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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. 

Elections

Biden Report Shows Impeachment Was Election Interference

What if all the damning information in Ron Johnson’s report was revealed in September 2019 and not in September 2020?

With the release Wednesday of Senator Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) long-awaited investigation into the Biden family’s corrupt, possibly criminal, ties to Ukraine and other countries, one thing is clear: Had the information in the report been made public a year ago, it’s nearly impossible to believe Joe Biden would still be the Democratic nominee for president.

The fall of 2019 seems like a lifetime ago, but it’s worth revisiting to give context to this bombshell report. 

As the Democratic race for president took shape last year, the media started asking uncomfortable questions. “Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father’s Campaign?” read the headline of a nearly 11,000-word exposé in the July 2019 issue of The New Yorker

Other news organizations followed suit. Senate Republicans finally were zoning in on the shady business dealings of their former colleague’s son. 

As damaging, potential campaign-ending coverage continued for months, Team Biden threatened social media platforms and journalists for spreading “disinformation” about Hunter Biden.

In October 2019, Biden, in a clip recirculated this week, lashed out at reporters for asking about Hunter Biden’s multimillion dollar overseas contracts. Even his Democratic opponents were piling on. Things were going downhill for the one candidate most establishment Democrats thought had the best chance to beat Donald Trump in 2020.

Well, you know the rest of the story. House Democrats successfully changed the subject by manufacturing an impeachment case against President Trump based on the account of a partisan “whistleblower” connected to Biden. The country, once again, was thrown into political chaos.

The Democrats’ gambit worked. They knew Trump would not be convicted by a Republican Senate, but Hunter Biden’s name quickly vanished from the headlines. America’s complicit news media cowered to the mob-like threats of Team Biden and have since kept their mouths shut. Hunter Biden, unscathed, even made a cameo appearance at the virtual Democratic National Convention.

Trump’s impeachment served two purposes: to bury one more scandal under the self-proclaimed “scandal free” Obama Administration and to save Joe Biden’s candidacy. It was straight-up interference with the 2020 election because without the impeachment diversions, it’s very likely that either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, not Biden, would be on the November ballot right now.

The Wolf of Washington

The joint report released this week from the Homeland Security Committee and Senate Finance Committee reads like a Hollywood screenplay. Hunter Biden is the Beltway’s version of Jordan Belfort, the “Wolf of Washington” so to speak, but without the hard-knock start and all the hard work.

The youngest Biden is a well-known womanizer (including sleeping with his late brother’s widow) with a history of drug abuse and bad decisions. With Secret Service protection and access to Air Force Two, Hunter swaggered around the globe during the Obama-Biden presidency, including six trips to China.

A few months after the Navy discharged him for cocaine use, Hunter Biden was hired in May 2014 by Burisma, Ukraine’s largest energy producer owned by Mykola Zlochevsky, who was under investigation in the United States and UK for money laundering among other crimes.

“[O]ver the course of the next several years, Hunter Biden and [business partner] Devon Archer were paid millions of dollars from a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch for their participation on the board,” according to Johnson’s 87-page report. “In addition to the over $4 million paid by Burisma for Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s board memberships, Hunter Biden, his family and Archer received millions of dollars from foreign nationals with questionable backgrounds. The Treasury records . . . show potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals.”

Further, what jumps out in the report is that one of impeachment’s star witnesses, instead of informing the American people about the scandal when given the chance, helped turn the focus on the president.

George Kent, the bow-tied deputy assistant secretary of state, publicly testified before the House Intelligence Committee last fall as part of Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) impeachment inquiry. The longtime diplomat became a media darling for his role in bolstering the Democrats’ case against the president.

During the committee’s open hearing, Kent danced around questions about Burisma’s corruption. “Its business reputation is mixed,” Kent cautiously told Republican counsel on November 13, 2019.

Kent repeatedly tried to avoid directly condemning Hunter Biden’s appointment to Burisma’s board. “I believe that companies build their boards with a variety of reasons,” Kent insisted. Kent told the committee he notified the vice president’s staff in early 2015 that Hunter Biden’s status as a board member “could create the possibility of a perception of conflict of interest.”

But his July 2020 closed-door testimony was more forthcoming. Kent elaborated on what he told the vice president’s office. The then-deputy chief at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, Kent contacted the vice president’s office with an unvarnished plea. 

“I thought someone needed to talk to Hunter Biden, and he should [step] down from the board of Burisma,” Kent told the committees. He admitted that he “never heard back from the vice president’s office.”

When that request went nowhere, a year later, Kent emailed senior State Department officials. “The presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board was very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anti-corruption agenda in Ukraine,” he wrote in a September 2016 email. Kent’s concerns, according to the report, “remained unaddressed.”

Other emails obtained by the committees show Kent’s view of Burisma’s reputation was far from “mixed,” as Kent said publicly. “Zlochevsky was viewed as corrupt, not just in Ukraine but by the USG,” he wrote in the September 2016 email to John Kerry’s State Department. (Kerry’s stepson was a longtime business partner of Hunter.)

Burisma’s owner was a “poster child for corrupt behavior,” he told the committees. Associating or promoting assistance projects with Burisma posed a “moral hazard,” Kent said in another August 2016 email.

That’s quite a contrast to the vague assessment Kent gave the American people last November.

In his November 2019 public testimony, Kent said there was a “strong assumption” that Zlochevsky bribed Ukraine’s prosecutor general in late 2014 to drop the case against Burisma. (Hunter Biden was on the board by then.) “We thought Zlochevsky had stolen money, we thought a prosecutor had taken a bribe to shut the case and those were our main concerns.”

But he told Republicans a slightly different story. Kent confronted the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office about the bribe in early 2015 and demanded to know “who had paid the bribe and how much it was. I also demanded that the case against Zlochevsky be resumed.”

The $7 million bribe was referred to the FBI by a Justice Department official. “At this time, the committees are seeking an explanation from the FBI about what, if any, actions they took after receiving this information from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.”

Imagine if Kent had given the same sort of testimony to the American people 10 months ago. What if he had confirmed Burisma’s corruption, the details of the bribery scheme, and the referral to James Comey’s FBI? What if he had told Congress that his pleas were ignored by the vice president’s office and the State Department despite repeated attempts? That the son of the leading Democratic candidate for president was profiting from a deeply corrupt Urkainian oligarch but top Obama Administration officials turned a blind eye at the time?

What if all the damning information in Johnson’s report was revealed in September 2019 and not in September 2020?

The media would have been forced to report it. Impeachment would have been exposed as the diversion that it was. Joe Biden would not have been permitted to continue avoiding all the questions he’s successfully avoided since impeachment. Hunter Biden might be facing serious charges.

And it’s very possible someone else would be sitting atop the Democratic ticket right now.

Elections

Caudillismo or Weak Sister Conservatism? 

There is enough overlap between working-class whites and Latinos that appealing to the one with nationalism, law and order, and laborism would naturally attract the other.

During a town hall hosted by ABC News from the battleground state of Pennsylvania, “a new U.S. citizen” asked President Trump what he is going to do to improve the path to citizenship for people like him if reelected. “We are doing something with immigration that I think is going to be very strong,” Trump said, “because we want people to come into our country, people like you.” 

Trump went to the White House in 2016 to fight on behalf of forgotten Americans, those who aren’t bathed in the limelight of ABC News. In 2020, it seems he is happy to answer to “new citizens.”

That scene, and Trump’s response, are a complete inversion of the raison d’être that animated the first crusade to win the White House. It also reflects the Republican Party’s misinterpretation of the recent surge in minority support for Trump, specifically among Latinos. 

Karl Rove’s analysis of that phenomenon is typical. Latinos support Trump because they hate socialism, says the Bushite. Well, that might explain why some Cubans support Trump. But it cannot explain why, say, about one-third of Latinos in California, mostly of Mexican ancestry, back the president. Across party lines, most Latinos support a more active role for the state—and in this way, I should note, they are not attitudinally dissimilar from working-class whites

The history of Latin America shows populist movements can manifest with a more active role for the state, i.e., what the GOP would consider “socialism”Peronism in Argentina was essentially “right-wing socialism.” In our time, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and the generals in his cabinet have supported public investment and state enterprises, although they’re now flirting with neoliberalism via Economy Minister Paulo Guedes. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is softer on crime than his predecessors, but he’s an economic populist and an old-fashioned nationalist. A message that would play well with most Latinos, then, is a promise to make the government work more effectively for the people rather than for the oligarchs

Moreover, even if in the name of making government more efficient for the people we want to dismantle and downsize some of it, we would still need to be willing to exercise political power in a way hitherto alien to the Republican Party. 

Rove’s take on Latinos is wrong, but it’s probably not their backs he wants to scratch, anyway. His view provides a convenient excuse for the administration to drop the economic populism so offensive to his paymasters, picking up right where he left off with the flaccid formula of tax cuts conservatism à la George W. Bush. 

Not to be outdone by Rove, Dana Perino offers an even worse analysis, tying the increase in Latino support to the administration’s backing off on talk about illegal immigration and the border wall this time around. Perino’s view plays well with liberal white women and effete GOP strategists, but not with anyone else. 

If Trump won’t take up the mantle of a caudillo proper, we must hope that whoever comes next will build on his success and recognize the latent potential for such a coalition to achieve lasting political dominance.

When framed effectively, immigration restrictionism, which is adjacent to law and order, is a broadly popular issue. In a recent study published by the New York Times, eligible voters were asked how “convincing” they found messaging lifted from Republican talking points. Among other elements, the messaging condemned “illegal immigration from places overrun with drugs and criminal gangs” and called for “fully funding the police, so our communities are not threatened by people who refuse to follow our laws.” Nearly three out of five white respondents found the message convincing, while exactly the same percentage of blacks agreedas did an even higher percentage of Latinos

Though researchers found these results “sobering,” they’re not all that surprising. 

Just recently, 69 percent of Latinos said “yes” when they were asked: “Would you support . . . temporarily blocking nearly all immigration into the United States during the coronavirus outbreak?” Recall that 58.5 percent of Latinos polled in November 2018 said they “support Donald Trump’s immigration policies” even if they disliked him personally.

From his perch at the Cato Institute, Alex Nowrasteh also tossed his contemptuous two cents at the issue, insisting that if Latinos are “coming over to Trump,” then Republicans must accept Latinos can politically assimilate and, he implies, therefore embrace open borders. 

As usual, Nowrasteh misses the point. It is because Latinos have not fully assimilated politically that we retain our atavistic affinity for “caudillo” style leadership, and therefore like Trump because he resembles a Latin American strongman who blends nationalism, economic populism, and social conservatism. The degree to which Trump’s policies match his macho rhetoric is debatable, but he nevertheless wears the muscular visage of a caudillo.

Contra Rove and Perino, then, it is far more likely that Trump’s recent increase in support among Latinos is the result of his delayed but ultimately firm stance against Black Lives Matter-induced rioting. 

Latinos share with whites the bullseyes on their backs at which Black Lives Matter occasionally aim. The proximity in particular of “white-presenting” Latinos to “Eurocentricity” through the Spanish conquests of the Americas, say woke activists, provides them with privilege in the grand scheme of “white supremacy.” 

In South Florida, the Miami New Times reports, “non-Black Latinos often have a blind spot when it comes to recognizing themselves as a minority in the United States.” This tension at least played a part in the desire among Latinos to see rioting forcibly extinguished. As José Niño reported, 54 percent of Latino Democrats supported sending in the military to quell rioting in June, while 60 percent of all Latinos supported some form of military presence. Similarly, a July 2020 Gallup survey showed 83 percent of Latinos want more or the same police presence in their area. 

Simply put, we like and respect strong leaders. 

“Mexicans can’t stand political correctness and appreciate powerful people sin pelos en la lengua—‘without hairs on the tongue,’ a Mexican aphorism for when someone speaks their mind,” journalist Gustavo Arellano wrote in April 2016, explaining Trump’s appeal. “Sure, Bernie Sanders is as straight-talking as Trump, but where he fails as a Mexican candidate and Trump succeeds is that the latter also passes himself off as a caudillo (a strongman).” 

Arellano and I disagree on just about everything else but this: “Mexicans don’t want a perceived pussy in office, and Trump’s bellicose babadas make people think he’s tough when he’s actually little more than a chavala.” 

Arellano was right. Trump went on to win about one-third of Latinos nationwide in 2016 while taking a hardline stance on immigration. Perino’s analysis explodes in light of this.

But that was then, and this is now: sources report that the White House is embracing the Karl Rove-Dana Perino analysis, using it to justify a more open immigration agenda that has been in the works for a while. We have already seen fleeting glimpses of what is to come, when Trump let slip that amnesty may be on the table for DACA beneficiaries, which observers connected to Rove’s influence on the administration. 

The reason people like senior advisor Jared Kushner and Domestic Policy Council chief Brooke Rollins look for any pretense to justify a permissive immigration agenda is a matter of short-sightedness. They really are deluded enough to want to win pyrrhic victories at the ballot box, demographically damning the country in the long run. 

Immigration, in general, is bad for the Republican Party’s ostensive aims, and good most of all for the Democratic Party, which views immigration as the mechanism by which they can establish single-party rule. Seizing this unique moment in history by imposing an immigration moratorium and promoting working-class policies under a caudillo would facilitate the integration of Latinos into the national fabric. 

On the other hand, there is a lot of money in the immigration business. Kushner has been a staunch ally to labor exploitation, and Rollins is a long-time Koch Industries shill who is now running the chief White House domestic policy forum.

The fortuitous combination of Trump’s caudillo visage, the Black Lives Matter riots, and the economic strain brought on by the pandemic panic has created conditions conducive to incorporating Latinos more effectively into the white working-class coalition that played a part in the triumph of 2016. In other words, there is enough overlap between working-class whites and Latinos that appealing to the one with nationalism, law and order, and laborism would naturally attract the other—and Trump needs working-class white voters more than any other group to win. Caudillismo, as it so happens, appeals to the single largest constituency—working-class whites—and the largest minority group, Latinos.

But the administration appears set to squander this rare opportunity, instead using it to retcon “America First” into caffeinated Bushism. Surely some people in the White House think they’re clever, but they’re really just being assimilated into the establishment they claim to oppose without even realizing it.

If Trump won’t take up the mantle of a caudillo proper, we must hope that whoever comes next will build on his success and recognize the latent potential for such a coalition to achieve lasting political dominance. A true nationalist-populist coalition with an emphasis on law, order, and morality is the only coalition capable of uniting enough people to create a better future.

Elections

Dear GOP Senate: Get This Right!

The GOP Senate has been a big disappointment to the Republican base during Trump’s first term. Can they end with a bang and show they deserve to try again?

Dear Leader McConnell and Members of the Republican Senate:

As Jack Nicholson said in “Terms of Endearment,” you were just inches from a clean getaway.

Armed with a wholly unimpressive list of accomplishments from the past four years, with the exception of confirming hundreds of federal judges, you were prepared to return home to defend your paltry record with little more than the argument that the other side is much, much worse. Which, lucky for you, is true.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the campaign trail: Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. Reliable news outlets reported that in her final days, the Clinton-appointed Supreme Court justice dictated a statement to her granddaughter indicating she wanted the “new president” to appoint her replacement, the latest in a series of Trump-fixated dying requests. 

Fortunately, many constitutional scholars have assured us that no “Election Year Death-Bed Wish” provision exists. Nor does a “Feelings of Jeff Flake” clause or “MSNBC Meltdown” disclaimer. Subsequent case law does not affirm that the random rantings of bartenders-turned-congresspersons should in any way guide such a venerated process.

All of which means you have a big decision to make. And this could be the chance to redeem yourselves for a multitude of egregious mistakes made during Trump’s first term, conduct that many voters in the Republican base consider an unforgivable abdication of power.

Your success in defending the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh amid one of the most despicable character assassinations in modern political history notwithstanding, Senate Republicans have done nothing to confront the Left’s nonstop assault against the president, his family, his administration, and by default, his supporters.

Check that. It’s not that you failed because saying you failed would suggest that you even tried to defend the president of your own party. In too many instances, Senate Republicans acted as accomplices in the Left’s reckless anti-Trump crusade.

The appointment of Robert Mueller, Barack Obama’s longtime FBI director, to investigate the imaginary crime of Russian election collusion will go down in Republican Party history as one of the worst political mistakes of all time. You knew full well by the time Mueller was appointed in May 2017 that Trump-Russia “collusion” was a total falsehood fabricated by the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign operatives.

But you demanded a special counsel after the president fired the treacherous James Comey as director of the FBI. When the Justice Department tasked Mueller with continuing the charade, a charade you knew would cripple the president for months if not years, you swooned.

Leader McConnell, you repeatedly lauded Mueller and his work. Senator Ben Sasse, who has remained silent on the real scandal—how Obama’s White House weaponized the most powerful government agencies in the world against Donald Trump—called Mueller an “exceptional public servant” and applauded his “record, character, and trustworthiness.” Senator John Cornyn, you assured us that Mueller is a “well-respected law enforcement professional.”

Senator Susan Collins, remember how you insisted Mueller “has sterling credentials and is above reproach?” You had no qualms back then about the appointment of an unelected, unchecked, and extra-constitutional partisan prosecutor, but now that you’re up for reelection the idea of filling a legitimate vacancy on the nation’s highest court based on clear constitutional guidance and precedent gives you the heebie-jeebies? What gives?

