Nonprofits and Journalism Update: The 1619 Project thumbnail

Nonprofits and Journalism Update: The 1619 Project

By Michael Watson

The Pulitzer Center and the 1619 Project

Perhaps the most prominent ostensibly journalistic endeavor since our last review of the media landscape was the “1619 Project,” an effort by controversial New York Times Magazine writer and 2016 MacArthur Foundation fellow Nikole Hannah-Jones to redefine the American founding—from the Revolutionary period to the first importation of enslaved Africans to what would become the original 13 states—with a stated policy aim of securing governmental “reparations” payments to African Americans.

Historians with specializations in America’s Revolutionary and Early Republic periods, including several with left-leaning to radical-left politics, criticized the 1619 Project and especially Hannah-Jones’s framing essay. Despite the criticisms, Hannah-Jones was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.

Assisting Times Magazine and Hannah-Jones with the project was the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (not to be confused with the Pulitzer Prizes, which are awarded by Columbia University). The Pulitzer Center—which is heavily funded by major liberal foundations including the Wallace Global Fund II, Omidyar Network Fund, and Kendeda Fund—was responsible for developing a curriculum to bring the 1619 Project ideology into public school classrooms. For its part, the MacArthur Foundation’s tax returns showed the foundation provided the Pulitzer Center with $650,000 that may align with 1619 Project–like initiatives. For its part, the Pulitzer Center took in revenue of over $13 million in 2018, approximately doubling its usual annual revenues of $5 million to $8 million. From 2016 through 2019, the organization’s net assets more than doubled from $8.5 million to over $22 million.

The Bulwark Follows Its Money

In 2019, it still appeared that the Bulwarka media project of the Pierre Omidyar–funded nonprofit Republic Affairs (then known as Defending Democracy Together Institute) fronted by ex-Republican commentators Bill Kristol and Charlie Sykes—might evolve into something more than a repository of MSNBC-contributing former Republicans for rent, who seemingly existed solely to support whatever the liberalism of the moment demanded. That has not proven to be the case. Despite ostensibly being created to “conserve conservatism” in the face of the rising populist faction led by Donald Trump, the Bulwark marked its public debut by seeking a puff piece in the liberal The Atlantic and sending left-wing and pro-abortion-feminist scion Molly Jong-Fast to “cover” the Conservative Political Action Conference by, among other things, deriding pro-life activists.

The website now runs pieces by former staffers for conspiracy-minded Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) promoting the Left’s radical and likely unconstitutional H.R. 1 election administration overhaul. Its board chair endorsed the unsuccessful nomination of Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden for a senior position in the Biden administration. To cap it all off, it publishes calls to abolish the Senate filibuster so Democrats can enact the most radical parts of their agenda, such as the labor union–empowering PRO Act. The Bulwark also promotes the historically unsubstantiated idea that the Republican Party “has no prospect for regaining majority status” despite its sub-presidential strength.

This is what some predicted as soon as Republic Affairs’ funding became publicly known: How could an institution funded by prominent liberals like Pierre Omidyar, institutional liberal funders like the Hewlett Foundation, and even arms of the Arabella Advisors “dark money” network become anything other than a Democratic mouthpiece? Conservatives skeptical of Trump-like populism but not prepared to become outright liberals are instead left with the “broken promise” of what Bill Kristol and company’s dissenting website might have been. One hopes the (for-profit and funding-undetermined) project of Jonah Goldberg and Steve Hayes at the Dispatch does not follow the same path.

The Rise of Ideologically Aligned “Newsrooms”

As we noted in our 2019 survey of the nonprofit media landscape, the openly partisan press is as old as the American republic, with Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Gazette of the United States battling Thomas Jefferson’s old Republican National Gazette. In recent years, liberal activists have launched two major partisan or ideological media efforts aimed at state and local coverage, while conservatives have responded by building out and rebranding their own statehouse reporting network.

Most controversial of these efforts has been Courier Newsroom, an openly partisan project of the ACRONYM network of Democratic-aligned political committees best known for its associations with the creators of the phone-voting application that crashed during the Iowa Democratic Party presidential nominating caucuses in 2020. The left-leaning media watchdog NewsGuard characterized Courier Newsroom as a “clandestine political operation” and noted the $25 million commitment the ACRONYM network had made in Courier and its affiliated ostensibly “local” news websites.

ACRONYM is known to have taken funding from both the New Venture Fund, part of the Arabella Advisors network of liberal “dark money,” and Democratic activist and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. For its part, the Sixteen Thirty Fund—the Arabella network’s electoral advocacy arm—commissioned its own Facebook ad buys, which created what the left-leaning Center for Responsive Politics called “the impression of multiple free-standing local news outlets with unique names and disclaimers” but recirculated identical, national-level talking points.

The Arabella network also seeded States Newsroom (formerly the Newsroom Network), a number of left-of-center media outlets that cover state-level politics and policy. Among the publications in the States Newsroom network are the Arizona Mirror, Maine Beacon, Colorado Independent, Florida Phoenix, Maryland Matters, Michigan Advance, North Carolina Policy Watch, Nevada Current, Pennsylvania Capital-Star, and Virginia Mercury. The publications and States Newsroom itself have extensive ties to the Left.

*****

This article was published on October 20, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from Capital Research Center.

Get Smart About What Really Happened in the 2020 Election

By J. Christian Adams

After the last election, many of us hoped for a champion to undo voter fraud, that certain thing that drove President Donald Trump from office. A “Kraken.” A powerful force of nature, a metaphor of strength, rising from the depths, restorative of truth and proper process. And unlike the Kraken of legend and Hollywood, a purported force of good.

Failure to understand the complex architecture and confusing events of the 2020 election makes it more likely that something like it will happen again. Indeed, the destabilizing forces at work in 2020 are emboldened by their success. The philanthropic streams of money that fueled the 2020 outcome still exist. They are looking toward the 2022 midterm elections to do it all over again.

That is why it is important to understand the complex mechanics that steered the outcome in 2020, so they do not happen again, so they do not further destabilize our political process.

Two ingredients drove the outcome in 2020: First, private philanthropy injected into government election offices and, second, a banana-republic style suspension of agreed-upon election rules. You didn’t need much outright voter fraud when these two ingredients combined to poison the 2020 election.

First, ponder the private philanthropy. The most lethal poison injected in the 2020 election was essentially legal. It worked like this.

In the months before the 2020 elections, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL). Prior to Zuckerberg’s largess, CTCL had an annual budget around $600,000 per year. 2020 would be a very good year for them.

The CTCL took “ZuckBucks” and with extreme, strategic precision, re-granted it to thousands of government election officials to “help” them conduct the 2020 election. It converted election offices in key jurisdictions with deep reservoirs of Biden votes into Formula One turnout-machines.

It is true that some small red counties got some CTCL money, but that was a fig leaf. Red counties took their grants and bought printers or paper. The real action was in the big cities, where hundreds of millions of dollars running through election offices fueled a ground game that, before 2020, the Democratic Party could only dream about.

Consider Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s annual election office budget was about $9.5 million. The CTCL gave Philadelphia $10 million in one burst in the summer of 2020 to spend by election day. And boy did Philadelphia spend the money. They hired new city employees — fresh from local activist groups — to go door to do and deliver ballots. Since they worked for the election office, everything was “legal.” They bought radio advertising on Spanish and urban radio stations; “get out the vote, vote by mail, no need for any witnesses anymore!”

The government election office in Philadelphia used that $10 million grant to implement a dream of some partisans: turn a government election office into a massive turnout machine.

But wait, isn’t this illegal?

Who says so? For starters, you are free to be as stupid as you want and give the government your money. There is no prohibition on that, except in the states that have since banned it, but more on that later. Second, the Philadelphia government spending spree didn’t mention the word Democrat. It didn’t mention Biden. It didn’t need to.

It’s obvious. A facially impartial and hyper-funded campaign to turn out votes in Philadelphia, will end up turning out votes for Joe Biden, and that is precisely what happened. Neutral actions, wholly lacking any facial partisan taint, were hyper-fueled with philanthropic dollars to turn out record numbers of voters in Philadelphia.

They just happened to nearly all vote for Joe Biden, and no matching effort was conducted in red counties. You could not convert dollars in sparsely populated counties into turnout machines the same way you could in concentrated urban cores.

And it wasn’t just Philadelphia. It was the surrounding deep-blue counties of Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks. They also received massive CTCL grants. And it wasn’t just eastern Pennsylvania. The same model was deployed in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Lansing, Milwaukee, Madison, Atlanta, Phoenix and urban cores across the USA.

By now you should be getting the picture. By now you can see their diabolical genius.

Understanding this architecture explains so many other parts of the 2020 election. For example, it explains the urban turnout explosion. Trump had unprecedented support among black voters. But so what? Trump’s 15% of the black vote in Detroit was swamped in absolute terms because turnout there soared by 92,891votes. Trump even had 20% of the black vote in Atlanta but overall DeKalb’s turnout soared by 54,550 votes — 80% were opposed.

The more urban turnout, the bigger the Biden win.

This also explains the record number of undervotes. City employees in Philadelphia delivering ballots to be voted at the front door didn’t have time to worry about down-ballot races. Who cares about dogcatcher when you have a bigger mission? That is precisely why undervotes were so common in places where CTCL money was saturating the ground game. Get the oval next to “Biden” filled in, move on to the next front door, repeat, all of it perfectly legal.

The CTCL money did not fund voting integrity systems. It only funded a massive ground game to harvest blue ballots. It built processes to get those ballots distributed in urban cores, voted, and back in to be counted.

Mission accomplished. CTCL fueled a ground game that got the result it set out to get. And who are you to complain, after all, because it was rooted in increasing urban turnout. You wouldn’t dare complain about increased turnout, would you? The plan had the side benefit of silencing critics.

Did this plan go unnoticed? A few of us noticed this architecture spooling up in the spring, and warned about it. But most of the country was focused elsewhere, including the campaign. It is disappointing to have seen it coming. Now, after the fact, some states are fixing the problem and banning private money to government election offices.

They should ban it. Florida, Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Iowa have prohibited election offices from receiving private money. In the old days, we might refer to this sort of behavior as bribery of government officials. The CTCL attached strings to their grants: that is the problem.

Now the second big ingredient that completes the architecture that explains the outcome of the 2020 elections: banana-republic style suspension of the rules based on COVID.

All across America, leftists and Democrats — some of the same leftists who helped cook up the Zuckbucks scheme — were suing states to break down rules and laws.

Remember, election laws are enacted ahead of time for a reason — so we can all agree on the rules before the game. In Monopoly, the price of Boardwalk shouldn’t drop below $400 just because I land on it and want it for $20. Following rules provides confidence that the process was fair, even to the losers of an election.

That did not happen in 2020, and all across the nation, especially in swing states, the rules were thrown out in the name of an emergency. In Nevada, the state rushed to all of the mail-in ballots being sent automatically, even though the Public Interest Legal Foundation had documented tens of thousands of dead registrants, vacant lots and commercial addresses on the voter rolls.

Other states suspended their laws: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Arizona, North Carolina, and more.

In Virginia, the law said that mail ballots had to come in by election day or three days after election day, but only if they were postmarked by election day. Virginia state election officials ignored the law and issued rules to accept late ballots without any postmark. They called it “fair.”

