There are men and women in this country who find a way to do the right thing, who do not conform, who do not go along when the prevailing opinion doesn’t sit right with them. Instead, they become a voice for the voiceless.
PITTSBURGH — In 2017, when Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva stood near the tunnel to the Pittsburgh locker room with his hand over his heart while “The Star-Spangled Banner” played, the former Army Ranger was the only member of his team to do so.
Apropos of the moment, that game against the Chicago Bears was being played at Soldier Field.
Villanueva, a Bronze Star recipient, said his decision was not an intentional violation of coach Mike Tomlin’s order for every team member to stay in the locker room until the anthem had concluded. It was the result of Villanueva asking the team’s leaders to amend their original plan because of the texts he’d received from wounded veterans asking him to stand for the anthem.
Instead, he stood with star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the team’s other captains at the front of the tunnel. Chaos ensued, and Villanueva found himself standing alone, with his teammates a few yards behind him.
Within 24 hours, several things happened: Tomlin stridently voiced his displeasure; Villanueva held a press conference expressing his embarrassment for becoming the center of attention; his NFL gear briefly outsold that of every player in the league; and he gave fans alienated by national anthem protests in the NFL a reason to keep watching.
Anthem protests began in 2016, when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat and later knelt during the anthem, followed by several other players on other teams. It was a significant factor in the 8% plunge in average viewership for a league that had previously been seen nationwide as a great unifier.
That ratings plunge continued the next year, President Donald Trump’s first year in office, when the protests expanded. That time, the plunge was 9.7%.
For generations, the NFL was the glue that gave a guy sitting in his game room in East Palestine, Ohio, a deep connection with a guy in a penthouse in Manhattan because of the passion for their teams. Instead, the league became a social justice organization that was no longer holding them together.
Last week, the Steelers played their first game of the season with a social justice message on their helmets. Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, instead chose to honor a fallen veteran, Alwyn Cashe, who died during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2005.
The rest of the team honored Antwon Rose Jr. on the back of their helmets. Rose, who was black, was shot by a white police officer in June 2018. A jury that included three black jurors found the former suburban Pittsburgh police officer not guilty after deliberating for 3.5 hours.
Many media outlets published headlines along the lines of “Steelers’ Alejandro Villanueva covers name of police shooting victim on helmet with name of military veteran.” What might have been more introspective and meaningful is some version of “Steelers’ Alejandro Villanueva, an Army veteran, honors fellow fallen soldier.”
Maybe the headlines were rampant because so few people have a connection to a member of a military family and don’t understand the significance of what losing anyone on the field of battle means to a veteran. Maybe it’s because less than half of 1% of the public serves in the military.
Villanueva wasn’t choosing not to honor Rose. He was instead drawing attention to another lost black life. If you truly believe that all black lives matter, then Cashe, a black man who died for his country after trying to rescue soldiers from a burning vehicle in Iraq, should be just as important and just as honored.
There are men and women in this country who find a way to do the right thing, who do not conform, who do not go along when the prevailing opinion doesn’t sit right with them. Instead, they become a voice for the voiceless.
In 2016, when Villanueva was asked for his thoughts on Kaepernick’s anthem protests, his response crystallized what many people believe: “I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, providing you $16 million a year … when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for less than $20,000 a year.”
The Steelers’ week one game, one of two Monday Night Football games, saw another huge NFL ratings plunge. Compared with last year’s first Monday Night Football game, viewership dropped a whopping 17%. The league continues its social justice experiment and has seemingly decided to bet on the next generation for its fan base, but it is finding out that that age group does not have the loyalty baby boomer or Gen X football fans once did.
The young people the league is trying to bring in are more fickle. Older fans are tired of politics infecting everything they do: Whether they agree with the sentiments or not, they just want to enjoy a game without being lectured.
What the NFL needs is a lot more people like Villanueva, not for his patriotism but for his willingness to search outside what everyone else thinks he should do.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1185936092-1-scaled.jpg12212560Salena Zitohttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngSalena Zito2020-09-21 21:00:462020-09-22 07:09:45NFL's Social Justice Experiment Is No Touchdown
Recent metrics on the economy and the virus reflect a burgeoning American renaissance that is unfolding across our land. This reality is grasped by citizens who can cut through the cacophony of negativity and prevarications propagated by the Democrats and their allies in corporate media.
This is an unprecedented year in so many respects, and most of them unfortunate. The malfeasance and deception of the Chinese Communist Party led to changes in our society that would have been unthinkable just months ago. America was hit by an epidemiological Pearl Harbor. In addition, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death, an intense Supreme Court nomination battle looms.
Peril . . . and Promise
But despite these important, volatile, and unusual factors, in the end, the electoral decision for most Americans will default to the typical presidential voter calculus: “Which candidate will make me—and the country—more prosperous?”
A dispassionate look at recent data on the virus and the economy reveals an incredibly optimistic trajectory for our nation. The numbers paint a picture of a country rising and coalescing.
In this regard, the scene today largely resembles the 1984 backdrop, when Ronald Reagan’s famous “Morning in America” campaign commercial perfectly captured the essence of a resurgent nation. Not long before that ad, Reagan’s chances for a second term seemed imperiled. The GOP was routed in the 1982 midterms, and Reagan’s approval numbers languished around 40 percent. Sound familiar?
Reagan is a lionized figure today but he, like all truly transformational leaders, was highly divisive during his term and especially reviled by the Washington establishment which viewed him as a dangerous, unpredictable outsider.
As in 1984, the current trend lines point to a robust renewal for America. Specifically, the latest statistics on the Chinese virus point clearly toward health. While no one would dare yet proclaim a virus “all clear,” it is certainly increasingly evident that our current approach succeeds, and we are indeed rounding the corner. Most parts of America have smartly reopened. Our country grows cognizant of managing virus risks, protecting the most vulnerable, and aggressively pursuing therapeutics, especially a vaccine.
Because of these efforts, Health and Human Services testing czar, Admiral Brett Giroir, remarked to CNN on Sunday that “from the peaks in early July and late July, the number of cases are down by 41 percent.” Giroir continued: “the number of people in an [intensive care unit] is down 62 percent. The number of deaths are down almost 30 percent.”
These constructive trends on the virus undoubtedly provide a key part of the incredible economic revival that now flourishes across America. Just last Friday, the widely-watched University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index far surpassed expectations, rising to 78.9 points, the highest level in six months as America’s ascent from the lockdown lows continues. Those optimistic consumers continue to fuel an astounding housing boom. Reflecting the home sales and home construction expansion, last week the National Association of Home Builders reported another new all-time high for builder sentiment.
Who Can Deliver on the Economy?
Regarding economic data, last week the Census Bureau also released its final reports on the year 2019. The deluge of data reinforces the incredible economy our country enjoyed before the artificial interruption of the CCP virus, especially for working-class labor.
For the full year, median overall incomes grew an astounding 6.8 percent, by far the highest yearly wage acceleration ever. In actual dollar terms, the median household saw one-year gains of over $4,300. To put that number in context, 2019, by itself, represents over $1,300 more new income than the entire eight years combined of the Obama-Biden Administration.
Plus, the benefits of the first Trump boom flowed largely to the economic underdogs, the strivers who languished during the slow growth Obama-Biden era. During the Vice-President Biden years, economic elites captured the rewards, as asset inflation rewarded the holders of stocks and real estate. In contrast, Trump’s policies reward both capital markets and laborers. In 2019, for example, blacks and Hispanics saw even higher income growth than the overall stellar numbers. Such income gains drove the poverty rate to a 60-year low, and the first three years of Donald Trump in the White House saw an incredible 2.8 million children lifted out of poverty.
A Recovery Well Underway
But the best news about 2019, is that the past is prologue . . . because the economic surge is happening again, right now. The present economic resurrection of America gains steam, as backed by recent data.
In addition to the housing and consumer sentiment news, income gains reassert here, too. In August our country added back a massive amount of jobs, with over 1.37 million new hires. The jobs report also detailed a robust 4.7 percent average annual wage growth. In addition, as was the case before the pandemic, some of the biggest rewards accrue to the economic strivers.
For example, average hourly earnings for factory workers just hit an all-time high in August, and the pace of manufacturing income gains since Trump took office is a full 3 percent higher than the last four years of Obama-Biden.
Of course, corporate media mavens fixate on negativity and give scant attention to these many encouraging data points. Despite the frantic fear-mongering and divisive tactics of the Democrats and their allies in the press, Americans embrace a very different reality—a country that welcomes progress on the virus and an accelerated, “super V-shaped” economic renewal. It’s morning in America.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-157508130.jpg16732499Steve Corteshttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngSteve Cortes2020-09-21 15:30:342020-09-21 16:05:07It’s Morning in America
And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/SCOTUS-scaled.jpg17072560Liz Sheldhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngLiz Sheld2020-09-21 03:08:512020-09-21 03:08:51Morning Greatness: Dems Promise Nothing Off the Table for SCOTUS Fight
In an article with a brazenly deceptive title, “Third Party Contenders Not a Factor in 2020,” U.S. News & World Reportproceeded to provide evidence that third-party contenders most definitely will be a factor in deciding what is certain to be a very close presidential election in November.
Consider the magazine’s take on these two battleground states. Wisconsin: “a recent New York Times/Siena College poll has Biden with 48% support, Trump with 45%, and Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen with 2% support.” Pennsylvania: “Biden with 48% support, Trump with 45%, and other candidates getting 2% support.”
In the case of Pennsylvania, note the deceptive reference to “other candidates.” What they really mean is Libertarian Jo Jorgensen. Because in a court ruling just handed down in Pennsylvania, based on a technicality, Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins will not be on the ballot. A similar fate befell Hawkins in Wisconsin, where a slim majority on the court denied the Green Party contender a spot on the ballot.
Thanks to legal decisions, in two crucial battleground states where Trump won by less than 1 percent in 2020, there is a Libertarian Party candidate on the ballot willing and able to steal Trump votes, but no Green Party candidate to siphon off socialist voters and Bernie Sanders die-hards. This benefits Biden.
As anyone who can remember the court-adjudicated outcome in Florida back in 2000 will attest, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of legal rulings that can affect a presidential election. And what happened this week in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania courtrooms could be just enough to change the 2020 outcome.
The American Battleground of Lawfare
According to lawfareblog.com, the term “lawfare” originally emerged in the 1950s in contexts “ranging from divorce law to courtroom advocacy to colonialism to airfare for lawyers.” And, at least since 2010 when this term resurfaced, “its most prominent usage today very much concerns national security.” Hoping the still-active lawfare blog will indulge this expansion of the definition, “lawfare” seems an apt word to describe the growing role attorneys and courts have in deciding the future of America. And using the term “lawfare,” which connotes war, gives the ongoing legal conflicts that will determine our future the weight and intensity it deserves.