While Andrew Weismann, er, Robert Mueller (wink, wink) spent millions of our tax dollars and concocted bogus charges against Trump associates, you protected him. Remember when the president and others raised legit concerns about Team Mueller’s conduct? Some of you collaborated with Senate Democrats to author a bill that ensured Mueller would be permitted to “conduct fair and impartial investigations” without fear he would be fired by the president. 

For all we know, without the involvement of William Barr in the spring of 2019, Mueller would still be conducting early morning raids on senior citizens to the delight of CNN viewers and you guys would still be paying the bills.

At the same time, you’ve been completely impotent in exposing Obamagate or holding anyone accountable. Letter after letter went unanswered. Deadlines expired without any repercussions. Promised public reckonings never happened; subpoenas for Obamagate perpetrators are still threatened as the clock runs out and public interest wanes.

That’s only one part of your collective dereliction of duty. After the president tried to curb record numbers of illegal immigrants attempting to enter the country, 12 of you sided with Democrats and voted to overturn his emergency declaration to defend the southern border.

This included you, Senator Lisa Murkowski; you solemnly lectured us about your deep regard for the separation of powers. “This is about making sure that we respect the lines and the lanes of the authorities that are laid out in the Constitution,” Murkowsi preached way back in February 2019.

But oddly those lanes and lines have disappeared as Senator Murkowski plans to abdicate her constitutional duties by refusing to consider President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Apparently there is some “not before Election Day” lane in the Constitution that only Senator Murkowski knows about.

After the president was impeached on the thinnest of grounds in a successful attempt to bury bad news about the Biden family’s overseas grift, Senator Mitt Romney earned his long-desired place in the history books as the first senator to vote to convict a president of his own party. What was his intra-party punishment for that betrayal? Nothing.

Now we await yet another lecture from the two-time presidential loser about why he plans to “follow his conscience” and refuse to vote for Trump’s candidate before the election.

Senator Romney’s conscience, however, has been MIA since declaring his support for Black Lives Matter. While BLM thugs harass innocent people at restaurants and roadways, steal their way to reparations, and promise more violence until they’re satisfied, Romney is uncharacteristically quiet. Where are you, Pierre Delecto? Saving your fire for the Bad Orange Man instead of the perpetrators of the country’s race war?

Which reminds me that most of you have played along with the BLM movement in one way or another; bending the proverbial knee to agitators who despise everything you claim to honor. Some of you, including Leader McConnell, offered emotional tributes to George Floyd from the Senate floor last June and bolstered the Left’s mantra about “systemic racism.”

Senators Ron Johnson and James Lankford, remember when you suggested replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth Day after Senator Johnson worked with his far-left colleague from Massachusetts to invent a new national holiday? That did wonders for racial comity since BLM vandals and ambushers have really settled down since then.

LOL.

So, fellow Republicans, you now have a chance to redeem yourselves for all the broken promises, craven capitulations, and straight-up betrayal of your constituencies. Accept the president’s nominee and move forward without delay on confirmation. And when the expected attacks against the nominee are unleashed by Democrats, don’t do what you did during the Kavanaugh debacle by appeasing the false accusers while making a bad situation worse. Move full steam ahead—before Election Day.

Then let the political chips fall where they may. You’ve been a big disappointment to the Republican base during Trump’s first term. End with a bang and show that you deserve to try again.

Elections

A Woke Joe Biden Ends His Hibernation

Will the return of the Democratic nominee preserve his fourth-quarter eroding lead?

“You don’t have to do this, Joe.” —Barack Obama

The Democratic presidential nominee had embraced one of the most bizarre but—until recently—effective strategies thus far in a presidential campaign. Like some fictive vampire, Joe Biden has been ensconced in a basement tomb and, now pale, he is reemerging into the light and finding the glare all but lethal.

Under the cloak of the coronavirus and national quarantine, Biden essentially had shut down his campaign from late March to the present. Ostensibly, his handlers believed that any downside of appearing to play-rope-a-dope and to avoid unscripted events was more than outweighed by not putting a sometimes frail 77-year-old man with apparent cognitive challenges out on the campaign trail for 16-hour days.  

Or as his former boss, Barack Obama, reportedly warned Biden of the looming 2020 ordeal and his apparent fragility, “You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t.” He really didn’t have to—except that Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders proved inept messengers of socialism.

The “Summer of Love”

As the media-constructed summer news cycle from May through August wounded Trump—Trump, the Typhoid Mary, COVID-enabler Trump, the mask denialist and bleach drinker Trump, the Herbert Hoover economy-wrecker Trump, the reincarnation of the racist Lester Maddox Trump—Biden kept torpid in his home basement. And that mostly successful sequestration required lots of complicity from our elite. 

Mainstream polls, though still wounded from their 2016 washout, once showed Biden had a substantial lead. As Biden snoozed, the media was certainly doing more damage to Trump than an active Biden might ever have inflicted. 

In brilliantly diabolical fashion, the now virtual campaign was outsourced to subordinates but not in any traditional sense. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) would obstruct economic relief by holding bills hostage to blue-state demands for massive multibillion-dollar bailouts of their insolvency and past profligacy. Trump would then look callous by not expanding on the prior $4 trillion stimulus that allowed many wage earners to make as much on government assistance than they would have had they returned to work. In the Democrats’ logic, printing only $4 trillion in cash would now soon be seen as cold-hearted. 

Then there was the media’s role. It was tasked with the sniper’s work of aiming, shooting, and then scurrying off to the next ambush nest. That is, every few days a new media-driven “scandal” would surface to put Trump on the defensive and allow the congealed Biden to remain phlegmatic without much concern. And so it has been lately. We were told Trump didn’t blink an eye when his friend Vladimir Putin was putting bounty money on American soldiers in Afghanistan. When that myth was refuted, next Trump was stealthily yanking away public mailbox stands, no doubt to sabotage mail-in-voting. 

Then there was Trump the coup-master, who would never leave the White House after his inevitable November defeat—hence the tolerance of another round of actual coup talk from our retired humanistic generals and admirals.

Next in the queue was Trump as the vile slanderer of American war dead who was terrified to ride in a helicopter to cemeteries, given his dry hair was worth far more than the hassle of praising fallen “suckers” and “losers.” 

Bob Woodward, in his sequel to his last 2018 “bombshell” Trump take-down book, waited patiently in line for his new charge that Trump lied about COVID-19 and thus logically was culpable for mass death, even as his top military and intelligence officials knew that he was unfit and needed an “intervention” apparently to remove him. Bottom line: more coup porn as a bonus to Trump, the COVID partner in death. 

More of this will come every week until the election. The problem is not whether these media mythologies work to drive down Trump’s polls and eat up the finite days left in the campaign—so far they have had only a hit-and-miss effect.  

But rather, will the sheer monotony and predictability of these “walls are closing in” disclosures simply go the way of the Mueller team’s leaked news bulletins of imminent Trump indictment and frog-marching out of the White House? 

Like cheap funny money, the currency of these concoctions eventually becomes so ubiquitous and inflated to the point of being worthless. Or perhaps a better metaphor is vaccination: the more the Biden team orchestrates these inert serial “scandals,” the more they provide antibodies and with them immunity to the next assault.

The problem is not that Biden is now necessarily behind in the polls. Rather, there is no backup strategy to stop the slow but steady Trump trajectory.

The big-money donors were given their tasks. On spec, George Soros promised his millions to route through various anti-Trump PACs. Mike Bloomberg said he would chip in $100 million to ensure Trump would lose—on his theory that his millions would not be burned up for nothing if he at least was not on the ballot. Billionaires promised more millions for the Lincoln Project. The old left-wing accusation of “dark money” no longer exists.

In the next seven weeks, many of the Fortune 500 wealthy families will have pledged their assistance to Biden who, as likely as Hillary did in 2016, will outraise Trump. We are reminded again that the new Democratic Party is the alliance of the nation’s richest, in league with those in most need of public assistance, with both sharing an innate disdain for the middle classes.  

Then there are the foot soldiers of the Biden campaign, which is the de facto military wing of the Democratic Party. These are the nasal-voiced Antifa veterans, who appear nightly in road-warrior garb to burn and destroy, along with their BLM partners who will riot and loot. Their collective message is that anarchy, chaos, and mayhem are the inevitable wages of a Trump presidency. A vote for the newly rebooted Biden socialist agenda—everything from the Green New Deal to reparations and open borders—supposedly will magically dissipate the carnage by mid-November.

The logic is that the rioters and arsonists now hold the country hostage, as if to say “you can snap out of your fetal position and rise up if you just vote for our puppet Biden.” And Biden himself is also their hostage on the premise that to get nominated he had to renounce his former self, and for the next month or more, if he expects them to help elect him, he will have to keep mum on the violence and wink that he too is now a democratic socialist. 

Finally, there is the Biden basement campaign itself. Up until this week, it largely was a stage crew. Flaks wrote scripted questions for preselected obsequious journalists. They set up strategically located stealthy teleprompters. They wrote out Biden’s talking points and canned quotations on Biden’s iPhone. And they sent out a cadre of young contextualizers to the networks to suggest instead that Biden, in virtuoso fashion, was batting away hard-hitting questions with ease. 

The Return of Fighting Ol’ Joe from Scranton?

Biden then, not only has a war room, but also an intensive care unit whose task is to deny—and reinterpret—the prior day’s Bidenisms. 

And Biden’s rambling themes predictably are twofold: gaffes will usually entail some creepy reference to women as in last week’s macabre riff about a veteran killing a young woman (inspiring stuff for an audience of U.S. military vets?), or the chance for former quartermasters to find jobs in the “second floor” lady’s department in chain stores, or they will be clumsy racial pandering of the sort from “you ain’t black” to shaking with Latino music on his iPhone. Otherwise, it is the usual stuff, such as 200 million Americans—over 60 percent of the U.S. population—already dead from COVID-19.

Again, Biden’s hibernation was predicated on the assumption that Trump, by September, would be imploding from a swarming virus, a recession devolving into depression, a national quarantine mimicking a Communist Chinese shutdown, and the George Floyd death sparking a 1960s-style nonstop mass protest movement. 

Trump so far has never run against Biden, given the latter has no agenda that we know of, no plan of competing action other than impromptu homilies and “here’s the deal” generalities. Instead, it has always been Trump versus a virus, a lockdown, a recession, and a riot.

What then brought Biden out to risk blowing up his campaign with five minutes of talk? 

Polls seem to be closing. They likely reflect that the public is beginning to think COVID-19 is no longer the bubonic plague, that the recession will be more likely ending in recovery than in a 1929-style depression, that 50 million schoolchildren are in greater danger of ill health shut up at home than in school, and that the violence in our streets no longer has much to do with the death of George Floyd. 

Again, the problem is not that Biden is now necessarily behind in the polls, although a few suggest that he may be more or less tied. Rather, there is no backup strategy to stop the slow but steady Trump trajectory. Trump at age 74 seems more like he’s 64; while Biden’s 77 is more akin to 88. Trump can cover three times the ground. As presidents do, he can stage his own October surprise “breakthroughs,” as we saw last week in the Middle East, or at home with an unexpected Durham indictment or two.

Experts assured us nonstop that a repeat of 2016 was impossible. The pollsters had learned their lessons. So did the media that purportedly were no longer so haughty and publicly biased. No president could overcome a year of virus, quarantine, recession, and riots. Trump would be even more outspent than four years earlier. And yet here we are with the clouds of another 2016 perfect storm gathering.

So now, in the 11th hour, Biden is slowly becoming a candidate and not a mere projection on Zoom. The Joe of 1988 and 2008 has returned for a third attempt as the “first” in his family to have gone to college, the fracking scion of Scranton’s “coal” miners, the hard-scrabble guy who took the train to Washington, but this time around as the stealth vessel for a Bernie Sanders agenda.

Don’t expect that Biden suddenly will become comprehensible, much less offer a detailed counterplan to Trump. Instead assume that House and Senate Democrats will obstruct and make more wild accusations. The media will offer more scandals and slanted polls. A new tell-all book will line up for its 10 minutes of fame. An angry former administration employee or yet another “heroic” retired four-star general will emerge to tweet out his disgust. More mass signed letters of “concern” will appear from doctors, or retired military officials, or state department grandees. Still more billionaires will brag that they are giving Biden millions. 

Will the return of Joe preserve his fourth-quarter eroding lead? Only if his reentry assumes that Biden will keep mum for six weeks or suddenly and magically sound extemporaneously presidential or the media can selectively edit everything he says.

So Barack Obama was prescient when he feared what a Biden candidacy might do to his legacy or to Biden himself. But I would only slightly reword his warning to read something like the following: “Joe, You don’t have to do this to the country. Joe, you really don’t.

Elections

Confirm a Justice Now

This is no time for Senate Republicans to go wobbly.

The instant Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing was announced, the battle lines were drawn. Or, more accurately, one side girded for battle, while Republicans clucked with confusion about what to do next.

Which should be no surprise. If Republicans are good at anything, it’s finding “principled” reasons to betray their constituents and contradict their much vaunted philosophy. President Trump, naturally, has sounded strong, as, to his credit, has Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). But the majority leader has to manage a fractious caucus and a thin margin. Many of his members either will be looking for excuses not to vote, or for a reason to vote no, or (worse) will be persuadable by sophistical arguments as to why stabbing their president, their voters, and their country in the back is “the right thing to do.”

Herewith, if any of them are listening, are some reasons not to take those paths.

The Alleged 2016 Precedent

All Democrats and a few Republicans are already saying that McConnell’s refusal to advance the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 set an inviolable precedent that the GOP would be hypocrites to overturn. But there are differences between 2016 and 2020.

First, Barack Obama was at the end of his constitutionally limited two terms. The 2016 contest, therefore, was an “open-seat” election. Voters are much more likely to hand the presidency to the other party in an open-seat election; they have done so in the last three straight, whereas no incumbent has lost since 1992. A president at the end of his second term is a lame duck; it makes some sense in that circumstance to give a new president, with a new mandate, the chance to shape the court rather than let the outgoing has-been, who’s already had eight years to do as he will, one last shot at a legacy.

President Trump was almost a shoo-in for reelection before the lockdowns crushed the economy, and he remains a strong bet. He’s still immensely popular with his base and his approval ratings are the highest of his presidency—and higher than many of his predecessors’ at the same point in his term. He is anything but a lame duck. He deserves a chance to exercise his constitutionally enumerated powers and deliver for his voters.

Second, in 2016, the Senate was controlled by Republicans. That remains the case today. But four years ago, the president was a Democrat. The so-called Biden Rule, which McConnell invoked in 2016, and named after a 1992 floor speech by current Democratic nominee but then-Senator Joe Biden, holds that a justice should not be confirmed in a presidential election year when, in Biden’s words, “divided government” reflects a lack of a “nationwide consensus” on which party’s judicial philosophy should carry the day. That circumstance obviously does not prevail today. 

Of course, for all the howling about McConnell’s alleged hypocrisy, we have heard not a peep about Biden happily sidestepping his own rule in 2016. 

Remember, too, that senators no less than presidents have constitutionally enumerated powers and popular mandates. They owe loyalty to their voters no less than did President Obama or does President Trump. Republican voters elect Republican senators in very large part because they expect those senators to shape the courts in a conservative direction. Doing so can mean blocking the elevation of liberal justices no less than ensuring the confirmation of conservatives. 

In either case, Republicans are both exercising their lawful powers and delivering for their constituents—which is exactly what they are elected to do

The fact that Mitch McConnell—no one’s idea of an ideological firebrand—understands this while many “principled conservatives” do not should prompt the latter rethink their squeamishness.

The two most recent, and therefore currently binding, expressions of the will of the people were the elections of 2016 and 2018. The former produced a Republican president and reaffirmed Republican control of the Senate, in place since the election of 2014. The latter reaffirmed Republican control of the Senate yet again. The will of the people, therefore, as expressed through elections—the only legitimate basis for the exercise of political power in our constitutional system—is that conservative justices be elevated to the Supreme Court.

One-Way “Precedents”

Alleged “precedents” such as the Garland nomination, in any case, seem only to apply to us. The Democrats violate precedents at will when doing so suits their interests, and then attack us when we follow their most recent precedent. 

It wasn’t Republicans who nuked the filibuster for judicial nominees. Can you recall a single instance of Republicans treating a nominee as disgracefully as the Democrats treated Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, or Brett Kavanaugh? I can’t. Yet they constantly and sanctimoniously insist that the process is sacrosanct while scolding Republicans to obey every past procedural and conventional nicety that the Democrats have already torched.

Republicans mostly go along obediently. The Democrats nearly always vote in lockstep against any Republican judicial nominee; Republicans routinely break ranks and vote for Democratic nominees. A phrase I’ve heard to describe this faux-magnanimity is “beautiful losers,” though there’s nothing beautiful about it.

Does anyone for a second think, were the shoe on the other foot, the Democrats would hesitate to confirm their pick? To ask is to laugh.

The call to respect “norms” rings hollow after four years of the Left, the leftist media, the courts, and the administrative state all breaking norms, to the point of threatening if they don’t get their way on this vacancy, even more systemic change: D.C. and Puerto Rico statehood (four more Democratic senators, forever), abolishing the Electoral College (New York, California, Chicago, and Philadelphia electing the president, forever), and packing the Supreme Court.

