hands with this madness, and maintaining law and order, history and truth, peace, and prosperity under President Trump.

Will we decide finally to reject this dangerous cancel culture virus threatening the nation, or will America be forced finally to bid “a long farewell to all [her] greatness?” Simply put, America cannot survive cancel culture. We must reject its demands and instead reclaim our culture and defend our history. 

Great America

Americans Know What Time It Is

There are many signs, including the announcement of the 1776 Commission, that the conscience of the country is awakening.

Friday’s news that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died after her long battle with cancer has briefly pushed most other topics off the great chyron running along the country’s metaphysical information highway. Still, there are lingering echoes of some ancient happenings.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, President Trump brokered a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (soon to be joined by Bahrain and other Arab states). This was a world-historical event that not even the silence and distortion of the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other Democratic Party mouthpieces could totally obscure. 

And then there was the president’s announcement on Thursday that he was establishing a “1776 Commission” to “promote patriotic education.” The announcement came in the context of a White House-sponsored conference on American history, how it has been distorted, and how it might be rescued. 

I single out these two items because they underscore things that the Left and the directionless but power-hungry tergiversations of the Left’s NeverTrump enablers have been warning us about since before Trump took office: first, that he is a madman whose blusterings would precipitate numerous wars and, second, he is a crude simpleton who lacks the sophistication demanded by his great office. 

How do those charges look now? Every week it seems there is more good news from the Mideast. The last time I checked, Donald Trump had been nominated not once but twice for the Nobel Peace Prize (which led The Atlantic to declare that it’s time to end the 119-year-old award). 

As for the crude simpleton wheeze, how about this from the president’s remarks following that conference on American history: 

Our mission is to defend the legacy of America’s founding, the virtue of America’s heroes, and the nobility of the American character. We must clear away the twisted web of lies in our schools and classrooms, and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country. We want our sons and daughters to know that they are the citizens of the most exceptional nation in the history of the world.

Boilerplate? Maybe, but forthright boilerplate as the bit about the “twisted web of lies in our schools and classrooms” shows. 

Maybe there is precedent for a president wading into the murky waters of left-wing academic rhetoric, but I cannot think of one as explicit and as accurate as this. Adducing the doctrine of critical race theory and some of its operational offshoots like the New York Times-sponsored “1619 Project,” Trump said: 

This is a Marxist doctrine holding that America is a wicked and racist nation, that even young children are complicit in oppression, and that our entire society must be radically transformed. Critical race theory is being forced into our children’s schools, it’s being imposed into workplace trainings, and it’s being deployed to rip apart friends, neighbors, and families.

The journalist Christopher Rufo has exposed the astonishing inroads this doctrine has made into major institutions of the federal government—including the Department of the Treasury, Homeland Security, the FBI, and even the laboratories manufacturing the country’s nuclear arsenal. 

Take a peek: you’ll find a cadre of highly paid consultants running consciousness-raising workshops whose constant theme is the perfidiousness of American society, especially its free-market orientation and, most particularly, the white, male actors who have dominated its history. 

The president mentioned another example, one recently published by the Smithsonian Institution. “This document,” he noted, “alleged that concepts such as hard work, rational thinking, the nuclear family, and belief in God were not values that unite all Americans, but were instead aspects of ‘whiteness.’” Don’t believe it? Take a look

The president is right that such racialist left-wing agitprop is “offensive and outrageous to Americans of every ethnicity, and it is especially harmful to children of minority backgrounds who should be uplifted, not disparaged.” He is also right that “[t]eaching this horrible doctrine to our children is a form of child abuse in the truest sense of those words,” for it seeks to rob them of a just appreciation of who they are and the nature of the country of which they are a part.

The gravamen of the president’s observations came towards the end. “For many years now,” he said, “the radicals have mistaken Americans’ silence for weakness.” The flagrant and malevolent nonsense of anti-American proselytizing in our schools, in the country’s corporate culture, even in major government institutions on the federal as well as the state and local level has been growing for years. 

But there are many signs, including the announcement of the 1776 Commission, that the conscience of the country is awakening. 

What was the response to the president’s initiative? Well, Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s national security advisor, hated it. She said Trump’s address was “was one of the most astonishing speeches I’ve heard him give. He talks about patriotic education. I thought I was listening to Mao Zedong running Communist China.” 

