News

Morning Greatness: Media Figures Eject from Woke Newsrooms

Good Wednesday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • The president receives a law enforcement briefing on Keeping American Communities Safe: The Takedown of Key MS-13 Criminal Leaders
  • President Trump delivers remarks on the Rebuilding of America’s Infrastructure: Faster, Better, Stronger in Atlanta, Georgia

Cancel culture:

Bari Weiss leaves the New York Times

Longtime columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan resigns from New York magazine

Coronavirus news:

INSANE: Florida Department of Health says some labs have not reported negative COVID-19 results

Trump administration drops plan to deport international students in online-only classes

Trump adviser knocks Fauci: Wrong about ‘everything’

$600 weekly jobless benefit will likely lapse before more aid is passed

Moderna’s COVID vaccine candidate appears to be safe and provide some immunity, new data from early trial shows

Black conservatives kick off campaign to save Emancipation Memorial

Chinese companies with US subsidiaries got coronavirus stimulus funds, report says

Charles Barkley says racial injustice issues turning into ‘circus’

Orange County’s largest school districts won’t comply with Board of Education vote to return to classroom

CNN ghouls celebrate! A Montana nursing home turned down free Covid-19 tests. Now, almost every resident is infected and 8 have died

COVID-19 could be controlled in 1-2 months if people wear masks: CDC Director Robert Redfield

Suspect killed by Michigan deputy after stabbing man during argument over face mask: Police

Black Lives Matter/Riots/War on Cops

Chicago mayor blames violence on Trump: ‘Direct result of a failure of federal leadership’ on guns

Trump On Black People Killed By Police: ‘So Are White People’

Fact Check: Police Do Kill More White People, but There’s More to the Story

LA Times Article Calls To Cancel, Replace ‘Star-Spangled Banner’

Ivanka Trump backs Goya Foods on Twitter after liberals call for boycott

New Mexico DA sues ‘vigilante’ militia group with alleged ties to white supremacy

Other morsels:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized for Possible Infection

Who gets a ballot this fall? States have limited time to decide whether to allow vote-by-mail

Piss off. Vindman twin joins brother in sharing comments critical of Trump, Esper

Trump takes victory lap after Tuberville defeats Sessions

Trump-Endorsed Dr. Ronny Jackson Wins Republican Runoff in Texas-13

California bars LAPD info in gang database amid alleged falsified records scandal

Cities are burning, but whatever. Biden unveils $2 trillion plan to boost clean energy, rebuild infrastructure

‘Dukes of Hazzard’ star Ben Jones on Confederate flag controversy, says it’s ‘a Southern symbol’ not ‘racist’

Teens are dressing up as mask-wearing grandmas to score alcohol

Pentagon says US has withdrawn from 5 bases in Afghanistan as part of agreement with Taliban

New York Times moving some staff out of Hong Kong as security law brings media chill

Why it’s getting harder to get exact change

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!

Elections

America’s Pravda Subsidiaries

By now, you’d think the Washington Post and the rest of the lefty media cohort—which is pretty much the entire American media sans Fox, talk radio, and a handful of online publications—would have learned their lesson. But no.

Each new dawn brings another farcical rant from the mainstream media. Facts be damned, hypocrisy ignored, truth summarily rejected—all in the name of “But Trump!” and “Orange Man bad!” Pravda veterans would be proud and perhaps, even a little jealous, as nobody in the MSM is being forced to propagandize at the point of a gun, with threats of a permanent vacation to sunny Siberia. No, the American news media does all of this of its  own volition.

President Trump gives a speech from the base of Mount Rushmore extolling the greatness of America and our shared history, imperfect though it is, of striving to recognize the equality that demands justice and liberty for all of our citizens. But the Washington Post, apparently with a straight face and zero shame, writes: “President Trump’s unyielding push to preserve Confederate symbols and the legacy of white domination, crystallized by his harsh denunciation of the racial justice movement . . . ” 

Of course, the president made no mention of the Confederacy or its symbols, not even one. Yet the broadcast networks minus Fox News and the rest of the mainstream media followed the Post’s unhinged fabrications as though they think we will favor them over our own eyes and ears.

The mainstream media, having exhausted any trace of objectivity after eight years of fawning coverage of Obama and three years of attacking Trump, now proudly spins leftist propaganda without even pretending to do anything else. When called on their left-leaning bias and their war on the truth, they cry “But Trump!” And if that’s not enough to justify their fabrications then perhaps you’ll get, “But Fox News!”  

Recently, the Washington Post Style section (and you’re thinking, “Who the hell in Washington has any style?”) ran a column headlined, “The data is in: Fox News May Have Kept Millions from Taking the Coronavirus Threat Seriously.” Seriously. The esteemed author reports on a study by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Misinformation Review which makes all sorts of breathless claims wrapped in shiny academic nerd speak about Fox News and Sean Hannity in particular. 

I wonder if the HKSoMR (thought I’d toss in an acronym) has ever reviewed the New York Times for “misinformation?” Perhaps they could start with NYT’s own Pulitzer Prize winner Walter Duranty who actually made a career working on behalf of the Soviets while Uncle Joe Stalin was murdering tens of millions of his own people and threatening to blow up tens of millions of freedom loving Americans and Europeans. That’s an historical fact which one could reasonably interpret in a way that names the New York Times the preeminent subsidiary of the KGB’s propaganda arm. They still feature that Pulitzer prominently in their headquarters lobby. But I digress.

The Biden campaign press release thinly disguised as a Washington Post story even quoted a group of left-wing nut bags in Washington State who recently had their lawsuit against Fox News summarily dismissed by the state judge. Quoth the Post

‘That’s the real evil of this type of programming,’ Arthur West of the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics, which sued Fox News in April over its coronavirus coverage, told the Times of San Diego, a news website. ‘We believe it delayed and interfered with a prompt and adequate response to this coronavirus pandemic.’ (A Fox News lawyer called the suit ‘wrong on the facts, frivolous on the law,’ and said it would be defended vigorously; a judge dismissed the suit in May.)

By now, you’d think the Washington Post and the rest of the lefty media cohort—which is pretty much the entire American media sans Fox, talk radio, and a handful of online publications—would have learned their lesson. But no. They keep walking into it as they did when White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany had the audacity to point out that leading mainstream news outlets such as the Washington Post did everything they could to downplay the seriousness of COVID-19 back in March. Back then, American Pravda was telling us that it was no big deal, no worse than the seasonal flu, and they were more concerned that calling it the “Wuhan flu” was racist and xenophobic. 

Even the soon-to-be-canonized Anthony Fauci (Note to Pope Francis: “St. Anthony of Rockville Pike” has a nice ring to it) was busy telling America on NBC as late as late February 29 that we didn’t have to make any changes to the way we went about our lives in relation to COVID-19. 

Three days later, Fauci changed his tune to one of certain death and destruction. A few weeks later the “experts” were telling us that based on the now discredited models from Imperial College of London, even with strict social distancing to flatten the curve we were all going to die horrible deaths. Two-hundred million of us would get it and 2.2 million of us were going to perish. 

Fauci now wears a mask everywhere he goes—well, at least everywhere he goes where there are TV cameras. When the cameras are off, the mask is off too, as we witnessed in the recent video of St. Anthony testifying before Congress. As soon as the hearing took a recess and the hearing room cleared enough that Fauci thought the cameras were off, he removed his mask. The level of phony would be breathtaking but for American Pravda ignoring this embarrassing incident altogether.

Somehow, American Pravda missed or did their best to cover for Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and his fellow Democrats Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Phil Murphy of New Jersey, who issued executive orders forcing senior citizens who survived the virus into nursing homes where they pretty much infected everyone. I guess the governors wanted to expedite the dying. 

Here’s an actual fact: More than 40 percent of all U.S. deaths from COVID-19 are connected to nursing homes and the majority of those deaths occurred in New York, New Jersey,  and Michigan. Crickets. But Trump! But Fox News!

Trump didn’t cause the Wuhan flu, and he certainly didn’t intensify its spread. The Communist Chinese tyrants caused it and covered it up until it was too late. But give credit where credit is due: Governor Cuomo’s “send grandma to the nursing home virus factories” policy managed to kill tens of thousands of American senior citizens while the swooning subsidiaries of American Pravda like the Washington Post and New York Times covered for him and the other Democratic governors who acted similarly. 

It is an election year after all and Joe Biden is having trouble speaking in coherent sentences or even reading the coherent sentences written for him in big letters on his teleprompter.

But Trump! But Fox!

Great America

Redskins and NFL Corporate Sponsors Offer Limp Response to BLM Threats

Until the now nameless D.C. team and management regenerate some testicular fortitude, they might call themselves the “Washington Foreskins.”

The Washington Redskins on Monday engaged in the world’s first self-guided corporate circumcision in the name of political correctness (along with cowardice rooted in fear of possible revenue loss). In the interim, until the now nameless team and management regenerate some testicular fortitude, they might call themselves the “Washington Foreskins.”

Meanwhile, logic would dictate that nothing short of a volcanic upheaval by the Native American community could have engendered this disintegration of the legacy of an 83-year-old franchise. Nope, not them, according to contemporaneous accounts. A shoulder shrug, maybe, but no Little Big Horn. 

It seems that NFL biggies (Is that you, Roger?) and corporate sponsors squeezed owner Dan Snyder and his organization, as their BLM-propelled “wokeness” forced the decision. 

One of those sponsors, apparently, was Fred Smith, FedEx founder, billionaire, and minority partner in the Foreskins franchise, who was cowed farthest by the Left and their Marxist-Leninist toadies and applied the most pressure on Snyder. 

Surrealistically, Fred Smith, a fire-breathing Vietnam combat Marine, was known in the aviation business as the ballsiest man on earth. The guy chained down his early FedEx planes to beat the repo men; and in 1975 or so, when things were really bad, Fred Smith bet his company on a blackjack game in Vegas and won $27 grand to make payroll and keep his boys flying. It seems that the badass of all badasses has, in his old age, suddenly gone limp, woke, or politically correct, whatever descriptor is most flaccid.

Had this been Fred Smith’s posture in 1975, the only FedEx logo today would be on an old airport doormat for UPS pilots to wipe their feet on.

Meanwhile, Dan “We’ll never change the name” Snyder left his big boy pants at home on Monday, not willing to lose all the rest of his marbles (financially speaking, of course) by playing Horatius at the Bridge.

And so, the Washington Foreskins prostrated themselves to “wokeness” caused by fear of BLM. Perhaps, in turn, the chaos generators of BLM should change their name, too, to reflect their skill set today: Burning Looting Mohels.

Great America

Bad U.S. Policies, Not Racism, Is What’s Hurting Black Families

Americans of good will strive to rise above our prejudices.

Human society is a complex phenomenon. To view it through a single lens is the worst sort of reductionism and rarely provides a true picture. Karl Marx and his followers looked at human action through the lens of class. Marxist analysis consistently has proven to be flawed.

The most recent lens for examining human action is race. It has become commonplace to claim that the United States is fundamentally unjust because of “systemic” racism. This is the charge advanced by Black Lives Matter and its antifa allies.

The source of the charge of systemic racism is “critical race theory” (CRT), a pernicious and reactionary philosophy holding that race is a social construct, enforced by those in power, specifically white men, which predetermines someone’s role and ability in society. There are two great flaws in CRT.

First it denigrates African Americans by stripping them of all agency. According to CRT, Blacks are simply inanimate objects, ciphers who are victims of forces over which they have no control. Nothing could be more demeaning to an entire group of American citizens, many of whom have risen to high status, than the claim that they are helpless victims of impersonal forces.

Second, CRT essentially absolves politicians of bad policy. The worst problems that African Americans face are most visible in urban centers, most of which are governed by progressive politicians, many of whom are African American themselves.

Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 advanced the political status of African Americans, much of the good was undone by the effects of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, a prominent victim of which was the Black family. For instance, as Thomas Sowell and others have observed, the percentage of Black children born out of wedlock before the Great Society legislation was less than 30 percent. Now it is 70 percent. Children of any color who are raised without fathers have much higher rates of crime, poverty and suicide.