Stopping Election Chaos

This argument is not original but bears repeating. Democrats have assured the American people that, unless Joe Biden wins in a landslide, they will litigate the living hell out of the 2020 election. One likely outcome, given the potentially huge number of lawsuits and the slow and cumbersome nature of the legal process, is that, in order to have a president by January 21, the Supreme Court will need to intervene as it did in December 2000.

In that case, what happens if the court splits 4-4? Who decides? There does not appear to be a clear constitutional mechanism. An unresolved Electoral College vote, constitutionally, goes to the House. But what if, because of legal chaos, electors are not designated? Then what? Decide the election in the streets?

Democrats appear to relish the thought. Some have openly called for a “street fight” to follow the chaos they deliberately intend to unleash in the courts. To say nothing of the fact that Republicans have no hope whatsoever of winning a “street fight” against the Democrats’ combined Antifa-Black Lives Matter militia and the protection and leniency that militia receives from law enforcement and Soros-funded prosecutors, a “street fight” settling an American presidential election should be the last thing any decent citizen of either party would want. As would any un- or extra-constitutional means for settling such an election.

What Is Political Power For?

Republican senators should ask themselves: why are they senators? Why did they run for office? What, if anything, do they hope to achieve once there?

Some no doubt are time-servers who like the perks and hope to get rich after leaving office. But some, even most, surely got into the game to do something. Is there a bigger something than confirming a constitutionalist Supreme Court justice to a closely divided court, when at least two of the “conservative” justices are drifting left, on the eve of the most important election in living memory? If you can’t rise to this occasion, why are you there? And why should your constituents send you back?

The Democrats know what political power is for: to enact your side’s agenda. They and their media allies successfully gaslight Republicans into fearing that exercising political power is “partisan” and therefore illegitimate—but only when Republicans do it. Democrats themselves have no hesitation.

Nor should they. The whole point of our democratic-republican system is for voters to elect people they perceive to be on their side, who favor their own approach to common problems, and who when given the opportunity then enact that agenda. That, in essence, is democracy. That is what Republican senators are there to do. Let them do it.

The Politics Are on Our Side

Not a single Republican should pay a moment’s heed to Democratic crocodile tears about the unseemliness of political considerations intruding into such grave matters. Whom to nominate to the Supreme Court, and when, are fundamentally political questions. In our system, political questions are supposed to be decided politically.

Yet those worried that the politics play against our party’s interests are wrong. Nothing energizes the Republican base like a Supreme Court fight. Nothing brings out Democratic ugliness and insanity like a Supreme Court fight. Few issues, if any, unite the Republican Party’s various factions—from the country-clubbers to the MAGA diehards—quite as effectively as judges.

I know some senators are in tough reelection fights this year. I will not presume to claim to understand their state electorates better than they do. I ask of them only two things. First, consider the possibility that, in this extraordinary year, the views of your constituents aren’t what they used to be. They may well be more open than you think to confirming a Supreme Court justice right now.

Second, the worst that could result from doing the right thing is that you aren’t reelected. Is that so bad? Aren’t you there to cast the tough votes? And consider the upside: doing the right thing for your country and party, and then paying a political price for it, will make you a hero whose courage will be long-remembered. Is there a finer legacy?

A Show of Strength in the Face of Chaos

This year has amply demonstrated the fragility of American society, the weakness of our political institutions, and the strength and ferocity of the Left. The latter has made it quite plain that they want to tear down the entire edifice of our nation, burn our cities, topple and desecrate our monuments, destroy law and order, shred the Constitution, and transform the country into a permanent leftist one-party state. One more justice on the court won’t necessarily prevent all that—but one more conservative sure would help!

The Republican base is fired up now, but only months ago was demoralized in the face of constant rioting, mayhem and seemingly purposeful government inaction. Should Republican senators, who have the power to make this appointment happen, not exercise that power, Republican voters are likely to conclude their government, and their country, has been lost to them. And, in all likelihood, it will have been.

If on the other hand Republican senators stick together, get behind and elevate a qualified nominee to the court, not just Republicans but moderates, independents and apoliticals alike are likely to appreciate a show of strength in service to our nation and its constitutional order.

To borrow from Margaret Thatcher, now is no time to go wobbly.

Elections

Trump Hate Is Not Enough

Joe Biden is not a political bumblebee, he is a lumbering guided-missile whose engine has failed.

I have railed in this and in other outlets many times in recent months against what I have described as a pantomime horse of the Democratic campaign conducted by a “decayed servitor, a waxworks dummy . . . following the science” by hiding in the catacombs of his Delaware home and giving minimum access to docile journalists and practically no authentic members of the public. It must be said that the Democratic Party elders who resuscitated the political corpses of the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris presidential nomination candidacies have performed a political miracle by keeping this ramshackle imposture in serious contention.

There have been hopeless and implausible candidacies and bungled campaigns before, but there has never been in the United States such a long-sustained fraudulent campaign on an unfeasible platform and by such a seriously incapable potential president as this one. It must now, finally, be almost the time when it falls down in shards.

I frequently ask, as (St.) Margaret Thatcher used to say, “Do my ears deceive me?” Unfortunately, they do not. Historians of the future will have to determine why 90 percent of the national political media is so rabidly hostile to President Trump that they have spontaneously assumed the conduct of the Democratic campaign themselves. 

An Odor of Desperation

Joe Biden is a pallid effigy unable to utter complete sentences without requesting the approach of the teleprompter or querying what is coming through his earpiece, even when answering questions his staff has clearly prepared and given to tame journalists from the Democratic networks and newspapers. His press secretary, rejoicing in a name that would have done credit to Dickens, T.J. Ducklo, acknowledged that Biden was reading answers to supposedly spontaneous questions off a teleprompter by aggressively declining to answer the question from Fox News anchor Bret Baier because Baier was “channeling” the allegations of the Trump campaign. 

While Biden addresses audiences of fewer than 20 people, and most of those audiences are comprised of aides and technicians, the official and media Democratic campaign shrieks indignantly that the president is a COVID-19 “super-spreader” when he addresses many thousands of people who flock to the nation’s airports to hear him as he hopscotches around the country. The Biden campaign medical advisor accused the president of “negligent homicide” for speaking to large and mainly mask-less live audiences (though no one died). 

There is absolutely no evidence that this sort of open-air activity spreads the coronavirus, and the Democrats never raised a peep of protest while rioters whom they deemed to be “peaceful protesters” rampaged in cities across the country all summer while Democratic governors and mayors sanctimoniously prevented people from attending religious services—even in their cars in church parking lots—or visiting public parks and beaches.

As California Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged Trump’s impeccable helpfulness to his state in the COVID-19 and forest fire emergencies during the president’s visit on Monday; Trump volunteered that failure to clear 65 million dead trees had made the forests giant tinderboxes of dry wood and had severely aggravated the fires. But as this was happening, Joe Biden sortied from his basement and denounced his opponent as a “climate arsonist,” and prayerfully demanded to know how many “suburbs will be burned and flooded . . . And blown away in super-storms” because of the climatological philistinism of this administration. 

The Democrats’ One Theme

In the Red Queen manner of the Democratic media and the putative candidate’s scriptwriters, there was no longer the slightest requirement for any evidence, and all evils of nature or coincidence are the results of the malice, incompetence, or perversity of the incumbent administration. 

One of the chief puppet-masters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), congratulated the president on the agreements he brokered between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain (and the Nobel Peace Prize nominations the Democratic media have not mentioned) as a “distraction” from COVID-19 infections. Trump hate is the Democrats’ one theme.

Perhaps the novel concept of “super-storms,” (which Biden’s election would banish like a halcyon before they arose) would replace the growing public concern about the urban guerrillas with whom the Democratic Party played footsie all summer. One of my very learned readers, a scientist in Mobile, Alabama who would be happy to adhere to the Biden counsel to “follow the science,” wrote to me on Monday night that he had to stock .38 caliber ammunition from a pawnshop because the normal emporia were sold out. He added that “the fact that the general public is opposed to being murdered by the friskier elements of the Democratic base seems to have eluded the nominee’s political consultants.”

Apart from the scandalous charade that Joe Biden remotely possesses the intellectual stamina to execute the great office that he seeks, and the unabashedly Marxist program that the Democrats have adopted as a placebo to the Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez Left, the greatest outrage of this fake campaign is its ambiguity about urban violence, its identifying with Black Lives Matter (much of whose leadership is composed of violent antiwhite racists), and its ambivalence between the police and the perpetrators of mob rule. 

Harris has expressed her admiration for Jacob Blake, who appears to have a legitimate complaint about having been shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha, Wisconsin policeman, but was armed and apprehended in the midst of committing a felony; sympathy would be reasonable but admiration? That seems premature. 

Both Biden and Harris have supported, albeit euphemistically, defunding and partially disarming the nation’s police, in the face of an unprecedented surge in urban violence. Despite the almost totalitarian fervor of the Democratic media’s lunge for control of public opinion, polls show two-thirds of Americans are now very concerned about urban violence, and the silence of the Democrats about the subject at their convention and of their nominees until very recently has been contemptible.    

The Farce Will Be Over Soon

The standing of the Democratic nominee in the (mainly Democratic front) polls is a levitation that defies all laws of nature and politics. 

Joe Biden is not a political bumblebee, he is a lumbering guided-missile whose engine has failed. Violence is a far more profound, less explicable, and less remediable problem than the coronavirus. COVID-19 fatalities and the unemployment that resulted from the shutdown Biden wishes to perpetuate or restore continue to decline and an effective vaccine now appears likely in the next few months. 

Despite Biden’s monstrous falsehoods that the American performance is the worst of any advanced country in the world, and despite the president’s inconsistent early public comments about it, Trump has managed the crisis well. Not even Ducklo could make the case that vacuous Joe Biden could have done better. 

The Democratic campaign is a gigantic fraud and Trump hate will not legitimize it. Fox News Ch Sean Hannity refers to the “candidate protection program,” and my eminent colleague Victor Davis Hanson reminds us of the Wizard of Oz and the dog and the curtain. 

Many epigrams are applicable and there are precedents for candidate Biden in fiction if not in U.S. history, but it will end in shambles on November 3. It has been a bold defiance of the laws of gravity and politics, but this farce can’t go on much longer without the audience mounting the stage. 

Greatness Agenda

Front Line Dispatch from China’s Economic War Against the U.S.

We are engaged in an economic war with the CCP and the future of our nation is more important than any company’s quarterly earnings report.

The Chinese Communist Party’s economic war against the United States continues.

The CCP is preparing to launch a major campaign to fleece American investors of billions of dollars to fund its drive for global hegemony.

And it’s getting help from some of the biggest names on Wall Street, a virtual fifth column for the brutal Marxist-Leninist regime.

Here’s the latest dispatch from the front: Ant Technology Group (Ant Group), formerly known as Ant Financial Services Group, is a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, the e-commerce giant that made Jack Ma one of the world’s richest men. 

Ant provides financial technology (fintech) products and services. It’s expected soon to issue an initial public offering in Hong Kong and Shanghai to raise $30 billion—the largest IPO in history.

It’s important to reiterate the risks involved with investing in any CCP-controlled or affiliated company—which means any Chinese company. Even “private” Chinese companies are beholden to the Chinese government according to its National Intelligence Law and security laws and regulations.

When President Trump barred the pension funds of civilian and military employees of the federal government from investing in index funds that include Chinese companies, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien explained: 

The financial impact of this risk is significant: scandals involving Chinese companies in recent years have cost investors billions of dollars. In addition, the Chinese Government currently prevents companies with Chinese operations listed on U.S. exchanges from complying with applicable U.S. securities law, leaving investors without the benefit of important protections.

The Obama-Biden Administration struck the deal that exempts Chinese companies from U.S. securities laws. 

Kudlow and O’Brien noted:

In addition to the uncertainties surrounding the financial reporting of these companies, some of the Chinese companies themselves present significant national security and humanitarian concerns for the United States, which increases the risk that they could be subject to sanctions, public protests, trade restrictions, boycotts, and other punitive measures that jeopardize their business and profitability.

This applies in spades to the Ant Technology Group IPO. Even though it will not be listed on U.S. exchanges, international stock index funds could pour billions from U.S. investors into the Ant hill. 

An analysis by RWR Advisory Group identifies several areas of serious material risk that the Ant IPO prospectus fails to disclose.

Cybersecurity: The fintech sector faces heightened cybersecurity risk with personal and financial user data subject to theft or breaches of privacy. Ant was forced to abandon its attempted acquisition of Dallas-based digital payment and money transfer platform MoneyGram International in 2018 after it became clear it would be nixed on national security grounds. The takeover would have granted Ant Financial access to MoneyGram’s mobile users’ accounts—including large numbers of U.S. military personnel. Earlier this month, India banned Ant affiliate Alipay and 117 other Chinese-owned apps due to data collection and privacy concerns.

Human Rights: Ant and its parent company, Alibaba, use facial recognition technology in their payment systems. The companies are both investors in Megvii Technology, an artificial intelligence (AI) startup that specializes in facial recognition technology. Megvii was sanctioned by the U.S. government in October 2019 for “human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance” of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. 

National security: Alibaba has been identified by the U.S. government as a leading participant in the CCP’s integration of military and civilian technology, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.

One of Ant Group’s subsidiaries, Zhima Credit Management (Sesame Credit), is using large-scale data collection and analysis for the development of the CCP’s coercive “social credit” system. This scores citizens based on their social track records, assigning rewards or punishments depending on how they score throughout their daily lives—in other words, how well they have toed the party line.

Ant’s investments pose a material risk to investors because Washington could impose sanctions on any of these companies for their human rights abuses. 

In addition, beyond any one company or incident, the escalation of tensions between the United States and China puts Ant Financial at risk of financial repercussions.

The flip side is that American investors in Ant Financial could be recruited to lobby Washington to go easy on the CCP lest their portfolios suffer financial repercussions. Call it the Lebron James effect.

Or call it the Wall Street effect. 

Large money-center bankers famously are loath to let niggling details such as national security, human rights, and freedom of thought get in the way of making money with Marxists. Wall Street has long lobbied for maintaining close ties with Beijing. 

Some of the biggest names on the Street—Citigroup, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley—are involved in the Ant deal, eager to split up to $300 million in fees. Goldman Sachs is also reportedly in on the action. 

But these banks also have a fiduciary responsibility to investors even if they don’t care about human rights or the nation’s security. Involvement with Ant exposes their shareholders as well as other investors down the line to the undisclosed risks identified above. 

For these reasons, the Committee on the Present Danger: China is calling on the Boards of Directors of the Wall Street banks to disassociate their companies from the Ant Technology Group’s initial public offering.    

Meanwhile, where are the watchdogs? The SEC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have a statutory responsibility to protect investors and consumers. Why aren’t they barking? 

These agencies should follow the example of Customs and Border Protection. This week, CBP ordered a stop to the importation of textiles and computer parts made by Uighur Muslims imprisoned in the CCP’s Xinjiang concentration camps. 

That might inconvenience companies making money from slave labor—but we are engaged in an economic war with China and the future of our nation is more important than any company’s quarterly earnings report.

Great America

Strzok Interviews Reveal FBI’s Disgrace

Can constitutional democracy continue to coexist with a lawless secret police that targets innocent people?

By his smartly dressed appearance, one would never know Peter Strzok wasn’t still a senior FBI agent. He looked to be straight out of central casting as he began his “Meet the Press” interview on Sunday with this book-promoting slander, “I think it is clear, I believed at the time in 2016, and I continue to believe, that Donald Trump is compromised by the Russians. And when I say that, I mean that they hold leverage over him that makes him incapable of placing the national interests, the national security ahead of his own.”

Nothing is more sleazy and corrupt than a current or former FBI agent implicitly claiming to have access to secret evidence of a target’s guilt when the time to produce such evidence has long since passed.

Imagine that you’ve just weathered four years of an FBI investigation during which the press consistently published character-assassinating falsehoods attributed to “people familiar with the investigation.” Your enemies, who personally hate you, launch the investigative team with unlimited manpower and money and staff it with political opponents. Federal agents entrap your allies in process crimes, coerce a plea by threatening a man’s family, repeatedly deceive a court to conduct intrusive surveillance, steal thousands of emails without a warrant, and deliberately prolong the investigation despite knowing from day one that you are innocent. 

When the day finally comes for the persecutors either to put up or shut up, they do neither, publishing a slanted report full of smears without ever giving you the chance to rebut the charges in court. 

For years, villains like House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), fed by people like Strzok, have claimed to be in possession of “secret evidence” that Trump colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election. Imagine being accused in that way. The investigators tell the media that they can prove you’re guilty of treason but nobody is ever allowed to see or contest the evidence. You can’t prove yourself innocent. 

Perhaps the greatest gift Donald Trump gave America is inadvertently to have spotlighted these dirty tactics that the FBI has used for years against countless Americans. There are 296 FBI cases in which the wrongfully convicted have obtained exonerations. But those are the just ones lucky enough to have exculpatory evidence materialize in the years after the FBI helped railroad them into prison. 