Did she though? According to Rice, “We open students’ minds. [Please stop giggling.] We give them facts. We teach them how to analyze. We teach them civics and the foundations of the Constitution.” Really? Then she said this, which rather gave away the show: “When you study the Constitution, which it appears Donald Trump hasn’t, you understand it is a living document that has evolved.” Thanks, Woodrow, for that civics lesson. 

At least we know where we stand. 

Meanwhile, Jonah Goldberg weighed in on Twitter with a prediction: “A national debate between 1619’s version of history and Trump’s is going to leave a lot of people on the sidelines.” 

Here’s my prediction. The president’s 1776 Commission will represent not Trump’s “version of history” but history’s own transcript. That was evident by the authoritative voices represented at the conference on American history that preceded and set the stage for the president’s remarks. It included such eminent scholars as Wilfred McClay, author of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story (which Susan Rice would probably regard as Maoist because it is patriotic), Allen Guelzo, the great Civil War historian, Peter Wood, director of the National Association of Scholars, and Larry Arnn, the Churchill scholar and president of Hillsdale College. 

Doubtless, though, the debate between the 1619ers and those supporting the president’s call to resuscitate patriotic education rightly understood will leave quite a few people on the sidelines. People who write for such left-wing funded outlets like The Bulwark, for example, or Goldberg’s new puppy, The Dispatch. I can already see Jennifer Rubin on the sidelines, right next to Max Boot. And isn’t that David Frum over yonder? Yes, I think so. Quite a little crowd in fact. 

That’s the trouble with condescension. You have first to make certain that the people you wish to condescend to are not in fact towering over you, oblivious to your contempt. I’m afraid that Jonah Goldberg neglected to take this precaution.

Great America

America’s Western Forests Are a Massive Soft Target for Terrorists and Their Domestic Accomplices

They are here, and they have embraced wildfire arson as a recommended tactic. It would be foolish not to investigate the possibility.

On October 28, 2019, with American commandos closing in, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest and took his life. On January 3, 2020, Qasem Soleimani was blown to bits in a U.S. air strike. Baghdadi was the leader of ISIS; Soleimani was Iran’s most powerful military commander.

Despite losing the territory it had overrun in Syria and Iraq, and despite Baghdadi’s death, ISIS remains a growing threat, with operations all over the world. Similarly, despite Soleimani’s death, under his leadership Iran helped Hezbollah grow into a powerful and expanding international network.

Already bitter enemies of America, how have ISIS and Hezbollah escalated their war after seeing their leaders killed by U.S. forces? What sort of activities have they initiated on U.S. soil, and how have those activities increased in recent years, especially in 2020?

The destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001 by al-Qaeda terrorists, along with gruesome lone wolf attacks by Islamic jihadists, tend to overshadow the fact that ISIS and Hezbollah have been quietly building their networks within the United States for many years. There is evidence these organizations could be involved in the unrest that has convulsed the nation over the past few months, possibly including arson in the western forests.

In 2017, Edward Klein, a veteran journalist and former editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine, published an article in the Daily Mail alleging that U.S. left-wing Antifa groups traveled to Germany to meet with al-Qaeda and ISIS leaders. In his report, Klein avers that the terrorist organizations were helping these U.S. left-wing groups to acquire bomb-making equipment and toxic chemicals and gasses.

Quoting extensively from a secret FBI report, Klein wrote, “Making some sort of common cause with Americans who are determined to commit violence against the U.S. makes them potentially very useful to radical Islam.”

Klein went on to explain how President Trump changed the rules of engagement, which caused ISIS to intensify its relationships with the radical Left in America: “As the Trump administration has demonstrated it’s serious about destroying the Islamic State, and depriving ISIS of territory in Iraq and Syria, the alliance between the American radicals and ISIS has grown even closer. The Internet chatter between the Americans and the Islamists is astronomical.” 

Klein also noted how, by comparison, President Obama ignored the domestic threat: “The FBI is really playing catchup ball, because the Obama administration refused to give the bureau the resources it needed to effectively infiltrate and surveil the radical groups on college campuses.”

If ISIS is a relatively recent arrival, Hezbollah has been actively building a base in the United States for years. Also in 2017, writing for Politico, investigative reporter John Meyer published a lengthy report titled, “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook.” Meyer describes how Hezbollah “transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.”