It is easy to understand the rage of many African Americans. The promise of the Great Society never came to pass. But that failure is not due to “systemic racism,” but because of actual policies. Economists speak about the unintended consequences of human action. The unintended and dysfunctional consequences of the Great Society still afflict much of the African American community.

But the need to address real problems and their policy solutions has been hijacked by the fraudulent Black Lives Matter movement and its antifa allies. I for one subscribe to the sentiment that Black lives matter. But I reject the organization that has appropriated the name. Anyone who takes the time to check out the statements of its leaders will see that the goal is not to improve the lives of African Americans but to overthrow the “system.”

The BLM movement is a political action arm of CRT. Like CRT, it represents a species of Marxism, although a form associated with Antonio Gramsci, who held that the culture of capitalistic society had to be changed if socialist revolution were to be possible. The success of such a cultural change can be seen by how the young have embraced the idea that America is fundamentally racist to its core.

Those of us who truly believe that Black lives matter wonder why BLM engaged in an orgy of destruction that mostly harmed Black neighborhoods. We wonder why the movement does not address the dysfunctional policies that have wrecked the Black family and threaten the lives and livelihoods of African Americans.

Of course, racism exists. Racial prejudice, which is a different phenomenon, also exists. But Americans of good will strive to rise above our prejudices. We live in a country founded on principles that reject the concept of racial superiority. Living up to those principles is the best antidote to racial problems in this country.

This article originally appeared in Providence Journal.

Great America

The Long Step Back for Law and Order

Our politics is less defined by Left versus Right than it is by We the People versus the ruling class.

Troy Pine lay bleeding on the sidewalk outside the neon-lit Nara Lounge as sirens drew near. His assailant, Joel Francisco, had recently sprung from prison on the wings of a new crime reform bill. Now he was on the run for stabbing the 46-year-old carpenter.

Before his latest lockup, Francisco was an Almighty Latin Kings leader. He received life in prison for a drug offense in 2005. Francisco had also shot a man “execution style” for “disrespecting” his gang affiliation and pled no contest in 1997. Upon his arrest for the drug offense years later, he attempted to bribe officers with $200,000 for his release.

Had Francisco known a jailbreak bill was around the corner, he might have stayed the offer.

Within a few months of his early release in 2019, Francisco committed a series of probation violations and crimes, was charged in an alleged Latin King drug trafficking conspiracy and stabbed Pine on October 2, 2019.

Pine succumbed to his wounds on the night Francisco attacked him. “Some criminals deserve to spend their lives incarcerated,” said Commander Thomas Verdi, the Providence Police Department’s deputy chief. “Joel is one.”

Read the rest in Newsweek.

Great America

Life is Fragile, So Live It!

At a certain point in life, the consequences of our actions become more clear. Do we stop living to stay alive, or do we opt to fully engage in normal living knowing death is inevitable?

We are going to see Les’s oncologist today and again tomorrow, a place where the vulnerable go. We will have our temperatures checked at the door, will be asked a series of questions, and then instructed to use the provided hand sanitizer. For the past few years, it was common for us to wear a mask during cold and flu season whenever we needed to visit his oncologist, or if we’d go to any particularly germy places like Walmart. We tried to stay safe, but got sick anyway.

Les is nearing his 88th birthday, so it’s a daily prayer of gratitude when he opens his eyes to another day. Living with metastatic renal cell carcinoma for well over six years, he knows life is precious and death is inevitable. His goal is to enjoy every day as the gift it is. In fact, we are making plans to return for his 70th high school reunion to celebrate the long friendships he holds dear. Wuhan looms over us, but he has chosen to continue living a normal life without fear.

Life is fragile. On a windy day in June this year, a local man was in his yard when a tree limb fell on him and killed him. From an article about him, they wrote, “At 70 years, Larry lived his life to the fullest. His daughter asked him a few weeks ago what was left on his bucket list and he said nothing. ‘I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do’: God allowed him to complete his life here and now Larry is probably fixing up heaven to be an even better place.” One might be tempted to think this man’s death was a random accident. Was it? Or was it simply that his number was up? 

Yesterday, I was told by a dear friend that she is closing her business of many years because her clients are not coming back. Many are in the high-risk age group and afraid to go out. Or was it because “they” mandated she close her shop for two months, leaving her customers to do their own hair and nails? Whatever it was, Wuhan killed her livelihood. Thursday is my last appointment and I am saddened by this loss. It didn’t need to be this way. Another unnecessary casualty of bureaucratic decision-making. 

Yes, I lost my beloved sister two months ago—something I had anticipated might happen as she had had pneumonia before and this was the early diagnosis again. Was it COVID-19 as they said at the hospital, or was it pneumonia, which oftentimes takes the old and the sick? It is hard for us to know. For over two months, she was robbed of having her loved ones by her side. Cut off from the people who needed to hold her hand one more time, she died in a hospital isolation room, while family stood outside to watch her struggle for life. It was cruel. Stories like my sister’s are far too common these days, but no less devastating. 

What have we allowed “scientists” to do to us? 

At a certain point in life, the consequences of our actions become more clear. Do we stop living to stay alive, or do we opt to fully engage in normal living knowing death is inevitable? We have been divided in two with fear and clever-looking masks. I choose to breathe in life and to live without fear. I cannot and will not cede my life to arbitrary “mandates” and random testing from government hacks who seem to take pleasure in sucking the joys of living out of life. I’ll take my chances to feel normal again.

Great America

COVID-19 and the Panic Narrative

Reason and perspective will be greater friends than panic in seeing us through this challenge.

Many Americans remain terrified of COVID-19. The narrative of panic advanced by much of the news media fuels that feeling. In recent days, the focus has been on skyrocketing numbers of people testing positive for the coronavirus.

But there are very promising signs that the virus is burning itself out. After spiking earlier this year, death totals have fallen steadily — for 11 straight weeks, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. While every death is sad, the curve reassuringly looks like charts of flu deaths in past years. Deadly viruses tend to strike hard, claim lives, and then mutate and weaken.

Getting accurate numbers of deaths from the coronavirus is, unfortunately, difficult. Hospitals are rewarded with taxpayer money for labeling any death a COVID-19 death if a patient happened to test positive for the virus. For example, if someone with Stage Four cancer dies after testing positive for COVID-19, he or she is said to have died from the virus, not the cancer. Or if someone sustains fatal injuries in a car accident, and is found to have had COVID-19, he or she is said to have died of the virus, not the crash.

‘A Huge Scandal’

Another strange new process is playing out with the numbers. Hospitals looking for additional taxpayer dollars are going back and attributing additional deaths to COVID-19. Though the deaths may have occurred months ago, they are added to today’s numbers by such media operations as the COVID Tracking Project.

Hence, these numbers might be used to advance a panic narrative of rising deaths to accompany the panic narrative of rising cases. That could fuel the argument that Southern states are “catching up” with the deadly Northeast, and must be locked down.

Other analysts, such as Twitter’s Kyle Lamb, have sought to calm fears by reassigning the new death numbers to the periods when the deaths actually occurred. Mr. Lamb’s work formed the basis of the chart above, created by Rhode Island epidemiologist and internist Andrew Bostom, who gave me scientific guidance on this piece.

“This is a huge scandal being ignored by the media,” Dr. Bostom says of adding supposed deaths from months earlier to inflate the latest statistics.

What We Now Know

The original lockdowns were supposedly designed to “flatten the curve” and prevent hospitals from being overrun, something that did not come close to happening. Initial projections of hospital use — even taking lockdowns into account — were wildly inflated.

Fortunately, though COVID-19 can be very nasty and deadly, months of experience have taught us it is not nearly as threatening as the anointed experts first assured us it would be. Treatments have also improved as clinicians have become more familiar with the disease.

Most notably, we now know, the virus does not affect the whole population equally. About 80 percent of deaths occur in 20 percent of the people. Those with challenged immunity systems, especially the old, are most at risk. It appears that over 90 percent of the populace shows minimal or no symptoms when infected. In my local state of Rhode Island, 80 percent of those who have died were nursing home residents.

It is even possible that, by shutting down schools, officials may have slowed the process of herd immunity that ultimately defeats viruses.

It is striking (and a great blessing) how little COVID-19 directly hurts children. Dr. Bostom notes that, over this year’s season, CDC data reveal the flu was five times deadlier to children aged 14 years old or younger than COVID-19. Children in school, it appears, would help build up society’s herd immunity to the virus in the safest manner possible.

While the media’s focus has been almost entirely on COVID-19 cases, few seem to be exploring the longtime impact of the novel social experiment of shutting down our society. How many small businesses, and the lives behind them, were destroyed? How much violence and despair have been fueled by preventing human beings — who are intensely social beings — from interacting? How badly have we damaged children, who need play and socialization to be happy and to grow? How many people will die because they could not seek medical attention for ailments, or feared to do so?

Those inclined to promote the panic narrative argue that the plummeting number of deaths is misleading. They warn that the rising numbers of confirmed cases will quickly lead to rising deaths. So far, thankfully, that has not happened. That may be because many of those testing positive of late are younger people, who very rarely die from the disease. In addition, the rising numbers of cases may reflect the rising number of tests administered.

Why the Panic?

Why would many in the news media prefer a panic narrative to a more encouraging one?

There are financial incentives for promoting fear, the most powerful human emotion. Panic drives all-important internet clicks (which mean advertising revenue).

Politics surely play into this as well. The mainstream media, which have dropped the cloak of objectivity that journalism once wore proudly, now overtly champion the Democratic Party. An aura of chaos and fear could be used to topple the incumbent party in the White House and the Senate.

If we can set politics aside, though, the science does not seem to support public terror and the need for new and damaging lockdowns. We should be careful, of course, and strive to protect the most vulnerable. But reason and perspective will be greater friends than panic in seeing us through this challenge.

This article originally appeared in EdAchorn.com

Elections

Retraction and Apology Regarding Michael Brown and ‘43 Alumni for Biden’

On July 3, American Greatness published an article that linked former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown with a group of ex-George W. Bush Administration officials that has pledged support for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. As it turns out, the Michael Brown associated with the group was not the Brown who ran FEMA during the Bush Administration.

We retract the article and deeply regret the error.

Joseph Duggan, the author of the article, writes: “In my article that was critical of the former George W. Bush campaign aides and political appointees who have endorsed Joe Biden for president, I made a serious error. I mistakenly stated that a leader of this group was Michael Brown, who had been director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency during Hurricane Katrina. Actually, the Biden supporter is someone else named Michael Brown. I deeply regret this error, and I apologize to the editors and readers of American Greatness and everyone whom I misinformed.”

News

Morning Greatness: Roger Stone Commutation Brings Meltdowns, Hysteria

Good Monday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • The president has lunch with the Vice President
  • President Trump participates in a roundtable with stakeholders positively impacted by law enforcement

Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence, meltdown ensues

The latest episode of collective hysteria was prompted when President Trump commuted the sentence of Roger Stone. Stone was convicted of making false statements to the House Intelligence Committee about his relationship with WikiLeaks and witness tampering in a congressional investigation. Stone is a political consultant who lied about his connections and influence. That’s the business model here in D.C. in case you didn’t know.

Trump did not PARDON Stone but you would think that was exactly what happened based on the ensuing weekend meltdowns. A commutation means that Stone will not have to serve his four year prison sentence but remains a convicted felon. “This should be offensive to you if you care about the rule of law and you care about justice,” vomited up Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) Well, Adam, you know what law and justice is? The constitution and the constitution gives the president the authority to commute sentences. Here’s a very long list of all the people who had their sentences commuted by Obama and that crowd included drug dealers and firearm offenders. Where were you?

But I’m confused. California announced it will release 8,000 prisoners because of coronavirus outbreaks. New York has released at least 2,500 prisoners for the same reason. So, what’s the big deal with an aged Stone not being forced into the hoosegow? The deal is that Trump supporters deserve to be jailed.

In response to the Stone commutation, someone writing under the pen name “Robert Mueller” published an op-ed in a political tabloid this weekend. “The women and men who conducted these investigations and prosecutions acted with the highest integrity,” the ghost writer continued. “Claims to the contrary are false.” Look, “Robert Mueller,” no one without Trump derangement believes this. Your lead investigator Andrew Weissmann has signed a big bucks contract to work for the Death Star of Trump derangement, MSNBC. We know what time it is.