Clint Eastwood’s recent movie, “Richard Jewell,” showed how the FBI used the media to smear Jewell with the 1996 bombing at the Atlanta Olympics—a crime he clearly didn’t commit. We can remember that shortly after September 11, 2001, the FBI harassed and falsely accused a scientist of attacking his fellow Americans with anthrax. In 1965, the FBI framed Joe Salvati to protect its Boston area “informant” (really, criminal partner). These public cases barely scratch the surface of FBI wrongdoing. 

The FBI helped frame Donald Trump for colluding with the Russians. It knew from the outset that the entire smear started with the Clinton campaign hiring FusionGPS to deflect attention from Clinton’s email problems by sticking Trump with his own legal problems. By the end of the first full month of the investigation, in August 2016, the Trump-Russia collusion hoax was already falling apart as FBI spies were reporting back that George Papadopolous, Carter Page, and Oleg Deripaska all denied the truth of Fusion’s flimsy fabrications. 

The investigation of the Russia collusion hoax netted one felony conviction of FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, who doctored an email to deceive the FISA court so it would authorize spying on Trump campaign figure Carter Page. Clinesmith has claimed that he made sure everyone on the team knew he was doctoring the email. They were all in on it. 

Then came the news that as many as 12 phones used by the Mueller hit squad were “accidentally” wiped clean by the agents and attorneys who ran the operation. Obviously, we’re not meant to believe these flimsy stories. They’re rubbing our noses in their lawless impunity.

Was Peter Strzok using his position in the FBI to interfere in the 2016 presidential election? Of course he was and his texts to his lover and co-conspirator, Lisa Page, plainly state his intent

But there’s another election on its way. So once again, Strzok is attempting to leverage the credibility of the FBI to manipulate the election. He said on NBC’s “Today” show, “There is no more urgent election in our lifetime from a counterintelligence perspective . . . Without exaggeration, President Trump’s counter-intelligence vulnerabilities are exponentially greater than any president in modern history.” 

Strzok went on to claim that the president is hiding his tax returns to prevent revealing evidence of Russian financial leverage. Strzok didn’t say whether he ever saw those financial records or what they would show. But the smartly dressed former G-man obviously intended the inference. More sleazy innuendo about secret evidence. 

What a scumbag.

Strzok has sued the FBI for wrongful termination under the theory that he had the constitutional right to use the powers of his job to take down Trump. In a way, he has a point. In the get-Trump era, the 2016 election is considered such an affront to the privileged bureaucracy that getting Trump has become the principle that overrides all other laws. Certainly, if figures such as Andrew McCabe and James Comey can get away with apparent criminal deceptions, then why should poor Peter Strzok not have access to the “Orange Man Bad” defense?

Fortunately, the FBI has compromised its ability to interfere in the 2020 election. Had the FBI worked to punish and expel the miscreants who perpetrated the Russian collusion hoax, it might have recovered enough credibility to make another go of it. As I recently wrote, only political opportunists will choose to believe the FBI the next time it cries wolf over Trump. While some hope that Special Counsel John Durham’s probe will finally yield a full accounting of the FBI and Justice Department’s abuses of power, close observers have reasons to be skeptical. 

Kevin Clinesmith appears to have been the sacrificial lamb intended to delay any comprehensive accountability long enough to determine whether a Harris Administration—excuse me, a Biden Administration will sweep it all under the rug to renew the Left’s love affair with the American KGB. The Justice Department effectively is in charge of whether their own people will be charged. Immunity from the laws they enforce is one of the perks of the job. Why would they give that up? 

The larger question is whether American constitutional democracy can continue to coexist with a lawless secret police that targets innocent people. Virtually all countries have paper constitutions with unenforced liberties. Those rights only mean something when the guys with the badges and guns are held to account for trampling those principles. 

The rise of the FBI as a power-center comes at the direct expense of those liberties in America. Our elected leaders fear the FBI and its power to make an innocent person seem guilty. What difference does an election make if the FBI can control the elected, regardless of party? Whatever law-enforcement benefit we derive from the FBI’s “protection,” it’s coming at a very heavy cost to our freedoms.

Elections

The Billionaire Backers of the ‘Insurrection’

The mostly behind-the-scenes attempt between Election Day and Inauguration Day to prevent Donald Trump from taking office the first time will go public in 2020.

As I reported last week, a cabal of Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans are plotting a post-election civil war of sorts to make sure Joe Biden assumes the presidency even if Donald Trump legitimately wins. “It’s insurrection,” President Trump said on Fox News last week when asked about the widely-circulated plan. “We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that.”

Let’s hope. A document released last month by the Transition Integrity Project, a headfake name to give the depraved group the appearance of decency, is a shocking battle plan that would plunge the country into more chaos. The same agitators on the Left and NeverTrump Right who’ve stoked nonstop political upheaval over the past four years will exploit our current instability to throw the election to the Democrats. 

But this is more than the far-fetched hallucinations of political outcasts. The mayhem they’ve been war-gaming will be heavily funded by a number of Trump-hating billionaires, and those people have no intention of losing out on their investment.

The mostly behind-the-scenes attempt between Election Day and Inauguration Day to prevent Donald Trump from taking office the first time—one that miraculously failed despite help from the media and the most powerful government agencies in the world—will go public in 2020. And instead of help from James Comey, Jim Clapper, or John Brennan, the 2020 version will be bolstered by the likes of George Soros, Tom Steyer, Pierre Omidyar, a member of the Rupert Murdoch family, and Big Tech titans among others.

One of the co-founders of the Transition Integrity Project is Rosa Brooks. The Georgetown law professor and Obama Administration alum is a former counsel and board member for the Open Society Foundation, created in 1993 by George Soros. The foundation is a massive donor to hundreds of left-wing causes around the world; in July, Open Society Foundation announced a five-year, $150 million investment in “racial justice” groups including Black Lives Matter. 

In 2018, Soros’ two largest foundations reported more than $14 billion in assets.

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Brooks put the country on notice; unless Joe Biden wins in a landslide, we will be sorry. “With the exception of the ‘big Biden win’ scenario, each of our exercises reached the brink of catastrophe, with massive disinformation campaigns, violence in the streets and a constitutional impasse,” she warned. That reaction will occur, according to the simulations, even if Trump wins the Electoral College but loses the popular vote.

But Brooks isn’t the only connection between deep-pocketed foes of Donald Trump and the post-election insurrection.  Another new group, Protect the Results, is working hand-in-hand with Brooks “to mobilize if Donald Trump refuses to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election . . . [and] prepare for a potential post-election crisis.”

Protect the Results lists dozen of sponsors which in reality are mostly funded by only a handful of anti-Trump tycoons.

George Soros: One of Protect the Results main organizers is a nonprofit called Indivisible. Based out of Washington, D.C., Indivisible was founded in 2016 after Trump’s election; according to a political watchdog, Indivisible’s main donor is the Tides Foundation, a Soros-financed pass through organization.

“Started as a Google document detailing techniques for opposing the Republican agenda under Mr. Trump, [Indivisible] now has a mostly Washington-based staff of about 40 people, with more than 6,000 volunteer chapters across the country,” the New York Times reported in 2017. That year, Indivisible raised nearly $8 million, a figure we presume is much higher in 2020. The group’s policy director is a former advisor for an immigration advocacy center partially funded by grants from Soros.

Other Soros-funded entities including MoveOn.org, People for the American Way, 350Action, and Women’s March are listed as Protect the Results partners. In an interview last month, Soros, a longtime Trump nemesis, suggested the president will be indicted if he loses in November “because he has violated the Constitution in many different ways.” One scenario war-gamed out by the post-election plotters is criminal charges brought against Donald Trump and his associates for unspecified crimes.

Pierre Omidyar: The founder of eBay has poured tens of millions into projects headed by NeverTrump “conservatives” including former Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol since 2017.

Omidyar, whose net worth is around $17 billion, this week issued a blueprint for how to “reimagine capitalism in America” which would “ensure that people who have been historically and systematically marginalized by structural racism, colonialism, paternalism, and indifference will have opportunity, power, and the self determination that comes from economic prosperity and a vibrant, fair, and responsive democracy.” 

Most of Omidyar’s largess has been directed to left-wing causes and Democratic candidates over the years but he found political soulmates on the NeverTrump Right. Two NeverTrump outfits—Republicans for the Rule of Law and Stand Up Republic—are Protect the Results partners. Stand Up Republic is fronted by NeverTrumper Evan McMullin; Republicans for the Rule of Law, headed by Kristol, is one of many groups that receives grants from Omidyar’s vast network.

Kristol participated in the post-election tabletop exercises and bragged on Twitter that he had played the role of President Trump.

James and Kathryn Murdoch: The son and daughter-in-law of Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch are spending lots of money to separate themselves from the family’s conservative legacy. James resigned from the company’s board in July over disputes with the cable news channel’s “editorial content.”

The Murdochs, worth a reported $2 billion, are donors to Kristol’s Republicans for the Rule of Law and another Kristol-operated group, Defending Democracy Together, which is spending tens of millions on advertisements in swing states featuring purported Republicans planning to vote for Joe Biden. (The Murdochs also support the former vice president.) 

Defending Democracy Together publishes The Bulwark, an online magazine that replaced Kristol’s now-defunct Weekly Standard. The blog houses a number of NeverTrumper editors and writers including Charles Sykes and Mona Charen. The Bulwark, like other NeverTrump organs, is pushing the idea that the president, not the Democrats or Joe Biden, won’t accept the results of the election. (Omidyar also supports Defending Democracy Together.)

Tom Steyer: NextGen America, fronted by failed Democratic presidential candidate and multi-billionaire Tom Steyer, is involved in Protect the Results. Steyer spent $123 million in the 2018 election cycle; NextGen America will spend at least $45 million to help elect Joe Biden by persuading young voters to use mail-in ballots. While lamenting out-of-control wildfires in his home state, Steyer told CNN on Monday that the only solution to the alleged climate crisis is “honest to God, Joe Biden.”

While this list covers the anti-Trump vehicles offically bankrolling the post-election revolt, it does not account for the unquantifiable in-kind donations by Big Tech. As I will detail in my next column, Silicon Valley already is seeding the ground for a Biden victory at all costs by using a combination of censorship and intimidation aimed not just at Republican voters but at the president himself—involvement that can justifiably be described as election interference on a scale our foreign adversaries could only dream of.

Elections

Biden, ‘The Great and Powerful’

For now Joe Biden’s best hope is that some Emerald City media lackey does not play the role of the tiny dog Toto, rip away the curtain, and reveal the tiny man and his machinery behind the projection.

Media bias is not new.

In addition to the Russian collusion hoax and the phone-call impeachment farce, who can forget the marquee media toadies of JournoList and the release of John Podesta’s email trove? 

Or the moderator Donna Brazile’s primary debate questions, leaked through CNN, or Candy Crowley’s hijacking of a debate as moderator-turned-real-time-hack “fact-checker”? 

Nothing then is new to the media’s fusion and collusion with the “progressive party.” 

Yet never in American history have mainstream journalists not merely promoted a candidate but actively fused with his political candidacy to the point of warping, fabricating, and Trotskyizing the news and indeed history itself. 

The trope of a vast charade to create an illusionary powerful figure out of nothing is an old one in fiction, Hollywood and television. We remember “The Great and Powerful” Wizard of Oz fakery, a formidable screen image created backstage by gears and levers operated by a tiny man “behind the curtain.” Similar is the famous scene in an episode of the old Star Trek series, depicting a near comatose on-air John Gill used as a televised prop by his puppeteers, in a utopian federation project gone haywire.

But reality has outdone art with the Biden campaign. The concoction is holistic, from the mundane construction of a fantasy, on-the-go candidate to the supposed middle-of-the road old Joe Biden from Scranton radiating an aura of kindness and moderation in times of plague, panic, and protest. 

Bunker Illusions

For six months, Biden has run a Zoom campaign on the pretext of mandatory quarantines—our current version of a 19th-century, stationary presidential candidate, who campaigned by spitting out wit and wisdom while immovable on his front porch. 

Biden has conducted no free-wheeling, unscripted press conferences. He will not do extended one-on-one interviews with a disinterested journalist. He rarely will even try Trump-like cameo appearances on CNN or MSNBC to answer unscripted questions from supporters. His press events instead are Orwellian, requiring a media mass suspension of disbelief. 

The questions are canned. They are submitted in advance by “journalists,” whether formally or via electronic chatter. The inquiries are obsequious—seldom a word about Hunter Biden, China, Biden’s troubling racist remarks, his handsy past, his scary cognitive lapses, or his “contract” with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Instead the softball, known-in-advance inquiries are in spirit carried over from the Obama years, phrased in the manner of “Were you outraged enough by Trump’s outrage?”

Biden’s Oz functionaries seemingly are always experimenting with all sorts of screen props. The trick is to discover how best their challenged candidate can square the circle of completing sentences and remaining semi-coherent, while not giving away the game that his illusionists are feeding him answers to synthetic questions. 

When asked point-blank on Fox News by Brett Baier whether Biden used a stealth teleprompter, his national press flak, T.J. Ducklo would not answer with a simple yes or no. Instead, he went on the attack, with the fossilized accusation that right-wing Fox News asks too many partisan questions. 

So we were left with a de facto “yes”: Biden does read off a stealthy teleprompter when answering canned press questions—and gives the impression he does not.

But Biden, like the mirage of the Wizard of Oz, nonetheless can’t always keep the curtain closed. 

When he strains to see the teleprompter that sits just behind, and thus out of sight of, his camera lens, he slips and mutters “bring it closer”—reminding any who watch, except the media that helps collude in these orchestrations, that the question asked is not a serious one, but a prompt to facilitate the proper nonspontaneous response.

Yet even then Biden cannot act out the part of the Star Trek federation’s addled Gill without someone either giving him the prewritten answer on the teleprompter or writing it out for him in real-time. Sometimes if Biden is not reading a hidden teleprompter script, he looks down in panic for notes or his smartphone instructions in ways that only expose the sheer ridiculousness of this faux media-staged event.

Sometimes he shows off family pictures on screen that seemingly inadvertently reflect and expose the ghostly presence of a teleprompter’s reflection in the background. On other occasions when speaking, Biden searches in vain for his “schedule” and asks handlers to fetch it, whatever that exactly means.

In a presidential campaign first, Biden even reads out the written directives of his controllers as if to say “I’m not really saying this myself, but so what?”

So not surprisingly, during one of these sessions, out came a reference to his script’s talking point “topline” headings. When faking impromptu answers, Biden bumps into and voices his handlers’ notation of “end of quotation.” 

Occasionally a “citizen” questioner sort of rebels from the media Borg and asks an unapproved question (e.g. “I’m just going to be honest Mr. Biden, I was told to go off this paper, but I can’t. We need the truth and I am a part of the truth”). In reaction, Biden’s handlers and fact-checkers rush to assure the public that the approved question was written by the questioner’s sympathetic organization rather than from Team Biden itself—as if we are supposed to believe the campaign had no idea what its own surrogates would ask.

Sometimes the effort is scary. When old photos reappear in a CNN puff piece about a younger Biden holding his young son at a long-ago Washington Redskins game, the team logo—the now-politically incorrect Redskins logo—is airbrushed from his son’s stocking cap. And then presto, legions of “disinterested” “fact-checkers” in the media emerge to confess that Biden, not CNN, supplied the doctored image. 

But, in turn, the Biden campaign assures the press that the doctoring was only for “copyright” reasons, as if candidates routinely photoshop out all the cap logos they wear. The impression is that Biden is terrified that his new leftist friends in the Ministry of Truth are combing his past and ordering embarrassing moments to go down the memory hole.

Oz Wizardry

As a general rule, the Soviet-style apologia for the media-Biden fusion—usually outsourced to a now utterly corrupt left-wing institution called “fact-checking”—only solidifies the fact that the media and the Biden campaign are indistinguishable.

In Soviet times, one easily just assumed the opposite from Moscow’s party-line efforts and, presto, stumbled onto the truth. In the case of Biden’s optics and press conferences and appearances, we easily deduce that the downside of scripting and programming a compliant candidate far outweighs the existential risk of turning Biden loose to answer questions like a normal human being. 

True, even before his cognitive decline, Biden was known in Washington as someone whose incoherent and impromptu loquaciousness usually embarrassed his friends more than hurt his enemies—in addition to his long history of plagiarism and inflating his thin résumés with false data about his past. 

But with the onset of his cognitive decline, Biden’s own once-feeble social antennae are now more or less unplugged most of the day.

The result is that he has a creepy propensity to blurt out patently racist tropes as if the old inner Biden who talked of Obama as “clean” and the first “articulate” black presidential candidate, and pandered to his working-class Democratic supporters with references to the inner-city “jungle,” is now free of his harnesses, bits, and halters. 

For some time, Biden unchained has shouted about “you ain’t black,” and, earlier, his Corn Pop series of inflated tales as Biden, the white knight, equipped with a chain no less, protecting the inner city from itself. 

Biden showed his tough-guy mettle with putdowns of a transitorily noncompliant black journalist and sneered that he is comparable to a “junkie” and drug addict. To a liberated Biden, blacks just don’t think independently like Latinos.

Given all that, the decision of his campaign and their media stand-ins to reinsert Biden into his safe space, wheel him out for scripted occasions, and pray at least that he can follow either the teleprompter, his iPhone, or written notes in his lap, or remember his cues—without including the prompts themselves—seems understandable. 