In response, I brought a lawsuit on behalf of county election officials who alleged that the Virginia Constitution’s anti-suspension clause was violated. George Mason authored this limit on government power, saying that the executive cannot change the laws the legislature wrote. That one of our nation’s founders included such a provision speaks to the wisdom of those giants from over two centuries ago.

A Virginia court struck down the bureaucrat’s guidance and ordered that any late ballots had to have a postmark. In other states, the outcomes were not so positive. State and federal courts across the country were quick to capitulate to suspensions of election laws because of COVID.

In Philadelphia, these two ingredients – Zuckbucks and banana-republic style lawlessness, combined over and over again. COVID litigation forced the city to open new voting centers where people could roll in and vote with mail-in ballots in contravention of regular Pennsylvania law. Guess who helped pay for this new expense: That’s right — Zuckbucks. But because the new centers were not part of the law, observers were not allowed in to watch, as they are in normal voting precincts. Because the voting centers were created on the COVID fly, election officials did what they pleased, and banned everyone from observing the process.

Across the country, states abandoned rules related to witnesses’ signatures, to who can vote by mail, and to what has to be done to validate a mail ballot. City employees roamed door to door with armfuls of blank ballots, knocking and pushing people at home to vote in a process entirely foreign to state laws. Ballots were collected and delivered by others who had been strictly banned from touching someone else’s ballot before COVID. Over and over, the rules broke down.

Let me be clear, there was voter fraud in 2020. But this time, it was bigger than voter fraud. This time, it moved hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of votes. In no election in my experience has voter fraud ever moved that many votes. This toxic 2020 plan was bigger, and more stealthy — and largely legal. After all, how is it illegal if the Pennsylvania Supreme Court orders it?

Most of all, it requires you to get smart about how election process works to begin to understand it.

Airplane accidents rarely have one cause. Usually a series of failures combine to create a catastrophe. Without one, the catastrophe does not occur.

The 2020 election was similar. Alone, all of the COVID changes might not have collapsed the process. But COVID-justified suspensions of the rules were matched with a $350 million-dollar ground game from a partisan philanthropist. These dollars fueled the bodies that rushed into the legal gaps created by COVID. The two ingredients combined to break down all of the guardrails.

The election of 2020 was, in fact, a free for all. You did not need voting machines controlled from outer space, or a centralized conspiracy to commit voter fraud, to get the outcome we got. You do not need fraud when you have almost 100,000 new voters turning out in Detroit. A billionaire and a banana-republic style breakdown of the law can go a long way to driving someone out of the White House.

*****

This article was published on October 21. 2021, and is reproduced with permission from the Gatestone Institute.

Is Larry Summers Channeling Benjamin Anderson? thumbnail

Is Larry Summers Channeling Benjamin Anderson?

By James L. Caton

Larry Summers, who served as U.S. Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, and head of the National Economic Council in the early years of the Obama administration began sounding the alarm on the possibility of inflation several months ago. Until recently, I suspect few would have described him as an inflation hawk. And yet, he has been making the rounds of late to warn about the possibility of a “collision between fiscal and monetary policy.”

As someone who has supported fiscal expansion as a means of promoting macroeconomic stability, Summers has been unusually cautious. He seems to believe that the size of the output gap was not large enough to merit the unprecedented level of monetary expansion that has been administered by Jerome Powell.

In February, Summers participated in a discussion with Paul Krugman where he outlined his concerns. He notes that:

  1. The stimulus of 2020 was about twice the size of the output gap in the same year. The proposed stimulus for 2021 was, at the time, 4 times the size of the projected output gap.
  2. Unemployment compensation provided to the bottom 30% of earners was more than double their losses from Covid-19.

Elsewhere, Summers explains that the current labor shortage will drive up wages and that we have already seen monthly rents for new tenants increase by 17 percent, on average, above the rents paid by previous tenants.

Summers believes that the “toxic side effects of QE” are not being recognized by policymakers. In an interview, Larry Summers used a rather peculiar metaphor to describe this situation.:

So, I look at that dwindling hole. Then I look at expenditures that aren’t hard to add into the multiple trillions, and I see substantial risk that the amount of water being poured in vastly exceeds the size of the bathtub.

When I heard Summers use this metaphor, my mind was drawn to a passage I first read over a decade ago from Benjamin Anderson in his reflection on the Great Depression. In referring to monetary policy that preceded the initiation of the Great Crash in October 1929, he wrote:

When a bathtub in the upper part of the house has been overflowing for five minutes, it is not difficult to turn off the water and mop up. But when the bathtub has been overflowing for several years, the walls and the spaces between ceilings and floors have become full of water, and a great deal of work is required to get the house dry. Long after the faucet is turned off, water still comes pouring in from the walls and from the ceilings. It was so in 1928 and 1929.

Consistent with both statements is the belief that the monetary policy provided more stimulus than was merited by prevailing economic conditions. And consistent with Summers’ belief that excessive monetary support can be toxic, Anderson bemoans the extensive damage that can occur when the water spigot is left on for too long.

A Common Theme

While Summers and Anderson have contrary views with regard to fiscal stimulus, both recognize that there is an upper limit to the benefits of monetary expansion. Anderson viewed the Federal Reserve as financing a boom in stocks across the 1920s. “[T]he Federal Reserve System used them [open market operations] deliberately for the purpose of relaxing the money market and stimulating bank expansion in 1924 and 1927. At a time when unusual circumstances called for extra caution, they abandoned the old standards and became daring innovators in the effort to play God.” 

Compared to Summers, Anderson is quite conservative. Yet, Summers recognizes the theoretical limits of monetary policy. Summers has represented his views as “simple arithmetic.” Even before the crisis, Summers critiqued modern monetary theory (MMT). When asked why the U.S. can’t take advantage of its status as the world’s reserve currency, referring to its dominant position as an international media of exchange, Summers responded that “we won’t have the reserve currency forever if we do that. . . . In all things economics is a matter of balance.”

During our graduate studies, Peter Boettke constantly reminded my colleagues that “economics puts parameters on people’s Utopias.” No doubt. This is a universal of economics. And it is such recognition that separates the economist from the ideologue. I disagree with a number of policy stances promoted by Larry Summers, but I would be a fool to say that he is ignorant of macroeconomic theory.

Summers believes that fiscal policy should be used to promote better environmental outcomes and to improve equity while also accepting, as Alex Salter has argued, that the use of monetary policy for these aims is a recipe for disasterSummers is also “nervous” about the Fed setting out “to target the unemployment rate of particular groups without regard to inflation [as] that would be a good way to make really serious inflation.”

The Fed needs to concentrate on monetary policy. This is a serious job that requires serious focus. Perhaps Summers recognizes that the post-2008 monetary framework has created a fiscal Fed. Or maybe he will.

Summers’ demands for limits to the aims of monetary policy might be politically feasible under the old Volcker-Greenspan regime. Under that monetary regime, inflationary pressure placed strict limits on the expansion of the balance sheet. The political incentives now faced by both politicians and Fed officials promote precisely the sort of oversized fiscal expansions that we have observed in the last two years, the same expansions that Summers decries. 

The post-2008 framework has incentivized the destabilization of monetary policy. The sooner we recognize this fact, the sooner we can seriously discuss a solution to the problem.

*****

This article was published on October 13, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

AG Merrick Garland Admits Federal War On Parents Sprang From School Boards Letter, Not Evidence thumbnail

AG Merrick Garland Admits Federal War On Parents Sprang From School Boards Letter, Not Evidence

By Jordan Davidson

Editors’ Note:  While we are not great fans of Mitch McConnell, it should be said that he kept Merrick Garland from becoming a Supreme Court Justice. Garland has proven to be a menace to a free society and it is a wonder this clown could ever have been a Federal Judge. That leading Democrats would nominate such a man first to the Supreme Court, and then as Attorney General certainly shows again where the party is on matters of law and liberty. Again, blaming bungling Joe Biden solely for putting this man in power avoids confronting the deep rot within the Democrat Party.

Attorney General Merrick Garland admitted on Thursday that the basis for targeting and potentially charging parents concerned about what their children are learning in schools with domestic terrorism was a letter from the National School Boards Association, not real evidence.

“When did you first review the data showing this so-called disturbing uptick?” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan asked during a House Judiciary hearing on Thursday.

“I read the letter, and we have been seeing over time—” Garland began before Jordan interrupted him.

“So you read the letter? That’s your source?” Jordan asked incredulously. “Is there some study, some effort, some investigation someone did that, said there’s been a disturbing uptick, or you just take the words of the National School Board Association?”

Garland then confirmed it wasn’t until NSBA contacted him that his department began to investigate claims of violence and terrorism.

“Well, the National School Board Association, which represents thousands of school boards and school board members, says that there are these kinds of threats. When we read in the newspapers reports of threats of violence—” Garland said before Jordan interjected again.

“The source for this … was the National School Boards Association letter,” Jordan reiterated before his time expired.

The NSBA sent a letter to the Biden administration last month begging federal law enforcement to use domestic terrorism laws to target parents who oppose anti-science mask mandates for children and the infiltration of racist curriculum in schools. The school board organization claimed federal action was warranted to “deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.”

Most of the incident examples the NSBA used to justify intervention by the Biden administration did not escalate to a level that even yielded arrests or charges on the local level, yet Garland quickly directed the FBI and state attorneys to address “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”

Multiple state school board associations reported that they were not consulted before the NSBA sent its letter to the Biden administration. While a handful of the state associations simply said they were unaware of the NSBA’s letter until it was published, most state groups condemned the national association’s request to use domestic terrorism laws to target parents and said the protests they’ve experienced have not warranted law enforcement involvement beyond the local and state level.

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association voted unanimously to withdraw from its parent organization in protest of the national organization’s political war on parents.

During his hearing, Garland also confirmed that no one involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has been charged with “insurrection.”

*****

This article was published on October 21, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

Woke Children’s Books: Indoctrinating the Next Generation of Radicals thumbnail

Woke Children’s Books: Indoctrinating the Next Generation of Radicals

By Scott Walter

In the ongoing ideological battle between culture warriors on the Left and free marketers on the Right, the Left continues to push the envelope with its aggressive messaging tactics. It’s not enough that they control Hollywood, the mainstream news media, most university campuses, and even most Fortune 500 companies: They’ve now inundated the children’s literature space with the worst of their ideas and propaganda.

The Great Book Masquerade

In late September, many parents in Fairfax County, Virginia, were shocked to learn that books with passages describing sexual acts could be found in local school libraries. One book, Lawn Boy, even featured a depiction of pedophilia. While Fairfax County Public Schools responded by temporarily suspending the book from the library pending review by a committee of staff, students, and parents, this is simply the latest example of radical left-progressive missives masquerading as children’s books.

Those who grew up in the 1970s will remember Marlo Thomas’s album and book, Free to Be You and Me and its message of gender equality, tolerance, and recognition that “it’s all right to cry.” (Who isn’t a fan of Rosey Greier?) While the creative left-wing messages in Free to Be You and Me, Dr. Suess’s The Butter Battle, and others during that period taught acceptance and optimism, today’s Leftist children’s books are transparently anti-free-market propaganda that seeks to divide people and even rewrite the most basic cultural traditions.