I think my favorite part of the latest tantrum involves Senator Lindsey Graham (R- South Carolina) who announced he would call Mueller to testify before some imaginary committee hearing. Nice try, Lindsey, you’re the Senate Judiciary Chair who cried wolf.

“Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing – and also capable – of defending the Mueller investigation through an oped in the Washington Post,” Graham wrote on Twitter. “Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have previously requested Mr. Mueller appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about his investigation.”

“That request will be granted,” he added.

I’ll believe that when I see it.

Democrats, virus enthusiasts upset the feds want to cut off school funding

Democrat controlled cities and states do not want schools to open in the fall because they want to drag out the damage the Chinese virus is wreaking on the American economy. They are doing this for political gain. They hope a bad economy will hurt the president’s re-election prospects. Obviously, parents can’t go back to work if they have their kids at home and if they are expected to oversee some kind of teleclassroom teaching or if they are entirely responsible for education their children despite the fact they pay a pretty penny in taxes for education services. President Trump threatened to cut off federal funds if schools don’t open up. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos appeared on a political snuff show with the miserable Chris Wallace who shrieked about the funding cut.

“Under what authority are you and the president going to unilaterally cut off funding, funding that’s been approved from Congress and most of the money goes to disadvantaged students or students with disabilities?” Wallace asked. Gee, Chris, if the schools aren’t open why do they need money?

“Look, American investment in education is a promise to students and their families. If schools aren’t going to reopen and not fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds, and give it to the families to decide to go to a school that is going to meet that promise,” DeVos replied.

“Well, you can’t do that,” Wallace said. We’ll see about that Chris, we will see.

The American Association of Pediatrics advises that kids be in school.

The unions (the American Association of Pediatrics, the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, and the School Superintendents Association) are outraged over any suggestion of funding cuts. “Withholding funding from schools that do not open in person full-time would be a misguided approach, putting already financially strapped schools in an impossible position that would threaten the health of students and teachers,” they said in a statement.

The health of teachers and students? There are no teachers and students because the schools are not open only kids and people getting a paycheck for a job they aren’t doing.

Related:

No negotiation with terrorists. Los Angeles teachers union links defunding police to reopening schools

Randi Weingarten: ‘No way’ schools can return this fall without more funding

 

Coronavirus news:

Gottlieb says some states opened ‘too early’

New York City reports zero COVID-19 deaths for first time since pandemic hit

Adm. Brett Giroir: Dr. Fauci ‘Not 100% Right,’ Doesn’t ‘Have The Whole National Interest In Mind’

Hundreds of people celebrated the July 4 weekend at a Michigan lake. Now some have Covid-19

New York reports zero Covid-19 deaths Saturday, preliminary data shows

White House takes aim at Fauci as he disagrees with Trump on virus

Florida shatters US record for new single-day Covid-19 cases

 

Protests, riots, defund the police:

Feds deny Minnesota request for aid to rebuild after riots

150 Minneapolis Police Officers Want ‘Duty Disability’ for PTSD over Protests

‘They’re Not Concerned About The General Public’: NY, LA Police Unions Blast Massive Budget Cuts

Penn State Deletes Tweet Saying Conservative Viewpoints Matter

Two Texas cops shot dead responding to domestic disturbance call

Five Guys employees who refused to serve cops have been fired, suspended

Washington Redskins expected to retire nickname on Monday: report

 

Other morsels:

Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info

First federal execution in 17 years back on track

Ghislaine Maxwell reportedly moved at least 36 times during her year in hiding

Officials investigating after 21 sailors, civilians hospitalized in San Diego naval ship explosion

Great White apologizes for mask-less show in North Dakota

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!

Great America

Welcome Barr’s Offensive Against Antifa, But It Won’t Stop ‘Cancel Culture’

In the near future, the leftists won’t need to riot in order to exert control over the American people.

If it seems as though rioting militants and statue-destroyers have been given the green light by blue state governors and big city mayors, prosecutors, and (shell-shocked) police chiefs to terrorize ordinary Americans, to deface and destroy public property, and to extort public officials into making further concessions to left-wing ideologues, that’s because they have.

Last week, however, the Trump Administration struck back. Attorney General Bill Barr announced that 150 extremists have been arrested for their roles in the recent unrest. Meanwhile, more than 500 investigations are ongoing that inevitably will lead to an even broader crackdown.

Finally, Antifa and other similarly violent and radical organizations are being treated as the font of domestic terrorism they are.

The problem, however, is that even if the Trump Administration succeeds in stifling the “armed wing” of the Democratic Party—for now—and thus restores order and calm to our streets, left-wing radicals will remain in a dominant position in most of our key institutions. 

Moreover, the Marxist firebrands who hold sway over many of our corporations, over every level of U.S. education, over our popular culture, over social media, and over the news media, will increasingly move to take off the gloves as they sense an opportunity to expunge conservatives and patriots from the public sphere, and even from private sector employment, once and for all.

Progressives have long possessed a louder, more robust voice than conservatives in debates over public policy and social-cultural values. If the proponents of “cancel culture” have their way, however, the now-timid voices on the Right may be silenced for good.

Consider the recent firing of a vice president at Michigan State University. His offense? Sharing on his blog an objective, scientific study that found no evidence of a racial disparity in the incidence of police shootings.

The administrator in question is not, in fact, a conservative. He is more accurately described as a liberal who accepts most of the “diversity and inclusion” dogmas of the dominant crypto-Marxist culture of academia.

He failed, however, to understand that there is only one perspective on police brutality and racism now welcome among progressives. The propagation of any other narrative, even if it is backed by unimpeachable data, is inadmissible.

As the fired administrator remarked, the consequences for “academic freedom and freedom of inquiry” will be dire. In effect, there is now a litmus test for all academic and scientific research: does it advance “the cause”—that is, the agenda of the Left? If not, it serves no purpose, at best, and it embodies “white supremacy,” at worst.

Speaking of “whiteness,” the city of Seattle recently subjected its white employees to a bizarre form of training designed to help them “examine [their] complicity in the system of white supremacy.” City workers were encouraged to “[undo] your own whiteness” and to accept that social justice requires them to give up “physical safety,” “expectations or presumptions of emotional safety,” “the certainty of your job,” and “control over other people and over the land.” They were further reminded that even seemingly innocuous concepts such as “individualism,” “silence,” “intellectualization,” “comfort,” and “objectivity” are pillars of white domination.

Journalist Christopher Rufo, who exposed Seattle’s misguided attempt at the racial deprogramming of its white employees, says it best: “This is exactly the kind of thought-policing they want to implement everywhere . . . The new cultural revolution is being fought via corporate HR, city diversity training, and public school curriculums. When you find something like this in your community, expose it, criticize it, mock it, and reject it.” 

In Seattle’s case, there has been public pushback to the shaming of whites, but in all too many companies and institutions a training session like this would be just another day at the office.

Remember, academics and public employees have far more protection from coercive employers, and from outright dismissal, than do most American workers. If even they feel intimidated in the present climate,  what chance do the rest of us have of preserving our right to free speech and our freedom of conscience?

Conservatives had better wake up soon. They need, in the words of Rufo, to “expose” and “reject” the Left’s reverse racism and thought control while they still can.

Otherwise, in the near future, the leftists won’t need to riot in order to exert control over the American people. They will simply tell us to jump through whatever “anti-racist” hoops they choose, and, if we know what’s good for us, we’ll ask meekly, “How high?”

Great America

Defund the NBA!

Hypocritical players and cowardly, avaricious, Chinese-communist-sympathizing management. Maybe it’s time for new legislation to curb the unbridled political power of the NBA, to include taxation as with any other business.

There are about 450 players in the NBA, many of them multi-millionaires.

The one and only function of these wealthy, towering behemoths is to prance about a wooden floor bouncing a ball and throwing it into a hoop, while sometimes flying through the air for their adoring fans. 

They are millionaires because legislation long ago made their organization, the National Basketball Association, a kind of legal monopoly. And then came television. And then came social media. Billions of dollars rolled in.

Now many of these spheroid-lobbing giants have used a combination of strong-arm tactics and boo-hoo guilt trips to turn the NBA into a gigantic ad agency, piously selling a vaguely defined “social justice” with BLM murals on playing surfaces and slogans on their jerseys.

The tears they cry may be reptilian, as the conduct of many of the NBA players in the real world trumpets their hypocrisy. Worse, the NBA compounds their hypocrisy by minimizing its players’ peccadillos in order to keep the profits rolling in. The word “corrupt” comes to mind.

As has been reported elsewhere, some NBA jocks have criminal records but continue to play. Some of these would-be social justice warriors are wife and girlfriend beaters, but the NBA monopoly keeps them on the court.

Some recent criminal activity includes assault with a dangerous weapon, marijuana possession, escape, and resisting arrest.     

A goodly chunk of the millionaire NBA lobbers also have problems with fatherhood

And some of those who do get married wind up in hellacious, mind-boggling divorces characterized by the intrigues of a latin coup d’etat and settlements on the scale of a small nation’s GNP. 

One wonders if is this the content of character that should be the benchmark of the NBA. If not, why does the NBA tolerate it? 

Could it be that the NBA, now the self-appointed (self-anointed?) guide to “social justice,” only preens on moral questions that don’t get in the way of its maniacal corporate avarice? 

Why does the “pious” NBA force paying fans to endure its non-peer-reviewed parti pris sloganeering, while simultaneously ignoring the lack of moral fiber or criminality of some of its players?

And now for some real hypocrisy: NBA management. 

Amidst the BLM-induced uproar over “injustice” and “oppression” which NBA management has wholeheartedly embraced, the self-same NBA management poltroons have slithered away from Communist China. 

Remember the various bits of legislation that have given the NBA a kind of legal monopoly? Well, when nobody was looking or concerned, since 1992, the slimy NBA wriggled its way into China (Pure profit! Look at all those billions of future fans!). Some sources say the total has reached $5 billion. 

So a few months ago, when the NBA made noises about oppression in Hong Kong, the Chinese government immediately punched back at the NBA. And the spineless, profit-above-all NBA management, bereft of any testicular fortitude, simply caved-in and shut up

This kind of blatant, mind-numbing hypocrisy screams for new legislation to curb the unbridled political power of the NBA, to include taxation as with any other business. 

Moreover, it seems that basketball fans may wish to reconsider viewing or buying products promoted by the NBA, simply because of its two-faced and wholly cynical behavior.

Perhaps what is needed is a large street mural located in front of NBA Headquarters at 645 5th Avenue in Manhattan reading, in big yellow letters: DEFUND THE NBA! 

Of course, that bloviating-wangdoodle-and-quixotic-self-styled-hero-of-the-oppressed Mayor Bill de Blasio, would certainly be delighted to have such an anti-oppression tourist attraction—after all, he just helped paint the BLM mural a block away at 725 5th Avenue.

Great America

Set Yourselves Free, Conservatives

Or die waiting for a narrative to save you.

I remember exactly where I was the moment I stopped believing in Conservatism, Inc. I was watching Romney lose, badly, on election night 2012. Up until that point, it seemed logical that the problems of the world could be addressed by the head of a national political party. A great leader could change minds and inspire souls, and in so doing Americans could repair broken social and political institutions that had been functioning poorly or simply not at all—for decades. At the time, I believed we just needed the right candidate to win. Then the other side would stop ruining everything.

In that strange age when you’re too young to have a real job and steady career but suddenly old enough to experience the early-marriage avalanche of bills and mortgages and kids, Romney’s defeat meant that Conservatism, Inc. wasn’t going to solve my problems any time soon. As I let myself despair that nothing would be fixed, that nothing could possibly be fixed, at least for another four long years, the ridiculousness of this mindset became apparent.

Being a conservative means being acutely, painfully aware of broken family structures, communities, institutions and government while simultaneously being completely ignorant as to how any of these problems will ever be solved. Conservatives can recite by chapter and verse the legislative, judicial, and executive actions that wrecked the country. We know ruin was conceived by Woodrow Wilson, baptized by Franklin Roosevelt, accelerated by Lyndon Johnson, and glamorized by Barack Obama. For over 60 years, conservatism has been a movement in need of a time machine—to go back and prevent the country from being destroyed by people who died fifty years before any of us was even born.