A good example of how the Left uses lawfare, with no opposing forces to hold them in check, was the relationship between Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency and litigants representing powerful environmentalist nonprofits. In what an R Street Institute report called the “Sue and Settle era,” “the Obama administration’s EPA chose not to defend itself in more than 100 lawsuits brought by special interest advocacy groups and paid out $13 million in attorneys’ fees in such cases.”
While $13 million is insignificant compared to the billions shoveled into environmentalist nonprofits by liberal foundations, the deeper significance of this uncontested lawfare was that, as R Street reports, “sue and settle became one of the primary avenues to formalize major regulations, including the Clean Power Plan’s proposed constraints on carbon emissions as well as recent mercury and air-toxin standards.”
This process isn’t restricted to the EPA, or to purely environmental issues. Leftist activist groups sue a friendly federal bureaucracy, the bureaucracy immediately settles, and then using the court’s consent decree as cover, they co-write transformative new regulations. Whenever there is a Democratic administration—and often enough when there is not, because the bureaucracies remain dominated by progressives—this process of using lawfare to generate new regulations rips its way through every executive agency.
Green Lawfare Across the Nation
For years, Americans living in the Western United States knew that by suppressing both the logging industry and natural wildfires, their forests were becoming dangerously unhealthy. Trees at many times their historic density were stressed and dying, turning literally hundreds of thousands of square miles of forest into tinderboxes. But rural communities could not thin the nearby forests because of environmentalist litigation.
Examples of this go way back, and happened in every state.
In Arizona, the Phoenix-area newspaper East Valley Tribune in 2003 described the difficulties that common-sense forestry managers were having in a story headlined, “Lawsuits stall forest thinning.” In 2015, well before the devastating round of wildfires in 2018, the Sacramento Beepublished an article, “Anti-logging lawsuits hurt fight against forest fires.”
And even now, after the 2020 wildfires that are already worse than ever, in August the New Mexico Forestry Industry Association, in a press release, claimed that ongoing lawsuits are “killing many of the small businesses that are critical for protecting our water and forest ecosystems from catastrophic wildfire.”
In California, a hotbed of green lawfare, it wasn’t just active litigation that prevented forest thinning, but a web of regulations that in part were the result of previous litigation and consent decrees.
For example, after fires obliterated the town of Paradise in 2018, residents of nearby Berry Creek tried to get permission to thin overgrown forests along evacuation routes. Local officials complained “the environmental reviews were too cumbersome and too time-consuming for a nonprofit to tackle. They required archaeological studies, landowner permission slips, bird surveys and more—making the process arduous to the point of inaction.”
Berry Creek is now a pile of ashes, and 15 people are dead. They couldn’t get out. If over the past few decades, lawfare were waged by the Right as aggressively as it has been waged by the Left, the outcome may have been different.
How Lawfare Affects Crime and Punishment
By now most everyone involved in politics is aware that George Soros not only has been bankrolling radical organizations with uplifting names, or pouring money into marquee political contests, but he is also picking off district attorney elections.
Until recently mostly under the radar, Soros, along with other wealthy liberals, has spent millions over several years to get criminal-friendly district attorneys elected. A recent Los Angeles Times article provides comprehensive details and surprising balance regarding how Soros money has transformed criminal justice in major cities across the nation.
When Soros shovels money into district attorney races, he is engaging in yet another form of lawfare. District attorneys have perhaps unwarranted power and discretion. As it stands today they can choose to ignore serious crimes. Cities where Soros money played a critical role in successful campaigns for district attorney include Philadelphia, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Phoenix. Cities currently facing an election with a Soros-backed candidate include Los Angeles, San Diego, and elsewhere.
America’s cities are in embarrassing, tragic decline wherever progressive politicians have taken power. But lawfare—in the form of litigation but also in the form of prosecutors who are leftist radicals—affects as much if not more policy than elected officials. Which brings us to the judges.
Activist Judges Are Lawfare Incarnate
While the term “activist judge” jokingly can refer to any judge with whose rulings you disagree, the philosophy of judicial activism poses a serious challenge to defenders of the Constitution, and proponents of judicial activism are almost always leftists.
When considering some of the astonishing rulings coming from activist judges—such as the Ninth Circuit ruling in 2006 that homeless vagrants cannot be detained unless they can be offered free housing—it is easy to see why activist judges are yet another front on the battlefield of lawfare.
While many blue state courts are hopelessly in the grip of activist judges, the battle for control of the federal court system remains in furious conflict. According to the Pew Research Center, as of July, of the active federal judges, Trump, the Bushes, and Reagan appointees account for 392, while Obama, Clinton, and Carter appointees account for 400.
What about the critical circuit courts of appeals?
The chart below shows the makeup of the circuit courts based on whether or not the judges were appointed by a Democrat or a Republican president. The GOP advantage is much higher among senior circuit judges, 76 to 31. This makes the outcome of the 2020 presidential election even more consequential, because although senior circuit judges still rule on cases, as soon as a judge elects to transition to senior status, a vacancy is opened up on that circuit. As can be seen, the vast majority of vacancies in the next four years are likely to be opened up by departing judges who were appointed by Republicans.
The most significant variable affecting the role of judges in America’s political fate, of course, is the U.S. Supreme Court.
The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg may not result in Trump successfully naming her replacement, since several Republican senators in close races may decide it is politically impossible for them to vote to confirm a new justice so close to the election. But even if Trump does appoint one more justice before the end of his first term, a Biden victory still could overturn the balance of power on the court.
If Biden gets elected, the Democrats in Congress have declared their intention to expand the U.S. Supreme Court, and the circuit courts, to create new vacancies that would allow them to acquire an instant majority. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that would prevent them from doing so.
In all areas of lawfare—aggressive litigation in all sectors of society including shaping election outcomes, “sue and settle” collusion with government bureaucracies, and activist prosecutors and judges—the American Left and their billionaire backers are willing to bend the rules and spend whatever it takes to achieve their ends.
Lawfare, defined here as legal warfare to set public policy, often beyond further recourse, is a battlefield where conservatives have to meet force with equal or greater force, lest everything else they fight for, and all their victories, are nullified.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-79089506.jpg13032499Edward Ringhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngEdward Ring2020-09-21 00:00:492020-09-21 00:00:49Waging Lawfare Against the Left
Apparently, it was the author’s most attention-getting tweet since January 19, 2019, when—in the wake of the instantly famous encounter at the Lincoln Memorial involving a group of polite MAGA cap-wearing boys from Covington High School in Kentucky, a drum-banging Native American provocateur named Nathan Phillips, and a trash-talking gang of Black Hebrew Israelites—the selfsame author posted the now-iconic picture of one of the boys, Nick Sandmann, standing calmly in the face of Phillips’ provocation, and wrote: “Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?”
The author in question was Reza Aslan, who, when he himself was a kid, fled the Iranian Revolution with his parents for the United States, where he grew up in the Bay Area. He went on to collect a B.A. in religious studies from Santa Clara University, an M.A. in theological studies from Harvard, an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in sociology from UC Santa Barbara. His first book, No god but God(2005), whitewashed Islam and blamed Islamic terror on Western imperialism; the predictable plaudits in such left-wing organs as the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, and Financial Times made it a “worldwide success” (The Guardian) and launched his career as a “multimedia force” (L.A. Review of Books).
In addition to his books, Aslan has served as a consultant on Islam for various media projects. He hosted a short-lived CNN religion series, “Believer,” on which, in one memorable episode, he ate part of a human brain. He’s sat on the board of the National Iranian American Council, which lobbies for the Mullahs in Iran, and he’s given talks under the auspices of groups linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. In several articles over the years, the indispensable Robert Spencer has documented Aslan’s chronic dishonesty about a wide range of topics, from Islam and Christianity to his own academic credentials.
One thing that Spencer repeatedly has pointed out is that Aslan is not terribly bright or well informed: he makes endless simple mistakes on subjects about which he poses as an expert and is a fount of spelling and usage errors. Yet dumb though he may be about a lot of things, he’s a genius at self-promotion. After 9/11, to borrow a phrase from George Washington Plunkitt, he seen his opportunities and he took ’em, making himself eminently useful to the media as an apologist for Islam.
What repeatedly has gotten in the way of Aslan’s own attempt to maintain this image of serenity and equanimity is his own poisonous hatefulness, which frequently gets the better of him.
Presentable in appearance, measured in tone, he packaged himself at once as a standard-issue left-winger and as an authentic believer in an orthodox yet somehow “modern” Islam. Like the now-disgraced Tariq Ramadan, he was a “bridge-builder,” thoroughly assimilated into Western civilization, who sought nothing more than to educate Westerners about the beautiful beliefs and traditions of his faith—and thereby dispel the ugly suspicions that flow from ignorance.
What repeatedly has gotten in the way of Aslan’s own attempt to maintain this image of serenity and equanimity, however, is his own poisonous hatefulness, which frequently gets the better of him. This phenomenon is not unique to Aslan. It can be observed in the cases of many Muslim public figures in North America and Europe who try to project a calming, moderate profile but who, in certain circumstances—for example, when strongly contradicted—can let the mask slip and sound, suddenly, like nothing so much as a firebrand imam calling for someone’s head.
This has happened with Aslan again and again. In 2012, for example, he responded to a foolish comment by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) by tweeting that he hoped Akin would be raped. He’s used the words “piece of s—” to describe Sean Hannity, former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, and both Donald Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. (He is particularly hostile to the president, whose supporters are, in his view, Islamophobes, possessed of a discomfort with Islam that has nothing to do with 9/11 and myriad other acts of jihadist terror but with insidious anti-Islam propaganda.)
In May 2017, he called the president a “lying conniving scumbag narcissistic sociopath piece of s—.” A month later, following the London Bridge terrorist attack, the president tweeted: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” Instead of deploring the vile act of jihadist mass murder, Aslan condemned Trump’s utterly reasonable response: “This piece of s— is not just an embarrassment to America and a stain on the presidency. He’s an embarrassment to humankind.”
This tweet was too much even for CNN, which cut Aslan loose as a result. But Aslan was undeterred. Discussing the incident with a reporter some months later, he reiterated, matter-of-factly: “The president is literally a piece of s—.” He hasn’t changed his mind on this subject: last fall, in the lead-up to the Trump impeachment hearings, Aslan tweeted that instead of trying to remove Trump from office, the Congress should “waterboard him instead.”