This was all known to Democratic primary voters who initially wanted little to do with Biden. The narratives advanced by primary rivals Kamala Harris and Corey Booker implied that he was either a virtual racist or cognitively challenged or both—insinuations the left-wing media was willing to fuel, in the heydays of a preferable Berrnie Sanders, Elizbeth Warren, or Beto O’Rourke prairie fire candidacy. 

All that media fantasy imploded when would-be savior Michael Bloomberg proved little more than a billionaire bore and Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders cranky and shrill socialist septuagenarians with even scarier agendas. 

Floating to November

So the lightweight Biden was reflated as a sort of centrist hot air balloon to be used to float the hard-Left basket carriage beneath across the election defining line.

But fusion/collusion is not just a matter of a Potemkin veneer. Biden’s agenda is a fantasy creation. His role was to save the party from Sanders, win suburbanites, and pander to the party’s socialist sympathizers of Antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement. That is an impossible task because today’s Democratic Party is a conglomeration of squabbling tribes and looney agendas. 

Biden is now ordered to keep still on the issues of the day, because what he once said to get nominated and please the Left would lose him the election. He wants to defund the police, but not to defund the police. He wants to phase out fossil fuels and end fracking but not to end fracking in Electoral College-rich Pennsylvania. 

The rioting, Biden insists, is due to police brutality but not due to it entirely. Trump’s COVID policies killed thousands, but Biden’s own bromides are either identical or would be less effective. 

And on and on, as Biden is made to wink and nod to the Left that his only role is to get them elected before collapsing at the finishing line. 

The media thinks this will work, and so owns the project. Biden will stay sequestered, visit a key state occasionally, pop out of the plane to say he is “barnstorming” Michigan or Wisconsin and then fly back into his Biden bunker for more Zoom puff interviews—and hope progressive polls show that he can endure weekly bleeding until November 3.

Every four or five days the media will blast the airways with, “Trump is ripping out mailboxes,” “Trump won’t concede and will have to be forcibly removed,” “Trump insulted our war dead as ‘losers’ and ‘suckers’ as he hid from the rain to keep his hair dry.” Most recently Bob Woodward’s book queued up for its turn of 72 hours of smears, right after gab-bag Jeffery Goldberg’s anonymous sources faded out. 

Will this joint project of progressive ideologues of the Democratic Party and the major media work? 

So far the rope-a-dope has succeeded in slowing down somewhat the pace of the erosion of Biden’s lead. And Biden as the tough-talking Wizard projection will continue until, when, or if the polls show an undeniable Trump surge ahead. 

For now Biden’s best hope is that some Emerald City media lackey does not play the role of the tiny dog Toto, rip away the curtain, and reveal the tiny man and his machinery behind the projection.

Great America

A Collection of Liars

There is nothing at all comical about the implosion of the American media.

How quaint this admonition from Dr. Johnson seems today: “Accustom your children constantly to this,” Johnson told Boswell; “if a thing happened at one window, and they, when relating it, say that it happened at another, do not let it pass, but instantly check them; you do not know where deviation from truth will end.”

Where is Dr. Johnson when we need him? How well could we profit from his scruples when it comes to the question of truth. For we live at a time when truth is everywhere under attack. I am not talking about anything arcane or polysyllabic: just plain, factual truth, as in “The battle of Agincourt took place in October 1415” or (more generally) “the documents support my claim and do not support his” or “the police station has been torched; this is not a peaceful protest but a riot.”

It is perhaps easy enough to discount some of the more florid examples of the assault on truth. I daresay that few sensible people take seriously the claims of Holocaust deniers. What is significant, however, is the way in which such extreme doctrines tend to be dismissed. Increasingly, they are repudiated not as pernicious falsehoods—the response that Dr. Johnson would have insisted upon—but as more or less unfortunate “perspectives” or “points of view,” the gospel being that everyone is “entitled” to his own such hobbyhorse, no matter how flagrantly at odds with the truth it might be. Never mind that such an attitude not only disparages truth but also erodes the legitimacy of serious opinion.

There are no doubt many reasons for this development. One important reason is the degree to which Western intellectual elites—in the media, the world of culture, and above all in the academy—have reneged on their commitment to truth. This abdication has a long and complex heritage. And it comes in many forms and degrees of finality, from various modes of trial separation to, in extreme cases, irrevocable divorce. 

Downgrading Facts

As always in the world of ideas, what matters is not so much the existence but the influence and prevalence of such commitments. In the present case, the cavalier attitude toward truth has reached epidemic proportions. It has, indeed, become part of the intellectual furniture of our age, presupposed rather than argued for.

One depressing sign of this situation is the absolute horror with which the idea of “objective truth” is regarded in chic academic circles today—and, increasingly, in the decidedly nonacademic circles of elite cultural opinion. Another sign is the widespread tendency to downgrade facts to matters of opinion—a tendency that follows naturally from the rejection of objective truth. 

This shows itself in the amazingly prevalent assumption that truth is “relative,” i.e., that the truth of what is said depends crucially upon the interests, prejudices, even the sex or ethnic origin of the speaker rather than—well, than the truth or falsity of what the speaker says. 

The basic idea is that truth somehow is invented rather than discovered. Typical of this position is the feminist complaint about “male-centered” or “white-centered” epistemologies that make false claims to universality (another word that inspires panic) or objectivity.

The British historian Simon Schama provided a more genteel expression of this attitude toward truth in the afterword to his best-selling harlequinade, Dead Certainties. “The claims for historical knowledge,” Schama assured his readers, “must always be fatally circumscribed”—fatally circumscribed, mind you—“by the character and prejudices of its narrator.” In other words, the limitations of the historian make the achievement of historical truth impossible. 

How many college-educated people today would dare to dissent from this assertion? Schama was at pains to deny that his was a “naïvely relativist position”; yet at bottom, his claim is little more than a chummy periphrasis for Nietzsche’s famous declaration of nihilism: “There are no facts, only interpretations.” 

It is unfortunate that we lack a squadron of Dr. Johnsons: they might remedy the situation considerably by applying a series of refutations like that delivered against Bishop Berkeley’s idealist philosophy. Except in the case of Michel Foucault, who might have grown overly fond of Johnson’s method of refutation, the results would almost certainly be salutary.

Nihilism in the Academy

Not surprisingly, the flight from truth has had especially devastating consequences in the academy. Among other things, it has undermined the integrity of many academic disciplines—has, in fact, done much to undermine the very idea of an academic “discipline,” that is to say, a field of study with a generally agreed upon subject matter and shared tools of inquiry.

The dizzy proliferation of “studies” programs is an important sign of this decay. Women’s studies, LGBTQ+ studies, African-American studies, Chicano studies, peace studies, textual studies: the metastasis of these and other such pseudo-subjects in the academy betokens not the extension but the breakdown of academic disciplines. 

It is worth stressing that such programs, though advertised as “cross-disciplinary,” in reality are anti-disciplinary; they require not the mastery of multiple disciplines but the abandonment of disciplinary rigor for the sake of fostering a prescribed ideology. 

The paradigm of all such efforts is “cultural studies,” an alarmingly popular intellectual solvent that is characterized not by its subject—which can be anything at all—but by its attitude. The two mandatory ingredients for cultural studies are 1) political animus and 2) hostility to factual truth. “Content” is entirely discretionary.

To date, the assault on truth in the academy seems to have been most damaging to the study of literature—partly because departures from factual truth are not always so readily detectable when the subject is literature, partly because departments of literature were among the first to capitulate to such trendy and destructive fads as deconstruction, structuralism, and cultural studies in all their unlovely allotropes. 

But few if any subjects have escaped unscathed. Philosophy, law, art history, psychology, anthropology, sociology: all have been playing an aggressive game of catch-up with literature departments in this regard. Even history, whose raison d’être, one might have thought, was a commitment to factual truth, has suffered. So, too, the natural sciences: the theory and philosophy of science—if not yet the actual practice of science—have increasingly become hostage to sundry forms of epistemological incontinence, as the logic and substance of science is deliberately confused with the sociology of science. 

According to some observers, such ideas have even begun making headway in schools of business management and accounting—though regrettably not, it seems, among those accountants employed by the Internal Revenue Service. I remember a splendid chap called Nicholas Fox, who lectures in English medical schools, who in his book Postmodernism, Sociology and Health assured readers that such terms as “patient” and “illness” are “sociological fictions” that can be cleared up by “elements of feminist theory and Derridean concepts of différance and intertextuality.”

Malodorous Fumes Escape the Academy

But if the progress of this assault on truth has been most conspicuous in the university, its colonization of more workaday precincts of society has been startling. This is something that Attorney General William Barr underscored in an interview with Townhall Friday. “They’re basically a collection of liars,” he said, summing up the behavior of “most of the mainstream media.”

They’re a collection of liars and they know exactly what they’re doing. A perfect example of that [was] the riots. Right on the street, it was clear as day what was going on, anyone observing it, reporters observing it, it could not have escaped their attention that this was orchestrated violence by a hardened group of street fighting radicals and they kept on excluding from their coverage all the video of this and reporting otherwise and they were doing that for partisan reasons, and they were lying to the American people. It wasn’t until they were caught red-handed after essentially weeks of this lie that they even started feeling less timid.

Does anyone doubt this? If you were to ask representatives of the Fourth Estate point-blank about Barr’s claim, they would sputter, roll their eyes, and tell you that the attorney general is the despicable tool of Donald Trump, a man too low to warrant the epithet “despicable.” 

But would they deny the charge? Tricky, because at least since the New York Times admitted (or do I mean “bragged”) that it had given up even trying to cover Donald Trump fairly it has been an open secret that the media does not cover the news—i.e., things that happen—it reinforces The Narrative, the storyline that this week’s wardens of wokeness tacitly agree upon. 

The Times’ admission that it had given up on telling the truth came in 2016. Since then, the declivity has been both rapid and steep. 

The Times is a poster child for this development, but it is merely a representative poster child. We’ve heard the word “pandemic” a lot recently as people scurry about trying to discover ways of exploiting our latest Chinese import. Something that is politically and morally more toxic than the coronavirus is the pandemic of mendacity in the media. I suspect many—maybe most—people understand this, which is why public distrust of the media is skyrocketing.

Barr is right that “the national mainstream media . . . has dropped any pretense of professional objectivity and are political actors, highly partisan who try to shape what they’re reporting to achieve a political purpose and support a political narrative that has nothing to do with the truth.” Not only that, “[t]hey’re very mendacious about it,” a development that is “very destructive to our Republic,” partly because the partisanship and mendacity are so one-sided, partly because it is so “monolithic.”

Escape from Mendacity

If you are able to distance yourself from the realities being described—or, rather, misdescribed—the procedure can seem comical. 

I think back, for example, to May when an MSNBC reporter stood in front of a burning police station and assured his viewers that the “protests” were “not generally speaking unruly,” or—a more recent case—when a CNN reporter described the mayhem in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as a “fiery but mostly peaceful protest.” This prompted a spate of parodies, including one that substituted an image of the burning Hindenburg behind the hapless reporter (“Hindenburg completes fiery but mostly successful journey”).

But in fact, there is nothing at all comical about the implosion of the American media. Their derelictions, as the attorney general observed, constitute a threat to the Republic. I’m told that only a tiny percentage of the voting public gets its news primarily from the mainstream media. That is consoling.

Less heartening is the reflection that the mainstream media nevertheless exerts a disproportionate influence on the climate of elite opinion. Their “fiery but mostly peaceful” yarns have done serious damage to the horizon of shared assumptions that makes our public life together inhabitable. These liars—to employ the attorney general’s apposite term—squeal like stuck pigs when the president refers to these scribes and broadcasters as purveyors of “fake news.” 

But the president is right about that, just as he is right to call them “enemies of the people.” Their irresponsibility has been toxic since the days of Richard Nixon. It went on steroids with the election of Donald Trump. 

Now, in the midst of riots in Democratic-run cities across the country, as we head into the final stretch of what is perhaps the most consequential presidential election since 1860, they have joined the forces of dissolution and anarchy. 

I am delighted that someone of the stature and authority of Bill Barr has called them out with Johnsonian frankness. I hope it will prove to be a tonic preliminary to some sort of reckoning. 

Great America

The Riots Ought to be Against Romney, Bush, Biden, and Harris

The neoliberal core of both of these supposedly distinct political parties is stronger than ever.

Not quite a year ago, online journalist Kaitlin Bennett interviewed a Rutgers student who said “neoliberalism has torn through humanity.” Without meaning to, the student neatly expressed the reason Donald Trump appeals to increasing numbers of Bernie Sanders voters, and why NeverTrump Republicans are better suited to be Democrats.

Among the populist leftist movement in the United States, apart from the relatively few people who are hardcore Communists and anti-white racists, you’re left with a vast, embittered population of Americans who have indeed had their lives torn apart by neoliberalism. 

For the uninitiated, neoliberalism sees all humanity as an undifferentiated mass of consumers, with borders, language, cultures, and national sovereignty as nothing more than obstacles to global corporate governance.

NeverTrump Republicans, on the other hand, have been treated very well by neoliberalism, as have the Silicon Valley moguls and Wall Street raiders who now constitute the moneyed core of the Democratic party.

Through an impressive sleight of hand, America’s neoliberal corporate elite have succeeded in making Trump, who wants to bring jobs back to America and stay out of foreign wars, the target of nationwide rioting. These efforts by Trump make him an enemy of neoliberals. 

By contrast, Mitt Romney and Joe Biden epitomize those neoliberals who have gotten rich by gutting America’s economy, and George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton epitomize those neoliberals who have dragged America into endless wars that drain our wealth and murder our youth.

It’s hard not to have contempt for these politicians. Romney got rich by taking over American companies, loading them up with debt, selling off the assets and the intellectual property, firing the employees, then closing the bankrupt shells while paying himself and his partners the looted millions. Bush is best remembered as the man who destabilized the Middle East on false pretenses, costing countless lives, trillions of dollars, and ongoing chaos.

Now Romney and Bush are now trying to win their grim battle with history, hoping that by joining NeverTrumpers they can vindicate themselves. Good riddance.

Make no mistake about it, Romney and Bush are no longer Republicans, because the overwhelming majority of Republican voters support Donald Trump. Romney and Bush, by declaring they will not vote for Trump, merely signal that the center of gravity of the establishment uniparty has shifted from Republican to Democrat. But the neoliberal core of both of these supposedly distinct political parties is stronger than ever.

Redefining the Premises of Leftist Anger 

Once the left-of-center, left-behind millions in America realize that when it comes to the most fundamental issues affecting their lives, Romney and Bush are actually Democrats (indistinguishable from Republicans), and that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are actually Republicans (indistinguishable from Democrats), they’ll need to think carefully about what sort of leadership and policies they really want from their elected politicians. 

And the first thing they’ll need to understand is that neoliberalism is globalism. A core premise of globalism is leveling the national economies of the entire world. In practical terms, that means erasing borders and letting capital chase the lowest wages and the highest profits—both things that are contrary to their interests. 

Certain other inevitable realities follow. The first of these reality checks is that a worldwide communist revolution will not happen. The Silicon Valley technocrats, their allies in China, the American deep state, and their Biden-Romney puppet politicians can stop violent dissent, as Trump actually dares to state, “in 30 minutes.” 

The next reality check is that when you have open borders, it doesn’t matter what political economy you choose, allowing millions of unskilled and destitute people to swarm into a developed nation will reduce that nation’s ability to maintain a sustainable system of social welfare.

Reality checks like these will come fast and furious once America’s disenfranchised left-of-center millions realize that Biden is Bush, and Romney is Harris. They will realize that the reason they can’t afford homes is not only that, thanks to mass immigration, they can’t make a living wage—if they even have jobs. The other reason they can’t afford homes is that homes, like everything else in America, are artificially scarce. When demand exceeds supply, prices rise.

To create scarcity in everything that matters, from homes to roads to minerals and other vital resources, America’s environmentalists have stopped development in its tracks. Only the wealthiest developers and corporations can afford to jump through the regulatory hoops and pay off the many environmentalist litigants. This suits neoliberals, even though it violates their principles, because when markets have barriers (artificial or otherwise) and prices rise, profits soar. 

And of course who could fail to appreciate the need to keep home prices in the stratosphere so consumers can borrow against their home equity to purchase products from the Chinese slave state, where Romney and Biden—and Kamala Harris’s technocratic Silicon Valley buddies—all have fabulously remunerative investments?

Neoliberalism, flawed and corrupt in execution, but true to its core principle of leveling national economies, has indeed torn through humanity. 

And there is an alternative.

America’s Unified Future Belongs to Civic Nationalists

As President Trump has often said, “we want immigrants, but it has to be based on merit and it has to be legal.” This is a core premise of civic nationalism in America, because it embraces America’s tradition of welcoming immigration as long as it is in the national interest. Why not allow the best and the brightest come into America? Until we manage to destroy the teachers’ unions and implement school choice, we will need more well-educated people. 

The more immigrants have needed skills, the more likely they’ll contribute and assimilate. But to complete America’s economic recovery and create a political economy that restores opportunities to America’s disenfranchised millions, civic nationalists have to fight the environmentalists.

The next wave of militancy to hit America will be coming from the climate change extremists. With or without a Biden presidency, this will be yet another wave in the neoliberal campaign to level the economies of nations. Using the radicalizing issue of climate change, environmentalists are demanding even more curbs on America’s economic potential. Many of these policies, already in place and set to get worse, have nothing to do with climate change. 