On election night 2012, it was suddenly clear to me how little of the Grand Conservative Narrative of “maybe next time” had anything to do with my actual life. The GOP had lost presidential elections before, but this one was more devastating for two reasons: one, because Barack Obama and the Democrats had finally unveiled—and mobilized—the deeply leftist intentions behind a lot of liberal talking points; two, because the people running Conservatism, Inc., didn’t seem to mind losing all that much. They were resigned to it. I, on the other hand, had a five-year-old and no decent elementary school. I was out of time. I had been waiting for the Grand Narrative to come sailing in, win a national election, and solve all of my big-government problems for me.

Doing It Right Means Doing It Ourselves

The day I gave up on Conservatism, Inc. was the day I became an actual small-government conservative. Ours is a political philosophy predicated on the principle of subsidiarity, which means that government functions best closest to the governed. State and federal governments should take up only those functions which the local governments are unable to perform. Unlike libertarians, we believe that government is by nature a good thing, a natural thing, and that justice and liberty occur when each level of government does everything it is capable of doing well, and no more. The most basic distinction between progressives and conservatives is that the former believe that a national, centralized government is the instrument by which society’s strengths are dispensed and its problems solved. Small-government conservatives believe that the government closest to the citizen is more accountable, effective, and just regarding almost everything the citizen needs.  Part of being a complete person, after all, involves self-rule, legislating, and building one’s own community with one’s neighbors.

It is absurd to wait for a national leader or a national party to come along and “solve” things as intimate and complex as local housing, broken homes and marriages, and substandard schooling. The Left’s long march through the institutions, fueled by the idea that top-down fixes are not just possible but morally necessary, has laid waste to much of what once made this country great. How could the solution to the damage they caused be an equally nationalized and centralized countermarch?

We know the administrative state must be undone, but there has never been a workable plan; only ceaseless dismay about its size, persistence, and ills. Right now, millions of people depend on the welfare state, the social safety net, and the various programs built by the New Deal, the Great Society, the Civil Rights Movement, and Obamacare. How does the Right plan to wean society off of those federal programs? How does the Right plan to teach people to self-govern again, when so many of us are used to the most important decisions in our lives being made for us thousands of miles away, by people totally unaccountable to us? How does the Right plan to arrive at a society of self-governing citizens capable of maintaining healthy families, businesses, towns, cities, and states without federal meddling and subsidy? Privatize social security?

Until we can answer questions like these, we are a narrative, not a movement. We are not serious about where we are going.

Americans may someday vote to move the burden of caring for seniors, the ill, the poor, and the infirm from federal to state government, or from state government to local governments. But they will never vote to simply remove government programs, slash the safety net, and let vulnerable citizens fall where they may. Nor should they. Isn’t it obvious that we have to rebuild our hollowed-out communities, bolster our states, and fortify our society such that it is competent to take over from the bloated, inefficient, and unjust federal regime before we ask America to vote to dismantle it?

We have to start at home. Here in my county, my family and friends don’t see ourselves as opposed to or fearful of the larger community, but rather as its defenders, cheerleaders, servants, and faithful sons and daughters. In the years since the 2012 election my husband and I pooled our resources with a small group of friends to build a one-room schoolhouse and hire a good teacher for our kids. Some of our friends homeschool. Others send their kids to a local Christian school. Most still plan to send our kids to the local public high school, where we anticipate becoming frequent visitors to the superintendent’s office and school board meetings. Several have slowly remodeled old, inexpensive run-down houses. Many own land, large gardens, and farm animals. We have reinvigorated the local Catholic parish and regularly have over 50 children under 10 at Sunday mass. (When my husband and I first moved to town there were fewer than five). We have allied with the local protestant churches, and stand together with over a hundred Christian families united in a common mission of providing a decent childhood for our children and a high quality of life for our community.

In 2015 a devastating wildfire tore through our county and destroyed a huge portion of the housing stock. We volunteered and helped each other through it, organizing people with cattle and horse trailers to rescue livestock and pets from areas under evacuation, a posse of locals to stand guard at various subdivisions when looting and crimes of opportunity threatened our homes in the middle of the fire chaos, and orchestrated a huge staging area for fire fighters, police, and relief efforts at the country fairgrounds, complete with free meals. After weeks of raining ash and destruction, the community spontaneously organized a parade for the fire crews that had come to save our community from all over California, lining their daily route out to the terrible blaze. Kids waved homemade signs supporting and thanking the firefighters, a beleaguered and embattled community emerged united and strengthened, and more than a few grown men cried at the sight of it. To this day, I can say I have never witnessed anything more beautiful.

After the fire, the county supervisors voted to allow large commercial marijuana farms to cultivate the burned land. Almost overnight crime and traffic accidents skyrocketed. Again, dozens of young families volunteered, attended county supervisor meetings, organized a counter-movement, recalled supervisors, and worked to save our community.

When the coronavirus lockdown came, we donated extra money to our churches to keep them afloat, helped each other navigate changed schooling and work options, and for the most part slept peacefully at night in the knowledge that a huge army of friends and allies stood between us and financial ruin, hunger, and spiritual despair.

Donald Trump vs. Conservatism, Inc.

A lot of people—especially in the press—misunderstand support for President Trump as some sort of national fascist movement. The reality is that the GOP jumped the shark with Mitt Romney in 2012, and at that point a lot of conservatives like me gave up on the idea of an elevated “national conversation” that would change hearts and minds en masse. Yes, there is a need for conservative writers with a national audience to rally the troops, and to bat ideas back and forth. There is great need for organizations like the Pacific Legal Foundation to help protect ordinary people from big government encroachment, and for places like the Homeschool Legal Defense Association and the various school choice initiatives that work tirelessly to defend schooling options for people who live in districts with abysmal public schools. But these institutions are the exception to the rule. What is needed at the national level is cultivation; a preparing and defending of the ground such that local platoons of citizens can sow and reap the harvest. To the extent that we have lost this understanding, we have allied with progressivism.

This is understandably hard for career practitioners of Conservatism, Inc. to hear, but it’s the truth. The national conservative movement does very little for the average person while simultaneously laying waste to obscene amounts of our charitable donations and manpower. Wasted resources enervate the cause, but far greater damage is inflicted upon the soul of conservatism by the misdirection Conservatism, Inc. forces by ceaselessly redirecting the everyman’s gaze away from his neighbors toward national troubles and national ruin, national initiatives and national scandal. Reform will not happen nationally. Reading articles and posting on Facebook is not political action. It’s not going to work to have a well-paid team of intellectuals and advocates shout into the ether about this country’s lost promise and eternally-threatened constitutional republic.

We can’t afford to wait for the entire country to get its act together. We have children to raise now. Schools to build now. Communities to strengthen now. We want to live well now.

I think it’s fair to say Trump wasn’t most voters’ first pick, but as the 2016 primaries went on, it became evident to a lot of us that Trump was the best option we had. Not for grand narratives and national unity, but for the disunity, chaos, confusion, and stalemate that he unfailingly brings to the enemies of small government and local institutions. I don’t trust Trump to do anything other than keep the other side busy while I continue to build, and run interference for me with the people who want to make it illegal to be a religious small-government conservative. That’s all. That’s the grand bargain that rose up to replace the Grand Narrative—not just for me, but for millions and millions of citizens.

I suspect this is why the endless, scolding op-eds from Conservatism, Inc. about Trump fall mostly upon deaf ears. Trump voters don’t expect anything grand or noble from him, other than to maybe bring clarity to the situation with the media and the Left. He exposes the other side for what it is. He’s not a builder. But he is useful. Because while he distracts, the real conservative movement is happening quietly, in every town and city and state in the union. The war for self-government is being fought by an army of anonymous citizens who are slowly building back up the essential secondary institutions that centralization has destroyed.

We need you.

If you don’t live in a place that has enough room for you to roll up your sleeves and help build good schools, strong communities, friendships, local governance, and a fully human way of life, then move to somewhere that does have room.

Start building somewhere, commit to a certain place, and begin to live a full life now. An added benefit is that you will be building right alongside a lot of liberals, and you will enjoy it, and enjoy them, because for once you will have the opportunity to fight on the same side. Both liberals and conservatives agree that an asphalt plant should not be built three blocks from a school, and both agree that the local government should preserve green spaces and care for the environment of your city.

You will make not just real enemies, but real friends too. And when you are 80, you will be able to look back on your life and point to real, concrete things that are better because of you. Things that would not have otherwise existed had you not been there, in that place. You no longer need wait for the Grand Narrative to convince the country to be conservative in order to fully participate in a successful legacy. You can begin now.

This article originally appeared in American Mind.

Great America

Life on the American River

For the sake of one presidential election, America’s elite institutions are fomenting racial strife and pandering to radicals. But life on the river defies their narratives.

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces, of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do, they’re really saying, I love you…

—Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World” 

The American River runs through the heart of Sacramento, from the bedroom communities in the eastern foothills all the way into downtown. There is a wide expanse of parkland along both banks. Down on the river these days the sun doesn’t set till after 8 p.m., and on weekdays after work, and after the heat of the day starts to recede, people gather.

Some sit on the bank in beach chairs, enjoying the breeze that’s cooled as it passes over the water. Others fish for striped bass and the shad that run this time of year. 

On the footbridge that connects the neighborhoods of Rancho Cordova on the south bank to those of Fair Oaks on the north bank, hundreds of people cross, passing fishermen casting their lines. There are cyclists, people walking their dogs, families, couples. The people are of every color imaginable: white, black, brown, Asian. And nobody notices. Nobody thinks anything of it.

On these weeks near to the solstice, the daylight lingers. The sun drifts north as it slowly sets, prolonging the day. From the south bank, the sun hangs directly over a bend in the river, reflecting off the water. It turns the swimmers downstream into silhouettes, their identities extinguished in the glare. Only their common humanity is visible as they stand in the water, their legs chilled by snowmelt from the High Sierra, their torsos baking in the sauna of a Sacramento summer.

A short distance downstream, set back from the north bank, on a compound guarded around the clock by sheriffs and state police, is the mansion where Gavin Newsom lives with his family. But nobody enjoying these fine evenings on the river thinks about politics. They’re enjoying life. To be part of this, it wouldn’t take but five minutes for Gavin and his family to summon the bodyguards, pile into their armored SUV, and come down to the shore. 

Don’t hold your breath.

This is unfortunate. This is a missed opportunity. It’s a teachable moment Gavin Newsom will never experience. Because if California’s posh leader bothered to mingle with real people for a change, instead of the professional hatemongers who pass themselves off as spokespersons for “the people,” he wouldn’t see colors. He wouldn’t see group identities. He wouldn’t see warring factions of privileged and oppressed. He would see hundreds of Californians, Americans, united by simple pleasures amidst profound beauty.

Gavin Newsom isn’t the only member of America’s elite to ignore the resilient unity that still lives in the hearts of most Americans. A typical example of the media’s current fixation is ABC’s “Nightly News,” where for the past several months, whenever they weren’t hyping COVID-19 as the plague of the century, they were hyping something far more preposterous—that America is a systemically racist nation. 

Day after day, stories that shouldn’t even make local news are reported as if they’re events of national significance. The theme is always the same: a white person does something offensive or harmful to a black person. There is never any context. There are never any stories of blacks offending or harming whites, or other blacks. It’s a constant drumbeat: whites are racists, unworthy of anything they possess, living on land they stole, in a nation built on the backs of black slave labor.

There’s plenty of evidence to refute this nonsense, and it’s obvious as well why the networks are gripped by this obsession; they’re terrified that blacks will vote for Trump. So they’re willing to lie, misrepresent, selectively emphasize, and grossly distort events in order to foment racial resentment and hatred. 

In a bitter irony, “ABC Nightly News” always ends its 30-minute newscast with a “feel good” story. Somebody helping a stranger. Somebody triumphing over adversity. An act of courage, a gesture of kindness. Ironic, because this brief feature invariably follows 25 minutes of absolute trash, scientifically formulated to anger and terrify viewers. And by design, the Pavlovian repetition dulls the bullshit receptors of all who watch.