Some may argue that you shouldn’t have to lose your job for criticizing a president, any president, even in scatological and violent terms. Fair enough. But Aslan’s disgusting tweet about Nick Sandmann was another story. At the time, Sandmann was an unknown kid from Kentucky; without the malicious, irresponsible media storm that broke around him and his friends that day, he might have lived a long and happy life without ever becoming a public figure. But that episode changed everything. He was soon a household name. And of the many inexcusable things that were written and said about him by people in positions of responsibility—people who should have known better—none were more reprehensible than Aslan’s: “Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?”
No one who was familiar with Aslan’s writings should have been terribly surprised by that tweet, which some would justifiably describe as a thinly veiled threat of physical violence. This was, after all, a man who, however civilized his prose, had made it his errand in one book after another, as well as in any number of essays and TV appearances, to downplay, relativize, excuse, and even defend the bloodthirsty perpetrators of Koran-inspired murder. If you’re capable of looking benignly upon killers of children, it’s no stretch at all to describe the face of a teenager whom you’ve never met before, and about whom you really know nothing except for that he supports the sitting president of the United States, as “punchable.”
This year Sandmann sued ABC, CBS, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Gannett, and Rolling Stone for millions of dollars for their depictions of him; he has since privately settled with CNN and the Post. While he has not yet taken legal action against Aslan, several other Covington students have done so, and have also filed suits against CNN’s Ana Navarro (who called the boys “racists”) and half a dozen or so other media figures, politicians, and activists. While we have yet to see how the suit against Aslan turns out, the fact that he has been called out in this very public way is exceedingly satisfying to observe. For this loathsome figure who had presented himself for years as an educator about Islam had, indeed, with a single malevolent tweet, taught millions of Americans a memorable lesson about the dark, destructive faith that animates him.
Moreover, the violence implied in his Sandmann tweet was made thoroughly explicit in his tweet responding to the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. That the passing of a woman who, whatever you thought of her views, was famously civil in her interactions with political opponents, including her good friend Antonin Scalia, could evoke such a cry of rage only underscores just what kind of a monster hovers behind Aslan’s placid façade—and, indeed, beneath the surface of the savage ideology that calls itself a religion of peace.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1187654135.jpg13002497Bruce Bawerhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngBruce Bawer2020-09-20 23:04:582020-09-20 23:38:44The Loathsomeness of Reza Aslan
The Supreme Court is the most powerful legislative body in America. It is an entirely partisan institution. Let’s stop pretending otherwise.
With that in mind, President Trump and the Senate Republicans immediately should nominate and appoint the youngest, most conservative public figure they can find. I recommend Madison Cawthorn, the 25-year-old House candidate running for North Carolina’s 11th District.
Unlike the currently sitting eight justices, Cawthorn is not a graduate either of Yale or Harvard Law. In fact, he doesn’t have any law degree at all.
The Supreme Court no longer is a meaningful judicial institution requiring special expertise. The court doesn’t interpret law, it makes it. The people’s representatives in Congress never voted to make gay marriage legal nationwide or to allow abortion on demand. That was left to the nine aged oligarchs on the court. America, in a number of crucial ways, is a kritarchy—a regime governed by judges.
The Republicans have 53 votes in the Senate. The principle of majority rule means they have the right, from the American people themselves, to implement their will. They should use that power to ram through their preferred nominee.
They shouldn’t hold hearings, ask for Democrats’ input, or muse about “qualifications.” First thing Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should hold an up or down vote. They should swear Cawthorn in by the afternoon.
Do not stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Like the Roman emperor Caligula appointing his horse as senator, the whole point of this exercise is to delegitimize our decrepit institutions. Conservatives still wringing their hands about “decency,” “norms,” and “the rule of law” simply do not understand the world in front of their eyes.
You want to talk about rule of law? Virtually every state in America has been under medical martial law for six months.
Norms? Neil Gorsuch didn’t bat at an eye at finding transgender rights in the Constitution.
Decency? Democrats used an evidence-free rape accusation to try to sink Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.
This is about power. This is about winning. America has been in a constitutional crisis for years, if not decades. Maybe it’s time for Republicans to make it explicit.
Of course, if Republicans had spines none of this would be necessary. Article III, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution states that the Supreme Court only has “appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact,” under “such Exceptions” and “Regulations as the Congress shall make.” In other words, the Supreme Court is not the final arbiter on the Constitution. The three branches of government are coequal in their charge to interpret the Constitution in their respective spheres.
But Congress alone has the special power to remove certain topics from the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction entirely. If Congress doesn’t want the Supreme Court to rule on abortion or gun rights, it could make it happen tomorrow.
The current Republican establishment ignores the powers they have, and simply shrugs their shoulders at the court’s rulings. This is a sign of weakness. It is so much easier for elected representatives to sit back in D.C., collect a sweet paycheck from K Street after leaving office, and look the other way.
Their abdication has consequences. Over the past 50 years, the American Left has used the judiciary and administrative state to impose their will without ever pretending to consult the people. And that street doesn’t run both ways, either. The Supreme Court is only allowed to act as a super-legislature so long as it embraces liberal policies.
If a 5-4 decision came down not simply undoing Roe v. Wade, but banning abortion nationwide using the 14th Amendment, there is a snowball’s chance in Hell the Left would accept the results. Leftists would cry “state’s rights,” refuse to allow executive agents to enforce the ruling, and then use their corporate muscle to undo the decision.
The Left would let this country burn before it would allow conservatives to do to them what they’ve spent the last five decades doing to us.
Enough is enough. Americans need a say in their own government. That starts with this nomination. The Republican Party has a chance to show some fight and to impose its will. Do it. Speculating about precedent for the opposing party in the future is the talk of losers. Conservatives should act as if they will always remain in power. They should act like liberals.
Therefore, the Republican Party should immediately flex its political muscle and ensure the appointment of its president’s nominee. It’s time Republicans started acting like winners.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1254451609.jpg13862499Josiah Lippincotthttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngJosiah Lippincott2020-09-20 22:30:572020-09-20 22:37:02A Modest Proposal for Imposing Republican Will on the Court
Decency calls for solemnity on the occasion of the death of a person of importance such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
A pioneer, Ginsburg attended Harvard Law School in 1956 as one of only nine women.
A scholar, following a clerkship in the Southern District of New York, Ginsburg co-authored a book on Swedish civil procedure, taught law at Rutgers, founded the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, and taught at Columbia Law School and Stanford. Ginsburg proved herself an effective courtroom advocate, particularly in the application of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to women.
President Carter tapped Ginsburg for the United States Court of Appeals. President Clinton nominated Ginsburg to the Supreme Court on June 14, 1993. She was confirmed 48 days later.
Ginsburg’s distinction on the Supreme Court—other than in forming a tight bond with her ideological opposite, Justice Antonin Scalia—is to have become the embodiment of the defense of abortion as a constitutional right, to the point of deification. Ginsburg, “the Notorious RGB” as she became known to her fans, is the Left’s goddess of abortion.
Decency also requires us to discuss other things about Justice Ginsburg. Her death has deepened this country’s political crisis, and Justice Ginsburg played a role in that crisis.
The average age of the current Supreme Court justices is 65. Ginsburg had been the oldest Justice on the Supreme Court since 2010, and ranked at the time of her death as the fourth-oldest in the history of the country.
It is no accident that Ginsburg found herself a generation ahead of the average age of her colleagues. In 2015, when President Obama had the power to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg, she was 82 and had been suffering from pancreatic cancer since 2009. Yet she declined to go along.
Insisting that she remain, Ginsburg either did not see or did not care that President Obama reliably would have appointed someone who shared her judicial philosophy, and that Senate Republicans reliably would have confirmed. Needless to say, President Obama would have appointed a woman to succeed Ginsburg, and so by refusing the opportunity, Ginsburg—tireless advocate of women—barred the advancement of another.
Ginsburg’s personal engagement in her causes proved more important to her than the success of those causes. The entirely predictable outcome has now come to pass.
This exposes a character flaw in Ginsburg. Having worked stubbornly into her position, with equal stubbornness she clung to it, as though she alone had the wisdom, in advanced age and failing health, to carry on her cause.
If Justice Ginsburg’s ego blinded her to this moment, which so many anticipated, one has to ask, what else did she fail to foresee in her long career?
We can start with the incompatibility of abortion and the grounding principles of the United States. The president reminded us this week, in attacking postmodernist historian Howard Zinn, that the definitive moment of the creation of the United States is 1776, with the Declaration of Independence and its principle that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights, beginning with the right to life.
It represents the confluence, as opposed to conflation, of the ancestral and the good, in the rudimentary stuff of the United States.
Ginsburg’s nearly unqualified embrace of abortion as a fundamental extension of the rights embodied in the Bill of Rights and Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution implies either the rejection of the Declaration of Independence or its perversion in a manner no less repugnant than that of the Dred Scott opinion of 1858. If Dred Scott notoriously hardened opinions leading to the Civil War, Nortorious RBG hardened opinions around abortion in derogation of the notion human beings have inherent rights that every other human being is bound to respect.
America’s revolutionary dedication to a republicanism that became a light unto the nations has descended into a street battle with a vicious Marxist movement. Whether accidentally or intentionally, Ginsburg is connected to that, and you will witness that connection in the invocation of her deified remembrance in the coming political trials in the next months.
The 2020 election is now bracketed by two violent extremes that draw strength from Justice Ginsburg’s inability to foresee the consequences that follow from her rejection of the Declaration in defense of abortion.
On one side are the echelons of fighters for Communism, a doctrine which explicitly advances the idea that certain persons—capital, oppressors, the white privileged, the ever-growing list—have no rights anyone is bound to respect. This doctrine is intertwined with abortion in its hostility toward the family and the family’s role in the morality that supports private property and in its derogation of inalienable right to life.
On the other side is Donald Trump, who explicitly made the restoration of the principles of 1776, and their grounding in natural right, his cause, and opposes abortion more directly and forcefully than any president in the history of the country.
This moment, this election, and what flows from it is a referendum on these issues.
May Justice Ginsburg rest in peace. May the rest of us work towards peace through the vindication of the principles of 1776.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1228585488.jpg13362494Jay Whighttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngJay Whig2020-09-19 21:03:562020-09-20 00:28:36Ginsburg’s Death Brings Referendum on Communism and Revolution Into Focus
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats say they want to cancel the three scheduled presidential debates. They are desperately afraid their candidate, Joe Biden, is not up to it. He is senile, gaffe-prone, and often hidden in the basement of his Wilmington, Delaware mansion. He can’t even read off the teleprompter.
Donald Trump, meantime, is ready, willing, and more than able.
Much is at stake—for both sides.
The U.S. presidential debates, a legendary institution, are sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates every four years. This year’s debates are scheduled for September 29, October 15, and October 22. The vice presidential debate is scheduled for October 7.
The kick-off debate originally was scheduled to occur at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, but university officials backed out, feebly citing COVID-19 concerns. It’s their loss, although it would have been fun to have Coach Lou Holtz as the moderator rather than Wallace.
