It’s Time to Upend the Modern University thumbnail

It’s Time to Upend the Modern University

By Jonathan Barth

University presidents have been in the limelight in recent months, more than at any other time in living memory. The additional scrutiny is amply warranted. They occupy powerful positions at their respective institutions. They formulate and communicate a vision for the university. They handle budgetary priorities. They approve hiring requests and promotions. They oversee the creation of new colleges, schools, and centers. They issue statements on behalf of the entire institution. They are the public face of the university.

But while the debacle on Capitol Hill on December 5, 2023 heightened public awareness of the inscrutable hegemon we call the Ivy League President, it also revealed how extensively and thoroughly DEI has infected most of our elite institutions, top to bottom. Most now know that something is terribly, terribly rotten in the state of Denmark – and it goes far beyond university presidents. The problem is systemic.

Consider the political and ideological homogeneity of the American higher education complex. College and university administrators – positions that have mushroomed in recent years – are especially egregious on this point. One study by Samuel Abrams found an astonishing 12:1 ratio of liberals to conservatives among administrators (71 percent identified as “liberal” or “very liberal”; only 6 percent identified as conservative).

Faculty are hardly better, and sometimes worse depending on the school and department. The STEM fields have less of a problem with political variety, but the social sciences and humanities are a veritable echo chamber. A 2018 study by Mitchell Langbert, for example, looked at the public voter registrations of nearly 9,000 tenured and tenure-track professors. For faculty in the humanities, the ratio was 32 Democrats for every Republican. A well-publicized survey last year by The Harvard Crimson found that a measly two percent of Harvard faculty describe themselves as conservative.

Small wonder that Gallup in 2023 found that only 19 percent of Republicans and only 36 percent of Americans have confidence in higher education (as recently as 2015, the number was 56 and 57 percent respectively)…..

*****

Jonathan Barth is an associate professor of history at Arizona State University and is a fellow with the Jack Miller Center.

Continue reading this article at Real Clear Education.

TAKE ACTION

The Prickly Pear’s TAKE ACTION focus this year is to help achieve a winning 2024 national and state November 5th election with the removal of the Biden/Obama leftist executive branch disaster, win one U.S. Senate seat, maintain and win strong majorities in all Arizona state offices on the ballot and to insure that unrestricted abortion is not constitutionally embedded in our laws and culture.

Please click the TAKE ACTION link to learn to do’s and don’ts for voting in 2024. Our state and national elections are at great risk from the very aggressive and radical leftist Democrat operatives with documented rigging, mail-in voter fraud and illegals voting across the country (yes, with illegals voting across the country) in the last several election cycles.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of The Prickly Pear essays entitled How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona to be well informed of the above issues and to vote in a way to ensure the most likely chance your vote will be counted and counted as you intend.

Please click the following link to learn more.

Government Funds AI Tools for Whole-of-Internet Surveillance and Censorship thumbnail

Government Funds AI Tools for Whole-of-Internet Surveillance and Censorship

By Debbie Lerman

I feel scared. Very scared.

Internet-wide surveillance and censorship, enabled by the unimaginably vast computational power of artificial intelligence (AI), is here.

This is not a futuristic dystopia. It’s happening now.

Government agencies are working with universities and nonprofits to use AI tools to surveil and censor content on the Internet.

This is not political or partisan. This is not about any particular opinion or idea.

What’s happening is that a tool powerful enough to surveil everything that’s said and done on the Internet (or large portions of it) is becoming available to the government to monitor all of us, all the time. And, based on that monitoring, the government – and any organization or company the government partners with – can then use the same tool to suppress, silence, and shut down whatever speech it doesn’t like. 

But that’s not all. Using the same tool, the government and its public-private, “non-governmental” partners (think, for example: the World Health Organization, or Monsanto) can also shut down any activity that is linked to the Internet. Banking, buying, selling, teaching, learning, entertaining, connecting to each other – if the government-controlled AI does not like what you (or your kids!) say in a tweet or an email, it can shut down all of that for you.

Yes, we’ve seen this on a very local and politicized scale with, for example, the Canadian truckers

But if we thought this type of activity could not, or would not, happen on a national (or even scarier – global) scale, we need to wake up right now and realize it’s happening, and it might not be stoppable.

New Documents Show Government-Funded AI Intended for Online Censorship

The US House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government was formed in January 2023 “to investigate matters related to the collection, analysis, dissemination, and use of information on US citizens by executive branch agencies, including whether such efforts are illegal, unconstitutional, or otherwise unethical.”

Unfortunately, the work of the committee is viewed, even by its own members, as largely political: Conservative lawmakers are investigating what they perceive to be the silencing of conservative voices by liberal-leaning government agencies.

Nevertheless, in its investigations, this committee has uncovered some astonishing documents related to government attempts to censor the speech of American citizens. 

These documents have crucial and terrifying all-of-society implications.

In the Subcommittee’s interim report, dated February 5, 2024, documents show that academic and nonprofit groups are pitching a government agency on a plan to use AI “misinformation services” to censor content on internet platforms.

Specifically, the University of Michigan is explaining to the National Science Foundation (NSF) that the AI-powered tools funded by the NSF can be used to help social media platforms perform censorship activities without having to actually make the decisions on what should be censored.

Here’s how the relationship is visualized in the Subcommittee’s report:

Here’s a specific quote presented in the Subcommittee’s report. It comes from “Speaker’s notes from the University of Michigan’s first pitch to the National Science Foundation (NSF) about its NSF-funded, AI-powered WiseDex tool.” The notes are on file with the committee.

Our misinformation service helps policy makers at platforms who want to…push responsibility for difficult judgments to someone outside the company…by externalizing the difficult responsibility of censorship.

This is an extraordinary statement on so many levels:

  1. It explicitly equates “misinformation service” with censorship.

This is a crucial equation, because governments worldwide are pretending to combat harmful misinformation when in fact they are passing massive censorship bills. The WEF declared “misinformation and disinformation” the “most severe global risks” in the next two years, which presumably means their biggest efforts will go toward censorship.

When a government contractor explicitly states that it is selling a “misinformation service” that helps online platforms “externalize censorship” – the two terms are acknowledged as being interchangeable.

  1. It refers to censorship as a “responsibility.”

In other words, it assumes that part of what the platforms should be doing is censorship. Not protecting children from sex predators or innocent citizens from misinformation – just plain and simple, unadulterated censorship.

  1. It states that the role of AI is to “externalize” the responsibility for censorship.

The Tech platforms do not want to make censorship decisions. The government wants to make those decisions but does not want to be seen as censoring. The AI tools allow the platforms to “externalize” the censorship decisions and the government to hide its censorship activities.

All of this should end the illusion that what governments around the world are calling “countering misinformation and hate speech” is not straight-up censorship.

What Happens When AI Censorship is Fully Implemented?

Knowing that the government is already paying for AI censorship tools, we have to wrap our minds around what this entails.

No manpower limits: As the Subcommittee report points out, the limits to government online censorship have, up to now, involved the large numbers of humans required to go through endless files and make censorship decisions. With AI, barely any humans need to be involved, and the amount of data that can be surveilled can be as vast as everything anyone says on a particular platform. That amount of data is incomprehensible to an individual human brain.

No one is responsible: One of the most frightening aspects of AI censorship is that when AI does it, there is no human being or organization – be it the government, the platforms, or the university/nonprofits – who is actually responsible for the censorship. Initially, humans feed the AI tool instructions for what categories or types of language to censor, but then the machine goes ahead and makes the case-by-case decisions all by itself.

No recourse for grievances: Once AI is unleashed with a set of censorship instructions, it will sweep up gazillions of online data points and apply censorship actions. If you want to contest an AI censorship action, you will have to talk to the machine. Maybe the platforms will employ humans to respond to appeals. But why would they do that, when they have AI that can automate those responses?

No protection for young people: One of the claims made by government censors is that we need to protect our children from harmful online information, like content that makes them anorexic, encourages them to commit suicide, turns them into ISIS terrorists, and so on. Also from sexual exploitation. These are all serious issues that deserve attention. But they are not nearly as dangerous to vast numbers of young people as AI censorship is.

The danger posed by AI censorship applies to all young people who spend a lot of time online, because it means their online activities and language can be monitored and used against them – maybe not now, but whenever the government decides to go after a particular type of language or behavior. This is a much greater danger to a much greater number of children than the danger posed by any specific content, because it encompasses all the activity they conduct online, touching on nearly every aspect of their lives.

Here’s an example to illustrate this danger: Let’s say your teenager plays lots of interactive video games online. Let’s say he happens to favor games designed by Chinese companies. Maybe he also watches others play those games, and participates in chats and discussion groups about those games, in which a lot of Chinese nationals also participate.

The government may decide next month, or next year, that anyone heavily engaged in Chinese-designed video games is a danger to democracy. This might result in shutting down your son’s social media accounts or denying him access to financial tools, like college loans. It might also involve flagging him on employment or dating websites as dangerous or undesirable. It might mean he is denied a passport or put on a watchlist.

Your teenager’s life just got a lot more difficult. Much more difficult than if he was exposed to an ISIS recruitment video or suicide-glorifying TikTok post. And this would happen on a much larger scale than the sexual exploitation the censors are using as a Trojan Horse for normalizing the idea of online government censorship.

Monetize-able censorship services: An AI tool owned by the government can theoretically be used by a non-governmental entity with the government’s permission, and with the blessing of the platforms that want to “externalize” the “responsibility” for censorship. So while the government might be using AI to monitor and suppress, let’s say as an example, anti-war sentiment – a company could use it to monitor and suppress, let’s say as an example, anti-fast food sentiment. The government could make a lot of money selling the services of the AI tools to 3rd parties. The platforms could also conceivably ask for a cut. Thus, AI censorship tools can potentially benefit the government, tech platforms, and private corporations. The incentives are so powerful, it’s almost impossible to imagine that they will not be exploited.

Can We Reverse Course?

I do not know how many government agencies and how many platforms are using AI censorship tools. I do not know how quickly they can scale up.

I do not know what tools we have at our disposal – other than raising awareness and trying to lobby politicians and file lawsuits to prevent government censorship and regulate the use of AI tools on the internet.

If anyone has any other ideas, now would be the time to implement them.

*****

This article was published by The Brownstone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

The Prickly Pear’s TAKE ACTION focus this year is to help achieve a winning 2024 national and state November 5th election with the removal of the Biden/Obama leftist executive branch disaster, win one U.S. Senate seat, maintain and win strong majorities in all Arizona state offices on the ballot and to insure that unrestricted abortion is not constitutionally embedded in our laws and culture.

Please click the TAKE ACTION link to learn to do’s and don’ts for voting in 2024. Our state and national elections are at great risk from the very aggressive and radical leftist Democrat operatives with documented rigging, mail-in voter fraud and illegals voting across the country (yes, with illegals voting across the country) in the last several election cycles.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of The Prickly Pear essays entitled How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona to be well informed of the above issues and to vote in a way to ensure the most likely chance your vote will be counted and counted as you intend.

Please click the following link to learn more.

Sorry, But There Is No Two-State Solution thumbnail

Sorry, But There Is No Two-State Solution

By Gadi Taub

I don’t fault any Zionist or ally of Israel for having embraced the two-state solution, as I did for many years. No other peace plan could reconcile self-interest and lofty principles so seamlessly. No other plan could offer a better way to transcend the contradictions that reality imposed on Israelis, by making a Zionist argument, no less, for Palestinian statehood. Far more powerful than a mere solution to a problem, the idea of two states was, for many of us, an irresistible form of seduction—a promise that partition could make Israel whole.

The seduction came from our core Zionist beliefs. Our own Declaration of Independence says that “It is the natural right of the Jewish peoples to be, like all peoples, masters of their own fate, in their own sovereign state.” Partition would make that stance internally coherent, validating our own right by fighting for theirs. It would also reconcile liberalism with nationalism. After all, the occupation threatens both, because it not only violates the human rights of Palestinians, it also endangers the Jewish majority. Partition would solve both problems in one fell swoop.

The two-state solution was also naturally appealing to Israel’s friends in the West, especially liberal Jews: Faced with attempts to paint Zionism as colonialism, Judaism as fundamentalist messianism, the IDF as an army of occupation, or Israel as an apartheid state, the two-state solution would dissolve such smears with a single flourish.

But compelling as it is as a debating strategy or a form of self-therapy, the two-state solution is, sadly, no solution at all. Rather, it is a big step down the road to another Lebanon. It would doom the Zionist project, not save it, while producing much greater misery and more bloodshed for Israelis and Palestinians alike. By now most of us in Israel understand this dreadful math. If there was still a substantial minority among us who clung to the two-state promise against the evidence of the Second Intifada and everything that followed, that minority has shrunk considerably since Oct. 7.

We now know exactly what our would-be neighbors have in mind for us. We see that a majority of Palestinians support Hamas and are well pleased by its massacres. Most of us, therefore, believe that turning Judea and Samaria into another Hamastan to satisfy those who see the massacre as an inspiration and its perpetrators as role models would be suicidal. Who in their right mind would inflict the ensuing bloodshed on their partners, children, friends, and parents? If one is determined to feel overwhelming sympathy for one of the many stateless peoples of the world, why not start with the Kurds, or the Catalans, or the Basques, or the Rohingya, or the Baluchis, or any of one of dozens of subnational groups—none of whom seem likely to attain their longed-for goals of statehood anytime soon. After all, it took nearly 2,000 years for the Jews to succeed in refounding their state. If the Palestinians are determined to kill us on the road to replacing us, then presumably they can wait, too.

Those Israelis who do still yearn for a Palestinian state are now a very small, yet well-positioned minority: far left politicians, academics, progressive journalists, and some members of the IDF brass. Not surprisingly, many of these were educated in American universities. But they no longer carry any real electoral weight.

The two-state solution is, sadly, no solution at all. Rather, it is a big step down the road to another Lebanon…..

*****

Continue reading this article at Tablet Magazine.

TAKE ACTION

The Prickly Pear’s TAKE ACTION focus this year is to help achieve a winning 2024 national and state November 5th election with the removal of the Biden/Obama leftist executive branch disaster, win one U.S. Senate seat, maintain and win strong majorities in all Arizona state offices on the ballot and to insure that unrestricted abortion is not constitutionally embedded in our laws and culture.

Please click the TAKE ACTION link to learn to do’s and don’ts for voting in 2024. Our state and national elections are at great risk from the very aggressive and radical leftist Democrat operatives with documented rigging, mail-in voter fraud and illegals voting across the country (yes, with illegals voting across the country) in the last several election cycles.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of The Prickly Pear essays entitled How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona to be well informed of the above issues and to vote in a way to ensure the most likely chance your vote will be counted and counted as you intend.

Please click the following link to learn more.