Back on the banks of the American River, thankfully, people aren’t watching television. An inordinate percentage of the people on the water aren’t even staring at their phones. 

Take a walk on the footbridge. Listen. 

A white man asks a black man “what did you catch?” Smiling, he answers “got some bass.” An Asian woman compliments a Hispanic couple on their beautiful German Shepherd. The dog pulls on its leash, attempting a friendly leap onto its admirer. Two men of indeterminate ethnic origins toss a Frisbee back and forth in the distance. A watchful mother’s child pedals her first bike, nearly wobbling into strangers who carefully step aside. The sounds of laughter rise above the murmur of conversations and the rush of water under the pylons.

This is the America that Gavin Newsom doesn’t see, and ABC’s David Muir chooses to ignore. This is the America that endures, and will endure, long after the separatists and provocateurs are gone.

For the sake of one presidential election, America’s elite institutions, all of them, are fomenting racial strife and pandering to radicals. They are unwilling to put police violence into any realistic, fact-based perspective. Instead of encouraging activism to build on previous reforms, they are fueling violent rioting and succumbing to ridiculous demands. It is a shocking dereliction of civic responsibility and a devastating rejection of our shared national identity.

Where are the leaders who will remind us that Christopher Columbus was a brave visionary, who defied the scientific wisdom of his time to prove, in a voyage that required unimaginable bravery, that the world was round? Who will step up and remind us that Father Junipero Serra was a man who lived a life of humility and compassion? Why can’t Gavin Newsom find the courage to say these things?

Instead, he sits in his fortified mansion, insulated from and in denial of the positive aspects of our history and the harmonious essence of our society today. And within sight of the same sycamores and cottonwoods, along the same riparian corridor that nurtures hawks, deer, jackrabbits, and mountain lions, this harmonious human society is on abundant display.

Gavin Newsom needs to get out a little more. There are fine evenings to be had on the American River.

Great America

What’s Keeping the Silent Majority Silent?

It is not only for the good of the country that we must initiate real conversations again but also for our own sanity.

As riots have rocked major American cities and fears of another COVID outbreak stall efforts to reopen the country, Americans understandably are anxious about the future. To make matters worse, their leaders either have refused to act or have exploited these crises for political and economic gain.

If anything is to be done, it falls on individuals to do it themselves. Sadly, individuals today lack any kind of confidence to do or say anything. 

It may be that a silent majority of Americans disagrees with the prevailing leftist narratives bombarding them. Relatively few of them, however—excluding the  usual pundits—will ever tell anyone they disagree with anything. One can only hope that this silent majority will soon make its move and correct the country’s downward course.  

Americans like to think that they have a right to free speech, but they also fear that exercising this right will put them in danger. These days, those who express unpopular opinions may face the mob or lose their jobs. Enumerating the many instances of conservatives facing severe repercussions for making even reasonable remarks about today’s controversies, John Loftus gravely concludes in The Federalist, “polite conversation cannot exist while powerful cultural forces erode the bedrock upon which this country was founded: the Constitution and the rights enshrined therein.”

Leftists who insist that speech is violence may have a point, since a person’s speech really can harm him if it opposes the dominant narrative. This leaves two options to most people: they can stay silent or—since silence is now also violence—they can repeat whatever the mainstream media outlets tell them.

We Need to Resume Talking Face-to-Face Again, But How?

In practical terms, limiting free speech has minimized face-to-face conversation, while maximizing social media conversation. People have fewer real conversations with those around them and instead have opted for the echo chambers of Twitter and Facebook. Not only has this resulted in bad ideas taking hold, it has also alienated people from one another. Therefore, if people hope to save the culture and the politics downstream of it, they will have to work to get people physically talking to one another again. 

As any good conversationalist knows, getting people to talk requires giving them something to talk about. First, start with something safe (one of the FORD topics: family, occupation, recreation, dreams) and then, depending on the context, the group could discuss something more controversial (one of the PEAR topics: politics, economics, abortion, religion). If a person starts a conversation with a stranger, it may be advisable to start with small talk like the weather or popular entertainment. 

Unfortunately, as issues become more politicized, nothing is safe to talk about and opportunities for small talk fade. If someone asks a person about his wife and kids, the company he works for, his last fishing trip, or his dream to visit Paris—all of it exposes him to accusations of privilege, bigotry, and ignorance. And with sports and Hollywood going woke, even these topics become dangerous avenues for conversation. All that leaves is the weather, but the Left has ruined this subject as well. 

Because of this, no one really knows anyone, conversation is tedious, and friendship is near impossible. Consequently, an increasing number of people must flock to social media to share ideas with others. In response, social media companies do all they can to make their platforms easy and addictive. Sure, sharing memes with like-minded strangers in cyberspace is hollow and mostly pointless, but who has time to worry about that when it gains so many likes and followers?

Besides turning sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube into monopolies, this habit has completely changed the way most people interact with reality—that is, most people now have very little contact with reality, material or spiritual. In such a world, all ideas become valid, all behavior becomes acceptable, and those with power and influence start to determine truth for everyone. While there is still the illusion of free speech online, it is actually a very restricted realm where the loudest, least restrained tribe can bully rivals and dictate the terms of discussion—or what little there is of it. 

Fixing Social Media Won’t Fix the Problem

Free-speech advocates think things would change were the owners of these platforms to play fair and stop censoring certain views, but in reality this would do little to liberate speech. The algorithms that make these sites so popular will steer users to their particular niche and keep them from engaging in any serious debate. And while cancel culture certainly makes things worse, allowing companies the power to cancel in the first place is where the problem starts. 

This suggests that the real solution to the dangers faced by those wanting to speak their minds on important issues can only be found offline. People need to stop outsourcing all-important conversations to the internet and recover authentic connections with others. They may find that they are not alone, and what’s more, that conversation with a real person can be pleasant and fulfilling.

True, the awkward moments may come, and one will meet resistance, but these present opportunities to learn about the other side and shore up one’s own arguments. That said, it’s entirely possible that someone may feel so bothered (or “triggered”) by conversation that they will react aggressively or completely avoid talking in the future. This is why successfully assessing how safe a topic might be requires practice and maturity.

Courage Is Found Among Neighbors, Not Online 

Having real conversations with real people also requires courage. People are afraid of one another and will lash out in unexpected ways. This will often happen even among friends who share the same opinions. 

It wasn’t Black Lives Matters (BLM) activists who fired Timothy Gordon, a Catholic writer and beloved teacher at a Catholic school in California, who criticized BLM; it was his employer who feared being associated with him. 

Gordon rightly called out this cowardice: “The so-called ‘right wing,’ if such a chimera even exists in the 21st century, is peopled by an irresolute mob of henpecked, handwringing, risk-averse, complacent, self-serving, heartless schoolmarms, who would have to be literally gang-pressed into a fight (and who would flee the moment it came down to it).”

A movement or church composed of such cowards would quickly disintegrate. They end up becoming anonymous members of a collective, not mutually supportive neighbors in a community. Sure, they may not loot stores and deface statues, but they don’t seem to protect these things either. They may not espouse extreme ideologies, but they don’t seem to speak up for the ideas in which they do believe. Worst of all, no one seems to be happy.  

Despite all the recent calls to action from conservative writers, nothing will happen until the silent majority begins talking to one another again. Nothing can replace the true empowerment that comes from real contact with a person. Otherwise, the more people isolate themselves out of fear, the more the destructive leftist narrative gains power over those around them. 

It is not only for the good of the country that we must initiate real conversations again, but also for our own sanity. Americans worried about the fate of their country need finally to break their silence and let their actual voices be heard. 

Great America

Fear and Loathing on the Lawn

There are many ways we are working to fix our nation. But that project is doomed to fail if we don’t also work on fixing our neighborhoods.

One thing I love about my neighbors is that my association with them is premised on shared immediate interests rather than the abstract self-interests that permeate contemporary identity politics. I’ve never had a sign endorsing a political candidate on my lawn. I’ve never had a political bumper sticker on my car. In my mind, the political struggle is irrelevant to my relationship with my neighbors. 

Sadly, however, it seems that more and more of my Houston neighbors think the political issues animating the national discourse are germane to daily life and interaction in our tiny corner of the city.

In a nation of hundreds of millions of people spread over millions of square miles, the neighborhood is the foundation of civic life in America. On the national level, the relationship that we share with our fellow citizens is mostly an abstraction: gaining a full sense of “We the People” is uniquely difficult in a diverse society of 350 million of them. 

And yet, our republic calls upon us to consider the needs of all Americans in our political processes—even people we will never meet and those with whom we can expect to have little in common. How does one stay committed to that responsibility when the collective no longer seems to recognize any shared interests, values, or experiences?

Good Neighboring

I believe that the answer lies in good neighboring. 

Our neighborhoods are the concrete reality that serve as the model for interaction in the abstract space of the larger society. Unlike the voices that I engage with in the public sphere, I occupy physical space with my neighbors. As a result of our proximity, we share many interests. Everyone works to keep our neighborhood attractive because the value of each home is dependent on the condition of the ones around it. We keep an eye out for children from other families because we know they are friends with our children—and we know that the risks and dangers faced by their children also confront our own. I look out for my neighbor’s property not only because he is my friend, but because I anticipate reciprocation.

Yard signs for political candidates have a long history in the suburbs, but the past few years have brought with them political signs that do little more than disparage the general political outlook of others. Whereas yard signs used to pop up only in the month or two before an election, walking around the neighborhood is now a political experience year-round. 

It started in earnest after Trump’s election, with signs reading, “All are welcome” or “Hate has no home here” (often written in various languages with the English translation in smaller type near the bottom) became common. 

These signs would come and go—relegated to the garage, then virtuously hauled back out whenever Chuck Todd found something new to be especially furious about. I imagine that the homeowners with the signs view them as an expression of tolerance and friendship, but they are also an implicit smear—a smear, I suspect their owners intended. 

In saying that hate has no home in their house, they suggest that it does have a home in some of their neighbors’ houses. In saying “all are welcome” in their homes, they suggest that not everyone is welcome in the homes of others. In short, they accuse their neighbors of being bad people. 

But what does a “welcoming” home consist of? What are the “signs of hate” (pun intended)? 

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests and riots, a sign that I had seen a few times before suddenly multiplied like mushrooms in the spring:

As a number of other commentators have demonstrated, such signs are clear expressions of the residents’ disdain for their political opponents. In most cases, these opponents are their neighbors. Thus, we see what makes a home “welcoming” or “hateful”: if you agree with the worldview of the progressive Left and the homeowner, you are a virtuous person. If you don’t, you’re obviously a terrible neighbor. 

The sign above is an implicit statement of hatred couched and (barely) concealed in a rhetoric of benevolence and inclusion. Further, the placard willfully misrepresents the beliefs of the homeowner’s opponents. From the top of the sign to its bottom, its claims are disingenuous responses to straw men. I will take them one by one.

Black Lives Matter

In saying that in their house “Black Lives Matter,” these sign bearers imply that those lives don’t matter to my family and other neighbors. But black lives do matter to my family and our friends. We were deeply dismayed by the unnecessary deaths of black people like Arbery and Floyd. Nevertheless, we do have major reservations about the stated goals, assertions, and hypocrisies of the organization called Black Lives Matter. 

In the uncompromising minds of those who placed the sign, however, our reservations are prima facie evidence that “hate” “has a home” at my house. The proposition on the sign allows for no gray area, no debate, no middle ground. You accede to the claim or you’re a racist. This stifles any neighborly dialogue. In presenting me with those two choices, the homeowners effectively have said they don’t want to talk to me.

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

Honestly, I’m not even sure what this one means. It advances a claim with which virtually no one would disagree. Any rational person would agree that women are humans, and as such, they have the same rights as any other human. Of course, the proposition is actually a litmus test for the reader’s position on the mythical gender pay gap or women’s “right” to have an abortion. 