In his desperation to forge a deal with Iran, according to Meyer, Obama ignored evidence amassed by the DEA that showed how Hezbollah was making hundreds of millions by shipping cocaine and other drugs through Venezuela and Mexico into the United States. 

According to one DEA whistleblower Klein interviewed, “The closer we got to the [Iran deal], the more these activities went away. So much of the capability, whether it was special operations, whether it was law enforcement, whether it was [Treasury] designations—even the capacity, the personnel assigned to this mission—it was assiduously drained, almost to the last drop, by the end of the Obama administration.”

International Terrorists, Domestic Insurrectionists

While Antifa militants reportedly networked with ISIS militants in Germany in 2017, in 2013 the Black Lives Matter movement began receiving support from the Venezuelan regime. 

In a report just published in American Greatness, retired CIA agent Gary Berntsen describes how in 2013, Black Lives Matter founder Opal Tometi and her entourage traveled to Venezuela for meetings with Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. Berntsen writes, “During those meetings, Chavez ordered that BLM be given $10 million to help create a foundational base for their organization.”

Berntsen documents how Chavez ceded control of three southern provinces to Colombian narco-terrorist organizations, entering into a joint venture to pour hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States. Most of this cocaine found its way into America’s inner cities, an irony perhaps lost on BLM militants but useful to America’s enemies. Destroy young black lives with drugs, then give money to agitators who will tell the drug-addled mobs that racism, not drugs, is the reason for their destitution.

If you want to engage in asymmetric terrorism, however, there are few options more potent than wildfire arson. The forests of the Western United States, overgrown and tinder dry thanks to years of mismanagement, are easy targets. While there isn’t publicly available hard evidence that the devastating wildfires consuming America’s forests this year are being set by politically motivated arsonists, there is plenty of evidence that ISIS has been encouraging it.

In early 2017, ISIS praised the arsonists that had recently torched forests throughout Israel and provided instructions on how to use arson to “impose terror on an entire country.” In July 2017, in the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, author János Besenyő elaborated on the over 220 forest fires started in Israel by arsonists in 2016 in an article entitled “Inferno Terror: Forest Fires as the New Form of Terrorism.”

Then in October 2017, after Californians had just endured another round of devastating wildfires, ISIS celebrated the catastrophe in its newsletter, “days after supporters suggested laying gasoline-filled bottles in the woods to inflict further damage.”

On November 3, 2019, days after Baghdadi’s death, “A media outlet affiliated with ISIS has been instructing the group’s radical adherents to set forest fires in the United States and Europe to cause mass ecological disasters, according to posts on an internet forum dedicated to the terror group.” This was widely reported in journals ranging from Fox News and the New York Post to Law Enforcement Today.

Less than a year later, is it mere coincidence that over 7,000 square miles of America’s western forests have been incinerated so far in 2020, or were some of these hundreds of fires started not just by ordinary arsonists, but politically motivated arsonists? Just this past May, as reported in Homeland Security Today, “ISIS Ramps Up Use of Wildfire Arson as Simple Tactic.”

Little if anything in the current reporting mentions the role of foreign terrorist groups in starting this year’s wildfires. In fact, there are only scant reports of arson causing any of them. The prevailing narrative is that lightning strikes and human carelessness have sparked fires in forests that are tinder dry because of climate change. But there is plenty of evidence of connections between foreign terrorist groups and Antifa and Black Lives Matter. And there is little reason to believe that at least some of the domestic militants who are willing to loot and burn down American cities and invade American suburbs would hesitate to ignite American forests.

To be fair, America’s insurrectionists seem to have support from a plethora of institutions and individuals. Democrats and their media allies, to the extent they acknowledge the severity of the violence, attribute it to “Trump’s America,” hoping it will destroy him politically. Money pours into the BLM movement from globalist billionaires and America’s major corporations. It would strain credulity not to suggest that Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies are finding discrete ways to lend a hand. 

Perhaps America’s own “deep state” is coordinating the whole mess—it’s quite obvious that powerful federal bureaucrats including members of the intelligence community want Trump out. And then there are the climate change activists, solidly entrenched within every significant institution in America. No doubt for many of them, these forest fires are a regrettable but necessary step towards depopulating America’s rural landscapes, and ratcheting down the screws of green tyranny all that much tighter, all that much sooner.