How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona: Part 1 thumbnail

How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona: Part 1

By John R. Ammon

American and Arizona citizens have lost faith in our election system. Following elections in 2018, the very broken and Covid poisoned election of 2020 and the nationally embarrassing 2022 Arizona election (especially in Maricopa County where over 60% of AZ ballots are cast), We the People are justified in lacking faith in the system. Without election integrity and confidence in each citizen’s vote, representative government, i.e., our Republic (not the Left’s ‘Democracy’), cannot exist and appears close to that outcome being engineered by the radical leftist and Marxist cabal we used to call the Democratic Party.

At one time, before 2016, Arizona was a model of election integrity and honest mail-in voting mechanics that worked well for many years, reflecting the will of Arizona citizens giving legitimate consent to those who govern us. The majority of Arizona citizen voters cast their ballots by mail and confidence in the state’s election system was solid.

This changed radically after 2016. Adrian Fontes, a radical Democrat was elected to the office of Maricopa County Recorder. Fontes is a student of the infamous Mark Elias, the Democrat lawyer and associate of Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder, Obama’s (“Wingman”) Attorney General. They are very active in altering election procedures (constitutionally to be done only by state legislatures) throughout the nation.

Helen Purcell had been the nonpartisan Recorder for 28 years, running an honest, clean and model voting registration system in Maricopa County. Leading up to the 2016 election, she was blamed for long lines and delayed voting at polling stations caused by Maricopa County Board of Supervisors incompetence leading to her defeat and the installation of Fontes in 2017 in the county’s Recorder office. The Prickly Pear has reported on the extreme partisan, corrupt, and incompetent behavior of Adrian Fontes in this office. Stephen Richer, current Maricopa County Recorder, confirmed this while running (and barely winning) this office in 2020 during interviews with The Prickly Pear. He is the current Recorder, installed in January 2021.

Fontes’ actions are tied to the broken elections of 2018, 2020 and 2022. As Maricopa County Recorder, he engineered the almost exclusive registering of voters in Democrat populations, using office staff against regulations. Incredibly (perhaps not) he is now the Arizona Secretary of State with enormous oversight of Arizona’s election system and is entangled with great controversy over the Elections Procedure Manual and his refusal to clean up at least 70K names that should not be on the voter list. The AZ Supreme Court has smacked down his actions in both offices repeatedly. Fontes picked up where Katie Hobbs left off when she was Secretary of State during Governor Ducey’s tenure. Incredibly (perhaps not), Hobbs is now Governor, elected in a very questionable, controversial and extremely close 2022 election.

Why is this disturbing and corrupted election history being presented for our readers? If you are an informed Arizonan who really cares about election integrity and that your vote actually represents your consent to be governed, How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona: Part 2 is key.

I will outline and explain the do’s and don’ts for the next election in Part 2, the following three issues being central:

  • Be sure you are on the Active Early Voting List (AEVL) – DO NOT RELY ON CASTING YOUR BALLOT AT A POLLING STATION ON ELECTION DAY.
  • Vote early and soon after you receive you Mail-In Ballot – DO NOT WAIT TO VOTE.  Decide, fill out your ballot and mail at your post office. Never use a ‘drop off’ box for ballot collection. Part 2 will explain how to follow and confirm that your Mail-In ballot has been received and your signature verified, indicating that your ballot/vote is cast and counted.
  • NEVER, NEVER, EVER BRING THE GREEN ENVELOPE CONTAINING YOUR MAIL-IN BALLOT TO ‘DROP OFF’ AT A POLLING STATION ON THE DAY OF ELECTION!!!! YOU WILL NOT HAVE VOTED ON ELECTION DAY!!!!

Details on these three key guidelines will be presented in How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona: Part 2.

Remember – The Arizona primary is on March 19th – about five weeks from now. If you are not on the Active Early Voting List now, please do so now ASAP. Part 2 will give you the instructions and links to accomplish this.

TAKE ACTION

The Prickly Pear’s TAKE ACTION focus this year is to help achieve a winning 2024 national and state November 5th election with the removal of the Biden/Obama leftist executive branch disaster, win one U.S. Senate seat, maintain and win strong majorities in all Arizona state offices on the ballot and to insure that unrestricted abortion is not constitutionally embedded in our laws and culture.

Please click the TAKE ACTION link to learn to do’s and don’ts for voting in 2024. Our state and national elections are at great risk from the very aggressive and radical leftist Democrat operatives with documented rigging, mail-in voter fraud and illegals voting across the country (yes, with illegals voting across the country) in the last several election cycles.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of The Prickly Pear essays entitled How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona to be well informed of the above issues and to vote in a way to ensure the most likely chance your vote will be counted and counted as you intend.

How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona: Part 2 thumbnail

How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona: Part 2

By John R. Ammon

The United States and Arizona election systems are broken. The last several election cycles have demonstrated the defects in the electoral system and defined the Democrat project to increase large numbers of favorable and questionable ballots and not actual, legitimate votes by citizens of our state and our nation.

Increasing numbers of illegal aliens vote across the country, especially after the last three years of intentional destruction of our borders by the current Administration. Without restating all the proofs and data indicating what has gone wrong with election integrity across America, what can the Arizona voting citizen do to not lose his or her ballot being honestly counted and expressing each legitimate citizen’s choice of how we are to be governed? Project this critical question to millions of votes cast in primary and general elections and the question of election integrity becomes very clear.

Until the state of Arizona once again becomes red in future election cycles, i.e., governed by those who strive to conserve (as in ‘conservatism’) the Founders’ foundational vision of representative government with honest elections, we must use the existing election system to win elections and thwart the dangerous leftist intention of Obama’s “fundamental transformation of America” with a permanent ruling elite and evolution of a Marxist-like governing class.

How do we do this? For brevity, the following recommendations hopefully will block or reduce the dangerous election manipulations that have occurred in the past three Arizona (and U.S.) election cycles.

  • 80% of Arizona ballots are cast by Mail-In-Voting. In Maricopa County, that figure is 90%. The Democrat focus is on the number of ballots cast and how they are counted rather than legitimate votes cast. They have rallied their voters to cast their votes by mailing in ballots early after receipt. By election day, Democrats can be 700,000 votes ahead in Arizona elections. ‘Proud’ Republicans who insist on voting on ‘Election Day’ in person are far behind already in state and national races. Witnessing the terrible performance of polling stations and incompetent voting mechanics in Maricopa County and elsewhere in Arizona in 2022, confidence for in-person voting on Election Day in Arizona should be zero, nada. Until the traditional voting methods are reestablished someday when political and Legislative power is capable of doing so, you should vote by mail in Arizona. If not already a mail-in voter, see the instructions below to get on the Active Mail-In Voting List (AEVL) and do so ASAP.
  • Voting by mail in Arizona means filling our your ballot early within days of receiving it at your address, ascertaining that the envelope is properly signed and then delivering it to your post office. Do not wait – fill it out, sign it and mail it at your post office. Proof of the ballot being received, your signature being verified, and your vote actually counted is your responsibility as a citizen of Arizona and America. Remember – you can be and  You Are Your Own Poll Watcher.
  • DON’T BE A STUPID VOTER – what does this mean? DO NOT BRING YOUR GREEN MAIL-IN BALLOT ENVELOPE TO A POLLING STATION ON ELECTION DAY TO DROP OFF IN A BOX FOR FUTURE (YES, FUTURE) COUNTING. Hundreds of thousands of Arizona voters do this and it feeds corruption of the ballot counting throughout Arizona, especially in Maricopa County. Since the 2018 Arizona election, we have seen election reversals of Republican winners in the days and weeks after the announced results on the night of the actual election date. If you ‘drop off your mail-in ballot’ on election day at the polling station your vote will not be included in the evening results of the general election on November 5th or on the March 19th primary. THAT IS STUPID. When or if it is honestly counted for the final election results cannot be relied on. Ballot manipulation is the Democrat game. Don’t play it. Even better, don’t vote on election day in Arizona – vote by mail early and follow your ballot until you know that it is received, your signature verified and your vote counted. To follow your mail-in ballot and ascertain that your vote is counted after submitting it, see below.

How to be on the Active Early Voting List (AEVL) in Arizona if you are not on it already:

For a registered voter to move on to the AEVL, use this site to change your registration to the Active Early Voting List online or to obtain the form to submit a written AEVL request. Sign the document that you wrote, then mail, fax, or email a scanned copy or photo of your handwritten request to your County Recorder’s Office.

How to follow your Mail-In Ballot in Arizona to ascertain receipt by your County Recorder election center, your signature verification and the counting of your vote:

After you have mailed in your Early Ballot (very soon after you receive it), follow your ballot at the following link: https://my.arizona.vote/AbsenteeTracker.aspx. This site gives each Arizona voter throughout the state the ability to follow his or her ballot and to ascertain that the vote you have cast has been legitimately counted. Information about your early mail-in ballot should be available within days of mailing it in.

Voters can also sign up for  text messages and email alerts as part of the ballot-by-mail/early ballot tracking service. To sign up, visit trackmyballot.azsos.gov.

The Arizona citizen voter is strongly encouraged to use these two links and the services provided. As a responsible citizen, don’t forget – You Are Your Own Poll Watcher. You want an honest election? IT STARTS WITH YOU using the existing system smartly and consistently until we can reform the system for real confidence in future elections.

TAKE ACTION

The Prickly Pear’s TAKE ACTION focus this year is to help achieve a winning 2024 national and state November 5th election with the removal of the Biden/Obama leftist executive branch disaster, win one U.S. Senate seat, maintain and win strong majorities in all Arizona state offices on the ballot and to insure that unrestricted abortion is not constitutionally embedded in our laws and culture.

Please click the TAKE ACTION link to learn to do’s and don’ts for voting in 2024. Our state and national elections are at great risk from the very aggressive and radical leftist Democrat operatives with documented rigging, mail-in voter fraud and illegals voting across the country (yes, with illegals voting across the country) in the last several election cycles.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of The Prickly Pear essays entitled How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona to be well informed of the above issues and to vote in a way to ensure the most likely chance your vote will be counted and counted as you intend.

Arizona Secretary Of State Shrugs Off Election Problems As Lawsuit Highlights 2022 Failures thumbnail

Arizona Secretary Of State Shrugs Off Election Problems As Lawsuit Highlights 2022 Failures

By Erin Marie Joyce

Fontes dismissed concerns about Arizona’s election administration, but a new lawsuit alleges widespread failures.

While Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes was in D.C. this week smearing election integrity advocates as election “deniers,” a lawsuit was filed against Maricopa County election officials by the local nonprofit civic group Strong Communities Foundation of Arizona and Eric Lovelis, a Maricopa County resident and member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

County officials “are fully aware of the myriad deficiencies in how they administer elections,  yet they have consistently failed to take effective action to rectify them,” the lawsuit claims. “The Defendants’ administration of elections in Maricopa County has been sloppy, shoddy, and rife with mistakes.

Filed by America First Legal, a law firm founded by former Trump administration officials, the suit names all of Maricopa County’s Board of Supervisors, including its chairman, Bill Gates, and Stephen Richer, the county recorder. 

It lays out a litany of alleged election law violations from recent major election cycles. The complaint seeks injunctions and writs of mandamus ordering the county to observe election statutes properly to prevent the 2024 election from being “marred by the same mistakes and maladministration as the 2020 and 2022 elections.”

At a panel discussion put on by the Election Center on Tuesday, Fontes downplayed election integrity concerns to the audience of election officials and media: “Some of what’s going to happen there [in the 2024 election] is what we see every single cycle, the occasional human error. Unfortunately now, bad actors with bad intent are going to blow these things out of proportion and pretend like the sky is falling; just because somebody moved a box from point A to point B.”

The beef is more than mere shuffling of boxes, according to the lawsuit. The complaint is asking a judge to instruct Maricopa County to “document chain of custody” for ballots that were being “stored or transported,” which is a common statutory requirement when ballots are moved outside of the public’s view.

An election worker in Maricopa County admitted in court testimony last May that ballots were delivered to private third-party providers to process the ballots with no chain of custody forms. This was a key point of contention in the 2022 gubernatorial contest between Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs, who won by about 17,000 votes.

The lawsuit asserts that Maricopa County election officials “unlawfully failed to maintain proper chain of custody” for ballots, which “resulted in a discrepancy of over 25,000 votes, which was larger than the margin of victory in many 2022 statewide races, including the governor’s race.” 

During his remarks at the Election Center event on Tuesday, Fontes dismissed election integrity activists’ pleas to fix issues in Arizona’s election administration. He told the audience the focus in 2024 will be on “the real work that gets done” by “the folks who are actually driving the trucks [with voters’ ballots], moving stuff around in the warehouses, and assisting voters. To me, that’s where 2024 is going to be focused.”

But according to the lawsuit, much work needs doing. In 2022, the lawsuit contends, ballots were not properly reviewed for signature verification, and the vote centers were plagued by problems with ballot-on-demand printers. “These printer malfunctions included printing 19-inch ballot images on 20-inch paper, making them unreadable to tabulator machines,” the lawsuit claims. “Additionally, printers were incorrectly set to print ballots using an ink-saving ‘eco’ function that led to speckled or faded printing that also made ballots unreadable by tabulator machines.”

On Tuesday, I asked Fontes about why some machines reportedly malfunctioned on Election Day 2022, among other apparent failures. According to a lawsuit brought by 2022 gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, tabulators at roughly 60 percent of voting centers in Maricopa rejected ballots on Election Day. Fontes responded by telling me “the root of your question comes from election denialism” and insisting the “tabulators were so sensitive and so secure that an undetectable printing error [would be] so tiny you couldn’t see it with a human eye.”

“We had a very secure system,” he added, claiming “it is a standard procedure that if the tabulators in a polling place don’t count, that there is an alternative place to put those.”

The plaintiffs also take issue with Maricopa County’s massive voting centers, which America First Legal says are not only “poorly run,” but are an “irrational substitute for election day precinct voting,” and are “situated in a racially discriminatory way, having a disparate impact on the County’s White and Native American citizens who are more likely to vote in person.”

In addition to maintaining chain of custody documentation when ballots are transferred, the filing asks the Maricopa County Superior Court to order election officials to use “demographic data from the 2020 and 2022 general elections to racially balance the number of election-day Long Distance Voters,” since the “vast majority” of these “election-day voters whose residence was located more than two miles from a voting center” were “in census blocks that were majority White or Native American.”

The lawsuit contends that:

…during the 2022 election, hundreds, and possibly thousands, of voters appeared at voting centers and were told that they were no longer registered to vote in Maricopa County, even though they had not moved away, had not knowingly requested that their registration be canceled or transferred, had not consented to the cancellation of their registration, and had never been informed of the cancellation of their registration.

As a result, the plaintiffs continue, they had to cast provisional ballots, which they claim Maricopa County election officials “never counted.” The “number of voters disenfranchised during the 2022 general election by the Defendants’ unlawful cancellations was larger than the margin of victory in some races,” the filing says.