The second presidential debate will be a town hall-style event at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. This, too, is a change of venue. Originally, the debate was supposed to occur in the key battleground state of Michigan, but university officials in Ann Arbor also backed out citing COVID-19 worries foisted upon them by their lame governor. Steve Scully of C-Span will moderate.
The first and obvious question is: Will Sleepy Joe even show up? Will he be slow? Can he pull it off even with the lowest bar imaginable as his measuring stick? How will the lamestream media spin it?
Will the debates be fair? Could someone slip Biden the questions (and likely, the answers in advance)? Will the moderators do their jobs, or will they be biased Biden teammates on the stage, beating down on President Trump?
Wallace is a known Trump-hater and repeatedly has shown his NeverTrump bias on “Fox News Sunday.” Kristen Welker hails from the furthest left mainstream news organization, NBC. And C-Span’s Scully was actually a senate intern for Biden early in his career. No bias or conflict of interest there.
So with the odds and moderators stacked against him, what’s a guy like Trump to do?
We all know he is a hard puncher and a stronger counter-puncher. Expect an attempted knock out. If not in round one, certainly an eventual TKO.
The image created and the memorable one-liners that go viral will make or break this election. Trump will win if he scores; Biden, if Trump doesn’t and he merely survives the beating.
Recall Ronald Reagan’s humor in debating Walter Mondale on the “age issue.” His immortal quip about not taking advantage of the youth and inexperience of his opponent stuck. Or Richard Nixon’s profuse sweating under the bright lights against a handsome and relaxed John G. Kennedy. Gerald Ford slipped up on the Soviets’ domination of Eastern Europe and it cost him in 1976. There are more than a few memorable lines from these debates that were consequential. Poor Dan Quayle was forever described as a “deer in the headlights” after Senator Lloyd Bentsen told him, he was—“no Jack Kennedy.”
Trump did well but seemed less than fully prepared against Crooked Hillary the last time around. This time don’t think he won’t be ready. Everything is on the line. He will be ready and eager to land a series of blows, maybe even a sucker punch, from which Joe will never recover. In boxing parlance, this won’t be a rope-a-dope and Trump should employ an unexpected left upper cut to catch his opponent off guard.
It is with some humility and trepidation then, that I offer our experienced president these six zingers to employ as he sees fit against Biden, if and when the time is ripe. The effect would prove most demonstrable.
One: Take out a copy of your Montreal Cognitive Abilities Assessment Test and give it to Biden. Ask him to do the same thing so the American people can judge his ability and acuity to hold high office. Challenge him right there and then. He will have to produce or admit ineptitude.
Two: Ask Biden, “If one of your sons took $85,000 a month from a corrupt Ukraine oil and gas company and $1.5 billion from the Chinese government in investment funds, would you use it against your political opponent?” Close with the proverbial: Where is Hunter tonight?
Three: Quote the entire Pledge of Allegiance and see if Biden can do likewise.
Four: Biden says he would shut the entire economy down again and mandate wearing of masks at all times (even during sex). Quiz him on which day he would initiate that plan. Is it so? Nail him down.
Five: What is the correct tax rate? Biden wants to raise taxes by $3.5 trillion. His party’s platform calls for even higher tax increases. His socialist colleagues want a 70 percent income tax on some Americans. “How deep into the American people’s pockets do you want to go, Joe? A number, please?” Then state how you have and will continue to cut taxes for the American working family. Compare and contrast: which does the American public want—more or fewer taxes?
Six: Ask, “Do any police or law enforcement groups endorse you? Why not?” Biden wants to defund them and continue the rioting, lawlessness, and violent conflict in American cities. Challenge Biden to say it ain’t so—here and now. Will he disclaim Black Lives Matter and Antifa? Ask him if he has the nerve to scold his radical supporters for supporting slogans like “ACAB. Does he even know what the acronym stands for? Then tell him: “All cops are bastards.” The people who think so are his base.
If Hidden Biden does show, if he makes a fool of himself, if he forgets where he is or his canned lines, offer an alternative. Say, “Joe, I have seen dementia in my own family and in the lives of older friends. It is nothing to be ashamed of.”
“Retire Joe. Get the help you truly need. I will support you and so will the loving American people.”
Ultimately, Americans need to see who has the wisdom, the wit, and the capacity to be president. It isn’t Joe Biden.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1228604830-scaled.jpg17072560Theodore Roosevelt Mallochhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngTheodore Roosevelt Malloch2020-09-19 21:02:392020-09-19 20:56:49How Trump Can Win the Election ‘Bigly’
In the days leading up to the American War for Independence, a newly elected Patrick Henry stood before the Virginia assembly and boldly denounced the tyranny of King George III. Even though the loyalists in the room shouted at him and hurled vicious insults, Henry pressed on, explaining:
Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven.
Even in 1765 when Henry gave that speech, a kind of cancel culture sought to silence those who stood up for truth and reason. In America today, however, this natural tendency to silence the opposition has only worsened.
A generation of youth robbed of historical truth about their country, given the paltry state of school curricula, has produced an intellectually ignorant cancel culture that is raging and radicalizing them. The absurdity has even reached innocent children’s cartoons such as “Paw Patrol,” which, we’re told, must be canceled merely because one of the characters is a police dog—and we can’t let our children see that!
Peoples’ lives, jobs, and careers must be sacrificed upon the altars of political correctness because of thoughtless jokes told years ago. And heaven forbid someone comes out in support of President Donald Trump—that’s dangerous behavior and hate speech in and of itself that must be censored, boycotted, and banned! The very sight of our nation’s flag, a symbol of freedom that has been a beacon of hope to the world, triggers and offends those ignorant of what it truly represents.
But what is the result of all this hysteria? Where will it end?
Only in further deepening the already historical division that is tearing our country apart.
If they cancel everything that does not conform to the exacting and ever-changing standards of leftism, then people will only be allowed to shop at pre-approved stores, eat pre-approved foods, and watch pre-approved programming. And where is the liberty in that? That’s not America, the land of the free.
The threat cancel culture poses is not some theoretical one, or a subject only for thought experiments. It has historical precedent. It has shown the kind of destruction it is capable of throughout history—think only of the Nazis canceling anything Jewish.
In my own experience as a Force Recon Marine and Defense Department contractor with eight deployments to Afghanistan, I saw Taliban rule begin with a cancel culture in an attempt to erase a history they did not like.
In 2001, Taliban extremist Mohammad Omar issued an edict calling for the cancellation of all non-Islamic statues and relics. In the ensuing destruction which swept Afghanistan, a pair of massive statues of Buddha carved into the mountains nearly 2,000 years ago were targeted by the Taliban with rocket launches and dynamite. In a moment of ironic honesty, the Taliban’s minister of information and culture celebrated, “it is easier to destroy than build.”
Today the empty crevices where the 100-foot statues used to stand serve as a stark reminder of the destruction and emptiness that follows a culture prone to cancel the things it deplores.
Even in America, we are witnessing the rise of a political movement clamoring for the cancellation of the past and the destruction of monuments. Marxist agitators have torn down statues of black abolitionist Frederick Douglass and decapitated ones of Jesus Christ.
All the while Democratic politicians have been complicit at best and accomplices at worst—failing to condemn the violent riots and excessive destruction. Joe Biden calls for defunding the police who might enforce order, while Kamala Harris compares Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the Ku Klux Klan. They would cancel the whole of what supports our civilization due to the past sins of a few. By its own standards, the Democratic Party, the party of slavery and the KKK, should be canceled and renamed. Where does it end?
The truth is, only a small, but vocal portion of the population is agitating to cancel America. In six weeks, we will have a choice—a choice between Joe Biden, who has joined hands with this madness, and maintaining law and order, history and truth, peace, and prosperity under President Trump.
Will we decide finally to reject this dangerous cancel culture virus threatening the nation, or will America be forced finally to bid “a long farewell to all [her] greatness?” Simply put, America cannot survive cancel culture. We must reject its demands and instead reclaim our culture and defend our history.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1249724943-scaled.jpg17512560Chad Robichauxhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngChad Robichaux2020-09-19 21:01:382020-09-19 22:03:59The Dangers of Cancel Culture
Anti-Communist Polish-American voters were key to helping President Trump win the White House in 2016.
Polish Americans make up approximately 10 percent of the populations of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania and vote in larger numbers than other residents in those states, accounting for almost 15 percent of the total vote.
President Trump flipped those three normally Democratic states in 2016, winning all of them by less than 1 percent of the vote. He won an estimated 70 to 75 percent of the Polish-American vote in 2016. Without those votes, he would not have won those three states critical to his election.
A massive anti-Communist Polish-American vote in 2020, with more than 70 percent voting for President Trump, would enable him to win these three essential states again and return to the White House for a second term.
Polish-American voters have every reason to vote in even greater numbers and percentages for Trump this year than they did in 2016.
Trump has proven himself to be an historic president when it comes to U.S.-Polish relations and the interests of Polish Americans.
His rousing speech in Warsaw in July 2017 was among the greatest defenses of Western Civilization and the most resounding statement of Poland’s historic role in the defense of freedom ever made by a world leader.
In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan, in alliance with Pope John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher, helped inspire the Polish people to bring down the Iron Curtain, freeing Poland and all of Eastern Europe from the oppression and destitution of Communism.
Trump has augmented Reagan’s actions by making America Poland’s foremost ally and joining with Warsaw in an alliance against globalism and the consequent loss of national sovereignty.
In the 2016 campaign, President Trump won the attention and respect of more than 10 million Polish-American voters by personally meeting with more than 100 Polish-American civic leaders at the Polish National Alliance headquarters in Chicago on September 25, 2016.
That three-hour give-and-take captured the attention of Polish Americans and won their respect. It received massive media attention in Polish-American media and in Poland itself. It triggered an enormous turnout of Polish Americans, and as much as 75 percent of their votes went to Trump.
Our organization, Polish-Americans for Trump, now is actively organizing a new major give-and-take meeting between the president and leaders of the Polish-American community. One of the three battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan will likely be the venue for the upcoming event.
Polish Americans predominantly are Catholic and one of the strongest pro-life ethnic coalitions in the United States. President Trump has become the greatest pro-life president in recent American history and is fighting relentlessly to defend the rights of the unborn. With the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the issue is even more urgent.
Polish Americans for Trump proudly honors the gallantry of Count Casimir Pulaski, “Father of the American Cavalry,” and Tadeusz Kościuszko, architect of the American defenses at West Point and Saratoga, both of whom contributed mightily to our victory in the Revolutionary War. Pulaski was mortally wounded leading a cavalry charge during the Battle of Savannah.