Innosanto Nagara’s A is for Activist is an alphabet book aimed at children ages 1 to 3 that seeks to mold the next generation of socialist revolutionaries. Besides A being for activist, Nagara thinks C stands for “Co-op. Cooperating Cultures. Creative Counter to Corporate vultures,” and S is for “Sun, Sol, Solar” and not for “Silly Selfish Scoundrels Sucking on dinosaur Sludge,” and U is for “Union. Union Yes!” The book touches on most of the key buzzwords of the left-progressive stump speech: diversity, democracy, feminism, LGBTQ pride, gender-neutral pronouns, and labor rights.

“Antiracist” Toddlers

Race is another regular topic in the Left’s attempt to brainwash the pre-K crowd. Author Ibram X. Kendi is the director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University where he works to indoctrinate college kids, but he also published a children’s book in 2020 named Antiracist Baby. In it, he declares in the beginning that babies are “taught to be racist or antiracist—there’s no neutrality.” Throughout the book, Kendi suggests that readers focus on race, talk about race, and even make sure they “confess the racist ideas that we sometimes express”—a dubious suggestion for anyone living under the tyranny of cancel culture.

It’s unclear how this intense and ever-present focus on race will eventually deliver a world where he claims, “we shall overcome racism.”

While the progressive children’s books of the 1970s sought to promote tolerance of different viewpoints, races, religions, and orientations, today’s offerings from the Left are about completely rewriting the culture. Santa’s Husband by Daniel Kibblesmith is a prime example. In his Christmas story, Santa is gay with a husband named David, the North Pole is getting warmer because of global warming, Rudolf has dietary restrictions, and the elves are happily unionized. With woke references on almost every page, the author’s agenda is clearly the star of this story–with any kind of Christmas spirit taking a minor role.

Riding the Woke Wave

There is a little bit of good news. While the new generation of Leftist children’s book authors is decidedly anti-free-market, many seem intent on cashing in on the current woke wave. A number of recent children’s books from the radical Left seem decidedly aimed at selling more books to left-progressive parents, not educating or entertaining the children they profess to serve. Any parent of young kids knows that a two-year-old will not understand the vocabulary and concepts presented in a book like Antiracist Baby.

The Left’s culture war has many fronts, and the children of America are firmly in the crosshairs. With teacher unions controlling the school curriculum, most parents won’t know when this propaganda reaches school libraries or the classroom.

*****

This article was published on October 12, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from Capital Research Center.

Biden on Energy Crisis: Begging Others to Save Him From Himself thumbnail

Biden on Energy Crisis: Begging Others to Save Him From Himself

By Tim Murtaugh

Editors’ Note: We agree very much with the sentiments in the article to follow, but we caution about too much emphasis being placed on the bungling of “Bare Shelves Biden”.  This is a crisis of policy more than the shortcomings of a simple political hack. It  extends well beyond the President who can’t even read a telepromter. The current supply chain crisis, the spike in energy prices, millions sitting at home with 11 million jobs unfilled, is the product of long held policy positions held by the entire Democrat Party and inherent in its “progressive ” agenda. We worry that Biden will be ditched at some point by the party, when he becomes a heavy liability. He may have even been chosen, with his cognitive short comings well known, so he could be ditched at some point. The aim might be to create enough chaos to justify the sacrifice a political animal on the alter of socialism, and then send in a new team of smarter operatives to exploit the crisis they themselves have created.  Therefore, while the criticism of Biden is well deserved, it should be remembered that he is just the errand boy and did not invent these failed ideas. As current anger builds, it would do well for conservatives to emphasize this is much more than the failure of one man. It is the failure of ideas and the failure of an entire political party.

President Joe Biden is drowning in a sea of crises of his own creation, and Americans are the ones who are paying the price.

There’s an ongoing humanitarian and national security calamity at the southern border.

Thirteen U.S. service members are dead, and an unknown number of our citizens remain stranded in Afghanistan following Biden’s disastrous withdrawal.

COVID-19 is still rampant, despite Biden’s promises that he would defeat the virus, while his vaccine mandate has divided the country.

Americans are not taking the millions of jobs available and the economy is stalled, as many have chosen the option of being paid by the government to stay home instead of working.

Biden’s administration failed to identify the growing supply chain disruption, which did not occur overnight and threatens to further strangle the economy. Labor shortages are a contributing factor, including a lack of truck drivers to help unload ships and transport goods (see the above point about workers not accepting available jobs).

And energy prices continue to rise, helping to drive mounting inflation and hurting Americans—especially those with moderate or low incomes—at a time when the economy should be hitting its stride coming out of the pandemic lockdowns.

It is on the costs of energy where Biden’s failures are most starkly visible.

On his very first day in office, Biden scrapped the Keystone XL pipeline, killing 11,000 jobs in the process and making good on his campaign promise to be hostile to the fossil fuel industry.

Continuing his assault on natural resource development, Biden suspended oil and natural gas leases in Alaska.

Former President Donald Trump had propelled America to energy independence, but Biden has purposely squandered it. His policies are designed to reduce domestic production of petroleum, meaning we have become necessarily more reliant on foreign sources.

Biden’s approach has been an economic disaster.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the price of crude oil has jumped by 64% to a seven-year high. The cost of natural gas has doubled in just six months. Heating oil is more expensive by 68%, just in time for winter. And gasoline is over $3 per gallon on the national average, up by almost a dollar over the past year.

Energy costs are one driver of inflation, which is already a concern and could get worse.

The situation he created has led Biden into embarrassing situations where he has been forced to plead for rescue.

Over the summer, his administration begged OPEC to increase oil production to combat rising gasoline prices. It refused.

This month, Reuters reported that the Biden White House has approached domestic oil and gas producers, asking for help. These are the very companies that Biden has been demonizing and now he wants them to save him from himself.

Anne Bradbury, the chief executive officer of the American Exploration and Production Council, explained who the culprit is.

“By pursuing policies that restrict supply and make it harder to produce oil and natural gas here in America, Americans will have to pay more for their energy,” she said.

But never fear, White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated that the higher prices just mean that Biden’s policies are going according to plan.

“Certainly, we all want to keep gasoline prices low, but the threat of the crisis—the climate crisis—certainly can’t wait any longer,” she said on Oct. 6.

One week later, Psaki appeared to soften the message somewhat, in recognition of how higher energy bills affect people, but attempted to mislead about the scope of the problem.

“[T]he American people are, of course, impacted by rising prices of gas in some parts of the country—not all,” she said.

This, of course, is not true. Gas prices are higher in all 50 states.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain then underscored the indifference of the Biden administration to the concerns of regular Americans by approving of a tweet from Harvard economist Jason Furman, who labeled “economic problems we’re facing,” such as “inflation, supply chains, etc.,” as merely “high-class problems.”

Klain quote-tweeted Furman and enthusiastically agreed, posting “This,” with two hand emojis pointing to Furman’s original post.

For Americans still struggling, it must be jarring that the White House chief of staff thinks rising grocery bills—driven by fuel prices and inflation—are “high-class problems.”

Such a callous dismissal of real-world issues, the endorsement of an Ivy League elitist view that working people are just imagining things, simply feeds the prevailing belief that Biden simply is bad at his job.

But rather than face reporters or describe to Americans what he’s doing to combat these severe economic problems—and all of the other crises he’s inflicted on the country—Biden has almost entirely avoided taking questions.

On the rare occasions that he comes to the cameras to deliver remarks, most often he finishes speaking, turns around abruptly, and returns to the recesses of the White House.

It’s an apt image presented by an administration that is usually very concerned about visuals and symbolism.

Biden is leaving the lasting impression that, as he does to members of the press, he is simply turning his back on the American people.

*****

This article was published on October 18, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

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A Heretic Breaks From The Church Of Woke

By Craig J. Cantoni

As Martin Luther wrote, “The time for silence is past and the time to speak has come.”

DW News out of Berlin recently ran a major story on its evening newscast, which is broadcast in America on PBS. No, it wasn’t about skyrocketing energy prices due to Green policies. Nor was it about Russia holding Germany hostage by controlling its natural gas supplies. Nor was it an investigative story on the alienation and self-centeredness that compels so many Berliners to paint graffiti on the marble and granite exteriors of beautiful classical buildings.

Instead, the chirpy story was about Superman’s son coming out as bisexual. A visual accompanying the story was an artist’s rendition of the action hero’s son kissing another man. The visual was followed with a fawning interview with the cartoonist or publisher—it wasn’t clear which he was—who was treated like a prophet who had divined the true meaning of life.

Earlier that day, I had read that gender activists are demanding that the term “pregnant woman” be replaced by “pregnant person,” because the latter is gender neutral.

And earlier that week, I had read an article about a new California law that prohibits insurance companies from revealing to the policyholder (i.e., parents) the “sensitive services” of anyone on their policy, including minor children as young as 12. Sensitive services include such “gender-affirming care” as puberty blockers, hormone therapy, vaginectomy, scrotoplasty, and voice modification.

Such stories have become so commonplace that hardly a day goes by without my libertine and libertarian leanings being tested.

This is all part of the incessant sermonizing and proselytizing from the Church of Woke, which is the dominant religion in the West. Its mission is to convert everyone to its values, beliefs, and lexicon, regarding not only sexual preferences and gender identity but the full panoply of so-called social-justice issues. Even those who are open-minded and enlightened on such issues can be punished as heretics if they don’t agree 100% with church dogma.

Strangely, orthodox Muslims seem to be exempted from the church’s rules and wrath. They aren’t canceled on campus or in the workplace, although they aren’t exactly enlightened about women’s rights, gay rights, transgender rights, Superman’s rights, or rights in general. If you know why they get a pass, please explain it to me.

In any event, not being Muslim, I’m ready for my punishment. Due to the constant bombardment of sophistry from the church, I’ve become a heretic, which, given my background, is a dramatic reversal. My guess is that many others have become heretics but are afraid to say so.

I’m not virtuous, so don’t misinterpret the next sentence as virtue-signaling. The fact is, over my career I was at the vanguard of equal rights, during a time when doing so required heavy lifting and career risk. Granted, my efforts paled in comparison to others of my generation who risked their lives marching and fighting for civil rights and voting rights on Selma’s Pettus bridge and elsewhere in the Deep South. But compared to today’s hollow rhetoric, my efforts were herculean.

Today, members of the Church of Woke seem to believe that root problems in disadvantaged communities can be solved by joining a Twitter mob and tweeting their outrage over some supposed violation of church scripture, or joining their woke coworkers in showing their moral superiority by posting clichés on their company’s message boards about social justice and diversity, or socializing with well-paid and well-educated “minorities” while being clueless about the plight of the underclass and the complex reasons for their plight, or applauding Superman’s smooching to show their open-mindedness.

In another example of symbolism over substance, Berkeley, Calif., recently caved to activists who had their gender-neutral underpants tied in knots over the word “manhole” still being in common usage. The city went through the expense and trouble of changing the word to “maintenance hole” in the city code.

Meanwhile, no one in Berkeley seems to care about the number of diversity administrators at the University of California-Berkeley. At least Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint, determined that his university has nearly 100 diversity administrators.