When I asked him Tuesday about the problems in the 2022 election, Fontes responded that he would act “when I see evidence of misdeeds, when I see evidence of problems,” but insisted “there hasn’t been any evidence.”

But Fontes has certainly seen a lengthy list of complaints, such as another lawsuit filed days ago against him by Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen and state House Speaker Ben Toma. They allege the state’s Election Procedures Manual is in “conflict with election laws.” The Republican National Committee likewise filed a lawsuit over the manual on Friday.

The lawsuit by America First Legal contends that, instead of addressing well-documented failures to follow statutes on the chain of custody and proper verification of absentee ballot signatures, Maricopa County election officials have instead “stubbornly dug their heels in. Rather than fix their past mistakes, they try to fight, silence, or shame anyone questioning their maladministration.”

*****

This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

TAKE ACTION

The Prickly Pear’s TAKE ACTION focus this year is to help achieve a winning 2024 national and state November 5th election with the removal of the Biden/Obama leftist executive branch disaster, win one U.S. Senate seat, maintain and win strong majorities in all Arizona state offices on the ballot and to insure that unrestricted abortion is not constitutionally embedded in our laws and culture.

Please click the TAKE ACTION link to learn to do’s and don’ts for voting in 2024. Our state and national elections are at great risk from the very aggressive and radical leftist Democrat operatives with documented rigging, mail-in voter fraud and illegals voting across the country (yes, with illegals voting across the country) in the last several election cycles.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of The Prickly Pear essays entitled How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona to be well informed of the above issues and to vote in a way to ensure the most likely chance your vote will be counted and counted as you intend.

When Stalin Came to Casa Grande – Part I thumbnail

When Stalin Came to Casa Grande – Part I

By Neland Nobel

One of the pillars of Stalinism was the attack on individually owned farms and private property, and the forced introduction of collective farming. Stalin himself never came to Casa Grande in Arizona, but his ideas certainly did.

These ideas came to Arizona largely through university professors and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and created the largest agricultural collective in the US as an experiment to test socialist theories about both farming and human nature.

Collectives have a long history in the US and elsewhere, and they all failed.  In the Soviet model, this failure was admitted, and thus the collectivization required force, terror, and starvation to “convince” people to operate properly in the collective environment.  But even with massive brutal force and the full weight of the state, in the end, they could not make the idea work.  Most food production came from a small amount of privately owned plots that represented about 3% of the land under cultivation.

Israeli Kibbutzim were propelled by similar socialist ideals, adding a dash of religion and ethnic cohesion, but they left out the coercion. Even so, most failed, people were allowed to leave and few members stayed for long periods, and state subsidies were still required to make the model work.  They “worked” within a broader capitalist economy.

The earliest settlement in America, the Pilgrims tried collective farming and it almost led to their extinction. Shifting away from this model, William Bradford the governor, saved the colony.

But let’s look back at Arizona in the 1930s.  A brief context is needed to understand.

In 1900, about 40% of the population lived on farms and about 60% of the entire population lived in rural areas, largely supporting the farm population.

Several mega trends caused a crisis in agriculture.  The introduction of gas and diesel-powered machines accelerated the downtrend of an existing trend of mule-drawn mechanization, and better methods of crop rotation and fertilizer, leading to a sharp increase in farm output.  This tended to create more supply than demand, which in turn caused falling prices, which made failure on small marginal farms frequent.  There was a jarring economic and social process of closing down farms, and the migration into industrial cities.

This created a lot of pain but also a lot of opportunity.  Many people who otherwise would have farmed, learned to pursue other endeavors and the broader opportunity that implies.

This kind of mega-trend shift in how a population works and lives, is always a difficult process, even in an authoritarian state like modern China.

World War I took most of European production offline, and US farmers stepped up with record production, record expansion, and record indebtedness. When the end of the war came and European farmers started to produce once more, crop prices fell sharply, and a painful contraction started in the 1920s leading to over 5,000 rural bank failures.  By the time of the stock market crash in 1929, the beginning of The Depression in the early 1930s, domestic agriculture was in crisis.

Franklin Roosevelt was elected President and he launched his “New Deal”, which greatly changed the country forever.  Agricultural policy was an integral part of this national transformation.

Adding to the difficulties, there were shifts in climate causing the Dust Bowl and forcing more people off the land.  You might have seen the movie or read the book, “The Grapes of Wrath.”

FDR hired a group of Columbia University Professors, headed by Raymond Moley, which was dubbed “the brain trust.”  The first man recruited according to Moley, was Rexford Guy Tugwell, a specialist in agricultural economics.

The good professor had long been a critic of private property.  As a skeptic of free enterprise, Tugwell stated, ” I personally have long been convinced that the outright ownership of farms ought to be greatly restricted. ”  He added, “…under intelligent state control it should be possible to introduce a planned flexibility into the congestion and rigidity of our outdated economic system.”

As Under Secretary for Agriculture, he was in charge of many experiments under the auspices of the Resettlement Administration.  He had a massive 13,000 bureaucrats at his disposal plus $250 million to spend to try to find places for farmers displaced from the land. As a result, quite a few “collectives” were organized by the Federal government.  Unlike private attempts at communal living, this put the socialist experiment into another dimension.  Never had so many schemes been launched with the resources of the state behind them, at least in the US.  But unlike his Soviet counterparts, he didn’t have the license for killing or imprisoning those who might object.

He had to convince officials and participants that collective ideas could be successfully implemented in a country that had long cherished private property and personal freedom.  The rhetoric was all about “rational planning”, where decisions would be made by experts, not the crude mechanism of private choice.

Like many New Deal programs, the government itself was increasing the displacement of farmers and thus had to dream up new schemes to deal with the effects of their own policies.

The experiment in Casa Grande with a large-scale collective farm, was just one of many costly ventures.

Tugwell, whose handsome visage eventually made a Time Magazine cover, was like so many New Dealers, a man of the genteel political left. Enthralled with the idea of central planning and the socialist model for organizing society, many American academics, having been educated in Bismarck’s Germany, embraced both fascism and communism.   Like many others of his academic generation, he had traveled to Soviet Russia, thought he had seen the future, and it confirmed his already highly Progressive left-wing ideas.

The problem was how to implement these ideas in a free country like the US.  The trauma of the Great Depression provided such visionaries the opportunity to try out their ideas and convince the country to move quickly in a socialist direction.

Part 1 of a 2 part series

*****

Image credit: the author’s collection, Library of Congress

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

When Stalin Came to Casa Grande (Part 1) thumbnail

When Stalin Came to Casa Grande (Part 1)

By Neland Nobel

One of the pillars of Stalinism was the attack on individually owned farms and private property, and the forced introduction of collective farming. Stalin himself never came to Casa Grande in Arizona, but his ideas certainly did.

These ideas came to Arizona largely through university professors and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and created the largest agricultural collective in the US as an experiment to test socialist theories about both farming and human nature.

Collectives have a long history in the US and elsewhere, and they all failed.  In the Soviet model, this failure was admitted, and thus the collectivization required force, terror, and starvation to “convince” people to operate properly in the collective environment.  But even with massive brutal force and the full weight of the state, in the end, they could not make the idea work.  Most food production came from a small amount of privately owned plots that represented about 3% of the land under cultivation.

Israeli Kibbutzim were propelled by similar socialist ideals, adding a dash of religion and ethnic cohesion, but they left out the coercion. Even so, most failed, people were allowed to leave and few members stayed for long periods, and state subsidies were still required to make the model work.  They “worked” within a broader capitalist economy.

The earliest settlement in America, the Pilgrims tried collective farming and it almost led to their extinction. Shifting away from this model, William Bradford the governor, saved the colony.

But let’s look back at Arizona in the 1930s.  A brief context is needed to understand.

In 1900, about 40% of the population lived on farms and about 60% of the entire population lived in rural areas, largely supporting the farm population.

Several mega trends caused a crisis in agriculture.  The introduction of gas and diesel-powered machines accelerated the downtrend of an existing trend of mule-drawn mechanization, and better methods of crop rotation and fertilizer, leading to a sharp increase in farm output.  This tended to create more supply than demand, which in turn caused falling prices, which made failure on small marginal farms frequent.  There was a jarring economic and social process of closing down farms, and the migration into industrial cities.

This created a lot of pain but also a lot of opportunity.  Many people who otherwise would have farmed, learned to pursue other endeavors and the broader opportunity that implies.

This kind of mega-trend shift in how a population works and lives, is always a difficult process, even in an authoritarian state like modern China.

World War I took most of European production offline, and US farmers stepped up with record production, record expansion, and record indebtedness. When the end of the war came and European farmers started to produce once more, crop prices fell sharply, and a painful contraction started in the 1920s leading to over 5,000 rural bank failures.  By the time of the stock market crash in 1929, the beginning of The Depression in the early 1930s, domestic agriculture was in crisis.

Franklin Roosevelt was elected President and he launched his “New Deal”, which greatly changed the country forever.  Agricultural policy was an integral part of this national transformation.

Adding to the difficulties, there were shifts in climate causing the Dust Bowl and forcing more people off the land.  You might have seen the movie or read the book, “The Grapes of Wrath.”

FDR hired a group of Columbia University Professors, headed by Raymond Moley, which was dubbed “the brain trust.”  The first man recruited according to Moley, was Rexford Guy Tugwell, a specialist in agricultural economics.

The good professor had long been a critic of private property.  As a skeptic of free enterprise, Tugwell stated, ” I personally have long been convinced that the outright ownership of farms ought to be greatly restricted. ”  He added, “…under intelligent state control it should be possible to introduce a planned flexibility into the congestion and rigidity of our outdated economic system.”

As Under Secretary for Agriculture, he was in charge of many experiments under the auspices of the Resettlement Administration.  He had a massive 13,000 bureaucrats at his disposal plus $250 million to spend to try to find places for farmers displaced from the land. As a result, quite a few “collectives” were organized by the Federal government.  Unlike private attempts at communal living, this put the socialist experiment into another dimension.  Never had so many schemes been launched with the resources of the state behind them, at least in the US.  But unlike his Soviet counterparts, he didn’t have the license for killing or imprisoning those who might object.

He had to convince officials and participants that collective ideas could be successfully implemented in a country that had long cherished private property and personal freedom.  The rhetoric was all about “rational planning”, where decisions would be made by experts, not the crude mechanism of private choice.

Like many New Deal programs, the government itself was increasing the displacement of farmers and thus had to dream up new schemes to deal with the effects of their own policies.

The experiment in Casa Grande with a large-scale collective farm, was just one of many costly ventures.

Tugwell, whose handsome visage eventually made a Time Magazine cover, was like so many New Dealers, a man of the genteel political left. Enthralled with the idea of central planning and the socialist model for organizing society, many American academics, having been educated in Bismarck’s Germany, embraced both fascism and communism.   Like many others of his academic generation, he had traveled to Soviet Russia, thought he had seen the future, and it confirmed his already highly Progressive left-wing ideas.

The problem was how to implement these ideas in a free country like the US.  The trauma of the Great Depression provided such visionaries the opportunity to try out their ideas and convince the country to move quickly in a socialist direction.

Part 1 of a 2 part series

*****

Image credit: the author’s collection, Library of Congress

TAKE ACTION

The Prickly Pear’s TAKE ACTION focus this year is to help achieve a winning 2024 national and state November 5th election with the removal of the Biden/Obama leftist executive branch disaster, win one U.S. Senate seat, maintain and win strong majorities in all Arizona state offices on the ballot and to insure that unrestricted abortion is not constitutionally embedded in our laws and culture.

Please click the TAKE ACTION link to learn to do’s and don’ts for voting in 2024. Our state and national elections are at great risk from the very aggressive and radical leftist Democrat operatives with documented rigging, mail-in voter fraud and illegals voting across the country (yes, with illegals voting across the country) in the last several election cycles.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of The Prickly Pear essays entitled How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona to be well informed of the above issues and to vote in a way to ensure the most likely chance your vote will be counted and counted as you intend.

Elon Musk is Right and the NY Times is Wrong About Illegal Voting By Non-Citizens thumbnail

Elon Musk is Right and the NY Times is Wrong About Illegal Voting By Non-Citizens

By James D. Agresti

In a recent trio of posts to X, Elon Musk wrote that (1) illegal immigrants “are not prevented from voting in federal elections,” (2) “you don’t need government-issued ID to vote,” and (3) Democrats “are importing voters.”

To rebut those statements, the New York Times published an article by Jim Rutenberg and Kate Conger claiming that Musk is “spreading election misinformation” about “illegal voting by noncitizens” and echoing a “conspiracy theory” spread by Donald Trump.

While Musk’s words are imprecise, the gist of what he wrote is correct, and the Times is categorically wrong.

Illegal Voter Registration

In response to Musk’s first two points, the Times argues that “federal law requires identification verification from voters when they register.” The hyperlink in that sentence leads to a document by the liberal Brennan Center for Justice claiming that “new identification requirements” in a 2002 federal voting law “may severely threaten voters’ rights….”

What the Times fails to reveal is that the Brennan Center document describes the identification requirements in the law, which don’t require government-issued ID or proof of citizenship—just as Musk wrote. The document notes that even a “utility bill” or “bank statement” is enough to comply with the law. The text of the 2002 legislation and the current U.S. election code law confirm this.

Furthermore, a 2013 Supreme Court ruling supports Musk and contradicts the Times by explaining that the National Voter Registration Form “does not require documentary evidence of citizenship; rather, it requires only that an applicant aver, under penalty of perjury, that he is a citizen.”

In fact, the Court’s 2013 ruling blocked the state of Arizona from requiring “documentary proof of citizenship” to register to vote. Likewise, a 2020 appeals court ruling prohibited other states from doing the same, and the Obama administration filed a brief arguing for that outcome.

To be clear, federal law and the laws of all 50 states require people to be U.S. citizens in order to register to vote in federal elections, and federal law forbids people from falsely claiming citizenship to register to vote. Penalties for lying about this include up to five years in prison. However, enforcement mechanisms for such laws are limited, and opportunities to get around them are ample.

The situation was summarized by Barack Obama shortly before the 2016 U.S. presidential election when actress Gina Rodriguez asked him if “Dreamers” and “undocumented citizens” would be deported if they voted. Obama replied:

Not true. And the reason is, first of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself. And there is not a situation where the voting rolls somehow are transferred over, and people start investigating, etcetera.

After dodging the fact that “Dreamers” and “undocumented immigrants” are not citizens, Obama’s clear message was that there is no effective way to enforce the law that prohibits them from voting.

And when President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity asked the states for “detailed, publicly available voter-roll data” that could be cross-checked against other databases with information on citizenship status, states refused to turn over the data and filed a flurry of lawsuits to stop the commission. In the words of California’s Secretary of State:

While the commission is allowed to request the personal data of California voters, they cannot compel me to provide it. Let me reassure California voters: I will not provide the Commission with any personal voter data. …

Yesterday’s ruling is merely the first in a string of lawsuits challenging the Commission. Those lawsuits send a strong message—the Commission will face opposition at every step of the way from those who are fighting to protect our voting rights, our privacy, and our democratic principles.