With all that, one might consider a role in America’s ongoing insurrection for ISIS and Hezbollah to be an insignificant sideshow. That would be a dangerous mistake. They are here, and they have embraced wildfire arson as a recommended tactic. They are powerful, bent on vengeance, with eager accomplices among the more hardened elements of the American Left.

Great America

Coronavirus Cruelties

COVID-19 has been devastating to the elderly who catch it, but our response to the disease has also been devastating to them.

My mother died this week.

Mom was a victim of Alzheimer’s dementia. Up until six months ago, despite her memory loss, she was pretty happy. She was in one of the best care facilities in Nevada, catering specifically to Alzheimer’s patients. She loved her caregivers there, and she forged strong bonds with them.

My son and I took her on adventures. We took her to her favorite restaurants. Her favorite was Italian. She loved chocolate and she loved ice cream. We took her to Sigfried and Roy’s zoo that features lions and tigers, as well as dolphins. We took her to Redrock Canyon and to see the flamingos at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino. We wheeled her around the park on nice days, bought her ice cream, and brought her to my house on holidays and birthdays. The last years of her life weren’t perfect, but we made them as fulfilling as possible. 

Then COVID-19 came and made all of the above impossible.

When two weeks became six weeks and six weeks became months upon months, we knew it was only a matter of time. She was allowed to visit us only through Skype calls, which were confusing for her, or through the window, which seemed likely to make her more confused and agitated, as she began trying to escape. 

She tried to get her favorite caregiver to escape with her, so we knew if she saw us through the window, she would be beside herself. And we heard stories from other people, including close relatives of my great uncle (who died a month after COVID-19 lockdowns began), of patients crying and trying to push through the glass. We didn’t want her to go through that.

COVID-19 has taken many elderly lives, and while we all wish to protect them from that deadly virus, killing them via failure to thrive is not the answer. Our current policies will kill many more elderly Americans like my mother. 

There have been many cases of the disease spreading in nursing homes, particularly in New York where the governor signed an order in March to put COVID-19-positive elderly back in their facilities rather than keeping them at the hospital until the disease passed. That order killed thousands of elderly people in care facilities. Why Andrew Cuomo took that heartless step while making sure his own mother was safe is an astonishing mystery. Doing a “Cuomo” should really mean something going forward.

But there has to be a better way to care for these people than to lock them up with no hope of ever seeing them again. They are dying without their families around to love them. Their caregivers are depressed and anxious over what they see happening to their patients. They are watching people just give up and die. Their care, however good it might be, in no way compares to the love of one’s family and friends.

Yes, we need to protect our beloved elderly as much as possible. But we are probably fooling ourselves in thinking we can protect them forever from a respiratory illness like COVID-19.

 The disease still sneaks into facilities through staff members and deliveries, but as long as the infected person is taken to the hospital and not returned until there is no trace of the virus, good facilities have been able to deal with this challenge competently and keep other patients safe.

So long as this plague is handled in a professional manner rather than the “Cuomo way,” there should be no reason the elderly cannot be visited by their families with masks and maybe gowns on. There is no good reason to make them die alone in this way. COVID-19 has been devastating to the elderly who catch it, but our response to the disease has also been devastating to them. Our utopian and hubristic belief that we can perfectly protect them is having disastrous consequences.

Great America

The Ivory Tower’s Anti-Racist Olympics

Are the lofty lords of higher education beginning to realize that the dictates of social justice would require a “largely peaceful” defenestration of these “educators” along with their cushy, taxpayer-subsidized sinecures?

Academia’s elites are engaged in a heated competition at the Anti-Racist Olympics. The no-fun and games are a decided public spectacle, one demanded by the contestants’ leftist ideology and fellow-traveling peers to prove one’s fealty to the hideous myth of America’s systemic racism.

Oh, and what a competition it is! 

In a sharp essay for the summer issue of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, journalist Heather Mac Donald dispenses with the pretenders and also-rans; and provides a highlight reel of the real contenders in the Anti-Racist Olympics. Stunning and brave and with job security, these social justice warriors stride forth from their sinecures into the collegiate coliseum to slay the racism permeating themselves, history, society, and their institutions. 