In spite of their efforts, whatever the number of diversity apparatchiks at California-Berkeley, they can’t figure out a legal way of keeping Asians from being admitted to the university in far higher percentages than their percentage in the U.S. population. Actually, the solution is simple: Since Asian academic and economic success is largely due to having a higher percentage of two-parent families than other “races,” the apparatchiks should increase the rejection rate of applicants from two-parent families.

The Church of Woke would bless that solution. After all, its guiding philosophy is a rewrite of Barry Goldwater’s famous quote: Extremism in the defense of diversity and inclusion is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of social justice is no virtue.

Speaking of extremism, Critical Race Theory is one of the church’s holy books. Its core tenet is that all whites, and only whites, are racist. The fatuity of that tenet can be revealed in a syllogism:

Racism is believing that a given race is inferior or evil in some way.

We wokes believe that all whites are inherently racist.

Therefore, we are racist.

There are parallels between the Church of Woke and the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages.

In the Middle Ages, faithful Catholics went to extremes to demonstrate their devotion and virtue, but they had to keep upping the ante if they wanted to remain in the good graces of church authorities. Buying indulgences became inadequate and gave way to increasingly difficult demonstrations of faith and repentance, such as wearing sackcloth and ashes, engaging in self-flagellation, and breaking out in stigmata.

Such virtue-signaling did nothing to advance Christian values about leading a good life and helping the poor. Likewise, the virtue-signaling by members of today’s Church of Woke does not advance anything, other than their self-righteousness.

Church authorities in the Middle Ages were as hypocritical as corporations are today. Back then, cardinals and popes often had lives of opulence, authoritarianism, and debauchery while preaching the word of Jesus. Similarly, companies with historically dirty hands have figured out how to make money from wokeism. Their insipid commercials and pronouncements have driven this capitalist to start questioning capitalism.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, one of the worst of the lot is Goldman Sachs. It repeats the right platitudes about racial justice, it advocates for diversity in its executive ranks and the ranks of its corporate clients, and it gave millions to Black Lives Matter. But it is the same bank that played a key role in the Malaysian 1MDB scandal, in which poor Malaysians of color were defrauded of tens of billions of dollars.

The book Woke, Inc., by the brilliant East Indian-American Vivek Ramaswamy, gives scores of other examples of the hypocrisy of corporate executives, who have become acolytes of the Church of Woke and enriched themselves in the process. Unfortunately, the book starts out strong and then gets lost in the weeds when it turns to solutions.

Martin Luther came up with a solution in 1520 when he posted his treatises on the need to reform the Catholic Church. The first of the treatises opens with this line: “The time for silence is past and the time to speak has come.”

If Americans were to take Luther’s advice and stop being cowed into silence about the excesses of the Church of Woke, the United States would be a better place for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

Even Superman would like it.

The Real Crisis Is Closer To Home

By Sohrab Ahmari

China is a serious rival to the United States, as demonstrated by a recent hypersonic missile test, but war in the Pacific will not solve America’s problems.

The Twitter barbs wrote themselves: While U.S. generals dabbled in critical race theory and fretted about nail polish online, China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile that careered around the earth before cruising toward its target, striking within two-dozen miles of it. The weekend test left the American national-security apparatus baffled and embarrassed.

“The test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than U.S. officials realized,” noted the Financial Times, which broke the story over the weekend. Hypersonic missiles of this kind whiz through the air at five times the speed of sound, or about 3,850 miles per hour. Their lower altitudes and cruising capabilities pose a different sort of challenge to missile-defense systems than do traditional ballistic missiles, which by definition follow a more predictable path from launch to target.

It was yet another warning, if one were needed, that the People’s Republic is a very serious power, indeed.

Our own national-security apparatus is downright farcical by comparison. Its leaders guided the United States into a strategic ditch, squandering blood and treasure on pointless nation-building wars whose sum effect was to further destabilize an already volatile  Middle East and North Africa. What with Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blabbering about “white rage,” and another general, Jo Clyborne, griping on Twitter recently about the Army’s policy against French manicures, our military brass and “nat-sec” elites deserve all the ridicule they get, and then some.

But on the right, especially the so-called new right, the mockery can often go hand-in-hand with a perilous temptation: a mindless China hawkishness that would do little to reverse the underlying trends driving American decline (both relative and absolute). If anything, such hawkishness could allow GOP foreign-policy elites to derail any hope of a populist-led domestic revival. Instead, they would channel popular anger—over Covid, industrial offshoring, elite entanglement with Beijing, and so on—into another generation of dumb conflicts. China could thus serve as a great red herring (pun intended).

Instead of asking why, for example, the United States doesn’t build its own semiconductors, we could end up committing extraordinary resources to defending imperial outposts that are ultimately indefensible, such as Taiwan, which, I’m sorry to have to say, is part of China’s civilizational sphere and will be reabsorbed sooner or later.

Instead of holding domestic elites accountable for rendering U.S. supply chains utterly vulnerable to external shocks, we could end up electing China hawks who would, at best, gesture lamely at shoring up manufacturing in the homeland.

Instead of confronting head-on our own polarization and internal ideological incoherence, we could make of Beijing another total enemy to mobilize the Forces of Democracy and Freedom, as the hawks and liberal internationalists would have it; this, even as the same ruling elite continues to national-securitize dissent, probing parents who object to CRT in schools.

This isn’t to say that Washington should seek to accommodate China in every way and at every step. The populist right should by now have learned to shrug off the D.C. hawks’ tendency to reduce every geopolitical question to a 1930s-style choice between appeasement and courageous war-making. By all means, we should punish intellectual-property theft and industrial espionage and continue to seek a more balanced trade relationship. By all means, we should uphold existing treaty obligations in the Pacific, not least by maintaining credible deterrence. And by all means, let’s squeeze U.S. elites who profit off China-entanglement while lecturing U.S. workers on wokeness.

My point, rather, is that Americans should ask whether our (undeniable) decline vis-à-vis China—evidenced by the fact that the hypersonic test apparently took our “intelligence” community by surprise—is rooted mainly in internal or external factors.

If the contradictions have mainly internal roots, then a ferocious external policy can only serve to paper over them, without fundamentally resolving them. Not that China is without its own contradictions. But your average D.C. China hawk thinks screaming “Xinjiang” and “Umbrella Movement” amounts to a penetrating critique. Meanwhile, China’s strategists are attuned in a much deeper way to America’s internal crises, as well as to their own.

Witness Wang Huning, the top Communist Party intellectual brilliantly profiled by N.S. Lyon for Palladium magazine. A former university professor who left academe to join the Politburo Standing Committee, Wang is the author of the 1991 book America Against Itself, based on his travels in the United States. In Lyon’s able summary, Wang describes America as a society racked by

deindustrialization, rural decay, over-financialization, out of control asset prices, and the emergence of a self-perpetuating rentier elite; powerful tech monopolies able to crush any upstart competitors operating effectively beyond the scope of government; immense economic inequality, chronic unemployment, addiction, homelessness, and crime; cultural chaos, historical nihilism, family breakdown, and plunging fertility rates; societal despair, spiritual malaise, social isolation, and skyrocketing rates of mental health issues; a loss of national unity and purpose in the face of decadence and barely concealed self-loathing; vast internal divisions, racial tensions, riots, political violence, and a country that increasingly seems close to coming apart.

Read the whole thing.

America’s ruling classes might have many of these crises on their radar, Wang argues, but in the end, they can only offer one-off techno-scientific tweaks that don’t get to the bottom of the problem: “a radical, nihilistic individualism at the heart of modern American liberalism.” In other words, we have a profound political problem on our hands with no easy fixes, if any. But meanwhile, for the love of God, let’s stop blustering about saving democracy in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

*****

This article was published on October 19, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The American Conservative.

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Biden’s $3.5T Spending Plan Ought To Be Called The Build Bigotry Better Act

By Deroy Murdock

President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act should be rechristened the Build Bigotry Better Act. And then it should be buried in a shallow grave on Capitol Hill.

This socialist tax-and spendathon, currently pushed by Biden and top congressional Democrats, reputedly would devour $3.2 trillion. As if! Once stripped of accounting gimmicks and augmented with $200 billion in debt-service obligations, this leviathan’s true, 10-year cost totals $5.9 trillion. That equals $41,172 for each of America’s 143.3 million taxpayers.

But this extravaganza’s eye-popping tab is just one of its fatal flaws. This bill’s policies are nightmarish at any price. Atop $2.3 trillion in tax increases, lush entitlements, and unicorn-powered Green New Deal experiments, BBBA is a lavish slush fund for critical race theorists.

Final legislation likely will emerge, fully formed, from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office — if the Democrat Party’s left and far-Left wings ever flap in unison.

For now, BBBA’s current draft rambles on, Biden-like, for 2,465 mind-numbing, bankruptcy inducing pages. Within this text, one race-fueled time bomb after another just waits to explode if, God forbid, Biden signs this measure into law:

• To qualify for $39.6 billion in federal grants, a government school system must submit “a local facilities master plan to address the health, safety, education equity, enrollment diversity, environmental sustainability, and climate resiliency of the public-school facilities operated by such agency.” (Page 55)

• This bill earmarks “Tuition assistance for Alaska native-serving institutions, Asian-American and Native-American Pacific-Islander serving institutions, Native American-serving nontribal institutions, native Hawaiian-serving institutions, and predominantly black institutions.” (Page 127)

Irish need not apply.

• The $1 billion “Electric Vehicle Charging Equity Program” would “give priority to projects that…utilize or involve locally owned small and disadvantaged businesses, including women and minority-owned businesses.” (Page 465)

A white guy named Elon Musk knows a little about electric vehicles. Is he eligible for a charging-equity grant?

• BBBA mandates “promoting equity” in Medicaid’s home- and community-based services. (Page 575)

• $1 billion, in part to employ “faculty from racial and ethnic groups who are underrepresented among the medical and other health professions.” (Page 676)

• $175 million for maternal-health facilities that display “racial and ethnic disparities,” even if unrelated to racism. (Page 696)

• $100 million for “cybersecurity workforce development and education” at “minority-serving institutions and community colleges.” (Page 897)

• $750 million for research on Family and Medical Leave benefits and disparities involving “race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, national origin, family composition, or living arrangements.” (Page 1,288)

• Pursuant to federal decree, employers must provide, “to the extent available,” information on the races, sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities, and other characteristics of paid-leave beneficiaries “for the purposes of promoting equity.” (Page 1,310)

To fathom BBBA’s priorities, consider how many times it mentions these terms according to a keyword search of the legislation:

• Equity – 44

• Ethnic – 41

• Racial – 34

• Race – 21

• Merit – 4

• Equality – 0

This bill will dispatch countless federal ethnocrats to decide who is white, Black, or otherwise and then deny or disburse billions of taxpayer dollars due to applicants’ complexions.

BBBA will underwrite a brigade of racial bean counters to obsess over melanin and decide which people can or cannot convert their pigmentation into paydays. This op-ed alone outlines a $42.6 billion race-driven jackpot.

“Critical race theory is an ideology that is almost entirely subsidized by taxpayers,” says Chris Rufo, senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute. “The theories were developed in publicly-financed and publicly-subsidized universities, and now they are being installed as ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ departments in every government agency in the nation. It is not an organic philosophy. It’s an elite-driven, parasitic ideology whose host is the state.”