Note that California alleged the commission asked for “personal data,” but in reality, the commission explicitly requested “publicly available voter-roll data.”

California’s deceptive refusal of the request and the ample openings for non-citizens to vote take on added significance in light of the following testimony by California Senate Leader and Democrat Kevin De Leon in 2017:

I can tell you half of my family would be eligible for deportation under [Trump’s] executive order, because if they got a false Social Security card, if they got a false identification, if they got a false driver’s license … if they got a false green card. And anyone who has family members who are undocumented knows that almost entirely everybody has secured some sort of false identification.

Illegal Voting

The Times also alleges that “instances of illegal voting by noncitizens are rare” and supports that claim with a link to PolitiFact—an outfit with a record of publishing flagrant falsehoods on illegal voting and many other issues.

Although data on violations of laws with weak enforcement mechanisms are rare, scientific surveys of non-citizens have found that roughly:

· 13% of Hispanic non-citizens admitted they were registered to vote in 2013.

· 14% of all non-citizens admitted they were registered to vote in 2012, and 9% stated “I definitely voted” in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

· 15% of all non-citizens admitted they were registered to vote in 2008, and 8% stated “I definitely voted” in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Those rates are only for self-admitted actions, and database matches with voting and registration records show the actual rates are about twice as high. In 2008, the one year for which Just Facts has full data, 27% of non-citizens were registered to vote, and 16% of them actually voted.

The studies that yielded the data above have significant margins of error due to relatively small sample sizes, and there are other sources of uncertainty—some of which may produce overcounts and some undercounts. But given that the Census Bureau estimates there are about 20 million non-citizen adults living in the U.S., a million illegal votes will be cast in every federal election if only 5% of them vote.

As summarized by a 2014 paper in the scholarly journal Electoral Studies, “some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections,” and “this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections.”

Some media outlets and fact checkers” have tried to contest those realities, but a multitude of facts from academic books and journals have shown that their arguments consist of mathematically illiterate notions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods. On top of this, one “fact checker” leveled slanderous accusations against Ph.D. scholars who conducted and vetted seminal studies on this matter.

“The Great Replacement”

The Times also asserts “Musk implied that Mr. Biden and the Democrats were being lax on immigration because ‘they are importing voters,’ an echo of the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory that Mr. Trump was sharing around the same time.”

The hyperlink in that sentence leads to another Times article that blames Republicans for spreading a “Great Replacement” narrative “used to justify an act of racist violence” in a mass murder of 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket in 2022.

The Times and other media outlets tar Republicans with such guilt-by-association tactics. However, the press gives itself a pass when similar atrocities are committed by people who parrot their false narratives.

The Times article doesn’t even attempt to rebut Musk’s point but simply calls it a “conspiracy.” However, multiple facts prove that what Musk wrote is true.

For example, 82% of non-citizens who said they voted in 2008 stated that they voted for Democrat Barack Obama, while only 18% said they voted for Republican John McCain.

Citing figures that would dwarf the number of non-citizens who vote illegally, Eliseo Medina, a former executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union, stated in a 2009 speech that:

· the “progressive community” can “expand and solidify the progressive coalition for the future” by putting “12 million” unauthorized immigrants “on the path to citizenship and eventually voting.”

· turning illegal immigrants into citizens will create a progressive “governing coalition for the long term, not just for an election cycle.”

Illegal immigrants and other non-citizens generally have low incomes and exceptionally high rates of not having a high school diploma. The majority of people with these attributes vote for Democrats.

The lopsided votes of non-citizens for Democrats are consistent with the promises and actions of Democrat politicians to give free healthcare, amnesty, and citizenship to people who immigrate to the United States, illegally or legally. The electoral implications of this are further highlighted by facts like these:

· A nationally representative bilingual poll of 784 immigrant Latinos conducted by Pew Research in 2011 found that 81% said they would prefer “a bigger government providing more services,” and 12% said they would prefer “a smaller government with fewer services.” In stark contrast, 41% of the general U.S. population said they would prefer a bigger government, and 48% said they want a smaller one.

· A 2012 poll of 2,900 immigrants who were U.S. citizens found that 62% identified as Democrats, 25% as Republicans, and 13% as Independents.

· A nationally representative bilingual poll of 800 Hispanic adults conducted by McLaughlin & Associates in 2013 found that 59% were born outside the U.S., 53% considered themselves to be Democrats, 12% considered themselves to be Republicans, and 29% considered themselves to be independents or another party.

The fact that illegal immigration, amnesty, and legal immigration help the political prospects of Democrats is incontestable, not a conspiracy.

Conclusion

Beyond attacking Musk for posting genuine facts about illegal voting by non-citizens, the Times article complains that “X’s fact checkers are long gone” and that the previous “complaint line between the [Biden] campaign and the platform is dead.”

The Times bemoans those developments while failing to report that pre-Musk Twitter censored genuine facts and promoted demonstrable falsehoods about Russiagate, Hunter Biden’s laptop, Covid-19, and more.

In short, the New York Times is falsely accusing Elon Musk of the very thing that the Times and the previous owners of Twitter are guilty of—spreading misinformation.

*****

This article was published at Just Facts Daily and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Why America’s Richest Universities Are Protecting Hate-Filled Foreign Students thumbnail

Why America’s Richest Universities Are Protecting Hate-Filled Foreign Students

By Tony Badran

Accommodating overseas elites by tolerating antisemitism on U.S. campuses is part of a scheme to turn loss-leader DEI categories into profit centers

Five weeks after Rutgers University suspended the New Brunswick campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) on Dec. 11 for violating several university policies, the school reversed its decision and reinstated the pro-Hamas group. In celebration, SJP members filmed a video in the classic Palestinian terrorist style: faces covered in kaffiyehs, reading a communique which, following a diatribe against the Zionists, made a list of demands that the school must meet if it wished to wipe the stain of its complicity in genocide.

Since October, American cities and college campuses have been transformed into stages for this kind of Middle Eastern performance theater in support of Hamas and its murder, torture, and rape of Jews. Performances have ranged from vicarious partaking in the Oct. 7 pogrom, like the tearing down of posters of kidnapped Israelis, to calls for “globalizing” Palestinian terrorism “from New York to Gaza,” to outright expressions of support for Hamas and the extermination of Jews “from the river to the sea”—“by any means necessary,” lest there be any confusion. “There is nothing, nothing more honorable than dying for a noble cause, for justice,” a high-profile organizer of a rally at Columbia shouted into a bullhorn in a thick Arabic accent.

There’s also no confusion about the fact that these rallies feature Arab and Muslim students who eagerly support terrorism—often by denying that Hamas or its actions of Oct. 7 constitute “terrorism” at all. Equally evident is that many of the students leading, organizing, and participating in these protests and expressions of antisemitism and support for Hamas on college campuses are not Americans—meaning that they are not American citizens or even green card holders. Rather, they are foreign passport holders, including from Arab and Muslim countries, who have decided to avail themselves of U.S. educational infrastructure while importing the passions and prejudices of their home countries to American campuses.

American universities have made either an exceedingly clever or else exceedingly reprehensible bargain: quota-filling at a profit.

Indeed, the universities have acknowledged the obvious fact that many of the campus protest leaders are foreign students, here on limited educational visas, in the manner with which they have chosen to handle the Gaza protests. Early on, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) cautioned students who occupied lecture halls, prevented other students from going to class, and otherwise violated school policies and guidelines, that they could face suspension for their behavior. But it quickly became clear there would be no serious consequences for noncompliance. When the students pressed on, MIT only suspended a handful of them “from non-academic campus activities.” The explanation MIT President Sally Kornbluth gave for her decision was unambiguous: “serious concerns about collateral consequences for the students, such as visa issues.”

Plainly put, what Kornbluth said is that foreign students have been violating school policy, but academic suspension or expulsion would terminate their ability to remain in the country. MIT therefore refrained from disciplining these students in order to keep them enrolled.

Kornbluth’s concerns were well-founded. There are laws on the books that apply to foreign students and other nonresident aliens in the United States who support terrorist organizations like Hamas. Since October, leading Republican lawmakers have reminded everyone of the existence of these laws. Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., led 17 other Republican House representatives in a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken “to request information regarding the potentially unlawful presence on U.S. soil of non-immigrant foreign nationals who have endorsed terrorist activity.” The letter explained the relevant law:

Student visa applicants, like all non-immigrant visa applicants, must qualify under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to be approved for a visa. They are subject to a wide range of ineligibilities in Section 212(a) of the INA.

Section 212(a)(3)(B)(i)(VII) of the INA states that, “any alien – who endorses or espouses terrorist activity or persuades others to endorse or espouse terrorist activity or support a terrorist organization … is inadmissible.”

If a visa “was issued before DHS uncovers evidence of a visa-holder’s ineligibility under INA s.212(a)(3)B),” the legislators added, “the individual in question should immediately have their visa revoked and face expedited deportation proceedings.”

You could argue there are ideological reasons for the schools not to take action against foreign students. “Palestine,” after all, has found its place at the heart of progressive “intersectionality.” But there’s also a strong material incentive for the universities’ failure to obey the law.

The average share of international students in Ivy League schools who enrolled in the fall of 2023 is about 15%. The overall international share is higher. A quarter of Harvard’s student body is now international. At MIT, it’s nearly a third.

The scheme by which U.S. taxpayers pay to give 25% or more of the places at America’s most prestigious universities to foreign students is a recent innovation—one that took shape between 2004 and 2014, and has helped make the universities’ DEI rhetoric cost-free. The international share of freshmen at Georgetown nearly quadrupled from 3% in 2004 to 11% a decade later, with similar numbers at Berkeley and Yale. The growth in undergraduate enrollment at Yale during that decade was fueled almost entirely by foreigners. In that same period, the number of incoming foreign students at Ivy League schools rose by 46%.

Behind this increase lies the simple reality that only a comparatively small number of Americans can afford the mind-numbingly high fees that American universities extort from their captive domestic market. Foreign students, the overwhelming majority of whom are either the children of wealthy foreign elites or directly sponsored by their governments, represent a serious source of funding for American colleges, public and private alike. These students often pay full or near-full tuition and board and help public universities balance the books in the face of budget cuts. More broadly, they augment revenue by helping to fill federally funded programs that are based on racial and ethnic quotas……

*****

Continue reading this article at  Tablet Magazine.

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

FBI Hired Barely Literate Candidates, Urged Fat Applicant To Continue Process, Report Alleges thumbnail

FBI Hired Barely Literate Candidates, Urged Fat Applicant To Continue Process, Report Alleges

By James Lynch

The FBI is reducing hiring standards to the point where it is considering overweight applicants and hiring barely literate agents, a group of current and former FBI agents and analysts allege.

In a report delivered to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, the FBI officials describe how Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is being prioritized in the hiring process to the point where standards are being reduced for physical fitness, drug usage, finances, mental health, experience, and integrity, the report states. (RELATED: Empower Oversight Accuses FBI Of Illegal Retaliation Against Suspended Whistleblower Marcus Allen)

READ THE REPORT:

“To more easily accommodate a larger pool of available applicants, FBI Special Agent hiring standards have been relaxed and requirements measurably lowered in categories that include physical fitness, illicit drug use, financial irregularities, mental health, full-time work experience, and integrity,” the report asserts. The New York Post first reported on the FBI hiring document.

The current and former FBI agents and analysts received the anecdotes described in the report from 20 sources and sub-sources who are either currently employed by the FBI or retired. (RELATED: FBI Investigation Of Alleged Child Predator Was ‘Halted’ To Hunt Down January 6 Rioters, Court Docs Show)

Many of the sources and sub-sources had first-hand knowledge of the information and are all highly credible, according to the report. Sources and sub-sources are protected by code names to shield them from FBI retaliation.

Reduced hiring standards have allowed applicants to advance through the FBI’s hiring process despite struggling with relaxed fitness standards, multiple credible sources cited in the report said.

For example, one of the sources “disqualified another applicant because she was more than 50 pounds overweight using the FBI’s body fat index and could not pass the PFT,” according to the report. However, the FBI headquarters instructed the source to continue considering the candidate, the report alleges.

The overweight candidate was a black woman who allegedly told the source she “hates working out and was never active” despite the physical requirements for being in the FBI.

One 20-year FBI veteran with experience teaching New Agent Trainees (NATs) stated “NATs often fail to utilize proper capitalization, punctuation, and sentence structure,” the report states. Conversations with the source took place over the course of years, and the individual’s reliability was verified.

All new FBI agents and intelligence analysts are subject to more than 800 hours of training in academics, firearms, operations, and case exercises at the FBI academy.

DEI hires are being selected over higher quality candidates, and the FBI employees running the hiring process are being chosen for their DEI credentials, according to the report.

“FBI Special Agent DEI hires are selected over other FBI Special Agent candidates who are more qualified based on criteria unrelated to DEI priorities,” the report alleges. “FBI Special Agent Assessors who are responsible for evaluating FBI Special Agent candidates are themselves selected based on their propensity to prioritize diversity and inclusion over the qualifications of the applicants.”

Hiring numbers are declining, and first-hand reporting contradicts FBI Director Christopher Wray’s assertions that recruiting is going well for the bureau, the FBI officials found.

“Despite these findings from highly credible and reliable Sources and Sub-sources with direct access and first-hand knowledge, FBI Director Christopher Wray reportedly continues to assert within FBI circles that FBI recruitment for Special Agents is ‘going extremely well,’” the report notes.

In order to strengthen the FBI’s hiring practices, the group of active and former FBI agents and analysts recommend the Judiciary Committee and Oversight Committee conduct a 90-day audit, work with government agencies to develop recommendations for fixing the problem and collect FBI recruiting data over the past two decades.

Further, they recommend lawmakers investigate the FBI and hold public hearings with testimony from the FBI director and other senior officials. Lastly, they suggest proposing legislation to strengthen the FBI’s oath to ensure agents do not prioritize political activism over protecting the American people.

The FBI disputed the findings of the report and defended its recruiting practices in a statement to the Daily Caller.

“The FBI continues to maintain the very highest standards in selection and hiring. Any notion that standards have been lowered is both inaccurate and an affront to the talented and patriotic men and women who dedicate their lives to serving others. Random and anonymous allegations devoid of any supporting data or other evidence cannot change the facts: the FBI continues to recruit the best and brightest candidates from all walks of life, and year over year only a small percentage of applicants ultimately make it through our difficult process to become a special agent,” the FBI said.

“This is indicative of the selectivity and rigor of our process, and the suggestion that we are lowering standards to increase diversity is both offensive and not true. The average age of new agents has remained steady at about 31 years old, which means they bring a wealth of experience and well-developed skills to the Bureau. The number of agents with prior military and law enforcement experience has remained steady at around 20-30% of each new class, while the number of new agents with advanced degrees has swelled to nearly 40% of each new agent class. Our agents continue to meet the highest standards of personal and professional conduct and rigorous physical fitness requirements.”