But again, the sloganeering disallows any nuanced discussion. What about those who believe that a fetus is also a human, and as such, has the rights (including the right to life) that any other human would have? What about people who suggest that the “pay gap” between men and women is attributable to factors that have nothing to do with discrimination? These are conversations the homeowner is simply unwilling to have. He’s right, and I’m wrong (and thus, a bad, “unwelcoming,” “hateful” neighbor).

No Human Is Illegal

This one is simply ludicrous. Obviously (right?), the mere existence of any person is not illegal. When I hear someone say “no human is illegal,” I always ask “Are any drivers illegal?” The answer, clearly, is of course. When an unlicensed person is ticketed for being an illegal driver, we aren’t saying their existence is illegal—we’re saying their driving is. The same goes for an illegal purchaser (perhaps in the case of the underaged) of alcohol. With the phrase “illegal immigrant,” we are not saying the person is illegal, we are saying that he or she illegally undertook some action—in this case, immigration. 

This is not a complex idea, and the owner of the sign either pretends he cannot understand this distinction or assumes I am too stupid to see this rhetorical sleight of hand. Either way, he is not being very neighborly.

Science Is Real

Somehow, this one is even more ludicrous than the last. There is actually no one saying that science isn’t real. The fact that the homeowner apparently thinks his unwelcoming, hateful neighbors believe this demonstrates his total failure in trying to get to know them. Yes, science is “real.” It is one tool among others for understanding the world. But it is a necessarily limited tool and one that has often been factually wrong. Further, history shows many times that “science” has been factually correct, and morally wrong

The people that the homeowner intends to provoke have no doubts about the reality of science—instead, they are (rightly) concerned with the agenda-driven aims that determine which scientific projects are pursued and funded, which scientific findings are offered to the public, and which ones are not. The residents attempt to belittle their neighbors—by pretending the reality of science is at issue, they assume the posture of a knowledgeable parent over a recalcitrant, ignorant child. Like you, I don’t appreciate my neighbors calling me stupid—especially when they do so accusing me of holding beliefs that I don’t actually hold.

Love Is Love

I can only assume this is a commentary on LGBT issues. But I have never encountered anyone who has argued that committed same-sex or intersex couples don’t love each other. The slogan is a tautological over-simplification of the complex legal issues underlying the LGBT agenda so as to avoid any actual dialogue with their unwelcoming, hateful neighbors. 

There was never any question about the authenticity of love, it was about what sorts of relationships will be formally recognized and endorsed by the state, and which sorts of rights and obligations extend from those endorsements. The family with the sign in the yard has those questions solved. No good faith disagreement is possible. They clearly have no choice left but to shame you as you pass on your bicycle.

Kindness Is Everything

I won’t dwell on something this insipid. Generosity isn’t “everything.” Pity isn’t “everything.” Nothing is “everything.” 

That much is clear, even to the homeowner: if “kindness” was “everything,” what kind of jackass would put a sign in their yard that denigrates the values of his neighbors?

The Fate of the Neighborhood as the Fate of the Nation

If I can’t count on the guy five doors down to recognize that our mutual interests transcend our voting tendencies, what hope do I have that my fellow citizens around the country will do so? The prospects are pretty poor. The past few months have shown that the people and institutions driving the national unrest only recognize shared interests based on pre-existing ideological commitments. Their signs drive this point home, telling me up front that our interaction must be entirely on their terms. Anything short of that simply means we can’t be friends. Their yard signs tell me they don’t want me as a neighbor. 

It is important to note that while I do see the occasional signs endorsing Trump or other conservative candidates, I have yet to see any signs that belittle left-leaning members of our community for their political perspectives in a general way (though they do exist). 

This is a testament to the conservative commitment to the local. How we treat our neighbors is the template for how we treat our fellow countrymen. Remaining dedicated to the neighborly treatment of our neighbors (especially those who disagree with us and make us objects of their mockery) will help us to retain the moral high ground as the battle over the future of America intensifies. Further, it reminds our children that the imperative to love our neighbors supersedes politics.

So, what to do with neighbors bent on dividing the community with such signs? 

Ignore them? To do so would only intensify our isolation. Kick down their signs? No, that’s what they want—it would validate their belief that every street is full of haters and bigots. Explain to them that their signs are off-putting and demonstrate how they misrepresent their opponents’ positions? No: dedication to the leftist worldview has much more in common with religious fervor than rational belief, so you aren’t going to change their minds. 

All you can do is help them change their mind about you by showing that you are a welcoming, loving person despite your difference of opinion. In short, the hope for a neighborly community (and, by extension, a healthy civic life) lies in calling our opponents to live up to their own rigid values of tolerance and diversity. There are many ways we are working to fix our nation. But that project is doomed to fail if we don’t also work on fixing our neighborhoods. If you haven’t already done so, introduce yourself to the guy with the sign.

Great America

Trump’s Rushmore Speech Exposes Howard Zinn’s ‘Web of Lies’

To “protect our nation’s children,” as the president said, we must remove Zinn’s lying history from classrooms.

On July 4, with Mount Rushmore behind him, President Trump rightfully connected radicals toppling statues and even threatening Mount Rushmore to the fact that “against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe that the men and women who built it weren’t heroes but villains.”

“The radical view of American history,” the president went on to say, “is a web of lies—all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all belief.”

When I heard those words, I almost expected the president to mention Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, which is a text widely used in the nation’s schools. 

Zinn does remove perspective, obscure virtues, twist motives, and distort facts. As I discovered in writing Debunking Howard Zinn, he goes even further—plagiarizing disreputable sources, quoting deceptively in order to give the opposite meaning to the original, using innuendo and leading questions, and employing bombastic self-glorifying rhetoric in an attempt to demolish legitimate and accomplished historians.

Zinn, however, sold his book as a corrective to the presumably “triumphalist” narrative of American history that was said to glorify military, political, and business leaders. As Zinn explained, he preferred “to tell the story . . . from the viewpoint of the Arawaks, of the Constitution from the standpoint of the slaves, of Andrew Jackson as seen by the Cherokees,”—in other words, from the perspective of victims.

But that was a lie. Zinn was writing American history from the viewpoint of a Communist. Zinn was almost certainly a member of the CPUSA in the 1940s and 1950s. Like other Communists, he gave up official membership in order to infiltrate higher education, first as a professor at Spelman College and then at Boston University. And Zinn’s history follows the same Marxist outline as the one written by CPUSA chairman William Z. Foster.

In fact, Zinn denigrated patriotic working class and middle class Americans. To Zinn, abolitionists, white and black, did not help our country realize the ideals inscribed in the Declaration of Independence. Rather, they were helpless victims of “The System,” a form of government set up to ensure that wealthy elites maintain power, forever oppressing people of color, workers, and immigrants. 

Zinn’s presentation of the four presidents carved into Mount Rushmore certainly would inspire radicals to want to destroy it. To Zinn, George Washington was merely a member of the Federalist Party—the “new elite,” “the richest man in America,” and a land speculator after the Revolution. And for Zinn, the United States of America has no right to exist; he called this nation a “pretense.” So why even acknowledge George Washington as a general and president?

President Trump, on the contrary and in keeping with the true history of events, pointed out that “George Washington represented the strength, grace, and dignity of the American people.” He built the Continental Army “from a small force of citizen farmers” and “through eight long years”—at Valley Forge, crossing the Delaware River—led the patriots to “ultimate triumph.” Admirably, “After forcing the surrender of the most powerful empire on the planet at Yorktown, General Washington did not claim power, but simply returned to Mount Vernon as a private citizen. When called, he presided over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and was unanimously elected our first President.” King George called him “the greatest man of the age.” 

None of that is in Zinn’s book.

What about our third president? According to Zinn, Thomas Jefferson was nothing but a slave owner infected by a “long culture of race prejudice.” Jefferson did write all “All men are created equal,” but Zinn insists he left out women, whose education, he said, should be limited to “ornaments.” Jefferson thought the Louisiana Purchase and Indian removal necessary for “development of the modern capitalist economy.” In other words, Jefferson was a racist, sexist slave-owning capitalist who defended Indian removal.

President Trump, in contrast, lauded “the great Thomas Jefferson” who “authored one of the greatest treasures of human history, the Declaration of Independence,” as well as Virginia’s constitution, and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and served as first secretary of state, then vice president, and president, when he “ordered American warriors to crush the Barbary pirates,” “doubled the size of our nation with the Louisiana Purchase,” and sent Lewis and Clark on their expedition west. Zinn says nothing about the accomplishments of this “ardent defender of liberty,” an architect, inventor, diplomat, scholar, and “founder of one of the world’s great universities.” 

Students once learned that Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator. Not with Zinn’s book, where it is claimed that Lincoln freed the slaves only for “personal political advantage,” and that he “initiated hostilities” in the Civil War and “could not see blacks as equals.” Zinn’s jaundiced presentation of Lincoln describes him as someone who “combined perfectly the needs of business, the political ambitions of the new Republican party, and the rhetoric of humanitarianism.” 

President Trump rightfully pointed to the first Republican president’s humble origins as “a self-taught country lawyer who grew up in a log cabin,” who went on to lead “the country through the darkest hours of American history, giving every ounce of strength that he had to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people did not perish from this Earth.” “He issued the Emancipation Proclamation” and “led the passage of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery for all time.” These efforts “cost him his life”—a fact that is true but unacknowledged by Zinn.

Zinn’s portrait of Theodore Roosevelt is one of a war-mongering, racist capitalist. Yet TR invited Booker T. Washington (a man wrongly slandered by Zinn to have urged “passivity”) to visit with him in the White House. TR is maligned as a “war monger” for having once written to a “friend” about welcoming war. Roosevelt, Zinn insists, was “contemptuous” of certain nations and races, and desired expansion, for “manliness and heroism” and for lucrative trade with China. He persecuted the Socialist Party and the IWW, snubbed Mother Jones and child protestors, made only gestures of trust-busting and reform, and as president “watched Negroes being lynched” and “observed murderous riots against blacks.”

President Trump said Theodore Roosevelt “exemplified the unbridled confidence of our national culture and identity.” He recounted Roosevelt’s days as a lieutenant colonel during the Spanish-American War, as the corruption-fighting police commissioner of New York City, then governor of New York. He was then vice president, and at 42 years old, the youngest-ever president of the United States, when he “sent our great new naval fleet around the globe to announce America’s arrival as a world power.” He also “gave us many of our national parks, including the Grand Canyon,” oversaw the construction of the Panama Canal, and was “the only person ever awarded both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Medal of Honor.” But for Zinn, there is nothing admirable in Roosevelt, certainly not “the bold, beautiful, and untamed spirit” that our president invoked.

In contrast to Trump’s invocation of the principle enunciated in our Declaration of Independence, “that governments exist to protect the safety and happiness of their own people,” ensuring God-given rights as “equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment,” Zinn presents the Marxist principle of equality. Zinn does this with questions: “if some people had greater wealth and influence; if they had the land, the money, the newspapers, the church, the educational system—how could voting, however broad, cut into such power?” This comes after he condemns the founders for failing to include “small farmers, workers, women, Negroes, [and] Indians” in setting up the government and granting the right to vote! So the Civil Rights movement changed nothing because the vote means nothing. For Zinn, America remains the most racist place in the world. 

In fact, America in Zinn’s view is fascist. World War II was “waged by a government whose chief beneficiary . . . was a wealthy elite,” an “alliance between big business and the government” going back “to the very first proposals of Alexander Hamilton after the Revolutionary War.” We were no better than the Nazis; in fact, “the essential elements of fascism” were “absorbed into [our] already poisoned bones.” 

President Trump honored General George Patton and the Tuskegee Airmen for fighting fascism. 

He also said, “We must demand that our children are taught once again to see America as did Reverend Martin Luther King when he said that the Founders had signed ‘a promissory note’ to every future generation. Dr. King saw that the mission of justice required us to fully embrace our founding ideals.” 

But like Abraham Lincoln, King was assassinated for his convictions. King, who never served in the military or held public office, has been honored with multiple monuments, including one next to the National Mall in Washington, and a holiday. 

Was King perfect? Of course not. Neither were the men depicted on Mount Rushmore. But we honor them for their leadership, and for their ideals, which unify us. 