Rufo believes that BBBA’s systemic racialism will suck Uncle Sam even drier.

“The Biden Administration wants to accelerate this process and install critical race theory ideology further into the bureaucracy of the federal government,” Rufo tells me. “It must be stopped. It must be resisted. ‘Ban critical race theory’ should be the conservative slogan moving forward.”

One of former President Donald J. Trump’s top advisers also sounds the klaxons over this looming danger.

“President Biden’s reconciliation bill is not a stimulus package. It’s not an infrastructure proposal. It’s not pork barrel spending. No, it’s the radical, fundamental and explicit reordering of American society around the Marxist concept of racial equity,” warns Stephen Miller, founder of America First Legal, a public-interest law firm.

“Equity is the sanitized term of choice deployed by the hard-Left to encompass the entire panoply of government policies that institutionalize Critical Race Theory into the machinery of government,” Miller tells me. “Equity is CRT put into practice: It demolishes and replaces equality as the foundational principle of American life and wields fearsome federal government power to exclude, punish, prejudge, evaluate, stereotype, segregate, and obsessively categorize American citizens on the basis of skin color.”

The fact that it weaponizes federal racial fetishism is just one of 5.9 trillion reasons why Joe Biden’s abominable Build Bigotry Better Act deserves blistering defeat.

*****

This article was published on October 18, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The National Center For Public Policy and its Project 21, Black Leadership Project.

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A Mad Rush for Coal As India and China Suspend Climate Correctness

By Vijay Raj Jayaraj

Editors’ Note:  Conservatives are generally split into two camps regarding global warming. Some feel that man’s activities have little or nothing to do with natural changes. Others feel we are contributing but feel money is better spent addressing specific problems with targeted solutions (sea walls, more air conditioning, nuclear power, water desalinization, water storage, modern forestry, etc.) rather than attempting the dubious and incredibly expensive quest to change the entire climate of the earth. All feel it is stupid to rely on the “international community”, which predictably is pulling in more directions than John Kerry can spin lies. The contradictions in policies are nonsensical. For example, why is China given the status of a “developing country” when they have modern infrastructure, nuclear missiles, hypersonic nuclear missiles, and the most modern factories in the world? As this article clearly points out, the U.S. can sacrifice its prosperity on the altar of environmental religion, but if the rest of the world keeps burning coal (which it is), it is not only a useless undertaking, it really is a suicidal energy policy.

During the first week of October 2021, both India and China made desperate attempts to buy the stranded Australian coal shipments in China’s port warehouses.

The coal shipments, which were originally intended to be imported into China, were left stranded at the port after China banned the import of Australian coal last year.

Despite this ban, China has now unloaded some of the shipments due to the unprecedented demand for coal and electricity in the country. India’s industries too have made a dash to secure some of these stranded shipments as a severe coal shortage has gripped India.

So, what can we learn from this mad rush for coal?

Power Demand and Coal Shortage of Unprecedented Levels

China has been experiencing severe power shortages for the past month, while India is on the brink of running out of coal for its power plants.

China has already asked its industries in some provinces to shut down owing to power shortage and asked residents to use as much natural light as possible. China’s power crisis has now evolved into a global supply chain headache, as the country’s manufacturing industry—which supplies products worldwide—is disrupted and may take months to recover.

India’s coal power plants had just 4 days of coal left in their inventories last week and the situation is set to become more challenging in the coming weeks. A government minister was questioned if rolling blackouts are on the cards for the country’s 1.3 billion population.

As a result, the demand for coal is at unprecedented levels in Asia.

Coal is Still the King

Coal is still the King of energy sector. China, which originally banned the import of Australian coal, has now allowed it to be imported. Indian companies have purchased approximately 2 million tons of stranded Australian thermal coal from the Chinese warehouses.

Much of the present energy chaos in Asia could have been avoided if China and India protected their domestic energy interests against the climate politics from the West. Both countries are part of the Paris climate agreement and have embarked on some of the world’s largest solar power projects worth billions of dollars.

Instead of spending their precious resources on renewable technology, Beijing and New Delhi could have diverted those resources for expanding their fossil fuel fleet. Even worse, China had occasionally placed limitations on coal use, before the severe Winter energy crisis forced them to retract the ban.

Coal already provides the majority of electricity demand in both countries (above 60% in China and above 70% in India). If these two nations want to avoid a repeat of 2021, then they must look back at the past and invest heavily in the coal sector without compromising.

This is because both Solar and Wind are unreliable forms of energy sources that are more expensive and do not provide excess electricity when its needed the most. The current backup solutions like battery storage are incapable of powering huge power demand from cities or industries. So, when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining, life must literally come to a grinding halt – affecting everyday life and an immediate hit on the economy.

So, what are they waiting for? Why do they have to sacrifice their own citizen’s well-being for the sake of a global climate pact-like the Paris agreement—that seldom cares about affordable energy access in poor countries?

If there is one positive takeaway from the ongoing energy crisis in Asia, it is this: 2021 was a good lesson on how not to frame energy policy.

Coal—the most affordable, abundant, and reliable energy source—must be utilized to serve the best interests of 3 billion people in Asia and the remaining in the world. Both India and China are within their rights to ditch climate correctness and increase coal dependency.

*****

This article was published on October 14, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from CFACT, Committee for A Constructive Tomorrow.

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DOJ Threatens To Criminally Prosecute Parents Who Object To School Policies

By Maya Noronha

On Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland directed all U.S. Attorneys and the FBI to meet with law enforcement leaders across the country to collaborate in investigating parents who protest critical race theory and other school policies.

DOJ’s announcement comes a week after the National School Board Association (NSBA) requested federal assistance from President Biden to combat “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” NSBA characterized the substance of the threats as related to mask policies and critical race theory:

Coupled with attacks against school board members and educators for approving policies for masks to protect the health and safety of students and school employees, many public school officials are also facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula.

Despite multiple federal lawsuits charging public schools with teaching critical race theory, in their letter to Biden, NSBA contended that critical race theory is not being taught to elementary and high school students:

This propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class.

In a press release, DOJ outlined its plans:

[Our] efforts are expected to include the creation of a task force…to determine how federal enforcement tools can be used to prosecute these crimes, and ways to assist state, Tribal, territorial and local law enforcement where threats of violence may not constitute federal crimes.

Heritage Foundation’s Legal Fellow GianCarlo Canaparo and Senior Advisor Mike Howell criticized DOJ’s announcement, writing:

Garland has demonstrated, disappointingly, that he is beholden to powerful leftist political groups and perfectly happy to let them use the threat of federal government’s law enforcement power to suppress their critics’ right to free speech. The promised independence of the DOJ is a farce….[I]t is more important to Garland to spend scarce law enforcement resources appeasing liberal interest groups than on more pressing national concerns.

What’s so concerning about this announcement is the thought that DOJ seems poised to use the threat of prosecution to squelch protest and suppress dissent. To be clear, threats and physical violence are illegal under state law. Speech and protest, by contrast, are constitutionally protected.

The involvement of parents in the education of their children is important, and we should teach children how to engage others on policy with respect and civility. Acts of violence are recognized as federal crimes, and the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement should pursue all colorable cases against perpetrators only to the extent permitted by law, and regardless of the motivation of the perpetrators. The federal government should not join the protesters, threatening federal prosecution and discouraging parents from sharing their views.

*****

This article was published on October 7, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Independent Women’s Forum.

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Student Loan Indebtedness and Social Justice

By Craig J. Cantoni

Editors’ Note:

Brought to America’s youth by unjust universities and an unjust government.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about student loans. It was another story in a long list of stories over the years about the loan scams perpetrated by the bastions of social justice, universities, and by the main funder of social justice initiatives, the federal government, as enabled by both political parties.

Stories like this fuel the growing public sentiment to excuse student loan debt.

The story in question was about shenanigans at Baylor University, a private school with a religious founding but apparently without a moral compass. Like so many universities, it was consigning students to indebtedness while it was raising tuition way beyond the inflation rate and building swank facilities and a new football stadium.

Universities get the student loan money but taxpayers get the shaft if the borrowers default. In other words, the schools don’t have a monetary incentive to cut costs or be honest with parents and students about their expected return on investment. It’s a system designed by a madman.

At the same time, it’s difficult to be sympathetic with the parents and students featured in the Journal story, especially the main character. A public school administrator making $75,000 a year, she has a master’s degree from Baylor and $231,000 in federal loans for herself and her two kids. Apparently, a master’s degree from Baylor doesn’t teach someone enough to know how to conduct an internet search on student loans and the return on investment of different degrees—or how to use one of the scores of financial calculators on the internet that do the calculations for you in a matter of minutes.

Her reason for sending her kids to an expensive school like Baylor? In her words, she didn’t want to send her kids somewhere less expensive such as community college where they would overachieve. Huh?

Of course, the article said nothing about her lifestyle—whether she lives above or below her means. For all we know, she could be driving a $60,000 luxury car.

The article also mentioned nothing about the father of her children and why he isn’t helping with his kids’ college expenses. It’s become so normal for men to be missing from the household that such questions aren’t asked.

I’m typing this in my home in Tucson, where the University of Arizona is located—and where my son got a bachelor’s and master’s in engineering. His total cost over the five years for tuition, room, and board was about the same as the average price of a new car or a lifetime of expensive milkshakes, er, coffee, at Starbucks.

If the last point seems like hyperbole, consider this: If a 25-year-old were to begin investing $5 a day instead of spending the money at Starbucks, the investment would grow to over $200,000 by the age of 65, assuming an investment return of 5%, compounded monthly.

In addition to his scholarships and internships, my son worked for two years as a resident hall assistant in one of the oldest dorms on campus, one that had communal bathrooms and bare-boned facilities. The job subsidized his room and board, and he saved money by not eating on campus. Instead, he took the bus to a supermarket to buy groceries, which he kept in a refrigerator in the dorm’s kitchen.

No big deal. A little suffering in college makes for a better education and a better human being.

He graduated without any debt, and, given his current employment, the ROI on his degrees is very high.

The son takes after the dad, who worked through college and leveraged a degree from a no-name university into a rewarding career. But that was in an era in which colleges didn’t gouge students while indoctrinating them in social justice.

In any event, when the government ends up excusing college debt, as it definitely will, my son will be paying part of the student debt incurred by others. That’s called social justice, a misnomer if there ever was one.

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11 More Reasons Biden Administration Is Wrong About Onerous Gun Restrictions

By Amy Swearer

The Biden administration last month filed a brief encouraging the Supreme Court to uphold New York City’s de facto ban preventing ordinary citizens from carrying firearms in public.

The administration argued that an onerous “good cause” requirement—giving the city’s police department unmitigated discretion over citizens’ exercise of a fundamental right—is a perfectly reasonable regulation.

This court brief is just one of several high-profile actions taken this year by the Biden administration that underscore its lack of commitment to taking the Second Amendment seriously.

New York City’s law, one of a myriad of serious burdens placed on New Yorkers’ right to keep and bear arms, prevents the vast majority of residents from being able to meaningfully protect themselves in public when the government fails to do so. And the government often fails to do so.

In fact, almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times annually, according to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For this reason, The Daily Signal publishes an article monthly underscoring some of the previous month’s many news stories on defensive gun use that you may have missed—or that might not have made it to the national spotlight in the first place.