Central among them is urban containment, the policy of ending all growth beyond the existing urban footprint of cities. More than anything else, these containment policies are the reason homes are unaffordable. These laws create an impossible situation that bears further explanation.

The neoliberal Left demands immigration. They want Americans to open their borders and admit millions—tens of millions, of new migrants. Yet, in the name of fighting “climate change,” they demand that cities stop growing outwards. 

But even if you believe in climate change, the argument that cramming everyone into existing cities will alleviate it is dubious at best. More to the point, imagine the chaos and misery that would ensue when millions of migrants, homeless, and displaced inner-city welfare recipients are disbursed into subsidized multi-family dwellings, randomly dropped onto the sites of demolished single-family homes.

The neoliberal Left, supported by brain-dead libertarians who oppose “zoning,” along with green and anti-racist radicals, is dead serious; they intend to destroy America’s suburbs.

The solution to this grotesque assault on America’s standard of living and quality of life—supported by Romney and Bush just as much as by Biden and Harris—is to reject the argument that developing new suburbs on open land will harm the planet. Because it will not. 

What it will do is make homes affordable again. The reason neoliberals want to create scarcity of housing is because they want the financial collateral created when demand for developed real estate exceeds supply. And mega development corporations are slavering over the chance to build millions of tax-subsidized, rent-subsidized, grossly overpriced multifamily dwellings where single-family homes currently stand.

The fight between civic nationalists and environmentalists extends to every facet of economic growth. Why aren’t Americans building more nuclear and hydroelectric power plants? Why aren’t Americans mining their own raw materials instead of importing them? Why aren’t Americans reviving their timber industry, an action that would have the side benefit of greatly reducing the severity of forest fires? Why aren’t Americans rebuilding their infrastructure? Environmentalists oppose all of this. They must be stopped.

President Trump has been right on all these issues. 

The final reality check that left-of-center Americans must cope with is that neoliberalism is destined to fail even if the neoliberals level national economies. Because other nations are not going to accept a neoliberal global order. The Chinese slave state is bent on replacing America as the dominant power in the world. For them, neoliberals are useful idiots. Buy off Biden. Buy off Romney. Let them kill their economies so they can acquire more personal wealth. Thanks to these greedy traitors, it will be easier to conquer the world.

If you want to know why virtually every establishment apparatus in America is trying to defeat Trump, these are the reasons. Bernie voters: Face reality. Join us.

Elections

The Resistance War Games a Post-Election Civil War

All of this could be written off as the grudge fantasies of political activists still mad about 2016 except it is backed by some of the wealthiest people in the world.

Consider yourselves warned, America.

Cancel the Election Night party and forget the long-awaited moment when George Stephanopoulos announces, in the late hours of November 3, the official winner. And buckle up for an election-year nightmare that will make the 2000 recount look like a walk in a Palm Beach County park.

A vengeful and well-funded coalition of Trump-hating insurrectionists are prepping the battlefield for a post-election civil war, threatening not only to extend the 2020 election into 2021 but to weaponize every tool at their disposal to make sure Joe Biden assumes the presidency even if President Trump legitimately wins. 

The very same sore losers on the Left and NeverTrump Right who still refuse to accept the results of the 2016 presidential contest are preparing to do whatever it takes—including promote the secession of western states—to force the removal of Donald Trump next January.

Their plan, using the intentionally misleading title, “Transition Integrity Project,” outlines alarming and wholly unconstitutional responses to a number of post-election scenarios. Once upon a time, I would’ve read such a far-fetched document through tears of laughter. But considering the desperation and depravity of the people involved, this terrifying roadmap needs to be taken seriously.

Organizers, including Clinton loyalist John Podesta and NeverTrump leader Bill Kristol, have been playing war games for the past few months, plotting how to deploy media, government, and public armies to install Biden no matter what. Their scorched earth strategy rests on two factors: the use of widespread mail-in voting, intended to delay the official result so they can manipulate the outcome while stoking civil unrest until Republicans cry uncle, and the notion that if he loses, President Trump will claim the Democrats stole the election, a legitimate possibility that this plan only serves to further validate.

The four options described in the report, ranging from a Biden landslide to a slim Trump victory, would propel a constitutional crisis which our already frayed populace is ill-equipped to endure—a climate of ongoing political chaos, by the way, that Democrats and NeverTrumpers have helped breed and hope to exploit.

Teams of imaginary players, representing both campaigns and supporting interests, explored each potential result. (Kristol recently bragged on Twitter that he played the role of President Trump.) Bad guys include Attorney General William Barr; good guys include Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

“In the scenario that most closely mirrored the 2016 election results (e.g., the Democratic candidate wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College), Team Biden pushed to overturn certified results in states with Democratic Governors,” the participants previewed.

To buy time as they harvest Democratic ballots in tight contests after Election Day, the TIP operation will harness support from all living former presidents and anti-Trump Republicans such as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to urge patience from the public in the name of “election integrity.” Faith leaders will call for calm even as Democrats stoke unrest; in order to involve corporate America in their fight—which shouldn’t be a heavy lift—anti-Trump forces will initiate nationwide work stoppages and strikes.

“Team Biden almost always called for and relied on mass protests to demonstrate the public’s commitment to a ‘legitimate’ outcome, with the objective of hardening the resolve of Democratic elected officials to fight and take action.” (The group at one point envisioned at least 4 million Biden supporters taking to the streets with warnings of “violent skirmishes and vandalism.”)

Those Democratic elected officials, according to the plan, include the governors and legislatures of swing states. One scene may have accidentally revealed the makings of a false flag operation after November 3 if Michigan is the deciding state. 

“A rogue individual destroyed a large number of ballots believed to have supported Biden, leaving Trump a narrow electoral win,” the group imagined. “The Governor of Michigan used this abnormality as justification to send a separate, pro-Biden set of electors to DC.”

Anyone who’s watched Gretchen Whitmer over the past six months knows she will happily defy the law and common decency for attention.

The teams also developed a battle plan if Trump wins Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. The Biden campaign would demand a recount based on accusations of “voter suppression.” In that scenario, “governors in two of the three (Wisconsin and Michigan) sent separate slates of electors to counter those sent by the state legislature.”

If that happens, the plotters predict, it would prompt “a breakdown in the joint session of Congress by getting the House of Representatives to agree to award the presidency to Biden based on the alternative pro-Biden submissions sent by pro-Biden governors.” January 20, 2021 would arrive with no clear winner, raising the specter of military action.

Only one scenario allows for a Biden loss, but any concession would involve a constitutional shakedown. The Biden campaign wouldn’t admit defeat until it “negotiated hard for permanent structural reforms” including long-desired Democratic Party goals such as eliminating the Electoral College and approving D.C. statehood. 

Keep in mind, these are the same folks who routinely accuse the president of violating “constitutional norms,” and therein lies the gist: since Trump allegedly shreds the Constitution and rule of law, they argue without evidence, then his foes are justified in doing the same.

Some of TIPs post-election forecasts are straight-up delusional. During the transition period, Trump might  “maximize the flow of federal money into Trump businesses . . . negotiate business deals with foreign countries; and purge documents that might incriminate foreign governments and business partners,” the group fantasized. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner might even launch something called “MAGA TV” from the White House.

The Biden team may encourage California, Washington, and Oregon to secede and form a new country—Cascadia—unless Congressional Republicans agree to “structural reforms to fix our democratic system” proposed by President Obama.

Romney plays a starring role in one anecdote; while Trump disputes a slim Biden victory, Romney successfully convinces three Republican senators to declare Biden the victor. “As it became evident that the Biden victory would be certified, Senator [sic] Majority Leader Mitch McConnell privately signaled to several Republicans they could support Romney’s cross-the-aisle effort, recognizing that moderate Republicans are more likely to prevail in 2022.”

Trump’s woes, however, won’t be over after Biden replaces him in the Oval Office. TIP organizers will push to have the president and members of his administration charged with unspecified crimes.

Some observers have compared the Transition Integrity Project’s operation to a “color revolution,” a coup-like strategy the United States uses in other countries to foment civil unrest and oust hostile foreign leaders. (Revolver News has a few excellent pieces detailing the comparison and the players involved.)

But what’s most alarming about TIP’s plan is the deep pockets behind it. All of this could be written off as the grudge fantasies of political activists still mad about 2016 except it is backed by some of the wealthiest people in the world. In my next column, I’ll report how these wannabe insurgents are funded by influential billionaires including George Soros, Pierre Omidyar, Mark Zuckerberg, and the Rupert Murdoch family.

Great America

Environmentalists Destroyed California’s Forests

The catastrophic fires that have immolated millions of acres of forests in the Golden State were preventable, and for decades, everyone knew what had to be done.

Millions of acres of California forest have been blackened by wildfires this summer, leading to the usual angry denunciations from the usual quarters about climate change. But in 1999, the Associated Press reported that forestry experts had long agreed that “clearing undergrowth would save trees,” and that “years of aggressive firefighting have allowed brush to flourish that would have been cleared away by wildfires.” But very little was done. And now fires of unprecedented size are raging across the Western United States.

“Sen. Feinstein blames Sierra Club for blocking wildfire bill,” reads the provocative headline on a 2002 story in California’s Napa Valley Register. Feinstein had brokered a congressional consensus on legislation to thin “overstocked” forests close to homes and communities, but could not overcome the environmental lobby’s disagreement over expediting the permit process to thin forests everywhere else.

Year after year, environmentalists litigated and lobbied to stop efforts to clear the forests through timber harvesting, underbrush removal, and controlled burns. Meanwhile, natural fires were suppressed and the forests became more and more overgrown. The excessive biomass competed for the same water, soil, and light a healthier forest would have used, rendering all of the trees and underbrush unhealthy. It wasn’t just excess biomass that accumulated, but dried out and dead biomass.

What happened among California’s tall stands of Redwood and Ponderosa Pine also happened in its extensive chaparral. Fire suppression along with too many environmentalist-inspired bureaucratic barriers to controlled burns and undergrowth removal turned the hillsides and canyons of Southern California into tinderboxes.

In 2009, after huge blazes wiped out homes and forced thousands to evacuate, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich observed: “The environmentalists have gone to the extreme to prevent controlled burns, and as a result we have this catastrophe today.”

In 2014, Republican members of Congress tried again to reduce the bureaucracy associated with “hazardous fuel projects” that thin out overgrown forests. True to form, the bill got nowhere thanks to environmental lobbyists who worried it would undermine the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the law that requires thorough impact assessments ahead of government decisions on public lands.

In a blistering report published in the California Globe on how environmentalists have destroyed California’s forests, investigative journalist Katy Grimes interviewed Representative Tom McClintock, a Republican who represents communities in and around the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California. McClintock has worked for years to reform NEPA and other barriers to responsible forest management. 

“The U.S. Forest Service used to be a profitable federal agency,” McClintock told Grimes.

Up until the mid-1970s, we managed our national forests according to well-established and time-tested forest management practices. But 40 years ago, we replaced these sound management practices with what can only be described as a doctrine of benign neglect. Ponderous, Byzantine laws and regulations administered by a growing cadre of ideological zealots in our land management agencies promised to save the environment. The advocates of this doctrine have dominated our law, our policies, our courts and our federal agencies ever since.

But these zealots have not protected the forests. They have destroyed them. The consequences are far-reaching. 

Decimating the Timber Industry, Disrupting the Ecosystem

Few people, including the experts, bother to point out how overgrown forests reduce the water supply. But when watersheds are choked with dense underbrush competing for moisture, precipitation and runoff cannot replenish groundwater aquifers or fill up reservoirs. Instead, it’s immediately soaked up by the trees and brush. Without clearing and controlled burns, the overgrown foliage dies anyway.

A new activist organization in California, the “California Water for Food and People Movement,” created a Facebook group for people living in the hellscape created by misguided environmentalist zealotry. Comments and posts from long-time residents of the Sierra foothills, where fires have exploded in recent years, yield eyewitness testimony to how environmentalist restrictions on forest management have gone horribly wrong. Examples:

“I’m 70, and I remember controlled burns, logging, and open grazing.”

“With the rainy season just ahead, the aftermath of the Creek Fire will challenge our water systems for years to come. Erosion will send toxic debris and sediment cascading into streams, rivers, and reservoirs, reducing their capacity to carry and hold water. Dirty air, dirty water, and the opposite of environmentalism are on full display right now, brought to us by the environmental posers who will no doubt use this crisis to unleash a barrage of ‘climate change did it’ articles.”

“Many thanks to Sierra Club and other environmental groups. You shut down logging/brush removal and had a ‘don’t touch’ approach to our forests. You shut down access roads and let them get overgrown, so now they can’t be used for fire suppression and emergency equipment. You fought ranchers for grazing, which helped keep the forest floors clean. You made fun of Trump when he said we need to rake the forest. Trust me these forest rakes and logging would have prevented the devastating fires we see now.”

The economics of responsible forest management, given the immensity of America’s western forests, requires profitable timber harvesting to play a role. But California has no commercial timber operations on state-owned land. And since 1990, when the environmentalist assault on California’s timber industry began in earnest, its timber industry has shrunk to half its former size. Reviving California’s timber industry, so the collective rate of harvest equals the collective rate of growth, would go a long way towards solving the problem of catastrophic fires.

Instead, California’s environmentalists only redouble their nonsense arguments. Expect these fires to justify even more “climate change” legislation that does nothing to clear the forests of overgrown tinder, and everything to clear the forests, and the chaparral, of people and towns.

Expect these fires to fuel a new round of legislation containing urban growth while mandating suburban densification, with increased rationing of energy and water.

Expect the “climate emergency” to accelerate in synergistic lockstep with the pandemic emergency and the anti-racism emergency. Expect all three of these emergencies to become issues of public health, thereby eliminating inconvenient constitutional roadblocks to swift action.

Misdirected Union Priorities

Meanwhile, tragically, expect California’s politically powerful firefighters’ union to do little or nothing to support the timber industry or rural inhabitants who don’t want to move into urban condos.

As Steve Greenhut explained in a recent column in the Orange County Register:

Frankly, union power drives state and local firefighting policies. The median compensation package for firefighters has topped $240,000 a year in some locales. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighters earn less, but their packages still total nearly $150,000 a year. The number of California firefighters who receive compensation packages above $500,000 a year is mind-blowing.

No wonder firefighters are overwhelmed during California’s wildfire season. The state can’t afford to hire enough of them. 

And when these firefighter unions could have been pushing for legislation to clear the forests back in 2019, where instead did their leftist leadership direct their activist efforts? They marched in solidarity with the striking United Teachers of Los Angeles. The teachers’ unions have done to California’s public schools what environmentalists have done to California’s forests.

If an honest history of California in the early 21st century is ever written, the verdict will be unequivocal. Forests that thrived in California for over 20 million years were allowed to become overgrown tinderboxes. And then, with stupefying ferocity, within the span of a few decades, they burned to the ground. Many of them never recovered. 

This epic tragedy was the direct result of policies put in place by misguided environmentalist zealots, misinformed suckers who sent them money, and the litigators and lobbyists they hired, who laughed all the way to the bank.

Greatness Agenda

If Biden Wins, China Wins—and America Loses

The new Cold War between the United States and China is a zero-sum game, which will only be resolved when one system decisively triumphs over the other.

The New York Times on Monday published a 3,100-word story headlined “Joe Biden’s China Journey.” The three reporters whose bylines appear on the article engage in a painfully obvious effort to explain away the former vice president’s long and cozy relationship with communist China. Now, at long last, they suggest, Biden is ready to get really tough on China. Tougher even than Trump.

Good luck to them selling that fractured fairy tale. 

Biden has appeased China and advanced its interests for as long as I’ve been paying attention to China policy, which is to say since shortly after the Democratic presidential nominee arrived in Washington, D.C., nearly a half-century ago and I arrived in Hong Kong with the Seventh Fleet. American workers have paid a heavy price for the combination of naïveté and greed that has driven Biden’s views about China over the decades. The naïveté came first, of course. The greed came later. 

In the 1990s, Biden pushed for and voted repeatedly to protect China’s “most-favored-nation” trade status, which ensured that cheap Chinese-made goods would flood America’s big-box stores. Even worse, he championed China’s entry into the World Trade Organization under terms that heavily favored the Communist giant. This blunder cost the United States 60,000 factories and 3.5 million jobs.

Biden did all this despite admitting that China had a “reprehensible” record on human rights and “unfair trade practices.” But with lifelong politicians, you have to look beyond the rhetoric to see what they actually do. Biden’s actions with regard to Beijing invariably have benefited China and, in more recent years, his family. 

The one exception to Biden’s “Made in China” agenda would seem to be his advocacy of Radio Free Asia. Biden’s defenders invariably claim that he was instrumental in establishing a federally funded news media network to promote democratic values within China. One of his Senate Foreign Relations Committee aides at the time, James P. Rubin, told the Times that Biden worked so hard to set up RFA because he realized China was a “brutal system” after the 1989 crackdown against protesters around Tiananmen Square.