President Trump put his finger on the motivations of those seeking “to erase our heritage.” They “want Americans to forget our pride and our great dignity, so that we can no longer understand ourselves or America’s destiny. . . . they seek to dissolve the bonds of love and loyalty that we feel for our country, and that we feel for each other. Their goal is not a better America, their goal is the end of America.” This is exactly what Communist Howard Zinn wanted. 

To “protect our nation’s children,” as Trump said, we must remove Zinn’s book of lies from classrooms.

Great America

How to Break Up the FBI

No wonder the calls to “defund the police” never mention the FBI. The mob knows a friend when it sees one.

In the 1991 hit movie “Silence of the Lambs,” Clarice Starling (Jody Foster) follows her investigative instincts to a serial killer’s house to save a kidnap victim. With no back-up and overmatched by an adversary with tactical night vision, she overcomes her terror to hunt Buffalo Bill alone in total darkness.

In 2019, on the other hand, the real FBI swarmed the modest residential home of an unarmed and cooperative Roger Stone with more manpower and firepower than what was dispatched to kill Osama bin Laden. 

It’s a perfect juxtaposition to illustrate what the FBI has become, a mythical law enforcement agency that uses its real power for political ends.

In reality, the FBI doesn’t actually catch very many serial killers. Of the top-five most infamous serial killers in the United States, the FBI played little or no role in the cases, largely solved by state and local police work. The FBI bungled the Atlanta Olympics bombing investigation and the 2001 anthrax attack investigation. It failed to act on tips that could have prevented the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Parkland school shooting, the Orlando nightclub shooting, and even the Kennedy assassination

Speaking of Boston, the FBI’s multi-decade partnering with organized crime kingpin Whitey Bulger was particularly disgraceful. And as I’ve written before, the FBI maintains a massive illegal domestic spying program that almost never leads to an actual crime being solved. Where the FBI has caught “terrorists,” they’re often dimwitted patsies the FBI tricked into agreeing to plots the FBI concocted for elaborate sting operations. 

Like the massive police apparatus in a crime-ridden third world country, the FBI seems less about preventing crime than it is about maintaining power. If the business of the FBI is protecting and preserving the Constitution, it has operated at a significant loss for some time.

As bad as the FBI is at fighting crime, it’s really good at intimidating its constitutional masters. It’s always been this way. 

Recall Harry Truman’s assessment in 1945:“We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. F.B.I. is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex life scandles [sic] and plain blackmail when they should be catching criminals.” Truman added: “Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him.” 

More recently, Senator Chuck Schumer warned President Trump that if he took on the intelligence community, “they have six ways to Sunday” of getting back at Trump and that he was being really dumb by insulting them. 

But let’s imagine a world in which the FBI has not amassed so much power that it has become an untouchable branch of government. Let us entertain the fantasy that somebody in Washington, D.C. might stand up to the authoritarian juggernaut the FBI has become. What can be done?

Dissolving the FBI completely would do more good than harm, from a constitutional perspective. If the FBI applied more than a token effort to the drug cartels or Chinese espionage, then “reform” might be plausible. But it doesn’t and all past efforts to induce them to do that have failed. 

The FBI lies to courts to get search warrants and nobody is punished. You’re not supposed to do that, according to existing FBI policy. But instead of punishing the liars, Director Christopher Wray tinkers with training and procedures. Wray has had almost four years to reform the FBI and it’s only gotten worse.

To fix things, the FBI should be dismantled into smaller, more regionally based units. The jurisdictions should be redundant and overlapping because that’s how dirty cops get caught. 

FBI corruption in the Whitey Bulger case came to light due to outside law enforcement agencies asking why their joint-FBI investigations of Bulger always seemed to evaporate at the last minute. The Washington field office should be closed. That’s the office, remember, that surrendered to the rampaging Antifa mobs. It’s rotten with political corruption. 

The Hoover building should also be closed to the FBI. The FBI should be split into three or more agencies with headquarters located in real communities within the United States. I suggest one office in El Paso to combat the drug cartels, one in Portland, Oregon to counter the rising domestic terrorist threat of Antifa, and one in Chicago to counter public corruption. Actually, let’s make it two in Chicago. Unless there are rival offices snitching on one another, the FBI has proven itself susceptible to petty corruption

The Hoover building should be turned over to the Justice Department’s office of inspector general. That office should be given dedicated law enforcement agents and a dedicated prosecutor who won’t decline all of its referrals to protect political allies. The DOJ-OIG stands virtually alone in resisting the full politicization of the FBI into a leftist enforcer and guardian of the administrative state. 

Further, the successor agencies should constantly rotate their agents and attorneys every three years. The military does that to prevent senior officers from building empires of troops more loyal to their commanding officer than to the system itself. The Russian collusion hoax would not have been possible without a network of longstanding relationships that allowed the perpetrators to operate in confidence that nobody would blow the whistle. They’re getting way too chummy over there in the Hoover building. Too many dirty FBI agents are willing to play ball with political operations. 

None of this is likely to happen in the current climate in which the FBI eagerly auditions for a role with the neo-Maoist revolution that will unleash its true instincts on America. As an example, the FBI deployed a whopping 15 agents to investigate a garage door pull in a garage at the Talladega Superspeedway. But it can never seem to find the resources to safeguard private and federal property from the woke mob. 

While the FBI failed to prevent the election of Donald Trump, it did succeed in leading a resistance to the peaceful transfer of power. No wonder the calls to “defund the police” never mention the FBI. The mob knows a friend when it sees one.

Elections

Guess What? I’m a Liberal

If you believe you are liberal, whatever party you may vote for, you really need to think long and hard about which candidate is most likely to continue to protect the Constitution and which candidate is a sad dementia-riddled puppet for extreme leftists who will protect your right to free speech only if you say what they want you to say.

No, I haven’t had a change of heart. I’m just taking back the word “liberal.” The Left can’t have it anymore. They have hijacked the word. They aren’t liberal, and we all need to realize that and stop calling the very illiberal left “liberal.” You can call them leftist. You can call them progressives, fascists, or Marxists. You can call them late for dinner, but please stop calling them liberal.

I am liberal. America’s “conservatives” are the only ones fighting to preserve America’s liberal tradition today. We are fighting to conserve your God-given rights, no matter what your views may be. We are fighting for your constitutional rights, and, at this moment, your First Amendment rights especially. You should be able to say whatever you want, whenever you want. I know there are exceptions, like falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater, but ever since we added “hate speech” to our vocabulary and our laws, we have been weakening the First Amendment in ways that would have pleased the former Soviet Union.

I don’t give a flying frankfurter what adults do in their own bedrooms, how many tattoos or piercings you might have, or what color you want to apply to your hair. If you want to peacefully protest, I may not agree with what you have to say, but have at it. I live in a weed state, and though it’s not my thing (and you are breaking federal law), I don’t really care if that happens to be your thing. Just don’t drive or break any laws when you do it. If you ride motorcycles, listen to rap, gamble or dance the tango, you do you. If I don’t believe it is right for me or my family, I won’t do that activity. Protecting the Constitution should be every American’s goal, not stifling someone else’s speech or keeping anyone from believing what he wants to believe.

This country increasingly has moved further and further away from our Constitution. Some of us saw this coming and tried to warn you, but we were also duped about who were friends to liberty. We once thought we could trust the now NeverTrump Republicans. Like the fair-weather friends they were, these illiberal Republicans just wanted our votes, our viewership, and our click-throughs; they never really cared about our rights slowly dissolving or how far we were straying from our founders’ intentions. They might have tolerated the likes of us in their now-defunct magazine as long as we were writing about how wrong the Democrats were, but Tea Parties and 9/12 Projects were a bridge too far for them.

In the election of 2016, the one thing they couldn’t stomach was how plainspoken President Trump was—how uncaring about their feelings and the “normal Republican” way to do things (which, incidentally, was just the same as the “normal Democrat” way to do things), and how unattached President Trump was to the corporations, power, and money that made their lives worth living. The bureaucracy, red tape, and outright denial of justice our president and this country have been put through in the last four years was as much a plan of the Democrats as it was the NeverTrump Republican swamp creatures.

NeverTrumpers and powerful Democrats have something besides their hatred of Trump in common. They both have a disdain for regular people who think they deserve a say in how their government is run (simpletons!) and both Democrats and NeverTrumpers share a deep love for the system that made them powerful. Their aim is to silence you, not to protect your right to speak. They want to make the rules, not let you have a hand in your own government. They want to dismantle the constitutional process that made it possible to elect a non-swamp nationalist like Trump, not preserve your right to elect who you want. They are the furthest thing from liberal, and I’m calling them out.

President Donald Trump is the most liberal president (in the sense I’m using it here) we’ve had in decades. He cares about how many lives and how much treasure we spend on endless middle-eastern wars. He cares that we all have jobs, that everyone has the same opportunities as everyone else, and he fights back against the constant lies the media tells about him and this country. He has reexamined and acted upon established deals with Russia, China, Iran, and others that have worked against America’s interests.

Trump ran on draining the swamp, but unfortunately, he didn’t realize how deep that swamp really is. As a brand new president, he tended to believe that our systems were based in the Constitution, our bureaucrats were not corrupted, and our judicial system was fair. I was afflicted with the same naiveté. I feel robbed by the Left of what an unfettered Trump presidency could have looked like. 

An eternal optimist, I never would have thought President Trump’s entire presidency would be plagued with unfounded rumors, illegal spying by the former administration and unelected career bureaucrats, as well as continual deceit by the progressive legacy media. I am angered by the endless investigations into the Trump Administration and the delayed and possibly never coming justice.

Protecting the Constitution is the most important thing we can do right now. If you believe you are liberal, whatever party you may vote for, you really need to think long and hard about which candidate is most likely to continue to protect the Constitution and which candidate is a sad dementia-riddled puppet for extreme leftists who will protect your right to free speech only if you say what they want you to say.

Great America

Shielding the Chief in Turbulent Times

An interview with Gary J. Byrne, author of Crisis of Character and Secrets of the Secret Service.

As many American cities endured protests, rioting, and looting in recent weeks, the White House was not immune from the phenomenon. In the recent violence, more than 50 U.S. Secret Service (USSS) personnel were injured. While known primarily for their dapperly dressed Personal Protective Detail agents, much of the agency is composed of Uniformed Division police officers. 

In the wake of these revelations, I discussed with former UD officer Gary Byrne, author of two books about his life in the Secret Service, the issues of police shootings, use of military equipment by civil authorities, and some of the challenges that he believes will emerge in the trials of the killers of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery that may dispel the prevailing anti-police media frenzy. 

Much of the rhetoric about “defunding the police” and the need to punish bad cops leaves out the fact that law enforcement is a profession where the personnel is trained to bring order where there is disorder. As a UD officer, Byrne was required to ensure that one of the most high stakes and stressful workplaces in the world, the Oval Office, was safe and secure for the president and his family. His experience as a USAF Security Forces police officer and air marshal presented him with many of the same challenges as those facing most police officers in other very dangerous environments.

Below is the video of our full conversation on these and other topics:

“This Is Not an Arrest”

The nuance surrounding police methods for arresting suspects has been lost amidst the wave of activism. Whereas during past flare-ups police shootings were the focus, the current one concerns hand-to-hand engagements. Asked about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis after being detained by Officer Derek Chauvin, Byrne offered a take that has been ignored by the media. 

“The minute I saw that video, the first thing I said to myself is ‘they know each other, they have a relationship, this is not normal, this is not an arrest.’ I don’t care what the media tells you. I don’t care that they were in uniform.” 

Byrne made the cautious prediction that in court it may emerge that Chauvin and Floyd were both involved in a criminal enterprise together, and therefore the public hype around the case is likely only serving to obscure the truth behind it. He was also adamant that the technique of subduing a suspect using the knee as a fulcrum is common practice. 

Other commentators with law enforcement experience have objected to the new moves made to ban some types of chokeholds. Former Secret Service agent and NYPD officer Dan Bongino has contended that while the Floyd chokehold was a clear case of misconduct, other types such as the “blood chokehold” are not likely to be fatal and allow police to refrain from using more lethal means of subduing suspects. 

Officer Safety or Military Occupation?