Beginning in 2013, the FBI opened its office of diversity and inclusion separate from its equal employment office, the bureau’s website touts. Two years later, the FBI created a diversity and inclusion policy directive outlining its diversity and inclusion section and various internal bureaucratic organizations and roles designed to promote diversity.

Inside the FBI, employees are permitted to form employee groups for specific demographics such as black Americans and Jewish Americans. Similarly, the FBI offers recruitment events intended to recruit racial minorities and women across the country.

The FBI’s Beacon Project is a separate initiative with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to develop relationships and bring students into the bureau.

As of May 2023, 27% of the FBI workforce are racial minorities and 45% female, representing substantial increases over the past five years, according to FBI hiring stats.

Conservative legal organization America First Legal (AFL) is investigating the FBI’s chief diversity officer Scott McMillion for alleged racial and sex discrimination in hiring based on the hiring statistics. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on race, sex, and additional factors.

McMillion became the FBI’s chief diversity officer in 2021 and heads the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. He chairs the black affairs diversity committee designed to recruit and accommodate minority employees.

*****

This article was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Social Insecurity: It’s Not Wrong to be Concerned about Facts thumbnail

Social Insecurity: It’s Not Wrong to be Concerned about Facts

By Karl Streitel

A December 19, 2023, article by Brett Arends on MarketWatch caught my eye with the oh-so-clickable title of “This Is the Scariest Number for Social Security.” Given the fact that many corporate media articles today focus on pointing out to the Rubes how their senses are wrong and, gosh golly, everything is just peachy, it did not shock me to learn that Mr. Arends was not referring to the program’s unfunded liabilities or the projected depletion of the trust fund. No, Mr. Arends contends that the real problem is the dragooned citizens who foolishly worry about Social Security’s solvency—and the “quiet effort” to rabble-rouse:

The scariest number may be 71%. That astonishing figure, from a new poll, is how many have been persuaded that cuts to Social Security—potentially deep cuts—are either likely or inevitable. And that wasn’t from a biased poll conducted by a pressure group. Or a fly-by-night poll by a startup. It came from a comprehensive survey of 10,000 people conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the respected Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. . . .

Score another victory for the Resistance Is Futile campaign—the quiet effort to persuade Americans to accept cuts to Social Security that they don’t want and that the program doesn’t need.

If our national-pension poachers get their way, it will be because of this.

Mr. Arends then argues that “none of this is remotely needed. It’s pure spin.” His evidence? America is richer than ever, “billionaire boondoggles” can be eliminated in the tax code, and the valiant Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can catch more tax “cheats” to the tune of an estimated $700 billion per year.

However, Mr. Arends’s arguments here do not prove that Americans are foolish to worry about Social Security’s health and whether cuts are likely. Let’s say I’m out walking and see a car careening toward me. Initially, I worry for my life but then remember that the driver has all sorts of possible options for not killing me; thus, it’s silly for me to continue to worry because obviously one of those options will come to pass, right?

Reality Bites

However, in reality, the Social Security program is facing substantial problems, and these problems are mounting each year. To wit, the non-fly-by-night-startup 2023 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds (more commonly referred to as Social Security and disability insurance) discusses the current path of fund depletion and potential benefit reductions: “Under the Trustees’ intermediate assumptions, OASDI cost is projected to exceed total income in 2023, and the dollar level of the hypothetical combined trust fund reserves declines until reserves become depleted in 2034, one year earlier than projected in last year’s report” (emphasis added).

The report then mentions what would be needed to keep the fund solvent over the next seventy-five years:

(1) Revenue would have to increase by an amount equivalent to an immediate and permanent payroll tax rate increase of 3.44 percentage points to 15.84 percent beginning in January 2023; (2) scheduled benefits would have to be reduced by an amount equivalent to an immediate and permanent reduction of 21.3 percent applied to all current and future beneficiaries effective in January 2023, or 25.4 percent if the reductions were applied only to those who become initially eligible for benefits in 2023 or later; or (3) some combination of these approaches would have to be adopted. (emphasis added)

Thus, not only is the trust fund expected to be depleted in 2034—at which point benefits would need to be reduced if no changes are made to the program in the interim—but also that this date is earlier than expected last year. Further, the report notes that the total projected unfunded liability over the next seventy-five years had also increased since last year’s projection—not exactly rosy pictures for current and future beneficiaries.

This is not speculation based on hoping for future changes; this is a fact-based projection founded on current reality and assuming no changes to the program—which is a fiscally prudent approach to projections. If I see that my income will pay for only 80 percent of my lifestyle in ten years but then wave that issue away by saying that I’ll make some changes before that happens, I doubt anyone would think my “planning” is particularly sensible (especially if I have a history of not making any such changes despite similar projections).

It thus seems odd to me that Mr. Arends wants to paint those concerned about Social Security’s solvency as somehow manipulated by the “quiet effort” of people hell-bent on taking away Social Security when the current facts indicate those concerned people are exactly right—their benefits are scheduled to be reduced in 2034, barring any changes. Even the Social Security Administration says so. You may argue that it is obvious that solutions exist to improve the program’s fiscal health before that date, but then you are engaging in “spin” and assuming future actions that may or may not come to pass. The people polled, however, seem to have fears backed by the current state of facts, which does not seem unreasonable at all to me.

The True Manipulation

At the end of the article, Mr. Arends concludes that “the battle lines are drawn: Make the political donor class pay taxes, or steal pensions from middle-class retirees,” but this statement itself epitomizes manipulative, fact-free language.

For one, the “political donor class”—by which Mr. Arends means billionaires—certainly pays taxes. According to the ProPublica investigation into the leaked IRS records from 2014 to 2018, the top four hundred income earners (those earning over $110 million per year) paid an effective tax rate of 22 percent while the top twenty-five richest Americans paid “a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes” (or $2.72 billion per year).

Given that the projected deficit in Social Security over the next ten years is $2.572 trillion, even if we expropriated one hundred times more in taxes from the twenty-five richest Americans over those years, we would only just barely cover that projected deficit—which is also increasing in magnitude each year.

The article also explains that the main reason those in the top four hundred paid an effective rate lower than the highest marginal tax rate (37 percent) was that much of their income came from investments—which are taxed at a maximum of 20 percent for long-term gains and qualified dividends—and that they took large deductions, often for charitable contributions. Both of these reasons are legal and do not amount to not paying taxes any more than most people who take deductions for paid real estate taxes or for children or for business mileage amounts.

We can certainly argue over the tax rates and deductions (although I fail to see how donating to charity is a loathsome idea), but claiming that we need to make billionaires “pay taxes” ignores reality once again.

Furthermore, the idea that reducing Social Security benefits amounts to “steal[ing] pensions from middle-class retirees” is also a fiction. For one, no one is stealing anything from retirees if benefits are reduced. This is because Social Security benefits are not a contractual obligation or a “right.” According to the Supreme Court in Fleming v. Nestor in 1960:

To engraft upon the Social Security system a concept of “accrued property rights” would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands. . . . It is apparent that the non‐​contractual interest of an employee covered by the [Social Security] Act cannot be soundly analogized to that of the holder of an annuity, whose right to benefits is bottomed on his contractual premium payments. (emphasis added)

Thus, Social Security benefits are always allotted and paid according to the caprices of Congresspeople, who can change the system at any time and in any way they like (or can get away with). We may feel like we are “owed” benefits, but, again, reality disagrees.

Social Security benefits are also paid mainly via payroll taxes levied on current workers, so if there is any theft going on, it is actually from current workers and by current beneficiaries (via politicians). One common myth about the program is that “you’re owed” what you paid in, as if that money goes into a personal account for you. Quite the opposite: the money paid into the program is spent on current beneficiaries, which means that when current workers eventually take Social Security, they will be taking money coercively from their own children and grandchildren to support themselves. In truth, Social Security—like all taxpayer-funded benefits programs—digs itself a deeper hole each year, and the only true solution is to phase out the program entirely and allow people to be responsible for their own retirements instead of being subject to the whims of Congress or the confiscatory ideas of Mr. Arends.

*****

This article was published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Weekend Read: CRT and DEI – Vacuous but Entrenched thumbnail

Weekend Read: CRT and DEI – Vacuous but Entrenched

By Craig J. Cantoni

The fatuous thinking behind critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The recent Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament showed that CRT and DEI are not passing fads.

The tournament was held in Torrey Pines, California, overlooking the ocean. The winner, a Frenchman, took home $1.62 million of the $9 million purse.

Near the end of the tournament, as the leaders were playing the final holes, the coverage on CBS was interrupted for a course-side interview with a Farmers executive. I cringed because I knew what was coming: The executive was either going to blather about what the company was doing for the poor or what it was doing to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

It turned out to be the latter. The executive was the top diversity officer for the company. He was Black, of course. The rehearsed script was replete with tokenism, pandering, and shopworn corporate virtue signaling.

It’s the same way with the hundreds of commercials, ads, news stories, and human-interest stories that Americans see every day on TV, on social media, in newspapers, and other publications. The stilted repetition makes one yearn for the state news programs on Soviet TV, where party hacks with bad haircuts and ill-fitting suits regurgitated the party line.

Having been steeped in sophomoric and even childish notions and nostrums about race and social justice, younger employees of American corporations now demand such hollow displays. So do many customers of the corporations.

Executives in those corporations gleefully go along, especially those executives who graduated from the Ivy League, where they were subjected to a lobotomy—not the ice pick through an eye socket, as was done to the mentally ill in the early twentieth century; but a surreptitious method in which normal human inquisitiveness, skepticism, common sense, and reason are silently and painlessly replaced with a bovine herding instinct.

How did the US get to this point? How did it regress to a level of mass obedience and groupthink not seen since the Chinese Cultural Revolution?

The Identity Trap

It’s beyond the scope of this essay to give a detailed history, but suffice it to say that a series of maladjusted postmodern intellectuals led the way. The following book explains how they captured academe and other institutions, reveals the many fallacies and contradictions in their thinking, and describes the damage they’ve done to the social fabric:

The Identity Trap, by Yascha Mounk, 2023, Penguin Press, New York, 401 pages.

The book is scholarly, nonpartisan, balanced, and written by an author who believes in classical liberalism, pluralism, free speech, reason, and the universality of human nature. In other words, he is the opposite of the illiberal zealots behind CRT and DEI.

The damage done by the zealots includes the fragmentation of society and politics into competing identity groups based on race, ethnicity, skin color, disability, body shape and size, gender, sexual preference, and disability. BIPOC people (Black, indigenous, people of color) rank high in status, especially if they claim that their ancestors were victims of slavery, genocide, colonialism, and imperialism. Naturally, only the oppression committed by so-called White people counts; not the oppression committed throughout human history by non-White people.

One of the most glaring examples of the double standard is how the millions of Americans categorized as Hispanic are treated under DEI. Not only are they considered people of color and disadvantaged minorities—even though many are quite white and quite wealthy–they also escape from being tarnished with the legacies of slavery, although many have distant Spanish and Portuguese ancestors who carried on a brutal slave trade in Latin America that surpassed in numbers the slave trade conducted by the English and Dutch in North America.

As a result of the double standard, a Mexican American named Rodriguez, whose aristocratic ancestors owned slaves in Mexico, would not be tagged with the epithets “oppressor” and “privileged.” But a working-class Italian American named Gianinni would be tagged with the epithets, even though his ancestors were peasants in Italy and never owned slaves.

Intersectionality

The concept of intersectionality is a key component of CRT and DEI. Under this concept, those with more than one disadvantage rank the highest in status in the hierarchy of oppression. For example, high status is given to an overweight Black female, because she suffers from the legacies of slavery, from the body shaming that comes with obesity, and from being female in a patriarchal society. If she were lesbian or transgender, she would rank even higher.

Intersectionality demands that those who are victims of certain disadvantages and injustices fight on behalf of not only people like themselves but also people who are victims of different disadvantages and injustices. Thus, a fit and trim gay White man should fight on behalf of the foregoing Black woman.

In this schema, Whites are the dregs of society, especially if they are cisgender and heterosexual because they hold all of the power and privilege and are responsible for the harm done to everyone else. They have left a legacy of structural, or institutional, racism that keeps them at the top in power, wealth, education, housing, and access to healthcare.

The Explosion in Racism

The drip, drip, drip of brainwashing about the extent of racism in America has turned into a torrent. According to The Identity Trap, the appearance of the word “racist” in the New York Times increased by a whopping 700 percent between 2011 and 2019. The increase was 1,000 percent in the Washington Post. In the same newspapers, there was a tenfold to twelvefold increase in references to systemic racism, structural racism, institutional racism, and white privilege.

A bovine herding instinct, for sure.

Two best-selling authors, Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi, are more recent conveyors of such agitprop, so this essay will focus on them. Let’s begin with DiAngelo and turn later to Kendi.

Robin DiAngelo

DiAngelo was born in 1956, supposedly in poverty, in San Jose, California, a city where Blacks make up 3% of the population. She is a former professor of multicultural education at Westfield State University in Westfield, Mass, a city where Blacks make up 1.5% of the population. Currently, she is an affiliate associate professor of education at the University of Washington in Seattle, where Blacks make up 6.7% of the population.

Her best-selling book was published in 2018: White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism.

As you will notice in this essay, I don’t find it hard at all to talk about racism.

The book has a similar theme to a paper titled “White Fragility” that she published in 2011 in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy. An excerpt:

White people in the U.S. and other white settler colonialist societies live in a racially insular social environment. This insulation builds our expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering our stamina for enduring racial stress. I term this lack of racial stamina White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimal challenge to the white position becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves including argumentation, invalidation, silence, withdrawal, and claims of being attacked and misunderstood. These moves function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and maintain control.

She also believes that all White people are racist, and that denying this truth is proof of their racism. This is not only a non-falsifiable hypothesis but also a Catch-22.

Incidentally, DiAngelo is White.

She has a lucrative consulting and training business. Clients have included such major corporations as Coca-Cola, Amazon, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, American Express, and CVS.

Her training program for Coca-Cola included a segment on how employees should try to be less White, meaning that they should be “less oppressive,” “less arrogant,” “less certain,” “less defensive,” and “less ignorant.”

That would be the same Coca-Cola that sells soda and other high-calorie products to BIPOC communities afflicted with obesity and diabetes.

DiAngelo must believe that the converse is true: that non-Whites are never oppressive, arrogant, certain, defensive, and ignorant. She has never heard of such historical figures as Genghis Kahn, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Kim II Sung, Ibn Saud, Porfirio Díaz, Saddam Hussein, and Comanche Chieftain Peta Nocona.