Not all of those who worked with Biden at the time, however, were impressed in the same way with Biden’s supposed change of heart. I served as a commissioner on the Presidential-Executive Commission on Broadcasting to the PRC in the early ’90s alongside two commissioners handpicked by Biden. Both fought against the establishment of RFA every step of the way and, in the end, both voted against it. When those of us on the other side later met with Biden to try and shore up his support for RFA, he tried to laugh off the defection of his two commissioners, talking about his personal support for the project. If there were godfathers of Radio Free Asia, which finally won approval in 1994, they were Senators Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), not Joe Biden.

Then there was the September 2000 debate over whether or not to grant permanent most-favored-nation status to China. Those of us opposed to the idea argued that the annual U.S. review of China’s trade status gave Washington the leverage it needed to help rein in China’s bad behavior at home and abroad. Biden, however, voted to grant permanent most-favored-nation status to China. He went on to support China’s accession to the World Trade Organization as well.

A Quarter-Century of Capitulation

Biden early on fell for the myth that China’s rise was not only inevitable but that the United States should welcome it. In fact, he has spent most of the past quarter-century attempting to sell Americans on the idea that “a rising China is an incredibly positive development for not only China but for the U.S. and the rest of the world.” 

As vice president, Biden’s efforts to enable China’s rise accelerated. In May 2013 he helped engineer a “memorandum of understanding” with the PRC exempting Chinese corporations from U.S. securities statutes and regulations. This meant that the Chinese Communist Party could raise trillions from our debt and equity markets on preferential terms, giving them an advantage over American firms. Among other things, this MOU exempted Chinese companies listed in U.S. stock exchanges from independent audits, allowing them to continue to cook their books while raising billions from unsuspecting U.S. investors. 

On the human rights front, the then-vice president was largely missing in action. When he did speak out in public it was often to soft-pedal CCP abuses, as when he said on a visit to China that he “understood” the need for the brutal one-child policy. 

Biden’s record on Asian security issues is equally unimpressive. As Barack Obama’s vice president, he was nominally in charge of the “Pivot to Asia,” which was intended to reassure our allies in the region by countering China’s continuing military buildup. Yet as China militarized the South China Sea and bullied smaller neighbors such as the Philippines and Vietnam into accepting its claims, Biden’s response was lackadaisical. By the time he left office, we had added exactly one warship to the Seventh Fleet.

You may decide for yourself why he took his son, Hunter, to Beijing in December 2013 on Air Force Two while he was vice president. It is at least curious that Biden did not publicly bring up China’s aggressive “Air Defense Identification Zones” and territorial claims in the South China Sea, or its massive violations of human rights while he was there. 

Part of the reason for Biden’s silence may have come 10 days later, when Rosemont Seneca Partners, Hunter Biden’s boutique investment firm, landed a $1 billion dollar deal with the Chinese government, later increased to $1.5 billion. Hunter also joined the board of directors of a Chinese company called BHR, which started buying up American firms that possessed dual-use technology of interest to the Chinese military and its modernization efforts. 

Willfully Blind to the Threat

Since leaving office, even as the danger that China poses to the United States and the world has become ever more apparent, the former vice president has continued his apology tour on behalf of the PRC. Biden repeatedly has dismissed China’s threat to American national security and jobs, claiming as recently as 2019 that they’re not bad and not competition. The truth is that the CCP poses a mortal threat to America in more ways than one.

Given the myriad ways that China has harmed U.S. businesses and workersintellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, currency manipulation, dumping below-cost, predatory pricing by state-owned or controlled enterprises, and the widespread use of slave labor—fewer and fewer people outside of China regard its rise as anything but a disaster for America and the world. More and more people understand that China is carrying out what it calls “unrestricted warfare” against the United States across all domains except the kinetic.

Yet the Democrats’ nominee for president has not yet grasped this fact. He does not yet understand that Beijing steals our jobs, our technology, and sickens the world not just to supercharge its own rise, but in order to bring about America’s defeat. He still claims “China is not our enemy.” 

Why else would Biden suggest that he may end President Trump’s tariffs on China without getting anything in return for the United States? Why else would Biden not hold Communist China accountable for unleashing the coronavirus on the world but instead—absurdly—is attempting to blame Trump for the outbreak? And why would his brief “Build Back Better” economic plan not even mention the name of the country that over the past two decades, in effect, has carpet-bombed the American industrial heartland with its ruthless and predatory policies? 

Biden’s benign view of China is such that he still imagines that we can make common cause with an expansionist Communist empire that wants to replace us as the dominant power on the planet. He points to climate change, nonproliferation, and health security as areas of potential cooperation.

All three of these tired tropes are long past their sell-by dates. Biden may be determined to shut down every last coal-fired power plant in the United States in the name of curbing climate change, but China is just as determined to keep building them, opening a new plant every two weeks or so. What is there to discuss? 

Working with China on nuclear and missile nonproliferation agreements almost sounds like a serious policy proposal, until you realize that Beijing is probably the worst proliferator of both in the world today. Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran are among the known beneficiaries of China’s assistance. 

Biden’s plan to work with China on “health security,” on the other hand, sounds like a Babylon Bee parody, given that China deliberately unleashed a deadly coronavirus on the world and continues to lie about it. Yet Biden is so determined to blame Trump for all the “pain and suffering” caused by the Chinese virus that he actually absolved China of any responsibility. 

A Hopelessly Compromised Candidate

As we approach the November election, Biden finally has begun cautiously denouncing China as a “dictatorship.” This is like calling a Category 5 hurricane a “summer breeze.” The high-tech tyranny that dominates the Chinese people—and dreams of extending its writ to the entire world—is like no other adversary the United States has ever encountered. 

The Chinese Communist Party, like all Communist parties, is a war party. It is organized along military lines and is inherently expansionist. Its leaders have long understood that there are irreconcilable differences between China and the United States, between “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and free-market democracy, and between the current U.S.-dominated international order and the Sinocentric one that Beijing hopes will replace it. 

This means that there is no win-win scenario involving democratic America and Communist China. There are only temporary truces. The new Cold War between the United States and China is a zero-sum game, which will only be resolved when one system decisively triumphs over the other. 

President Trump, post-pandemic, now understands this. Biden does not and indeedfor reasons involving both Hunter’s business dealings and the left-wing of his partycannot. Instead, he obviously is trying to navigate through the current tensions with China with the goal of restoring the old status quothe one that heavily favored China, not to mention the Biden family fortunes. 

Few were surprised when National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina issued a statement in August saying China was working to help Biden win in November. 

The former vice president tried to laugh away the report. But the threat posed by China is no laughing matter, especially if a candidate as compromised as Biden actually wins the presidency.

Elections

The Biden Slime Operation

This is the Democratic canon: malicious lies supported by stupid lies and disseminated to the world by the morally bankrupt, reflexively partisan Trump-hating media.

In terms of political ethics and tactics, the Democrats have hit rock bottom. The Atlantic has worked hard to become a third-rate New Yorker in terms both of literary quality and the vitriol of its hatred for President Trump; the magazine has probably confirmed its position with the confection of the uncorroborated and totally implausible allegation that Trump disparaged American World War I veterans who died in France as “suckers” and “losers.”

It is impossible that any such statement was made by him. He is a proud graduate of the New York Military Academy, and while he was happy to invoke a minor bone-chip in his foot as reason enough not to enter the military during the Vietnam era, that does not disqualify him as an admirer and supporter of the U.S. Armed Forces. He did not think that the Vietnam War was an intelligent commitment of American manpower and resources, a view shared by many Americans including Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. 

Today that view is indeed the general historical opinion of that war. But this president, unlike some of his predecessors, believes ardently both in the necessity and the nobility of the U.S. military, and he has done a great deal to strengthen the troops and raise their pay.

It is indicative of the fact that the Democrats are much less overconfident than they were four years ago that they have unleashed their dirty tricks division a month earlier than they did in 2016 with the completely irrelevant Billy Bush “Access Hollywood” tape of locker room indiscretions by candidate Trump 11 years before. While it was completely irrelevant to whether Trump was worthy of election in 2016, and was somewhat bizarre as it emanated from the campaign of the spouse of, along with John F. Kennedy, the greatest sexual predator in the history of the White House, it was at least an uncontested recording from many years before of Trump’s opinion of a celebrity’s opportunities for sexual self-assertion. He did say it. 

In this latest incident, many people, including almost everyone who would have been present, have all denied that any such utterance had been made. It is inconceivable that this president would think or say anything of the kind.

A Coordinated Smear

But the odium of the incident is magnified by the fact that it was clearly staged in a tight sequence coordinated between the Biden campaign and its most rabid media partisans. As soon as the Atlantic story appeared, an anti-Trump veterans’ organization called VoteVets produced a lengthy follow-up Internet statement that the president was not really any friend of the Armed Forces and veterans should take note of his outrageous comments in Paris and swarm the polls in favor of his opponent. 

The inevitable “Morning Joe” Scarborough was already thoroughly up to speed early Friday after The Atlantic “revelation,” and fired a full anti-Trump broadside on his MSNBC program. Shortly after, with obvious careful prearrangement, Joe Biden sortied from his basement like a fretful World War II German battleship commander ever-fearful (for good reason) that enemy heavy units might be about. 

In response to a planted question from an Atlantic reporter, and with the perfunctory condition of the remarks being true, Biden delivered a righteous denunciation of the president ending with: “Who does he think he is?” Then he scurried back indoors like the Bismarck, Scharnhorst, or Tirpitz returning at speed to their fjord.

It was perhaps the slimiest smear job in American presidential politics since the McCarthy era. At least the Russian collusion fraud was somewhat ingeniously constructed—requiring, as it did, the partial corruption of the intelligence agencies and the FBI to get it into the media as fruit of a spurious counterintelligence investigation and therefore the infamous Steele dossier pastiche of lies and deformations. That required no journalistic verification. 

Evil as it was—as presumably even the lethargically paced Durham investigation will eventually allege—it was intricate, carefully planned by senior officials, and monstrously illegal. This latest allegation is inane and dishonest and no sane person could believe a word of it. 

Resurrecting the Old McCain Rivalry

There has been some attempt to keep it afloat by tying it to disparaging remarks Trump has made about the late Senator John McCain. The bad blood between them goes back at least to 2000, when Trump was contemplating seeking the presidency as the candidate of the Progressive Party (the default name for third parties), which was then inhabited by the imperishable Ross Perot (third party candidate in 1992 and 1996), and the governor of Minnesota, wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura. 

Trump won two primaries in 2000, but eventually recognized that third parties never win in the United States, since the rise of the Republican Party in 1856. Even Theodore Roosevelt, also running Progressive, was unable to defeat President Taft in 1912 and merely split the vote, electing the Democrat Woodrow Wilson. But before departing the race, and after a certain amount of obloquy had been thrown around on all sides, Trump referred to the two main contenders of the established parties, Republicans George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, and Senator McCain, and Democrats Vice President Al Gore, and New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley, as “a bunch of stiffs.” This was fair comment for an election campaign (and wasn’t altogether inaccurate), but only McCain seems to have been especially annoyed by it. 

In 2016, McCain accused Trump’s supporters in his home state of Arizona of being “crazies” and Trump replied that McCain was a “dummy.” When challenged on the point that he couldn’t say that about a war hero, Trump imprudently noted that he was a hero because of what he’d endured as a prisoner, and implied that war heroes attain their heroic status in war-making and not in captivity. It was an ungracious comment, coming from someone who did not do his best to get into action in his country’s uniform when he had the chance. But it was not an unprovoked statement and the nastiness between the two men escalated. 

McCain declined to support Trump’s presidential candidacy in 2016, played a role in lending credence and momentum to the Russian collusion fraud, killed the administration’s attempted reform of Obamacare despite his previous votes to repeal it, and turned his own funeral into an orgy of Trump bashing, largely by Democrats, in a ceremony that lasted for over two hours, (an hour longer than normal for a pope’s funeral).    

To try to keep the vicious libel of the alleged Trump disparagement of war dead alive, rodentine Jack-in-the-box Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and a cameo figure in this year’s Democratic presidential nomination campaign, popped up. With the motor-mouthed glibness that we still recall, he assimilated Trump’s claim that despite disagreements, he had considerable respect for John McCain, as self-evidently untruthful. Therefore, said Mayor Pete excitedly, his denial that he did not mock American war dead in Paris in 2018, though supported by everyone else who was present, was obviously a falsehood. 

This is the Democratic canon: malicious lies supported by stupid lies and disseminated to the world by the morally bankrupt, reflexively partisan Trump-hating media. Biden and his party retained plausible deniability, but a slime operation as egregious as this, as early as this in the campaign, is no sign of confidence by the Democrats.

Elections

Desperately Derailing Donald

The effort to stop President Trump is growing comical.

One always expects the media surprise leak of a purported hidden scandal as a presidential campaign winds down. Remember the last-minute “discovery” of George W. Bush’s undisclosed 24-year-old DUI arrest in 2000? Or the October 7, 2016 effort of the Washington Post to publish the hoarded 11-year-old “Access Hollywood” tape, just two days before Donald Trump’s second debate with Hillary Clinton?

We should expect lots of these “bombshells” and “walls are closing in” pseudo derailments. Except Trump has been the most widely investigated, probed, attacked, and smeared president in history. And so the scandal-field has pretty well been picked over, as those fired like Omarosa Manigault Newman, Anthony Scaramucci, John Bolton, and others have long ago more or less lectured us that Trump is nuts, crazy, dangerous, stupid, ignorant, and so forth. 

In terms of bombshells, what does the Left do after the 2016 suit to decertify voting machines, the FISA court abuse, the effort to sabotage electors’ votes, the first impeachment drive, the Logan Act gambits, the Emoluments Clause joke, the 25th Amendment ruse, the Russian collusion hoax, the 22-month-asleep-at-the-wheel Mueller and his “all-stars,” Ukraine! Ukraine!, the second impeachment drive, and the 2020 trifecta of Trump as Typhoid Mary, Bull Connor, and Herbert Hoover?

The point is, in Jussie Smollett fashion, the demand for scandals is outrunning the supply and time grows short. 

It’s no wonder that one of Joe Biden’s largest campaign contributors, billionaire Laurene Jobs of the Apple fortune, who owns most of The Atlantic, had the former Obama Administration megaphone Jeffrey Goldberg exhume a two-year-old and long-ago-refuted charge that President Trump did not wish to visit a U.S. military cemetery in France because he variously was afraid of the rain, that he would get his hair wet, and that he did not wish to celebrate “losers” and “suckers.” All this was from a left-wing media that not long ago damned a “militaristic” Trump for being infatuated with generals, and putting far too many in his White House, while needlessly spending billions on manpower and equipment to repair a military hollowed out by the Obama Administration. 

The resuscitated scandal hit-piece was primed for all the left-wing cable news shows and supposedly would dominate the otherwise quiet Labor Day weekend news. 

The problem was that the charge was calcified—and for a reason. Security memos long ago had shown that the weather, not Trump, had deterred low-flying presidential helicopters. Goldberg’s “sources” remain anonymous. Supposedly they were afraid of Twitter reprisals (when has fear of a left-wing Twitter ever scared off a left-wing scandal-monger?), and thus could not be found or checked to determine whether they stood by their hearsay charges. 

The presidential entourage of that day all denied Goldberg’s accusations, including Trumphobe and former White House insider and National Security Advisor John Bolton, coming off a tell-all book attacking the president as a nincompoop and a dangerous nut.

Goldberg’s work, then, is symptomatic not just of the growing desperation of the Left to blow up Trump’s current polling trajectory, but the poverty of the muck material still left to work with. Expect more October “smoking gun” surprises surrounding Trump’s stale tax returns, a casino bankruptcy or two, a Mooch tidbit, a Michael Avenatti crumb, a retired general’s sudden memory recovery, or perhaps even an old undiscovered Stormy tweet.

“Summers of Love”

The “summer of love” and “largely peaceful” tropes of late spring and early summer are now belied by the flames, firebombs, and looting that often offer on-scene backdrops for fake news accounts, as journalists seem about to ignite as they assure us of calm.

Recently, there was another riot in Rochester, New York in which Black Lives Matter sought to destroy restaurants and attack diners as they ate—as a prelude to entering the suburbs, climbing roofs, and waking the supposedly largely complacent white “racist” populace up to their culpability for the rioters’ unhappiness. 

Their delayed anger grew over a just-released video of the death, six months ago, of an arrested African-American youth, while in Rochester police custody. That tragedy supposedly justified manhandling strangers with warnings of “give us our shit” and “do not record crimes” with cell phones. 

These now nightly recurring riots and violence have a common theme: blue-state governors and blue mayors of the nation’s larger and middle-sized cities have institutionalized police procedures to detain supposedly dangerous or erratic acting suspects, which are either dangerous to the suspect or can easily appear post facto to be so on selectively edited or incompletely aired videos.

Local and municipal Democratic officials apparently have no answers in their cities for endemic African-American disparities, asymmetrical crime rates, and the proper behavior of their worn-out and beleaguered police, who are called by frightened businesses and bystanders to remove often dangerous suspects from their shared communities. 

The result is that suspects now routinely resist arrest, confident either sympathetic district attorneys won’t prosecute them, or police themselves will have to choose between losing their lives arresting those not willing to be arrested or losing their careers and livelihood in the effort. We know the consequences: police simply are not responding to calls from crime-infested areas, and those arrested don’t think the police will use force to make arrests stick—and so resist. 