The examples below represent only a small portion of the news stories on defensive gun use that we found in August. You may explore more by using The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database. (The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.)

  • Sept. 4, Houston, Texas: An erratic driver began chasing another vehicle, eventually pulling up alongside and pointing a gun at the occupants, police said. The driver of the second vehicle drew his own gun and fired in self-defense, seriously wounding the erratic driver and a female passenger. The wounded couple drove off, throwing two firearms out of the window. Police said they didn’t anticipate charging the second driver, who immediately called 911 and cooperated with law enforcement.
  •  Sept. 5, Mount Healthy, Ohio: A man with a record of domestic violence broke into his ex-girlfriend’s residence through a window and assaulted her. Another resident fatally shot the assailant, police said.
  • Sept. 7, Dickson, Tennessee: A man used his handgun to defend himself and his grandchildren from an assailant during a bizarre encounter outside their home. Police said the family had just returned from a trip to a local doughnut shop when another car pulled into their driveway. The driver, whom the resident said he did not know, approached the family while shouting in Spanish, prompting the resident to retrieve a handgun from the car and order the stranger to leave. He fired a warning shot into the ground when the man continued advancing, police said. The stranger then chased the resident around the car, his grandchildren still inside, and grabbed at him. He shot the attacker once in the stomach, killing him, police said.
  • Sept. 10, Atlanta, Georgia: A man leaving a grocery store saw two young men stealing items from his car and confronted them, police said. He drew his firearm on the thieves, fatally shooting one as the second one returned fire and fled. Police later found a 17-year-old, who was wounded in the wrist, and charged him with several felonies, including two gun-related offenses.
  • Sept. 15, Albuquerque, New Mexico: An armed man entered a Subway restaurant and attempted to rob an employee, police said. A second employee—armed with his own gun—appeared from a back room and fatally shot the robber. The New Mexico Business Coalition told reporters that it is concerned about police response times to emergency calls and isn’t surprised that more employees are arming themselves.
  • Sept. 16, Kalispell, Montana: When the manager of a 24-hour fitness center revoked a patron’s membership after discovering that he had been sleeping at the gym without permission, police said, the patron shot the manager to death in the parking lot. An assistant manager alerted a customer, who retrieved a handgun from his car. After the shooter fired several rounds at the customer, wounding him, the customer returned fire and wounded the shooter, disabling him until police could arrive.
  • Sept. 18, La Porte, Texas: An abusive family member—out on bond for multiple assault charges—appeared at the new home of a woman and her teenage relative and assaulted the woman with a sack filled with canned goods, police said. The teenager grabbed a handgun and fatally shot him. The local district attorney’s office called the teenager a “brave kid” and said it considers the shooting to be the lawful defense of another.
  • Sept. 20, Butler, Pennsylvania: A man carrying a firearm was leaving a store when he witnessed someone stab another person several times, police said. The man drew his firearm and held the assailant at gunpoint until police arrived.
  • Sept. 21, Pocola, Oklahoma: Shortly after his mother left his apartment to return to her own apartment next door, police said, a man heard gunshots and screaming. He retrieved a firearm before checking on his mother, whom he discovered shot on the floor just inside her door. He fatally shot his mother’s estranged husband, the subject of an active protection order, when he saw him reaching for what appeared to be a weapon.
  • Sept. 28, Chaves County, New Mexico:  Three armed ranchers ended a daylong manhunt for a homicide suspect by confronting the man as he walked through their rural property, investigators said. The ranchers convinced the fugitive to put his rifle down and then held him at gunpoint until deputies arrived.
  • Sept. 29, Cave Junction, Oregon: Police said a man forced his way inside a home, assaulted a female resident, and stole property before attempting to flee in a pickup truck. He drove through a yard, hit a parked car, ran over a child’s play structure, and crashed into another residence.  An armed neighbor shot out the assailant’s tires, pulled him from the truck, and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

Whether at home or in public, Americans’ meaningful ability to invoke their natural right of self-defense is one of the most important aspects to our free republic.

Policies that arbitrarily strip this ability from all but a select few aren’t “reasonable regulations,” but gross violations of both an enumerated constitutional right and natural law.

At the same time, such policies leave ordinary citizens largely defenseless in the face of attacks on life, liberty, and property, failing to further the public safety interest the government so often invokes to justify these policies.

The public is not rendered “safer” when citizens are disarmed, but rendered only more vulnerable to (and powerless against) those who would do them harm.

*****

This article was published on October 19, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

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Biden Administration May Take Over Arizona Business Safety Enforcement

By Cole Lauterbach

Arizona soon could lose its authority over safety in the workplace.

The Biden administration has warned the state, along with South Carolina and Utah, its occupational and safety plan for businesses could be set aside and taken over by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Tuesday’s warning comes as the OSHA prepares to unveil its new COVID-19 vaccination requirements for larger businesses.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said the move was disingenuous.

“The federal government’s threat to strip the [Industrial Commission of Arizona] of its OSHA authority is nothing short of a political stunt and desperate power grab,” Ducey said. “The ICA is actively engaged in a public input process, encouraging Arizonans from every corner of the state to participate, and now the Biden administration is attempting to silence input from citizens and stakeholders alike.”

Ducey promised federal authorities a court battle as he has with other issues in the past.

Twenty-two states have OSHA plans covering private and public-sector workers. OSHA approves of “plans” from individual states, allowing them to handle workplace safety regulations as long as they are as comprehensive or more than federal guidelines. In Arizona, the plan is managed by the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA).

The ICA wrote the OSHA in July, saying state laws already in place are “at least as effective” as the baseline federal plan. The office added wage, paid sick time and retaliation issues aren’t typical duties of an occupational regulator – something OSHA demanded to be included in the plan.

The state agency told the OSHA in the July it would start the rulemaking process and ask for public input.

James Wulff, the acting regional administrator for the OSHA, said the state’s laws aren’t sufficient in meeting the office’s Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standards, an enhanced set of regulations that focus on health care provider safety when dealing with COVID-19 cases.

“Please note that failure to do so may place Federal approval for the Arizona State Plan in jeopardy,” Wolff wrote in a Sept. 16 letter to Jessie Atencio, director of the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

*****

This article was published on October 20, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

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Our Dangerous Civic Dualism

By Casey Chalk

The growing divide between the reality we know and the facade we maintain in public is tearing apart our civil society.

“The growing influence of the doctrine on my way of thinking came up against the resistance of my whole nature,” writes Nobel laureate Czeslaw Miłosz in The Captive Mind, of his experience in post-war Stalinist Poland of bureaucratically driven tyranny. That also well describes the feeling many Americans have—Miłosz describes it as something originating in the stomach—when confronted with the ever-growing list of irrational behaviors demanded of us by the progressivist pandemic regime.

Like the Eastern Bloc, our culture is one in which our public behavior bears increasingly little resemblance to what we know to actually be the case. Such a dualistic, dissociative identity disorder is not a recipe for civic health.

In countless scenarios acted out every day, Americans are expected to engage in various performative gestures that we know are incoherent—if not absurd—and yet, for the sake of conformity and a very real concern that we will be professionally or personally penalized, we assent to them. In the process, our real self becomes disconnected from our public self, and we slowly become cynical and disillusioned. When citizens no longer believe laws, rules, and cultural norms are coherent or ordered to their good, they lose faith in their society and its governing institutions.

Perhaps the most salient example of play-acting is America’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in what comedian Jim Breuer describes as an endless game of “Simon Says.” As Breuer explains: “Simon Says: ‘Put your mask on when you go into a restaurant.’ Simon Says: ‘Sit down and take it off.’” If we get up to use the restroom, the mask must go back on; as long as we are periodically sipping our beer or water, the mask can stay off. At our jobs, our cafeterias are filled with maskless coworkers talking, laughing, eating, spreading their germs all over the place, but we are mandated to keep ours on as we walk past them. We know this doesn’t make any sense, but we play along anyway, often out of a sense of exhaustion or fear of retribution.

But it’s not just pandemic-related health directives. The technocratic regime commands us to respect the ever-expanding list of preferred pronouns and gender identities of our fellow citizens or risk accusations of “gendered violence” or “deadnaming”—crimes that until recently no one even knew existed. Our employers urge us to affirm and celebrate coworkers who spend company time organizing events and writing corporate emails declaring their sexual preferences and lifestyles, while we silently wonder how these people’s fetishes have anything to do with, well, work. And though it remains illegal for an employer to make decisions about job assignments and promotions based on race, recruiters and managers are explicitly or implicitly coerced to diversify their offices and ensure the “right people” are promoted for the sake of diversity and inclusion.

There are two likely reactions to a public order that citizens perceive as arbitrary, disjointed, and favorable to certain classes or identities. The first is apathy, which results in a decline in civic participation based on our distrust of the system stemming from a feeling of disempowerment. Perceiving the public order as complicated play-acting, we mentally and civically check out, understanding our participation in performative gestures not as good or even true, but simply the means by which we preserve ourselves and our families. The atomizing tendencies of our digital age are also exacerbated, as we present a version of ourselves to the world that doesn’t actually correlate with reality. The public square in turn becomes a forum not for the practice of virtue, but ever-more elaborate dances to deceive our fellow citizens.

The second is an antagonism that becomes more aggressive as we experience (and resent) the pressure to conform. As the tension rises, the likelihood of confrontation and even violence escalates. We’ve seen plenty of this with the drama over masks and social distancing. Even when people make an honest mistake and forget to wear one, they are greeted by tattling, censure, and punishment. My wife recently neglected to wear a mask when she dropped our eldest daughter off for her dance class. Another mother became hysterical, weeping and claiming that it was because of people like my wife that her friend had died of Covid-19.

Obviously, neither apathy nor antagonism is conducive to civic health and the common good. We like to think the various things expected of us on a daily basis have some alignment with rationality and predictability that are ordered to our welfare. We know that driving the speed limit, paying our bills, and filing our taxes does not necessarily mean we won’t still suffer some injustice at the hands of the state. But we know that the likelihood of such things happening is far lower because we understand that speed limits, bills, and taxes make societies function and that the state thus has an incentive for avoiding being erratic in its enforcement of them.

But when the state and other dominant cultural institutions act capriciously and vindictively—whether in regards to mask mandates, gender identities, or how to understand racial identity—it strains our credulity that public life makes any sense. Simon says social distance! Simon says gather in protest! Simon says get your booster shot or you’re a monster who is refusing to stop the spread! Simon says pay your woke tax or risk cancellation!

“There is an internal longing for harmony and happiness that lies deeper than ordinary fear or the desire to escape misery or physical destruction,” writes Miłosz. That desire is perhaps America’s best chance of overcoming the madness of this cultural and political regime. We have been tempted to go along with the risible dictums of our technocratic taskmasters for our own well-being and sanity. But how long would you put up with a game whose rules kept changing—and which seemed obviously stacked in certain players’ favor—before you declare “enough!”?

All of us want to avoid misery and physical harm. Nevertheless, we are willing to endure those things when our lives, and the life of our nation, make sense and are ordered to some higher, noble purpose. Can that be said for all of the pandemic health mandates or the complex codes of gender, sexual, and racial identitarianism impressed upon us and our children? How many more times will we perform obeisance to what Simon says before we, individually and collectively, cry “enough”? The future of our nation’s civic health depends on the answer.