The most authentic way for me to debunk DiAngelo is to compare my life experience with hers. I’m not particularly virtuous, so please don’t take my comments as virtue-signaling. Moreover, my experience is not unique. There are millions of Americans of my skin shade and lighter who have similar experiences, and who, contrary to DiAngelo’s unfounded generalizations, don’t live in a racially insulated social environment and are not inherently racist. And let’s not forget those Whites who risked their safety and even lives in marching in solidarity with Blacks in Selma and other segregated towns during the civil rights movement.

If you are not interested in my experiences and how they relate to the subject at hand, you can skip the next section without much loss of meaning.

Torrey Pines, the site of the Farmers golf tournament, is far in miles, conditions, and money from my working-class boyhood home of St. Louis, a city where Blacks make up a significantly higher percent of the population than in Torrey Pines or where DiAngelo has taught. Torrey Pines is also far from the coal mines of southern Illinois, where my fraternal grandfather had worked upon emigrating from Italy, alongside other poor and unskilled ethnic immigrants as well as African Americans. Grandpa would die of emphysema, no doubt from inhaling coal dust.

My dad was born in the impoverished coal mining town of Tilden, Illinois, just a few years before the passage of the 1923 Immigration Act. The act was intended to stem the flow of undesirable immigrants, especially Italians and other southern Europeans, who were considered non-White at the time and for decades thereafter. Dad became a nonunion tile setter in St. Louis. My mom, who was orphaned as a toddler, was raised in St. Louis by her aunt and uncle, both poor immigrants. She worked in clerical jobs for most of her adult life.

At the age of sixteen, I worked at an exclusive country club in a St. Louis suburb, a club where Jews, Italians, and Blacks weren’t welcome as members. Since I’m ten years older than DiAngelo, she was six years old at the time.

I was the only White (actually olive) on an otherwise all-black clubhouse crew of janitors, porters, cooks, dishwashers, and waiters. The waiters were at the top of the pecking order and had learned their craft on Pullman railroad cars. I would wash and wax their big Buicks and Pontiacs on my off hours for extra money. My coworkers would invite me to their family picnics in the main park in St. Louis, Forest Park, where they made sumptuous barbequed ribs.

On the first day on the job, my boss, a man named Jewel, told me to clean the employee restroom in the dank basement of the clubhouse. It hadn’t been cleaned in years. Even at a young age, I understood that I was being tested.

As I was finishing the job and the restroom was gleaming, a dishwasher who was a former prizefighter and an alcoholic, staggered into the restroom, proceeded to pee on the floor, and commanded, “Clean it up, whitey.” At that moment, a young, strapping coworker was walking by and overheard the dishwasher. As quick as a cheetah, he leaped into the restroom, shoved the dishwasher against the wall, and said, “You clean it up, motherfucker.” Not wanting the dishwasher to later take it out on me, I said that I’d clean it up.

I learned a valuable lesson: That good and bad people come in all colors.

Does that sound like a racially insular social environment? Well, it wasn’t the faculty lounge at Westfield State University.

I went on to get two degrees at a university in south Texas, where Mexicans were about a third of the student body. They referred to themselves as Mexican back then and not Hispanic, Latino, or Latinx. Nor did they refer to themselves as oppressed, disadvantaged, or minorities.

My Mexican friends jokingly called me “Capone,” in reference to the Italian gangster Al Capone. I would retort by referring to them as “bandido.” Those who were in ROTC with me were very patriotic and gung-ho.

No one got hung up on speech codes, safe spaces, or cultural appropriation. We all saw ourselves in the same way: as students of modest means trying to get ahead by working our way through college and not being drafted into the Vietnam War before getting our degree and officer commission.

I experienced additional cultural diversity by living in a barrio for five years. A neighbor in the adjoining duplex was a kindhearted friend. She also was a stripper with the stage name Candy Kisses.

My car was stolen one night, and its mag wheels were stolen another night. Gunfire would often awaken me in the middle of the night, and I once got caught in the middle of a gunfight between gangbangers.

From the barrio, I went on to a stint in the integrated Army as an artillery officer. After that, I began my corporate career in the Chicago Loop while also being an officer in an Army Reserve unit in a high-crime neighborhood of South Chicago, where the commanding officer, first sergeant, and most of the enlisted personnel were Black.

Over my career, I was the vanguard of equal rights, equal opportunity, outreach, and the teaching of what it is like to be a minority in a workplace, but teaching that didn’t dwell on race, didn’t inject politics into the subject, and certainly didn’t praise non-Whites while denigrating Whites.

I also voluntarily attended what was known as T-group, or sensitivity training, where the participants leveled with each other about race, gender, and other hot-button issues. One of the programs was held at a lodge in rural Maine and led by two black women who were corporate consultants. One evening, after the day’s session was over, they invited me to go along with them in their big Mercedes to buy beer at a convenience store and park in the woods to drink it. We had a great time ridiculing the absurdities of corporate life and the uptight, officious, out-of-touch executives who took themselves too seriously.

When my management book was published nine years later, I started my own consultancy to help executives and owners of private companies turn around their struggling businesses. I am now retired in diverse Tucson and am blessed with a wonderful extended family—a multiracial one, at that.

Hobson’s Choice

DiAngelo would probably call me a racist for saying this, but, given my life experience, I think that her schtick about race is hogwash. If I were still in corporate life and had to attend one of her training programs, I’d face a Hobson’s choice: either smile and nod my head in agreement with her hogwash, or disagree and destroy my career.

It’s sad to realize that thousands of Americans have to make this choice when they are subjected to such doctrinaire programs, not only in corporations but also in government and nonprofits.

Speaking of doctrinaire, let’s turn to Ibram X. Kendi.

Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi would probably see me as a dumbass and a racist. If you recall, he is another best-selling author and is considered in many quarters as a renowned expert on race.

He was born into a middle-class family in New York City, where he attended private Christian schools from third grade to eighth grade. His parents then moved to Manassas, Virginia, where he finished high school. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies at Florida A&M University. He then earned a master’s and PhD in African-American Studies at Temple University.

In addition to writing six books, Kendi founded the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, where he serves as director.

Other than skin color, he has very little in common with Blacks who live in the slums of inner-city St. Louis—just as Vladimir Lenin, with his bourgeois upbringing, had very little in common with the proletariat.

Why would Kendi see me as a dumbass and a racist? Because of my belief that the battles that I and others fought for equal rights and equal opportunity not only have resulted in positive improvements but also have given us a pass from being labeled as a racist.

As Kendi stated in his book, How to Be an Antiracist, one is either a racist or an antiracist. There is no in-between. In his thinking, being an antiracist requires taking action to close the gap between Whites and Blacks in income, education, and other measure.

But he doesn’t mean the kind of actions that I (and others) took in corporate life, such as offering a company-paid literacy program to illiterate Black employees in a factory in the Deep South, so they could operate new computer-controlled equipment in the plant and make more money. (All of them went through the after-hours program and beamed with pride at the graduation ceremony attended by their families.)

According to Kendi, antiracism means tearing down the institutions and practices that he sees as the root causes of racial disparities, such as capitalism, the use of SAT scores in college admissions, and even the US Constitution. Failing to do so puts someone on a par with the slave traders and segregationists who claimed they were not racist.

In a similar vein, Kendi takes issue with the old civil rights goal of a colorblind society. Colorblind policies, he says, are a mask to hide racism and a way of maintaining structural disadvantages for Blacks and supremacy for Whites.

Kendi believes that racism explains all of the disparities between Whites and Blacks. He’s right, but only in the sense that the root cause of the disparities is the horrible racism of slavery. If it were not for slavery, there would not have been the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, separate but equal, redlining, the civil rights movement, the Great Society, and welfare dependency and its aftermath of fatherless families.

The cause of the disparities, then, is the original sin of slavery, coupled with some remaining legacies of slavery. However, contrary to what Kendi espouses, the cause is not capitalism, SAT scores, the Constitution as amended, or colorblind laws, programs, and institutions.

So why does he espouse eliminating these faux causes?

Although I’ve read Kendi’s book and some of his other writings, his logic escapes me. To hazard a guess, he is philosophically opposed to classical liberalism and might even have Marxist tendencies. Or his motive might be revenge against perceived racists, a revenge that he believes cannot be fully realized under a constitutional republic and a market economy.

More than likely, the correct answer is that Kendi wants to do whatever it takes for Blacks to achieve in short order his view of equity and fairness, even if it means that Blacks have to mistreat Whites and others the same way that Blacks have historically been mistreated. At the same time, he probably thinks that he speaks for all blacks and that they share his philosophy and tactics.

In any case, it’s frightening to think of the divisiveness, backlash, and coercion that would occur if Kendi were to get his way.

A Closing Question: Am I a Racist?

Am I a racist? DiAngelo and Kendi would say yes.

I say that it depends on the definition of “racist.” My definition is that a racist is someone who believes that a given race, as a matter of genetic makeup, is inherently deficient in intelligence, morals, industriousness, or some other positive characteristic.

I don’t believe that about any race, or for that matter, any ethnicity or nationality. Admittedly, however, I do dislike certain groups and kinds of people, who, for reasons of culture or bad upbringing, have one or more of the following character traits: criminality, closemindedness, dogmatism, racism, authoritarianism, dishonesty, or greed.

To take an example, I dislike Italians who are members of the Sicilian Mob, or Costa Nostra, or Mafia. I don’t want to associate with them, live next to them, or work with them. I say this even with knowing the historical reasons for their thuggish culture: the centuries of Sicily being conquered, the corrupt Sicilian governments, the injustices and oppression suffered by the peasants, and the hardscrabble existence on the rocky island.

Other cultures are also not likable, especially those that treat women like chattel property. To save myself grief, I won’t name them here.

How about DiAngelo and Kendi? Are they likable? Let me answer this way: They seem to believe that White people are inherently racist. That would make them racist, and racists are not likable.

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

The 9th Circuit Is Wrong: There’s No Homelessness Protection Clause in Constitution thumbnail

The 9th Circuit Is Wrong: There’s No Homelessness Protection Clause in Constitution

By Paul Larkin and Zack Smith

Once upon a time, constitutional interpretation actually involved interpreting the text of the Constitution.

It’s not a blank slate. Its words have actual meanings. While the federal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recognizes that the Constitution contains words, the judges on that court seem to think they can ascribe any meaning—no matter how outlandish—to those words.

One of their latest provocations can be found in a series of three cases: Martin v. City of BoiseJohnson v. City of Grants Pass, and Coalition on Homelessness v. San Francisco.

Martin, the lead case, held that the government may not punish a homeless individual for sleeping on public property if there is no bed in a secular facility for him or her to use free of charge. (The decisions actually go much further, but let’s take it slowly.)

Now, that ruling might surprise most people, because the government holds public property for the benefit of the public and has the same right to decide who can sleep (or camp, or micturate, or do No. 2) on public property that private parties have to protect their own property. Plus, there is neither a homeless protection clause in the Constitution, nor a right-to-sleep-on-public-property Clause.

To be fair, the 9th Circuit did point to a passage in the Constitution—the Eighth Amendment’s cruel and unusual punishments clause—that the court thought justified its ruling. This provision prohibits the infliction of “cruel and unusual punishments.” (Yes, we had the same puzzled look that you now have, but read on.) It says nothing about whether the government can criminalize certain conduct.

But the 9th Circuit mistakenly thought that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Robinson v. California and Powell v. Texas held that an act must be voluntary for a state to make it a crime and sleeping is involuntary. Accordingly, the laws at issue must fall.

But legal interpretation is not like Creative Writing 101 or a class on cubism. There is a limit as to how far the Supreme Court’s words can be stretched before the reader distorts their meaning.

Robinson held that the state cannot make it a crime to be addicted to drugs (as opposed to possessing or distributing drugs), while Powell held that a state may define public drunkenness as a crime. The latter decision, written by Justice Thurgood Marshall (who was hardly an “extreme MAGA” Republican), is particularly relevant because it expressly distinguished being drunk in public from being drunk at home, with the former being a fit subject for a criminal sanction.

That decision should have made short work of the case, but it wouldn’t have given the 9th Circuit the result it wanted. So, a little improv was necessary.

In the second case, Grants Pass, the 9th Circuit went even further and held that the city could not enforce criminal or civil penalties in an attempt to enforce the city’s anti-camping laws.

And, most recently, in Coalition on Homelessness, Judge Patrick Bumatay, dissenting from the decision, said the 9th Circuit “let stand an injunction permitting homeless persons to sleep anywhere, anytime in public in the City of San Francisco unless adequate shelter is provided.”

He went on to say that this “represents yet another expansion” of the 9th Circuit’s “cruel and unusual Eighth Amendment jurisprudence.” He explained that in reality, though, the decision itself is “cruel because it leaves the citizens of San Francisco powerless to enforce their own health and safety laws without the permission of a federal judge.” And he said the decision is “unusual because no other court in the country has interpreted the Constitution in this way.”

After all, the state’s decision to prohibit sleeping on public property is not an irrational or mean-spirited attack on the homeless. The homeless encampments that have taken over the streets in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle rob the public of the opportunity to use those areas safely.

Plus, as Sam Quinones, a journalist who has chronicled America’s ongoing drug crisis, put it, “[t]hough other drugs and alcohol are part of the mix, many encampments are simply meth colonies.”

Homeless encampments are rife with open drug sales and use, along with prostitution and the fact or threat of violence—including violence against the homeless in those camps—and they are governed by the law of the jungle, as the strong prey on the weak.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court last week agreed to hear the Grants Pass case and has a chance to undo the damage done by the 9th Circuit’s bizarre use of the Eighth Amendment’s cruel and unusual punishment clause to prohibit cities from protecting their own residents and properties.

Whatever you can say about the policy choice reflected by the 9th Circuit’s rulings, those decisions make almost no pretense of finding a home in the Constitution. They are result-oriented jurisprudence at its worst, proof that an intellectually dishonest judge can reach any result he or she wants just by writing grammatically correct sentences and sprinkling in a few citations to, or quotations from, Supreme Court decisions.

The Supreme Court should reverse the 9th Circuit’s judgment in the Grants Pass case, allow public officials to address the problems of homelessness and public safety, and order that the judges responsible for that atrocity be publicly (at least metaphorically) spanked—a fitting punishment that no doubt most honest observers would find neither cruel nor unusual.

*****

This article was published by Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Election Fraud Happens – In Addition to Widespread Election Rigging thumbnail

Election Fraud Happens – In Addition to Widespread Election Rigging

By Neland Nobel

In a recent discussion we had with friends, the integrity of our election process was the topic.

Some believe that fraud did not take place and that our elections are honest and fair.  This increasingly is a minority view.

Some believe that fraud is rare, but they will admit that the government and large corporations have manipulated the system.  They are more likely to say that the election was “rigged” as opposed to “stolen.”