On August 15, Poland and America commemorated the 100th anniversary of the historic 1920 Battle of Warsaw, Poland’s decisive victory in its war with Bolshevik Russia. With the help of the Kosciuszko Squadron, volunteer American fighter pilots repaying our Revolutionary War debt to Kosciuszko and Pulaski, the depleted Polish army smashed the Bolsheviks at the gates of Warsaw and saved Europe from a Marxist onslaught.
Polish Americans know well the deprivation, oppression and thuggery of Marxism, either through having experienced it firsthand or listening to the experiences of family members. And we know that Polish Americans can help defeat the current domestic surge of Marxist revolutionaries by turning out in record numbers again and voting for freedom, Western Civilization, the U.S. Constitution, and the American way of life.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1228603846-scaled.jpg16202560William Ciosekhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngWilliam Ciosek2020-09-19 21:00:392020-09-19 22:03:06Polish-American Voters May Be Key To Reelecting Trump
On October 28, 2019, with American commandos closing in, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest and took his life. On January 3, 2020, Qasem Soleimani was blown to bits in a U.S. air strike. Baghdadi was the leader of ISIS; Soleimani was Iran’s most powerful military commander.
Despite losing the territory it had overrun in Syria and Iraq, and despite Baghdadi’s death, ISIS remains a growing threat, with operations all over the world. Similarly, despite Soleimani’s death, under his leadership Iran helped Hezbollah grow into a powerful and expanding international network.
Already bitter enemies of America, how have ISIS and Hezbollah escalated their war after seeing their leaders killed by U.S. forces? What sort of activities have they initiated on U.S. soil, and how have those activities increased in recent years, especially in 2020?
The destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001 by al-Qaeda terrorists, along with gruesome lone wolf attacks by Islamic jihadists, tend to overshadow the fact that ISIS and Hezbollah have been quietly building their networks within the United States for many years. There is evidence these organizations could be involved in the unrest that has convulsed the nation over the past few months, possibly including arson in the western forests.
In 2017, Edward Klein, a veteran journalist and former editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine, published an article in the Daily Mail alleging that U.S. left-wing Antifa groups traveled to Germany to meet with al-Qaeda and ISIS leaders. In his report, Klein avers that the terrorist organizations were helping these U.S. left-wing groups to acquire bomb-making equipment and toxic chemicals and gasses.
Quoting extensively from a secret FBI report, Klein wrote, “Making some sort of common cause with Americans who are determined to commit violence against the U.S. makes them potentially very useful to radical Islam.”
Klein went on to explain how President Trump changed the rules of engagement, which caused ISIS to intensify its relationships with the radical Left in America: “As the Trump administration has demonstrated it’s serious about destroying the Islamic State, and depriving ISIS of territory in Iraq and Syria, the alliance between the American radicals and ISIS has grown even closer. The Internet chatter between the Americans and the Islamists is astronomical.”
Klein also noted how, by comparison, President Obama ignored the domestic threat: “The FBI is really playing catchup ball, because the Obama administration refused to give the bureau the resources it needed to effectively infiltrate and surveil the radical groups on college campuses.”
If ISIS is a relatively recent arrival, Hezbollah has been actively building a base in the United States for years. Also in 2017, writing for Politico, investigative reporter John Meyer published a lengthy report titled, “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook.” Meyer describes how Hezbollah “transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.”
In his desperation to forge a deal with Iran, according to Meyer, Obama ignored evidence amassed by the DEA that showed how Hezbollah was making hundreds of millions by shipping cocaine and other drugs through Venezuela and Mexico into the United States.
According to one DEA whistleblower Klein interviewed, “The closer we got to the [Iran deal], the more these activities went away. So much of the capability, whether it was special operations, whether it was law enforcement, whether it was [Treasury] designations—even the capacity, the personnel assigned to this mission—it was assiduously drained, almost to the last drop, by the end of the Obama administration.”
International Terrorists, Domestic Insurrectionists
While Antifa militants reportedly networked with ISIS militants in Germany in 2017, in 2013 the Black Lives Matter movement began receiving support from the Venezuelan regime.
In a report just published in American Greatness, retired CIA agent Gary Berntsen describes how in 2013, Black Lives Matter founder Opal Tometi and her entourage traveled to Venezuela for meetings with Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. Berntsen writes, “During those meetings, Chavez ordered that BLM be given $10 million to help create a foundational base for their organization.”
Berntsen documents how Chavez ceded control of three southern provinces to Colombian narco-terrorist organizations, entering into a joint venture to pour hundreds of tons of cocaine into the United States. Most of this cocaine found its way into America’s inner cities, an irony perhaps lost on BLM militants but useful to America’s enemies. Destroy young black lives with drugs, then give money to agitators who will tell the drug-addled mobs that racism, not drugs, is the reason for their destitution.
If you want to engage in asymmetric terrorism, however, there are few options more potent than wildfire arson. The forests of the Western United States, overgrown and tinder dry thanks to years of mismanagement, are easy targets. While there isn’t publicly available hard evidence that the devastating wildfires consuming America’s forests this year are being set by politically motivated arsonists, there is plenty of evidence that ISIS has been encouraging it.
In early 2017, ISIS praised the arsonists that had recently torched forests throughout Israel and provided instructions on how to use arson to “impose terror on an entire country.” In July 2017, in the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, author János Besenyő elaborated on the over 220 forest fires started in Israel by arsonists in 2016 in an article entitled “Inferno Terror: Forest Fires as the New Form of Terrorism.”
Then in October 2017, after Californians had just endured another round of devastating wildfires, ISIS celebrated the catastrophe in its newsletter, “days after supporters suggested laying gasoline-filled bottles in the woods to inflict further damage.”
On November 3, 2019, days after Baghdadi’s death, “A media outlet affiliated with ISIS has been instructing the group’s radical adherents to set forest fires in the United States and Europe to cause mass ecological disasters, according to posts on an internet forum dedicated to the terror group.” This was widely reported in journals ranging from Fox News and the New York Post to Law Enforcement Today.
Less than a year later, is it mere coincidence that over 7,000 square miles of America’s western forests have been incinerated so far in 2020, or were some of these hundreds of fires started not just by ordinary arsonists, but politically motivated arsonists? Just this past May, as reported in Homeland Security Today, “ISIS Ramps Up Use of Wildfire Arson as Simple Tactic.”
Little if anything in the current reporting mentions the role of foreign terrorist groups in starting this year’s wildfires. In fact, there are only scant reports of arson causing any of them. The prevailing narrative is that lightning strikes and human carelessness have sparked fires in forests that are tinder dry because of climate change. But there is plenty of evidence of connections between foreign terrorist groups and Antifa and Black Lives Matter. And there is little reason to believe that at least some of the domestic militants who are willing to loot and burn down American cities and invade American suburbs would hesitate to ignite American forests.
To be fair, America’s insurrectionists seem to have support from a plethora of institutions and individuals. Democrats and their media allies, to the extent they acknowledge the severity of the violence, attribute it to “Trump’s America,” hoping it will destroy him politically. Money pours into the BLM movement from globalist billionaires and America’s major corporations. It would strain credulity not to suggest that Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies are finding discrete ways to lend a hand.
Perhaps America’s own “deep state” is coordinating the whole mess—it’s quite obvious that powerful federal bureaucrats including members of the intelligence community want Trump out. And then there are the climate change activists, solidly entrenched within every significant institution in America. No doubt for many of them, these forest fires are a regrettable but necessary step towards depopulating America’s rural landscapes, and ratcheting down the screws of green tyranny all that much tighter, all that much sooner.
With all that, one might consider a role in America’s ongoing insurrection for ISIS and Hezbollah to be an insignificant sideshow. That would be a dangerous mistake. They are here, and they have embraced wildfire arson as a recommended tactic. They are powerful, bent on vengeance, with eager accomplices among the more hardened elements of the American Left.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-492641609-scaled.jpg17922560Edward Ringhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngEdward Ring2020-09-18 21:05:432020-09-19 12:20:27America’s Western Forests Are a Massive Soft Target for Terrorists and Their Domestic Accomplices
Mom was a victim of Alzheimer’s dementia. Up until six months ago, despite her memory loss, she was pretty happy. She was in one of the best care facilities in Nevada, catering specifically to Alzheimer’s patients. She loved her caregivers there, and she forged strong bonds with them.
My son and I took her on adventures. We took her to her favorite restaurants. Her favorite was Italian. She loved chocolate and she loved ice cream. We took her to Sigfried and Roy’s zoo that features lions and tigers, as well as dolphins. We took her to Redrock Canyon and to see the flamingos at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino. We wheeled her around the park on nice days, bought her ice cream, and brought her to my house on holidays and birthdays. The last years of her life weren’t perfect, but we made them as fulfilling as possible.
Then COVID-19 came and made all of the above impossible.
When two weeks became six weeks and six weeks became months upon months, we knew it was only a matter of time. She was allowed to visit us only through Skype calls, which were confusing for her, or through the window, which seemed likely to make her more confused and agitated, as she began trying to escape.
She tried to get her favorite caregiver to escape with her, so we knew if she saw us through the window, she would be beside herself. And we heard stories from other people, including close relatives of my great uncle (who died a month after COVID-19 lockdowns began), of patients crying and trying to push through the glass. We didn’t want her to go through that.
COVID-19 has taken many elderly lives, and while we all wish to protect them from that deadly virus, killing them via failure to thrive is not the answer. Our current policies will kill many more elderly Americans like my mother.
There have been many cases of the disease spreading in nursing homes, particularly in New York where the governor signed an order in March to put COVID-19-positive elderly back in their facilities rather than keeping them at the hospital until the disease passed. That order killed thousands of elderly people in care facilities. Why Andrew Cuomo took that heartless step while making sure his own mother was safe is an astonishing mystery. Doing a “Cuomo” should really mean something going forward.
But there has to be a better way to care for these people than to lock them up with no hope of ever seeing them again. They are dying without their families around to love them. Their caregivers are depressed and anxious over what they see happening to their patients. They are watching people just give up and die. Their care, however good it might be, in no way compares to the love of one’s family and friends.
Yes, we need to protect our beloved elderly as much as possible. But we are probably fooling ourselves in thinking we can protect them forever from a respiratory illness like COVID-19.
The disease still sneaks into facilities through staff members and deliveries, but as long as the infected person is taken to the hospital and not returned until there is no trace of the virus, good facilities have been able to deal with this challenge competently and keep other patients safe.
So long as this plague is handled in a professional manner rather than the “Cuomo way,” there should be no reason the elderly cannot be visited by their families with masks and maybe gowns on. There is no good reason to make them die alone in this way. COVID-19 has been devastating to the elderly who catch it, but our response to the disease has also been devastating to them. Our utopian and hubristic belief that we can perfectly protect them is having disastrous consequences.