*****

This article was published on October 18, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The American Conservative.

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The Truth About Critical Race Theory

By Bruce Bialosky

A term few of us knew of a couple of years ago has consumed a large part of the recent national debate. Critical Race Theory (CRT) has roiled America. To better understand where we are, I read simultaneously articles written by Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the main advocate against CRT, and Ibram X. Kendi, a professor at Boston University, who is one of the main advocates in favor of CRT. These two columns provided significant clarity to where we are on this issue.

Rufo’s column is Disingenuous Defenses of Critical Race Theory and Kendi’s column is There is No Debate Over Critical Race Theory.

Rufo dissects a column in the New York Times. The authors of that article assert that question of CRT being used in classrooms is a matter of free speech. Rufo makes a persuasive argument that proposed laws against CRT are attempting to level the playing field because the First Amendment is there to protect citizens from government and not government from citizens. The people arguing to curb CRT teaching in schools are attempting to limit the things the government is saying. After reading the column, there is no clear definition of what CRT is or what it is trying to accomplish in schools.

Kendi starts by stating “Republican operatives have buried the actual definition of CRT.” Instead, he states, that one of the people who helped coin the term (law professor Kimberle’ Crenshaw), stated it is “a way of looking at law’s role platforming, facilitating, producing and even insulating racial inequality in our country.” If there is anything one can get out of her definition it is that the laws in the United States have a racial taint to them.  If so, then CRT is an effort to guide Congress and the legislatures across the country to analyze the existing laws and make alterations to the laws to make them equal for all parties to have opportunities. But that is not how it is being applied in most cases.

This country has enacted many laws to make matters equal for all parties. We have voting laws, we have laws against redlining, we have laws for non-discrimination in hiring, and we can go on and on. If there is a problem with any laws under this proposed definition of CRT, then the laws should be fixed.

Mr. Kendi states he is often cited as the source of CRT. He says that could not be because he was born in 1982 and CRT was created in 1981  That is wrong. CRT comes largely from Professor Derrick Bell’s work in the 1970’s with help from others such as Richard Delgado, etc.  CRT did start as legal theory. That was in the 1970’s. Since then so many laws have changed to lessen any discriminatory effects that a large part of their concerns have been relieved. There may be more, but there seems to be no recognition of that fact.

The application of CRT has evolved way beyond what Kendi states. CRT is being used to address issues in our educational system. That is where the principal dispute has erupted. Instead of confronting that issue, Kendi spends the remainder of his column picking apart particular statements people have made about CRT and finding them to his disfavor which adds truly little to the discussion.

For example, in 2018, the largest public teachers’ union adopted the following “The National Education Association (NEA) believes that, in order to achieve racial and social justice, educators must acknowledge the existence of White supremacy culture as a primary root cause of institutional racism, structural racism, and White privilege. Additionally, the Association believes that the norms, standards, and organizational structures manifested in White supremacy culture perpetually exploit and oppress people of color and serve as detriments to racial justice. Further, the invisible racial benefits of White privilege, which are automatically conferred irrespective of wealth, gender, and other factors, severely limit opportunities for people of color and impede full achievement of racial and social justice. Therefore, the Association will actively advocate for social and educational strategies fostering the eradication of institutional racism and White privilege perpetuated by White supremacy culture.”

Statements like this is what people are raging about. Kendi nor any of the people who helped establish CRT like Professor Crenshaw have chimed in and said that their work is being abused for others’ political gain.

The NEA statement certainly gives us a clearer idea of what will be taught, but the NEA went even further stating they are in support of teaching CRT. This is even though the head of the second-largest public teachers’ union, Randi Weingarten, stated recently that CRT is not being taught in public schools but only in colleges. She stated there is a significant defense fund set aside to aid teachers accused of teaching it.

The NEA wants (this year) to adopt a resolution to study the effects of “empire, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, racism, patriarchy, cis heteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, [and] anthropocentrism.” Can someone translate that into understandable English?  Other than this being directly in conflict with the basic mission of teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic — of which the union members have immense failings — let’s focus on the foolishness of this exercise. This inherently states they have a problem with capitalism which funds their significant salaries, their free medical care, and their government-funded extravagant pensions. Disregarding the other nonsense, do we really want teachers spending time defaming the economic system that has made this country the place where so many have achieved so much? 

Is CRT a means of identifying laws that are not aimed toward treating all citizens equally and providing them equal opportunities or is it a means for public school teachers to indoctrinate students into an array of the Left’s ideologies? The advocates are not arguing for CRT, but a new acronym – DEI. DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. When someone argues they are not supporting CRT they are arguing for a program of DEI. 

Just about everyone is in favor of the former (fair laws) and a justifiable battle will continue to foment over the latter (political indoctrination). All the school board meetings are about the latter not the former.

*****

This article was published on October 17, 2021, in FlashReport and is reproduced with permission from the author.

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January 6 Update: Five Things You Might Have Missed

By Kevin Downy JR

Things are happening in regards to January 6. You might not know it because a lot of it hasn’t gotten much press, especially from the likes of media milksops Rachel Madcow and Don Lemon. And for once, it isn’t all bad news.

1) Two Washington D.C. officials have been held in contempt of court for their treatment of the January 6 defendant and Proud Boy Chris Worrell.

Judge Royce Lamberth found prison warden Wanda Patten and Washington D.C. Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth in contempt of court. The judge also ordered a civil rights investigation into the treatment of Worrell and the other January 6 defendants. That means Merrick Garland would lead the case. Oh good. I hope he can take time away from chasing concerned parents “domestic terrorists” at school board meetings.

Worrell was unable to receive medical help for lymphoma, possibly COVID, a broken hand, and a broken tooth, the latter two supposedly received in jail, because necessary medical records were never forwarded to the proper parties. Worrell’s lawyer claims his client was not able to get recommended surgeries.

“It’s clear to me that the civil rights of the defendant were violated by the DC Department of Corrections,” Judge Lamberth started during Worrell’s hearing. “I don’t know if it’s because he’s a January 6 defendant or not, but I find this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States for a civil rights investigation.”

2) The FBI quietly admitted in August that they couldn’t find proof that January 6 was a planned “insurrection.” One insider went so far as to say that 90-95% of protestors who entered the Capitol were “one-offs.” No one has been charged with sedition/insurrection. Most of those charged have been hit with ridiculous charges like “parading” in the Capitol.

3) Trump-appointed federal judge Trevor McFadden recently stated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is treating January 6 suspects with more fervor than they used in regards to Antifa and BLM riots in Washington, D.C.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office would have more credibility if it was even-handed in its concern about riots and mobs in the city,” Judge McFadden stated in a recent sentencing hearing for January 6 defendant Danielle Doyle. He sentenced Doyle to $3500 in fines, a sentence less than the prosecutor’s suggestion of two months of house arrest. Doyle pleaded guilty to unlawfully protesting at the Capitol.

4) Not all the news is good. Judge Chutkan, appointed by Obama, is routinely handing down sentences harsher than what prosecutors are asking for.

Chutkan recently sentenced two cousins to 45 days in jail, after the prosecutors had asked for 30 days, for the crimes of entering the Capitol and taking selfies…..

*****

Continue reading this article, published October 14, 2021 at PJ Media.

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Liberty in Peril

By George Leef

I finished reading Prof. Randall Holcombe’s book Liberty in Peril: Democracy and Power in US History during the 2020 election. I have yet to hear any candidate say the word “liberty” and would be shocked if I did.

We are bombarded with messages for candidates and messages merely imploring us to vote. Some Americans relish what they think they’ll get as a result of the election; others dread what they fear will happen. In any case, we accept that, for all its flaws, democracy is the way the United States is supposed to work. We almost never think about whether the policies the candidates favor are consonant with the freedom Americans were supposed to have — freedom to live their lives as they choose.

In his book, Holcombe (professor of economics at Florida State) argues that democracy was not the way the country was supposed to work. Our founding philosophy was not that democracy should prevail, but instead that liberty should prevail that the reason for the government was to protect the individual’s freedom, not to subject him to the will of the majority. Over time, the philosophy of liberty has been shoved aside and today democracy rules to the point where, as the author puts it, liberty has an almost quaint air about it.

As the book’s subtitle suggests, this is a work of history, looking at the shift from the ideology of liberty to the ideology of democracy. Holcombe observes that there is a tension between the two. Under the ideology of liberty, the important question is how to put limits on government so that it can protect individual rights, while under the ideology of democracy, the question is who will hold power to do what the public wants. Where the former prevails, the people tend to have a healthy wariness about government and desire to keep it in check; where the latter does, the people eagerly listen to politicians who promise them benefits from the government.

Unanimity

Holcombe begins his history not with the Constitution or even with the colonists, but with the Iroquois, the largest confederation of Indians that European settlers had to deal with. The Iroquois had an unwritten constitution and its key principle was unanimity. Colonists who became familiar with the Iroquois system commented on its “absolute notion of liberty.” The Iroquois had a “Great Council” composed of tribal chiefs, but it did not act like we expect legislatures to act — imposing decisions on the people.

Instead, the Great Council facilitated the building of consensus among the tribes. Questions were debated and then the chiefs would return to their tribes to assess the sense of their members. Not until a proposal (and I wish Holcombe had said what kinds of issues the Iroquois dealt with) was acceptable to all the tribes was it adopted. That “debate it until we have consensus” mode meant that little was done, but that was, to the Iroquois, preferable to forcing people to abide by rules they had not agreed to.

The British colonists found it frustrating to deal with the Iroquois because their representatives always said, “We must take this proposal back to our Great Council for consideration,” but they incorporated the unanimity principle into their own Albany Plan of Union, drafted in 1754. That Plan was never put into effect, but it called for unanimous consent among the colonies for any action to be taken. Consensus was required, not majority rule.

The first government formed in the United States was the Articles of Confederation, adopted in 1781. Most historians brush right on past the Articles, but Holcombe thinks them worth analysis. Under the Articles, we had a unicameral legislature without any federal executive or judiciary. Proposed amendments required unanimous consent. The central government had little power, as you would expect from a people who had just waged a long war to be rid of a government with, most thought, too much power to violate individual liberties. The central government could not levy taxes directly, but had to request funds from the states. Holcombe finds virtue in that arrangement, since each state could decide whether the expected benefit of turning funds over to the central government was worth giving up the best use of those funds within its own borders.

Life in the United States under the Articles was less than ideal, particularly in the way some states interfered with interstate commerce, but those problems might have been dealt with by amending them. Indeed, that was the very purpose of the convention called in 1787 that we call “the Constitutional Convention.” It was supposed to be a convention, however, for considering amendments to the Articles, and more than a few of the delegates objected to the way certain leaders decided to draft an entirely new plan of government instead.

For all the Constitution’s restrictions on federal authority and its famous “checks and balances,” Holcombe finds that liberty was much more secure under the Articles. That was especially so because the federal government was no longer accountable to the states, but was a power center unto itself. Furthermore, consensus was diluted because the Constitution could be amended with only two-thirds of the states agreeing, rather than all. And most troubling of all, the powers given to the federal government were vaguely worded, such as to “regulate commerce” and “promote the general welfare.” While the drafters of the Constitution were fearful of democracy, they opened the door to its growth.