Evidence for this rigging is now ubiquitous.  Just recently Congressional investigators discovered emails from the White House to Amazon, requesting, and then getting; the suppression of books negative about the government’s response to Covid.  Individuals were “shadow banned”, and outright banned, from major social media outlets.  Twitter, before Elon Musk, was one of the worst offenders, even staffing itself with former government agents. Sounds like something out of Communist China. Former intelligence officials said that the Hunter Biden laptop was “Russian disinformation”, while recently the FBI admitted the laptop and its contents were real. The whole “Russia gate” scandal, was made up and paid for by Democratic Party operatives and Hilary Clinton. Mark Zuckerberg gave almost half a billion dollars to pay off local election officials.  The J6 Committee hearings we now know were orchestrated by a former executive for ABC News and evidence on many important issues (such as to what extent Federal agents were involved in manipulating the crowd) have been suppressed.

The argument for rigging is no longer in doubt.  All of this rigging did influence the election outcome, although the degree of impact is hard to quantify.  Clearly, the perpetrators believe it does or they would not engage in it.

We think it is pretty clear now, that our elections are not “fair”, and that government itself uses taxpayer money, and the influence it has with pet corporations, to tilt the game in favor of Democrats.

Besides the involvement of government agencies directly, politicians have learned to curry favor with large business interests, who then kick back some of their ill-gotten spoils in the form of campaign contributions.  Green-friendly businesses are only the latest permutation of this practice.  Still, at base, you have the direction of taxpayer money into campaigns, effectively “laundered” through private companies.

The evidence for outright fraud has been more difficult because the courts have been reluctant to get involved, and thus evidence convincing to the public has not been widely spread. It is somewhat amusing that those most resistant to the idea of fraudulent behavior are precisely the ones who want to hang Donald Trump for election interference in Georgia and elsewhere. So, they do believe it can exist, sort of.

And we would admit, the separation between rigging and fraud is a fine line.  Wasn’t the suppression of Hunter’s laptop “fraudulent” in a sense, especially since polling indicates it made a difference to about 15% of voters? It denied important information about a Presidential candidate to voters that officials knew to be true. It is especially serious since this action was conducted by law enforcement agencies that knew better and could surmise the damage this would have on public trust if discovered.

But fraud seems to mean hands-on vote tampering. Introducing bogus ballots, miscounting ballots, allowing illegal aliens to vote with thin documentation such as a power bill, throwing out valid ballots, and allowing noncitizens to vote.  And of course, we have local officials changing rules suddenly before elections, even though such law changes are the job of the legislature.

Some independent think tanks like the Heartland Institute are doing a good job and are uncovering various types and incidences of fraud. 

Heartland also recently conducted a poll and one in five mail-in ballot voters admitted to fraud. But slowly it seems,  evidence from legal proceedings is emerging that shows substantial fraud, at least at the local levelThe Heritage Foundation has been keeping track of local cases that you likely have not heard about.  They even have a database just on Arizona fraud activities.

It seems that if you mention fraud, people want concrete examples, perhaps even more rigorous than the evidence for rigging. That’s fair we think. No one should accept opinions without both evidence and a sound argument.  As the convictions mount, does that not count as evidence?

Besides the aforementioned mentions and links, which we hope you open and study, the following video is also instructive:

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

On Utopian Pacifism thumbnail

On Utopian Pacifism

By Alan Korwin

I’m a Utopian Pacifist. Although I’ve written ten successful books on American gun law*, I support no weapons of any kind on the surface of the Earth, in an era of enduring peace, prosperity, harmony, and abundance.

It turns out this is impossible (utopian). The problem is The Four Horsemen of Human Havoc: angry, hungry, stupid, and wicked.

So I support disarming everybody, bad guys first. This is also utopian.

Until then, I find it hard to justify disarming any innocent sane person.

If I could wave a wand and make guns disappear, the brutal communist Chinese dictatorship would make new ones. And the Italians (Beretta), Brazilians (Taurus), Russians (AK-47), Austrians (Glock)—all armed nations would be in business making the Iron River. Including basement tinkerers.

Wands are fiction but you can imagine a gun-free world—just think back to pre-gun times.

What you get is Genghis Kahn with rampaging hordes, Julius Caesar and Roman Legion crucifixions, Vlad the Impaler, universal serfdom, and endless millions horribly murdered. A gun-filled world paradoxically turns out to be more civilized, with safer neighborhoods—even though evil people and government tyrants rampage constantly. Our guns help control them.

A gun-filled world is actually more civilized than a gunless one, with sword- bearing bad guys committing slaughter against weaker people.

Many people—maybe you—are misled about all this for two reasons. One, you get no real education on the subject, and two, because if it’s in the news, and it’s about guns, it’s probably 100% wrong, leaving you misinformed. Let me support that.

For example, we saw saturation coverage recently about four people shot in Philly. They weren’t shot, they were murdered. The media’s subtle word choices affect everything. Murder is a crime. Murder puts the emphasis on the murderer. Media promotes and protects criminals, for complex reasons. Shooting on the other hand is a sport, an honorable long-running sport. The media plays this down. Shooting is the second most popular participant sport, ahead of the elitist game of golf (#3). The media avoids this hard fact altogether.

Your entire perception shifts when you confront the criminal act, which media for many reasons disguises or avoids. Seven thousand inner-city black murders annually (FBI stats, 19 per day) aren’t solved, prosecuted—or covered. How would your perception shift if that got saturation coverage? When so-called “gun control” becomes crime control we’ll be closer to peace.

At least one million DGUs (Defensive Gun Uses) every year are censored. How would your perceptions change if you faced saturation coverage of lives saved and crimes prevented by the presence of a citizen’s gun, which more often than not isn’t even fired?

You benefit from armed neighbors—a serious crime deterrent, the “free-rider” effect—hidden from view. Police call those vanquished criminals “the good-riddance factor.” You’ve never heard this before, right?

We also face hidden medical problems, hoplophobia—which is fear of weapons. The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Ed. 5) and legacy media obscure that. Inaccurate easy focus on guns should be on criminals, mental derangement, and lack of impulse control. Criminal ideation, which isn’t just displayed but promoted in modern media, plays a role as well.

The Nation Is Clearly Divided About Guns

America basically has two camps: The “Just leave us alone,” camp, and the “We want to control you” camp. These are irreconcilable human and political characteristics. They divide (imperfectly) into two political parties. You know which is which.

If you ever entertained this utopian idea, “They should just take all the guns away”—ask yourself, “Who is they”? Who makes them give up their guns? Should we just leave “them” armed because the police are so good? And how would mass disarmament be enforced against armed people? That delicate balance of power between armed “officials” and an armed public is what created the freest nation ever known. That was our Founders’ brilliance—evil exists, give the innocent a literal fighting chance.

Look deeper at crime prevention. That, and self-defense, are honorable things, recognized in the Bible and since the earlier Code of Hammurabi (c. 1755 B.C.). Innocent life and your homes are precious. These need protecting. Our strict American self-defense laws are clear, proper, and deserve support, especially considering corruption in leadership, judicial systems, and among authorities. Angry, hungry, stupid, and wicked people pose a relentless threat.

The Bottom Line

You and I aren’t required to protect ourselves, which is good. Instead, you are free to do so, or non-violently “let lions eat you” and your family. I support this. It’s a matter of pacifism and free choice. We can also use anything at hand, or the best things available, to protect ourselves and survive—at your own option. Do nothing and perish if you choose, saving lions. But it is unjust and tyrannical to compel me or anyone to die for lack of good tools or arbitrary morality that puts lions ahead of me.

When thoughts turn to banning arms “for safety,” remember: In dictatorships, the spoken word is recognized as more dangerous than arms. “We would not allow ourselves to be challenged with guns, why would we allow that with words, when that is far more dangerous.” –Josef Stalin. Guard with jealous attention against those who would infringe on your speech.

A closing thought about news reports:

Watch out for “we” and “I think” and “saturation coverage.” These are clues, “tells,” that you’re not getting news. “I think” means news has ended and opinion follows. Read that line again. And always figure out who “we” is and their agenda. When all so-called “news” reports are the same, they’re coming from one source, that’s not good, recognize that. Also, distinguish between conspiracies, which are constant and real (e.g., government agencies colluding with big tech to affect elections), and conspiracy theories (like a secret society eating babies in a pizza parlor basement) that are lunacy.

I stand by my philosophy and await the day when evil evaporates and guns are no longer needed. Until then, the Marines have it right: Peace through superior firepower. Do not submit to elitist demands to disarm you.

*****

This article was published by Page Nine and is reproduced with permission from the author.

Alan Korwin is a nationally recognized expert on gun laws in various states.  *See his work at GunLaws.com.

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Nothing About The Rigged Senate Border Bill Is In The ‘National Interest’ thumbnail

Nothing About The Rigged Senate Border Bill Is In The ‘National Interest’

By David Harsanyi

Can you imagine Senate Democrats ever supporting a bill that gave President Donald Trump the power to temporarily ignore provisions he didn’t believe were in the “national interest”? Of course not. Yet one of the most conspicuous parts of the new bipartisan border bill allows Joe Biden to do just that.

Once there is a rolling average of 5,000 border encounters per day for a week, or 8,500 encounters in a single day, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be given “emergency authority” and compelled to turn away anyone else who crosses (though there are many exemptions). Most conservatives believe this threshold is already too high. Under 5,000 daily crossings can still amount to nearly 2 million entries per year, which is around double the number of Green Cards we hand out annually.

Yet, on top of that, Biden has the power to unilaterally suspend the closure (for 45 days each year) if he deems it “in the national interest.”

You know, the reason we have political debates in the first place is so we can figure out how to protect the “national interest.” If we had a common understanding of the idea, we’d be a one-party state. But as with other political phrases these days — the “common good” or “democracy,” come to mind — the term “national interest” is meaningless. Democrats, for instance, believe it’s in the national interest to regulate gas stoves and “misinformation.” I believe it’s in the national interest for the executive branch’s power to be limited to its constitutional role and mind its own business.

Indeed, the president can already declare national emergencies. Trump did on the border in 2019 and was called an authoritarian by Democrats. Congress could stop this from happening again by repealing the National Emergencies Act, not by doubling down and handing the executive branch even wider latitude to interpret laws whenever they find it convenient.

Most of the provisions in the bill are so loophole-riddled they are worse than irrelevant. One provision allows administration officers to grant asylum without any oversight from judges, who (at least, theoretically) use a set of criteria to adjudicate these cases. “Asylum” might have been stripped of any real meaning, as well, but it’s a mystery why James Lankford wants to hand Alejandro Mayorkas more autonomy on this front. Or any front. (Again, can you imagine Democrats signing onto a bill that handed Chad Wolf more discretion over asylum cases?)

Then again, if there are any legal fights over the implementation of the law, Democrats have cherry-picked the court that will adjudicate. No, not the Fifth Circuit, which inconveniently sits on the border, but the left-wing D.C. District Court will have exclusive authority over “written policy directive, written policy guideline, written procedure” and their implementation.

Meanwhile, Democrats are acting as if they’ve made some giant, historic concession even deigning to address the crisis. But where is the compromise? They’ve rigged the bill, making it so malleable that Biden can basically interpret and implement its provisions in any fashion he chooses. (Only on the enforcement side, naturally. There is no opting out of Ukraine aid or more taxpayer-funded asylum lawyers.) Then, Democrats ensured that the court hearing any disputes over that implementation would almost surely side with them.

And lest anyone think I’m some kind of hardline closed-border type, I’m fine with more asylum-seekers and more immigration and more work visas. High walls and wide gates, etc. Like many Americans, though, I’m just not a fan of policies that perpetuate anarchy.

*****

This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

A House Divided [Thoughts for the 2024 Election] thumbnail

A House Divided [Thoughts for the 2024 Election]

By Ken Veit

It is alarming that such an important election coming in November may be decided by people who think that the only issue that matters is the “correct“ use of pronouns according to their personal preferences.

Rather, there are a lot more important issues that voters should consider and unfortunately, the country is deeply divided on these positions and the rift continues to widen.  We will attempt to make some generalizations for consideration, recognizing the hazards of making generalizations.

Here are some the the major national issues more important than the narcissism of a small minority of disturbed people:

National security: Those on the left historically have tended to focus on preventing World War III through treaties and international institutions.  Those on the right believe in the old Maxim that the only way to deal with bullies is to punch them in the face and national independence is critical. Those on the left usually have been on the side of the philosophy of “can’t we all just get along“ school of diplomacy, while those on the right favor, what used to be called “gunboat diplomacy”.  However, of late the left seems eager to promote endless wars of “nation building” while the right is becoming increasingly non-interventionist and isolationist.  In some cases, the two sides seem to have traded places.  The left now advocates the wide use of war powers by the President while the right increasingly believes broader consensus is needed by either a declaration of war or at minimum, and war powers resolution by Congress.

Immigration: Democrats focus on humanitarian questions. Republicans feel strongly that without border security, the whole concept of a nation disintegrates. Both sides see the other side as using this issue to “play politics”. This is true, but it is driving a wedge between opposing positions that are becoming more and more difficult to reconcile reasonably.  The left has degraded the idea of nationhood to the point it is disappearing while the right believes in the nation-state and secure borders.

Inflation: The left seems to have lost their fear of inflation and adopted Modern Monetary Theory.  However, they are sensitive to its political ramifications because the public does not like inflation. The public seems content to let the Federal Reserve deal with this problem and not vote against their local Congress member. The downside is the public does not fully understand the ramifications of Fed policy and its limitations. Both Republicans and Democrats seem to feel that the only way to curb inflation is to eliminate programs that the other party wants and increase spending on the programs that it wants. Therefore, the issue of deficit spending has become a truly bi-partisan failure with no real support for fiscal prudence.  The traditional position of “sound money” has virtually no voice.

Crime: Those on the left (particularly the extreme left) seem to feel that racism is the main cause of poverty and crime. Their solution seems to be greater tolerance towards crime and criminals.  They even seem to condone open theft of other people’s property as some form of justified income re-distribution.  It is as if reparations must come at the expense of Walgreens and Macy and that there are no social costs involved with this passive view of law enforcement. Those on the right believe that leftist welfare policies have destroyed the incentive to work, the family, and fatherhood and that throwing more money at problems like homelessness will only make more people more dependent on welfare.  External conditions are not responsible for people’s behavior rather it is people’s behavior that is responsible for their conditions.  Those on the right want to hold people accountable for their behavior while those on the left want us to understand and appreciate their behavior.

Education: The woke wing of the Democratic Party is devoted to critical race theory, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the spreading of identity politics. The Republicans are marshaling their forces and strong opposition to this, but far-left ideology is far more prevalent than most people want to admit.  The left has a firm grip on most of our public and even private institutions.

Energy: The Democrats see climate change as an “existential threat “focused on eliminating fossil fuels. The Republicans accept climate change as real but do not believe the problem is caused entirely by people.  In any event, the threat is insufficient to want to wreck the economy. A richer nation can afford sea walls, air conditioning, nuclear-powered desalinization, and other specific solutions to climate change rather than an attempt to change the entire climate of the earth when many variables are not under man’s control or even completely understood.  The left proceeds from a position of scientific hubris while the right entertains climate skeptics.  In either case, a nation that can’t cure drug addiction will have a hard time changing the climate with volcanoes, the tilt of the earth on its axis, ocean currents, variations of the sun, and unclear interplanetary influences completely out of man’s control or present understanding.