Editor’s note:Liberty and Justice for All is an academic and intellectual enterprise focused on making sure that what has happened in the American academy—and which has now spilled out into American streets—does not take over and destroy our free and decent polity. Among the lead signatories are Jeremy Beer of The American Ideas Institute, Daniel J. Mahoney of Assumption University, Joshua Mitchell of Georgetown University, Mark T. Mitchell of Patrick Henry College, and Robert L. Woodson, Sr. of 1776 Unites.
We stand at the crossroads.
Over the next several years, the noble sentiments and ideas that gave birth to the United States will either be repudiated or reaffirmed. The fateful choice before us will result either in the death of a grand hope or a recommitment to an extraordinary political experiment whose full flowering we have yet to realize. The choice will involve either contempt and despair or gratitude and the self-respect worthy of a free people who know long labors lie before them and who proceed with hope toward a dignified future.
In the name of justice and equality, those animated by contempt and despair seek to destroy long-standing but fragile American institutions through which justice and equality can be secured. Destruction of these imperfect but necessary institutions will not hasten the advent of justice and equality but rather accelerate our collapse into barbarism and degradation.
Groups of Americans who today advocate endless racial contempt, who systematically distort our history for political gain, who scapegoat and silence whole groups of citizens, who brazenly justify and advocate violence and the destruction of property invite us not to justice and equality but to an ugly future whose only certainty is fear.
In the face of this threat, the American institutions we must now reaffirm are these:
Free speech. Too many of our media outlets have become shameful caricatures intent on purveying one-sided narratives rather than on wrestling with difficult issues about which reasonable citizens will disagree. They inflame rather than inform. They contort public debate rather than contribute to it. Rather than defend freedom of speech and association, they have become instruments of a despicable “cancel culture,” bereft of forgiveness and intolerant of opposing views.
Representative government. Our Constitution establishes a democratic republic. Our elected representatives are tasked with making laws for the common good. If citizens are dissatisfied with the results, they must elect different representatives rather than take the law into their own hands. Abandoning representative government does not hasten equality; it invites tyranny. “Defunding” (as opposed to intelligently reforming) the police, who uphold the laws our political representatives make, does not hasten justice; it invites anarchy and abandons the most vulnerable to the worst depredations.
Federalism. Our country is diverse. We cannot produce a unity amidst diversity by forcing all citizens to fit the singular mold that politically correct speech imposes. A diverse polity can exist only within the framework of federalism, which allows true pluralism to thrive.
Market commerce. The United States was conceived as a middle-class commercial republic in which entrepreneurial citizens can succeed and fail—then succeed again. This arrangement, however imperfect, has produced remarkable prosperity and lifted millions out of poverty. Naïve calls for state control of industry and the abolition of private property, if implemented, will return us to the nightmare that hundreds of millions endured in the last century. The middle class and those who wish to join it are threatened today by two additional obstacles: crony capitalism, which concentrates wealth in fewer and fewer hands, and woke capitalism, by which the political left extorts corporate support for social justice causes, thus deflecting entrepreneurial energy away from the important task of producing truly useful products and services. Policymakers and concerned citizens must emphatically resist these trends and instead promote avenues to help the poor join the middle class.
Education. The necessary task of preparing the next generation to preserve and expand our inheritance has been replaced by the morally bankrupt task of repudiating those figures and accomplishments of our past which do not pass ideological purity tests. Rather than learn the difficult moral lesson that amidst the imperfections of the human heart there are noble longings for goodness, truth, and beauty, our young people are taught that any imperfection repudiates those noble longings. By this we teach our children to search out and honor grievances rather than greatness. This is not education; it is indoctrination, and its result is to make life small, petty, and hopeless.
Family. An affirmation of the traditional family—the belief that men and women should be encouraged to marry and have sons and daughters—cannot be thought a crime. Civilization perishes unless such unions are encouraged. The noble longing for a plural society, in which not all are cast in the same mold, must not be realized by belittling the family. Strong families headed by married couples have been the key to success in black America ever since slavery was abolished a century and a half ago, and this remains the key today for all Americans.
Religion. Civilization is fragile. If religious institutions and beliefs are marginalized and mocked, the indispensable civilizational supports for a free and decent life will quickly vanish. In a plural society like America, people are free to pursue their own paths to truth. But a truly plural society cannot abide the deliberate attempt to undermine, and even destroy, churches and synagogues. A pluralism that denies the legitimacy of religious faith and practice will not produce a “diverse” America; it will, instead, produce a tyrannical America in which the freedom of conscience is lost, the inherent dignity of the individual is denied, and the strongest support for just and moral living is erased. As Alexis de Tocqueville noted, despotism can do without religious faith, but freedom cannot.
Those who attack these American institutions insist that their foundations have been corrupt from the beginning. They insist that racism, injustice, and oppression are inextricably linked to our national identity, and therefore everything born of the American experiment is tainted by sin. In their revolutionary fervor, they wish to sweep aside everything identified with our history and establish a new social and political order on novel and untainted foundations.
They show no humility or self-restraint. They display limitless contempt for opposing views. They sympathize with vile tyrannies, disdain the rule of law, attack market commerce, hide behind the privilege their university indoctrination has authorized, excoriate the family, and attack those very religious traditions which have produced a moral horizon transcending tribalism and given rise to the concern for justice and equality for all. Their philosophy of pure negation cannot sustain a political order that affirms liberty, human dignity, and moral and civic equality, rightly and humanely understood.
This crisis is acute, and the hour is late. Like our forebears, we aim both to conserve and reform our institutions in light of enduring principles of justice. That is the task of self-governing people who know they live in an imperfect world and yet are not deterred by its challenges.
Over 1,000 and counting have signed our open letter—a mix of conservatives, liberals, and unclassifiable academics, writers, and citizens. We invite all citizens of goodwill to join us so that together we can strive for liberty and justice for all.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-161818018-scaled.jpg17072560Liberty and Justice for Allhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngLiberty and Justice for All2020-09-18 21:02:142020-09-18 21:07:29An Open Letter by Liberty and Justice for All
After the assassination attempt of two police officers in Compton, California, many on the Left either remained quiet or offered only the weakest of condemnations.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has been quick to blame Republicans and police officers for recent events, remained silent until Thursday, when she offered up a boilerplate statement. “We support peaceful demonstrations, we participate in them, they are part of the essence of our democracy,” she said. “That does not include looting, starting fires, or rioting. They should be prosecuted. That is lawlessness.”
Presidential candidate Joe Biden condemned the attack as “unconscionable,” yet immediately turned his attention to gun laws and the environment.
As the violence continues throughout the nation, and police officers and innocent Americans continue to be attacked, the Democratic presidential candidate has yet to come forward with any specific plans to stop the violence.
In reality, Biden has no plan, and it is likely that he has no interest in formulating one.
Nevertheless, after the recent events in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfieldaccused President Trump of “inciting violence.” Indeed, Biden recently said, “The simple truth is Donald Trump failed to protect America. So now he’s trying to scare America.”
We are facing multiple crises—crises that, under Donald Trump, keep multiplying. COVID, economic devastation, unwarranted police violence, emboldened white nationalists, a reckoning on race, declining faith in a bright American future. The common thread? An incumbent president who makes things worse, not better. An incumbent president who sows chaos rather than providing order.
In other words, rather than showing leadership, courage, and an ability to solve problems in difficult times, Biden’s “solution” to the nation’s most difficult problems is to blame Trump. The crises are, in the view of Biden’s campaign, the result of a president who allegedly sows chaos rather than providing order. What? Like magic? To Biden, it’s really that simple.
In typical Biden fashion, however, his comments amount to empty and unoriginal rhetoric.
What’s even worse than Biden’s instinct to blame the president, however, is his failure to provide a comprehensive plan for dealing with and stopping the violence. It’s almost like he doesn’t want to. This should concern all Americans.
Biden’s failure to present a plan for dealing with the looting, violence, and anarchy can mean one of just a few things.
It could be that Biden assumes that the looting and violence will entirely cease if he wins the election. But this is highly unlikely. Why would it stop if they think it is working?
It could also be that Biden doesn’t want to stop the looting and the violence because he feels like it provides him with an advantage as the November elections approach. If that is the case, Biden in essence is telling the American people that the violence against innocent Americans and police officers is tolerable so long as it potentially benefits him.
Finally, it could be that Biden knows he can’t stop the violence. That seems likely. But in that case, is he really worthy of being president? If he is either too weak to deal with the violence or too afraid of disappointing his far-left base, what kind of president is he going to be for the rest of America?
Biden’s response to the latest officer-involved shooting in Compton gives us some clues about what’s really going on with his campaign Biden called the shooting “unconscionable” less than 24 hours after it happened and called for anyone who commits acts of violence to be punished. He then immediately proceeded to push for gun-control, tweeting “Weapons of war have no place in our communities. We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”
Notice, though, he didn’t offer to visit the officers—indeed he didn’t offer to help the officers in any way. His focus was not on calling for an end to the riots and looting, but to deflect attention away from them.
The Democratic nominee for president offered nothing but a seemingly insincere apology that was immediately followed by an untimely, insensitive, and illogical attack on certain types of firearms. It is unclear how his message had anything to do with what happened to the two officers, who were simply sitting in their vehicle.
President Trump, on the other hand, has called for very strong measures against those who kill police officers, including the death penalty, and has consistently taken tough positions against the looting, violence, and anarchy in American cities while encouraging governors to act, even offering them the use of the National Guard.
Biden’s refusal to stand up to the looters, agitators, and anarchists is in keeping with his refusal to stand up to the leaders in his own party. While cities burn and officers and innocent Americans are attacked, Biden refuses to step up and specifically to offer any concrete solution to the violence. As President Trump has noted, “He’s not strong for law and order and everybody knows that.”
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1228583712-scaled.jpg17072560Elad Hakimhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngElad Hakim2020-09-18 21:01:292020-09-18 21:14:41In Tough Times, Joe Biden Would Rather Blame Trump Than Offer Solutions
I am really concerned about you, girl! First, at Al Sharpton’s National Day of Action lefty-fest in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago, you informed the throng that teachers are sooo frightened of going back to work that they’re “writing their wills.” Yet you delivered your rant mask-free and did not practice social distancing, spitting potential corona-cooties at the masses while doing so. Mercy! What were you thinking? (Also, just between us Yids, maybe keep some distance from that vile anti-Semite and tax cheat, Al Sharpton.)
Then, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unveiled a new coronavirus relief package 10 days ago, you got a tad meshuge. The $300 billion proposal “focuses on some of the very most urgent health care, education, and economic issues.” But you were not happy, preferring instead the Democratic-led House $3 trillion HEROES Act, the largest spending bill in history. Actually, truth be told, you were more than “not happy.” In fact, you descended into serious snit-mode and called the $300 billion proposal “bulimic.”