Gaining Ground

In the decades prior to the Civil War, democracy slowly gained ground against liberty. An intriguing instance was the “reform” of the Post Office in 1851. Until then, it had operated as a profitable public entity, charging differential rates. Under the new law, rates were made uniform, thus subsidizing postal customers in remote, western areas at the expense of those in the heavily populated east. The upshot was that the government was beginning to pick winners and losers through policy.

The Civil War (or the War Between the States, as Holcombe argues it’s more accurately called) vastly expanded the power of the federal government and put the states in a subservient position. The promotion of the economic interests of some Americans at the expense of others became widespread and blatant. An egregious example was the way the lobbying group for Union veterans, the Grand Army of the Republic, managed to expand benefits dramatically, covering more and more soldiers and their families with increasingly large payments. An interesting historical note Holcombe includes is that President Grover Cleveland, who had been popular with the G.A.R. until 1887, lost its favor when he vetoed a bill that he thought went too far. A large reason for Cleveland’s loss the following year to reliably pro-veteran Benjamin Harrison was that bit of fiscal responsibility.

Also in the decades after the Civil War, economic regulation meant to benefit some groups at the expense of others was common. The distinct but related Populist and Progressive movements drove the country further into democracy and away from the protection of liberty. For example, states were given the green light by the Supreme Court to interfere in private contracts by dictating prices grain-elevator owners could charge farmers. Government had turned from protecting liberty to promoting the economic interests of politically influential groups. The same was true for regulation of railroad rates by the Interstate Commerce Commission. And the government also intervened in “the money issue” by first printing great quantities of paper money (“greenbacks”) and later putting great quantities of silver into circulation at the behest of debtors who didn’t want to repay their debts in gold that was appreciating in value.

The First World War led to a burst of government activity that undercut liberty, including freedom of speech, but after the end of the war, there was a “return to normalcy” under Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Even this period, however, was not one where liberty regained much-lost ground. The War Finance Corporation, begun during the war, remained alive throughout the 1920s to make business and agricultural loans; the Inland Waterways Corporation was created to operate barges on the Mississippi River, and the Agricultural Credits Act to lend money to farmers; and in 1924, the nation’s first Immigration Act was passed, among other federal interventions having nothing to do with the protection of liberty. Moreover, during the 1920s, the government was very active in pursuing antitrust cases —attacking business operations simply because they were “too big” and supposedly threatened competition.

In short, the bad habit of extending the government’s scope was not at all cured during the “Roaring 20s.”

And then it got much worse under Coolidge’s successor, Herbert Hoover. Hoover, notes Holcombe, was a Progressive who thought that government authority should be exerted to improve the country and then, once the Depression began on his watch, to bring the country out of it. Most politicians in both parties favored federal policies meant to revive the economy, but they made things worse during Hoover’s administration. When Franklin D. Roosevelt took over in 1933, his whirlwind of federal activism dramatically transformed the nation. Numerous boards, commissions, and agencies issued mandates and prohibitions. Liberties that Americans had always assumed were theirs, such as the freedom to set their own prices or grow what they chose on their land, were abrogated.

For a while, the Supreme Court blocked some, although not all of the government’s authoritarian programs on constitutional grounds, but after Roosevelt’s court-packing proposal in 1937, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes came around to the new “progressive” understanding of the government’s proper role. Social Security is a good example. Nowhere in the Constitution is the government authorized to run a retirement program, but as Holcombe writes, “If the Constitution, thus interpreted, gives the federal government the power to run a compulsory retirement program, it is difficult to see any constitutional limits on the programs that the federal government is permitted to undertake.”

After World War II, governmental power kept ratcheting up, more slowly under Republican presidents, rapidly under Democratic ones, especially Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama.

There have always been people who prefer to get what they want through predation rather than production, Holcombe observes. In our early history, the producers were protected by the law, but now the predators are fully in control, using the law as a sword to take from and control the producers.

In the end, Holcombe is deeply pessimistic. Liberty is certainly in peril — what’s left of it. “A utilitarian undercurrent,” he writes, “has arisen in the nation that is willing to weigh the costs of sacrificing a little more liberty in exchange for other goals. Liberty is not taken for granted; it is willingly sacrificed.”

Can anything rekindle the love that Americans once had for liberty and reverse the upward ratchet of government control? Our author doesn’t address that question, but I believe that our only hope is a revival of moral education in America, so that children are taught that it is just as wrong to get the government to use coercion, as it is for them to do so themselves.

*****

This article was published on October 16, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

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Mail Fraud

By Thomas C. Patterson

A recent cover of The Week magazine proclaimed “Undermining Democracy. The GOP’s blueprint for nullifying Democratic votes in 2024“.

The article was another installment of the concentrated effort on the Left to convince Americans that voter fraud is essentially nonexistent, just a hoax used by Republicans as an excuse to deny the franchise to underprivileged Americans.

But is it true? Are Republicans using strategies like restricting the number of weeks early voting is allowed, cleaning up outdated voter rolls, and requiring voter ID simply to squelch minority votes?

The Week article didn’t describe one voter who had been even partially hindered from voting. Critics seldom do because such cases are devilishly hard to find.

Any limiting of access is illegal under federal law and the Department of Justice has a large and aggressive enforcement unit. Yet during the eight years of the Obama administration, just four cases were filed under the relevant voting rights section.

Moreover, a 2019 survey of turnout data from all 50 states concluded that voter ID laws, for example, “have no negative effect on registration or turnout“ for any race, gender, party or age groupThe Census Bureau in 2012 reported that blacks nationally had a higher turnout rate than whites.

Mississippi had a higher percentage turnout of black voters than white, unlike Connecticut, New York, or Delaware. Much reviled Georgia’s black turnout percentage was higher than New York’s in 2018 and 2020, all during times when Republicans were being loudly accused of voter suppression. They must be the most inept vote suppressors in history.

The Maricopa County 2020 audit was meant to clear up some of these issues of fraud versus suppression. It was never intended by its sponsors to overturn the election. So all the chortling by its detractors when that didn’t happen is their mistake.

Nevertheless, both sides felt vindicated. One thing for certain is that allegations that voter fraud doesn’t exist were again demolished. Voters voting in multiple counties, mail-in ballots from prior addresses, dead people voting, deleted files and duplicated ballots were all uncovered.

But the commission whiffed on the issue of bulk mail voting. The practice of sending unsolicited ballots by mail to millions of voters is by far the greatest potential threat to election integrity.

Unfortunately, they looked for evidence of mail fraud in the wrong place at the wrong time. The audit was of the accounting process and never really addressed how the ballots were generated in the first place.

Mail-in fraud has caused entire elections to be canceled and major schemes have been busted in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and other states. But any fraud discovered is likely only the tip of the iceberg. Fraud from bulk mail voting/ballot harvesting occurs out of sight and leaves few traces.

Unlike in-person voting, there is no ability to assure the vote is cast independently.  Arizona’s sole safeguard has been the notoriously easy-to-game signature verification process with no ID required.

Normally, a chain of custody violations is considered a major breach by election officials. Here, there is no chain of custody. What could go wrong?

There’s a reason that after Democrats discovered electoral gold in 2016, votes by mail more than doubled in 2020, and just 28% voted in person on election day. Yet as far back as 2005, the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform advised that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud”.

Our sister democracies know that. 74% ban absentee voting entirely for citizens living in the country, 6% have very strict restrictions and another 15% require photo ID to obtain a mail ballot. France and Mexico banned mail-in voting after massive fraud and political intimidation were finally discovered.

America has a serious problem. Our elections do not have and do not deserve, the confidence of a majority of Americans.

The overriding problem is not the lack of access to the ballot. In fact, a plurality of voters believes it is too easy to vote.

It’s not stolen elections or miscounted ballots. It is intentionally flawed election laws that permit massive security leaks, raising the undeniable possibility of widespread cheating.

That, friend, is the true threat to democracy.

*****

Thomas C. Patterson, MD is a retired Emergency Medicine physician, Arizona state Senator and Arizona Senate Majority Leader in the ’90s. He is a former Chairman, Goldwater Institute.

LUCHA’s Deep Ties to the Left thumbnail

LUCHA’s Deep Ties to the Left

By Parker Thayer

Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), an Arizona activism group, recently made headlines when activists affiliated with LUCHA followed Sen. Kristen Sinema (D-AZ) into a bathroom, filming her and confronting her about her opposition to the Biden administration’s $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill.

Journalists quickly discovered that LUCHA has accepted over $1 million in donations from the Open Society Foundations, the private foundation of the infamous left-leaning billionaire George Soros, who is no stranger to funding radical left-wing activism.

Because of its Soros ties, many rightly concluded that LUCHA was far less “grassroots” than it claimed, but the organization’s ties to deep-pocketed organizations in Washington, DC, run far deeper than Soros’s funding and extend back a decade.

Center for Popular Democracy

LUCHA and its 501(c)(3) affiliate, the Arizona Center for Empowerment, are both members of and receive substantial funding from the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a national collaboration of dozens of left-wing organizations that work together to organize voters in support of a wide range of the most radical policies.

From the Green New Deal to race-based reparations, the Center for Popular Democracy has vocally supported almost every left-wing cause and has earned a reputation for loud and disruptive demonstrations.

The incident with Sen. Sinema wasn’t the first-time activists tied to CPD have shamelessly harassed an Arizona senator. In 2018, CPD activists, including CPD’s co-executive director Ana Maria Archilainfamously cornered former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in an elevator and yelled at him over his support for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

CPD activists were also recently involved in mobilizing protestors on kayaks to paddle to protest outside the houseboat of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) in Washington, DC. He joined Sen. Sinema in opposing the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill. The protesters reportedly continued for several days, shouting questions and abuse from their boats, until Manchin finally agreed to meet with them.

Ties to ACORN

Tied closely to the Center for Popular Democracy in the present, LUCHA also has ties to the political swamp that can be traced deep into its past.

In 2011, the Capital Research Center reported that LUCHA was organized as a front group for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

The scandal-plagued ACORN network disbanded after it lost federal funding in 201o. But many of its state branches immediately reorganized under new names. LUCHA was reportedly one of these groups.

Reports indicate that in 2011, immediately after ACORN dissolved, LUCHA was run by Monica Sandschaeffer, a former Arizona ACORN official. She was one of four ACORN members arrested in 2008 for disrupting a meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors while protesting against Sheriff Joe Arapaio.

In 2007, the FBI investigated the same branch of ACORN for “voter registration fraud of non-citizens” in the city of Phoenix. In 2010, Judicial Watch, a right-leaning watchdog group, obtained records that showed “that ACORN’s employment practices [perpetuated] fraudulent voter registration.” But charges were never filed under the Obama Administration because of technicalities that Judicial Watch called “questionable.”

Living United for a Political Agenda

Since the incident with Sen. Sinema, LUCHA has issued no apology or reprimand. In fact, it has doubled down on its anti-Sinema rhetoric, issuing an official statement titled “We Do What Senator Sinema Doesn’t – Advocate For Arizonans!” The underlying message is clear: “We regret nothing and your dissent will be punished.”

*****

This article was published on October 13, 2021, and reproduced with permission from Capital Research.