Mac Donald writes:

Princeton’s president, Christopher Eisgruber, has ordered the school’s top faculty and administrators to submit plans on how they will “combat systemic racism within and beyond the University.” Every aspect of Princeton will be reexamined with a “bias toward action.”

Duke University president Vincent Price announced: “I cannot as a white person begin to fully understand the daily fear and pain and oppression that is endemic to the Black experience” [and] “insisted that his university must take ‘transformative action’ to eliminate the ‘systems of racism and inequality that have shaped the lived experiences of too many members of the Duke community.’” 

And it isn’t just the liberal arts crowd having all the self-flagellating fun in the Anti-Racist Olympics. The sciences are horning in on the action:

The dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, pronounced himself “absolutely dedicated” to turning the engineering school into an “anti-racist organization . . . crucially includ(ing) unconscious bias work we must do within ourselves.” 

The chairman of the earth and planetary sciences department at the University of California at Davis announced an “anti-racist reading group” for faculty and students . . . to confront the “structural racism that pervades” the field of geology . . . [and] should “specifically confront, in the classroom, the history and relationship of racism and colonialism in Earth Science education, application, and research.” 

The American Mathematical Society declared that “equity, diversity and inclusion” are fundamental to its mission.

In their anti-racist zeal, the “party of science” strikes another blow against the deplorable team that is working to keep them from resurrecting Jim Crow:

The American Astronomical Society held color-coded Zoom meetings, one for white astronomers to “discuss direct actions to support Black astronomers,” one for black astronomers to “talk, vent, connect, and hold space for each other,” and one for “non-Black people of color to discuss direct actions to support Black astronomers.”

But the front runner in the Anti-Racist Olympics could well be Middlebury College President Laurie Patton. From a safe space (one hopes), Patton decried her college’s racist Hellscape: 

[R]acism ‘happens in our residence halls and in our classrooms, at the tables of our dining halls and in our locker rooms, on our sidewalks, within the offices where we work, and in our town . . . ’ [and] Middlebury’s ‘non-Black members’ [need] to develop ‘deeper knowledge about racism, inequality, and the way oppression operates within our culture, within our institutions, and within ourselves.’

And Patton had another ace up her Left sleeve, apologizing for

not focusing enough on the ‘root cause and specific harm’ of the black community’s ‘profound pain’ in her initial letter to the college. ‘I needed to name the specific and systemic violence experienced by Black people . . . I now understand that members of our community needed to hear that.’

Regrettably, as Mac Donald trenchantly notes:

All such institutional self-accusations by college presidents leave out the specifics . . . Which faculty members do not treat black students fairly? If that unjust treatment is so obvious, why weren’t those professors already removed? What is wrong with an admissions process that lets in thousands of student bigots? In other moments, college presidents brag about the quality of their student body and faculty. Are they lying? Shouldn’t they have disclosed to black applicants that they will face “racist acts” and “systems of inequality” should they attend?

This failure to provide specifics—i.e., evidence and corrective actions—belies these “educators” sincerity and, indeed, the very existence of systemic racism itself. It also proves the contestants in the Anti-Racist Olympics have a survival instinct. 

By their own admission they cannot understand the “black experience”; they have implicit biases against blacks and other people of color; they have presided over institutions that are systemically racist. And all this hideous racism infesting campuses despite the millions of dollars dolloped into diversity and inclusion programs! 

By their own logic, these “woke” bureaucrats should resign; and, if they are white, they should allow people of color to assume these positions. Such would be a decided and concrete blow against the systemic racism these bureaucrats purport to oppose.

But these grandees of academe refuse to put their money where their myth is. This may represent their gnawing and perpetual angst that, despite the ephemeral accolades that result from their participation in the Anti-Racist Olympics, maybe no one wins when Stalinist group think strangles the universities’ mission of free speech and inquiry. 

Perhaps this explains why, during these self-abasement sweepstakes, none of these Philippic spouting bureaucrats—oops, “educators”—has vowed to cancel the term “ivory tower.” 

Are the lofty lords of higher education beginning to realize that, should the students they’ve indoctrinated with woke civil religion discover the ivory tower has windows, the dictates of “social justice” would require a “largely peaceful” defenestration of these “educators” along with their cushy, taxpayer-subsidized sinecures?

That would be beyond all prizing.