One of the big objections that Black Lives Matter and other organizations pose to police departments is their use of surplus military hardware, what is commonly called the “militarization of the police.” Byrne has a different view of what’s happening. 

“When he was still president, [Barack] Obama made this comment about stopping the program between the [Department of Defense]  and law enforcement where the law enforcement in the United States could get surplus DOD equipment. I don’t want the police riding around the park with kids in armored personnel carriers, but when they have to go into Watts [in Los Angeles] to serve a search warrant in a drug house, yeah, I want them to be protected.”

During the height of the rioting in late May and early June, there were rumblings that the president would deploy active-duty military personnel to quell the disturbances. Byrne is more cautious about supporting this. 

“I don’t think they should use the military. I [would] let the Secret Service be the Secret Service,” he said.

Serve and Protect vs. Squawk and Project

From the time he was elected, Donald Trump has had an adversarial relationship with traditional media from cable news to newspapers like the New York Times and Boston Globe. Suddenly press briefings with White House press secretaries have gone from sedate chats under Barack Obama to frenzied shouting matches. 

I asked Byrne to compare the behavior of the White House Press Corps towards Trump with what he saw under previous administrations. The strongest memories he had were under the first president he served, George H. W. Bush, and he contrasted the eulogies paid to him after his death to how the media addressed him during his time in office. 

“That’s not how they treated him; they treated him like crap, they treated his wife like crap; they were always buffooning him . . . The full-court press was on against them because they were conservatives—what was a conservative at the time.” 

During the Clinton years, Byrne recalled how UPI reporter Trude Feldman sequestered herself within the press lobby’s cabling room after hours, which was against White House regulations. 

“You could guarantee that two days later there’d be a very favorable story out about Bill Clinton and that’s why they kind of kept her on,” he said. Feldman would later have her press pass suspended for looking through the contents of a Bush White House aide’s desk. This episode is particularly interesting given the current attempts by the White House Correspondents’ Association to suppress the access of One America News reporter Chanel Rion.

Murder Within Yards of the Law

In light of his own testimony during the Monica Lewinsky inquiries and the more recent Jeffrey Epstein saga, I asked Byrne if he had encountered sexual predators in the White House who are as yet unknown to the public. He said that he did not see anything else as egregious as those examples. 

He did say, however, that during his time at the White House there had been an evening when an officer patrolling West Executive Avenue (the closest street to the West Wing, since closed to the public) discovered a fresh murder victim in a car. “So he opened the door and the person fell out and they had two bullet holes in their head. He called it in and Metropolitan [Police] showed up, and a tow truck showed up and they just took the car.” 

Based on the timeframe that Byrne supplied and the location, this is consistent with the murder of Gregg Ingram (20) on October 26, 1992, who was suspected by others of being a drug informant. It occurred within 100 feet of three Secret Service posts. Perhaps it wouldn’t shock readers that given all of the other criminal behavior that has been committed over the years in the White House, Congress, and federal bureaus, it would be so easy for such a crime to happen under their noses.

. . . On Wheat, Hold the Mayo

Regarding workplace abuse and harassment, Byrne was witness to elected officials living according to a separate standard of laws and treatment of staff and employees. 

“I’d say, if you walked into the veterinarian that takes care of your dog and you saw him treating his employees like this—you take your dog somewhere else.” 

He invoked the infamous story, underreported by the media, of the alleged “Senator sandwich”—the drunken sexual assault by Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd on waitress Carla Gavigno in 1985 at La Brasserie restaurant in Washington, D.C. Less known is that two years later, Kennedy was caught once again in flagrante delicto with a female date. 

This prompted me to ask him whether Vice President Al Gore, who had been alleged by three masseuses in 2010 to have solicited sexual favors, was simply more careful. But Byrne attributed Gore’s avoidance of consequences to luck. 

He recalled an account from a Delta Airlines flight attendant who told him during his Air Marshal service after learning he was in the Secret Service: “Al Gore was eating a ham sandwich and mustard spilled on his pants, you know on his zipper. And he got up, walked up to her, grabbed her hand, and said ‘hey wipe this off’ and started rubbing her hand on his genitals. I had no reason not to believe her.” 

While it is unfair to hold this alleged incident against Gore without much stronger verification, Byrne was overall fair to him, including recalling the former vice president’s family having a deep personal relationship with one of his former Secret Service colleagues, with his daughters attending and weeping at his funeral. 

Guardian or Messenger?

Given his own experience being questioned by Kenneth Starr’s investigators during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, I asked Byrne whether protective personnel like him should have a process for reporting sexual misconduct by their protectees. He was ambivalent about it. 

“The problem is, it’s never going to be used the ways you and I are discussing it and common sense would tell you it’s intended. It’s because, whoever an officer will [witness, he would] unlikely throw himself on a sword.” Were it not for White House employee Linda Tripp reporting the Kathleen Willey incident to Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff, President Clinton’s inappropriate relations with Lewinsky might never have been discovered. 

Tripp was also the source that leaked phone conversations with Lewinsky and the blue dress that incriminated Clinton. Had Clinton’s DNA not been on that dress, it is hard to say what might have happened to Lewinsky. 

Thanks to his post-Secret Service statements denouncing the Clinton family and his 2016 book Crisis of Character, the pro-Clinton watchdog Media Matters has published no less than 10 articles attacking Byrne and the book. Their attacks on Byrne, an Air Force veteran with no known career blemishes with either the Secret Service or Air Marshals, is an interesting contrast to their ferocious defense of anti-Trump “whistleblowers” like Lt. Colonel Alex Vindman and former  National Intelligence Director James Clapper. 

It should be remembered, however, that unlike the involvement of those characters in Trump’s impeachment, Byrne’s role in the Starr inquiry was compelled by a court order and not through deliberate leaking. Moreover, his book came over a decade after he was forced to testify, leading to his eventual departure from the Secret Service. 

Great America

Trump Tax Cases Highlight the Court as Servant of the Administrative State

The justices who think Congress is still about legislating, when it has been clear for 50 years that it serves to fund and reinforce the administrative state, do not see their own role in perpetuating it and in failing to end it. 

The president was not whining when he tweeted about the continuing “political prosecution” permitted by the two tax returns cases issued Wednesday by the Supreme Court. These two cases, although short-term wins for Trump, illustrate the role of the federal and state courts in the administrative state and reveal the burdens this conglomeration places on a reforming president. Let’s take the worst of the bad news first.

Justice Samuel Alito’s dissent in Trump v. Vance summarizes the problem with the New York County District Attorney’s subpoena of the president’s tax returns for a grand jury. 

The subpoena at issue here is unprecedented. Never before has a local prosecutor subpoenaed the records of a sitting President. The Court’s decision threatens to impair the functioning of the Presidency and provides no real protection against the use of the subpoena power by the Nation’s 2,300+ local prosecutors. Respect for the structure of Government created by the Constitution demands greater protection for an institution that is vital to the Nation’s safety and well-being.

Alito had previously lamented, in the DACA case, that “the Federal Judiciary, without holding that [the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program] cannot be rescinded, has prevented that from occurring during an entire Presidential term. Our constitutional system is not supposed to work that way.” 

Ominously, Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion presented a split on the court, with a concurrence on only the judgment by Justice Brett Kavanaugh (joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch) and Justices Clarence Thomas and Alito dissenting. 

Both Kavanaugh and Roberts noted the agreement of the dissenters on many points of the majority, but they miss the thrust of their objection: the subjectivity on so many fronts that invites a thousand pricks from the federal and state judiciaries. Thomas had questioned the legality of universal injunctions issued by federal district court judges in Trump v. Hawaii, the so-called Muslim travel ban case. 

Yet Roberts reassures that presidents have borne such burdens before (“two centuries of experience confirm that a properly tailored criminal subpoena will not normally hamper the performance of the President’s constitutional duties.”) To the contrary, Alito responds, with a list of horrors possibly resulting from a local prosecution: 

Could he be sent to Rikers Island or be required to post bail? Could the judge impose restrictions on his travel? If the President were scheduled to travel abroad—perhaps to attend a G–7 meeting—would he have to get judicial approval? If the President were charged with a complicated offense requiring a long trial, would he have to put his Presidential responsibilities aside for weeks on end while sitting in a Manhattan courtroom?

Finally, Alito demolishes Roberts’ use of Chief Justice John Marshall on the Aaron Burr trial to prove his point about state subpoenas. Instead, Alito notes,

The lesson we should take from Marshall’s jurisprudence is the lesson of McCulloch [v. Maryland]—the importance of preventing a State from undermining the lawful exercise of authority conferred by the Constitution on the Federal Government. There is considerable irony in the Court’s invocation of Marshall to defend a decision allowing a State’s prosecutorial power to run roughshod over the functioning of a branch of the Federal Government. 

So the Manhattan prosecutor will be permitted his subpoena to replay old episodes of “Law and Order,” if he can persuade the original court and any other courts of the appeal, including the Supreme Court. How the justices line up the next time is something on which to speculate. But such uncertainty does not respect the scope of “the executive power” of the office of the presidency. 

Trump v. Mazars: All Things to All Lawyers

The second case, Trump v. Mazars, concerns subpoenas by three committees of the House of Representatives, which argue they need President Trump’s tax returns going back to before his presidency for “legislative purposes.”

This 7-2 Roberts opinion seems somewhat more sympathetic to the Trump position than does the Vance opinion. He presents strong arguments (and weaknesses) of arguments for and against the House. “Congress has no enumerated constitutional power to conduct investigations or issue subpoenas, but we have held that each House has power ‘to secure needed information’ in order to legislate.” 

While dismissing the president’s “demonstrated, specific need” for subpoenaed papers requirement, the Chief Justice criticized the House for failing “to take adequate account of the significant separation of powers issues raised by congressional subpoenas for the President’s information. Congress and the President have an ongoing institutional relationship as the ‘opposite and rival’ political branches established by the Constitution.” Presenting a guide for House lawyers, he chides them for leaving essentially no limits on the congressional power to subpoena the president’s personal records. After all, “The President’s financial records could relate to economic reform, medical records to health reform, school transcripts to education reform, and so on. Indeed, at argument, the House was unable to identify any type of information that lacks some relation to potential legislation.” So Roberts tutors the lower house on Article II 101:

The interbranch conflict here does not vanish simply because the subpoenas seek personal papers or because the President sued in his personal capacity. The President is the only person who alone composes a branch of government. As a result, there is not always a clear line between his personal and official affairs. “The interest of the man” is often “connected with the constitutional rights of the place.” 

Roberts concludes with four points for the lower courts and the parties to consider when rearguing this case:

First, courts should carefully assess whether the asserted legislative purpose warrants the significant step of involving the President and his papers . . . . Second, to narrow the scope of possible conflict between the branches, courts should insist on a subpoena no broader than reasonably necessary to support Congress’s legislative objective . . . . Third, courts should be attentive to the nature of the evidence offered by Congress to establish that a subpoena advances a valid legislative purpose. The more detailed and substantial the evidence of Congress’s legislative purpose, the better . . . . Fourth, courts should be careful to assess the burdens imposed on the President by a subpoena . . . .

Perhaps the Chief Justice (fresh from presiding over the impeachment trial) is aware of the futility of teaching Congress anything about their fundamental duties, which they have been avoiding for over 50 years. But his test—will it be Roberts’ lemon?—got six votes from his colleagues.

The Thomas and Alito dissents illustrate the weaknesses of Roberts’ approach, anticipated in earlier court opinions. Alito finds that “legislative subpoenas for a President’s personal documents are inherently suspicious.” Thomas contends, “For nearly two centuries, until the 1970s, Congress never attempted to subpoena documents to investigate wrongdoing by the President outside the context of impeachment.” He concludes that “Congress’ legislative powers do not authorize it to engage in a nationwide inquisition with whatever resources it chooses to appropriate for itself. The majority’s solution—a nonexhaustive four-factor test of uncertain origin—is better than nothing.” Thus, for Congress to obtain private, nonofficial documents “it must proceed under the impeachment power,” not its ordinary legislative powers.

The justices who think Congress is still about legislating, when it has been clear for 50 years that it serves to fund and reinforce the administrative state, do not see their own role in perpetuating it and in failing to end it. They are now part of the administrative state.