Bulimic?! Ewww! I mean you could have said “anemic” or “paltry” or anything else frankly. Also, because the Republican package offers help for students who attend private schools, you became even angrier. “They’ve given a tax cut to rich people by basically saying that anybody is going to get a tax credit who wants to spend money for any kind of private schools but they have defunded and emasculated public education.” (Sidebar: Since you haul in almost $600,000 a year as a union boss, maybe go a little easier on “rich people.” After all, my dear, you yourself are a 1-percenter!)
But if you are really concerned about wealthy people sending their kids to private schools, I have an idea! How ‘bout we offer a voucher to the hoi polloi? That would give more power to parents and level the playing field.
No? Another bulimic move, huh, Randi?
Also, regarding your “defunding public education” comment, oy vey! Do you have any idea how much we spend on education in this country? Well, you apparently have been ignoring my blog posts and op-eds because I have written about this issue countless times. But don’t feel bad, much of the mainstream media spits out the same hooey as you.
Your friends at The Washington Post—the people who solemnly proclaim that “Democracy dies in darkness”—published a story in late 2019 which made the dark claim that “adjusting for constant dollars, public funding for schools had decreased since the 1980s.” Anyone who knows anything about this subject knows that this is just, well, “bulimic” to use your word.
But to Post’s credit, they came into the light, and admitted that they screwed up. The fact is that we now spend over $15,000 per K-12 student each year—almost double what we spent in 1980, and yes, that is correcting for inflation. Maybe now you will join the newspaper and finally stop banging the defunding drum.
Most sadly, the media and people like you have influence. A lot of it. According to a recent EdChoice survey, 80 percent of Americans underestimate the amount of money we spend on education.
I hope the truth about education spending has you feeling a bit better, Randi. If not, here’s something that’s sure to cheer you up! Between 1970 and 2017, the number of public school teachers increased 57 percent and non-teaching staff was up 151 percent, but there was only a 10.4 percent increase in students. Of course, the increased staffing and outlay had zero effect on student performance, but it sure increased the teachers’ unions’ bottom line big-time, didn’t it?
OK, OK, I suspect that you may be getting a wee bit defensive right about now, but let me explain. It’s not that I think you dislike children or want to do them any harm whatsoever. After all, I know you, and we’ve been friends for a long time. But it’s just that children are not your primary concern . . . or secondary . . . or tertiary for that matter. If they were, you wouldn’t be spreading myths about defunding and, more importantly, you wouldn’t constantly fight to deny parents the right to choose the best education fit for their child.
In closing, I know how busy you are these days, but if you ever get out my way, lunch is on me, Randi! But please, no references to bulimia while we are eating. Please. Looking forward!
All the best,
Editor’s note: This article first appeared at the California Public Policy Center. It is the sixth in a series of open letters to the president of the American Federation of Teachers. The first five may be read here.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1228245614.jpg13912499Larry Sandhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngLarry Sand2020-09-18 20:59:482020-09-18 21:25:49Randi Weingarten, You’ve Been a Bad Girl
This essay is adapted from a September 16 speech celebrating Constitution Day at the Institute of World Politics.
Today’s anti-racists share in common the zeal of yesterday’s temperance advocates. For the fundamental evil of reformist revolutionaries is certainly not being drunk on alcohol but rather being drunk on power.
This year’s Constitution Day comes at a fearful time for friends of constitutional government. Some now even fear its collapse, whether by raging mobs or scheming lawyers. Either way, whether by force or by fraud, from fists or from sophistry, tyranny lurks to replace constitutional government.
This division stems from a stark question: Is America a land of which we can be proud or one of which we must be ashamed? An exceptional nation for its virtues, prosperity, faith, and strength, or an exceptionally evil and hypocritical one for its slavery, materialism, bigotry, and imperialism? “Anti-Racism” is surging with its demands to end “institutional racism” and “white privilege” and indulge in self-flagellation with confessions of guilt.
This arises in part from our confusion over slavery. Today slavery has become synonymous with racism, oppression, income inequality, marriage, and childhood. I would contrast such distortions of the “anti-racism” mindset with the “anti-slavery” of Abraham Lincoln.
Keep in mind that Lincoln’s entire approach to abolishing slavery distinguished the evil of slavery itself from issues of race. Today’s race-obsessed understanding of American history produces perverse policies and attitudes consumed by passion. But the equality we all seek is not a passion. Defining equality and the issues around it in terms of passion thwarts the reason required to understand it and persuade others.
Lincoln displayed such logic in making his case against slavery. In the 1850s the growing nation had become morally indifferent to slavery, while at the same time finding itself more economically dependent on it. Yet he did not condemn the Southerners as monsters, as the abolitionists did. He allowed that human nature was alike, in the North and the South. He won over skeptical audiences with a succinct definition of slavery: “you work, I eat.”
Instead of further polarizing his audiences, Lincoln appealed to the work ethic prevalent throughout the country. No one boasts of being a moocher, any more than most people alive then thought the slave-trader was respectable company. Obvious to most if not nearly all, this consensus on self-interest and subsequent moral duty lies at the heart of what Lincoln meant by equality of natural right. So we understand him when he says, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.” And, more strongly, “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.”
The Road to Emancipation
Similarly, when the South seceded, Lincoln had to respond with war—a war about saving the Union, not ending merely slavery. In fact, his civil war statesmanship revolved around the meaning of “saving” the Union. The meaning of salvation deepens throughout the Civil War, as Americans would later hear in the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln led the nation from First Inaugural necessity to the Second Inaugural fulfillment, from the saving of the physical integrity of the nation to the saving of its soul.
All his objections to secession applied with even greater political, moral, and religious force to slavery. In his July 4, 1861 message to Congress, Lincoln justifies the war against the secessionists, as “essentially a people’s contest. [The] . . . leading object is to elevate the condition of men; to lift artificial weights from all shoulders; . . . to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life. Yielding to partial and temporary departures, from necessity, this is the leading object of the Government for whose existence we contend.”
Without mentioning slavery or race, Lincoln made the purpose of the Civil War “an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.”
We could examine numerous instances of Lincoln’s statesmanship advancing the anti-slavery cause throughout the war, but let’s examine the most important, the Emancipation Proclamation.
Often mistaken for an emancipation of all slaves (that was not accomplished until the passage of the 13th Amendment) the Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862, distilled Lincoln’s strategy and principle. Of course, it was attacked then and today as a worthless gesture, not actually freeing any slaves. In the same vein, the proclamation could not have succeeded in its grand object had it freed any slaves in the Union. In fact, its success rested on its appearance of moral indifference.
Lincoln reportedly said early in the war, “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.”
The Union army victory at Antietam on September 17 (Constitution Day 1862) would permit the proclamation of September 22. That victory meant the coalition of free and slave States would hold against the secessionists. The war’s objective of “affording all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life” might now begin to be fully pursued.
Even here Lincoln had to proceed cautiously. The proclamation was an executive order, not a law, and followed from his power as commander-in-chief.
The Union boldly spread word of the proclamation among the slaves. For example, in Florida an army unit of freedmen was sent on a covert mission to spread word of the proclamation to plantations and thus encourage slaves to flee. Of course, masters feared retribution and even massacres from their freed slaves. Thus what the Declaration of Independence had made a reason for independence—the encouragement by the Crown of “domestic insurrections” against the colonists—had now become a means for restoring the Declaration. To understand America we need to grasp the reason behind seeming contradictions and see the ultimate purpose.
The South reacted as might be expected for those being threatened by death from their slaves. They executed 300 captured black soldiers and their white officers. On April 18, 1864, Lincoln eloquently protested theFt. Pillow massacre. He had introduced black soldiers into Union ranks and for that, he said, in appealing to the consciences of his Maryland audience: “I am responsible for it to the American people, to the Christian world, to history, and on my final account to God. Having determined to use the negro as a soldier, there is no way but to give him all the protection given to any other soldier.”
Lincoln was saying that the laws of war and natural law apply to black soldiers’ treatment by both South and the North. This states plainly what he had said poetically in the Gettysburg Address and what he would say in his Second Inaugural. The black soldiers were part of the proof for the truth of the proposition that “all men are created equal.”
Lincoln’s radicalism is found in his conservatism: he is radical in returning to the ways of the fathers.
Recovering an Older Wisdom
How did the change take place from Lincoln’s view of equality to the “anti-racism” cacophony we hear today? In sum, the great shift took place in two stages: First, with Progressive Woodrow Wilson’s unique attack on the Declaration of Independence as an outdated, individualistic document. A far more clever Democratic president, Franklin Roosevelt, instead reinterpreted the Declaration for his own purposes.
Replacing Lincoln’s equality of natural rights, FDR redefined the Declaration to be a guarantee of socialized security. Such an indeterminate goal sets no limit to what government can do for that overriding psychological purpose. FDR replaced the old Lockean social contract with a new “contract” between the government and the governed. Now we must agree that those who work will have their wealth redistributed. And, to emphasize his seriousness, he condemned as a fascist anyone who criticized this new understanding.
The equality of the American founding can be treated as an exercise in metaphysics, and in fact, it is worthy of such an endeavor. But the moral meaning of equality is clear to all: injustice occurs when Lincoln’s “you work, I eat” definition of slavery prevails. But only being free of slavery does not suffice for a fulfillment of equality.
“Here comes my friend Douglass,” Lincoln announced, as he saw Frederick Douglass enter the White House. If we berate America for the injustice of slavery, we must hail the nation for its strongest souls and its best friendships. These are the rare types of equality that deepen the fundamental equality.
Flannery O’Connor demands mention as modern America’s most profound storyteller about race and real anti-racism. She would scoff at the clichés that plague our contemporary discourse and media.
In her 1965 short story, “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” she presents us with a vain mother who boasts of her grandfather’s plantation of 200 slaves and her even more preposterous Progressive son who desperately tries to meet black professionals on newly integrated buses and fantasizes about introducing his mother to a black fiancé. In different guises revelation literally strikes them both, but too late. O’Connor was able to dissect such bathetic people because her art truly transcended race, rooted as it was in her faith.
“Anti-racism” is growing like its 19th-century ancestor, the temperance movement. Both forms of fanaticism have their parallels in Marxian socialism. Lincoln’s magnificent Temperance Address pointed out the flaws it shared with its cousins, the abolitionists, and the pro-slavery oligarchs. For the fundamental evil of reformist revolutionaries is certainly not being drunk on alcohol but rather being drunk on power. An appreciation of Lincoln’s anti-slavery statesmanship is the first step to recovery.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1147419015.jpg14692499Ken Masugihttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngKen Masugi2020-09-17 21:02:122020-09-17 21:48:30The Case Against Slavery and Against ‘Anti-Racism’
It seems clear that both parties to the civil-military bargain need to reexamine their mutual relationship because it is mutual trust ultimately that lies at the heart of healthy civil-military relations.