Nor do liberal officials know how to tamp down often violent protests over such deaths that often target their own police forces, and sometimes even the homes of the mayors themselves who struggle to show their sympathy with the rioters. 

Add it all up and officials either contextualize or condole the ensuing violence sparked by their own actions, or strain to condemn it by blaming Donald Trump, the Emmanuel Goldstein of our age. 

Either way, it is not a convincing strategy to reassure torched businesses or innocent diners or demoralized police who are spat upon and made the targets of firebombs, that a more vigorous Joe Biden will tame fellow blue-state America officeholders and quell the violence. 

Biden Unbound

As for the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer, the mounting anger over the sanctioned violence has not only prompted the media to exhume and enhance old saw Trump stories, refashioned as autumn campaign surprises, but also has forced Joe Biden out of his basement. 

But to do what exactly?

The question assumes that there was not a reason why Biden was in his basement in the first place, near-mute for three months. For a time, seclusion was a winning strategy because otherwise to see and listen to Biden is to conclude that he is non compos mentis

In addition, the media had driven down Trump’s ratings by blaming him for COVID-19, the lockdown, recession, and looting, and was playing out the clock by reframing the election as Trump versus the media and the coronavirus.

But the strategy was not updated to recalibrate changing momentum in response to changing news cycles. And Biden became even rustier by his basement sabbatical. So now he is out and we are immediately reminded of the reasons he hibernated in the first place and should have stayed there.

We now witness surreal Biden press events. Questions are scripted from an “approved” list of reporters who apparently send fuzzy inquiries in advance and, like North Korean journalists, queue up to repeat them in public. Biden then either looks at his notes or a teleprompter for his canned answers, but stumbles through his responses. He often gives the game away by reading out loud his handlers’ prompts such as “end of quote” or “topline message,” while an uneasy rogue reporter occasionally blurts out loud in frustration that she wants to ask a question “not on the paper.”

Sure-Thing Polls?

No one knows the exact state of the presidential race. The polls are all over the place and many are weaponized. Scan Emerson, Rasmussen, Trafalgar, and Zogby polls, and Trump is near dead even or even ahead in some key states. Read the surveys discredited after 2016 like Reuters and Politico, and Biden is winning across the board. 

But all pollsters seem to concede something is terribly wrong with this increasingly discredited institution. How can IBD/TPP assure us that in his favorability ratings Trump is down by 16 points even as Emerson shows us he is up by two and Rasmussen by four? 

Something is rotten. 

Either the pollsters are abjectly incompetent, or deliberately selecting flawed demographics that they know will reflect their own biases, and they do so to add momentum to their preferred candidate.

Or their subordinates who gather the data are massaging the numbers to reflect their own choices.

Or the respondents are deliberately misleading their questioners either out of fear or from spite.  

The record of bias and error from 2016 might suggest all three reasons.

60 Days More of Scripts

What then can we expect in the next 60 days from the Biden campaign?

About every week or so there will be a media/Democratic/leftist fusion zombie scandal that suddenly arises from the past but with new unnamed sources and anonymous rumors, and pushed as the long lost magic spike to drive into Count Trump’s heart. 

Or we will have more rioting, spreading to smaller cities in the manner of Kenosha and Rochester, all well-organized and aimed at suburban and largely middle-class whites, to terrify them that no one is safe thinking they at least do not live in Portland or Chicago. 

These riots will be contextualized by Biden with the now-familiar damnation of Trump and police excess, albeit with a nugget thrown in about the need for peaceful change. And then we will see a campaign stop, press conference, or interview in which Biden will have the scripted questions, scripted answers, and inadvertently either read off his handlers’ prompts or go blank or confused for about a five-second mind-out. 

The interviewers will try to carry Biden across the finish line by finishing his half-completed sentences, rewording and translating his garble, or abruptly changing the subject when Biden goes into screensaver mode. 

What can we conclude of these desperate efforts to derail Donald Trump?

One, Biden really should have stayed permanently in the basement but now cannot. 

Two, internal pollsters have frightened Democrats not so much because they believe Biden is behind, but because they advise Biden not to trust the media’s smiley polls,  and don’t offer any strategy of how to  stop Trump’s insidious trajectory. 

Three, the issues of May and June have evaporated and now bleed Biden more than they do Trump. The virus itself slowly wanes. Better treatment ameliorates its effects. And the vaccine looms larger. The lockdown was more or less discredited by the exemption given thousands of violent protesters and the issue is now recalibrated as keeping 50 million children out of school. The economy did not go into depression but seems to be climbing out of recession. And George Floyd’s death increasingly has nothing to do with nightly looting and arson, as the rioters turn unapologetically Marxist, nihilist—and increasingly venomously racist. 

Given all that, and given the dearth of fresh scandal material, expect more ossified scandals, Kindergarten interviews, improving favorability ratings for the president, and desperate efforts to prove COVID-19 is resurging, quarantines must be extended, rioting and burning are acts of love, and we are in a Great Depression. And the more this does not work, the more vehemently it will be repeated.

Elections

When Wish Replaces Thought

Here is the indigestible truth for the Democrats. Donald Trump has had the most successful first term of any president in memory, maybe ever.

Don’t you just love Paul Krugman? One of loudest of the many anti-Trump hysterics employed by the New York Times, the former economist has been a reliable source of comedy at least since election night 2016. Once the worst was certain and the world learned that Donald Trump had indeed been elected president of the United States, Krugman pondered the markets, which had plunged overnight. “When might we expect them to recover?” he asked. “A first-pass answer is never . . . So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.”

What a card! I think we all deserve a Nobel Prize in economics. If Krugman can snag one, why not Stanley down at the bar? He says a lot of stupid things, too. 

Krugman never disappoints. On Thursday, September 3, he published an opinion piece in the Times called “Trump and the Attack of the Invisible Anarchists.” The burden of the piece was twofold. On the one hand, having picked up that week’s propaganda memo from Democratic National Committee headquarters, he parroted the new talking point about the riots ripping (Democratic) cites apart. 

Earlier this summer, the gospel was that there were no riots, only justly aggrieved citizens exercising their First Amendment rights to protest the heinous, cold-blooded murder of the violent career criminal and fentanyl abuser George Floyd. (Oops, that was from the teacher’s version of the manual: scrap “violent career criminal and fentanyl abuser.”) 

At some point, that narrative was canceled. The new narrative admits that there are riots, but insists that they are all Donald Trump’s fault because . . . 

Excuse me, we’re having trouble with reception. Forget that last bit: scratch “because” and just listen to the great Nobel laureate explain what’s really going on.  

Enjoy a sleight of hand show? How’s this? The “anarchists” that Donald Trump and other knuckle-dragging neanderthals are trying to scare mama with don’t really exist, not really. Look again, those people rampaging on the streets of Portland, St. Louis, Seattle, Chicago, Oakland, Washington, D.C., Kenosha, New York: they’re invisible. Paul Krugman can’t see them. He walked across Central Park to his doctor and encountered no mayhem, none. “It was a beautiful day,” he noted, “and the city looked cheerful . . . Central Park was full of joggers and cyclists.” An aspiring if wayward disciple of Bishop Berkeley, Krugman seems to have adopted a variety of the central Berkelean principle of esse est percipi. If Krugman doesn’t perceive something, it doesn’t exist. 

Poor Paul. He knows that people are alternately frightened and contemptuous of the media’s preposterous efforts to downplay the violence erupting in cities across the country, all those “fiery but mostly peaceful,” “intensifying into violence,” “not generally speaking unruly” jamborees that seem intended to calm the public’s nerves but actually heightened the sense of alarm. 

So Krugman tries to have it both ways. The violence is monstrously overstated by the evil orange man and his minions. “[T]he property damage,” quoth Krugman, “has been minor compared with urban riots of the past,” “Portland is not ‘ablaze all the time‘” (not quite all of the time). 

I think all of that was meant to soften us up, lull us into a state of dull acquiescence. Ready? Close your eyes, grab hold of Paul Krugman’s outstretched hand, and prepare for the big leap: la, la, la, ommmmm: “Much of the violence,” he says, “is coming not from the left but from right-wing extremists.”

Ah, our old friends, the “right-wing extremists”! I’ve missed them these last few months, haven’t you? You know them. They’re like that fellow walking down the street in Portland wearing a Trump hat last week. He was wearing a Trump hat. So, naturally, a “100 percent Antifa” member had to shoot him in the head in “self-defense.”

The media did not exactly condone that act. It was more akin to what happened following the assassination of President Kennedy. Question: Who killed John F. Kennedy? Answer: Lee Harvey Oswald, a Castro-loving communist. Almost instantly, however, a new narrative gelled and enveloped that stark but unpalatable truth. The man who pulled the trigger might have been a commie, but really, deep down, Kennedy was killed by (as James Reston put it) “extremists from the Right.” (If you want to know how that leap works—he is killed by a communist, but “extremists from the Right” get the blame—read James Piereson’s Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism.) 

Once you can accept that leap of faith, the next part is easy. “[T]here isn’t a wave of anarchy and violence,” Krugman wrote, really, “other than that unleashed by Trump himself.”

I’m sure you’ve seen the president or his minions at those Black Lives Matter and Antifa planning sessions, deciding which courthouses to target, what police stations to incinerate, what blocks of which cities to smash up, loot, and burn. It’s Donald Trump who has “unleashed” all the violence, all the mayhem, all the arson and murder, the far-Left Marxist foot soldiers of Antifa and BLM are just his puppets.

Breathtaking, isn’t it, not to say contemptibly incredible? But it is no less incredible than the obiter dicta about economics that Krugman lets drop as he makes his way through the political landscape. It is axiomatic with Krugman that Trump is a disaster for the country, not least for our economy. So, writing on Thursday, he predicted that while “Friday’s employment report is likely to show an economy still adding jobs” it would be “nothing like the ‘super V’ recovery Trump is still claiming.” Unemployment is “still very high,” he moaned, and the astonishing (my word) recovery that began in late April has “leveled off.” 

Alas, Friday brought the news that we’d added 1.7 million jobs, against an expected 1.3 million, and that unemployment—still artificially high because the Democrats won’t let many Americans go back to work—edged down to 8.4 percent. In June, a canny pal noted that if the market held steady at around 25,000 and unemployment got down to 9 percent by Election Day, Trump would likely be reelected. Here we are two months out and the market is well north of 28,000 (it went well above 29,000 last week) and unemployment is falling.

No, here is the indigestible truth for the Democrats. Donald Trump has had the most successful first term of any president in memory, maybe ever. 

His policies brought unemployment down to the lowest rate in decades, Among black and other minority populations, it was the lowest ever—ever. Wages, especially wages at the lower end, were rising, prescription drug prices were falling, and manufacturing was flooding back to the United States, a direct result of Trump’s America First trade policies. He came to office promising to lose two regulations for every new one enacted, but has managed to lose nearly 20 regulations for every new one. His exploitation of America’s energy resources have not only made the country energy independent, they have made us a net exporter of energy. 

Trump has made extraordinary progress on other fronts as well, from his hundreds of judicial appointments to reducing the flow of illegal immigration by 90 percent. On the cultural front, he has defanged the tyranny of Title IX despotism in colleges and universities and, just a day or two ago, he issued an executive order instructing the Office of Management and Budget to “identify and eliminate any trace of ‘critical race theory’ in the federal government.” 

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of this order. Critical race theory is the pseudo-academic version of identity politics, lending a suitable polysyllabic veneer of obfuscation to the brutish Marxoid and America-hating ideologies of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and kindred sites of festering discontent. 

But what about the Chinese flu, the dreaded coronavirus, the plague that has otherwise normal people covering their faces and cowering in place? Well, what about it? Krugman adverts to it only in passing. “A few months ago the Trump campaign clearly hoped that it could put the coronavirus behind it. But the virus declined to cooperate.”

Oh, gee, “the virus declined to cooperate.” But you know what? It did cooperate—or to speak more frankly, it acted exactly as one would expect a virus to act. 

Who is the politician whose decisions about dealing with the new flu led to the most deaths? Andrew Cuomo, somehow still the governor of New York. What politician saved the most lives by his preemptive action and mobilization of federal resources? President Donald J. Trump. You might not like it. Paul Krugman abominates it. But there you have it. That’s the way things are Labor Day weekend 2020.

Elections

The Racist Left Feels Entitled to Riot

Right now, America could use a pooper scooper for Biden’s verbal manure.

Events have compelled lifelong swamp denizen Joe “Joey Basement” Biden to scurry into the sunlight and read from a teleprompter. In a duplicitous performance worthy of Pravda, Biden blamed the leftist riots roiling Democratic “governed” cities on—spoiler alert—President Trump and his “right-wing” supporters.

Attempting to dispel any doubts about his newfound concern for the lives, limbs, and property of American citizens, Biden declared that rioters should be prosecuted.

This must have surprised his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who previously helped to fund the rioters’ bail; and the Democratic prosecutors who largely have refused to prosecute the rioters. Apparently, Harris and Biden’s campaign staff have a soft spot for lawless MAGA supporters. 

Naturally, since the Left’s new narrative (read “lie”) is how Republicans’ hobnailed wingtips are on the throats of the law-abiding, Biden couldn’t bear to mention Black Lives Matter or Antifa, the latter of which the Left argues doesn’t exist, though a “100 percent Antifa” murder suspect (lately deceased) disagreed. 

Moreover, Biden, the Democratic Party, and their collusion media operatives spent months—including throughout the Democratic National Convention—gaslighting the public with the insistence that the riots were the figment of febrile right-wing ravings. 

So why the change of tune from Biden? Simple: his “stunning and brave” opposition to rioting and violence did not stem from an awakening of his somnambulant moral sensibilities. No, it was a more profane matter of elementary math: Biden’s polls were tanking.

To date, only the deluded blue collective has been fooled. But they wanted to be. After all, these are the regressive malcontents who lust to “fundamentally transform” the freest, most prosperous nation in human history into a social cesspool—at least until the foreign enemies with which they have happily “coexisted” stop economically milking us and start nuking us.  

Yet, while tempting, one cannot claim every leftist is one who refuses to identify and/or understand both the rioters and the sources of their rage. These are but the leftist lemmings. Other leftists know it; instill it; and incite it.

Deeds, Not Words

Though Biden is doddering around sputtering that he will “lower the temperature” and tone down the political rhetoric so as to unite Americans, he has already belied his own words. The violent riots wracking our cities are the product of years of the seditious and racist left-wing rhetoric. 

Given the murderous historical failure of their ideology, the Left necessarily eschewed rational discourse in favor of identity politics and the diversity cult. The result is that leftists deem any objection to their disastrous policies as “hateful”; and the objector as a “Nazi” who must be reeducated and/or eradicated.  

Consequently, in their twisted ideology, words—and even silence—are violence, unless of course they are in lock step with the Left.

For example, the racist Left’s monstrous lie that America is “systemically racist.” The Left claims white Americans are racists, with the only mitigating factor in their guilt being whether they know and admit it. 

For the Left, there is no debate and no redemption, just continuing therapy at the secular altar of self-hatred with some sacrificial tithings for reparations during a lifetime of blind balloting for Democrats. Unless one is a regressive masochist with low self-esteem, this is an abominable insult. Indeed, given the stakes of the cancel culture foisted upon America, this is also a direct threat to the livelihoods and, yes, lives of most Americans.

But here’s the worst part of the Left’s rigged systemic racism racket: the Left has you paying to destroy yourself. Your tax dollars subsidized the academics who expropriated “critical race theory” from Marxism; your tax dollars pay for the K-12 public schools where they start indoctrinating your children with this hateful ideology; your tax dollars subsidize universities where they put the finishing touches on this indoctrination; your tax dollars subsidize the government seminars on “implicit bias” training; your hard-earned money allows corporations and companies you patronize to do the same coerced exercises in self-loathing and racial division. This is despite—or is it because of—the uncontestable and bitterly ironic fact that the purpose of the systemic racism lie is to divide Americans along racial lines. 

Toxic Imbecility

The Left’s rhetoric is the very definition of hate speech. The rioting does not emanate from those who rightly oppose it. 

The rioting comes from those who embrace the rhetoric of the Left and move to act on it. Indoctrinated with the seditious, racist Left’s critical race theory with its “systemic racism” canard, the rioters believe their hatred and violence is justifiable “self-defense.” 

As history records, it is a tragically familiar story repeated whenever the violent pose as victims—as any looted, burned out family-owned business owner can tell you; or as the murdered would, if they could. 

Consequently, when Biden blames President Trump and his supporters for the riots, such toxic imbecility is in keeping with the hateful, violent Left’s incessant, risible claim that they are victims. It is akin to Biden allowing his dog to dump on Trump’s lawn. President Trump shouts, “Hey, Sleepy Joe, your dog dumped on my lawn!” and Biden points and screeches: “Trump’s lawn is full of dog sh-t!”

Right now, America could use a pooper scooper for Biden’s verbal manure. He has and will continue to call America systemically racist just as he will keep supporting his fellow leftists who are marching forward with their Marxist critical race theory lie while endorsing a cancel culture, taxpayer-subsidized Maoist struggle sessions, and “largely peaceful” riots.

Bluntly, as is continually evidenced by the hateful Left, it is impossible for Biden and his supporters to tone down the rhetoric dividing America—and, make no mistake, they have no intention of stopping. 

Until they silence you.