Abortion: This is not strictly a Republican versus Democrat issue. Yet, it is the number one issue for many of those who either see abortion as murder (and therefore a moral issue) or those who see it primarily as a question of individual liberty and female independence. The left says a woman has the right to control her body and is thus essential to feminist independence.  The right argues the baby is an independent life created by the mother and a father (who is never consulted) and is not part of her body. A life should not be taken for matters of convenience or advancement when other non-lethal alternatives are available.

Biden‘s approval ratings are among the lowest of any sitting president. The Democrats are extremely vulnerable, and they know it. However, the Republicans have proven in the past that they are perfectly capable of throwing away elections that the polls suggest they should have won, simply by nominating candidates, so extreme in their positions that they turn off voters who would otherwise be inclined to support them.

It is evident that diplomacy without hard military power has failed, and made us seem weak to the bullies of the world. Consequently, I support Israel’s approach.

On immigration, a nation has the right to exclude “foreigners“ and a very limited obligation to allow asylum seekers to demand many of the benefits of citizenship. As sanctuary cities are learning, when you have a large influx of aliens, someone has to pay with a reduction in their own standard of living. In this case, we reduce the standard of living of those living and contributing to our country while subsidizing foreigners who have not been contributing. Taxing “someone else“ inevitably runs into practical limits and political blowback.

Inflation is down, but not out. There are many causes of inflation, but what we have experienced over the last few years is mostly the result of too much money splashing around the economy, largely as a result of massive deficit spending and a Fed too accommodating to Congress and the Presidency.

While the Covid crisis hit some people especially hard financially, the government’s effort to alleviate suffering, while well-intentioned, largely substituted one type of suffering for another. A fundamental problem of many government programs is that they must send money to categories of people, rather than only to those truly in need. The term “truly in need” is a subjective one that can be manipulated for political purposes, and therefore, the government sends money to everybody in specific categories. That is why so many people got tax refunds during COVID-19 even though they were not truly needy.

The alarming increase in illegal immigration has been exacerbated by the absurd concept of “sanctuary cities“. My definition of a sanctuary city has officially decided that it does not have to obey the law if it doesn’t like it. This is the beginning of chaos, wherein we see cities where thieves, steal with impunity, and those being stolen from are to unable protect themselves. I wish I could decide not to pay my taxes because I don’t like what the government is doing with the money!

Education is an extremely important political issue. Authoritarian governments have long recognized that controlling the schools is the best way to spread ideologies. I believe that what is taught to our children should be controlled by parents locally.

I am not convinced that climate change is the existential threat to civilization that Biden claims. There is far too much suppression of anyone with opposing views. Destroying the energy industry is a sure way to turn us from a powerhouse nation into a second-rate nation. Too many “scientists” automatically endorse every study that supports Biden, and are living off grants that are only given to those whose “research” supports the government line. My feeling is that we would be smarter to spend money on the mitigation of climate change rather than wasting billions pursuing the impossible dream of a carbon-free world.

While I understand the sentiments of pro-lifers, I believe that this is a moral issue, rather than a political issue. Of course, the protection of citizens is a fundamental duty of government, however, it is also my opinion that moral questions should be decided by individuals and their religious beliefs, not by governments or by popular vote where good versus evil is decided by majority vote.  Government should not subsidize or promote abortions but also should not prohibit them.

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Will We Ever Get the Truth? [The Covid Crisis and Lies] thumbnail

Will We Ever Get the Truth? [The Covid Crisis and Lies]

By Jeffrey Tucker

Editors’ Note: We agree that it certainly looks like Mr. Trump will be the Republican nominee. It would be very helpful to avoid similar abuse again (likely coming from another pandemic or for reasons of environmental extremism). Mr. Trump publicly should say he was wrong, and today sorry, for the COVID-19 abuse that began under his administration. Everything said about the vaccine(you won’t get Covid and you can’t spread it) was wrong. The six-foot rule was made up. The lockdown did not stop the spread and wrecked the economy. Drug companies were taken off the hook. The government has lied repeatedly about the side effects of the vaccine. Yes, Mike Pence was “in charge”, but he was selected by Trump. Yes, the press bullied the Administration with their worship of Dr. Fauci. Yes, in the early days, there was much confusion. However, The Prickly Pear never bought into any of this and supported the Great Barrington Declaration. But, Donald Trump was in charge and he is a tough man. His instincts for “two weeks to bend the curve” initially were correct. But then, he got rolled by the bureaucracy. He needs to answer for these abuses and use the opportunity to inoculate the public against abuses like we saw, so they never happen again. He can use this as a teachable moment about how the deep state and the media worked hand in hand to create an authoritarian panic.

Donald Trump will certainly get the Republican nomination. With that the issue of truth and honesty about what happened on March 13, 2020, and beyond will likely not be pushed by the executive branch even if Trump wins.

No one in his circles wants any talk of this subject, even if every bit of the current national crisis (health, economics, cultural, societal) traces to those grim days of lockdown and the ensuing disaster. We are very far from gaining anything like transparency on what precisely happened.

The situation today is quite the opposite. Again, Trump’s team long ago accepted a tacit agreement to make the issue go away. This was initially in the interest of securing the nomination (never admit error to your voters). But it soon became an accepted doctrine in those circles. Trump’s opponent wants it this way too, of course, except perhaps to say that Trump didn’t lock down enough soon enough.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has announced every intention to use the last experience as a template for the next. The national media has no regrets about pushing wild panic. The tech companies show no remorse for unrelenting censorship which still continues to this day. Pharma has more power than ever, and so do the armies of bureaucratic enforcers at all levels of government. Academia is out too: here administrators closed their campuses and forced pointless shots on returning students. They are all culpable.

Let’s take a step back and ask a fundamental question: when will truth emerge to the point that your average intellectual in a public space will admit that this whole thing was catastrophic for everything we call civilization? We know the answer involves time but how much time? And how much in the way of effort will it require to get the reckoning we need before the healing we require takes place?

This morning my mind drifted back to the days after 9/11, when the George Bush administration decided to use the public fury over the attacks in New York and Washington to deploy a war that the president’s father began much earlier but did not complete. The Bush administration decided on regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A small minority of people (myself among them) objected that these wars would do nothing to realize justice for 9/11. Indeed they would cause calamity at home and abroad. Americans would lose liberty, and security, and many lives would be lost. Overthrowing Saddam and the Taliban without a viable replacement for each would unleash some unpredictable chaos. Nationalizing security at home would create a bureaucratic monster at home that would be eventually turned on Americans themselves. 

How well we recall the way we dissidents were shouted down, called every name. The most absurd was “coward,” as if our opinions on this grave matter were formed by nothing other than our unwillingness to type cheers as others fought and died.

Sure enough, all our predictions (which were not hard to make) came true. The US wrecked what was the most liberal and secular country in the region, while the war against the Taliban ended with them taking charge again. At some point, the US even facilitated the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, for whatever reason. No one could have anticipated a massive refugee crisis in Europe that would destabilize every government and give rise to massive public anger and distrust.

Some seven years after these invasions, candidate Ron Paul was on the stage at a Republican debate and denounced the whole thing. He was booed. And then smeared. And then shouted down and hated. But that seemed to kick off a rethinking.

Eight years after that, Donald Trump said something similar and his comments elicited the same reaction. Except that he then won the nomination. That was 2016. Since then there seems to have been a gradual dying out of the warhawks who take pride in their wild adventure.

Just this morning, writing in the New York Times, Ross Douthat tossed off the following paragraph without much of a thought, even burying it in an otherwise uneventful column.

The Iraq war and the slower, longer failure in Afghanistan didn’t just begin the unraveling of the Pax Americana. They also discredited the American establishment at home, shattering the center-right and undermining the center-left, dissolving confidence in politicians, bureaucracies and even the military itself, while the war’s social effects lingered in the opioid epidemic and the mental health crisis.

You see how he writes this as if it is nothing controversial? He is merely relaying what everyone knows today. Somewhere between 2001 and 2024, unthinkable thoughts became conventional wisdom. There was never an announcement, never a serious commission, never an apology or some kind of big reckoning or admission of error. What was once radical became mainstream, gradually and then all at once. It’s not even clear when this happened. Eight years ago? A year ago? It’s not clear.

Regardless, nearly a quarter of a century later, it’s now conventional wisdom that the most popular war policy in the US at the time was a catastrophe by every measure. Everyone today knows for sure that the whole thing was backed by deliberate lies. 

Not that anyone involved will ever be held accountable. George Bush himself is still riding high and has never been forced to recant his views or actions. None of the top players have paid any price at all. They all moved on to greater fame and riches than before.

Now everyone just quietly says it was a bad idea all along.

What can we learn from this? Certainly, we can take away that the Covid experience that precipitated the greatest crisis since the Civil War will take a very long time to deal with in any honest way. Will it take 25 years? I seriously doubt it. The work of so many dissidents like those who write daily for Brownstone have dramatically sped up this timeline and contributed to making a repeat much more difficult.

And maybe that is what we can hope for. And maybe that is much better than the record of history would hope for. Consider the disaster called the Bolshevik Revolution. The event was actually extremely popular in US intellectual circles at the time. Most “liberals” heartily approved of it, believing all the reports that were available at the time. It took years before they began to rethink.

After the reports of the initial starvations and Lenin’s shift away from War Communism, there was a Red Scare in the US that warned of Bolshevism coming to the US. Hardly anyone really wanted it here. However the party in power in the new Soviet Union would not and could not admit any error. Fully 70 years went by before there was fundamental regime change in that case. That seems like a long time but consider this. The people who experienced the revolution as young men had become very old men by 1989 and many of them died.

Enough of them eventually died to make the stakes for truth-telling low enough to make it possible. And yet even then, and today, the problem of the past is widely considered to be the crimes of Stalin, not Bolshevism itself. Sure, there is some nostalgia for the Czar but it is not serious.

If you think about it, then, Bolshevism lasted one lifetime and then died out. That’s a pretty short lifespan for a fanatical ideology in one country. Maybe that’s about what we should expect, and why? Because any generation involved in revolutionary destruction is woefully unwilling to admit error, because they are invested and also because they fear reprisals.

So it is for the vast Covid generation, especially two groups: the public-health bureaucrats plus media and tech titans that cheered it, and also for the vast swarms of young people who threw themselves into the disaster as a means by which they would and could experience something meaningful in their otherwise aimless lives.

Will we have to wait for all of them to die out before times change? Will we have to wait 70 years until 2100?

Surely not. Public and intellectual pressure does speed up the timeline. And in this case, we have an interesting sociological development, as Bret Weinstein has pointed out. The censorship and cancellation campaign hit the wrong groups. These people are now seriously motivated to make a difference. They will not let this pass into the history books. They have a passion for truth and a fiery demand for justice. It was for them the trauma of a lifetime and it will not be forgotten.

Picture a pot boiling with a tight lid. It is being held on by ruling-class elites in pharma, tech, and media, along with myriad government agents who don’t want to be found out. But the fire is still burning and the water is boiling. Something will give, and it could be sooner rather than later. What we will discover once it all comes out is awesome to consider. If we have only a fraction of the truth now, the full truth will be mind-blowing.

We cannot wait a lifetime. The fire must still burn.

*****

This article was published by the Brownstone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: YouTube screenshopt CBS News

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.

Some Dare Call It Treason thumbnail

Some Dare Call It Treason

By Mark Wallace

We had some good news recently: the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee voted to recommend two articles of impeachment against Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The matter now will be taken up by the entire House. If the House votes to impeach (which is by no means certain, given the number of RINOs who populate the House), Mayorkas will have to stand trial in the Senate.

Under Mayorkas, the Department of Homeland Security has been totally emasculated, at least with respect to the securing of our border with Mexico. Millions of illegals have poured into the United States under his watch. Mayorkas has in effect become the best friend of the Mexican drug cartels and the child traffickers. Thanks to Mayorkas’s abdication of border protection, the Mexican drug cartels have flooded the United States with fentanyl and other deadly or potentially deadly drugs. This has resulted in the deaths of approximately 100,000 American citizens every year.

The articles of impeachment approved by the House Committee charge that Mayorkas “willfully and systematically refused to comply with Federal immigration laws.” The use of the word “willful” is very significant in this context. This is not a case of a federal official who snoozed away his afternoons after three martini lunches and then settled in for a long cigar smoke with his cronies. It’s not a case of neglect and incompetence, it’s a case of a man who deliberately and intentionally worked to undermine, frustrate, and ignore federal law.

If Biden had appointed a Mexican drug lord as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, we probably wouldn’t have gotten any worse of a result. Indeed, because the drug cartels charge a fee for the privilege of sneaking into the United States from Mexico, they probably would have cracked down on illegals trying to sneak into the United States without paying a fee — simply to protect their own fee arrangements. It can be guessed that a Mexican drug lord likely would have reduced illegal immigration into the United States more than Mayorkas has.

The state of Texas tried to protect its border by installing razor wire barriers. If any proof is needed that Mayorkas’s goal is to sabotage U.S. protection of its border, that proof was supplied when Biden’s corrupt, progressive-infested, and tyrannical Department of Justice sued Texas in the federal courts and won a ruling barring Texas from protecting itself from the evils of illegal immigration.

The Constitution of the United States carefully defines the crime of treason in Article Three, Section 3 as levying war against the United States “or in adhering to their enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Conviction of treason under the Constitution requires the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act.

Are the Mexican drug cartels the “enemies” of the United States? It’s hard to see how they are anything but enemies. They have killed and are currently killing about 100,000 Americans each year with the deadly drugs they are illegally importing into the United States. If some nation in the world made it their policy to do this, all or almost all Americans would consider that nation to be an enemy of the United States — and it would soon be brought to a screeching halt, first with ultimatums from the White House and then with war.

Mayorkas is giving the Mexican drug cartels aid and comfort not only by refusing to enforce U.S. immigration but also by affirmatively working to undermine that law. How then is Mayorkas different from a U.S. Army general who, when told of an impending invasion of the United States by another nation, withdraws U.S. troops from the border for the express purpose of allowing the invasion to occur? Wouldn’t the withdrawal of U.S. troops under these circumstances amount to giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

The testimony of two witnesses to an overt act is required, but presumably, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find Border Patrol agents who could testify to “stand-down”-type orders coming down from Washington that can be traced directly to Mayorkas.

Prospects for convicting Mayorkas in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate are probably slim to none at this point. Should a Republican win the White House in 2024, however, all the cards would remain on the table in terms of prosecution for treason, not only for Mayorkas but also possibly for Biden himself.

TAKE ACTION

As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.