Americans don’t often think about civil-military relations and that’s a good thing. It means that paratroopers are not seizing communications centers and tanks aren’t rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol. But since U.S. civil-military relations are generally healthy, when Americans do talk about them, they often do so in apocalyptic terms. Each example of civil-military tensions, it seems, portends a crisis.
Civil-military relations under President Donald Trump are a case in point. Most recently, The Atlantic published a piece based on anonymous sources stating that the president denigrated fallen Americans two years ago during a visit to France to commemorate the end of World War I. Named sources denied the charge but the dustup fed the narrative that Trump routinely disparaged the military.
Contradictory criticisms of President Trump’s handling of national security issues began at the very outset of his presidency. On the one hand, detractors charged that he was a potential warmonger who was going to spark a conflict with Iran or North Korea. On the other, they fretted that he was weakening the U.S. position in the world by reducing the U.S. military presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Europe against the advice of his military commanders.
The same contradictions applied to his military appointments. On the one hand, critics charged that the number of retired officers he appointed to high office violated the principle of civilian control of the military. On the other, they argued that these military men would provide a check on a mercurial president.
An extreme example of the latter position was expressed by Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown law professor and senior Pentagon appointee from 2009 to 2011who commented in Foreign Policy shortly after Trump’s inauguration that “one possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.” She continued that, for the first time, she could “imagine plausible scenarios in which senior military officials might simply tell the president: ‘No, sir. We’re not doing that.’”
No matter what one thinks of President Trump, the idea that active and retired military officers should form a phalanx around the duly elected president for the good of the country smacks of “praetorianism,” something I have warned against previously on this page. Do we really want to normalize the view that the military is the protector of republican government?
I have argued that U.S. civil-military relations constitute a bargain that is constantly being renegotiated as circumstances change, something that has been going on since the founding of the republic. There are three parties to the bargain — the civilian leadership, the uniformed military and the American people. In discussing U.S. civil-military relations, commentators often forget the last party to the bargain. The people may be wrong, but anyone who tries to conduct security policy without taking into account the citizens of the United States will fail.
President Trump seems to have his finger on the pulse of the American people more firmly than the national security “community.” They are tired of the stalemate in Afghanistan. They are leery of continued adventures in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
It is also the case that the military often seems to forget that the president bears the responsibility for establishing U.S. policy. The military provides advice but do not have the right to “insist” that the president accept it. U.S. history also illustrates that the military is not always right, even when it comes to military affairs, as Vietnam makes clear.
Both the uniformed military and the president bear responsibility for the current state of civil-military relations. The missing element is trust, the mutual respect and understanding between civilian and military leaders that enables the exchange of candid views and perspectives between the two parties as part of the decision-making process. It seems clear that both parties to the civil-military bargain need to reexamine their mutual relationship because it is mutual trust ultimately that lies at the heart of healthy civil-military relations.
At this time four years ago, the “Never Trump” movement was alive and well. Birthed in earnest by National Review in its infamous “Against Trump” issue in February 2016, Never Trump consisted of conservatives and Republicans who vowed, even if he were to become the GOP presidential standard-bearer for the general election, to never, ever support Donald Trump. Never Trumpers supported other candidates throughout the presidential primary season, pushed to “free” committed delegates away from Trump at the Republican National Convention and continued to oppose his candidacy through Election Day. The hashtag #NeverTrump became ubiquitous on Twitter as a mark of protest against the unorthodox candidate.
I would know because I was a part of the Never Trump movement. And, much to my shame, I was not a silent but, at times, a vocal and quite brash part. In retrospect, four years later, (hopefully) four years more mature and with the benefit of knowing what we now know about how Trump has governed, I will gladly fall on my sword: I was mistaken. Never Trump’s concerns largely did not materialize, and the president has pleasantly surprised his erstwhile skeptics in a myriad of ways. Whatever purported “conservative case against Trump” may (or may not) have existed in 2016 has completely and unequivocally dissipated.
Many feared that Trump, who had spent little time as a registered Republican or a traveler in the labyrinth of hoary institutions constituting Conservatism Inc., might govern as a Manchurian candidate liberal; in reality, the 45th president has presided over one of the most dynamically conservative administrations in a century. Many feared that Trump, the bull in a china shop brimming with machismo and braggadocio, might inadvertently start World War III; instead, the president has overseen a wildly successful foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, premised around the time-tested, common-sense principle that it is best to punish one’s enemies and reward one’s friends. Many feared that Trump, who had once graced the Playboy magazine cover, might accelerate a hegemonic cultural progressivism; actually, he has been a consistently courageous, stalwart friend of religious and traditionalist Americans.
Given Trump’s record, given how much the left has become utterly radicalized over the past four years — Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, the Women’s March anti-Semitism, anarchist antifa, Marxist Black Lives Matter, the toxicity of intersectionality and cancel culture — and given Trumpian heterodoxies’ “sunk cost” effects upon the American presidency’s putative institutional norms, the “conservative” case against Trump has simply not withstood the test of time. Prudence and humility suggest that one must be willing to acknowledge error and change course; the Never Trumpers of 2016 are perfect archetypes. In 2020, the only viable “conservative” vote is an affirmative vote for a second Trump presidential term.
Alas, not everyone agrees. Many of 2016’s leading Never Trumpers have instead chosen to further dig in their heels. Bill Kristol, perhaps the most recognizable of the original 2016 crew, is now involved with any number of 2020 anti-Trump initiatives, including the Republican Voters Against Trump group. George Conway, Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt spew anti-Trump vitriol under the banner of the (grotesquely misnamed) Lincoln Project. Jennifer Rubin and Max Boot haven’t budged a millimeter away from their anti-Trump predilections — Trump’s historic pro-Israel/anti-Iran record and the harrowing, (literally) burning state of our leftist-overrun progressive cities notwithstanding.
But many of 2016’s other leading anti-Trump conservatives have not yet publicly indicated whether or not they will support Trump in 2020. Examples include any number of figures associated with the aforementioned “Against Trump” magazine issue, David French, Ross Douthat and some religious conservative figures such as George Weigel. To point this out is not an exercise in attempted public shaming; these leaders, who opposed Trump from within their own party and their own movement four years prior, merely owe their readers and followers transparency as to where they stand on the binary issue of whether or not they will vote for Trump this time. A case can be made that Trump, notwithstanding his sundry accomplishments and notwithstanding the ascendant threat from the leftist mobs now setting the nation aflame, is still unworthy of conservative support. It is a markedly unpersuasive case, to be sure, but the least we can do is ask adherents of that argument to publicly make it.
Four years ago, Trump managed to secure an Electoral College victory despite battling a fifth column from within the Republican Party. I was unfortunately part of it, so I would know. Many erstwhile Never Trumpers from 2016 have made a prudential judgment this time around, while many others have only doubled down in anti-Trump defiance. But at a bare minimum, four years later and amidst a roiling cold civil war between the proud Americanists and the embittered civilizational arsonists rioting in the streets, it is at least worth clarifying where everyone stands.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1268955371-scaled.jpg17312560Josh Hammerhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngJosh Hammer2020-09-17 21:00:232020-09-17 19:40:02Where Does Never Trump Now Stand?
Personally, I am not reassured when scientists who have no experience in offensive biological warfare and who are not privy to sound intelligence tell us COVID-19 was not produced in a lab. I am even less reassured when, each time we see the argument, it is an argument from individual ignorance: “COVID-19 does not have property X. I, distinguished Professor J, would have engineered a biological weapon with property X. Therefore, the Luxembourgeois did not engineer COVID-19.”
But even if COVID-19 was not a deliberate attack or an escaped lab product, the damage it has done—and that we have done to ourselves in responding to it—requires us to think anew about the prospects of a biological attack.
Suppose we are leaders of a rich and powerful country, a country with up-to-date biomedical laboratories and a country that, just on the edge of living memory, was the target of the worst biological warfare attacks in the history of the modern world. How can we arm ourselves with a contagious disease as a biological weapon while preserving deniability and avoiding, to the extent possible, blowback damage to our own population should we decide not just to prepare but to use that weapon?
We would need to have such a weapon ready, and at the same time have already hardened our population in secret against its effects. We know one way to do that. Every year in our large and densely populated country new human diseases emerge, and our scientists and physicians—working with the global community of researchers and bioengineers—work constantly to prepare prophylactics for those diseases, present and anticipated, imported and endemic. Our country has a large pharmaceutical industry and a widespread and effective system of clinics where the products of that industry can be given to patients. When a new disease—call it P—for which there is a vaccine hits us or hits abroad, we announce a vaccination campaign.
To the vaccine for P, our pharmaceutical companies secretly add the vaccine for our secretly weaponized disease Q. Thanks to our effective system of “social credit,” we can make sure that all of our compliant citizens get stuck with the vaccines for both P and Q—the P vaccine we disclose or whose formula we have openly imported, and the Q vaccine we have secretly developed and secretly included.
Could hundreds of millions of people really be injected with a vaccine without knowing it?
Consider your smartphone. The cybersecurity experts inside and outside governments assume, as a matter of course, that your smartphone is backdoored by every country where it was designed or manufactured and by every country where its software is designed or manufactured. And you put your phone in your pocket, from which the backdoor controllers, whoever and wherever they may be, suck out all the location, meta- and substantive data they request. You do not know—indeed, nobody knows—all the backdoors and spyware on your phone. But believe the experts when they assure you that your phone is compromised.
Just as the cyber operators add a door to your phone you don’t know about, the biomedical industry and the doctors, operating through secret government coordination and with very few people actually needing to know, can add a shield to your immune system you don’t know about—a shield that would be useful should the biowarfare executioners get the command to attack.
What is to be done? Just as the nuclear age stimulated open and public discussion of nuclear deterrence and nuclear defense, we need an open and public discussion about biological deterrence and biological defense.
Democratic countries need to discuss and decide on policies of deterrence of biological attack by whatever means, as well as the prospect for a Strategic Defense Initiative that might mitigate the fear of biological attack. Human nature being what it is, the Luxembourgs great and small will behave better if they know that misbehavior will be punished and that biological aggression not only will be chastised but has a good chance of fizzling before it does serious damage.
https://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/09/GettyImages-1211473507-scaled.jpg12802560Michael S. Kochinhttps://amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngMichael S. Kochin2020-09-16 21:02:122020-09-16 21:37:28The Executioner’s Face Is Always Well-Hidden